Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Recipes

I have posted the recipe for peppermint bark on my recipe blog. I will post the Bailey's Truffle recipe later.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Brrrr.... And some progress!

Is anyone out there warm?? I am surely not. The weather across the country has been crazy over the past week. It was 7 degrees when I drove in this morning. Way colder than usual for December in Cincinnati. Thank goodness we missed that terrible ice storm in the northeast.

Over the weekend, I made good progress on the "homemade" Christmas gifts. Pictured here is a robe for my mom. Last weekend, my mom asked if I would make her a lightweight robe after the holidays to send to her in Florida. She picked out some flannel and a pattern and I told her I would add it to my project list. Of course, I had to make it for her for Christmas! I cut it out Friday night and finished it up around 2 pm on Saturday, in time to hit the post office with my last package.

The robe is Simplicity 3573. Just a simple button down robe with yoke. She wanted buttons all the way down so I adapted the facing on the bottom part of the robe to accommodate additional buttons.

So why the crazy masked ninja model?

Me: Son, I need you to model this bathrobe so I can take a picture.
Son: No Way. You're going to put the picture on your blog.
Me: Yes I am, but nobody you know reads the blog so who cares.
Son: Can I wear my ski mask and goggles?
Me: I'll get the camera.

In other homemade activities, my kids and I made cookies and candies yesterday - peanut butter blossoms, lemon bars, iced sugar cookies, Bailey's Irish Cream Truffles, peanut butter/chocolate swirl fudge, peppermint bark, fruit/nut bark, chocolate covered pretzels. I was so sick of looking at sweet stuff by this morning that of course, I took no pictures. I also have a couple other crafty things in the works but updates on those will have to wait until after the holidays.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lunch Tote

My parents came out for a weekend visit (my mom is doing much better!) and we made the most of every minute. My dad worked his tail off fixing things around the house ( and doing some much needed clean-up as well!) and my mom and I spent the weekend shopping and crafting. I'm still not nearly where I'd like to be shopping-wise, but I feel like I made a dent in it. In between, we spent a lot of time laughing with the kids and eating and drinking. And of course, watching Christmas videos. "You'll shoot your eye out!"

My mom loved all the different fleeces at Hancock's and picked out some great colors to make one of those tied blankets. We knocked that out this afternoon in about an hour and a half. I wanted to make my niece a little tote bag to carry the books I bought her but when I found a pattern for a lunch bag, I changed course. This is what I came up with:

The fabric is an embroidered denim I found on clearance at JoAnn's and the lining is a pink/white quilt fabric. I dusted off my embroidery machine (and manual!) to put her name on the bag.

I made a couple modifications to the pattern. I lined it and added a handle. If I did it over again, I would use two pieces of velcro for the closure to make it seal a little better. And I didn't realize until well after I was completely finished that I was supposed to sew the crease in each side to define the sides. Oh well, it is adorable as h*ll if I do say so myself. Even my 14 yr old son thought it was cute.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I would have waited to post this until next week but I wanted to throw out a product endorsement in time for anyone who may be procrastinating on Christmas Cards. I haven't sent out Christmas cards in several years due to my personal life. Seemed hypocritical to send out the smiley family photo when my marriage was in the tank. Well, I am fully experiencing the Christmas spirit for the first time in a few years so the kids and I decided to do a card this year.

So, after our tree hunting last Sunday, we got out the camera and tripod and took some photos. I always have trouble picking a picture for the Christmas card so I was thrilled to find multiple photo layouts at Snapfish. We took the photos at 3 pm, designed the card at 4 pm and ordered at 5 pm last Sunday. The order shipped Monday and I had them in hand on Tuesday. Free shipping, by the way. I have no affiliation with Snapfish and this is my first time ordering but high fives to them for their speedy service and good selection of products. Oh... the cards cost 45 cents each (when you order 80+).

I just scanned the card and posted it and can't figure out why it's so small but you get the general idea.

Finished Knitting Project

Shockingly, I actually finished a knitting project! I started this wrap last January and after getting about 75% done, put it down and didn't pick it back up until Thanksgiving. The pattern is Long Tail Wrap by Carolyn Steele and the yarn is Prism Kid Slique in Tumbleweed. I saw this made in a yarn store in Lexington several years ago and just loved it. I am pleased with the finished results and look forward to wearing it. Here is a link to full review on Ravelry.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Note to Brigid...

and anyone else in the Cincinnati area. I should have identified the accessory store yesterday as it is a fun little place that my daughters and I really enjoy. the store is called The Next Best Thing and it is in downtown Blue Ash (9662 Kenwood Rd). It's a great little gift shop that sells jewelry, purses, scarves, unusual gifts, etc. It is all very reasonably priced. Unfortunately, they do not have a website.

It is always my first stop when I'm looking for "a little something" to give to a girlfriend or one of my daughters.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Painting the Town Red

Wow, you gals like red. And yes, Summerset, after I posted the last entry, I realized I should have said that YOU do not get a vote. LOL! Thanks to everyone for the comments. Lindsay and Leesa, the black shoes do look cute, too, but I wasn't sure how to accessorize.

