Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I Never Thought I Could Be a Folk Artist

It all began with a little jealousy. As it turns out, a bit of jealousy can be a good thing when it is used in a positive way. My husband had been given an ornament by an old girlfriend. Each year, without fail, when asked which of all his ski based ornaments was his favorite, that was the one. Finally, determined to trump that ornament, I decided to make one. If you've been following the blog for a while then you've seen this guy. He loved it. I finally trumped that old ornament and a new Christmas tradition began.  

The following year, I made Rudolph. At the moment he's out getting a new set of antlers, but you can see him here if you like.
Next came this crazy guy with his peach pit face


and his sticks made out of leaf stems.

Last year, 2 little guys came to be. First up was this crazy mountain man. I have no idea what the seed pod that I used for his face is, but it worked. It was just something I found while I was out for my morning walk.

While I was putting my things way, this little guy just decided to emerge from the pile of seeds and pods. His glasses as well as his mustache are seeds.

He's even sporting a backpack! Of course the hat is my creation ;)

This year, a cousin to last year's mountain man came to life. Even Christmas Creatures need family!!!

His hat is a horse chestnut seed and the white "ball" on top is another seed that I popped off of a tree in Texas. Look closely and you'll see that he's smoking a stogie just like his cousin.

Once again, a new creature emerged as I was putting away my bits and pieces.

 I just love how he came together. I still need to add his sticks.

Here you can see that his ears are really just a seed pod that opened up.

The gang in all their glory :)

I was looking at the group all together and it occurred to me that never in my wildest imagination did I think that I could create these little folk art creatures. I'm glad that I was a little jealous. The creatures give me a tremendous sense of joy as I put them together and even more as I look at them. My husband has insisted that they don't get put away with the other ornaments. He feels that that are too special and need to be seen all year long. That makes me very happy :)

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Monday Morning Inspiration

I thought I would take a little different twist on this week's Monday Morning Inspiration post. My sister-in-law is becoming a very lovely assistant as she seems to find some of the best material that she thinks I might enjoy and of course, if I enjoy it, you might as well :) She sent me a link to this article from the Seattle Times. The article showcases 5 books that anyone interested in fashion and style would enjoy. I have not read any of the books, but they all look especially interesting.
Here's the list.. Just click on the title and you will be taken to a link. Be sure to look for them at your local library too!
Women in Clothes
Women in Clothes [Cover]
Eula, Master of Twentieth Century Fashion Illustration

Worn Stories

Vogue and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute
Vogue Book Cover
Haute Couture Ateliers
Haute Couture Ateliers: The Artisans of Fashion

One last book that is not on the list, but I thought you might like is
A History of the Paper Pattern Industry

The book about Eula is on the top of my list! What a lovely book, and the illustrations are beautiful.
Hopefully you have a little money leftover from your holiday spending or maybe Santa left a little behind ;)
Happy Reading!

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Night Reflections

The biggest problem is...
We don't listen  to understand,
We listen to reply.

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Eating For Your Future

Well, Christmas is behind us and I hope that we all survived intact! I made my annual Christmas Creature for my husband's growing collection. I'll share those with you in another post. He was absolutely amazed with what I was able to come up with this year. It has become a very nice Christmas tradition. 
It seems that once Christmas is over, we are bombarded with commercials for weight loss products, gym memberships, and weight loss programs. But, as we all know, our health should be a priority on a daily basis and not just something we think about when we write out our New Year's resolutions.
I was very fortunate to take an incredible nutrition class while I was in school. Our professor had us approach the class as though we were our own client. We monitored our caloric intake and out take, vitamins,and minerals. It was a very comprehensive class and by the end of the semester, everyone had lost weight and many had decided to start following a vegetarian lifestyle.  I am by no means perfect with my diet, but the principles that I learned have stayed with me.
When I was told that I have moles on my retinas and that I have a high probability of cancer not only in my eyes, but in my colon, I decided that I will do all that I can in my power to lower my chances and hopefully prevent this from happening. The recipe I am sharing with you today is one that I found some time ago and I'm not sure where I found it, but it is PACKED with nutritional value. I have been eating this for a few years on an off and on basis. I am now eating it 3 times a week. I simply substitute one meal for the concoction. It's easy to mix up and I enjoy the taste. I've tried a number of other recipes, but this is by far my favorite.
Power Packed Green Smoothie

1/2 Avocado
1 Lime peeled
1/2 Cucumber peeled and sliced
2 to 3 cups of Kale
1 Tablespoon Flax Seed Oil
Sea Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients together in a food processor and mix well. You will end up with a very green mush as you see below. The mixture is tart but not at all slimy. Be aware that the lime does make it quite tart. I made this up for a friend of mine and she added some raw honey to the mixture, so you may want to try that if you don't like a tart taste.
I spoon the mixture into a glass and add a few nuts or seeds, grab a spoon and enjoy.
You may vary the greens. Try spinach, beet greens, or any other green that you might like. Variety is always good! I also like to use a combination like this one that comes from Earthbound Farm.

Throughout January, I will be posting recipes that are good for us, high in nutrients and even more important, taste good.
So here's to our health!!! May it not be something we only think about in January.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Sewaholic Robson Trench Coat Sew Along/Week 4

The final week of the sew along! The new post is up on the Sew News blog and you can find it HERE.
As you can see, my coat is not quite finished. I still need to add the buttons, buttonholes and the belt. But I am so very pleased with how it has turned out. The black cotton velvet accents the fabric perfectly. Even my husband has commented on what a great coat it is.
The buttons have been ordered, but I'm not quite sure if I want a belt with a buckle or a tie belt. Once I get the buttons on, I'll decide.
The written post is much more detailed than the video. In the post I talk about the sleeves and adding the sleeve tabs, the facings, belt loops and the buttonhole placement. In the video, I show you how to tie a perfect bow. I run into people all the time who tell me that they have a difficult time tying bows, so I thought you might like to learn how I tie my bows.
If you would like to take a look at the video, I've added it below.

