Knitting For My Little Bug

Well, it’s officially summer break. Well, it would be if I wasn’t already on maternity leave. That said, my home town just feels different come July, much more lively and active. The weather is gorgeous (and hot!), there are lots of festivals going on, and it’s the best time of year to hang out outside. So naturally it’s sweater knitting season, right?

As much as I’d love to have a sewing project to show off, I don’t. I’m sure I am not the only one, but at 8 months old, I’m finding that as the boy gets older he is harder to wrangle. He’s not enjoying the baby wearing as much as he used to (probably because it’s just too hot right now), so unless I can get some child care, sewing isn’t happening. I seem to be able to knit much easier these days, it’s just much easier to stop and start as needed than sewing is. I’ve been hard at work knitting a baby gift for my friends Gina and Neil, who are having a baby in October. No pictures yet though, I don’t want to totally ruin the surprise for them. I have managed to finish something I can show you today, my very first sweater!

This is going to be pure baby spam from here on out. You’ve been warned 😉

This is the Flax sweater from Tin Can Knits, and it is the most adorable, simple sweater anyone could ask for. It is perfect for beginners, as it walks you through every possible step, including an on line knit tutorial.

It is a simple top down raglan sweater in sizes 0-3 month to XXL adult man. You had better believe that the whole family is going to get one of these bad boys! I’ve already purchased the yarn for mine and Shane’s version!

The sweater took no time at all, and probably would have been done shortly after I had started it, but the arms stumped me a bit, so I decided to wait for my sister to show me how to pick up the stitches correctly. It was super easy, and I probably could have done it myself, but it was really good to see how it was done in person.

Pants are for suckers.
I knit a size 1-2 years for the bub, and I’m not convinced he will get that much wear out of it. The fit seems pretty good right now, but he’s just going to keep getting bigger. It’s waaaaaay to warm for him to wear right now (well, by Canadian standards it is), so I’m really hoping that we’ll get one or two wears out of it in the fall. I am also totally OK with knitting him a new one. I’m pretty sure it’ll go faster than the first one.

I am so proud of myself for finishing this project, and having it actually look good. I am a bit ashamed to say that I haven’t really made the boy anything except for a baby blanket, so I’m betting that this will be the first of many, many knitting projects to come.

Who knows, maybe next entry will actually contain some sewing?

For The Love Of Knitting

Friends, I miss sewing. I am on day 27 of the Whole 30, so in 3 long days, I will finally be able to take my measurements and get back to my first love (after Shane and the boy and the kitties, that is). I have been going a bit stir crazy at not hobbying for a while, so I decided that it was high time I knit myself something. Anything, I don’t care at this point!

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You may remember a few years ago I took up knitting and made a few little scarflets like the one below.

Made in 2012

Made in 2012

This was gifted to my mother in law at Christmas 2012, and she seemed to really like it. I have found that I go in spurts where I will knit tonnes of stuff for a few weeks, and then all of a sudden go months without touching my knitting needles. I’ve never really done that with sewing except for in the last little bit because babies be stealing all my nerding time, yo! 

Over the past few years, I’ve basically knit scarves and hats. And two baby blankets. Here are a few of the things I’ve knit:

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My first scarf for me, an easy Jane Richmond pattern.

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Bittersweet cowl, made for my lovely friend Theresa.

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The Honey Cowl, a Christmas gift for my mom.

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The Rivoletto, one of my all time favourite cowls.

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Baby boys blanket. Where he goes, it goes.

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His and hers scarf and cowl for my brother in law and his fiancee. No pattern used, just based it on a broken rib stitch.

After this, of course, were the hats. Oh lord, I knit so many hats in the span of two months.

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Above are what I call ‘The Aytenfisu Hats’. That is, the hats that I knit for my best friend, her husband, and four kids for Christmas. My original plan was to only knit for the kids, but once I finished their hats, it just didn’t seem right for me to leave my friend and husband out. So I made them some too.

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I knit baby boy a hat. Unfortunately, he hated it.

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I also knit Shane a hat for his birthday. Fortunately, he liked it.

