31 January, 2010

Flower T-Shirts To Match Her Skirt

They only make Onesies for size 12 months. Why is that? Why can't you find a t-shirt for the little ones? I'm guessing the moms who buy baby stuff really go for the neat onesie look and they must really like snapping those crotch snaps.
Seriously, my niece is starting in on the potty training for the 14 month old and onesies would tragically miss the moment.

I was requested to make the matching shirt a T-Shirt.
Fred Meyers, Target, Macy's and finally, Walmart. --I found a long sleeved red t-shirt in the 18 month size!

Plan B: Cut off the onesie flap and hem like a t-shirt. Worked like a charm too.

I really wanted to work on a white t-shirt. Although the red long-sleeved shirt is now sporting one flower near the shoulder.

I needed a new work apron as well. The front panel takes a lot of wear and tear. My idea is to just replace the front panel when it starts looking 'unprofessional'.

On the left - 'unprofessional'.    On the right, totally spiffy. Flat-out Springy.
Yes - this is the same denim on both. These photos were taken within a minute of each other in the same lighting. The left apron is faded, worn through at the mid-section, and stained.

If you look closely, you'll see the neck strap and ties do not match. I took them off a previous apron and just added them to my new one.
This is my last piece of denim. I bought it here and I would not recommend the quality of their denim to anyone. But I did sew three aprons out of the 1 yard piece. This denim only lasts about three months.
By utilizing a front panel - where most of the wear happens, I managed to make the second one last six months. Here's hoping this one will make it to six months as well.

The pocket at the top is for my Ipod.

Tangerine Dreams

Chasing fireflies' catalog inspiration for my niece.
I know I do not own orange dotted fabric nor do I own the sheer underskirt material, nor do I own the little ribbo
n trimming the underskirt.
I see a trip to fabric depot in my future.
The dress is a bo
dice set into a skirt at the waist. The bodice has pintucks decorating the front center and has a tiny scooped neckline. She could wear it over any white t-shirt or not.
I don’t think I even own a pattern like this anymore but I will look because I feel challenged to create it without one or by pirating pieces from other patterns.
The trick is to fit it without that great-niece anywhere around. 

This catalog is amazing and the ideas are fantastic. A little too much frou-frou and a lot of pink but get past that issue and you have styling clothes for a great-niece.
Be sure and go to the Costume pages. This is what drew me in in the first place.

25 January, 2010

Tapeswell Tapes

I just saw this packing tape in our Sunday paper and I had to have it.
Not only does Tapeswell have very cool tape, they have envelope wraparounds, mailing labels and IDEAS.
Spying the 'discount code box' on the payment form, I found a code online that gives you 25% off an order of $20 or more. (TSBLOG).

This is the idea from Shannon Quimby of the Oregonian. She took a basic white Ikea/Target side table and covered the surfaces with tape from Tapeswell.
What a cool idea to dress up garage sale finds?

23 January, 2010

Dip Dye and Ombre on Project Runway

Have you been watching Project Runway?
I'm a reluctant viewer. I feel stressed when they have to choose their fabrics in fifteen minutes. It takes me 45 minutes to pick out flannel at Joann's!
I feel stressed they have 8 -10 hours to design it, sew it, fit it and finish it.
I actually excel at the absolute last minute way of doing things but this show adds more stress on top of the usual procrastination.
Anyway - this weeks episode has a bit of dip-dyeing and ombre dyeing which my 4H groupies were playing around with recently. Intriguing.
Project Runway: Season 7 Episode 2 Videos | myLifetime.com

If I was more talented -I could show a still of Amy's dip-dyed flirty skirt.
Try this link to another view of the dress she created out of burlap and a little dip-dyeing:


20 January, 2010

January Books

Picking up books at the library again.
Found this gorgeous gem - I wish I could knit better. The photos in this book are what Winter is for - to dream a bit, to get some projects percolating, to figure out who one can pay to knit one of the fabulous projects in this book.
hmmm....there is this 4H group who is into knitting right now...

If you can get your hands on this book - look at the clothes underneath the knitted focus.
Look at the dress on the cover - with that little yellow fabric embellishment on the shoulder straps, the black on white print of the dress with the yellow accents.

Then - there is the whole styling of the photos.
Look and dream.

18 January, 2010

PIF listings on Etsy

Playing around on Etsy today, I stumbled across these PIF listings.
PIF stands for Pay It Forward.
Generally listed for 20 cents (etsy's listing fee), you just pay the listing fee plus shipping and you can get a few items for your stash.
The premise?
"If you would like this PIF item, all I ask is that you pay the shipping and listing fee, then list a PIF in your store or do some random act of kindness for someone else!"

Of course you have to sort through all the PIF listings. It's a bit like picking through the offerings at a garage sale. You never know what you will end up with.
Mystery Flannel
Valentine's Tags

Search Etsy for your PIF finds.

