Tuesday, April 7, 2020

For Whom Do I Dress?

The last 3 weeks have been interesting to say the least. When the call came for businesses to close, and everyone to stay at home, it seemed a little surreal. A friend of mine even commented that it felt like the movie, "On The Beach." But once reality began to take hold, I like everyone, felt a little out of sorts. Daily routines have been interrupted, there's no where to go except the grocery store, pharmacy, maybe a hardware store, and even those should be visited the least amount possible. Last week I had to pick up a prescription. As I was getting ready, it suddenly occurred to me that I was actually excited about going to the pharmacy. I got dressed, put on my makeup...even earrings!!! Here something that has always been considered an errand was now an outing! As I thought a little more about it, I asked myself, "for whom do I dress?" Is it just for others, for myself, or a combination of the two? I think for most of us it's the latter. We like to look nice, but we also want to present ourselves to the world in the best possible manner. 

As the day wore on, I noticed that I felt so much better about myself. It really didn't matter that the only person that would see me, other than those that I encountered on my quick trip to the pharmacy, would be my husband. Dressing was important for me. So, I decided that this would not be a one day event. I would get up, shower, dress, and put my makeup on just as if I had somewhere to go, and document it :)

Here are the last 3 days;

On Sunday I dressed as if I would be going to church. It made the entire day special. I'm wearing the Sumekko dress from Pattern Union. I added flanges to the armholes, and made an infinity scarf from my leftover fabric to give the dress a cowl collar look. Underneath I am wearing the Londa's Terrific "T" from Londa's Creative Threads.  

Monday's choice was the free Monroe Turtleneck pattern from Tessuti Fabrics, and the Barb Pant from Style Arc patterns. This is the first top I have made using the Monroe Turtleneck pattern. I really like the pattern. The Barb pants, I've made quite a few. They are quick to make, and easy to pull on. You can find a link to get the Barb Pant pattern for free HERE.     

Today I decided to wear one of my favorite outfits, the Molly Tee from Pattern Union, and my cargo pants that I blogged about HERE

Here's a better picture of the outfit. I just love how the outfit came together :) I always feel great when I put this on! 

So, what have you been doing? Are you getting dressed, or staying in your pajamas? 
I will be posting my pictures on Instagram and using #Idressforme It would be great if you would join me!

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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

Monday Morning Inspiration/Connection

Life lessons always seem to be learned in difficult times.
Twice in my life my mouth has been wired shut. The first time was so that my bones could heal from a tumor being removed from my jaw. The second was after the reconstructive surgery that was needed to rebuild my face from the damage that the tumor and the removal of it had caused. All of my meals had to be liquid. During that period of time, I could smell food as it cooked, and although the food had been liquefied, I could taste. But what I learned was that the joy of eating actually comes from being able to chew food. As time went on, I ate less and less, I simply lost the desire to eat. 

Over the last 2 weeks, I've learned that so much of the human experience of  joy comes from being with others, sharing experiences. I miss that I cannot invite friends for dinner, sit in a packed theater and watch a movie, get together with my sewing friends, go to a restaurant, and the list goes on. Thankfully, we do have the internet which gives us the opportunity to connect. A diferent connection, but connection  nonetheless. 

I receive a wonderful newsletter from an organization called CrossRoads. Here's a little about them and their mission;

Travel with us on ClothRoads to a world of authentic textile culture. Here you’ll find folk and collectible textiles, accessories, fabric, and fiber art materials from many corners of the globe, along with fascinating stories of indigenous artisans and ancient techniques used in traditional and modern ways.
From the rivers of India to the mountaintops of Peru, we go directly to villages and cooperatives to bring you these textile stories and the work of skilled artisans who are dyeing, weaving, spinning, printing and embroidering some of world’s most beautiful objects. When you purchase from ClothRoads, you help us to build and develop new markets that allow artisans and communities, especially women and girls, to flourish.