These hats were done from roughly the beginning of November to December 23, when I finished the last Aytenfisu hat. I also managed to knit a hat for my friend Linda’s new baby in that time, but I didn’t manage to get a picture of it. All that knitting in such a short time span, along with taking care of a newborn, totally burned me out. My hands were sore and I’d had enough for a few months. Now, I’m ready to jump back into it with something simple, a shawl.I have been wanting to make a shawl for so long, but I’ve never found the instructions that intuitive, so I pledged to just blindly follow the instructions, come what may. Very miraculously, it’s going well! It’s actually starting to look like it’s supposed to!

Nae pattern.

Nae pattern.

The yarn is Madelinetosh tosh merino light that I bought in New York a few years ago. I had originally bought it to knit myself some socks, but after attempting to use a similar weighted single ply yarn with disastrous results, I figured that it was destined to become something that wouldn’t need to be quite as durable as socks are meant to be. I think I made a good decision, as the pattern I’m using is so simple that it really shows off how lovely the yarn is. There is a slight problem in that I may not have enough yarn to finish the project, but I am hoping to score some off of someone on Ravelry or somewhere on line. If you know of anyone who has a hank of Tosh Merino Light in the Fjord colour way, and is willing to sell it, please let me know!

So there you have it, a sizeable chunk of my knitting projects to date. I hope to do a better job of documenting these in the future, especially as I plan on knitting baby boy a sweater. And also a sweater for me, because why not? Nothing like knitting a winter sweater in the summer! 😉

It’s hard to admit when you need help sometimes…

But last week that is exactly what I had done. I have been trying for months to motivate myself into working out and engaging in a healthy lifestyle in every way I knew, but it just hasn’t been working. I realized that I needed help, or I was just going to turn into the fat, sad person I was many years ago. As educated in the area of health and fitness as I am (admittedly, mainly through reading and other self explorations), I just can’t do it myself any more. After searching on-line and interviewing a few trainers, I decided to enlisted the help of a trainer from a place called PHAT Training here in Edmonton. As expensive as it is (it really is), it’s the right decision for me at this moment. When you stop and think about it, we invest more money into our cars than we do our health. It’s quite shameful when you think about it. It is time to reinvest that money into myself, even if it means taking the train to work instead of driving for a little while. I can do that for me.

My trainer is called Jamie, and I think that she will be an excellent fit for me. She is highly educated with a degree in rehabilitative exercise and a masters degree in nutrition. Besides the education part, she seems kind, keen to help, and very positive. This is what I need. I think above all, she seem like a human being, not the kind of trainer who thinks they are Gods gift to fitness. Already she is challenging me to engage in healthier behaviours, the first being to get rid of my scale. Imagine that, I have weighed myself every day for almost 10 years, several times a day. It certainly hasn’t helped me get any healthier, so tonight, I put my scale in the basement. I hope that I am able to throw it out soon, but I don’t think I’m ready for that yet.

This is just the start of a new phase for me. I’m not ready to talk about the assessment I had today. Some… Well, all of the numbers I got today were shocking except for one, my body fat. I’ve always known that it was high, and being told that I am 33% body fat was not a surprise. Every other measurement, however, was much higher than I had anticipated. It really made me wonder how off I was in my own measuring, considering that I sew my own clothes based on my numbers, and I usually have to take things in, not let them out. I am at a loss as to how that has happened, but I’m not going to dwell. It’s time to make it better.

When people have heard how much it costs, they are incredulous, and wonder why I would be doing it, considering how much I know about health. Well, maybe I don’t know as much as I thought I did. I also don’t really care what other people think about it at this point, Shane is supporting me, and my health and wellness is important to me.

So, with that, I raise my glass of wine (probably the last for a while), and say ‘Here’s to my health’! Updates will follow, as will more sewing projects 🙂

Whole 30 – The Round Up

I did it.

I made it through the Whole 30 – 30 days of nothing but whole foods. I have been really racking my brain on how to write this entry. I have lots to say about it and yet, I’m sure much of it has been said by other people, and probably in a more elegant fashion. In this case, I will give you a Coles notes version, and then if you want to know more, read on.

