Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Blue Gardenia Haul

Do you shop at the Blue Gardenia for your vintage patterns? Well, ok, I sell vintage patterns, too, but I think Denise must have the corner on those super duper special ones, so when she has a sale, I confess to doing a little shopping. Where does she find all those amazing Vogue patterns?!!

She had a sale that ended a couple of weeks ago, and, since sewing is still on hiatus here at Chez Sewing Life, I'll just have to do a little pattern show and tell. In the order that I think* I might make them.

First up, Advance 8623:
The exciting thing about this pattern... it's my size! I'm admitting to a 34" waist, and I've got my fingers crossed it'll fit right out of the envelope. Fabric TBD, but I'm leaning towards a classic black RPL from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Since I actually have a couple of things in the queue before the skirt (remember the Ruby Slip? the minoru jacket? a not mentioned yet blouse? all UFOs waiting for the studio reformation), it should be spring by the time I get to the next pattern. Heck, it's hardly been winter here so it might be hard to tell.

Anyway, a Vogue Paris Original by Molyneux:
I'm thinking a brilliant jewel-tone ponte if I can find it somewhere... any ideas?

There may be some other things in between, but I'm thinking for summer, the Butterick 5301:
That sleeveless blouse has My Style written all over it, and I love the pockets on the skirt. Maybe (maybe?) even the shorts.

That brings us around to the fall and winter for the next one. I was thinking originally that it would be first, but did you see where I said we haven't really had winter this year. I'm hoping capes will still be in style because I've had a hankering for one this year. Some other dear blogger beat me to my first choice, but I do love this Vogue Americana by Anne Klein:
I have a potential estate sale brown and black houndstooth wool in mind, but we'll just have to see about that. And do you see that delicious red hood peeking out? That's actually a scrunchy turtleneck top that stretches into a hood. I'm intrigued. Besides what you see in the pic, there are also pants! That could be quite the project.

I have some others I've bought from Denise on other occasions that I need to get made up, too. Well, for that matter, I have lots of patterns that I've bought that need to get made. *ahem*

*I think I might make them in this order, but you never know when the mood will strike to make a particular pattern, and I reserve the right to change my mind!! =)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wilma on Wednesday Makes Speedy Cheesecake Pie

Well, what a week for pie! Do you read Peter's blog, Male Pattern Boldness? Of course you do, and you know he was going on and on about pie earlier this week. The pie I made is one of my favorites, and I really had a craving for it. The good news for my eating less sugar resolution was that I made it, had one piece, and then sent the rest back to Macon with Kyle. Win, win!

Now, it sounds like cheesecake, and it's similar, but different and maybe (maybe?) a little bit lighter. Here ya go!

Speedy Cheesecake Pie

1-1/4 cups plain or cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter (maybe a little more)
1-8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
Dash salt

Combine crumbs and butter, press into a buttered 8 or 9 inch pie plate, building up sides with a spoon. (I used a premade graham cracker crust, so Kyle could just take the whole thing.)

To make filling, beat cream cheese until fluffy; gradually blend in sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.

Pour filling into crumb crust, bake in a slow oven, 325 deg F for 25-30 minutes or until set.

Topping: Combine 1 cup sour cream, 2 T sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla.  Spoon over top of pie and bake 10 minutes longer. Chill several hours. Can be made ahead of time and frozen.

The top of mine ended up looking a little funny because I put on the cover that comes with the premade crust while it was cooling in the fridge and it made some condensation that dripped on it. Arghhh! Still tasted amazing!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Little Fantasy Sewing

Friends, I haven't been sewing. No. I haven't lost my sewing mojo (a term I personally loathe, by the way... no judgment for those who like to use it). It's just that the sewing "studio" aka the former guest room has had it's decorating upheaval, and there is currently no furniture... at all... in it. The walls have been repainted a delightful shade of aqua (Valspar calls it Distant Valley), and the carpets are awaiting the arrival of the carpet cleaners as I type. This is a fairly accurate representation of the color:
OK, so if there isn't any real sewing, this was kind of a long introduction into some fantasy sewing. Follow along and see what you think...

