Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tricker Treat

That's what we used to say when we were younger instead of Trick or Treat. I remember one Rochester Halloween when it snowed. That was the year Nana and Gramps went to Hawaii and brought us grass skirts. We certainly looked "tropical" wearing them with our with a plastic flower lei over our snowsuit jackets and the skirt on top of our snowpants! These goody bags are for the neighborhood kids...The gold tie is elastic from a gift box. The candy is from the "Chocolate Mini Favorites" 4.69 pound bag we bought from Costco two weeks ago -- Mini Snickers, Butterfingers, Milky Way (including Midnight), Baby Ruth, Twix and 3 Musketeers. Applause for us still having most of the bag until tonight!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pomegranate Arils Ginger Muffins

Costco is selling in their cold fruit and veggie room a twin pack box of fresh pomegranate arils in 8 ounce bowls (with resealable lids included!) from POM for $7.99. Considering the fruit itself is pretty pricey, having the arils all set and ready to go effortlessly was worth the price. I tried sprinkling them in yogurt, but they were a little crunchy. Not bad, just a little odd. Since the Best Used By Date was closing in fast, I checked the POM website for recipes and found "POM Ginger Muffins" I tried a batch this morning and they were surprisingly good. The seeds softened and worked well in a muffin wardrobe.
I did a few things differently from the recipe -- I substituted 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour for part of the flour, used skim milk and an Omega 3 egg, skipped the orange peel, and a tablespoonful of Penzeys Crystallized Ginger chopped for the candied ginger. I like to snack on the ginger and didn't want to see half my jar disappear. Actually I liked the amount used, more would have been too much. I'll definitely make it again, maybe bumping up the whole wheat flour to 1/2 cup and substituting safflower oil or at least using some to replace part of the butter as one reviewer mentioned. I hate to think I'm undermining the superfruit's effort with 1/3 cup of butter.

Sandra Betzina Today's Fit Vogue 7717 View A Top

Another out-of-print Sandra Betzina Today's Fit- Vogue 7717. (You may still be able to order it directly from Vogue or check eBay. There are at least five listed on there right now, ranging from $3 to $14.99.) 7717 is yet another example of an unflattering pattern photo which causes you to skip over adding the pattern to your collection. Take a look at the line drawing - you don't even notice View A's sleeve treatment on the model. That's a separate pattern piece! The sleeve just looks rolled up and frumpy in the photo. There are a lot of very nice details in the entire pattern.

I made View A with the leftover Watercolor Rose Charmeuse from Jo-Ann's I used as the jacket lining for 8522. Following my new ground rules for the Today's Fit patterns, right from the start I added 3" to the length. Even now as it is in process it looks the bare minimum needed and next time I'll add another inch. Sandra's not that petite, so I have no idea why her top patterns run so short compared to the other Vogue patterns. I read on someone's blog that this pattern ran a little snug. Of course, after I cut out my regular size. And it was too tight in the chest. Oops. After I had applied the neckline bias binding, too. Fortunately I still had enough to cut another front and back putting back the size I chopped off during layout, but not enough for the bias. So I created facings instead. Truthfully, the facings looked much better than the bias trim. The first top's neckline with the staytape and bias got all bunchy looking. I interfaced the facings and skipped the staytape and liked those results much better.

I think the hidden gem in this top are the sleeve caps. I loved how they hit just right on the upper arm and angled up slightly. Very flattering and stylish. Yay Sandra!
Love how it looks with the 8522 jacket...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Money Monday - Twi-Light

How do you stop vampires?
(Well, the electrical ones)

With electrical outlet strips!

Appliances can continue to use power, even if they are turned off. One suggestion is to try grouping appliances into a power strip and then...turn it off!
Your printer, monitor and computer
Your coffee pot, microwave and breadmaker
Your TV, stereo and DVD/VCR

Energy vampires can add up to at least $50 per year. Click here for more scary statistics and ways to prevent your wallet from being drained.

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Veterans' Sale

November 9/15 --

Simplicity Patterns 5 for $5
Red Tag Fabrics 50% off
Thread 50% off
Cutting mats 50% off

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Elton John, "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" 4:07
Greatest Hits 1970-2002

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Netflix Stars - What Happens in Vegas

4/5 stars! While predictable, it was funny! We all laughed out loud throughout the movie. Loved the roles of Dennis Miller and Cameron's friend, Lake Bell. Great roster and choice of supporting cast members. L said this was definitely an example of a movie being better than the trailer.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Oh Cats!