In my case, the Whole 30 was successful. I feel better, I lost a bit of weight.

Is that enough information for you? If not, here’s the rest:

One of the biggest elements of the Whole 30 program is the idea of wellness. It is meant for people to learn what foods make them feel good and not so good. I’ve had tummy troubles for much longer than I care to remember, and for a while I genuinely though I was gluten intolerant. I’m not sure that is the case any more, but I do know that grains in general don’t agree with my stomach and can cause me endless grief with my IBS. So, celiac I ain’t, but that doesn’t mean that grains are good for me. Some people might wonder why I’d sign up for something as restrictive as the Whole 30 already knowing that grains don’t agree with me, and the answer to that is that I really wanted to find out what other foods might make me feel lousy too. I don’t really care about bread too much, but I must admit, I love pastries, and if I could have one every once in a while with no repercussions, I’d be really happy. I suppose the trade off is that I might find that my beloved cheese is no good for me, but I am of the mindset that it’s better to know than to go through my life feeling miserable.

Seeing as it’s day 31, I haven’t had the chance to reintroduce any foods yet to my diet. Honestly, I don’t think I’m ready to yet. I can see this being easily extended to a Whole 45 or Whole 60 right now. I think this is a step in the right direction, perhaps what those in the program would call a ‘Non Scale Victory’.

So what is a Non Scale Victory? These are the little things that have gone right (so to speak) while doing the Whole 30 that have nothing to do with the number on the scale at the end. I’ve had quite a few, such as:

1. Clearer skin. Breakouts? Forget about it!

2. IBS symptoms have virtually disappeared.

3. Clothing that hasn’t fit for years (and not due to pregnancy either) are fitting me again, and fitting well.

4. I am sleeping quite soundly, especially for someone with a baby.

5. I feel good in general.

There are so many things I really like about the Whole 30 as a concept, but I think the biggest one is that it is about overall health, not just weight loss. Also (and this is probably more important), it is for everyone. If you buy your own groceries, you can do this. There are no special ‘whole30′ pre packaged meals that you are expected to buy, there’s no gimmicks, nothing. There are some books you can buy if you feel so inclined, but you honestly don’t have to. The information is all available (for free!) on the Whole 30 website.

I had some before and after pictures to show the physical evidence of my transformation, but unfortunately my before pics got corrupted on my computer somehow and will not open. Boo urns! Instead, I’ll include the pictures I took at the start of my first Whole 30 in January 2015, and then my current after pictures. I’ll just point out that in my January pictures, I have lost all the baby weight and then some at this point. What can I say, it’s the best I can do. Is it editorializing? You bet! Guess who has two thumbs and doesn’t give a shit?

This gal right here:

On to the pics…

Before:

After:

The difference between the top and bottom pictures is about 15 lbs and numerous inches. So, you know, yay me!

If you want actual, exact stats, I’m afraid I’m going to disappoint you. This has been about my health, not my size and sharing those numbers seems pointless now. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to have shed that weight because it was making me feel lousy. But the whole idea behind this was to be a healthier individual, not necessarily a slimmer one. I mean, I look not only healthier, but happier. THAT is the whole point.

The absolute best part about being done is that I can finally get some sewing done! Hurray!!! 🙂

Life Sucks Right Now

I hate being so negative, but things just aren’t going well right now. I’ve had a huge, earth shattering (so to speak) event happen this week, and it has thrown me into such a daze, I have hardly been able to function. I tried to do some sewing tonight to take my mind off things (sewing is GREAT for that), but my fucking machine is broken. I feel like crying, but instead, I’m on my second beer, and contemplating going to the store for some crap food.

