Monday, March 31, 2008

Burda 8316 Young Fashion Teen View B - Pants

Yet another winner! Still in the finishing stages (hem, eyelets, tie) and will leave it be until tomorrow -- worn out from all the cardio today wearing my new Mio Pink watch -- but the first try-on last night was perfect. Though if you use Sandra Betzina's method for fly-front zippers, don't attach the contour facing first. I think there is a reason why you shouldn't sew tired - this is one. Fortunately I was able to make it work and look the way it should with a little unpicking, iron stomping and hand stitching it together again.

Yesterday's Costco Find

Special Edition Mio Pink Classic - $29.99 (retails for $60!) It is the one on the far right. And 10% is donated to the Susan G. Komen For the Cure.
How fun was this to wear today? And an eye-opener reality check. It helped me push myself harder to get the heart rate up. Then for grins when I got home, I vacuumed like a madwoman wearing it and found I got my heart rate around the same count. (?!) Who knew vacuuming was cardio?

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Devo, "Peek-A-Boo!" 3:03

Friday, March 28, 2008

Everyday Food #44 - Coconut-Pecan Cereal Bars

Coconut-Pecan Cereal Bars (Minus the coconut) From the Everyday Food Issue #44, July/August 2007 - Page 170. Just like a Rice Krispy bar only with cornflakes. And pecans. And a handful of chocolate chips. These are really rich and gooey! No chance of overeating these. I think next time I'll either cut back the marshmallows or add more cornflakes and put them in a larger 9 x 12 pan. I don't think the missing coconut would have made any difference. Our rating: B-/Would make again with modifications or just stick with the classic Rice Krispy bars instead. Though the pecans and cornflakes were a nice change of pace and taste.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

April 4/6:
$1.99 McCall's
$3.99 Vogue

April 10/12:
2 for $3 Butterick

Today's Costco Find

Via Austin -- Two piece Swiss Army luggage set in PURPLE! (Not quite as bright violet as the flash distorted below) Priced at $89; I thought that was a good price - an even better one was a surprise additional markdown of $20 at the register! There was one left at the new South Austin store. I didn't know Swiss Army made luggage, too, but just like their knives, there's lots of cool compartments and features! It definitely pays to troll different Costcos in different cities. I didn't see this in Houston.
In other good news, Krispy Kreme donuts no longer have trans fat. The big sign outside a nice Krispy Kreme on Stassney Lane told me so. KK's are no longer in Houston, so it was a treat make a stop for a fix.

Texas College Tour Swag

The score so far --

Sam Houston State University (Huntsville): Rubber bracelet in orange, backpack, pens, luggage wrap, stickers
Texas State University (San Marcos): Pencil and really nice t-shirt

Texas Bluebonnet and Wildflower Update

Along I-10 West outside of Houston towards San Antonio, they are appearing in patches, though sparse. Best viewing is on Highway 71 between Columbus and Fayetteville/La Grange, especially on the Southbound side...and easier to pull over for the photo ops. The medians are absolutely gorgeous, but for eyes only or a very fast camera speed. I don't think they have peaked yet, so make plans this weekend or next and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Burda 8516 Young Fashion Teen View B - Blouse

Burda 8516 - View B. The hidden treasure. I don't know why the website doesn't show this cute-r version instead of a belly button!

This is another Burda teen success story! I love just being able to cut and sew for L straight from the pattern, with the only adjustment in length (added 2" to front and back, left the sleeves alone). The fabric is from Jo-Ann's red tag mark down shelves - $2/yard cotton. Running a little on the narrow side, the 4" added for in length took away from what I needed for the neck edge bias strip. But I was able to find a coordinating stripe fabric from the stash and we actually like the contrast look better! The center front is also stitched 4" closed 1" above the waist, leaving the top and bottom open. It's hard to tell that from the photo and the drawing. (However, per Dad not Burda, she will wear a tank or pretty camisole underneath!) There are also two darts, not just the one shown in the sketch. She is still surprised at how clothes are really supposed to fit. Burda is going to spoil her. The underarm seams come up higher than what she's used to, eliminating all the bunching she gets in RTW. She loves the ties untied or loosely twisted once - they stay put with this slightly rough cotton print. The ties would also be pretty with bead accents both where they are attached and at the ends. Next time!

