Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Night Reflections

Why fit in...
When you were born
To stand out.
                                                                                                     Dr. Seuss

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Sunday's Soup

You know your friends are good friends when you make a soup, take it for dinner and it looks like mush and they eat it anyway :)
Yes, it looks like mush, but it tastes great! And they weren't just being nice. They actually requested that I leave the soup behind so they could have it for lunch. 
I found the recipe on www.barefeetinthekitchen.com. Mary Younkin is the author of this blog and there are tons of recipes to peruse and try. today's soup is Three Bean Minestrone Soup. As usual, I made a few changes. Here's the original recipe with my changes in red.
Three Bean Minestrone Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped small, about 2 cups
8 cups beef stock or 8 cups water plus 3 tablespoons beef base
I used vegetable stock
15 ounce can tomato sauce
6 carrots, sliced 1/4" thick, about 3 cups worth
4 stalks celery, trimmed and sliced 1/4" thick, about 2 cups worth
14 ounce can kidney beans
14 ounce can navy beans or white beans
14 ounce can black beans
I used garbanzo beans rather than the black beans 
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
I eliminated both spices and used 2 teaspoons of Herbs De Provence
1 teaspoon kosher salt, adjust to taste (I added another 1/2 teaspoon, because my beef stock wasn't very salty at all)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups cooked pasta, I used a brown rice penne pasta
finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
Optional: 1 lb Italian or hot sausage
I did not add meat to this soup

Place the oil in a large pot on the stove over medium heat.* Add the onions, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and saute until tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the beef stock, tomato sauce, beans, carrots, celery and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and then cook for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Cook the pasta while the soup is simmering. Place a scoop of cooked pasta in each bowl and then ladle the hot soup over the pasta. Top with Parmesan just before serving. Enjoy!

* If you are including meat in the soup, start by cooking and crumbling the meat and then skip the oil and add the onions.

So, a little word to the wise...especially if you are not serving the soup immediately, do not add the pasta until you are ready to serve the soup. That's why my soup looks like mush. It's good tasting mush :), but mush nonetheless. When the soup was reheated, the pasta started to fall apart. 
If you can find Herbs de Provence, I HIGHLY recommend getting some and keeping them on hand. They are a lovely addition to lots of recipes. I like to cut up small red potatoes, sprinkle them with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, powdered garlic and Herbs de Provence. I then roast them in the oven until golden brown. Fabulous!
So...if you do end up with mush, hopefully your friends will be as gracious as mine and give your soup a try anyway!
Happy Sunday!

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sleeves On Saturdays

Drafting a Set-In Sleeve

Many of you have asked for instructions on drafting a set-in sleeve. The sleeve is drafted using measurements from the armhole of your garment.
It is best to draft the sleeve using a piece of folded paper. We will draft the entire sleeve at the same time and then unfold the paper. Use the folded edge of the paper as the center grainline of the sleeve.
A to B is the measurement from the top of the arm to the wrist.
To determine A to C, measure the armhole of your garment pattern. Be sure to curve the tape measure as you go around the top of the sleeve. A to C is 1/4 of total armhole measurement.
 Square a line out from C.
 C to D is 1/2 of total armhole measurement.
 Connect A to D to form a guideline.
To determine B to E measurement, make a fist and measure around the fist. This measurement will allow the hand to easily fit through the opening of the sleeve. B to E is 1/2 of fist measurement.
 Connect D to E with a straight line.
Divide the C to D line into 3 equal sections. Mark as F and G.
Square a line up from F and G to the A-D quideline. Mark as I and H.

Measure out from I 3/8" and mark as J.
Divide the area between H and I in half and mark. On the H-G line, measure in 1/4" and place a mark.
Connect A to D with a curved line going through J and the mark between H and G. This will be the curve for the back sleeve.
Between J and I, divide the area in half and mark.
Draw a second curved line, intersecting the area between I and J. This will be the front curve of the sleeve.
Cut the sleeve out using the line for the back curve of the cap.
Using a tracing wheel, transfer the front curve to the front of the sleeve. Cut the front sleeve curve on this line.
 The final sleeve pattern.
Next week we will discuss the notch placement and finding the center of the sleeve. If by chance you have a little time to draft out the sleeve and you would like to give it a try, be sure to add 1" seam allowances. This will give you ample room to make adjustments on the cap of the sleeve.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

