Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Little Red Lunch Tote

When I was growing up, my lunch was packed nearly every day. Weren't you so proud  to have a lunch box that represented your favorite television show or past time? Your name was on masking tape inside the metal lid, it held a sandwich wrapped in waxed paper, a banana or apple, and one of mom's cookies. Maybe, just maybe there would be a Hostess Cupcake on a special occasion.  And remember  the room temperature milk in the glass lined thermos? If you were lucky, it was blended with some Nestle's Quick. When I was in fourth grade, my best friend Cheryl and I would each bring a nickle to school so that we could buy an ice cream sandwich on Friday's. The lunch lady would cut it precisely down the middle for us, even though we didn't buy our lunches that day with those little tear off lunch tickets. It was an extra treat for  those of us who brought our lunches from home.

Carrying that lunchbox every day was so awesome...until Junior High, when it was way more cool to buy from the cafeteria than to bring something homemade.

When I reached high school, it was okay to pack a lunch again... I mostly brown-bagged it, and all the girls would try to bring the healthiest,  or the most appealing portable kid, Douglas, would always pack sardines, which really grossed us out.

These days, I bring my lunch to work nearly every day. Usually a salad, some fruit, or maybe leftover soup in the winter. I also find myself coming full circle in that I having to carry a cute lunch tote. My old one was frayed and worn, so I finally buckled down and made one last night from the book "Lunch Bags! 25 Handmade Sacks and Wraps to Sew Today."

 This was a quick project...made it in an evening. The fabric is red duck from Walmart's remnant bin...which cost all of about $2.00.
The lining is from my scrap bag, and the batting from the bottom of a bin of old quilt supplies. I used grosgrain ribbon for the drawstring closure.

The lining is laminated cotton. The outside is machine quilted. And it's a very generous size.

I love the plump squareness of this bag.

And today, she did just fine on her maiden voyage to work..plenty of room for all of my containers, and wiped clean to use again tomorrow.

I just may have to make another one!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Full Measure of Blessing

It's sort of feeling like a season of blessings to me. I love the fall transition of the's a contemplative time, and I have had so many things on my heart these past weeks. And so thankful to God that He so tenderly cares for me, even knowing that I am such a work in progress!

I'm thankful for today, because it's my anniversary. 15 years married to JR, who has loved me unconditionally, been an example and a mentor to me, and has always demonstrated  grace toward me and our marriage.

And my family. How can I be proud and humbled at the same time?  And did I mention that the most incredible news of all is that in addition to the four smartest and most adorable grandkids that we have, we are about to have three more!!! That's right, each of our girls, Meghan, Katie and Amelia, are having babies! One is due in December, one is due in February, and the other is due in March! I still can't quite get my head around that! Did I mention...three more grandbabies!!!!!

The blessings of friendship...camping friends, blog friends, church friends, neighbor friends, and the friends that we know would drop anything when we need them. There are the friends that know every detail of our lives and without hesitation  love us more because of our mess-ups.

And to think I get to spend my time here on Earth with all of these people, and live comfortably in a little bungalow, and make and do the things I love to do.   That's not a bad way to live.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Beth and Maxine!

And the winners of the two books are:
Maxine said...
I've just had a very enjoyable drive listening to you and Lori chat about sewing! What a fantastic episode. Lori has introduced me to some great new places - and now I have a new one too - your blog. It looks fab and I'm sure I shall enjoy keeping up to date. Thanks!
Beth said...
I listen to Lori's podcast and follow her 2 blogs in my google reader. I will now add your blog to my reader as well. I would love to win either of these books. So happy to have found you!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wedding Plans

I miss sewing. I miss cooking.  I miss my house. I miss my husband.

These past few weeks, I've been up to my ears in wedding consultation and planning for a sweet couple who are got married today.  Themes, layouts, design elements, centerpieces...all that fun stuff. It was  a blast to see it all come together this weekend, though.

Last night, the reception venue was transformed from ski/hunt lodge to rustic wedding.

And the bride and groom are happy with the results. Which makes me very happy.

I had really hoped to get a red dress made to wear, but that did not happen. No. Way.
I was  lucky to get  my toenails painted in time!  So tomorrow, I will sew, I will make a nice dinner, I will clean my house, and I will spend some time relaxing with my husband.

And, I will draw two names for the winner of the books!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mr. Husband likes Camping!

