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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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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Flypaper thoughts from the animal house

  • My life is currently exactly as illustrated
  • You don't even want to see the Christmas knitting
  • I am now sewing on the dining room table
  • Because the two dogs and cat need to all see where I am
  • Who am I to confuse them
  • The cat has taken a shine to Daisy
  • Stays about three inches from her and sleeps on the dog bed circled up
  • Cats sleep about half the day
  • This is fine with the dogs
  • Because the rest of the time is spent doing horizontal and vertical circuits around the house
  • Broken up by mid air zoom by leaps over Daisy's back
  • Never a dull moment
  • Which reminds me
  • I was just diagnosed as celiac
  • Anyone have recipes for gluten free anything hit me up
  • Looking for, among other things
  • Bread that doesn't resemble a white envelope
  • Is about that tasty
  • And costs $3 a slice
  • Which is more than an envelope actually
  • Including postage
  • I am treating myself
  • Signed up for a surprise box of subscription fabric
  • From Watertower Textiles
  • They have great quality
  • And these days it's nice to have a good surprise every month
  • You need to book it
  • I will show you what I've been sent 
  • Maybe tomorrow
  • How sneaky are cats
  • Very it turns out
  • Daisy likes to sit on the mat while I have my nightly bath
  • And order online fabric
  • She chased the cat out from our private time
  • Now when she hears the bath water run
  • Pepper glides in to hide behind the toilet
  • And then slinks under the vanity
  • So she is in position to stand up under the shower curtain and watch me
  • Daisy doesn't even know she is there
  • Lots of stories like that
  • Maybe I should make a Christmas dress
  • Even though this will be a bubble only year
  • When we were little my grandmother used to give my next closest sister and I
  • Matching velvet dresses
  • Being Christmas they were always red
  • So in every Christmas picture my sister had her mad face on
  • She had red hair and hated clashing
  • Speaking of which
  • I have seared in my memory
  • A craft project in grade two
  • We were cutting out flowers from fabric and pasting them on Mother's day cards
  • "Barbara" the teacher scolded me
  • "You have put red and orange together. You can't do that.
  • They clash."
  • Boy aren't you glad they don't make teachers like that anymore
  • Wonder what she would have done with an eight-year-old Kaffe Fassett
  • Or any body else who was interesting or turned out interesting
  • Don't you wish you could tell your younger self
  • Or other younger selves right now
  • Best not to bloom too early
  • A full bloom takes some time to get ready
  • What a terrible thing it would be to have the prime of your life
  • Be a time no one but you remembered
  • Like say grade six
  • Better to save it for when it can do someone else some good
  • Better to wait until the time that some other girl can say
  • If she can do it I can too
  • Better to wait until an age when you have done so much
  • That the small things are given credit for the big things they really are
  • Like sitting with a cocoa 
  • And a small rescue dog snoozing glued to your hip
  • And a small rescue cat draped around your neck
  • Out of dog sight
  • Like some elderly woman's mink collar
  • Purring because we are all together
  • And together is good as it ever gets


Moosiemoose said...

Thanks again for the chuckle and smile. Very much enjoying the Pepper stories but don't tell Daisy. Jean

Sarah Wale said...

So sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I hope that you are able to find good things to eat that don't resemble envelopes. At least there is ab acknowledgement now that some people can't eat gluten. Stores and cafes are providing more choice though it isn't fair you should have to pay more for it.

Your grade school teacher would have been good friends with my Mum. She had such a thing about what could and couldn't be worn together and what clashed with what that it took her ages to hang out the laundry as she was literally incapable of hanging unacceptable colours next to each other.

Enjoy your animals and your knitting and sewing but moist of all, enjoy Christmas - it will be different this year, but needn't be worse (except for missing little ones' cuddles - nothing is worse than that). Thank goodness for Zoom at least!

Keep safe and well,

Lyndle said...

This is poetry. Happy sewing and happy bathing. Xx

expat in Side said...

Had to laugh at the picture, cute, but also you manage to teach me something really useful even when you are not even trying, I now know that I have been placing the plastic wotsits for the thread cones on my serger upside down all these years!! Angela

Lori said...

America’s test kitchen has a great gluten free cookbook, I think it’s called can’t believe it’s gluten free. I made the bread and it looked like real bread! Tasted pretty close too. Hope this helps. Love reading your blog!

Julie Culshaw said...

hard to find good bread, but biscuits might substitute

Judy said...

I'm so glad I found your blog. It's a highlight in the day - droll and uplifting.

Nancy said...

check out this blog she was dx celiac after the birth of her son and has lots of great recipes on her site.

Momadams said...

