Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
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Sewing with less stress back cover
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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon



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Friday, April 12, 2013

Cooking in jars for people who have better things to do

The end of day two here on location in Florida. Still working of course but online, this www is pretty nifty.

I am so glad to be here.

On the way down I examined the skin on my legs, among other things to do on a long road trip, and noted that somehow my skin turned 90 - I was shocked to see my epidermis sort of detaching from my body like crumpled tissue paper on Boxing Day - well, when did I become this old I wondered?

The thing here in Florida though it is pretty humid, that's why everything is so green and lush and there are turtles and birds and other stuff with long skinny tails that move slow into the bush pretty much everywhere you look. 

So it appears I have been re-hyderated here, in only two days, just like magic, just like a TV commercial where they are going to send you two for the price of one, plus separate shipping and handling.

Somewhere, maybe it was the beach or around the 15th hole where I actually managed to hit the ball backwards, my skin had the water added to it and all that weirdness has gone and I am smooth (this is relative and we are going to gloss over the use of that word pretty fast) again like 35, OK 45 year old legs.

Makes me wonder what the rest of my life spent in dry indoors winter will do to me. 

I had the old vaporizer on a bit when I thought I had a cold in January, but I am thinking next winter I will have to fire those units up in every room before I curl up and blow away in the wind.


This was meant to be a cooking post. I guess you can gather by now I figure Florida weather is good for me. Now we can move on.

Back to the mason jars, illustrated last post on the hood of the car. I was definitely the only woman taking shots of mason jars on a car hood with an iPad at the gas station, a fact that was noted.

If you haven't already done it via more reliable Google this is how you can make these up:

1. Get yourself some big mason jars.

2. Make yourself some dressing (or you could buy some, I make it). Current simplest is 2 parts olive oil and 1 part rice vinegar, sometime with a bit of dijon in it. Put these ingredients in one jar and shake it and then pour some into the bottom of each mason jar you are making a salad in.

3. Isolate the dressing by putting a layer of something not wilty on top. I like black beans, my spouse likes quinoa. Go crazy.

4. Then put little layers of bits and pieces on top of this. Red pepper, beets, feta or blue cheese, clean out the fridge. Tomatoes, whatever.

5. Stuff the remaining 1/3 or so with leaves. Lettuce, arugula.

6. Screw on the lid. I found these salads stay nice and fresh for three days.

To eat you have two options:

1. Option one. Empty the jar onto a plate or in a big bowl, toss a bit and eat it up. You do this style at home or in the lunch room at work.

2. Option two. The I-95 option. Shake it up, take off the lid and try to eat it on your lap with a fork. Can be done, but be prepared to wonder if maybe some dollar store sells long handled forks.


I am sort of into making these regularly. I get busy, like when there is a major sewing project underway, and don't like to take time to cook or fix myself something respectable. It is awfully nice to have about half your daily Canada food guide vegetable requirements ready to go without any work or time out.

And these are fabulous when you are on the road.

It has occurred to me that I have come by car food prep honestly.

Back in my childhood when we used to go on those mega car trips, in a station wagon with a plywood car top carrier my dad made on the roof, with everyone fighting and no one wearing seatbelts, and my father spending his hard earned vacation saying "bloody Murphy" a lot to himself, my father used to put cans of tinned spaghetti in the car engine to heat up while we drove.

Remember those old cars had enough spare room in them to roast turkeys, which I am sure was next on my father's to-do list.

The plan was when we stopped at some rest stop we would all head to a picnic table and my dad would open the car hood and take out a can opener and presto there was lunch.

I thought he was a genius and figured that his brilliant ideas had something to do with the fact he was a science teacher - although I am sure cooking canned spaghetti with a combustion engine was an original idea.

And a pretty good one.

Many times we had something nice and hot for lunch - those cans usually didn't explode if you stopped the car somewhere between Moose Jaw and  Regina.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Shots from the road trip

Here are some iPad shots as we work our way down from Nova Scotia. I knit a Noro Silk Garden wave scarf, part of a sock and served up mason jar salads ( google these if you have never made them) which are perfect for car food if you can't face the Popeye chicken and chips at the Vince Lambardi rest stop. I also made jelly jar sized yoghurt, wheat germ fruit and maple syrup breakfasts.

This jar eating in the car seats is no reflection of my domesticity but evidence I am on Pinterest too much..

Tomorrow we will be in Florida after a stop in an Econlodge breakfast room in South Carolina in the afternoon where they are letting me sit and teach my last class, as arranged by my sweet talking husband.

They even have leaves on the trees down here.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Trips and technology

Don't fall over, I am back blogging.

Wrapping up the old life to move it down to Florida for two months has taken some time.

My house is re-ordered and will be ready for my house-sitter by tonight. He is a surfer and film-maker friend of my youngest son, and between places, so staying here suits us both. Very nice guy and will cut the grass if it ever starts growing again. Not completely sure why I am doing the big clean up because I am sure he isn't fussy, something I'm suspecting based on the dust bunnies he has in his very own vertical hair, but I know he will take good care of the place and he does need a place to stay.

Tomorrow I teach my last live class of the term and my husband and Rascal are picking me up at school with the car all packed and off we go. I have an elaborate schedule of stops near wi-fi on the way down so I can teach my remaining online classes - that strange woman in the parking lot with a laptop and a fox terrier on her lap and a headset on (and a man snoring next to her in a reclined driver's seat) would be me, if we cross paths. Just tap on the window and I will wave.

I will also be teaching two courses while I am away. I am amazed that technology has given me all this flexibility in my life. Teaching in a class room, that you have to walk to up a steep hill in the sleet, is one thing. Marking in a lawn chair under an umbrella is another.

Yesterday I told Miss Scarlett I was going to be away for a while and I would really miss her and she patted my face and said "Don't worry Babs, we will Face-time."

She is three.

I have a had a good, but too over-booked year this year, and I am so needing to reconnect with myself and my own interests a bit. One of the things I am going to do is clean up this blog, which is as messy as my sewing room right now, and catch up on my Pattern Reviews.

I am taking just dress fabric with me and some knitting. I have signed on for a Craftsy Fair Isle vest class and will have the time when I am away to figure that out.

Off I go now.

I have to load all my empty mason jars into the trailer with the motorcycle, the golf clubs, and the surf board my husband has borrowed, optimistically. I am really looking forward to continuing  my Florida canning routine (you can take the girl out of the prairies but you can't ...). I have to  remember to pack my stitch counters and wash Rascal's dog bed too.


After that I think I will sit on the front steps and wait.

In my winter jacket.