Yesterday's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Ace of Base, "The Sign" 3:08

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

A cookie well hidden...

Updated: Times 68! (Ah, that's the trouble of something turning out cute..."Can you make some more?"! I was able to squeeze out 12 more with just 3" left over. Was that a lucky purchase yardage guess or what?) Girl Scout cookie goodie bags to give to presenters at an upcoming event. The ribbon is from Costco, the 50 yard, lifetime-sized roll...I still have almost half a roll left! Fortunately Jo-Ann's had their Symphony broadcloth on sale this week for $1.29/yard, cheaper and prettier than the originally-planned muslin. In case you want to cover your cookies, the dimensions are 10" x 29" with the fold at the bottom.

Bunny time

The bunny background --

It is a pattern from SOS Designs, circa 1981. If you couldn't tell it was 1981 by the date, you could from the materials list -- cotton polyester velour and qiana! SOS Designs had a lot of cute patterns in the early 80's. (While I doubt they are still in business under this name, their address was Box 14462, Columbus, OH 43214.) I believe one of the Big 4 pattern companies bought them out (Butterick? Simplicity?); I remember seeing their patterns in the craft section a few years later. The pattern was so cute because it included outfits -- overalls, pinafore, vest with collar (!), a dress, and a long eyelet dress. Such detail and using knit fabric for the body and ears was very forgiving and easy to sew. I made a bunch of them to give away and fortunately kept one. The carrot was my idea wrapping a fabric scrap with orange embroidery thread and the leaves a green embroidery thread tassel. The patterns still pop up occasionally at garage sales, thrift stores and eBay.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Frohe Ostern from Burda

I'm hoping I just said Happy Easter in German. The Burda Special Easter issue (from 1991) is entirely in German, including the instructions. There is a photo of a yummy looking cake and it says, "Frohe Ostern"...
These bunnies are from a table runner project in the issue. I zig-zagged appliqued around the edges using metallic thread, which tangled and broke about every inch along the way. I also used Viking's quilting stitch F2 1/4" around the bunnies in pink. Target had a special assortment of spring-colored frames for $5; the 5"x 7" was perfect. Of course I did the bunnies first then bought the frames. Whew, they fit!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sorry, Sandra - I tried

To add all three of your newest Sandra Betzina Vogue Today's Fit patterns to my collection during last week's $3.99 sale at Jo-Ann's. But I had my daughter with me and she said, "No!", (to the jacket 1036) and "NO!" (to the blouse 1033). I was only able to get the 1034 jeans by telling her it was featured in the current issue of Threads. She did a bait and switch and found these Burdas for me. ("Burda looks good on us!") So instead of spending $11.66; I spent $30.63. I probably got a better deal style-wise, she does have a good eye for fashion and keeping me from going frumpy. (Though I may sneak back at the next sale and get the others. I'm sure Sandra's blouse version in her cool fabrics look so much better than the pattern photo. And by the time I start/finish the jacket, it will be way too hot here to wear, but for next fall...?) I did read in her Spring/Summer 2008 pattern forecast she'll have more new patterns in April.

Burda 8360 See, cute and even a little like Laura Bennett's QVC blouse. Even has back shoulder and elbow darts (?!)
Burda 7781 The shorter sleeved version first go-round, then maybe the longer sleeved.

Burda 7795 Cute and cool looking

Burda 7965 Looks like a skirt. Definitely not the 70's culottes.

Burda 7966 Longer and capri versions for yoga, hanging around. Because they are Burda, you know they will fit better and look good!

Everyday Food #50 - Fast Chicken Fajitas (sorta)

Inspired is the best word, Fast Chicken Fajitas from page 20 of the March 2008 Everyday Food issue #50. I had a package of Costco's boneless chicken breasts, but I also had Penzeys Fajita Seasoning in the pantry. It seemed easier to me to just sprinkle the fajita seasoning on the chicken and broil away. As I read the recipe again, apparently I even skipped the step of rubbing oil into the chicken first. No harm done. In the meantime I stir-fried the peppers and onions in the skillet, and added the broiled chicken towards the very end for seasoning and flavoring.

