Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Night Reflections

People spend a lifetime searching for happiness; 
looking for peace. 
They chase idle dreams, addictions, religions, even other people,
 hoping to fill the emptiness that plagues them. 
The irony is the only place they ever needed to search
 was within.
                                                         Romana L. Anderson

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When You Have Lemons, Forget The Lemonade, Make Cake!!!!!

It's no secret that I truly enjoy Design Sponge, the blog for all things design related, written by Grace Bonney. They recently posted a Lemon Cake and Pistachio Cream Trifle that sounded absolutely delightful. Since my mother's birthday was coming up, I was looking for something new and interesting and this seemed to be perfect. You can read the article and find the recipe here.
One of the special ingredients in the cake is Limoncello, an Italian liqueur made from lemons. A splash of Limoncello in a glass of sparkling water makes the most delightful summer time drink. Make it pretty with a slice of lemon :)  

Here's the recipe, but be sure to stop by Design Sponge and read the entire article.

Lemon Cake and Pistachio Creme Trifle
-serves a crowd
-you will need two 9-inch cake pans and one 8- or 9-inch glass trifle bowl
For the lemon cakes:
  • two tablespoons of butter, melted, and a tablespoon of flour for dusting the cake pans
  • half cup almond flour
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • half cup whole milk
  • ⅛ cup limoncello (to brush the cakes with once they’ve cooled)

For the Pistachio Creme:
  • 1 cup raw unsalted pistachios
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup mascarpone
For the Whipped Cream layer:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ⅛ cup raw unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Butter, line with parchment paper, and flour your cake pans, being sure to tap out all excess flour.
Mix the flours and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together with a mixer until very white and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla, lemon zest and juice, and milk and blend. Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the middle is set and the top is slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes in their pans. Invert the cakes onto a wire rack and let cool completely before composing your trifle.
Make the Pistachio Creme:
Grind the nuts and sugar in a food processor until fine. Add the lemon zest and pulse. Add the lemon juice and pulse. Add the mascarpone and pulse until smooth. The pistachio creme should be at room temperature when assembling the trifle so that it is spreadable.

Make the Whipped Cream:
Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue whipping until stiff. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Assemble the trifle:
Trim one cake to fit the bottom of the trifle bowl. Reserve the cake trimmings for the topping. Brush the cake with half of the limoncello. Spoon half of the pistachio creme on top of the cake, using the back of the spoon to spread it into an even layer. Spoon half of the whipped cream on top of the pistachio creme layer. Trim your remaining cake layer as necessary, and brush with limoncello, then repeat the layering of the cake, pistachio creme and whipped cream. Crumble some of the reserved cake trimmings and chopped pistachios on top of the final whipped cream layer. Refrigerate until ready to serve
And here's my finished creation.
My bowl was a little large, so the cake did not come all the way to the edge, but that's okay. We are celebrating my mother's birthday today, so I have yet to cut into the trifle, but I will admit to tasting along the way and if the sum of the parts tastes as good as the parts, this is going to be one over the top cake! One note, I brushed my cake with about twice the amount of limoncello that the recipe called for.
The cake is easy to make and it smells heavenly, that is if Heaven smells like lemons ;) I think this is going to become a new favorite recipe. The cake is by no means a diet cake, but hey, no one should be on a diet on their birthday or any special occasion for that matter!

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Sew News Giveaway Winner

Good Morning!!!
The Sew News Colette Patterns Clover Pant sew along will begin this upcoming Tuesday, September 2nd. Monday is a holiday in America, so the first post will be postponed by a day. If you would like to join along and post pictures of your fabric and or your progress, join the Flickr group. You can find it here. I have a few things up my pant leg ;) that I hope you will enjoy, one of which will be a refashioning of the pattern into an active wear pant.
So without further ado.....
the winner of the magazine is Jackie Thompson! Congratulations Jackie!!!!! One of these days I am going to join the computer age and do these drawings electronically. At least there's no discrepancy as to who the winner is with this method :)
Jackie, if you will email me with your address, sewbussted@yahoo.com, I will get the magazine out to you ASAP!
In the meantime, you can order your Clover pant pattern here directly from Colette Patterns.
I think this will be a fun sew along!

