Happy Friday! I don't know about you, but I can't wait to bust out of here for the weekend. I'm hoping for that perfect mix of beach time and sewing...what? A girl can hope, can't she? In the spirit of yesterday's post, I thought I'd end the week with a round-up of some sewing websites/blogs/forums that I've found handy as I've learned to sew. There's nothing as educational as actual hands-on experience, of course, but a good
how-to book or website goes a long way.
label-free provides sewing resources, hints, tricks and tips for people who want to make their own clothes. Check out the interfacing and sewing-machine needle guides, the links to free patterns, and the book recommendations, all listed in the right sidebar.
Sew Mama Sew is more than just an online store; check out their impressively active blog and forum for project ideas, how-tos, and handy Q+As.
The Purl Bee has a great list of patchwork and sewing tutorials (see left-hand sidebar) and a glossary, plus tons of project ideas.
BurdaStyle is part sewing how-to, part social-networking, part buy-and-sell. Open-source patterns mean you don't have to pay to use them and you can update/alter them as you please.
And on a slightly different note, not too long ago Alicia at Posy Gets Cozy asked her readers "Do you sew?" She got almost 1,250 responses, and some of the stories are just great. Reading them is almost as good as sitting down at the sewing machine (except you won't get all those little threads all over your lap!).
Do you have a favourite sewing blog or website? It'd be great if you'd share it in the comments. And don't forget, you've got until 5 p.m. today to enter
this week's contest. See you on Monday, hopefully with another new shirt to share!
Fashion stylist Skye Kelton explains how to take the "less is more" approach to your wardrobe.
If you’ve come to the point where your closets are bursting with clothes, but you still have no idea what to wear, a minimalist overhaul might be for you. Minimalism helps weed out the unwanted and unflattering items you’ve been hanging on to so you’re left with a chic, satisfying wardrobe. Plutino Group fashion stylist and minimalist expert Skye Kelton breaks down how to attain an easy, modern style that you’ll feel great in.
Shop with purpose
Before you hit “add to cart” on an online store or visit the plentiful racks at the mall, make sure you’re shopping with focus and not buying haphazardly. Your minimalist attitude should start at the point of purchase. Try to visualize your current wardrobe as you browse and mentally create outfits. “Choose fewer pieces of higher quality,” says Kelton. “If you’re building a new wardrobe, start with seasonless items. The same cream culottes can be worn in spring with sling-back pumps or flats, and in fall, with an ankle- or knee-high boot.”
Make it fit
A common quality among minimalists is fit; their entire outfit is perfectly structured, almost as if the clothing was customized. Never compromise on fit. “Tailoring can drastically elevate an outfit,” says Kelton. “Alter your trousers to hit at the perfect spot on your ankle to better complement your pump.” Think of Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) from House of Cards as minimalist inspiration for fit and tailoring.
Choose natural fibres
Because this look hinges on simplicity, any item, whether a jacket or a blouse, needs to exude excellence. “Opt for natural fibres, such as 100 percent cotton, silk, linen, wool, cashmere and leather,” says Kelton. “A simple item in these fabrics automatically feels more luxurious and intentional.” With fewer pieces in your wardrobe, you’ll be able to spend a little extra on essentials. A classic white cotton button-down is a necessity for the less-is-more approach.
In order to really perfect this style, it’s important to exercise restraint when it comes to accessorizing and wearing prints. There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a good pattern, just don’t overdo it—and definitely don’t mix motifs. “Large graphic prints work better than minuscule prints, so try geometric patterns or stripes,” says Kelton. As for jewellery, she recommends wearing one standout piece, such as a cuff or a statement ring. “Experiment with proportion and form rather than pattern and colour.”
Add interest to your outfit
The last thing you want is for your outfits to appear boring. The goal should be to look sleek, which is effortless if your items have interesting elements. Kelton suggests choosing clothes with cutouts or asymmetrical lines to add modern flair to your minimalist ensemble. Another way to step it up is by layering with various textures and fabrics. “If you layer a crisp cotton shirt under a cashmere sweater under a sharp blazer, then top it off with a wool duster coat—all in white and cream—the effect is still minimal,” says Kelton. This helps create depth, and it expresses that your selections are mindful.
Assess your current wardrobe
Before you run out and purchase a whole new wardrobe, raid your closets to see what you have in your current inventory—you’ll be able to achieve your minimalist goals even faster and do a spring cleaning at the same time. You might be surprised at what you find. Remove any clothing you haven’t worn in ages or that don’t suit your needs. Consider getting some alterations on what you do have before purchasing anything new. What you thought was just a plain jacket might turn out to be a key item for your less-is-more style. Oh, and if you come across a trench, definitely hang on to it.
Aside from being an easy snack for the office, yogurt is chocked full of ingredients that help your body run smoothly, no matter what age you are.