17 January, 2010

Tie Dye & Dip Dye, the 4-H WAY

Reporting from the 'Running with Scissors' 4H group:
These  creative girls decided to tackle TieDye and Dip-Dyeing recently. These dyeing methods are two ways to add vibrant color to t-shirts, curtains, hats or any fabric that will yield a pattern depending on technique but will also surprise you every time.
For TieDyeing, they  used a TieDye kit from Jacquard, available from here. "The colors were very vibrant and have withstood multiple washings," explains the 4H leader. "I would get this brand again."

You can see from the above photos they are using rubber bands (tight) to separate sections for the dye. The directions on this kit were good and the following photos show another technique.



The leader practiced prior with her niece and nephew and used Tulip Dyes bought here. These colors were softer and more muted. The blue is more denim blue and the red is more pink.

Results from the 4H'ers:

Dip Dyeing. These 4H'ers did not use a kit this time. They used idye kits made for the washing machine. Also from Jacquard.
The girls requested certain colors like lime green and aquamarine which Jacquard carries.

The 4H leader says, "They gave a very uniform color which is nice, but we might have gotten different results with another type of dye. I would want to try another type of dye for this project to experiment next time. The idye does give very vibrant color that lasts through multiple washings, we just need to work on our dip dye technique."

No kit for this, thus no exact instructions.

You need a tub big enough to dip your item into. These 4H'ers were dip dyeing tank tops so they needed a medium small container.
The idea is to get a graduated color change from light to dark.

"The 4H girls have received lots of exclamations on their tie dye shirts and they wear them often.
They would like to do this project again. I am keeping a list of tie dye techniques I see or want to try, such as peace designs in the dye or different folding techniques, like the accordion fold."

Hanging Wet
It's easy to discern the color gradients while wet.
Although, when they are dry, they look very subtle.

There are lots of techniques on the internet that can help or confuse you. The basic technique is to experiment to find out which dyes work best, which fiber contents work best ( cotton is a good starting point) and getting the over-all look to be what you envision - or just let your dye imagination loose.

Other links:
1. Paula Burch
2. Martha
3. Dizzy Lettuce
4. a.  Become a 4-H Leader
    b.  OSU Extension:4H

14 January, 2010

Muffin Disaster

Muffins don't ordinarily have holes like doughnuts.
I had myself a muffin disaster with a recipe that is foolproof!
For twenty years I have made these muffins. I have played around with the ingredients to make them more healthy.  I have baked them maybe a thousand times. This recipe has never given me cause for concern.
Fortunately, I know what the problem was. With my health issues, I only keep olive oil in the pantry. Vegetable oil is a bad soy product. Canola oil is genetically modified as well. I rarely bake anymore because I can't eat the result.    I used the olive oil. I hadn't tried olive oil before in baked goods.  The muffins were  needed as a present - a thank you gift for services above and beyond.
Anyway, in spite of my disaster - I am sharing the recipe because it's one of the best, healthiest muffin recipes in my repertoire.

p.s. These were a thank you present for the guy who brings doughnuts to work EVERY Thursday. He got the card I made and everyone signed - so maybe next week, I'll try again to make them. He was not given the holey doughnutty muffins.

by Mary Massey (Who's this? idk.  I got this recipe from my sister over 20 years ago. She doesn't remember Mary either.)

2 cups FLOUR*
1 1/4 Cup SUGAR*
1 1/2 cups shredded CARROT
1 1/2 cups chopped APPLES*
3/4 cup flaked COCONUT
1/2 chopped PECANS*
3 EGGS, beaten
1 cup VEGY. OIL***
1 tsp. VANILLA
1/2 tsp SALT, optional
*indicates an ingredient I have played around with. See below.

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.
In separate bowl ( I use my 4 cup Pyrex), combine carrots, apples, coconut and nuts.
Stir in eggs and oil and flavorings.
Blend into dry ingredients.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. You can use liners, you can spray tins with oil spray or not. I'm usually too lazy to do either.
Bake 375' for 18 - 20 minutes.
Insert toothpick to check when done.
Supposed to make 12 but I always end up with 18 muffins.
Makes 18 mini-muffins plus about 6 normal size muffins.
These freeze wonderfully.

*Flour: Substitute whole wheat for some of reg. flour or oat bran or experiment.
*Sugar: I use less.
***Oil: DON'T USE OLIVE OIL!!! I usually use a little over 1/2 cup. The apples and carrots make the muffins very moist.
*Apples: Peel/No peel - whatever. Oh - and I usually shred them. Already have the cheese grater out for the carrots.
*Pecans: use whatever nuts you have on hand. walnuts are good too.