I believe that Mr. Husband is convinced he likes camping.
After another weekend away at the beautiful Stony Brook State Park with our good friends, Jon and Lisa, JR is convinced that we're on to something.


Good food.
Enjoyable companionship.
The Great Outdoors.

What's not to love? How could we have waited so long?  I grew up camping, and have always wanted to return to that vacation lifestyle once again. A whole weekend with nothing to do but kick back....after setting up, of course.
But you know that when I get an idea in my head, I obsess about it.
And for the last few years, I have obsessed about having a vintage camper to restore.
So, while we were on the drive home, and while thoughts of a vintage camper were lurking in the back of my mind, we happened across our newest project:

                                                     A 1961 13ft. Scotty Silverside Camper!

And she's all ours!

I can't tell you how I am bursting with ideas for how to restore and decorate this little lady.   What will the interior color scheme be?  How will she be accessorized ? There will be fabric to choose and cushions to cover! Curtains to adorn her little jalousie windows! Will she have a theme?

Shabby Chic?
Retro 60's?
Vintage Camp?
Nostalgic Travel?
Vagabond Gypsy?

Do you have any thoughts? Something I haven't yet entertained? If you had a little camper, how would you dress her for her first outing?

Don't forget to listen to the latest episode of  the Sew Forth Now Podcast,  in which Lori interviews yours truly! And then leave a comment or become a follower so that you can be in the drawing for one of two books!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Podcast Interview and a Giveaway!

This week, I had the awesome opportunity to be interviewed on Lori's Sew Forth Now podcast! It was such fun to talk with Lori about our love of sewing and some of my areas of special interest. She is a delightful hostess, and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. I think you will, too!
You can find the current episode at, where Lori has included a direct link, or you can listen on iTunes!

Two of the websites I mentioned for inspiration are:
The Cabi Canary
Fabulous After 40

I mentioned at the end of the podcast about how this interview is timed at about when I was transitioning from my old blog. So because of that, I want to take the opportunity to share something special with you!

I will be giving away two fabulous books!
"Pattern Making for a Perfect Fit"
The Little Black Dress

I will draw two names on September 25th  from the comments mentioning Lori's podcast and from my Google followers! So, comment, link, follow, or whatever else you need to do to have a chance to get one of these books. And thank you, thank you, thank you for reading and listening!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Simplicity 2728

And just in the nick of time, right before a cold front moves in, I get to wear my white jacket!

This is Simplicity 2728, made with Vera stretch cotton sateen from  This is a great jacket. I had already worked out the fit when I made my previous version which you can read about on my old blog...
IMG_4107  IMG_4109  Just goes to show you the versatility of this pattern!

This time around, I sort of created my own view again: 3/4 sleeves without sleeve bands,  topstitching, and extra buttons. I also did not do the back tab detail.

The entire jacket is lined with white bemberg rayon.  It goes together wonderfully, and the pattern instructions are very easy to follow. I cut a size 16 with my usual full bust adjustment. And after my coffee disaster, I was able to get it washed and pressed in time to wear to work today.

I really like it. Very much.  The fit is so nice, and easily adjusted with those nifty front shaping darts.
Now I have to get to taking in some of my pants...good grief, look how baggy they are! Thanks to 

Next up? I actually need a new lunch bag...I'm embarrassed to show you what my current one looks like!
I'll be making one from "Lunch Bags!"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Across The Border Friends

When I've connected with others through blogging or the passion of creating, I have never been disappointed when given the opportunity to meet in person with internet friends. It's odd, isn't it, how there really is no distortion in our expectations of each other...we write about what we love, and we love what we do, and that inevitably comes through as the real deal. Once we are aquainted in real life, the discovery is of a better version of the blog life.

Across the miles, across the internet, across the border...two friends finally met halfway for a most lovely afternoon. How exciting it was to actually SEE each other for the first time! Elizabeth and I have shared our love of blogging, knitting, gardening and making stuff for several years, and without hesitation, I knew it would be a happy moment when we decided to meet and spend the day together.

The destination was Jordan Village, in Ontario, CA. And how fortunate we were to have such a perfect afternoon in such a perfect little town. There was never a lack of conversation over lunch and shop fact, the day passed much too quickly, really.

The real cherry on top was to discover a couple of fabulous fiber shops...

Stitch was loaded with yarn and quilt supplies, books and warmth...Worn wooden floors and wonderful vintage items  made for a most delightful place to browse. I felt like I could settle in and live there! You must check out the slide show gallery on the Stitch site, and you will see what I mean. Of course, I walked away from these incredible baby knit kits made by a French company. I was so taken with them, and now, I regret not even writing down the name of the company. 

