Category Archives: Miscellaneous

2013 in Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for my blog – it was nice to see 2013 all tied up and see what brought my readers to me!

I can’t lie either and saying by reading the first blurb about the Opera House brought a smile to my face haha! Thanks WordPress for the great year wrap-up!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in Miscellaneous


Room to Create…

I find it hard to believe, but it is actually complete!

I smile the moment I walk into the room, I can’t help but run my fingers across the length of my desk… it is almost unreal to me what I started with and what is here now. After many long months and more hours than I can account for, I am thrilled to reveal my new sewing room!

To really appreciate my new creation I feel it is necessary to show before, in progress and of course the after shots as I walk you through.


This before shot was actually taken when I was walking through the home for the second time prior to buying.

The start of this was way back in April.

After taking an entire day off work to be available for the lawyers to call so I can pick up my keys, the call didn’t actually come until about 6pm on the evening before Good Friday and from a different location then I expected – how I love you Murphy 😉 By the time I had keys in hand and walked through the front door it was about 7:30 at night! I did my initial walk through to take it all in and then stood in the middle of my soon to be sewing room imagining the possibilities.

As you can see from the before shot I had some beautiful wood paneling to work with… needless to say it didn’t take me long to decide there was no way I could live with it.

Without wasting anytime I had started ripping down the paneling by 9pm that night and by 1 am I found myself sitting in the middle of the room, wood paneling thrown everywhere looking at what seemed to be some sort of chip board with about 100 year old gold paisley wallpaper stuck to it.

I laugh now when I share the story because it is so like me to just dive right into something without considering what might happen or what the results will be. I remember sitting there, tired from running around all day, emotions soaring high and a million little cuts on every inch of my hands from tearing down paneling with no gloves or tools, only to reveal the reason why the prior owners put the paneling up in the first place.

But sitting there alone at 1 am not a single belonging had yet to make it into the house I sat there in a room I have just torn apart smiling knowing what I could turn it into.



Knowing I would need to actually call in help for the next part I finally decided to call it a day.

The next day I called a friend to come in and drywall… I thought about taking it on myself but decided it was better left to someone who actually knew what he or she was doing.

The next couple of days moved a little slower for me while I tried to be patient, the drywall was being installed, taped and mudded., which left me free to move all my boxes from the old place to the new.


Once the drywall was up and the mud was sanded it was time for me to get back to work. I had already bought some drywall primer – which if you have never painted new drywall be sure to ALWAYS prime or the drywall will just soak up the paint! It only took me 2 nights to prime and paint the walls with a couple coats and re-stain all the trim work. My window is also all wood and wasn’t in the best of shape so I threw a couple coats of paint on there too! Already the room looked completely different!

Now the framework as I would call it for the room was complete it was time to start on my desk. Yes you heard me, time to pull out the power tools! I have never actually tried building anything before that didn’t require fabric and a needle so I really wasn’t sure what exactly I was doing but I was excited!

I started with drawing what I wanted the desk to look like; I thought that was a good start 🙂


Once I had my drawing it was time to take a trip to the local Home Depot and start wood shopping!

I had decided on using 2 x 10’s for the top and 2 x 12’s for the legs. I wanted the desk to be 12ft long by about 18” deep so I had bought two 2 x 10’s that were 12ft long and cut them so they were 6ft long. This made the top part 4 pieces in total. Once these were cut all I needed to do was stain them, I went with a red mahogany and protected them with 2 clear coats of polycrylic.


Onto the legs…I measured my dining room table to find out how high I needed the legs to be which was 28” high and cut my 2 x 12’s into 8 pieces that were 28” high. I painted these white and again protected them with a couple clear coats of polycrylic. Once the legs were dry I drilled the holes to put the little metal shelf holders in (yes this is my technical term). Ok I googled it for those who might actually want to know and came up with this name ‘Shelf Support Plug With Steel Pin’.


With the legs and the desktop complete it was time to piece the whole thing together. I had bought a pile of L braces and started drilling away.



Once the desk was put together and sturdy it was time for the shelves. I bought a white melamine, cut them to size and slide them into place!

Desk is finally complete!

Hmmm when I write it out sounds pretty easy. The whole process definitely took a lot more work, time and effort then the 2 minutes it took me to blog about it!


