Mannish Style – available at the workroom
This is my current favourite Japanese Dress book. Firstly, it has a fantastic title that makes me smile every time I read it. The full title on the book is ‘She has a mannish style’. I am feeling this mannish style right now!
What I love about this book is that it strays from the typical sweet tunics and dresses you find in most Japanese Dress books. It’s great to see some variation in the styling. There are some super cool drapey tops and vestlets that look like they will be fun to make. I’m looking through my stash to figure out what fabric will work for one of the dresses. It will be one of the 13 projects I hope to work on over the long weekend. I need more time to sew!
I’ve been really lucky to be involved with Uppercase Magazine right from the beginning. I can’t believe this is the 10th issue!! Janine has done such an incredible job creating a rich and vibrant publication. Every bit of the magazine is so delightful and engaging.
If you take a look at this issue, you’ll see that I did an interview with Sian Keegan. I have long admired Sian’s pet portraits, so it was wonderful to get to know more about how it all started and how she works on these three-dimensional fabric likenesses of people’s furry friends. Sian recently announced that she has caught up with her waiting list of commissions, so I should hop on it and get a little Maisy portrait done!
You’ll also find lots of wonderful features and stories, including the cutest couple in craft Shauna and Stephen of Something’s Hiding in Here and the lovely Pia Jane Bijerk.
Of course, we stock Uppercase Magazine here at the store and also in our online shop!
I’m so super proud to be included in the Toronto City Guide in the August issue of Lucky Magazine. Since Lucky started I’ve always loved their city guide feature, so it’s kind of a dream come true to be in one! I also think that the editor who has the job of traveling around and putting them together has one of the best gigs around.
We are in brilliant company in the feature, listed among our favourite places (& people!) including Bookhou, Fawn, Mjölk, Robber, Russet & Empire, Shopgirls and Smash.
p.s. Two things I’m currently obsessing over : this pie plate & this half square triangle dress. I want both!
I’ve finally finished and framed my Intro to Cross Stitch sampler! I had finished up the alphabet part of the sampler during the class, but was determined to frame it in a hoop and wanted to do a round border around it. Lucky for me, Johanna accepted my special request and designed this sweet leafy round border.
Since this border is round and the pattern is actually quite random, it took a little bit longer for me to stitch. The rectangular border that Johanna also designed for the class is a much easier border to stitch since it is repetitive. I hardly ever like to take the easy route, especially when it comes to aesthetics. To be honest, I miscounted when I was more than halfway done and had to take out quite a few stitches. The end result is totally worth it. I am so proud of how my sampler turned out. It’s now hanging on the wall at the workroom, so if you’re in the shop you can see it in person.
Cross stitch appears to be a fairly easy form of needle work. The reality is that there are always mistakes to avoid and tricks to learn that make any new craft so much better from the very start. Tricks and tips are Johanna’s specialty! I don’t know how she does it, but man! are we lucky to learn from her. (psst! have you seen her new class?!) What I didn’t realize about cross stitch was that it requires some strategic thinking to keep your work tidy on the back side. I found myself feeling like I was playing a game of Tetris, as I was pre-planning my ‘moves’ (aka stitches) with my needle. I totally enjoyed this aspect of cross stitching.
Also! I really had a chance to get a feel for the new Cosmo embroidery floss we got in. I love it!! Firstly, we have 443 colours, so the possibilities are endless. Secondly, the cotton floss is so silky and totally doesn’t tangle. The other thing I’ve recently started using are needle threaders. They make all the threading in hand quilting and needle work SO much easier. Clover makes a floss embroidery threader and it is now a permanent part of my sewing kit.
I have big cross stitch plans now that I know what I’m doing. I’m envisioning making linen napkins, coin purses and wall hangings with cute cross stitch motifs. Here are a few things on my cross stitch project list:
Farm Folk Stitchettes by Wee Wonderfuls
Some of the incredible border patterns in the DMC Library Cross Stitch booklets
Cute Kiwi from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery‘s Fruit of the Month Club
Wildflower Garden Cross Stitch book by Kazuko Aoki (anything from this book)
Master Collection : A-Z Cross Stitch by Kazuko Aoki (anything from this book, too!)
Cosmo floss colours used in this project : 226, 225, 2224, 224, 2223, 223, 2222, 436
I really want to thank you for comments on my last post about my stolen camera. You made me feel so much better with all your cheer, support and suggestions. You are the best pep squad a girl could ask for!
I went out yesterday and bought a new camera, a Nikon D90. I NEED to have a camera. Here’s my rationale for making myself feel better. I had my D40, plus lens for over a year and a half. If I break it down, I paid $2 per day for that camera. What a deal!! All that happiness and preserved memories for less than a cup of hot chocolate. Rather than stay with the same level of camera, I felt I should upgrade now and really continue to push myself to become better with my photography. Screw you, camera thief!
These are some of the first photos taken with my new camera. First impression – LOVE IT.
We received a large shipment of the latest issue of Uppercase Magazine. I was absolutely honoured that Janine asked me to participate in this issue by writing an article on textile design. I interviewed three incredible ladies who have inspired me with their pattern design and successful careers. Denyse Schmidt, Lara Cameron and Michelle Engel Bencsko were kind enough to tell me all about their working process. Their answers were totally fascinating. I hope you enjoy reading it. The entire issue is jam packed with wonderful features, including cover art by Matte Stephens. Uppercase just gets better with each issue. You’ll also notice the workroom’s first print ad (whoo!) at the back of the magazine, designed by Andrew.
