Make, Jane, make!: 2013


Small Share

Thursday, October 31, 2013

On a Rainy Hallowe'en...

I've been on a bit of a hiatus lately owing to a lot of changes in our home lives... back to work (for me), back to school (preschool for the middle son and grade one for the eldest) and a new bun in the oven! Been tired and sick and trying to figure out how to juggle school, the midwife, work, swimming, Chinese school, etc. and still find time for my few pursuits and blogging.

Anyway, three months have gone by and I'm feeling a bit more like myself again and I am game for bringing this blog back up to snuff in the few months left before the next child hits our household. So here's a look at what's on tap for tonight's soggy trick or treating and I'll follow up later with some pictures of the costumes in the making.

I had a request for dinosaur costumes this year and because they are still subject to my will, I interpreted that to mean Dinosaur Train.

The general pattern for the costume can be found on the PBS website and I made a few modifications to make the hood more realistic.

That pattern also served as my template to create Tiny Pteranodon and Mr. Conductor (seen above without his signature uniform and below with all the pieces together).

Hopefully, hubby can get some nice pictures of the kids tonight before they step out and get soaked. Happy Hallowe'en to all!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Canada Day Tradition?

We did it last year and I felt compelled to do it again this year...

Matching outfits.

This year our matchie-poo clothes are courtesy of sew, mama, sew! and Made by Rae via their Spring Ruffle Top Tutorial.

My top was made by following the directions exactly... no time to mess around this year with any variations since I started this project with a mere week to sew and too many work and school commitments to count!

I highly recommend this tutorial and top. The instructions were super easy to follow with lots of suggestions to help make the fit super comfortable and flattering!

More to come on how I made my daughter's dress in the next post...

(And I promise that there will be a next post soon. I know I've been really absent lately, but I do have a ton of posts/ideas/photos piling up that need to be published... Just need to start writing :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The smell of spring...

Lilacs are the smell of spring for me. 

This bunch smelled especially fragrant as they were picked after a child-free and very productive day of house-cleaning and veggie-planting.

Monday, May 13, 2013

And this is why I don't start seeds earlier...

Yesterday, dear hubby and I were out de-thatching the lawn... in the pelting hail! What kind of world do we live in when Mother's day is sprinkled with snow? Needless to say, our weird weather and late frosts (...calling for frost tonight...) are the main reason I don't aim for early vegetable harvests.

Also, I'm still in the process of refining my indoor planting schedule. For instance, my tomatoes have been stunted at the small seedling stage because of the sudden loss of sunlight. Whereas I have an especially ambitious cucumber that has broken its soil block and is threatening to invade its neighbours.

And speaking of invasions, one of the local rabbits was bold enough to come explore my empty gardens while we were raking yesterday. It was lucky that I didn't have the garden spade in hand because the only thing that stopped me from launching my rake spear-style at said rabbit was the non-lethality of my weapon. You won't be so lucky next time rabbit...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Potting On and on and on...

Man, I wish I had planned my planting better so that I could have potted on about a week and a half ago... that would have been awesome. But as it happens, I didn't do that kind of pot on that day.

Monday, April 29, 2013

We had a sunny day...

We had a sunny day yesterday and now my arms and back ache from the raking and seeding and other various outdoor chores that are the price we pay for sunny days. Our whole front yard is seeing a makeover courtesy of my even-more-back-sore hubby. A season of leatherjackets and skunks digging for the leatherjackets left our front yard looking a lot like an old minefield with craters and upturned soil everywhere. So no pictures of the gardens this year, even though we've had the pleasure of seeing the galanthus bloom and fade and are enjoying the first of the crocuses now, because I'd have to wade through grass seed and top soil to get to them.

Inside the house, we've done some planting as well...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Look at my new toys!

Went to Lee Valley last week and picked myself up some new toys. While my egg shell seedlings worked very well last year, I decided that I could improve my yield and variety by not wasting valuable  sunny window space on eggshells that didn't germinate.

Now I just need to get to the garden centre and pick up some supplies to make my soil blocks. Can't wait to get started...

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Girly Easter Basket

I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter/holiday weekend and did not mess up as royally as this mommy did. What happened, you say? Well, in typical "plan ahead but still end up doing it at the last minute" fashion, I started designing my daughter's egg basket about two weeks ago and ended up finishing it 10 minutes before we had to leave for our egg hunt.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Baby Qipao Tutorial, Part 2

Had a brief intermission to wax nostalgic about my mom's cookie cutters and the era they hail from and now I'm back to part two of this qipao photo tutorial (you can find Part One here).