In their most recent newsletter, rather than link to galleries and museum exhibitions, CrossRoads linked to some wonderful videos that I thought you too might enjoy.

The first is about a silk marbling technique that is being used for Hermes scarves.

This wonderful clip is about Abdelkader Ouazzani, Morocco's last Brocade weaver.

Have you ever wondered what happens to our cast off clothing? I saw this piece a while back and found it to be fascinating. It is 13 minutes well spent.

And finally, a full length movie, but well worth your time.

In the remote Andean highlands of Peru, Victoriano Arisapana cares for the woven footbridge that has stretched over the gorge for hundreds of years. The secrets of this bridge, the only one left from the ancient Incan empire, have been passed down by the men of Victoriano's family for 300 years. Victoriano is the Bridge Master, the one who has inherited the sacred task of weaving the bridge and of making the sacrificial offerings to the mountain spirits each year. But his sons are drawn to life in the city and his daughter is prohibited from this male-only tradition. When she goes missing a week before the start of 9th grade, this Andean farmer must confront an uncertain future, caught between preserving family tradition and losing his children to a world of change.

This is a rental, but only $3.99.   

Although we are unable to be together in person, I think this is a wonderful time to discover others and enrich our minds. And then, when this is all over, and we can once again come together, we'll have so much more to share. 
If you would like to receive the ClothRoads newsletter, you can find the signup HERE

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Supper/Marukan Chicken

Yes, it's me, a real post!
This winter has been very quiet blog wise, but full of so many other adventures. Sadly, I have allowed blog posts to slide. A friend whom I met through the blog sent a note yesterday, "just checking on you!" Funny how something like a quick note can have such a huge impact. And so, I'm back :)

I do have a soup recipe to share. I'll post it later this week, but I just have to share this recipe with you! It is not my own invention, and I can't remember how I found it, but I am SO glad that I did. While my diet is basically a vegetarian diet, and one that tends to be even vegan, from time to time, I will make a chicken dish. My husband tells everyone that he is vegetarian by proxy, in other words, he eats what I cook ;) So, from time to time, I give in and give him a treat. 

Now, doesn't this look amazing?!!!
This is a picture that I took of my finished dish, and trust me, it's as delicious as it looks.

The recipe calls for bone in chicken thighs. I used boneless, and I don't think it affected the outcome in the least bit. I also used 6 oz. of dried apricots rather than the 8 oz. that are called for. I had most everything on hand, except for the olives. With all the grocery store shortages, I thought that I might not get what I wanted. What I found, and felt worked perfectly were Mezzetta Pitted Castelvetrano Italian Olives

*A note;
Do not leave out the apricots! I know the combination of ingredients sounds a bit strange, but it all works. My husband had seconds, and wanted more, but there was dessert :)

Marukan Chicken with Apricots and Olives

1 hour 30 minutes
6 Servings
1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp
Olive Oil
1 tsp
Thyme, dried
Chicken Thighs, bone-in
To Taste
Kosher or Fine Sea Salt
To Taste
Black Pepper
White Onion, cut in half then sliced
4 Cloves
Garlic, minced
1 1/2 Cup
Low Sodium Gluten Free Chicken Broth
Bay Leaves, small
8 oz
Apricots, dried
2 Cups
Sicilian Olives, pitted and smashed
For Garnish
For Garnish
Parsley chopped


Combine Marukan Seasoned Gourmet Rice Vinegar with 1⁄4 cup olive oil and thyme. Set aside. Remove the skin and excess fat from the chicken thighs and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, in batches, meaty side down, and brown well on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pot, add the onion along with a big pinch of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the vinegar mixture to the pot and cook, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and bay leaves, stir to combine and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce is just beginning to thicken slightly. Add the apricots and olives, stir to combine, and nestle the chicken thighs into the mixture. Cover the pot and cook for 40 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 15 minutes. Sprinkle the top with paprika and chopped parsley and serve with rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice.

