Series: Sew – Christmas Stockings

I know this is the end of 2017 and I think I posted one other time.  It’s been as the Queen would say “Annus horribilis”.  I love writing and journaling and when blogging came to be — I thought this was a good medium for me to share with the community and just improve my writing.

It’s been a challenging year full of ups and downs. Emotionally I think I hit the lowest of the lows.  I’m still trying to find the courage inside of me and speak my mind but I’m still afraid. In order to start things on a more positive note – I decided to dive into things I love.  Sewing and crafting with the kids.

First up: Christmas Stockings. I’m trying to be a real adult and think about what look and style I want for Christmas and I love me some flannel and it’s just so cozy so I’m making new ones.

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

To make one stocking, you need at least 15 inches of fabric cut.  I had about 1.5 yards to make four stockings.

Find a free pattern off pinterest. Double up your fabric to cut two pieces of the stocking.

In order to make it large enough to hold all the goodies you need, I cut an 1.5 inches larger than the paper pattern.  Use scotch tape to hold it down.

Sew a simple quarter inch hem at the top of the stocking of each piece.

Optional: Embroider a personalized name on the front of each stocking

Cut a 4 inch length twill tape for the loop.  Sandwich it in between the right sides of each stocking piece on the heel side. Pin it together.

Sew! Done.  Isn’t it pretty with the personalized embroidery?

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

 

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

This is what middle age feels like

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

Picture care of the little dude

It’s that time of the year again, when I have one posting on my blog.  I keep saying I will blog regularly as I have a new business idea to realize.  Life and stress gets the best of me and it’s been quite the struggle.

First off, a day off from work. A much needed break where I can just take time out for myself and breathe. I just want to hang out on my own.  I may go for a run as I was spoiled with a GPS watch this year and I’m really excited about that. I will head to MoPoP and check out the Star Trek exhibition before it leaves in April. I’m a huge dork but I don’t care I love this stuff.

I saw Ali Wong over the weekend and that was a great kick start to my birthday, her humour is so relevant to my life right now.

My last birthday post was 2 years ago so what has happened since:

  • I’m still working full time but in a new team and my colleagues are great.  Everyone is in a different stage in life but all super helpful when you have one or a million questions.  Plus I like our discussions about the question of the day.
  • Lilsoak is officially closed for business. I still think about the second iteration a lot and I have some ideas but I need more time to think it through.
  • I have been sewing and drawing more this past year as a way to relieve stress and it’s been good. I hope to do more little projects like this.
  • We have care for the kids since J came into our lives last year and it’s given some breathing space from all the busy parenting.  Like Ali Wong says “I work so I can have someone else take care of my kids”.
  • I coloured my hair teal blue. It has since turned green and yellow. This is my chinese cheapness coming through by not getting it recoloured because I want a new camera and computer instead.
  • Ballerina Monster never ceases to amaze me with all her new learnings from preschool.  I think she is ready for kindergarten.
  • The dude is always amazing me with his reading skills.  He is reading chapter books now.  I’m proud of his growth in this aspect.
  • I have connected to a good community group at Quest Church. It’s been a wonderful time of sharing and refreshing the spirit.
  • I have friends in Seattle now.  Whoa.  Crazy.
  • Reconnecting with old friends has been good for the soul.

There’s more but my brain is oh so tired.

 

