Moving time!

Hi Folks,

Just a quick line to say that after some sisterly discussions, Bitches with Stitches is no more. I (Carlee) will be moving to sewcookgardenrepeat.blogspot.ca. Don't worry! There was no fighting or anything. Jamie just moved and has other things that are more important to deal with at the moment, while I have been itching to carry on. So I will! And I am flippin excited! So please join me! I will be moving all my previous posts over so that we can start anew!  Thanks y'all!

C :)


The Ugly Side of Looking Pretty

Look, this is going to be a short long post, but it is a very important one nonetheless, so stay with me.

So, part of the reason why I have been so slow to post is because some things happened recently in my life. I'm not trying to use this as an excuse, we are all busy, but this is different.

Now, I like having a set day to post on the blog because if I don't have a deadline, generally, things don't happen. So, my goal is to try to post something on  Saturdays that is sewing related, and occasionally on Fridays as I can. If I miss the Saturday deadline, it's not a big deal, I won't beat myself up too much, but I'll try to get it done as quickly as possible after Saturday has passed.

Three Saturdays ago I had a cold. I was doing pretty well to keep it from hitting me too hard-lots of tea and fresh orange juice-but I was still pretty tired. I decided that I would give myself a break for the weekend and just relax so that I wouldn't have to miss any work on Monday. I straightened my hair on Sunday night, set out my new skirt, and made sure that I would be all set for a photo shoot for my next post.

I still felt a little tired but I felt really good about how well put together I was. I even wore my heels to work. I never really feel so well put together so even though my cold was making me tired, I was still feeling really happy. As happy as the first time I wore the jungle dress out.

Now, part of the reason why we all sew our own clothes is because it feels satisfying! There is something so satisfying knowing that you have created something with your bare hands. You figured out what fabric to use, you decided which pattern to make, and you came up with all the little details that make the piece of clothing so much more than what a store bought article could ever be. And the clothes actually fit to boot! It is something unique that is literally made by you. It puts you in control, instead the corporations who manufacture cheap trends using, essentially, slave labour.

Another reason why we make our own clothes is because, let's face it, the attention that you get while wearing your own clothes feels awesome. Homemade clothes look so different that people can't help but comment. The first time I wore my jungle dress a lady at a store asked where I bought it and when I told her I made it, she was so amazed that she asked if I had my own store! That felt pretty damn good! We all like getting good attention, whether we like to admit it or not, and when you feel good in what you wear, and when what you wear looks great on, then the positive remarks tend to flow in constantly.

Unfortunately, sometimes we can get negative attention too. We can get whistles and catcalls and creepy stares. Sometimes we can get worse.

Trevor and I were walking around a store after work on said Monday evening and while we were looking around for a new toilet brush, we felt like we were being followed. Now, I wasn't being paranoid. If you've ever been followed before, you know the feeling I am talking about. Everywhere you walk, the other person walks. If you pick up your speed, so do they. The last time I felt like this was in England when someone was trying to pickpocket my wallet from my purse.

I moved my purse to the front, thinking that the man behind us was going to try to grab my purse, but we were still being followed. I think Trevor felt it too because he said we should just go back to the car. On the way out the door, the man moved so close that I thought he was going to grab my bum. Seriously. He sort of quickly bent down and then walked away. As soon as he turned, I saw it. In his hand he had a cell phone with the camera facing up. This man took a picture up my skirt.

It was so surreal. Did I imagine it? I told Trevor to try to make sure he suspected something had happened too. He did. I wanted to find a phone and call the police (of course, my cell was dead), but I didn't want the perp to get away. Trevor wanted to confront him but I said no. The man, luckily walked into a nearby store where we could watch him as we called the police.

Now, I'm not going to get into too much detail past this point, other than to say that the police showed up super fast (thanks!), but could do nothing because the man had (e-mailed and then deleted?) no evidence on his phone. What I want to say is this:

My cell phone was dead and I did not know the phone number for the Niagara Regional Police. The skirt that I was wearing was modest in length (you'll see), so the thought of some creep taking advantage never crossed my mind. I was lucky enough to be: a) with my husband, b) in a high traffic area, and c) near a store with some amazingly helpful and caring people (Thanks Commisso's!) who let me use their phone. If I was else where and alone, I would have been screwed and this creep would not have his name recorded in the police file.