13 January, 2010

Evil Puzzle 4,942,629,393

Admitting you have a  problem is the first step to recovery.
Who wrote that anyway?
My brain is in tiptop shape because I solve a gazillion sudoku puzzles each and every day.

It's my way of turning off my brain for ten  minutes ( I can't seem to solve crossword puzzles anymore!). More like turning off the conscience so the subconscience can percolate up.

08 January, 2010

The Darcy Dress

From  Burda  Style  2009  #33/80
The Darcy Dress

 For Sewing Inspiration:

This dress with the contrast piping at the hem.
I like this pleated skirt with lace overlay.
This dress with the neck embellishments was intriguing. I think something is missing in the light, airy hemline but not sure what.
I would like to make this Darcy dress. Simple details.

Not sure how this photo got into the Burda style of 2009. Maybe I've been around a one-year-old lately.
This top was made with the same technique I have been using lately. Taking my cheap garage sale found fabric to make the sloper pattern first. And it amazes when it turns out the first time.

I am interested in this technique of making invisible tucks for volume. Not even sure if its applicable to reality but would like to know how to do it.
There are whole websites devoted to shadowfolding.
With that in mind, I have the materials to make this:

07 January, 2010

Grass-fed Beef

My small  13 cu.ft. four-shelf freezer is now filled with a quarter beef.
I have been exploring grass-fed beef as an alternative to feedlot beef which are fed things I believe are contributing to my inflammation and lectin intolerance.

I am very allergic to soy anything so my main sources of protein are chicken, turkey, eggs and beef.

This grass-fed vs. feedlot theory seems a bit extreme to me when you run across stories of picking up the beef out of  the back of a pick-up truck that traveled over 500 miles to bring it to Portland.  There are other sources for grass-fed beef but then the extra cost per pound rears its ugly head in your calculations.
Hours later into the research, I'm left  extremely fatigued for even thinking about grass-fed.

Months later, it all just fell into my lap. The beef was raised about 30 miles away, has a name - which I so do not want to know and it didn't eat too many suspicious food sources. We will see if it helps but I can say - I have enough beef for several months.

06 January, 2010

Lunch at Moonstruck Chocolates

Rocket is Nine

Christmas 2009

04 January, 2010

About Nothing

Speaking of Top 10 Lists

From Angry Chicken: blog of January 04, 2010.
Amy writes: "I am getting off to a slow start for 2010, which I think is wonderful and I would like to continue the slowed down pace of the last 2 weeks. I have in mind to make a Not Done, Nor Am I Going To Do Today List, which will help me track on a daily basis what I am not doing. I am very excited by this. I tried to start doing less already, especially in the mornings when I seem to get on a cooking/house cleaning/laundry/pick-up-toys merry-go-round and realize I have not sat down for 4 hours."

I love the whole idea of a Not Done, Nor Am I Going To Do It Today List.

I've got the next two days off work to play and visit and take photos. It's been a bit dreary here with the January rains and even the outside lighting doesn't love the camera and your attitude can get dreary as well because none of the photos taken are worth sharing because they are so flat and say nothing at all.

03 January, 2010


I had a revelation last night.
Convoluted, but the reasoning seems sound.

I was pondering why I have eaten so much this December.
Since Easter, I have been trying a new food allergy regime that is pretty harsh but when I follow it, I feel more energized and my physical symptoms are less.
One of my food problems is trying to discern when I am hungry. For so long food made me sicker and sicker that I have difficulty in determining hunger pangs.
This December -- I have been feeling hunger pangs. When I get home from work, when I am at work, it hasn't seemed to stop. The net result is I have gained about 7 pounds. The choices of good foods for me to eat are limited and I have been turning to bad choices. I am craving these foods. I am craving any food.
The biggest difference is work. For Christmas,  I was given a supervisor  for work who allows that each employee is capable of doing their job. Furthermore, he works in a team effort to get the job done and supervises from a position of respect. A lot of work-related stress has fallen by the wayside.
Interestingly, this is when my appetite returned.
A definite A-ha moment.

My nutritionist has said that when I am reaching for chocolate, my body is indicating hunger.
Chocolate does not show up on my allergy tests - only dairy and soy. This  hunger indicator makes sense to me as I perceive chocolate to be a safe food that makes me feel good.

When I am feeling a craving for chocolate and reaching for it, I have been working on reaching for other foods instead.
 Now, with my latest revelation, where stress keeps my appetite at bay, I can try to keep more good foods at hand. Get back to my weekly soup making. Making sure I have more emergency foods at hand. Trying to eat more good choices so there is less room for bad choice foods that suck up my energy and good health.

My other boss will return and I will need every ounce of energy to deal with that so now is the time to optimize that energy.

Almost a resolution but really pondering the ramifications of how stress plays a part in my health.

The actual resolution is to go for a walk every day.