Thursday, November 29, 2018

Sewbussted's Material Witness, A Very Special Episode

I have enjoyed each and every person that I have had the opportunity to interview, but this one has deeply touched my heart. Rather than giving away the story, I will just ask that you watch. It is truly a story of how when you think you have hit rock bottom, there is still hope, and dreams can come true. 


Be sure to check out Motif Sneakers on Instagram.
If by chance you are in Chicago, and plan to attend the One of a Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart, December 6-9, 2018, go by booth 7117 and say to hello to Yohannes. I know he will love meeting you!  

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday Pattern Train Disaster!

Winter has arrived!, and it brought with it a whole big bunch of snow. I wondered how Berkley would take to it. Little guy walks out as if it's not even there. And what's amazing is that he doesn't seem to be affected by the cold. But, he really doesn't have an undercoat, so I think that once it gets super cold, he will need a coat. Maybe I just need an excuse to sew a little something for him ;) Gracie, with her super thick coat would burn up if I made a coat for her, so it's nice to have a little dog to sew for once again.  

I have loved patterns from the time I can remember. My favorite was when the new Vogue pattern catalog would come out. The Claude Montana patterns, oh my, I wanted them all!

Of course, this past weekend was Black Friday, followed by Cyber Monday. Yep, I was tempted and yes, I went a little crazy :/

First up, I bought 3 patterns from Helen's Closet. I have and have made her Winslow Culottes pattern and I really liked it. The fit was spot on to the measurements. I also loved that it had side pockets. So with that in mind, I decided to take advantage of her sale and purchase 3 more patterns. From left to right;

I will have a week with Helen coming up:)

When I was doing the sew alongs for Sew News, there were 2 pattern companies that stood above the rest, Waffle Patterns and Closet Case Patterns. They were so well drafted, the instructions were fabulous, and downloading them was a breeze since they both offered a copy shop version. Once again, with that in mind, I took advantage of the Closet Case pattern sale and went a little crazy.

From left to right;
Charlie Caftan
Kalle Shirt and Shirtdress
Ebony T-Shirt and Dress

Carolyn Pajamas
Amy Jumpsuit
Nettie Dress and Bodysuit

I bought the Bombshell Swimsuit pattern some time ago and loved it. It's pictured on the left below. I am going to take a water aerobics class this winter and would like to have a collection of swimsuits to wear. I love the underwire aspect of the Sophie Swimsuit, so that also went into my pile of patterns.

I did purchase 1 other pattern from Closet Case, but I'll share it once I get it made. My favorite, favorite Closet Case pattern is the Ginger Jeans pattern. I will never buy another pair of ready made jeans! 

The pattern purchasing train did not make its final stop at Closet Case, it went on and made a stop at Sew House 7. I purchased the Nehalem Pant and Skirt pattern. Won't this be cute with the Nettie Bodysuit from Closet Case and the Blackwood Cardigan from Helen's Closet? Hey, I have to justify all of my purchases somehow ;)

I don't have a lot of Christmas sewing to do, a couple of shirts for my husband, and a knitted project. Neither will take a lot of time. And even better, I have a fairly open December, so lots of sewing for me!!! So stay tuned, there will be fashion shows :)

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/A Place of Bliss with Ann Williamson

It seems that there is a new tradition in my life, something must go wrong on Thanksgiving day. You may remember the catastrophes from last year. Well, this year, the same friend and I went for a hike on Thanksgiving day. We decided to try a new trail. She had looked at the trail map and decided on a trail that should have looped back to where we began. With Gracie and Berley in tow, off we went. Oh, but I forgot to add that while we were looking at the map, I made the remark, "I hope we don't get lost." She responded, "oh, we can't get lost." Famous last words :/ 

The trails were clearly marked as we began, and as I said, the trail we thought we were on was supposed to loop back on itself, so all should be fine. We did see a marker that said that we had 1.6 miles left on the trail. We continued to walk, and we walked, and we walked. It became quite apparent that we were no longer on the trail that would loop us back to where we began. I began praying. I was beginning to envision us spending the night in the woods. And of course, I was not dressed to spend the night in the woods. It was a rather warmish day, so no hat, and just a few layers of fleece. 

We had walked so far, and I was really beginning to think that we would never find our way out when I heard voices. I took off so I could ask where we were. They said that the parking lot was just ahead. I was soooo relieved. We did come out into a parking area, but it was not where we had parked. Great!, now what? My friend talked to a couple of guys who were just about to begin a hike. They said that if we took a certain trail, it would be about 3 miles back to where we began. I said, "I am NOT going back in the woods!!!" 

We decided to begin walking toward the main road so we could call my husband to come and get us. About that time, a guy drove up, got out of his car with a beer in his hand. I thought that he might be there just to look around. I told him that we were lost and that we needed to get back to our car. He said that he was going to walk his dogs, but he could walk them from anywhere so he offered to have us all pile into his car. His 4 dogs and my 2, no, that wasn't going to happen. So we decided that I would leave my dogs with my friend and I would go and get the car and come back for them.