Valentine's Day is just around the corner (can it be?) so I've chosen Simplicity 5663, a Mad Men style 1960s dress for this Fantasy Sew.

I love the jewel tones on the envelope illustration, and I think I'll stick with those. If I want to go completely over the top, how about this silk satin faille from Gorgeous Fabrics:
I'll make view 1, and the pattern calls for 2-1/8 yards of 45" wide fabric, but at $30 a yard, I'll just "order" 2 yards. Definitely a muslin is called for here. On first glance, the only design change I might make is to lower the neckline just a tad. With my shape, the front waistline gathers are a good idea, but a muslin should let me know if they look too poofy.

OK, our fantasy dress is made, complete with handpicked zipper, and now we need some accessories. I love the brooch idea from view 2, so I'll go with this one:
Brooch from Crimson Vintage
This brooch also has a pendant link, so it can do double duty.

I thought about a rhinestone belt buckle, but that would just be a bit too much. A fabric covered buckle with supplies from A Fashionable Stitch will be perfect. What else do we need? How about some garnet earrings? My friend, Amy has these beauties in her shop, and I love that the red is not too matchy with the fabric:
Earrings from Amy Fine Designs
Finally, let's pick out some shoes! A girl's gotta have new shoes with a fabulous dress like this.

I love the vintage-y vibe of these Kate Spade shoes, and hey, they're on sale!
Kate Spade Kylie from Zappos Couture
The only thing left is dinner reservations at a fabulous restaurant!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wilma on Wednesday Makes Sausage Balls

I bet you've heard of these. I bet you've even made them, or a version of them. According to Betty Crocker, this recipe is among their most requested recipes. Now, I'm going to link to the Betty Crocker one later in the post so I don't completely lose you, but I'm posting Wilma's, even though it needs a little work. Let's take a look (my comments will be in tangerine). [Did you know that Bisquick has been around since 1931?]


1 lb. sharp cheese, grated
1 lb. sausage
3 cups Bisquick

Melt cheese (NO, do NOT melt the cheese... I did it this way once and it was a messy disaster). Lightly saute sausage, drain excess fat. Add cheese and Bisquick.

Okie dokie. Since I didn't melt the cheese, I mixed the grated cheese in with the bisquick. After the sausage cooled just a bit I mixed it in.

Shape into balls and line up on ungreased cookie sheet. Well, since the cheese wasn't melted, I was hoping the semi-greasy sausage would help "glue" them into balls. Nope. So I microwaved the whole mess about 30 seconds on 40% power. Still no sticking together into balls. I microwaved them again. And no sticking. So I added a little milk. Just enough to make everything stick together into balls. Oh, and go ahead and spray a little cooking spray on the cookie sheet for good measure.

Bake at 350 deg. F for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

So, to write this post, I checked out the recipe on the Betty Crocker website, and guess what? No cheese melting. Not even any sausage cooking. And they add milk to stick it all together! There are a few more ingredients. Anyway, if you make these they will disappear!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Minoru Sew Along

I'm doing it! The sew along. Really, you can tell because I've got the badge over there. You can't tell by the actual work I've done on it, but I have all the supplies. The fabric, the zipper, the lining, the elastic.

I'm going to show it to you in just a minute. But first, I'm gonna show off my new facebook badge "Like" thingie over there. To the right and down just a little. Just in case you missed it when you're reading the fascinating prose and seeing the awesome pictures. ;)

It's gonna be a raincoat.

Raincoating from Gorgeous Fabrics, lining from fabric.com, separating zipper from Sew True Supplies.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fixing a Zipper on RTW

Son Kyle recently (oh, around Thanksgiving) asked me if I could fix the zipper on his Mountain Hard Wear jacket. The pull was gone and some teeth near the bottom were completely broken off. I said, maybe.

My first thought was, heck, I'll just get him a new one. I hadn't bought the current one, as it was a gift from an ex-girlfriend. Actually she didn't buy this one. She bought him a size large. He traded the large with a friend who had a medium but wanted the large. Kyle wanted a medium. Confused yet? But in the bargain, he got the one with the broken zipper.