So, first: PLEASE REPORT IT TO THE POLICE IF SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS TO YOU. If it isn't reported by you and it happens again to someone else, then he might get away with it again and again. If his name is on the police report, even if he isn't caught, and there is another person accusing him of the same act again in the future, then the police have something to work with. I want this creep behind bars dammit!

Second: PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOUR CELL PHONE IS ALWAYS CHARGED AND PLEASE ADD THE PHONE NUMBER OF YOUR LOCAL POLICE SERVICE INTO IT RIGHT NOW. I mean it. I will wait here while you add it...................Are you done yet? No? Geeze you are a slow phone-typer............Done? Okay. Good. Thank you.

I never thought something like this would happen to me, so I'm sure you are thinking the same. I hope it doesn't, because I was in a real funk for the week after it happened. I was real shook up after it happened. I was really down the next day. I didn't want to do my photo shoot and I didn't want to wear my skirt (or any skirt). But at the same time I wanted to wear it all the time as if to say, "I'm not going to let you stop me from doing what I want!" I was basically a walking mixed bag of emotions.

The following night after work one our mousetraps went off in the kitchen and the trap had caught it's teeny tiny leg, but he was still alive. Trevor hates mice (I think they are fricking cute as hell, I'd just rather they not be in my house eating my food), so I had to release him from the trap. I felt AWFUL for the little guy. He clearly was in pain. I let him out outside (not thinking), and he proceeded to crawl back under the deck (and likely back into the house, ha!). It is at this point that I lost it. So I decided to give myself a break from the blog until I felt good enough to tell you all about my ordeal.

Luckily for me, when karma gives you a really awful few days, it tries to make up for it. I took the day off that Wednesday to recoup. Trevor found out that his police check came in (He can start supply working finally! He was waiting for over a month for this thing.), I got to FEED SOME CHICKENS (It is actually a dream of mine to one day own chickens. They are hilarious.), and we went out for a great dinner with some friends on that Friday, where I ordered a locally-sourced maple syrup cotton candy for dessert that literally towered three feet into the air. While wearing my jungle dress. :)

I also made a face out of my cotton candy when I had eaten too much of it and was waiting for it to get packed up:

Notice he sports a fancy moustache.
As for the next Saturday, it was Thanksgiving! So Trev and I took some much needed time off. And this Saturday? It was Oktoberfest, silly! But hey, here is my post. And the skirt photo shoot has taken place already, and is in the works for real soon. Perhaps even during the week? We'll see.

So please. Don't feel bad for me or apologize that this happened to me. It did. It sucked. I'm over it. Just promise me you'll report it if it happens to you.

And keep wearing those damn skirts, ladies!


[powered by: This guy- because serious posts require silly videos, and this song]


Foodie Friday: Tom-ay-to, Tom-ah-to!

Sorry for being M.I.A. lately. Long story! Regardless, since this is one of the last weekends that you will be able to get tomatoes at the farmer's market and off your tomato plants (at least here in Niagara), I though I would show you how Trevor and I freeze our tomatoes for sauce.

But first a little garden story: When Trevor and I bought this house, one of the first things we did was start to plan out the garden. I went online to Johnny's Select Seeds and onto Salt Spring Seeds and went crazy! I just love growing plants from seed. It is very satisfying knowing that your tender loving care is what produced such a bounty of food in such a short time! Even better than that, I like growing heirloom varieties that no one else really grows.

Chillin' on my tomato plant: If you know what kind of caterpillar this is, please let me know!
This is especially true with tomatoes. Did you know that you can grow tomatoes that are red, green, yellow, orange, pink, white, purple, brown/black, striped, in husks, marble-sized, softball-sized, pepper-shaped, pear-shaped, smooth, bumpy, and everything in between? This means that I have lots of variety to choose from each year. (Next year? Yes, please!)

This year we chose three varieties: black cherry, wild, and riesetomate, which is my favourite, because it looks weird.

