Friday, December 20, 2013

Hello There and Happy Holidays!

I've been absent for a while. We have been busy, doing all the regular pre-holiday stuff. We had a major ice storm a couple of weeks ago! These first two pictures were taken only three days apart. That's how it goes in North Texas. Sunny and seventies one day, ice storm and major gridlock the next day, which lasted for a week.

I live too close to work to not go in. I walked, and Frank was a sweetheart and walked me there and back. When I was home there was lots of snuggling under the down comforter.

And lots of crocheting. Karlie, my four year old niece asked for a new blanket for her baby dolls and of course I obliged. She knows her Aya will make whatever her heart desires!

I hope you are enjoying your own holiday prep and that you get to spend precious time with those you love. My work stresses me out to the max this time of year, and I always over commit and feel stretched too thin. I didn't bake cookies for the Christmas ever, but did make a delicious batch of peppermint bark. I also plan to make Almond brittle. I snuck in a few Christmas crafts and handmade gifts because it just doesn't feel right with out them. Don't stress out too much, and if you do take deep breaths, think of all that you have to be grateful for and eat some chocolate!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

One Happy Lady

I turned 38 last Tuesday. I took three days off work and had the most wonderful of birthday celebrations. My days were filled with friends, food and time with Frank doing my favorite things in Fort Worth.

I made S'mores cupcakes again this year. Homemade and toasted marshmallows on top this time. Untitled

We go to the Japanese Gardens in the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens every year around my birthday. It is the perfect time to see the leaves changing and the weather was just right. Japanese Gardens a birthday tradition Japanese Gardens Japanese Gardens

On Monday we had an "Epic Picnic" and a hike in the Fort Worth Nature Center. It is one of my favorite secluded places in the area. There are hiking trails and they are actually hilly. I had been planning this picnic in my mind since our vacation when we picnicked in Central Park and Great Falls State Park. It lived up to my expectations! Fort Worth nature center on a perfect Fall day. We had a romantic picnic and hiked around. Fort Worth nature center on a perfect Fall day. We had a romantic picnic and hiked around. Fort Worth nature center on a perfect Fall day. We had a romantic picnic and hiked around. Fort Worth nature center on a perfect Fall day. We had a romantic picnic and hiked around. Fort Worth nature center on a perfect Fall day. We had a romantic picnic and hiked around.

On Tuesday night we had dinner with four of our closest friends. My friend Alley snapped this picture of my and I think I look so happy here. I truly feel honored and blessed to have a life filled with friends and love and to have spent my birthday enjoying delicious food and the beauty of perfect Fall days in Texas. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday! Untitled

*I don't think I shared this but I twisted my ankle jogging about three weeks ago.  It could have been a lot worse, but I had to sit out for three weeks.  I'm finally back at it and do not want to miss any more of these perfect days.  I just need to be outside, especially when the weather is nice.  Not getting to run makes me tense and I'm so glad my ankle has healed.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Heart Knickers for my Favorite Girl

I love sewing for Karlie and these might be the cutest thing I have made for her so far. Denim with tiny hearts? Yes please! Knickers with gathered pockets and tons of cute details? Of course!

It is always hard to get her to model her clothes, but once she starts posing she is a total ham.
I didn't get very good pictures because of the low light, but check out the cute inset pockets, they're my favorite part.

McCalls 6540

I was so excited for her to wear these that I neglected to get all of my markings off. Oops. McCalls 6540 Karlie and Lucy Karlie and Lucy
This pattern is McCalls 6540, which is unisex and also includes patterns for a knit and woven top. The pants have so many sweet details, really more like what I would expect from an indie pattern company.

This was my first time making buttonholes on my old Bernina and they came out ok. It was also my first time sewing a fly zip. It was much easier than I expected. This pattern wasn't difficult, but was time consuming. I would definitely make this pattern for her again. Luckily they fit loosely enough that she should be able to wear them into next Summer.

Monday, October 28, 2013

My new favorite dress

Here is my new favorite dress, made with the African wax print that I picked up in NY. I only bought one yard of the print and knew I wanted to use a solid with it to really show it off. I found a Robert Kaufman Linen Cotton denim at a local shop and it is such lovely fabric. I'm really happy with how this dress came together.
 Simplicity 1651 Simplicity 1651 Simplicity 1651

I used Simplicity 1651, a Project Runway pattern. I did a muslin for the bodice, though I still took it up quite a bit at the shoulders. That caused me to have to trim the armholes down some and I think I went a little too far. I always have a hard time picturing where they will end up after the seam allowance is taken away. I fully lined the bodice with bemberg rayon, and that was a little more tricky than the way the pattern has you do it. It took some thinking and a little hand sewing to finish it up. I used this technique for lining a sleeveless dress, a new and awesome one for me!

I love how the details in the bodice, with the twist and peekaboo portion. I think the linen really frames the African print and makes it pop. The simplicity of this pattern allows the print to not be too overwhelming. I wore this with a black cropped cardigan but have since found a perfect rusty red knit fabric and intend to try to copy that caridgan. I love the dress with this thrifted belt and my new Miz Mooz shoes that I got in New York. I felt so put together in this ensemble and I rarely feel that way.

