Monday, December 21, 2020

Celtic Dreams/The Flipping Pleats Skirt

It's the week of Christmas. I'm sure that many of you are like me, feeling as though something is missing. While Christmas is not about the parties, the gifts, and new dresses, it is about celebrating, and I think that  not being able to celebrate as we typically would just leaves us feeling a little lost. Rather than allowing myself to get caught up in what I can't do, I've decided to focus on what I can do. I have started leaving a little earlier when I take Berkley out for his last walk of the evening, and I explore streets where the holiday lights are especially pretty. I love how the glow hits my face, and it makes me smile.

Another thing that I have decided to do is put on a pretty holiday feeling garment. Who cares if I can't go to a party?!! And...why wait for a special occasion that may or may not happen? We should celebrate each and every day as they truly are a gift. 

My husband and I typically take our holiday picture at the American Opera Society's holiday gala. But, of course, this year, no gala. So, we got dressed in something that felt like the holidays, and took pictures on our front porch. I recently made a pair of red plaid tights. I have been wanting a pair of red plaid tights for a very long time. I also decided to go all out and make a matching red plaid turtleneck. I look like I just fell off the Celtic boat, but so what, it makes me happy ;)

I paired the tights and the turtleneck with a red pleated skirt that I made for my Fabulous Free Pattern Friday series. The skirt has a hip yoke. I just used my favorite pencil skirt. The pleats are a series of 8 rectangles. The magic is in how they are folded at the hem.

This is a picture that was taken when I originally posted the instructions.

The hem of the skirt is folded at an angle.  

You can find the instructions to the skirt HERE. It's really quite easy to do. As you can see in the video, the pleats swish about making it a truly fun skirt to wear. I can't believe that I made this skirt 10 years ago!!! And, I still have those boots! 

I hope that you are finding ways to celebrate the season. I'm breaking out Berkley's Christmas collar today. He may hate me, but it will make me laugh!!!


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Sunday, December 20, 2020

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Tea Towel Totes

If you've followed the blog for a while, you may remember the summer bucket list that my husband found in the alley a couple of summers ago. It had been written by a teenage girl. At least the items on her list were things a teenage girl would like to do. The list was fun, and interesting. My husband tried to see if he could find someone and return the list, but no one was to be found, so he brought the list home to me. I was so inspired by her list that it prompted me to create 1 of my own. What really inspired me was the fact that she was so looking forward to summer, with intention, and with goals. As I read through her list, I realized that I allow time to just go by. Yes, I have goals, but the very focused aspect of her list is what inspired me to do 1 of my own.

When I sat down to work on my list, I decided that rather than just write it on paper, I would paint something and make it all the more special. Here is what I did, a bouquet of cone flowers.


After I finished the piece, I decided that I would like to see about turning it into fabric. Off to Spoonflower! There I was able to upload my piece and create fabric. I did do a yardage piece that ended up becoming part of a bag;

As well as pillowcases for my bed;

I also had tea towels printed. I took 4 of the tea towels and made them into totes. I've made 2 and I just love how they turned out!  

Forgive the light peeking through the door :) I just love the size. So often when I go to the store and buy a long loaf of bread, I end up carrying it in my hand as it won't stay in the bag. This bag will hold a long loaf of bread without a problem. 

The handles posed a bit of a dilemma, but I had some fabric that worked beautifully.  

I also used the fabric to cover chip board which gives the bag a sturdy bottom. You can purchase chip board from an art supply store. 

I think tea towels make the greatest bags for gifts. You can really tailor something to the likes of the person you are giving the bag to. If you go to Spoonflower, you'll find lots, and lots of tea towel designs. If by chance you like my design, you can find it HERE. I recommend the Linen Cotton Canvas fabric for tea towels and bags.

Now that the bags are made, I can't wait to give them away!!! I know that both recipients are going to love them. Isn't it just the best when you know you're giving something you've made to someone who is going to love it?!!!  

Happy Sewing!


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Monday, December 7, 2020

Monday Morning Inspiration/Chanel Le Chateau des Dames

Earlier this fall I went to a party. Of course parties aren't like they were:( This one was held out on a driveway so that we could all be outside, and distanced from each other. And, we had to bring our own beverage and glasses. Wow, have times changed. Enough with the lamenting. 