Unriped Riesetomate in my garden
We ended up with ten plants in the ground between the three varieties. Then, Trevor's tutor family gave him two giant flats of tomato plants (!!!). So, we dug a giant hole in the ground, planted ten more and put the rest in pots. The ones in pots sadly, did not do as well as the others (mostly because I tend to forget to water, and it was smokin' hot this summer), but the ones in the ground did great! Check out this one day's bounty:

We did not know what variety the plants that were given to us. My best guess is some saladette, some beefsteak, some roma, and some san marzano. Regardless, that means we had a garden, almost exclusively, of a lot of tomatoes! And anyone who has a few tomato plants knows that tomatoes don't always turn at the same time. So instead of canning them, we decided to freeze our tomatoes in a way that they would just need a little cooking down before becoming sauce.

I will warn you if you wish to give it a try: this is messy. And rewarding!

First get out your tomatoes! It is okay if they are a little green, or have yucky (not moldy), parts on them: you can cut them off. You don't want them to be too ripe and mushy (firm is good).

The next thing you have to do is give all your tomatoes two slices in the shape of an X on the "bum end" of the tomato. Make sure it is as shallow as you can get it. The aim is to pierce the skin.

Once all your tomatoes are ready and pierced, you need a large pot of boiling water, a pot of ice water (we just used super cold water, we had no ice), and something to move the tomatoes out of the hot into the cold. Place a few tomatoes at a time into the boiling water.

They will only need to be in there for about one minute. If you notice that the skin is already coming off, like the big tomato in the photo above, it is definitely ready! Next, transfer the tomatoes into the ice water to stop the cooking and get the next batch of tomatoes into the boiling water as you work.

After about a minute or two, you can take the tomatoes out of the ice water and peel the skins off. You can discard the skins. Once peeled, cut out any of the aforementioned "yucky" spots, and slice in half.

Finally, SQUEEZE out the seeds, toss the "goods" into a strainer, and once you are finished all the tomatoes, take the tomatoes from the strainer and place into some freezer bags. Try to get out as much air as possible.

Enjoy on a cold winter's night!

Special thanks to the guide on Pick Your Own for getting us through the first time!

See you soon!

Carlee :)

[powered by: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes]


Summer Lovin' happened so fast..

Hello !

So lately I've had a stroke of bad luck with a cold, food poisoning, and a thrown out back so i haven't been as productive as I would have liked. I did manage to draw up my next project and start my muslin though. i am just currently making adjustments to the pattern and hopefully by next week I will have some more progress to update! I do however have a sketch of what my next project will be.

        I really love spring/summer and I'm sad that fall is here
 so I wanted to make one last item as an ode to spring.

Also, I went home to Niagara Falls this weekend and my awesome Aunt and Mom wanted to take me out shopping. And shopping we did. I took some pictures of all of my new clothing pieces and shoes and thought I would share them on here. I'm in love with all of my new things <3

New sweater and button up shirt!
In love with the studded collar and the texture on the back of the sweater!

Love Jewel Tones, especially this deep blue.
Very comfy and stretchy but still super chic, can't wait to pair with some gold jewelry.

Jackie O Dress, enough said.

This was the main reason to go shopping- A dress for my cousins wedding next month.
At first I couldn't get into the peplum trend but then I tried it on and now I can't get enough of it!

My glorious new shoes and boots. The black pumps are to go with my scarlet red dress for the wedding.
My mom had to buy a pair of shoes to walk around the mall in and we went to ardenes for just cheap flats and they have 2 for 20 deals and I got the lovely leopard slipper shoes (I want slipper shoes in every color and fabric). I also couldn't resist the half off brown suede booties that I will wear with everything this fall and last but not least my combat boots that I paired with my pink button up today for a glam rock look!
Anyways hope you enjoyed the sneak peak at whats to come and some of the trends I love right now!                                 

(Powered by: Kyle watching "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" as background noise)


Granny Alert!

Some exciting news to share at the end of the post. Stick with me, it is worth it!

