Friday, March 30, 2018

April Showers Bring Umbrellas!!!

An umbrella is something most of us don't think about...UNTIL WE NEED ONE!!! There have been so many times that I have not looked at the weather before leaving home, only to be caught in the rain, then running into a drugstore just to purchase a crummy umbrella. And then there are the times that I have an umbrella, but it has been left in the car. 

The Haute Couture Club of Chicago will be doing an umbrella workshop after our April meeting, so I needed to get mine together in order to conduct the workshop. What a fun projectthis turned out to be!

I chose this sweet bird print for the outside of my umbrella.

But as usual, I couldn't leave well enough alone, and decided to line my umbrella. There are no instructions for lining the umbrella, but it isn't difficult to do.

Not only is it my favorite color, I love how the fabric gives the feeling of clouds.

I did do the strap so that my umbrella will close completely, but I just love how it looks when the folds are hanging out. Too pretty to just leave in the closet :)

The pattern is from My Little World and you can find the pattern as well as the umbrella frame HERE.

All the notions you will need.

 This is the kit I used for the umbrella frame.

To line the umbrella, rather than serge my seams as the pattern instructs, I pressed my seams open.

I laid the top and lining fabrics together and sewed all around the bottom. Once stitched, I clipped the seam allowance, and then opened one of the seams and turned the fabrics to the right side.   

I have not sprayed the surface of my umbrella to make it waterproof, but I will before using it.

The fabric came from the sweet little shop I have told you about, The Fabric Nook in Granby, Colorado. If by chance you like what I bought, give Tina a call. The bird fabric is from Hoffman Fabrics, New Leaf Stitches. The blue/green fabric is from Moda Fabrics, made in Japan, pattern #30150. If you do order the fabric from Tina, just tell her that it was the fabric that Rhonda purchased, she'll know what you are talking about :)

It was such a fun project, and I can't wait to use my new umbrella. who would have thought I would actually want it to rain?!!!

Here's to April showers :)

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This

Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Delicious Treat For Easter/ Champagne Carrot and Raisin Cake

There's a new word for people who are obsessed with a healthy diet, Orthorexia, at least it's new to me. The termed was first coined in 1997 by a physician to describe his own approach to food and his pattern of eating. Orthorexia has not officially been recognized as an eating disorder, but many healthcare workers and nutritionists have seen an up rise in patients who are so consumed with food purity and quality that they are restricting their diets in potentially dangerous ways. Well, that's not me!!! While I basically follow a vegetarian lifestyle, and I try to limit sugar and processed foods, I LOVE a piece of cake from time to time, and Easter has cake written all over it...at least for me :)

If you by chance are looking for something a little different for your Easter dinner feast, this is a cake that is easy to make and delicious. The basic recipe is straight off of a box of cake mix. I was initially lead to the cake as I hate to waste much of anything, and it always seems that when I have a dinner party, wine is left over. Quite often, I will pour left over wine in a baggie and freeze it. I love to cook mussels in leftover white wine, or Prosecco. I'll use red and white wine in pasta sauce mixes, and so on. This cake will use up a good bit of leftover white wine, or Prosecco. Prosecco is my preferred white wine. I love the delicate sparkle. Although Prosecco is not champagne, the cake could be made with leftover champagne, and I thought it a better title :) 

To begin, combine 1 cup of leftover white wine with 1/2 cup of raisins. Bring to a boil, turn heat off, leave lid on pot and allow the raisins to steam for 1/2 hour or more. They will plump up nicely. 

Drain the raisins and reserve the raisin liquor.

Sprinkle a small amount of the cake mix over the raisins to coat. This will keep them from falling to the bottom of the cake while baking. Set aside. 

Once the cake batter has been assembled, add 1 cup of shredded carrots, the raisins, 

And 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix 1/4 cup of chopped pecans, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. 

Grease and flour bundt pan and sprinkle a layer of chopped pecans over the bottom. Be generous!

Spoon half of the cake batter over the pecans. 

Sprinkle half of the sugar, pecan and cinnamon mixture over the cake batter. 