The reason for my bad mood is not just the machine, that would make me quite superficial. No, I received some awful news yesterday, and I can’t think straight. My colleague and friend, Andy, had a stroke. It was originally thought that he would be OK, but on Wednesday night he took a turn for the worse. He is now in intensive care, and his family has made the difficult and heart wrenching decision to take him off life support. As I got to the hospital bearing get well cards from Andy’s students, his wife told me of their decision. Andy is officially brain dead and has no hope of recovery. This was what he would have wanted according to his wife, but I can’t imagine how they feel right now, and I am at a loss as to what to do. I have never been held so tightly as I was by his wife, I’ve never encountered anyone who was feeling such grief. My heart is hurting right now, but I can only imagine that it’s a small fraction of the anguish Andy’s family is feeling. He was a healthy, active man who regularly participated in boxing, cycling and martial arts. At 59 years old, he is far too young for this.

I was the only staff member to have gotten to see Andy in the hospital, and I am grateful and honoured to have been there. Andy is an amazing teacher and friend. For the last few days, I have been expecting to see him at his classroom door, or regaling me with jokes and stories in the staffroom, with his signature laugh. I miss his acerbic wit and sense of humour, something we had in common. We could talk politics, TV, culture, and anything else under the sun. He is a wonderful guy, and I am going to miss him so much.

Before I start rambling even more, I’ll end with this. A woman just came to my door with supplies to canvas for the Heart and Stroke foundation. I had volunteered to do it a while ago in the name of my brother, who has heart disease, but I’m also doing this for Andy now. It feels more important than ever to do this.

Andy, you are one hell of a guy and I am going to miss you like crazy. Until we meet again, my friend.

Nothing like a depressant to chase the blues away..

*Grunt*

A classic line from ‘The Simpsons’. Also, the way I would describe my last week. Andy passed away on Friday evening. Monday was difficult for me, but fortunately not so difficult for the students. Most of them knew on the weekend anyway thanks to social media. It was a bit of a Godsend, they were prepared for the news and had grieved already. One thing that I know Andy would have wanted from us was to get on with life, so that is what I’ve been trying to do. It’s hard though, I really miss him, probably way more than I realized I would.

In my attempt to get on with things, I went ahead with my brothers engagement party on Saturday. Although I was initially unenthusiastic given the timing, I’m glad I hosted it, and a great time was had by all, even me. The count down to the wedding is on now, less than 3 months to go! It’s scary how time flies!

Yesterday, I also had my first real training session with Jamie. I am paying for it (monetarily and pain wise), but this is what I get for slacking for so long. It actually went pretty well, all things considered. We started with a fit test and although the results were not as good as they would have been at my peak, they weren’t terrible either. I did 11 push ups, which I was impressed by, especially considering I had to start on the ground! My flexibility is not too bad, although my right hip is comically tight, so I’m going to have a date with the foam roller for the next while. The soreness is really starting to set in, and I think tomorrow is going to be interesting. I’m a little scared to run tomorrow morning!

I also got my sewing machine back (yay!), so I made a skirt last night. I had realized that I only had the wearable muslin version of the Meringue skirt made, and it’s in black. I don’t know about you, but I find black skirts pretty formal, and so I decided to make my latest version in denim from a local fabric shop, Estees Fabrics. It wasn’t especially cheap (fabric in Edmonton generally isn’t), but I got it using a gift certificate from my mummy at Christmas time. Here she is:
Notice the twisted straps on my tank? I didn’t until I looked at the pictures. ‘The straps are twisted!’ I exclaimed to Shane. He just stared at me. No retakes I guess.

Please excuse the lack of smiles, it’s been hard to do lately.

This denim was really easy to sew, it’s the first time I’ve used it, but it won’t be the last. This is a great casual skirt that I’m sure I’m going to live in all summer.

Great, the tag is sticking out too! That’s me, keeping it Klassy!
I made the straight 6 with no adjustments at all. I’m still getting used to wearing high waisted bottoms, so it was a bit strange to wear at work today, but I think I’ll get used to it soon enough.

I used a fun little quilting cotton for the hem facing instead of self fabric. I love using these cottons for facings and pocket bags when I can, it makes the whole thing a little more fun and customized.

I also hemmed the facing down instead of catch stitching it. Why, you ask? Because I couldn’t find my hand sewing needles. A girl’s gotta make due with what she’s got!

Last, but not least, look at that zipper! A thing of beauty, she is. She’s just so… invisible! Best zipper yet!

