Commatose.ca http://www.commatose.ca Make things better! Tue, 19 Mar 2019 00:55:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 http://www.commatose.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/cropped-siteicon-1-32x32.jpg Commatose.ca http://www.commatose.ca 32 32 A tasty home remedy for sore throat, congestion & more http://www.commatose.ca/2019/03/turmeric-latte-for-colds.html http://www.commatose.ca/2019/03/turmeric-latte-for-colds.html#respond Thu, 14 Mar 2019 19:18:49 +0000 http://www.commatose.ca/?p=5510 Continue reading]]> In our little lake-surrounded alcove of Ontario, September through June seems to be perpetual cold, flu and allergy season. At least once a year the young son and I each ice the health cake with some sinus infections. (July and early August are typically fantastic though!)

This year I decided after much recommendation to try turmeric lattes to soothe my sore throats. Turmeric lattes are sometimes referred to as golden milk. After constantly forgetting to buy the dry spice forever, one day I noticed a giant packet of the stuff while grocery shopping and actually managed to purchase it. You can stock your home up with some turmeric without having to leave the house here (affiliate link).

You’ll need just a few items, most of which you may have in your kitchen already:

  • Milk
  • Turmeric (dry or fresh)
  • Ginger (dry or fresh)
  • Black pepper
  • Honey to taste (optional)

I use this recipe, and I try to remember (and usually forget) to add honey at the end as recommended to sweeten it a little. I enjoy it either way, the flavour is just heightened if you do add some.

Cute little honey pot with dipper (affiliate link)

Honey talks

It wouldn’t be very ‘blogger’ of me if I didn’t take this opportunity to brag mention that by sheer luck our honey is hyperlocal (oooh, buzzword! Get it…? ‘Cause bees!), sourced from the guy across the street from us with the bees whose honey reigns supreme over all honeys. They pollinate our garden and our cherry trees every year. There’s something comforting about the hum of hundreds of busy honeybees, even to someone who’s been stung by about 50 things with stings over her lifetime. They leave you alone if you leave them alone. The ones stinging me are usually yellowjackets anyway.

Before we lucked out into having a beekeeping neighbour, we bought some great honey from our local market and still do if our neighbour runs out. Honey from the grocery store is okay for sweetening too, but be sure to read your labels.

Oh right, what were we talking about? Turmeric lattes, yes.

Not only are they great for sore throats but turmeric has a wealth of other health benefits. Its anti-inflammatory properties help ease the pain of my early-onset varicose veins (the epic tale of which I’ll discuss in a later post). I won’t go into all of the health stuff though. The post with the latte recipe does a great job of it!

Another thing turmeric does incredibly well is stain things. So be careful; consider wearing an apron (I do!) and rinse well before you brush your teeth after having one of these or you’ll soon be buying a new toothbrush.

Are you or someone you care for dealing with a sore throat? Gather up some milk, turmeric, ginger, pepper and (optionally) honey, and give golden milk a try. Feel free to Pin this post for later, and please let me know what you think in the comments!

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When to use a knit foot instead of a walking foot http://www.commatose.ca/2018/09/why-i-love-my-knit-foot.html http://www.commatose.ca/2018/09/why-i-love-my-knit-foot.html#respond Sun, 23 Sep 2018 20:08:14 +0000 http://www.commatose.ca/?p=5484 Continue reading]]> A while ago I wrote a post on the 32 piece presser foot set that’s full of all kinds of cool feet to help you sew many different types of projects without going for broke. We love Amazon Prime at our house because we’re ‘last minute’ people. We run out of stuff at the last minute, we break stuff when we need it most; basically… we’re a family.

I recently noticed that the 32 piece presser foot set is no longer offered with Prime but still has free shipping when you spend over a certain amount (i.e., $35 in Canada). What is offered with Prime (thankfully) is my favourite presser foot of all: The knit foot.

This post is not sponsored by any brand of knit foot. It’s an honest review of my feelings toward this sweet little presser foot. It does contain Amazon Affiliate links which I make a small commission off if you happen to buy anything. This costs you nothing in addition and also helps support my blog! So thanks!

 

In the aforementioned post, I mentioned the knit foot and said it was my fave. This has not changed. It’s also the foot I tend to get so comfy using that I forget to watch for thicker seams and end up having to re-buy because the rubber foot can come off.

Yes, you can put the rubber foot back on, but I find that after the first time it pops off, it continues to do so. Maybe the next time it happens I’ll get my husband to brave the superglue for me (since I’m clumsy), but I’ll admit I have rebought this a few times. I have a knit foot graveyard because as a result of rushing through my projects.

