Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Motorcycle iPad Case - A WIP

Today I am presenting a project that I have been working on for my friend Valerie. She is my daughter's sax teacher, a gifted musician and teacher, and an all-around wonderful person.
Valerie and her hubby ride motorcycles together. They ride all over the place, both short trips and long trips. We've recently both been lusting over our new iPads, and when she mentioned that she needed a case to protect her iPad while in her saddlebag during road trips, my wheels started turning.

Valerie thinks that memory foam would be the best thing to use for protection. We just so happened to take a trip to Ikea this weekend, where I picked up a memory foam pillow. It was one of those curvy neck pillows. I'd have preferred a nice smooth rectangle, but it's what I found, so I made do.

I got to work right away on cutting up the pillow.  Now, in retrospect, I should have pulled out my jigsaw, but instead I used serrated kitchen knives.  Live and learn.

My supply list:

Sealah Tape (one of my favorite things)
Memory foam pillow
Adhesive spray
Silky fabric for lining (repurposed pj pants)
Fabric for outside of case. I used raincoat fabric from fabric.com that I had in the stash.
Strong Thread and needle
Pressing cloth
Serrated knives

I started by tracing the iPad onto the pillow, then marking 1" all around. I cut this with a big bread knife. Then I carefully cut the line where I traced directly around the iPad, cutting down about an inch. Carefully, I sliced the piece out in one piece, because that will serve as a part of the case. I used the silky pj fabric to cover the 1" piece I removed, hand stitching it closed on one side.

Then I trimmed away some of the inside bed to make room for the fabric and the iPad and still get good closure.  Again I used the silky pj fabric to create an inside lining where the iPad will rest, using lots of Sealah tape to keep it in place. (Upper right picture in 2nd collage below.)

Click to enlarge.

After trimming off the back curves of the pillow piece, I cut a piece of the main fabric, large enough to wrap up and over the main piece's edges, like a present would be wrapped. I sprayed the back of the foam with adhesive, placed it on the fabric, then started folding and wrapping, using Sealah tape liberally. Love that stuff. Periodically I ironed it using a press cloth, just to set the Sealah tape.

Once it was all wrapped to my satisfaction, I used poly/cotton button thread and a small needle, whip stitching the main thread to the lining, using very small stitches.

Similarly, I wrapped and stitched the main fabric to the removable cover, leaving the lining exposed on the inside, the part that will cover the iPad screen.  The picture above is the main case, which is done except for a little more hand stitching.  The 1" thick rectangle piece that is now all covered will serve as the lid, or cover, and fits nicely down inside, on top of the iPad.  I have to fool around with it to figure out how I am going to make the closure.  I am leaning towards using two elastic bands sewn to the back of the case, one horizontal and one vertical, that will wrap around and secure it all together.  My alternate idea is a plastic latch like you see on backpacks and shopping carts (to hold the kiddos in).  However, I think the more streamlined, the better, since they have limited space for packing.  Nice thing is that the memory foam is 'squishable'.

I was hoping to finish it tonight, but my brain has been seriously rattled today.  There is a house being built next door to us, and the heavy equipment being used to pound down the soil has vibrated my last nerve to within an inch of it's life.

I'll post a pic when it's complete.  I'm open to suggestions on the closure!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Another Foodie Post: Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

Today I just never found my mojo, and had an incredibly unproductive day. It was likely due to the fact that I got up at 4am with the hubs, after going to bed at midnight. I'm happy to say that I did manage to exercise.

This evening I came across a recipe for oatmeal cookies with whole wheat flour. I tweaked it a bit, and really liked the outcome, so I thought I'd share.

These are definitely a high fiber, low sugar, healthier cookie, not a decadent, feel guilty for eating sort of thing. I love sweets, but have to be mindful of my sugar and white flour intake. I can see having one before a workout if I need a little something.

So here is the link:
Whole Grain Gourmet Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

Changes I made include adding two handfuls each of chopped dates and chopped walnuts, used 1/2 coconut oil and 1/2 non-hydrogenated veg shortening, an extra 1/4 cup oats and 2 TBSP ground flax seed. My flour was whole wheat pastry flour.

