Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday Morning Inspiration/Maria Pinto Shapes

Around this time of the year, I begin to look at my summer wardrobe and feel quite bored and tired of it, I'm ready for a change. Although it's not quite cool enough to change over to my fall wardrobe, it's a nice time to begin looking around for a few new pieces that I will enjoy wearing once the temperatures do fall. 

I love the designs of Maria Pinto, a Chicago based fashion designer. I've showcased her work her a number of times. A week or so ago, I took a look at her new fall collection. What I especially like is that she doesn't come out with an entirely new collection. She builds on the last collection, so rather than start all over, her clients are given the opportunity to purchase a few pieces that will work with pieces they have bought in the past.

Last fall she showcased a new denim collection that was great. This year, she has added pieces that are especially interesting. 

Love the shape of this jacket. 

I love working with geometric shapes and this one really special!

 Looks like a fun piece to wear.

The collection also includes some striped pieces. 

Love the definition the stripes give to jackets.

I really like this piece with one exception, the front neckline. I understand why the point is there, it just looks a little bothersome to me. I think I would either have to cut it off or fold it down.

One last piece from the collection. A great little top that works with jackets for day, or on its own for night.

Here's to fall!!!
Have a wonderful week :)

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Salad/Vegetable Slaw with Blackeyed Peas and Roasted Sunflower Seeds

A friend of mine will come for lunch or dinner, sit down to eat, and more often than not ask, "Is this recipe on your blog?" My response will typically be, "No." And then she'll ask rather emphatically, "And why not???

So today, in honor of my friend :), you are getting a very simple recipe that I love, but would typically think it to be too mundane to post.

Here in the U.S., we have a store called Trader Joe's. The environment is kinda happy hippy for lack of a better description. What I especially like is that a healthy lunch can be had with just the combination of a few ingredients, and even easier, because all the preparation has been taken care of. With that said, everything for this salad can easily be prepared as well.

I purchase a bag of broccoli slaw, pretty easy to find these days. A container of chopped vegetables. This is a combination of chopped broccoli, carrots, jicama, green and purple cabbage, radishes, celery, and green bell pepper. Of course, you can add or delete depending upon your taste if you are chopping your own vegetables.

I love Melissa's steamed blackeyed peas, but a 14 oz. can of blackeyed peas that have been rinsed and drained will work just fine. 

And finally the dressing. I like the Asian Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette, but any dressing would actually work, depending upon your taste.

Not pictured above is 1 last ingredient, 1/2 cup of toasted sunflower seeds. With the combination of the peas and the seeds, the salad is chock full of protein. If you would like, 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa would make a nice addition and add more protein.   

Couldn't be easier, just dump everything in a bowl, stir and enjoy. With a lot of salads like this, it's advised to allow the salad to sit so the flavors can intermingle. I never wait, I dump, stir, and serve!
If you would like a printable recipe, you can find it HERE.

Last winter, I tried out a cottage cheese pancake recipe that I found at A Garden For the House. These pancakes have become an absolute favorite in my house. I made a batch this morning, and my husband literally stood over the stove waiting with anticipation!!!

Rather than strawberries, I did a mixture of peaches and blueberries. My husband said that he thought he liked the mixture better than the plain strawberries. I had 6 peaches and about 2 cups of blueberries. Added 1/2 cup of sugar and then poured the fruit and sugar mixture into a baking dish and roasted at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

A note on skinning the peaches...
I boiled a pot of water and then placed the peaches in the boiling water for just about a minute or so. The skins are then quite easy to remove. 

So, I think my friend will be happy ;) And hopefully you as well! The salad is really quite nice and makes a great lunch during the week. 

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Live Well/Live Beautiful

I am an early riser. Usually up at 5, I love the peace and quiet of the early morning. My day begins by going downstairs to make a big cup of tea. I then head back upstairs to my husband's office where I crawl into my favorite chair and then spend the next 30 to 40 minutes writing. It is by far my favorite part of my entire day. It's my time to dream, plan, and get out my frustrations.

I'm a big believer in making life as beautiful and peaceful as possible. For years, my writing has been done in a basic spiral bound notebook. One day it occurred to me that this special part of my day should be a little nicer, so I decided to make a cover for my notebook. Bright and pretty, in my favorite colors, my little book cover makes me smile :)

It's just a simple little book cover, with piping around the edge.

I love my cover, but I have found that I can make it even better. The book below was given to me. I love the addition of the elastic band to hold the book shut, as well as the ribbon place finder. My next cover will have both as well as a place to hold my pen. 

This past weekend, the Haute Couture Club of Chicago was invited to a wonderful sale given by the Illinois Institute of Art. The school had been given over 500 brand new patterns, many of which were Vogue designer patterns. They also had fabric, trims and thread. They decided to offer almost everything to us at $1.00 per piece. What a deal!!! The proceeds of the sale went to their scholarship fund, so a win-win for us all. And even at just a dollar per item, I think they did quite well as our ladies devoured everything ;)

I made a beeline for the fabrics and trims and found 2 packages of silk remnants. Beautiful pieces that were left over from making ties. I didn't even think twice, and snatched them up!   

Most Monday evenings, you will now find me at a restorative yoga class. Just the absolute best way to begin my week. The studio has eye pillows available to use and they also have tissue so you can cover them, but I decided it would be best to have my own. The scraps are now becoming these sweet eye pillows.

Last night I heated my pillow in the microwave for just about 30 seconds, went upstairs, laid down and drifted blissfully off to sleep.

My pillows are stuffed with brown rice and lavender flowers. I found a wonderful resource in Oregon that sells organic herbs, tea, oils, and even natural pet care products. You can find the Mountain Rose  Herbs website HERE. I ordered a number of herbs as well as some green tea and I have been especially pleased.

If by chance you would like a tutorial on the notebook cover, or the eye pillows,or both :), just let me know and I'll be happy to do a post. 

I remember going to my grandmother's house and looking through all of the lovely linens that she had lovingly embroidered and edged with her tatting. All kept in her cedar chest, waiting for that special occasion to be used, that special occasion that never came. Many of those pieces now belong to me, and they are used, and even worn out in some cases. Life is just far too short not to enjoy and have lovely things to make us smile, even if it's just a simple little notebook cover :)

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Wednesday Showcase

We have a light rain falling this morning here in Chicago. Just love mornings like this. It's as if peace is being poured out over the city :)

You aren't just seeing things, it's an actual Wednesday Showcase post! 

If you don't know Elizabeth from Elizabeth Made This, you are in for a real treat!!! In her bio, she says that she sews everything that isn't nailed down. This is not an exaggeration as you will see in just a moment. A mother to 4 young children, I don't know how she finds time for anything!!!, she not only loves to sew, but she also enjoys opera. A girl after my own heart :)

As I scrolled through her blog, I found this post where she took an old caftan and turned it into this super cute jacket. 

I just have to show you another picture of this great jacket!!! You can read more about it HERE. Love the double collar. 

Now here's the proof of her sewing everything that's not nailed down. She reupholstered this chair and made the foot stool. Be sure to check out the original chair. She did an amazing job!

Elizabeth even finds time to sew for her 3 boys. She's not just mom, she's SUPERMOM! While this is a cute picture...

I think this one is more appropriate ;)

As I said, there is a 4th little child, and this time, it was a girl :) Such a sweet Mommy and Me picture. What a lucky little girl, having a mom that loves to sew. I see lots of great outfits in her future. BTW, the super cute skirt that Elizabeth is wearing was made using the DG Addison skirt pattern. You can read her post HERE

I know you are going to love getting to know Elizabeth. For those of you who are on Pattern Review, you can find her HERE.

Well, that was fun :)
I hope to be back next week with my usual 2 fabulous bloggers.
Have a wonderful, peace filled day.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Pepernoot Fashion Show

Since I shared my finished hoodless Pepernoot jacket with you, it has become my favorite go to piece. The weather has been rather cool in Chicago, so this version has been perfect. 

You may remember the sew along I did for Sew News. Whenever I wear this jacket, I get sooo many compliments. It really is cute, but the fabric pills, so I may get one more season out of it, but that's it. Really disappointed. But, it opens the door for something new, always a silver lining :) BTW, the fabric came from the home dec department at Joann Fabrics. It may still be available, so stay away! 

I really love the big, bold, flower power jacket. Also a home dec fabric, but it has worn beautifully. Not from Joann's. The hood was lined in velvet and it feels to good when pulled over my head.

The hoodless horseman ;)

So easy to wear. Over the weekend, I paired it with my Ginger jeans. The skirt is my planes, trains and boat fabric. Sadly, I didn't have enough of the lining fabric to make a blouse. But, I think I like a white top better anyway.

When I originally showed you the finished jacket, I mentioned that I did not put the zippers in the pockets. The pockets function well with the zippers and without. So another nice option :)

And my crazy, fun lining.

Be sure to visit the Waffle Patterns website. I think the world of Yuki, the designer. I have been so very pleased with all of her patterns that I have made, and she is super sweet on top of it all.

