Tuesday, September 29, 2009

La Madeleine Susan Komen "Card for the Cause"

Stop by your nearest La Madeleine and purchase the Susan G. Komen "Card for the Cause" for $35 -- and save 10% at La Madeleine for one year! Yum, as if I need an incentive for their Blackberry Cream Cheese croissants. . .

Daily Deal

I just found out about Target's Daily Deals - click here to see today's deal and to sign up for the alerts, either via Twitter, email or text. Added bonus -- FREE shipping!


1. Girl Scouts
From Brownies to Juniors to Cadettes to Seniors to the new highest level, Ambassadors. 27 Try-It's...58 merit badges...10 Interest Projects. A rotation as the Girl Scout representative on the Council's Board of Directors. From the Bronze Award to the GOLD AWARD! Girl Scouting has been an important part of my daughter's life (and mine). The experiences, skills and friendships are life-long.
2. Great friends
Current and passed. How many times have I started to email or call one who is no longer here? Just an Earthly reminder to always treasure and maintain our friendships. As the Girl Scout song goes, "Make new friends, but keep the old...one is silver and the other gold"

Monday, September 28, 2009

Today's Costco Find

Land O'Lakes magazine cookbook two-pack -- Harvest Baking and Holiday Cookies. $8.39 for both. I am addicted to these holiday baking magazines, and especially love Land O'Lakes'.

Bonus -- the Holiday Cookies has a coupon insert page -- $1 off two Land O'Lakes Half & Half...55 cents off of Land O'Lakes butter quarters...55 cents off Fisher Baking Nuts package...55 cents off Land O'Lakes Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil

Don't forget -- Starting October 1 through December 30, you can also visit their website or call 1-800/837-7702 and request or download this year's "Homemade for the Holidays" brochure!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Google Freak out!

OK, how many other people freaked when they went to the Google home page and saw Google spelled with two L's? Apparently it is Google's 11th birthday. My first reaction was "oh no, another virus!" and feared being redirected to a fake site.

Use candles instead of misspelling your name next time, Google!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another day, Another Sandra Betzina OOP Pattern. . .

Why Vogue pulled 2945 is beyond me. It is still available on their website. I LOVE this t-shirt top pattern! Click here and here to see earlier versions.

Even sewn out of a misbehaving crinkle poly knit, it still looks styling!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sandra Betzina's Fashion Forecast - Fall/Winter

Sandra Betzina's new Fall/Winter Fashion Forecast is now available online at her website!

I can't hardly wait to see that new blouse of hers, 1165. And her new dress, 1171. Maybe in the next catalog? Fingers crossed!

She is also in love with 1061's pull on pants and has made four pairs. Again, you really need to give her patterns a second look. Honestly, I didn't even notice the pants nor realized they were a gem -- I bought the pattern earlier for the top.

Just like the blouse I made from 8267, wherein the photo made the blouse/pants combination look like a jumpsuit, and everyone is now kicking themselves for letting it go out of print - you'd better grab that 1061, too.

Clarified and confirmed -- 1140 (blouse) and 1139 (skirt) are two more of the new patterns to be released in January. There will be four to look forward to sew in the New Year!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday Tea Time

All these boxes of tea bags have fallen about the back shelves of my pantry long enough. The temperatures are now compatible to the thought of drinking something hot would actually be desirable and soothing. Now I can begin to drink my way through all these boxes and report which are keepers and which are not.

This week -- Celestial Seasonings Chocolate Caramel Enchantment Chai. Why did I grab this box first? For starters - Chocolate! Then - Caramel! And Enchantment is always a good word in my vocabulary.