Pour remaining cake batter over the sugar mixture and then sprinkle the rest of the sugar mixture on top of the cake batter. 

Take a knife and swirl the sugar mixture through the batter being careful not to disturb the pecans on the bottom of the pan. 

While the cake is baking, make the glaze, using 1 stick of butter, 1/4 cup of water, and 1 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. The glaze will take on a pretty pale yellow color. 

Turn heat off and add 1/4 cup of white wine.  

Once cake has baked, remove from oven, and while still in the pan, spoon 2/3 of the glaze mixture over the cake. I like to take a wooden skewer and poke lots of little holes in the top of my cake prior to pouring on the glaze. 

Allow the cake to sit in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and place on serving dish. Spoon the rest of the glaze over the top of the cake. So pretty:) If you would like, for a prettier presentation, you could dust a little powdered sugar over the cake. 

Champagne Carrot and Raisin Cake
downloadable recipe


1 cup white wine(or sparkling white wine like Prosecco)
1/2 cup raisins

Cake Batter;
1 box yellow cake mix
1 3 oz. box instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup water 
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Reserved wine from raisins plus enough white wine to equal 1/2 cup
4 eggs
1 cup shredded carrots
Reserved raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon 

Sugar Streusel;
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans

1 stick of butter 
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup white wine(or sparkling wine)

Approximately 1/2 cup of chopped pecans for bottom of cake.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Baking Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Begin by placing raisins and wine in pot and bringing to a boil. Cover and allow to steam for at least 30 minutes to allow the raisins to plump up and absorb some of the wine. After the raisins have steamed, drain and reserve the liquor from the raisins. Sprinkle a small amount of the dry cake mix over the raisins, and stir to coat. Set both raisins and liquor aside.

Combine cake mix, pudding mix, vegetable oil, water, reserved liquor from raisins, and eggs. Beat well for 2 minutes to combine. Stir in shredded carrots, reserved raisins, and cinnamon.

Combine sugar, cinnamon and chopped pecans for sugar streusel.

Grease and flour bundt pan. Sprinkle chopped pecans over bottom of pan to coat. Pour half of cake batter over chopped pecans. Spoon half of the sugar streusel over the cake batter. Pour remaining cake batter over streusel, and finish with remaining streusal. Take knife and swirl the streusel mixture through the cake batter being careful not to disturb pecans on the bottom. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Make glaze. Combine butter, water and sugar in pan. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in white wine. Set aside until cake is removed from the oven.

Once cake has baked, remove from the oven. While still in the bundt pan, poke holes all over the top of the cake with a wooden skewer. Spoon 2/3 of the the glaze over cake. Allow the cake to remain in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and place on serving dish. Spoon remaining glaze over cake. 

The cake is best made a day ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. If you would like, sprinkle cake with powdered sugar. Sliced strawberries make a lovely accompaniment too!Serve and enjoy!  

If you are having guests for Easter, they will probably enjoy a piece of this cake for breakfast too!!!

Happy Easter Everyone!

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Special Wednesday Showcase/A Tribute

Last Saturday, March 24, 2018, a beautiful, creative part of our worldwide sewing community left this earth, Lorraine of Spotty Dog Social Club

I originally "met" her not long after she began blogging. She had begun to follow my blog, and so I did a Wednesday Showcase post, introducing her to all who did not yet know her. In her bio she says that she loves knitting, sewing, her dogs, and her husband, but I'm sure the order should have been changed a bit :).

Over the years, although her style changed, she grew more and more beautiful. Truly the mark of a well lived life. She discovered the patterns of Tina Givens and truly found her unique style. 

Her knitting was something to be envied. 

She also took some of the most beautiful pictures, which were not just pictures, but works of art.

In her quilting, you can see her lovely sense of humor, and her love for all things fun.

She took pride in her work, and wasn't ashamed to admit when she thought the work of her hands was spectacular.

Her love of all things lovely was even expressed in the most intimate of attire.  

Lorraine loved making pajamas, as well as making gifts for Christmas. Great care was given to even the tiniest details, like her sweet labels. 