Recipe Credit: Simply Gluten Free

You can find a printable version of the recipe HERE
 This is a company worthy dish. I really think you'll love it. There are lots of interesting recipes on the Marukan website, so check  them out :) 

Hope you are all well!

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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sunday Night Reflections

My favorite prayer is the Lord's Prayer. It offers me comfort when I am at a loss as to what to say to God. When I awake in the middle of the night, the prayer gives me comfort. I invite you to listen, and offer up whatever may be on your heart. 
This is by far my favorite version.


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Monday, March 2, 2020

The Dress That Walked To Freedom

This past Saturday morning, I was out in subzero weather, trying to perfect my newly learned cross-country skiing skills. I was quite lucky as the instructor I had the previous week wasn't able to work with me. The replacement instructor was wonderful!!! What a difference. I felt that he really wanted to see me excel, and I did :) 

During the course of our lesson, we briefly talked about a new documentary that was released over the weekend, Tread. It's about a man who became quite angry, ended up ordering a bulldozer, outfitted it with concrete(making it indestructible), and went on to destroy a number of the businesses in the small mountain town of Granby, Colorado. The cross-country ski instructor told me that his father had been a physician, and believed that there is good in all people. He went on to say that he believed that at the core of human beings is evil. I felt sad hearing that. While yes, so many evil things happen in this world, but it doesn't take much to find the good.

This story has been on the news, and all over the internet, but I thought I would share it as it really touched my heart, and too, just in case you haven't seen the story. 

There's a new exhibit at the Australian War Memorial, and in that exhibit is a dress that exemplifies, I think, the true human spirit, compassion and love. The dress was created for Henryka Shaw so that she would have something to wear once she was able to leave the hospital after the liberation of the Mauthausen concentration camp. All she had was the sheet that covered her. 

Her friends and fellow prisoners would not allow her to walk to freedom without something proper to wear. The dress is believed to have been made from curtains found in one of the Nazi's elite offices. The fabric looks to be a simple cotton, but take note of the exceptional craftsmanship. The plaid is beautifully matched, and the hang of the bias is perfect. This dress was truly a labor of love. You can read more about the dress and the exhibition HERE.

In this short, 2 minute video, you can hear Henryka's daughter talk about the dress, and get a glimpse of the interior construction. 

I am especially excited as I will be attending a lecture that will be given at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee on May 17, 2020. The author of the book, Fashion Metropolis Berlin will be there to talk about the fashion industry in Berlin from 1836-1939. With the outbreak of the war, and the hatred of the Jews, what had once been a thriving industry, in 1933 was taken over and the businesses became "Aryanized." Under Aryan management, the businesses no longer prospered. The owners were robbed, displaced, and murdered.  

If by chance you might like to attend the lecture,you can find all of the info HERE on the Jewish Milwaukee website. I think it will be an especially informative lecture. 

Yes, there is hatred and violence in the world, and we must acknowledge that it is there. I just finished a study of the book of Esther in the Old Testament. It was fascinating! The statement that Esther's cousin, Mordecai made to her is a motto that I have taken to heart, 

"For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?"
Esther 4:14  

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

A Wrap For Every Season

Back at the beginning of the year, Style Arc Patterns made their Salma Wrap pattern available as an incentive to raise money for the devastation that was caused by the bush fires. All proceeds from the sale of the pattern, for a 2 week period were donated to the Red Cross Bush Fire Appeal. What a wonderful way to do something worthwhile, and gain a little reward as well. So I jumped on the opportunity. The wrap is a great throw it on garment for whenever you need a little something to keep you warm, add a little spark to an outfit, or a cover-up for the pool.

I've made 2...so far :)
The first was made from a piece of lightweight wool tweed that I've had forever. A great way to use up some fabric! I like it. Great for cool days.

Because it's a woven fabric, it doesn't have a lot of drape.

The second was made from a fun knit fabric.

As you can see from the pictures, it has a lot of drape. It's great over jeans, a dress, and this one can actually go to the pool!

