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It’s possible that the thing I like best about being Canadian is the accessibility of butter tarts.  Sometimes, though, you find yourself living in the middle of nowhere with a hankering and no desire to hand fashion individual tart shells.  In high school my friend Christine Konarski revolutionized butter tart home baking with this one pan recipe. Please enjoy.


1/2 c. butter

2 tbsp. icing sugar

1 1/2 c. flour

1 1/2 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. melted butter

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. vinegar

1 c. raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream 1/2 cup butter and 2 tablespoons sugar. Blend in flour. Pat into greased 9 x 9 inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile,  beat together brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, vinegar and vanilla. Fold in raisins. Pour over baked crust. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until set.


Chris decided that I wasn’t spoiled enough getting a new sewing machine for my thirtieth birthday and thought he would redo my studio as a surprise.  It took almost a month of hard work after working long days and overnights and I have to admit I wasn’t always the picture of patience but it was so worth the wait. I actually teared up at the big reveal.  I thought I would let Chris walk you through it so that I can spend less time blogging and more time french kissing my new cutting table. Take it away baby!


When I was asked to “guest blog” I  had no idea what that meant.  While I do have an iPhone and a MacBook, I use them almost exclusively to check current and future weather forecasts; yep, I’m that cool.  So Amy’s explanation went something like this:

A:  You should guest blog about the studio, so you can explain what was done.

C:  What does guest blogging mean?

A:  You write on my blog.

C:  How does that work?

A:  What do you mean?  I hand you the computer and you type.

C:  So a guest blogger has to be in the same place as the host?  Oh, wait; I guess they could just log on from anywhere.  I don’t think I understand this whole Internets thing.

Back to the studio…  This final design was at least the sixth version, as I kept having to update my plans when I couldn’t find material or figure out how to create a telescopic cutting table that could be adjusted using only your mind (and a small hand crank).  While I did have to scale down my plans, there were still a few “must haves”.  I wanted to have an elevated cutting surface, desk space for a sewing machine and serger, a comfortable chair, an edge on to which a swift and winder could be mounted, and plenty of storage.

Outdated before pic


I had planned on designing and building everything myself but soon realized that returning to work and having a three-month-old at home was going to keep me busy enough, so the idea of buying already designed and packaged storage cubes became incredibly appealing.  I tried to choose storage configurations that would work well for sewing, knitting, and all around general crafting. I picked them up at Michaels with a forty percent off coupon.

The cutting table was built at counter height and the sewing table at desk height.  For both surfaces, rather than building legs, I decided to use the storage cubes and shelves as supports and that seemed to work well. The tabletops are inch thick melamine from Rona.

Closet before

Closet after

The closet was the simplest fix with the installation of a few shelves and the addition of some clear plastic totes, also from Rona.

Kate gives her stamp of approval

In the end, I think it came together pretty much how I had planned, with only a few minor hiccups along the way.


Thanks so much to Chris for angsting over both the studio and the blog post (the post took him two days – that’s how he rolls).  I’ve been stealing a few minutes here and there to work on a jersey dress and the loveliness of my new space is saving me from totally pulling my hair out.  I’m a lucky lady.

Since I made my mum a sweater for her fiftieth birthday last year I thought it would only be fair to make one for my dad’s fiftieth this year. I started this way back in March thinking I would never have time to knit again post-baby. It ended up just taking me a few weeks and sat in a closet until I could give it to him on our trip to Kitchener last month. Unfortunately we were there during a suffocating heat wave so I didn’t get any modelled photos.  I asked my mom to take some and she got these stunning shots well into his party.

These are literally the least embarrassing shots of the lot.

At least we can see that if fits. I based the measurements on one of Chris’s store-bought sweaters because while Chris is tall and thin my dad is a shorter and broader so they end up buying the same sizes often. It seems to have worked out well.

The yarn is Berroco Vintage, a wool / acrylic / nylon blend because I knew it would have to be washable if it was to get any use.

I was surprised at how the back neck shaping turned out. I thought I was going to end up with a classic saddle shoulder that cut straight across the back based on the projects I’ve seen on blogs and Ravelry but as it turns out those are actually the Seamless Hybrid With Shirt Yoke. The Seamless Hybrid proper looks like this (third photo) at the back of the neck.  There seems to be a lot of overlap in categorization.  Oh well, not a big deal.

For his sixtieth birthday I’ll be sure to get some daylight, non-bathing suit bottom photos.

Same as last year

and just as good.

This has been a doozy of a week.  Kate, it seems, is a teething prodigy at three months and has been miserable.  Chris went back to work Sunday night and Kate decided not to sleep anymore in acknowledgment of his absence.  It may seem crazy but I’ve been trying to keep up with the making of things despite the strong urge to crawl up in bed and sleep whenever I get a minute. I strongly believe the former is the actual path to a modicum of sanity.  I am rewarded by two obscenely good discoveries.

This is the love of my life. Baking wise, at least.  It’s the buttermilk bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and it is the best bread I have ever eaten in my entire life.  The crust tastes like a croissant and the middle is chewy and dense.  This confirms my strong belief that buttermilk makes everything better.

I also finally used the popsicle molds that Chris bought months ago with my own interpretation of these blackberry pops.

Raspberry Yogurt Pops

Makes 7 pops

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed (I used frozen)

400 ml (two small containers)  or 1 3/4 cups vanilla yogurt

1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

juice of half a lime

Make the simple syrup by combining the water and sugar in a small pot and bringing to a boil to dissolve the sugar.  Cool to room temperature.

Puree the berries in a food processor or blender.  Press into a medium bowl through a fine mesh sieve until all the juice is extracted. Discard seeds. Stir in remaining ingredients, including simple syrup and pour into seven popsicle molds.  Freeze at least six hours and run under tepid water to loosen popsicles.

August 2010
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Please do not copy, repost or in any way distribute my photos, patterns, recipes or text without my permission.