2016 – What?!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

#vscocam

It’s been awhile since I have written. There has not been enough time to just settle in and get going and 2015 was that year of change. Shortly after my last post, I accepted a full time job offer.
After 6 years of reporting to a 2 and 5 year old, I was now going back into the corporate world.
It wasn’t an easy decision but I figure that I wanted to build my career again and think about saving up for the kids future and all that fun stuff.
Lil’Soak Designs was making money, but just not enough to pay all the day to day expenses of rearing kids.
It was a mad scramble to just put everything into place to adjust for two full time working parents and I think our family is still getting used to it.
I haven’t completely abandoned my wee business but I need to think about what Lil’Soak 2.0 looks like down the road. So more on that to come as we are in a new year.
I started a #365 day project on January 1st. I wanted to be able to create something everyday and posting it on my instagram: yvrsonya. It just something I wanted to do to get my creative juices going.
Kids are loving their new school and it’s weird to see my oldest in kindergarten. He’s grown so much and even in the last couple of weeks, I have seen him settle down. He has been really challenging the last part of 2015 and I think it was partly all the immense changes we went through as a family in 2015. I was a little worried about having Ballerina Monster about being in full time preschool but she is learning a lot. It’s a bummer that she doesn’t get to experience outdoor preschool like Pax but there are other wonderful things that the school does that a typical daycare wouldn’t do and they do spend as much time outside as they can.
I was worried about my brain not functioning analytically as I stayed at home with the kids for a long time but it looks like the noggin’ is working once again in all things supply chain.
I’m keeping up with working out and getting stronger and I lost quite a bit of weight and got stronger. I stopped working out regularly when I started working but I’m back on the train again and it feels really good. I think what really stuck with me was that I need to decrease my sugar intake and once I really looked at what I was eating, I was able to slim down. I’m not quite at the goal that I’m at which isn’t not losing weight but losing inches on my waste but it’s getting there.
Happy 2016! I keep saying that I will try and blog regularly but I think if I can stick to at least doing it once as week, I would be a happy camper so that’s the goal for now.

40!

s40

I’m 40. Wow.  It feels old. This is a picture I took this morning.  I already talked about my road to 40 and I still have a long ways to go but I think I’m headed in the right direction.  I remember when I turned 30 and it was so indulgent and just all about me. I mean, I went to Paris! When you have kids, it’s not so much about yourself so even getting 5 minutes to yourself is a luxury. There isn’t much planned today but my brother and his family treated me to an awesome seafood dinner in Ballard.  It was family friendly, super tasty and just pretty relaxing.  I even got myself an Arnold Palmer.  How very American of me. 

A lot has happened in the last 10 years:

  • I quit work and went back to school
  • I moved back to Vancouver from Toronto
  • I was a high school teacher
  • I reconnected with old friends and made new friends
  • I met an awesome guy named Tim and married him
  • The Vancouver had the winter olympics and I was there.
  • 2 weird and crazy kids and they’re mine
  • This Canadian moved to Austin, Texas
  • This Canadian moved to Seattle, WA
  • Never thought the stay-at-home mom role would be connected to me
  • Netflix is my good friend
  • I have a smart phone — one that plays youtube videos and has no antenna to pull up

It’s been a blur. Seriously, so much has happened.  I lamented a lot in my 20’s.  A little too much and now in a blink of an eye, I tick the bracket for middle age.  I’m happy that the guy working at Dahlia’s said I didn’t look 40, truth be told, I feel my age. 2015 is the year of change. For positive reasons. Thank-you so much for all the well wishes.

s40-2s40-3s40-4 

 

Road to 40: Working on it

I would say that I haven’t met my goals. Not even close. I mean, I have lost some weight and I’m much healthier than I was a year ago but I think the struggles of 2014 took a toll on me physically, emotional and mentally that I just don’t feel like I’m at the best that I can be as I turn 40 in a week or so.

I have themed this year the year of “change”.  Boy it has been.  We are going through so much different things as a family that it’s just a blur. P is going into kindergarten in the fall and Meira is soon to start school! I have also decided to go back to work full time after a a 6 year hiatus and I start in the spring.  There is so many things for us to do and to adjust to. We got rocked by a really bad flu that had us in and out of sickness for most of the winter so I wasn’t able to get to the gym as regularly as I could have. I am still getting stronger and I have lost a little weight but I don’t think I have lost the 2 inches that I would like. I think I may have lost a cm or so. I do feel like my clothes fit better but I still have a lot of belly weight and butt to lose and tone.

