the quest to put an end to paper napkins

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

One Oprah show she had all these guests showing viewers how they could live greener lives: less toxic cleaning products, reusable water bottles, reusable bags. One of the things she mentioned that struck a chord with me was napkins. I was using at least one or two paper napkins a day -- if we all stopped using them, it would help us reduce how much crap we put into the land fills. My city has a great 'green bin' program that accepts soiled paper napkins, but I wanted to try to reduce first.

But when it came time to plan for C's shower I wondered what the heck I was going to do when people needed to dab their faces after a few appeys and a slice of chocolate cake. I decided to make a shit load of cocktail napkins -- that's what I did.

I just fell in love with this fabric from my local store -- it's so pretty and vibrant and it was the perfect choice for the baby shower; and will be a great option for the million summer BBQs we have every year.

So now I have enough napkins to wipe the faces of an army, but I think I'll take a break from making them for a while. After sewing straight lines on 15 or so at Chrismtas and another 15 for the shower I think I'll focus on some more curvy projects.

oh...and here I thought I invented it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

when I was in unversity my claim to fame was the "one pot wonder" meals. Take a bunch of ingredients that look like they'd taste good together, throw them in a pot and wish to high heaven that you didn't waste your last five bucks on mush. I can say that nine times out of 10 it didn't turn out that bad (there was that one time with the green peas and rice I'd like to forget about but I digress).

In my quest to eat healthfully, I decided one lunch last week to make a lentil dish. I threw a can of lentils in a pot, along with some curry powder, pepper, cilantro and cumin and hoped for the best. Honestly it smelled a bit funky at first and I was worried. But it wasn't bad at all! I made it right before a call for work so I only got to eat a few bites and all I could think about was eating more...

Anyway long story short I thought I had invited a new dish - well kind of -- I know they make something like this in the indian restaurants but this was my take on it of course... and then I found it in one my cookbooks and I realized I had read the recipe already! Oh well...I made it again tonight for dinner with a few changes and it was even better than the first one! I took this picture on my second helping which is why the dish is all chauchy.

Ok so here is what I did (I'll warn you now -- I don't really measure things...):

What you'll need:
>1 can of lentils
>1/2 cup of diced onion
>1 garlic clove diced
>Half of a red or orange pepper diced
>a bunch of baby spinach julienned
>a sprinkle or two each of:
curry spice (or the real indian spices if you have them)
a very small amount of red pepper flakes (like 4 flakes...unless you like it HOT)
oh and a bit of oil (I used canola oil)

What you do:
>Close all your bedroom doors cause this puppy is going to smell up the house. My bedroom is right off the kitchen so I smell everything in there...and then my clothes start to smell like it...ugh)

>Heat up the oil and add the diced onions and garlic; cook until translucent - 4 mins

>Add red/orange pepper and spinach and cook for another minute or two

>Add the can of lentils

>While that is simmering, add all your spices

>Let it simmer for about 10 more minutes to meld all of the tastes together.


This would be really tasty with a yummy piece of Naan, but if you don't have any, a flatbread or pita will suffice.

(can you tell I'm procastinating on my sewing projects????)

aunt jemima's home school

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Stiching Surgeon tagged me today to provide some random/weird things about myself, so I decided to give this post a random and weird name. what can I say, this girl's got pancakes on the brain...

OK so here it goes:

1. I drink a lot of water... in fact it's all I ever really drink besides the couple cups of coffee and ruby red I have in the morning. I actually feel quite bad when I have guests over, especially if they're pregnant and can't drink wine (ok so I drink that too) -- "what can I get you to drink? we have water, water and OH water!" at least I've branched out a bit and started putting lemons in water for effect. excuse me for a sec while I fill my glass...