For those of you who are saving the project for a later date, the videos have been attached to all 4 weeks. Here are links to;
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3 
Week 4
I did 2 extra posts on;

I hope you'll give the trench coat a try. It's a great pattern and I think you'll enjoy having the coat in your wardrobe.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday Morning Inspiration

Good Morning! and a very Happy Christmas week to you all :) 
I love details, those special little accents that set a garment apart and give it that oh so special touch. I came across this photo and fell in love. What a lovely accent on a jacket sleeve. This photo sent me on a search for more ideas and I found some that I thought were extra special. 
Look at this interesting sleeve. Just a straight sleeve with a pleat that has not been sewn down. The cuff is just a simple rectangle.
Simple, feminine, delicate and so pretty. Simple to do too!
 What a lovely cuff for a simple white shirt.
Now, you may need someone to help you with the tie, but how about adding a tie to a cuff rather than buttons.
 Cuffs on steroids, but fun!
 So simple, but how special is this?!!!
This is a cuff from a 19th century riding jacket. I think this would be pretty on any jacket or shirt. 
How about adding a lacing detail? 
 There's a lot going on with this cuff, but what a lovely accent.
What a fun idea! Rather than doing a placket, insert a zipper. 
This is a lovely idea for any t-shirt that you would like to add a little life to.
I have never thought of doing this. Use the button on the placket to give a slight roll to a cuff and hold it in place. Of course a little ribbon detail on the inside of the cuff and the placket makes it all the more interesting.
 And finally, a couple of remakes that I thought were rather fun. Cuffs as accent straps.
 Cuffs used as cap sleeves. Fun!
Just one lovely detail can make all the difference in a basic design.
Have a lovely week and be sure to take some time to do a little something special for yourself.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Night Reflections

The moon was half yesterday..but today it was more.The worst is over, and today I felt the energy I needed from the moon to shine. My mood is always dependent on the moon! And today I felt all so powerful and connected to all things. It's never the people around me, nor the things I do for they are repetitions and shadows of this repetitive life. It's always the moon that shines truth upon my skin and in my heart. For all show their truth to me under it's light. I am the moon. It holds me close.

No man is a failure who has friends.

                                                                                                It's a Wonderful Life

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A Video Tutorial On Finishing The Owl Pattern Weights

An early good morning from Chicago.

A number of you asked me about finishing the little owls that I made a couple of weeks ago for Thrifty Thursday, so I did a video to show the process. Now, it's the first video that my husband and I have made, so it's not exactly perfect. But I think that you will get the idea and it should help if you are having any issues.

Have fun making the pattern weights! I hope the video covers all of your questions.
May the little owls bring lots of wisdom to all of your sewing projects!

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Friday, December 19, 2014

The Sewaholic Robson Trench Sew Along

The next post for the Sewaholic Robson Trench Coat is up on the Sew News blog. It was posted rather late this afternoon and sadly, the video did not get attached. Hopefully, I will be able to get them to attach the video this upcoming Monday.
In this post I talk about a little different treatment of the shoulder seams than what is stated in the pattern. In the picture below, you see that I have sewn the seams on the outside of the coat. When you read the post, you'll see that it makes all the sense in the world to do this.
I also talk about the collar. When you lay the under collar over the top collar, you'll see that the top collar is larger. This is not a mistake and the top collar should not be cut down to match the under collar. I explain more about the collar in the post.
We talk about sewing the flaps and properly placing them on the coat, attaching the collar and sewing the shoulder tabs. I'm really pleased with how my coat is turning out. Can't wait to wear it!
You can find the post HERE. Again, my apologies for the missing video, but we should be able to have it up on Monday.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thrifty Thursday

Christmas is a week away!!!! But, there's still time to make up some very simple but lovely gifts, like mittens!
I found this free mitten pattern at www.fleecefun.com

There motto is rather cute, "Velvet is Pretentious, Fleece is Fun!" All of their patterns are free, and easy I might add, so be sure and take a look. You can find the mitten pattern HERE.
Here's the pair that I made. I used a lovely piece of wool fleece.
The pattern is VERY easy to download and there's even an instructional video on the website. So this would be great for anyone who is learning to sew. The pattern comes in a wide range of sizes from Child Small to Man Large, so you can cover everyone on your list. You will have 3 pattern pieces once you've downloaded the pattern. I used the Adult Woman pattern and I did have to tape a small portion on the mitten top pattern piece, but that was all the taping that was required.
I was able to achieve a very nice fit, but remember, my hands are very narrow and my wrists are quite small,
so I did need to do a little customizing to the pattern. But as you can see, it was quite easy to do. I just slipped the mitten on my hand and then pinned it in.
I did line mine with fleece, but a thinner piece of fleece. Worked out really well. When I walked the dogs last night, I decided to wear the mittens and give them a test run for warmth. Now keep in mind that I am always cold, so I am the perfect person to try things out for warmth. If I'm warm, everyone will be warm. The mittens passed the test!!!!
I plan to wear the mittens with one of my favorite coats. This is an old Claude Montana pattern. A friend gave the the lovely scarf, so I am all set!
One note about the mittens, they will not be good for driving as the fleece is quite slippery. But here's an idea. Notice that the palm of the pattern is in 2 pieces. You could do the top of the palm in a faux suede rather than the fleece and then you could actually use them as driving mitts.
As you can see, my Christmas sewing is not going so well, so far everything I've made I've kept for myself!!!! Oh well, Merry Christmas to me!!!!
Hope you can do a little Christmas sewing for yourself too :)

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