So I made a quick trip to an fun little accessory story and picked up the purse, necklace and earrings. A little red and a little bling. Merry Christmas to me! (Picked up two gifts for the girls, too. Woo hoo!)

A Special Offer from Fabric.com

I just received a nice note from Crystal at Fabric.com. She thanked me for mentioning them in a previous post and is offering a special deal to my blog readers. If you type in Bloggers in the coupon code, you will receive $5 off your order, no minimum purchase. They also have free shipping on orders of $35 or more.

And yes, I did order the aqua argyle faux fur. LOL. I have this old baseball style jacket pattern that I'll use for it (after I made the other six coats I have purchased supplies for.) I hope to find some brown rib trim for the neck, sleeve and waistbands

Red patent shoes or Black patent shoes

Edited to say Red it is!!

Which should I wear with this dress to the company Christmas party?

One trick pony

That would be me after looking at my last two posts!

This is TOO CUTE!

I am a sucker for faux fur. Many think it's tacky. I love it and think it is very fun. So when Fabric.com sent me an email that they had fur on sale, I had to check it out. I was not expecting this:

This would make the cutest jacket, wouldn't it? The fabrics are $13.99/yard and also available in white/black and shades of browns. If you click on the fabric swatch, it will take you to the website.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

And so it begins...

The frantic Christmas season, that is. I had a wonderful visit with my family for Thanksgiving. Thanks so much to all of you who sent emails and comments wishing my mom well. She was released from the hospital at 10 pm the night before Thanksgiving and although she continues to be tired, she was thrilled to be home for the day. She has been diagnosed with colitis and diverticulitis and has some fun times ahead until her condition can be brought under control with diet.

Traditionally, my mom and my daughters and I head out on Black Friday. We no longer go to snag bargains but we just think it's fun to be out in the chaos! LOL. But because of the circumstances, we didn't make it. I did take a quick visit to the JoAnn's in the town where my parents live and picked up a couple things. The pink plaid is a flannel for pj pants and the argyle is a sweater knit that I plan to make a tunic length top/dress to wear over leggings.

We started a new family tradition this year that was hilarious. The Ugly Ornament Exchange. Everyone brings a wrapped ornament, as ugly as you can find. (JoAnn's had the motherlode of ugliness at a bargain 60-70% off!) Then, everyone takes a number and we do a Dirty Santa gift exchange. It was a fun exchange that even the kids could join in. Afterwards, my brother hid all the ornaments around my parents' house. A fun little surprise for my mom when she gets better and is up and around. LOL

So now the Christmas shopping begins. I haven't purchased a single gift yet. I hope to do much online and I've already warned the kids that this is the year I really mean it when I say I am cutting back! We had planned to go get our tree today but it is nasty so I think we'll hold off.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Knowing when to punt

First of all... thanks so much for the unanimous vote on my request for the jacket closure. Leather tab closure it is! I neglected to mention both trims were from M&J Trimming. Never ordered from them before. Guess I will now.

Anyhoo... one day can make a big difference. As of yesterday, almost my entire family was planning on arriving on Wednesday for Thanksgiving. Mom & Dad... two brothers... two SILs... three nieces/nephew. My three kids were thrilled with all the arriving guests and kept throwing out ideas for when they arrive. My son SET THE TABLE for Thanksgiving dinner last Saturday!! China... Crystal... the works! I started annoying my kids with "To Do" lists. Two turkeys. Lots of cheese & snacks. Liquor store run. Baked goods in the freezer. Do the laundry. Scrub the bathroom walls. Then I began annoying all the family that were coming with plans of "family photo", trips to the zoo, Christmas tree farm, game night, etc. But, bottom line is we were all very much looking forward to getting together.

Then BAM. "Bon, Mom's in the hospital. Better call Dad." Damn.

Hopefully not life threatening but days of tests ahead.

So plan to have all the east coast family come to the midwest no longer makes sense. Time for Plan B. Lucky for us that not many people are traveling this Thanksgiving. Snagged two frequent flyer flight tickets on Delta for my son and me.

Crazy thought - can I pack 26 pounds of thawed turkey in my suitcases? Yeah, probably not. But we just moved turkey day to my parents house where my mom can lay on the couch and convalesce with her family around her.

Anyway... Thanksgiving is about giving thanks. Mine have already started.

Gobble gobble.

Need some help / advice

I am making Butterick 5142, view A (cream version shown above) in a cranberry red. I can decide if I want to use a frog closure like this one:

Or if something like this tab would be nicer.

Any other suggestions or sources of closures?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

America's Next Top Model

Proud mama moment about to launch.

My daughter was recently invited to be in a fashion show. She did not want to do it. AT ALL. Good mom that I am, I told her to shrug off her nervousness and told her it would be rude to decline. (Actually, the words "Suck it up" might just have come out of my mouth.) Dontcha just love me!

