Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sew & Tell: Owl Softie

Softie 001

I'm addicted to sewing stuffed toys. Luckily, there are plenty of kids' birthdays to go to lately! I whipped this little guy up based on an owl I saw in a photo. I think the owl was originally from West Elm but isn't available anymore. This one is jumbo sized, almost big enough to be a toddler's pillow. You might not be able to tell so well from the photo (cursed, dark, rainy, winter, with bad lighting), but there are embroidered scallop shell feathers on the chest of the owlet and the wings.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Baking Interlude: Buttery Sourdough Buns

Buttery sourdough rolls

I've been a little neglectful of my sourdough starter and accumulated a lot of excess and wanted to find some recipes where I could use up the extra. This recipe via King Arthur Flour is a keeper. I only modified the recipe by adding a little garlic powder in with the paprika and butter swirl.

Buttery, soft, fluffy, and not to sweet or salty. The dough is the perfect base for either sweet or savoury fillings.

Next time I might add some sugar, cinnamon, and nuts to make cinnamon buns. I could also see these tasting wonderful with some cream cheese and jam, or even a pesto filling!

Buttery sourdough rolls 2

These sourdough buns are so good that they deserve a close up. They're not going to last long!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sew & Tell: Diaper Bag

Since I've started sewing I've gotten very picky about my bag needs. Most of the ones I find in the store are missing one or two elements that I really love (like a hook for my keys or extra pockets), so I decided to sew my own diaper bag. This one is inspired by the Kate Spade Striped Stevie Baby Bag.

Diaper Bag (1)

It didn't turn out exactly the same. I wanted the bag to be a little larger, I simplified the shape, added a pocket to the front, plus a faux leather bottom with purse feet.

Diaper Bag (2)

There's an inset zip so that the bag has extra capacity and I prefer zippers because I know that things aren't going to fall out. The interior is sewn from water resistant nylon and has 9 pockets. It may sound kind of excessive, but I love organized bags, and all of them are full already. The bag turned out so large that there's enough room for that many pockets, plus the three exterior ones. There's one long pocket along one side that isn't visible in this photo, but is big enough for the changing pad.

Baby Bag Interior

It's a bit hard to photograph the lining of a floppy bag! I hope you can get the idea from here. I figure I can use this as a weekend bag even when the diaper days are done with. It's lightweight which is a bonus so I can stuff a lot in there and still carry it around.


I also sewed a couple of stroller attachment straps so I can clip it on if needed. The straps are made of nylon, hooks, and velcro.

Now, I'm not the biggest lover of pink, but it makes me smile that the interior is unexpectedly bright while the exterior is so subdued. I almost grabbed my sunglasses while I was sewing it up.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Nursery in Progress: Cloud Wall

Cloud Wall

We're almost done! The mobile is hung, the crib and changing table are assembled, and we finished decorating the wall with a cloud design. The clouds are cut out of white contact paper so can easily be removed or repositioned if necessary.

Cloud Wall (1)

I downloaded three different cloud templates and traced them out. I cut out 8 of the largest, 12 of the medium sized, and then 18 of the smallest sized ones.

Cloud Wall (2)

I think the wall would look amazing if it were blue, but our walls are yellowish so I outlined the clouds with blue permanent marker so they would show up better.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dining Seat Covers

I'm a messy eater, and with the baby on the way, things are only going to get messier around here! So, to save our new dining set, I sewed some washable seat covers.

Seat Cover

Why white? Because I can just throw them in the wash with bleach if needed. I sewed them out of the old curtains that used to hang in the nursery.

Seat Cover Detail

Here are a few of the details:
1) Traced the top and sides of the dining chair with newspaper, and cut it out of fabric.
2) Sewed the sides to the top, using top stitching along the top edge.
3) Left space for the wooden chair back.
4) Added velcro to the back edges so that they could attach securely to the dining chairs.

Seat Cover 2

And this is what it looks like from the back, when attached. I used the basic idea from this video tutorial but modified it slightly.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Recipe: Quick(er) Sourdough Nut Bread

Nutty Sourdough 2

Some weeks I'm lazy and don't want to feed my sourdough starter, because I've accumulated too much or I don't have 8 hours to make bread. Here's a recipe that takes about 3 hours from start to finish, and uses unfed starter. It's a good way to use up extra starter, plus it's packed with nutty flavour.

