Friday, May 30, 2008

Sex and the City Movie - Huh?!

L and I went to see the Sex and the City movie this morning -- $5 tickets for showings before Noon. I thought it was very good until just about halfway through (and it was an almost 2 1/2 hour movie) and all of a sudden:
  • What is Jennifer Hudson doing in Carrie's apartment?
  • Why is Carrie's hair brown?
The easy answer (and the one that will not give away the plot) -- the projectionist had a section OUT OF ORDER!!! He or she just let it play through and then we go back in movie time and get the rest of the story - which gave the answers to the above-referenced questions. Jennifer Hudson was great in her role, by the way.
As we left the theater, the AMC employees were giving out Re-Admit Passes and apologies.
Additionally on the positive side, I would love to buy the movie when it comes out on DVD (in time for Christmas?) -- loved the clothes!!, and I already downloaded the soundtrack CD from iTunes -- loved the music!!

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

Three day sales:
June 5/7 - McCall's $1.99
June 12/14 - Butterick $1.99

New installment of Laura Bennett's Case Clothed

Click here for the newest episode, "The Case of the Harrowing Heel Height"!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Netflix Stars - Lars and the Real Girl

3.33/5 stars Unlike Mad Money, this has an excellent cast, bringing to life a very original movie. Watch to enjoy the story, acting and scenery, and quit worrying about how they will wrap it up.

Penzeys Adobo Seasoning Code

In the current issue of Penzeys One magazine, there's a coupon for a free jar of Adobo Seasoning. If you order online, the code is 10137C, expiring June 15. In addition to Mexican food recipes, I like to add some to my tuna fish.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

US flag Hello Kitty fabric!

$8.99/yard on the patriotic red, white and blue rounder at Jo-Ann's, on sale now for 30% off. It will probably be discounted further closer to July 4, if there is any left!

What's on my brand-new, humongous sewing table today?

Burda 7966 - the shorts for L first, then the pants/capris for me. It's a mother-daughter pattern! Note to the wise, make a trial run, literally if you do run and have well-developed quadriceps. Making L's usual size, she found them a little tight and pulling across the upper thigh. They are surprisingly closely fitted. I cut another pair two sizes up and they felt and looked much better on her. If you look at the photo, even on the model they look a little tight. They have the same waistband and pockets as Burda 7965.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

Actually, they are called "Cream Cheese Delights"

But they taste just like cherry cheesecake in a cookie! I made a few changes from the original recipe published in the November/December 2004 issue of Quick Cooking. I didn't have butter-flavored shortening, so I used Smart Balance with 1/4 teaspoon Adams Imitation Butter Flavoring. Ditto for the maraschino cherries (and I'm not too thrilled with all that red dye anyways), so I tried both dried cherries-the four smaller ones in the left lower side photo...and fresh cherries. The fresh cherries were the best! I also substituted the Neufchatel reduced fat cream cheese for regular cream cheese.

Here is my modified version:

1/2 cup Smart Balance shortening...1/4 teaspoon imitation butter flavoring...3 ounces Neufchatel (reduced fat) cream cheese...1/2 cup sugar...1 egg yolk...1 teaspoon vanilla extract...1 cup flour...1 teaspoon salt...fresh de-pitted halved cherries

Cream shortening, cream cheese, butter flavoring and sugar. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Combine flour and salt, add to creamed mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls 2" apart on greased or parchment lined baking sheets. Top each with a cherry half. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing from sheet. Yield: 2 dozen

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Republica, "Ready To Go" 5:00
This was the closing song played during the "Ugly Betty" season finale last week...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Netflix Stars - Mad Money

0/5! We didn't even finish watching it! Everyone seemed miscast, with the exception of Queen Latifah. At least she looked like she was having fun in her role.

Burda 8076 View A - Top

I know, first glance at 8076 and you're immediately picturing the Dillard's ad - "Now on sale, Ladies Patio Dresses!" Well, just avert your eyes from View B - unless you are in need of a Patio dress, and look instead at View A. This crinkled Russian matryoshka nesting doll print abandoned in the Red Tag Jo-Ann section for $2/yard seemed adaptable for a trial run. The top took just a little less than 1 yard 22 inches, the size of my remnant piece. I extended the pattern piece 2 5/8" below the View B ruffle attachment cut line. Because I decided to work with the fabric instead of against, I used the leftover embroidered linen from Burda 7804 for a nice contrast look. There was no way the crinkle was going to interface or behave enough to make nice bands. The result - a really fun top, destined to be worn a lot this summer! I love how the front and back are different. The back goes into a lower but not too low V, the versatility of the bands easily lend themselves to contrast or embellishment, the bra straps miraculously stay covered, and this funky crinkle just somehow is a perfect match for the pattern style. Check if any is lurking at your Jo-Ann's.

