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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Sunday, December 6, 2020

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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