I made 5 cookies tonight, then added 1 cup of canned pumpkin to the rest of the mix and stuck it in the fridge. I'm looking forward to making some in the morning to see what the pumpkin adds (besides 8 gms of fiber....). Other reviewers suggested the pumpkin, and it sounded good to me.

Now I do have to warn you that my 15 year old did not like these. However, she is not a whole grain kind of girl....

More tomorrow with the pumpkin update.

Back with the pumpkin update! Last night I added 1 cup canned pumpkin to the dough, and refrigerated it overnight. This afternoon I put half of the remaining dough (with pumpkin) into a small glass baking dish and patted it down, maybe close to an inch thick. Preheated the oven to 335 *F on convection setting, and baked for 20 minutes. Cooled and cut into bars. I'm in love with these. The pumpkin added more flavor and made them nice and moist. I like them as bars - fools my brain into not seeing it as a cookie. ;) I intend to put the remaining dough in a glass baking dish, covering and freezing until I am ready to make more.

I finally got the link back to the recipe to work up there, also.

All in all, I am pleased with this recipe. If anyone in blogland makes this recipe, let me know how it turns out for you.

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bird Pillow from Repurposed Curtains

Good Saturday morning to you. It's been a busy week here with stuff other than sewing, you know - life stuff. So I've been sticking to quickie projects, and finishing up projects that I have lying around the studio. Which is a good thing, really.

Last night I pulled out a pillow that I had painted, and still needed to be sewn. A while back I was playing with a pair of old linen curtains that I had used to stage our rental house. They were inexpensive - probably from Tar-jay, my favorite boutique. Or perhaps Tuesday am, another place I like to forage. Anyhow, the fabric is linen, or some blend of linen, and has a nice drape. It is a flaxy, beige-ish color that I really like. I washed, dried and ironed them, and they came out very nice.

My pillow project was inspired by Jessica from Running With Scissors..


(The link isn't working for me, but you can find her tutorial at: projectsbyjess.blogspot.com. Search for "Bird Pillow Tutorial") Her version is beautiful, you must see it!

I loved her creation, and she offered up her template, so I downloaded it for my pillow. Jessica used the template as a stencil. I proceeded a little differently, however. I traced the template with transfer pencil, then ironed the image onto my pillow front piece. Then I used fabric paint to paint the image.

While the paint was drying, I put a lapped concealed zipper into the back piece, because I wanted to be able to change out the pillow inside. I made this specifically to fit a small, super fluffy, down bed pillow.

That was the extent of my progress until last night. I felt the front fabric needed a little reinforcement, so I interfaced it with collar and cuff interfacing. Then I pulled out my scrap bin and cut out a couple birds, and interfaced them. Lauren added the wings for me. I also added a strip of braid to the front, recycled from a duvet cover that was irreparably damaged by a sweet little Tasmanian devil nephew. (I salvaged a bunch of this trim, the silver lining.)

I used a product I've mentioned before - Sealah Tape. I truly love this stuff. I attached the birds, wings, and braid with the Selah tape, then gave it a quick press. I topstitched the birds and braid, then added the fringe trim to the outside edges. Sewed the front and back pieces together, and called it a pillow.

I think my pics are a little blurry. I am still experimenting to find the right combo to size the pictures correctly to post here. I wasn't so successful on my last post. Also, I've been playing with posting from my iPad. It's doable, but easier with my laptop.

When I was taking pics last night, I was trying to take advantage of the fading light in the music room, so I propped the pillow on the piano. Ironically, yesterday morning I was playing "Let Me Be Your Wings", so that was the music on the piano next to the pillow in the pictures below. (I confess, I have a thing for Barry Manilow's music.)

I love birds, and have several in the decor scattered about the house. Thanks, Jessica, for the idea and template. Jessica's blog is great, and she is so creative. Pay her a visit!

