Sunday, November 21, 2010

going gluten free

last week we made the decision to go gluten free.

for those of you who don't know, Ryan has Chron's Disease. a while ago, his GI doctor suggested he try the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. which to us, seemed a bit extreme since it doesn't allow glutens, starches, or sugars. Ryan is a typical Irish guy - his diet consists mostly of meat and potatoes. how on earth was he (and I, since I live with him) going to be able to do this diet?

we never really pursued the SCD. I think it was just too overwhelming and we didn't know where to start. the only thing that we cut out of our diets at that point was anything heavily processed or containing HFCS (which Ryan still can't stay away from - Moxie doesn't come in a natural sugar version)...

lately I've had more and more (online and real life) acquaintances switch to a gluten free diet. I did some research and the benefits for Ryan would include some possible relief of the digestive issues he has from the Chron's. benefits for both of us would be gaining more energy and potential weight loss. gaining energy would be a huge help - the Chron's disease makes Ryan feel tired, and my stupid job makes me feel tired.

so after talking about it, we figured why not? can't hurt and the outcomes could really help both of us (but I'm hoping it'll help him a lot more than me).

today was my first baking venture into the GF world. I made cupcakes from a mix that we bought at our local grocery store (we'll probably make our own from here on out, but the xanthan gum we ordered online won't arrive for a few more days).

GF cupcakesGF cupcakes

batter taste: cornmeal-y texture. didn't taste chocolatey. got a slight zing from the aftertaste due to the cayenne.
batter viscosity: once it was mixed, it looked, stirred, and poured like a normal cake mix would.
cupcake taste (the important part!): not too bad. I was still getting a cornmeal-ish texture. I mentioned it to Ryan and he said he wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't pointed it out. I think next time if we buy a mix again, I'd get the one without cayenne in it.

GF cupcakes
GF cupcakes

Friday, November 19, 2010


Anyone who has made their own clothing before knows that most of the patterns you can purchase require some, if not a lot, of altering to fit your own body shape.

The same goes for the dress dummies/dressforms you can buy.

I have this one:

And of course the measurements for when you buy one of these do not always line up with your actual measurements. Just like patterns. Hooray! /sarcasm

So I went to re-adjust mine today after re-measuring my plumpish body.

And I broke mine.

Apparently when you have the hips on one of the smaller sizes, you cannot put the waist on one of the larger sizes. So apple-shaped sewers - stay away from this dressform.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quick post

After the craft fair letdown (see last post), I decided to focus on making things for ME (acting very much like The Selfish Seamstress) and not worry about trying to make things to sell/make things that people want to buy.

But then the other day on Twitter, Tia (of said she was looking for someone to make some binky (pacifier) leashes for her ADORABLE kids. (Yes, adorable needed to be in caps.) I said I could make them for her and for a low cost (mostly because I need a morale boost over here and because I have a huuuuge fabric stash that I need to start paring down).

She choose 7 different fabrics from my stash and I whipped them up yesterday:

Sunday, October 10, 2010



not too bad, right?

yeah, didn't sell anything.

I'm gonna stop sewing for potential customers and just focus on things that I want to make for myself.

[[ for more pics of what I was attempting to sell, click here ]]

Thursday, September 9, 2010


black dress

Simplicity 2648

Pattern Description:
Misses dress with individual pattern pieces for slim, average and curvy fit and for A, B, C, or D cup sizes. This pattern has either a round or v-neck, short sleeves, cap sleeves, or no sleeves and princess seams.

Pattern Sizing:
I bought the 16-24 envelope. I cut View C, size 16, but I think a 14 would have been better. I cut the C-cup for the top and definitely used the "curvy" pieces for my curvy bottom.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes. In the picture I show of my finished garment I don't have the little tab at the waist but after wearing it today, I decided it definitely needs an embellishment at the waist.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
I'm a stubborn engineer... I don't follow directions. ;D

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I definitely liked the different sizing options (cup size and hip/butt adjustments). Even though I usually just throw the directions back in the envelope, I kept these out to check every once in a while to make sure I was on track... it's been a while since I've made a dress for myself! I noticed that they wanted you to sew the side seams wrong sides together to help fit the dress better (before sewing the final side seams). This seemed a little weird to me and of course I didn't do that because it wasn't one of the steps in my made-up directions.