I wore this to a sewing expo that mom and I went to when she was in town. The best compliment was from a girl running the local quilt shop booth. She asked if I made it and I said yes, but then she told me it didn't look like I made it. I love it when a sewing project comes together so well!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fabric Shopping in New York

I'm sorry for leaving you with a picture of my face for so long! I know I'm tired of looking at it. I have been a bad blogger and Have not shared our vacation with you. Now I must share at least a little in advance of showing you my newest finished sewing project.

Our vacation had two parts. The first half was visiting friends in Washington, DC and the second half was a whirlwind three days in New York.

One of my main goals in New York was to fabric shop in the garment district. We knocked that out the first day after a picnic in Central Park, which was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I love a good picnic! Frank was with me at Mood, which I found completely overwhelming. I didn't go in with a plan or a shopping list but rather just looking for fabric that caught my eye. That was a mistake. I want to go back and spend days in the garment district, with a bigger budget and my mom in tow. Frank was patient but it was still a bust. The first stop I made was at B&J fabrics and it was actually my favorite. I made the mistake there of only buying one piece of fabric, thinking that I would find so much more at all the other stores. Wrong. Oh well, next time I know what to expect. New York!

We also ventured to Purl Soho and though I didn't find anything there to take home I loved the neighborhood and all of it's cute shops. New York!

One of my favorite spots was actually a warehouse type store on Broadway.  I don't remember the name, but the prices were right and I guess the better fabrics stood out much more easily.
 New York!

Here are two of the three pieces of fabric that I came home with. A gorgeous African Wax Print on the left from B&J and silk from Pins and Needles in the Upper East Side.New York!

I recently finished a dress with the African Wax print and will share that soon.

Our trip was really more about visiting friends, walking the city and eating, eating, eating.  I will probably show you more very belated vacation pictures soon.  It was so much fun!

Monday, September 30, 2013

A New Woman

I am a whole new woman. Well, at least I look like one. I finally got a haircut and glasses, both long overdue. I realized on vacation how badly I really needed glasses when I put on Gretchen's and could see so clearly. My hair is one of those things that I put off cutting and just wear in a pony tail for ages til I can't stand it anymore. Haircut and glasses

I'm loving my new look and it's just in time for the changing season. If you can't find me I will be outside running or in the garden. I ran a 5K on Saturday and did okay. I had just started running again last week and wanted to see how long it would take me to do a 5K. I plan to do at least one more this Fall and hopefully will improve my time. I finished the Rahr Octoberfest 5K in 33:21 with quite a bit of walking.

And wavy.
 Haircut and glasses

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Back in the Swing of Things

It's been a while! We went on vacation at the beginning of the month, came back and had a long week of work and then more adventures. I have a lot to share but I figured I would start where I'm at and try to catch up. It's Fall! I started running again after almost three months hiatus from the heat. With vacation and life we have been slacking on the gym too, so I was really nervous that running would be like starting over. It was great though, I did almost four and half miles yesterday and ran most of it. I'm using Map My Run and love seeing where I've been. I so wish I had used that app from the beginning (it's been a year since I started running) so that I could have tracked my progress.

Getting started again Getting started again

Our vacation was a wonderful adventure, but we came home tired. We went to DC and New York and were on the go constantly. We walked miles and miles per day, especially in NY. The nice part about that was being able to eat whatever we wanted, and boy did we eat. So much good food. The problem was coming home and still being in vacation mode, eating everything but not walking miles per day. So I'm correcting my eating habits and getting back in the swing of things.  The weather is in line with the calendar for once here in North Texas and it feels like Fall.  Fall is my season, my favorite time of year.  I feel like I'm coming back to life.  For a healthy snack last night I had Noosa Lemon Yogurt wit frozen blueberries.  It was so delish! 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Korean Short Ribs and not much else

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Looking through my photos on my camera roll I can tell that nothing exciting has been happening the last few weeks.  It is HOT.  I have no motivation or work out or cook.  It's all about keeping cool and staying still.  I'm ready for Fall.  I'm ready for running outside, sunset walks on the trail, working in the garden and just enjoying the weather.  Cooler days, please hurry.

I haven't been sewing much, though I did finish a knit top and fix a couple of things from my pile yesterday.  Mostly It's been work and vacation planning, which is oh so exciting!

We did cook something completely new to us, Korean style short ribs. They were amazing, so much flavor! I cooked them in the crock pot and it made the house smell so good. I think the marinade would be yummy on pork as well. We also tried a new restaurant, a Vietnamese place that had been recommended to me. My favorite thing was the Vietnamese iced coffee. After dinner we went to an Asian market and I almost bought the contraption filter thingy to make my own at home as well as the coffee itself. I talked myself out of it and now I'm kicking myself.

