babydress3

When we found out we were having a girl (something I won’t fully believe until the baby comes out of me), I was mostly surprised and a little bit terrified. However, I was very, very happy that I would get to use all of the beautiful baby clothes my grandmother sewed for me. I’ve mentioned this before, but she is an amazing seamstress, far more precise and skilled than I’ll ever be, and I have bags and bags of handmade dresses and sweaters and pinafores, many of them smocked, knitted or embroidered with such skill that it blows my mind. I should have ironed these before I took pictures, but I never iron anything so I didn’t want to falsify information on my blog.

babydress1

babydress2

babydress4

There are tons of embroidered and smocked dresses like the ones you see above, ranging in size from newborn to about six-seven years old. There are stacks of the sweetest pinafores, though they are impossibly small and baby will have to have several costume changes a day to get through them all.

babyshirt

babyshirtstack

As stated above, I am nowhere near the seamstress my grandmother is, and probably never will be, but I did want to make a few things for the baby myself. I had never done any type of garment sewing before, and the thought of it has intimidated me for years — patterns, sewing on curves, finishing seams, BLECH. I just always assumed it was never an attainable skill for me. Have I mentioned I’m a total optimist? Guys, it turns out it’s not that difficult, ESPECIALLY baby clothes which are tiny and usually boxy because babies don’t need fitted things.

jumper

This crossover pinafore is the first garment sewing I ever attempted, and it was mind-blowingly easy, because the instructions were crystal-clear. I’m sure there’s some way you could even make it reversible but the logistics of that confused me (mostly just the button placement) so I didn’t try. I love it because it can go from a dress to a top as she grows up. Trying this really simple thing first gave me a lot more confidence to branch out to this peasant dress:

heartpocketpeasantdress

There’s a free pattern available for this dress for newborns 0-3 months, but I would highly, HIGHLY recommend purchasing the pattern with sizes from newborn to 6 years, which also includes options for a top or dress, and straight or scalloped edge. I LOVE THIS DRESS. So easy to customize in any way you want (embroidery, appliqué, pockets, etc.) and such a confidence-booster.

embroideredpeasantdress

This is the same dress with an iron-on transfer from this embroidery book, which took about two hours in total, including embroidery time.

elephantpeasantdress

..and the same pattern again, with added pockets and scalloped edge.

newbornwrapshirt

This newborn wrap-style shirt is from the Purl Bee blog, one of my favourite sites for free patterns. When we were in New York on our honeymoon, we went into the Purl Soho brick-and-mortar store, and I wandered around in a deliriously happy daze for a few minutes. I couldn’t afford anything in there, but it was the most beautiful place in the world.

babypants

The baby pants are from the same blog, though I hurried through these so they’re not as neatly finished as I would have liked. I might try making another pair with a drawstring waist instead. Though maybe that’s somehow dangerous for a baby? I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT ANYTHING, YOU GUYS.

babypants2

Here’s another pair of baby pants that sewed up quickly and to which I added elastic at the cuffs, just because. Again, I wonder if these might end up being loose around the waist, so next time I might either cinch them a bit tighter or use a drawstring instead.

jerseyhoodie1

jerseyhoodie2

These hooded kimono wrap jackets may be the cutest things ever, and though I had never sewed with jersey, this blog post really cleared some things up for me. Basically I just switched to a ballpoint needle and it was fine.

gingeronesie

I’ve made a lot of appliquéd onesies, but this one is my favourite. We might put this phrase on her birth announcement. Have I mentioned that Mark is a redhead?

I also whipped up a few bibs (think I just Googled “bib template” and worked from there)…

bibs

…and a few of these super-easy pacifier clips (though I made them shorter than the tutorial called for because of strangulation risks)…

pacifierclips

..and finally, this oversized baby quilt. I’ve made a lot of blankets and quilts for her, mostly just to kill time. I’m working on my first entirely hand-quilted quilt right now, but I go so terribly slow that she might be a teenager by the time she receives it. For this one I just sewed a bunch of triangles together into patches, and then I had them up on my basting board in the order I thought I wanted, then Mark came into my office and started switching them around and we ended up with this sort of parallelogram thing. Hey, that’s the first time I’ve used that word since junior high, probably! I like that we both worked on it together. Also, I know this is the girliest fabric ever, but I have so damn much of it.

babyquiltfront

I just quilted diagonal lines — it took less than an hour to quilt — and when she’s born, I’ll sew on a little patch with her name and birth date on it.

babyquiltback

babyquiltbinding

This nesting period has been so delicious. I know I won’t have time to be doing a lot of this when she’s here, and I also know that second baby will probably get nothing (Mark and I are both youngest children, so we’ll be able to sympathize). I have a few more things I’d like to make, but I’d also be very happy if she showed up tomorrow. Which is totally possible. Which is terrifying.