Thanks for stopping by,

p.s. I linked to Karen's Sew Darn Crafty Party!

sew many ways

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Placemat Pillow

Blogger has been cantankerous for me the last 24 hours, and hasn't let me post. I'm keeping my fingers crossed this works.

It's been a dry week for sewing, however, I made some quick pillows. The picture above, which I fooled around with on some new iPad App, is a placemat come pillow. It began it's life as a placemat at Pier One, and I picked it up on sale for a couple of bucks a while back, only because I love the color. This week it got folded in half, stitched & stuffed, and now occupies a spot on our bed. It's really quite comfy, great for under the neck while reading.

I also made a pillow in the same size and shape for Anna with scraps from her valance, which I'll post soon, when I complete her room ensemble. I'm so excited about that project - I happened to be at the big home dec fabric store this past weekend and the main fabric for Anna's room was 75% off. Well I just scooped me up another bunch of that fabric. I'm cooking up ideas of how to use it. If I don't use it all for Anna, I have 3 little nieces.....

Last night while watching that talent show on TV with my daughter, I was playing around with this:
This is labeled "Poppy, by Alice Kennedy for Timeless Treasures Fabric. I cannot remember where I purchased this, definitely online, though.

I just love this fabric and was thinking of making an iPad case, and lining it with the black, silky pant leg of some pj pants in the 'recycle' pile. I was also thinking of making pj pants or a night shirt for myself. DD asked me to make a dress from this, with 'Poppy' as the skirt, and a black knit top. I have just the pattern, which I am too lazy to go pull out right now, but that should be on the near horizon. I think it would be great for a bag, also.

This week we are fairly wrapped up in helping some older family members sort through some issues, so the sewing studio is a little lonely. I did fold some laundry in there this week, just because the studio is a happy place. I also changed out the bedding on the twin bed in there to all white, which looks great against the deep turquoise walls. I want to make some red and orange pillows for the bed, so I will be forced once again to fabric shop. Oh well, a woman's work is never done. Cough, cough. ;)

I'm off to read my new purchase, Fit For Rel People, by Pati Palmer. I've heard great things about it from PR members and other bloggers, and I have high hopes it will help in my quest to properly fit myself, especially in the bust.

If you have read this far, I truly hope that your week is going wonderfully for you.


I'm trying to link to Sew Darn Crafty!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Coconut Shrimp & Dipping Sauce

Do you plan your weekly menus in advance? I don't. I've tried, but honestly, I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal. This afternoon, after getting in a really good workout with my daughter and a nap afterwards, she asked for coconut shrimp for dinner. Sounded good to me, and as luck would have it, I had a bag of jumbo shrimp in the freezer. Now, I love me some coconut shrimp, but I especially love a sweet & spicy dipping sauce to accompany the shrimp. Since today was all work - no sew, I thought I'd share our recipe. Warning, I don't really measure, I just eyeball, so all measurements are approximate.

For the shrimp: Preheat oven 400*

1) whip some egg whites (or whole eggs are ok too) - 2 or 3 will do
2) I keep dry unsweetened flake coconut in the house, so to sweeten it I added powdered sugar to taste and mixed well. Put the coconut in a flat dish.
3) Mix together in another flat dish:
About 6 TBLSP flour or cornstarch (I used the latter as I am still out of flour.)
A dash or two of cayenne pepper, to your liking.
A dash of salt.

Prepare a baking pan or cookie sheet - cover with foil and coat with olive oil or spray, your preference.

Butterfly the shrimp - mine had been frozen so had to defrost. I used the cooked ones, tails on. Clean yours if not purchased cleaned. I let them dry on paper towels.

Hold shrimp by tails, dip in egg, dredge in flour mix, then in sweetened coconut. Put on your greased baking sheet standing on the butterflied meaty part with tails in the air. Pop in the oven. Mine cooked for about 15 minutes, turned baking sheet halfway. I cooked them until they were getting nicely browned on top.


If you are like my daughter, just use ketchup. Doesn't sound so good? Then try this recipe!

