Thursday, 31 May 2012

From the (Quilting) Vault

Did you know that I used to quilt?  Like a machine.  I learned how to sew a straight line, and that was all I needed to get into quilting.  I loved it.  I would go to the fabric store and buy the cheapest fabrics (I was a broke quilter) and see if I can make something beautiful from them. 

I was pretty good at it.  I made 2 quilts and gave them away as gifts.  And I made smaller quilted items like tote bags and pillows and wall hangings.  I even sold some! 

But I found a job, and didn't have as much time to cut pieces, and quilt like I used to.  Its a little sad really.  I enjoy sewing so much.  Quilting is a little like alchemy; you can turns scraps no one wants into art. 

While I was cleaning out my fabric box, I found two pieces I never finished:

I think this was going to be a pillow?  Its the size of a throw pillow.  It could have been a panel for a bag though. I remember when I designed the quilt block, I was teaching myself paper piecing, and really loved house shapes.  So a house shaped quilt is what came of it. 

This is how I know it wasn't meant to be something larger. The backing fabric is just white cotton.  And its already quilted.  I think I meant to leave it like this, but I think I'll put another 2 border pieces on it to make it a little bigger.   

I must have really liked this fabric, because I have more than a meter of this purple, and a half meter in another color.  I think I will try and finish that up this weekend.  My machine is on the fritz right now, but I know a great place where I can sew by the hour...

Another leftover paper pieced block. Its pretty cute.  I remember I got these scraps from a quilter, and she said that they were too small to do anything with.  I must have taken that as a personal challenge (like I would probably do) and make a block out of them.  If I had the time, I would make an entire quilt out of heart blocks like this.  But I think I may have to turn this into something really small.  I hate to see quilting go to waste. 
I'm not someone that likes to leave things unfinished.  I wonder what made me stop working on these.  Oh, sometimes I wish my memory was a lot better.  But at least now I will be able to turn these forgotten crafts into something I can use of gift away!  Does that count as upcycling?

Have you ever abandoned something you were working on?  Why? 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Have you ever...

...seen my car air freshener?  Its one of my favorite things.  It smells like cookies.

I have a weakness for silly things.  Every time I get into my car, I smile.  I bet Mandela would smell good.  He would smell like freedom.  I'm sure freedom smells like cookies.  Or cinnamon rolls. 

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Leftover Tuesday: Super Easy Curried Chicken

I love it when dinner can be fast, easy and really yummy.  I love it more when it can use leftovers.  I love it the most when I can have it on the table in 20 minutes.

Are you interested in a recipe that does all these things?

Well, you are in luck!  Tonight I made a curried chicken, that is a mash of 4 recipes I've seen around town.  I put them together, and voila! this yummy curry.  This dish is a little sweet, and can be spicy, but you would control the heat. 

Every Tuesday is leftover night chez moi, so we try and use all the food in the fridge. This is one of our favorite things to make with leftover roast chicken.

Super Easy Curried Chicken


For the curry paste:
2 tbsp plain yogurt
3 tbsp tomato paste
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp Major Grey Chutney (or mango chutney if you don't like spicy) [I've also used honey.  Different, but still yummy.]
2 tsp Garam Masala Spice Mix
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (omit if you don't like spicy)

For the Curry:
2 onions, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 cup frozen (but thawed) or leftover peas
1/2 cup of chicken stock
2 more tbsp of yogurt to finish

Rice and Naan to serve.

Putting it all together:

1. Mix all the ingredients for the paste together in a bowl.  mix them together and you will have the yummy curry paste for the dish. Set aside.

2. In a large covered skillet, heat olive oil, and soften the onions until cooked.  When soft, add the curry paste to the pan and cook for 1 minute, while stirring continuously. 

3. When the paste is heated, add your chicken and peas, and stir to coat in the paste.  When everything is coated in the yummy paste, add 1/2 cup of chicken stock to the pan, and stir.  This will create the sauce for the curry.  Cover and let the whole thing simmer on low while you get your rice ready.

4. Just before serving, add the 2 tbsp of yogurt, and stir to incorporate.  Simmer it for 1-2 minutes more, just to make sure its hot.

Serve it over rice, and make sure you have naan to get all of that sauce up.

Curried Chicken in 4 steps and 20 minutes.  I bet this recipe could work with vegetables, or paneer.  If you try it, let me know!

What are your favorite fast dinners?  What do you do with leftovers?

