Tuesday, December 31, 2013

As The Year Ends

On this final day of 2013, I've decided to share my top 5 of the year. I've really enjoyed the posts that so many of you have done and I think this is a lovely way to reflect back on what we've accomplished. To be honest, I was a little surprised as I started my journey back in time, I did more than I thought!! So, here are my picks of top five for this past year.
1. http://rhondabuss.blogspot.com/2013/01/what-to-do-with-rag-bin-sweat-shirt.html
Remember the sweat shirt that went from this,
 to this?

2. http://rhondabuss.blogspot.com/2013/04/we-won.html I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a chance.

And thanks to the help of so many of you, WE WON!!! The show was taped back in October and will air sometime in either February or March of this upcoming year.

3. http://rhondabuss.blogspot.com/2013/07/cracking-shell.html This post is somewhat connected to the piece above. I wrote from my heart and as it turns out, many of us have shared a similar experience.

4. http://rhondabuss.blogspot.com/2013/07/butterick-5678-given-cinderella.html You may remember that I had lots of fun with Butterick 5678 this past year which includes the dress below.

 5. A list like this would not be complete without this amazing project,  http://rhondabuss.blogspot.com/search/label/Mary%20Bridge I dreamed and so many of you stepped up and made it happen. Thank you!

A good year :) A very good year. Thank you for the support that you've given, be it in visiting the blog, participating in the Mary Bridge Pillowcase project, comments that you've left, supportive emails, all are gifts that you've so generously given. As I close, I'm reminded of two pieces that I love, both are from Les Brown.
Leap and grow your wings on the way down.
Refuse to live an unlived life.

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Night Reflections

A sweet poem to welcome winter and the delight of seeing a cardinal in the snow.


Your scarlet plummage
Against the snow

Reminds us of the warmth

Of a fireside glow
How proudly you grasp
Each fragile branch
With your crown of red
Atop your head
You keenly scan the ground below
Morsels of winter's gifts
You eagerly stow
Regal feathered friend are you
Symbol of hearty survivors
Your song ever renews
You brighten our winters
In beauteous array
We carry your tune happily
Wherever you stay.

Nancy Ellen Crossland

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Sunday's Soup

This week's soup recipe is not soup!!! I found this recipe for Butternut Coconut Curry and it sounded so good that I just had to give it a try. Not only is it good, it's easy to make. Just saute the onions and carrots and then throw everything in the crock pot and let it cook. If you like curry, then I think you'll enjoy this dish.
I can't remember how I found the recipe, but it is from a site called Taste of Home. The tag line is, "best loved recipes from home cooks like you." I haven't taken the time to look around, but it seems that you can submit your own recipes to the site.
The dish looks like a porridge in the photograph, don't be fooled, it's quite hearty and especially aromatic. I did made a few additions. I added tofu, a little more salt and a good bit of black pepper. Some red pepper would also be a nice addition if you like a spicy curry. All in all, a great heartwarming dish for the winter months.
Butternut Coconut Curry  


  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2-1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup uncooked basmati or jasmine rice


  • In a large skillet, saute carrots and onion in oil until onion is
  • tender. Add the brown sugar, curry, garlic, cinnamon, ginger and
  • salt. Cook and stir 2 minutes longer.
  • In a 3- or 4-qt. slow cooker, combine the butternut squash, broth,
  • coconut milk, rice and carrot mixture. Cover and cook on low for 4-5
  • hours or until rice is tender.
  • Yield: 9 servings.

