Bonsai Maple


I have a volunteer maple tree in a container on my back deck. It arrived about six years ago and I decided to leave it to see if it would survive the winter in a tub. To keep it under control I have created a bonsai, trimming the branches throughout the season. Six years later it still offers a wonderful fall display.

Travel Vest

I took the pattern from the Winter Jacket and converted it to a vest – removed the sleeves, took a dart in the armhole to reduce the fullness, dropped the shoulder a bit, and added more pockets on the inside!


I used the ultra suede fabric I bought in Portland for the front and back panels and the pocket top. The other faux suede fabrics I had in my stash and thought they went well with the grey.

What I’m most pleased about is the fit! I had to use a bias binding to trim the armholes and a collar to finish the neckline. I tried to figure out a way to join lining and outer vest from the inside but once lining was attached at the zipper and the bottom, there was not other way.

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Pink Socks

Finished this pair last evening – for the moment it looks as if I’ll keep them for myself.

Yarn: Opal, Sweet & Spicy

I bought two more balls of yarn from this collection yesterday, one in shades of blue, the other with mauves. I now have the following yarns in my stash:


(The middle one is from a collection inspired by “Le Petit Prince” – the children’s book).

15 MInute Meals

Cooking for one is a drag – other than an omelette or fried eggs, everything you make is for more than one. You either freeze it or toss it out… So I’m always on the lookout for interesting meals that might tempt me to cook.

I was in Sobeys this afternoon, I went to pick up some yoghurt when I walked past a display of Jamie Oliver’s recent cookbook: Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals – don’t ask me why I stopped, picked one up and opened it – I haven’t looked at a cookbook in more than 10 years (I have a cupboard full of cookbooks which I haven’t looked at in that long;  I certainly haven’t bought one for longer than that). I do peruse recipes online if I’m going to try something to see how it might be made – Danish Rødkål, for example (that’s Danish red cabbage – this particular recipe doesn’t add apples, I do); and I collect an occasional recipe which I put in a binder which I keep beside my microwave oven. But I just walk past recipe/cooking books!

This time, I stopped and actually looked through the book – they were half-price – Sobeys and Jamie Oliver are on a mission to bring better food to Canadians. Sobeys has their “Inspired” magazine which I do pick up quarterly when I see it at the checkout – there are usually several useful recipes in each issue. I guess I was interested to see what Jamie Oliver was bringing to the enterprise.

I came home, sat at my kitchen table, and began reading the book – I have to say there were very few recipes that didn’t appeal to me – they’re simple (maybe not all of them can be made in 15 minutes – that wasn’t what I cared about – I was interested in how the meals were balanced, easy to put together, many of the ingredients I already have in my kitchen).  Jamie begins by saying you need four essential tools: a food processor, blender, immersion blender and a kettle – I glanced over to the end of my counter top and there they were – all four of them in a row, ready to go.

I can see the book is going to sit on my kitchen table for quite some time – offering me ideas for feeding myself (I don’t have to make the four servings most of the recipes will provide – the recipes are easy enough that I can scale them down to two servings without compromising the taste).

So, I’m recommending the book. I could taste the food as I read each meal – the recipes are accompanied by very well done photos of food served in Jamie’s rustic style – his point is to make us realize we can cook interesting, healthy meals for ourselves if we’re willing to think about it – the “15 minutes” – to let us see we can do it in less time than it takes to order take-out!


New Jacket

Just finished the new jacket! I must say I’m rather pleased with how it turned out.

In addition to the two outside pockets, there are eight on the inside (two with zippers, two with velcro). That was the whole point of the jacket – to be able to leave my purse at home, stowing my wallet, etc. in the pockets. As I was making it, the lining fabric was difficult – slippery and moving around and at one point I thought I should perhaps go buy a different lining fabric, but I persevered and it has turned out nicely after all. The other tricky part was the interlining for warmth – I used Insul-Bright (a polyester batting with a metallic film on one side) – it was just a bit stiff, so to reduce bulk I cut off the seam allowances and butt the pieces together using a zig-zag stitch to join them – it did reduce the bulk in the seams. Then I attached the interlining to the lining (reflective side on the outside – mainly to prevent moisture from coming through, I think it will still reflect my body heat back in) and assembled the whole jacket.

Now that I look at it I think I probably should have made the front pockets from the tapestry as well, but that’s something to think about for another time.

Pattern: “Flight Jacket Two” from SAF-T-POCKETS Patterns – Patterns with Pockets. I made a size S (this jacket fits large).

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I was just reading a blog of a women who makes purses – I notice she doesn’t use metal fittings to add the handles. Adding this touch really makes the bags look a lot more stylish. I wanted to send her a photo (but no email/contact address) so I will answer her with a link to this post so she can see what I’m talking about. Others of you might also be interested. I bought these fittings on a recent trip to NYC at M&J Trimmings at 1008 Sixth Avenue, around the corner from where I was staying. I can’t find the fittings on the website, but a call or email to the store with the above photo would let them know what you’re talking about. They had a gazillion of these fittings – different sizes, colours, shapes… It was hard just choosing a few.

I used some here on this Sashiko tote bag:


I came across this website with info on “handbag hardware” that you might find helpful if you’re looking for handbag hardware. Here’s another site for  rectangle loops.