Monday, 28 May 2012

What I wore: "Don't be a bully" T-Shirt

I really love t when I can find funny and odd shirts.  The odder the better, really.  And that is why I love this shirt.  This t-shirt has a Boston Terrier wearing glasses and a bowtie on it, and in silver leters along the bottom it says, "Don't Be a Bully."  Any ideas what that could mean?  If its about bullying, then why the dog?  Does it mean "Don't be a Bulldog"?Whatever it means, I had to have it.  And I wear it all the time.

::Head to Toe::
Sunglasses: Baby Phat from Macy's in Buffalo
Earrings: XL Silver studs from Metalsmiths
Jacket: George from WalMart
T-Shirt: Torrid
Skinny Jeans: MXM by Addition Elle
Sandals: Silver Birkenstock from here

And I'm still rockin' that short hair.  With how hot it has been in Hamilton lately, I'm so so glad I cut it off.  It will grow back for winter.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

New Desk! Hooray!

I think my computer likes its new home.

I must be an adult, because I am giddy with the fact that we found some furniture that works in our little space, and is so useful and fitting.  Isn't this great? 

We decided on Friday that we needed a workspace for both of us.  We used to share a desk, and that didn't work out too well.  Then we had no desk, and that was even worse because we would leave our work and things on the dining room table.  So we went to our favorite place for home shopping (IKEA, what can I say? I love it there) and look at the home office section, and voila! 

And this is my view when I'm writing on the blog or working on my computer.  There is tons of space, so I can do my crafty thing here and sew too. 

It is a most excellent addition to our little home.

Where do you work on your blog?  If you post pics, link it so I can check it out!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

What I wore: My "Go to" Outfit

I really love everything about this vest.  I can't say that about a lot of my clothes.  I love the fit, the color and the crazy-pretty crochet lace on it. I love how its flowy it is- it makes me feel a little flowy too!

::Top to bottom::
Necklace: Paix Seal Necklace by Pyrrha
Vest: Dex Clothing (bought at Hudson's Bay Co. aka The Bay)
T-Shirt: Old Navy
Skinny Jeans: MXM from Addition-Elle
Shoes: (not pictured) Silver Birkenstock Sandals from here

 I love this necklace.  I wear it almost everyday.  It says "paix" (french for peace) so I think of it as a reminder to be calm.  I'm also a pacifist, so it was the natural choice for me.

This is my favorite part about this vest. The back is so delicate and pretty.  I like how you can see the details when I wear it with a white t-shirt.  This is my go to outfit- its comfy, easy to throw together, and really cute.

What is your "go to" outfit?

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Thrifted: Funky Placemats

I love these woven placemats I found while thrifting!  I think they are from the 70s-- and I love the 70s.  I even taught my students how to do the hustle. 

I love the bright yellow in these.  Remember my yellow table and chairs I couldn't have? These are a little piece of that dining table of my dreams.  I think they are super cute, and they totally match my mushroom salt and pepper shakers.  Even D likes them!

My dream is to have the whole dinning room decked out in 70s vintage.  But for now, these go nicely with what we have. 

They even look good under a stack of blueberry pancakes.  Is there any particular era that you love to look for?

Monday, 21 May 2012

Listography: My life in lists

I don't know who I got this idea from (If it was you, please tell me so you can have some credit!) but I loved it.  I love making lists.  I have a daily to do list, and there is almost nothing more satisfying than crossing off something I've finished. Its one of the reasons why I still have a day-planner book instead of keeping everything on my phone.  Its not the same crossing off a completed task on a computer screen.  I think its the noise of the pen scratching across the paper.  Sounds like progress.

So, I thought I would bring some of that list joy to my blog here. The first list in my listography are my goals for the month.  I know then month is almost over, that's why its a pretty short list.  I like to keep my goals attainable.

1.  Book a vacay for me and D:
 D and I need a vacation.  Somewhere away from home.  We do the Staycation thing every year, and its nice, but we need a change.  Something always comes up when we are ready to hit the road, so I figure if we book it and pay for it up front, we won't let anything in our way.

2. Finish all my marking:
Since I started my new full time job, I've been focusing on lesson plans and stuff, so my marking has been on the back burner.  Not a good place to be.  I have a stack of marking to do.  I started some this morning, but the sun told me to stop and go and play.  I have to stop listening to the sun...

3.  Settle on a posting plan/ schedule for this blog
I am a fickle blogger.  And there is so much inspiration out there!  I need to sort out a plan for this space.  I would like more readers.  I would like more interaction with other bloggers.  "All in good time"  tell myself.  But besides being fickle, I'm also impaitent.

4. Write my french exam
I want to get my french language teaching qualifications parce que je parle francais. So I need to stop hesitating and write the exam.  A friend said it was really hard though...

5. Do one crafty thing a week
With my hectic sched, its been hard for me to find time to do what I love- making things!  So I will set aside 1 hour (at least) a week to do something creative.  Even if its working on my crochet blanket.  I have to or I will go crazy!