Put the following in a saucepan:

Jam, whatever you've got in the fridge. I used 2 tsp strawberry.
Chopped up pineapple, I used fresh, maybe a handful small chop. I'm sure canned is fine too.
Rice vinegar, the sweet kind. About 2 TBLSP
Honey, about 3 TBLSP
Asian pepper sauce, like the sirachi kind, or whatever 'heat' you've got. I used a tsp.

Let that come to a nice boil, stirring. Then add a mixture of 1 tsp cornstarch and a few TBLSP cold water to the bubbling sauce. Stir and cook a minute or so more as it thickens.

Serve along side your shrimp.

We had this with rice and red beans, salad, fresh corn, leftover greens, and fresh pineapple.

This was so good, the shrimp were tender, and the sauce was amazing. There were leftovers, so we are going to see how they reheat for breakfast.

My hubby's review: best coconut shrimp and sauce he has ever had. Trust me, he's honest. And I am making myself hungry all over again.

Let me know if you decide to try the recipe. I'd love to know how you like it.

Have a wonderful evening,


Ps, sorry no pictures. They were really quite pretty, nice enough for company, but I forgot to snap a picture. There's always next time.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Father's Day Foodie Post: Baccala Recipe in Honor of my Grandfather

Growing up in a large Italian family, every holiday, no matter how large or small, was celebrated with food. Despite my avid interest in and constant vigilance to feeding myself and my family a healthy diet, I still have to make the old family 'comfort food' recipes on occasion.

Baccala is today's dish. Yesterday I picked up some salt cod, and soaked it overnight, changing the water a couple times before I went to bed. Salt cod is cod fish filets preserved with salt. It harkens back to the days when salting was a common method of preservation, before the advent of refrigeration. Cod is still sold this way, probably because so many cultures still use it in their cooking. I buy it at my local grocery or the local Italian market. Salt cod freezes well also. It needs to be soaked and rinsed a few times to get the excess salt out.

This is a traditional Christmas Eve dish for my family, but I like to make it once in a while.

This morning I was excited to make Baccala, which is simply a fried cod fritter. Four ingredients: flour, water, cod, and salt to taste. After getting the java going, this is what I saw in my pantry:

Yep, I was out of white flour. 

Truth be told, I've been trying to cut back on the white stuff, so I haven't been buying it. But, I did have a bag of King Arthur 'white whole wheat' flour. So that is what I used.
Here is how my grandfather taught me to make the Baccala. You start with some flour sifted in a mixing bowl. A couple cups for about a pound of fish. Use more if you need o stretch the cod a little farther. Add water and mix with electric mixer to consistency of a batter, slightly thinner than pancake batter. Add salt to taste. I can't tell you how much, just taste your batter.

I like to simmer the cod a little while, but this is not necessary - my Mom never did. Drain the cod and flake it to make smaller pieces, but don't shred.

Put a fry pan on the stove - cast iron works great, but I just used my stainless. Fill ~ 1/3 of the way with oil. I like safflower oil because it is a healthier high temp oil. I'm pretty sure Gramp used corn oil. Heat up the oil.

Here is the setup:
Using a tablespoon, scoop a little cod, then scoop some batter on the same spoon, and drop gently into the hot oil. The oil has got to be hot. You should see the oil bubble around the fritter when it goes into the oil. It is important to not crowd the pan. When the edges are looking golden, flip the fritter with a fork and let the other side cook. When done - nice and golden - remove with slotted spoon to a paper towel lined dish.

Today's 'healthier whole wheat' version verdict: not bad, but we all prefer the white flour version. If you make this, I definitely recommend using white all-purpose flour. It's a treat, might as well enjoy it.  Even though it is not exactly the same with the WW flour, we had no problem devouring these for breakfast.
They can be salted if preferred. Let cool a bit, then enjoy. These are good the next day, too, if they last.