In All Things Give Thanks

Today, as many of you know is Thanksgiving in America. It's a rather interesting holiday as it basically revolves around a big meal. But it also serves as a day for us to count our blessings and think of all the things that we have to be grateful for.
Over the last few days, like many, I have thought quite a bit about my blessings and all that I have to be thankful for. In light of my recent diagnosis, I have begun to think of my blessings in a much different manner than I ever have before. When I was told that I may have cancer in both eyes and that I may lose my eyesight, my world came crashing down around me. Initially I felt that all I love would be taken from me. So much of what I do would no longer be possible. Then the thought occurred to me, if someone were to ask me what I love to do most, I would not even need to contemplate the answer. Quite simply, I love to write, and in the event that I were to lose my eyesight, I can still write.
The more I have thought of my love to write, I have also thought of what I have had the opportunity to see. As a child I laid in fields and watched the clouds as they bounced and floated about, giving me the pleasure of deciding what they had created. I also laid out at night and watched stars dance and shoot across the navy blue sky, putting on the most spectacular light show. I was honored to have the opportunity to watch a young bird take it's maiden flight out of the nest. I marveled at its first wobbly flight and its rather bumpy first landing. All along, the mother flew near by, but allowed the young bird room to grow and learn from the experience, preparing it for the life it would lead without her. As for flying, I too had the opportunity to experience the magic of a first flight as I lifted off the ground alone for the first time having only God to share in my exuberance. I've seen the magnificent colors of a sunset across a Nebraska sky and the dark foreboding  clouds of an approaching gulf coast hurricane. I've experienced the beautiful smile of a dog as they ran free along a trail. I've seen the magnificent beauty of a whale popping out of the depths of the ocean, flinging its tail high in the air, dolphins playing in the waves and a shark skim the surface of the water. In short, I have seen. My blessings have been great. My blessings ARE great!
Blessings may change as we go through our life, but I believe that when one blessing is no longer there, another is given. We just need to look, maybe not with our eyes, but with our hearts.
May all our days be a day of Thanksgiving.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Burda Style Patterns, A New Journey

One of the perks of being chosen as one of Burda's Top 50 Bloggers is receiving 5 free Burda patterns. Now, I must confess, I have never used a Burda pattern. How could I have possibly gotten to this point in my life and never used a Burda pattern?!!! Well, that's about to end and I am super excited about the patterns that I chose
First up is this fabulous motorcycle jacket. I love the lines and the collar.
You can find the pattern here, http://www.burdastyle.com/pattern_store/patterns/asymmetrical-moto-jacket-112013
I thought this pair of pants was rather interesting. I actually tried a pair on that was very much like this pant while I was in Houston. So I at least have an idea of how they will fit.
You can find the pattern here, http://www.burdastyle.com/pattern_store/patterns/crossover-pants-112013
I LOVE this cape and it will be the first piece that I make. Great for throwing on over just about anything.
Here's a link to that pattern, http://www.burdastyle.com/pattern_store/patterns/drawstring-cape-032013
The last 2 patterns that I chose are from the same collection.
I really like this blouse. It will work with skirts, jeans and look great under a jacket. You can find the pattern here, http://www.burdastyle.com/pattern_store/patterns/gathered-shirt-blouse-102012
The pocket detail on this skirt is what drew me in.
Here's the link to the pattern, http://www.burdastyle.com/pattern_store/patterns/flared-skirt-102012
I can't wait to sink my teeth into this pattern.
As I said, I really liked all the patterns from this collection and I think I will purchase the pattern below. What a cute topper for skinny pants. You can see the entire collection here.
Many of you have lots of Burda experience. Do you have any advice you might like to pass along???

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Morning Inspiration

The Sewaholic Robson Trench Coat sew along begins a week from today, so I thought a little trench coat inspiration might be in order. Whether you are sewing along with me this December or just think you might make a trench in the future, I think I found some ideas that will make your trench extra special.
I love the idea of just the front panels being a traditional trench and the rest of the coat done in wool.
 Or how about this for a fun idea?
The sleeves and collar are accented and rather than a traditional belt, maybe one with a little more of a military influence.
I thought this was super cute with the swingy peplum.
 Making the panels out of wool gives this little short version a very slender look.
A lovely ombre effect.
 This coat also has an ombre effect, but what I really like is the addition of the lace. So pretty.
How about some  non traditional fabric choices?

The coat below is not a trench, but I love the fabric and I especially like the idea of a stripe with a psychedelic applique.
Floral pattern, perfect for spring.

Or....if you dare...a see through version.

An all out feminine lace trench. 

Now this is over the top lace!!!

Love this fabric!
Trench designed by Jillian Lewis of Project Runway worn by Beyonce. It may not keep your dress dry in the rain, but you'll look great!!!

The Robson Trench is not lined, but during the sew along, I will talk about lining the coat. What about a faux fur lining?!!
 Or a super cute border print?
 Now this trench covers trim and lining. How special is this coat????
  A few other ideas for trimming.
  This coat is from Chanel, of course :)
 How about a little peekaboo touch?
 Or...you could forgo the traditional buttons and add a zipper.
 This is not a trench, but it gave me an idea. Chop the coat off at the hips and add a circular skirt.
  Maybe do some lacing details.
 And for a little ahhhhh :) We can't leave out our little best friend.
 So precious :)

Now you can make a trench for yourself and your little dog too!!!
Hope your week is off to a lovely start :)

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