Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday Morning Inspiration/Great Ideas

To start off the new week, I thought I would share a few pieces that I've found which I think are quite inspirational. Of course, I dream of doing them all, but even if I just adopt one into a garment, then that's a good thing too :)

I absolutely adore this skirt and how easy it would be to do. The skirt is just an a-line skirt with an added pleat, and of course a zipper. 

The pleated detail on this skirt is so pretty.
I tried to find the website that this jacket came from, but no luck. This is just amazing!

 Here's another raglan sleeve with great seam details. 


The next time I make a raglan sleeved garment, I want to give this a try. What a fun peek-a-boo treatment.

The neckline on this jacket is wonderful. Look closely, the princess line develops into a notched collar.

Now for a little draping inspiration.
Love how the drape folds into a pleat.

From Haider Ackermann.

Such a pretty back.

Another interesting piece from Haider Ackermann.

A subtle, but incredible pocket detail. Would be great color blocked.

Another amazing pocket detail. I think I have to figure this one out!

And finally, just because it is just-so-pretty.

 Isn't this the most incredible jacket?!!!

I hope this has made for an awe inspiring start to the week!
Happy Monday :)

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Night Reflections/The Good Samaritan

"You're always the good Samaritan."

When I have a number of very large items to wash, I like to head to the laundromat. The machines are large and the job gets finished in record time. I always take something to read, a knitting project, or just plan to check emails, so I have plenty to keep me busy. 
My husband dropped me off and I told him when I thought I would be finished. When he returned, he found me talking and helping someone fold their clothes. While I was sitting there waiting for my things to dry, I noticed that this woman was having a rather difficult time with her laundry. She had not said anything, but I could see that it was all rather overwhelming, so I offered to help fold. At first she refused, but I insisted. She told me that her husband usually does their laundry, but he had been injured, so she had to do it. She just couldn't believe that I would help. I had nothing better to do, and besides that, I enjoy folding. As we folded, she told me about her life, her dog, and even her dreams. The time passed quickly, and I could see that her spirit changed, she became happy. 

My husband and I had been out skiing for the day. During the day, he noticed that I had stopped to help a number of people who had fallen. At this point in my life, I ski well, but that was not always the case. So when I can help, pick up poles, help someone get up, or just make sure that they are okay, I feel like I am giving back to those nameless people who helped me along the way.
At the end of the day, as we were walking to our car, we passed a man who was balancing skis on his shoulder, trying to carry his son's skis in his other hand and hold his son's hand all at the same time. I walked over and asked where they were parked and asked if I could help. He thanked me and said, it was okay, but I could see that it wasn't so I just took the son's skis from his hand and said, "now you can hold on to your son." He was grateful. When we reached his car, I gave back the skis. As we walked away, it was then that my husband said, "you're always the good Samaritan."

Many years ago now, someone very close to me did the unthinkable. The experience changed my life and not in a positive way. I was broken and confused. After a number of years, I was able to find the grace to forgive. I made contact, but learned that just because you forgive, it doesn't mean that the person who has harmed you will really want forgiveness, which is fine, because forgiveness is not for the one who has harmed, but for the one was harmed. 
During the brief time that I tried to have a relationship with this person, I was introduced to the man who would become my husband. I have always felt that my husband was the gift I received for stepping out and trying to do what I thought to be the right thing.

I do not see myself as a good Samaritan. There have been so many times that I have missed opportunities that I have regretted not taking, but as my husband and I walked back to our car at the ski hill, I told him that I believe that when we take the time to help another, be it with their load or with a pain that may be in their heart, it always comes back to us. After all, he came to me because I reached out to another. 

If you think about the story of the good Samaritan, take note that we are never told his name, he is only known by what he did. He went out of his way to help the man who had been beaten. Did he ever receive a thank you? I don't think so, and that really isn't the point, but he has gone down in history as being a hero. When we step away from what's comfortable and easy, when we try to help, or do the right thing, there's always a reward. The reward may not be immediate, and it will rarely come from the person who was helped, but in time it does come back to us, and sometimes in the form of a loving and loyal husband. 

