Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Night Reflections

How many cares one loses when one decides
 not to be something,
 but someone.
                                                                                                   Coco Chanel

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Boundaries, Blogging and The Future

After a very quiet few weeks, I'm back :) To say I'm back denotes the possibility of having been away, I have not. 
A couple of years ago, a friend recommended a book to me entitled Boundaries. The first chapter was very difficult as it resonated all too clearly. Rather than read on, I put the book down. A few months ago, I once again picked it up. It has been a slow read as I can only digest so much at one time. If by chance you have difficulty with setting boundaries in your own life, I do recommend the book. But be warned, it is from a Biblical point of view. 

Two and a half weeks ago, I received an email asking for something more than I could physically do. My initial reaction was to try and figure out how I could make it happen. The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. I had not established boundaries and more and more had been heaped upon me without any consideration for me or my time. After taking a few days to contemplate what I should do, I sat down, wrote a letter stating the facts and that I could no longer continue. As difficult as it was to write the letter, I was amazed by how free I felt once the note was sent. 
A week ago, someone whom I greatly admire was suddenly killed. He simply took one step off of a curb and within an instant, his life came to an end. In recent years he had written some of the most poignant and thought provoking plays I have ever seen.  Had he known that one fateful step would be his last, what would he have done differently? Not taken that step of course, but what did he leave undone?
So, I've needed to be quiet in order to give myself time to think and decide what I want and how I want to spend my time. What I know is that I want to spend more of my time, digging in my garden, painting, writing, and most importantly, spending time with my husband. 
Over the last 3 1/2 years, I have poured my heart and soul into this blog. There have been wonderful things like the pillowcase project. What an amazing journey it was and I so appreciate the effort of so many of you who helped to make it come to pass. I've loved receiving notes from those of you who have been inspired to take the plunge into a little pattern drafting. The Free Pattern Friday and the Sleeves on Saturdays posts are a passion for me and I am happy that I have been able to pass on a little of my knowledge. But it has also been a frustrating journey. The little bit of success I have had does not begin to compare to the rejection that I have also received.   
I am not saying goodbye, I'm just slowing down, slowing down and allowing more time for other passions. I still plan to do the Fabulous Free Pattern posts, in fact I have one ready for this Friday. I also plan to do Sleeves on Saturdays and I will check in with other projects, but it just won't be at the same weekly pace I've had in recent years. 
Thank you for the inspiration that you have been to me and in turn, I hope that I have been able to touch your life in a positive manner and inspire you.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Night Reflections

is the language that the blind can see 
and the deaf can hear.
                                                                                                          Mark Twain

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday Morning Inspiration/Haute Couture Fashion Show

Happy Monday!, and I hope that all of you who are mothers had a lovely Mother's Day.
For this week's Monday post, I thought I would post a few pictures from the recent Haute Couture Club of Chicago's fashion show. Each year we host a fashion where we showcase garments that we have made and we also award a scholarship to a fashion design student. The first 3 pictures are pieces that were designed by this year's scholarship winner. The pieces are modeled by a couple of our members. I thought this student was especially innovative and I thought that you too would enjoy seeing what she submitted.  

Now, for my garments. Most of them you have seen, but I thought I would go ahead and share the pictures. The cape in the picture below is from THIS Fabulous Free Pattern Friday post.
 You may remember the top from THIS Fabulous Free Pattern Friday post.
The jacket below was made for a post I did for Sew News on drafting a sailor collar. You can see it HERE.

One of my favorite t-shirts :) The sleeve is from THIS Sleeves On Saturdays post. The pattern for the t-shirt was featured on THIS Thrifty Thursday post.
The skirt below is from THIS Fabulous Free Pattern Friday post.
 As you can see, I went all out with the black and cream two-tone theme!
The show was titled, Through The Looking Glass and it revolved around the story of Alice in Wonderland. One of the segments was dedicated to over the top fascinators. Not the best picture of the fascinator, but it was fun. The dress was also made for a Sew News post on drafting dollars. You can see that post HERE. And the sleeves were done for THIS Sleeves On Saturdays post.
You may remember this trench coat from the Sew News Sewaholic Robson Trench Coat Sew Along. You can see the posts HERE.

And finally, my zebra dress. Fun to make and fun to wear. 

