In Heaven at Boretski Gallery

This past weekend, hanging at home with mom, we decided to do a little shopping at my favourite place, Boretski Gallery. It is a little shop in downtown Belleville, close to my hometown, that deals in everything vintage and fabulous. I don’t know if I have yet shared with you my love of vintage fashion, but it is quite a passion of mine and very close to my heart.

I used to go to Boretski Gallery all the time when I was in high school, usually with a friend or two, and we would spend HOURS looking through all the dresses, jewelry and hats, putting on fashion shows and modeling all the dresses, feeling as special as can be :). Sometimes not buying anything and sometimes splurging on a couple items I couldn’t live without, items that are always among the most special in my wardrobe.

 I wasn’t able to go there as much when I was in university and since I graduated this spring  because I live further away and didn’t have access to a car, but I have always tried to drop in from time to time to check in, say hi and drool over everything in the store.

Visiting with my mom reminded me of all the special times in that store- the time I spent 5 hours with my good friend, modeling all the dresses in the shop for Marina (the amazing shop owner, who kept the shop open more than an hour after closing because we were having so much fun!), and finally settling on an amazing little blue number for my graduation. Or the time that I spent about 4 hours looking through everything in the store and finally splurging on a Marilyn Monroe-worthy gold bathing suit and long black evening coat… I still swoon thinking of these purchases, that are in loving places of honour in my closet!… 

One of the most special things about this shop is that it reminds me so much of my grandmother. My grandmother was a seamstress, a collector of all thing vintage and a very fashionable lady. She was and still is my inspiration, and her house and her sewing shoppe was always filled with amazing vintage clothes, accessories, fabrics and sewing and crafting things that are now part of my collection. Going into Boretski Gallery, and with every turn and little surprise I can’t help but think of her :).

(a bra that might make people inquire about the coldness of the room…)

Every time I go into this shop, there is something that I just CAN’T leave without, and this visit was no exception. Browsing through the coats, thinking of the cold outside, I came across this- and I just couldn’t put it back.

I know that I already have a, um.. large number.. of coats, but wearing different winter coats is one of the only things you can do to look different day to day in the Canadian winter, and this one was just the perfect amount of vintage and quirky- and I am really looking forward wearing it and building outfits around it! 

I am so excited to share one of my favourite places in the world, and the best shopping destination in my area! It is worth dropping in just to chat fashion with Marina!

(Marina & I)

Now I am off to make some long wrist warmers to go with my new coat, and dream about all of the other gems that I saw this visit 🙂 !

xo erin

Soup Sundays: Ham & Potato Soup with Cornmeal muffins

I was at home this weekend, enjoying the wonderful chill of fall, and one thing that made my weekend just that much better was a lovely bowl of homemade soup. There really is nothing better than homemade soup, especially when it is fall, when your mom made it, and when it is accompanied by some variety of dunkable companion.

Since I enjoyed my soup so much this weekend, I felt that I had to share it with the world. And upon realizing that I have a variety of soups in my cooking repertoire I figured that I would make it a fall feature on my blog “Soup Sunday” – starting with my mom’s soup: Ham & Potato soup, with cornmeal muffins.
As you can see this soup is more of a Ham & Potato, & corn, & carrots, & white kidney beans soup, but for simplicity we just call it Ham & Potato. – and yes it is just as creamy and filling and delicious as it looks :), especially when consumed accompanied with a homemade cornmeal muffin. 
Looking through my mom’s recipe book I found these well loved recipes:
A good rule of thumb when looking through my mom’s cookbook is: the dirtier the recipe card, the better the recipe. 
Mom’s Ham & Potato Soup
3 1/2 cups diced potatoes
2 medium carrots diced
1 small onion chopped fine
1 cup ham (or more if you really like ham)
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
– place above ingredients in a pot & boil covered until the potatoes are tender-
5 tbsp butter
5 tbsp flour
1 cup cream
1 cup chicken stock
1 can white kidney beans (drained)
2 cups corn
1 pkg chicken bullion 
– while the veggies & ham are boiling, melt butter with flour to make a roux, then mix in the cream. Add chicken stock and stir until thick. Add beans, corn and bullion (& parsley ‘for looks’- clearly optional)-

Then add the veggies & ham with their stock into the creamy mixture and you have SOUP!!
AND- if you are feeling particularly decadent then you can make these dunkable companions to go along with it:
 Great Cornmeal Muffins

Dry Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (the wimpy Canadian whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Wet Ingredients:

2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup olive oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1 cup fresh corn (optional, and not in the featured photo, but good)
– mix dry, mix wet, mix together. Bake at 400 °F for 20 minutes, or until lightly brown. Makes 12 muffins that can be enjoyed hot or frozen for a later time.- 

I promise you will not regret making these! – Also I think this is the time where I have to change the name of my blog from “The Sewing Adventures of Emerald Erin” to “The Sewing and Life Adventures of Emerald Erin”, because, let’s be honest, this blog is not even close to being entirely about sewing. Food, crafting, jewelry making, creative outings and general cool life stuff is taking over- or at least is a good accompaniment to my sewing posts. 🙂 
Anyways – I hope you have a lovely Sunday, and maybe snuggle up with a nice warm bowl of soup like I did! I know that when I do I feel like this:
All yawns and snuggles, and then I cuddle into bed and enjoy a movie or get lost in the vortex that is YouTube.
Happy Sunday everyone!
xo erin

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Toxic Paper Factory

Hello-  So I know I promised a fashion sewing post… and I do have 3 of them planned out, it has just been really dark and dreary lately and not so good for taking pictures of the things I have made. So instead, I will fill this gap with the CUTEST craft project ever!

