Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Skirt in a day

Only one more day to make a skirt for Sew Mama Sew's May Skirt Month. Oops! Just a little busy here with end of school flurry of activities, etc. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon. . . In the meantime, I've been buying some cute skirts at Ann Taylor Loft! (fun styles, summery fabric and great sale prices and deals). How to resist? This is not supposed to be "Buy Mama Buy" skirt month, but apparently it is for me; no skirting around that issue!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Birthday gifts

This is an eyeglass case for my Mom's birthday. She loves purple! The inspiration came from the "Stitch and Sizzle Accessories" book I bought when Hancock's first began their store closing sale. (March 21 blog entry)
The fabric is more of that purple linen from the now-deconstructed Sewing Workshop Tamari apron (Valentine's Part 2-February 11 blog entry), some fat quarter fabric for the upper wings and silk scraps for the lower wings. I think orange and purple look unexpectedly cool together. The pink faceted teardrops are vintage, the center is from an old earring and the others are from beads collected along the road of life.

I thought I would also put to good use this shaggy fleece scrap to line/protect.

And here's a little something special for Kitty to celebrate with! It's a leftover Hoffman fabric scrap from L's 4th birthday party. I made her a vest and the goodie bags from it. Going around the "designer label" I machine embroidered her name, the year and some hearts!

Is this any way to treat a bulldog..and a book?!

Poor doggie! It looks like they stuck his right hind leg between the cushions of the couch. And evidently these people also think books are not meant to be read but only to enjoy the color of the pages instead of the titles and substance. Ironic this is an article about Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams' book, "Let's Get Comfortable"

(From the May Houston Chronicle GLOSS section, page 17. "Comfort Comes First") Uh, right!

3 Netflix Stars - Music and Lyrics, Because I Said So, Catch and Release

L and I have seen three pretty good movies - 3 stars. If you need a bit of summer chick flick fluff, these are fun to watch and add to your Netflix queue --

Music and Lyrics - The video, "Pop Goes My Heart" was so 80's! You can watch it under the special features. Drew Barrymore was pretty good, Hugh Grant, adorable still.

Because I said so - Mandy Moore and Diane Keaton were cast well. The movie could have/should have deleted the "vowel" scenes, it really seemed gratuitous, and a little embarassing. I did like the commentary about costume and set design. I wish more movies had those. Watch for all the cakes!

Catch and Release - We thought the storyline took a few wrong turns; both of us said, "why did they do that?!" more than a couple times. Kevin Smith ("Silent Bob") stole the movie. If anything, watch and enjoy it because of him. Jennifer Garner, as usual, makes crying look pretty. But that's about it.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

But he has an excellent peanut butter cookie recipe!

Congressman Ron Paul's political observations may be controversial, but everyone loves cookies! This is the best-ever peanut butter cookie I've ever made.

Mamaw's Peanut Butter Cookies

1 stick butter (I subtract 2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine in order given. Roll in 1 inch balls then in sugar. Place on cookie sheet and press down with fork to make an imprint on the cookies. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

This is from "The Ron Paul Family Cookbook," 16 pages of family and Texas-style yummies! It was self-published and mailed to constituents several years ago. You may want to see if they still have copies or have republished. The telephone number inside was 1/800-RON-PAUL.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

On the 7th day. . .

Only seven more days until our Hancock's closes. All patterns are now $1.99. . .
Well, all you can find, and what you are willing to go through to get them (out-of-order, missing in action, plopping yourself down on the floor, going through each drawer - wondering will the cabinet fall over onto me if two drawers are open with another person searching the top row at the same time? Thankfully, no. But flipping (physically, not mentally) quickly because DD just called and finished one of her finals early -should have known, it was English-duh! - and you must now time travel 25 minutes and encounter a toad-strangling thunderstorm cell on the way/ let's put the wipers on fast, oh, they are! - that kind of rain. . .) But ultimately arriving safely and sew worth it!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Ringo Starr, "It Don't Come Easy" 3:13
iTunes, Ringo Starr: The Anthology - So Far
I like this peppy/bouncy live version!
Today's stats - 43 minutes, 2.52 miles, 278 calories

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Presenting (Part 2) Or, How to Launder Money

A friend of mine just got a much needed and well-deserved job the other day. What other (fast fun sewing) way is there to celebrate a U.S. history teacher than with "pictures" of the Presidents?! Congratulations, Nan!

