The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, feat. Roasted Eggplant with Crispy Chickpeas


What should I make for dinner? 

Ugh. The million dollar question. I enjoy cooking most of the time, once the recipe and ingredients are laid out in front of me. But thinking and searching for recipes and dinner ideas, and gathering supplies for said recipes, is a constant struggle. A privileged problem, but a problem just the same. I can't be the only one. I would bet that even chefs are annoyed by the search for sustenance from time to time.

At the beginning of a new season, I'm full of excitement, busting out all my tried and true recipes that have been forgotten for months. Comfort foods in Fall, barbecue in Spring. But that passion doesn't last long. Within a few weeks, I'm back staring at an empty fridge and scrolling through Pinterest, wondering yet again, what should I bloody make for dinner?

When in doubt, open a book. Cookbooks, in this case. The OG of recipe inspiration. This winter I started checking out cookbooks from the library and making as many recipes as I can from them in the three weeks before their due date. Some books fail hard (I'm looking at you, one-basil-leaf-in-the-pasta-sauce Tucci) but others have multiple wins and multiple renewals as a result. The Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman is a perfect example of the latter. Everything I tried became an instant favourite. Because this book isn't a new release, I was lucky to be able to renew it several times and cook from it for a couple of months.

2015 Quilts: Two Weddings and a Baby


When I redesigned the blog, I found this post buried in my drafts. I could've sworn I had published it ages ago. In 2015, to be exact. Mind you, I still have moving boxes to unpack from that summer, so it's not surprising at all that it fell through the cracks. What is surprising is that I found the time that year to sew not one, not two, but three quilts! Perhaps I'm motivated by extremely limiting circumstances. Or perhaps I sew to survive extremely limiting circumstances. Hmmm.

Keeping It Cozy


A Linden Sweatshirt, a crochet hat and a cuddly cat. If that's not a recipe for cozy, I don't know what is. Since we're back to winter temperatures again today, it seems like a good time to share two of my comfiest, coziest makes of the season. (Guest appearance by my crazy cat, Pekoe, who wouldn't leave me alone during this photo shoot.)

This is my very first Linden and I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to try. It's been out since October 2014! Perhaps I was just waiting for the perfect fabric to cross my path, because as soon as I saw this super soft, flecked fleece come in at Needlework, suddenly the Linden was all I could think about. I whipped it up in a couple of days after buying the fabric, and I've been living in it ever since. It was super quick to sew too, only took me a couple of hours. I'm thinking it's because there are no hems to fiddle with. Bands for the win!

And before you dismiss a boring old sweatshirt, my husband declared this his favourite thing that I've sewn in awhile. So there ya go. Bringing sexy back, one sweatshirt at a time.

Ebony Tee Two Ways


Meet the Ebony Tee from Closet Case Patterns. I don't usually jump on newly released patterns right away. I'm much more likely to wait a year, so I can waste hours obsessively scrolling through hundreds of Instagram photos and blog reviews of course. I wasn't even sure that this trapeze style was "me", but darn if it didn't look like the most comfortable dress ever. Then one day I suddenly remembered a funky grey jersey print I had been holding onto for a couple of years. It would be perfect for this style. Shortly after that, some bamboo terry at Needlework screamed "Ebony" too loudly at me to ignore. Within a week, I had both a top and a dress. 

And then the weather miraculously cooperated with a freakishly warm long weekend in February, so I could give my new Ebony Tees the photos they deserve. 

Meant to be. Clearly. Ha!

I'm still not entirely sure the style looks great on me. I'm pretty faithful to a cinched waist. But I do know both garments make me feel great. It's hard to go wrong with knits in the comfort department, but there's also just something about a big flowy skirt that is so feminine and fun. When your clothes have the power to inspire a spontaneous twirl or just give you an extra bounce in your step, in February, it's a very good thing! 

Your Auntie Made That


I was going to title this post "Baby Making", until it occurred to me that may be a little misleading to people who may be googling that sort of thing. Ha!

I became an Aunt for the second time this past August, right before we left for Spain, so naturally I dropped all my vacation sewing to make as much as I could for my new niece before I left. She was born five weeks early, so she needed preemie-sized clothing stat and I was happy to oblige. The smaller, the cuter, in my opinion.

Plus, sewing for babies is so fun and satisfying. They're super quick to sew, can usually be made with scraps, and look freaking adorable. I remember feeling special when I was told that my Aunts made this or that outfit for me or my dolls. I still am. And I love that I can now pass that on to my own nieces!

Ginger Jeans


Jeans, baby! I MADE JEANS! 

If you can't read my blogging tone there, I'm pretty darn excited about it.

Sure, the fit isn't perfect. But, considering I've never even sewn a pair of pants before, the fact that my first pair look like "real" jeans and can be worn in public is pretty monumental for me. 

I went into this project excited to beef up my technical skills and just generally learn how jeans are constructed. Like, how does that little coin pocket get there? And where do you even start with a zipper fly? Well, it turns out none of these things are difficult at all. They just take a lot of little steps. If you take it one step at a time and try not to get overwhelmed, before you know it, you'll have a pair of real deal, wearable jeans too! Yay us!

Now I'll give you permission to take my very sage advice with a grain of salt, because I was lucky enough to have hands-on instruction from the pattern designer herself, Heather Lou, in a 2-day Ginger Jeans workshop at Needlework this past December. So I actually have no idea how difficult it would be all on your own. Taking that workshop meant no second-guessing and Googling at every step. It also meant I had someone eye-level with my butt to make all those fun crotch adjustments and pocket placements. (Ahem. Thanks, Heather.) But guess what? No one ever has to find out how to sew jeans alone, because Heather just announced that she is offering an online jeans-making workshop. The class I took with her was so beneficial, I considered signing up for the online one too, just so I would always have it. I still might.

Anyway, enough gushing about lovely, talented Heather. Back to me. Me me me. Let's look at those jeans, shall we?