The placement of the arm opening is quite nice, and adds to the drama of the garment. 

What I also like is how packable the garment is. It literally folds away to nothing.

Thankfully, the fires are over. At least I hope they are. Sadly, with all we have going on in the United States, the news from Australia gets put on the back burner. 

Although the proceeds of the pattern no longer go to the Red Cross, it's still a wonderful, easy to make pattern. And too, it's one that you can make as gifts and not worry about fit! This is one pattern that you can get a LOT of mileage out of! 

Happy Sewing!

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Pattern Testing/Naughty Bobbins Patterns

Back in December, I had the opportunity to test the new Bon Matin dress pattern from Naughty Bobbins Patterns. So, I have been sitting on this dress for quite some time. What I especially appreciated was that Coco really wanted the input of the testers, and the pattern was not finished until she had received the comments. 

The sketch of the dress gives the impression that it is a little high-waisted. It is not. It sits beautifully at the waist. The dress is quite feminine, and because there are no zippers, or button openings, it's one that you can literally throw on and be out the door in minutes.   

Pictures of me in the dress will soon follow, but here is what I made. I had a little fun with the pattern of the fabric, using it horizontally for the bodice, and vertically for the skirt. As I said, the waistline is elasticized, and the skirt features side seam pockets.

The sleeves(and you know I love a good sleeve!)are 3/4 length, slightly gathered at the shoulder, balloon out at the bottom, and have a small edged finished. 

I absolutely loved how the neckline was finished. The binding is serged on 1 side, but the end of the tie is sewn and turned. The process is very well explained in the instructions. The neckline is feminine, and just a bit alluring with the opening and the tie. 

I had thought that I would order a red belt to wear with my dress, but I remembered the Sobi Obi Belt pattern from Pattern Union. I have some leftover red suede, so I think that will work out just fine :)

I just ordered the pullover and stirrup pant pattern from Naughty Bobbins Patterns. Really looking forward to putting this one together!

By the way, the Bon Matin dress pattern lends itself to some wonderful hacks. The bodice would be lovely lengthened into a tunic. I actually have it on my cutting table :) Hoping to finish it over the weekend!

Happy Sewing!

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

One Small Act of Kindness

I am having the BEST winter! :) If you've followed the blog for a while, you know that I love winter, the snow, dressing in layers, wearing fabulous boots, making mulled wine, cheese fondue...and the list goes on and on :)

As much as I enjoy being out in the winter, one thing that I have never done is go cross-country skiing. My husband loves to downhill ski(as do I), but has absolutely no interest in all the work that goes into cross-country skiing. He says that he likes letting gravity do all the work. On the other hand, I like a workout, so last week, I called and arranged a lesson. I had thought that since I downhill ski, I wouldn't have an issue. Well, I looked like a bird that was trying to learn to fly, sliding all over the place. I'm accustomed to downhill skis, bindings and boots that weigh a ton. Not so with cross-country gear. Comparatively, it's as light as a feather. We came to hill that I had to traverse down. Well, I fell, and looked a little like something on a bloopers show. Didn't get hurt. Wasn't going fast enough to get hurt. All in all, regardless of the frustrations, I had a blast, and I'm going back next week. Learning to cross-country ski was on my goal list for 2020. So very proud of myself for pushing forward and realizing the goal :) 

You haven't seen me in a while. Laying in a pile of snow after downhill skiing and loving every minute of it!

Many of you may remember the campaign I did a number of years ago for a children's hospital in Washington state called Mary Bridge. With the help of so many, from all over the world, we made over 1000 pillowcases that were then distributed to children who are admitted into the hospital.