I think I’m going to try and make a dress for Andy’s funeral, but I’m not sure yet. I guess I’ll decide by tomorrow.

G’night all! I’m going to hobble to the bathroom for some tiger balm now for my poor, poor knees.

Owwwww!

My new trainer is really kicking my ass, but I love it! Saturday was our first real session, and I left the studio with my legs feeling like rubber. I’m pretty fit, and she had my legs feeling like jelly. Seriously, I have never had a trainer actually make my legs shake before, it was insane! Insanely awesome, that is! My session today was almost as tough. Legs like jello, walking like the tin man, the whole shebang. The only downside to this is that it has killed my desire to run as of late. Well, maybe not the desire, but certainly the physical will. I will aim to run at least twice this week. Hopefully I wont be as brutally sore tomorrow as I am right now. Speaking of, I guess I have a date with the foam roller after I finish this entry…. That I am NOT looking forward to, but it is a necessary evil.

Do you know what is not evil? The brownie recipe I am about to share with you. Before I do, I must confess something. I’m not a huge fan of brownies. In fact, I’ve never really understood all the hype. I mean, I don’t hate them or anything like that, but I just don’t find them spectacular. However, since trying a certain recipe from my brother in laws girlfriend, I have become a bit of a convert. The beauty of these is that they are flour-less, egg-less, milk-less, no extra sugar, and all around healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I have no real qualms with any of those ingredients (well, maybe the flour), and I am usually quite sceptical of foods that make all those claims. One thing they usually leave out is ‘tasty’. These brownies have lived up to the hype.

This is not the first version of vegan no bake brownies, and I doubt they will be the last. This is just my tasty, tweaked version.

Vegan No Bake Brownies (AKA The BEST BROWNIES EVER!)

2 cups of dates, pitted
1 cup walnut halves
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in food processor or super strong blender like a vita mix. Pulse ingredients together until it has a coarse sticky meal-y texture. Don’t pulse for too long, or you will release a lot of oil from the nuts. Pour mixture into a 9X9 pan and press flat and even. Place brownies in the fridge for 15 minutes, cut and enjoy!

Makes around 16 small squares.

These are so easy, it’s ridiculous. They are also healthy (although they sure don’t taste like they should be!), and best of all, satisfying. I find with most baking it’s hard for me to find the off button, but I can have one (OK, maybe 2) and not want to eat the whole pan. Oh, and don’t worry about not adding any sweetener, the dates make it plenty sweet!

And, finally, I am going to join my first sew along! It’s called Sew Colette 2.0, and it will feature all of the Colette patterns. I have enough of them now that I can certainly participate, and I’ll get some handy tips to boot. This actually couldn’t have come at a better time, I finished the Ginger skirt last night, and it is not the most flattering thing I have ever made. I have a super high, short waist, and this skirt emphasises it in the worst way possible. I need to adjust the pattern to have it sit much lower without losing the basic structure. Hopefully I’ll pick up some great fitting tips.

I hope you like the brownies!

How Much Does Your Beauty Regime Cost?

Hello bloggy peeps. I am hella tired, so this probably won’t be a long post, but I thought I should check in, just to get into the habit of blogging again! So far, my week has been great, I’ve been running and strength training like a demon, and I hope to continue with this momentum.

One thing I am wondering about (to completely change the subject), is what your beauty regiment like? I’ve never really had one before, but I’d like to start, seeing as I’ll be 30 (EEK!) in August. One thing that I have become more passionate about as I have gotten older (besides health and fitness) has been environmental sustainability. I have a hard time walking the walk though, because it is just so expensive to switch everything over to natural and organic products. I’ve started reading this book called Ecoholic Body by Adria Vasil, and it is essentially a guide to green for Canadians. She gives great tips and reviews on natural products, but some of them are so bloody expensive! I mean, $15 for a bar of soap? There has to be a cheaper alternative, that doesn’t involve me making my own soap. I’m not comfortable with the idea of having lye in the house with the kitties around, so that’s out. So what’s a girl to do? Any tips of where to find relatively inexpensive organic soaps and such?

