Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sandra Betzina Today's Fit OOP Butterick 3124

Start to finish!

I decided to add another inch to the sleeves and the front/back pieces. Look at these technicolor pattern pieces!-

I used the F14 stitch spaced an inch apart on my Viking Husqvarna to tack down the facings. The stitch outline gives it a dimensional effect.

The result - I think it was worth the effort and determination to get it right! I look forward to making it again...and I did.

I found this lightweight blanket throw at Costco a couple years ago and bought it because of the color and it felt so scrumptious. I thought it would make a nice and cozy winter pullover. And it did. Except like the groundhog, I think this caused Spring to arrive early - it was 75 today!

(cheated and used the border for the sleeve hem)

Barnes and Noble haul - Part 2

Why I really went to BN, since Jo-Ann's is not carrying the March issue of Mark Lipinski's Quilter's Home - and yes, it was sealed. With all the hoopla on the Web, I wanted to make sure I got a copy. Not because of the article on Page 24, but I like the magazine anyways and didn't want to miss an issue.

Then I found the new "Apron*ology" from the publishers of Belle Armoire and Somerset Studio. A 20% off coupon + 10% membership card discount, helped bring down the price down considerably. Ouch when a magazine has a price point of a book! I found a really good, consistent website that always has current BN store coupons, and other good coupon codes, too.

First and last - Barnes and Noble haul - Part 1

The last issue of Domino and the first issue of Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Magazine. Also all of Barnes and Noble's Red Dot sticker items are only $1, today through tomorrow. We got three boxes of Christmas cards worth over $46 for less than $3.

Beware of cookie packages with poetry

"You might, m'lady
tweak my nose
You could, m'lord
step on my toes
But Heaven help
those poor bozos
who try to filch
my Newman O's"

Especially these, Chocolate Newman-O's.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Pattern Shopping

As blogged earlier, I picked up two of the three new Sandra Betzina patterns - 1085 tops and 1096 pants. The pants are one-seam pants and still look dorky. Surely Sandra would not lead us astray or one step away from Quacker Factory with that elasticized side and back waist?! I want to see what she has sewn with them first. And in keeping with the bizarre pants patterns track I've been on lately, I also bought Marcy Tilton's 8499 and 8561. Aren't the pictures horrible? Especially the brown pants on 8561. Put them on real people! Though I really got 8561 for the skirt at first. I think her patterns and these two in particular look very Sewing Workshop-ish. But at $27.50 - more expensive than TSW. . .at $3.99 - small dues to pay for pattern and stash sew-down fun.

Dang, Vogue!

$27.50 for your new patterns?!?! At least the Marcy Tiltons and Sandra Betzinas I just bought in front of me. Did the designer ones break $30 yet? I'm glad Jo-Ann's has the $3.99 sales, for even 50% off would give me pause.

Upcoming Jo-Ann Sales

February 6/8 - Butterick patterns $1.99 each

Presidents' Sale - February 13/16
50% off thread
50% off interfacing
Simplicity patterns 5 for $5

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

My yoga teacher finds the coolest songs!
Eric Hutchinson, "Rock & Roll" 3:58

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A couple of cute chicks enjoying the sun!

Aren't they cute? And wearing protective eyewear from the rays of the sun streaming through the window, trying to warm up the house this morning. (Brrr! It's in the 30's right now!) My friend Bonnie made the one on the right for my birthday a few years ago. And I got the new gal as part of an IOU from our Neighborhood Group notions swap Christmas party. I like her creative definition of pincushion, very worth the wait! Their tail feathers are two prairie points with smaller points for the beak, the feet are beaded, the wattle has loops of red beads, and the comb on one is orange rick-rack and the other orange yarns. I sure am (c)lucky!

Pilgrim & Mills Pants #2

No, I haven't made them. But at our ASG Neighborhood (Support) Group meeting last night we had a swapping table. I brought these and some other patterns and goodies to give first dibs to a sewist who would appreciate them before taking to Goodwill. I can't for the life of me understand why no one wanted these, can you?! This morning I tried Googling the pattern and the designers and nothing came up. I was curious to see Pants #1. Circa 1995, these pants were popular on Prodigy (remember that?!) and the Quiltropolis Sewing List and Wearable Arts Sewing Groups. I had printed off the pages with others variations, just in case. (The pockets do not stick out as shown on the drawing, in the photo the top of the pocket opening is at the knee.) Now I'm looking at them again and wondering, hmm... You do see these pockets and loose styling on recent patterns - Sandra Betzina and Marcy Tilton have versions, albeit a little more subdued. I did get rid of 15 other patterns, but think I'll keep this one around a little longer until it surfaces again. It still looks funky and fun - and stash reducing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sandra Betzina Today's Fit OOP Butterick 3124 - Developing. . .