Whenever something didn't go right, my grandmother would always say, "Oh cats!" After the Vogue 8522 debacle, perhaps I should sew cats. This free downloadable pattern from Wee Wonderfuls was featured in the October issue of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion on page 90 done up in Halloween fabrics. Aren't they cute? They seem very retro 60's to me. Imagine some Christmas fabric kitties decorating your house.

Vogue 8522 View A Jacket

I attempted Very Easy Vogue 8522 (the "Very Easy" designation must come from no set in sleeves?) View A. After basting the sides and center back, I decided I liked it without the collar A little warning bell went off in my head about the sleeves - they were just a little too wide and bellshaped to my eye. It felt like part of a costume, and in the green fabric, I'm thinking Peter Pan or an elf.

A better fabric match for this pattern would be a heavier weight than moleskin--maybe even sweatshirt/fleece or fake fur.
Update: L suggested I remove the black button and add four gold buttons, two across. Looks much better. And not to pair it with the black jeans and brown turtleneck. Forget Peter Pan or an elf, I looked like a tree!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sanda Betzina's Fall/Winter Fashion Forecast

Here's the link to Sandra's Fall/Winter 2008/2009 Fashion Forecast! I just printed mine today. (Note: You need to print it in "Landscape" or adjust your printer accordingly as it is just a little too wide and you'll miss the right edge words if you use "Portrait") I'll cut and tape her comments to my patterns, just for when I think, "why did I buy this pattern?" I'm all set to match stash or go shopping!

Light up your sewing room...

Or a sewing-themed Christmas tree in your sewing room. That's not too much of a reach. I know people who have kitchen trees, bathroom trees, children's room trees, trees for their pets even. . .
Click here for ordering information from Martingale Publishers.

American Sewing Guild - Pillowcase Project

The 2009 American Sewing Guild National Community Service Project will be making pillowcases for the Ronald McDonald House in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Even if you are not an ASG member, contact your local Ronald McDonald House or children's hospital to see if they could use pillowcases to cheer their patients.

I discovered some good Internet links with instructions to make a variety of pillowcase styles, including the infamous "Burrito Pillowcase Pattern". These websites complement both the visual and print instruction method sewers. Please be sure to use only 100% cotton fabric in children's prints and bright colors and make them in standard pillowcase size - 21" x 32".

Utah State University

Quilting in Connecticut

Quilted Forest

Quilt in a Day Community Forum

Hello Kitty is back at the Target Dollar Spot

And all set for Winter and Christmas gift-giving opportunities! I came home with these three totebags, the camera didn't show a light dusting of glitter on the snow/white paint. Very HK! There are also stickers, photo albums, pens, necklace/bracelet sets, keychains, notebooks, hair accessories and more. Great for stocking stuffers and Secret Santas - grab them now!

World's Longest Pink Ribbon

Did anyone else get a 2.5 foot piece of the 2.5 million foot long Running Ribbon logo ribbon from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure? They have a website - with photos of what people are doing with their ribbon, but I didn't find any projects or photos there. I just received the ribbon a couple days ago.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What a Crock!

This morning I lifted the lid on my red 4-quart Crock-Pot and...the handle came off! The plastic handle literally disintegrated and broke free from the screw attaching it into the glass. Into tiny pieces and plastic dust. Since this was definitely a lid malfunction and it was only a little over a year old, I called the Rival 800 number to request a replacement. Customer service said the lids were out-of-stock (others had similar problems?), but to call back in three weeks, and if they were available then, they could order one for me at a total cost of $21.59! Lid, shipping, tax. I told her for 40 cents more, I could buy a new one at Target and probably even less in the store. I think I got it on sale for around $17. I'll go to Target later this afternoon and see if for grins they will replace it. I'm doubtful, but it's worth a try. No offense, but if I can find a 4-quart size slow cooker that is not a Rival, I'm more inclined to replace mine with a new brand. . . How many lidless Rival crockpots are clogging our landfills?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chem-Eco Reaction

A warning from my sister about the new Palmolive Eco + Dishwasher Detergent. . .

