Saturday, August 30, 2008

Folds of Honor

Patriot Golf Day will be this Labor Day weekend. Since 2007, this event has raised over $1 million for the Folds of Honor Foundation, helping to support the families of veterans who were injured or died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Click to read more about Major Dan Rooney, who was ABC's Person of the Week.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sandra Betzina Today's Fit Vogue 2945 - Redemption!

If you just keep winding the bobbins, eventually you'll succeed. Vogue 2945 was Sandra's second chance and I really wanted it to work. But after sewing so many Burdas, I had forgotten that - 1) I need to go down a size than what I usually measure, as Sandra's patterns are pretty generous and forgiving in the bust area, 2) her patterns also tend to run short in the torso, so I need to add 2". I remembered to add the length but forgot to decrease the size. Another for the Goodwill bag.

But I loved this top! Again, another cool engineered pattern design. And Sandra takes you through step-by-step to a successful finish. What I liked about this was the flattering squared and draped neckline with a neat shoulder pleat. Different and not cowl-drapey. Score one there. Then the front lining - genius. Perfect for this onion-skin knit print. No worries about see-through in the front and it provided weight and finish.

I'm glad I have enough fabric left over to give this another go. It is another $1/yard Wal-Mart wonder from back in the day when I would buy 5 yards at a clip. (Did I buy yards of fabric? More like pounds of fabric!)


Sandra Betzina Today's Fit Vogue 2980 - Booby Trapped!

I finally got around to sewing this favorite of the sewing clique who made 2980 earlier. Looks great on the hanger, but not so great on me. If you are small busted, you'll love this top (and will want to make a Jo-Ann's run this weekend to grab it for $3.99). If you are larger, you'll be embarrassed. Or not, depends. Me, I didn't want the double-take. I wish the collar "bolero" was a little bit longer and wider to cover more of the front. I even tried tacking the edges to the front, but it really didn't help or stay put - it kept bunching under the arms.

But I can say that Sandra's directions are impeccable and this was fun to sew - especially when you see how the collar merges into the design. The fabric was two $1/yard remnant pieces of crinkly knit from Hancocks. I used a contrasting color for pieces #1 (collar) and #4 (sleeve), to give it more of a bolero/shrug look from the front. This is a very cool top, I had high hopes for it and am sad it didn't work for me.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Burda Young Fashion Teen 7997 View B - Hello Kitty shorts

L needed shorts to wear under her uniform skirt and even though I have and have used other Burda shorts patterns, they didn't have a bunny (View E) like 7997! Plus, the shorts were more economical yardage wise to sew - you need just a little less than 7/8 yard. Two yards each of Jet Set light-weight knit in olive night and sapphire and four spools of Hello Kitty ribbon all from Jo-Ann's equaled six pairs of shorts, with enough in reserve for two more pair. The shorts were originally designed for wovens and for skanky-ness. Seriously, we went up two sizes and added 2" in length. The center back seam also seemed off, sloping in practically diagonally towards the waist, most likely fitting a booty girl better. I ended up adding 1 1/2" to make it somewhat straighter and more comfortable for L to wear. She also found two different Hello Kitty ribbon rolls to add as hemline trim. What we also liked about this pattern, besides all the other view goodies, it actually gave the elastic for the waist measurement in the directions and it was spot-on.

The empty ribbon spool also makes a safe place to discard used sewing machine needles. By, buy, bye!

Deja vu! New Burda counter catalog!

The new Burda Fall/Winter store catalog is were apparently some Burda World of Fashions (BWOF). Recognized immediately, in the same fabric no less, were the kimono-style PJ top, shorts and pants from December 2007, #125, #126 and #127B, on pages 67 and 69, now representing as 7765.

Then I saw 7758 - such a cool, unique style - it was in my memory bank and in October 2007 #115A/#115B on pages 19 and 77.

I have no qualms about repeats - I always thought BWOF styles were ahead of their time, obviously now literally. And if you couldn't find these issues, it's a great way to catch up with the others who have already sewed, loved and worn these designs earlier. I'm sure others have snuck in; amongst all the coats (!) - I have never seen so many coat/jacket patterns before. Without a foreseeable op to wear many of these until at least November, I left Jo-Ann's Burda-less and hit the BWOF magazine stack for something new...or old to sew.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Daryl Hall & John Oates, "You Make My Dreams Come True" 3:07
Rock 'N Soul, Pt. 1

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Who are you wearing? Why are you watching?

Did anyone catch "Who are you wearing?" on TLC last night? It sounded good, L and I had high hopes for it.

