Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gettin' back in the saddle

I can feel it, dear readers. That little tickle...that urge to sit down and sew. I have to admit that it's been awhile since I've felt this way. Between the excitement over the new house, the move, Christmas, and putting all of my creative energy into setting up the new place, I just haven't had the time or the inclination to sew.

But, for whatever reason, that changed today. Perhaps it was because I'm sick of staring at my closet every morning and feeling like I've worn everything I own 7 million times before. (Okay, okay. That MAY be an exaggeration). Perhaps its because I'm having a slow day at work and finally had some time to check in on some of my favourite sewing blogs. Maybe it's the fact that the days are getting slightly longer that's waking me up from my creative hibernation. Whatever it is, I can feel myself getting excited to sew clothes again.

I have a few patterns that I bought a few months ago that have been sitting unopened for far too long -- one of which is a simple A-line skirt from my beloved Colette Patterns. One of the versions of this pattern is cut on the bias, which can create a cool chevron pattern if you use a striped fabric. Kinda like this version from the Colette website:

After Googling around for some fabric, I found this very cool striped cotton twill. I think this will make a great skirt - multi-seasonal, neutral, but still interesting.

Now, all I have to do is wait until it arrives and get cracking!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What I'm reading

I've always been a big reader. When I was a kid, I would spend my summers trekking to my local library and devouring as many Baby Sitters' Club and Lucy Maud Montgomery books as I could. My love of books and reading led me to study English Literature at university. I still keep lists of all the books I read each year -- a habit I started when I was about 10 that gives me a perverse sense of nerdy satisfaction.

So, in the spirit of book-loving and list-making, I thought I'd share what I've been reading lately. First up -- a few that I've just finished and enjoyed.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
 This book was lent to me by a colleague with the promise that I'll love it, but with the caveat that it's hard to get into. She was right on both accounts. This is one of those multi-layered books where the interconnections between the characters and storylines don't become clear until the mind-blowing conclusion. It's set in Spain in the years after WWII, when a young boy named Daniel comes across a rare novel that changes the course of his life. It's a spooky, sad, romantic, and addictive read.

 Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
 I could. Not. Put. This. Down.  As a hardcore Jane Austen lover, I loved getting a peek into the post-marriage life of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. I kept forgetting that I wasn't actually reading Jane Austen. My only complaint is how P.D. James interpreted my beloved Lizzie -- in this book, she's more of a dutiful wife who says all the right things rather than the spitfirey single gal who tells it like it is.
 As Always, Julia - The letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto
This book made me fall in love with these two women. Everyone knows Julia Child, of course, and her sassy yet down-to-earth style. But the biggest surprise of this book for me was Avis. She's smart, sharp, plugged in, self-deprecating, witty, and accomplished. She was certainly a tour de force and the reason why "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" was published. I was blown away by the sheer volume of the letters these two women exchanged -- hardcore (and hard-copy) correspondence like that just doesn't really happen anymore. This book made me want to write thousand-word letters to my friends, cook things like duck and goose and travel back in time to have dinner with Julia and Avis.

And here's a few books that are on my to-read list.

 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Everyone I know keeps telling me to read this book, which chronicles a morbid kill-or-be-killed ritual in post-apocalyptic America. I gotta get to this one before the movie comes out in March! 
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
Ever since I visited Fallingwater in Pittsburgh last fall, I've been a little obsessed with Frank Lloyd Wright. This book is a fictional account of his real-life affair with a married woman. I've heard nothing but good things.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides 
The main character of this book is an English major writing her thesis on George Eliot and Jane Austen -- so clearly I couldn't resist. This book is a love triangle that takes the "marriage plots" of Austen and Eliot into the 21st century.

Have you read and good books lately, dear readers? Have you read any of these? Any more recommendations for me?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Dominican Hindu/Catholic wedding

What an amazing, love-filled, beautiful trip I had. My friend (who is Hindu) and her new husband (who is Catholic) decided to get married in the Dominican Republic since their families are spread out across the globe. I had a wonderful time reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. 

I was completely mesmerized by all of the Hindu ceremonies -- so much colour! And, of course, the tropical locale didn't suck at all. :)

For more pics, check out my Flickr. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

At this time tomorrow, I'll be....


I'm heading to the Dominican Republic for my friend's wedding and I CANT. WAIT. I promise I'll have more envy-inducing pictures for you when I get back next week!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New year, fresh start

I'm turning over a new blog leaf, readers. As you can tell, I've been a little light on the posting -- a whirlwind house purchase, a move and the holidays have kept me busy. But this year, I'm determined to finally get serious about the ol'blog. Because, really, what's the point of having a blog if you never post?

As well as relinquishing my "worst blogger on the planet" crown, here are a few other things I'd like to tackle this year. 

Learn a new piece on the piano
Now that we're in a new house and finally have space for it, we're getting a piano! I used to play growing up, but haven't given the piano any regular attention in years. If I can have one piece memorized by the end of the year, I'll feel pretty darn good about myself. 

Experiment with food
We have a big, beautiful kitchen in the new house -- and I want to use it! I'd love to make some cheese (possibly using the kit I wrote about here). I'd like to try and branch out to other meats that I seldom prepare, like lamb and duck. I'd also like to try making my own condiments, especially ketchup.

Walk everywhere possible.  
Our new house is close to everything. I can walk to shops, the farmer's market, work, the movies...and I intend to. Driving everywhere is for sissies!

Start a regular yoga practice.
Every year, I always make some sort of health-related resolution (Go to the gym twice a week! Lose 10 pounds!) but I never stick to them. This year, I'm hoping that by setting a more abstract goal that I'll actually be able to pull it off. There's a studio that's only about 3 blocks away from the new house (see? I can walk EVERYWHERE!) and I'm hoping to work some yoga into my routine.

Make our house a home.
This one is a given. We have spent about 2 weeks in the new house, and I. LOVE. IT. I'm having a hard time stopping myself from walking around the house spinning and singing with my arms outstretched. Sort of like this:

But I digress. Though the bones of the house are practically perfect, there are a million little additions, changes and tweaks that I'd like to make. I'm hoping to get everything on my extensive to-do list done by the end of the year.

There you have it, folks. My goals for 2012, proclaimed for all to see on the interweb. What about you? Any new years' resolutions?