The print is Robert Kaufman - "Pleasures & Pastimes"

I referred to my well-used "Quick Napkin Creations" (ISBN 0-932086-23-3) by Gail Brown , 1990. This book is now out-of-print, but check your library, eBay/Amazon for copies. Very inspirational, with lots of napkin ideas, folding, efficient cutting/yardage layouts, etc.
Napkins not only make great gifts, but also give you the opportunity of some fun sewing time for quick-to-make/non-fitting projects, reducing your stash and your carbon footprint!

Presenting (Part 1)

One of L's teachers is retiring and they asked me to create a notebook for her students' memory letters, drawings, etc., to present to her on the last day of school. I sewed the school uniform patch (it fit-whew!) to the spine of the uniform fabric covered notebook and then beaded some trim for the front. I couldn't resist the daisies!

This is on the front inside cover -->
(Recognize that lace trim? Everything gets kept and used eventually around here!)

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Def Leppard, "Animal" 4:04
iTunes, Hysteria
Today's stats - 42 minutes, 2.45 miles, 266 calories

Monday, May 21, 2007

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Fastball, "Out of My Head" 2:32
iTunes, All the Pain Money Can Buy
Today's stats - 36 minutes, 1.89 miles, 196 calories
A slow day today. . .

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Simplicity 9556-Back to the 80's!

Another flashback goodie - 1980's Simplicity 9556. This was a popular Jiffy pattern, even my sister had one. You may be lucky and find another in thrift stores, eBay, etc. Because of the elasticized neckline, I wanted this version to have a little bit more weight and drape than a cotton or linen would provide, so I used a peached knit ($1/yard Wally World), even though knits were not listed on the envelope as a suggested fabric. Simplicity's patterns were still pretty well drafted back then; I was surprised and happy to discover the shoulder stays put.

I was also happy and surprised to see that the Size 12 still fit, albeit with small adjustments (1/2" on the front side seam, recurving and lowering the armholes 1/4", adding 4 inches in length to the back and 4 1/2 inches to the front pattern pieces.)

A 1980 design with today's fabrics and notions (thank goodness for Steam-A-Seam 2!), creates a fun and cool Summer of 2007 top.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Back again!

I wanted to see if Hancock's had the new Kwik Sew 3461, featured in the current Threads Magazine (#131, page 24) pattern review, and they did! 70% off ($2.85). Then I started looking to see if they might have something suitable for the DKNY Vogue 2970 skirt - it called for 3 3/8 yard of 60" wide, and for a funky skirt, I really didn't want to invest too much $$. I found the dark green lightweight woven with lighter green/khaki cross threads 60% off ($4.72 total at $1.18/yard) I got 4 yards because it looked to be like a "mystery" fabric and didn't know if it would shrink. Then 2 spools of matching thread ($1.20) and a 9" zipper because I couldn't remember if it needed one, they didn't have the current Vogue Pattern Book, and at 80% off (43 cents), better to be safe and stash if necessary. While I was at the cutting table, someone had abandoned this pretty wine trim. Took that home, too ($1.68).

So, the current deals as of this week -- Patterns 70% off, zippers 70% off, all buttons are 80% off, the good $$ trims 70%, fabric discount up to 60%. If you are looking for the name brand quilting fabrics, there's lots of bolts of - Alexander Henry, St. Jude's, etc., included at the 60% off.

And still clutching my 40% off coupon, I went to Jo-Ann's, and their magazines are still on sale, though this time their sign had the small print at the bottom - "Effective 5-6/5-19" Guess where I'll be on the 20th? :-) Probably looking at another sale sighn (sic). . .

Tuesday's Costco Find!

And best of all, it's FREE! Look for it at the receipt checker exit.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

The Chambers Brothers, "Time Has Come Today" 4:52
iTunes, Hear It Now! - The Sound of the 60's
Today's stats - 46 minutes, 2.77 miles, 316 calories

The theme song from "Early Edition"! (Wasn't that a great show? And so well-written.) There are several versions on iTunes, including the 11+ minute one I heard on XM last week. . .

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Don't do onto others

This afternoon I stopped by Christian-based community resale shop (cough, Sunshine Resale Shop). I've had good luck there before, finding vintage sewing supplies, $1 rack/basically unsellable items I would buy for the buttons, etc. It's win-win for both of us, usually.