Top: Alive and well knit foot. Bottom: Dead feet, RIP.

Anyway I mention the above in honest caution, but not as a deterrent. It’s something the makers of the knit foot could improve upon. When you approach your thicker seams with the knit foot, sloooooow down. If it looks at all like your needle is getting closer to the blue rubber foot, that’s because it the rubber part is moving up AKA coming off of the foot. This is not what you want. If you’re not careful, the needle will thread through your rubber piece and havoc will ensue. Don’t let this happen to you.

The easiest way to avoid this is to ignore the fact that you’re sewing is going smooth like butter and anticipate any thicker parts, move slowly and carefully, and even guide your fabric through just at this point with your foot raised (you can sew over that bit with a different foot after if it looks loose). Be gentle, be kind, even with presser feet that have a minor design flaw.

Now that that’s settled, let me tell you…

Why I love my knit foot more than my walking foot for knits

To those who have never used either, it may seem obvious to choose a knit foot for stretchy knit fabrics. I use mine most with jersey to make and finish scarves for my shop, to topstitch the hems on my upcycled tees, and other stuff for my family. But a lot of people who sew have never worked with a knit foot and their go-to is to use and recommend the walking foot, even when zigzagging over the fabric’s edge.

And here’s why I like it more than a walking foot:

The walking foot (or even feed foot) is harder to stitch over the edge of knits with, as they’re stretchy and the ‘teeth’ want to feed the fabric from the left and the right at once. That’s how it feeds most fabric through so smoothly.

If you’re doing an overlock or zigzag stitch over the edge of a fabric though, your fabric’s edge is in the center, just in front of the needle (not touched by the right teeth/feed dogs). And with a stretchy knit like jersey, things are more complex. The left teeth and feed dogs on a walking foot are likely to feed the fabric pulling toward the left — knit stretches the way it is fed, unlike a quilting cotton which will stay put mostly — since those right teeth and right feed dogs are gripping nothing.

The knit foot grips stretchy fabric right in front of the needle where you are zigzagging, overlocking, stretch-stitching, or whatever stitch you happen to be using. Your stitch goes where it should go, and it feeds smoothly through the machine with very little guidance from you.

Both sewn with one hand for video-taking purposes. Left side: Eek. Right side: Improved.

The walking foot is great for most fabrics, I find. Knits, however, especially lightweight knits, really benefit from being fed just in front of the needle.

Below is a little video showing you what I mean.

(I know, I’m a n00b. I shot it vertically because the only videos I ever shoot are for Instagram stories lately. Ack. I’ll do better next time. Anyway. Watch the video even if you skipped it due to its inferior alignment!)

So yes! Knit foot. It works especially well if you’re sewing without holding a phone to take a video, but hopefully you can see the difference well enough regardless.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope this post has been informative. If it has, please feel free to Pin it or share wherever you normally share great stuff! If you end up getting yourself a knit foot to try, or if you already have one, please let me know your opinion in the comments! I love mine (all of them, past and present, haha).

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DIY: Upcycle your old t-shirt into a kid’s raglan! http://www.commatose.ca/2018/08/i-upcycled-a-mans-tee-into-a-kids-raglan-and-so-can-you.html http://www.commatose.ca/2018/08/i-upcycled-a-mans-tee-into-a-kids-raglan-and-so-can-you.html#comments Thu, 16 Aug 2018 04:24:03 +0000 http://www.commatose.ca/?p=5463 Continue reading]]> Here’s a free, fun project for you and your sewing machine/serger!

But first: Are you having a great summer? I hope so. I love this time of year for so many reasons — walking on the beach with your feet in the warm sand, hiking, gardening — and not needing to bundle up to enjoy the outdoors! (That last one’s really all I need.)

Laura Secord Legacy Trail in St Catharines

Another great part about August is it’s peach season in Southern Ontario! Peaches are probably the fruit I look most forward to each year, and there’s no shortage of them at any of our local farmer’s markets.

My husband recently got a couple of bright new t-shirts from one of our local markets. Alas, his t-shirt ended up in my scrap pile with a grease stain soon after. I used some blue Dawn and a toothbrush on the dry shirt then washed with my usual hypoallergenic detergent to get most of the spots out. It wasn’t perfect, but most of it was out. By this time, I had decided it was in my scrap pile, I was going to do something cute with it.

Adult size green tee

Kids upcycled raglan t-shirt

And I did! Using the aforementioned market tee and another tee in my scrap pile for the black sleeves and neckband! Isn’t it cute?

