Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

I know, I know, it's Tuesday, but I did a couple of really simple pieces that I thought I would share. What am I talking about?!! Everything on FFPF is simple , but these are extra simple. I'll share one today and the other on Thursday.
The Snuggle Wrap
 Today's piece is a simple little wrap, but there is a small trick.
As you can see, the piece wraps around the back and around the waist. In order for this to work, you must put a twist in the rectangle as you are sewing the ends together.
 You can see the twist in this picture a little better.
This is how the piece would look wrapped around the arms and around the waist although there is no body in the piece it is just laying against the form.
 Now I have wrapped it around the form as if it is on a body.
 A view from the back.
 You could attach the upper portion to the lower portion,
but you would no longer be able to wear it as a scarf. My husband laughed when he took this picture as I have something very warm around my neck and there is a palm tree in the background.
My rectangle was 20" wide before I folded it in half and sewed it together. As for the length measurement, you will need to measure around your body just as the piece will go around you. This is a piece that must be made from a stretch knit fabric.  Before you sew the ends together, wrap the piece around your body and make adjustments in the length. I really like this as an addition to my winter wardrobe. I'm usually cold, so having a piece that I can wear around my neck when I'm outside and then being able to wear it around my body inside sounds like a win, win situation to me.
I made mine from a remnant of fabric that was just about 1 yard long, so this is a nice way to use a smaller piece of fabric and I think it would be a very nice and very simple to make gift as well.
Good luck if you decide to give it a try!

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Night Reflections

Normal day,
            Let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Let me learn from you,
Love you,
Bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and  perfect tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I may,
           For it may not always be so.
One day,
           I shall dig my nails into the earth,
           Or bury my face in the pillow,
           Or stretch myself taut,
           Or raise my hands to the sky
And want, more than all the world...........
                                                   Your return.  

                                                                                      Mary Jean Iron

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Sunday Brunch

Somehow I stumbled upon this great website called www.ezrapoundcake.com.  If I'm not mistaken, Dust Jacket Attic posted a picture with a link to a recipe. As it goes with the internet, one click leads to another and I found this fantastic recipe for Summer Corn Cakes. Rebecca is the genius behind the blog. You can read more about her here
Now I must confess that Rebecca did not envision this recipe as a Sunday Brunch item. The original recipe is served with a lovely tomato and avocado salsa. The really nice thing about this recipe is that it makes quite a few cakes so I have leftovers to serve for a light dinner and then I'll include the salsa. Yea! I love cooking once and having numerous meals. By the way, Rebecca does a post every Monday called Meatless Mondays, great for those of us who follow a vegetarian diet. Do check out her blog, if you enjoy food, and who doesn't, you'll really enjoy everything on her site.

Summer Corn Cakes 
3 ears corn, shucked
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal (If you can only find cornmeal mix, skip the baking powder.)
1/4 cup diced red onion (I didn't have a red onion so I used a regular yellow onion)
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons well-shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
(I included about 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to my mixture)
Canola oil, for frying

Cut the corn from the cobs. Place 2 cups of the corn in a food processor and pulse several times until the corn is slightly pureed. Add to remaining corn kernels.
 Add flour, cornmeal, basil, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper to the corn. Stir.
 Add eggs, buttermilk and butter. Stir just to combine.
Use a large skillet and place over medium heat. Add just enough oil to barely cover the bottom of the pan and heat until sizzling hot.
Place 1 heaping tablespoon of mixture in skillet and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side. Place on warming tray and keep warm while you finish the entire batch.
As you can see, I served mine with poached eggs and topped them with fresh chives from my garden. The cakes are truly delicious. I was a little concerned about the basil, but it gave the cakes a great, unexpected taste. This is a must do again recipe.
If you would like to serve the cakes with the salsa rather than the eggs, or maybe the eggs with the salsa, here's the recipe;
Chopped Tomato and Avocado Salsa
Makes about 2 cups

1 large tomato, cored and chopped
1 scallion, trimmed and minced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

1.Place all of the ingredients (except the avocado) in a bowl, and stir to mix. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve, for up to 2 days.
2.Just before serving, add the avocado, and mix gently.
You can see Rebecca's original post and recipe here.