I have fond memories of learning to make Baccala with 'Gramp', my grandfather. Gramp was a kind and gentle man with the patience of Job, and the best laugh ever. He was a very smart man who could fix or build anything, despite having only a sixth grade education. Gramp was a dye sinker by trade, and was also a musician. He played the tenor sax and guitar, and he and his fellow band members made an album in the early 70's. Gramp also had the greenest thumb, and made a beautiful garden every year. He chopped wood all summer to stock up for winter, because Gram and Gramp built a fire in the wood burning stove in the sunroom every cold day. I could go on all day about all of the great memories I have of Gramp. He was so special, and is always missed.

Happy Father's Day to the special dads and granddads in your lives.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Valance Progress, FBA Take 2: Mezza-mezza

After cutting out the fabric for Anna's valance yesterday, I just couldn't wait to put it together.

Here it is, in progress.

Keep in mind that is is flat on the floor, but when hung will have 3" returns on either side.  I decided to make it fully reversible, with the other side less frou-frou.  It will hang on a 3" wide continental rod.  The sheer gathered fabric is just lying on top - I am playing with the design still.  It is leftover fabric from the sheers that will go under the valance.  I have covered buttons and tassels to play with, and I may make a fabric flower in a coordinating fabric to see if I like that.  There is plenty of fabric left for pillows, which I love making.  I am thinking a bolster and a couple throw pillows for Anna's bed, and a couple floor pillows.

Next up:  FBA, take 2.

This is the second iteration of my Kwik Sew 3338 'Large FBA', before sleeves and neck binding.  See that gaping fabric mid-armsyce?

FBA KS 3338 Take 2
Here is the pattern piece.  I added in 4.25" at the bust point.  I cut a size M, because that is where the shoulders and upper chest fit.  Of course, it added a couple inches to the torso below the bust, and I kept that this time - I don't need stretch knit pulled tight against my middle aged belly.

I've found lots of great resources on FBA's, but none that specifically talk about how to do it when your FBA is hughnormous.  Is there a book for extreme FBA's??  I may need professional help....

I did put the neck binding and sleeves on, but didn't do any hemming yet - it may be a PJ shirt anyway.   I'll get some pics tomorrow.  I tossed it in the dryer and forgot about it when I got involved with the valance.

And a parting shot:  Crystal watching me trying to take a picture of myself in the bathroom mirror.  She's a sweet girl, our Crystal.
Crystal wondering if it's safe to come in...

Until tomorrow ~


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's a Hot Curtain Day

The more stressful life gets, the more I like to sew. I get very absorbed in my projects, and forget about the worries.  Which is exactly how I spent my morning. 

Anna is a sweet 5 year old girl who is the daughter of my friend Theresa. I started on her curtains and valance today. Specifically, I measured and cut out the fabric for her purple sheers, then designed and cut out all 3 layers of fabric for the valance. The 3 layers include the decorative face fabric, interlining, and the decorative lining fabric. Since the fabric is expensive, I want there to be a bit of flexibility in the design. The decorative lining is suitable for an older girl's decor, while the face fabric has a younger feel. 

I am contemplating whether I will make it fully reversible, or construct it so that I can reverse it with a little effort down the road. I want to put it on a board rather than a rod, but I may just compromise and use a rod to make it fully reversible. 

Top pic is the pinnable worktable I constructed in my garage for projects like this. I completely love this, and will devote a post to this soon. I sweated bullets while working out there today, with a feels like temp of 106*F. Ugh. 

The valance pattern I drew is on the table. 

2nd pic:  decorative lining. 

3rd pic:  The fabric lineup for Anna's room.  Some will be pillows and other stuff.  

I'm so excited to get sewing, but for now I am off to take my FIL to a doctor's appointment. 

More later. :)


p.s.:  The colors are nicer than they appear in this phone photo.  I am so looking forward to getting the tripod I ordered, and getting my Canon back from the shop.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stuff I Love

It's been a crazy week, no sewing last 2 days. So I thought I'd post a few things I love.
Making homemade pasta. Especially with family and friends. My garden. My sewing room. The curtain that used to be a tablecloth that hides my stash. The neat screw clamp pincushion I made. Watermelon, in season. Mmmmmmm.

Life is short, enjoy it!