The rehearsal was Tuesday night during which I received quite a few texts from my daughter with the theme, "I can't believe you made me do this." Turns out, the models don't just strut down the runway in a cute outfit. No..... You are actually assigned a theme - the outfit is just one aspect of the theme but you also must dance a routine to the song that has been choreographed by the organizers. my daughter was assigned Clumsy by Fergie and was expected to trip deliberately as part of the routine.

She was fantastic and when she hit the runway, all signs of nervousness disappeared and she looked like a beautiful, confident young lady. I am so proud. BTW, the outfit was quite cute. Top and skirt are both from BCBG and found at Macy's.

Here she is awaiting her turn and wishing she was anywhere but there:

And this is her on the runway looking FIERCE!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Have any good camp memories?

My dear friend Jen is writing a book with a camp theme and is looking for some inspiration. I had fun recalling some of my camp adventures today and maybe you will, too. In her words:

I'm past the 20,000 word mark on the 50,000 word novel. Although I have more than half to go, I feel I have crossed over the top of the mountain. Still a few peaks to go, however, and I need some help.

I need some inspiration. My story is about a 10 year old girl at typical camp in New Hampshire. Mountains on one side, lake on the other. An out of control fire on the first night consumed the high ropes course so now the campers are going to have survival training and overnight camping trips in the mountains. She also likes a boy who has been hanging around with her arch enemy - a snooty rich girl who never has to wash the toilets like the other campers do.

Anyway, I want to add some realism so I'm looking for memories. If you've ever been to summer camp, please share with me your best or worst memories of it. I'm looking for specific events as well as generalities such as how you were dismissed from the campfire or how the day was structured. I'd also be interested in hearing about any odd personalities you encountered. You can leave them in the message section or email me at jennifer.news@gmail.com. In exchange, I will send you a copy of the novel when it has been edited. If it is ever published, I will also send you a signed copy.

If you think of any fun anecdotes, please do drop her a note or visit her blog to leave a comment. I can't wait to read her book when it comes out!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Autumn fun!!

I saw the cutest idea for carved pumpkins on a blog called Eddie Ross this morning. The designs are done by drilling holes (think polka dots!) into pumpkins. Check it out!!

Also, I posted a yummy recipe on my recipe blog - Apple Cake with Vanilla Sauce.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quiz Time

I haven't done one in awhile and thought this one would be fun:

Are you a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? (found at HelloQuizzy.com)

My results are shown below. For those of you who sort of know me (via my blog), what d'ya think? Do I match?

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Katharine!

You are a Katharine -- "I am happy and open to new things"

Katharines are energetic, lively, and optimistic. They want to contribute to the world.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Give me companionship, affection, and freedom.

  • * Engage with me in stimulating conversation and laughter.

  • * Appreciate my grand visions and listen to my stories.

  • * Don't try to change my style. Accept me the way I am.

  • * Be responsible for youself. I dislike clingy or needy people.

  • * Don't tell me what to do.

What I Like About Being a Katharine

  • * being optimistic and not letting life's troubles get me down

  • * being spontaneous and free-spirited

  • * being outspoken and outrageous. It's part of the fun.

  • * being generous and trying to make the world a better place

  • * having the guts to take risks and to try exciting adventures

  • * having such varied interests and abilities

What's Hard About Being a Katharine

  • * not having enough time to do all the things I want

  • * not completing things I start

  • * not being able to profit from the benefits that come from specializing; not making a commitment to a career

  • * having a tendency to be ungrounded; getting lost in plans or fantasies

  • * feeling confined when I'm in a one-to-one relationship

Katharines as Children Often

  • * are action oriented and adventuresome

  • * drum up excitement

  • * prefer being with other children to being alone

  • * finesse their way around adults

  • * dream of the freedom they'll have when they grow up

Katharines as Parents

  • * are often enthusiastic and generous

  • * want their children to be exposed to many adventures in life

  • * may be too busy with their own activities to be attentive

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Butterick 5030

First, a few responses to previous comments.
Designdreamer: No I did not make my daughter's dress. Best of all, I didn't buy it either. She borrowed it from a friend! Woo hoo. (Oh.... and good metabolism. Although clothes hide a LOT!! Hee hee)

Daisy: Thanks for the kind comments!

Maree: Yup, quirky is probably accurate. My family and I certainly do not take ourselves very seriously. LOL

Now on to the latest sewing project. Picture on the right is Butterick 5030, View E. The fabric is a FABULOUS cotton lycra woven I purchased from Hancock's last spring. I found the bolt hidden underneath a rack of fabric. I love this dress and can't wait to debut it at a client meeting on Tuesday. Just wish I had some business-like red shoes....

As a side note, I've become a big proponent of not waiting until I have a large window of opportunity to sew. I started this dress last weekend and have taken advantage of little periods of free time here and there to finish it up. (Ten minutes before work one day, 30 minutes while I waited for dinner to cook one evening, etc.)

Full review at PR.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Homecoming, Autumn cooking, etc.

Just a proud mama photo. My son is a freshman and went to his first homecoming dance on Saturday. He didn't take a date; just he and a bunch of buddies went. (Not uncommon for freshmen, so I hear.) Doesn't he look adorable?