The dish is rather low in calories, only 200 calories per 3/4 cup serving. If you would like to find the recipe, here is a link, http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/butternut-coconut-curry

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pillowcases For Mary Bridge and More

The weather in Chicago has been incredibly cold and snowy for December. We've had a few days that were a little warmer, but then it rained. So, all in all, not a good month for hanging pillowcases out on the line. When I walked out the door this morning, I couldn't believe how lovely it is, almost 39 degrees, and sunny!!! After all the extremely cold days we've had, it feels like spring! I always laugh about how in the beginning of winter when we first get into the 30's, we're all so cold. Come March or April with temps in the 30's, everyone pulls out their short pants!!!! 
I have two donations to share with you and something new which will be at the end of the post.
First up is a donation that was spear headed by Lisa of  http://www.poldapop.com/. She organized a sew-in at her church. You can read all about it here, http://www.poldapop.com/2013/12/sewing-for-charity.html. FYI, she gives me a little too much credit. Once you read her post, you'll see what I'm talking about. Anyway, her efforts yielded 15 more pillowcases for the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital pillowcase project. If by chance you are new to the blog, here's a link to all of the posts that have been done on this project,  http://www.rhondabuss.blogspot.com/search/label/Mary%20Bridge. It has truly been a labor of love and one of the most enriching experiences of my life.
For those of you who have followed all of the posts, you have seen my garden in every season. Because of the warms temps, most of the snow is gone. I'll try to post some pictures when we get a really big snow as the garden is so lovely under a blanket of fresh snow.
Lisa had some adorable fabrics like the circus print with Dumbo above and Holly Hobbie below. I was such a Hollie Hobbie fan :)

So lovely! Thank you Lisa for your efforts. Because of Lisa's project, I'm now thinking of organizing a project at my church. What a lovely way to pay it forward in so many ways.

The second donation comes from Willi. I did a post here on the slippers that she made for her granddaughters and their dolls. Willi combined her pillowcase making efforts with teaching her granddaughters how to sew. How sweet!
Their efforts produced 10 more pillowcases for the project.
 The cases are just adorable, baseballs and monkeys...
cupcakes and sharks!!!
Thank you so much Willi for your contribution. With both Lisa's and Willi's efforts, new sewists were born and that's always a wonderful thing.

This morning I received this note;

Dear Rhonda,
I had taken a blogging sabbatical (nearly eight months) and am just getting around the blogosphere again. I set about checking out all your recent blog updates when I came across this post.
It's my turn...
It's my turn with what I've called "The Pillowcase Project." It's in honor of my mother-in-law who sewed pillowcases for pediatric cancer patients when her own grandson, our nephew, was also dealing with cancer last year. Fortunately Blake is back in college and cancer-free, but Mom's pillowcases inspired an idea for me...
Across the street from where we live in Manila, Philippines, is a pediatric charity hospital, National Children's Hospital. Since my precious MIL is a December-month baby and just turned 80, until Thanksgiving we will accept NEW pillowcase contributions to "The Pillowcase Project" to be gifted at Christmastime 2014 to the pediatric patients at NCH.
Wow. I had forgotten all about your pillowcase drive... This is soooo cool. I hope you'll share more images about the journey of the contributed cases from clothesline to Mary Bridge's. So awesome!
Would you like to join "The Pillowcase Project" See my blog post at http://kelleyhighway.blogspot.com/2013/12/ethel-pillowcase-project.html.

Happy highways,
Kelley of Kelley Highway

You can read her post about the project here, http://kelleyhighway.blogspot.com/2013/12/ethel-pillowcase-project.html I think this is a wonderful project and one that I intend to contribute to. It's rather exciting for me to be on the contributing side rather than the organizing side for a change :)

I have been asked if I will continue with the Mary Bridge project, and my answer is no. As I said earlier in the post, it has been a wonderful and enriching experience, but I feel that I did what I was supposed to do and now it's time to move on. The Mary Bridge project has been a lesson for me in the power of positive thinking. As I've shared along the way, there have been times when I was a little unsure, but I would not give a voice to my feelings, and look at what has happened, people from all over the world have come together and over 1000 pillowcases will be shipped to Tacoma, Washington in February. Absolutely amazing. 
Thank you for all that so many of you have done to make the Mary Bridge Project such a wonderful success!

