Monday, April 30, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Maria Pinto Spring

It's going to be 72 degrees in Chicago today!!! As much as I love winter, and all it has to offer, I'm ready to wear lighter clothes, and see spring flowers. Last week, I took Gracie for a long walk, and I just couldn't help myself, snapping so many pictures. At one point, Gracie was a little put out with me as she was tired of stopping so often ;) 

The little crocus on the far right is just so spectacular!

In honor of spring, spring colors, and spring clothes, I decided to take a look at what Maria Pinto is showing. 

I love the fresh, firey red of the top and coat mixed with the denim skirt. I especially like matching the coat to the top. We've gotten away from matchy, matchy things, but I like it! Time for it to come back, at least in my opinion :)

So often, I see the mesh, open weave fabrics, and for some reason, I'm always stumped. The piece on the left is actually a coat over a dress. You can see a better picture of the coat HERE. The middle piece, my favorite, is just an overdress. And then finally the mesh cape. Fun ideas.

I am in love with this skirt. This is on my 'to be copied' list. 

This top is quite simple, but I like the boldness of the sleeves and the sweet ties. And then, stripes are always nice this time of year.

Love the color of the jacket!!! Take note of the sleeves. They are a little exaggerated, but really pretty. 

And finally, this is just an 8-gore skirt, but cut in such an interesting way. Look closely at the hem of the red skirt and you'll see that extra godets have been added. Talk about a swish factor!

Hope that wherever you are there's something about your day that will make you smile :)

Happy Monday!

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

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Fun With Sneakers

I made a fabulous soup this past week that I will share, but my time is a little short this morning as I am taking a class this weekend. So look for the soup recipe on Tuesday.

A friend of mine sent me a note about a leather sneaker class that was being offered at The Chicago School of Shoemaking and Leather Arts. I have wanted to take a class, but I haven't made it a priority, so my desire continued to be placed on the back burner. When my friend told me that she was taking the leather sneaker class and asked if I would join her, I said, "Sure!," and I am SOOOO happy that I did.  

I did a little research before I went to the class, but just wasn't sure about what I would like to do. When I arrived, the sample pictured below grabbed me, and that was it! Loved the design.

Below is a sneak peek at what I am doing. When  I arrived, there was a table full of leathers to choose from. I vacillated between a red crocodile embossed leather and the teal blue crocodile embossed leather that you see below. I went with the teal blue, after all it is my favorite color :)

You're seeing the sides of my shoes and the tongue. In the background you see the inspiration sneaker. So today I will be sewing the shoes all together. Can't wait to see them all come together. 

I'm off to get dressed and head out for a super fun day! 
I'll post the finished shoes tomorrow.

Happy Sunday!

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Sleeves On Saturdays Hits The Road

Last Saturday I had the the opportunity to spend the day teaching a class on sleeve design. And guess what?!!!, I learned something too! Actually, as we were going through the drafting of a particular sleeve, I realized other design possibilities, and I can't wait to give it a try. But today, I wanted to share a few of the pieces I prepared for the class. You've seen them before, but I think it's always fun to see them in other fabrics and maybe with a little bit of a different twist. 

For all of the tops that I put together, I used Londa's Creative Threads Terrific T pattern. This pattern makes a wonderful block to use as a foundation for any design you might like to do in knits. There is a darted and non-darted version.

What I suggest is to make the top up and adjust the fitting. Once you are happy with the fit, remove all of the seam allowances, and then transfer the pattern to poster board. The reason for removing the seam allowances is that it can become quite confusing once you have done your design as to where seam allowance should be added, and where it should not. So if you remove the seams from your block, once you have made design changes, you'll know to add seam allowance to each seam. No confusion :)
This is going to be my go to top for the summer. I just love the design and the ease of wear. With this top, I did a boat neck neckline, front and back. 

This was the original top I did for the blog. You can find all of the instructions HERE. With the original top, I did a v-neck opening in the back. 

