Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Making a new T-shirt from old fabric

As you may or may not know, I (mostly*) gave up buying clothes. The main reasons for this are humanitarian and environmental. The clothes that I can afford are all made in Asia, probably in terrible working conditions. The environmental impact of these industries is also pretty butts, so if I can make a small difference by not contributing, I will! If I could afford all locally-made things, I would! Luckily, I know how to make a lot of things myself.

Over the past year, I've accumulated lots of new-to-me clothes through swaps and hand-me-downs (thanks to my cousins Carolyn and by proxy, Diana! Oh, and my aunt Lisa!). My closet and dresser feel bountiful in so many ways; I rarely feel the need to buy stuff. 

If you're about to do a closet-purge, get in touch with some friends and have them over for a clothing exchange party. Everyone brings old stuff, y'all go through it, take what you like, and then donate the rest! It's win-win-win. 

Recently, I've been craving a new shirt.

Oh this shirt? I made it!
Back in my teenager days, I sewed a lot. I liked sewing my own clothes so much, that my first real job was at the local Fabricland in Lindsay, ON. (My first "not" real jobs were cutting grass and stacking hay. True story). Working at a fabric store, but being a busy grade 11/12 student with university prospects, meant that I was able to buy a lot of fabric at a low cost, but didn't always have the time to follow through and actually sew it all up. 

Over this past Christmas when I was visiting my parents, I scoured the basement for my old fabric stash. I found these stretch knits! I don't know if asian-inspired Hawaiian prints are in right now, but I like it! I had an idea for a two-toned raglan tee. I'll show you what I did!

I had this old t-shirt that fits me really nicely in the arms/shoulder area. Actually, it fits me nice all the way around the whole thing! It's really worn out, and the stripes/colours aren't my favourite. I decided to use this shirt as a template for the perfect fitting tee.

Luckily I had some tissue paper from a pea coat I bought from Laura Petites in January*. 

Since my tissue paper stash is really quite spare, I decided to make only one pattern piece for front and back. That way I have extra tissue paper for the next project, whatever that will be!

I drew a line where I wanted the contrast top/bottom to happen.

There are two pairs of scissors because one is for fabric, the other is for paper/everything else.
FYI, keep your fabric shears for fabric only! They'll last longer and stay super sharp.

I love cutting out patterns. I think this is my favourite part about sewing!

This was so easy to sew, as it was so few pieces. I attached the yokes to the bodices first, and then front and back. 

I did a simple (lazy) hem around the bottom, sleeves, and neck. Hemming is my least favourite part about sewing. I'd rather be a pattern-cutter any day! 

And it's done! I love the way it drapes over the shoulders, and the neckline scoops and boats!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Being (Green) Juicy

Drinking juice. That's the super trendy health thing right now. 

Sometimes, when I feel like making a mess of my kitchen, I embark on the journey of making juice without a juicer. I do this so I can get a whack of nutrients from fresh fruit and veg without wearing our my jaw from all the chewing. 

Check out this spread: Carrots, celery, apple, lemon, bell pepper, romaine, kale.
I blended all of that in my blender with the help of some water. I then passed it through some cheesecloth in a sieve, into a big bowl. 

I squeezed and squeezed the cheesecloth until I was left with a good amount of liquid, and the pulp in the cheesecloth was nearly dry. I keep the pulp in the freezer to use for baking. 

The colour gets me every time. I love it! It looks great, and tastes great.

Making juice without a juicer isn't difficult, but it is time-consuming and makes a bit of a mess. (It makes a significant mess if you're me and don't check that the bottom of the blender is screwed on tightly enough, so halfway through blending, all this green muck starts leaking through the bottom and gets everywhere, and you freak out because it could possibly ruin your blender forever. But don't worry, the blender is safe, but you did add about twenty minutes to this juice-making journey)

I've experimented with different combinations of things to make juice. I don't typically follow a "recipe", since I use what produce I have. Carrot, apple, and lemon are usually the three things that are in all the juices I've made before. I like the combination of carrot, apple, ginger, and beet. Celery and pepper make the juice really savoury, almost like V8. Dark leafy greens give juice an awesome hue, which can make you feel way more badass drinking it. 

Saturday, 16 May 2015


In September I joined the triathlon club at my new school. It was such a good decision. Looking back, I have trouble imagining what the past year would have been like if I hadn't joined. I think it would have been very different. Before joining the club, I was getting into training for running road races and triathlon. I was seeing huge changes in my health, attitude, self-perception, energy, and focus. I noticed a change in my approach to practicing, which is the major game-changer in any classical musician's life!