Fabric Used:
I used stuff I had in my stash. I honestly don't know what it is... some sort of cotton blend. The lining was cheap stuff from Jo-Anns that I also already had in my stash.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I did the petite alterations (the ones already in the pattern).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I think I will sew it again if it's not going to be too obvious that it's the same dress - perhaps next time I'll do the other sleeve option. And I think I would bring the front up a bit - it didn't seem to sit as flat against me as I'd like and if I bring the front up into the shoulder seam a little more it would sit better.

I like it - and it's a great pattern to have for wardrobe building!

More pictures on my Flickr account:

Oh! And I almost forgot! I was in the Etsy Finds email on Tuesday - it was one of my mason jar pincushions. I've sold a few of those since the email, so that was a nice surprise. :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

woo hoo! sewing room has been relocated! :)

Previous sewing room location: basement.


New location: what used to be the office (on the first floor!).

relocated sewing room

I love the new location. A few more pictures can be found here.

One of the cutting tables had to stay downstairs and as a result, I had to downsize on the size cutting mat I can use (unless I put the ginormous one on the dining room table). But everything else fit rather well into the room. I would have made it work no matter what - I wanted a first floor room!

After the new pictures were taken, we took a trip to Ikea to find some suitable chairs/stools. My desk is bar-height and I wanted something ~18" tall for the sewing table.

Desk chair:

desk chair

... and stool for the sewing table (before & after):

stool beforestool after

Ikea really wanted me to buy one of their covers since the stool already came with the foam & interfacing-type covering stapled to it. It also already had the scratchy side of velcro on the undersides... I knew I could pull something out of my stash to make a cover so that's what I did.

The current work-in-progress:

dress pieces

Which will be Simplicity 2648 when it's done.

I have high hopes for this pattern since its got different fits - different bust sizes and different hip shapes (slim, average, curvy). Mine will be black - I had the cloth in my stash for a looong time so I have no idea what it really is or where it came from. It's kind of like a heavyweight linen, if that makes sense.

And one more work-in-progress:


We also picked up one of these benches at Ikea to go at the end of our bed. We know we (and by we, I really mean me) want to cover the top. The Mr. didn't think two layers of quilt batting was enough of a cushion for his cute little bottom, so at some point I have to go to Jo-Anns and get some foam. And figure out what I'm going to cover it with...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm going to try... be better at updating this. And after reading everyone else's sewing blogs, I'm going to try to put more sewing stuff on here.

What I'm currently working on:

07-10-2010 work in progress

Its a trial of what I'll hopefully be selling at shows this fall/winter.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I'm horrible at updating this.

Quickly since the last update:
1. sold my new sewing machine - didn't like it. especially the reverse button.
2. old trustworthy machine is broken - need to take it somewhere to be serviced.
3. got engaged... officially, I guess. the jerk bought me a ring too - even though I told him not to :P
4. we're trying to move up to the Burlington, VT area. right now we're applying for jobs without too much luck... well, I'm not having too much luck. Ryan pretty much has a job once the employer has more money roll in with some anticipated contracts.

ok, and now since I'm bored:

Bold the ones you've read COMPLETELY, italicize the ones you've read part of. Watching the movie or the cartoon doesn't count. Abridged versions don't count either. BTW, according to the BBC if you've read 7 of these, you are above the average.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings-JRR Tolkein
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter Series- J.K. Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations-Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Ubervilles-Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy- Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland-Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner-Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi-Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale of Two Cities-Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones- Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (though I'm not sure if it was the abridged version or not)
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madam Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (I read the French version!)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down -Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo