Sunday, August 18, 2019

Pants...Getting To The Bottom Line

Best laid plans...
Four weeks ago, while at an agility class with Mr. Berkley, I somehow managed to catch my shoe on the rubber tile, and I went flying, landing with all of my weight coming down on my left knee. The trainer ran over and asked if I was okay. The impact was so powerful that I actually felt like throwing up. All I could manage to say was that I needed to take a break. (Silver Lining...I didn't re-injure my wrist!) But, me being me, I sucked it up and stayed through the rest of the class. By the time I made it home, my knee was the size of a large softball. I iced it, and sent my husband to the pharmacy for Arnica cream. It took about a week for the swelling to begin subsiding, but there was a big sack of fluid on my knee. Finally, the fluid began to disappear, but last Friday morning while making the bed, I once again managed to trip and fall, landing on my left knee. I now have an appointment to see an orthopedic doctor. I'm walking on the knee, and it doesn't hurt to walk, but it's extremely painful to touch, and going up and down stairs has been a great challenge. So, with all of that, I am a few days late with my next pant post.

The theme of our second week of our pant posts is all about the bottom line, literally...our bottoms :/ Not something that most of us want to talk about. 

Becky of Trail Balloons, my fellow challenger has a flat bottom. She absolutely loves the Flat Bottom Flos from Style Arc. While those of us who have a round bottom...like me, we tend to think that those with a flat bottom have it made. But it does pose fitting issues that are just as dire to the flat bottom girls as the round bottom girls. Becky has done a very detailed post on fitting a flat bottom in THIS post. 

My favorite pattern for my round bottom is the Barb Pant from Style Arc Patterns. And to make it all the sweeter, you can get the pattern for FREE just for signing up to receive the Style Arc newsletter. HERE'S the link!

The pattern photo for the Barb Pant looks like it was drafted for a thin and rather flat bottom. But, that is not the case.

Here's what the pattern actually looks like;

The front is on the left, and the back on the right. Look closely at the front. The crotch curve is minimal. The back has a very deep curve, and looks to be raised at the center back line, as it is. So, with the Barb Pant, the full bottom adjustment is built into the pattern. Score!!! At least score for us full bottomed girls ;)

Another aspect that I love about the Barb Pant is that it was designed for a stretch woven. With a stretch woven, you will get a much more fitted pant, and especially for a pull-on pant, that's really nice.  

Now of course, the pattern has been designed for the middle of the road full bottomed girl. Some of us have rounder bottoms, and some not so round. I really love the tutorial that was done by Colette Patterns. You can find it HERE. The tutorial walks you through a full bottom adjustment as well as adjusting for a flat bottom. A great tutorial to keep on hand.

I have made quite a few pairs of the Barb Pant. I will be back tomorrow, Monday with a fashion show of Barb Pants.

If you haven't downloaded the free pattern,be sure to do so!
Happy pant sewing!!!

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Pants...All Month Long!

You may remember that last summer Becky of Trail Balloons and I did a fun challenge making woven tees. Believe it or not, those tees have been a staple of my summer wardrobe. It was such a great challenge!

We teamed up again to do woven tops for winter, but I managed to slip on the ice, break both bones in my arm at the wrist, have surgery, and basically be incapacitated for 3 months. Oh well,best laid plans :(

This summer, we thought it would be fun to do something a little different and spend the month talking about pants. Becky and I have very different shapes. She is very long and lean, where I have curves. So we thought that with the 2 of us doing pants, with our different shaped bodies, we would appeal to most everyone. 

For our 1st week, we are showcasing our favorite pant pattern. Becky loves the Flat Bottom Flo from Style Arc. It's as if the pattern was designed with her in mind.

By far, my favorite, or at least most used pattern is the free pajama pant pattern from Martha Stewart. This is a very basic elasticized waist pant pattern. I love it because, it's super easy to fit, and it's also easy to manipulate into lots of fun designs.

You may be looking at the picture below and thinking, "this is not a pant, it's a skirt!" It does look to be a skirt, true enough.

But see, it is pants!!!

All I did was use the basic pattern, then cut 2 rectangles, my favorite thing ;), and attach those rectangles into the right side seam of the pant. Because this is a border print, I had to be careful in lining up the print, but other than that, the pants were a snap to make. 

I added ties to the rectangles so that the rectangles could be tied and held in place at the waist. 

The pant has an elegant look, and yet it's made casual with a pair of fun sandals.

If you have shied away from making pants, get an elastic waist pattern and start having some fun. Typically, the only adjustment you will have to make is to either lengthen, or shorten the crotch. 

Becky gives lots of details on how she altered the Flat Bottom Flos to fit her beautifully. You can see that post HERE

Out next installment for the challenge will be Getting To The Bottom Line. With our first post, Becky was early and I am late, but we should both be on schedule for this Friday! :)

Hope we can encourage you to give pants a try!

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A Scarf to Celebrate My Celtic Heritage

My first weaving class came to an end yesterday, and I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome. I did very little planning, but just allowed the piece to speak to me and take on its on life.

I began with navy blue, a light green, light blue, and lavender. A purple was used for the warp.

As I went along, quite honestly, I did get a little bored, and I felt that the piece needed something more, so I added the green plaid.

When I finally finished the piece, and took it off the loom, as I said, I was pleased. Well, once again, to be quite honest, I could be more pleased. There are places were the tension is a little off. But, it is my first piece, so I decided to relax and give myself a break.  

As I looked at the scarf, I realized that it reminds me of the beautiful purple thistle blooms and the green of moss.

I have a great piece of mohair coating that will make a perfect companion to the scarf. 

I've decided to carry on. There's more that I would like to do and learn. I am so amazed with what some of the other students are doing in the class. 

If by chance you are in Chicago, and would like to give weaving a try, check out The Chicago Weaving School. You can even take a class on basket weaving! Natalie, the owner is wonderful, and truly does her best to help each student walk away with a piece that they can be proud of. Hey, I'm hooked!!! :)

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Sunday, August 11, 2019

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday Brunch/Decadent French Toast with Maple Caramelized Apples

We said goodbye to our precious Gracie this past week. She has been a part of our family for the past 11 years, and will continue to be a part of my heart forever. Below is one of my favorite pictures as I think it shows her gentle spirit. She was my constant shadow, always near by, but never intrusive. Going back to my studio has been so very difficult as she was my only dog who would come down and hang with me. But then too, I think she loved the cool tile floor :) I'm so very grateful for all she added to my life. 

I haven't cooked all week, but this morning, it felt right.
A number of years ago, we always went out for breakfast after we had been to church. We then began going to an evening mass on Sunday, so I started making breakfast. I am now at a point that I would much rather eat at home as I always enjoy my own food far more than anything I can get in a restaurant. And...truth be told, I also get to stay in my pajamas ;)

This morning I made a kinda sorta new recipe for french toast. My husband loved it and I think you might enjoy it as well :) Decadent French Toast with Maple Caramelized Apples. 

For the french toast, begin with 6 eggs. Beat them well with a fork.

To the egg mixture, add 1 cup of almond milk, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix all until well blended. 

For the apples, peel and slice 3 medium to large apples. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add the apples and stir well to coat with the butter. Cook until apple slices begin to brown. Add 1/2 cup of maple syrup. Stir well. Reduce heat to low and simmer until apples are tender.

Place bread in egg mixture and allow it to soak up the mixture until the bread is quite moist. Heat another pan, and add a little butter, a teaspoon or so. Place soaked bread in skillet and cook until golden brown, then turn and allow other side to become brown. Continue soaking bread until egg mixture is gone.

Serve the french toast with the caramelized apples. A nice addition to the apple topping would be toasted walnuts. Yum!

Decadent French Toast with 
Maple Caramelized Apples
serves 6
downloadable recipe

For apples
3 medium to large apples, peeled and sliced 
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for cooking french toast
1/2 cup maple syrup 
For french toast
6 eggs
1 cup almond milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 slices of hearty bread

For apples;
Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add apples and stir to coat apples with butter. Cook until apples begin to brown. Add maple syrup, stir and reduce heat to low and allow apples to simmer until tender. About 5 minutes.

For french toast;
Beat eggs with a fork until well blended and frothy. Add milk, extract, nutmeg and cinnamon and stir until well blended. soak bread in mixture until bread is well soaked. Heat another skillet over medium heat. Add about 1 teaspoon of butter per 2 slices of bread. Place soaked break in skillet and cook on each side until golden brown. 

Serve french toast with the maple caramelized apples. Sit back and wait for the compliments to come rolling in! :) Be patient as it may take a few minutes before their mouths aren't full!!!


We have a tendency to live our days as though this life will go on forever. Take a few moments to pause, look at your loved ones, your pets, think about how they have enriched your life. And then, take another moment to say thank you. It only needs to be in your heart. One thing that I have learned is that what is in our hearts comes out in everything we do.

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Sunday, August 4, 2019

Monday, July 29, 2019

Cargo Fashion Show

In a bit, I am off to the second week of my weaving class, and dropping Mr. Berkley off at daycare. He loves daycare as he gets to play. Does my heart good :) 

I am so pleased with my first weaving project. Here's a glimpse at what I have done so far;

Last week I learned how to set up the loom. Wow, what a project! 

Rather than a Monday Morning Inspiration post, I thought I would do a quick post and show you my new cargo pants. I am in love!!!

From the front they look like a typical pair of pants. I really like how the print of the tee works with the print in the pants.

The back cargo pockets.

A side view where you can see the trim and I have my hand in the front zippered pocket.

If you missed the last post on the pants, you can find it HERE. I talk about what I did to create all the pockets. 

As you can see, my pants aren't the typical cargo pant, kinda high end actually. But...so what?!! Who says that cargo pants can only be worn for hiking? ;)

Wishing you a fabulous start to your week!

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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Soup/Green Garden Gazpacho

The summer here in Chicago started off so cold. I was wearing a jacket to walk the dogs until the end of June. So, when the super hot temps rolled in, whew...I was taken by surprise! 

When I was growing up, my grandmother would do all of her cooking in the early morning hours while the house was still cool. I am not as disciplined. I resort to salads, sandwiches, anything that doesn't require me to heat up the house. 

The soup recipe that I am sharing today, if I may say so :), is absolutely delicious, beyond easy to make, and it won't heat up the house, or you! 

The soup is tangy, a tad bit spicy, and so cool and fresh. Begin with the juice of 1 lemon, and then add more depending upon your taste. Great for lunch, or a light supper.     

Green Garden Gazpacho
4-6 servings


1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
10 stalks celery chopped
1 avocado chopped 
Juice of 2 lemons
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups water
salt and black pepper to taste

For garnish;
Grated radish
Plain Greek Yogurt(optional)

Place all ingredients(except garnish)in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. If the soup is a little too thick, add more water and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate until cold. 
To serve, garnish with a tablespoon of yogurt and grated radish.
Will keep in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

I even turned the soup into a smoothie by placing a handful of broccoli in my blender and then pouring in about a cup of the soup, blending until smooth. The perfect way to get an abundance of vitamins racing through your body. 

If you give the soup a try, I hope you enjoy it!

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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Cargo Crazy/Pair 2, Pockets, Pockets Pockets

Berkley and I had our second agility class. He loves it, but I think I need a remedial class on how to run without falling :/ Berkley was running through 1 of the tunnels. My job was to run and meet him at the end so that I could then direct him to turn and run through the second tunnel. As I was running, I managed to stumble, and I went flying, landing directly on my knee. Hurt like the dickens!!! But the positive thing is that I didn't land on my wrist and break that again!!! Always a silver lining :) My knee is so swollen, but this too shall pass. 

I am so very behind on the cargo pant challenge that Cennetta of The Mahogany Stylist and I are doing. I may be behind, but I absolutely love this pair!!! I only have hanging pictures today, but my next post will be me in the pants.

Here's the lovely Cennetta in her pants;

We both used the same fabric, but in a different colorway, hers is a tanish brown, mine a gray/blue. The fabric is from Mood Fabrics and you can find it HERE

For my front pockets, I decided to do something a little different. I used the pocket from the pattern, but I filled in the opening, lengthened the pocket, and rounded the corner. As you can see in the above picture, I inserted zippers to create openings in the pockets. 

I really went crazy with this pair of pants. I had purchased the trim from Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado. Had no idea of what I would do with it when I bought it, but there was enough to run it down the side seams, so I went with it!

I used the existing pocket pattern to create the back pockets. They were a little too large, so I folded the pattern until I had a pocket size that I liked. I did not use the darts, just ignored them and rounded the corners.

The pockets blend in so well that it's a little difficult to see them. I added a snap closure and just a bit of the ribbon trim as a tab on the flap of the pocket.

Here's a side view of the pants.If you look closely, you can see all 3 pockets. I took the original cargo pocket from the pattern and used it on the side of the leg, adding a zipper opening.

You can see the pocket a bit better in this picture. I was able to match the trim on the pocket to the pant leg so that it looks continuous. 

The original cargo pocket has darts so that the pocket will sit away from the garment. I just ignored the darts, rounded the corners, and added a little to the side of the pocket to accommodate the length of my zipper. 

I plan to wear 1 of the Molly Tees from Pattern Union that I made with the pants. There's a lot of pattern going on, but I love it! 

Cennetta did some fun things with her pockets. On the back, she added a solid color strip to the top of the pocket. The pocket is the perfect size for a credit card or driver's license. 

On the front leg of her pants, she stacked the pockets, the patch pocket on top, a small rectangular pocket with a zipper, and then the traditional cargo pocket with the added darts on the bottom. 

Cennetta also did a fun treatment with a zipper down the front of her pant leg. You can read about it HERE.

A sneak peek at my next cargo project...

I have quite  bit of the red and white striped ribbon, so I will be using it with the white denim. 

As it turns out, I really like the fit of this out of print Simplicity pattern. Just fits so well. But, in the end, it's just a pant pattern. If you have thought that you might like to give a cargo pant a try, just use a pant pattern that you really like, and that fits well, then go pocket crazy! 

