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Monday, 31 July 2017

From Forest Land to Awesome Land! Our Cabin Adventure!

So. Back in March/April, we found a Kijiji ad for forest land off a river in Quebec.

Ontario land in our low-low price range was giving us no hits, even for land that required a few kms hike/atv/swim/boat ride into that neither realtors nor owners had seen.

Based on our location, however, we were still limited in our Quebec land search, and wanted it West of Kanata vs North of Ottawa (where there is a plethora of river/lake land...but that would mean driving through rush hour twice to get home, pick up pups and finish packing, thus stress to destress).

Somehow we found the unofficial land broker of Waltham, Quebec.

Where is Waltham say ye? North of Renfrew and kind of East of Pembroke. It lays upon the Black River (Riviere Noire), apparently known for its white water kayaking and canoeing. There are even two canoe/kayak outfitters down the road from us.

We had to take a chance and felt good after spending two long afternoons with our Waltham whisperer, trekking through the land once (in a couple feet of snow), climbing down the steep decline to the river, and going with our guts, hoping it wasn't sh$t land when the snow thawed.

I did see an Air B & B on our main road that had stairs built down to the river, and we even took a look down - knowing that it's possible to build easy water access would happen in time.

We were fortunate enough to have some help, and made the choice of purchasing two 3-acre lots for a total of 6 acres.

We knew there was a Right of Way Road through the land...but it was unclear where it was - but we were able to decipher the survey enough to know that the road wasn't hindering the majority of our land (which I feel are some of the best lots in our particular section minus the last lot, which is 24 acres with a walk down to the river and dead trees cleared by the old owner!).

Thankfully once the snow thawed, and the unprecedented floods went over the main road, Husband had enough of not seeing our land we paid for, and we rented a big arse truck (oh god, I was SO paranoid as I work in insurance!!) that was amazing and terrifying at the same time.

We drove THROUGH the back roads (not even the main road!) with GPS on the way there (for the most part), two or three weekends after we officially owned the land.

We drove through the side of Green Lake that actually overflowed several feet onto the Road only a week prior, and was still a foot deep when we drove it! We couldn't tell where the lake started and ended...and it was scary. I though we were going to float into the lake!

But we eventually made it up to our land.

I made a sign the week prior with our Camp/Cabin name. Cabin 0.1 And with every upgrade we do, we're increasing the numbers depending on the cost and type of upgrade. Quality of life gives it a full point, and little things add up based on cost.

We also made a sign with our last name on it - so people can find us. It's the friendly thing to do!

We started with our tent, a screen tent (thank god!), and one of those old people toilet things that looks like a walker, but with a toilet seat on it - for our temporary outhouse.

The "outhouse" sat behind a fallen pine tree until we got 1/2 an acre partially cleared, and the pine tree went away. he also dug our outhouse hole, which was a relief!

The other 1/2 acre will be cleared in the fall when rafting season slows down, along with taking out the trees in the acre, levelling the land, and towing our trailer to its permanent spot overlooking the river from a safe distance.

When Husband naps, I work my way through an area of trees from the perimeter of our already cleared and living areas further in. I clip down little trees in the area that is going to be cleared (less than 1.5" thick), clip all the dead branches off the standing trees that are dying, and drag trees, shrubbery, and branches to one of three fire pits to just burn. At this point, with so much dead brush to get rid of, there is no need for a branch pile.

We finished the shed a few weeks after we wanted to, and almost finished our outhouse this past weekend. It just needs a door and shingles.

We have had upgrades from the tent and outdoor bathroom experiences. Husband found a 35 foot trailer in awesome condition thanks to one of his co-workers at a great price - they towed that up mid June.

Oh not to be sleeping on the ground is amazing! My back can't take that, despite doing Yoga once or twice a day up there to help alleviate and prevent pain. Yoga actually works, which is awesome! I just saved a plethora of YouTube videos on my laptop, and thanks to the generator, am able to ensure the laptop stays on (minimal battery life after it's 8 year journey with me), and workout mats to do my workouts on in the screen tent.

We still need to fix the fridge (doesn't stay on without the generator on - the propane doesn't want to work, and the flame doesn't work now), and fix one window that broke while we were closing it from the outside.

But it has a separate bedroom with its own table, closed in bathroom, and the main living area - I really like the design and storage space!

The bathroom has been updated from behind the pine tree into a bucket (oh yeah!), to the tent we were sleeping in once the trailer arrived, and finally the outhouse.

