Sunday, August 31, 2008


...where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain!" C'mon, you know you want to sing it!

I found a nice blog from Oklahoma! Here you will find some wonderful sewing projects, including cute fashions for Angie's adorable daughter, Lu. Angie's got the same problem as a lot of moms out there (and as I had when Katherine was younger)--finding fashions that are 'cool' enough for a growing kid yet appropriate! I think she really hits the mark with her projects, and I'm sure you'll agree!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday

Shereen's hosting Sew Crafty Friday, but she just had a root canal! So go on over there and send her some best wishes, okay? (See my sidebar: "Waiting for Him" is the blog.) Take it from someone who has had nine of them...NOT fun!

Here is my donation today. I bought the sweater fabric on clearance for about $2 a yard. This was made with the versatile "Lydia" pattern from the Burdastyle website. Remember, there are lots of free patterns there! I love the "Lydia" top because it's basically a t-shirt and that means no buttons or zippers.

The ruffle is made from a fat quarter. I wanted to do something around the neckline, but not the same old-same old. I saw the fat quarter in my stash and had one of those craft 'ah-ha' moments. So I tore it in strips about 2 inches wide, sewed the strips together, doubled them over and gathered it up. This is not done of the bias. A fat quarter wouldn't be big enough. But, as you can see by the scoop neckline, 'stretch' isn't necessary here.

Don't look too close at the finishing in the second picture. That's just there for a closeup of the ruffle. It was a little hard to bind the neckline and some of the knit 'escaped.' I did a fancy topstitch over it. Frankly, nobody's gonna get that close to the top, anyway...unless they want a poke in the nose.
So, one top down for the fall!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Header

I recently redecorated the shelf over my sink with some of my chickens and roosters. The big white chicken is supposed to be a planter, I guess. I'm using her to hold all those packets of soy sauce we get with Chinese food.

That little green one is kind of strange, and I think it was originally meant to be for toothpicks. She might hold them again, yet. Right now, she's got some salt and pepper packets in her.

The can in the back has a chicken picture on it, and I've got our instant-read thermometers in it.

The big apple is just wood. The little one is opens up to reveal a teeny-tiny wooden tea set.

Everything was bought either on clearance, by thrift or at garage sales. You don't have to spend a lot to create a fun 'vignette'!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Check out what's cute in New Jersey!

I found this New Jersey blog this morning, and I love it! Hop on over there and check out Lorraine's tutorial for a very pretty beaded pincushion and fancy mirror. You'll enjoy the cards she made, and if you are like me, you'll drool a bit over the pictures of the little embellishments shop she visited--button heaven, as she calls it! I wouldn't disagree, LOL!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Saturday Night's All Right...

...for saving money, that is!

Mike and I sometimes visit an Italian supermarket a few miles away. We like the quality of meat and seafood there, plus the selection of cheeses and other Italian treats. But what we've discovered is that the best time to shop there is on Saturday night after 8 p.m. That is when many freshly-cooked things go on sale BOGO. Last night, I bought two 8-piece buckets of fried chicken for $4. That's 50 cents per piece of chicken! I also brought home two rotisserie chickens for half price. They offer sushi and homemade sandwiches for the same deal. (For the record, stores must sell sushi on the same day they make it, or throw it out. If I hadn't already had sushi for lunch, I would have treated myself to some for a late snack. I looooovvvve sushi.)

Okay, so, now we have enough fried chicken for a few lunches. I 'broke down' the roti chickens this way: meat good enough for people to eat, meat/skin/goop the dog and cats will enjoy and the carcasses and bones. Of course, the bones are simmering in water on the stove for broth! (I'll freeze it later.) I put some of the 'good meat' into the freezer for future use. The rest will go for enchiladas this week, and if I have any left I'll make myself some chicken salad.

My frugal tip for you is this: shop late and see if the store has any special deals! In fact, if you get there near closing, maybe you could even ask for a deal. I would bet any smart manager would say 'yes,' rather than losing money on something they have to throw out.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday

Shereen's "Sew Crafty Friday" is on, so go on over and visit-- Better yet, show something off!