My daughter, the senior, also went to homecoming. She actually went with a date but he's just a good friend of hers. I must say she also looks adorable. Don't you agree??? LOL. I don't know if you can see her shoes but they are zebra striped and she also had a zebra clutch purse. The ensemble looked.... well.... ADORABLE! LOL.

(I didn't dress up just for pictures. I was going out, too. But not to homecoming. LOL. Note to self: Next time move planter containing weeds out of picture.)

I did some sewing over the weekend but didn't finish anything. I'm in town all week so I hope to get a few hours in during the week. I'm working on a wrap dress and a jacket.

Autumn means cooking season to me so I spent several hours in the kitchen yesterday. I made two batches of soup - one was a sausage corn chowder and the other a potato soup. I also finally got around to trying a pasta dish that Giada De Laurentis made last week. To be honest, I think it sounds rather boring when you read the recipe but it was outstanding! I also added mushrooms. And finally tonight, I made a great chicken dish that I found at allrecipes.com (Jen, check your email) and some cheesy au gratin potatoes. I'll post the recipes for the soups and the potatoes on my recipe blog sometime this week, if anyone is interested. OH! I also made a pumpkin crunch cake (also called pumpkin dump cake) to take to work today. This is a super easy recipe that everyone seems to love. Do give it a try!

Oh and Allison.... are you sitting down? I did some knitting tonight!!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

And I still cook, too!

Summertime usually means quick meals but when autumn arrives, I tend to cook a lot more. Made a nice comfy dinner last night: Sloppy Joes, Mac and Cheese (decadent recipe!!) and corn. I posted recipes on my cooking blog if you're interested.

I remember how to sew!

First of all.... Paul Newman... How very sad. That man had it all going on. He will be missed by so many.

On a happier note... Over the last week, I sewed three items! Woo hoo! And I've already worn all three. Double woo hoo!

The first is a simple raglan sleeve top. I like this style top for bumming around on a Saturday, running errands, cleaning the house, etc. I thought I had bought this pattern based on someone's recommendation although there are no reviews of it at PR so I don't really know who else made it! The details:

New Look 6734, View B, Size 10
Fabric - black and white stretchy knit (bought in the dinosaur era, have no idea where or fabric content)
Modifications - Lengthened it by 2-3 " and will probably add additional 2" next time. I intended to make the sleeves full length rather than 3/4 but I miscalculated and they were going to be approx. 1" too short. So I made them 3/4 anyway. I will probably make the sleeves a little wider next time. They are skin tight.
Outcome - I love this simple top. Nothing exciting but comfortable and looks good.

Next up is a knit dress. Oh so comfy!

Simplicity 3678, View C, Size 8 bodice tapering to Size 10 skirt.
Fabric - slinky knit from Gorgeous Fabrics (purchased about a year ago), "Meet Me in Marakkesh Jersey "; Dang this stuff is slippery to work with!!
Modifications - none
Outcome - LOVE this dress. It is a very flattering style. Wore it to a work reception last week and received lots of compliments. I love the shirred bodice. Very cute. I will definitely make this one again in a solid - probably as a jumper.

Finally, a basic top. When I got this one done, I was showing it to my oldest daughter to get her opinion and she said, "That looks nice. Just as good as all the other red tops you have made." And then she pointed to three red tops I had hanging to dry. LOL. Oh well... guess I like red.

Simplicity 4095, View A, Made smallest size 10 which was too big for my small busted figure.
Fabric - red poly knit from stash - kinda icky feeling to be honest.
Modifications - The bodice was too big when I basted it together. I had to pull it in by at least an inch on either side.
Outcome - Cute style but I don't LOVE love it due to the fabric. I would prefer it to be a little longer. I wore it last night with low rise jeans and I was worried about midriff reveal all night. LOL! I might try it again although I think I have other similar styles that perhaps I can make work better.

Next up is shirt dress, Butterick 5030 (view E) in the black/red/white fabric:

Friday, September 19, 2008


Just a random post for a Friday.

Crazy week here in Cincinnati. We were hit with a windstorm last Sunday (remnants of Ike). It last three hours and was just wind. No rain. Gusts up to 75mph. So it was like a mini-hurricane without the rain or a really long tornado. LOL! Needless to say, many sustained damage. My house wasn't damaged, just some downed trees and large branches. I was without power for a day and a half, which was bad enough for me but there are still approx. 150,000 people in the city without power.

Thanks to all of you who commented on my last post! My patootey feels sufficiently kicked and I have made some progress this week. Fabric.com had a nice sale on knits so I bought quite a few different pieces. Hopefully, the order will arrive tomorrow. I picked up three patterns at JoAnns last night (Butterick sale). And then Fabric.com started another promotion with 15% off (WINNER908 is the coupon code) so I ordered three Jalie top patterns from them. I also started cutting out four different projects last night and should hit the sewing machine tonight. Woo hoo!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm in a RUT!!