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Twenty-four years ago this December, a little blond girl in a pink dress walked into my Kindergarten class, a few months into the school year. She and her family had just moved to Calgary from Toronto. I complimented her on her awesome dress, we became best friends, and this past Saturday, she married the nicest boy in the world, in her parents’ beautiful backyard in Vancover.

weddingquilt

My Best Friend’s Wedding is just a shitty Julia Roberts movie, but my best friend’s wedding was glorious. There were paper flowers, a huge glass dispenser full of Pimm’s Cup, a choose-your-own-topping macaroni and cheese station, a live performance of Classical Gas by Mason Williams himself, a Menchie’s frozen yogurt and topping bar, homemade granola favours, and so much more. There was the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen, and a groom’s face who I couldn’t even look at during the ceremony for fear of sobbing like a crazy lady. There was a bit of comic relief when her dad almost bailed while walking her down the aisle, but it broke the ice and everyone laughed.

weddingquiltback

I thought about giving Liz and Aaron a rice cooker, the same one we have that we use practically every day, but that just seemed so impersonal. Then I saw this gorgeous four-square quilt on the Purl Bee blog, and knew immediately that this was the quilt for the happy couple. I love everything about this pattern — the beautiful simplicity of it, how modern and asymmetrical and yet still timeless it looks, how quickly it came together.

weddingquiltbinding

This quilt was made with love. I know that sounds unbearably cheesy, but it’s true. While I was working on it, I just kept reliving memories from the past two and a half decades — us at 8, sneaking out to Mac’s convenience stores on our bikes; at 12, writing a batshit-crazy thing called The Story of the Backstreet Jedis and then HANDING IT PERSONALLY TO THE BACKSTREET BOYS; at 15, dying my hair in the middle of the night — we were aiming for red streaks, but left the bleach on too long and the dye on not long enough, resulting in horrible orange chunks that remained in my hair for the next several years; at 18, when we left both left for university and I was convinced our friendship was over; at 20, when we travelled around Europe for six months, making some very stupid decisions and also some very good ones, getting into cars with strangers and changing our minds about where to go on a whim, making hasty exits from hostels where we’d shamed ourselves and eating gelato every single day in Italy; at 22, when my dad died suddenly and she came out to Calgary for the funeral, and I just sort of stared at her, bewildered; at 26, when she walked down a long path into a beautiful garden, just before I married Mark, and immediately after the ceremony she shoved a glass of white wine into my hand, knowing I needed it; at 28, watching her try on wedding dresses and eating our way through Seattle. My whole life is shaped by her, my sense of humour most of all, and I tried to put all of that into this quilt. I hope that shone through.

weddingquiltembroidery

weddingquilt2

weddingquilt3

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Not much to share with you but some pictures. I have been woefully lacking creative inspiration lately, and I’m just trying to roll with it. I went to Austin for my best friend’s bachelorette and ate a LOT of brisket, and the most magnificent BBQ I’ve ever had at Franklin (where we waited for two and a half hours, but shit, it was worth it). I turned 29 and watched some Arrested Development (not putting all my thoughts out there yet, but…kinda disappointing). I started riding my bike again, though I’m pretty sure I’m the worst cyclist in the world. I started banjo lessons, and all I do is play “Cripple Creek” over and over and over, slowly and painstakingly. We leave for Ireland tomorrow, and though we’re really really unprepared, we have passports and clean underwear, so we’ll just wing it. Looking forward to driving around a beautiful country with my sweet guy.

(Though I’ll miss this big sweet dummy a whole lot).

sleepingdog

My friend Nicole came for a visit and Luka fell ass-over-teakettle in love with her, even though she’s making fun of his eternally sad face here.

Mark made me this ribbon/washi tape holder, ’cause he’s the best. Even though he always makes the bed incorrectly by putting the flat sheet face-down. Not that I’m keeping track.

trashygnome

settable

robineggs

porchlife

milesembroidery

The only bit of sewing I’ve actually managed to get done lately is completing this chevron quilt for a friend’s baby girl who was born in April. I had the top completed but somehow quilting it seemed like such a BIG DEAL. In actuality, it took about an hour and then I got to hand-sew the binding which is always my favourite part of making a quilt. Probably because I can watch TV while doing it. I’m rewatching Game of Thrones right now, and reading the books at the same time. Mark and I have this new thing where we mutter “YEH KNEH NOERTHING, JEHHHN SNOERRWW” at each other, sometimes during a movie, sometimes in the form of a text message, and then we laugh and laugh like a pair of idiots. This has nothing to do with the quilt.

