Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday Morning Inspiration/The Artistry of Sewing

Last week I had the opportunity to see the movie, The Dressmaker, starring Kate Winslet. I posted this picture last week when I talked about my experience as I just love it. One of the things I loved about her character was that she was confidant in her skills as a dressmaker. She knew that she had the power to not only make a garment, but transform. And that's what all of us do. As I thought more about the movie, I thought about some pictures that I have saved, so I thought I would share them today. A bit of a celebration of this wonderful skill.

Lucy from I Love Lucy. If you've seen the episode, the effort did not turn out so well. 
The story was that her husband Ricky was upset about how much she was spending on clothes. So she decided that it couldn't be that difficult to make a dress. The result was a disaster. Just proves that it isn't as easy as some may think, and it does take skill that is honed over years to produce a truly beautiful garment. 

Ginger from Gilligan's Island. If you've seen the show, you know that a group went out for what was supposed to be a 3 hour tour and ended up on a deserted island. They were quite the ingenious group, but where did she get the fabric???

John Lennon. I would love to know the story behind this picture. If anyone knows, please leave a comment and share.

Quite a long way from the pretty Hollywood pictures, but I love this picture. Bras she has made all draped around her and ready to be sold. 

I think this picture is priceless. An art being handed down from one generation to another. Reminds me so much of my time with my grandmother. She too had a treadle machine.

A woman and her machine. It's amazing to me that she can balance it on her head! I think the machine represents so much more than just a means for making clothes, it's also a means of income, and thus, freedom.

I especially like the picture below as it states what all of us are, we are quite simply, artists. We have skills that are either being honed, or have been honed over many years. What we do is no longer about making clothes to save money, it's about expression, and it's about freedom. We make our own choices. 

If you have a chance to sit down at your machine today, take a moment to look at your machine and realize that it's not just a machine, it's a tool that we use to create, transform, and bring beauty into our world. 

Have a wonderful week!

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Night Reflections

A delay is better than a disaster.
                                                                                 From the movie, "Sully"

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Eating For Your Future/Slow Cooker Vegetable Barley Soup

Not only do I find some wonderful recipes on Pinterest, sometimes I also find a great inspirational story. The recipe I'm sharing today comes from Dara of Cookin Canuck. She's a Canadian who now lives in the United States. Not only does she have some wonderful recipes on her blog, her weight loss success story is very inspirational. No magic, just changing her diet and adding a good workout routine. You can read her story HERE.   

The temperatures are beginning to change here in Chicago, and while I enjoy soup year round, I especially enjoy having soup on hand for a quick lunch and an easy supper. This one appealed to me because of course I love vegetables, and I especially enjoy barley.

I also love throwing all the ingredients in a slow cooker and going on about my day. 
This recipe has carrots, sweet potato, green beans, celery, onion, canned tomatoes, and barley.

The result is a very satisfying bowl of soup. You can find a printable version of the recipe HERE

I will make a couple of changes the next time around. The addition of a bay leaf would be nice, and 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms would also be a great. Mushrooms and barley just seem to go together to me.  

Hope you'll give the recipe a try. You might want to make up a pot and invite a few friends over for a bowl. I think they'll love you for it. I know I would :) And If you want an easy dessert to add to the meal, try out the Apple Tart I posted HERE.  

Happy Fall!

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Friday, September 23, 2016

The Dressmaker

I had the wonderful opportunity to see a screening of The Dressmaker on Wednesday evening. While the clothes are central to the movie, it's about so much more. A bit of a Shakespearean tale of love and revenge. But, it also is a lesson on hate, jealousy and how both can destroy those who seek to destroy another.   

Kate Winslet plays the role superbly. I loved that she is not this tiny little wisp of a woman, but a woman with curves, and it's the curves that really make the clothes come to life. There's a line early in the movie where one of the town's people says, "a dress can't change anything." Kate Winslet's character replies, "watch and learn."  

I love this picture. The power of a sewing machine and how it can not only transform a piece of fabric, but a person's entire life. 

I've included the trailer, In my opinion, the trailer really doesn't capture the true essence of the movie.   

There's a motto that I live by, "No weapon formed against me will prosper." What I have learned, is that for a period of time, those who hate us and want to see ill come our way may seem to have the upper hand. But, in time, in time, right will prevail. The truth will be made known. And this is the true essence of the movie.

The movie is funny, dark, haunting, sad, and uplifting. This is a movie that I look forward to watching again. It's a rich story that I think will have a little something different to say each time I see it. 

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Wednesday Showcase Gift

It seems that when life deals up something a little difficult, it always gives you something sweet as well.

Before I explain, I would first like to say thank you to so very many of you who left a note on THIS post where I talked about the difficulties of the summer and the negative Wednesday Showcase experience. Your well wishes, support, and concern so very deeply touched my heart. Thank you really is not enough, but I do thank you.