Finally! A new sewing table!

I've retired the old cardboard Sew/Fit table to the garbage can and got this one. This style (Venture/Horizon/Spartak 1141 or 1142) is sold all over the Internet, I actually found mine and the best deal through Target Decor. Which is not part of Target Target. There was about a one month delay in its arrival because of backorders at the manufacturing plant. But be forewarned, it was a time-consuming PITA to put together. My husband did not even attempt it, and it took my handyman almost two hours. His advice - use the hand-turn screwdriver, not the power one. I love it because it can fold just one side or both - thereby not overtaking my precious sewing room space, is very sturdy (heavy!) and it is actually bigger (longer and wider) than the Sew/Fit. A Texas-sized sewing table!
Update 5-30-08: Here's a photo opened all the way. You can see the difference with the cutting mat from the Sew/Fit table.

Light Cinnamon Coffee Cake

This is from the January/February 2001 Taste of Home Quick Cooking magazine - Fast, Delicious and Nutritious - page 47. What I like -- the whole wheat flour, the addition of walnuts in the topping and the small amount of butter/margarine and oil. It was a hit here!


1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup egg substitute
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Penzeys Cake Spice*
1 teaspoon melted margarine

In a mixing bowl, beat milk, oil and egg substitute. Combine the dry ingredients; add to milk mixture and beat until smooth. Spoon into 8-in. square baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. (Check at 20 minutes, mine was done at 22 minutes) Cool on a wire rack. 16 servings.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals 155 calories, 6 g fat (trace saturated fat), trace cholesterol, 118 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 fat, 1/2 starch.

*I like to add 1/2 teaspoon of Penzeys Cake Spice when I bake goodies with cinnamon. It gives it an extra boost of yummy.

Starring patriotism

Found these in the Target Dollar Spot. . .I've got a galaxy of them in the tree.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

$1 per pound ground beef at Super Target

And it's the 93% lean, too! I stocked up with three packages this afternoon.
Update 5-25: This may have been a one day sale. When we were in Target yesterday, the price was $2.25. Still a great deal, though!

Burda 7965 View A

Burda 7965 turned out OK! Sewn in a black silk linen blend from Jo-Ann's (surprise!), it gave it enough weight and the right color for a good result. It's different and a little more fun than the ubiquitous suburban mom cropped pants uniform of summer. While I probably wouldn't wear them for dressing to impress, I think they are good enough to wear around the house or out for quick errands without social embarrassment.
There were some good and some huh? things with this pattern. . .
First - the elastic measurement. It's up to you to figure out how much elastic you need if you fall in the middle of the size range. Seven sizes, with a 6" range from small to large. Not being a math whiz and with the assistance of a calculator and measuring tape, I figured each size was about 1 3/8" difference give or take. And it's a waistband elastic, rather forgiving and close enough. Second - the elastic width. The pattern calls for 5/8" - I used 3/8" instead and just squeeked it through the casing.

But the good - I loved that casing, which you will also find on the pants from 7966. Very high-detailed RTW look. You fold under the finished edge along the seam allowance and then place the casing band 3/8" below the folded edge and edgestitch the band, catching the finished edge. Nice! And fun if you are using a print and want a contrast effect with another fabric. Because of the way the grainline is placed, the resulting folds make it look more like a skirt than just wide short pant legs. You could also seize the opportunity to use your embroidery machine to add a pretty edge or some trim.

One of these is probably enough for me, but if you would like to try something different for summer, give Burda 7965 a try.
Update 5-23 -- Perhaps I'll rethink this as an only child. I'm wearing it today and it is so cool and comfortable (legs too sore from yoga today to even think about keeping knees pressed together!), and with the temp and humidity combined it's about 100 bajillion right now. This is only the beginning of a long, hot summer. . .

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What's next? Burda 7965

Burda 7965 in black linen. I want to try an alternative to shorts and skirts now that we are cooking here in the 90's for the next five months. Hopefully it won't make me look like I'm on the bus - next stop Dorksville.