Back in a few weeks with maybe something more insightful than all the garbage I just wrote, but, er, probably not.

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seattleaquarium

Four years ago today, Mark proposed to me in this exact spot outside the Seattle Aquarium. It was a bit random, which I liked very much. It was Friday the 13th. I had lost a crown while biting into a piece of salmon that morning at Pike Place Market, so I was rather distracted. Also, I hadn’t wanted to leave the hotel room in the first place — I was busy soaking up an old episode of Full House (we didn’t have a TV then and I was always transfixed by them when we stayed at hotels). We had dinner reservations, but the restaurant was just down the street, so there was really no hurry. Mark kept trying to get me to turn the TV off so we could go for a walk before dinner; he was oddly insistent on it, which is super out-of-character for him, so really I should have known something was up, but I didn’t. We went for our walk, down by the pier, and I know now that he was trying to find a place that didn’t have people around, but this was fairly hard in downtown Seattle on a Friday night. Eventually we wandered over to the aquarium. I was leaning on a railing, gazing out at the water, absentmindedly probing at the newly-gaping hole in my mouth (thankfully it was a molar so you couldn’t really notice), thinking about seals. I turned around and there he was on one knee, proffering this beautiful ring that he designed himself. I was in such shock, all I could do was curse. Clouds of expletives flew out of my mouth and I just stared at him, repeating filthy words over and over again. He eventually asked me to throw a “yes” in there, and I did. We made it to Le Pichet, a restaurant I’d been longing to go to mainly to order their famous roast chicken, which takes an hour to make and serves two people. I’d been dreaming of this chicken — this was before I could handily roast one myself (humblebrag) and I’d read extensively about how good this particular piece of poultry was. We ordered it, as well as some champagne. I then proceeded to alternately cry and laugh throughout the entire meal. I ate about two bites of that chicken, and we couldn’t take it back to the hotel because we didn’t have a fridge in our room. We stopped at a corner store on the way back to pick up a calling card so we could phone our moms, as well as some wine. I fell off the curb and hurt my ankle. I woke up the next morning at 6 am and took a weepy shower, still trying to fully comprehend the whole thing. I was almost scared by how happy I was.

I know how nauseating all of that probably seems. Sometimes I’m even a little embarrassed at how much I love being married. I didn’t have the best examples of happy marriages, though Mark did, and I never in a million years thought it would happen for me, let alone at a relatively young age. Though I know it’s not effortless — we both work really hard at our marriage — it is easy for me in a way that no other relationships in my life have ever been. I could write a million more posts about him, and I probably will, but here’s one last thing: If we end up having a kid that’s even half as decent and kind (and unendingly patient) as he is, I’ll be overjoyed.

markpia

Spring is coming, and we have more light in the evening, and I cannot stress how much this has affected my mood. It’s amazing! I wish I could be taking advantage of this gorgeous weather by walking Luka, but he cut his paw pretty badly a couple of weeks ago and is currently waiting for five stitches to heal. He has a little doggie cast and we put a sock on him when he goes outside, and he has to wear the cone of shame when we leave him at home alone. Poor guy. On a related note, I signed up for pet insurance today, something I originally thought was a huge scam, but given the thousands we’ve spent at the vet since we adopted him five months ago, it seems like a no-brainer.

Been in the kitchen a lot lately, inspired by all the cookbooks I own and the hundreds of internet recipes I have bookmarked. I’ve been making this for lunch quite a a bit, though I usually top it with a fried or poached egg for some added protein. And also because I devoutly subscribe to the theory that a fried egg makes pretty much everything taste better (like leftover toasted, buttered cornbread OH MAN I WANT SOME CORNBREAD).

cauliflower

chocolate cake

oj

I also finally finished a quilt I’ve been working on for a while — I’m calling it my Februweary lap quilt, because I did most of the piecing during some especially soul-suckingly grey February days. I really like this one, and contemplated making it a full-size quilt, but ended up being too lazy and wanting it done quickly…even though it still took me about six weeks from start to finish. I used this quilt block and it came together pretty quickly.

quilting

quiltfront

quiltback

quiltcloseup

quiltbinding

signedquilt

Sneak peek of new embroidery pattern (inspired by Mr. Tom Haverford) and some vintage embroidery patterns my mother-in-law passed on to me. Some of them are from the early ’40s! I’m probably gonna embroider everything in our house. Luka had better watch out.

vintagetransfers

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