Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Adorable hair pins are a must-have accessory.

It's a sunny day. A beautiful sunny day and I decided that while I still have the choice before succumbing to the slavery of clerkship, I would blow off my adult responsibilities today and indulge my crafting appetites.

I knew this was not going to happen if DevilDog was not sufficiently tuckered out for some peace and quiet to exist in this household. And considering a bizarre dream I had of him last night biting the head off of a hummingbird, I thought maybe I should drain his buckets of energy to prevent any potential decapitations.
Let's play! All. the. time!
Our newest game is Hide and Seek. He is absolutely in love with this clear ball which glows multiple different colours - it doesn't even have to be turned on and he loves it. So I have him wait in the bedroom and I close the door. Depending on how much he has been terrorizing the house that day, I hide the ball somewhere easy, or somewhere hard. We've graduated to me hiding it anywhere in the house now. I release the beast, and the game is on.

He will look frantically around the house and has gotten so good at finding the ball, that I have to hide it in progressively more difficult spots, and when he finds it I cheer and clap my hands to keep him encouraged. I think he's a search and rescue dog in the making! As long as what is being rescued is a glow ball. 

This is an excellent way to tire out working breeds like Border Collies, I think. Within 15 minutes, he's panting and tuckered out, and all the while I've been able to be productive in between the hidings. This is also my favourite new game - maximum results for minimum efforts.

While pinning yesterday, I came across the SewMuchAdo blog and her tutorial on making knock-offs of these adorable brocco bobbies from Anthropologie. Being that I have yet to experiment making fabric yoyos, I decided to give them a shot. You can follow her great tutorial by clicking above.

What fun! I have accumulated a large assortment of fabric remnants since my love affair with sewing began, and thought this was an excellent way to use them up AND make adorable accessories :)

They're also SO easy to make. Even for you, Seester. :)

Here are the ones I've made. I will put up a picture of me wearing them as soon as my hair is presentable. Which considering my mood today, probably won't be today. But stay tuned!

I also finished some great pillow covers for a girlfriend today, to match her vanity bench and storage box for her bedroom. The fabric is just great - TREES!

What was a lonely, bland storage bench becomes...

A beautiful re-upholstered vanity seat :)
I'm clearly unstoppable with a staple gun in hand. I even have a blister on my palm to prove that I didn't ask Mr. C to do it for me. My mind is spinning with what I can do with it next. 

I've also begun taking pictures of my past projects to be posted on here, so keep your eyes peeled for those. 

What should these become?
A latte love,


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dollar stores, vintage postcards and cedar planked salmon.

The best shopping days are those that are unplanned, fruitful and with the best of girlfriends. Add in a dash of "we have no school work to do" and you've got a pretty dangerous combination (as The Mr will often say, "bad news bears"). 

First stop was Dollar Giant. What a great store for crafts! $35 later, I'm stocked up for all sorts of wonderful creations. 
Then we moved on to My Sewing Room - Goodness me! The prettiest of prettiest fabrics and the most high tech sewing machines I've ever seen. I'll definitely be going back. But first, I should use up the mountain of fabric I have right? Right?
(Ugh, that's what I keep telling myself. But some of those fabrics were the stuff DREAMS are made of!)

Anyways, to get on to some of the fruits of my labours of today: an adorable dry-erase message board :)

The Mr and I are always leaving notes for eachother on scrap paper left on the counter. So I modified this idea from HowDoesShe?.com (GREAT website), used an adorable vintage postcard printable and $1.25 frame from Dollar Giant (it has a plastic piece in the front, not glass) and VOILA - functional, inexpensive and adorable message board! 

Just add dry erase markers and loving messages!

These could also be great for gifts. You can use almost any image behind the plastic, or even change it up for the season. 

I also printed off some other great printables for frames, and even printed a lovely saying on fabric, glued it to a dollar store canvas and propped it on a little easel. All in all, a productive and fun day.



Top that off with a delicious dinner of cedar planked salmon expertly grilled by The Mr and a homemade cafe mocha and I chalk it up to a pretty awesome weekend :)

Cedar plank + maple syrup + dijon mustard + lemon juice + fresh Atlantic salmon filet = mouthwatering!

A tree? A lion? Who knows.
 A latte love,



I have mastered the box corner and it has changed my life.

What a great weekend this was. 

After finishing my end of second year OSCE (which I'm not sure what that even stands for - o-something standardized clinical examination?), and having a fun night out with a few of my favourite people, (but sans Mr. C - he had a climbing competition in the morning), I began a knitting needle case project for Ms. Cho.

