Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Challenge With Prizes!

In 2013, 5 years ago, amazing!, I took on a challenge. I had auditioned for a contest that Sew News sponsored for their Sew It All television show. The finalist had to go to the Puyallup Sewing Expo for the audition. While I was there, I was introduced to the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and the drive that they had for pillowcases. Each child who is admitted receives a pillowcase. Maybe they should really be called comfort cases :)

As I flew home from the expo, I thought about the cases and how many I felt I could do. The number that came to mind was 900. Now, I knew that I couldn't do 900 on my own, so I decided to put it out to all who drop by the blog. The response was amazing, 1000 pillowcases were donated to the project!

During the course of the project, I documented the first 100, then 450, and finally the final hang of 1000 pillowcases which you see below.

The video below documents the first 100. If you would like to take a look at the other videos I did, you can see them HERE.

This is not just a trip down memory lane, but an opportunity. Olfa is sponsoring a summer challenge, pillowcases for the American Patchwork & Quilting 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge...


The challenge is to create as many pillowcases as you would like. Each pillowcase will be donated to either the Ronald McDonald House, or Ryan's Case For Smiles. 

The pillowcases must be made from 100% cotton, and you must use the guidelines posted HERE.

Nine winners will be chosen randomly. The grand prize winner will be the one who submits the most pillowcases. Crank up those sewing machines!!!

All entries must be postmarked by August 31, 2018 to be entered in the drawing. You can find all of the information HERE on the Olfa blog.

What a fun and lovely way to use up some of your cotton scraps :)

Good Luck!
I hope you win!!! But then, we always win when we reach out to others.

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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Salad/Ancient Grain Power Salad

It has been an interesting week, and I have missed checking in with you :(

You'll never guess what I will be doing bright and early tomorrow morning...I'm taking a hot air balloon ride!!!!!! I'm so excited :)))) 
Since this is the summer of the bucket list, the opportunity came up and I decided not to let it pass me by. I will take lots and lots of pictures, and share them on Tuesday.   

I was once asked what my favorite meal of the day is. Hands down, my favorite meal is lunch. When I was in school, I always ate breakfast before leaving home, but by 10:30 in the morning, my stomach would start to growl. Lunch could not come soon enough. Sometimes I was lucky enough to have a thermos of hot soup and a piece of cornbread in my lunchbox. That first bite was always just the best! All these years later, I still begin to get hungry around 10:30 in the morning, and the first bite of my lunch is still...just the best!

Along with soup, I love sandwiches and salads. At some point, I'll share some of my sandwich concoctions. They're pretty good if I say so myself ;) But today, I want to share a wonderful salad I made this past week. The grain is quinoa, love quinoa! The other ingredients consist of garbanzo beans, feta cheese, radishes, and arugula.   

Here's what really makes it special, the dressing. Fresh lemon juice is mixed with olive oil, oregano, and chopped kalamata olives. All of the ingredients are blended resulting in a lovely, earthy red dressing.

I placed a big scoop of the quinoa mixture on a bed of mixed greens.

Then drizzled the dressing over the salad. Delicious!!!

The quinoa salad mixture will last for a few days in the refrigerator, so great for repeated lunches.

Ancient Grain Power Salad
downloadable recipe


For the salad;
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups canned garbanzo beans rinsed
1 cup slightly chopped arugala
1/2 cup chopped red radishes
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Mixed greens of your choice for serving

For the salad dressing;
6 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives(pits removed of course)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt and black pepper to taste

For the salad;
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Allow to cool. Add the remainder of the ingredients, except for the mixed greens. Mix well and set aside.

For the salad dressing;
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust salt a black pepper to taste. 

To serve;
Place mixed greens on a plate. Place a large scoop of the quinoa mixture in the middle of the greens. Drizzle dressing over the quinoa and greens. Serve and enjoy! 

 The salad dressing will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator, so it can be enjoyed on other salads of your choice.

Wishing you many happy lunches!

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Monday, July 2, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Perspective

A little something different this Monday morning, a sweet video that beautifully depicts a change of heart. It also shows how when we give, we will never be without. Four small minutes that may be the perfect beginning to your week :)

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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Soup/Summer Roasted Corn Chowder

What says summer more than roasted corn on the grill?!! Well, there are a lot of things, but I really do enjoy roasting fresh corn on the grill. Add some roasted corn to soup, and I am all in :)

Now, I also enjoy a bit of spice. I especially enjoy poblano peppers as they have a bit of spice without actually being hot.