I have a bunch of sewing projects in the works but today I'm going to talk about baking. My friend from Pennsylvania gave me starter for Amish Bread when we were visiting last month. So far, I've made vanilla, chocolate and Oreo Cookie versions. The Oreo cookie one was so much like vanilla I don't think I'd bother with that flavor again.

This is one of those deals where you have this sort of 'batter' that you play with and every ten days you bake bread. It's a sweet, dessert-like bread. The basis for the flavor is instant pudding, and you can all things like nuts, chocolate chips or fruit to it.

Today, I'm going to bake lemon with blueberries. I found lemon pudding, as well as cheesecake-flavored. I'm curious to see how they taste--I'll do either the cheesecake or another vanilla one (maybe with streusel!) in 10 days.

The recipe makes up 2 loaves each time you bake, so I always freeze one. They freeze beautifully.

Has anyone else ever made this bread using the Amish Starter? Do you do anything special? I'd like to figure out how to make a pumpkin version, but I'm wondering how to incorporate pumpkin puree into the mix.

I'd love to hear your ideas!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Make Your Own Magazine Cover!

I found a fun site where you can make your own magazine cover. Here's one I did for Shadow. It's free and a lot of fun. Here's the link:


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Waste Not (Late Sew Crafty Friday)

I didn't participate in Shereen's Sew Crafty Friday on time 'cause I couldn't find my camera. I thought I had put it in one of the cubbies of my desk but didn't see it. I shoulda sat down and really looked--it was in there, tucked in the back. So I took a picture this morning. This blouse is two in one--a sleeveless one I started a year or so ago, and the sleeves from the Project Runway blouse I decided I didn't like. (But I do like the sleeves!)

By the time I cut the binding off the sleeves, the armholes were big enough that I didn't even need to gather the sleevecaps. Next step is to try it on again to see if I need to add a panel to the neckline. I think it would look nice because it would tie the whole thing together.

This is an interesting pattern. I no longer have it, so I can't tell you where it came from. But it has no zipper or buttons. The bottom half is cut on the bias, so it is stretchy enough to go over your head.

It will be part of my fall wardrobe. The sewing is at various stages--I got the buttons for the blouse I posted about last week but I'm waiting on the right color thread. (On order from Joanne's.) I cut out a brown blouse which is also in two coordinating prints. I traced a pattern from Burda's free patterns site for pants. I don't usually make pants because they never fit me right, but I thought I'd give it a go.

Another first for me is a jacket with a lining. I found some fabric on sale in a rust and brown herringbone pattern. I didn't realize until it came in the mail that is is polyester and I don't do polyester. I don't like how it feels. However, a jacket is not worn against the body and the poly will help it keep its shape.

I gotta tell you, though, cutting through that stuff is like cutting through Kevlar. Holy cow, is it stiff! And this is after washing, it sure does fray.

Oh, and something totally not related to sewing: Trader Joe's pizza dough rocks. I have not been happy with my own homemade recipe and decided to give it a try. My pizza last night tasted amazing! Not as economical as I'd like it to be, since mozzarella hasn't been on sale, but still cheaper and better than take out!

Check my sidebar and click on "Waiting for Him" to see the nice projects my more timely blogger acquaintances posted on "Sew Crafty Friday." This time, I'll be more careful to put the camera where I can actually see it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Project Runway

I don't usually write commentary on TV shows. I think there are others who do a much better job. But I thought I'd start doing it for the few reality shows I actually watch. The current one is " Project Runway." (The others are "Top Chef" and "The Next Food Network Star".)

I started watching PR a few seasons ago. After surfing a bit, I'd stopped on it for a few moments and was impressed the designers were asked to create something for the "Everyday Woman." Not only that...but the women were the designer's moms!

Watching how people think and create is something I really enjoy. The talent is amazing, for the most part. I do have to wonder, sometimes, what certain people sent in as their audition videos to get them on the show. Case in point is Leanne. She's been on the bottom too many times to still be there. I think the only reason she wasn't sent packing this week is because she was only the 'helper' end of the team.

