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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Monday, October 30, 2017

Monday Morning Inspiration/Not Your Grandmother's Fur

Monday is beginning on a rather gray note here in Chicago. Rain is supposed to move in. Gray days are great days to do a little cleaning, so always a silver lining :) 

Last Saturday, I was so honored to be the guest speaker for the Chicago Area American Sewing Guild Annual Fashion Show. I had hoped to video the talk, but the room was rather loud, tables being cleared, ladies getting ready for the fashion show. Some of you expressed that you would like to hear it, so I will video the talk. It won't be the same, but at least you'll have the opportunity to hear it :)

This upcoming Saturday, I will be in Indianapolis, Indiana. speaking at the American Sewing Guild Annual Meeting. One of the topics will be on repurposing fur. I did this for the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in both Schaumburg, IL and Fredricksburg, VA. Everyone who attended the classes loved them. So nice :) One of the questions that was asked was about where to find inspiration. I've been working with fur for years, so ideas come naturally to me. But, I can understand how redesigning a fur could be rather daunting. So I decided to take a ride around Pinterest. I don't know about you, but that's exactly how I feel when I begin to look around Pinterest, it feels a little like a carnival ride, and I always walk away wondering how I got from one place to the next! 

I pulled out a few ideas that I especially liked.
Mixing real or faux fur with other materials, at least for me, makes the fur so much more interesting.

Here's an idea where those of you who have embroidery machines could put them to use. Embroider insets to stretch the amount of fur you have and create something spectacular.  

Leather is always a great resource for mixing with fur.

I think this is a fabulous example of mixing fur, trim, and wool for a spectacular outcome.

Many of us end up with a mink stole and have no idea of what to do with it. Love the idea of using it as a yoke, collar and cuffs mixed with wool, or tapestry. 

Another example of mixing fur with leather. This is snakeskin and not for everyone, but an embossed leather would be beautiful.

This is something that I had never thought of, but using a lace overlay on wool and then adding fur accents. 

Some fur trim mixed with velvet makes an amazing coat.

While this would not be a warm piece, I do like the idea of using the fur with 2 other types of materials. I just wouldn't use the open weave material. I need to be warm!

Another idea for when you just have bits and pieces.

Quite often, the shoulder area of a fur is no longer usable, but the bottom portion is in great shape. Mix it with a beautiful piece of tapestry or wool.

A spectacular collar with bits and pieces of fur made into a striking floral branch. So pretty. This would be a great piece to do with faux fur.

And finally, don't be afraid to mix furs, types and colors.

All of these ideas can easily be recreated with faux fur. I have a full length faux fur that I just can't seem to give away. A friend of mine gave me yards and yards of trim that she found on Ebay. I've decided to cut the fur apart and use the trim to make sections. Should be fun!

So now you see that the sky is the limit whether you are using faux fur, or the real thing. Just mix it with another material and have fun.

Have a great week!

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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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Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday Morning Inspiration/Do You Wear Red?

The week is beginning on a quiet note. There's a soft rain falling, gray skies, the feeling of a hush over the city...but then I am not commuting to a job. I'm sure there are so many who are stuck in traffic, arriving to their office drenched, and beginning the week on a rather sour note. So all the more I feel fortunate to begin the day with you, quietly and peacefully :)

When I opened my email this morning, there was a Bloglovin sponsored post about the 10 must need red sweaters for the fall/winter season. I didn't like any of them, but not the point. The article did peek my curiosity though about the color red. Do you like to wear the color red? For me, sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't. 

The color red attracts attention more than any other color. It signifies a pioneering spirit and leadership qualities, promoting ambition and determination. The color also represents a strong will and can give confidence to those who are shy. 

The negative aspects of the color are that it also represents, anger(seeing red), aggression, and danger.

In eastern cultures, red represents good luck and was traditionally worn at marriage ceremonies. While the Indian culture views red as the color of purity, it too is traditionally worn in wedding garments.

Since October is the month of the pant, I thought we could take a look at a few ways to wear red pants.

A great way to tone down the color is to pair it with neutrals.

Pair them with a neutral plaid and a dark layer.

Pair a great pair of red slacks with a denim shirt.

Red jeans always look great paired with denim and animal print.

Black and white is always cute with a pair of red pants. Take note of the black trim around the hem of Audrey Hepburn's pants.

I especially love red paired with turquoise. Tone it down with a navy jacket.

If you are feeling a little bolder, go for a lavender mix.

And then, if you feel the need to slay the world, go for it in red from top to bottom!

Don't be afraid to add a little color to your wardrobe and have some fun!

Once last little tidbit...
Red also enhances human metabolism. 
Nice to know :)

Have a great week!

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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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