I have had a number of people ask about the shoes I am wearing. I have fallen in love with Jambu shoes. I purchased a pair of sandals last summer and wore them with just about everything. This was a new this year style and I thought they were so cute. I have gone between the pair I bought last year and this pair all summer long. You would think I only own 2 pairs of shoes!!! They are no longer available on the Jambu website, but you can find them in black leather or suede HERE, and other colors HERE on Amazon. 

Have a wonderful day!

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Monday Morning Inspiration/Wearing It Well

Today is September 11th. Sixteen years ago today, the unimaginable happened. When we think of that day, our thoughts take us back to the horrific images that played over and over for days, weeks, months. But the unimaginable also happened in so many other ways that day. 
As most of us know, the unimaginable happened in a small Newfoundland town of merely 10,000 citizens. That day, they opened their town, their hearts, and welcomed people of every race and religion. They looked past the judgments that many of us make when we see someone who is not like us, and only saw fellow human beings who were suffering. 
Within a matter of hours, 38 wide body planes landed, almost doubling the size of Gander. On a day when a few humans exhibited the worst that humanity can offer, here, this small town banded together and expressed the very best.    

When the planes were finally given permission to leave, one woman had an idea. A notebook was passed around asking fellow passengers to contribute to a scholarship fund. $15,000 was pledged, and that money has now grown to over $2,000,000. Over 200 high school students have received money to advance their education, with 1 becoming a doctor.

Tragedy can bring out the very best that we have to offer.

Kyle of Vacuuming The Lawn's "I Have a Heart for Texas" bag raised almost $400.00 for the Houston Food Bank. Another example of when all seems lost, we can be at our best. Yes, I won the bag, but the donation did not come from me. Nor will the bag be coming to me. It will be going to Houston, just as it should :) 

If you would like to read something inspirational, I highly recommend, The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland

Last Saturday was the first meeting of the season for the Haute Couture Club of Chicago. Cennetta of The Mahogany Stylist did a wonderful presentation on making shirts. If you pop over to her blog, you'll see some of the wonderful examples that she shared with us, and I think you'll be inspired!

Over the weekend, I received a message from Pinterest that included the shirt below as inspiration. So I thought I would look around a bit and see what else I could find. 

With this shirt, I love the idea of using beads to attach the sleeve.

This shirt shows that a you don't have to look like a man, it can be ultra feminine. 

From Gucci. Love the soft pleats.

Absolutely love the yoke detail!

The shirt is very structured on top, but the soft peplums make it easy to wear.

A simple to do back opening.

And finally, for a little peekaboo fun, a sheer yoke inset.

Each and everyday, we have the chance to bring a little beauty into our world, with good deeds and presenting ourselves at our very best.

May today bring you the opportunity to be someone's blessing.

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Soup/Squish Squash Yellow Squash Soup

When I was growing up we ate tons of yellow squash. It grows well in a hot climate with sandy soil, so it was a vegetable that we had in abundance. There was squash casserole, sauteed squash, boiled and mashed squash, succotash, but never soup. Even with all I ate, I still love the mellow flavor, so I thought I would experiment a bit and I was really quite happy with the outcome.

The result was a creamy soup with lots of flavor. 

Squish Squash Yellow Squash Soup
printable recipe


6 large or 8 medium squash chopped
1 large Spanish onion chopped
1 yellow bell pepper chopped
3 large cloves garlic chopped
2 leeks chopped, white portion only
1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups coconut milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese shredded
1 poblano pepper seeded and chopped (optional) 
salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pot. Add onion, leeks, yellow bell pepper, and poblano pepper. Saute until tender. Add garlic and saute another minute to bring out the flavor of the garlic. 
Add squash, vegetable broth, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cook until squash is tender, about 20 minutes. 
Using a hand held mixer, or blender, puree the soup mixture until smooth. Add coconut milk and parmesan cheese. Return to heat and heat until soup is warmed through. 

Serve and enjoy!

If you would like, the soup can be topped with fresh chopped chives, a little extra shredded parmesan cheese, and roasted pinenuts.

Not much is better than a nice warm bowl of soup in my hands :)


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Friday, September 8, 2017

Sewbussted's Material Witness/The Roman Skirt

Happy Friday!!!

I think you are going to especially enjoy the new Sewbussted video :) It features a fellow Haute Couture Club of Chicago member, Mary Kay Blaschke. Such a lovely, creative, and innovative lady. She designed a special outfit for our fashion show that was held last May, and when she walked out on to the runway, the audience absolutely went crazy. So I thought, why shouldn't you have the opportunity to see what she did and learn how to do it? 