2. I've had some interesting part-time jobs. one summer my mom got me a job working on the bridge to the United States. yes ON the bridge. my little home town is five minutes from the border and my mom knew the guys that maintained the bridge every summer so I was in. I was a 'flag girl' which meant that I was in charge of radioing the other flag girl at the other end of the bridge to tell her how many cars I had coming from my end. we had to close off part of the bridge so this was an important job - otherwise we'd have quite the traffic jam. I didn't last long -- it had to be the most boring job in my life. i learned how to sleep standing up... quite well I might add. And I also brushed up on my poetry. it was a grand old time. I got a new job a month later working for a forest scanning and OCRing reports... I'm really not sure which job was more exciting. OK my other interesting part-time job was that I used to have to get up at 5AM to feed calves. I lived on a dairy farm for about 10 years of my early life so this came with the territory. waking up in freezing temperatures when you barely have the sleep out of your eyes is not what I would consider a fun time...

3. I once got tickets to a Lenny Kravitz summer concert (just one of many of my famous boyfriends) and along with M and two other friends, parked ourselves up on the grassy knoll/general admission area to watch the concert. When I got home I realized that we actually had seats closer to the stage. I had been to a concert earlier that summer and paid the same amount for those tickets so I just assumed that we had to sit on the grass. That was my last chance to tell Lenny how I really feel about him *sigh*

4. I once met James Brown and Brian Wilson in the same year. it's true. M won the James Brown tickets through a local radio station and so we got to meet him back stage. Then later that year our friend Swedish friend Viktor had been touring with Brian Wilson previously and got tickets for his fiance's parents who live here near Toronto, but they couldn't make it so they asked us if we wanted to go. I have to say that although it was cool meeting these two icons, their concerts weren't that exciting... (that might be another random fact -- I fall asleep during everything...)

here's a pic of M and I (on the left) when we met Mr. Brown (this is what we had to call him...) along with two other people that won tickets.

5. I have the priviledge of working from home. my company was acquired a little over a year ago, and our department was told to move to where the new office is, or set-up shop at home. I chose the latter of course and have happily been working in my little house for over a year now.

6. I wear glasses but there is only prescription in one lense (there is glass in the other). Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to get one of those looking glass things with a chain but I think it would be hard to keep it stuck in your eye all the time.

Ok I think I'll stop there... I have to save some random things for another time!

Rules for tagging:
1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Man this turning out to be a long post! I think I'll tag the last few people that have left comments on my blog - I'm sure most of these people have been tagged before so I apologize:

1. Swe Daisy Spaces
2. bettyninja (I love her blog name -- I would love to be a ninja...)
3. Sarbear
4. A Loja da Concha
5. Sidelica
6. and chik austin (I'll only tag 6 people since I just gave 6 random things...)

On another note, I wanted to tell you that I've been a bit of a slacker again on the sewing front. I feel like I'm a bit burned-out from christmas and the shower I had for C but I will be back up and running soon. I have list of things I want to get to.

Until then, Happy Tagging and Crafting!
Tomorrow is Friday yay!

before & after on design*sponge

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I want to thank Grace over at design*sponge for featuring my chair today in her thursday before & after section and thanks to everyone for the nice comments!

Happy Thursday!

monday, monday...

Monday, January 14, 2008

woah I'm beat and having a hard time concentrating today. you know when you have about 500 million things to do but can't seem to get to one thing on your list? that's me today.

yesterday I managed to shove 12 people into my little house for C's baby shower -- she knows a lot of great women so we had some fun chatting and eating. i was especially excited to sink my teeth into the double chocolately cake yumminess that I picked up from Dufflet yesterday. She just opened a new cafe relatively near my house which might be dangerous for me to say the least.

Anyway the shower was fun. I was able to meet my goal of making "lil C" a blanket out of Anna Maria Horner chocolate lollipop fabric. I also made a tote bag out out of reminants from my chair and the blanket. I wasn't able to take any pics before C left, so she took some for me when she got home. Take a look!

the baby blanket...

and the tote:

I also made two totes for two of the guests but didn't get a chance to take any pics as a result of my headless chicken running around...

It was also her birthday yesterday so a few people stuck around for some yummy dinner (and more cake of course...) deeelish!

while I'm on the subject of C - I should show you some of her craftiness...

I'm not very good at these "hold-the-camera-and-look-away-shots" but here is a pic of the beautiful scarf she made me for Christmas. I love it!


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Wow I never thought I'd get so many nice comments about my chair! Thanks! And thanks to Sew Mama Sew for featuring it last week!

pauvre chaise, non plus

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Year Goal #1 - CHECK!

