Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shopping has taken on a whole new meaning to me. For as long as I remember, I've loved browsing around clothing stores , trying on and buying new stuff. But the past few years, I confess, I'm doing much more browsing and picture taking than I am trying on or buying. When I shop now, I'm shopping for ideas. I'm seeing what is available in ready-to-wear and wondering how I can translate that to what I'm making.

My camera and phone are full of ideas for necklines, Chanel trims, sleeve treatments, and dress styles. Because let's face it, we start with a basic "something" and then re-invent the details or the fit over and over again. I get a kick out of being able to make it work at home.

Militaryzonerevised Cabi Military Jacket
(cabi military jacket) (my military jacket)

I'm cutting out a military style jacket today. Inspired by off-the-rack. One of the little details that I was crazy about was the patch. I found a similar iron on patch at Joann's, shades of camo green...but my fabric is blue. So...thinking cap on, I put a wash of blue acrylic paint over the patch and brought it to a shade which is workable for my jacket!

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The green is not completely gone, but it's toned down, and with the blue cast,I think it will work!

See can do anything if you try!

Monday, February 21, 2011

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IMG_7000 The Kitchen Project Continues!

Cabinets sanded, primed and painted. And yesterday, the countertop came off. Which leaves me without a kitchen sink for a few days. (everything but the kitchen sink! Ba dum.) That's how I've been trying to live in my kitchen...doing dishes in the basement laundry tubs, prepping out of boxes, and even rinsing leeks in the bathroom sink.

Because I had to make the Pioneer Woman's Potato Leek Pizza. Tonight. Even though my house is in utter disarray.

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Who would have ever imagined potatoes on a pizza? Good Gracious, this pizza was amazing. It's the first time I've ever cooked with leeks, or used goat cheese...and my daughter will be happy to know I followed the recipe exactly, and she was right.

And even though it was rather interesting trying to prepare homemade dough without countertops, it was well worth the adventure.

IMG_7007 You can find the recipehere.

I was really happy to get out of bed this morning. I love those days...everything seems right within, even though there is turmoil and discombobulation going on in the world...and even a little in my own world. But it is a good day.

I'm working on another baby gift for a friend. This sweater is a free pattern by Martin Storey.


Even in the midst of chaos, I found harmony today. Thank you, Potato Leek Pizza. Thank you, Baby Stripy Cardigan. Thank you, New Morning...because by the very orderliness of your rising, you brought peace to my life today.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Updated denim...a few quick projects .

I have oodles of denim jackets...I love denim, and I'm not quite sure how it's possible that denim can be a neutral, look good on virtually anyone, and come in so many varieties.

So, I was thinking about some crazy faux fur which came off of something that I got a while back at the thtift store, and some rhinestone buttons, and I was thinking about one of my jackets. I decided it needed an update.


After finding this tutorial on the Collette pattern website, I decided to make a faux fur detatchable collar for my denim jacket. I changed the fabric loops to elastic loops.

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I really like it!


And project number two:

The Denim shirt jacket.

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I started with McCalls 5433, and started modifying.

I added: flap pockets, a curved hem and sleeve tabs.


It's been washed several times after construction, so it's nice and soft. Ready for layering with long sleeves now, and a cute striped tee for Spring.


And that's how you update denim!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February 15, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011


How does my husband demonstrate his love for me on Valentine's Day?

"come on, honey...we're working on the kitchen today."

Like Gabe Lewis on The Office, JR "dominates Valentine's Day." In fact , he "practically has romance down to a science."

But seriously, I couldn't be more pleased! After all, what All-American Woman would want flowers or candy or an awesome red bag for Valentine's Day?

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I was just as happy going to Home Depot, Lowes and other home improvement stores!

But even more seriously, we really did have a nice day, and an extra special lunch at my favorite barbeque place, and to top it off, a heart-shaped sugar cookie from my man.

He's so sweet. I wouldn't trade him for anything.

I hope you felt special and loved this day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

McCall's 6176 : A custom backpack for Sofia!

After seeing that very popular designer with the initials V.B. has cute quilted backpacks for $88, Mimi came to the rescue and made a nearly identical bag for Sof.

This is about the cutest thing I've ever seen.


We were at Katie and Ray's house for dinner and games last night and Sof wore that backpack the entire evening! It's the perfect size for toting around a few diapers, a sippy cup and some snacks. She was quite the bigshot wearing that thing!

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So, I have to tell you, having never made anything like this before, it was such fun to construct! I used a double sided quilted fabric from Joann's and finished off all the raw edges and inside seams with a contrast bias binding that I made from a complimentary fabric. Adorable. In fact, I almost wish I could carry one of these myself!

Jacket number two...the Military on hold for a minute while I finish up a denim shirt jacket , inspired by this Cabi jacket:


Mine so far....using my " old faithful" shirt pattern , McCalls 5433...a Palmer Plesch Perfect Fit, I'm adding the pockets, modifying the hem line and adding tabs for the sleeves.


I'm also looking at some black and white striped cotton lycra from one of my favorite Ebay fabric sellers to make a stiped 3/4 tee, which I am seeingeverywhere.

Oh, and one other thing...did you all get the Hotpatterns email about their new jacket pattern? Glory be, I. LOVE .this. jacket.