Check out this sweet outfit

To keep myself accountable while being busy with school, I joined the club. That way I'd have set times to train, have coaches to guide me, and make non-music friends. Friends are important!

Indoor spinning

Now, I've just begun my third session with the club. I've got a road bike, a fancy watch, and a fast and happy body. 

Oh hell yeah that was a 22.5km run.

Of the three triathlon sports, I like running the most. Maybe because it's the most accessible, or that I've been doing it the longest. Oh! No, that's a lie. I began swimming probably before I could walk/run. I love swimming too, but it's just not as easy. Running is easy.  You just put one foot in front of the other, and try and do that quickly.

More excellent fashion, and school spirit!

Cycling is the *newest* for me. I did some mountain biking when I was a teenager, and I bike-commute all the time. You may also recall the bike tour I did in 2013

Teenager Kath!

Teenager Kath won 3rd! (by default!)

 Back to the present- I've been learning so much about cycling very recently, since it's finally been nice enough outside to ride for real. 

My first ride out on my own

I have my first triathlon of the year on June 20th: Tremblant Sprint Triathlon

Necessary running gear!

I've already done three running races: a 5k (20:06), a half-marathon (1:34:21), and a 10k (41:43)
All three have been huge PRs for me!

My sister-in-law/running partner Lorri, my nephew Petey, and me after our half-marathon!


Frustrated while waiting for a train to pass

The winter sucked, but I still ran outside somehow.  


Oh gosh, I can't end this post with a photo of a sheer-ice sidewalk from January.

Solo ride up Mont Royal
I hope you get moving this summer. It's so worth it. Run, bike, walk- do something that gets you out in the sun while it lasts! Warning: you'll get addicted :)

I'm Back!

Hello dear friends!

I'm back. This has been the longest gap between blog posts ever, in the history of this blog. What happened? It's kind of a long-ish story, since it was a long gap of time and lots happened! Basically, I moved cities to pursue my Master's Degree and I've been so deeply focused on that, I really haven't had time for many of my other small pleasures, one of them being this blog. 
Now I have a summer break! Well, in my field, there's not really a break, but I'm definitely in "vacation mode". All I want to do is remember what it's like to be a normal human!

For this blog, I'm working on writing a bunch of posts, and then having them timed to publish every couple of days for now. Hopefully you'll have things to see rather frequently! I'll keep you updated via my instagram, if you care to give me a follow! @katkatwatson is my username. 

For today, I will leave you with a recipe.

This is a super easy gluten-free, cruelty-free, soy-free, inspiration-free salad.
Now, what you want to do is take a head of romaine lettuce, and chop it up. Then, slice up a banana...


Here's the real recipe I want to share with you today!

A fresh bowl of veggies and rice with a delicious Sesame-Ginger dressing.

Bowl Ingredients:
-Black Japonica Rice, cooked 
-Steamed or roasted broccoli
-Grated carrots
-Sliced cucumbers
-Bell pepper
-Surprise micro-greens

Dressing Ingredients:
-Lemon juice
-Maple Syrup
-Sesame oil
-Rice vinegar
-Grated ginger
-Clove of garlic
-Spoon of tahini

What I did:
1- I cooked up a bunch of rice. 1c uncooked with 2c water.
2- I chopped up/grated my veggies
3- I put all the dressing ingredients in a jar. For the garlic, I gave it a good smash, chopped it very roughly, and put it in the jar with all the rest.
4- I steamed the broccoli, but roasting it would taste good too. 

**Roasting Vegetables & Being Environmentally Friendly**

I chose to steam my veggies because if I'm going to roast veggies, it means using the oven for 20-40min. This uses A LOT of energy, so if I'm to do that, I'd rather be using it for a big batch of things. One head of broccoli is not worth the hydro! Think about how much energy/money might be wasted if you use the entire oven for very small things.

**Continuing with the recipe**

5- I put everything in a bowl. 
6- I removed the smashed garlic from the dressing with a fork.
7- I spooned some of the crazy-delicious dressing into the bowl, onto my food
8- I devoured it! Actually, I savoured it. 
9- I put together another bowl of this for my lunch tomorrow! 

I didn't list any measurements, because a) I didn't take any and b) when it comes to fresh veggies, you can't really have too many!
For the dressing, I kind of did a splash of everything, and then tasted it to see if it was good. Go easy on the sesame oil. You need only a drop of that!

Other things I considered adding to the bowl, but then forgot: 
-grape tomatoes
-sundried tomatoes

Take care, friends! I'll see you again soon with more posts, more photos, more stories... yay!