When I opened the door of the car, a cloud of marijuana smoke hit me in the face. He commented that he hoped I wouldn't mind the smell of marijuana. At this point, I just wanted to get back to my car!!! I later thought about the fact that he was drinking a beer...while driving...and smoking marijuana. He was really quite sweet. He told me that he hoped this wouldn't deter me from going back in the woods. When he dropped me off, I told him that he had truly been a blessing. And, he had. 

I drove like a speed demon back to my friend and my dogs. We were all so happy to be back in our own car, safe and sound. Another Thanksgiving for the books! 

I love finding people who are not only creating lovely pieces of clothing, but works of art. I came across a designer who uses vintage kimono silks to create the most beautiful works of art. Her name is Ann Williamson and you can find her website HERE. Ann's pieces incorporate a variety of techniques, beading applique, piecing and embroidery. The final outcome is striking from a distance, and impeccable workmanship from up close.

This piece is simply an amazing example of her bead work.  

Appliqued kimono silk. Breathtaking!

The skirt is a pieced and appliqued piece of kimono silk. The blouse is a Meisen Kimono silk. Lovely. 

The skirt below is one of my favorites, completely pieced. 

Love the combination of prints!

How gorgeous is this!!!? Another example of her pieced work.

So fresh and fun!

Another pieced and appliqued jacket. 

Take a few minutes to watch the video and meet Ann. What an incredible inspiration!

Once again, take a few minutes to pop by Ann's website and see her amazing work. By the way, the pieces are for sale!!!

You can also follow her blog HERE

Have a wonderful week!


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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

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Something Sweet on Sunday/Pumpkin Torte with Cookie Crust

For those who celebrate Thanksgiving, most will have pumpkin pie for dessert. Truth be told, I am not the biggest fan of pumpkin pie. So, this year, I decided to try a little something different, and it was a hit! In fact, my husband loved what I did so much that he asked me to make it again for his birthday, which is today :) 

My husband loves Pecan Sandies made by Keebler. He had brought home a bag that was rather crumbled. As I looked at the crumbs the thought came to me that they might make a great crust. 

So, I began with an entire bag of cookies that I crumbled.

The cookie crumbs were mixed with 5 tablespoons of melted butter and 5 tablespoons of flour. All were mixed and pressed into the bottom of a spring form pan. the crust was baked at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. 

While the crust baked, I mixed up the filling, 
2 eggs
1 can of pumpkin,
1 can of evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Once the crust had baked, I poured the filling over the cookie crust. The filling was baked at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

While the filling baked, I made a batch of candied pecans. You can find the recipe HERE

I chopped up about 1/2 cup.

I removed the torte from the oven and sprinkled it with the chopped, candied pecans. The torte was put back into the oven and baked at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. 

The ring was removed from the torte and allowed to cool. The result is a lighter than air, and if I may say so, a very delicious torte. 

Pumpkin Torte with Cookie Crust

Crust ingredients;
1 pkg. Pecan Sandies crumbled
5 tablespoons melted butter
5 tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix all ingredients together and press in the bottom of a spring form pan. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Filling ingredients;
1 15oz. can pure pumpkin
3/4 granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 12oz. can evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer. Pour over baked cookie crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of candied pecans. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees and continue to bake for 40 minutes or until torte is set.

If you give the torte a try,I hope you like it as much as my husband did! :)
It really makes a lovely fall/winter dessert, and it can be made a day ahead of time, so all the better.


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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Sewbussted's Material Witness/ Chicago School of Shoe Making and Leather Arts

This past summer, a friend of mine asked me if I would like to join her for a leather sneaker workshop. I'm not a huge sneaker wearing person, but this was rather special since the sneakers would be made out of leather, and then too, I've always wanted to make a pair of shoes. So, I said, "sure, count me in!" Well, I had the best time, and I absolutely love my sneakers. I've had quite a bit of experience with making leather garments, but never a pair of shoes. 

I recently had the opportunity to meet with Sara McIntosh, the owner of The Chicago School of Shoe Making and Leather Arts. She is absolutely lovely, and such an inspiration. I think you are going to truly enjoy this episode of Sewbussted's Material Witness.

Below are a few of the items that we showcased in the video. 

The boots are just amazing. 

There are so many classes that are offered at the school, everything from bags, to shoes, to clothing items. The school is truly a place to dream and then create. And too, I think Sara's story is an inspiration for anyone who would like to realize a creative dream.  

You can find the school HERE.
On Instagram HERE.

To my delight, and surprise, I had the opportunity to do another interview and video while I was visiting the school. That video will air next Tuesday. It is such a moving and inspirational story. It actually brought me to tears. So, be sure to tune in next week for this very special episode of Sewbussted's Material Witness. I think it will touch you as much as it did me. 

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Monday, November 19, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Zip It!

Don't you just love it when a little something unexpected just seems to fall in your lap? I had intended to post something completely different for this morning's inspiration post. All of the pictures were saved on my Pinterest page, so I opened Pinterest and what popped up were these amazing pictures from the Chanel Fall/Winter 2018/19 haute couture collection. This collection has given me a new found love of tweed! It's not so much the fabric, but what Karl Lagerfeld did with it. The focus of the collection is on zippers. He slashed the sleeves and ran zippers down the center. Zippers were added to the side seams of skirts. Call me crazy, but it just seems so fresh and fun! 