Doesn't that sound "Drudge-like"?! I'm still tweaking this top. And think I understand why Butterick no longer does Today's Fit. Unless we define "Fit" as a tantrum. Let's start with something positive: Love the V neckline. Flat, good depth, doesn't flop about. But be forewarned...If you are over 4 feet tall, you will have to lengthen, lengthen, lengthen this pattern. Kidding about the height requirement, but true this pattern runs short, really short. I added 3" to the sleeves and feel the need next time to add almost 2" more. Added 3" to the back. And correspondingly added 3" to the front, but it was still not long enough in the front. Evidently Sandra didn't make the same adjustments as she does for her Vogue line wherein the extra front length is already incorporated. So I added 1" to the center front, tapering to 1/2" at the sides and it all matched up. Much better. The dart - that's giving me fits. First it was too shallow. When I basted it all together, it looked like several darts were trying to form alongside it. There's too much fabric, too much pull at the underarm. Plus the dart as is was too low. I'm readjusting the dart depth and direction. But between all the disruption, tiling fun and "the water faucet outside broke off and we can't turn it off..." I decided to put this aside until later today...
Update #1: New outside water faucet.
Update #2: Stove is hooked back up, washer/dryer still in dining room, pending baseboard replacement on Saturday. Rather bake than do laundry anyway.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Money Monday - Super (Savings) Bowl

I love the Super Bowl...and I don't really like football! But I do enjoy all the savings at the grocery store right now. This is the time to score the best prices of the year on cheese, Rotel tomatoes, and beef. And of course, assorted salty snacks, chips and soft drinks, too. Don't fumble this savings opportunity!

So Sew!

When your washer and dryer are sitting in the dining room, along with half of the pantry emptied on the table and the stove disconnected, too. The tile installers are on their way. Very good excuses to go sew and go out for dinner later.
Update #1: The refrigerator is in the living room and the stove is in the garage. You never want these things until you can't have them! Well, except for the refrigerator and it is step-saving. Trying to keep a positive spin! I am working on Butterick 3124, an OOP Sandra Betzina Today's Fit top. Love it so far!
Update #2: This isn't HGTV, it's Comedy Central!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Who are these people and what are they doing here?!

As you can obviously tell, I have a rather eclectic group of friends and fellow bloggers in the right alley. I thought each week on Sunday I would randomly showcase one from the list and why they are there. I love to discover new blogs, and I think you will enjoy the introduction for new places to visit in Bloggy Land.

This week - Vintage Girl Scout A fun place to explore for all things Girl Scout. This link will take you to the Girl Scout "Sewing Room"!

What a way to cap the week

With a chimney cap! Looks like something from The Twilight Zone set. More repairs from Hurricane Ike damage. We even had a case of the "Bird Flu(e)" when a bird flew/fell down the chimney and into the house. No fun for us...or the bird.

Bye, Bye Birdie

Friday, January 23, 2009

Let's Get Crocking - Beef Burritos

Taking advantage of the Super Bowl grocery specials - I was able to get beef chuck roast on sale to make Mable Hoffman's Beef Burritos in the Crockpot. The recipe is from her Crockery Cookery (Revised, Updated 1995) on page 58. I've tweaked it a little along the years, here's my current rendition and dinner tonight --

2 pounds boneless beef chuck
1 garlic clove, crushed/minced
1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules or Penzeys Beef Soup Base
1 onion, quartered and separated
3/4 teaspoon Penzeys Chili Con Carne (or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chili powder - the chili powder was too hot for us)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Dash of Penzeys Smokey 4S salt (or regular salt)
Dash of Penzeys California Seasoned Pepper

Trim fat from beef and discard. In slow cooker, layer some of the onions on the bottom and then add the meat, garlic, beef bouillon, onion, chili powder, cumin and salt/pepper and the rest of the onions on top. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or until meat is very tender. Shred meat with two forks. Serve with warmed tortillas and refried beans.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Everyday Food #58 - Provencal Chicken with Vegetables

The recipe is from the December 2008 Everyday Food #58, page 16. Despite this issue's success of the Chocolate Gingerbread and Seared Steak, this one failed to impress the clan. It looked and smelled good when I first put it in the oven - but the onions burned along the edges, surprisingly the chicken was blah even with the Dijon mustard and Herbes de Provence, and we skipped the green olives (?!). The carrots were fine and I added quartered baby potatoes, but that does not a meal make. Pass.