Burda 7788 View C - Tank Style Blouse

I ended up blousoning the hem of Burda 7788's View C top/blouse and love it! The deep purple with random black flecks fabric is vintage circa 1980 lightweight silky poly from now departed Southern Fabrics in The Galleria. (You would be hard-pressed to tell if this was silk or not. Southern Fabrics had the best quality fabrics I've ever found.) You can also make View C doubled layered in chiffon a la Sandra Betzina. As mentioned in my earlier post, you may want to add some length if you are longer in the torso and you want it to bubble nicely without creeping above your waist. Burda may have already thought that through because I only used 1 1/2 yards even with the extra 7" (3 1/2" x 2 - I'm not that freakishly tall) which is what the back of the envelope called for. I did need those extra inches. What I loved -- the pleated neckline and the flattering shape of the neckline and armholes. Everything is covered - nicely.
Looks great, even with jogging shorts -- for photographic purposes only!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

The Lovin' Spoonful, "Summer in the City" 2:41
It was 93 today! The 90's are back (temps not the decade!)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What I'm working on today

Burda 7788 View C top -- something fast and easy after Burda 7775 (The View D is the reversible version) I'm still out to lunch whether to "bubble" it, so I added 3 1/2" --- learned my lesson!! -- so I can see if I want to or not.

Garden Update

Looks like my lavendar is getting ready to bloom -

I have good luck with Salvias/Sage, and it continues with my newest, Salvia Sinaloensis. I bought it as a greenling and by the poker photo which says "Low, fuzzy, purple foilage, flowers are genitian-blue with white spotted lower lip. Grows to 10-14" tall"

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Burda 7775 View B - Blouse

Almost completely love this View B blouse from Burda 7775 -- I added 2 inches in length and it still feels too short by about an inch! I hate to think if I hadn't lengthened it; I would be really po'd. Burda rated 3 dots/Average, it took a lot of time but the detailed results were worth it. I'll definitely make it again times two - longer for another blouse and in the View A dress.

What I did love --

The collar -- In over 35+ years of sewing, I have never made a collar the way Burda had you do here. It's on the bias and it is seamed together in such a way you get perfectly turned-out notches. And I like how it rolls away from the neck when you wear it. No forced pressing to flatten in place

The seaming -- I liked the front and back princess seams. The center back is not cut on the fold, but seamed, with subtle shaping also found on the side seams.

The pockets - Cool pleating, which helps with the fit as they are over the front princess seam. And the placement is flattering, too.

The sleeves -- Not a "Princess Puffy Sleeve" but slightly wider than your arms to make them look thinner. I liked the detail of the small area of gathers in the center of the arm band.

So if you are petite, out of the envelope it's for you. Otherwise, plan to add a few inches to the length and yardage.
Burda has snuck in a great sleeper blouse pattern in 7775!

Almost Golden Girl

Just got word today that L's proposed Girl Scout Gold Award project received approval by the Gold Award Committee! She put in over 130 hours in less than 18 months working on the preparatory 4 B's. And she'll get a "credit" of 7 1/2 hours applied towards the 65 separate hours for her project.

Netflix Stars - No Country For Old Men

1/5 -- only because Tommy Lee Jones was in it. How violent and disturbing!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Meerkat Manor - The Next Generation

Season 4 begins June 6 on Animal Planet! Teasers say the next generation continues with Rocket Dog as the new Whiskers leader and sister Maybelline forming and leading her own clan, the Aztecs. Talk about sibling rivalry! Also new to note, Stockard Channing replaces narrator, Sean Astin. You go girls!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

The Brian Setzer Orchestra, "Jump, Jive an' Wail" 2:53
The Dirty Boogie

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Put a lid on it!

Remember my post last week about the missing lid from my 5 quart crockpot? I found a great website to order replacement parts for crockpots and other appliances, too --

Reasonably priced - $9.99 - and fast shipping for only $6. All crockpots have met their match.

Slow Cooking Thursday and Crockpot Challenge - Red Beans and Rice

Modified from Mable Hoffman's "Crockery Cookery" page 157


1 package lean turkey sausage, cut into 1/4" slices
2 cans red beans, rinsed and drained
1 can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup uncooked rice

Combine sausage, red beans and tomatoes in crockpot. Cover and cook on Low 4 hours. Before serving cook rice - I use Minute Rice. Spoon cooked rice into individual soup bowls, top with bean mixture. I also have a hard time finding canned red beans, I use the Kroger brand.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What I'm working on now

The View B blouse of 7775 as a trial run before I make the dress. It's such a cute blouse, yet I don't remember it in the blouse section. I guess the go-to lesson from this is if you are looking for trendy blouses, check the dresses for blouses in the View B!