Before I packed up all the cases and sent them to Mary Bridge, I hung them all in my yard, and took a picture of the extravaganza. What a sight!!! Sew News magazine even did a featured article. So nice :)  

A friend of mine has the loveliest fabric store in Granby, Colorado, Tina's Fabric Nook. I actually did an interview with her a few years ago.
I absolutely LOVE her store! It's such a gift to the community. Like most of us, I have quite the fabric collection, so just buying fabric, while a nice thing to do, is just not a viable option on an ongoing basis. So, I've thought of what I can do to create a little revenue for her. What I came up with was pillowcases, not for me, but for anyone who happens to visit when I am in the mountains. I take my guests to Tina's, and let them pick out their fabric. Each and everyone has surprised me with their choices. They NEVER choose what I think they'll choose. She has these beautiful William Morris reproduction prints that I have been dying to use. Can't talk a soul into choosing those! I may have to make a pair for myself!  

Below are just a few of the cases that I've made.

The pair below went to Montana.  

I made 2 sets for a friend who lives in Seattle, a flannel pair for the winter, and a cotton pair for summer.

This pair went to a friend in Wisconsin. Love the starry night aspect of the batik.

I've made quite a few more, just forgot to photograph all of them. I just recently made a pair for a little 7 year child who received a bearded dragon lizard for Christmas. Tina had a gecko print that fit the bill close enough. She was thrilled with her pillowcases! Everyone seems to enjoy the cases so much, I enjoy making them, and I generate a little business for Tina. So a win all around.

You may remember the pillowcases I made using the fabric I had printed at Spoonflower from a painting that I did.  

I made a coordinating pair of cases and used the leftover fabric from the pair that went to a friend in Wisconsin for the trim. Even Berkley likes the cases ;) I have actually had friends tell me that they sleep better when they use the cases that I've made.  

I love this quote;

There's no such thing as a small act of kindness. 
Each act creates a ripple with no logical end.

What a lovely promise :)

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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Soup/Rustic Potato Soup

I have really neglected the blog of late. Everything's fine, just life. I have been sewing, and I have been cooking, just not posting. 

The soup recipe that I'm sharing today is a favorite of mine during the cold winter months. Although, I don't make it that often as it does contain butter and cream. But, it's one that makes my husband smile, so from time to time, I figure, a little butter and a little cream is not going to be the end of the world ;)

Rustic Potato Soup
I call this a rustic soup as the skin is left on the potatoes, and it's not your typical creamy, potato soup. 

This soup came about because I had leftover small boiled potatoes. I'm sure the soup will be just fine, and taste just as good if you begin with raw potatoes. But, you will need to adjust the liquid as the raw potatoes may absorb more of the broth than the pre-boiled potatoes.   

I began with 1 pound of small golden potatoes that were previously boiled, and then sliced. Small red potatoes would work just as well. 

Heat the oil and the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion. The butter will turn the onion a beautiful golden yellow. Saute the onion until tender. 

Add 1 cup of sliced small portobella mushrooms and cook until tender. They will turn a lovely dark brown. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, and saute for about a minute just to release the flavor, but not burn the garlic. 

Add the sliced potatoes and allow them to saute in the onion and mushroom mixture until they just start to turn a little brown. This will only take a few minutes. To be honest, you could actually stop here and just enjoy the potatoes as they are :) But don't!!! I think you'll love the soup! 

Add 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped stalks of celery, 1/2 cup wild rice, and 6 cups of vegetable broth. Stir in 1 teaspoon of rosemary, thyme, and sage, along with 2 bay leaves. Bring the soup mixture to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and allow the soup to cook until the wild rice is tender, about 45 minutes. 

Once the wild rice is tender, add 1/2 cup of cream. The rice and the potatoes will thicken the soup, so adjust the consistency at this point by adding in more vegetable broth. Two more cups may be needed. Heat the soup over a low flame, and do not allow the soup to come to a boil once the cream has been added. Before serving, remove the bay leaves. 