Roll-up knitting needle case and fabric yarn basket:

I tried to take some pictures while I made the case, and I'm really happy with how it turned out. I based the knitting needle case off of this one

Ms. Cho had picked out some darling fabrics for her knitting needle case. I started out by measuring/cutting:
  • From main inner and outer fabric (green in this picture) - two 16"h x 15"w panels
  • From big pocket material (pink polkadots) - 8.5"h x 15"w (I doubled it for strength, so made 2 of this shape)
  • From small pocket material (purple polkadots) - 4"h x 15"w (again, I doubled it so for strength)
  • I cut a piece of medium weight iron-on interfacing 16"h x 15"h
I decided to add a pocket on the far right side, and so measured out a small square for the pocket flap. I'm not sure what my measurements were (I have to get better at this measuring and keeping track for blog purposes!). I just kind of eyed it. I'd estimate a rectangle 4"x 2".

From the lavender double-sided bias tape pictured here, I covered the tops of both pocket panels.

I lined up the pink and purple (big and small pocket materials) to find out where the flap of the pocket should go. You can see what I mean below.
You need to sew the pocket flap on the big pocket material BEFORE you sew the big pocket to the main lining material. You can see here (it looks like the pink is attached to the green fabric, but it's only pinned in anticipation of the next step). You also need to affix one side of a velcro strip to the flap of the pocket.

Next, I sewed the large pocket to the inner main fabric on the sides and bottom.
I used the measurements from the link above to draw on the needle sleeves. 
The measurements I used were:
[2 1/2"] [2 1/2"] [1"] [1"] [1"] [1 1/2"] [1 1/2"] [1 1/2"] [2 1/2"]
(I feel like you can mix this up based on what needles you have and their widths.)
I drew lines on as straight as possible with my vanishing fabric marker and stitched them up:

I didn't take a picture of when I sewed the pockets over the pocket flap. This part was a bit complicated. But essentially, I sewed down to where the flap was and stopped, then flipped the flap up and started a new line of stitching below the pocket flap. (Sorry if that's confusing!)

At this point, I added the other side of the velcro strip on the right spot on the small pocket fabric.
Next, I added the smaller pocket and followed the lines of stitching from the larger pocket sleeves down through the purple fabric.

There were a few more steps I didn't take pictures of (give me a break, this is my first "tutorial"!).

After completing the main body of the case, I sewed a 1/2 yard of white ribbon to the center of the backing fabric (the 2nd piece of the green fabric featured here). I also ironed the interfacing onto the back piece for some more stability for the project. 

I took a small length of the main fabric and folded it over at the top of the case so that any needle ends can be tucked in and prevented from sliding out the top of the case. You can see what I'm talking about in the picture below. I joined this to the case with some more purple bias tape, which I put all the way around the case.

And, the knitting needle case was complete. 

Here's the completed project all rolled up. Really happy with how it turned out.
If these instructions are confusing (not surprising), please feel free to see the tutorial my project was loosely based on here.

So considering I make my sewing room into a sweat shop once I get on a roll, and being that I had extra fabric left over, I thought why not make a fabric nesting bag as well for the bestie to put her yarn in?

I found a great tutorial for fabric nesting baskets on Sew4Home.com.

And this my friends, is when I mastered (or at least did for the first time) box corners. Be. still. my. heart.

Wonderfully easy, and perfectly functional. 

Here's a picture of my first "boxing" of my corner. So much simpler than I'd ever imagined. 

I'll be terrible at any attempt at explaining this process, but don't hesitate to read the true experts' version at Sew4Home.

For this project, I used:
  • Two exterior fabric panels measuring 12"h x 17"w
  • Two pieces of medium-weight sew-in interfacing measuring the same as above
  • Two interior lining panels (pink polkadots) measuring the same as above
  • Two pieces of quilt batting with the same measurements as above
  • Two pieces measuring 6"x2" of each of the handle fabrics you are using (so you need a total of 4 pieces - two of each side of the handle). Confused yet?
  • One 35" l x 4"w of coordinating fabric for the top rim of the nesting basket
I really recommend you reading the tutorial from Sew4Home for these baskets because I'm a bit atrocious at explaining this process :S

Anyways, I ironed the interfacing to the wrong sides of each exterior material (the green in this example). I then joined them right sides in and sewed along the sides and bottom. Then did the magical box-corner trick, where you slightly pull the two sides apart, line up the long seams on the inside, form a triangle at the corner (mine measured 6" across). Sew this triangle, and cut it off. You can see what you end up with in the picture on the right.

Once the exterior was done, I repeated the process with the lining fabric, only using the quilt batting in the place of the interfacing.
Once you have that all done, nest the lining in the exterior, and stitch around the top to secure.