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Sunday's Supper/Fettuccine with Walnuts, Lemon and Herbs

Happy Sunday All! I'm quite early with this post today, and it may be a good thing as it will give you time to pop over to the store and pick up any ingredients that you don't have and make this pasta for yourself. Trust me, your mouth will be happy if you do :) Aromatic herbs, lemon and walnuts over pasta? YUM!!!
The recipe that I'm sharing today comes from a very interesting website called, Not Without Salt. The blog is written by Ashley who began her career plating desserts at Spago in Beverly Hills. On her way to becoming a pastry chef, she found out she was pregnant, and life changed. Ashley believes that good food is simple, and her blog is about helping us eat well and enjoy the process of cooking. Her posts are beautifully written. 
This pasta is so easy to make and there are only a few ingredients, but the flavor almost jumps out of the bowl.
The recipe that is posted was adapted from a recipe found on another website, so changes are easy to make based on your tastes. Once again, I made a few changes.
You can find the recipe HERE, and my changes are below. 
*I used 2 cups of chopped parsley rather than just 1.
*Rather than just the rosemary, I used a mix of fresh rosemary and thyme.
*I added broccoli to my pasta
*I used Romano rather than Parmesan cheese. I like the sharper taste of Romano cheese.
*And finally, I added a little of my red pepper mix. I like to grow Habeneros, Cayenne, and Jalapenos in the summer. Once they are harvested, I let them dry and then I grind them down to use as seasoning.     
The fresh herbs and the grated lemon rind smelled heavenly as they cooked. 
When I add broccoli to my pasta, I like to add the broccoli to the boiling pasta 2 minutes before the pasta is ready to drain. Works perfectly. The broccoli is steamed and yet still has a bit of a crunch. 
All the ingredients have been combined and the pasta is ready to serve. 
My husband said that the addition of the walnuts made the pasta all the more special.
This is a pasta that not only your family will enjoy, but it would be lovely for a dinner party as well. In fact, I don't think anyone would miss not having meat. The pasta would be great paired with the Tomato and Roasted Lemon Salad that I posted HERE.

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thrifty Thursday/I-Pad Stand

Like a child waiting for Christmas, I have seen SO excited all week as I've waited to share this little item with you. I make a lot of wonderful things, but this has to be my favorite in quite some time.
A funny little story, my husband gave me an I-pad for my birthday a few years ago. It's a very nice I-Pad, but I didn't see why I really needed it, so it sat in the box for a very long time. Finally, I needed to do some training on a new GPS system for aviation and it required the use of an I-Pad. Finally the thing came out of the box, very reluctantly I might add. I now love my I-Pad and I wonder why it took me so long to start using it. Technology...I have kicked and screamed with every new step, and then once I use it, I'm hooked :)
As I've shared in other posts, I especially enjoy listening to podcasts, interviews, TedTalks, audio books, all sorts of things while I am in my studio. The I-pad is perfect for this. The problem that I've had is that I needed a stand. I'm forever trying to prop it up. 
Thanks to a very inventive Australian, I now have a super cute I-Pad stand.     

Here's the I-Pad stand that Teresa From Down Under made. So cute :)

Notice that hers has a sweet little flower on the back. I wanted a cleaner finish to my stand, so I eliminated the flower and sewed my flap so that it is hidden inside the pyramid.

Here's the video tutorial. 

Rather than leave the flap on the outside of the stand, once the center seam and the end seams were sewn, I left the bag on the wrong side. I then folded the top as you see below. The center seam is facing up. 

I then folded 1 of the flap ends back, and pressed on the folded edge.

I stitched across where I pressed the flap back, and clipped off the point of the flap. Once this was done, I then turned the bag to the right side and completed the bag as you see in the video.

My I-Pad sits so nicely in the cradle.

*One last change that I made* In the video, you'll see that she just sewed 1 stitching line between the pyramid and the edge that holds the I-Pad. I actually sewed in 3 stitching lines about 1/8" apart. I wanted an actual channel for my I-Pad to sit in. It seems to be a little more secure, at least to me.

You will need to cut an 18 1/2" x 12" rectangle to make the pyramid. You'll need to print out the pattern for the cardboard base. A note on the base, 
1. I increased my base 1/2" on either side and I also increased the length by 1/2".
2. I used a heavy weight chip board for my base. You can find chip board at an art supply store.
Be sure to follow the instructions and add lentils are rice once the top portion has been stuffed. I used about 3/4 of a bag of lentils in my pyramid. Once I had the lentils in, I then slid in my chip board and rearranged the lentils. Makes for a very sturdy piece.

This is something that just about anyone might enjoy receiving, so great fro gifts, especially your fellow sewing friends. 
You can find the tutorial HERE, and the free base pattern HERE
Have fun!
I now smile every time I go into my studio :)
By the way, the weather man was super wrong, no snow, YEA!!! But poor Indiana was clobbered. Hope any of you who live in Indiana are safe and warm. 