Nutty Sourdough 1

Quick(er) Sourdough Nut Bread
makes 2 loaves

  • 227 g unfed sourdough starter (1 cup)
  • 340 g lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 14 g sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 300 g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 300 g spelt flour or whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup flax seeds

  1. Mix sourdough starter, sugar, instant yeast, and water. 
  2. Add flours and nuts.
  3. Add salt.
  4. Knead on lightly floured surface until you get a smooth dough ball.
  5. Let rise in a covered, oiled, container for 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled.
  6. Cut into two and shape as desired. 
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour.
  8. Slash the bread loaves.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes at 400 degrees F, or until golden brown on the outside.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nursery In Progress: DIY Velvet Back Tab Curtains

I figured I'd tackle decorating the nursery before it gets too hard to move around. The first task was to replace the existing dull cream curtains. One of those curtain panel was 5 inches longer than the other (WHY!?!), and it was driving me nuts!

Enter some plush velvet in navy blue and forest green. We're having a girl, but I wanted to keep the major accessories neutral, and go with an enchanted forest sort of theme. I sewed two panels, each made of half blue and half green fabric.

Making back tab curtains isn't complicated. All you need to do is hem 3 sides of each curtain panel as normal. The top of the curtain requires a little more work, but if you can sew a straight stitch, you can totally manage this.


Here's what the top part of each curtain panel looks like. I made a 4 inch wide hem, and folded some heavy duty black webbing under the bottom seam, and added another two lines of stitches to secure them to the top of the curtain. Each strip of black webbing is roughly 5 inches apart. Putting the strips closer together will make your curtain ruffles smaller and more full.


Here's what it looks like all stitched together. You could make tubes of fabric out of the same color fabric as your curtains instead of using webbing, but in this case, the velvet would have been too thick, and it was faster to use the webbing. It hangs just fine this way. The best part about these curtains is that they pleat well without the need for any extra curtain hardware.


Interested in making your own back tab curtains? Here are two tutorials that go into more detail:


And here's what they look like hanging at full length. The nursery doesn't get a ton of natural light, so the dark curtains were tricky to get a good shot of. Hopefully things will look a little more put together when the nursery is complete.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Nursery in Progress: DIY Woodland Mobile

Never leave me alone in a room with a glue gun and scissors. I went to town on some felt, and many drips and scattered pieces of felt later, this is what happened over two nights of madness:


The hardest part was figuring out the hanging contraption. I ended up taking two wooden dowels, pressing them between two pieces of felt, and gluing like crazy. I hid the join with even MORE felt and glue, cutting out leaves from some of my scraps. Getting the strings to hang even, took more time than I expected, but I think I managed it in the end.

I took some inspiration from mobiles I saw online, and picked some of the animals I wanted to include: a bunny, a fox, a fawn, and a squirrel. To speed up the process I used my sewing machine to sew the animals together instead of hand stitching, and trimmed the excess felt afterwards.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Happy Holidays!

[ photo: Fireplace via Arild Storaas CC ]

I hope your holiday season is filled up with good memories and good food. See you back here in January :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sew & Tell: Faux Leather Wristlet & Pencil Case

I'm mildly obsessed with mint green, so much so that I've been hoarding this faux leather / pleather remnant for months. I wanted just the right project for it, and I think I've found it. Drumroll please...

clutchPurse (1)

TA DA! It's a simple clutch purse or wristlet. The wrist strap is detachable. It's unlined because the faux leather is fairly thick and won't fray. I also wanted to whip up something pretty quickly and this came together in about 20 minutes.

clutchPurse (2)

I also made a monogrammed pencil case. The "J" is cut out of felt.. It uses the exact same method as the wristlet, but it's slightly narrower. It also lacks the wrist strap.


They would both make easy presents for the holiday's, right? 

Here's the method I used to construct both, skipping the lining, so it's even faster. The dimensions are different but the idea's exactly the same!