Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tuesday's Tips and More

Lit my first fire of the season yesterday. Warmed my soul, and the house. Another cold, gray day, just may need another fire :)

A few weeks ago, I did the first Tuesday Tips post. I don't plan on doing this each and every week, just when I have something that I think is worth sharing. I also asked if you might have a tip to share. Liese of Live Thread Studio shared a lovely tip on making your own lavender oil spray. She said that it is her go to sleep aide. Just spray a little on your pillow and drift blissfully off to sleep :) 

Lavender Oil Spray
50/50 cheap vodka and water.
For a measuring example;
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup water
lavender essential oil, use as many drops as needed for preferred level of fragrance. If by chance you don't care for lavender, any oil of your preference may be used.

Shake well before use.

Liese said that not only is it great on your pillow, it's great straight out of the bottle for small burns, and when mixed with a carrier oil, works on rashes for humans and dogs.  I just made up a batch, and it is fabulous! Thanks Liese :) 

I always enjoy hearing your stories, whether told to me, or that I find out on my own. As it turns out Liese has quite an inspiring story. You can read more about her, and her journey HERE

My husband loves Tic-Tacs, the little breath mints that come in a shaker like container. For years I have thrown the containers in the recycle bin with no thought of the possible organization tool they might be. A few weeks ago as I started to throw a container into the recycle bag, I stopped!, and realized that this was just the thing I needed.

What a wonderful box to organize all of my small snaps, hooks, etc. And because they snap shut, I can carry pins if I'm traveling.

The lid opening is perfect for shaking out just what you need.  

At this point, I have organized, hooks and snaps. I love that we have access to so many types of hooks, and now I can easily see what I have without digging through everything. 

A few years ago, I had gone to the American Sewing Expo in Novi to participate in the Passion For Fashion competition. I literally dumped all of my snaps, hooks and whatever else in a bag and that is where they remained. No longer!!! Now I just need to get my husband to eat a bunch of Tic-Tacs ;)

I need to figure out a nice container to store my tiny bins in. If you have an idea, I would love to hear it. Just email me at sewbussted@yahoo.com.
If you have a tip that you would like to share, email me as I would love to share it here on the blog. We can all use great tips!

Now for something rather magical...

While I was in Fredericksburg, VA, getting ready to teach a class at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo, I turned around and a lovely young woman was standing beside me. She said that she had come to give me a gift. I was rather shocked! She handed me a bag, and inside the bag was a lovely star. The front has beautiful little white sequins,  

And the back is a plain, heavy weight of linen.

On top of the star is a bell and a reminder to dream. The bell makes me think of the angel in the movie "It's A Wonderful Life." A bell to remind us that angels are ever present :)

Before she left, she handed me a card, but for the life of me, I can't find it. If by chance the bearer of this gift reads this post, please email me. 

After the same class ended, one of the ladies who took the class came up to me and said, "I too have a gift," and handed me this lovely tissue holder.

Once again, I was shocked and so taken that she had actually brought me a gift. The tissue holder is now transferred each time I change my purse. Just the sweetest gesture. When I look in my bag and see it, warmth comes over my soul. 

It's no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Emerson. There's a pond at the Heller Nature Center in Highland Park, IL. The nature center is a place of true joy for me. While Little Bit was still alive, it too brought her so much joy. She and Gracie would run and run to their heart's content. Now, Gracie and I go alone, but it still brings great joy. Whenever I come upon the pond, I think of Emerson. It's his kind of pond ;) 

I thought I would share his words on the gift of our days...

And finally, I came across this picture of President Johnson singing with his little dog. Little Bit loved to sing, and she especially loved when I would sing with her. Makes me think of the joy that she was :) 

May your day be filled with joy!

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Soup/Hearty Curried Lentil and Garbanzo Bean Vegetable Soup


That is, if you like lentils and curry :)

A friend stopped by after having a difficult day. I asked, "would you like a bowl of soup?" The reply, "did you make it?" "Yes."
"Then I would LOVE a bowl of soup!" Such a nice compliment :)

If I say so myself, this is a fantastic soup.

Begin with a large chopped onion. Saute in a little oil until translucent. Add 3 ribs of chopped celery, and saute until tender. Add 3 chopped cloves of garlic and saute for just another minute to bring out the flavor but not burn the garlic. 

*cook 1 cup of dried lentils in 4 cups of vegetable broth until tender. About 20 minutes.  
*cook wild rice.