I had a couple other garments in the show, but the pictures weren't worth posting and you've seen them before, so you aren't missing anything ;)
A little shout out to Joan of http://jonadelefashions.blogspot.com/. I was so honored, she actually came all the way from California to see the show! What a delight it was to meet her!  
The show was such fun. It's a major effort to put it all together, but it's worth it. We already have our theme for next year's show and it's great! As soon as I know a date, I'll be sure to let you know.
Hope your week is off to a great start!

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Night Reflections

We teach others how to treat us 
by what we allow,
what we stop,
and what we reinforce.
                                                                                                         Tony Gaskins

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Give The Tongue a Treat with This Lovely Appetizer

After a bit of a hiatus, I'm back! Last Wednesday, I flew down to Texas for a short whirlwind trip and I had a wonderful time. It was great to see friends and just do fun things for a few days. On Thursday night, I was invited to have dinner with friends. Her daughter had taken a cooking class at Sur La Table and made the most delightful appetizer. She made it for me and, oh my goodness was it ever good!!! In fact, I could have just had it as my dinner and been completely happy. It's super easy to make, just the perfect last minute appetizer. Since I enjoyed it so much, I thought I would share it with you as well. Sadly, the recipe is not on the Sur La Table recipe page, but it's simple enough, so you can just print it out and save it if you think you might like to give it a try.
Baked Feta

8 oz. Greek Feta sliced into 1/2" thick slabs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 jalapeno(or pepper of choice)sliced thin
Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place sliced feta in oven proof serving dish. Crush herbs between fingers and sprinkle over feta. Season generously with black pepper. Top feta with sliced jalapeno and drizzle over the olive oil.
Place dish in preheated oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with lemon juice and zest. Serve with crackers or toasted slices of french bread.

This isn't the healthiest dish, by no means, but it is so good, and appetizers are not something we eat on a daily basis, so it's good to allow the tongue to have some fun from time to time!!!!

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

It's All About The Waistband

In this week's Decades of Style Arches Skirt sew long post, it's all about the waistband. We've put the cart before the horse a bit with this post as next week we will be talking about creating a lining for the skirt. Of course, you would make and insert the lining before attaching the waistband. This is actually a special post as I talk about adding waistband buckrum to the waistband. It's rarely used these days, sadly, but it is something that I absolutely love to use in my waistbands. In the video, I tell a short story about how I came to know about waistband buckrum. In the picture below, you can see the buckrum that I used in my waistband.
 In the post, I also show you how I finish off my waistbands,
 and I show you how to create the lovely embroidery stitches around the hook.
If by chance you would prefer a video on how to do the hook application, just let me know as I'll be more than happy to do one. This is how I sew on all of my hooks and I just love how it looks inside my garments.
You can find the post HERE and the video is below.

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Monday Morning Inspiration

Finally, the temperatures have taken an upward turn and I'm feeling the need to get out summer linens and maybe add a lacey touch to them.
This week is going to be a bit of an odyssey for me. On Wednesday afternoon, I'm flying down to Texas for a very whirlwind trip. Just about every moment will be packed. On Friday, I am driving back to my hometown and visiting the cemetery where my great-grandparents are buried. What has bothered me for quite some time is the fact that my great-grandmother's grave has never been marked with a tombstone. She was such a loving and caring lady. Sadly, she died when I was only 5 years old, but I have the the most wonderful of memories of her. On Sunday, she would  always have us over for a lunch that usually included fried chicken. To honor her memory, I've decided that a wrong should be righted and her grave should be marked. It will be an emotional day I'm sure, but a good day.
With my thoughts focused on what I'll be doing later this week, I've thought so much about my great-grandmother. I have the sweetest little handmade doll that belonged to her. I also have a number of doilies that she crocheted. I have doilies that my grandmother crocheted as well. For the most part, they sit in a box where they are only looked at from time to time. I'm sure that many of you have the same box sitting somewhere in your house as well. So what to do? I decided to take a look and see if there would be any ideas that would spark my interest and I found a number.
This was the first piece that caught my eye. What a spectacular piece.
 Maybe taking a round piece and mixing it with some yardage from an old tablecloth.
Cutting up pieces and mixing them linen. Perfect for summer.
This skirt was probably crocheted to be a skirt, but what a great idea for using different pieces together.
 How about taking a piece and using it as the back of a top?
Or repurposing a men's skirt?
 I love this idea, just a touch that turns this knit top into something a little more special.
   A round tablecloth into a skirt.
 Repurposing an old sweater with multiple pieces.
 How about dyeing the doilies to match and covering a dress?
This sweet lady made her wedding gown using doilies. You can read about it HERE. Now this is truly an heirloom gown.
For non clothing items, what a lovely way to use a piece and have a memory at the same time. Beautiful for a bedroom.
And if you truly have more than you know what to do with, cover a tree!!!! I don't think I could ever do this, but then I thought that if you were having a garden wedding, this might be a beautiful focal point in the garden. 
A friend will be going with me on Friday, which I am very grateful for. As I said, I know it will be a very emotional day, but a good day. It's good to honor the memories of those who loved us.
Have a lovely day!