Use the long piece of fabric (35"x4") and iron it into a large version of a double sided bias tape. Sew to the top rim of the basket.

With the handle strips, sew them right sides together on three sides. Turn inside out, iron flat, sew closed and sew a seam all the way around them. Join them to the basket as seen in this photo.

If you're still with me, here's the completed projects :)

 Please don't hesitate to email if you have any questions about my super-confusing directions. As this is my first attempt at tutorial, I will try to improve!

A latte love,


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Challenge: Take pretty pictures of my crafts

So this being my first venture into serious blogging, and the fact that I want to showcase my early sewing projects on the blog to share with the wide world, I need to learn how to capture their true essence on film. 

In other words, I need to take better pictures than what I have of them now. I simply cannot post them here for the world to scrutinize when they are not showing their true potential.

This is going to take some work however. 

One of my favourite blogs, Dog Under My Desk has a post about photo lighting and how to use your camera, where she offers some awesome tips about getting that perfect picture. You can read that post here.

So until I have mastered these beautiful photos, you will not be seeing any of my past crafts on the blog. 

However, it is my intention to get them up asap - probably this weekend, after all of the OSCE madness is gone and I've recovered from my post-exam wine flu. 

Now for my first London Fog, made by Essa.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Goodbye $4 latte, hello homemade.

I remember a time when Prince Charming said to me, "There will never be a day when you won't have to worry about spending $4 on a latte." I suppose he was right.

Well, after "Honey, you have to read the instructions and it's not going to be as simple as you think" and "we need to clean the parts first", I am happily sipping my delicious homemade vanilla latte.  

And if you think that those statements above were made by me, you have another thing coming.
It tastes exactly like what I shell out $4 for at those fancy coffee shops. Welcome to my life, free caffeine fix. 

Here are some pictures of our first experiences with our new Breville Cafe Roma espresso machine, whom I now will call Essa.
Essa is unwrapped

Ryker, meet Essa - the key to more walks

Welcome home, we've been waiting for you

First espresso brewing

First vanilla latte - perfection (OK, so no pretty art on top but give me a break, I'm a med student, not a barista)

Hail to the almighty...


The time has come. It's finally here. 

We waited a whole four days for this. And just in time for late-night, pre-OSCE cram sessions (I need to palpate the ischial what?). How conveeeenient.

Here at the C castle, we need lotsa energy for our various pursuits. Prince Charming is always on the go - work, class, climbing, dog walking, exams, being awesome. Did I mention we have a 1 year old Border Collie cross? And me, well I don't think I need to explain my high-energy life. 
Ugh, sometimes it just tires a girl out.
Anyways, cue Amazon gift card from loving Sister and Brother-in-Law for Christmas and our love for Breville products (we're probably keeping this company in business):

               Our savior - the Breville Cafe Roma Espresso Machine.
    All of the energy we will ever need can be made in this magical machine. 

We don't know how to use it, in fact we haven't even opened the box yet but we love it already. Reviews state it as a "good beginner espresso machine" - Perfect!

I'll be sure to post our first latte-making adventure!

If you have any great ideas for drinks to make, please send them our way!

Your caffeine-addicted hostess.

French toast and the fur team.

Saturday morning, while I was intending to study of course, I happened to notice that our bedroom was bathed in a beautiful bright light - was that sun? Holy moly!

Being that we live in FreezingColdBigCity, Ab, we had been suffering from a particularly cold period of weather - the likes of which we'd never lived through in our home towns, and the kind of cold that makes your eyeballs freeze in your very head and you stay inside all day if you can. Even DevilDog refused to go outside - he'd poke his head out the back door and No fricken way

Anyways, on this particularly beautiful sunny morning, Prince Charming had gotten a craving for french toast. Not being a huge french toast connoisseur myself, while he busied himself in the kitchen with the usual french toast suspects (eggs, milk, cinnamon, sugar, syrup), I got to taking photos of the furbabes with my camera.

While I love my camera (Olympus Pen E-PL1), I have yet to really master all of its mysterious this-and-that functions, so I just set that baby to AUTO - my favourite setting.

I had just dressed up our bed in it's new pillow covers that I made, but that honestly had nothing to do with the photo shoot hehehe.

New pillow covers -  yeah!
Despite TheBigMove coming up in April which I dread, our bed pillows were much too vulnerable to dog-dirtying in their uncovered state. 
So of course, a journey to Fabricland yielded some beautiful home decor-weight fabric remnants which had been dying to become pillow covers.
 Thanks to Ms. Cho for all her help picking them out!
The rosette pillow was Anthropologie inspired - you can find the blog of how to make it here (The Gilded Hare).
The pillow behind the rosette pillow is made in what is now my absolute favourite fabric - apparently called Toile de Joie (spelling is definitely wrong). 
I love how these pillows turned out, and will definitely be bringing them to SmallTown, Ab. 