Monday, June 13, 2011

"Large" FBA on a T-shirt Pattern (aka Supersize It!)

Holy smokes.  Some days I feel like I have the biggest breasts on the planet.  I know I don't, but they are large.  Let's look at the numbers:

High bust (high chest):  36"
Full bust:  45"
Waist:  35"
Hips:  Plenty
Bra size:  US 36I, UK 36GG (All I ever wear are UK brands - they seem to understand how to fit the large breasted woman better.)

What the measurements don't reveal is that I have a narrow, bony back.  It is the only part of my body that lacks excess adipose tissue.  I like my back.  My upper torso is, in general, thin compared to the rest of me.  I have very large breasts on a bony torso.  The combo of large breasts on a narrow-ish torso is a tough one to fit.  Certainly RTW is a challenge.

First FBA can be seen in this post:  Since I just completed my first FBA, and thought it to be relatively successful, I am excited to do more.  I wore that top at the beach over my bathing suit, and it worked well.

Enter Kwik Sew 3338.   See pattern info here.  View C is a simple, short sleeved tee.  I am partial to simple cotton tee's for multiple reasons, including both the climate and the ease & comfort of wear.   After reading several sources, I chose a method of attack.  They all seem fairly similar.  Here are the front and back pieces basted together.  I put these out there in hopes of receiving opinions on how to make this better.

Picture time:

Sorry for the blur, but this picture shows the pull between the breasts.

This shot shows the slight gathering on the front at the bust to ease front to back.  It also shows a gaping at the front of the armsyce, what would be the upper outer quadrant if you were looking face on.  there are also some ripples from under the bust going to the side seam.

The back.  Ignore PJ pants.

Here on the left side, you can see a similar gaping at the front of the armsyce as on the right side. I am appearing quite bloated in these pics!  Shooting pics after a pasta dinner is a no-no.

Here is how I got there:

Pattern traced in size M with XL length.

I chose M according to my high bust - I'm right between a S & M.

Alteration lines in red ink.

I exaggerated the alteration lines using an 'app', and labeled the pieces A and B.  The upper section above the diagonal line stays where it is.

I slashed along the lines I drew in, and separated the pieces.  A was slid 2.5 in.  to the left, and B was moved down 2 in.

Taped in place.

Marked a new waist.

The result made the waist/hip area too big, so I drew  a  new line to narrow the waist and hip.
I thought I needed more room in the bust, so I tacked some on.

Cut the new side.

Ready to cut fabric.

My overall impression is that 1) I need a larger FBA, and 2) I took out too much in the waist/hip area.

The latter is an easy fix.  The FBA, on the other hand, is challenging me.  I tissue fitted this pattern, and felt that I needed 5 inches total at the bust, especially given that it is a knit.  That is why I did a 2.5" spread at the bust point.  I felt that I needed the extra length to cover the full breast - that is why I moved piece B down 2".

I read someplace on the web that when doing a 'large FBA', that more than one 'slash & spread' is required.  Would that help?  Or should I have angled the upper diagonal line differently - angled it into the armsyce rather than the shoulder?

Determined as I am to learn how to do the proper FBA for my shape, I am not discouraged in the slightest.  The knit, although beefy and having a nice hand, was an inexpensive find, and I have lots more.  

Any thoughts, advice, opinions are most welcome.  

Thanks for reading!


Friday, June 10, 2011

Sew Many Ways...: Sew Darn Crafty Party...Week 17

Sew Many Ways...: Sew Darn Crafty Party...Week 17: "It's a beautiful Sunday morning. It's been a crazy week here at Sew Many Ways, but I'm hoping to get some projects done today...I hope!! ..."

Last Sunday I saw that Karen at Sew Many Ways was hosting a 'Linky Party'.  I am so new to the blog lingo and methods of linking up, grabbing buttons (I still can't get that) and so forth, but I am trying to find my way with this blog thing.  I really enjoy Karen's blog, and I found so much inspiration looking at all the links.  So much creativity out there.  So I think I have found out how at least to link to her post...I'm excited!