Welcome to the world of celiac.
Bread is highly over-rated. We’re so used to it that it’s an ingrained habit (oooh, pun). After a while you won’t need it. There are tortillas and wraps and crackers made from corn, almonds, cassava, rice.
Most commercial gf bread isn’t healthy- just a bunch of starch under assorted names.
If you can get Happy Camper bread, it’s very good and uses much better ingredients (Natural Grocers has the best price).
Bob’s Red Mill has reliable gf recipes. I use them as a guideline, using whatever flours I have on hand (cocoanut flour needs research- it is it’s own beast and reacts unexpectedly.
For restaurants, check Find Me Gluten Free online- reviews usually indicate if the reviewer actually has celiac disease.
The only downside I’ve found is that our society is very “shared food” centered. When I go to a gathering, I bring my own food and people tend to make a fuss. You have to be blunt with friends and tell them you still want to be invited to dinner because you enjoy their company. And you need to find clever ways to turn down the treat made “gf, just for you” in their non-gf kitchen.
But you will feel SO much better. My aches and pains went away, I was no longer lactose intolerant, no more gut issues, AND my husband said my disposition improved!
Feel free to PM me.

JustGail said...

Great you got a diagnosis, bummer that gluten is in so many manufactured foods you wouldn't think of. I don't have anything in the way of advice though, I'm sure your readers have you covered. Daisy is so cuuuuuute! She must be over her infection if she's doing zoomies?

sewmadd said...

Thank you for again making me smile and brightening my day.

MaryMakesBears said...

I was diagnosed twenty years ago before being "gluten free" was a well known thing. My favorite bread brands are Canyon Bakehouse and Against the Grain. They aren't cheap but I compensate by eating smaller portions (of bread, anyway). The "I Can't Believe It's Gluten Free" books from America's Test Kitchen are outstanding resources, not only great recipes but enlightening explanations of how to cook and bake gluten free. The best flour alternative is the Cup4Cup brand which includes xanthum gum and a close second is King Arthur which does not have xanthum gum.

The social impacts of having celiac are a small nuisance but how many other serious autoimmune diseases are so manageable?


Unknown said...

Hi Barbra
Like you, I live in HRM. My daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease several years ago. We have yet to find a really good bread recipe (I think - I'll check with her when she gets home), but I have one for brownies! O'Dells in Rockingham Ridge Plaza has excellent food, and they're strictly GF. Good bread can be purchased there, but they are fairly expensive

Seattle Sews said...

I'm not celiac but for other reasons am to avoid all grains. I tried a "sourdough boule" by, freezer section of my local Kroger affiliate and it was GOOD! It was also very crumbly.

I can relate to the cat using the sewing area and supplies as a personal Olympic performance site.

Warning about the kitten around the neck: When they become 13 pounders, they think it is still fun to be your scarf. But you may not agree.

Kit said...

ha!! my favorite outfit as a kid was a pair of corduroy pants with multicolored animals (red background) that i consistently paired with a red polka dot shirt. hey, the reds matched! a pattern lover from a tender age!!

i too was told it didn't match, yet insisted on wearing it to the chagrin of my mom...god bless her for letting me be independent. really

Anonymous said...

My husband was diagnosed with celiac years ago when no one had heard of it - it took a long time to figure out the problem and he had long lasting lesions as a result so continues to be very sensitive to trace gluten in things like caramel coloring (which is in cola, brown sugar, etc.). Its a continuing process of adjustment but as he says its largely under his control. The most recent thing was a persistent skin rash that went away when he stopped eating rice (lots of rice has trace arsenic).

ANYWAY, the plus is having a diagnosis, the minus is having to figure out what to do about it.

So nice to hear that the kitten is such a success!


Judith Newman said...

I was just diagnosed as celiac
Anyone have recipes for gluten free anything hit me up

It’s not bread - it’s better:


Jen said...

I have a good friend who is gluten intolerant and I used to cook for her often, before the pandemic. She told me that buckwheat crepes are naturally gluten free. They are definitely delicious. So I have some buckwheat flour on the way. My plan is to practice now so that I'll be ready when I can have her over for lunch again.

So if you like to cook, maybe skip the gf breads and get a crepe pan? I think you can make a batch and reheat them as needed in the microwave.

Thanks for your newsletter and your book. I so enjoy both--many laughs and much to relate to.

Marie Coffin said...

My partner has celiac, so I have been baking gluten-free for a number of years now. The good news is that it has become much easier to buy good gf baked items and ingredients. I highly recommend "The How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook" from America's Test Kitchen, mentioned in another comment also. I don't bake bread much, but their bread recipes look good, and other things I have made from that book were excellent (best gf pie crust ever!!)

I also recommend King Arthur's Mill "Measure for Measure" gf flour, not necessarily for bread, but excellent in cakes, cookies, biscuits, etc.

If you like pasta, check out the chickpea and lentil pastas in the grocery store, which sound weird, but actually taste great.

I hope this doesn't sound like self-promotion, but I started blogging my baking recently, and most of the recipes I post are gluten-free. Would love to have you stop by:

Love your blog! I learned how to make proper tailor's tacks from you, what a game-changer!!

me said...

Love your blog. Enjoying the cat/dog posts. I'm gluten intolerant. I use the following: - She has 2 cookbook outs - while they're about weight loss using the IPot - she doesn't do grains or sugar. I've used a lot of her recipes

I use Almond flour - good price at Costco; Cassava flour - from Amazon; and King Arthur - cup for cup.
Once you get used to this way of eating you'll be surprised at how much better you feel. I had to go GF 12 years ago. It's another world out there now. Society has come to realize it is "real" and not a fad.

