Fearless February Sew-Along: join in!

Hi, adding a second post today because this blog is mroe about sewing than kettlebells, and I noticed a friend’s sewing blogroll had my kettlebell post ast he latest update–can’t have that!

Once again Victoria is hosting a Fearless February Sew-Along, so why not join in? Last year I heard about it too late to jump on the bandwagon, but this year at last I’m in early.

What will you sew in February?

Fearless February 2014 Sew-Along

Wardrobe update: UFOs under a deadline = RTW shopping trip

The two KS wrap tops are waiting to be coverhemmed. The ivory version has turned out to be very sheer, which looks a little ridiculous in a long sleeve wrap top since it’s clearly not made to be an underlayer. Yet its destiny lies there. I’m on the fence about the sleeve length of the watermelon pink version, which doesn’t fill a gap in my wardrobe at this time either. Should it be a classy elbow length? Or cut at bust height? What do you think? So they are both lingering unfinished. Indecisiveness is the way I make UFOs.2013-02-11 16.00.16

Meanwhile my dusty purple floral jersey that I cut into my first version of a wrap dress back in 2011 or 2012 is back to gathering dust again. I’m not in love with the colours nor the design, but they are OK and jersey selection in Brussels is limited. So I chose it for a muslin. A clear (not greyed) purple looks better on me. Once seeing its near-finished version on me I’ve decided that the floral design doesn’t send the message I want for work, and I am sewing under a deadline. Then the neckline treatment I ususally do, trading a facing for clear elastic on the edges and turned and stitched, I am starting to question since the stitching will bobble over the waist ties whereas a facing wll neatly disguise them, and not show any sporty stitching. But I’ve already put on the clear elastic. Sigh. I should show you pictures to help you give informed opinions but my to-do backlist for sewing is getting longer by the minute, so I’m staving off.

I start my new job at 9am tomorrow.
DS is in the crèche and DD at maternelle (preschool, but more accurately ‘nursery school’) to free me up on my vacation day I’m taking to finish up loose ends and get some nice clothes.

I cut a skirt for bike riding, the Burda Classics half-circle skirt. Burda Classsics made it up in a Pince of Wales check and it was very smart with a matching jacket. This is the same one that the Slapdash Sewist made in a light chiffon for a biking skirt, and ended up giving to a happy young member of the family because the hemline was wonky. I cut mine in a grey blended fabric. Not spring, but grey is a business neutral to be sure, unlike dusty purple florals all over. DH remarked, isn’t it a little big? I inserted the zipper. (Yay! Looks perfect.) In the mirror it looks like the ideal skirt for a 8-year-old’s demure school uniform. I’ve hacked off masses of width; over 7″ at the hemline, and shortened it. It still looks demure and silly. Not business-like. But it could redeem itself by taking off more fabric to be something wearable in the end.


I had both of those outfits in mind for a very cool pair of grey heeled boots gathering dust.

DH has counseled giving up and going to H&M.

I pulled out two skirt fabrics for a TNT KS A-line skirt which is just barely wide enough for bike riding. Unfortunately I have to admit DH is right, they look a little dowdy on my petite and somewhat wide figure. Neither fabric fits in with my existing work wardrobe.

So I think I will hop on my bike, head out to get some RTW, and call it a day. I just want to go into my new job feeling happy and confident.

Are you doing anything to save time?

‘Cos ‘what are you doing to save time’ sounded too abrasive: like I assume everyone else is–and if you’re not, right? That would be a nice thing if you’re happy with your time and productivity!

I’m big into it with a FT job that has typically gone into overtime all month long, plus two toddlers, a wonderful husband, and the desire to have a little life of my own.

So on the OAMC front, our recent dinners this week were huge hits. with the addition of bouillon were a huge hit, as usual.

The new recipes: chana masala, alas, did not work out. It smelled terrific before the chickpeas went in. The UHT package of chopped tomatoes in sauce I used was organic but it didn’t taste good once I tried it. So it may not have been the fault of the recipe. But the was an off-the-charts hit with the family. We didn’t even have lowfat yogurt or fresh coriander when I made it and they still loved it. I used lowfat milk with 2TB of single cream to replace the thick yogurt consistency, and let it boil down. Personally I like dthe TVP tacos more and the korma less, I’m not such a fan of egg-based Quorn nor of a milk-based sauce but the important thing is everyone ate and liked it overall. Suffice to say that neither the tacos or korma had the leftovers I had counted on to freeze for work next week. So I made another recipe of TVP tacos today. But I made a single recipe and then realized I could have doubled it. There goes time-saving! Oh well.

Here in Belgium I finally heard about kettlebells, which seem to be a big thing in the US. Since January I’ve got more and more into them and they are indeed very time-saving because my strength work and high-intensity cardio are done at once. It did the trick and I’m losing weight after months and months of plateau. I am a bike commuter as well which keeps off some extra pounds but for safety reasons I never ride killer fast since there’s traffic, and furthermore I don’t want to arrive to work sweating. Taking a shower at work is not a time saver. But combining the time I’d need to commute and work out with cardio together it’s a shorter part of my week to go by bike in the city than to commute by car.

Now that I have some basics of kettlebell form in mind thanks to a colleague who is a KB instructor (talk about sheer luck!), some DVDs, and reading Pavel’s ebook ‘Enter the Kettlebell’, I tackled this check out the video below, but the link is handy because she lists the exercises. Very cool. I have some DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness) today. Happy! Goodbye long weight sessions, hello fifteen minute workouts that have actually given me results.

Do you have any time saving ideas to share?