In other news, we are officially back from the beach, all feeling refreshed and healthier.  Lauren is no worse for the wear despite the sting by the surprised stingray.  I'm thinking that I will cut out a pattern tonight.  I've been wanting to make a white jersey knit summer top.  Exciting, I know, but I need some summer tops, and I love white.  Besides, the fabric was washed and dried before the beach trip, and is hanging over the chair staring at me, no, not just staring, but begging to be cut and sewn.

But before I go.....

Doesn't this look delicious?  These are whole grain with ground flaxseed, chocolate-chocolate chip waffles & berries that I made for breakfast recently.  I'm thinking dreaming about these right now, but they will have to wait for breakfast.  Then I'll hit this:

Our little home gym is feeling unloved and lonely.

'Cause it needs a little love, too.  ;)


Happy Sewing,


Thursday, June 9, 2011


Stingray Shuffle Staycation

We drove one whole hour (maybe less) to arrive at our staycation destination Wednesday morning. We are so close to some of the most beautiful beaches in the US. I've got to admit, it's pretty sweet. Even though I'm quite fair and freckly, I love the sun. I pile on loads of zinc oxide, wear my hat and shades, and stay near the umbrella with my book. I'm reading "Devil in the White City". So far it's good, an historical fiction, which I always enjoy.
First thing this morning, we had a beautiful breakfast at the pristine buffet spread. Lots of fresh fruit and other goodies. I think we were the first ones there. We went right out to the beach and staked out our umbrella and chaise lounges, then went for a walk, er, shuffle, that is, on the still deserted beach. Absolute paradise, until... my girl got stung by a stingray, despite the shuffle. We knew immediately what it was, there is just nothing like that pain. The fellow working the beach area at the resort this morning is a fireman for his full time gig - he was the best. He knew just what to do, and got DD a bucket of hot water to soak her foot in. The hot water draws the toxin out. Lauren was a real trooper, though, and after an hour's soak and a bandaid, she and her daddy went for another walk and a swim in the crystal clear waters of the gulf. That's my girl! :D
I managed to hold down the fort at the chaise lounge area, with a virgin daiquiri and my book.
Below is Steve the fireman/resort employee who helped us, and Lauren, smiling despite the sting. She said she feels bad for the stingray....

It really is a beautiful day in paradise!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

This Is A Test

It's a beautiful morning in the Sunshine State, and we are all excited today. We are headed to the beach today for a few days. My DH (who made it clear that his picture will never make it to this blog ;)) surprised us with reservations at a beautiful place on the beach. Goodness knows we need a break and some R & R. DD is so excited that she was up before the sun making breakfast for us. Which gave me the opportunity to snap a picture of her in an apron I made a while back. It is in the same fabric (Amy Butler, I think) as the little photo case I made and put in an earlier post titled "Past Projects" (Soon I will learn how to do links!) I don't particularly like this apron pattern, and after making it twice, I swore it off. It's on my list to do a review on PR. I need to make time soon for a review writeup day. I find other sewer's reviews so helpful, and I want to reciprocate.

Ok, so back to the title of this post. Why is this a test? I just set up on blogger an email address that I can use to post blogs from my mobile device. Currently, I am relaxing on my sofa enjoying a cup of coffee, writing this email post.

I take a lot of pictures with my 'mobile device', so i like the idea of posting them this way, if indeed it works well.

So here is my sweet girl modeling the apron, getting ready to whip up some eggs. We also enjoyed Applegate Farms Turkey Sausage Links, an excellent Florida Ruby Red Grapefruit, and some homemade honey wheat bread, courtesy of our good friend and fellow food aficionado, Matthew. I had almond butter and local strawberry jam on my toasted bread.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saturday Sewing Projects

It was a most relaxing Saturday, during which I got some sewing projects finished, or very close to finished.  I never got out of my PJ's except for try ons/fitting/pictures.

An introduction first.  Below is Crystal, our 8 year young Goldie.  She is a real sweetie, such a good girl.  She likes to hang out in the sewing room when I am in here.