I have quite a collection of vintage opera length gloves that I love to wear, but they usually end up scrunched up under my sleeves. I absolutely love the idea of a zipper that will open and showcase the lining as well as a fabulous glove. So scroll through the pictures, and then be sure and take a few minutes to watch the fashion show. This is, in my opinion, one of the loveliest collections that Karl Lagerfeld has done is quite some time.  

You can check out more of the collection on the Chanel website HERE.

Hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did! 
Have a fabulously inspired week!

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Soup/Bountiful Greens Soup

This past week I saw my retina specialist. I was a little apprehensive as I had been told by the surgeon who operated on my right eye this past summer that she saw the formation of a third mole on my retina. Oh my. But, the news was great! He said that yes he saw the third mole, and he felt that there was no sign of a malignancy. Whew!!! So relieved! In just a week's time, I found out that I am in great shape, colon wise, and my eyes are holding steady. The retina specialist told me to keep doing what I'm doing...and I will! 

With the holidays coming up, and the temptation to eat lots of rich food, I thought I would post a soup that I love to eat. It is chuck full of vitamins, and while it looks like a soup that will taste like grass, it's actually quite delicious.

This soup is a blend of asparagus, kale, spinach, carrots and fennel.

Begin by sauteing 1 large onion with 2 chopped carrots in olive oil until the onion is translucent.

Add the chopped fennel, asparagus, chopped and seeded jalapeno pepper, garlic and saute for another 10 minutes.

Add chopped kale, chopped spinach, and chopped parsley along with 8 cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Blend the soup with a handheld blender, or in a blender until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of tahini(sesame paste). The tahini adds a lovely smooth taste to the soup as well as a little protein. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Serve the soup with toasted nuts, I like toasted pumpkin seeds. 
It really is quite delicious and will ward off all sorts of winter bugs and make up for a little of the indulgences that we just can't resist this time of year :) 

Bountiful Greens Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion chopped
2 large carrots chopped
1 jalapeno seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
3 cups chopped asparagus
1 fennel bulb chopped, use only the bulb
6 cups coarsely chopped spinach
1 bunch kale coarsely chopped, stems removed
1 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup tahini(sesame paste)
8 cups vegetable broth
salt and black pepper to taste

Pour olive oil in large pot. Add onion and carrots. Saute until onion is translucent. Add jalapeno, garlic, fennel, and asparagus. Continue sauteing for another 10 minutes. 
Add kale, spinach, and parsley to the pot along with 8 cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. 
Remove pot from heat. Use a blender, or handheld blender to puree soup.
Stir in tahini. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
Serve soup with toasted nuts of choice.

The soup will freeze well.


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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sewbussted's Material Witness/Helen Haughey, Couture Dressmaker

In today's world of fast fashion, it's refreshing to know that there are those who still seek out garments of the finest details.

Helen Haughey, like many of us, began sewing as a child. She especially loved hand sewing and using the finest of fabrics. That early appreciation stayed with her and ultimately brought her to build her own couture dressmaking business.

Her garments are breathtaking, with lovely details and exquisite fabrics.

Each and every garment embodies elegance and refinement.

She also enjoys playing with the patterns and weaves of fabrics to create eye catching details.

Helen was recently in Chicago and I had the opportunity to sit down with her. In the video you will hear where her career began and how it ultimately evolved into her passion. I so enjoyed our conversation, and I think you will find it inspiring. 

You can find Helen's website HERE.
You can also find her on Instagram
And if you are looking for fine needles, pins and other couture embellishments, you can find all of these in her Etsy store

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Sylvie Facon

From time to time, we have the opportunity to be amazed by the work of not only a couturier, but an artist. The work of Alexander McQueen was always a delight to my eyes. He sculpted fabric in ways that no other had done before him. 

If you have been on Pinterest lately, you may have noticed the breathtaking work of French fashion designer, Sylvie Facon. Her work allows one to be transported to a world of fantasy and delight. It's quite obvious that she is a passionate technician. She loves beautiful fabrics which she pairs with unexpected objects. The results are ultra-feminine and refined. 

Today's post is a bit of an escape, a few moments to just dream.

Antique leather books, turned into a corset.

Sylvie Facon

One can hear the music without a note being played as the sheets of music swirl about the body, and the violin awaits its master.

 Sylvie Facon

Woven ribbons, lace and silk ribbon flowers give the illusion of a garden in motion.  

 Sylvie Facon

A damsel awaits her knight amidst embroidered trees.

 Sylvie Facon

All things medieval  

 Sylvie Facon

Embroidery, beaded leaves, sculpted flowers and even a wicker basket transport the wearer into a mystical garden.

And now a sigh...if only :)

Be sure to visit Ms. Facon's website HERE. It is so refreshing to see a designer who is still creating true works of art.

Have a wonderful week!


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