UFO unearthed from oblivion

Kristy in Sydney (darn hyperlink isn’t working again: http://loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.be/ ) is an admirable combination of working mum and strict adherent to no UFOs. In her honour I salvaged a long slumbering UFO from a year ago to the top of my sewing list: the Vogue Diane von Furstenberg lookalike wrap dress from their Very Easy collection.

Vogue 8379

Also I’m sewing under a deadline to get new work clothes by Friday, Day 1 of my new job! Nothing like going to a project that is already partially completed. It’s a winner for many sewists, and has nursing access for nursing mums (like Kristin and I).

My version has been updated today to include cutting the wrap front skirt and upper bodice. My collar and sleeve cuffs are probably lost to oblivion but they will be cut out once DS wakes up from his nap, he is sleeping in the room with the ironing board folded up on the wall. I like to fuse interfacings on uncut fabric and then trim around to get the perfect fit.
My sewing machine is threaded with matching thread in the needle and bobbin.
I’ve staystitched the back neckline.

Time to thread my serger and do major construction. Then back for a photo update. Update 70 minutes later DS is up, but I managed a lot of construction. It’s sewn enough to try it on and the fit loks good. It would have been ideal if I had pressed seams as I went but perfectionism is what stopped me in the first place, and it looks pretty good anyway (it’s just a knit dress, not a tailored jacket, c’mon!)

Anyone update with Google+ storage for WordPress? I’m almost out of WordPress storage.

More later!

Weeknight vegetarian crockpot or freezer meals

Hi everyone, I just finished my last day of work today and am preparing for my new job which starts March 1. What better way to start a new job than to have easy dinners on the table all week?

Quorn light korma

For my crew that means using meat analogue veg dishes to entice them to eat. Most of the recipes on the Quorn UK site are freezer-to-slow-cooker friendly, such as this light Indian korma recipe. I’ve seen people advise preparing the entire recipe into a Ziploc freezer bag, shaking to mix, then freezing it flat. However my freezer is still a bit overloaded so instead I will keep the tomato passata UHT boxes on the cupboard shelf *but* will label them so they will not be pinched for another recipe before I cook the korma. Same thing for keeping the lowfat yogurt (I’ll use fromage frais which we have on hand) in the fridge. It’s still a “throw and go” slow cooker recipe, donc ça marche 🙂

March also has St Patrick’s Day on the 17th, so we will have a green dinner that night. Do you have special St Paddy’s day plans? Check out the for breakfast. I made this several times with tofu instead of soy milk: higher protein and less sugar-y taste. It’s a perfect way to start the day.

Ideas for March work nights so far:
Friday 1 March (first day!): , brown rice and salad

Monday 4 March: 10 Minute TVP Tacos plus taco fixin’s for a taco bar dinner this is not a slow cooker night. Perfect for Monday since I will prepare all of the veg on Sunday.

Tuesday 5 March: here it advises precooking the asparagus etc. but I will just put the raw ingredients in the slow cooker–and BTW plan to use trimmed broccoli stalks in place of €€€ asparagus + brown rice

Wednesday 6 March: = chick peas in a tomato-based curry sauce–nice easy recipe! For sure I am not going to freeze a bunch of dried beans though, that’s another ingredient to add in the morning. Call me crazy but I like soaking beans and will soak these Tuesday night to drain, rinse, and put the soaked beans in the slow cooker Wednesday morning. More of that brown rice unless the natives rebel 😉
Thursday 7 March: not a slow cooker night again, two minutes in the microwave and it’s done!

Friday 8 March: although I might Americanize it and use mozzerella cheese which is also cheaper here than cheddar. This is not a slow cooker recipe, it’s for my little freezer tins that can be placed in the oven. I love Friday night lasagne! It says “weekend”.

What are your meal plans?

Freezer cooking

I dig this way of cooking. You’re free to cook whatever you want, as long as it saves well. No pressure to create a coherent meal, just cook based on what time and ingredients you have on hand. For example yesterday I made banana mini-pancake muffins and banana oatmeal Omega-3 bars. I put o slice of bar and a muffin in a small freezer bag and chilled overnight, they are in the freezer now to take out one at a time on work days. Presto, a bunch of overripe bananas put to good use.

What are you oooking? Any favoourite recipes?

Merry Christmas 2012!

Back! 🙂

Both of my toddlers have the chicken pox so our pictures this year are spotty. DS has had 2 days straight of 40C fever, and then the spots showed up for Christmas morning. His ‘big’ sister had no fever two weeks ago, just spots. It took the whole 14 days to incubate in DS.

I celebrated Christmas by trying out the shampoo-free (aka ‘no poo’) method which was surprising! My hair is perfectly clean today, and silky to boot. This was my first time so I used a bit more than a tablespoon of baking soda with a little water to massage into the scalp, rinsed, then applied 1/2 of an 8oz spray bottle filled with water + 1T of apple cider vinegar and rinsed that off too. Some no poo users say they use 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water but my scalp isn’t ready for that. This would be great if it does what users say it does: you can wash your hair less. Less styling time! Yes! Less heat damage, and much cheaper hair products too.

Am also dabbling in once a month cooking (OAMC), which should be more accurately called once a week (OAWC) or freezer cooking in my case since I still cook most days, but I do it now in bulk and I cook whenever I have time rather than counting down before a mealtime. Tips on cooking once a month

Hitch 1: I still miss more freshly cooked foods
Hitch 2: I really miss East Asian cuisine, which in general is cooked and served immediately

My LO is crying, poor little guy.