Cost: $2.04 at Super Target
Number of teabags: 20 in paper perforating double teabags.
Caffeine: Yes
Type of tea: Black
Steeping time: 4 minutes
Double Dipper potential: Yes
I used the teabag successfully a second time later in the day without any noticeable difference in strength.
Mix ins: Sugar, whole milk (Yes, I know - whole milk in a skim milk house? I have hidden the quart bottle towards the back of the refrigerator. It does make a difference in the body - the tea's, not mine hopefully!)
Teabag fragrance: Spicy, you can really detect the nutmeg and pepper upon first whiff.
Ingredients: Black tea, spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper and Chinese star anise), roasted carob, natural chocolate and caramel flavors with other natural flavors, roasted chicory and cocoa.
Taste: Sweet with a hint of chocolate
My opinion: Like drinking dessert! This will definitely take the edge of any sweet treat cravings and give you a boost of caffeine, too.
Would I go back and buy another box? Yes
Rating: 5 teabags out of 5

Psst! Get your new ASG Simplicity pattern numbers here!

Hot off the presses!!

The nine new Simplicity Patterns for the American Sewing Guild's 2010 Creativity Contest are:

2642 ... 2645 ... 2659 ... 2665 ... 2696 ... 2702 ... 2703 ... 2705 ... 2715

Even if you don't enter the contest, these are good ASG-endorsed patterns with lots of fun sewing potential! And applause to Simplicity for their cool, updated website!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ASG Ronald McDonald House Pillowcase Project

Here are a few of the pillowcases I sewed for the Ronald McDonald House. I used the "burrito" sewing method to give a nice finish to the edge. Of all the directions I reviewed, the ones from Utah State University were the easiest for my brain to comprehend.

Adorable K.P. Kids & Co. fabric. And so soft, too! Love how the border print went vertical instead of horizontal.

And I embroidered a tiny heart on each pillowcase. . .
Most recent count of pillowcases sewn by the American Sewing Guild -- over 1,000!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


We should always find something to be thankful and grateful for every day. Why not two for Tuesday?

1. Family
It was great for L and I being able to meet up with my sister in Dallas last weekend while she was attending a conference. It's been way too long and I am grateful to have the opportunity to reconnect again.

2. Fabric
Having a great fabric stash and being able to use some to sew cute pillowcases for the Ronald McDonald House...and donate to the Girl Scouts for their upcoming projects.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Today's Costco Find

Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave - 2 bottle package for $7.49. Cooking Light and other healthy cooking magazines have been extolling the virtues of this until now, at least for me, hard-to-find sweetener. The hang tag also includes a website http://www.organicsyrups.biz/ for more recipes and information. Plus the distributors are based in nearby Sugar Land, Texas. (Ironic, the former hometown for Imperial Sugar?)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Don't flip your lid!

Once again, the design and quality of Rival's CrockPot lids leave a lot to be desired. My newest CrockPot isn't even a year old and despite handwashing the lid, the plastic still fatigued and the handle broke right off. Since Rival has a less than customer favorable lid replacement price (see earlier post here) (but click here for a great lid replacement website) and lid was still intact, all I really needed was a new knob. I went to Lowes today and purchased a cupboard/drawer knob for 97 cents. Added a few extra washers since the screw was a little bit too long, and voila! I'm ready to start crocking again!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

35th Anniversary International Quilt Festival - Houston

Preview night - October 14, 7-10 PM (includes one free additional day)
October 15-17, 10 AM - 7 PM
Sunday, October 18, 11 AM - 5 PM

Admission $10, Seniors and students $8, Children under 10 free

Avoid the lines and order advance tickets online to print at home -- http://www.quilts.com/

Webcast - click on Quilt Festival @ Home on the website

I'm looking forward to seeing the "Festival Gallery of Quilt Art: Fabric Forest" -- patchwork and quilted "trees" hanging from the ceiling!

And another "crossover" favorite - Make It University with Cloth Paper Scissors will return. It gets more popular each year.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Money Monday - Bag It!