This is one of my favorites, the Draped Cowl Sleeve. In an upcoming post, I will show you how I drafted the neckline of this top. Once again, this is the Terrific T from Londa's Creative Threads.  

This is the original top that I drafted. Take note that although the neckline is a cowl, it is quite different from the one I did above. This one has an asymmetrical drape, and is much more fitted through the bodice. A bit more complicated to draft than the top above. You can find the original post and all of the instructions for drafting the sleeve HERE

The top below is not finished as I haven't quite decided what I want to do with the neckline. While I love the fabric I used, it wasn't quite the best for showing the design of the sleeve. The fabric is a washable merino wool that I purchased at Fabrications in Michigan. I am in love with washable merino wool! It feels like silk in your hand. So lovely. 
The front of the sleeve does not show the design.

All of the design takes place at the back of the arm.

This is a picture from the original sleeve that I did. Here you get a better idea. It's a lovely sleeve to wear, and such fun to draft. You can see the original post HERE with all the drafting instructions.

I began the class by telling everyone that I believe everything is easy, you just need to know how, and I was there to show them how :) What I loved most was at the end of the day, a number of the ladies came up and said, "Your right! It all looks so complicated, but it really is easy once you know how." A successful day! 

Tomorrow I will be attending the class on making leather sneakers at the Chicago School of  Shoemaking and Leather Arts. I'll give you a peek at my day in my next post. Always fun to learn something new :)

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Wednesday Showcase

Still trying to get back on track :/

Last Saturday I had the best time as I had the opportunity to spend the day teaching sleeve design. It is such a treat to look out at everyone and see a glimmer of "I got it!" I began the class with my my motto, "everything's easy, you just have to know how to to it." The best part of the day was having people come up and say, "it really is easy. I can do this!" Success!!! :)

Since I'm still trying to get my steam engine rolling, I will only do 1 showcase today, but I know you are going to love getting to know this special lady. Her name is Sally, and you can find her blog, Cashmere Sally HERE. I had the opportunity to meet Sally back in March when she came to the Haute Couture meeting. She told me that many have said that they have a hard time finding her blog. She blogs through the Bloglovin' site, so it's not the typical Blogger or Word Press setup. But, I have made it easy, so once again, just click HERE and you will find all of Sally's wonderful sewing inspiration. 

Sally loves great fabrics, beautiful colors, and fun designs.
I love the Kantha jacket she is wearing below.

I was blown away by the workmanship Sally did on this vest!

Sally used the Saf-T-Pockets T-Shirt Trifecta to create these amazing pieces.

Just love how the fleece scarf takes the top...over the top!!!

When I met Sally, she was wearing this fabulous jacket. She used Vogue 9275 to create this throw it on and go piece. You can check out her post on this jacket HERE.

I so enjoyed getting to know Sally. She is fun, energetic, and so inspirational. I think that you will also love getting to know her :)

Wishing you a fabulous day! 
Our electricity is supposed to be turned off at some point. I have a feeling it will happen when I am right in the middle of something important ;)

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Sneakers and Printing

This morning I awoke to find an email from a friend who had forwarded a link to a class that she's taking this upcoming weekend, and thought that I might like to take it as well. Here in Chicago, we have a wonderful school devoted to working with leather, Chicago School of Shoemaking and Leather Arts. This class will be  a 2 day intensive on making your own sneakers. I don't know if the class has filled, but in the event that it sounds like fun, there is a discount code, 25KICK. The code will give you a 25% discount at checkout. You can find a link to the signup page HERE. Below are a few of the examples that others have made in the class. 

One of our Haute Couture members has taken a number of classes at the school, and everything she's made has been fabulous. Next Monday I'll show off my new kicks!

For those of you who are Project Runway fans, you may remember Miranda Levy from season 12. 

She lives in Milwaukee, WI and she will be teaching a class in July at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee on the craft of working with wood blocks to create repeating patterns using traditional Indian patterns. I am so excited as I think it will be such a fun afternoon. 