I used this free PDF raglan tee pattern and tutorial from LifeSewSavory. The pattern was easy to piece together, cut out and grade to his specific size — he has 3Y arms but a 5Y chest width because he is a little T-rex! This tutorial is so great because it helps you make a raglan t-shirt for kids 18 months old all the way up to 10 years! If you’re upcycling, that is a lot of free raglans you can make for the kids in your life. If you’re not upcycling, that is potentially a lot of not-free but still awesome raglans!

Best of all, this turned out to be a fast sew. The only part we got stuck on — quite literally, or maybe stuck in — was when I had the shirt finished and his head didn’t fit into the collar. [Insert horror face emoji.]

Made this upcycled raglan tee

How did I fix that?

Well, I tried picking stitches for a while but my foot was swelling (I’ve had a heck of a year, I’ll tell you about it someday) so I took a break, came back and just cut the collar completely off the shirt. My little big-headed boy would never have fit through the original neckline.

So might I suggest that once you’ve sewn all the other parts together, you test the head size before sewing on your neckband. If it’s too small, carefully cut it just a bit (maybe a half centimeter) smaller and test again, repeating until you’re at the stage where a stretchy neckband that’s 80% as wide as the neck hole will be able to fit your child’s head.

raglan made from two old t-shirts

Important note: I think the only reason we had this issue was because I graded the pattern so his sleeves wouldn’t be too wide. Next time I’ll probably just make the whole thing the same size to avoid catastrophe.

So yeah! I’m really happy with the result and this kid loves his upcycled raglan tee! You should make a raglan now. Or soon. Or some day soon! But when you do, definitely use this free tutorial from LifeSewSavory, because it’s great.

Aren’t raglans so awesome and comfortable? I can’t wait to sew up some more when I get the chance!

Sew a kid's raglan with this free pattern!

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How L-theanine helps my anxiety & more http://www.commatose.ca/2018/03/how-l-theanine-helps-my-anxiety-more.html http://www.commatose.ca/2018/03/how-l-theanine-helps-my-anxiety-more.html#comments Wed, 14 Mar 2018 03:07:21 +0000 http://www.commatose.ca/?p=5410 Continue reading]]> When I started to get shortness of breath due to anxiety and nothing helped, this actually did. Here's how.

This winter’s been something else, hasn’t it? Hopefully yours was filled with health and happiness. For a while over here my son and I were constantly sick, which we eventually learned were pretty intense sinus infections. After a couple of rounds of antibiotics apiece, we thankfully began to feel better. Winter has always been a bit of a drag (that can’t be just me?), but the Christmas season keeps me quite busy so I can usually push through that bit with ease. January I find is often my low point.

One morning a few days after my final course of antibiotics for my sinus infection, I started to have some shortness of breath. At first I attributed this to either my sinus infection coming back and causing complications or maybe, I thought, because the weather had been snapping between freezing and mild. Over the years I’ve noticed that is usually when it’s harder for me to catch a full breath.

This time though, instead of intermittent, it was constant. I was aware of every breath because it felt as if a full inhale was impossible.

Trying to get to sleep was scary. I was terrified I’d forget to breathe in my sleep, but I always woke up thankfully. And I would even feel relaxed in that brief moment. Then I’d stand up, and the shortness of breath was back. Four days into this, it became so overwhelming that I had a panic attack. (For anyone who’s never had one — 10/10 would not recommend.)

Ah, it’s anxiety.

Through trial and error with my doctor and nurse practitioner, it was determined that nothing was physically wrong but rather that my shortness of breath was caused by anxiety. We tried a few things, some of which just made me more anxious about possible interactions — it didn’t seem worth diminishing old worries with new ones. Meditation and breathing exercises only helped temporarily.

After a while I noticed I would become short of breath for about a week or so. Then it stopped. Then again, a couple of weeks later.

Coffee, my one true friend.

At this point I had quit caffeine (despite LOVING coffee) for about 3 weeks. I had been going to bed earlier. I had changed my diet so it was much more balanced. No junk food at night. Drinking lots of water. Getting at least 45 minute walks in every day, sometimes twice. Nothing. Helped.

Based on timing, I began to think maybe my anxiety was more cyclical/hormonal than I had realized. Why was it happening every couple of weeks for almost a set duration? I noticed a pattern using my period tracker and my mood app. The worst breathing would always occur around the same times in my cycle. Which probably makes sense if you’re a lady, because you know that certain times of the month can be harder than others.

I started drinking coffee again because I figured if absolutely nothing was helping me anyway, I might as well be happy (or as happy as I could be while not breathing well).

Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to products I have used and would recommend. If you purchase them through my links I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. These commissions help keep my site alive, so if you do make a purchase through the links, thank you!