Although yogurt has been a staple in the health food world for what seems like an eternity, it has made a comeback in a big way with society's newfound love of greek yogurt. Now, people eat yogurt with a variety of tweaks and alternations to make it their own: with oats and grains sprinkled on top, honey drizzled in, and all and any fruit for added flavour and health benefits.
Whether you eat it plain, low-fat, greek, frozen, from a tube or a bottle, or in your smoothies, yogurt has health benefits beyond what you may think. Read on to find out what the good stuff is that makes up yogurt.
1. The probiotics.
You know yogurt has probiotics because every commercial for yogurt says that, but what does it actually mean? In the simplest of terms, probiotics are good-for-you bacteria. They help in regulating your digestive system and decreasing gas, diarrhea and bloating. Research has even suggested that probiotics can aid in boosting your immune system, weight management and reduce the risk of cancer.
2. The calcium.
Just like all products in the dairy family, yogurt is a great source of calcium, which plays a huge role in many health benefits. Calcium plays a primary role in the development and maintenance of healthy and strong bones and teeth. It is also important for blood clotting, healing wounds and maintaining a normal blood pressure. Some yogurts contain vitamin D, which helps the small intestine absorb calcium to its fullest potential, so finding those yogurts or pairing yogurt with foods high in vitamin D is highly beneficial.
3. The proteins.
Plain yogurt made from whole milk is a highly rich source of protein. The proteins in yogurt can increase the absorption of minerals, promote lower blood pressure and aid in weight loss.
4. The vitamins.
Yogurt made with whole milk contains every single nutrient the human body needs, although the way it is made and ingredients used can alter the levels of the vitamins and nutrients in the yogurt. Yogurt contains vitamin B12, which keeps your nerved and red blood cells healthy and can only be found in foods originating from an animal. Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is also in yogurt. This helps the body convert carbohydrates into glucose, or 'food into fuel.'
Want to incorporate yogurt into your diet, but don't want to be stuck with buying processed, sugary yogurt cups? Check out Canadian Living's recipes:
From cold showers to the best must-have products, here's our best fashion and beauty advice.
The most fashionable people know how to mix old and new. Anyone can swipe plastic at a department store, but it takes a strong sense of style—and creativity—to score a treasure at a vintage or thrift shop. Try this approach to building an outfit: Pick one key vintage piece (when shopping, look for intricate beadwork, embroidery and luxurious materials) and pair it with newer items in your closet. That rare vintage find will get you tons of compliments, trust me!
Hot showers may feel great, but they're a real bummer for your skin and hair. They strip away skin's natural defences against dryness and irritants and can weaken hair and make it susceptible to breakage. Lukewarm water, on the other hand, leaves skin hydrated, while cool water helps to close the hair cuticle so tresses look shiny.
"When I have to be fast, I skip traditional eyeshadow and use a shadow stick instead. It blends seamlessly, looks flawless and there isn't any powder fallout... A lifesaver!" - Jodi Urichuk, hair and makeup artist
If you've ever fallen in love with an almost-perfect item of clothing, you know the value or a good tailor—a hemmed pant leg or nipped-in waist can upgrade an entire outfit. But some fixes are easier than others: It's best to buy a coat or blazer that fits properly at the shoulders and then hem the sleeves if necessary. Even with a good tailor, taking in a shoulder seam can be risky.
Tip to toe
Not sure how to ground an outfit? Take a modern approach to pairing and juxtapose styles. If you want to show off your bare legs with a hem that hits midthigh or higher, go for a chunky heel. If the base of your outfit has an obvious masculine look (wide-legged trouser, cargo pant or cuffed jean), opt for a dainty heel.
Tools of the trade
1. Teardrop-shaped sponge
Use it to blend foundation, cream blush or highlighter by lightly bouncing the sponge across skin—the pros call this technique stippling.
We asked some of Canada's top celebrity designers to spill the beans on their best-kept design secrets—and did they ever! Read on for expert advice on everything from space planning and choosing paint colours to styling shelves and how to create a foolproof gallery wall.
The inside scoop on space planning
How much space do you need around your dining room table? Can you really make a room feel larger? Our experts weigh in.