To begin, I take 2 poblano peppers, and 6 ears of corn. Roast the peppers until the outside skin is charred. Place in a plastic bag and allow to steam for about 15 minutes. Remove the charred skin as well as the stem and seeds. Set aside.

Roast the corn until it is toasty brown, being careful not to let it burn. 

Once the corn has browned, allow it to cool, and then cut the kernels from the husk. Divide the corn in half. Place half in a food processor along with the poblano peppers. Puree the mixture. Set aside.

In a large soup pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute 1 medium red onion with 2 stalks of chopped celery until tender. 

Add 2 medium chopped white potatoes, reserved corn, and 2 cups of vegetable broth to the onion/celery mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender.

Add pureed corn/pepper mixture, and 2 cups of buttermilk. Heat until hot, but not boiling. Add more buttermilk to obtain the consistency of soup that you would like.  

Ladle into bowls. Top with grated Parmesan cheese, and fresh snipped chives. Serve with some freshly made cornbread, and you will have a feast!

Roasted Corn Chowder
serves 6
downloadable recipe

6 ears of fresh corn on the cob
2 poblano peppers
1 medium red onion chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
2 medium white potatoes chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
fresh grated Parmesan and snipped chives for serving

Roast poblano peppers and corn on the grill. Roast peppers until skin is charred. Place charred peppers in a plastic bag and allow to stem for approximately 15 minutes. Remove charred skin, stems, and seeds. set aside.

Roast corn until browned on all sides. Allow to cool, and then cut corn from husks. Place half of the corn, along with the peppers in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Heat butter and olive oil i  a large soup pot. Add red onions and celery. Saute until tender. Add potatoes, unprocessed corn, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Add pureed corn mixture and buttermilk. Heat until warmed through. Do not allow the soup to boil. Add more buttermilk if soup is a little too thick.

Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese and snipped fresh chives.  

If by chance you are having a cookout, plan to cook a little extra corn and the peppers. They will last a couple of days in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the soup.

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Thrifty Thursday/Free Raglan Tee

A nice easy tee that can be made out of a woven fabric...sounds like a great idea to me!

A few weeks back, Fabric-Store.com posted the raglan tee below. It's a nice clean design, so I thought I would give it a try.

I had just a couple of issues with the pattern. There are no sizes marked, and there are no notches, which can be confusing when it comes to attaching the sleeve to the front and back. Prior to cutting, I put my own notches on the raglan seams to mark front and back. Easy enough to do. As for the sizing, just measure across the lower portion of the pattern and then decide based on your hip measurement which line to cut on. 

One other issue is that in the instructions, there is no seam allowance specified. I used 5/8". Other than those 3 issues, the pattern went together easily.

I decided to give it a whirl with some fabric that I found as I was cleaning up the studio, a calico print that I had completely forgotten about. Thought it would make a nice pair of summer pajamas.

The instructions call for 2 small tucks on either side of center in the front and back. When I made up the tee, the tucks were not needed. Look closely at the picture below and you can see that a small dart is needed on the shoulder.

Once the dart was added on the shoulder, the garment laid flat and there was no need for front and back tucks.

My finished pajamas. I had to cut the tee with a seam down the center of the back and front. I had the crocheted trim, so I threaded a piece of ribbon through, sewed it down the center and covered up the center front seam. I had another piece of crocheted trim that I added to the sleeves and the hem of the pants. The center picture on the right below shows how I mark the back of my pants. Great use of bits of ribbon.

And me in the pajamas :)

I had a small piece of silk that was just enough for another top. This time I had enough to do the cuffs. 

I once again added a dart on the shoulder.

I really like how the top wears, so I decided to lengthen it and make a t-shirt dress.

With this fabric, I did not need to add the shoulder darts as the neckline laid flat without them. 

I added a shirt tail hem. To finish the hem, I cut a 2" wide piece of bias. I made the back a little longer than the front.  

And finally, I added a small front pocket. It looks so cute on. I'll post pictures of me in the dress soon.

The pajama pants as well as the striped pants are from a free pattern, the Martha Stewart pajama pant that I posted HERE. I find the pattern to be a great basic elastic waist pant. 

You can find the Raglan Tee pattern HERE

Happy Sewing!

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Never In A Million Years

In 2010, I wrote THIS post about Dreams and Purpose. Eight years ago, an eternity in the internet world :) 

As many of you know, the past 9 months have been a bit of an odyssey for me. I am working on a piece that I plan to publish as an ebook that will tell the story. I had planned to have it ready by the 1st of June, but rather than make an excuse (eye surgery, etc.), I'll just own up to the fact that I have drug my feet. Soon though. 