Weeks before this, I had been researching natural remedies on Amazon when I stumbled upon L-theanine. I actually ordered it then, but by the time it arrived (which was literally 2 days later, haha) I had decided to temporarily quit caffeine to see if it would help. If I was going to try L-theanine, I really wanted to give it a go with a coffee — stacking it with coffee improves focus and cognitive function. So I had decided to wait to try it for that reason, or in case it would make me sleepy or something. (Turns out it improves sleep quality but is not a sedative, which is nice.)

What exactly is L-theanine?

L-theanine is a non-essential amino acid that occurs naturally in black and green tea. In a cup of green tea you’d get about 20 mg of L-theanine. The capsules I ordered (see the bottle below) are 250 mg each. Please note: Due to other ingredients occurring in tea, drinking 12 cups of green or black tea in a row is not recommended. Consuming pure L-theanine concentrated into a supplement capsule is reportedly much safer.

Typically the first effects of L-theanine can be felt about 20-30 minutes after taking the supplement, and they peak about 5 hours after.

The more I read about this amino acid, the more health benefits it seemed to have. It also seemed to interact with very few things and from what I read had tested to be quite safe in most studies.

I’m not a medical professional or a naturopath, so I won’t give you all the info about it in this post. Here are a couple of comprehensive links I can recommend reading if you’d like to try L-theanine:

Given that I read about very few side effects, I Google-searched “L-theanine reddit” to source as many opinions on the stuff as I could. To my surprise, most were positive. The weakest link seemed to be that if you have low blood pressure or take SSRIs, you may not want to try it without consulting with your doctor first. You should also not take it if you are in chemotherapy as it may alter the effects of chemo. (Source)

Otherwise, it appears to be quite a safe supplement to take, with a variety of benefits.

Kicking Horse Kick Ass whole bean fair trade coffee and Tetley Green Tea

My coffee of choice is Kick Ass by the way.

My own experience with L-Theanine:

I decided to first take L-theanine with my Saturday morning coffee. About an hour later I noticed I was laughing more, the kid was whining as preschoolers do but it wasn’t bothering me nearly as much as usual, and overall I was in a great mood. To my surprise there was no “high” or anything. My head didn’t feel fuzzy, in fact it felt quite clear and none of my usual worries were bouncing around in my head. And — perhaps most basic but best of all — I was breathing just fine. !!! This alone would have encouraged me to keep taking it.

My sewing machine and I got along famously all weekend long. I made a few shirts for myself, which surprised me since my motivation was constantly lacking in the previous months. I stayed so motivated with just about everything, where before I was too tired to want to think of getting basic stuff done around the house (though I do have a knack for pushing through that stuff in order to avoid larger messes to deal with later).

Not only was I motivated, but also enthusiastic. Which was weird, to say the least, and not familiar to me at all in recent times. It was refreshing, as if I had woken up with a clear head.

Some interesting flowers I found in Stanley Park

Since it’s hard to visualize a person with a clear head, here are some peaceful looking blooms in place of that. 🙂

One possible interaction? No bad side effects, just reduced efficacy.

I made the (possible?) mistake of taking it with a multivitamin the second day and it didn’t seem to have the same effect on focus. I later read that you probably shouldn’t take those vitamins around the same time as other supplements, medications, etc. Maybe I’m just imagining I was less focused because I kept messing up neckhole binding on a shirt I was sewing, but I know I did yawn a lot more which seems to happen in combination with my shortness of breath.

Will I keep taking it?

For now, yes! Long term? Maybe!

I’ve been taking one capsule every morning with coffee. Honest to goodness, I have not felt this motivated and even cheerful for a long, long time. I find myself recommending L-theanine to everyone who has issues with anxiety, depression or lack of motivation. I’m far less tired on it and my sleep quality has improved, which is confirmed by my Fitbit. I wake up ready to face the day, which I’m not sure I’ve ever done in my life, really.

Please note: I have not personally tried it yet without coffee because I like how this ‘stack’ gets my butt in gear, but I’m sure that will change. A friend of ours has been dealing with a lot of stress lately and took L-theanine without coffee. He said it made him feel mellow.

Feel free to check back for updates on this post with my experiences with or without stacking L-theanine with caffeine.

My conclusion:

Given the list of health benefits (see the first bullet point in the links I posted above), I truly feel that many if not most people could benefit from this supplement, anxiety or not. With our busy lives, sleep quality suffers even in the best of us. And the improved focus is something I’m just floored by. It is common for people take L-theanine before exams or before public speaking for better cognitive function and focus.