Today I found a short-sleeved black sequined top, which had appliques of quarter-sized red and green sequined flowers and a rhinestone sewed to the center throughout. It was missing several of the rhinestones, some of the flowers were de-sequining, and overall not in top-notch condition. I thought I could "deconstruct" it for something else, doing us both a favor - money for their programs and shiny sparkly things for me. But---I couldn't find a price tag! Major sin #1 at that place. There are signs all over saying they will not sell items without price tags. I was thinking $5-$10 would be a fair price for both of us, and maybe the tag was stuck inside the sleeve hem, but deep down in, I didn't have a good feeling it was. Here's what happened --

Me: Does this have a tag tucked inside? I didn't see one.
SRS: No. (And they take it way and put it on the hook for the back room, along with other poor tagless, unsold items)
Me: Can you call me when you do price it? I like this top!
SRS: No! We don't do that.
Me: But I really would like to buy it, this would be so cool for my daughter. I'm a regular donor and customer, please?
Me: Could you go back and check if someone back there could price it while I wait? (There were two ladies behind the counter)
SRS: I don't think so.
Me: Please? (this is getting pathetic)
SRS: OK, maybe someone is back there, I don't know. (wait...wait...wait - she comes back in about 5 minutes)
SRS: $20
Me: $20?! OK, so would that be $10, because Wednesdays are 1/2 off clothing days, right? (Thinking good grief, this wouldn't be priced $40 any other day?!)
SRS: No, $20 It's a BOE-tique item!
Me: I don't want it at that price, no thanks.
Another customer guy leaving at the same time in the parking lot who watched the whole thing: I really thought they would work with you.
Me: Me, too. Their pricers can sometimes be greedy. They could have had $10 and instead got zilch.

If you are willing to part with $20, it's probably still there and will be for a long time. . .

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Jimmy Eat World, "The Middle" 2:45
Today's stats - 46 minutes, 2.77 miles, 314 calories

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Garden Goodies

The freeway was backed up this morning, so I detoured towards town and stopped at Another Place In Time. I decided to "repeat my winners" (David Ogilvy). I bought two kinds of basil - "African Blue" which I'll let bloom prettily with purple spikes against the brick wall, the other is, "Sweet Aussie, " a non-bloomer. I'll plant it closer to harvest easier. (Hot! Sun! Sharp mulch! Tender feet! Ouch!) That kitchen garden is cranky, and most of the time it's 50-50 what will grow. The only survivors from a few months ago are the Oxalis and the purple-leafed Heuchera, "Plum Pudding. " The remaining Sunsatia is all green and leafy, but hasn't flowered again. The Rock Rose is still blooming and the Thraylis is getting ready to flower. He's a real trooper - survived the freezes, the duranta removal and Hardiplank installation a few years ago. Because it is a walled in area, the chimes I hang from one of the branches alerts me when a front/storm is heading our way. Otherwise they don't make any sound, I'm sure the neighbors appreciate that.

This plant was supposed to be a bush - It has turned into a 7 foot tall tree. It's a Jatropha. The butterflies and hummingbirds love it.

Since my salvias seem to do well in the front (the red and white "Hot Lips" has taken off and looks great), I thought I would try two new ones. On the right I didn't even think was a salvia, it looks more like a sage, it's all fuzzy -- "Purple/White" Salvia Leucantha. And this looks more like a traditional salvia - "Cobalt Blue" Salvia Guaranitica. The blooms really are that blue, you can see a bud on the left.

Check out the center of the Heliotrope, it's a bud - yay!
And I got a new cosmos, "Sunny Gold," to join these guys -- you can see a little of the hummingbird bush making its comeback on the left.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kwik Sew 2811 PJ's (again!)

Is this the fourth or fifth time I've made these Kwik Sew PJ's?! I've lost track. Newest version - short sleeved top with the long pants in 100% woven cotton with lace trim in the retro Pepsi print from the Jo-Ann's markdown shelves. I added my 10 cents/yard Hancock's lace to the collar, sleeve, top hem and to the tie/bow of the pants, after which I was left with only 6 inches. Oops! Sew first, then measure? Sew on the wild side -- it's just PJ's! I thought the print needed a little something and the lace was just the right touch. The buttons were also a Hancock bargain. If your local Hancock's is closing, run and grab this pattern at 70% off. It may even be 80% off this week. If not, 2811 is well worth the full price - you'll love and sew it over and over again, too.

"Is there any more?" Recipes

Those Penzeys people must use magic pixie dust in their spices! I tried their "Krakow Nights" Polish Style Seasoning and made "Krakow Chops" and "Krakow Mushrooms" along with a side of those Ronzoni Healthy Harvest egg noodles. Add a veggie or a salad, and you're set!
This is from their Spring 2007 catalog. Their catalogs are always filled with great recipes, many of which have become our favorites!