Monday, March 18, 2013

Like a 50's Housewife...

... I made some cookies for St. Patrick's day this week.

My motivation was partly wanting to eat some iced sugar cookies but mostly wanting to use these great cookie cutters (passed on to me from my mom when it became evident that I actually enjoy being in the kitchen).

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Baby Qipao Tutorial, Part One

I think I've said this before but I'll say it again... Sewing for girls is so much fun because I can make use of embellishments like puffed sleeves and ruffles and pleats and trim. Things that my boys probably would not appreciate on their camo-print clothes.

Baby Chinese dress

Last year I made a really small version of this baby qipao for my daughter which she had almost outgrown by the time I finished it. (Darn it, infants grow much too fast!) This year, I used the leftover fabric and reprised the pattern to make a version that was actually a little too large. Ahh, frazzled mommy can never get anything right.

Anyway, when I was Googling around for some design inspiration, I noticed that there is a lack of resources for sewing a simple Chinese style dress for a girl, so I thought I'd document the process and, because there are a lot of pictures, present it in two parts.

(Find Part Two here).

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Homemade Char Siu - Worth the Effort!

On my last trip to the butcher, I spied a truly beautiful pork shoulder - plump, marbled and deboned. Our usual go-to recipes for pork shoulder are jerk pork or pulled pork... however, with the weather being decidedly wintry, asking hubby to smoke pork for six+ hours in the snow seemed a bit absurd. Undaunted, I bought the almost four pound shoulder anyway reasoning that we would find some way to eat that pork.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sweet Soup Dumplings (湯圓)

Mmmm... sweet soup dumplings. Chewy and warm and not too sweet. In our family we usually enjoy these around the winter solstice, but I know that a lot of families enjoy them during the new year and specifically to celebrate first full moon of Chinese New Year.

Usually, I make these every year with my father and sometimes my brothers if they are available. I have such fond memories of sitting around the dinner table with my family and making dumplings, pot stickers, spring rolls, etc. This year was extra special because it was the first time I made them with my family. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Reversible Superhero Cape How-to

I made some reversible superhero capes for my son's superhero-themed birthday party and let the kids decorate them with some iron-on felt letters and shapes. They turned out really cute and the kids loved them. Here are the capes that I made for my sons... these have the emblems sewn on so that they'll tolerate multiple (multiple) washes.

DIY superman cape

I know tutorials for superhero capes are available ad nauseum, but I took some pictures as I was sewing so [crazy, overtired mommy in her threatening tone] now you get to see them.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Belated Valentines Day!

royal icing, jam, buttercream

Yesterday, while dropping my second son off at preschool, I realized that it was Valentine's day and that I'd run out of the house without even giving hubby a kiss goodbye.

"So this is where we're at, huh?" I thought to myself.

Though, we've never made a huge fuss out of any special occasion, being in too much of a rush to give my DH a kiss seemed a far cry from our young and wild days of early marriage when everyday would be like Valentine's day... And while we weren't going to have a extravagant dinner or drink wine until we were silly, I figured that we could at least get into the spirit with something of the season.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Super Fifth Birthday!

Like some kind of clockwork child, my eldest son is now into superheroes.
His current favourite? Batman.
Why? "He has a cape and a mask and spiky things on his arms."

Ahh, accessories. Men love them too. Just in a different way. (For instance, my husband said he always wanted to be a hockey goalie because of the cool pads and gear... but that's a story for another day.) Today's story is about my son's super fifth birthday.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Recipe Review: Sweetapolita's Fluffy Vanilla Cake

Do you dream of light, fluffy, super vanilla-y white cake? I do. And the epitome of wonderful white cakes? [Head bow in shame] The boxed ones. Nothing homemade could really come close to that boxed white cake mix... Or so I thought until I got a chance to try this recipe.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Back on track?

My goodness! It's has been too long since I've read my blog list or posted to my own blog. Christmas was crazy as always and then I had some personal things that I had to get sorted out which more or less took up most of January. But I'm going to try to start again... First things first though, I need to go and sort through all the photos that I took for intended blog posts and sort through them. Be back soon.