I’m wondering if it really will aid in preventing allergies, colds and flu as I’ve read in a few different articles. That’s a post for a couple months down the road when tree pollen is in full force again, I suppose.

Plagued by anxiety? It might be worth your while to try L-theanine.

If you try L-theanine or are considering it, this is the one I recommend as it’s the only one I’ve tried and have had zero ill-effects from it.

I would love to read your insights or answer any questions you might have. Please leave your thoughts and/or experiences in the comments!

L-theanine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in black and green teas.

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The end of another year! http://www.commatose.ca/2017/12/the-end-of-another-year.html http://www.commatose.ca/2017/12/the-end-of-another-year.html#comments Mon, 01 Jan 2018 02:55:21 +0000 http://www.commatose.ca/?p=5390 Continue reading]]> See ya later, 2017! I’m ready for this year to end (given that either a family member or I have been sick or had allergies for a good chunk of it).

One of my favourite pictures of the year from Johnny’s birthday. It turns out he loves biking. He and his little legs and training wheels biked 7 km with us one day this summer. He’s 3!

The new year is a clean slate I’m told, or maybe it’s just a fresh planner to write some goals in. As for resolutions, I’m not huge on them. I’ve never joined a gym or even wanted to, though I probably should. I did come up with a few things I’d like to do in 2018 that I can reflect upon on December 31, 2018 and realize we totally forgot about. Hm. Maybe I’m big on resolutions after all, sorta.

Off the top of my head, here are a few things I’d like to work on in 2018:

  • Play and read even more with the kiddo.
  • Fill up my photo albums — and print more photos to fit into more photo albums.
  • Paint our walls! We’ve lived here almost 3 years and we haven’t done much to make this place our own
  • Not only walk more, but explore more. Okay that sounds flaky. But allow myself to wander when I walk. Okay that didn’t sound any less flaky.
  • Keep the music on. It keeps the heart happy.
  • More bloggin’. That’s always on the list.
  • Grow my shop through more craft shows, new products and keeping up with social media.

Hope your new year is safe, healthy and happy! And if you make resolutions, hope you see them through to the end! (It’s fine if you don’t!)

And remember, spring’ll be back soon! 🙂

Happy 2018!

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Happy Halloween!  http://www.commatose.ca/2017/10/happy-halloween.html http://www.commatose.ca/2017/10/happy-halloween.html#respond Tue, 31 Oct 2017 15:00:10 +0000 http://www.commatose.ca/?p=5379 Following in my footsteps…

I was Raph for Halloween as a kid. My dad and nana made me a paper maché turtle shell by pasting tonnes of newspaper to an oval laundry basket and painting it varying shades of brown. Proportionate to my tiny body, it was not. Memorable, creative and extremely heavy? Definitely.

Raph for Halloween

Raph for Halloween

In case you’re wondering, his little buffalo plaid scarf is handmade and is available in my Etsy shop! (It’s just the plaid part. The long bit is from his bandana thingy.

I do prefer the flexy foam shell this kid has, attached by Velcro. Thanks, Value Village! 😀

Happy Halloween to you and yours! Are you dressing up this year?

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Best solar lights for Christmas, or any time! http://www.commatose.ca/2017/08/best-solar-lights-for-christmas-or-any-time-of-year.html http://www.commatose.ca/2017/08/best-solar-lights-for-christmas-or-any-time-of-year.html#comments Thu, 31 Aug 2017 15:12:49 +0000 http://www.commatose.ca/?p=5335 Continue reading]]> Hi there! Hope your summer’s been beautiful.

The end of this August means it’s already been over two years since we moved to the place we’re in now! We went from suburban life to country living, which was something of a learning curve. Well water? Coyotes hunting across the street in the bush at night? Spiders the size of your big toe?

One unique challenge we had was how we would string up the Christmas lights. There is no power outlet outside our house except for in our shed, but we’d need to leave an ugly extension cord showing. Not the end of the world, but since we have one very sunny south-facing wall, I was inspired to look into solar powered options.

Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which if purchased, earn my site a small commission at no additional cost to you. My recommendations are based on having bought the product, tried it and trusted the product and seller. No one has told me to write this — but I love recommending awesome things.

I found these outdoor/indoor solar powered LED Christmas lights, and surprisingly with how affordable they were, they did not disappoint.  .

As shown, these solar powered LED Christmas lights come in either coloured or white LEDs. We got two strings of the coloured last September, and later this year a friend of mine got two of the white. Each string is 72 feet long.