Cancer Diva is Back!

For all my readers who click on the Cancer Diva blog link, and since December have been wondering how she is, click here for the latest from her!

Memorial Day Pattern Sales - updated

May 24/26 Simplicity patterns at Jo-Ann's, 5 for $5

May 23/26 Hancock's will have 88 cent McCalls, 88 cent Butterick and $3.88 Vogue

Turnera bloomed!

"White Buttercup" is taking off. The flowers only last a day, but there's lots of new buds setting. Per the poker stick, it will bloom all summer, tolerating the heat, up to 18" - 24" tall and wide. Get growing!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Berlin, "No More Words" 3:53

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Burda 7789 Young Fashion Teen View D - Skirt

L loved this Burda 7789 skirt so much, that after I took the picture, she wore it for the rest of the day! And that's high praise considering she has to wear a uniform skirt five days a week. The only adjustment I made was to add 2" to the length. When wearing it is actually at the same length pictured on the model, it just appears slightly longer on L because of the camera angle. The fit seems to run slightly bigger/looser than the size compared to the other Burdas I've made in the same size, but not that much. Perhaps that extra ease is to allow the skirt to adjust where it is most comfortable to wear. Needing only a frugal 1 1/2 yards, this skirt clocked in at under $3.50! A+ - We'll be making this again!
Next up -- 7775 (dress/blouse) or 7936 (blouse)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Story Hours

Hours and hours -- first over an hour waiting in line to buy "The Host" and get the wristband, then an hour and a half in rush hour traffic, then one hour in line just to get into the venue, then an hour wait for Stephenie Meyer to talk for 30 minutes, then about an hour and a half to get the books signed...and we were in Row 5! We got outta there by 9:30 PM, and would bet Stephenie would still be there at least until 11 PM, easy.

This was just a partial shot of the crowd. Again, well behaved, but certainly diverse.
Each book tour/signing I've attended has been different, realizing the events are controlled by the publishers and the contracts, not by the author. Still interesting to note:

With Stephenie:
  • You had to have The Host book on top if you had any other of her books (up to 2), with a Post-it and your name.
  • She would only personalize The Host, but would sign her name on your other two books
  • I asked if she would sign The New York Times ad for our library to display when I gave them the book. "Please?" - "No Exceptions!," said the Winged Guard Monkeys. Swear I felt I was in a scene from "The Wizard of Oz" Even the stage had emerald green curtains.
  • No photos during the book signing - either of you and her (I could see that, it would take forever), but no photos of her signing the books. They announced they would confiscate cell phones and cameras if you did. And as backup there were two police officers on either side of her and four handlers...and people posted on the way out in case you thought you could turn around and snap a photo.
  • But you could take a photo of her during the Q & A, hence the sorely-lacking zoom feature on my camera result. (insert grainy blurry photo here)

With Joel Osteen at Costco for "Your Best Life Now":

  • No photos
  • No personalization
  • However his wife Victoria hanging out in the Food Court did sign and personalize my mother's copy. She's even more beautiful in person, too.
  • And he did say, "God Bless You!" Works for me.

David Cassidy, "C'mon Get Happy":

  • Would only sign this book ("No albums or lunchboxes!" said the signs outside.).
  • But would personalize it
  • No photos with David, but this was 1994 and my reflexes and knees were younger so I quickly tossed my camera to another in line and knelt down near David. Close enough. Note the yellow Caution/Crime Scene tape and the sheriff behind us! (And in important matters of sibling rivalry, "Ha, ha Sue! I got David's picture and autograph!" I did buy and get him to sign a copy for her, too. But I still have the photo!)

Garth Nix on the other hand, was more than accommodating for L, earning and keeping a fan for life:

  • Signing all of her books
  • Personalizing
  • Posing for photos
  • Actually talking to her about favorite books and authors

Again, kudos to Barnes and Noble and the school district for a well-coordinated event. It certainly wasn't Stephenie's fault her popularity and Little-Brown prevented her from enjoying the fans and vice versa.