The other day I was over on the blog How About Orange , looking through old posts and free downloads that she had found, when I came across a post for these little paper cats from

I instantly clicked the link and found myself absorbed by the amazing little creations on the website, there were so many different designs. Not all of the designs are free, and I think they change which ones are free, since the cat one was no longer free when I went to the website, but they did have free downloads for each chinese zodiac animal!! 
To which I was instantly like “what is my chinese zodiac!!?!”- I was with my mom at the time, so naturally I looked up hers (horse- cool, majestic), then my sisters (snake -also really cool and my sister loves snakes), then my dads (tiger- WOW awesome these are so cool), then mine (year of the…… goat…. – yeah okay). I did look it up later, and apparently it is the year of either the goat OR the sheep, depending on which translation you go by, it could be either- and I was much happier to think that I was the year of the sheep, a cute fluffy sheep :), so from this point forth I will refer to my zodiac animal as the year of the sheep… not that I’m jealous….  
Anyways, it really doesn’t matter because each of these little paper creatures is unbelievably cute, no matter what chinese year you are born into. So I downloaded the horse, sheep, snake and tiger and set out to make a little chinese zodiac family!
They are simple printable downloads, I printed them on white cardstock from my regular colour printer (which decided to whimp out on my little sheep and it is a bit more albino than it is supposed to be…) . Then you cut them out and glue it all together, I used regular white glue with a fine applicator, but it was also helpful to use a toothpick to spread the glue at some of the trickier and finer points. They do have a little video tutorial on the site that shows generally how they go together. I wouldn’t say that these were super simple paper crafts but SO worth it- I mean how cute are these?
Our happy chinese zodiac family (snake sister, tiger dad, sheep me, horse mom)
also- please ignore my sister, her laptop and the two empty glasses of red wine in the background
 (this is how I craft)

I’m so impressed with these little guys and they have so many more amazing design downloads that you can buy- I’m looking into a couple of them, but you can also donate, which I will definitely do- since I was so impressed with the result of these! and I may or may not be planning to make a complete set of the zodiac animals… 🙂
Now that my shelf has been made infinitely cuter by the presence of these little guys, I’m off to do some more sewing- with a promise to post really soon! 
xo erin

Creative Outing!

A couple of weekends ago, my sister and I went to the Creativ Festival in Toronto- a convention of sorts for all things creative including: sewing, quilting, beading, knitting/crochet.. etc. As much as I do love all things sewing, I was completely side-tracked by all the shiny beads! (how can you not drool a little looking at this..)

– I also got side-tracked by a huge crochet aquarium display, that included many cute little friends- this one in particular that I will have to make sometime soon!
But as I said before, my sister and I got really carried away and spent most of our day ‘ohhing’ and ‘ahhing’ over all the pretty sparkly beads, and we brought quite a number of them home with us – only the ones we couldn’t leave behind of course!
There was also a booth where you could buy bracelet kits and make them right there, which we decided was a good option since we had been standing for a few hours at that point. 

Despite the terrible quality of this phone pic (sorry)- this was my little beading area while I worked on the kit, I picked a jazzy green number. I had never made a charm-style bracelet like this and I found it really fun and inspiring! So inspiring that as soon as I got home I jumped all over my sister’s expansive bead collection and started beading, making some original creations!

The first one I made was the black/gold/silver bracelet (inspired by halloween) and the second was the blue/turquoise/silver one, followed by the chandelier-style necklace for good measure. I made sure to included at least one of my favourite bead purchase from the show into each piece- which I like to call the ‘galaxy bead’ (the main top circular one on the necklace, shown well below in the bracelet) It is a midnight blue colour with sparkles and it just reminds me so much of a night sky… I’m a little obsessed with them…

Something about this style of jewelry making is so appealing to me, working the metal and making all the little charms to attach- it makes my creative side smile :). I am really looking forward to doing more of this!

After the creative festival Kristie and I went to an art show being held in the same building, that was recommended to her by one of her art profs. We saw some super cool things! Although I can’t say that I am the best art connoisseur, and I had my fair share of ‘what is that?… I don’t get art…’ moments, but there were some really cool things to see.

Then – just so we could finish with a bang- we went up the CN tower for dinner, mostly because Kristie, being Canadian for all 24 years of her life, has NEVER been up the CN tower, which is an abomination, and because you get a free lift up the tower if you order an entree in their restaurant, and we needed to eat anyways!

It was so high up! and, as you can see, it was dark by the time we finished dinner and went to the observation deck to take pictures. The whole day was so much fun, so inspiring, and it was also a little colder than we thought it would be- so I also picked up these little hand-friends. (other mitten not shown as it was needed to take the picture)

I think these will keep me good company over the winter :). 
Now off to make more jewelry! 
xo erin
-also, I suppose I haven’t mentioned this before, but all comments are welcome 🙂 !

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