A Sewing Year in Review: 2013

It’s been really fun to reflect on how I’ve progressed this year. I’ve started out thinking I hadn’t really progressed, and then realized that I had actually accomplished a lot! It goes to show how important it is to stop to see how far we’ve come sometimes!

2013 was the year of sewing breakthroughs for me. It’s been mostly an internal process, rather than a change that manifested itself in the actual things I’ve made:

1) I’ve finally realized my dream of taking a college-level course in pattern drafting this winter and I’m so incredibly happy I did. The ironic thing about it is that it brought me closer to commercial patterns. Fit for Real People and my sewing guru, Lorraine Henry, have also contributed to this big time, but for a variety of reasons, 2013 has been the year where I’ve suddenly had the revelation and the skills to pick up pretty much any pattern and work with it. It’s felt like a world of possibilities!

2) But a world of possibilities can also feel overwhelming sometimes. And I’ve had to stop and think about what it is I wanted to make. I’ve slowed down the actual sewing in the fourth trimester to take a step back and refocus my sewing aesthetic. I’m so excited to report that my vision has never been clearer and I look forward to aligning my sewing with this new vision in 2014.

New direction in snippets:
– Quality over quantity.
– Lux fabrics.
– Cohesiveness.
– Dress shirts, wool blazers, classic pants and smart, structured dress in neutral colours.
– More to come on that later!

Other thoughts about this year:

Sewing Friendships
It was sad to leave Toronto just as I was getting to know so many local sewists after organizing the sewing meet-up with Gillian of Crafting Rainbow in February. That said, the beauty of our community is that it’s transnational, so I’ve been able to enjoy keeping up with all of you on your blogs. I’ve also slowly been building a sewing community of my own in Sweden, meeting up with Joëlle from Handstitched Files, fabric shopping in Kinna, in addition to joining my local sewing club. I’m so grateful for these friendships.

Blogging Consistency
I’ve been keeping this blog alive for three and a half years, so I know something about consistency. However, there is still plenty of room for improvement! The ability to stick with something for a long period of time is a good skill to have in all areas of life — whether professional or personal — so I really want to work at it. One strategy that’s proven effective for me is to plan my blogging a couple of weeks in advance, and I want to do more of that going forward. It’s less about the blogging per se (because, let’s face it, posting 2, 15 or 45 posts a month won’t really make a difference to anyone) as it is about the exercise of developing consistency and dedication over a long period of time. 2013 has been the most consistent so far, so I hope 2014 will be even better!

More Sharing
I still find it difficult to assess how much of my life to share with you guys here. How I’ve dealt with this in the past has been “if it’s not sewing, don’t share” and “whenever in doubt, don’t share.” But your positive reactions to posts about snippets of my life in Sweden this year have made me reconsider. And I really do enjoy reading those kinds of posts in other blogs. After all, it’s not as if the sewing is happening in a vacuum in our lives! Of course, there is a balance to everything (don’t worry, I won’t start blogging about my dog’s eating habits. Although you’d be surprised at how interesting that would be!) and defining that balance is a very personal thing. All this to say: in 2014, expect to read more about the elements of my life that are intertwined with the sewing.

I’m going to conclude this post (and this blogging year!) by thanking you all so much for your continued support. I deeply appreciate your visits and comments and I’m sending you all my best wishes for a new year filled with love, peace, community… and productive sewing!

Happy New Year everyone!
Adrienne xo

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Top 13 Real Food, Real Good Recipes of 2013

13 has always been fine by me.  Not one to believe in luck/unluck, I’ve never had a problem with 13. 2013 was a good year.  Sure, it was full of ups and downs, but as I pause to think of that for which I am thankful this year, I am overwhelme…

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Top 5 Goals for the New Year, 2014.

Top 5 Goals for the New YearA few weeks ago, Mood Fabrics tweeted that they were seeking two new bloggers for their Sewing Network. This got my attention right away. How cool would it be to join the elite group of Mood Sewing Network Bloggers!&nbs…

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Top 5 Reflections of 2013.

Top 5 Reflections: What did you learn about yourself or sewing this year? What did I learn about my sewing, myself and blogging this year?I learnt that I only completed 9 garments! That’s waaaaay less than 2012! In 2012 I finished 27 gar…

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Gone fishing… or skiing

Lake Louise (source)I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season as much as I am, here in Canada. :-)I’ll be away from home until the end of January, so I’ll be posting less frequently because I want to spend quality time with my family and friends. But I…

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4 Easy Christmas Treats

This Christmas has been one of the more joyful ones I’ve had in some time.  Why?  Because I’ve been using a two letter word more often:


“No” to stressing myself out just to bake every type of cookie I can.

“No” to worrying about a few of the decorations that haven’t been placed around the house.

“No” to baking a homemade gingerbread house (Trader Joe’s pre-baked one is wonderful!)

and have been saying “yes” more too:

“Yes” to slowing down and reflecting on all of God’s good gifts I’ve already been given.

“Yes” to being okay with not doing it all.

“Yes” to Joy…Peace…and my imperfectness.