I didn’t meet my goals but I am determined that with this year of change that it will be my goal to change my body to a healthier fitter self. I am tired of all this extra flab.  I know there will be a lot of challenges ahead but I am making plans to really stick to a healthier eating lifestyle and regularly fitness. I already started my day with drinking more water with lemon so it’s a start.

 

Outdoor Preschool

outdoorp-3

The little dude is not so little anymore! Another milestone birthday. He’s 5. I can’t believe it. Time has gone by so fast and yet so slow. I have to cherish these moments because he’ll be a man in blink of an eye.

outdoorp-2I have been meaning to share some pictures from his nature preschool. It was circle “birthday” time for P and so they were all gathered on the logs but they have quite a bit of space in their outdoor classroom and the kids naturally know where the boundaries are without having any real walls. I love that. One of the main reasons why we chose this form of classroom is because we didn’t want to be sick anymore and really for our family, we have were not nearly as sick as we were when he was in a more traditional indoor school setting. I like the teachers a lot and they have really helped P understand himself and his surroundings a lot more. For those who are wondering — they are outside the entire time and if there are severe weather conditions then we pick them up in the greenhouse but in the last two years, we have maybe done it two or three times. They dress in layers and if they do any kind of craft or drawing activities, there is a tarp in one section and some large cookies as their table.

outdoorpIt’s great to see how the young minds work using nature as their backdrop.

Halloween Kids Costumes

 

I’m not a big fan of halloween. It’s the dressing up, the candy thing, going out in rainy wet weather and so forth. SO much pressure when you see all these cute wee ones in their oh so cute costume. Adults the same, I always hated dressing up for halloween because I have no imagination when it comes to costumes. I wanted to try for my kids sake so one wanted to be Jay from Ninjago and the other wanted to be one of the frozen sisters and I picked Elsa because she didn’t have a cape I needed to sew.

costumescostumes-2

I found a free pattern for a balaclava but I had to extend it about an inch and a half to make it fit over his head and so he could breathe.  I used blue lycra material and sew a long sleeve shirt and leggings and added a silver shoulder detail for the armour.  I also added a silver belt.  Pretty easy and simple to sew his costume. I think it took me a few hours from cut to finished product.  Not bad.

Lego-ninjago-jay-zx-9553-gallery-1M7000

I used a McCall’s pattern for Meira’s dress.  The dress is for a 3/4 year old but it was the smallest I could find and I didn’t feel like doing the pattern from scratch because I haven’t sewn a fancy dress before.  It was so big that it fit Pax and I had to hack hem it so that she would grow into it.  I just folded the excess fabric and did a quick invisible hem and so when she gets taller, I just have to let out the dress length out.  It’s cute though. I glued snowflakes onto the tulle part and found other cute added details to add some bling.  I even have a battery powered snowflake christmas lights so if she was older, I can even include that in her dress as well.  She is happy with it though so that make it a win for all.

costumes-4

I wanted to make their costumes for the sole reason so that they had dress up clothes later on and they have been dress up with each other post halloween so it was worth sewing these this year. Not sure what I’ll do next year.  I have to see how I feel. It’s a lot of pressure!

Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie

I’m on a serious pie kick these days – savory and sweet. I’m determined to make the perfect tasting pie crust and I don’t quite have the technique down yet so I’ll keep making pies until I do.

Here is my version of the chicken pot pie recipe that is not gluten free but is dairy free. You can easily do this with store bought pie crust (regular and gluten free) or puff pastry and it works great.  This version uses the bottom and top but you can for sure just do a top only crust to save on calories. Google  Ina Garten’s or Carla Hall’s pie recipe to make your own home made pie crust.