So even though it is the 21st of May, there are my goals.  What are your goals for the rest of the month?

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Sundays are for relaxing

I should be working on something for school.

But the sun was calling me, and I couldn't bring myself to stay inside and mark all day. Besides its a holiday weekend here in Canada!  So we had a lovely day, instead!  Relaxing and letting the day slip away.  If you remember, I had trouble relaxing on the March Break.  But the sunshine erases all responsibility from my mind, and I can lay around in it for hours.  Which is just what we did.

We went on a tour of Dundurn Manor/ Castle and then had a picnic on the grounds.  It was so peaceful.

Then we came home for an easy dinner and some frosty gin & tonics with some key limes.

Now I think I will read one of those books I picked up yesterday at the used book store.

How was your Sunday?

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Saturdays are for chasing things

Today we decided to get lost.  

It was beautiful and warm, and I wanted to go to another city to look at antiques.  Well, we never really got to the antiques.  I refused to look at or ask for directions.  We went where the roads took us.

And it was a blast. 

I am a super-organized, kinda type A lady, and D is an OCD, neurotic dude.  It is not in our nature to go with the flow.

Which s exactly why we needed to do this.  And it was great.  We had a full tank of gas, and no expectations of what the day would bring.  We ended up in a little town in Niagara with lots of parks and waterfronts to walk around. 

Dudes, we walked for hours.  And then I chased some geese, because I love birds and it seemed like the thing to do.

It was great.  I should chase wild animals more often.

Friday, 18 May 2012

New Digs

I did it again.

I changed the style and banner for my blog.

I find it difficult to stick with one design.  I can't decide which header best represents me.  One day I want a really busy webpage, the next I want a simple one.  One day I love pink, the next I hate it.   Hopefully I stick with this one.  I like the simplicity of it.  I may have to cave and get a consult.

I hope you don't mind change... Because I seem to change my mind online a lot.  What do you do for your blog? How do you stay with one theme?

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Thursday Thrifts: Shakers

I missed it last week... So here on a Tuesday is:

D and I we thrifting a couple of weeks ago, and I got these sooo cute salt and pepper shakers.  D did not think that they were sooo cute though.  D thought they were awful.  What do you think?

Our conversation about them went something like this:

Me: D!  Looka these cute salt and pepper shakers!  I was looking for the perfect ones and I think I found them! (does happy dance)  Don't you love them.

D: Nope.  Not even a little.

Me: WHAT?!  You're kidding?  They are totally sweet.

D: I hate them.

Me: Why do you hate them?  How could you possibly hate the cute little mushrooms and the awesome color combo?

D: Those two things are what I hate about them.

Me: WHAT?! But I want to buy them.

D: No.  I forbid you to buy them.

Me: Let's make a deal. We will ask random people what they think of them.  For each person that likes them, I get a point.  For each person that doesn't you get a point.  The most points win.

D: Fine.  We can play your game, but I still forbid you to buy them.

The first person we asked was a woman that worked at the market.

Me: Aren't these the cutest shakers you've ever seen?

The sales Lady With Terrible Taste: (Looks at me with a look of disgust on her face) Are you kidding?

Me: No, they are totally sweet.

TSLWTT: They are awful.  I got something like that for a wedding present in the 70s.  I threw them away.

Me: Seriously?

TSLWTT: Yup.  They are ugly. 

So that counted as a point for D.  I asked two other people and they thought they were cute.  But then D says, "I forbid you to buy them though.  So it doesn't matter how many points you get."

I replied, "okay." And I bought them anyways.

And I love them.

So, who was right?  Are they totally cute?  Or am I delusional?

Monday, 7 May 2012

Love it or Leave it!: May 5 2012

 Another edition of "Love it or Leave it!"  We went on a thrifting adventure!  On Saturday, D and I found another antique fair (more on that later) and a new (to us) Value Village.  Some of the things we found were awesome in a good way.  Some things were awesome in a not so good way.


I love the color of this plate!  It is so happy.  And orange is totally my fave color this week.
Did I buy it? No.  There was a crack in it.  Sad face.  And there was only one.  Double sad face.

I love teapots.  I have four.  I don't really use them all, I just love having them around.  I don't have them in a display or anything, just high in a cupboard.  But I know they are there.  
Did I buy it?: No, D would let me.  He kept reminding me I had four teapots as I walked around with this beauty in my arms.  I would have bought it if I was alone.  Note to self: Go thrifting alone more often...