Tip 1: Sofas should be two-thirds the length of the longest wall, and seating is placed close enough around so no person is more than eight feet from another to allow for easy conversation. — Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexander
Photography by Arnal Photography
Tip 2: One easy rule to figure out what size dining table you need: allow for a minimum of 30 inches walking clearance on all sides. — Karl Lohnes
Tip 3: Space planning is critical. For a kitchen island, for example, leave three feet of space between the island and surrounding counters. Ensure that appliances (like the fridge or dishwasher) can open without blocking traffic flow or hitting neighbouring walls or cabinets. Not leaving enough room is a mistake people make all the time, before they call a designer in a panic to help fix it! — Lisa Canning
Photography by Arnal Photography
Tip 4: Use mirrors strategically to expand space and increase the amount of natural light reflected in the room. Framing a wall with floor-to-ceiling mirrors adds a dramatic effect to the feeling and scale of the room. — Brian Gluckstein
Photography by Arnal Photography
Tip 5: Allow for 18 inches between the sofa and the coffee table so people have enough room to pass by and to make it easy to reach for drinks or food. — Amanda Forrest
Tip 6: Want to make sure furniture fits before it arrives at your door? There are a host of free sites (like planyourroom.com) that allow you to put furniture onto a scaled floor plan. Another option? Many furniture and decor stores offer free design services, and they'll do the calculating for you. — Janette Ewen
Light it up
Follow these five rules and your lights will shine in all the right ways.
Tip 2: Install dimmer switches; they're a practical way to control light and energy consumption. — Amanda Forrest
Tip 3: The bottom of the shade of your bedside reading lamp should be at shoulder height when sitting in bed. Do the math! — Karl Lohnes
Tip 4: Choose a pendant or chandelier that's one-third the size of the table or kitchen island. Hang it approximately 30 to 36 inches above the table or island; if there are more than one, place them 12 to 18 inches apart. — Mia Parres
Tip 5: Incandescent bulbs are great for atmosphere lighting, but LED bulbs are more suited to task lighting, when you really need to see what you're working on. — Janette Ewen
The inside scoop on paint and palette
Did you know that paint selection should be one of the last decisions you make when decorating a room?
Tip 1: I'm a firm believer in mood boards. They're not just for designers! Gather together fabrics, paint samples and inspiration images for a room before starting. It will create a picture and a trajectory that you may not have thought of. — Steven Sabados
Tip 2: When you design a room, pull your palette from one inspiration fabric. Whether you use a whimsical print or a more traditional pattern, take all the colours present in that material and allow those to guide fabric selection for pillows, throws, drapery and upholstery in the room. Take that same fabric to the paint store and have a custom colour mixed that matches one of the hues exactly. — Lisa Canning
Tip 4: Fine finish Choose a fresh trim colour in a semigloss, such as Benjamin Moore's Chantilly Lace OC-65. It creates a subtle separation from a matte wall, and it's a much more durable finish, which comes in handy since trims are usually the most touched, bumped and scuffed parts of our homes. — Mia Parres
Tip 5: Colour pop If you buy that cool orange statement chair, give it a buddy. When you're adding a colourful piece to a space, always have at least one other subtle hit of that colour elsewhere in the room to create a cohesive feel. — Tiffany Pratt
Tip 6: Want to make a room feel taller? Paint baseboards and crown moulding the same colour as the walls. Want it to feel huge? mix one-third of the wall colour into the ceiling paint. — Karl Lohnes
The inside scoop on styling
You've bought the sofa and painted the walls. Now what? Our experts show you how to style a room like a pro.
Tip 1: Shop at stores that have liberal return policies and buy three times as much as you think you need. This gives you plenty of merchandise to play with to see what works and what does not. Mix in unique family heirlooms and vintage finds with the new pieces you purchase to create a naturally curated look. — Janette Ewen
Photography by Magdalena M
Tip 2: For a no-fail pillow combination, you need only three: one 20- by 20-inch, one 16- by 16-inch and one 12- by 16-inch. Those sizes look good together no matter how you arrange them! — Jo Alcorn
Tip 3: Beauty is in the details When styling a console, include framed art on easels or leaning against the wall; it's a great way to display smaller pieces. Create a dynamic vignette by mixing in boxes, vases and vintage pieces in differing heights and dimensions. — Brian Gluckenstein
Tip 4: Mix and match Use these common elements when styling shelves: stacks of books, gorgeous flowers and at least one accessory that has a lot of shimmer and shine. Varying heights and textures is also really important for visual interest. — Lisa Canning
The inside scoop on art
Take the mystery out of hanging art.
Tip 1: Make your own art! Buy a canvas in a size you're looking for, then grab some paint in the colours you're decorating with, and see what happens. Great masterpieces are born of happy accidents or beautiful mistakes. — Tiffany Pratt
Tip 2: When hanging art on an empty wall, the middle of the art should to be hung 66 to 72 inches off the floor. — Karl Lohnes
Tip 3: Art relates to furniture, not the ceiling: Keep art about six to eight inches above the sofa, or any piece of furniture, when hanging it. — Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexander
Tip 4: For a gallery wall, use different-size frames in one single finish and select artwork with a consistent theme in colour or subject matter to keep the display cohesive. — Brian Gluckenstein
Each year, top designers and brands showcase the best in innovative and inspiring design from around the world at The Interior Design Show in Toronto. We’ve picked our top Canadian designers that you may not have heard of yet, but should.