                                                                   The Fiber Garden

 Which was bursting with a beautiful assortment of hand-dyed yarns.

...all dyed by the owners.  See that berry colored skein of lace-weight merino superwash?

That's all mine. Because I couldn't resist the color. And I wasn't going to walk away without it.

Jordan Village will be worth another trip. Visiting Elizabeth again will be worth another trip...we already have our sights set on Ottawa Street in Hamilton...the textile district. Won't that be fun? 

While I had plans to wear my new white jacket, would you even believe that as I was set to go out the door yesterday morning, I spilled coffee all down the front! So, two washings later, I think she's ready to wear tomorrow, so come back and see!

Have you met a blog friend? How did you spend your day?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Shouldn't Have Slept In

Saturday morning. And I stayed in bed until 8:00 which, by the way, was a very nice thing to do from time to time.

It's been a busy week. So sleeping in felt good. But when I woke up to sunshine,  I was overcome with an urgency to get some outside projects done and wondered why on earth I slept so late! There are gardens to tend! A porch to clean up! A patio to sit upon!


Well, we got busted by the mailman this week...for not having an appropriate mailbox for the last three years!  He has happily delivered our mail to this old box on the floor all this time, but is afraid with a new supervisor in town, he'll get in trouble for letting it go so long.

JR and I solemnly promised that we'd have a mailbox in place  within  a week, and true to his word,  My Incredible Husband built a perfect craftsman style oak mailbox.

He's so good.

Even with a busy schedule this week , I was able to work on my white jacket.  The other night, I sat cross-legged on my bed pinning in the lining while I watched Project Runway ( oh my gosh! This pattern is a Project Runway pattern! Just realized that!). I do love how a lining magically comes together. It's like knitting the turn of the heel on a sock...there is something about that process that amazes me.

So today, between all the outside projects, I'll be finishing up my jacket so that maybe, just maybe, I'll have it done in time to wear tomorrow when I meet up with another blog friend Elizabeth, from Canada.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Office Outfits

Okay. Business Casual. Dress Down Friday...or Pay to Dress Down Thursday. Maybe because I am of a more mature generation, or maybe because I worked in the schools and in ministry. But, good gracious, in my most recent jobs, I have had an eyeful when it comes to fashion in the workplace.

While I agree with Sprite's comment that we should not be judged by the clothes we wear, I do wonder if somehow the lines have been blurred as to what is appropriate for the office? Of course, I will always believe that what we wear is an outward expression of who we are... that it is a way for us to express our creativity and our personalities. Fashion is fun and while should not be taken ultra-seriously, there is certainly a time and place for everything. For example:

Cleavage? For the bedroom or the beach, not for the office.
Mid-thigh tight skirts with bare legs and high heels? For pole dancing or partying, but not for presenting a program to a room full of young adult men.
Black leggings and ill-fitting black lycra tops with racer-backs? For exercise or escapades, but not when you are employed as an executive assistant.

I've seen it all. And I don't like some of what I see. And even more frustrating is that there seems to be inconsistency within many organizations as to what is acceptable. I don't get it. Shouldn't we strive, even in a casual environment, to represent our employer in a tasteful, polished and professional way? Even though it's Dress Down Friday? Trust me, I'm no prude when it comes to what to wear to the office, and I might even wear jeans on a Friday...with a cute top and a sharp jacket. I'm just sayin'.

Did you know there is a Red Alert for Fall? According to one of my favorite blogs,
Fabulous After 40, Red is right on trend this season, and can help us feel modern and vibrant. Check it out for a contest to win a pair of red jeans.

It just has to be because of mad men's Joan Holloway...who always looks incredible in red, and wears a lot of it. Just as a sidebar, I love the fact that Banana Republic is doing a Mad Med Collection! Which includes this knockout dress, with just the right amount of red:
The Begonia Print Dress. The neckline is incredible.

So, will you be wearing red this Fall?

Will it be Jeans, a Dress or an Accessory?
For me? I'm doing a red ponte dress from Vogue's Kay Unger 1205

and a pair of red pants from Vogue's Anne Klein first sewn pair of pants since I was a teenager!

I'm delighted to think of red for fall. It makes me happy. And now that I think of it, I may actually wear red jeans to work on Casual Friday!