Kashi TLC Dark Chocolate Coconut Fruit & Grain Bars

I had a little time to fill and an appetite to kill before picking up L from school today. I stopped at Target and found these - Kashi TLC Dark Chocolate Coconut Fruit and Grain Bars. $3.99 for a box of 6. I'm sure there will be coupons out soon if not already, as these just debuted this month. They also have Pumpkin Pie and Raspberry Chocolate versions but I didn't see those, as my eye zoomed straight for the chocolate/walnut/coconut combo. Only 120 calories, 7 g of sugar (!) and 4 g of fiber. They are a little on the small size, less than 4 inches, but they are chewy and filling, plus that thick layer of chocolate that tasted like real chocolate? Size doesn't matter!

Let's Get Crocking - Crockpot Ribs

I've never tried ribs of any kind before in the Crockpot, and a sale of pork ribs at Kroger presented the opportunity to me this past weekend. I found this recipe at I had almost three pounds, which I cut in half to fit into the 6 quart crockpot. It smelled wonderful in the beginning. Apparently the ribs cooked a little faster than the 8 hours the recipe called for and by the 7th hour I had to light a candle, open a window and set the table -- time to eat! So start checking at the 6 hour point to gauge how fast you are crocking along. The ribs were falling off the bone (literally) tender and weren't that bad. But we live in Texas and I'm thinking next time go (or go out) for the beef instead. Definitely give this a try, the rub combination is great and makes a lot. I bet it would taste good on the Crocked Chicken. And with the Super Bowl coming up, there will probably be good rib deals in your area supermarkets, too.

Thursday TV is fun again!

Burn Notice is back! Season 3 debuts tonight on USA Network.
Sigh, do you think he goes by Jeff or Jeffrey (or gosh forbid a la Family Circus - Jeffy?!) in real life? L and I were having a discussion about that on the way to school this morning. We were also laughing about one of his lines last season - "Does this look like a cop suit?!" as he flashes the inside of his Armani jacket. No, it doesn't, quite honestly. But with some good sales at Joseph A. Bank, Paul Frederick and a top-notch alterationist (not me!) - pretty close, Sweetie!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Garden Updating

It's a beautiful day in Houston, Texas! Literally - I stopped by Another Place In Time this morning and found two new flowering plants for my center garden -- "Galaxy Red" Bellis and "Summer Breeze" Poppy. Adding a splash of color and a reminder that Spring is on its way, they both smell great, too.

New Toy

The Rival Model RC61 3-Cup Rice Cooker

I bought it at Target for $16. Check out the cool Target logo sticker handle. I always wondered what those plastic strips were at the end of the checkout conveyer. Before using, your best bet is to read the reviews on for very helpful tips, such as adding a couple of teaspoons of olive oil to the water to help keep it from sputtering all over the counter, floor...At least it wasn't as messy as when I used the saucepan on the stove...and giving it a little stir when it is close to done before beginning the 5-7 minute wait in the warm cycle. My brown rice turned out perfectly, though. I bet when I try their suggestions it will be even better next time. I also think they have improved this model when reading the opinions. For instance, the steamer only sits 1/4" into the pot, so you can steam and make rice at the same time - thereby negating all the worries about no room for the rice. I used one cup of rice and it made plenty for our red beans and rice last night. When I was in the checkout line, the person ahead of me said he had one those, too and loved it. I told the checkout clerk I was tired of weighing down the saucepan lid with plates, bricks, whatever was handy in the kitchen and she asked "Are you from the North? People from the North don't know how to cook rice!" My "people from the North" used Minute Rice!