Rustic Potato Soup
downloadable recipe

1 pound boiled small red or golden potatoes sliced
1 large yellow onion chopped
1 cup sliced small portobella mushrooms
2 cloves garlic minced 
2 large carrots chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1/2 cup wild rice 
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
6-8 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup cream
salt and black pepper to taste


Heat olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until tender. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until tender. Add minced garlic and saute for another minute to release garlic flavor, but not burn. 
Add sliced potatoes, and stir well into onion and mushroom mixture. Allow the potatoes to slightly brown. Add chopped carrots, celery, wild rice, and vegetable broth. Stir in sage, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat and cook on low heat until wild rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Stir in the cream, and adjust the thickness of the soup by adding more vegetable broth. Both the potatoes and the rice will absorb the liquid and make the soup rather thick. Up to 2 cups more of the vegetable broth may be needed to thin the consistency of the soup. 
Add salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer the soup on a low heat until heated through. Once the cream has been added, do not allow the soup to come to a boil. Before serving, remove bay leaves.

Ladle into soup dishes, and enjoy!

This is a hearty soup, perfect for winter. Serve with a nice slice of hearty bread.

This is a soul warming soup, at least for me. I hope that you'll enjoy it as much as I do.

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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Sunday Night Reflections

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Something Sweet on Sunday/An Orange Cake to Die For

Back before Christmas, I received the weekly email from Kevin Lee Jacobs. That particular week, he showcased a boiled orange cake that uses the entire orange. Yes, the peel and all!!! I was intrigued! As it turns out, the basic recipe is quite old. He changed up the original recipe a bit by using almond flour, so it's gluten free.

Begin by boiling 2 oranges for at least an hour. Boiling them for a little longer really helps to reduce the bitterness of the orange  peel. Once boiled, just quarter them and then place them in a food processor and puree. 

As usual, I can't leave well enough alone. After I made the first cake, I decided to dress it up a bit with a slivered almond crust. Once the pan has been buttered and floured, sprinkle on a layer of slivered almonds.

I did add 1 other ingredient, and that was 1/2 cup of  shredded coconut. Love it!!!

Cook the cake as directed, place it on a serving plate, and dust with powdered sugar. As you can see, I was quite generous with the powdered sugar. 

The cake is moist, sweet, tangy, and most of all...DELICIOUS! I served the first cake that I made at a dinner party with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Everyone loved it. The second cake was not only eaten as a dessert, but for breakfast too! Why not? ;) 

You can find the recipe HERE

It's a cake that can be frozen and served at a later date. I have 6 oranges in the refrigerator that I have already boiled. Such a great way to use up oranges before they go bad. 

I know you will!!!

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Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Best Sewing Gift Ever!

It was a Christmas that I thought would be especially bleak. My father had recently left, and my mother was especially sad. It was our first Christmas alone, and we were over a thousand miles away from any family. But, under the tree was a gift for me. I opened it, and inside was a sewing pattern and fabric. As wonderful as that was, what made it all the more special was that the fabric that was in the box was the exact same fabric that was on the pattern envelope! Everything was in the box to recreate the garment that I saw. I just couldn't believe it, 2 black and white coordinates, and packages of white cording. 

Over the Christmas break, I made up the outfit, and of course wore it proudly on my first day back at school. I felt as though I was wearing a designer garment. 

I still have the pattern. The envelope is a little worse for wear, but everything is still intact, no missing pattern pieces.

I've decided to somewhat recreate the outfit. Rather than in the matching fabric, I am using a plaid wool flannel for the skirt, and a coordinating black cotton chambray for the shirt. 

Although 1 is cotton, and the other wool, I really like how the 2 coordinate. 

I'll do the version on the right just as I did when I had the coordinating fabric, but this time around, I won't add the big patch pockets. Rather than a contrasting piping, I'll just self pipe both the shirt and the skirt. 

The pattern is really just a basic shirt and a wrap skirt, but it's special. It takes me back to a time when my world had fallen apart, and yet, there under that tree was a gift that represented potential. As it was, it was just a box with a pattern and some fabric. But, with just a little effort, I had something that made me feel so very special.  

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