We all gave it an A, for a quick and easy lunch/dinner --without having to buy the preseasoned/precooked chicken fajitas in the $$ package. As L said, "no funny, chewy pieces!" It was all tender, all good, and fast to the table.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Elton John, "The Bitch is Back" 3:43
Greatest Hits 1970-2002, Disc 1

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Burda 7876 Young Fashion Teen View B - Vest

Hot off the needle!
What a surprise this pattern was -- the details, the fit, the style.
When L selected View B, from the front photo we thought it was just a couple of pieces and bought some skull print fabric (?!) to use for the project. I quickly learned I would be decapitating already decapitated skulls even further and decided to go with a solid instead. Found in my stash was a black snakeskin embossed print from the Wally-World $1 table, back in the day when they still would get treasure pieces thrown down amongst the dreck. It leant itself perfectly to the seaming and pieces. The 5/8" fleur de lis buttons are JHB #1364; the purple buttons rescued from an old jacket, bringing in the purple lining. The pattern calls for 1 1/2" wide elastic to gather the back of the straps. You can find and buy it off the roll at Jo-Ann's...since you just need 8"; save a little money!

Not only is the corset vest lined, it is also interfaced. I used HTC's Form Flex 100% cotton fusible woven. It added just enough weight and body, and the woven aspect kept it from creasing over the curving.

While the pattern is rated "Easy," there are a lot of steps involved - lining, interfacing, topstitching - and the written directions are good, but do not have a drawing of the back strap/back button attachment. Also it is easy to get confused when sewing the seams, as the shaping fools your eye into which way is up or down. I did a little thread basting along the top to help keep me from becoming confused...especially if you walk away from the sewing room and then return later.

The finished length is 7 1/2" and unless you are very shortwaisted, it will flatter most. Next time I will make the straps about 1" longer. My daughter is over 6 feet tall and I was able to "fudge" the front strap buttons with only 1 button instead of 2 sewn on the actual vest. I would still like to make it again in another fabric - perhaps denim and pipe the seams. I'll need to be careful in the color selections so it doesn't look too country bumpkin-ish or ready to rodeo!
Burda 7876 is a good mileage, stylish pattern to keep on hand with lots of options appealing to teens. She's already mentioned she would also like to have the View A vest--maybe with that skull fabric!

(Yes, those are the Burda 7991 pants!)

Netflix Stars: The Darjeeling Limited

ZERO, nada, zip!

All three of us didn't like it. We tried to watch the prequel movie first...Hit the Menu button after about 8 minutes. Then the movie...Gave that about 10 minutes. Asked ourselves, why are we watching this?! And tossed it back into the mailbox.

Real Housewives of New York City

I LOVE this show! I never really got into the Orange County version. This one I can watch the repeats over and over...not glued to the tv but in the background. LuAnn (center) is my favorite, followed closely by Jill (second from the left). The storylines are as good as any soap opera, if not better!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

March 20-22 $1.99 Butterick
March 27-29 99 cents Simplicity

Happy St. Pat's Day!

Last year's Oxalis came back!

Yes, I'm still here -- I've been in the sewing room finishing Burda 7876. It turned out sooooo cute! And the fit, wow! I'll post the photos soonest. L is very impressed and can't wait to wear it for an upcoming "dress down day" Seriously people, if you have a teenager or a teenager's body (sigh), grab this pattern.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mood Sling

Thanks to Blogging Project Runway, I found and ordered the Mood canvas bag I saw Jillian using on Project Runway! It was $7; plus $7.99 UPS shipping. So cool - the logo print on both sides is in a copper metallic, really stands out and looks sharp! 20" across, 13" tall, 6" bottom width. The black canvas is coated on inside for durability. Black corded 27" double handles let you sling it over your shoulder comfortably.

Bake Sale! Cocoa M&M Cookies

I think the flowers help hide the fact we snuck some out and ate them ourselves, don't you?