Suits me to a T(ea) - Vanilla Caramel

If you are craving something sweet but don't want to skew your weight or test numbers, try a mugful of Bigelow's Vanilla Caramel tea. With just a little sweetener of choice and fat-free milk, you'll get the great caramel taste without wrecking havoc upon yourself and your dental work. I found this at Kroger for around $2.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sandra Betzina Patterns

Continuing "The Stash Sew Down of 2009". . .Today I'm trying 3124 View C of the Butterick Today's Fit Sandra Betzina pattern line. Back in the early 2000's, both Vogue and Butterick had the Today's Fit patterns. Some were similiar to the Vogues and others weren't - particularly 3123 - a bias hooded top and dress, and 3338 - bathrobe (!) and nightgown.

Here are the other Butterick Today's Fit in my collection - top left to right: 3439 - blouse and pants, 3300 - vests, bottom left to right: 3013 - vest and jacket, 3016 - vests.

Did you know she also had two Sewing Workshop patterns? The Sandra Betzina Coat and The Sandra Betzina Vest and Skirt.

I was even able to score some of the ones she did with Burda (1995-97) - 3204 - Shirtdress, shirtjacket and pants...3381 deeply pleated and pocketed pants and cropped pants...3653 long or short sleeved dresses.

Let's also not forget the Rodale Designer Collection "No Time To Sew" book (1997) and pattern wardrobe. There were mixed reviews on this book, but I liked it. Another ASG chapter member and I sewed many verisions of her Tuxedo Shirt. I made two, I think she did at least seven and they were all cool, all different. It's now out-of-print, but if you find the book on Amazon or eBay, make sure you get the pattern envelope, too!

Once again, another sewing detour. I should be cutting out, not dumping out my pattern drawers and blogging about it! I just wanted to share these in case other Sandra Betzina fans might be interested in her earlier patterns.

More Free Makeup!

Starting today and for the next week - Dillard's, Macy's, Nordstrom, Neiman-Marcus and other department stores will be giving away free makeup as part of the class action lawsuit involving upscale cosmetics price-fixing. If you bought department store makeup between May 2004 and July 2003, you are eligible for approximately $25 worth of product from Clinique, Estee Lauder, Givenchy, Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Lancome, etc. There will be tables near the cosmetic counters. There may not be much choice, but still - free is free! It seems to be mostly mascaras, small or sample sized perfume, lotions and potions, etc. Remember, it is only $25 and these are pricey makeup lines...which got them into trouble in the first place! Click on the Cosmetics Settlement website for more information.

Bobbi Brown Free Shipping Code

From now until January 23, enter "BEST1" for free shipping at You'll save at least $7 and get free makeup samples. That's the second main reason why I order online, the first to avoid The Galleria traffic and parking. You get to choose two out of three samples. They are offering this time:
  • Mini Pot Rouge in Pink Truffle
  • Oil Free Even Finish Foundation, SPF 15
  • Overnight cream

They also have good online makeup artists, either via live chat or email. Very helpful - I had one suggest a great eye makeup color combination that looks great.

Netflix Stars - The Bucket List

3/5 - You need to stay with it past the first third of the movie, it will get better. Nice bonding between the characters, though I thought Sean Hayes from "Will and Grace" had many of the best lines. Gorgeous scenery. The movie only made me want to have my own private jet even more so I could see those places, too. Yep, only way to go. I'll put that on my own bucket list. . .

Monday, January 19, 2009


On order, to be installed next week in the kitchen and front entryway. Because it was on sale and I am getting someone else to pull up the old linoleum, I was able to afford to redo the entry, too. L picked this out - "Gold Dust 5202" from the Daltile Gold Rush line. I don't really see anything "gold" about it, except there are warm shades of gold/brown swirled through. I definitely wanted to stay away from anything light. See the difference? There is, the flash interferred. I sure learned my lesson having to sweep several times a day with the old flooring with "Cin-der-el-la, Cin-der-el-la - SWEEP the floor!" playing in my head.
Slowly, but surely progress is being made. Once the floor is in and the drywall repaired I can get the rest of my insurance money back from the mortgage company. I should say, begin the process all over again to get that last check. I filled four pages of the long-style legal pads with all the times I contacted and who I spoke to (as if those are their real names, I never got the same person twice) at the mortgage company. I'm not the only one in this boat, the other day the Houston Chronicle had a consumer watch article mentioning others with the same problem. Perhaps it will be easier this time. Ha-ha-ha! At least I won't be sweeping the floor while waiting on hold.