In other news: an apology. I was going to post a picture of my skirt today, but it wasn't finished. I didn't have an invisible zipper foot, or even a regular zipper foot, so I was going to hand-sew on my invisible zipper, which really isn't a big deal. but then I started thinking that maybe I'll make my skirt reversible since it already looks really nice on the inside, and if I was going to be putting in the extra effort to hand-sew the zippers, I might as well get the seam ripper out in order to hide my inside seam (this will make more sense next week). I figured that I would just suck it up, take the extra time and make it look really, really good. And in the meantime, while I was making up my mind with the skirt, I decided that I was going to do something up really quick that I had been planning on doing for some time.

So this all sounds very cryptic, but stay with me. So, when I picked out the fabric for the skirt, my mind started to race. I was trying to figure out what I would be able to wear with it-something that I already own. Then I thought about this minty green cardigan that I plucked from my sister's closet a few years ago. She bought it from Value Village, a local thrift store, for two or three dollars, and when she tired of it, she said I could just keep it (We borrowed a lot from each other at the time so I was wearing it often anyway). I was actually planning on giving it away because it looked like this:

Granny sweater alert! Even my hair looks granny here! I think I aged about 50 years.

Being a granny usually comes with saggy arms. This sweater has plenty of arm-sag!

It's just so ill-fitting. How did I ever wear this before?

So I decided to take a page out of Ms. Jillian Owens' and Ms. Charity Shop Chic's books and refashion it!

Now, unfortunately, I didn't think to take photos of what I did to my sweater, because fortunately this took all of an hour to refashion.

Here is the finished product! (Poor quality photos, sorry!)

Done up! Much better!

And unbuttoned!

So I will briefly explain what I did to it. First I chopped off the arms just past the elbow. For some reason I am not really a fan of fabric past my elbows. I think it is because I get all sorts of chalk and pen and pencil on my sleeves when I am teaching. No one likes a dirty sweater. Once I did the big chop, I put the sweater on inside out and pinned it in the armpit, in the waist, and near the bottom to so I would know where I would need to sew on the innards. I also tried to get a rough idea of how much fabric I could take out of the arm-sags. I pinched the sleeves and figured it was about an inch or so. I just sort of winged it to be honest. I then took the sweater off and sewed the sleeves tighter until the armpit. Here, I kept the needle in the fabric while I lifted my presser foot to turn the fabric. Then I sewed down the side of the sweater using the pins as my guide. I tried it on for fit, folded my sweater as perfectly in half as I could, then used my new taken in sweater side to mark the other half of the sweater so that both sides matched perfectly. I then followed my guide and sewed. I chopped off the inner excess (which got rid of some major pinching in the armpit areas), flipped up my sleeve ends twice, and sewed around the circumference of the sleeve to make a cute little sleeve cap, for lack of a better word.

That's it! New sweater complete! And the best part is that I haven't worn this sweater in years, and now I can't stop! Oh! Not to mention that it goes with the skirt I will be showing you this upcoming Saturday. How awesome it that? I think that I will be refashioning other items in the very near future! It is just so easy and satisfying to have a complete garment in a short time period.

Oh. Long story short. Another reason why I didn't finish my skirt is that I have been using my aunt's machine all this time and now that the weather is cool again, it is quilting season, and thus the machine is no longer with me. However: my birthday is in one month, and my other aunt and my husband are amazing:

Early birthday present!!!

Ain't she purrrty? So this is why this post is later than usual. I was putting her together and getting my skirt done! Hurrah!

See you Friday!


(powered by: Walk Off The Earth "From Me To You")


These aren't the droids you're looking for.....

And now for something a little different. I went to visit Jamie a few weeks ago, right after I finished my dress, and since she took fashion and lives in Toronto, it naturally follows that we went to the Queen Street fabric shops. I bought some buttons for myself that I'm sure I will find a use for eventually. As well, I saw a fabric that I knew I had to buy immediately so that I could make something for Trevor.

Well, I made something, and today we walked to the market with Harley, picked up some lovely fresh fruit and veg, and Trevor modeled for me in public (a little awkward for him!).

I present to you, The TIE Fighter (Get it?):

The Jack Russell did not like Harley.