Both styles of lights look wonderful. They’re quite small yet incredibly bright and beautiful — and they’re easy to set up with the included small solar panel on a stake you push into the ground. The best part is your power supply (AKA Mr. Sun) is FREE!

Outdoor/Indoor solar powered LED Christmas lights

I have our coloured LED lights strung up on the trees in our front yard, even in summer (embarrassingly enough). The string and lights are so small that they blend in well with the tree trunk and literally one person has noticed them; she is the one who bought some of these lights afterward! ( Good eye, Lauren! 😀 )

Outdoor/Indoor solar powered LED Christmas lights on a tree

You don’t need a super sunny yard, but it sure gives these lights some extra kick. The tree that’s closer to our south-facing wall was often lit up with dancing lights until morning. The other tree’s lights usually lasted about 4 to 6 hours — slightly longer after a sunny winter day.

I’ve found it’s all in where you position your solar panel, which is small enough that it can be discretely positioned behind your tree so it isn’t easily seen from the street.

World’s least focused picture of this solar panel. I will replace this picture when I remember to take another one, I promise!

These solar LED lights have 8 different modes as well. Whether you like them on steady, dancing, fading, or a combination, you have those options and more. The colours are a bit hard to see in the phone videos I took below, but they give an idea of some of the different modes!

Just a heads up: I noticed that these lights were in shorter supply after October of last year, so if you’re looking, scoop ’em up while they last. This is why I’m posting something Christmas-related at the end of August. I promise I don’t do this often!

I’ll be adding my own pictures and more close-up videos of these lights as seen at night time soon to give a better idea of the colours! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by today! If you have any questions at all about these lights, leave them in the comments! I’ll be sure to answer honestly to the best of my ability.

Have you used solar Christmas lights before? What did you think?

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The ONE kit you need if you love to sew http://www.commatose.ca/2017/07/the-one-kit-you-need-if-you-love-to-sew.html http://www.commatose.ca/2017/07/the-one-kit-you-need-if-you-love-to-sew.html#comments Thu, 20 Jul 2017 02:27:08 +0000 http://www.commatose.ca/?p=5311 Continue reading]]> Recently a friend of mine asked me what he should know in order to take up sewing. Well, that’s a can of worms. It got me thinking of all the stuff I wish I’d known when I first began sewing. Things like:

  • Do not try sewing Velcro onto your very first project without the right needles, or they’ll turn to shrapnel and you could lose an eye
  • Do not attempt to start and finish your first project halfway through the evening before you plan to give it to someone as a gift
  • Go slowly if you don’t want to crush or stab your finger in between some sewing machine parts

…and other such helpful advice I would happily offer any beginning ‘sewist’ today. More tips like this in an upcoming (as yet unwritten) post. For now, I wanted to show you something cool. I’ve included a few affiliate links in this post. If you happen to order from them, I earn a small percentage of the sale (this costs you nothing additionally).

 

Variety pack of presser feet

I got this set approximately a year ago and it was a game changer. I don’t use that term lightly — or at all in the history of my being, actually, now that I think of it. It’s a set of 32 different presser feet that work with most of the popular sewing machine brands, and it unlocks the potential for so many more projects!

And that’s what all sewing enthusiasts need, right? More project ideas? 😉

This thing has nearly every presser foot you could want at various levels of sewing expertise, beginner through expert. The only thing I’d add to it is an even feed foot (sometimes called a walking foot) — these are probably more difficult to make universal though, which may be why one of those is not included.

This set is a great value for the money, especially when you look up the prices of individual presser feet.

Here is an illustrated though kind of hard to read graphic of the names of the included presser feet in the 32 piece set.

 

My favourite presser feet so far?

  1. Knit foot. Absolute fave. I love sewing up comfy jersey knit scarves for my shop, and this feeds the fabric through the sewing machine so nicely without any bunching or stretching. It’s truly unbelievable how it works compared to your regular foot and it’s the next best thing to having a serger. (I’d say it’s kind of better, as there’s almost no learning curve to worry about with a knit foot.) See my post about the knit foot here.
  2. Rolled hem foot. There are actually a few different sized rolled hem presser feet in the 32 piece set! These feet make for beautiful, easy and professional looking hems on things like linen tea towels and any lighter material that is tedious to press and hem.
  3. Open toe embroidery foot. Use this for applique and also for applying ribbons. The front of this presser foot is wide open so that you can see everything you’re doing. The back has a channel through which denser applique stitching and ribbons will flow without getting caught up in the foot or in your machine!
  4. Darning foot. Great for free motion quilting! And darning, I assume. 😉
  5. Fringe foot. You can make decorative fringe with this foot so easily! I haven’t tried it for longer fringe, but for shorter fringe it works great! Here’s a tutorial that will give you some ideas — I love SewingPartsOnline’s videos!
  6. Quilting foot. Having an available 1/4″ width on your presser foot makes for easier quilting — that’s for sure.