"It leaves a weird white film residue on everything, all over, inside and out...Especially noticeable on stainless steel pans. It makes a strange discoloration on stainless flatware, like when rice boils over the pot. It wouldn't scrub off with a pad, nor would it come off when I put everything through the dishwasher again with Cascade. I finally scrubbed with a vinegar solution and I think it's off now. How is this eco friendly with chlorine bleach? And having to waste time/water/energy/money to redo the load? No response from Palmolive about my complaint...."
Yikes! While you want to "go green," and do right by planet Earth, stick with Costco's Kirkland brand or Cascade. They work and come in green boxes and containers.

Bernina Fashion Show News

Rendezvous will be the last Bernina Fashion Show! Here's the email excerpt from Karey Bresenhan, via the QuiltArt mailing list. . .

From Karey Bresenhan, Director - International Quilt Festival:

"The wearable arts world has long enjoyed the tradition of a prestigious runway show at the International Quilt Festival to showcase the latest, most innovative techniques and designs. In the last 30 years, many of you have contributed your late-night hours, creative energies, and heartfelt passions to present today's American haute couture. Under the sponsorship of first Fairfield, then Bernina, the evolution of wearable art has come a long way, and this exciting journey will continue but without the Festival Fashion Show as a staple at the International Quilt Festivals. The 2008 collection of Rendezvous will be the last of the Festival Fashion Shows as we have known them. Rendezvous will continue under the Bernina name through the end of the Chicago runway show next spring. In Long Beach next summer, the show will be presented but under the aegis of Quilt Festival without outside sponsorship. Unfortunately, the current economic turmoil combined with steep increases in our production costs have forced Bernina and Quilts, Inc. to reconsider this event. Quilts, Inc feels a commitment to you, the designer whether you have only recently submitted a portfolio, have pursued this dream for years, or have contributed many times and we will actively seek a way to continue to incorporate wearable arts into our shows. There could be another runway show in the future, or we may take a completely different approach. We will continue to honor wearable art as an important expression of creative talent, exquisite workmanship, and extraordinary vision as we chart this new course."
Karey Bresenhan
Director, International Quilt Festival

New cool tea from Celestial Seasonings

Celestial Seasonings Green Tea Cranberry Pomegranate. A triple play! Box of 20 teabags found at Whole Foods for $3.49. And a donation goes to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. All good. . .
Update: Tastes great iced! 4 bags per quart of water.

Money Monday - Cut your losses

Monday's business section is always doom and gloom. In today's paper, there is an article about a woman having to keep working indefinitely and putting her other plans on hold because her mother just retired without a retirement fund (?!) and life insurance (?!?!) and she has to help pay the bills...that's depressing.

I decided to post a few tips I've learned along the way to save money, and be more positive on Mondays instead. This is what I had in my wallet -- a $20; some dimes and my 2 cents. Along with some Chinese coins tied together in red string. I read in a Feng Shui book that if you tie three coins with holes in them with a red string, it will bring money into your life. Well, the ATM gave me the $20. I bought a bag of the coins at last year's Quilt Festival. I was going to use them as buttons or trim. Who knows what I was thinking. But if they can help keep the $20's in my wallet...

This week's tip is to cut your losses - dryer sheets!

If you cut your dryer sheets in half, you'll still get the softening and fragrance you need without your items getting all ooky and save money at the same time. Look how long that Downey sheet is. I cut three sheets in half at a time and put them back inside the box. People have said they just use the same sheet twice, but I find a lot of the coating is gone when everything is dried, no matter what size it is. If you are drying towels, keep the old one from the previous load and add a new 1/2 sheet.
Update: Hi! Welcome to everyone coming over here from Tightwad Tuesdays at ! This was the first post of my Money Mondays series. Please click on the Money Monday label to bring up all the MM's.
And be sure to click "Home" to get to my main and current page - I have lots of other postings and links to more fun and money-saving blogs. Enjoy!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Britney Spears, "Toxic" 3:18

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sandra Betzina Today's Fit Vogue 2949 - View A & B Jacket