I have barely sewed a thing all summer and now I feel like I'm paralyzed. Ok, that's a little dramatic but seriously.... I don't understand why I am not more productive on the sewing scene. I sat down with patterns, fabrics, pattern review, etc. for TWO HOURS last night and still couldn't figure out what I want to make. Yet I open my closet door every morning and get annoyed because there is nothing in there I want to wear. What is up with that!!!!

Can somebody give me a kick in the patootey please? Seriously, I think I just need to dive in and make something to get me back in the swing.

In the meantime, it has been an eventful summer on many fronts. The animals are overtaking the human inhabitants of Casa de Bon Bon!!

Exhibit A:

This is Maggie. A long hair calico kitten my son adopted from the SPCA in mid-July. Sadly, she was not well and died five days after we brought her home.

Exhibit B:

This is Fiji. The replacement kitty we got from the SPCA. She is full of spunk and gives our dogs a run for their money.

Exhibit C:

This is Cooper. He is a chocolate lab purchased by my daughter and her boyfriend. Cooper lives with the boyfriend and his roommates but spends a lot of time at our house, too.

And more adorableness!!!!

Between the ill first kitten, Fiji developing a cold, Cooper's treatment for kennel cough, Herschel's crazy vomiting spell and "well baby care" immunizations and exams, we have spent quite a bit of money at the vet over the last two months!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

"They call me Mellow Yellow"

Technically, this dress is not done but I'm so excited about having something to show after a month with no sewing or knitting that I'm posting anyway! All I have left is the hem anyway. This is McCalls 5660. It's actually a Hilary Duff pattern, which probably means a woman in her mid-forties should not be wearing it but at least I lengthened it!! I made it from a mid-weight twill purchased from JoAnns. I didn't take any close up photos but I used a black zipper and top stitched in black for accent.

This pattern was not easy for me. I sewed the top wrong three times!! I'm not sure why I found it so difficult. It was just a little different than any other top I've ever made. The skirt is straight and form fitting and doesn't have much wiggle room (pun intended, hee hee). A woven with a little lycra in it would have been perfect for this dress. But oh well, can't have everything!

It calls for belt loops but I think I am going to leave them off because I like a wide belt. What do you think?

I just noticed the collar looks uneven. It is not. I forgot to straighten it when I tried it on.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hey Everybody

Just wanted to post quickly to say thanks to all of you have emailed me. I am definitely fine. Life is just too busy on many fronts at the moment. I miss the sewing and the knitting and the blogging and am wishing for things to slow down soon.

I did see on G's blog that the Dish Rag Tag is starting up again. It was a very fun contest last year and the organizer did a terrific job. I won't be participating this time due to time constraints but I encourage others to "play"! It was great fun! See the link for rules and sign up process. (Limited participation so better move fast if you're interested.)

Hugs to all!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm aching to sew!

We just returned from a week long vacation in Delaware. My parents own a small home on the Indian River and my brother lives right on the beach just south of Dewey. It's a fun place to go and relax and spend some time on the beach. In addition to my parents, all three of my brothers (that's us to the left) and their families were there so it was nice to spend time with everyone.

I was able to read two books while lounging on the beach - The Zookeeper's Wife (by Diane Ackerman) and Beach House (by Jane Green). I recommend both although they are certainly two very different books!

On one rainy afternoon, we saw the movie Hancock with Will Smith and Charlize Theron, which I really enjoyed but my son thought was stupid.

Remember the outfit I made for my niece. well, I think she is quite possibly the cutest one year old EVAH!

So now, I'm catching up on laundry, cleaning, work, etc. and haven't had a chance to sew even a stitch. Before I left, I cut out this cute dress (McCalls 5660) in a lightweight yellow twill. I hope to get just a few minutes to sew tonight. Fingers crossed!!

Oh and in case you have been living in a cave and hadn't heard.....

Project Runway starts in two days!!!

How lucky am I?

Is there anything more fun than receiving a gift package in the mail? YES! Receiving a SURPRISE gift package in the mail. I am the lucky recipient of not one but two fabulous packages over the last few days. On Saturday, after returning from vacation, I found a box that contained FOUR! sewing books. Sweet Jennifer (amazing knitter and mom extraordinaire) recently emailed me to ask if I would be interested in a book on fitting since she doesn't sew too much any more. I was thrilled as I really need to improve my fitting techniques and accepted her generous offer to send it to me. Imagine my surprise when I received not only the book she mentioned but three other great books. Also tucked into the package was a yummy chocolate treat which... hmmmm.... can't seem to find when I took the photo. Where ever could it be???

Fast forward to today... I arrived home from the oral surgeon after my 17 yr old's wisdom teeth removal (poor thing is not doing well!) to find a fat envelope in the mail box with Allison's return address on it. Now, Allison, in addition to being an amazing knitter and photographer, has the wonderful gift of finding sweet little presents for people but it wasn't my birthday or anything so I was curious what could be in the envelope. Well, turns out not Allison but her MOM! found this adorable apron 'kit' in a quilt store and picked it up for me. How sweet is that???!! Can you see the little ant border. TOO adorable! Allison and Mom, I can't thank you both enough for the thoughtful gift!