Like any odyssey though, along with the bad, there has been the good. So often, we take a step, thinking we are heading in a certain direction, or maybe no direction at all, and then suddenly, something has happened that we never would have dreamed possible. 

A few weeks ago, I did a post on my Summer Bucket List. I shared how I decided to make my list special and paint a background. The piece is below.

Once I had completed the picture, I thought that it might make a fun piece of fabric. The irony of it all has not been lost ;) Since I have put myself on a fabric purchasing diet until the 1st of August, I thought, "is this just my addiction finding a different way around getting what it wants?" Well...if it is...it won!!!

I decided to go to the Spoonflower website and just see what would happen. Below is the outcome. I thought that if nothing more, I could use the piece as a tea towel. It's not perfect. The design didn't work with the entire length of the fabric. Not a problem. When I pulled the fabric out of the bag, well, first of all, I was so excited as I loved it! My husband even exclaimed, "wow, that's beautiful!" Nice :) When I saw the piece, I realized that the design is large enough for a bag, or a tea towel, so I will just cut off the incomplete repeat at the bottom. Maybe use it as a facing.

This morning, I went back to Spoonflower and did a little more playing around, and did the piece that you see below. I ordered 2 yards of cotton for a skirt. I cannot wait for it to arrive!!!

Eight years ago, I NEVER would have imagined that I would create a piece of fabric with my own original artwork. NEVER!!! And here it is :) No, not Rembrandt, Picasso, or even Charles Schultz ;), but something I can be proud of.  

I love this quote from Homer's, The Odyssey...

"A small rock holds back a great wave."

We've all had our "rocks" in life, the things that hold us back. 

On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike blew into Galveston, Texas. I was most amazed by how the water had been able to pick up boulders of granite and toss them onto the sea wall as thought they were made of styrofoam. Moral of the story..
Rocks can be moved.

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Dolce and Gabbana

As I was eating my breakfast this morning, I saw a few minutes of a design program featuring the newest, and hottest concepts in home design. To my surprise, there was a segment on an Italian company called Smeg who has teamed up with, of all companies, Dolce and Gabbana to produce appliances for the kitchen.

The first product that was produced were small refrigerators. Each handpainted, and created by Sicilian artists. The artwork features cart wheels, medieval knights, and battle scenes.         

If by chance you are interested, the price of a refrigerator is $50,000!

Although the price of a refrigerator is quite steep, evidently the project has been successful and they are now producing smaller kitchen appliances like, a tea kettle, juicer, toaster, and mixers. The smaller appliances can be had for only $600.00. If you just can't live without a Dolce and Gabbana piece in your kitchen, you can find the pieces below at Williams Sonoma. You can save a little money with free shipping ;)  

What I found rather interesting is that the clothes actually match the appliances! 

The pieces below were photographed in a supermarket. Of course we all shop in our Dolce and Gabbana garments!!! They are rather pretty, but not for the supermarket!

I usually look more like the little gal on the left!!! ;)

I'm not quite sure how to sum all of this up. I guess that with the right branding, and the right customer, if you can dream it, you can sell it! If you would like to explore more of the dolce and Gabbana world, check out their website

Have a fabulous week!

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Oscar and a Bucket List

A few weeks back, I shared the summer bucket list that my husband found folded up and laying on the ground in an alley. He brought it home, thinking that I would enjoy seeing it, and I did :) I especially love the simplicity of the list. Everything is achievable within the course of the summer. I also loved the idea of being excited about the possibilities of the summer. When was the last time I was excited about the summer?!! This simple little bucket list inspired me to do my own. You can find my original post HERE

I decided that my bucket list needed to be special, not just written out on a piece of typing paper. So, I sat down and painted the picture below.  

I did not write on my original painting, but rather copied it on to a piece of paper that I will mount on a piece of poster board. Below is my list. So far, 2 things have been checked off. I really wanted to see 2001: A Space Odyssey for the 50th anniversary. That kicked off my summer as we saw it on Memorial Day, for me, the official beginning of summer. We have a wonderful theater in Chicago called The Music Box where they play all sorts of international films and art films. It was there that we saw the movie.
There's a great German delicatessen in Chicago called Gene's Sausage Shop and Delicatessen. When you walk through the door, you feel as though you have been transported to Germany. They have a rooftop beer and wine garden where I have wanted to eat since they opened, but have neglected to. It finally happened last Friday night. I loved it!

As you can see, I've tweaked the list to my own liking, but all things that I would like to do, and if I didn't have the list to remind me, I just might let them slip. What a fun project this has been. So much so that I am inspired to make a list for fall and winter.

Now for some fashion inspiration...