I have switched over my face cleansing routine, and this one is a real reversal from what I was doing before. I preface this by saying that after the awkward teenage years, I have had relatively normal skin; the breakouts do happen occasionally, but it’s never that serious. I’ve never been loyal to one brand of cleanser or moisturiser, usually going for what is on sale. Currently (or until last week), I was using a Bliss 2 in 1 facial cleanser from Sephora, and it was certainly NOT cheap ($25. That’s more than I paid for 4 yards of silk crepe at fabricmartfabrics.com. Just sayin’…). After reading my book and discovering the ‘Mean 15’ ingredients in beauty products, I was disappointed to see that my cleanser had a lot of them. So what are my options? Scour the stores for a new product with none of the ‘Mean 15′, possibly spending even more money (and lots of time in the mall), or I could try the oil cleansing method. That’s right, cleaning my face with oil.

It makes sense when you think about it. Our skin produces oil, so when we use cleansers that strip it of said oil, out skin goes into hyper drive to produce more oil, causing further problems for people with sensitive or acne prone skin. By massaging the face with clean oil, it removes the dirty oil, while leaving your skin hydrated and feeling great. Well, that is the theory anyway, so I thought I’d give the oil method a shot. This is what I do: I mix a small amount of castor, argan, jojoba and (sometimes) sweet almond oil together and massage it onto my face for a few minutes. After this, I rinse it off with a clean facecloth soaked in hot water. I’ve only been doing it for about a week, but I must say, my skin has been feeling really good lately. I’m sure that you can use other oils as well (olive is supposed to be amazing for cleaning the skin), but as I understand it, the castor oil is pretty important. It may take a bit of trial and error to get the proportions just right (I’ve probably just been lucky so far), but I am going to stick with this for the next month, and I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

The next thing I want to change over is the ol’ pit stick. This one will be hard… I really stink when I work out if my deodorant is weak. That’s probably more than you wanted to know…

This ended up being way longer than I thought it would, so I am going to sign off, wash my face, and go to bed. Nite all!

Whole 30 – 21 Days Down!

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Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope everyone is having a great Sunday! Now that the boy has gone down for a nap, I have a chance to update my blog. Today I have a bit more to write about, as it’s been a rather exciting week! The biggest news is that my province has a new government! If you can’t understand why this would be exciting (unless you are a nerd like me and enjoy politics, that is), it’s because this is the first change in our provincial government in 44 years!!!!! Can you believe that? The outgoing government had become so corrupt and out of touch that Albertans FINALLY decided that they’d had enough and voted for a much more progressive government. I am seriously over the moon about this. For the first time in my life I feel like my voice has been heard and my vote has counted. Friends, this is an amazing feeling!

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We brought the baby to the NDP victory rally on election day, not knowing that the outcome was going to be as good as it was. I feel so privileged to have been apart of this special time in history. Even more amazing, my lovely friend Christy is the new NDP MLA for Edmonton Millwoods! She is an awesome lady, let me tell you, and she will be such a great representative in the Legislative Assembly. And throughout all this, I stayed Whole 30 compliant. For a moment, I thought I might have a celebratory glass of wine (this was a very historic and joyous moment after all), but I decided to hold out.

In other less historically significant but still exciting news, I got a haircut.

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I am a hairdressers dream client, I’ll periodically walk into a salon and tell them to chop all my hair off. Hairdressers, in my experience, get absolutely giddy at the thought of giving someone a chic short haircut when the have long hair. It’s sort of hilarious.

I looooooooooove my new hair, so so much. It was just getting too long, and now that the baby has more control of his extremities, it was getting pulled all day, every day. It seems to have gone down quite well with other people, I’ve gotten many, many compliments. That said, does anyone really go up to people with freshly cut hair and say, ‘Dude, that looks like shit, wear a bag over your head from now on!’ Only a douche bag would do that, and my friends are lovely and not douche bags 🙂

I finally got a bag sewn up! It’s a pretty standard little tote bag made with some Ikea canvas (I am a big fan of their home decor fabric) and quilting cotton for the lining. It turned out a bit smaller than I wanted and it’s not entirely what I had envisioned, but it’s actually an ok little tote. When I come up with a bag pattern I am happy with, I will include more detailed pictures than the two I’m posting today.