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sunday Night Reflections

Greater love has no person than to lay down his life for a friend.
John 15:13

Is the literal translation your life? I think not. We lay down our life when we put aside ourselves and think of the greater good for others.

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Sunday's Soup/The Perfect Asparagus Soup

An early Happy Sunday from Chicago! The Haute Couture fashion show is today, so I will be off soon. My garments are ready and my bags are packed, so it should be a fun day. Most of the garments that I will have in the show you've seen before, but I will try and get pictures and share them later this week.
Before I run out the door, I wanted to share this fabulous asparagus soup recipe. This is one that is not only good, but will impress anyone who is a little snobbish about their food. It has an amazing taste, it's easy to make and like I said, will impress any foodie out their. I made it a few nights ago for my husband and he said, "PLEASE remember this recipe!" It comes from Green Kitchen Stories and you can find the recipe HERE.
What makes this soup truly special is first of all, the mix of ingredients, asparagus, fennel and spinach. Then there is a topping that is absolutely delicious and an unexpected cashew cream that is drizzled over the soup.
The recipe for the topping calls for a green chili, I used crushed red pepper and I was very happy with the taste. For the lentils, I found precooked lentils at Trader Joe's, a grocery store here in the U.S.
The recipe says to soak the cashews over night. I did not. I merely put them in a small blender and blended them almost to a paste. I then added the water and lemon juice and I was good to go. By the way, the cashew cream would make a lovely sauce for vegetables, so its a great recipe on its own.
If you like asparagus, I HIGHLY recommend this recipe. I think you'll love it. The only thing I didn't love was the yield, the recipe doesn't make up, enough soup! By all means, double the recipe!!
Have a wonderful day!

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Friday, May 1, 2015

A Happy Surprise and a Great Friend

I was working away in my studio yesterday when the mail came. My husband appeared with a magazine in his hand. It was the new issue of Threads Magazine. If you haven't seen it r received it yet, check out the fabulous top that's on the cover. It's a Kenneth King original, but then everything from Kenneth King is original!!! This would be a super fun top to make. In fact, I think it might translate into a few other garments as well.
Nestled back in the Reader's Closet section is my little polka dot skirt that I made last year for Sewing Indie Month. If you are new to the blog, I headed up the pattern hacking category for Sewing Indie Month and had a blast with it, I do like to chop things up!!!
The pattern is the Zlata Skirt Pattern from Stepalica Patterns.
Here's a picture of me in the skirt. I was shocked to receive a message from Threads asking to feature my skirt in the magazine. Honored and shocked! The skirt was sent off back in January, which was great timing since I wouldn't wear it all winter. When it came back home, I pulled it out of the box and wore it the next day. A little like a good friend returning from a long journey. If you would like to see the posts I did on the skirt, you can find them HERE and HERE. 
Thank you Threads!!!!!
I would like to preface this picture by saying that I am greatly blessed to have a friend like Cennetta from The Mahogany Stylist. She has believed in me, listened to me moan, and promoted me every chance she gets. In fact, there's a link on HER blog(not mine)to all the posts I've done for Sew News. My wish is that everyone could have a friend like Cennetta. If you do, count yourself very fortunate.
You may remember the Perfect Travel Dress I did some time ago. Cennetta has made a number of them, she loves them! But check this one out. Talk about VAVAVAVOOM!!! This is her beautiful daughter Lauren, or as I affectionately call her, Miss DeeDee :) The dress was made for our upcoming Haute Couture fashion show this Sunday. You can see more pictures on Cennetta's blog HERE
In closing, I thought I would share this picture with you. I'm feeling very overwhelmed at the moment, just a lot on my plate. I love this picture because it speaks to me of determination against all odds. When the quest seems insurmountable, it will be, unless you try :)
Happy Friday. I wish for you great friends, happy surprises and something that will make you work hard for the prize!

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