Each week on WAYW, four ordinary sew-ers from all walks of life compete to dress a "celebrity" client for a red carpet event. The first episode's celebrity was Alison Sweeney, not familiar to me and introduced as being on The Biggest Loser and a soap opera, neither of which I watch. The host is Keisha Whitaker, another unknown to me, looking painfully anorexic. There are four contestants -- this episode had one guy, three ladies all from little towns in California. Each episode is self-contained with a winner at the end of the hour. One designer is eliminated at each section - the design drawing, the shoping/sewing, the fitting and the final selection. This group seemed to have a lot of potential to create something wonderful, but they stumbled. I thought I saw Alison's face fall when the choices were presented; they looked terrible, despite her telling them what she wanted and what she didn't like earlier at each point along the way.

Hopefully upcoming episodes will be better. . .

Friday, August 22, 2008

Novus Ordo Seclorum

Donde esta, Amazon? We ordered the Intellectual Origins of the Constitution on August 13 (it's not exactly a title flying off the shelves at the bricks and mortar stores nor requested often unless you are married to a history major and/or taking AP Government) and per the order tracking it was "missent" to Baytown! Baytown?! To-date it is still flopping around therein the US postal system. Threw myself a nice little hissy fit to the overseas Amazon help person and we'll either get our copy or several on Monday.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

International Quilt Festival - Long Beach, California

Almost 19,000 people attended the debut of the West Coast edition of the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach, California. Watch and enjoy the event online with Quilts Inc.'s webcast "Quilt Festival @ Home" at until September 15. Mark your calendars now for next year - July 24/26, 2009 at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jo-Ann's Labor Day Weekend Sale

Friday, August 29/Monday, September 1:

50% off notions
McCall's Patterns - $1.99
Vogue Patterns - $3.99

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More guilty pleasures

Thank you, Karen -- L and I are now hooked on Bravo's Million Dollar Listing 2 (we love Chad!) and Flipping Out. We were watching the repeats this afternoon. Suddenly a $1.5 million house seems like a bargain now!

Burda 7940 - View C Blouse

Burda 7940 View C blouse turned out great for L in a navy blue silk with Fiskars-orange buttons, inspired by a $49 Urban Outfitters top. The pattern called for almost 6 yards (!) of 3/16" wide elastic - I found and used 1/4" instead. I tried the 2 rows of elastic in the arms, but it felt too tight and the sleeves looked too blouson-y on her. You may want to cut the pieces a little bit longer and adjust for comfort. The neckline was supposed to have 4 rows of elastic, but I went with 2 rows in the middle. Sometimes it is difficult to get more than two rows inserted and shirred together without getting torqued and floppy. I still had the channels above and below, which even unused, added dimension and the upper one created a tiny ruffle. Surprisingly it didn't call for any interfacing because the front folds over on to itself. But if you are using a silky or lightweight fabric, you'll want to add a 1 1/4" piece to support the buttons and buttonholes. She loved the sash. I think if she wanted another top from this pattern, I would add a little extra length to the sleeves and have them be more 3/4 length instead of just below the elbow or narrow just a bit and shorten. This could just be her height differential, but you may want to precheck the length, too. L loved the sash - it was the perfect, flattering width and length.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Torched by an angel

For over the past three years, the oven dial and the thermostat have not been simpatico. I have used an oven thermometer and placed bets if I set it at 350, would I get 425? or 275? Although this added a little extra time, it added extra money in my wallet avoiding a repair call. There was also extra play in the dial as it turned it would go in and out. Yesterday the control connection finally broke inside the stove - with the outside dial spinning around...and not turning off! On a Sunday. When it was 90+ outside. What temperature was it stuck at? Considering I was dialing for 450, who knew? (at least it wasn't Broil) Service person/service call at least 24 hours away. Pulled it away from the wall and tried turning off the gas. Still saw the orange flame. Gave it some time to burn off. Still glowing. Tried unplugging the electrical connection - finally that seemed to work. Decided to go oven shopping. For a few hundred more than the repair would have been for an oven I've hated for years (the burners sat too high and when the a/c was running, it would take more than 30 minutes to boil water), we found a super great deal at Best Buy - they even arranged delivery for the next day and comped the charges. It matches the rest of our appliances, no oven dial - it's digital, and has a Speed Bake convection setting, amongst other goodies I love (broiler on top, storage drawer, self-cleaning)...And the oven has a 12 hour safety shut off feature!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New Laura Bennett Case Clothed Episode

Click here for the latest episode of "Case Clothed - The Sweatsuit Substitute"

Saturday, August 16, 2008

8 IS a lucky number!

I think the back is cool, too, with the jade ----->
Yay Michael!!!!!!!!