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday, The Taking Flight Skirt

Back in May of this year I posted this skirt as a Fabulous Free Pattern Friday piece. Super simple, 2 large rectangles for the skirt and 2 smaller rectangles for the godets.  
Miss Cennetta of http://themahoganystylist.blogspot.com/ decided to take a stab at it and wow is it ever a great looking skirt. 
Cennetta's skirt is not as flared at the bottom as mine is and that's because the rectangular godets are not as deep as I made mine.

 I think you can see the difference in the depth of the godets between these 2 pictures.
I had the opportunity to see Cennetta in the skirt and I know I can be a bit biased :), but she really did look sensational, but then, she always does. She said that it went together very easily and she plans to make another. You can see her full post here, http://themahoganystylist.blogspot.com/2013/12/green-is-my-color-mccalls-6797-rhondas.html
I'm currently working on an 8-gored skirt version and hope to post it later today, tomorrow at the latest. Using this method makes adding a godet to a skirt easy and fun and it also gives it a little unexpected twist. Thanks so much for giving it a try Cennnetta!!! By the way, her top is a McCall's pattern. She includes the info about it in her post. It's super cute too!

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Creatures Who Love To Ski

Happy Day After Christmas to everyone!!! I hope you all had a lovely holiday. I had a wonderful time, ate some good food, enjoyed the company of some good friends, and visited with my family. 
Last year I shared with you a little something that has become a tradition in my home. It all started with this little ornament. I have been jealous of this little guy for as long as my husband and I have been married, well that is until 4 years ago. I think an old girlfriend gave him this ornament. Anyway, each and every Christmas, I have given my husband a ski ornament for Christmas. He now has a tree full. We've been married a long time :) Every year when I pull out all of the ornaments, I ask which is your favorite and without any hesitation, he would always say, "this guy."    

He finally told me that what he liked was that it was handmade and so creative. Ahhh, the magic formula. So 4 years ago I decided to make my ornament and this is what I came up with. I need to do a little repair work as the"mustache" broke off on one side.

As you can see, it's all made out of natural seeds, pine cones and seed pods, except for the hat and scarf of course. The result, success!!! He loved it. Finally :)

The next year I made Rudolph. The story behind this guy is, after the long night of flying all over the world has come to an end, Santa tells the reindeer, "great job boys, enjoy your vacation." With glee, Rudolph straps on his skis and flies down the mountain.

His hoofs are acorn shells.

 And I even found some furry little seeds for his tail.

Last year I made this little guy.His face is a peach pit that I just happened to find, the body is a black walnut and his hat is another acorn shell.

 He has such a great personality.

This is this years addition. I have no idea what type of seed pod his head is made out of. It was found while I was out on my morning walk. He too has a black walnut body. His feet are horse chestnut seeds. The tiny pine cone is from a neighbor's tree. I thought it worked well as a stogie.

He was a blast to make. He also has an acorn hat, but with a little decoration. I am so happy that I was able to get the scarf to look as though he is really flying down the mountain. Sitting back and enjoying the ride ;)

I only intended to make one ornament, but as I was picking up my things, the pieces just seemed to come together and bring this little guy to life.

His head is from a sago palm and his eyes and mustache are also seeds.
His backpack is a horse chestnut seed. The sticks and the baskets at the bottom are from a tree that I walked past while out with my dogs. And then of course he has pine cone leaves for his snow shoes and the tiny pine cone boots.

The entire family. My husband dropped Rudolph, so I need to find some new antlers.

My husband asked me how I come up with these little creatures as they are all so different. I told him that I really don't feel that I am the creator. They tell me who they want to be and it all just comes happens. Well, however they come together, they have become such a joy, and a true holiday tradition. Had it not been for the little clothespin guy, I don't think that any of these little guys would have ever come to life. In this case, a little jealousy was a good thing!!!

