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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sewbussted's Material Witness/Helen Haughey, Couture Dressmaker

In today's world of fast fashion, it's refreshing to know that there are those who still seek out garments of the finest details.

Helen Haughey, like many of us, began sewing as a child. She especially loved hand sewing and using the finest of fabrics. That early appreciation stayed with her and ultimately brought her to build her own couture dressmaking business.

Her garments are breathtaking, with lovely details and exquisite fabrics.


Each and every garment embodies elegance and refinement.


She also enjoys playing with the patterns and weaves of fabrics to create eye catching details.


Helen was recently in Chicago and I had the opportunity to sit down with her. In the video you will hear where her career began and how it ultimately evolved into her passion. I so enjoyed our conversation, and I think you will find it inspiring. 



You can find Helen's website HERE.
You can also find her on Instagram
And if you are looking for fine needles, pins and other couture embellishments, you can find all of these in her Etsy store



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Monday, November 12, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Sylvie Facon

From time to time, we have the opportunity to be amazed by the work of not only a couturier, but an artist. The work of Alexander McQueen was always a delight to my eyes. He sculpted fabric in ways that no other had done before him. 

If you have been on Pinterest lately, you may have noticed the breathtaking work of French fashion designer, Sylvie Facon. Her work allows one to be transported to a world of fantasy and delight. It's quite obvious that she is a passionate technician. She loves beautiful fabrics which she pairs with unexpected objects. The results are ultra-feminine and refined. 

Today's post is a bit of an escape, a few moments to just dream.

Antique leather books, turned into a corset.

Sylvie Facon

One can hear the music without a note being played as the sheets of music swirl about the body, and the violin awaits its master.

 Sylvie Facon

Woven ribbons, lace and silk ribbon flowers give the illusion of a garden in motion.  

 Sylvie Facon

A damsel awaits her knight amidst embroidered trees.

 Sylvie Facon

All things medieval  

 Sylvie Facon

Embroidery, beaded leaves, sculpted flowers and even a wicker basket transport the wearer into a mystical garden.


And now a sigh...if only :)

Be sure to visit Ms. Facon's website HERE. It is so refreshing to see a designer who is still creating true works of art.

Have a wonderful week!

Rhonda



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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections





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Sunday's Soup/Brussel Sprout Soup for the I Hate Brussel Sprouts Crowd!

I can't believe that it was actually 6 years ago that I initially posted THIS recipe for Cream of Brussel Sprout Soup. The recipe has now been revised as I am working on a cookbook and I want to be sure that all of the recipes are exactly as I want them to be. So when you make them, they will taste just the same as when I made them. I hope that's a good thing ;)


To make the soup, you'll begin with chopped onions, celery and a honey crisp apple, all sauteed together.


Brussel sprouts and cannellini beans are added along with vegetable broth.


The beans will add protein, and will also thicken the soup nicely. Once the brussel sprouts are tender, the soup will be pureed.  


While the soup is cooking, make the candied pecans. They add a wonderful crunch as well as a fabulous taste to the soup.


Once the pecans have caramelized, place them on a piece of wax paper. Working quickly, separate the pecans and then roughly chop with a sharp knife.


To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with the candied pecans. Even the most dead set against brussel sprouts person will not believe they are actually eating brussel sprouts!


Brussel Sprout Soup for the 
I Hate Brussel Sprouts Crowd 

ingredients;
8 cups quartered brussel sprouts
1 large onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 honey crisp apple seeded and chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
1 25 oz. can Cannellini Beans drained and rinsed
8 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and black pepper to taste

directions;
Place quartered brussel sprouts in cold water. Add 1/4 cup of course sea salt and mix well. Allow the brussel sprouts to sit in the salt water for a couple of hours to overnight. Drain and rinse well under cold water. Set aside

Add olive oil to a large, heavy soup pot. Add onion, apple, and celery. Saute over medium heat until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and saute another minute to release flavor, but not burn. Add brussel sprouts along with the cannellini beans. Pour in 8 cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until brussel sprouts are tender. 
Use a hand held mixer, or place the vegetable mixture in a blender, and blend until smooth. 
Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. 

Candied Pecan Topping

ingredients;
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

directions;
Place pecans, water and sugar in a medium sized pot. Constantly stirring, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue stirring until liquid has been absorbed. This goes very quickly, so do not leave unattended.
Spoon pecans out onto a sheet of waxed paper and separate quickly. Allow to cool and then chop roughly with a sharp knife.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with the chopped pecans. No one will believe they are eating brussel sprouts!