Oh Outhouse, how I love thee!

Next...well I did plan on starting to build stairs at the beginning of June. It's now the last day of July, and no stairs built besides a test stair at the bottom. With bug season mainly over, and the main structures taken care of, we will plow through stairs, digging, and putting them literally in the earth ("L" shaped into the ground with Rebar to anchor them in, eventually filling the middles with gravel for even more durability).

Without stairs, it's a REALLY treacherous climb down. Yup - we climb down to the river (with our spa rock!) by holding onto a climbing rope tied around trees along the way down, hoping we don't slip, fall, and die.

It will happen - we just had priorities, missing parts to do the job right, and meh.

That's the short story.

We have met many amazing neighbours so far, enjoyed local fireworks on Canada Day (which brought out 50+ people on ATV's and trucks), fireworks across from our lot last weekend from some cabin renters, getting lost in the back roads without a GPS or Cellular connection for a few hours, read at least a book a weekend, seen the joy of the pups running and finding their "sunshine," and not thinking of the outside world until it's time to pack up (which took under an hour this weekend counting me hanging up pictures and doing other non-packing stuff in-between).

Oh, and we found what we have dubbed the Waltham Sandbanks. It's an amazing beach that comes and goes with the water levels, and is shallow enough for the pups to walk in.

And are looking forward to popping our "Waltham Float" cherries next weekend. Over 100 people were floating down the river past our lot this weekend (which we trudged away making the outhouse!) sounded like so much fun! And happens every weekend apparently! I can't wait!

There are more stories, more adventures...and if you'd told me a year ago I'd be going to the forest every weekend, towing shrubbery out of the forest, own two canoes, and would be just floating down the river on a unicorn...I'd say you're a bit crazy!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Bella Sunshine Designs - The Maggie Top

I adore the Classic yet Modern style of Bella Sunshine Designs.

Melissa has done it again with the simple yet flattering Maggie Top, tunic, and Dress! 

I tested for the Tunic length, and even had to take a few inches off, as it is drafted for a 5'-5" height.

I'm a measly 5'-2", however, prefer tunics that I can wear leggings under, and to cover up (aka accentuate) my caboose.

The size assigned to me was again on par - grading from just under my chest to my waist and hips for a perfect flattering (aka not clingy) fit. 

Due to a migraine that lasted a week during testing, I was only able to make my fit test top and my final top - although I will cut a few more up for my fall wardrobe. 

I mean the dress length with leggings - how cute would that be? Throw a vest over top, and - I can't contain my excitement! 

I used Water Tower Textiles fabrics that just make me squeal inside - my favourite colour of light cotton spandex (turquoise/aqua) with total awesomeness - Storm Trooper fabric that is all the rage, but rarely available in Canada.  Patty randomly surprises her customers with character print fabrics (giving us a day or so notice) that her husband and daughter pick up during their trips to the States.  When I saw Star Wars - I HAD to have it. 

Star Wars knit is unheard up in Canada (unless we pick it up at a ridiculous cost from the States), and I really appreciate that Patty limits us to 1 metre maximum per print.  This allows all the crazy seamstresses sitting up waiting for midnight to start to each have the opportunity to order these coveted fabrics.

Decorative Weapons and Pattern Testing = Awesomeness!

Beyond that, the feel is so soft and comfortable, I can easily wear this working up at the camp, at work, or just hanging out at home.

There are 3 necklines, 3 sleeve lengths, 3 hem lengths, and even a bust adjustment for those of us who are larger chested (aka the shirt won't look too big because of sizing up). I find very few pattern makers offer this option, making fits for larger tatas difficult if it's an unknown pattern type.  Grading is an art when it comes to sewing - any help with special pattern adjustments that take out the guesswork is truly appreciated!

I'm looking forward to playing around and hacking this pattern with my own personal touches - such as side ruching (I LOVE ruching), pockets in the dress, a Kangaroo pocket at the front, peek-a-boo hole in the back, lace sleeves with a silkier rayon for a beautiful night-on-the town shirt...and you get the picture.

I have a small pile of Bella Sunshine Design patterns waiting to be created, and know that I'll be able to follow each and every pattern, and trust Melissa's sizing to the "T."

Oh, and you can totally Twirl in this shirt too - I twirl for everything these days. It really is quite the epidemic! 

