Monday, October 26, 2009

Think Sewing is What Moms Are For? Think Again... BTSH Around The House Tip of the Week

Ever pick up a pillow or blanket and think “That’s just a little material and a few stitches—how hard could it be”? Have you started a sewing project that you just can’t seem to finish? Do you walk into the fabric store and find yourself in a foreign terrain?

For those of you that follow my weekly blog, you’ll notice that I often prefer to make decorative pieces for my home, instead of purchasing the mass-produced, in order to give a one-of-a-kind touch to my home. I consider myself quite crafty and innovative, and am always trying new techniques. That being said, I have a confession to make. While I took up sewing briefly at the ripe age of 11 in my home economics class, I have since yet to finish any real sewing projects. My mother passed down her sewing machine to me, a beautiful, fully functioning Singer, but how does that saying go? “The machine is only as smart as the person operating it”? Something like that. Needless to say, when it came right down to it, I knew nothing about sewing.

So, I did what anyone would do to get more information. I Googled! I found a couple of YouTube videos that were useful only if you actually had a machine that was not out to get you (as I thought mine was). It never seemed to work quite right, and I struggled to even mend a simple seam on a pair of pants. I thought it must be the machine’s fault, because again, how hard could sewing be?

It turns out, it’s really not that hard! But wow, did I ever have a lot to learn about sewing. So, with Google having failed me, there was only one thing left to do—I signed up for lessons. Now I had looked into this previously, and found a couple of places that offered sewing lessons, but they wanted you to learn on their fancy new sewing machines. The problem was that I already had a good quality machine, so I didn’t want to spend the money on a new one. Then, walking through Frederick Mall one day, I was drawn in to K-W Sewing Machines Ltd. when I noticed a woman being taught how to use a sewing machine in the store.

K-W Sewing Machines Ltd. has been around for over 30 years, previously located at Conestoga Mall. Steve Fereiro began managing the store in 1980, and purchased the store in 1984. He was later joined by his wife, Sonya Fereiro, and the two have made a great team ever since. Steve repairs all makes and models of sewing machines, regardless of age. As well, they sell a variety of sewing machines, from basic starter models, to top of the line embroidery machines, they feature the largest selection of Singer and Janome Sewing Machines in the area. If you are in the market for a new sewing machine, they will help you find one that suits your sewing needs, as well as provide you with free “how-to” lessons, so that you are comfortable using your new machine. They also offer a variety of classes, where they will teach you how to sew on your machine, regardless of whether you purchased it from them. The class that I signed up for was the beginners class, for those with very little to no sewing experience. Other classes available are Beginners Sewing for Teens and Beginners Quilting, plus a variety of project classes that consist of one or two evening sessions, for those that already have the basic skills.

The 6-week Beginners Sewing Class I signed up for was taught by Gladys Turnbull, a sewing pro. The class consisted of 6 students and, as a former teacher, Gladys was incredibly patient, and managed to balance the class time between teaching, as well and answering all of our ridiculous questions. Not only did I manage to successfully make a pair of flannelette pyjama pants, I also got to choose a new project for the last couple of weeks, and learned how to create beautiful decorative pillows. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to sew, I urge you to check out KW Sewing Machines Ltd. For a complete list of classes available, check them out online at

Written by Shauna Lynn, Beyond The Stage Homes

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Supporting Breast Cancer Awareness in Style - BTSH Around The House Tip of the Week

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Beyond The Stage Homes is Thinking PINK! Breast Cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women. A great way to show your support for breast cancer research is by simply purchasing a “pink” product. I have done the research for you, and found a few pink items I think no home should be without.

KitchenAid® Mixer—Cook for the Cure® Edition

KitchenAid® blew us away a few years ago when they introduced to us the hottest new kitchen appliance, the retro style stand mixer. Not only is this a must have appliance for even your average baker, it’s a fashion statement for your kitchen. While these are available in a variety of colours, I have to suggest Pink, as they are donating an incredible $50 from the sale of every one of these towards the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF). Available at Home Outfitters, Sears, and The Bay.

Snuggle Up To A Cure

The Classic Comfort Company has created a pillow drive, with 10% of all proceeds from the sale of their Pink Pillows going towards the CBCF. They are committed to donating a minimum of $50,000, but have set a goal to raise $100,000. These pillows are available online for only $24.99. They are also available at a variety of stores across Canada. For the location nearest you, please visit them online at

Pittsburgh Paints

Pittsburgh Paints offers many great products, but probably one of their brightest ideas yet is their new NO MISS Ceiling Paint. The paint goes on pink, allowing you to see where you have painted and where you haven’t, but dries to a brilliant white finish. Right now, for every gallon of the NO MISS Ceiling Paint sold, Pittsburgh Paints will contribute $1.50 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. To find the location nearest you, visit In Kitchener/Waterloo, you can find their products at Innovation Paints on Gage.


The Hudson’s Bay company has also introduced a few products in support of the CBCF, and are donating 100% of the proceeds! One product that they have included is this pink candle, which will light up any room in your home.

For more information on the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and for a complete list of pink products available, be sure to visit the CBCF website at

Written by Shauna Lynn, Beyond The Stage Homes

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Adorning Your Home for Thanksgiving and Halloween - BTSH Around The House Tip of the Week

Fall is a fun season to decorate for. The fall colours lend themselves to compliment most any palette, and carving pumpkins is fun at any age. Here are some tips to get you in the spirit of the festivities!

Start with fall harvest style décor. As a general rule in Canada, save the specific Halloween decorations until after Thanksgiving. This means that you can have pumpkins as a part of your décor, but save the carving of the pumpkin until after the carving of the turkey.

Think of the colours of the changing leaves when you think about decorating for this season. Burnt orange, browns, dark greens, burgundy, and sometimes even a little yellow. Also remember that the temperature outside is dropping, so you want to make the indoors as cozy as possible. Consider adding a throw and some decorative pillows to your living room in these fall colours. For an added touch, scented candles of apple cinnamon or orange spice give of cozy, warm scents.

Gourds are always a nice touch. These consist of a variety of decorative squash and mini pumpkins, in various sizes and colours. Have a display on the entry table at your front door, grouped on your mantel, or in a basket as a centrepiece on the dining table. Another centrepiece idea is a bowl of apples—take the family out apple picking, and put some of their best picks on display!

Great your guests with warm fall colours at the front door. Create a fall wreath from straw, corn husks, and artificial leaves or flowers. Bring it all together with a cloth ribbon. And just because the summer may be over, does not mean that you can’t still have fresh flowers displayed. Replace your potted plants on your porch with plants from the season, such as marigolds and mums.

There are really no set rules for decorating for Halloween. This is the one time of year that I say let your wildest imagination take over, and don’t hold back! Halloween is my favourite time of year. I love the energy of the day, and the creativity of the costumes and decorating.

Naturally, no Halloween is complete without carving some pumpkins for display. If you don’t think you’re much of an artist, you can download stencils online, or buy at your local craft store. Be sure to use a good carving knife with a fine edge for details. Another idea is to paint the pumpkins. This looks especially great on white pumpkins, or Luminas.

As for the rest of the decorations, try to stick with a theme, whether it be ghosts and goblins, or witches and bats, be sure that your decorations compliment one another. If you’re hosting a Halloween party, dim the lights, replace a few lamp bulbs with some black lights for effect, play some spooky tunes, and be sure to have lots of treats to avoid any tricks.

Written by Shauna Lynn, Beyond The Stage Homes