Um. This is awesome. 
Cool 80's lunch box with thermos? Check.  Awesome show I used to watch? Check.  Kit racing against the sunset? Check.  Michael Landon's disembodied head floating on the front? Check.  This lunch box couldn't be any cooler.
Did I buy it?: No.  It couldn't be cooler, but it could have been cheaper.  This baby was 40 buckeroos.  A little much for a lunchbox- no matter how awesome.

It was 80s day on Saturday.  I love this shirt.  It says, "NORM!" I used to dream that I could walk into Cheers, and everyone would know my name.  Ah great, now I'm singing that song.  But seriously, a "Cheers" t-shirt?  Awesome.
Did I buy it?: Heck yes I bought it!  It didn't fit me though.  But it fit D.  And he loved it.

For reals, a Steve Urkel doll complete with acid-wash jeans and saddle shoes.  We walked around the thrift store saying, "did I do that?" for an hour afterward. 
Did I buy it?: No way.  That guy annoyed me.  I might have bought it if it was a Stephan Urkelle doll though...

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Ongoing Battles of Will: The Blender Battle

The new blender we bought.  Hopefully, this one will last...

Do you know the saying, "you get what you pay for?"  Well, apparently my partner does not.  Here's a perfect example: we are on our fourth blender.

In 2 years.

Even though we use our blender every day, they should last a bit longer than that.  Well, a decent one should anyways.  And even though the cheap ones have broken time and time again, D will not relent and let me buy a good one.  He insists that the 25 dollar blender is just as good as the 99 dollar blender. 

Hey D? Your 25 dollar blender couldn't handle blending a banana. Yep, that's what broke it, a banana. 

When it broke he asked, "what were you trying to blend? A brick?"  

"Yep.  I like to see if random goods I find on the street are blendable.  Its a hobby of mine." I reply.

He says, "no, seriously. What were you blending?"

"Seriously. A banana.  I think there might have been some tough soy milk in there too."

D looks at me doubtfully, "is that all?"

I answered, "Nope.  You got me!  I was trying to make a banana-chocolate-diamond smoothie.  It must have been too much for our 25 dollar blender."

So we have a new blender.  Again.  It was less than 50 dollars.  Again.  It will probably break.  Again.  As long as it breaks after making my smoothie, I should be okay.

Friday, 4 May 2012

What I wore: Not Terrible Taupe

I don't look good in taupe.  Its pretty much the same color as my skin.  But I found this shirt, and it had just enough color in it to look good. So I call it the "Not Terrible Taupe" Shirt.

I love that its a t-shirt, but dressy:

Denim Jacket: Reitmans
Shirt: Winners
Capris: Addition Elle
Sandals: Gold Birkenstocks from here.
Earrings: These ones from Ten Thousand Villages 
Sunglasses: Dereon from Winners (years ago)
Bag: Matt and Nat from here (A long time ago.)

The one part of this you can't see is my cool bracelet from China.  It's a red resin bracelet from Bejing:

I love it.  It has these great flowers on it, and this cool design.  The best part, it was only 300 yuan or 3 dollars!  I wear it a lot.  Even when it probably doesn't match. 

I'm starting to like these What I wore posts!  I'm more excited to choose my outfits in the morning, and its fun to find places to take pictures!  I do believe these posts are making me like clothes!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Thursday Thrifts: 1970's Sewing Box

I'm trying to organize this little old blog better so that I have a bit of a schedule for blog posts.  I think that if I have certain days for certain topics, I will post regularly because I won't be stumped for a topic!  So this is one of the products of my brainstorming.   I will be posting about thrifting anyways, so why not devote a day to it! 

I'm quite pleased with the thrift store find this week- its thrifted and vintage!  And useful.

Its a box.  Ah, it is to the untrained (or uncrafty) eye.  But what is really is is a sewing box!  And it has little labeled places for all my sewing paraphernalia!  And little holders!  A vintage item after my own little A-type personality heart.  I love organizing things, and this helps me sort out my sewing supplies.

And I'm really into this color lately.  I almost bought some cups and saucers as well as a sugar bowl and creamer in this color.  Do you know how sometimes you are drawn to certain colors?  This is my particular flame this week.

Imagine my pleased sigh after I'm all moved in.  This box is great because it's nice and big too.  In the bottom I can store all my scissors and pinking shears, and rotary cutters and quilting rulers; and there is still space for an unfinished project or two to sit in there and wait to be finished.  Before this sewing case, I had several little boxes holding my sewing and quilting supplies, and these boxes were stashed through the apartment.  Now everything is stylishly centralized.

I was so lucky it was in great shape too.  This is the first serendipitous thrift find I've had in a long time.  You can see why I was so excited about it.   In your travels, have you found any items that have been incredibly useful?