While shopping to prepare for upcoming orthodontic work, I spied an old favorite, Cream of Wheat. Both the individual packages and the bulk box versions. Both the same price, but not the same servings. Why pay triple the price for convenience when you can make your own bags? With a few sandwich bags and a few seconds, I scooped three tablespoonfuls serving and sealed the deal (bag) myself. I have also prepared my own cake and bread machine mixes -- just the dry ingredients. While you are measuring out the ingredients for your current baking/cooking recipe, toss an extra one into a Zip-loc. Using a Sharpie marker, write down the rest of the recipe ingredients, even the directions/oven temp and you are set to go even faster next time. You can store your bags inside another large zip bag, an airtight container or even the freezer.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cooking Light Butterscotch Bars

April 2009 Cooking Light Butterscotch Bars

After checking the comments on the MyRecipes website, I tweaked the recipe a little -

  • Reducing the flour by 1/4 cup to 1 3/4
  • Reducing the oats by 1/2 cup to 2 cups
  • Bumping up the sweetened condensed milk to a little over a cup
  • Tossing in a few more butterscotch chips
  • I also only microwaved the milk and chips for 2 20-second bursts. The chips were about halfway melted when I poured and spread over the crust
  • Used unsalted butter
  • Eliminated the walnuts
  • And instead of using a 9 x 13 pan, I used a 8 3/4 x 11 1/2" pan, lined with foil sprayed with cooking spray for easy removal
  • I also utilized the great tip about using a pizza cutter to slice into serving size - after it has cooled completely
With these changes, I didn't have any of the difficulties others previously had with dryness, burning, etc. They are gooey and chewy and yummy!

While you may look askance at the serving size - 1" - seriously, a little dab will do ya! They are very rich. And you know, when you have something this good, you don't need that much to satisfy.

Hot and bubbly right out of the oven! --->

1 cup packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Cooking spray
3/4 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups butterscotch morsels (about 8 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl. Stir in vanilla and egg. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and baking soda in a bowl. Add oat mixture to sugar mixture; stir with a fork until combined (mixture will be crumbly). Place 3 cups oat mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with cooking spray; press into bottom of pan. Set aside.
3. Place sweetened condensed milk, butterscotch morsels, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until butterscotch morsels melt, stirring every 20 seconds. Stir in walnuts. Scrape mixture into pan, spreading evenly over crust. Sprinkle evenly with remaining oat mixture, gently pressing into butterscotch mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Place pan on a cooling rack; run a knife around outside edge. Cool completely.

Nutritional Information -
Calories: 148 ...Fat: 5.1g (sat 2.7g,mono 0.9g,poly 1.1g)...Protein: 2.6g...Carbohydrate: 23.4g...Fiber: 0.8g...Cholesterol: 11mg...Iron: 0.8mg...Sodium: 87mg...Calcium: 31mg

Sandra Betzina Today's Fit Vogue 8267 - Blouse

Suffice to say, start flipping through your pattern stash or scouring the Internet right now to find this Sandra Betzina Vogue Today's Fit 8267 OOP pattern! The blouse is GORGEOUS! I have been looking for a flattering wrap blouse for like forever.

I love, love, love the collar, and the hidden inseam button closure at the peplum... This is definitely a repeater-keeper!

For this first run, I used a stash Jo-Ann's silkie poly leopard print in teal blue and cream with a touch of silver metalllic. Yeah, I know. No tears would be shed if it didn't turn out, but if it did, it could be a fun/funky top to wear. The positive-negative color mirroring was pure lucky happenstance.

By now I know the Vogue Today's Fit patterns tend to run a little short on me, so I automatically add 2" to the sleeve and 2 1/2" to 3" in the body length. Because of the non-typical pattern piece shape, I went with 2 1/2" and I think I really needed that extra 1/2" maybe even 1" more. It's wearable now, but the front design comes up in the center, and I found myself tugging it down a little. I may just even out the front because I like the length at the side seams and back.

If you lengthen the front/back, add a little extra to the peplum length, as it correspondingly increases the width due to the off-grain front opening angle. In fact, keep an extra scrap handy to add a piece in the back, if necessary. You need to be able to overlap the center fronts for the button closure; and with the gathering of the blouse when attaching the peplum, it could be a little too tight and you may need to release some of the gathers. Sandra even expects that, as she mentions it in the directions. She even says, "DO NOT PANIC!"

