Daydreamer Dress: the Dress that Almost Wasn’t

Daydreamer Dress | Sophster-Toaster Blog

I thought this ethereal, marble print fabric was perfect for winter the first time I saw it, almost a year ago. Through spring and summer I kept looking at it, excited to design a dress when the right season came around – but that pined for design never came to me. Nothing I could think of seemed right when I tried to picture the finished dress. When winter came, desperate and defeated, ready to give up on this fabric I loved, I realized it was never destined to be a winter dress.

Once I let go of the idea that this fabric would make a beautiful, winter pastels type dress, the concept for the new Daydreamer Dress came to me so freely, I knew this was how it was always meant to be.

Daydreamer Dress | Sophster-Toaster Blog Daydreamer Dress | Sophster-Toaster Blog Daydreamer Dress | Sophster-Toaster Blog Daydreamer Dress | Sophster-Toaster Blog Daydreamer Dress | Sophster-Toaster BlogDaydreamer Dress | Sophster-Toaster Blog

Dress Sophster-Toaster
Shoes ModCloth
Bow Sophster-Toaster
Sunglasses ModCloth

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All photos by me.

Bored with Winter

Bored with Winter | Sophster-Toaster Blog

I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for spring! We bought a house with front and back gardens that need a lot of work late last summer. We were able to do most of the cleaning up over the fall and winter and now I am exceptionally eager to get the gardens in shape for spring and summer.

I’m so tired of wearing pants, sweaters, socks, and winter dresses with lots of layers. I want so badly to pull my light and colourful summer dresses out of their winter storage and throw them on with sandals. Maybe that’s why my new Mint Macarons Skirt is an early spring dream.

I’m always itching to dress for spring at this time of year but it’s just not quite warm enough yet in Canada. That’s why my first new spring design is a heavier cotton skirt in the most classic of spring colours: mint. This skirt was made to be the first bit of spring in a late winter wardrobe.

Bored with Winter | Sophster-Toaster Blog Bored with Winter | Sophster-Toaster Blog Bored with Winter | Sophster-Toaster Blog

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All photos by me.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Macarons

Chocolate Chip Cookie Macarons | Sophster-Toaster Blog

After years of making macarons, and still needing more practice, I stick with it because I love creating new flavours. Macarons can be tricky and time consuming to make, but they can take almost any flavouring imaginable and still come out lovely and delicious every time. They are one of my favourite foods to endlessly tinker with.

Today I made macarons inspired by my favourite cookie: chocolate chip. Macarons can be made in nearly every flavour, but they don’t take large chucks well – flavouring must be in either liquid or powder form – so I made a standard almond/ vanilla flavour cookie and garnished with cacao nibs. To add more chocolate flavour, I filled the cookies with dark chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Macarons | Sophster-Toaster Blog

The combination turned out unbelievably well! Neither flavour overpowers the other. The garnish is cute and does a good job of letting you know what flavours to expect. They even taste a little bit like chocolate chip cookies while still holding on to that unique macaron sweetness. I made the mistake of having friends over before I had time to assemble the cookies. I had to beg them to “only eat the ugly ones” as they ravenously drizzled the still-warm ganache over the cookie halves and pounded back a dozen of them.

To make these chocolate chip cookie flavoured macarons, use your favourite recipes for plain vanilla macarons and dark chocolate (bitter) ganache. I used the recipes for Basic Macaron Batter and Bitter Ganache Filling from Hisako Ogita’s I Love Macarons. I also added a few pieces of cacao nibs to the top of each cookie before drying and baking.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Macarons | Sophster-Toaster Blog Chocolate Chip Cookie Macarons | Sophster-Toaster Blog Chocolate Chip Cookie Macarons | Sophster-Toaster Blog Chocolate Chip Cookie Macarons | Sophster-Toaster Blog Chocolate Chip Cookie Macarons | Sophster-Toaster Blog Chocolate Chip Cookie Macarons | Sophster-Toaster Blog Chocolate Chip Cookie Macarons | Sophster-Toaster Blog Chocolate Chip Cookie Macarons | Sophster-Toaster Blog

All photos by me.

How To Care for Knits

How to Care for Knits | Sophster-Toaster Blog

I went thrift shopping for second hand sweaters recently and was somewhat shocked to see just how poorly people were taking care of their knits. Many sweaters, no more than decade old, were falling apart while those made of similar materials from 20 and 30 years ago were holding up just fine. I had to turn down several cute sweaters that had clearly been washed and even dried (gasp) with the regular laundry and then hung up in the closet. These sweaters with pilled, stretched and distorted to within an inch of their lives. Luckily, I still found plenty of well cared for pieces to choose from.

I wasn’t always a good knit respecting person. When I was a teenager I threw my knits into the regular wash without thinking, but I always pulled them out to dry, sometimes flat, sometimes on the clothesline – though I’m sure my brother just tossed them in the  dryer when he was on laundry duty. I only started folding my sweaters instead of hanging them a few months ago when I realized it was the best way to avoid stretched out sleeves and shoulder dents. Here’s what I’ve learned since coming to respect the wool, cotton and acrylic yarn of my sweaters, knee socks and knit tights.

How to Care for Knits | Sophster-Toaster Blog

How To Wash Knits

  • Sort your knits like you would your other laundry, into at least two different washes: lights and darks. This is especially important with knits as your lighter coloured items will pick up fuzz and pill in the darker colours with age.
  • Use a laundry detergent compatible with knits/delicates, I use Woolite for everything.
  • Wash on a gentle or wool setting (I wash my knits with my dresses and other delicates) with a low spin so your wool doesn’t get stretched.
  • Remove promptly before weird creases can set in.
  • Dry flat no matter what the care label says! Never hang a knit to dry. (I use a clotheshorse drying rack with a flat top.)

How To Store Knits

  • Once dry, fold up your knits and store them in a drawer or on a closet shelf with good air circulation. You can hang chalk in your closet to decrease humidity or cedar chips to help prevent moths.

Knits will take a little bit of damage every time you wash them, so try to wear them a few times before tossing them in the laundry basket. Follow these steps and your knits will look new for years!

How To Care for Knits | Sophster-Toaster Blog How To Care for Knits | Sophster-Toaster Blog How To Care for Knits | Sophster-Toaster Blog How To Care for Knits | Sophster-Toaster BlogHow To Care for Knits | Sophster-Toaster Blog

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Cardigan ModCloth
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Tights Shopper’s Drug Mart
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Necklace Craft Arts Market / Sweetheart Jewelry Box

All photos by me.