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thrifty Thursday

I've had this jacket in my line up of free patterns for a while. Although the weather has not changed, fall and winter are fast approaching, so rather than put it off, I thought I would go ahead and get it together.
The jacket is an unlined jacket meant to be made out of boiled wool or a heavy weight knit. You can find the free downloadable pattern here.
The instructions are in the December/January issue of Sew News. Back copies are available here. There is a print version as well as a digital version available. The instructions really aren't necessary for this coat, but the magazine has so many wonderful projects, so you might want to go ahead an order one if you do not already have one. Click here and you can see the other projects that are available in this issue.
Here's my coat. I had a piece of wool that I have wanted to felt, so I decided that this would be the perfect project.Sadly, I did not take a picture of the wool prior to felting.
A little note about felting wool, especially a piece this light in color. If there is any lint in your washing machine, it will get caught in the fabric as you can see below. I was able to pick this out of my fabric, but it does take a little time. Also, I have a front loading washer. I set the dial on the hottest setting and the highest spin. It took 3 tries to get the fabric to where I wanted it to be. So felting is possible in a front loader, it just takes a little longer than it would in a regular washing machine. One last note, your fabric will shrink considerably. This fabric was 60" wide and by the time I finished, it was 42" wide, so keep that in mind if you decide to do this.
The only change I made to the pattern was to enlarge the sleeve. The sleeve on the model looked to be rather close fitting and I want this jacket to easily slide over a bulkier garment without being too tight. My picture is not as clear as I would have liked for it to be, so hopefully my explanation will be enough. To enlarge the sleeve, I drew a line from one armpit to the other. Off of that line, I squared a line to the hem of the sleeve which gave me a straight sleeve rather than the tapered sleeve that comes with the pattern. I also wanted a cuff, so I added 2". My arms are rather short, so if you decide that you would like a cuff, please compare your arm length measurement to the length of the sleeve pattern prior to cutting the sleeve.
The seam allowances are 1/8". Rather than sew a normal straight seam, I zigzagged all of my seam allowances. The foot was put right along the edge of the fabric.
Just to give you an idea of how long the jacket is on me, here's a very bad picture. Look closely and you'll see my pajama pants :)
The collar is quite pretty. I had initially thought that I would round off the edges, but once I got it together, I rather liked the square corners and how they drape over the sleeves.
This is only pinned in place, but I also decided to create a tie closure. Since the wool will no longer ravel, I cut strips for the ties. I played around with a frog which I think I'll enhance. 
There are 3 pieces to the pattern, front, back and sleeve. The coat takes absolutely no time to sew. There's the center back seam for the collar, the shoulder and neck seam, the sleeves are set in and then the side seams sewn. Voila, your finished. Since the wool has been felted, there's no need to finish the edges. After I got the coat together, I initially thought that I might bind the edges, but once I started playing around with the frog, I decided to cover the collar and the cuffs with passementerie similar to this coat that I did some time ago.  I plan to make the passementerie out of strips that I cut from the  leftover fabric.
Since I'm going to embellish the coat, you'll see it again once I've finished. I think it is going to be such fun!
This is a great coat pattern that is easy to put together, fits well and could also be lengthened into a dress length coat. If you do decide to put one together for yourself, one last note, there is a small dart that is intended to help the collar lay in place. I did not use it as I didn't think it was necessary.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Frabjous Couture's Me Made Mondays

I'm wearing glasses and no makeup because I once again have an eye infection. It's better, but no makeup is the best thing right now.
So this is the Sweeping Rectangles Tee that I made for Fabulous Free Pattern Friday. It is such a comfortable top and so easy to wear.
 You can see the 2 lower rectangles that form the drape.
And my crazy shoes. I've had these forever, shoes that I hope will never wear out, but of course will one day. My shoe repair man and I are best friends :)
I think that I would rather pair the top with a pair of black pants, but it's almost Labor Day, so the white pants are seeing their last hurrah for the season.
Be sure to hop over to Frabjous Couture to see her Me Made Monday outfit in the event that you haven't already done so. Remember, she's hosting a year long link party for those of you who would like to participate in Me Made Mondays. The outfit doesn't have to be worn on Monday to qualify, that's just the day that she puts up the link. It's a great way to celebrate your me mades all year long.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Second Sew News Giveaway

I'm a day late, but I did promise one more giveaway before the next sew along begins. 
We will be making the Clover pants from Colette Patterns for the next sew along. 
As you can see, I liked the pattern so much that I made 2 pairs. In the upcoming sew along, I will show you how to flare the leg. I'm also planning a redesign that I think will be lots of fun. So be sure to check in as we get started next week. Wow, can you believe fall is already here?
So as always, if you would like a chance to win a copy of the current issue of Sew News, just leave a message here. If you have won an issue in the past, please allow someone new to have an opportunity. I will announce the winner this Friday, August 29th. I would like to get the magazine in the mail on Saturday and get it to you as soon as possible.
Good Luck!