Anyway, back to my first thought. I discovered those babies are price-y!! Certainly more than I wanted to spend, so repair it was. I bought a separating zipper from Sew True Supply which wasn't quite as long as the coat's, but very close. After doing some research (i.e., I zipped the half of the new zipper to the good half of the old zipper), there was a good chance I would only have to replace half a zipper.

Step 1 then... rip out the old one. As I ripped, I took pictures so I could remember what it looked like. I won't bore you with those, but if you're doing something similar, it's a good, and pretty obvious, way to have a record.

Here it is, sans zipper:
See the "fur". Yep, it was lots of fun to rip that sucker out, especially around the collar and the hem.

OK, then it was just a matter of sewing the new one back in. Boom, sewed it in, just like that. Zipped it up and whoa! There are seams at the yoke and collar that kinda sorta should really be lined up. Whoops. Starting with the yoke seamline, I picked out the stitches around it so that I could finagle it back into lining up. The fabric is stretchy so it was pretty easy. Then I did the same thing by the collar seamline.

You insert the zipper first sewing right sides together, then flip it back and topstitch it folded back. Does that make sense? I did the ripping out, lining up before the final topstitching took place for also obvious reasons.
Finally, the last spot to give me a little trouble was the little piece of fabric that I'm calling the neck guard, up by the collar. Putting it back in was a bit of free style sewing, but if it's not in correctly, no one can tell.
I'm not a huge fan of clothing repairwork, but this is one case where it really, really paid off. The new zipper is about 1/4" shorter than the old one, but again, it doesn't affect, well, anything. Kyle is warm and toasty once again!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


We had gorgeous weather today, and, since I couldn't think of a reason not to, I tore myself away from some sewing to take a hike with Roland. He's really been into hiking lately (a New Year's resolution?), and since we live ridiculously close to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area it would have been silly to decline the invitation.

If you click on the link, and then click on "view map", we were hiking in the Palisades area. He's been trying several routes. The other day, we stopped at an overlook, and I snapped this:
[I used my Instagram app, and am really having fun with the filters, so that's why the picture looks as it does.] Do you see the mid-rise office building in the background. Yep, the area is really more city than country, but we're so lucky to have this area.

Today, we took a different (and much steeper) route, starting at a higher area and working our way down to the river (and, yes, we had to go back up, too). Everything looked pretty much like it does in the picture above, until we encountered a stand of bamboo. Very strange and green, and we felt like perhaps we were in a different country.
From the hike, we headed to Lowe's to pick up some paint chips for the sewing studio. Painting this week, I hope! And a little sewing, too... there is a minoru jacket sew along after all!

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Little Knitting

I haven't done any sewing lately, though I did cut out a blouse. I still need to take my serger in for repair, so my slip is currently a UFO as well. I walk into the sewing area in the basement and it is a M.E.S.S. Never mind though because in a couple of weeks, the entire area will be emptied out so we can fix the sagging kitchen floor before we remodel the kitchen.

Yep. So much organization and cleaning out to do, and at the moment it has me a little overwhelmed. What did I do today about it? I went shopping and out to lunch with a friend. Ah, yes, the old avoid at all costs technique. I did get some super cute shoes for $22! I'll take a picture soon, I promise.

In the meantime, I didn't make too many Christmas presents. OK, I only made one. And it's a cowl I knitted for a friend of mine. She's a huge Ohio State fan (a former cheerleader), and a huge Atlanta Falcons fan, as as luck would have it, they have the same colors. For pattern info, I'll have to direct you to Tasia's Sewaholic blog where I got my inspiration.

Meet the Ohio State/Atlanta Falcon Honey Cowl:

It's a mid-length version, and is really a little tight if it's doubled. Possible, but tight. And it's chock full of mistakes. Luckily, no one can really find them. Not even me. Well, maybe someone can, and there is one glaring one, but well, there you go. Oh! I got the yarn on Etsy at Huckleberry Knits, and it is gorgeous!

I do enjoy knitting, but I am really slow, so my projects are a bit few and far between, but there is almost always something in the works!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Should I Go With the Blue?

The Blue Gardenia, that is. The time is especially good right now for heading over to see what Denise has on sale! But don't delay! The sale runs now until 11:59 PST January 15. You have to buy 3 or more patterns, but it's 35% off! What a deal... the Blue Gardenia ... don't miss it.