We now have walls, made beautiful with paint and a custom hand-made desk that turned out better than I could have imagined, seriously I am so in love with this desk. Now it is time to complete the desk with chairs!

Yes my chairs, I love them too… ok I guess it is fair to just say I love the whole room just so much 😛

I found these chairs at Goodwill for $5 each no tax which I thought was an awesome price. I picked them because the backs of the chairs were different than your standard 4-legged chairs. They were in pretty rough shape, paint was chipping and the cushions were beyond stained but I knew with a little knuckle grease, a bottle or two of spray paint and some fun bright new fabric they would be as good as new!



After those hurdles were tackled the rest went really fast, one afternoon I painted the magnetic chalkboard on the wall above my desk,


Found these great red shelves at Rona for 25% off!


Found this old school mirror on kijiji for only $15


And found the wall bars with hanging baskets and bucket at Ikea


All the baskets found on the shelves and in the desk were all dollerama finds!


And everything else I already owned and was put in place!





Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Miscellaneous, Uncatorgized


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Pop in

It is hard to believe that the days have turned into weeks, the weeks to months… So much twisting and turning in such a short time. It’s crazy and scary how quickly life passes by.

This just a quick pop in to let you all know I am working on some new posts and fun things to share!

I just recently moved so that is the main reason for my disappearance. Look for my new sewing room soon (I hope).

Life has also had some major ups and downs which has slowed the new sewing room process, but I promise it is coming… It has to because without my one true love I am seriously going crazy!!!

So hope all my readers have been doing well and getting their fix with past posts. I’ve been keeping up on all your blogs too when I get down time!

Looking forward to getting back into the sewing game soon – missing sharing and reading your comments.

Until next time happy sewing and thanks for following!

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Posted by on June 6, 2012 in Miscellaneous


Passion 4 Fashion

Well it is official!

Today the Spring 2012 issue of Life in Clarington came out and what will you find in freshly laid ink? That is right – me!

Ok so before you get as excited as I am, I am the designer for this magazine so it wasn’t so much of a big deal that the publisher asked me to contribute by writing a small piece. However, none the less I was thrilled. It is my first published piece as a ‘Fashion Designer’ and it will be displayed with pride in my sewing room:)

I of course have known about this small spotlight for a few weeks now and have been dying to share it with you!

You can check out the article online at the Life in Clarington website.

I am also reposting the writeup here:


Passion 4 Fashion

You likely know me as the Art Director of Life in Clarington Magazine. As much as I truly love being a part of the Life in Clarington family, Graphic Design is actually not my first love. My one true love has always, and will always be Fashion Design!

As a child I had the old-school fashion plates (yes I realize I just dated myself there) which I was absolutely obsessed with, and which eventually led to my carrying a sketch book everywhere I went, so I was always prepared whenever inspiration took hold! In my teens I used to make pants out of our bed sheets, which thrilled my mother when she came home from work to discover me wearing our “converted” linens.

But then college came and went and I became so busy with life and my career, that sewing became a thing of the past. Years went by without much thought to my much loved passion until about a year ago when I decided I was going to try and bring sewing back into my life.

I created a little nook in my house for my own little sewing den, and a year later sewing is a huge part of my life again! In the spring I will be starting a 2 year ‘Dressmaking and Design’ college program, not for career purposes but to grow and expand my passion.

So it was with thrill and excitement that I accepted Susan’s offer to share a little bit of my passion with you; in this issue of Life in Clarington!

My very first published fashion piece – of which I can say with pride that I am sure my parents will hang on their fridge!

Michelle Koehler, Life in Clarington Art Director

The Ultimate Recycled Purse?

Make a cute, chic purse in an afternoon using an old pair of jeans! 

Step One:
Grab a pair of jeans. If there are any large rips or tears above the crotch patch them.

Step Two:

Cut the legs off at the crotch.

Step Three:

With right sides together sew across the bottom.

Step Four:
Create straps out of the leg material. Any size you want.

Step Five:
Create a lining with scrap material or skip this step and sew on your strap!


For more detailed instructions on this project or other sewing fun you can turn to my sewing blog at:

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Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Bags, Miscellaneous


A Quick Cover up …

I thought I would throw you all for a loop and write two posts in one weekend… I know look at me go 😉

Today’s project is going to be super quick – I would say in total it probably took me no more then 15 minutes to complete!

While cleaning up I realized how grungy my ironing board cover was getting so this is my attempt at creating a new one.