The soup can be frozen, so for those of you who are thinking about Thanksgiving, make the soup now and you'll have 1 less task on Thanksgiving day!

Enjoy!
Rhonda



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Friday, November 9, 2018

Free For All, Free Patterns For You and Others!

We are getting our very first snow here in Chicago. Nothing to write home about, just a wet, rain like snow. But, what's in the air is so very pretty. Winter is definitely here!

A few days ago, one of the trees that is out in front of my house lost all of its leaves in what seemed like a few hours. Once the leaves were on the ground, the tree revealed a little secret it had been hiding, a lovely hornet's nest. Call me crazy, but I have always wanted a hornet's nest. To me, they are an amazing piece of artwork.

So, my husband helped me pull out a ladder, and I climbed up and snipped my little prize out of the tree. 


I think it is just amazing!


While I can be crazy, I'm not stupid(well, sometimes). I put the nest inside a plastic garbage bag, tied the top, and it is out in the garage awaiting our first hard freeze before I bring it indoors. Hopefully, all will be fine and I won't end up with a very angry hornet in my house ;)

Thanks so much to all of you who purchased my design from Spoonflower. I am so very honored:) I also purchased a few for gifts, and mine arrived yesterday. So excited!!! Something I never would have dreamed I would be able to do.


With the holidays coming up, I thought I would share a few of the free patterns that I've found that would be fun to wear, or would make great gifts.

I really love this caftan pattern from Sew Daily. It is a graded pattern, so a number of sizes are available. You will need to register on the site to download the pattern. You can find the pattern HERE. It can be made without the tie for a looser fit. 


If you are looking for something lovely to give to a sewing friend, or yourself :), this pattern for a sewing machine and serger cover from Closet Case Patterns is free and fabulous. You can download it HERE.


Jumpsuits are all the rage! While this is a sleeveless jumpsuit, it would pair so easily with a t-shirt, or turtleneck and move right on into winter. This free pattern from In The Folds can be found HERE


Pattern Union gives you all the directions you will need to draft out this super cute, and easy to make dress. It's free with the code MAISIE. You can find it HERE. To draft out the pattern, you will only need 2 measurements, hip and skirt length. So, this is a great opportunity to make something for an out of town friend or family member. The only hard part is getting them to give you their hip measurement!!!


Another fun and very versatile piece from Pattern Union is the Phoebe Jumpsuit. It's free with code PhoebeFreebie, and you can find the pattern HERE. Pop over to the Pattern Union Instagram site to see all the fun hacks they have done with the pattern. With 1 hack, rather than making it a halter, they cut 2 backs and did shoulder ties. Again, that hack takes it from summer to winter paired with a t-shirt or turtleneck.  


A little clutch always makes a lovely gift. The pleated clutch below is from I Think Sew's book, Bags-The Modern Classics. You can find the free, downloadable pattern HERE.   


And last but not least, I love this free turtleneck pattern from Tessuti Fabrics. You can find their Monroe Turtleneck pattern HERE


All of the patterns are quite easy to make, and should go together quickly. Now, if I could just give you a link for some free time!!! ;)) 
Rhonda



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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Fun With Tea Towels

Good Morning!!! I am a very happy girl this morning :) I had  a colonoscopy yesterday, and not a polyp was found...WOO HOO! The last time I had one, 4 years ago, a polyp was found, precancerous, so not an issue, but I was concerned going into this one...
There's a history of colon cancer in my family(my grandmother died with colon cancer), one has already been found, I'm older, and, the list goes on. 
No one likes to think, much less talk about getting a colonoscopy, but if you are hesitant about getting one, please, by all means don't put it off. Yes, it's 2 days out of your life, but the 2 days spent could mean that you have more rather than less days here on earth. 

I'm a little late in getting this out, but Spoonflower is having their annual 50% off fat quarter sale. You may remember that I took a stab at designing a piece of fabric this past summer. Here it is below as a fat quarter.


If you might like to have one of your own, HERE is a link to my page and the design. A fat quarter of this piece is just $7.00 during the sale. The piece makes a great tea towel as well as a bag, or an insertion on a jacket, or skirt. So, the sky is the limit!!!

You may remember the super cute woven t-shirt that Becky of Trial Balloons made with my design. We also devoted 1 segment of our summer challenge to tea towels. 


