sparkle shirt_demo good

Sparkle Bead Shirt DIY

sparkle shirt
Hello, Blog. It’s been a while. But enough reminiscing. On to the crafting!

In honour of the holiday season, I wanted to create something sparkly. Inspired by this J.Crew shirt, and armed with my new bead weaving skills, I decided to make my own. To make a woven bead accent for a shirt pocket, you only need a few materials.

sparkle shirt_what you need

First thing is to set up a weaving loom. This DIY tutorialis what I used to learn how to bead on a loom. I highly recommend giving it a read-through before starting your own bead weaving. We don’t want a needle in the eye or some seed beads where they don’t belong, now do we?

sparkle shirt_setting up loom

The threads that run the length of your piece are called “warps.” I used 8 warps for 14 beads each row (2 beads in each space). Depending on how much of your pocket you would like your piece to cover, you can use more or less warps.
*NOTE: I like to use a synthetic upholstery thread found at any fabric store. It’s sturdy and melts to finish knots and ends when weaving. This will come in handy.

sparkle shirt_beading

After you have your loom set up, space the warps evenly and wide enough to fit two beads in each space. Cut another piece of thread, around a metre or so, and thread it onto your beading needle. Slip 14 beads onto your needle and align the beads in the spaces between warps on the underside. Press the beads up so the warps fit snugly between the beads. Hold them in place with your thumb and pull the needle through so the beads stay in place.

sparkle shirt_beading2

Bring the thread to the front side and slide the needle through all 14 beads. Be sure that the beads stay between the warps and that the needle passes OVER the warps. Pull everything tight and push the beads to the top of your loom. You’ve just completed the first row! Continue this back and forth weaving until your piece reaches the desired length.

sparkle shirt_finished weave

Now that you are done, weave every other warp back into the work. You should be left with 4 warps on each side (see left side of the woven piece). Use the lighter to melt down any trimmed ends.

sparkle shirt_sewing

Place your woven piece over the shirt pocket. Using your sewing needle and the excess thread from your warps, sew the bead piece in place, making sure to sew all along the edges. I used a simple running stitch and, to finish, back stitched each thread and melted the trimmed end.


And there you have it! I added a few more beads along the stitching on my shirt, but any other embellishments I leave in your capable, crafty hands.

Pork belly noodle bowl

Pork Belly Noodle Bowl

My pork belly obsession began after a fateful lunch at the Toronto institution, Bahn Mi Boys. Flustered by the line, all the options for bahn mi and bao on the menu, and the brisk cashier doing the lunch line “wha’dyawant,” I meekly asked for a recommendation. “Ya like bacon?” asked the cashier. She had me at bacon. Five minutes later I found the love of my life in the form of pork belly. It’s not smoky or crisp like traditional breakfast bacon, but fatty, tender and salty like peameal bacon (another Toronto insitution might I add) and ridiculously to make at home. Here’s how I did it.
Pork belly noodle bowl

– 1-2 pounds of pork belly sliced into 2 cm strips
– hand full of scallions
– 4 large cloves of garlic
– 2 thumbs of ginger
– fish sauce
– rice wine vinegar
– chili flakes
– brown sugar
– salt

How To:
Do this part a day ahead: put pork belly in a roasting pan and sprinkle with brown sugar and salt.

Throw scallions, garlic, ginger in a blender. Add enough fish sauce, chilies and rice wine vinegar to get a salty/sour/spicy balanced taste. Blend until you get a paste and then cover pork belly. Let sit in fridge overnight

The next day, preheat oven to 350. Put pork belly in oven for 30 mins until fat turns golden brown. Drop the heat to 250 and go low and slow for an hour. Turn the pork belly and cook for another hour. At this point your house should start to smell amazing. Crank up the heat to 350 and cook until the pork is brown on the second side.

Take out of the oven and let cool. I cut up my pork belly and made a noodle bowl with vermicelli, carrots, cucumbers, scallions, and radish, with a peanut vinaigrette. But this pork belly would also be great in…
– your own bahn mi (fresh baguette, citrus mayo, carrots, radish, cucumber, cilantro, birds eye chilli)
– Fresh rolls (rice paper wrap, fresh sliced veggies, rice noodles, peanut sauce)
– Coconut curry soup
– Or, you know, a salad if you want to be a fun sucker.

So grab some pork belly and get braisin’!

Shrimp tacos

Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos (Homemade Tacos)

It’s Tuesday, and that means it’s taco night.

Ingredients (for eight tacos)
1 cup Masa cornmeal
3/4 cup water
shrimp (uncooked and peeled)
2 limes
chili flakes
green apple
red onion
cider vinegar
plain yogurt
refried beans

Special Equipment
Taco press OR
parchment paper cut into squares
cast iron pan
rolling pin

How To:
Mix shrimp with the juice of 1 lime, 2 tsp chopped garlic, chili flakes and salt. Let marinate in the fridge.

