Friday, December 23, 2011

Eggless Nog

This recipe is easy, eggless, creamy,  and coconutty.  What's not to love?!

14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
14-ounce can coconut cream
2 ounces rum

Cook ingredients in a saucepan until heated through.  Serve in glasses with grated nutmeg and cinnamon.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Dartless Skirt

Vogue 9012
Pattern Description:  Skirt , A-line or slightly flared, above mid-knee or lower calf with waistband and side zipper. 

Pattern Sizing:  6-16.  I made size 6. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes. 

Were the instructions easy to follow?  I didn't refer to them, as it's a basic skirt, with one pattern piece for the front and the same pattern piece for the back. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I like that the skirt has no darts in the front or back.  It looks like a bias skirt but is actually cut on the straight grain.  The waist fullness is eased into the waistband.  

Fabric Used:  Vera Wang lambswool flannel in fuchsia, lined with Vera Wang emerald silk satin.  This is the matching skirt to my chiffon collar jacket.  

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I shortened it by about 6 inches.  I actually  used the waistband pattern from an older Threads pattern, Simplicity 4368. 

The waistband is much narrower and has ⅜” seam allowances which are left untrimmed to serve as a stabilizer.  I just love not having to trim seam allowances and not having to cut and apply interfacing.

Would you sew it again?  Yes.  Would you recommend it to others?  Yes, although it is out of print. 

Conclusion:  This is a unique pattern that is super simple to sew.

Friday, December 9, 2011

High Tea at Amelia's

My friend Cori is dealing with breast cancer, chemo, and radiation, among other hardships.  I wanted to do something nice for her and it just so happens that a new shop has opened up nearby, called Amelia's Tea and Bakery.  The place is amazing, with green walls (my favorite color) and filled with eclectic tea sets collected from garage sales.  It was like eye candy for my soul.

High tea consisted of six courses of dainty edibles served with rose hip tea. 

Oatmeal mini muffins with honey butter

Fresh fruit with yogurt dip
Assorted cheeses and crackers

Cucumber, pimiento, tuna salad, and chicken salad sandwiches

Frozen fruit salad
Assorted cookies
We all thoroughly enjoyed the experience of cozy ambiance, good food, and great friends.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Steampunk Mini Hat

Simplicity 2525

Pattern Description:  Misses' costumes and hats.  I made the mini top hat. 

Pattern Sizing:  According to the pattern envelope and website:  "Misses' costumes and hat in three sizes s(21"), m(22"), l(23")."  I'm not sure what the three sizes refer to, as the clothing is sized 6-20 and the hats come in two sizes, large and mini, as pictured on the cover above.  

Fabric Used:  Emerald green velvet from a scrap of unknown source, interfaced with fusible hair canvas. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  I think it actually looks much better.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes, it's pretty basic.  I went ahead and made separate pattern pieces for the interfacing to exclude the seam allowances.  This reduces excess bulk where it's not needed and makes it easier to sew and turn the circular seams.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  Nothing major.  I just omitted the elastic chin strap since it reminds me too much of a kiddie party hat.  I used a small clip to keep it attached to my hair. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I like that all the notches match up perfectly and the construction went smoothly and quickly, thanks to the 1/4" seam allowances.
Would you sew it again?  I don't know that I'll need another one.  Would you recommend it to others?  Yes, it's fantastic to finish something fast, fun, and fabulous without fussing or fitting!

Conclusion:  For an Ann Taylor girl like me, this is a good pattern for my foray into steampunk.  I wanted something cool to wear to a recent hatted event, and this was perfect.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The MADD Tea Party

This past weekend my husband and I attended a charity event to benefit Mothers Against Drunk Driving.  It was an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party featuring mad hats.

The spread was delectable.
Silent auction autographed guitar
Silly Wabbit

Monday, November 7, 2011

Woof Walk

This weekend I took my baby girl Molly to Centennial Park in Nashville for a community dog walk.  Woof Walk was organized to raise awareness of the power of pets to improve our lives and health though a more active lifestyle.  The event was sponsored by Mars Pet Products, which sounds like my dream employer, since you can bring your dog with you to work.

The autumn weather was perfect for a walk around the park with other dogs and their people.  There were pet caricaturists on sight and I was privileged to have both of them draw Molly.
Molly in pencil
Molly in Sharpie (I think this one is cuter)
Molly in color (The sweetest dog I've ever known)

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Paris Pink Dress

Vogue 9668

Pattern Description:  Lined dress, below mid-knee variations or lower calf, has neckline variations, fitted, self-lined bodice, midriff, tapered or flared skirt & back zipper.
Pattern Sizing:  6-22.  I cut the size 6.

Fabric Used:  Maggy London Paris Pink basketweave textured cotton suiting, purchased from FabricMart for $1 a yard.  I lined it with Vera Wang silk check in pale pink.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, considering all the changes I made.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I could tell just from looking at the pattern piece that there was no way that the tiny bust dart was going to accommodate my C-cup chest, but I was optimistic based on how well it fit other reviewers and made a muslin.  Needless to say, the bodice and midriff did not fit me at all.  Rather than mess with a full-bust adjustment, I just used the bodice from Simplicity 2337.  I rotated out the back bodice darts so that all back quadrants would be flush.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  I didn't refer to them, as I was mixing pieces from different patterns. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I love the skirt pattern; it's feminine and flowy without excess fullness.  I also like the unusual neckline which is very flattering, especially if you have bony clavicles.  The sleeves are well drafted and easy to sew in. 

Would you sew it again?  Yes, in a floral print.  Would you recommend it to others?  Yes, although it is recently out of print. 

Conclusion:  This is a great pattern with vintagey details that are not readily found in other patterns.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Fringed Sheath

  Simplicity 2337 

Pattern Description:  Misses dress with front and sleeve variations.

Pattern Sizing:  4-20.  I cut size 4 and sewed 1/2" side seams.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Not really, as I made several changes.

Fabric Used:  FabricMart Boucle' suiting in a rainbow of colors with rayon lining in Ralph Lauren green.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  I didn't refer to them; it was just three pattern pieces.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I love the shoulder princess seams, which I can alter to fit my shoulder area.  This is the first and only dress pattern that I have found in years with princess seams from shoulder to hem. 
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  As afforded the opportunity by the pattern, I altered the shoulder area to accommodate a hollow chest.  

I did change the shoulder princess seams to curve into the side seam at the hips.  
I actually traced the seam line from another Project Runway pattern, Simplicity 2927.

I placed the side front pieces on the bias.  This both allows for a better fit and eliminates the need to match seams in that area.  

I changed the neckline to a V, shortened the length by a couple of inches, and added a lining and fringed hem, a la Dolce & Gabbana.  

Would you sew it again?  Definitely.  Would you recommend it to others?  Wholeheartedly.

Conclusion:  This is a superb pattern with great fitting and design opportunities.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Most Photographed Event in the World

Greetings from Albuquerque, New Mexico!  I'm here enjoying the 40th annual Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.  The temperature was much colder this year, but we saw many more balloons than last year.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ensenada, Mexico

Ensenada was much more interesting than Catalina.  We took a bus tour to La Bufadora, a marine geyser about 19 miles south of the city.  

The road leading up to the blowhole is lined with flea-market shops filled with assorted goods, pharmaceuticals, and knockoffs which are not as regulated south of the border.

The most fun we had was horseback riding on the beach, something I'd always wanted to do.

The authentic tacos were wonderful.