What a great way to boost someone's mood!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Post-Vacation "Diet"

I didn't think I ate badly on vacation but when I got on the scale this morning, it said I had gained 3 lbs. Hmmmm...... I did snack a lot so I bet that's what happened. I haven't been eating all that healthy lately anyway so I'm going to try to get back on track. I browsed some websites this morning (some great menu ideas at the Good Housekeeping Good Sense Meal Plans website) and put together a menu for this week as well as a grocery list. I only scheduled the menu through Thursday so I can see what kind of food I have left at the end of the week. Here is the menu along with some links to recipes and some lower calorie snacks that I enjoy:






Banana Berry Smoothie

Tuna salad on Pita bread

Mediterranean Fish

Brown Rice

Mixed greens and grape tomatoes


“Egg McMuffin”*


Veggie Vegetarian Chili

Greek Chicken Kabobs with grilled pita (grill mushrooms for tomorrow’s lunch)

Cucumber Onion salad (use non-fat yogurt instead of vanilla)

Brown Rice


Yogurt with Raisin Bran

Tomato, Mushroom, Feta Pita with Greek Tzatziki - cucumber yogurt sauce

Egg & Goat Cheese Frittata *

Fruit Salad

Whole Wheat Baguette


“Egg McMuffin”


Veggie Vegetarian Chili

Basil Shrimp Summer Salad

Whole Wheat Baguette slice


Peanut Butter on English Muffin


Leftover Frittata

Sliced Tomatoes

Grilled Portabella Sandwich

Roasted new potatoes



* Egg beaters, reduced fat cheese, slice deli ham, Thomas Light Multi Grain english muffin

** slimmed down by using Egg Beaters


Black Bean & Corn salsa with chips (Baked Tortilla)

Veggies with hummus

Apple with Peanut Butter

Bananas / Strawberries with chocolate syrup

Almonds & dried cherries

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Me Meme

The deal is to answer the following questions with one word answers.

1. Where is your cell phone? purse
2. Your significant other? unidentified (but hopefully, he's out there somewhere!)
3. Your hair? straight
4. Your mother? complicated
5. Your father? recuperating
6. Your favorite thing? family
7. Your dream last night? secret (hee hee)
8 Your favorite drink? martini
9. Your dream/goal? happiness
10. The room you’re in? sewing
11. Your hobby? neverending
12. Your fear? dying
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? ocean/lakeside
14. What you’re not? bored
15. Muffins? pumpkin
16. One of your wish list items? cabin
17. Where you grew up? Newark
18. The last thing you did? laundry
19. What are you wearing? shorts
20. Favorite gadget? computer
21. Your pets? many
22. Your computer? sloooooowwwww
23. Your mood? happy
24. Missing someone? yes
25. Your car? convertible
26. Something you’re not wearing? makeup
27. Favorite store? fabric
28. Like someone? absolutely
29. Your favorite color? purple
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? unsure

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Remembering my manners!

I meant to say thanks to those of you who gave me feedback on the Jalie patterns via comments and emails. Except for Lori, who is a bad influence on me! Akimbo and Elaine - thanks for the pricing at PR and Jalie.

Also thanks for the comments on the red/white Butterick dress. I wore it around the house all day yesterday and I guess I like it after all. Although dang, I forgot how bad challis wrinkles!

Nancy (nanflan), thanks for the idea to change up the sash for one closer in color. Although I wanted the contrast originally, I think having all that extra white with the knot and sash ends was throwing me. I tried a red belt with it and liked it although it's not quite the right red. Hopefully, I'll find a white belt this week that will keep the contrast but tone it down.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Butterick 5177 - the jury is out

Happy Fourth of July! Ande and Toy made adorable versions of Butterick 5177. I'm not so sure about my almost finished version (just needs a hem). I cut this dress out last night and started sewing early this morning. Even though it looks like a quick and easy pattern, it is taking me forever. The casings for the drawstring neck were odd and time-consuming. And as the title reads, I'm not sure this is a keeper.

It's definitely too big so I'm going to take in the sides a bunch as you can clearly see in the unbelted version. I'm not sure I'm lovin the sash. I like the white contrast but it's just too much... too much somethin'. Can't figure out what. I'm going to pick up a wide wide belt today and see if that would look better.

Forgive the bra straps and flip flops - I'm in sewing mode, not modeling mode! I thought this would be a perfect dress for today but it's supposed to rain all day. Oh well, if it ends up being a keeper, it will make a nice vacation dress.

Ok, I took an inch off each side seam and repositioned the sash so the knot is in the front. I like this better.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Can you smell the cute?????