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Morning Inspiration

Happy Monday Everyone!
I came across a line that I had never heard of, Lolitta from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I love everything about this collection. Yes, it's very body conscious, but the colors, the mix of prints, the interesting use of trims, the movement, it's just so lovely. Notice the very modern use of rick rack. Wow!!! So scroll through and enjoy the pictures. If you would like, you can see more here and here.    

Have a wonderful week!

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Night Reflections

The deepest fear we have,
the fear beneath all fears,
is the fear of not measuring up, 
the fear of judgment. 
It's this fear that creates the stress and depression of everyday life.

Tullian Tchividjian

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Sunday Brunch

A few weeks back, I mentioned some muffins that my grandmother would make and I thought that the basis of the recipe was Cream of Wheat. I was wrong, it was Malt-O-Meal. I ate a lot of hot cereal when I was growing up. Hey, I eat a lot of hot cereal now :)
As it turns out, her recipe was exactly the same as the recipe that is still on the box. I love these muffins, they are light and just the right amount of sweet. Notice that there is only a 1/2 cup of sugar in the recipe. They are very quick to make and they store well too.

Malt-O-Meal Magic Muffins


  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup ORIGINAL MALT-O-MEAL®, dry
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt


Heat oven to 400°F. Grease muffin cups or line with baking papers. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients; stir just until all ingredients are moistened. Fill muffin cups ¾ full. Bake at 400°F. for 18-20 minutes or until center is firm to the touch. Yield: 12 muffins. Tip: Try these variations… Chocolate Chip: Add ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips to batter. Blueberry: Add ½ cup blueberries to batter. Banana: Add ¾ cup mashed banana (approx. 2 medium) to batter. Poppy Seed: Add 1 tablespoon poppy seed to batter.
You can also find a nice downloadable recipe here.
I've never had the muffins with any of the variations, but the poppy seeds I think would be lovely.
Making these today has been like a trip down memory lane. Just the smell alone brought back so many lovely memories. So I guess the muffins really are magic ;) I hope you will make a little magic of your own.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sleeves On Saturdays

The Gathered Keyhole Sleeve
I was in a boutique and I saw this sleeve on a blouse. If I am not mistaken, I think this sleeve might be in one of the drafting books from Japan. Regardless, I really liked the idea and I thought I would give it a try. A word to the wise, please make a muslin before you cut this sleeve out of your good fashion fabric. You may need to tweak the pattern a bit.

 Begin with your basic sleeve pattern. Draw a grainline down the center of the sleeve.
Now the fun begins.
Draw a line connecting one armpit to the other, the bicep line.
Draw in another horizontal line 2" up from the bicep line.
Find the center of each side of the top portion of the sleeve cap and draw an angled line that crosses at the center of the sleeve.
 Draw in the keyhole opening. A total of 2" from one side of the circle to the other is fine, a little larger will be okay too, just don't make the circle too large.
Please be sure to number each section or you will regret it later.
This is my actual sleeve draft.Cut down the center of the sleeve and cut out the circle. Then cut the sections apart as you see below.
Spread the sections apart. Try to retain the shape of the sleeve as you spread and also try to spread the sections as equally as possible. 
I did not want too much of a gathered poof to my sleevecap, so I did not add to the height of the sleeve. Since I made my sleeve out of a knit fabric, this is okay, but if I make the sleeve out of a woven fabric I will add to the height of the sleeve cap so that the sleeve will have more of a poof and lay softer against the arm. Once the sections have been spread, connect them back together. You can see that at the top of my sleeve I drew in a second line that is a little more rounded. The sleeve would have been a little too flat had I followed the first line that I drew in. 
Be sure to add your seam allowance. Please note that I changed my seam allowance around the inside of my circle to 1/4". Cut the sleeve out along the seam allowance lines and cut out the center of the circle.
To make the casing for the sleeve, I cut a 1" bias strip and sewed it to the sleeve keyhole with a 1/4" seam allowance. It was sewn to the back side of the sleeve and then flipped to the right side where I edged stitched it in place. I kept the ends at the bottom of the keyhole and turned back the raw edges before stitching. I plan to make a matching drawstring, but in the meantime, I just pulled a piece of rattail cord through the casing. Please note that when sewing the sleeve into the garment, you will need to gather the top of the sleeve head. 
It's a rather pretty sleeve that has lots of possibilities.
If you would like, I can do another in a woven fabric and show the differences in the drafting. Just let me know.
Have a wonderful Saturday!

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