Let me start by saying I really had no idea what I was doing!

I quickly measured my board before I ran out to grab fabric, the length was about 55” and the widest part was about 16”. I would also need to add about 1” all the way around for the cover to tuck underneath. I guessed that a meter would cover it… This would have been correct had I paid attention to the width of the fabric – yes this is the second time failing to do so… I will learn!!! I needed fabric that had a width of 60” to cover my length but the fabric I grabbed was only a width of 45”. However, I was able to make this work by cutting off some of the width and sewing it onto the length. This did create a seam in my cover but thanks to the square pattern you can’t even notice it.

What you need:

  • Enough fabric to cover your board – check the fabric width!
  • Elastic
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine

Here is my original cover – you can’t really see in the photo how grungy it is getting but it is marked up from the iron and has water mark stains from my iron falling over a few times thanks to the dogs. This ironing board is also about 6 years old now too.

Here is what the chosen fabric looks like, really fun looking eh!

I obviously didn’t have a pattern for my own ironing board; not even sure to be honest if they sell patterns for ironing board covers but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, I have just never looked. I knew though that I could use my original cover as my template and go from there.

Laying the new fabric on the floor I laid the original cover on top of it and tried to get it as smooth/flat as possible so I could cut around it.

I then cut around the original cover, cutting about an inch or so larger so that the edges would tuck under the board.

You can see from the photo above I wasn’t too concerned about being accurate…

  1. it is only an ironing board cover and
  2.  these edges will not be seen.

Once you get your fabric cut it is time to grab your elastic! My original cover was not done with elastic but with a drawstring – I figured an elastic would be easier and way less work!

I bought 3 meters of elastic and I used almost all of it.

What I did was I lined the edge of the elastic up with the edge of the fabric and I sewed it all the way around the entire cover making sure to pull/stretch the elastic tight while sewing. What will happen then if you pull/stretch the elastic while sewing it will allow the cover to fit snug on the ironing board frame.

This is what your new cover will look like with the elastic sewn in place:

You will notice this cover will not lay flat like the original drawstring version but none-the-less it will work just the same.

Once you have done this you can stretch your new cover over your ironing board frame and you are done!

A great 15-minute fix to a grungy old aged ironing board cover! Plus this one is way more fun and colourful!

Now go get creative and dress up your old ironing board!

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Posted by on January 15, 2012 in Miscellaneous


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Warm at work

This is going to be a simple post today – figured my readers would appreciate that after the long post last week 😉

Winter is quickly approaching and my hands are starting to feel it. I have noticed that while I am working on the computer or if I am sewing my hands are starting to get extremely cold… I am definitely talking ice cube cold! So when I came across this Kwik Sew pattern it immediately made the ‘must make’ list!

Random beauty fact – if you have poor circulation (cold hands) it will cause your nails to become weak, brittle and break. Just another reason for me to jump on this ever so simple project!

Kwik Sew #3806 – Fingerless gloves! Perfect for keeping my hands warm while still being able to work without interference 🙂



You would honestly be surprised how warm these keep my hands. For a project that cost me less than $10 and took less then an hour to complete it was worth every cent and minute spent!

I chose a super soft, fluffy black material, I wanted something I could wear at work without it standing out to much so I figured black was a safe bet.

This project couldn’t be any easier! 1 Pattern piece! Cut it twice.

Pattern Piece Cut

Pattern Piece Cut

This material was pretty fluffy so to decrease any extra fluff floating around I serged all the raw edges on both pieces.

And for a little extra personalization I then embroidered my logo on the two pieces before proceeding to sew.

Gloves Embroidered

Gloves Embroidered

Those two extra steps I created was pretty much the bulk of the work. After that all I had to do was fold the glove in half lengthwise, raw edges together and right sides together and sew. Don’t forget to leave an opening where the pattern indicates for your thumbs!

Here is a close up shot of them done:

Final Gloves Close Up

Final Gloves Close Up

And then a final shot of them on:

Wearing them!

Wearing them!

I cannot say enough about these, from how simple they were to how useful they are for me… Absolutely in love with them!


Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Miscellaneous


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Personalized Laptop Case

Well summer is now headed towards an end. Kids are back in school, which makes my morning drive to work a little slower due to traffic. The air has quickly turned cool and I am ready for fuzzy warm clothing and evenings curled up inside.