I stole that title from Ms. Ande's comment in the last post. As the mom of 21 and 17 year old daughters and a 14 year old son, I have soooooo missed sewing for little girls! Here is the hat to accompany the dress I made earlier. The bloomers are just about done, too. The pattern is actually McCalls 2213 . I posted the wrong pattern number in the last post. I'm just awaiting a phone call from a friend with a one year old so I know how long to make the elastic in the waist and leg casings. I will be seeing my niece in two days and unless this outfit is ginormous on her, I'll take a picture of her wearing it. She is tiny and I had no idea what size to make so I suspect it might end up too large.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Happy Canada Day! And a request for input

Today is Canada Day. Happy Birthday, Canada!

In honor of the holiday (and encouraged by an unnamed enabler), I think it is the perfect occasion to finally purchase some of those adorable patterns from the Canadian company Jalie! But since I am known for overbuying because I can't make up my mind, I am seeking other sewers' input. My three top choices are 2794 (that neckline is flattering on everyone!), 2788 (how cute is that cascading ruffle down the front?!) and 2804 (love the ruching on the sides). But there are many others that I like, too! So help me out, sewing buddies... Have I overlooked any other patterns that I MUST HAVE! If I was only going to buy two.... ok, let's be realistic... no more than four, which ones should I buy?!

OH, I assume the best place to purchase is from the Jalie company directly?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

McCall's 5353

I fell like I haven't sewed in soooooo (seeeewwwww?) long! My niece turned one in May and good aunt that I am, I never got around to making her birthday present. Since I will be seeing her next weekend, I thought I better step it up!

Here is the the first piece of the three-piece ensemble. In addition to the dress, there will be a floppy hat and panties to go under the dress. I had planned on trimming all the way around in rick rack but decided it would be too much. Both fabrics are embossed cotton from Hancock. The pattern is McCalls 5353.

Hmmm, is it me or do those pockets look crooked? WAIT!!! Don't tell me if they are. I'm not moving 'em. And this way, I can just pretend it's the angle.

Summer of the UFO - Join me!

It's funny that I started this blog a couple years ago as a place to highlight knitting projects. But based on a myriad of events, my knitting is all but non-existent these days. Over the last few weeks I have been thinking that I need to re-organize my knitting and get some projects underway and finally last night, I sat now and assessed the existing projects, the contemplated projects and the stash to get a few ideas for next steps. Well, lo and behold, I woke up this morning to an invitation to the Summer of the UFO blog started by Ms. Allison herself!

Here is a synopsis of the "rules":

Sign ups for Summer of the UFO will be open throughout the summer. To sign-up just send an e-mail to UFOknitATgmailDOTcom and let us know your e-mail address. You will then receive an e-mail invitation to join. So here are the rules. This KAL is meant for us to support one another in finishing our UFO's so you are invited to do the following:

1. Post a list of your UFO's on your blog (requested but not required)

2. Post photos of your UFO's that you are now working on and let us know how you're doing.

3. Leave comments and encourage others to finish their UFO's.

It's that simple! We hope you will join us!

Wanna join in? I personally can use the encouragement!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Chocolate PB Smoothie

As I was cleaning out the fridge this morning, I came across the Chocolate Soy Milk that I wasn't fond of. I was going to dump it was hating to waste, I tried to think of something to do with it and remembered a smoothie Jennifer posted a while back . I couldn't find it again on her blog but I think it included peanut butter and chocolate milk. Here is my version:

1 frozen banana
4-6 ice cubes
1 cup chocolate milk (soy in this case!)
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 T peanut butter

Blend until smooth. Drink with a straw. Feel smug that you're drinking something relatively healthy that tastes so darn good!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Skirt Detail

Thanks for the feedback on melatonin. I took it two nights in a row and it worked wonderfully. I skipped it last night and ended up sleeping through the night. Woo Hoo. Hopefully, that means my sleep is back on track!

In spite of an absence of sewing on my blog lately, this post is sort of related to sewing. I saw this Banana Republic ad in a magazine and think the skirt is adorable. Just a simple pencil skirt but with some additional detail on the waistband that I like a lot. It looks like a little band that is buttoned on. I am going to see if I can find a pattern that has something similar. Or else, it would be easy enough to recreate, I suppose. I will make my skirt a wee bit longer! That model has some seriously LONG LEGS!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Melatonin and Soy Milk

Between the neck / arm pain I've been experiencing since January, a bit of personal stress and the excessive travel I've experienced lately, I have gone from sleeping soundly every single night to very bad sleep. I would estimate that since January, I have probably only slept through the night 5% of the time. That's not good.

After being awake almost 31 hours (not counting a two hour cat nap on the plane back), I figured I would easily sleep through the night last Friday. NOPE. Two hours asleep and then wide awake for another two. Dozed off and on for another two 0r three before giving up and getting up. Same thing happened Saturday night. Weird! I mentioned it to a friend yesterday and she recommended melatonin. she specifically likes Trader Joe's version. So I bought some and VOILA!! Fell asleep at 10:30 and slept all the way through until my alarm went off at 5:30. WOO HOO! SEVEN HOURS, PEOPLE!!!

Has anyone else ever tried this stuff? My mom isn't keen, "Bon, you know those things are unregulated. Never know what it's going to do to your body." I do know that but I'm more concerned with what I might do to the people around me if I DON'T get some sleep. Wound tight as a drum - that's me!