Burda Young Fashion Teen 7871 - View A Dress

Well, maybe we could both wear this dress except -- L decided she didn't like it and said it felt too "old" despite the designation as a Burda Young Fashion Teen style... and I liked the style but not the fabric color/print. It might be wearable a few times with a tank or cami underneath...and maybe a pair of leggings? But with a little front tweaking, I would definitely make 7871 again for me (in a black or dark colored knit instead) as I have been on a quest for a wrap dress pattern and had given up finding one until sewing this pattern. I like how it wraps, there's a right side seam opening to thread the tie through, and how the front skirt stays securely closed. I redid the ties and added 8" to the length as the pattern size sewn was 4 sizes smaller (!) than what I wear and sew in Burda. I also like the back waist seam. It makes it fit just a bit better back there without adding bulk. Because L tops me at 6' 1" and this was originally supposed to be for her, right out of the envelope I added 1 1/2" to the sleeves, 1 1/2" above the waist to get that back waist seam to hit where it belongs, 3" below the waist and 1/2" at the hem for extra length. I didn't use piece #4, the back facing, and instead just turned under and topstitched right along with the front opening. I Stay Taped first along the neckline opening and skipped the fusible interfacing; Steam-A-Seam 2 held it all together during double-needle topstitching. This went together really fast, definitely earning Burda's 1 dot easy pattern rating.

Best Burgers!

We took a drive to Austin yesterday and grabbed burgers and frozen custard at Sandy's (603 Barton Springs Road). LBJ liked to eat there, too. Be forewarned, it's cash only...but all three of us had burgers, fries, drinks and cones and barely broke a $20 bill. On the way home it was raining towards Houston and we found --

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shopping With The Bag Ladies

...Lady bugs, that is! I stopped at Another Place in Time while running errands. They sell a bag of 1750 lady bugs for only $9.95. Usually they are sold out by now or otherwise I order them from Planet Natural. I still have places to stop before getting home to release them on my oak tree, so I am discretely taking them inside the stores with me instead of leaving them in the hot car.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Burda 7871 Young Fashion Teen - View A Dress

Back to Burda again! This morning, it is the long sleeved View A wrap dress of Burda 7871. All basted together, waiting for Sleeping Beauty to awaken and try on. I used an orange tiny floral knit found buried in Jo-Ann's Red Tag section a few months ago. It's "peached" with some nice springy weight to it -- Not a bad deal for $3/yard. You never know what you are going to find back there.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Burda 7968 - View C Camisole

This Burda pattern dog just won't hunt! I now know why the camisole was not shown on the envelope models, and you won't be seeing a photo of it on me either. This is a family blog!

How can View B be so large and fuddy-duddy and View C be so tight and skanky? I made the same size for both, in fact even added a little to the sides of the camisole for fitting insurance. The pattern drafters were snoozing on this one. Maybe I can count the hours spent on 7968 towards my ASG community service sewing? One, don't buy this pattern....two, if you do, plan on donating the outfits made to Goodwill.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Burda 7968 - View B - Coming soon to a thrift shop near you!

A bad fabric, style and (so far) pattern choice for me! I was hoping for a cute short-sleeved top to wear over a tank top. Ank! View B with the short sleeves looks dowdy, frumpy and "old." Even shortened to different lengths. It also runs very large across the front, the upper shoulders are wide and the sleeves are falling off the shoulder. You could easily go down one or even two sizes from your usual Burda size. So many of the catalog Burda patterns I've sewn turn out better than they look and photograph, I thought for sure this was another one of them.

Perhaps the long sleeves of View A, a different size and fabric could rescue 7968. Before I throw in the pattern along with the shirt, I may give the hidden View C camisole a shot.

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

August 15/17 - Simplicity 5 for $5
August 21/23 - Butterick $1.99 each

And kudos to Jo-Ann's for finally upgrading from the 1980's Fred Flintstone registers! Sheesh, I could have gone home and sewn what I was buying before it finished dot-matrix printing the receipt.

Which Olympics has the cutest gold medal-winning athletes?

Michael Phelps or the puppies in Puppy Games 2008? (Though I think the goldfish judges are a little more biased towards the water events.) Check Animal Planet for the next showing.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Cow has Prana!

WTH?! Here I am at the chi-chi Chick-Fil-A with granola moms and their litter of kids. One just popped out a newborn. The newborn is the best behaved, and that statement is including the mothers. Each one has 3+ kids and I am trying very hard to check my gag reflex. But I just about spit out my iced tea when the Chick-Fil-A cow strolled by. First the kidlets were pointing and waving and as soon as he/she approached, then burst into tears and screams of terror. "It's OK, it's OK, the cow has Prana! Prana!" Bad breath? Gas? Life sustaining force? Please tell me these kids aren't into yoga yet. I'm not sure. . .