Once lentils are tender, add 2 cups of sliced carrots to the pot.

2 cups of chopped kale.
1 14 oz. can of garbanzo beans drained and rinsed.
1 cup of cooked wild rice.
4 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste

Add 4 additional cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer until carrots and kale are tender.

Before serving, add juice of 1/2 lemon.

Ladle into bowls and top with fresh crumbled feta cheese. If you opt for a vegan version, then omit the cheese.

The soup is fantastic for leftover lunches. The recipe will make 8 hearty servings. The aroma will warm your soul :)

Hearty Curried Lentil and Garbanzo Bean Vegetable Soup

printable version


2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 large onion chopped
3 ribs celery chopped
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 cup dried lentils
8 cups vegetable broth
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups chopped kale
1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked wild rice
4 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and black pepper to taste
Juice  1/2 lemon
Crumbled feta cheese to top

Begin by rinsing dried lentils. Place in a large post and add 4 cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and cook until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil and saute onion until translucent. Add chopped celery and cook until tender. Add chopped garlic and saute another minute just bring out the flavor without burning.

Once lentils are tender, add chopped carrots, chopped kale, sauteed onion mixture, rinsed and drained garbanzo beans, cooked wild rice, curry powder, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and cook until vegetables are tender. 

Before serving, add fresh squeezed lemon juice. 

Ladle into bowls, and if you would like, top with crumbled feta cheese. Then savor the aroma and flavor!

This soup was a HUGE hit in my house. Hope you enjoy it too if you give it a try :)

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Wednesday Hello

Yesterday was a busy, busy day, a mammogram in the morning, followed by my aviation physical. Then, lots and lots of writing. Finally, off to see my niece in the evening about a project that she has been helping me with. I literally fell into bed last night!

Had a little time between dinner and heading out to do a little closet cleaning. Closet cleaning is one of those things that I kinda hate to do, at least when thinking about it. Always seems rather monumental. Then once I get started, it's like the best high ever! I will admit though that it's rather difficult to let go of things. But, I have come to a point that I can ask myself, "if I wear this, does it really represent how I want to present myself?" When I was growing up, clothes were kept until they were truly worn out, or I had out grown them. Even then, my mother would quite often turn pants into shorts to extend the life. T-shirts that had seen better days would be worn with pajama pants. That recycling spirit has remained with me, and I am grateful for it, but I have come to a point that sometimes it's just better to let something go. I once attended a play and realized that a piece I had given to a resale shop was being worn by the actress. I knew it was mine because of a small little tear near the hem. Not that all things given to a resale shop find a purpose, but that made me feel so very good about letting that piece go.

This Saturday, October 28, 2017, I will be speaking at the American Sewing Guild Luncheon and Fashion Show. My talk is on paper and I am in the process of memorizing it so that my delivery will be smooth. At least that is what I am aiming for :/ If I say so myself, it's a rather good speech ;) It's funny, heart warming, and thoughtful. I sent a copy to a friend of mine to critique. She read it to her husband, they both loved it. Nice :) I am going to ask someone to video the talk so that I can post it here on the blog and share it with all of you.   

Last Thursday I flew to Orlando to attend the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals annual conference. I chose to take the 2-day course on Illustrator and Photoshop. Whew, right over the top of my head! Actually, I learned more than I am giving myself credit for. One of the ladies in the class brought a wonderful book along with her that walks you step by step through projects on Illustrator. One of the other ladies told me about Photoshop Elements. I think that is a better place for me to begin as there is less to learn. 

I want to tell you about the lady who brought the Illustrator book to the class. Super interesting woman. Her business is Lightheart Gear and she makes tents and rain gear. Amazing! She has a blog which you can find HERE. The blog has lots of information on biking, hiking, and backpacking while biking. If you like to bike, hike, or both, I think you'll find her site to be quite interesting, and maybe even a little inspirational :) 

While I was away, I also learned a little something about myself. I have always known that I am quite shy. When I was a child, it would almost kill me to go anywhere where I would be left alone. I remember the car ride to church on Sunday mornings...my mother's speech would begin with, "now, you aren't going to cry when I take you to Sunday School, right?" I would agree, knowing full well that I would. Being the president of The American Opera Society of Chicago helped me so much. I had been the president of other organizations, but I was friends with the members, so the position wasn't so daunting. But with the American Opera Society, I had to conduct board meetings with powerful and influential women, and I had to be a gracious host at events. Neither of which was easy for me to do. Being quiet and observing is something that comes much more naturally for me. I think that is why I truly enjoy writing. 