So one of the many decisions I’ve made is to allow myself to wait until after Christmas to post a new recipe.

Until then, here are a few treats that I will try to make later this week, or…maybe not.  After all, sometimes saying “no” to doing something means saying “yes” to sanity and self-preservation.

But if you’re looking for an easy treat or two to make for *fun*?:

Gingerbread Dip:

Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti:

Candied Orange Peel:

Chocolate Drizzled Macaroons:

Merry Christmas!

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PVC clear elastic tape for the shoulder seams?

First of all, I just wanted to thank Dibs from Dibs and the Machine for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the wrap dress sewalong! I’ve been a huge fan of her and her blog since we met in 2011. Believe it or not, she is just as funny in real l…

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Make Again Enchiladas

Okay, so I’ll start with a confession:  these enchiladas are full of crumbled, sautéed tofu.  Have I lost any of you yet?

Still with me? Good.

Good for you for being open minded about tofu and good for you…since these enchiladas are super tasty and healthful.  The tofu resembles ground meat or turkey in these enchiladas, taking on all sorts of yummy, zesty Mexican flavors.

“Make again” is the term our family uses when a dinner is something the boys would like to see again on their plates.  Both boys declared that these were “make agains!” with enthusiasm, and R added, “I think they’re make agains for next week.”  High praise indeed.

Make Again Enchiladas

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 poblano pepper (or bell pepper), seeded and diced
1 – 12 oz packet extra-firm tofu, drained
1 batch homemade taco seasoning (or store bought is fine)
1 bottle enchilada sauce, divided use
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided use (optional)
12 corn tortillas

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, garlic and pepper and sauté 4-5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

Add the tofu to the pan, crumbling the tofu as you add it.

Add the taco seasoning too, and stir well.

Allow the tofu to brown in the pan, using a metal spatula to stir it every few minutes.

Once browned, add 1/2-3/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, stir well and then remove from heat.  Add 1/2 -3/4 cup of the cheese, if using.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

As the tofu cools, add some boiling water to a pie pan or 9×9 dish.  One by one, place an enchilada in the hot water (it’s okay if it cools a bit) for a few seconds to soften, then add 1/4 cup of the tofu mixture and roll up and place seam side down in a baking dish.  Repeat with remaining corn tortillas and tofu mixture.

Once all enchiladas are rolled, cover with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese, if desired.

Bake for 30 minutes or until browned slightly.

Makes 12 corn enchiladas.

Life is sweet,

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How to do a SBA on a Wrap Dress or Wrap Top with a Shawl Collar

Looking at those unusual pieces for the front panel pieces of Vogue 8827 left me scratching my head… How… will I do… a Small Bust Adjustment… on that?Thankfully, it’s not too difficult. Today, I’ll be sharing a way to adjust pattern Vogue 8827 …

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Completed: Vogue 8827

The original inspiration for this dress was Sallie Oh’s magenta version, but when I finished sewing it as per the instructions, it somehow didn’t end up looking right.I brainstormed for a couple hours and finally found a solution I couldn’t b…

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The Perfect Pin Cushion

So I was mentioning that I have more time to sew these days.Here’s what I discovered today: a cork pot mat makes for the best pin cushion. Perfect! Happy sewing everyone!

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Pumpkin Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies (Vegan/Gluten-Free/Nut-Free)

Thanksgiving is mere days or even hours away and perhaps you have to bring a dessert to your family’s gathering.  You don’t want to do a pie (besides your Aunt Joanne already makes the world’s best pies), you want something different, but you have someone with a dairy allergy and an egg allergy…someone who can’t do nuts and another who is gluten-free.

Pumpkin Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies to the rescue!
I tasted these delicious little bites at the Market District yesterday and grabbed the recipe to try and home.  Perfectly simple to make in about 15 minutes, these no-bake cookies taste like a sweet pumpkin cookie batter.
Pumpkin Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies
(altered from a Market District recipe)

1 1/2 cups gluten-free quick oats (or regular if GF is not necessary)
1 cup oat flour (*take gluten-free oats and grind in a blender or food processor to make oat flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup almond (or your choice) milk
2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well to fully incorporate.
In a separate medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, milk, oil and vanilla extract, stirring well to combine.
Add the pumpkin mixture to the oatmeal mixture and stir well:
Combine very well and then begin to form into small 1-2 teaspoon bites:
Serve immediately or refrigerate and enjoy later:
Makes 4 dozen.
Happy Thanksgiving!!
Life is sweet,
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Pockets with a Difference, Part 1

For a long time I’ve been wanting to write posts about different types of pockets. I’m therefore going to say that this is the first in a series.This week’s pocket is one I got from Vogue 8065 which I’ve made many times as you see in the composite belo…

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Healthy Meal Plan Friday: Busy Mom’s Menu

Trying to get into a new routine of working part-time outside the home is an exciting challenge…with an emphasis on the “challenge” part of providing a healthful, crowd-pleasing meal.