Below is an example of the traditional wood block that is used to create the prints on fabric.

Below are a few examples of the printing being done and the lovely fabric that is created.

If you are anywhere near the Milwaukee area and think you might like to take the class, it will be held on Sunday, July 15, 2018. In the class, you will be making a silk scarf. All supplies are included. The fee for the class is $42.00 for non-museum members. You can find all the info HERE along with a link to register.

Have a fabulous week!

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Soup/Greens at Their Best!

My first experience with a radish was when I was about 3 years old. I was hungry, and had been told that I had to wait until lunch for something to eat. Well, being the industrious child that I was, I thought that I would just go out to the garden and pick a carrot. Now, I have always loved carrots, at least raw carrots. Although, it wasn't until I was in my early twenties that I really began to love cooked carrots. So, I went bouncing out to the garden and made my way to a row of what I thought were carrots. I remembered that the seed packet had a picture of "white carrots," maybe just a different variety??? Well, how surprised was I when I bit into that so called white carrot and got the shock of my short life when it burned my mouth! I threw that awful "carrot" on the ground and went running into the house in search of a drink of water. My father found the "carrot" with one bite taken out of it laying on the ground. He came in holding it in his had and asked if I had pulled it up and taken just one bite. I admitted that I had, but that it was sooo hot. I found out that it wasn't a carrot, but a white radish. Well yuk!, and thought, "I will never eat another radish as long as I live." Amazingly, I now love radishes, even the white ones ;)  

I especially love getting the huge winter radishes.

My favorite breakfast is a piece of great seeded bread, a slice of good cheese, sliced radishes, topped with sliced avocado with a sprinkle of herbs, salt, pepper, and finally a sprinkle of olive oil. YUM!!! I eat this for lunch, too! 

A while back, I shared a recipe for a Rustic Radish Soup. I had purchased a bunch of radishes from the farmer's market and I just couldn't bear the thought of throwing out the greens. What a lovely soup. Over the winter, with all the radishes I purchased, I decided to look around for another recipe and I discovered a delightful food blog, Taste of Beirut. I love Middle Eastern food, so when I saw her recipe for Peas and Radish Greens Soup, I thought it would be worth a try, and I am so very happy that I did.

What makes the soup special are the spices, cumin and turmeric. Along with the radish greens, and peas, there are 2 potatoes along with onions and garlic. So it's a very simple recipe. The author included 2 cups of yogurt. I did not add the yogurt. So it adapts well to a vegan version of the soup. A beautiful, green, satisfying, aromatic soup.

Just a quick note about my bowl. I loved hammered aluminum serving pieces. I found this piece some time ago. It has a glass insert, and the lid is so special. Take note of the pea pod handle. Sadly, I only have one :( 

In the end, I am happy that no one holds me to the declarations I made as a child. Little did I know when I was 3 that I would one day grow to love a radish!

Enjoy :)

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Not Your Grandmother's Lace...Once Again

It's snowing!!! And I don't think there is one soul in Chicago who is happy about it :/ My husband showed me a picture from his sister's farm in upper Wisconsin where the horses were running in knee deep snow. We basically have a covering, so nothing to complain about, other than the poor souls who have to get out and drive in it. As for me, I have a busy day ahead with lots to do, indoors, so I get to just enjoy the beauty. 

To add to the morning's beauty, a cardinal has been singing just outside my window since about 6 this morning. I love to hear them sing, and when I do, I feel that all will be fine. To see a little creature that is so vibrant, and so beautiful, singing his little head off, what a gift :)  

Regardless of what your hobby may be, you end up with bits and pieces that you feel are just too good to throw away. Sometimes we find a home, and then sometimes we just hold on to them waiting for something to inspire us. I came across some fun ideas on Pinterest for lace.

If you have a small piece of the border left, do an asymmetrical cut on a knit top and pair it with 1 lace sleeve. So pretty.