Those are just the ones I’ve gotten the most mileage out of in my own short time with this set. Depending on the kind of sewing you prefer to do, you may like these or some of the other ones even more.

Having a wealth of presser feet available makes projects easier and allows me to do lots of cool stuff I never even considered before getting this set. I’d recommend it to anyone starting out, intermediate, or expert because there is just so much versatility in this kit. It also makes a really great gift for anyone who sews!

32 piece presser foot set for sewing machines

Please feel free to share this post (if you are so inclined) on Pinterest or wherever you normally share all the good stuff! Have you got the 32 piece presser foot set? If so, what is your favourite foot to use?

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Stop your dog’s tummy pain with 1 ingredient http://www.commatose.ca/2017/07/stop-your-dogs-tummy-pain-with-1-ingredient.html http://www.commatose.ca/2017/07/stop-your-dogs-tummy-pain-with-1-ingredient.html#comments Sun, 09 Jul 2017 16:03:12 +0000 http://www.commatose.ca/?p=5279 Continue reading]]> Today I’m going to talk to you about something close to my heart — my best brown dog.

Here he is in our DIY cat bed as a puppy. He would not be able to fit a leg in that thing today.

Just over a year ago, our boxer, Junior, started having severe tummy issues. He had always had slight stomach problems but they peaked last year with him starving himself and then vomiting bile and specks of blood. It was terrifying.

(By contrast, we also have a yellow lab named Casey who once ate a whole box of steel wool pads and managed to survive without much of a fuss. Our dogs are polar opposites in the stomach department.)

Note: If your dog stops eating and/or drinking, call your vet immediately.
We’ve been to our own veterinarian about 100 times in the past few years with our 2 dogs and 3 cats — better safe (and often broke $$) than sorry.

 

After an emergency vet visit and testing, Junior was diagnosed with pancreatitis. He had to stay with the vet on IV fluids for a couple of days until his system was mostly back to normal. His is a chronic condition and he is on a bland prescription diet (Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat kibble), probably for life. Since our worst experience with pancreatitis concluded, he has been mostly fine and behaves like any other giant dog.

The reason I’m sharing this is because, once in a while, our big brown dog will have a relapse and starve himself for a day or two. His tummy makes noises so loud you can hear them from the other end of the house. Granted our house isn’t too big, but even if it was, you’d still hear these stomach screams on a quiet day.

Since this usually happens on a Monday, I mused that he missed his dad while he was away at work. This weekend my husband headed north and sure enough, Junior stopped eating for the first time in months.

I tried everything.

We have probiotics from the vet that we add daily to his food to keep his stomach balanced. He’d have to eat them for that to work, and of course he didn’t want to.

Tried giving him a treat to whet his appetite. He wouldn’t take it.

Ice chips? Usually a favourite. Not this time.

I even called my husband, putting him on speaker so that Junior could hear him. It mostly just confused the poor dog, though actually he did inch closer to his food.

Sometimes the best course is to let him figure himself out and he’ll eat with gusto again the next morning. This morning I woke up to him gagging. I rushed him outside where he began vomiting foam. He would not drink, and he still wouldn’t eat.

I was talking to my husband about this when we remembered what used to help him get his appetite back:

Pure pumpkin.

Pumpkin eases digestion for dogs with sore tummies

In all its globby glory. So appetizing.

Canned (and preferably organic) pure pumpkin from any grocery store. Our corner store actually had lots of it.

Warning: Do not use pumpkin pie filling.
That is a different thing and will probably cause a world of new issues for your dog. [For example, he’ll probably want pie all the time, just like I do when I get a taste for it. More seriously, pie filling is bad for dogs.]

 

I dropped about 2 tablespoons of pumpkin into his food along with his probiotics, put a taste of the pumpkin on his gums and he instantly gobbled up a half day’s worth of food. He then looked at me like I owed him more. And I do, actually, but we always spread his meals throughout the day to prevent his screaming stomach.

Junior

Looking fancy with probiotic powder on his chin.

He is ‘normal’ (for him) again now. Rest assured, we’ll be consulting with our vet about this flare-up just to be safe.

Again, if your dog stops eating and/or drinking, especially if this is the first time and you have no idea what is wrong, please call your vet.