I feel that when some who read the blog meet me, they think that I will be much more outgoing than I am in actuality. Please know that I am always thrilled to meet you, I'm just a little shy. 

Before I go, I thought I would share the fabric that I purchased while I was away. The first 2 pictures are a piece of a type of burnout velvet. Loved the colors!

This is a better picture of the piece. The background is very sheer. I think I may do a bias dress.

Found this gunmetal remnant. Someone asked what the fiber content is. I have no idea!  But it has a gorgeous drape. 

Then the piece to die for! It's actually a piece of navy blue fur. I just couldn't get my camera to pick up the true color. 

My friend Helen Haughey had Mendel Goldberg come from New York with her fabrics. There were SOOO many pieces that I would have liked to have had, but restraint won :)

Tomorrow, pants! Something rather fun, at least I think so :)

Have a wonderful day!

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Make a Sewing Caddy

Finding a fun little project that will also enhance your life is just the best! I made up my little sewing caddy and was immediately so happy that I did. Such a wonderful place to store everything you may need while sitting at the machine. My husband even thought it was a great little item.

You will need to cut;
1 rectangle 6 1/2" x 15"
3 rectangles 6 1/2" x 6"
1 rectangle 6 1/2" x 11"

If you would like to quilt your large rectangle, you will also need a piece of batting (I like wool batting the best) 6 1/2" x 15". Quilting the backing for the pockets really makes for a much nicer caddy, so please don't skip this step.

Check out the video below for my how to. Once again, I apologize for my weak voice. I feel a sore throat coming on, so it's a little quivery. 

For those of you who enjoy written instructions;

You will need a 5" x 7" acrylic document frame. I found mine HERE

Cut 1 rectangle 6 1/2" x 15". Back it with a piece of wool batting and quilt it.

Cut 3 rectangles 6 1/2" x 6". Press in half. 

Stack on top of each other leaving 1 1/4" at the top between each layer. To reduce bulk, the top 2 rectangles do not extend to the bottom. 

For the opposite side, cut 1 rectangle 6 1/2" x 11". Fold in half and press. Line up with the edge on the opposite end of the long rectangle. 

Baste the pockets to the large rectangle. Find the center and stitch from bottom to top on the 3 stacked pockets. 
Serge the lower edge to to give it a nice finish. 

Fold the large rectangle in half, fold up the bottom edge and stitch the sides with a 1/4" seam allowance.
Clip the corners and turn. 

And voila, you have a fabulous little caddy!

This little caddy can be made for a multitude of things, a desk organizer, maybe a place to keep paint brushes easily at hand. So get those creative juices going and sew up a storm!


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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Wednesday Showcase

It just occurred to me that I have an anniversary coming up...my very first ever blog post was written on October 20, 2009. Wow, 8 years ago! Eight...years...ago, it's rather sweet to think back about that day. I've told the story before, but it was my acupuncturist who encouraged me to begin doing something to share what I do. She was/is always so taken with whatever I wear to my appointments. I had met a woman from Austin at a knitting retreat who talked about her blog. Curious, I checked it out and decided to give it a try. Scared half to death, I had no idea what I was doing, or what I should say. 

The first rule of writing is to write what you know. That first post was about flying, not a word about sewing, or making. It felt safe. 

In 2010, I wrote a whopping 13 blog posts. But, good things happened that year, I was published in Threads magazine, and featured in a magazine published by Threads entitled, Teach Yourself To Sew. 

The best part of it all, connecting with so many of you :) From time to time I receive some of the most inspiring emails telling me how I have touched your life, inspired you, or just to encourage me to keep going. From the very bottom of my heart, 


Someone who has been a part of my sewing/creative journey is Becky of Trial Balloons. A wonderfully creative woman, I initially met her when I decided to take the plunge and participate in the Passion For Fashion competition at the American Sewing Expo. The contest was set up like a mini Project Runway Competition. We received our challenge on Saturday morning, and given $100 for materials. We then had until 7 that evening to work on our designs. The next day, we worked until 3 when our models returned for fittings. We had just an hour to make changes and then the judging would begin. Becky was our mentor, a.k.a., our Tim Gunn :) She has an incredible talent of being able to pull creativity out of a person who is under pressure.