Good luck to you

Cornelia said...

I would second that you need to be careful about eating gluten free junk food. So much of GF food overuses starch and is not nutritious. It is healthier for a coeliac, of course, but after you eat GF off-the-shelf foods for a while, embark on a journey exploring the weird and wonderful GF ingredients. I was surprised by how many health benefits there were eating a very low gluten diet (due to IBS) and now cook for my family GF meals that they enjoy. In short: it took years to construct a new diet; it is more expensive to eat; there are still wondeful foods to eat. I wholly expect in the future to hear about the benefits for EVERYONE in eating less wheat. Good luck.
PS I love "River Cottage Gluten Free" by Naomi Devlin

Sally said...

There are thankfully a lot more gluten free options now than years ago. How’s that for a silver lining? And speaking of silver linings...pets were put here to teach us how to be better humans. I truly, and gratefully believe that! So party on, my fur-covered friend!

ms.helen said...

Barbara, love all your post! Sewing, pets and life, we all can relate. When it was discovered that I was gluten and dairy intolerant it was hard to find Canadian sources for products and recipes. Two Canadian companies that produce breads that I like are O'Doughs and Little Northern Bakehouse. A great blogger from Manitoba is Faithfully Gluten Free.

Her muffins and doughnuts are delicious.
Hope this is helpful.

Carol said...

Sorry about your diagnosis. I have IBS-not as serious, but can't eat onions or garlic in any form and avoid but don't eliminate gluten. Comments above are interesting and helpful. Love your blog. May I print it in my newsletter for residents of a 55+ mobile home park? It would lose the personal touch you have with your readers, but so many of my readers have pets and food disorders, they would enjoy it.

LisaB said...

Flypaper thoughts posts are always enjoyable reading. This one was especially so. I literally smiled at your second grade art project story.

Here's another recommendation for the America's Test Kitchen gf book(s). I've made several recipes from the first book for friends, and they were all delicious.

Cathie said...

Hi Barbara, here is a link to a great flour company.

Barbara said...

Carol you are welcome to use anything I write any way you like, my pleasure

kbenco said...

Our favourite GF dessert/indulgent breakfast treat- good hot or cold

500g Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sugar (optional - I often omit this)
1 cup almond meal/ground almonds
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground Cardamom
1x 400g tin sweetened condensed milk
slivered almonds or pistachio nuts

Preheat oven to 170*C, butter a 30cmx20cm ovenproof dish
Beat Ricotta until smooth (I use electric mixer), add sugar, ground almonds, eggs and cardamom, then condensed milk.
Pour into prepared dish and sprinkle over slivered almonds or pistachios. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until just set and golden.

Sorry to hear that you have been unwell, but great to have a diagnosis that gives you a management plan and chance to improve your health.

Amy said...

Thank you for your candor and humor. I am turning 50 this year and was recently diagnosed Celiac. I have enjoyed reading the gluten free cookbooks by Cannelle et Vanille. Her most recent book has a gluten free sourdough bread recipe. I also really like the gluten free pasta from the brand Jovial. It is a journey.

paloverdeblooms said...

Love the new kitten. My good friend has celiac and she has taught me that it's the little things that will trip you up. You'd be surprised (or maybe not) how gluten sneaks into all kinds of products and food additives that you would never suspect would have it. For example, beware soy sauce. Some brands have it and others don't. If it's added to a dish at a restaurant, you have to check with the kitchen to find out and they may not know. However, lots of restaurants are becoming more and more aware of gluten and offer a separate gluten-free menu. If we ever get back to dining out, that is. Sigh.

Bev @ kwiltpharm said...

Had to go gluten free several years ago, and in a world that runs on pizza and sandwiches, it is not easy. I stuck to salads for several months and then started looking at other options. Really, gluten is one of the worst things you can put into your system, it is right up there with sugar as an inflamitory agent. Experiment with different ways of cooking your meals and different types of squash and other vegetables. I quite enjoy my food now, except for the price they put on the speciality products!

JulieJ said...

If you are a member of Craftsy there are some gluten free baking courses on there. I've been cooking GF for my son for 25 years now and it's not as bad as you think it's going to be. Bread is the hardest but lots of artisan bakeries will do a gluten free loaf for you now. Until very recently I virtually gave up making pastry because it always tasted like cardboard but recently found a receipt for mince pies which used cream cheese in the enriched pastry. The pastry is to die for - so short and light and only a little crumbly. I'm including a link. It's a UK recipe but I am sure you can translate the quantities. Wishing you all the best.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if this comment show up to you. Have you try tapioca items? There is a variety of products including flour, Custard, cheese bread( not real cheese if u can shave it). Coconut baking products. These products are not difficult to find.
I find these items at Brazilian,Mexican, Asian stores in Southern California.

Good Luck. Hope this helps

Josie Huber, RN