Money Monday - Button Up!

Even with half-price sales on buttons, those cards can still be pricey. I have found some really nice ones at my local thrift stores. Look at all the Mother-of-Pearl and abalone I've collected, along with lots of sparkly rhinestones - I rescued 9 of those larger ones from a metallic silver plastic snakeskin coat (!?), a jarful of mock tortoise shells, and an Altoids tin of shirt buttons for those last minute button breaks in the morning. (T's mom and the USMC trained him well, I'll keep needles threaded with white thread in the sewing basket and he'll sew them back on. Funny, he didn't want to take me up on my offer to sew that collar button while he was still wearing the shirt the other day...) You can really score when you hit the stores on special sale days or the dollar rack. Those 80's clothes had great buttons - especially on the power suit jackets and the chintz dresses.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sandra Betzina Today's Fit Vogue 1071 - View A - Take Two

Second version of Sandra Betzina's Today's Fit Vogue 1071 View A hoodie Start to finish, less than two hours. Sage and white green sweater knit from stash. I love the sleeve shape on this top. If I could only find a cute knit fabric, I would to try the View B dress, maybe shorten the sleeves a little and have a fun winter into spring dress to flit about in. One should always dress accordingly to flit. . .

Who are these people and what are they doing here?!

As you can obviously tell, I have a rather eclectic group of friends and fellow bloggers in the right alley. I thought each week on Sunday I would randomly showcase one from the list and why they are there. I love to discover new blogs, and I think you will enjoy the introduction for new places to visit in Bloggy Land.

This week - According to Lala Lala is into sewing, crafting, decorating, loves Mary Engelbreit and Hello Kitty, too, has an adorable daughter and takes amazing photos. Her very creative blog is a joy to visit.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Old Friends

When I was learning to sew, patterns not only had big impact but a familiarity - like old friends. This Simplicity 9544 in particular - I learned to sew with Simplicity, and loved the Jiffy Young Junior/Teen styles. 9544 was very popular, a lot of young teens made them in all different versions. Even Seventeen magazine featured it -- In the 70's, their fashion editorial pages would have their models in sewn outfits for the different pattern companies. I made it twice. One in a yellow rose bud print on a black background (foretelling of moving to Texas?), the other was another black background with brightly colored flowers with the dominant color hot pink! I made the shorts for both out of black, but trimmed the pair for the colorful one in hot pink rick-rack. And then used the rick-rack down the front and along the openings. LOVED those outfits. I wore the rose version for the first day of Junior High School - 7th grade at Hoover Drive. At least I looked good for my descent into Hell. Let's move on. I remembered looking at the Vogue patterns catalog at McCurdy's fabric department. You had to order those patterns, even then Vogue held a cachet. I thought this Vogue 1363 Nina Ricci wedding gown was gorgeous. I don't know if it was the scarf or the photo or the fabric or being 14 years old.

This morning I started sorting through my pattern stash - I think I have sewing ADD - and found two more favorites. Even before I had a date, I wanted to sew and wear this Gil Aimbez Butterick 5387 pattern for my Senior Ball. I made the version on the far right out of all-over eyelet and border eyelet. I trimmed the underskirt in more even more lace! Then I threaded narrow turquoise ribbon through the holes on the sleeves and the skirt bottom. It was so pretty, I actually still have it. I'll see if L can fit into it and if she will allow me/be bribed to get a photo! The 7880 Simplicity Contemporary Fashion was another favorite - from the notes on the pattern, I made the skirt least four times. You look at it now and the styling would still be fashionable to wear today. I made the blouse out of two eyelets, a different one for the yoke. The vest was a solid red trimmed in white braid to match a red and white flowered print light weight linen from Jo-Ann's - $4.99/yard and I needed 2 7/8. The first time I ever spent that much per yard on fabric and you can bet I did not round up to three yards. This outfit was a serious weekend of babysitting ($1/hour), but oh sew worth it. You could make the skirt three ways - a border print or scarf print cut on the bias, in addition to my wallet-emptying linen. Look at how thick the cutting lines were on the patterns back then. Yet they always fit. Hmmm.

Funny how you can remember all the details of the things you've made. Coming across patterns on the Internet and in my collection was like running into old friends.