As I drove to Kalamazoo last week to do the presentation and class for the American Sewing Guild group, Becky crossed my mind. You know how your mind wanders when you are driving and alone. I thought of the competition, Becky, and wondered how she was doing. And then, to my very pleasant surprise, she walked into the evening meeting! And even better, I found out that she would be taking the bag class the following day. It was during the class that I found out that she has a blog, Trial Balloons. Lucky me, lucky you! Be sure to check out her "About Me" profile for an explanation of the title of her blog.

So, here's Becky and me with her fabulous bag.

Becky pays such close attention to detail, like the bias trim on the inside of her vest below.

You'll find a wonderful tutorial about how to make a button band HERE

Check out this fabulous t-shirt. The inset is not a stripe. She actually pieced the design! 

Becky is a very prolific knitter. I have never seen anyone who can get something out of 1 skein of yarn better than she can. Be sure to scroll through the blog and check out all of her lovely knits.

As I scrolled through her blog, I came upon this dress that she did while on retreat at Design Outside the Lines. I loved the piece and then I read her story. It is so heartfelt, and something that many, if not all can relate to. You can find her story HERE.     

Becky loves to walk along the shores of Lake Michigan and collect stones. Love what she does with them.

I competed 3 times in the Passion For Fashion contest. Never won. The best I did was to win the People's Choice award for the piece below,

And 3rd Place for the Kiss inspired piece below. Look closely and you can see Becky in the background holding up the poster that was my inspiration.

But all in all, the best gift I was given was this small little stone from Becky.

The last time I participated in the contest, Becky had a stone for each of us, and she shared a story about expectations that has remained with me. The stone reminds me to pause and just enjoy the moment rather than being disappointed when things don't turn out as I had hoped. 

I'll leave you with this today;

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tuesday Tips

It is a spectacular day here in Chicago! So needed after the rainy weekend. A gift :) But...I feel a sore throat coming on, ugh. My acupuncturist's partner is a phenomenal herbalist and he makes what I call a potion, it's actually a tonic, called Cold and Flu Tonic. With the first sign of a sore throat, I begin taking a swig every few hours. You can find it HERE. It's quite potent, but works so well.

Karen sent a message after yesterday's post on Stephen Burrows and said that she has, of all things, a Stephen Burrows pattern. I had no idea! So, I decided to take a look, and here's what I found;

The shapes are quite basic, but now that you have seen what he did with them, the possibilities are endless for chopping up and color play. You can find all of these patterns HERE on Etsy. I did find a few on Ebay as well, but not as much of a selection as there was on Etsy. 

I purchased the pattern below.

I like the wrap top, but what really interested me was the cut of the skirt. Looking forward to making it up.

The shape of this pattern works well with how he drew his skirts. Look at the center illustration below, and then the 3rd piece from the left, the skirt with the red circle on the hip. Take note of how the skirt fits through the hips, but is flared at the hemline. Love this. 

I met up with a friend yesterday and she was wearing a fabulous pin. The leaves of the flower are leather that has been stitched. The swirly stamens are plastic wire. I plan to copy this as I loved it. 

While I was in Kalamazoo, one of the ladies had this little caddy sitting beside her machine. 

The front side had 6 little pockets, perfect for your seam ripper, a pen, scissors, and a needle can be stuck into the cloth.

The backside had a large pocket where she stored her phone. 

I am going to make one up today and I'll have a tutorial for you on Thursday. Such a great little item, especially for me as I have everything laid out so haphazardly on my sewing table. 

Last winter I worked with a massage therapist who really believes in the power of essential oils. She encouraged me to begin using 3 oils at night,

I use the Vitamin E oil on my feet and legs, the serenity oil on my forearms, and the breathe oil on my chest. What a difference it makes in how I sleep at night. On the occasion that I fall asleep before I apply the oils, I don't sleep as well. Then, the next morning, I'll remember that I forgot to apply the oil. The vitamin E oil I purchase from my local drugstore. The doTerra oils can be found at various sites. Just a little something I thought I would share as I think that a good night's rest is one of the best things in the world!  

Do you have a fun tip, or something that makes your life a little better, or easier? Let me know. I would love to feature it on the blog. If for some reason you can't leave a message, you are always welcome to email me at sewbussted@yahoo.com :)

Have a wonderful day!

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