Wishing you a lovely Sunday.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sleeves On Saturdays

The Drop Shoulder Sleeve
This sleeve treatment lends itself to many design possiblities, yokes that extend into the shoulder, really decorative sleeves and so many other possibilities. 
 As you can see, there is no shoulder seam.
 The bottom portion of my sleeve is full and I added an elastic band to the wrist.
Begin by matching the front and back bodice at the shoulder.
Measure down 4" at the center of the sleeve. From the center point, measure over 5" on either side of the sleeve cap.
 Before cutting the sleeve cap away from the lower portion of the sleeve, add notches so you don't confuse the front and the back.
 Cut the sleeve cap away from the lower portion and cut the cap in half. Match the top of the sleeve cap at the shoulder of the bodice and the edge of the sleeve cap to the edge of the armhole.
 The final pattern for the front and back bodice. It isn't very clear in this picture, but be sure to round the shoulder so that there is not a point at the shoulder.
 The bottom portion of the sleeve. You can use this portion of the sleeve as it is or if you would like to add the fullness as I did,
 divide the sleeve into sections as I did below. Be sure to number your pieces.
My sleeve is a tapered sleeve so it needs to be straightened as I am showing below.
 Because we are adding the elastic cuff, we will need a little extra at the bottom of our sleeve so that the sleeve will not ride up the arm. 2" is a good amount.
 Cut the sleeves sections and spread them. You will want to begin by drawing a guide line on your paper. The center line will be spread evenly on either side of that line. So if you would like a 2" spread between your sections, you will spread the center line 1" on either side of the guide line.
The final pattern. Be sure to add appropriate seam allowances and the appropriate amount for your elastic casing to the bottom of your sleeve.
We will revisit this sleeve in the future. At this point I am just trying to lay the foundation for more complicated designs.
Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

I was recently in Houston. My trip is never complete without a trip to one of my favorite stores, Surroundings. The owners find the most interesting pieces and it is always a delight for the eyes. On this visit, everything was on sale. Not a good thing, although I was quite good and only bought a couple of things. The most interesting piece that I purchased was this Huipil from Guatemala. The ties that you see in the picture were added by me.
Huipil is the most common traditional garment worn by indigenous women from central Mexico to Central America. It is a loose-fitting tunic generally made from two or three rectangular pieces of fabric which are then joined together with stitching, ribbons or fabric strips, with an opening for the head and if the sides are sewn, opening for the arms. Traditional huipils, especially ceremonial ones, are usually made with fabric woven on a backstrap loom and are heavily decorated with designs woven into the fabric, embroidery, ribbons, lace and more. However, some huipils are also made from commercial fabric. Lengths of the huipil can vary from a short blouse-like garment or long enough to reach the floor. The decoration of traditional huipils generally indicates the ethnicity and community of the wearer as each have their own methods of creating the fabric and decoration. Some have elaborate designs with the designs having significance. Ceremonial huipils are the most elaborate and are reserved for weddings, burials, women of high rank and even to dress the statues of saints.
I thought the piece was interesting, but that was about it. My friend who was with me wanted me to put it on so I did and once on, I liked it so much more especially when I cinched it in around the waist.
I sewed ties to the front and then pulled the ties inside to the back and tied them.
I sewed a casing onto the back and then threaded my cord through.
 This gathers the back quite nicely.
 It took me all of about 15 minutes to do this.
There are quite a few Huipils available on Ebay, but why not make your own? After all, it's nothing more than a rectangle. Use a fabric that you love and rather than the embroidery around the neck, maybe use a beautiful piece of embroidered ribbon. The length can be any length you like. For the width, you will want your rectangle to be approximately 3/4 of your hip measurement. This will give you enough to wrap to the front and to the back. The opening for the head to go through is just a square.

Measure your head. Find the center of your rectangle and draw in a circle and then square off the corners. Fold in the raw edges and then attach your trim. Try the piece on and mark your waist. Sew ties to the front at your waist. These ties will tie to your back. Sew in a casing on the back of your piece, I used bias tape. Thread your cording through the casing and you are set to go.
I think I am going to get a lot of wear out of my piece as it is so easy to throw on.
Good luck if you decide to give it a try. As you can see, it is probably the easiest piece you'll ever make. Happy Friday!

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Learn To Slipcover

A few weeks ago I showed you this little rocker and said that I would be making a slipcover for it and that it would be part of a gift I made to the zoo for the ball's silent auction.
This little slipcover kicked me hard, but...I did get it finished and I think it is so cute. Well, was cute as it no longer belongs to me. Yea!   

I piped the chair in the vintage check that I had and trimmed the hem in it as well.
You can see the check here in the quilt.
So the night of the ball finally arrived and Raggedy Ann and Andy sat proudly on the rocker with the quilt along side them.
The best part of it all is that there was more than one bidder, the lot went home with someone and the zoo received a nice little donation. 
Now I had said that I would show you my process, but I had to go back and look at the video, yes a VHS video, so many times that I will direct you to the person who taught me how to make the slipcover. Her name is Karen and her company is  http://slipcovernetwork.org/. I took her class quite a few years ago so I had forgotten a lot of information.
If you think that you would like to do a slipcover, go to her website and there you'll find a much more updated DVD, not the old VHS tape like I have.
A before picture,
and after the new slipcover.
Karen's process is quite interesting as the slipcover is draped and sewn as you go. As much as I struggled with that little rocker, I'm actually thinking of doing a slipcover for a sofa. Yikes!! Maybe I'll do a chair first and practice a little more!

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