On to today's projects:
First is the top [KWIK SEW 3152] I made the other day using an FBA - my very first.  I did some tweaking on that today.

First, I put a twill tape hanging loop/tag thingy on the inside back to make it easy to quickly identify front vs. back of the top.  Second, I added a small piece of elastic to the mid back, just to make a slight gather. I made this top to throw on over my bathing suit top with shorts or a skirt, but I think it looks good enough to wear tooling around and running errands.

Next, the green skirt.  This is a rescued UFO that I completely took apart and redid.  I made this skirt exactly 1 year ago, not using a pattern - just my measurements.  The goal was a simple A-line, which is how it turned out when I first made it, but it was too A-lined, so I never wore it.  The fabric is linen that must have a bit of lycra, because it has just the perfect amount of stretch.  I cannot remember where I bought it from for certain, but I may have purchased it from a local boutique fabric shop.  It was simply too nice to let it continue to languish in the UFO pile.

So today I picked out all the seams, removed the zipper and hem.  I recut the lines of the skirt, and added a lining using some generic white lining fabric from the stash that I think is from Hancock's.  I put in a new zipper, which gave me major agita.  I think I redid it 2 or 3 times - and I basted it first.  Bad zipper day for some strange reason - planetary misalignment??  

I just realized I didn't take pics of the inside.  I used double fold bias tape in white to finish the zipper SA's, and the other seams are serged.  I also finished the waist using the DF bias tape as well - a quick and easy application.  Being so busty, I rarely tuck my shirts in, so the easy way is fine.  

The picture shows pins in the hem - I like to use lace hem tape and hand sew my hems, and I am out of hem tape, so I will finish that tomorrow, and put a hook and eye above the zipper.

The purple skirt below is a Hot Patterns free download pattern from Fabric.com, that I made earlier in the week.  The lilac linen is a light, almost hanky weight fabric that I picked up at Hancock's a few weeks back.  I still need to post a review on Pattern Review, but for the down and dirty review - it is a very, very simple quickie project that would be great for a beginner, or to satisfy the itch to complete a project in a short amount of time.

The FBA top has a little purple in it, so it works with the purple skirt and the green skirt.  Bonus!

Now for the try on pics.  I didn't model the green skirt, just the purple.  My only complaint with the top, and the reason I rated it 8.5 in an earlier post, is that I made the armband elastic a tad too snug.  That, in turn, as you can see in the last picture, creates a little 'poof' in the upper outer section of of the bust area.  Since I serged the elastic on rather than make a casing as the pattern instructions indicate, I didn't feel like redoing the armbands.  

I think it works both with and without the belt.

The purple skirt is unlined and will definitely need a slip.  

Thanks, Lauren, for letting me borrow your mirror and closet area.  <3

All in all, I am very happy with the skirts and top.  I am particularly happy because I stepped out of my comfort zone of black, browns, white, and cream.  This year I vowed to shake it up a bit color wise.  So, there you have it.

And to finish off the sewing day, I did a simple alteration on one of my DD's RTW tops.  She inherited the busty magoo genes, so has trouble with RTW like I do.  She had this cute striped top that had a shelf bra in it.  The top fits great, but the shelf bra band landed mid-bust.  I cut it out, then used my Singer Featherweight to sew two rows of stitching to hold down the little bit of 'facing' left behind.  I just <3 the  straight stitch the FW makes - always a nice looking stitch, and it is an enjoyable, quiet machine to boot.

I am so glad that I got some productive sewing time in today.  Tomorrow I have church music to transpose, and laundry and bills that are nagging at me.  Monday we are traveling to Cleveland and back all in the same day.  This week coming I also have some stuff to get done for my FIL's office - I have been helping him with things at the office for the last 9 months or so.  Then on Wednesday, we are headed to the beach for a few days.  I am so looking forward to it, even though there will be no sewing going on.  The R & R and family time is much needed by all of us.

In closing, some of Lauren's artwork.  She is enjoying her downtime now that school is over.  
Lauren created these on her computer.