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sew Green - Burda 7793 again

We lucked out again with Edouard - mostly light or a steady rain and breezy by us...and 75 degrees! A nice break in the temperature and for the A/C.

Our hurricane pantry was fully stocked, but last night L and I went to Super Target to lay in a supply of readable-by-flashlight People, OK, etc. magazines. It was entertaining to see what people were buying. The couple ahead of us bought lots (over $100 worth!) of Beef-A-Roni, Progresso soup, turkey bacon, and Fiber One bars. The cart behind us -- Blue Bell chocolate ice cream and Doritos. Is it survival of the fittest, or survival of the fattest?! We weren't totally guilt free, we got a Red Baron pizza and baked it last night in case the power went out. Cold pizza is better than cold Beef-A-Roni, yes?

Anyways, I took the opportunity today to whip up another Burda 7793, in the olive green knit eyelet. Since raising the back, it was just a little difficult to tell which was the front or the back. I saved the cool black and white woven tie strings from a pair of Liz Claiborne capris and attached a small piece to the back neckline.

Coming up next -- Burda 7968 View B

Monday, August 04, 2008

Burda 7793 - View B Tank Top (for me!)

From the stash, a $1/yard Wally-World find, which actually sewed like a dream. I didn't even need Steam-A-Seam for the armhole and neckline edges. I wanted to do a trial run before cutting into a cool olive green eyelet knit to wear under my Burda 7967 dress I just made. While sewing this out of the envelope is fine for a teenager, I wanted to raise up the front neckline 1/2 inch, the back neckline almost 3 inches and the shoulder straps 1/2 inch. Burda 7793 has become a one-yard wonder favorite for both of us.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

The Fortunes, "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again" 2:48

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Burda 7967 - View B Dress

Burda 7967 has a dress (View B), plus a short-sleeved jacket (View C) and long sleeved jacket (View A). The size range is 10-22 (36-48), so it will fit and flatter just about all sizes. I liked the shirt-dress with the longer elbow-length sleeves and fold-back cuffs, which I'm glad to report prevented flashbacks to the pink (!) summer uniform shirt dress of Cardinal Mooney High School..or looking like a waitress.

I did my usual tallie girl alterations -- adding 1 1/2" above the waist, moving the bust dart upwards 1.5 cm, adding 1" to the sleeve length and 1 1/2" to the bottom edge. These numbers seem to work for all the current Burda patterns, they are consistent from pattern to pattern, style to style. So once you know what works for you, no more worries.
The dress called for 15 buttons, spaced 1 1/2 inches apart. It looked a little too button-intense, so I spaced out 14 buttons 2" apart. Much better!
The buttons are actually recycled from a $1 thrift store dress. It was long sleeved and buttoned from collar to hem - a great harvest op! I'll check out the bargain racks not for the clothes, but for the buttons and trim. Even at retail stores - Kohl's has these incredible end of season 60-90% off markdown sales and I confess I was tempted by a Size 2 Petite jacket just for the buttons...and the look on the clerk's face!

This is a one-dot Burda Easy pattern with three great wardrobe options. With some neat fabric, you can have a lot of fun with them through the seasons. I'm eyeing that View A jacket with the drawstring waist and sleeve hems for whenever it cools down here, or maybe View C with View A's longer sleeves, or maybe even View C for the interim. . .?

It's so hot a person could pop!

Chocolate Raspberry Fudge Pops!

This recipe was in the June 18 Houston Chronicle Food section and they were originally called Chocolate Cherry Fudge Pops, but I couldn't find cherry jam. I used Polaner All Fruit Seedless Raspberry and Land O' Lakes Fat Free Half & Half.
They tasted just as yummy as a full-fat, full-sugared frozen treat without the icky chemicals.
I found these popsicle molds at the Target Dollar Spot. They weren't that large, but good enough for a few bites, so I cut the original recipe in half. I've made these twice so far and the second time around, determined you could easily skip the blender step by using a whisk to melt and blend the jam in the saucepan.
(This is the smaller, halved recipe)

3/4 cup fat free half-and-half
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/2 teasoon vanilla extract
tiny pinch salt

In small saucepan over low heat, combine the half-and-half and chocolate chips. Heat, stirring constantly, until chips are melted. Transfer the mixture to a blender, add the jam, vanilla and salt, then puree' for 30 seconds or until smooth. Divide mixture amoung the frozen pop molds (number will vary by size) then insert sticks according to mold directions. Freeze at least several hours.