A close up of the magnificent print.

So I actually finished this the night before we went away for our one year anniversary. I did not use a pattern, rather I took one of Kyle's ties (I was staying with Jamie and Kyle), laid it out on the wrong side of the fabric, and I used a square and some good old fashioned arithmetic, and created my pattern pieces from that. I just marked the fabric with (shhh!) a pen, and cut them out. Once the tie was stitched together, I used some interfacing I had at home to stiffen the material (it is just a cotton), and then I stitched the back up by hand. It's not the prettiest back there, I was rushing to finish it the night before, but it works. Pretty easy overall.

I've already made another tie (more in a later post), and I've made some significant adjustments. For one, the new tie has a wool lining up the entire tie (this tie has no lining). Second, I skimped on the interfacing, figuring that only the bottom part of the tie would need the added stiffness, but it turns out the entire tie length needs it to ensure that the fabric doesn't twist from wear (which is happening to Trevor's after only two wears). Live and learn!

I still think it looks pretty good. I can't wait to make more nerd ties!

Here is another shot of our furbaby:

Oh! And remember how in my post about the Jungle Dress, I mentioned that I originally was going into Fabricland to pick out a different fabric? Well, here is a little sneak peek of what is to come next week:

I'm almost done and I'm already showing everyone! I can't wait! Cheers!


(powered by: John Williams "Cantina Band")


Foodie Friday: Potato, Leek, and Bacon Soup

Hello everyone and welcome to my first Foodie Friday! I have to admit that since the start of the summer Trevor and I have gotten out of our routine of cooking good, proper meals, so I think that this special every Friday will not only show you how to make some of our delicious favourites, but it will also help us to stay on track and make real meals! So here it is, our delicious, super easy, perfect for fall, dairy-free, gluten-free, potato, leek, and bacon soup!

*3 leeks, sliced
*1/2 pound of bacon, chopped, plus a few slices separated from the rest
*2 cloves of garlic, crushed
*2 boxes of chicken broth (or homemade chicken stock)
*5-10 Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped

Once your bacon is chopped...

your garlic is crushed, and your leeks are sliced....

You are ready to start! In a large pot, add your bacon and cook on medium until it is nicely cooked, but not crispy. When the bacon is at this stage, turn up the heat a little, add your leeks and garlic, and saute in the bacon fat for a few more minutes. While bacon and friends are cooking, chop up your potatoes....

It sucks being one of the dudes on the bottom...
...and get your stock ready....
...and clearly, I am an overgrown child.
Once your bacon, leeks, and garlic are happy in the pot...

...,you can add all of your potatoes, followed by all of your stock. Bring to a boil and let cook until the potatoes are fork tender.

Once the potatoes are cooked, get your separated bacon ready in the frying pan. You will want one piece of bacon per person in the frying pan (fyi, this recipe will feed two people for about 2-3 meals, depending on how many times you go for seconds). Let the bacon fry until nice and crispy while you work on the next step.

While the bacon is frying, you will need to get out another large pot and a blender. Carefully ladle some of the soup into the blender, being careful not to overfill it (about halfway is good). Now this next step is very important. You know that weird plastic thing that can be removed from the lid of your blender?

Well, now is the time that it's function becomes glaringly obvious. Take it out. Put the lid on the blender. Put a tea towel over the lid hole. Puree. Wondering what all that was about? Well, the soup is hot and steamy, so when it is blended, if the lid hole contraption is left on, the steam will push the lid, the lid will come flying off, and burning hot soup will go everywhere. How do I know this? I'll let you use your imagination.

Now that this bit of soup is pureed, put it into the new pot and continue to puree all the rest of your soup.

Taste it, and add salt and pepper as you so desire. By this time your bacon should be done. Let it cool for a few minutes, until it is cool enough to touch. Ladle some of your soup into a pretty bowl, and rip the bacon up over top of your soup. Voila! Delicious meal prepared by you!

Or, you know, if you prefer that sort of thing....

Have a very happy Friday everyone! See you tomorrow!


(powered by: homemade hummus and Walk Off the Earth "Little Boxes"--they're Canadian, eh?!)