There are few pictures I love more than those of a girl and her dog. This is Lorraine the day she adopted her sweet dog Nico, who incidentally, got them thrown out of their first day of doggie training!!! Nico, not Lorraine ;)

As I scrolled through her blog, I noticed that in so many of her pictures, Lorraine is looking up. Maybe in some way she knew. In her husband's tribute to her, on the day of her passing, he says, "Tonight there is a new star in the sky, brighter and more beautiful than any other." 

I hope that you will take some time to scroll through Lorraine's blog. I think that you will be inspired by her life, her work, and her beauty. While she left us far too soon, her life was truly an exquisite work of art.

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Something Sweet to Knit and Eat!

Do you ever take a long, hard look at your wardrobe and realize that something needs to be done? Well, I recently looked at my spring/summer wardrobe and it looked tired and in need of some fun new pieces. 

I subscribe to the Webs Yarn Store website. About a month ago, they showcased a yarn from Berroco called Medina, along with the knitted pullover you see below. I liked the pullover, so I decided to take a look and see what other colors the yarn came in. I love peaches, greens, blues, so the Rabat colorway was right up my alley. 

The video below shows the full top. The piece is really nothing more than rectangles. It's worked entirely in garter stitch, so although the pattern states that it's for an intermediate knitter, it's really quite easy. The pattern is free if you purchase 4 skeins of the Berroco Medina. To knit this tunic, you will need 4 or more skeins. You can find the information on getting the free pattern booklet HERE.  

My front and back are finished. I need to purchase a circular needle to do the sides. That's on my agenda for today :) I just can't wait to get this piece finished. I absolutely love the yarn. It has such a gorgeous drape, and it feels so soft against the skin. 

I added the picture below so you can see the fiber makeup of the yarn. 

Now for a little something sweet:)

I enjoy a cookie from time to time in the afternoon along with a cup of tea. In my book, there's nothing better than a homemade cookie. The cookie below is dark, rich and satisfying, so one will do the trick...usually!

I'm having a little fun with the name of the cookie as you can see below. It's really just a basic cookie dough recipe with the addition of cocoa powder, with chocolate and butterscotch morsels.  

Moose Drop Cookies
printable recipe

1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dark chocolate morsels
1 cup butterscotch morsels

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Combine butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Combine flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in chocolate and butterscotch morsels.

Drop by rounded tablespoon full onto ungreased cookie sheet, 2" apart. Bake in preheated oven for 8-11 minutes. Allow to cool. 
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies. 

**If you would like, 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts may be added to the dough before baking. 

Hope you enjoy the cookies!!!

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sleeves, Sleeves, Sleeves...It's a Workshop

Getting "back on the horse" can apply to so many aspects of our lives. I went skiing on Monday. It was a gorgeous day. The mountain was jammed with people as it is spring break for many across the country. I was coming down an intermediate run, and in the distance I saw a ski instructor with a very large class traversing the hill from a beginner run. I slowed up to give them time to pass. Evidently, there were some stragglers who had not been paying attention and suddenly realized that the class had left them behind. With that, one of the members of the class made a sudden turn, right in front of me. In avoiding her, I went off of the trail and flew into the trees. I knew I was going to hit hard, but luckily for me, the snow was deep, I was caught just inches from my head slamming into the tree. As it was, I had to dig myself out of a hole that was over knee deep. I must have fallen 5 more times just trying to dig myself out. I'm heading out today to get back on that proverbial horse :/


I am so very excited about a class that I will be teaching in Chicago on Saturday, April 21, 2018. It will be an entire day of drafting sleeves!!! My favorite thing :)

Here's all of the information; 

As you can see, you do not need to be an American Sewing Guild member to join the class, but it's a great group of ladies, so why not join? :) 

Supplies needed for the class;

*1 roll of white paper
*18” clear ruler
*1 black pen
*1 red pen ( a Sharpie will be fine. It just needs to have a fine point)
*Paper scissors
*Front and back bodice from a t-shirt pattern
*Sleeve from a t-shirt pattern
*scotch tape

I purchase my paper from an office supply store. It's called banner paper and it comes in a 30" wide, by 52 ft. long roll. I am a big fan of drafting with white paper as it's easy to see through when layering 1 pattern piece over another. 