Oh, and if you lengthen the front, be sure to lengthen the facing pieces and the collar! I thought I was ahead of the game when I added the extra length to the facings, only to come up short literally with the collar. But it was all win-win - while I didn't have enough of the print for the collar, I did have a piece of black challis - which I think ultimately worked in my favor and calmed it down a little. I love the asymmetrical collar and a contrasting fabric really shows it off.

Sandra's high cut dolman sleeve was perfect under the arms. There is a side dart so there isn't a lot of fabric under the arm to drive you crazy - my pet peeve about cut-on sleeves. There are three options for the peplum closure - a cool buckle, D rings, or cutting an extra tie end. The shape of the wrap-over opening helps it hug the body and stay closed -- though I will add a small snap under the collar wrap at midpoint for extra security.

Before beginning the cut out, I researched the Web and didn't find anyone else who had sewn this pattern. So I sent Sandra an email - asking about her versions of it and if she had any ideas, inspiration and tips for this pattern. (If you are lucky enough to have seen her in person and her pattern trunk shows, you know she uses interesting fabrics and does some neat variations.)

Sandra replied, "I made that outfit in a silk knit print for the top and black knit for the pants and the collar. I just love it and so will you. You can also make it in a lightweight suede. Happy sewing. sandra"

OMG - Suede?! Knits?! (Sandra emailed me back?! ) Maybe if Vogue had listed them as fabric suggestions beyond "rayon, georgette and wool jersey," this pattern would not be out-of-print!

I'm heading back to make it again. Sandra is right - I do just love it and so will you.


Original post from 9-3-09
Surprisingly, I haven't found anyone else on the Web who has made this now OOP pattern. So I am giving it a shot. It is in the cutting out stage right now. I'll keep you posted how it goes!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Penzeys Free Cinnamon Coupon Code

Just received the Fall 2009 catalog and there is a brand new cinnamon...and a coupon for a free 1/4 cup jar of it - Penzeys Cinnamon. (Coupon code 43537C, or just click on the link to redeem with your order) While I will use different Penzey cinnamons for specific recipes, there are times I will think, "I like this type, but maybe this one would be nice, too." Problem solved here - they combine all four of their cinnamons - Korintje, Vietnamese, China and Ceylon. I can't wait to try it, it bet it will smell heavenly!

If you aren't on their mailing list, visit their website www.penzeys.com or call 800/741-7787 and request the catalog. Each "issue" is packed with recipes -- this one has Apple Bread, Perfect Peach Cake, Spiced Apple Pie, Chocolate Fudge Cream Pie...just to name a few which caught my eye!

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

September 17/19 -

McCall's $1.99
Vogue $3.99

Coupon Commotion Week - September 20/26
Grab those 40% off coupons!

Butterick - 99 cents

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

How did I miss this one?! GreenCraft Magazine

When I was picking up the latest issue of Threads at Barnes and Noble, L found this - GreenCraft Magazine - tucked away in the stacks. If someone was hiding it until they could come back with a coupon, sorry! I had my coupon! I don't know if this has been out for awhile, it says "Summer 2009", but it is the premiere issue. Whether it is a one-time publication or the beginning of a long, lovely relationship, they better send and restock more of them!

From the fine folks at Somerset Studio, this issue has over 50 "stylish and sustainable projects."

Not only just for grown-ups, many of these projects would be perfect for kids -- Scouts, Vacation Bible School, rainy day activities, school art projects, etc. Especially with budget cutbacks, this helps make crafting more affordable and Earth-friendly.

What caught my eye upon first flip-through?
  • Cheetos bag/purse
  • Plastic bag apron, totebag and belt
  • Gift box toppers
  • Newspaper headband
  • and lots of other launching ideas

The projects don't really complete, hold-your-hand numbered instructions, but the gist of basic technique and ideas what to make. (Give your creative little self credit -- If you can read it, you can do it.) I also like how they include the project designer's website and blog. I love discovering new people, new places to visit.