Stylish Dress Book 3
I’m just back from a lovely long weekend in New York City with Andrew. It was like summer there, which was such a wonderful surprise. I have not even had a chance to download the photos from my trip. As soon as I do, I’ll be sharing them with with you.
In the meantime, I wanted to post photos of one of the most recent books I received. They have come out with volume 3 in the Stylish Dress Book series. I haven’t had a chance to fully examine every detail, but top ‘Y’ will be my first project for sure.
Stylish Dress Book
I’m not sure how, but I noticed yesterday that I never did a post about the mother of all Japanese Dress Books – Stylish Dress Book. It is probably a bit redundant at this point, as most of you have the book, know each page by heart and have seen quite a few of these patterns posted here and elsewhere. Nonetheless, I feel my little dress book resource would be incomplete without this.
To date, I have made seven of the patterns in the book myself. I have helped other people make most of the others in the class I teach. Where some of the books I have contain just a couple standout patterns, this book has a great variety of styles that are very appealing. I can still pull this dog-eared book out and pore over every page with great interest.
I really like the layout of the Stylish Dress Book series. The technical drawings and instruction pages are well laid out and very clear. The pattern sheets are printed in one colour, which can be very overwhelming to look at. I have seen books that do multicolour printing for the pattern pages and it makes extracting the pattern a bit easier, especially when you’re first starting out. This is a small detail that would not deter me from buying this book, but I just mention it as a note of comparison.
Looking through the book, I see that I still have not made dress ‘S’. I need to pick a fabric and get on it. I’m deciding between this, this, this or a lovely plain indigo black cotton/inox (steel) blend. Thoughts?
365 : camilla engman book
Whenever packages arrive, I stop what I’m doing and tear into them immediately. It is one of my favourite things. (that doesn’t involve sugar)
This book is a visual delight, by the way.
FRENCH CHOCOLATE GRANOLA
recipe by Orangette
I’ve been meaning to tell you about this for ages. Every time I make a batch of this granola, I’ll take some photos and then get distracted by some other crafty thing to post about. Enough is enough, let’s talk about granola.
I actually used to think that it was silly to make your own granola. I thought it took too long, cost too much and why make it when you can buy perfectly good granola. This is coming from someone would make pretty much rather make absolutely everything in life myself, if possible. Well, I was very wrong. Making your own granola is the best, especially this one.
The recipe comes from my favourite food blog, Orangette. When I read the name, I imagined it to be my kind of breakfast. Chocolate for breakfast sounds like a great idea. It’s also the easiest thing to make. The wonderful thing about granola is that you can’t really go wrong, if there’s something you want to add to the recipe (dried cranberries, wheat germ, etc) just throw it in.
This recipe is pretty perfect, but I do make a couple tiny changes when I make it. Instead of vegetable oil, I use roasted hazelnut oil. It adds a lovely nutty flavour. I also use demerara sugar and double the amount of coconut. The other thing I usually do when I’m making a batch, is to mix a second batch together with just the dry ingredients and store it until I run out of my current batch. (which happens really quickly) Making that second batch takes no time all and you’ll be quite excited by that when your stash of granola has run out.
I should also take a minute to just gush about Orangette, Molly Wizenberg and her book, “A Homemade Life”. Molly’s blog is so engaging and delightful. Are you reading it? Oh, you should be. She spins lovely tales of her life and memories and then she throws in a recipe that makes you absolutely hungry. I read her book during the summer and again, I meant to tell you all about how much I loved it. Her writing translates so perfectly into book format. I found myself fixing up a little snack or breakfast and enjoying a chapter or two everyday out in the backyard, savouring every single word. I can’t say enough good things about Molly. I just spotted a quick pasta recipe this morning on her blog that I might need to make. Today.
I’m so glad we finally had this talk.
I’ve been slacking on my ‘Crafty List of Things to Do‘, so I finally decided to tackle one of the easier projects. There are so many great patterns in the ‘Softies‘ book, but of course, the sweet Snow Bunny caught my eye. My bunny collection is coming along nicely. Thank you for asking. I’ll do a group shot of my bunny family soon, if I can get them all in one place at the same time.
Snow Bunny was designed by one of my favourite softie designers Tamar Mogendorff. The construction is quite simple and I enjoyed all the hand stitching. I was quite inspired by Tamar’s embellishing and pretty much tried to replicate it as best I could. I was happy that I hadn’t gotten rid of my bead collection so that I could give the Snow Bunny a little ‘bling’. She’s a pretty posh bunny.
For the pom pom tail, Debbie donated some gorgeous, chunky cream yarn from her extensive stash to the cause. I took this opportunity to try out the Clover Extra Large Pom Pom maker. It was easy and fun. I wanted to make more, but what else can I make with pom poms?
I used the same wool stuffing we use in the Animal Softies class for filling. I will never use anything else. It feels so wonderful, it molds nicely and feels slightly heavy. The wool will also deter dust mites and mold. Plus, if you’re making dolls for children or babies, the wool will retain familiar scents that can be very comforting.
the workroom received oodles of new books and patterns this week, so I’ll be updating My Crafty List over the weekend with some new projects. Baby Stuff by Aronzi Aronzo has some definite bunny possibilities!