Anyway, I can't remember what I wore, but it wasn't anything haute couture, by no means. There was a lovely woman there who was just in awe of what I was wearing. She asked me if I had gotten my sense of style from a relative. I told her that for as long as I could remember, I LOVED clothes. I dreamed of being able to have a closet full of pretty things to wear. Being poor, my only alternative was to create it myself. I still remember an outfit I made when I was in the 8th grade, a hot pink bodysuit with a lime sherbet and hot pink plaid maxi shirt. I felt like I had arrived!!! At what, I'm not sure ;), but I felt like a million bucks in that outfit. Sweet memories, for sure.

I recently saw the new collection from Chanel, and I fell in love. I've attached the video of the fashion show below. It is gorgeous, the music, the staging in a castle, simply magical. It's only about 11 minutes long, and so worth the time spent.

Here are a few of my favorites from the collection. There are so many things that I love about this collection, but 1 in particular is the use of leggings. Wow, talk about taking leggings off the running track and making them full blown couture!

While watching the fashion show, I saw the back of this jacket. It actually has a hood. Look closely and you'll see that you could easily use the Wilder Gown from Friday Pattern Company to create it. I rather like the leggings too. Different for sure, but interesting. 


Talk about a throwback piece! Reminds me a lot of Geoffrey Beene. Love the mix of patterns. 

I absolutely love the sheer extension of the skirt over a pair of leggings. 

Not sure if this is a cat suit under the vest. Remember those? ;) The large diamond patterned vest over the smaller diamonds of the leggings and top is fabulous. 

The embroidery on the sweater works so beautifully with the fringe on the skirt.

What grabbed my eye with this piece was the touch of fur on the lapel. What a fun way to use just a scrap of faux fur. Oh, and on the opposite cuff too!!! 

I found this long tunic over the leggings and top to be so pretty.

Love, love, love this skirt!!! And then for it to be paired with a sweater set! Take note of the chain belts. I am so very happy that I saved mine!!!

And finally, this piece. It's just so lovely. I love the long dress over the leggings. What a great at home piece. Not in sequins maybe, but then again...why not?!! ;) What I have adopted is if I want to wear something, wear it!!! There may not be a tomorrow, so at least I've enjoyed it today. 

A quick story before I go;

When my niece was about 5 years old, I took her out to buy a new pair of shoes. I was thinking practical, but not her! We looked and looked. Finally, she said, "pick me up." I did, and she pulled a pair of the loveliest glitter shoes off of the shelf. They truly were so pretty, but what she needed was a pair of shoes that she could wear to school. That is the one purchase I still regret not making. My philosophy now is, if you want to wear glitter shoes, by all means wear them!


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Sunday, December 6, 2020

Sunday Night Reflections


is not a big step in the future,
is a small step taken right now.

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Sunday's Soup/Popeye's Spinach Soup

I can't remember when I first began to post recipes. I guess I could go back and look, but that's really not the point. The reason I began was because of a passion, a passion that families come back together, sit down at the table and share a meal. But, eat not items that are high in fat, and basically not good for us. Now, truth be told, I enjoy sweets, and fried foods just as much as the next guy, but in moderation. I wanted to show that a healthy meal can be easy to cook. I don't know that my goal has been met. I doubt that I ever will. But, I have received notes from some of you that have told me how much you've enjoyed recipes, and that warms my heart :)

I am a big believer in flooding my body with wonderful nutrients and vitamins. My day religiously begins with a drink that my husband calls "green muck." It really isn't that bad. I've started my day with it now for so long that I actually crave it, so it can't be that bad ;) Then throughout the day, I try to pack in as many vegetables as possible. Spinach is one of my favorites. In fact, a funny story...
As a child I absolutely loved the Popeye cartoon. I wanted to be like Popeye(I didn't like Olive Oyl in the least), and I believed that if I ate spinach like Popeye, I too would be strong and mighty. My mother could not give me enough spinach! I hated other vegetables, but I ate my spinach! I don't know if it was just propaganda in order to sell spinach, if so, it worked with me ;) And...I still love spinach. 

I recently had an idea for a creamed spinach soup, with spinach, parsley and mushrooms. To make it a little more robust, I served it with Forbidden Rice. Forbidden Rice is a lovely purple rice that has a wonderful taste, but can be hard to find. So, if you decide to give the recipe a try, use any rice that you have on hand. But, if by chance you come across Forbidden Rice, give it a try, it's wonderful!     

I began with 1 large onion, and sauteed it in 3 tablespoons of olive oil until it was translucent. Two cloves of chopped garlic was added and allowed to cook for about a minute to release the flavor.   

Chopped spinach, parsley, and mushrooms were added to the onion mixture. 