Today's (and Friday's) Favorite iPod Workout Songs

After the Fire, "Der Kommissar" 5:37
iTunes, Radio Hits of the '80's
Friday's stats: 45 minutes, 2.76 miles, 337 calories
The American Breed, "Bend Me, Shape Me" 2:14
iTunes, 20th Century Rocks: 60's Rock Bands - Wild Thing
Today's stats: 42 minutes, 2.62 miles, 325 calories

Thursday, May 10, 2007

$3.99 Vogue Pattern sale at Jo-Ann's

The three newest Sandra Betzina Today's Fit patterns -- 2959 (dress for knits), 2967 (short and long sleeved tops for wovens-yay! Cool diamond cutout) and 2969 (funky skirt for knits and wovens-wow!). Lots of potential for fun, if you can see beyond the photographs.

And the Donna Karan 2970, of which my daughter said, "Oh, Mom!" when she saw it. But click and look at the line drawings - the side seam slit treatment is hidden in the photo. It is a neat waistband treatment, though. I also liked the top with the unusual folds and pleats. I think it would translate easily to a more wearable pretty tank/cami with a wider strap. This pattern is definitely a candidate for cannibalization/transplantation!

Truly - could they have made the models for all look any more dumpy and frumpy? I've heard Sandra say it drives her nuts, too.

OK, are they wise to the likes of me? (and others?)

Armed with my 40% off Jo-Ann's coupon, I head to the magazine rack for the $$ magazines - Belle Armoire, Craft, etc. Like being in a candy store, which one?! Feeling "smarter than the average bear, " I go to checkout with my treasure and present the coupon - tah-dah! But, no go! They are "on sale" - 10% off, so I can't use the coupon. On sale? I don't recall Jo-Ann's putting their magazines on sale. And the coinky-dink timing with a 40% coupon circular?! It must have been an in-store sale, it wasn't even mentioned in the ad. Boo hiss. At least the mailer 40% off coupon is good through May 23. The insert they gave me at the store has another 40% off coupon good May 13/19. Hopefully their magazine "sale" will be over soon. . .Though for the cheaper magazines, 10% plus the 10% ASG discount is 20% is pretty good. However, when you are dropping some serious coin ($15 for a magazine?!), $6 savings is more substantial than $3. And they didn't even have the new Threads magazine issue Barnes & Noble is already displaying.
Pretty soon those Jo-Ann's coupons are going to look more and more like the "Bed, Bath and Beyond" ones, wherein the small print lists more and more cannot be used on items...

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Mary Chapin Carpenter, "I Feel Lucky" 3:33
Come On, Come On
Today's stats - 46 minutes, 2.75 miles, 311 calories
I really had to push myself today, the proverbial 'carrot on a stick', muttering under my panting breath - "break 2.5 miles, break 300 calories, break 45 minutes...Vogue pattern sale at Jo-Ann's!" After each breakthrough, "another Sandra Betzina Today's Fit pattern!..."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Putt-Putt - KAPUT!

Well, you've got to give us credit for trying, but we've withdrawn the life support for the Putt. Last week it started stalling again, a different way (now something else evidently no longer works)... A 20 minute commute should not take 40 minutes. And the engine dying at 35 mph (no more highway driving?!) and fortunately finding strip malls and driveways to glide into is no fun. First day - a fluke, a second day - life-endangering. No thirds, no thanks.

The new car is currently Dad's, but will eventually be L's when she leaves for college. and then as reward for Good Dadsmanship and driving crappy cars since like forever, he'll get his truck. . .

Oh, and this is the 7th car I've bought on my own, and with L after she was born. It's good for her to know that women can buy cars. And besides, my husband hates to tag along and see the salesmen cry!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Gwen Stefani, "The Sweet Escape" 4:06
Today's stats - 45 minutes, 2.76 miles, 322 calories

About a month ago or so on "Mad TV," Nicole Parker and Bobby Lee did a spot-on spoof of this song. Watch for it during the reruns, it will be at the beginning of the show. You'll never listen to the song the same way again!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Love those care packages from Texas - Meow!

My mother's cat really checks out all mail, especially since he now has quite a collection of (catnip) "Meowie-Wowie's"! This is a scrap from my Pepsi Kwik Sew PJ's coming soon to a blog posting. No, not X-rated, I had to fold it over because the design piece was so big, Kitty would surely end up in rehab...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Gift in a gift

Wish I could take credit for this, but I can share it instead. One of my oh so creative and cool friends, Monica, made this gift bag for the beaded bracelet she made for my daughter (yes, I'll post photos of it, too). It is made out of felt and top-layered with tulle. Isn't it pretty? Click to see better...