I thought that the play on stripes made for a fun and whimsical outfit. As we showed in the video, it's actually 3 pieces, a unitard, the skirt and a ruff at the neckline. The 3 pieces makes it especially versatile. The skirt can be worn on its own, the unitard paired with a short pencil skirt. Lots of possibilities and lots of fun:)
Mary Kay had the idea, but wasn't initially quite sure of how to execute her design. So she played around quite a bit, never gave up, and ultimately achieved her goal. The skirt is basically a 6-gore skirt with just a bit of a twist. Take note of how full it is at the hem.  

I see now that I didn't get the drawstrings quite right for this picture, but I think you get the idea. Take note of the little striped unitard legs peeking out from below. So, so cute!

And I just had to tell you a cute story about the little ruff. In the video she talks about how she used toilet paper to create the ruff. After we had finished, she said that she probably shouldn't have shared that on the video. I told her that I loved it because it shows how you can take everyday household items and use them in the design process.   

I thought I would just let you enjoy the video first and then do a separate post with the instructions on how to create this super fun skirt. Look for that in an upcoming post. So...stay tuned ;)

Hope you enjoyed the video.
Remember to follow me on YouTube to stay up to date on new videos. You can find my channel HERE.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Very Special Wednesday Showcase

It's hard to believe that another hurricane is barreling its way through the Caribbean with its destination set on the United States. As horrific as Hurricane Harvey proved to be to Texas, this one has the potential to be far worse, a category 5 storm with winds of 180 miles per hour. At this point, it looks like it will bring high winds and a storm surge to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, but spare the islands from a direct hit. The same can't be said for the Bahamas and it looks like when it hits Florida, it will turn and make it's way up the entire state. At this point, other than pray, there's nothing that we can do until it's all over.

A few days ago, I clicked on my Instagram account, and saw the most generous act of kindness. A year or so ago(maybe 2), I introduced you to Kyle of Vacuuming The Lawn. Many of you may know her from Pattern Review. She did this super cute bag...

Which won the 2016 Handbag Contest.  

Well, Kyle put her excellent bag making skills to work once again, and created this so, so sweet bag.

BTW, Kyle is also an excellent embroiderer. She combined both of her skills for this beautiful creation. The bag is now on her Instagram account where she is offering it as a contest to raise money for the Houston Food Bank. The highest bidder will win the bag. You can read all about it HERE

The contest will run through Thursday, September 7, 2017. In my opinion, the bag is priceless, but it's not about the value of the bag, it's about an opportunity to give.  So place your bids!!!

Now, everyone knows that I love a picture of a girl and her dog :)

I would like to introduce you to Brenda of Flatter Patter, a lovely woman with a unique mission. She had breast cancer and has decided not to have reconstructive surgery. Her mission is to create a robust blog site for sewists who want to create garments that will fit a post-mastectomy flat body.   

Even if you have not had breast cancer, this is a woman that you will want to know. Such a generous and kind woman, she has said that she will match the winning bid for Kyle's bag. Amazing! What I hope to see is the bid going quite high and Brenda not being held to that commitment. 

By all means, pop over to Brenda's blog and say hello. I know she will enjoy meeting you :) 

And now, a little something that just may bring a tear to your eyes. I receive some of the loveliest emails. So many of you share an accomplishment that you've made, maybe your story. And there are times that someone will forward some little something that they think I will enjoy. The link to the video below came last night. It's only 5 minutes long and I think it will be your best spent 5 minutes of the day. PLEASE WATCH!

I've received so many messages from those of you who would like to participate in the Little Dresses For Texas campaign that my friend Andrea is sponsoring, and I thank you. There are some who don't like the idea of sending any type of hard goods to the region, and I understand. Please know that the little dresses that Andrea is collecting are going to a private group who has the ability to make sure that the dresses will go to little girls who would love to have something new and lovely to wear. 

This post touches my heart in so many ways. When I lived in Houston, I worked for the Baptist Mission Center which served the poorest of the poor. I have spent the night with children where I listened to mice run across the floor and roaches fly across the room. Yes, roaches can fly! Of all the experiences I had while working for the mission center, the one that I remember and cherish was the day that I just happened to turn around and a little boy was standing and watching as I prepared the van to go and pick up the weekly bread donation. It was a cold day for Houston and the child was dressed in a thin cotton skirt. Shocked, I asked, "aren't you cold?" He shook his head yes. I took him by the hand and prayed that I could find a coat in the donations of clothes. I did. From that moment on, whenever I saw little Oscar, he would beam. A simple coat on a cold day, a few minutes of my time for which I was repeatedly paid with a smile worth more than gold.

There is great need in this world, spiritual as well as material. Find what touches your heart, and it will be the right thing.         

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