So the sweet, and it's not only a little sweet, but super sweet :) 
I received a message from Kim of The Material Lady letting me know that she and  "The Management" were planning a trip to Chicago. I offered an airplane ride as I think that seeing Chicago from the air is just the best. They jumped at the chance! You can read about their experience HERE, and see a few pictures as well. The picture below was taken post flight, so they survived! 

A word about Kim. See the smile on her face. It's not just a smile, it's who she is. Energetic, fun, and so full of life. She's preparing for a half marathon and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if she doesn't pass up many who are half her age. 

Now I just have to share the incredible gifts she brought along. Oh my, it was better than Christmas!

A gorgeous piece of Linton fabric woven in England!!! Either side could be used, but I told Kim that I like the hairy side ;), which you see in the picture below.

It even came with a label. There's enough to do something truly special, I just don't know exactly what yet.

A giant thimble all the way from the Victoria and Albert Museum gift shop. Once I finally get my studio in shape, this will be the loveliest reminder of our visit.

There was a piece of candy, a big piece of candy actually, and a mug from their hometown. All such beautiful and completely unexpected gifts.

I've thought more about the Wednesday Showcase posts and what they have meant to me over the years. I have met some of the most wonderful people. Taking the time to really go through someone's blog, you get a very special glimpse of not only what they like to make, but who they are, and quite honestly, I don't think I want to give that up. For now though, I am going to continue to take a little break. As I said, I am working on something that has been on my mind and heart for quite some time and I think you will enjoy it. I hope so anyway. 

Before I go, I have a secret to share, so shhhh! Kim refers to her husband as "The Management." Guess what, he's really just a very sweet teddy bear. Spending the day with the 2 of them was a priceless experience. It was truly a Wednesday Showcase gift :)

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016


I just couldn't resist the subtle reference to Marlon Brando yelling for Stella in the movie, a Street Car Named Desire :) This Stella has a much brighter, and happier story, the Stella Weekender Bag from Swoon Patterns. The bag I made for the magazine will soon have a new home. My niece was over this past weekend, loved the bag, so of course nothing will make me happier than to send it home with her. She loves anything vintage, and since this bag is made out of barkcloth, it has a bit of a vintage vibe. 

The next post is up on the Sew News blog, and you can find it HERE. Bunny of La Sewista has been working on a Stella bag that she is giving as a diaper bag to a new mom. Here's a glimpse of her lovely work,

Look closely at the stitching she did on the handle. I really like the added reinforcement that she did. 

When Bunny told me that she was working on the bag, I asked her if she would share some of her thoughts. You know, two heads are always better than one ;) One point that she brought up is that while the Stella bag is perfect for the addition of piping, no instructions are given in the pattern. So in this week's post, I tried to walk you step by step through the process of how to make piping and how to add it to the bag, as well as how much piping you will need.  

Bunny also found a wonderful group on Facebook called, Swoon Patterns Group. It's a closed group, but all you have to do is ask to join and you'll be accepted. There's a lot of great info on the page about all the wonderful bag patterns from Swoon. In fact, the devotees call themselves "Swooners." What fun! 
I added a little info on a cutting aide that Bunny shared and you can find directions on how to find it on the post I did for Sew News.

I'm excited about my new bag. I had just enough fabric. This one is going to be really bright and fun.

 If you've never made piping, I encourage you to give it a try. It's fun to make, and it really adds such a nice touch to bags and clothing alike.

If you are making a bag, let me know and send a picture, I would love to see and post your work!

Happy Sewing!

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday Morning Inspiration/Shirt Inspiration, Let's Borrow From The Boys

A few years ago, there was a commercial on television that I absolutely loved. The wife had called her husband. When he answered the telephone, he was standing there in a pair of sweatpants and a matching jacket. Apparently, it was the wife's birthday, she told him that she wanted to be taken out for dinner. She went on to tell him that she wanted him to wear a pair of pants that zipped, and a jacket that did not! Hilarious!!! While my husband is not a sweatpant kind of a guy, there have been times that I have told him that I would not leave the house with him if he did not change his clothes :/   

While many of us have struggled with men who are happy to wear clothes that are far from inspirational, men's clothing can offer some fabulous ideas that we can incorporate into our own wardrobes. 

I came across this Alexander McQueen men's shirt on Pinterest and thought it was amazing. What I especially like is the idea of using a border print in a regular button down type of a shirt. Makes a basic shirt really special. 

Here's another. This time the border print is used top down.

Even in a t-shirt the border print looks great. 

I loved the color blocking in this shirt.

Another color blocking idea. Love how it was taken into the sleeves.

A basic shirt that was given the look of a raglan sleeve. Here I love how the color blocking was taken into the collar. The front pocket also offers an interesting design detail.

What a great use of an old tie. 

Check out the detail on this collar. 

An interesting pocket surprise.

And finally, I love this shirt. Notice the flange on the front tab and how it was echoed in the pocket. 

So, ideas for you, and if you are lucky, maybe a few ideas for your husband too!!!

Have a great week!

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