Happy Friday Everyone!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I've been cold all week. It's been very wintry, windy, snowy and frigid here, and the cold just seems to go right through you. I'm glad on days like this there are ways to warm up on the inside, even though I'm wearing double layers of pajamas every night.

We got to say goodbye to friends today, who at their midlife, have had an unexpected career change and are moving from Buffalo to Texas. With lots of hugs and good wishes, we said our goodbyes and arranged to pick up two wonderful potted Alberta Spruces, which were gifts from them. I like the idea that as we transition into our next stage of life, the friendship of Denise and Jessie and will travel with us with those potted trees.


It's been a good few days for knitting big warm projects, too. I'm finished with Lady Eleanor, and she's ready for blocking, and I have yet another project started which I'm designing...a fringed, ribbed and cabled vest...sure to be a lap-warmer as I work along on it.


And, a new puppy will always warm my heart. Our neighbors have a baby boxer that I am in love with. I get to snuggle him most days in the afternoon, after I take him for a walk. Nothing like puppy love after an icy outdoor walk.

Downsize ( taken with my puppy=blurry photo!)

It continues to be comfort food season. This week, I made The Pioneer Woman's Mac and Cheese. By far, my all time favorite mac and cheee EVER. I've always made it pretty much the same way as Ree's recipe, but the addition of dry mustard and the egg in the white sauce seemed to take it over the top. I used a full pound of cheese...half Velveeta and half sharp cheddar...

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So, while it's cold outside, who can complain when you get to eat mac and cheese, knit, and enjoy friends and puppies.

And if you want to knit up something warm,snuggly and easy, try one of my free scarf patterns in the sidebar!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

And my favorite jacket of the week?


Simplicity 2284. Straight from the pattern, the D cup for my size. No modifications, either! It's a great fit, and I have to say, I REALLY like the options for cup sizes...saves all that time making my own modifications. The directions were very easy to follow, and the whole thing came together quite nicely.

Lori also made the same pattern, as we excited one another about creating this jacket, which was Cabi- inspired, as I have mentioned.

The Details:

Clearance boucle' from Joann's, along with a lovely print lining from Joann's. I don't think this jacket cost more than $10.00 to make


I chosethe faux pocket flaps as indicated in one of the views, and added a self fringe trim which I made with two layers of selvage edge sewn together and frayed. This I hand-applied.


I made the sleeve head according to the directions, and instead of a shoulder pad, I used a custom fleece shaping which I described in a previous post.


I couldn't be happier with this little jacket. I can wear it with jeans or slacks as easily as with a pencil skirt.

The sketch for my next jacket:

Cabi Military Jacket

This jacket will have military inspired details, and is on the cutting table right now!

Happy Superbowl Sunday...for me it will be SuperSewing Sunday!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

On the road again Monday all day, figuring out our lives! More to come!

With all the traveling, and sickness, I was determined to get some sewing done today. Come hell or high water, I have goals to meet! If this is going to be the year of the jacket, then I have to get on it! ( especially since my jacket making partner, Lori, has already finished her Chanel Style, Cabi- InspiredJacket!)

We are using Simplicity 2284. Today, I was able to fit and finish the outer shell, along with the sleeve heads and shoulder padding. I didn't have actual shoulder pads that I wanted to use, so I made do with some fusible fleece. While this may not be the "proper" or "by the book" way of creating structure in the jacket, I thought I hit on something pretty neat. After all, isn't necessity the mother of invention? So, I cut two half-moon shaped pads from my fleece:


And affixed them to the inside of the jacket:


I wanted very soft shaping at the shoulder, and to be honest with you, even the thinnest shoulder pads I've seen are still too thick for me. This method created just the perfect amount of structure. And, my jacket so far:


Mine is a boucle' with a very soft hand, and since I want this to be a drapey, soft jacket, I chose not to underline any of it . I only applied interfacing to the usual areas, and I think with the addition of the fashion lining tomorrow, I'll have just the softness and weight I wanted to take this jacket into Spring.

WARNING: copious salivation may occur as you read the next section!

Oh, good gravy, did I ever invent a burger yesterday. Let's just call it the Fabulous Incredible Burger Melt.


First, slowly caramelize an entire sweet onion which has been sliced. Caramelize that in butter, by the way. Then set the onions aside.

Pan fry two oval shaped ground round patties, which have been seasoned with fresh ground pepper and kosher salt.

Get some marble rye ready by spreading butter on one side of the slices.

When the burgers are done, remove them to a plate and top them with a slice of mild cheddar cheese, and on top of that, a slice or two of pre-cooked bacon ( happened to have some in the fridge, leftover from Sunday's breakfast). Put the whole burger pile on a slice of the rye bread and place it buttered side down in the frying pan.

Now back to the burger pile. On top of the bacon, heap up those caramelized onions. Then top that with some crumbled blue cheese. Slap the other slice of rye bread, buttered side out, on top of it all and grill the whole burger sandwich until the cheeses are melty and the rye bread is nicely toasted.


Serve it up with some sweet potato fries if you really want something delicious.

Again, necessity being the mother of invention...I needed a cheeseburger, and couldn't decide which cheese, and didn't have any burger buns, and well....there you have it. I dare you to make one.