This is the closure, I put a piece of white paper underneath so you could see the details.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Fleetwood Mac, "Monday Morning" 2:45
The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac
Today's stats: 40 minutes, 2.53 miles, 309 calories

Roger C a Yankee

You had to have an inkling when Andy Pettitte made the switch, he was soon to follow. I like what one columnist said, "Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo are back together again!"
Some Astros fans here are really upset -- they want H-E-B to stop using him in their TV commercials and won't go to his "Earl of Sandwich" restaurant. (By the way, the link will take you to a fun Houston area restaurant review site!) (Which will also make you very, very hungry and start saying, "Who cares? Roger who?")

Friday, May 04, 2007

For Linda

For my friend, Linda Ridgeway, who passed yesterday. . .We'll always remember you, the laughs ("Turtle Soup"!), lunches at Luby's and all the good times.

Monarch 3-step

1) Hang upside down

2) Wiggle around, get settled in...

3) Hang out for the next 10-14 days!

(I swear the neighbors think I'm nuts...especially since these are 3 different ones scattered around "Jardin de Peggy")

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Split Enz, "I Got You" 3:30
iTunes, History Never Repeats
Today's stats: 46 minutes, 2.79 miles, 315 calories (go, go, go!)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Martha : Michael's

Google-scooting around the Internet, I discovered Martha Stewart will have a craft line at Michael's. America loves a second act! Check out West Coast Crafty's blog entry for all the details!

Must be gravitational pull

Another stop at Hancock's but this was legit, really! -- I had an idea while treadmilling this morning and was looking for lace to trim my upcoming Pepsi girl Kwik Sew PJ's. I had just left Jo-Ann's empty-handed and actually (ugh) going to go to Wal-Mart to fullfill this cardiovascular inspiration cheaply, or just skip the idea entirely. Hancock's was on my route. I needed 4 yards and found a spool with...4 yards! For 40 cents total! Yay! Then two Simplicity patterns Threads' Sew Stylish 3867 --it includes that cute aqua purse she's holding-- and In K Designs 4022 - (all patterns are now 70% off. Gosh knows when Jo-Ann's will have another cheapo sale; watch, next week! But I had to have them now ! Too delicicious to wait --thank you, Erica B for scouting them out!), two spools of Mettler thread ($2.87), and 2 cards of buttons ($1.44). And a pair of cheap scissors to replace my decoy pair, which have gotten all gummy and funky (good thing decoys work, eh?) for only 59 cents.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Genesis, "Home By The Sea" 4:52
iTunes, Genesis
Today's stats: 47 minutes, 2.82 miles, 301 calories

Back in the day, before Phil Collins got all Disney and treacly, I saw him perform this song. Before he sang, he held a flashlight under his chin as you do at camp when you tell ghost stories...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Barry White, "You're The First, The Last, My Everything" 3:23
Pure Disco
Today's stats: 2.44 miles, 40 minutes, 267 calories

Fun memories of the summer of 1978, (and my 26 1/2" waist) dancing in these two skirts to this song. View B on the left has three tiers and three ruffles between each one. It took 5 yards of 45" fabric. But it twirled so prettily!
(By the way, the trim needed for the white skirt -- 3 5/8 ribbon and 7 yards of Rick Rack!)

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Cookies

Back in the early 90's, Pillsbury published "Fast and Healthy," a bimonthly magazine filled with wonderful recipes, many of which I still use today. This is one of them! That tiny bit of cinnamon (reduced from the original 1/2 teaspoon amount) gives it a special tasty touch. From the September/October 1993 issue - "Good For You Care Packages"


1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/4 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Penzeys Cinnamon - Vietnamese Extra Fancy
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350. In large bowl, beat sugar, brown sugar, butter and egg until light and fluffy. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup, level off. Stir in flour, rolled oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add chocolate chips, mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes or until light golden brown.

Makes 24 cookies
70 calories, 1g protein, 11g carb, 1g fiber, 3g fat (1 sat), 9mg cholesterol, 70mg sodium, 30mg potassium
(I usually make them smaller (36 cookies) to save calories, etc. And try to use considerable restraint not to eat more!)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Abba, "S.O.S." 3:21
Abba Gold
Back on track!
Today's stats: 2.02 miles, 34 minutes, 210 calories

Rock on! - Part 2

The Rock Rose bloomed today -- to put in perspective, the rose is only 1/2 inch across! You can see another bud in the lower right hand corner.