I recently came across the picture below. This lovely dress is from the Oscar de la Renta 2019 Resort collection.

So many of the pieces are just fresh and fun.  

I especially love the plaid coat on the left below.

And I found the brown stripes to be refreshing.

The shorts on the left below are such fun with the contrasting pockets. I thought the short suit on the right was lovely too! 

The design of the pieces is really nothing new, but I just love how pieces are paired. 

I thought both of the gowns below were especially pretty. You can see all of the collection HERE.  

If you would like to make your own bucket list, you are welcome to print off my little piece of artwork :)

I also put together the piece below that can be printed off if you like. Just a nice reminder to write down our dreams to make them a reality. 

Have a wonderful week!

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Salad/Goddess of Greens Salad, and a Refreshing Drink

Having a 'coke' was a treat when I was growing up, not something we drank on a daily basis. My fondest memories of drinking a soft drink were after our weekly afternoon of swimming. We were treated to the soft drink of our choice, and a bag of chips. I feel like a stone-age leftover saying this, but when I was growing up, chips did not come in the humongous bags that they do now. What we ate would be considered a very small bag by today's standards. But, after an afternoon of swimming, a soft drink and a bag of chips was such a treat. 

Truth be told, I still enjoy a soft drink from time to time. Yes, I know all about the bad things in a soft drink. I feel this way, everything in moderation. But, my go to drink in the summer time is a refreshing drink made with hibiscus tea. The natural red color of the blossoms is so inviting. 

I really like Mighty Leaf teas, and order the teas I drink directly from the company. You can find their site HERE. Sign up for emails as they have some wonderful specials, like putting their teas on sale for half off.

I brew the tea in a pitcher, usually 6 tea bags. I allow the tea to brew for at least 30 minutes. Once brewed, remove the teabags and allow the tea to cool. Once cooled, I add 1 orange sliced, 1 lemon sliced, and about 2" of fresh peeled and sliced ginger. Store in the refrigerator overnight to allow the juice to infuse the tea. If you would like to sweeten the tea, add stevia to taste. 
Serve in a pretty glass. Garnish with a slice of orange,and enjoy. If you would like some bubbles, add club soda, or sparkling water. For parties, mix the tea with some Prosecco for a refreshing cocktail. 

I can go through an entire pitcher during the course of the day, and to be honest, the thought of a soft drink never crosses my mind. So if you would like to try and cut down on your soft drink consumption, give my Hibiscus Tea recipe a try. I think you'll love it!    

I have been planning to share this salad with you for the last few weeks. If I say so myself, it is OMG good!

We'll begin with the salad dressing;

Begin by roasting 2 poblano peppers. It can be done in the oven with the broiler, or outside on a grill. Roast until blackened. Once roasted, place the peppers in a plastic bag for 15 minutes to steam. Remove and pull off the blackened skin, and seeds.    

Place the skinned peppers in a blender along with 1/2 an avocado, 1 clove of garlic, 1 egg yolk, Dijon mustard, buttermilk, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and olive oil.  Blend to form a green cloud of deliciousness. 

Chop or tear up 4 cups of kale and place in a salad bowl. Top the kale with 4 sliced radishes, 1/2 cup of cooked red quinoa, and 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds. This can be done ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for a few hours until ready to serve.

 Pour 1/3 of the salad dressing over the salad, and mix well. Top the salad with 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese, and mix into the salad.

Serve the salad with extra dressing on the side. Believe me, it's so good, you'll want to add a little more. A friend of mine said that she could eat the dressing like soup!

Since kale holds up in the refrigerator, the leftovers are wonderful the following day for lunch. 

Goddess of Greens Salad
printable recipe

2 Poblano peppers
1 egg yolk
1/2 avocado
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
1/3 to 1/2 cup buttermilk
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups olive oil

Roast poblano peppers in the broiler or on the grill until skin is blackened, about 10 minutes. Place in plastic bag and allow to steam for 15 minutes. Remove from bag, remove blackened skin and seeds. Place in blender along with egg yolk, garlic, mustard, buttermilk, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Blend. While blender is running, slowly pour in the olive oil. If a thinner consistency is desired, add more buttermilk. 

4 cups kale chopped or torn
4  red radishes sliced
1/2 cup cooked red quinoa
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Place kale, radishes, red quinoa, and pumpkin seeds in a large salad bowl. Pour 1/3rd of the dressing over the salad, and toss well to mix. Top with the feta cheese, toss once again, and serve. 

The leftover dressing will last refrigerated for at least 3 days. It's good as a dip for carrot and celery sticks, too! 


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