IMG_3414To make taco shells from scratch, mix masa, water and 1tsp salt to form dough. Roll dough into eight balls and put on a baking tray covered with a damp cloth to keep warm and moist. Use a taco press to flatten into shells. But since I don’t happen to have a taco shell press hanging out in the back of the pantry, I used a cast iron pan to press my dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Press the dough and roll it over a few times with a rolling pin, peel the top sheet off, brushed the shell with oil and flip the shell onto a hot nonstick skillet and peel off the bottom sheet. It took a few times to get the hang of it, but it became easy pretty fast. Once shells are cooked (about a minute on each side with nice charred marks) pop them into an oven on 200 degrees to keep warm.

Finely slice green apple into slivers and mix with chopped red onion, lime juice, a few tsp’s of cider vinegar and salt. Stir more lime, salt and chili flakes into yogurt and set aside.

Cook shrimp in a hot pan until pink and cooked through, but still juicy.

To assemble take one taco shell, spread refried beans, top with shrimp and apple slaw, and drizzle yogurt. Repeat. Eat.


Rip stale bread into chunks.
Mix in caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes.
Whisk eggs and milk together, season with salt+pepper, and pour over bread.
Bake for 30 mins. Shred cheddar cheese on top and broil.

Watch This: Munchies

Ever want to see what goes on in some of the best kitchens in N. America? And where do these people go after sweating it out in their kitchens? Turn off the Top Chef…You need to watch Munchies– the Vice web series chronicling late night adventures of name-drop worthy chefs; David Chang and Anthony Bourdain to name a few.

“Munchies” also travels north of the border to follow Canadian chefs and restauranteurs to document where they eat and drink.

Check out Toronto’s own Black Hoof team as they visit friends at Grand Electric- without the 1-2 hour wait that the taco+bourbon bar is infamous for- and then on to Kensington bar Cold Tea.

whole 30 eggs and cauliflower

Whole 30 Dinner: eggs, sweet potato hash and mashed cauliflower

whole 30 eggs and cauliflower

I’ve started the Whole 30 Challenge– yes, one of those challenges. It is marketed as a “nutritional reset” in which all grains, legumes, soy products and dairy are all no-nos. And that includes (gasp) butter.When I first read the Whole 30 plan I thought, “salad for 30 days…heck no!” Or as one of my friends exclaimed, “What are you going to eat? Potatoes?”

But there are countless meal options. Like dinner tonight (and, as it also turns out, mashed cauliflower tastes like grits) mmm.
Continue reading

New Food Site: Honestly YUM!

Honestly WTF, one of my favourite sites for DIYs (and fashion, decor and travel among other things), just launched a sister food site this month and it’s appropriately named Honestly Yum.

So far, they have recipes for appetizers, deserts and cocktails. One of my faves is the homemade ricotta , which will be my guide as I foray into cheese making. And like WTF, Yum has posts on food trends, DIYs and recipe inspirations. All with the über cool styling and photos seen on WTF.

Check this out!

Honestly Yum’s crostini recipes (from

shroom and barley2

Mushroom and Barley Risotto

mushroom and barley risotto

Apparently spring has not sprung, but all this winter weather in Halifax has given me a few more weeks to try some winter recipes. Since mushrooms and barley are a classic soup combination, I thought they would be just as delicious together in risotto. Turns out I was right: more gourmet, less bad cafeteria soup. How delicious!

How To:
In a large frying pan sauté chopped onions. Once brown, mix in chopped mushrooms and continue to sautee, adding olive oil as needed. Once the mushrooms reduce by half, add in dry barley and stir to coat the pearls. Pour in wine and use a spoon to make sure all the brown bits are scraped off the bottom of the pan.

Pour chicken stock one cup at a time. Pour stock, stir to mix with barley and mushrooms, then smooth level with the spoon and wait until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until all the chicken stock is used up and then use water, one cup at a time, until barley is fully cooked. Like risotto, which uses arborio rice, the barley should have an al dente texture with a little bit of bite. If you want to add parmesan cheese, add about 1/2 cup and stir.

In a separate small pan, fry cut up prosciutto. You can also use pancetta for this, or bacon. Once fried, sprinkle over risotto with more parmesan cheese.


shroom and barley2

Rule #47568: Always Play with your Food

Food and crafts find a happy medium at last!

Hong Yi is a Malaysian artist who, among her brilliant art and architecture, makes pictures out of food. You can check out her website and her blog which has more samples of her foodie art.

Also, she goes by Red. Seriously this gal is badass!

Doily DIY

More DIY with Doilies

I’ve been a little bit doily crazy lately. And during one trip to the local thrift store, I bought an excess of doilies. I clearly have an obsession.

For a quick DIY I sewed about 7 doilies together as a room hanging. It’s a very easy craft- you can sew them like I did, or you can crochet them together.

Try to find different shapes and sizes, but since doilies are floppy things that are for sitting under grannies’ tea pots, try to arrange them so the tops are level and they won’t flop over when you hang them across a shelf. If there are some floppy edges, you can use fabric stiffener or diluted modge podge to make them sturdier.