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Monday, December 23, 2013

December Birthday Celebration...The Final Day

Good Morning Everyone and welcome to the final day of the December celebration!
Our first winner is...
Congratulations Carole!!! Carole blogs at  http://miasews.blogspot.com/. She dances, makes the cutest tennis outfits and is an all around very energetic, on the go kind of a gal!!!
Now on to the final illustrations.
The above piece is a little over the top. That's a LOT of ruffles and gathers!    
The piece below is all out femininity, a flirty circular skit, cinched waist and a little flared peplum. Lovely.

And the final winner is ....
Polda Pop, a.k.a. Lisa, blogs at http://www.poldapop.com/. She's the mom of two precious little girls and has an over the top passion for sewing. Congratulations Lisa!!!!
Please be sure to email your addresses to me so I can get your packages in the mail, sewbussted@yahoo.com.
I will leave the December Celebration posts up for the next week, but then I will delete them. As I said, they take up space that can be better used for a tutorial, I hope anyway! So if there are any of the pictures that you would like to save for inspiration, please download them.
So, that's it. Seems a bit sad to have it all said and done. At the close of the year, and especially around my birthday, I always enjoy doing something a little special. Crazy me, I've already begun to think about next year. The fact that I've already begun to fret a bit about what I could possibly do next year is a good lesson for me on letting go and just allowing things to happen. I am finding more and more that when I step back and just allow the universe, divine intervention, or whatever you would like to call it, to take over, magical things happen. So, I'm letting go and putting my order in for a little magic for next December!!!
The true magic though is the daily gift I receive from so many of you. Your comments and emails are always a delight, but the fact that you give up a few moments of your day and spend them with me is the best gift I could receive.
Thank you.

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Soup

Sweet Potato Soup
I'm sure many of you by now are running around like mad trying prepare everything for Christmas. I too have a lot on my to do list. Today's soup is another one that I found on the William's Sonoma website. It is sooo simple to make, very few ingredients, and it has a nice mellow taste that is not overpowered by the sweet potatoes. If by chance you are looking or thinking about a soup to start off your holiday meal, this is one that I would highly recommend.  You can find it here on the William's Sonoma website, http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/sweet-potato-soup.html The only change that I will be making to the recipe is that I plan to add a little milk to the soup when I serve it. I felt that it could use it. Something that you can decide once you make it.


  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, white portion only, halved, rinsed and
      thinly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into
      2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)


Sauté the vegetables

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leek and celery and sauté until the leek is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and stock, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. 

Puree the soup
Using a food processor or blender, (I use a hand held mixing wand)process the soup to a smooth puree. Return the soup to the pan and reheat to serving temperature. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with the pecans and serve. Serves 4.
To toast pecans, preheat an oven to 325°F. Scatter the pecans on a baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 10 minutes. You can also toast them, shaking often, in a dry fry pan over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Looks inviting don't you think?!! My soup bowls don't match my Christmas plates, but that's okay, the soup's good :)
Happy Holidays!!

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December Birthday Celebration Day 20 and 21

I have to apologize as I had intended to get back to the computer and post yesterday's winner and the new illustrations, but by the time I thought about it, well, I was in bed. Ooops!! So rather than just post one, I am going to post two, so be sure to scroll through as you just might be a winner!
The winner of the illustrations pictured here is,
 Congratulations Golden Star!!! What a perfect name for this time of year :)
Now for the illustrations that I should have posted yesterday.
 And the winner of the above pictures is Bunny!!! Yea Bunny!
In case you don't know Bunny, she blogs at http://lasewist.blogspot.com/, a blog you should check out. Everything she makes is truly a work of art.
Now for today's pieces.  Notice the lovely asymmetrical collar on the jacket above and the sleeve on the dress below. I think a little more subdued version of this sleeve would be lovely.
I also love the pairing of the fabrics. A little unexpected, but it really works.
So, tomorrow is our last day :(, but all good things must come to an end.  I'll post the last picture as well as the winner tomorrow.
Wishing you a wonderful day!

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