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Wednesday Showcase

Old Man Winter has decided to let us know that he isn't finished with us yet. We're expecting anywhere from 3" to 15" of snow today. Hey, I love snow, but 15"!!!!, all in one day...OMG!!! At least I have a cozy day planned, although, if we do get the amount of snow they are forecasting, my husband and I will be doing a LOT of shoveling this evening. I guess I had better enjoy the quiet while I can :)

I'm going to do a little different take on The Wednesday Showcase today. I received a comment from VintageThrifter51. When someone new comments, I always try and see if they have a blog, and check out what they do. Her link took me to an interesting blog called Refashion Co-op. It's quite an interesting group. They came together with a passion for recycled and upclycled clothing. What I especially liked as I went through the blog is that this isn't about make it in a minute clothing. They are really doing some very interesting things. 
Here are a few examples;
Such a cute top.
This jean jacket is now over the top cute. Appeals to the cowgirl in me :)
Love how she saved the dress and made it into something so chic. 
Such a simple, but great idea.
And it's not just about sewing, a few do some wonderful jewelry makeovers. Who would have thought that those earrings would be the inspiration for that beautiful necklace?
There are 100 authors who share their ideas, so the site is always fresh and new. I think it's a great place to find some wonderful inspiration. Check it out... http://refashionco-op.blogspot.com/  

Up next is a fairly new website, well at least new to me, Miss Always Late To The Party :) I decided to include it today, just in case some of you are like me and have missed it.
The site is called The Foldline. It seems that it is a little Pattern Review and a little Artisan's Square combined. 

What can I do on The Fold Line?
  • Chat in the forum, ask questions about sewing, make friends, share your projects and organise local meet-ups
  • Search a growing database of over 3000 sewing patterns (independent designers and big companies)
  • Read sewing pattern reviews
  • Add sewing patterns you want to make to a wishlist
  • Add sewing patterns you own to a library
  • Record your pattern reviews
  • Add and search fabric shops all over the world
  • Discover pattern designers and bloggers and follow their activity
  • Keep up to date with sewing events, fairs and meet ups with our Social Calendar
  • Win prizes with regular competitions on our blog
  • Sign up to our weekly newsletter and Sew Reporter

What is the Community?

It’s FREE and always will be! Joining the community means you get your own profile with a user name, log in details and a news feed. Don’t forget you also get free PDF patternswhen you sign up too!
You can make friends with other sewing enthusiasts, follow your favourite pattern designers and bloggers, keeping up to date with all their news!
You can also talk in the forum about your favorite fabric shop or ask for help with a sewing technique.

Check it out. Pattern Review and Artisan's Square may be all you need, and then again, maybe an added forum would be fun too.

So that's it for today. May your day be filled with lots of inspiration and no snow shoveling!!! I'm afraid that's wishful thinking on my part ;)

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Master Sewing and Design Certification/Making a Triangle Shaped Bound Buttonhole

For the Master Sewing and Design Certification Program, you must demonstrate that you know how to make a bound buttonhole. Rather than walk you through making a typical bound buttonhole, I decided to make it a little more fun and show you how to make a triangular shaped bound buttonhole. They are fun to make, and surprisingly easy. Once you master making the buttonhole, there are lots of design possibilities.

I did a video tutorial for you on how to make a triangle shaped bound buttonhole. I hope that it explains the process and that you have great success in making your own. If you would like for me to demonstrate a typical bound buttonhole, I'll be happy to do so. Just let me know in the comment section. They really aren't as scary as we've been lead to believe.
Enjoy the video!

For those of you who may be wondering about the Master Sewing and Design Certification Program, you can read about it HERE.

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Dream To Seam/An Interview with Ralph Rucci

"When I wasn't making a dollar, I was still a designer, it's the essence of who I am."

I found this video after I posted this morning's inspiration piece. It's long, but it's something you can put on and just listen to as you do other things. I think you'll enjoy it.

Dream To Seam - Ralph Rucci from modaCYCLE on Vimeo.

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Monday Morning Inspiration/Chado Ralph Rucci

Today's post was inspired by our same friend who brought us the info on the free Metropolitan Museum books that I posted last week. So a quick, Thanks Miss P!!!, before we get started.