This is from McCalls magazine, circa March 1995 when M&M's came in 1 pound they are 14 1/2 ounces. I always thought the contrast between the chocolate brown and the Easter pastel colored M&M's looked so pretty and spring-like! Because I was pressed for time this go-round, I did not roll them in powdered sugar before baking, but instead sprinkled a little on top after they came out of the oven. I think I like this better, and less messy. I also learned I could just drop them by teaspoonfuls on the sheet from the mixer instead of chilling first-more time saved.


1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (you can easily lop off 1 1/2 tablespoons without being missed)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup M&Ms plain chocolate candy, any kind
confectioner's sugar

Grease 3 large baking sheets. Preheat oven to 350. In medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In large (coverable if you do this *) bowl, combine sugar and butter. At high speed beat 2 minutes or until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla; beat 2 minutes. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in candies. (*chill 10 minutes or until dough is firm. Roll dough into 1" balls then roll in confectioner's sugar). Place 2" apart on prepared sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Gwen Stefani, "What You Waiting For" 3:37

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

The Ramones, "I Wanna Be Sedated" 2:29

Black (Cherry) Eye

Da-yam! Ulta Black Cherry Shower Gel in your eye is painful! I flipped the lid up and a drop flew into my eye. Three hours later it still burns. At least my eye isn't cherry red anymore. Small consolation it was "not tested on animals." Humans, yes - ow! But if you keep it out of your eyes, it is a nice body wash and Ulta usually has specials for it at any given time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sign (up) here

Here's the application to be on Project Runway 5. Interesting to read at the very least...especially towards the end of the form (medical and mental examinations if needed?!)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ultimate Blog Party!

Welcome ya'll to my blog! It's a little bit of everything from day-to-day life in Texas. Click around and enjoy!

Thank you to Notes from the Cookie Jar for the heads' up about the party! Click on the sidebar to get to the 5 Minutes for Mom party site.

Netlfix Stars - Becoming Jane

We'd give it 3.75/5 stars. It started out well and then towards the end sort of lost its way a little bit. A good insight into society's expectation and treatment of women in that era. Definitely a chick flick. Definitely chemistry between Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy - hoo! I found a blog devoted to this movie that's fun to read,

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Shooter Jennings, "Walk of Life" 3:57
The Wolf

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Fudgy Buttermilk Brownies

Fudgy Buttermilk Brownies from The New American Heart Association Cookbook, 7th edition. This recipe was on a bookmark. So many other "light" brownie recipes I've tried were cakey instead of fudgy. I was hoping with fudgy in the title they would be a little more dense. They were, but still not chewy-gooey. The frosting helped make it taste richer and I tossed in a handful of walnuts. This is probably the closest to a mix than all the others I've tried. L didn't really like them, I thought they were OK. Think I'll stick with the Ghiradelli mix from Costco and just enjoy a small piece instead. A little bit of something good tastes better than a lot of not.

March of the tools

Hey, you know me -- I'm all about the buttons and links. This is Heather Bailey's (Hello, I'm Heather) and she's compiling a bunch of cool tools. As soon as I get home, I'll post my favorites.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


175 cookie recipes in the soon-to-be-published, Martha Stewart's Cookies cookbook. Per the Costco Connection magazine, they will have it mid-March (and Everyday Food again). Amazon says you can pre-order for March 11.
Update 3-11-08 -- I picked up my copy at Costco today! $13.59 (publish price is $24.95). The recipes are divied up into -- light and delicate...chunky and nutty...crisp and crunchy...soft and chewy...cakey and and dense...crumbly and sandy. . .yum! The books are going fast, there were only 6 copies left on the table.

Burda, Burda

After clothes shopping in frustration with L this morning, we headed over to Jo-Ann's for successful pattern and fabric shopping instead. With 14 yards of all on sale fabric we are sewing 2 pair cropped pants, 2 skirts, 2 tank tops and 1 hooded jacket (we are lining the hood in a contrast metallic shiny fabric a la Chris March in the Project Runway Diva challenge!):

Burda 8316 View B cropped pants You can see the cool side seam pleat detail in the technical drawing

Burda 7789 View D skirt, View A jacket, View C tank top

(Red/white stripe fabric - tank top, orange fabric with stars - hopefully wearable muslin for pants and skirt, gray stripe seersucker - pants, red/blue strip - skirt, pebble fabric with black metallic dot/stripe - jacket)