 

Our veterinarian has advised us that pure pumpkin is safe to add in reasonable amounts to dog food as it’s a good source of fibre and helps to ease digestion. Whether your dog has a pancreatitis flare-up, diarrhea or constipation, give pure pumpkin a whirl.  It is also appetizing to our big dogs and has almost always straightened out their stomach and stool issues. Hopefully it can help your dog too.

 

Please feel free to Pin the image below for your own reference, and/or share this idea with friends and family using the social media buttons directly below this post!

Have you ever used pumpkin to help your dog’s tummy troubles?

 

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2 easy ways to grow your own spider plants — no green thumb needed! http://www.commatose.ca/2017/06/2-easy-ways-to-grow-your-own-spider-plants-no-green-thumb-needed.html http://www.commatose.ca/2017/06/2-easy-ways-to-grow-your-own-spider-plants-no-green-thumb-needed.html#respond Mon, 26 Jun 2017 20:24:14 +0000 http://www.commatose.ca/?p=5257 Continue reading]]> Not long ago in my post about making cute ombre plant hangers I mentioned my love for spider plants. Well, today I’m going to finally make good on my promise to teach you how to cultivate baby spider plants and grow them into big mama spider plants!

Spider plants are excellent air purifiers, removing up to 90% of formaldehyde from the air. The fresh air provided by a spider plant promotes better sleep, so they’re great to keep in your bedroom.

The reason I chose spider plants over other air purifiers, though? They have the added benefit of being non-toxic for our kitties!  [Note: That may not stop curious cats from biting the long leaves, but at least we know it’s not going to hurt them.]

spider plants and aloe in hanging planters

Okay, so the one in the middle is an aloe. The other two are spider plants I’ve managed to grow from baby plants!

So yes! You can grow them and it’s really, really easy. Soon, like mine, your place will be brimming with houseplants and you’ll be giving them as housewarming gifts, host or hostess gifts, parting gifts, teacher gifts, gifts for no reason at all… 😉 And so forth.

You don’t need a green thumb to grow new spider plants from their spider plant babies (also known as plantlets). If you already have a plant, you’re on your way. If not, pick one up today from your local garden centre and you’ll be cultivating in no time.

Materials:

  • Spider plant that’s shooting off plantlets
  • Glass bowl/short, wide vase of water OR a pot of soil (your choice)
  • Scissors
  • Rubbing alcohol & cotton ball (sterilize your scissors with this before cutting)
  • Small planter full of soil
  • Small rocks (if your planter has no drainage hole)

 

How to grow baby spider plants:

Method 1:

1. Find a plantlet forming on your spider plant. It will look something like this.

2. Choose a pot with a drainage hole, or add small rocks to the bottom of a pot without a hole; this helps to keep soil drained. Top with soil and place near a ‘mama’ plant.

3. Leaving the plantlet on the mother plant, plunk its baby ‘butt’ into your pot of soil nearby.

4. Water whenever the soil is nearly dry until it establishes roots. (You can check this with a very light-handed ‘tug’.) This usually takes a couple of weeks.

5. Cut off the shoot. Voila! A little spider plant, ready to grow up and out! Continue to water when soil is dry about 2 cm down.

Method 2:

[Note: This has worked better for me, for whatever reason. The one baby spider plant I grew in soil one is forever stunted, but I’ve grown at least 5 good sized plants since March with this second method.]

1. Pour about a centimetre of water into a short glass bowl or a short, wide vase.

2. Cut the plantlet from the plant and place the baby plant’s ‘butt’ in the water. You will notice little nubs that will eventually become roots after about 2 weeks.

spider plantlet in a glass bowl

Not too much water at the bottom or else the leaves will dip in and rot. Try to keep the plant ‘butt’ as I call it situated in the water.

3. Add that bit of water back into the bowl/vase as needed, keeping the plantlet in good light. Wait about two weeks to see some good roots sprouting, cleaning off any slimy junk that may grow on your roots along the way.

spider plantlets and buds forming

4. Ensure there is either a drainage hole in the container of your choosing, or add small rocks at the bottom for drainage. Top with soil. Transplant your new little spider plant and water well! Continue to water your plant when soil is dry 2 cm down.

propagating new spider plants from baby plants

Bonus tip for coffee addicts: Add a bit of your used coffee grounds into the water or soil once your plant is established. This will make the soil slightly acidic, which spider plants thrive in!

Growing spider plants from baby plants

Soon your windows and shelves and plant hangers will be overflowing with these aptly-named plants, and your heart will be happy.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this post, please consider spreading the love! You can share this post using the buttons below so that your friends, family and followers can grow their own spider plant families too. You can also Pin it for your own quick reference later if you like.

Thanks for reading. Happy planting!

 

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