Ingredients

  • pie dough (two 10 inch crust will be enough to make 4  4 inch mini pies)
  • 1 costco size package of organic boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs or if you roast chicken regularly, by all means, use your leftovers
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 medium onions
  • a cup of frozen peas/corn mix thawed
  • 1 can of coconut milk (it can be half the can but I accidentally pour the entire can and it works)
  • thyme
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
  • dried herbs to your liking (sage, tarragon, parsley etc)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • splash of white wine
  • cornstarch slurry to thicken

Poaching chicken:

You can brine/marinate the chicken (which I do) before poaching but it’s not neccesary.  I just don’t like super chewy meat so I like to tenderize my chicken.  Roughly cut one celery stock, carrot and onion. Since you are making a stock, you don’t need it to be in small bite sized pieces. Add the chicken and veg into a pan.  Add enough water to the pan so that it just covers the chicken and a splash of wine.  Add salt and thyme Bring water up to a boil and then let it simmer. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until all the juices run clear.  Take out the chicken pieces and save the “stock”.

Putting together the filling:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Shred the chicken or cut it into 1 to 2 cm cube like I did.  Dice the rest of the onions, carrot and celery.  Add some olive oil to your dutch oven. Cook onions until translucent. then add the carrots and celery and cook until softened. Add your desired dried herbs.  I use tarragon, lavender, parsley kind of mix.  Add salt to pepper to taste. Add the stock and let it come up to a boil, add the chicken, coconut milk, thaw peas and corn.  I added the corn starch slurry until it was thick and then turn the heat off.  I also use tapioca starch or arrowroot to thicken.  I don’t normally do the roux method because I got used to to thickening this way when Tim was gluten free.

Let the filling cool and add to the pie plate.  Fill 3/4 full and add the pie top.  Pinch it to the bottom pie crust or to the sides if it’s just a topper. Brush egg wash on top.  Place the mini pies in a pan in case it spills, then it spills into the pan instead of the oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top is a lovely golden brown.

Voila!  So delicious and the best part after you let it cool is that you can freeze the pies to have a later date. You don’t have to bake the pies if you plan on freezing them too.

 

 

Lil’Soak Designs: Luggage Tags

$15

I took a wee break from sewing to finally put together the final touches of the luggage tags. I created sturdier address cards for the back.  A new improved design, it’s smaller but still has the bright teal fabric with the rockin’ robot.  US made, wool felt and original embroidery design. There is only a limited number in this design! Click on the shop link for more pictures and details.

 

 

DIY Sew: Super hero capes


Kids love imaginary play and the little dude is always wanting to play superheroes so I thought I would make them some capes instead of spending the money to buy one at the shop. I have this awesome remnant fabric that I made my cousin trek from Toronto to Vancouver (it’s heavy) and it’s great for making a trench or a kids rain coat. I think I’m going to make them an indoor teepee/tent if we ever move to a bigger place.

Pinterest is a great start to do some research on how capes are made. I ended up melding a couple of patterns that I found online.


I took some tracing paper and drew out the pattern. Cut 2 of the pattern on the fold.

Sizing for a child 4-7 

  • neck:  4 inch depth neck for Pax who is almost 5 and I think it’s too big so you could get away from 2.5″ to 3″ depth.
  • length (top to bottom) : 26″
  • bottom width 12.5″
  • height between neck and the top part of the cape: 3″
  • top width 6-7″

Sizing for a toddler 

  • Neck: 2.5″ depth
  • length (top to bottom) :  22″
  • bottom width: 12.5″
  • height between neck and top part of the cape: 3″
  • top width: 6-7″

These measurements are on the fold and I round my corners for a softer look.  I drew the pattern freehand as you can see above.


I personalized the back of their capes with applique emblems. For the letters, I picked out a font enlarged on photoshop, printed it on paper and traced that stencil onto the fabric.  I then sewed it to the dot fabric the kids picked out. Pax decorated his with pencil crayon for a personal custom touch as you can see on the left. I used a zig zag stitch to attach it to the circle fabric.


I attached the emblem onto one side of the fabric before I attached the second part of the cape.

With right sides together, sew the two cape pieces together leaving a small hole so you can flip it inside out.  Once that’s done, you can top stitch it for a finished look and sew velcro pieces to the neck part so that the cape easily attaches. Voila! Done!

I linked the DIY cape pinterest page for more styles and ideas but it only took about an hour to make the 2 capes.  Endless fun for the kids.