This week, the contestants were asked to pair up to design an outfit for Brooke Shields to wear on "Lipstick Jungle." I honestly never watched the show, so I don't know what works there. But I know what I like, hate, or find here goes.

Korto and Joe--the jacket was interesting and I loved the color, but the dress was a snooze.

Jerrel and Stella--awesome creativity, workmanship and teamwork. Stella keeps on surprising me. For someone who looks like a half-burned out biker chick, she really is talented. (The outfit last week might have been okay except for that silly cutout, though.) This outfit was my own personal favorite tonight.

Keith and Kenley--I hated the skirt. Which is funny, because the judges loved it. Maybe it was nicer in person. Just MHO, and what do I know about fashion? I own exactly 2 dresses.

Terri and Suede--I just wrote 'yuk" in my little notebook.

Blayne and Leanne--the top was pretty nice, otherwise it was really boring.

Kelly and Daniel--I only wrote "not crazy about it."

An aside: I wish Kenley would zip it with that silly and often inappropriate laughter. Grow up, already. But maybe that's just crabby middle-aged me talking.

Okay, so Keith won. I wish it had been Jerrel and Stella. Leanne should have gone home, but since Daniel was the team leader the burden was on him, so bye-bye Daniel.

Does anyone else watch? (I know Becky does!) What do you think?

Friday, August 08, 2008

USA Trip on the road again! NEBRASKA!

That's how I typed it the other day. (I wasn't in the mood to actually write the post, but I didn't want to forget the link.) "Nebraska" is in big, fat capital letter 'cause I'm sooooo happy to have found a blogger in the middle of the country. Jessi's blog is clever and funny. There's so much to see there that every time you go back, you're sure to find something you missed before!

There is hope for the future that there ARE crafty and creative bloggers out there. But for today...hop on over to Jessi's and enjoy!

SCF: a few things, and a guest designer

Time for Sew Crafty Friday! Here's my donations, plus something extra:

Here are some little fabric buckets I made. Don't look inside...I didn't actually 'finish' them. The little one holds dimes and nickels I'm throwing in there. So far I have about $4. Hmmmm...maybe I'll cash them in next time I'm heading to Joanne's, so I can buy some of those patterns they always have on sale for $1.99. (Honestly, who spends $15 on a sewing pattern????)
BTW, you can see I only used batting in the pink one, which is why it is so floppy. But it holds the permanent markers nicely.
Here is a blouse I'm making for the fall. I posted about it on a recent SCF, and have added the trimming. I don't know if you can see, but I have pins marking where the buttons will go. They will be maroon (or should I be fashionable and say "burgundy"?), which matches the trim. I bought them on Etsy. I'm trying to buy my 'extras,' like buttons, on Etsy as much as possible. Better prices, plus you help someone make a little money.
Okay, so this is a long-sleeved version of this blouse: I cut the neck in a v-shape and won't put a collar on it.
Finally, my 'guest designer.' I babysit a little girl of 8, Angelina. She has a real eye for design and I think she's going to do something artistic in her life. I'm trying to encourage that. She has free run with my baskets of fabric scraps (but knows to keep away from my 'full' pieces) and enjoys making doll clothes. I decided it was high time she did something more than just tie pieces around a doll. So I took out a very simple doll skirt pattern--just one piece cut on the fold--and showed her how to pin and cut it. Here's the result:
I'm not yet comfortable with letting her use my sewing machine, so she did this by hand. I lightly drew a line for her to follow while she sewed, and I think she did a great job. The ribbon waistband was her own idea, as was 'tube' top. BTW, here's the designer:
So, that's some of the stuff I've been up to. How about you?

Monday, August 04, 2008

I promise... get back on the road ASAP! It isn't for lack of trying, but I just can't find any blogs for my USA blog trip! Oh, yeah, I find great blogs--but they are either from states we've already visited or from foreign countries. So, I'll keep looking and we'll be on way again...someday.

Meantime, can anyone else believe summer is nearly half over?