I haven’t had a chance to sew much lately; my last couple posts have been delayed and were projects that had been completed almost a month ago now. So this project is going to be a simple one to get me back into it.

Project: Personalized laptop case.

I don’t usually carry my laptop around much but I had some fun monkey fleece laying around and figured it would be perfect for a laptop case and a fun chilly evening in project.

I am going to start by measuring my laptop to figure out what size I need to cut my fabric.

My Laptop

My Laptop

My measurements were:
10″ L by 14″ W – this will be the main panels to cover the top and bottom (you would need to cut 2 of these).

The flap measured to be:
10″ L by 1″ H – only cut 1.

I added 0.5” on all sides for extra space and so I would have at least a 1/4” seam allowance and I had to add the flap overlap so I added 4” for that.

In the end my final fabric should be cut to:
11” by 14”  – Panels (cut 2)
11” by 5” – Flap (cut 1)

Lets mark and cut!

Fabric with chalk lines

Fabric with chalk lines

Fabric is cut and I have my 3 pieces. But I am thinking that this is way to thin to be used as any kind of protector to my laptop so I have decided to cut the exact same 3 pieces out of a thick black fleece I have and I will use that as a lining!

Exterior Shell Fabric

Exterior Shell Fabric

After cutting the black fleece and placing it with my exterior fabric I still felt that for a case there wasn’t enough bulk. The flap will be fine but for the top and bottom panels there definitely needs to be more bulk.

To get this I am going to cut 2 pieces of Peltex® 72F double-sided fusible ultra firm interfacing. That is quite the mouthful!

While I do that I am going to set up my exterior flap to embroider my designer label on it (Designer Label post coming soon)!

Embroider Flap

Embroider Flap

Well I wanted bulk and I definitely got it! I think I should switch my needle to something that can handle crazy thick layers, like a denim needle.

All layers cut; logo embroidered on exterior flap so now what?

I think my next step is going to be the Velcro® closing as this will be easier to sew on through one layer vs three.

I am going to think my process out loud for a moment to make sure it makes sense…

Velcro® obviously has 2 sides, a rough side and a fuzzy side (my terms). I need one side to be on the exterior front panel and the other to be on the inside of the flap. I need to make sure I get both sides in the exact same location so they match up nicely and evenly when pressed together.

So I figure if the length of my case is 11” I will make my Velcro® 4” smaller; seems like a random number but that will give me 2” on each side. I am also going to place it 2” from the edge (which would be the 2” from the bottom of the flap and 2” from the top of the panel).

I have cut my Velcro® to be 7” long. Now I am going to mark where on the inside flap I want it and sew it in place.

Velcro® is sewn on the inside of the flap; I knew this would be tugged and yanked on so I used stitch number 4 on my brother HE 240 which is a triple stitch. This should hold nicely 🙂

Velcro® Sewn on

Velcro® Sewn on

Next step, sew my interior flap and my exterior flap right sides together on the top, left and right sides leaving the bottom open as this will attach to the back panel.



The flap is sewn and I want to cover the one raw edge left by merging it between my exterior and interior shells of my back panel. In order for the flap to fall the proper way I layered the fabric in this order:

First: exterior shell face up
Second: Flap exterior face down
Third: interior shell face down
Fourth: interfacing

Flap Attached

Flap Attached

I borrowed Mom’s Brother Walking Foot to help ease sewing through so many layers and it seemed to work really well.

I have now merged the entire back panel using the iron to stick the exterior and interior shell to the fusible interfacing. I can tell already that my Velcro® is going to be higher than I want but at this point it is too late to move it so I will make a note that I would want that moved down next time.

To finalize the two panels as separate pieces all I have to do is sew the second piece of Velcro® to the exterior shell of the front panel.

And now the two panels are now ready to go!

Finished Panels

Finished Panels

I am interested to see if

1) I can sew through all these layers, and

2) if I will be able to turn it right side out once sewn as it is so thick!

Well I did it! I created my own laptop case from scratch! I was able to sew threw all the layers – pretty sure if I didn’t borrow mom’s walking foot it wouldn’t have been so successful.

I couldn’t get it to go through my serger instead it managed to break every thread in it; but I could sew it together with the Brother and with a little force was able to flip it right side out… and now it is complete 🙂

Finished Laptop Case

Finished Laptop Case


Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Miscellaneous


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