Some introductions of my furry family members:

This is Miss. Thing (Whimsey), who goes by various other names as well (we love nicknames in our house). 
Other names for Whimsey include: Bims, Miss. Bims, Little Miss. Thing, Princess, Miss. Princess, Bimsay, Whimsey Bimsleton, Princess Whims, Pretty Miss. Thing.
We adopted Miss. Thing in August, 2010.
She is my idea of what a histrionic personality disorder in a dog would be like. 

The Little Stink, AKA Rudy.
Not sure why he got Little Stink as a nickname, although lately he sure is living up to it (as The Hubs can probably confirm!). Similarly goes by multiple nicknames including Ruru, Rudimeer, Ham, Stinky Ham, Mr. Stink, Little Prince, Tooty Walrus, Rudicus Maximus Yorkus, among others.
Rudy is our adopted puppy-mill survivor. At a whopping 6.5lbs and 10 years of wisdom, Little Stink spent 7 years in a puppy mill as a stud. As a result, he came out about 10 years older in health, probably 15 teeth-less (only 2 left) and with an adorable tongue that just refuses to go back in his little gummie mouth. 
Now with his lung medication and Advair 2x day, he's feeling just like a pup again.

Ryker, AKA DevilDog.
Being that we've had Ryker for only about 3 months now, his list of nicknames isn't as impressive as the other two. He's a year old and 50 lbs of pure energy in Border Collie and Lab(?) form. We're not sure. We are sure that he's an all-black genius who is currently learning how to fetch a beer from the fridge for The Hubs, adding to his already impressive resume of obedience behaviours (I refuse to call them tricks). He is still only a year old and hence has a collection of irritating and teenage quirks - such as constantly putting Miss. Thing's head in his mouth, arguing incessantly when asked to go to his bed and lay down, amongst other fun things. 

Well there's the team of fur. 

As one of my fridge magnets says - "Pets are just like kids, but without the stretch marks." Touche, my friend, too true.
Here are a couple of my other favourite pictures from that sunny photo shoot:

Little paws
Big paws

DevilDog (Currently missing some hair around eyes and on nose due to mange :()

The Little Stink

I love these pillows, Mom

What are you doing up there, Mom? Why am I not up there with you?

The sniffer.

It's three days before my certifying OSCE, so naturally...

So naturally, I want to make a blog. Amongst other things.

Call it procrastination. Call it self-handicapping

I call this Pre-Exam Syndrome.

Makes me think of those terrible hypochondriac-creating commercials on TV, asking "Do you suffer from any of the following symptoms?" Dun, dun, dun.

Well, if any of the following sound familiar to you, you too may be suffering from Pre-Exam Syndrome (PES - not to be confused with PMS):
  • Unprovoked and uncontrollable NEED to watch entire seasons of shows, have full-length movie marathons, and/or bake cookies/pies/quiche/other complicated food from scratch;
  • OCD-type compulsions in which your bedroom, fridge, office, box of childhood memories and closet need a thorough cleaning, organizing and beautify-ing;
  • Impulsive yet extremely necessary shopping trips in which excessive amounts of money are spent with somewhat little regard for your already ginormous student debt;
  • Sporadic periods of ambivalence towards test material ("It's not that much") sprinkled in with tiny panic attacks ("Holy insert curse word of choice, I need to study or I might die");
  • Lack of maintenance of personal hygiene and/or hypervigilance to appearance (ie. new onset exercising regimes, different nail polish every day, etc) (Ms. Cho, I'm looking at you)
  • "Justified" poor eating habits OR dramatic undertakings of new-age-great-ways-to-eat diets.
  • Urge to start a blog.

So whichever way you look at it, I have it. 

I intend to write a blog about all of the things I do/love/make. This includes my love of crafting and sewing, my constant battle with DevilDog (aka Ryker, whom I love dearly, of course) to convince him that my craft and sewing projects are actually not chew toys (in fact, neither are his brother and sister), my experiences as a new (and to any preceptors, I mean really new) medical professional, and details about my wonderful life with my Prince Charming. 
As well as all things furry, fun, creative and crafty that I love and want to share.

I'm new to the blogging world and so will be learning as I go.

Sounds good? Stick around, I'll try to keep posting regularly. 
Sounds lame? Well, no one invited you anyways.