At long last, I’ve added some new products to my Etsy store! First up are jar sweaters, perfect for the hipster tea-or-coffee-drinker in your life, or even just yourself if you want to have a portable drink but not burn your hands. There are three different kinds, all tthe same price but minor variations in fabric and style. They are all customizable so no one can steal your drink (unless they have the same initials as you and are super cocky). They come in a mix of linen and cotton fabric (your choice of fabric for two of the options) and I’m really happy with how they turned out. I made about twenty of them as prototypes and every time I sewed a new one there were tiny little adjustments made to improve on them.

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I’ve also added some personalized dog bandanas (have yet to think of a clever name, any suggestions?). As you can see, Luka is super into them:

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Or wait, maybe not:

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Silly dog. These come in two different sizes, just depending on how big your dog is and how thick their collar is. Again, there’s a choice of fabrics and also stamp fonts, and they are a linen/cotton combination as well.

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I have many, many, MANY new product ideas up my sleeve for 2014, and want to get as many as I can into the shop before baby makes her appearance. Self-promotion is very hard for me and makes me super uncomfortable, but I also need to be able to afford economy-sized jars of Nutella, so I’m sucking it up and putting it out there. In a not-filthy way. Please go check out my store and feel free to comment/email with any suggestions or questions!

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oatmeal

Tomorrow I’ll be 29 weeks pregnant, and I have to say that it’s been mostly a pleasant experience. I did have a few weeks of absolutely dreadful morning sickness, but some Diclectin and a healthy dose of milking the situation for sympathy helped. I haven’t had any super strong cravings, so despite the fact that I had always sort of fantasized about sending Mark out for french fries in the middle of the night, I haven’t needed to do it yet. (YET.) I have, however, had some pretty strong aversions to certain types of food, and this has been a bit challenging. We’re not big meat-eaters in general, but our meat consumption has dwindled considerably since June. Just the smell of most types of meat cooking has been enough to turn my stomach. Chicken in particular, which is like the least offensive, blandest animal protein I can think of, has been a huge trigger for me. This has made meal planning a bit tricky at times, but luckily I have a black binder full of tried-and-true recipes that we’ve been relying on pretty heavily these last few months. These are sourced from many random places, but all of them have saved my ass in the last six months.

I am a bit of an oatmeal whore, and constantly on the lookout for new recipes and topping ideas. This recipe for April Bloomfield’s porridge incorporates both steel-cut and regular oats and I think it might be my new standard against which all other oatmeals must measure up. One thing: do not, and I repeat, DO NOT, use the same amount of salt listed here. I can’t quite figure out how that measurement could possibly be correct, and I looooooove salt. I used Maldon and decreased it to a 1/2 teaspoon, one-third (!) of the original suggestion. I followed the recipe exactly the first time and it was so overly salty I couldn’t finish it, and Mark wouldn’t even touch it. I like it with a number of different toppings, but the other morning I had it with milk, maple syrup, and toasted pecans (pictured above) and it put me in a good mood for the rest of the day.

This butternut squash and chickpea salad makes for one of my favourite winter lunches. Since there is little I detest more than trying to peel a raw butternut squash, I always just poke a few holes in it and roast it at 425 F for 45 minutes or so, and then it’s much more accommodating. Also, I have tried many, many brands of tahini over the years, and now swear by this brand, based on a hot tip from the owner of the Middle Eastern grocery store I frequent. It somehow manages to stay soft and creamy, and doesn’t have the bitter aftertaste that¬† a lot of commercial brands of tahini have.

Another recipe I picked up from Orangette is this devastatingly delicious pan of brownies. Julia Child’s brownies; need I say more? The list of ingredients is a little shocking to behold, so I make them maybe twice a year, and only when I can give them away real fast, but if you want to make someone fall in love with you and/or stop crying, this should do the trick, especially if you slightly underbake them and also use Maldon sea salt in the place of regular salt.

I’ve been yearning for a lot of vegetarian Indian food lately, but haven’t had a lot of energy to make anything too fussy. This aloo gobi and this dahl have hit the spot with minimal effort. I find the key with Indian cooking (actually, many types of cooking) is to take spice measurements lightly, and in fact, I often double the amounts of spices listed. Obviously don’t do this with, like, dried red chilies or something, but in general, I err on the side of whatever the opposite of caution is. Carelessness?

Shredded carrot salad with harissa and feta, from the archives of my all-time favourite food blog, Smitten Kitchen. This is another lunchtime standard for me, and is so incredibly fresh and zippy and tasty. I don’t always have mint around, so I often leave that out. I use super creamy Macedonian feta which is weirdly the only kind of feta I’m really into. This, plus pita and hummus, or some dolmades, or a hard-boiled egg, is the perfect lunch.

I have many, many more recipes I could share with you, and I will another day. Please cross your fingers that this baby is not a picky eater, though I know that resistance is futile.

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hospitality2

My list of guilty pleasures is long and somewhat horrifying, and includes such things as Kraft Dinner with cut-up hot dogs, getting fake-interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine while I’m showering, eating Nutella straight from the jar with a spoon or maybe sometimes even just my finger, and reading books about serial killers right before bed. Also, there is nothing I love more than a good bad movie. I don’t mean, like, some shitty rom-com or some dumb action thing (although let’s be honest, Con Air is the best thing ever), but a real, genuine bad movie. I’m talking about a film that is made in complete and total earnest, and despite being a train wreck, its total sincerity shines through the entire time. This is a very, very, VERY rare quality and I in fact have only ever witnessed it fully in two films. One is The Room, which is just…indescribable, though people have been trying in vain to analyze it for a decade. I love this movie so much that I’ve watched it no less than five times in 2013, and possibly even more than that. It is best served up with a pitcher of something boozy and this drinking game. The other film I love, possibly even more than The Room because it is slightly less narcissistic, is the 1990 classic Troll 2, which, despite its title, is not a sequel to Troll and does not contain a single troll. Instead it sort of revolves around some vegetarian goblins, the most confusing family in the world, and a popcorn sex scene (!). I could never do justice to its brilliance; you’ll just have to see it. I will say that my mother-in-law loved it so much that she requested her own copy of it. Also, there’s an incredible documentary about it made by the former child star of the movie. Also, we paid good money to change our license plate in honour of it.

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In honour of this wonderful movie, I designed an embroidery pattern featuring possibly the best quote from a film chock-full of sparkling little gems. I find it to be just a generally good life lesson and it would make a great hostess gift this holiday season! I used a combination of stitches here, including a fishbone stitch for the leaves, but you could easily do it in all backstitch and it would still look great. There are tons of great stitch tutorials here and also dozens of videos on YouTube that I reference all the time.

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I’ve also included just the border, in case you want to do something a little classier like embroider a song lyric or possibly a different amazing Troll 2 quote (I’m partial to “We need some time for some things to happen!”). I designed this to fit in a 7-inch embroidery hoop, but it’s easily scalable up and down. Also, instead of dealing with fussy transferring techniques, which is my least favourite aspect of embroidery, I used this fantastic stabilizer that you simply print the pattern on to, stick to the front of your fabric, embroider over top of, and rinse after finishing. It just dissolves away. SO EASY.

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Enjoy the pattern! And if I haven’t convinced you to watch Troll 2 by now, there’s probably no hope for us as friends.

Download the Troll 2 embroidery pattern here.
Download just the embroidery border here.

 

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