I loved the addition of the lace trim on both of these dresses. Each dress would be pretty on its own, but the lace makes them eye catching, and the placement really narrows the waist.

Rather than just another boring pencil skirt, take lace pieces and applique them on top. 

This is a lovely idea for a piece of lace that's just not quite large enough. Just pair it with a coordinating piece of fabric.

This is much more than a remnant, but I thought it was just so pretty. The lace is actually an entire skirt under the overlay.

This piece could have been executed better as you can see the navy blue lace seams through the pink and white lace, but what a great idea for combining 3 small pieces of lace to create a lovely skirt.  

This little color blocked dress is a great use of fabric scraps. Adding the lace to the center block really makes it pop.

Another pencil skirt idea. What a lovely way to accent a slit opening. 

If by chance you have a bunch of lace that can be cut into motifs, this would be a great idea for giving an old skirt new life.

And finally, add a little flirt factor to the inside of a pleat. All it takes is just a few inches of lace.

For those of you who are basking in warm, balmy temperatures, well, lucky you! As for the rest of us, I hope you can find a little beauty in your day :)

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Soup/Flu Buster Mushroom and Spinach Soup

The flu was a real worry for so many this past winter. My husband had a flu shot, but I did not. I decided to do what I could on my own to try and make sure that I stayed healthy. One measure I took was to drink a glass of green foods first thing every morning. Actually, I do this year round. It is not my favorite thing to drink, by no means, but as I drink it down, I keep in mind that I am doing something good for myself, at least I hope so. The green foods pictured below is one that I ordered. It's not my favorite as it has stevia in it and so it has a sweet taste. There's one that I purchase at Whole Foods that does not include stevia and I like it better. For many though, one with stevia would be much more palatable. 

I also take a probiotic capsule every morning and every night. And then...I made this soup, lots of it, and ate it throughout the winter. Now, the soup is MUCH more enjoyable than drinking that green drink. But, I would grow tired of eating the soup every morning ;) 

Early in the winter, my husband and I were out for lunch and I saw that there was a mushroom soup on the menu. I love mushroom soup! Well, it wasn't the best, but it made me think of what I would do to make it really good. One that if I owned a restaurant would be something people would want to come back for. 

I began with lots of mushrooms, 6 cups, along with a large onion and 3 cloves of garlic. All sauteed until the mushrooms were tender.     

I then added  1/2 cup of barley, 1/2 cup of wild rice, and 4 cups of vegetable broth. 

Brought it all to a boil, reduced the heat, and then let it simmer for about 45 minutes until the rice was cooked through.

I then added 3 sliced carrots, and 8 cups of chopped spinach, along with at least 2 more cups of vegetable broth, and the spices. The soup was once again brought to a boil, the heat reduced to a simmer and allowed to cook until the carrots were tender. 

The result was a very satisfying and delicious soup.

Flu Buster Mushroom and Spinach Soup
printable version

1 large onion chopped
6 cups sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic chopped fine
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup wild rice
3 carrots sliced
8 cups chopped spinach
6-8 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
salt and black pepper to taste

Pour olive oil into a large soup pot. Add chopped onions and sliced mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms are tender. Add chopped garlic and saute for another minute. 
Add barley, wild rice and 4 cups of vegetable broth to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until wild rice is tender, approximately 45 minutes.
Add chopped spinach and sliced carrots to the pot. Add enough broth to gain the consistency of soup you would like, 2 to 3 cups should be fine. Add dried thyme and oregano. Once again bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to cook until carrots are tender, no more than 20 minutes.
Serve and enjoy! 

I was in a grocery store doing a little shopping one Saturday afternoon. A company was there promoting their products and one was a green pressed juice of some sort. I took a sample and a man came up from behind me and said, "oh, that can't possibly taste good." Actually, it wasn't bad, but I understand how he felt. Believe it or not, there was a time in my life where I found every possible way I could think of to get out of eating my vegetables. Miracles happen :)

Wishing you great health! :)


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