4 cups of coconut milk was added, along with 4 cups of vegetable broth. Add 1 tablespoon of dried thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until mushrooms are tender. Use a handheld blender or a free standing blender to puree the soup.

In a separate pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and remaining mushrooms. Saute until golden brown.

Before serving, add sauteed mushrooms to the soup mixture.

Ladle soup into soup bowls. Add a mound of preferred rice, and drizzle black truffle oil over soup. If you don't have black truffle oil, a little olive oil will be fine.

Popeye's Spinach Soup

16 oz. fresh spinach chopped
24 oz. mushrooms sliced
1 large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 bunch parsley chopped
4 cups coconut milk
4 cups vegetable broth
5 tablespoons olive oil
hot cooked rice of choice
black truffle oil

Divide mushrooms in half.
Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large soup pot. When oil is hot, add chopped onion and saute until translucent. Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and saute for about a minute longer to release flavor, but not burn. Add chopped spinach, chopped parsley, and sliced mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms are tender. Add 1 tablespoon of dried thyme, coconut milk, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. 
While soup simmers, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet. When oil is hot, add mushrooms and saute until golden brown. Set aside.
Using a hand held blender, or a free standing blender, puree soup. Before serving, add sauteed mushrooms to soup mixture.
To serve, ladle soup into soup bowls. Add a mound of rice to the center of the soup. Drizzle a little black truffle oil over soup and rice. If you do not have black truffle oil, a little olive oil will be fine. But, not as robust as the black truffle oil. 
Serve and enjoy!

I can still remember the song;
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man. I'm strong to the finish cause I eats me spinach. I'm Popeye the Sailor Man. Toot! Toot! (The toot, toot was his pipe ;)

I hope that you too will be strong to the finish!!!
Eat Well!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

It's a Pajama Party!

 A few years ago, I read Madame Chic by Jennifer Scott, and thoroughly enjoyed it. You can find all 3 of her books HERE. I've read them all and enjoyed each of them. 

In her first book she talks about going to France and being an exchange student(something dear to my heart). Not long after she arrived, she had given her clothes to her host mother to wash. Her host mother took 1 look at her pajamas, at least what she was wearing for pajamas, I think they were an old pair of sweat pants that had belonged to her sister, and an old sweatshirt. They were full of holes. Her host mother was horrified as she thought that she may have done something in the wash to cause the holes. Jennifer told her that no, the holes were there. Her host mother just couldn't understand why she would want to wear something like this. The conversation prompted her to go out and purchase a proper pair of pajamas, and she said that she was amazed by how much better she felt, and how much better she slept.  

This prompted me to take a closer look at what I was wearing to bed. Not the best. So, I have been on a mission to revamp my bedtime wardrobe, and find pieces that feel wonderful, that I enjoy wearing, and will keep me warm in the winter. I thought I would share my makes as they are simple, comfortable, and I actually look forward to putting them on at night.

I have found that I REALLY love wearing leggings to bed, at least in the winter. They stay in place, and aren't riding up my leg during the night. The legging pattern that I have used over and over again is the Loveland Legging pattern from Sew News. I can make these in less than an hour. The top that I am wearing below is a free pattern from Fancy Tiger Crafts. It's their One Hour Top pattern, and you can find it HERE. I lengthened the top a bit, and lengthened the sleeves. Love it!     

I recently made a pullover out of a wool fleece blanket that I love wearing. I used an old Great Copy Pattern that is out of print. It's their New York Style Pullover. I looked on Etsy and found a number of Great Copy patterns, but not this one. But, if you are persistent, I'm sure that sooner or later it will pop up. For cold mornings, it's just the perfect pullover to wear with my pajamas.   

This pair of pajamas is exactly the same as the pair above, just in a different fabric. 

I absolutely love the dolman style sleeves.  

The pajama pants that I am wearing below are another free pattern from Martha Stewart. I have used, and used this pattern, for pajama pants to street wear pants. You can find the pattern HERE. I've paired it with another fleece top, the La Megeve Pullover from Naughty Bobbins Patterns.  

Underneath the pullover, I'm wearing my favorite pajama top, the Molly Tee from Pattern Union. 

The next 2 pairs of pajamas are both made with the Loveland Leggings pattern and the Molly Tee. This has become my standard pajama outfit.

My friend Cennetta of The Mahogany Stylist makes pajama pants for her family for Christmas. She loves the idea of the leggings and tee shirt. I told her that if she makes these for her family, she is going to create a monster as they are going to want more and more. Leggings and a tee to bed is just the best!!! :)

Happy Sleeping!!!