So grab your coupon and grab this issue if you can find it. It does make you think before you toss and ignites that recyclable creative fire.

Monday, September 07, 2009

On the magazine rack now! Quilting Arts Magazine Gifts - Holiday Issue

The new Holiday 2009 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine Gifts is now on the newsstands!

Making its third annual appearance, this one stands out amongst the rest of the other sewing/quilting/crafting holiday magazine issues. There are lots of very creative and new ideas for gifting (and keeping for yourself!).
  • "Sugared" fruit
  • Christmas tree hot pads (shown on the cover)
  • No Bake "Cookies"
  • Loopy wreath and garland
  • Cool Cube ornaments
  • Scarves - patchwork, scrappy leaf; just to highlight a few
  • Fiber jewelry
  • Name-tag purses - perfect for Quilt Festival!
  • All kinds of cool cases for your gadgets

All in all, a packed issue with 20 gift projects and 14 seasonal decor ideas. Grab it when you see it!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Netflix Stars - Her Minor Thing

3.5/5 stars -- I don't think it played that long, if at all, at all the movie theaters. Pity, but good thing there's Netflix so you can see and enjoy this hidden "Rom-Com" gem. I discovered it when searching for Christian Kane (of the TNT series "Leverage"). He is adorable hunky in this movie, too. While the storyline kind of bumps along, there is great chemistry between the lead characters, and that's enjoyable to watch. Listen carefully during a scene where they are watching a movie and Christian's character says something along the lines of "this movie needs Cary Grant (or Clark Gable - I'm pretty sure got the initials right) and Estella Warren's character says, "No, Walter Matthau!" Walter Matthau's son, Charles, is the director! Don't forget to watch the behind the scenes featurette.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

"Smells like..." A CANDLE?!

Burberry "Weekend" - I spritzed my arm the other day at Ulta. I like the other Burberry fragrances - "Brit" and "Summer," so I gave this a try.

First impact - I thought it made me smell like a Yankee Candle! You know that "clean" scent which is popular now - "Linen", "Laundry", "Clean Sheets"...you get the drift. Less than impressed. But later it grew on me, and actually changed notes to a more fruity-sandalwood-musk-vanilla combo. And it lasted a long time. A possible addition to my Burberry (fragrance) wardrobe?

I checked Fragrancenet.com and, as usual, their prices were very good, plus there is currently a $10 off $35 or more purchase coupon code - "CABIN". The middle size rang in at $35.10 - ka-ching! With reasonable shipping ($5.95) and no sales tax (saving 8.25% here in Texas), I pulled the trigger and ordered it.
(9-7, 11 AM -- And boy, does Fragrancenet keep you in the email loop of your order status. Since I ordered this, I've received no less than 7 emails from them thanking and keeping me apprised of my bottle's voyage to Texas!)

At the very least, in accordance with the 1920-1971 version of the Girl Scout Law #10 - I will also smell "clean, in thought, word and deed."

I also like their classic plaid design. Did you know that High Fashion Fabrics carries Burberry ribbon? In three widths? And reasonably priced? I bought a yard of each one to do something, I don't know what yet. But I'm having fun playing and making Burberry loopies.

"Clean up on Aisle 2"

Just trying to tidy up the place! So if you see things oddly labelled or moving around on the side, that's what's going on.

In the meantime, "Please to enjoy", as they say on Top Chef, my artfully composed "Oak Leaves with Acorns on St. Augustine Grass" photo snapped the other day!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

No, Thank YOU - Weekend Designer Blog!

Your bloggy heart always skips a beat when you see a post entitled "Thank you & Farewell"! One of my favorite sewing blogs, Weekend Designer, just had its last post August 31. Be sure to stop by soon and enjoy before Wordpress removes it.