Last week, when I found myself twice prepping items for the slow cooker around 9pm, so they could be tossed into the slow cooker first thing in the morning before I left for work at 7:45, it hit me:  how would I feel if I was working full-time?
Full-time working moms of the world, I stand in awe.
For all of you who work full-time, come home, feed your family, and then reset to do it all over the next day, you amaze me.  
Here are some meals, all of which can either be made in the slow cooker, prepped almost fully the night prior or made quickly when you get home in the evening.
Here’s Next Week’s Healthy Meal Plan:
Life is sweet,
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Cranberry Pecan Baked Oatmeal (Vegan/Gluten-Free)

Big things are happening in the Sweet Pea home…drumroll please…I started a new job this week!  Yes, after many years of being a full-time mom and blogger, I’ve begun working part-time at a wonderful new job.What does this mean?  My full l…

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Healthy Weekly Meal Plan: Candy Detox

Need a little healthy food as you detox from all the candy?Here’s a Healthy Meal Plan for next week:Meatless Monday:  Greek Quinoa, Hummus, ClementinesSouthwest Grilled Shrimp with an Avocado Mash, Mango Slow Cooker Roasted Chicken,…

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Savory Pumpkin Hummus

This past weekend SPH and I packed up R, G and a whole lot of gear and headed to University of Virginia for SPH’s college homecoming weekend.Of course any good football game needs to include a good tailgate, and since the Cavaliers’ colors are blue and…

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Flat Felled Seams

I just posted this jacket on SewPassionista by DIANA which I made reversible using flat felled seams. I thought I’d show you how I managed to make even the sleeves look really professional (IMO).1. I sewed 5/8″ seams and trimmed one side to a generous …

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Hearty and Healthy Vegetable Bean Soup

Is there anything more warming than a bowl of hearty soup on a cold day?  Pair soup with a hunk or slice of bread, and you’re warmed up in no time.But with many hearty soups, you have to watch the fat, calories and sodium too.  If you love he…

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Healthy Weekly Meal Plan: A Meatless Menu Challenge

I’ve given you a challenge this week for the Healthy Weekly Meal Plan:  an entire week of meatless meals.  Save for the bit of fish in the pasta dish, this week’s meals are all vegetarian, which may feel like a stretch…but you can do it!Her…

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Sewing is for Super Heroes

Hey y’all,How are we?  Hope everyone is wrapping up against the chill that is welcoming lady autumn in.  As is the way at the House of Demeanour there’s lots been going on but a slight delay in documenting.  Though this time it was becau…

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Easy Overnight Pumpkin Spice Granola (Gluten-Free/Vegan)

It’s a busier than usual week here in Sweet Peaville and when life gets hectic, I love easy, go-to recipes to keep life simple.With pumpkin food items popping up everywhere, I was inspired to use some canned pumpkin in my Easy Overnight Cinnamon Vanill…

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Easy Overnight Pumpkin Spice Granola (Gluten-Free/Vegan)

It’s a busier than usual week here in Sweet Peaville and when life gets hectic, I love easy, go-to recipes to keep life simple.With pumpkin food items popping up everywhere, I was inspired to use some canned pumpkin in my Easy Overnight Cinnamon Vanill…

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Healthy Weekly Meal Plan: My Kind of Weekend

As I type, it is in the low 70s and sunny…just a beautiful, picture-perfect, autumn day. My garden is still going gangbusters (my tomatoes and peppers were late-bloomers this season) and I’m about to head outdoors to divide some hostas and other pere…

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Slow Cooker Shredded Buffalo Chicken

Somewhere along the line R developed a huge taste for Buffalo Chicken.  Buffalo Chicken Dip (despite the fact that he doesn’t love cheese) is a huge favorite, as are Buffalo Wings or Buffalo Chicken Pizza.This recipe is an easy way to make lots of…

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Viking Opal 670 Tutorial Available

SewingMastery.com has just released the complete video tutorial series covering the Husqvarna Viking Opal 670! Jump over to our video tutorial sections to learn how to get the most out of this great machine. Here are just a few of the features that are packed into the Opal 670 from Husqvarna Viking: Exclusive Sewing Advisor […]

The post Viking Opal 670 Tutorial Available appeared first on Sewing Mastery.

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A New Take on the Hong Kong Finish

I’ve just finished the dress that is part of my Pattern Review Mini Wardrobe Contest entry. See here at Sew Passionista by DIANA. So now I’m hard at work on a brown denim suit for my sister Gloria.In a way, it’s a piece of cake because ,except for bein…

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Did You Catch the Sale at Moods?

I’m so excited! For the first time ever ,I’ve ordered fabrics from Mood this week when they had a 20% off sale sitewide!Now I already have enough fabrics to last me a very long time and so I made sure to only order pieces I can’t find here and for me t…

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Christmas Santa Claus Embroidery Transfer Pattern

Old Santa here would stitch up pretty fast. Those furry straight stitches on his hat are so easy!

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Winter Kids Embroidery Transfer Pattern

These kids would be cute in a quilt or split them up and embroider them on clothing. The baby is adorable!

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