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Monday, November 30, 2020

Monday Morning Inspiration/Valentino, It's All About the Flower

It's been a while since I posted a Monday Morning Inspiration piece. I am so in love with the Valentino Fall 2018 Collection, so I just had to share!

This is the piece that initially struck me. I absolutely love the flower applique. 

The flowers are repeated throughout the collection in such lovely ways. 

In an evening gown.

Fringed into a sweater.

Subtly on the sides of the wrap skirt. BTW, I love the idea of a wrap skirt over a pair of pants!

Other colors were used that are just as lovely.

There are solids in the collection. Look closely and you'll see the flowers quilted into the fabric. Gorgeous!!!

And finally, yes the hood is a little goofy, at least in my opinion. But, it does convey the theme of a flower. While I wouldn't do that hood, I do LOVE the coat! The sleeves are especially pretty.

The fashion show video is wonderful, I've included it below. It's only about 17 minutes long. Just enough time for a little break, and a cup of tea :) 

The first piece has me inspired to do a dress. I've ordered the fabric, so step 1 is complete. I would really like to enter it in the Designin' December competition. Now to see if I can make it happen :/  

Hope your week is off to a great start!


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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sunday Night Reflections


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Sunday Brunch/Easy Sunday Crepes

A year or so ago, I made pumpkin pancakes for our Sunday breakfast. I had made enough so that there were 3 leftover for my husband's Monday morning breakfast. 

When we had finished our breakfast, I grabbed my cup of tea, and went over to watch a Sunday morning news program. My husband had taken our plates to the sink. All of a sudden I heard him scream, "NOOOO!!!" I looked over to see Berkley standing on the bench with his front legs on the table, eating the pancakes. When my husband screamed, rather than jump down, he began to eat faster! I guess he thought, "I'm in it now, I may as well get it all!" ;) This little dog absolutely LOVES pancakes...of every type.

I have been going through recipes that I've posted in the past, and there are a number that I feel I need to revisit, and have them so that you can easily print them. I originally posted this recipe in 2012...8 years ago :/ Wow! I really wanted to post it now as the holidays are coming, such a wonderful time to do something lovely for your family, and such a wonderful excuse to sit down and really connect.  

Crepes are so easy to make. They are nice and light, so you don't get up from the table feeling as though you need a nap. And, the fillings can be tailored to the likes of everyone who comes to the table. 

The recipe is below.

Once the mix has been made, heat a skillet or crepe pan. If you don't have a crepe pan, you don't need one! A skillet will work just fine. Add a small pat of butter to the pan to season it. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan. Swirl the pan to distribute the batter as evenly as possible. Cook until the batter is no longer runny, about a minute.

Flip the pancake and cook on the opposite side for no more than another minute.

Place the crepes on a warm plate, and then continue with the rest of the batter. This recipe makes approximately 10-11 crepes.

I made a lovely cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. I use ginger, a stick of cinnamon, 1 orange, and the entire orange peel. If you would like the recipe, just let me know, and I'll be happy to post it. Since I had leftovers, I decided to serve the sauce as the filler for the crepes. Soooo delicious!

Just place a little in the center of the crepe, fold over, and then put a little on top, and finish with a dust of powdered sugar. Then, dig in and enjoy!!!

Berkely got a few scraps :)

Easy Sunday Crepes

3 eggs
1 1/4 cups Almond Milk(or milk of choice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup flour

Place eggs in blender, and blend until smooth. Add milk and vanilla extract. with blender running, add melted butter. Add flour, and blend until smooth.
Heat skillet or crepe pan. Season with a small pat of butter. Pour 1/4 cup of crepe mixture onto hot skillet or crepe pan. Swirl batter to evening distribute around bottom of pan. Cook until batter no longer runs, about a minute. Flip crepe and cook for a minute longer on opposite side. Place on warm plate and repeat with remaining batter. Makes about 10-11 crepes.
Serve with favorite filling and powdered sugar.   

You can see my original post HERE. In that post I made a strawberry/rhubarb sauce. 

As always, if you give the recipe a try, I hope you enjoy it!
Just a quick story to close. A friend of mine visited with me last year along with her 7 year old daughter. While they were with me, her daughter was always by my side, and whatever I was doing, she wanted to participate, including setting the table for our meals. My friend told me that she recently had a day off, and decided to make a lovely meal, set the table, and serve the food in serving bowls. Her daughter came to the table and exclaimed, "it's just like at Rhonda's house! It all looks so pretty." 

Happy Eating :)

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