Untitled Untitled
Beef short ribs Korean style

Monday, August 19, 2013

Karlie the Little Mermaid

I think she likes her birthday present! The birthday girl The birthday girl

I used McCalls 5498 but sewed it up in all knit and stretch fabrics so I omitted the zipper. I also had to take about 8" off the tail length. I cut the size 3-4 so it is big on her and will probably fit her til her feet start to stick out the bottom! I'm thinking stretch fabrics is the way to go for costumes.  The construction is so much quicker, there is room to grow and no zippers to put in.  It was mostly constructed on the serger.  I modified the bodice by making the little cover up separate and adding my own sea shells to meet her requirements for a "boobie bra".  I should have redrafted the fin part to be smaller in proportion to her body but I still think it is cute.  I think she is happy with it. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Little (Mermaid) Sneak Peek

I set aside my own sewing projects to make Karlie a birthday present. Per her request, a Mermaid Costume with a Boobie Bra. Oh that makes me laugh every time. Her 4th birthday party is this Saturday and it is the first one we won't be able to attend. I'm sad about that, but we were just there a few weeks ago. Mom and dad took this gift for her to open at the party and I can't wait to see a million pictures, especially of her wearing the costume. I guess costume making for Karlie is becoming a birthday tradition. Last year it was Snow White. I suppose as long as she is into costumes I will be into making them for her!
Weekend in Austin Sneak peek of Karlie's birthday present

One reason that we won't be at the birthday celebration is that we are saving for a real vacation, just the two of us. It has been ages since we took one and we are so excited. I'm in the midst of planning right now.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cactus Margaritas

My parent's property is studded with Prickly Pear and they are currently covered in fruit. The fruits are called Tuna or Tunita in Spanish and are often sold in Latin Grocery stores. I had never tried one before. Mom got the idea to make a syrup from the fruit and use it in Margaritas. It was a lot of work for a little bit of syrup but the end result was beautiful and delicious!

Weekend in Austin Weekend in Austin

I can't find the directions that we used but here is one way to make the syrup.  The Margarita was like nothing I've ever tasted before, we really couldn't compare the flavor to anything.  There are thousands more Tunitas waiting to be made into syrup on my parent's property!

Monday, August 5, 2013

I miss my family

We went to visit my family in San Marcos weekend before last. It was a great weekend, with swimming, relaxing, visiting friends and my sister in law's birthday party. Of course it went by way too fast, and we came home exhausted, and then I proceeded to get sick last week. We did enjoy the weekend though and can never get enough time with our niece Karlie. I made her a Ballet Folklorico inspired dress. She is wearing it in these pictures that Frank took. My mom is going to add ribbons around the bottom of the dress for her.

These were taken at the San Marcos Farmers Market on Saturday.
 Family weekend Family weekend Family weekend Family weekend Family weekend

I used Simplicity 2377 for the bodice and drafted a Double Circle Skirt.

We visited a friend who has some land and lots of animals in San Marcos.  Now I'm daydreaming (even more) of moving down there.  Summers are made for swimming and there are numerous swimming holes.  Not to mention that I miss my family like crazy and want to be near them.  Visiting three or four times a year is just not cutting it.  I want to dye fabric and sew with mom, see Karlie at least once a week, swim any and every day of the Summer and perhaps go back to being a country girl.  I'm not sure Frank is convinced yet.

Family weekend Family weekend Family weekend Family weekend

My daydreams are contained in my Pinterst boards for the moment. They include living in the Airstream for a little while. I know it would be a challenge but I think I'm up for it. A hot tub wouldn't hurt!

We swam at Jacob's Well on Sunday.  Cold, clear water, my favorite type of swimming hole.
 Weekend in Austin

I made my Sister In Law a birthday cake, cause that's what I do for the people I love! It was Vanilla Cake with Caramel Sauce and (OMG! Where has this been all my life!) Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting.
Weekend in Austin Weekend in Austin
Sorry for the super long post. I figured I better get it all in there since my blogging has been few and far between lately.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hand Dyed Silk Top

I made this top last year and it is one of my favorite handmade items. My mom and I had an impromptu Indigo dyeing session before they moved away and I used the silk that she gave me for this project.

Handmade top from hand dyed shibori silk
 Top made from hand dyed Shibori Silk Top made from hand dyed Shibori Silk ndmade top from hand dyed shibori silk

Here is a close up of the fabric.
 ndmade top from hand dyed shibori silk

The pattern is McCalls 6205, which was actually intended for knits. I knew there would be a lot of ease in this pattern so I cut an XS, but then ended up adding about 1/2" back in on the side seam right under the arm holes. I also shortened the pattern quite a bit, almost too much in the front though I still love this top.

I'm about to cut this pattern out in a knit, with a neckline variation.  It is definitely a fav now.

I have been toying with the idea lately of dyeing my own fabrics and investing in dyes.  I always relied on my mom for those sorts of projects but she is too far away now.  I have lots of ideas stored away.  Sallie Oh just posted a great tutorial on the basics of dyeing and painting fabrics.  It just may give me the push I need to get started.