Here is View A with the back flaps, but with the bound edges of View B. This is an interesting jacket. Every time you put it on, it looks a little different. Especially if you use a grabby fabric like this black/tan/red brushed cotton plaid from Jo-Ann's. The fabric is so soft, I committed the cardinal sin of not washing it first, fearing it would pill or lose body. I did prewash the uncut/waleless red corduroy trim I used on the bias, to make it softer. If you want to trim all your edges, including the View A flaps with a bias cut woven, you'll need 3/4 yard of 45" wide. I also detoured from Sandra's instructions -- I didn't Stay-Tape the edges first, which would probably be a good idea if your fabric is loosely woven. I also said oh Hell no to hand sewing the trim to the underside. I used a narrow zig-zag and caught the underside just fine. It helped that there was a little bit of a nap to let the stitches sink in. As it was, it took me hours to trim, especially if you are binding the flaps, too. I really liked the jacket before I added the flaps, though the back was a little too high, despite adding 2" in length. If I were to make it again, I would add more and then trim to be a little bit longer than the front. Not shorter as is for View B. Then I added the flaps. . . While they lengthened the back, I just about cried when I saw what they did to the sides. Remember those handkerchief or bandana skirts? With the the squares on point? That's what it looked like. Only sticking out at an unflattering angle. Wah! First I was going to fold and tack them in place. That looked odder. Then I looked at the pattern envelope photo and noticed the model's sides were more in back of her. When I pushed the flap sides more towards the back, it looked much better.
Total cost to make before tax with ASG 10% discount: $21.43
3 3/4 yard brushed cotton plaid: $16.17
3/4 yard waleless corduroy: $1.66
Vogue 2949: $3.60
Thread from previous projects: Free

Not bad for a something different fun and cozy jacket.

Today's Costco Find

Fix It & Forget it Big Cookbook - 1,400 Best Slow Cooker Recipes - $18.69 at Costco right now. (Publisher's price $29.95) It's a big honker of a book - 699 pages! Phyllis Pellman Good has written 5 Fix It and Forget It slow cooker/crockpot recipe books. Would you believe I don't have any of them? (I do have the page a day/recipe a day 2008 and 2009 calendars. 2009 is also now available at Costco for $7.69) Unless it fell behind another book. That is a possibility. Sad. Too many cookbooks, not enough meals!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hack and Whack - Vogue 8505 and 8125

Morphed into this vest!

I used the side seam lines of Sandra Betzina's Today's Fit 8125 OOP (out-of-print) View B to trim down the big rectangle we shall call 8505 View A.

Darted the top of the yoke into a shoulder seam...
And whacked, and whacked and whacked the shoulder edge so I didn't look like a Star Wars movie escapee. Third time's the charm.

It goes nicely with the View B top from Vogue 7799 Looks like I'm all set for Rodeo 2009!

Here's the back -- The design lines were great on 8505. . .

Yet the fit of View A just left much to be desired, at least on me.
And yes, I still have enough "leatha" to do some cool things with the scraps.

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Fleetwood Mac, "Second Hand News" 2:52

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's a good day to...

sew - and think about sewing. And fashion. It's raining outside right now, but not a torrential, toad-strangling downpour. Nice enough to be soothing without worrying if the roof repair will hold.

I am trying to resuscitate Vogue 8505 View A jacket. I love the fabric; it is a knit which looks like mock distressed leather without being tacky, believe it or not. It's drapey and I thought it could save itself from the design. In any case, now I know these "T" shapes don't flatter me or anything all bunchy under the arms. It's a short walk from looking cool to looking like a meatball. I'm going to try and take it in on the sides or turn it into a vest/jacket like Sandra's older Today's Fit patterns 8125, 7065, 8089. She sure seems to like this topper style - wish me luck! I'll either be able to wear it in public or end up transmogrifying the fabric into purses or book covers/portfolios, or reindeer ornaments for Christmas presents. (I'm sure my sister is reading this going, "uh, OK!")
Up next on the cutting table is Sandra Betzina's Vogue 2949. I'm going to use the soft brushed cotton plaid I had planned for 8505 two-peat. I've seen 2949 sewn in many varieties of fabrics, so the odds of success are pretty well in my favor, I hope. I found some wale-less red plum corduroy which matches one of the plaid colors to use as trim on sale for $3.49/yard at Jo-Ann's this morning. It will help calm the plaid and showcase the cool collar lines and edges of the jacket. Along with the fabric, I also grabbed Sandra's newest patterns - 1071, 1081, 1082 for $3.99 each. The drawers were waiting for me and fully stocked - at least 5 copies of each one! Sale is through October 18.