Spoonflower suggests their Linen Cotton Canvas fabric for tea towels.

The sale only runs through Thursday, November 8, 2018, so be sure to hop over quickly if you want to participate in the sale.

I ordered a  few tea towel lengths for myself as well as gifts...


I love just about anything with vegetables. This is the Farmer's Market Tea Towel and you can find it HERE


I ordered a pile of these to give to my sewing friends. You can find the sewing machine tea towel calendar HERE.


And finally, I thought this deer calendar would be such a lovely little gift. You can find it HERE.

We are supposed to get snow tomorrow for the first time this season. I can't wait!!! I have no idea as to whether Mr. Berkley has ever seen snow, but I'm sure he will enjoy it. He enjoys everything!!! :)

Have a wonderful day!
Rhonda 



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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections





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It's Appetizer Time!...Spinach Pinwheels

The holidays will soon be upon us, oh my! Here in the United States, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Christmas will soon follow. It's a lovely time of parties, family gatherings, and of course...food! I typically try to keep appetizers to a minimum. My philosophy is either have an appetizer party, or a dinner party. Why have your guests fill up on appetizers when you've gone to the effort to put together a lovely meal? But, when your guests arrive, it's always nice to have a little something for them while they wait for the last preparations to be made to the meal.

I love recipes that do duel duty. This particular recipe is a fabulous appetizer, but it's also a great accompaniment to a bowl of soup. They are fabulous right out of the oven, and great served at room temperature. So you can make them a half hour before your guests arrive, and then you aren't scurrying around at the last minute.

I initially found the recipe on the back of a puffed pastry box, but I have changed it up a bit.          


Begin with a sheet of puffed pastry at room temperature on a floured the surface. Beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture. Reserve the leftover egg mixture.


Top the pastry with 1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese mixed with 1/4 cup of  shredded romano cheese.

 
Thaw a 16 oz.pkg. of spinach. In order to squeeze out the liquid from the spinach, I put it on 3 layers of paper towels and squeeze out the liquid, reserving the liquid in a bowl that I will then freeze and use in a soup recipe at a later date. Once the spinach is dry, spread it over the pastry. At this point, I like to top the spinach with a salt and garlic blend that I grind.   
 

Beginning at the short edge of the pastry, roll the the pastry into a jelly roll. Using a serrated knife, cut the roll into 20 rings approximately 1/2" wide.

Place the rings onto a greased baking sheet, and brush with remaining egg mixture. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. 


Spinach Pinwheels

ingredients;
1 sheet of puffed pastry thawed and at room temperature
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
1/4 cup romano cheese grated
1 16 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach thawed 
garlic and sea salt for seasoning

directions;
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place pastry sheet on floured surface. Combine water and egg and beat well. Brush pastry sheet with beaten egg mixture. Set aside remainder. Top pastry with shredded cheese mixture. 
Place thawed spinach on paper towels and squeeze out all liquid. Liquid can be reserved and used in soup recipes. Once spinach is dry, spread over cheese mixture. 
Beginning at short edge of pastry, roll all into a jelly roll. Using a serrated knife, cut the roll into 20 rings, approximately 1/2" in width. 
Place rings on a greased baking sheet. Use remaining egg mixture to brush the tops of each pinwheel. 
Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. 
Serve warm out of the oven, or at room temperature. Leftovers, if there are any!!!, are great too!

Enjoy!
Rhonda



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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Sewbussted's Material Witness Is Back!

I am so happy! 
Last Friday, I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with master sewist, Tchad Elliot(in the video, you'll learn how to pronounce his name). What an extraordinary talent he is! He has a fabulous studio where he offers classes, right in the heart of Chicago. In the video, you can hear a little about his passion. 

Just to inspire, here are a few of his students.

This young woman made both her shirt and skirt with Tchad. Talk about a perfect fit!


I have had the pleasure of meeting Ankit. He has a passion for design. This is his second project EVER!!! A tailored jacket that includes welt pockets.



A gown in progress. 


In this picture you see Tchad with the bride who created her wedding gown, which we talk about in the video. 


And with her husband. Dreamy beautiful :) In the video Tchad talks about the process and journey she went through to create this gown.

    
Tambour beading is one of the many classes that Tchad offers at his studio.


I hope that you enjoy meeting Tchad as much as I enjoyed getting to know him. And I hope too that he will inspire you to reach for your dreams :)



For more information, or to schedule a class or workshop, you can find Tchad here;




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