Ok so it was a New Year Goal from Last year... or maybe two years ago but so what -- it's done!

You may...or may not recall the loooovely chair I got for free from my poor old neighbour. Although the cover was funky, it was dirty and torn; and really didn't match anything we had, so it was my goal to recover it. Well I hummed and hawed and stressed about it. I got some material to cover it and cut it up and stressed some more. But finally last week I took the plunge and got to work.


I decided to go with a plain beige cover (instead of reupolstering it). It has a bit of texture which is nice, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money for two reasons: a) this was my first time sewing a chair cover, so if I messed up, I wouldn't be that disappointed (who am I kidding, I'd be crying in the corner...), and b) because my cat has turned this chair into a scratching post so if he decides to scratch it now (so help him....) I didn't end spending a lot of money on the material. Plus I can punch it up with some fun pillows (recognize this pillow???).

Anyway I'm VERY happy to get this done and just in time for C's baby shower this weekend. Ooop just noticed I forgot to cut some threads!

a few of my favourite things

Friday, January 04, 2008

Christmas this year was a great one -- M and I did a lot of travelling but we saw so many of our family and friends which is really the most important part for us.

This year I put a request out to family to buy handmade and you should see some of the stuff people gave. honestly - it was amazing for gifts! I wanted to share a few of my favourite things (most handmade; a few that aren't)


Check out this pottery - these are two local designers in Eastern Ontario. The gobblets are from my mom and the mug (5 in total +a bowl!) is from my dad and stepmom. Unfortunately I don't have the gobblet designer but the mugs etc were made by Krista Cameron from Charleston Lake (I don't think she has a Web site).


I was able to spend Christmas for the first time this year with M's family and it was so much fun. We picked names -- I got M's sister and she got me! Honestly I wish someone would have taken a photo of my face when I opened the gift from her because -- HELLO? - she got me Amy Butler's book In Stitches! Was she reading my mind??? Anyway it was an amazing gift to say the least. I will definitely have to make her something from the book as a thank you.

Ok so these aren't handmade but I also got some very cool books about Italy -- one from M on Sicily and one from my Mom on the Top 10 things to do in Tuscany. We will be well prepared for our wedding!

More Handmade Loveliness

My sister eS bought this tank from American Apparel and then designed this little birdie iron-on. It's so sweet and I've been wearing it pretty much every day which is why it's a tad wrinkly... :) My other sister eK made me this cute bracelette as well as a gander of geese (not shown ;)) Also not pictured is a fun CD that M made me -- it has all of my favourite cheesy Top 40 songs including Natasha Bedingfield's Unwritten -- which I call ab track because it's the song that goes with my favourite ab track in my yoga/pilates class at my gym - so now I can do Abs all the time at home! (yes I'm a bit of a nerd -- it's ok!!!)

And you probably noticed this beauties above... they are a pair of handmade mitts from a woman in my hometown. There's a funny story to go with these (well I think it's funny anyway...) I have no idea who the woman is but I saw her at a local craft show spinning the wool and knitting these which I thought was the most amazing thing. So I asked my mom if she could please get them for me. Christmas day came and went and I was a bit sad that I didn't get them. Well...I'm sitting in the livingroom on boxing day and eK is packing up her gifts to leave for home and there in her hands are the mitts! I yelled out in shock (which kind of came out in a weird slow-mo devil voice...) "!!!" eK looked at me strangely and then my Mom had a revelation that she gave the mitts to the wrong daughter. eK was even sitting beside me I guess when she opened them and I hadn't noticed. So I traded them for a package of post-its and all was better...

So that was my fun Christmas! I think everyone enjoyed the handmade gifts I gave them! And I hope all of your had an amazing Christmas and New Year!

UPDATE: my wonderful mom wrote me to tell me the names of the artists who created the clay goblets and the mitts:

Debbie Gilmer who operates Clayworks
in South Mountain. She can be reached at

The homemade mittens were created by Jan's Mittens operated by Janice
Penney from RR 2 Brockville. She can be reached at

Thanks Mom! xo
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