Chado Ralph Rucci has debuted a new collection, and I could not be more excited! It's museum ready and it has yet to hit the stores. I pulled out a few of the pieces that I especially loved. The last dress posted below is absolutely incredible. It's a very black collection, so be sure to look closely to see the details. If you would like to see more, take a look HERE

As it turns out, when Ralph left his label in 2014, he had no intention of returning, but he said that people were begging him to do so. I'm glad the right people begged :) We can only hope that Vogue Patterns will also be successful in having him return to the pattern market. 
Happy Monday All!

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunday Night Reflections

You don't have to win
to be a champion.

In 1988, a young man went to Calgary, Canada with no funding, substandard equipment, finished last, and became a hero.
Micheal Edwards dreamed of going to the Olympics, the impossible dream for most. But, he made the impossible happen. What's interesting is that few remember who won the medals, but we remember the man who finished last. We remember "Eddie The Eagle," the heroic failure. 

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Sunday's Supper/Mushroom, Kale and Wild Rice Casserole

I love going through Pinterest and finding dishes that look so good that I can almost taste them right through the screen. In fact, if I'm hungry, I'll pin recipe after recipe. Sometimes I look back and wonder what I was thinking ;) 
When I saw the recipe that I'm sharing today, I was hungry, but I didn't have time to make it at that point. Well, my wait was rewarded as this is a delicious meal. It's a little rich, as it includes butter, cream, and cheese. Oh well, a little butter, cream, and cheese is a good thing, every once in a  while :)
The picture below is from The Kitchen Paper website. Doesn't this look good?!!
And here's mine.
Full of mushrooms and kale!
I made just a few small changes. 
The recipe says to cut your onions into thin rings. I chopped my onions. 
I used a smoked Gruyere cheese. I really like the smoked flavor. If by chance you can't get Gruyere, mozzarella would be a fine substitute.
The recipe calls for fresh oregano. I forgot to buy fresh oregano, and I didn't have any dried oregano, so I substituted Herbs de Provence.  I think I might like the flavor better.
The recipe is fairly large, so rather than putting the entire amount into 1 large casserole dish, I divided into 2 and put 1 in the freezer for another time. I love cooking once and having multiple meals :)  
This is a dish you can make as a main course, or a side dish. If you are having someone come for dinner who is a vegetarian, this dish coupled with a salad will make them quite happy. And then serve it to the rest of your guests as a side dish. 
You can find a printable version of the recipe HERE
Hope you enjoy it!

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Thrifty Thursday/Tites Mains Japanese Inspired Twisted T-Shirt

Yep, it's Saturday, and yep, I'm behind, but I wanted to share a new pattern that's super easy to make and lots of fun to wear.
A while back, I introduced you to Tites Mains, a talented young woman who lives in France. She posted a brand new pattern this week. I love asymmetrical tops that drape, so I decided to download the free pattern and give it a try.
Here's a picture of her in her top. 
Other than the fact that I like draped, asymmetrical tops, I also liked the fact that it was designed to be made out of a woven fabric. The top goes together in a snap as there are only 3 seams. 
Below is the taped together PDF pattern. 
I made a couple of changes to the pattern. If you'll notice, there's a V-neck, I rounded mine,
Also notice that there is a point at the top of the pattern. You can see a line running from the point to the hem. This is a fold line and becomes the side of the top once the piece is folded. 
The point will be under the arm once the arm has been put through the opening that will basically be the sleeve. The problem with the point is that it is difficult to turn and finish. 
I simply folded the fabric in half on the fold line and then trimmed the point away. Now the edge will be easy to finish. 
Here's the top folded on the fold line prior to be sewn together. You can see that there is only 1 side seam and 2 shoulder seams. One side has more of a traditional sleeve and the other side has notches that indicate where the stitching should stop for the arm opening.  
Since the pattern was designed for a woven fabric, I decided to use a suede cloth. I wish there was touch-o-vision as this is the most wonderful to touch fabric. It can be steamed, but not pressed, so I topstitched the seams in place.  
The shoulder seam was topstitched and then I ran the stitching into the and around the armhole opening. 
 My finished top.
The back.
Rather than turn and stitch the neckline as she suggested, I did a bias binding. I think it makes a nicer finish.
And because we all like to look on the inside :)
The pattern is labeled as a medium to large. I feel that it is more of a small to medium. If you make it out of a knit fabric, then it could fit a large. So PLEASE measure the pattern prior to cutting to determine if the pattern as it is will fit you.
You can find the pattern for free HERE on the Craftsy website. I will be making more as it's super easy to make and easy to wear. 

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