It's important that the t-shirt pattern be a basic pattern. You can find a great pattern at Londa's Creative Sewing. The pattern used for drafting should have the basic round neckline, and a straight sleeve. For the drafting exercises, the sleeve, as well as the front and back bodice patterns need to have all seam allowances removed, and the pattern transferred to poster board. Having a hard pattern to trace around makes all the difference in the world.  

If you are interested in taking the class, you can find all of the info as well as links to the registration form HERE

Hope to see you in Chicago!!!

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

I'm an Ambassador for Olfa!

Now this is not something you've seen from me in a while...2 blog posts in a row, WOOHOO!!!!

I had the most amazing day yesterday. It began with a note to a former exchange student who wanted my advice on some life issues. Then, I received a text message from a favorite little gal who shared with me that she had been accepted in the master's degree program that she had applied for. I decided that a return message would not do, so I gave her a call. She told me that I was one of the very first to know the news. Finally, another young woman did a lovely post on Instagram in honor of International Women's Day, talking about the amazing women who have made a difference in her life, and low and behold, my picture was in the mix. Such an honor.

It goes without saying, but I have had some very low moments over the past few months. A few weeks ago, I happened upon this scripture verse,

He gives a home to the woman who could not give birth, and makes her the mother of children. 
Psalms 113:9

The verse felt like a promise, a gift, at least to me. I wrote it down in my book of quotes, and I was reminded of it yesterday. Isn't it interesting how something rather insignificant to one can mean so much to another? :)

So....my big news!!!!

I was chosen to be an ambassador for Olfa products. Amazing!!! 

I was sent a gift of their brand new products, turquoise and pink cutting mats, along with a fun pink rotary cutter. The new line is called Splash. Hey, we can all use a little color and fun in our days. I'm a little partial to the turquoise mat as it is my favorite color!!!

The new rotary cutters come in 3 fun colors, pink as you see below, purple and turquoise. You can see them all HERE

One of my favorite Olfa products is my great big 24"x36" cutting mat. I'm hoping to add the 35"x70" mat to my collection. Both mats are fabulous for cutting out larger projects.

I am not becoming a quilter, but from time to time I will do a quilting project. Although, for all of you amazing quilters out there, I can hardly call this project a quilting project. 

A number of years ago, I came across this great panel piece, but it was in a light mint green. I made it up and gave it to a couple of friends who were having babies. They LOVED them and used them as a way to teach the alphabet. Three friends are having babies, and I wanted to do something special. As luck would have it, I came across the same panel print, but in red. If by chance you are interested, I found it HERE on Fabric.com.

I was in Colorado and had the chance to pop into one of my favorite little stores, The Fabric Nook. You may remember the interview I did with Tina, the owner. Such a delightful lady :) Anyway, she helped me with the backing and the binding for my project. This will be my first project using my new Olfa mat and cutter. 

Olfa has a wonderful new blog. You can find it HERE. Each month they will be featuring a different designer as well as a special project. If you would like to check out the list of designers and ambassadors, you can find that post HERE. I have some fun things planned, one will incorporate the airplane. Should be fun!

Happy Friday!

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This

Thursday, March 8, 2018


The only way I can begin today is with...


Some days are just whew kinda days. We all have them, can't avoid them. My mother has been quite ill for some time now, and in the hospital for over 6 weeks. Although she is not completely out of the woods, it looks like she will be going home tomorrow. Hopefully being home, and a change of scenery will help her to make the final turn around. As with any story, there are many layers to what has happened. I also find it interesting just how deeply this has all affected me. Events that happened when I was 14, 15 years old have all come back as if they are being played out in living color. My husband has been my rock. I'll share something he told me as I think many of us need to be reminded from time to time...

You can't make sick people well 
By making well people sick.

I have some exciting news to share, but rather than share it in this post, I'll do another post later today. It involves some fun new toys, and an ambassadorship. Now who would ever think of me as an ambassador???? :)

Have a lovely day!

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This

Sunday, March 4, 2018