After I do some shopping, I'm going to start with some interior design. With my son moving into a rental house, he needed a bed, and the extra queen size that was hanging out in my sewing room is heading south. And that leaves me with the opportunity to move out of the unfinished part of the basement, and into an actual finished room.

Here's the before picture:
You can see in the lower right hand corner, where my sewing machine table is, and behind the door on the left edge... my ironing board, and a dresser that Kyle is also taking with him.

Lots more will be happening in our house, so occasionally, some other interior design projects might be mentioned. New kitchen, anyone?

But back in this little corner of mine, I'm first going to declutter and then repaint, color still to be determined...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sewing? What sewing?

It seems that I haven't been doing any sewing lately, but that's not entirely true. I have made some progress on my Ruby Slip (click the badge in the sidebar for more info). Slow progress. Like perhaps, I have turned on my machine for 10 minutes on a couple of days.

Still, the skirt part is cut on the bias, and it has to hang, right? I'm loving my lace bodice part. My lace wasn't quite wide enough, but realized that the only piece affected was the bodice side, so I used Chris' method, and just added a little bit. You'd have to get really close to be able to tell.

Today, I was going to hem the skirt, after I serged the side seams. I changed the thread to gray, and have finally come to the conclusion that I need to get my serger serviced. The tension discs for one of the needle threads just will not hold the thread, and that makes everything go wonky.

Perhaps that will force me to cut out a new blouse project, and fix the zipper on Kyle's jacket this weekend.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wilma on Wednesday Makes Oatmeal Caramel Bars

If your New Year's resolutions include losing some weight, or eating healthier, than this recipe is not for you. Thankfully for my NY resolution to just those very things, I made these right after Christmas, and sent the leftovers packing with young, thin people.

Nevertheless, in spite of a major mistake in following directions on my part, they were (and will be if you make them the right way) delicious!


1 (14 oz.) package caramels
1/3 c. milk
2 c. flour
2 c. regular oats, uncooked
1-1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 c. butter or margarine
1 (12 oz.) package chocolate morsels
1 c. chopped pecans

Combine caramels and milk in a saucepan; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramels melt. Set aside.

Combine flour, oats, sugar, soda and salt. Add eggs and butter, stirring until mixture is crumbly. Press half of mixture into a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan.

Bake at 350 deg. F for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate morsels and pecans; pour caramel mixture evenly on top. Sprinkle remaining crumbly oat mixture on top. Bake at 350 deg. F for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool and cut into bars. (they cut better if they have been refrigerated).

These are very rich, and just a small bar is enough... think cutting that bar in the picture into 3! It will serve a lot!

Some sewing has started to happen, and I'll have a ruby slip update tomorrow!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Boy, that's an original title. I've been reading blogs on and off all day, and really enjoying the wrap ups of last year, and the plans for this year. Some of you are really ambitious! And some of you really did a lot of sewing last year!

I haven't added anything up. I made a lot of things, and have some favorites, and some that were not as successful. And a couple of things that I haven't worn at all.

But, today's post isn't about sewing. It's about art and the process. I think that sewing is definitely a creative process, and it's one of the things that I have been able to do at least fairly successfully most of my adult life. It just comes easy to me. And this year, artistically, I decided to stretch myself. In December, a friend, pointed me to a possibility for an art workshop of sorts on Etsy. 366 Pages, a yearlong, online, mixed media journaling workshop. After briefly contemplating, I leapt in (sorry). If you check it out, it's not too late to join. And what a deal! $20 for a year of encouragement, ideas and fun.

OK, the promotion is over, and I've done my first day's journal entry.

You will have to click on the picture to learn a little more about it.

And don't worry, this will stay a mostly sewing blog, with Wilma still making some appearances with a recipe on Wednesdays, and the occasional post about family or dogs. I may put some kind of flickr slideshow thing-y here, but that's still TBD.

Finally, I'll leave you to ponder on the size of my ironing basket when I tell you that my #1 resolution right now is to iron everything in said basket before the end of January (and hopefully sooner).

Here's to 2012!!!


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