In another health related issue, I tried some chocolate soy milk. I hate cow milk and really, really need more calcium in my diet. I tried the Silk Light Chocolate. Ummm.... EWWWW!!! "Nuf said.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Cincinnati Cicadas... Revisited

Like a bad horror movie, back in 2004 in Cincinnati, all we heard about from January to the beginning of May was the I N V A S I O N O F T H E C I C A D A S!!!!! (If I could play ominous music in this post, I would.) From the Cincinnati Enquirer: In 2004, 5 to 7 billion members of Brood X swarmed mostly to the west of Interstate 71.

In spite of months and months of warning; disclaimers of liability on potentially cancelled outdoor weddings, graduation parties, etc. due to cicada invasions; landscapers making a mint off of wrapping trees, shrubs, etc. to protect them; warnings from vets about household pets; when the cicadas finally emerged right around May 5th, it was like 'what-eva'. Very anti-climactic, in my never-so-humble-opinion. Except for my friend's "Cicada de Mayo" party (hilarious and very fun!), the cicadas were a non-event.

Fast forward to mid-May 2008... I overhear someone in Kroger talking about cicadas. Next day, I overhear someone at my son's school talking about cicadas. I decide to Google it and finally read that Brood XIV (only 2-3 billion in this brood) is fixing to invade our lovely city again! Talk about caught by surprise! Me, the chick who is online most waking hours in addition to reading the newspaper everyday. How did this slip by me??

Anyhoo... in my part of town this cicada emergence is HUGE!!! The sound is literally deafening in mid-late afternoon. A radio station played the "song of the cicadas" over the radio and it was LOUD. For people spooked by bugs, it is a scary time to live in the northeast section of the city, but for me, I kinda like them. I love that sound. Surreal, almost. My dogs have definitely been eating them but so far, no ummm, regurgitation. Just some minor coughing. The biggest downside is sweeping them off your sidewalk / patio / driveway. You DON'T want to see that!

Where .... in the World.... is.... Bonnie Sandiego

I just returned from seven days on the island of Saipan, which is in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI). Remember that show from about ten years ago? Maybe fifteen... Where is the World is Carmen Sandiego? I think it started as a computer game and turned into a tv show. Or maybe vice versa. Anyhoo... that always pops into my head when I return from Saipan because everyone always says, "Where is that?" when I tell them where I've been. The red arrow on the map above (from Geocities) points to the location of CNMI.

It's not that easy to get to, let me tell ya! Approximately, 26 hours travel time. For those of you who live on the East coast who have taken a trip to Hawaii. Long flight, right? Well, it's the halfway point to Saipan. LOL.

Based on the questions I frequently get asked, here are a few interesting facts about Saipan (excerpted from Wikipedia):

Saipan is the largest island and capital of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a chain of 15 tropical islands belonging to the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean with a total area of 115.39 km² (44.55 sq mi). The 2000 census population was 62,392.

Located at latitude of 15.25° north and longitude of 145.75° east, about 200 km (120 mi) north of Guam, Saipan is about 20 km (12.5 mi) long and 9 km (5.5 mi) wide. It is a popular tourist destination in the Pacific.

Besides English, the indigenous Chamorro language is spoken by approximately 19 percent of the inhabitants. The island also has many other large, strongly defined lingual and ethnic groups because of the large percentage of contract workers (60% of total population, as of 2001 from China, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. In addition, a large percentage of the island's population includes first-generation immigrants from Japan, China, and Korea, and immigrants from many of the other Micronesian islands.

It is interesting that CNMI is a US Commonwealth but almost no Americans (myself included until I went there) have ever heard of it, let alone know it's part of the US. The residents are US citizens (similar to Puerto Rico and Guam although they are Territories not Commonwealths - don't ask me what the distinction is!) The islands played a big role for the US in WWII. The Enola Gay, the aircraft that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, departed from the island of Tinian. More WWII history here if you like that kind of thing.

So enough babbling... I didn't take very many pictures but here are a few:

Excuse the wrinkled dress and stupid pose (my colleagues made me pose like that. Seriously!) This was taken at a lovely golf course on the east (I think) side of the island, atop a huge cliff.

And speaking of lunch.... Japanese food is very popular on Saipan and I just think the Bento boxes are so pretty. LOL! Almost looks like play food, doesn't it?

This very unflattering shot of me (could I look any more huge??? and whatup with that hair?) was taken at a little beach restaurant that my clients took me to one evening to enjoy a sunset Happy Hour. We shared some beers and I sampled one of their favorite dishes - Chicken Kelaguen (some Chamorro recipes found here). It's a very simple dish but so delish! On the morning I left, my client was so sweet - she stopped at the market and purchased some hot peppers and island-made hot sauce so I could make it authentically once I got back home!

Although I always enjoy visiting Saipan (I can't say enough about how friendly every single person I encounter has been on each trip), it is nice to be back home. I missed my kids, my dogs, and my sewing machines a lot.