I'm off to put ice on my knee :(

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Monday, July 22, 2019

Monday Morning Inspiration/From Parachutes to the Moon

Why do we sew?

When I was a child, my grandmother and my mother both sewed for me. Clothes were expensive, and sewing was a means to have a little more. Although it was a necessity for many, women still saw it as a means to be creative. 

You may have seen this, but the story is so very touching that I just had to share it. Below is Majil Steiner. Her husband was forced to parachute over a Japanese occupied area in eastern China during WWII. He was rescued by local farmers, and smuggled to safety. Once he was able to return to his base, he mailed the parachute that had saved his life to his wife and told her that he would like for her to make a dress for herself with the fabric. The story is so lovely. You can read it HERE.  

Once the dress was completed, Majil had a photograph taken, sent it to her husband, and he carried the photograph with him until he returned to her.

In 1944, Claude Hensinger parachuted to safety when their plane caught fire. He too sent his parachute home, but to his mother. Once he returned, he began dating Ruth. One night he presented a box to Ruth and told her that he would like for her to make her wedding gown out of the parachute. This was his proposal. She accepted and they spent 49 very happy years together.

Not only did Ruth wear the gown, but her daughter and daughter in law also wore the gown, and walked down the same church aisle. You can read more of their story HERE

This past weekend was the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon. But did you know that it was a group of women who made bras and girdles who made the space suits? They are pictured below.

They were chosen because they understood how to work with flexible fabrics. They were also chosen for their agility as each suit was comprised of 21 gossamer layers of thin fabric. Each suit had to be sewn within a precise tolerance of 1/64th inch. Men's lives were at risk. It wasn't about just getting them to the moon, but making sure that the suits would not fail once they stepped foot on the moon. You can see a video on the full story HERE.

Below is Lillie Elliot cutting a pattern for an Apollo 11 space suit.

There are so many beautiful stories of women who sew. We belong to a very elite group :)

If you have a chance to sit down in front of your machine today, take a moment to smile. You may not make space suits, or gowns from life-saving parachutes, but you are using your creativity to create something beautiful.  

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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Friday, July 19, 2019

Thrifty Thursday/A Totally Free Ensemble

I have had the BEST week! Super busy, but so much fun :)

The highlight;

I signed Berkley up for an agility class, and we had our first lesson on Thursday evening. Oh how I wish I could have taken pictures!! When we began, the instructor asked if he had any agility training. I said, "no, this is his very first class." The little dog sailed through rings, ran through the tubes, and jumped over bars like a champ. All of this prompted the instructor to ask, "are you sure that he has never had any training?" "Nope, none." The instructor then said that Berkley is like a duck to water, he has truly found his passion. At one point, Berkley jumped through a ring, and then turned around to me, and threw his little front legs in the air with glee. The instructor asked if this was one of his tricks. I explained that yes, I taught him to stand on his back legs, put his front legs in the air as I say, Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! The instructor almost rolled on the floor laughing :)

Not that you drop by to see a picture of Berkley, but...I just can't resist :) This was taken on a recent hike. I just love seeing how he has gone from a scared, and dirty little dog, to a true picture of contentment.

A few weeks back (actually a month ago :/), I shared a top that I made from the free sewing pattern from Tessuti Fabrics, the Zoe Top. I really love this top!!! The fabric was actually from Joann's. Amazing!  

Once I got the top together, I felt that it really needed the lace on the sleeves, so I cut just the lower portion of the lace off of the fabric and then appliqued it to the lower edge of the sleeve. 


The neckline has a rather wide opening, larger than what I really wanted, so I took 2 of the motifs from the lace and filled in the corners of the neckline.

And finally!!
A picture of me in the top, and my white Barb pants! Perfect for the horribly hot weather we are having in Chicago right now.

It's a total Thrifty Thursday ensemble, a free pattern from Tessuti, and the free Barb pant pattern from Style Arc Patterns.

The Barb pant is a wonderful pattern meant for stretch wovens. Although it has an elastic waistline, it fits flat across the stomach. After all, who needs extra yardage around the waist???   

It was named best pattern for 2015 on Pattern Review.

It's still available as a free pattern and can be found HERE. All you have to do is sign up for the Style Arc newsletter. So, sign up for a fabulous newsletter, and get a fabulous free pant pattern. A win, win situation :) 

In case you are wondering...
As I said in an earlier post, I was out of town for a couple of weeks. I did have a sewing machine with me, but it started acting up, and there was no more sewing to be had, so I am behind on my Cargo Pant Challenge with Cenntta of The Mahogany Stylist. Be sure to pop over and see her last make for our challenge. Her pants are such fun! My second pair will be up tomorrow, a week late. But, I'll catch up next week :)

Happy Friday!
And if you are in this oppressive heat, by all means, 

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