Grab your copy of The Maggie, and sew away - you can whip out a few in an afternoon...but really - why stop at 2?

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

New Horizons - The Pierside Pencil Skirt

The Pierside Pencil Skirt is a REALLY quick sew with a little bit of sass and a lot of flattery!

I'm sassy and fun, like the Pierside Pencil Skirt

It's available in 3 lengths, includes a yoga-style waistband (which keeps everything in place), and a variety of hem finishings - side vents, curved, and straight.  As well, my favourite option - POCKETS!

Gnomey meet Tardis

Oh, and you can add in a waist even if you are not having a confidant day, you can still feel comfortable and plucky as a duck putting on your Pierside!

Normally I am a knee length skirt and dress kind of girl - but with pattern testing, and my personality, I was pushed to go a bit outside my "normal" zone and assigned the Maxi Length skirt option.

Thankfully, unlike the pencil skirts I normally wear to work (aka walking Tuxedo Penguin Mermaid creature), I can actually walk in the maxi and knee length versions without any issues.

It still has that sultry hourglass pencil skirt curve at the sides, just without the awkwardness.

This is due to the side vent (aka the fabric from toes to knee at the sides is hemmed, not sewed together in a seam).  Honestly, this makes it the PERFECT skirt for the beach, the fall, or any time really.

It can be dressed up by using some flashy shiny knit fabric with a lace overlay or ruffle, a bit of ruching on the sides, a big bow at the side instead of a front tie.

Or just spend half an hour sewing up this diverse and COMFORTABLE skirt instead of doing the laundry.

I've worn mine out to restaurants, helping friends move, and even to work. And it's been less than a week since I made my first three!

I also decided I needed to pair mine with at least one Key West Tank top - I opted for the original flared version, and I lurv it!

You can also twirl in it - who knew??

It's flattering, a quick sew, and has a nice overall feel. I can also eat poutine and not feel like I'm squeezed into a tank top that is about to burst.  This tank is all about flattery and forgiveness!

Paired together, this duo is definitely my casual go to, and the skirt is my casual work office attire.


I can never be fully serious during pattern testing! 

Savvy Patterns - The Grace Tankini

The Grace Tankini is a vintage inspired two piece swimsuit with a variety of options.

The top I tested (View A) contains a Pretty circle cut out in the back.

The alternate, View B top, has a ruched center area which is customizable to flatter your figure.  Both top views include a shelf bra.

I sewed lining and cups inside, and the fit (and directions for fit) were on par.

During testing, Audrey made sure that the fit and feel were right for all sizes - and this meant a multitude of pattern amendments.  We worked together, and finally had the perfect fit under the arms, and with the behind.

For the bottoms, I tested out a circle skirt, but you can choose from a sporty bottom with or without ruching, or a panty.

Each of these 4 bottoms can be made either high waisted or to sit on your hips.  I prefer high waisted to cover up that whole "eating poutine with a pint" thing and neglecting my Beachbody workouts for the last while.

Once my workouts are back on track, beyond just daily yoga, I'll aim for the solo panty version - as I tried the tankini on with my 5 out of 4 Pattern's Reversible Riptide bottoms, and the pairing is amazing! 

Savvy Patterns Grace Tankini, 5 out of 4's Reversible Riptides, and George & Ginger Daybreak Rashguard!

The cut of the circle was a bit weird to understand at first for some, but I'd already completed a Twirly Skirt recently, so the double folding for a circle without seams was easy for me to comprehend.  I still haven't hemmed mine, but to be honest, I used the thicker swim fabric I sewed Husband's 5 out of 4 Men's Swim Trunks from, and swim fabric tends not to shred at the edges, so I'll see how long I can hold out before the edges become frayed.

The skirt is twirly, fun, and makes me feel pretty.  Plus I like something covering my behind and thighs, so it's perfect for my comfort level. And Merlin seemed to enjoy our photoshoot for our Fit Pics :)

On the Savvy Patterns website, Audrey (aka pattern designer with flair!) provides tips and links to swim sewing tutorials
But honestly, the pattern is straight forward, and a good quick afternoon sew before you head out to the beach!

I can't wait until I have the chance to make the Ruched Version, as I would ruch every single article of clothing I had if I could!  It's pretty and flattering, and gives me confidence - and that's what Sewing My Wardrobe is all about.

Grab yourself a copy of the pattern and swim suit fabric (while it's still available! Winter is COMING!), and Sew On!