I thought the Project Runway finale was interesting -- three females as the finalists. Honestly, I liked them all. And I loved the "Oh, CRAP!" look on Kenley's face when it was announced Tim Gunn would be filling in for JLo as the guest judge. But really, a foot injury excuse? Tape it, prop it up and go on with the show. Leanne's eco-friendly turbines barely edged out Korto's greens, which I thought were stunning. I also liked some of Kenley's designs, especially the floral painted beige dress. She definitely has potential but needs some maturity.

Enough computing, time to get back to the sewing room to play with sharp objects. . .

2008 Houston Quilt Festival Favorite Booths and Vendors Update - Updated October 31!

The Sewing Workshop - No
Creations - No (They will be at Market, not at Festival)
Art Girlz - No (sob!)
C&T Publishing - No
Mekong River Textiles - No

However, this opens the opportunity to discover new booths, new vendors, new merchandise! I always like to "ring around" the show. The aisles on the perimeter and in the back are usually the new people and last-minute/wait-listed additions. They can have more innovative and cool things, and are often friendlier and happier to chat and talk about their wares. Seriously, there are more than a few booths where the booth worker barely looks up or acknowledges you. Hate that. Or have "Warning: Do Not Take Pictures" signs posted everywhere. Note to those people - "Warning: I Won't Leave My Money With You" Not that I would suddenly want to take a picture of a Santa pillow made of buttons, but they just come across as rude and hostile to me. If I like your design, I'll buy the pattern. I want to keep you in business to create more neat things. Duh.

These vendors will be there:

C&C Fabrics from Dallas - #1357 (Great knits, look in the center rack, bottom row)
Vogue Fabrics - Booth Nos. 425/324

Discovered this year (I'll be posting my prizes in a later post, too tired!) - and there's still time this weekend to check them out:

Lickety Grip - Booth #1803
Artistic Artifacts - #1257/1259
Salem Manufacturing - #1600/1602 (cutting boards and cool hinged rulers!)

Are you into Kumihimo (braided beads and cords)? I found these three friendly vendors:
Pat Powell Designs - #1227
Accent Bead Design - #557
Fiber Goddess - towards the back, to the left before the Embellishment section

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shapes - PATTERNS, not a workout place!

Has anyone heard or tried the new line of patterns called "Shapes" from The Sewing Workshop? It's a new line from the combined talents of Linda Lee and Louise Cutting, who have proven in the past they know a thing or two about patterns. The patterns look vaguely to me like a combination of Sewing Workshop and slight Issey Miyake influenced-designs. I just stumbled upon them them when I was at their website to find out if TSW was going to have a booth at the upcoming Houston Quilt Festival. (They've been there before and I'm hoping they will return. I'll let you know what I find out.) Very creative how they incorporate a number into the pattern name. Like their other patterns, and I'm including Sandra Betzina's, I'm sure when you see the real-life garments and fun tweaking with fabric and embellishing, they would be more appealing than the line drawings. The patterns are $16 each.

High Five Jacket Sixth Sense Skirt ..... Three Fold Vest
Two's Company Tunic ..... Plus One Tunic

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

"Moonlight Madness" is back -- October 19/25
50% off thread
50% off Red Tag fabrics
50% off scissors
McCall's Patterns - 99 cents

October 30/November 1: Butterick Patterns $1.99

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Celia Cruz, "Gotta Get Down: La Negra Tiene Tumbao" (Spanglish Remix) 3:48

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Visited 17 states, 34%

Thanks, Pink Bunnies Slippers. This is cool!
Click here to create your own visited map of the United States

My 1,000th Post!

Who knew I'd still have so much to type?! Thanks for coming along on the ride!

Vogue 7799 - View B

A triple play from Vogue 7799! View B is also a hit! I used stash $1/Wally-World brown knit fabric with alternating width bands of "ribbing." This pattern is definitely a keeper with three different and fun wardrobing looks.