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And finally, my Whole 30 update. I’m in the final stretch now, and I’ve got to say, it’s going pretty well! There are a few differences between this one and the Whole 30 that I completed in January, but I think I will save my insights for my next post. My eating patterns have been 100% compliant, and I have been walking loads. I haven’t been exercising as much as I said I would be, so I’ll need to start picking up the slack in that respect ASAP.

Best Recipes:

1. Butter Chicken – Oh man, is this stuff ever delicious! Even the baby loves it.

2. Scotch Eggs – The PERFECT on the go food. Baby is not a fan though…. yet…

3. Sweet Potato Hash – I made this for Mother’s Day brunch today and I don’t think I’d ever received more compliments on a dish I’ve made ever before. Delicious!

All the Mama's at Brunch today.

All the Mama’s at Brunch today.

4. Maple Sausage Patties – This is from the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook (so is the recipe above) and it was stupid easy to make. I subbed apple for maple syrup and the end result was delicious. Nom Nom Paleo basically rocks my world. There hasn’t been a single thing I’ve made from her blog or cookbook that hasn’t been amazing.

Cooking fails:

NONE 🙂

Overall, I’m feeling better on the Whole 30 and I’m thinking of going beyond the 30 days at this point. I am starting to have a few ‘non scale victories’ like fitting into clothes that I haven’t fit into in ages, and more energy. You know, boring stuff like that. I’m curious as to what the numbers will be at the end 30 days, fortunately I won’t have to wait too much longer.

See you in 10 days!

The Death Of A Fabric Store

There is a fabric/couturier in Edmonton who is going out of business after 40 years. It’s an unfortunate situation for anyone who enjoys making their own clothing in the city, as the options have become quite limited. There is the big box chain Fabricland, which is good for thread and some other notions, but has terrible fabric; and then (thankfully) there is Estees, a place known for selling high quality fabrics. That’s really all there is in Edmonton.

In what was likely my last trip to the closing store, I overheard the owner frustratedly explaining his situation to some customers who were curious as to why the store was closing after so many years. Essentially, it came down to the internet ruining the business. With the rise in internet fabric stores, suppliers are selling directly to consumers in much smaller quantities than the store itself is obligated to purchase. The fabric store is obligated to buy a minimum amount of fabric, say 25 meters, but the customer who buys direct can get only what they need, say 2 meters. They do not have to pay the same cost to the supplier, and people are going with the more direct and cheaper option. This is the beginning of the end of the brick and mortar fabric store in his opinion.

As I was listening, I couldn’t help but feel a bit bad. I have bought most of my fabric on line, and as a result, I have contributed to the problem. Just hearing him speak, I knew that I was going to get something from the leftover stock. It was kind of a guilt purchase. However, as I looked around, it wasn’t really hard to see how things have gone down hill. If you as the consumer were presented with 2 identical products (a worsted wool gabardine, for example), and one was $5-20/meter while the other was $50-80/meter, which one would you pick? It is a no brainer for me, that’s for sure.

This is what I found as I looked throughout the store. It’s not that I am unwilling to purchase quality fabrics, it is simply too cost prohibitive to do in Edmonton. So, I turn to the internet and it has met my needs in abundance. If the store wasn’t going out of business, I likely never would have shopped there, the only way that I have been able to in the past 6 months is because everything is 60-80% off. And even then, many things are still much more expensive than buying on line!

I feel bad about this. I do my best to buy local, but in this case, I will not be stopping my on line fabric shopping. Sewing is not a cheap hobby, and this is the only way I can sustain it realistically. It would be nice if there was a resurgence in sewing communities around town, and maybe that will happen with the rise of hip seamstress bloggers like Gertie, Tilly, and Sunni, just to name a few.

Does anyone else have to deal with this where you live, or is this just a Canada thing? Maybe it’s just not a sustainable business model. Either way, my city is losing a little piece of its heritage at the end of the month, and it’s sad, to say the least.