Sunday, October 24, 2010

Elections and side tables

I have had a bit of a nutsy week. I've been covering the municipal election for my newspaper, which means all I've had time for are the essentials (working, sleeping, bathing, making sure my cats don't die of starvation) while the non-essentials (laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning my house, cuddling with my cats) have fallen by the wayside. Elections are like Christmas for reporters -- fun, exciting, all-consuming, totally exhausting, and often requiring interaction with difficult people (whether it's your crazy drunken aunt or wheedling politicians). But I digress.

However, I did manage to get something done last weekend. A few weeks ago, I saw this little guy sitting all alone on the sidewalk, waiting for a kind person like me to adopt him:

It was covered in ugly chipped brown paint, but it was sturdy and cute. And best of all, free!

I have a habit of picking up furniture off the street and painting it white (and I have two other side tables to prove it). One of these days, I'll go crazy and paint something turquoise or electric yellow, but white is simple, crisp, and goes with everything. It also means I won't have to repaint if I choose to move it into another area of my house.

It now lives happily in a previously dark corner of my living room (hence the somewhat crappy pic. A new camera is #1 on my Christmas list).

A match made in heaven.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bits and bites

My fella is away on business for the next week, so I'm planning to hermit-it-up at home for most of the weekend and hunker down with a few crafty/domestic projects. I'm planning to paint two pieces of furniture -- a craigslist couch and a side table I found on the curb (I have a serious addiction to curbside funiture) -- and make some headway on some sewing projects.

These efforts will show up on m'blog sometime soon, but in the meantime, here are some things from around the interweb that have ticked my fancy over the past week.

This recipe for Moroccan Spinach and Chickpeas looks really good to me. Plus, since I'm only cooking for myself for the next week (sigh), it looks like I could make a big batch of it and use it for dinners/lunches over the next few days.

I really, really want one of these.  But, the $65 pricetag is a little steep, so I'm considering trying to make one myself. It would be easy enough to find a frame and paint it white, but I'm stumped on how to handle the vase. Is there such a thing as a wooden vase that I could cut in half? Or is there an easy way to cut glass? Any suggestions?

I think my sewing to-do list just got longer. This is one of New Look's new fall patterns, and I am in lurve. I always tend to overlook New Look, but then they hook me with these adorable retro-y dress patterns.

And yes, I realize this dress is ridiculously similar to the one I posted about a few days ago, but this one has a cool hip detail! Which means it's totally worth adding to my list, right? Right??

Hope you all are enjoying your weekends!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ahh, Thanksgiving. Time for family, delicious food, reflecting on the good things in life...and beautiful table-settings.

I get a perverse sense of satisfaction from fancy table settings. I love the way china and crystal can elevate a meal to a real EVENT, you know? It just makes me feel so happy and contented to eat at a beautifully set table.

My fella and I celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents this year, so I got to set the table. My Mom had prepared some amazing elements -- the vases and flowers, gourds, mini Indian corn, pumpkins, leaves -- and I put it all together. I love the way the reds and golds go with the green in the china and napkins. (Freaky side note: my parents and my husband's parents have the EXACT SAME china pattern). 

My mom has this cool trick when it comes to preserving fall leaves for occasions like this. She puts them between two sheets of wax paper (waxed side on the inside) and irons them. This coats the leaves in a thin layer of wax, which prevents them from changing colour and gives them a tiny bit of a sheen.

Also, how cool is this circular vase? I love how the daisies make a little ring around the pumpkin.

I'll leave you with a gratuitous (and mouthwatering) shot of our turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

To-do list

So many beautiful patterns, so little time. (Or should I say 'sew' little time?? Ha!)

Cheesy puns aside, I have quite a list of patterns I'm hoping to sew. I might not get to them all (or it may be a year before I finish this list) but a girl can dream, right?

First up on my to-do list: A Joan Holloway-inspired sheath dress, made with New Look 6968, in a beautiful springy green green crepe. I've already bought both the fabric and the pattern.

I'm going for the look Joan wore on her last day at Sterling Cooper, when that ditsy secretary ran over the British guy's foot with a lawnmover and she ruined her beautiful dress. (Just ignore the bloodstains! Couldn't find a pic without them).

Next on the agenda is Simplicity 2724, a faux skirt/blouse combo. I think this would be perfect for work in a solid skirt and a floral top.

 I have been obsessed with this version by Sunni at the Cupcake Goddess. I love her fabric choices so much that I may copy them when I make my own.

I also like Vogue 8511 as a winter work-dress (apparently my sewing to-do list consists mostly of work dresses. Go figure). The drawings don't look like much:

But I really like these versions from A Sewn Wardrobe and Jorth:

Finally -- arguably the scariest and most challenging item on my to-do list -- the Lady Grey coat. I have to say that I"m extremely intimidated by this pattern. Gertie is doing a sew-a-long right now, and all the tailoring steps are totally freaking me out. But look how pretty it is:

Is your to-do list as long as mine? Or are you more sensible? :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Watermelon Toothache

This hat is so sweet it's going to give me a toothache. I knitted it up over the past few weeks for my neice, Lia, for her second birthday.

I actually bought this yarn and pattern at Lettuce Knit here in Toronto when I was taking a crochet class over the summer (my first finished crochet project will be coming up in a post soon!). The store had put together a little kit with the pattern and all the necessary yarn, and as soon as I saw it I knew it would be perfect for Lia.  It's sweet, adorable, and totally girly -- just like her.

Even though I'm really happy with this hat, the interesting thing about making it was noticing how out of practice I am when it comes to knitting. I have been knitting for most of my life and it's always been my go-to craft. Lately, however, I have been drawn to other things -- like crochet and sewing -- so my knitting mojo has been a little low. Knitting skills that used to come so naturally took a bit of work this time around. It's made me determined to get back into it and beef up my skills again.

If you're looking to make a watermelon hat of your own for a special little lady in your life, you can find the pattern here.