mmmm, cake!

I was introduced to this sweet little pattern by my good friend Denise from Canoodlings. She usually gets to the good stuff first. I’m an expert procrastinator, so even though I purchased this last year sometime, I didn’t get around to actually cutting into it until a few days ago. I had the knit fabric from Girl Charlee for about as long. I picked out this knit print because I’m still super in love with all things triangle. And blue! LOVE blue. I will be honest though, this fabric isn’t the softest knit I ever worked with. In fact, it’s downright stiff. Adding extra fabric softener in the laundry didn’t help much, but perhaps over time? Fingers crossed.

Since I’m new to this pattern, there was the usual learning curve. This pattern, which you can buy here, is available in a pdf printable or a tissue pattern. I always, ALWAYS spend the few extra bucks and get the tissue pattern. Since I only have a standard paper size inkjet printer at home, not only will it cost precious expensive ink to print out my size pieces, but taping the pieces together doesn’t thrill me either. It’s worth it to me to have the actual pattern.

I did find the garment easy enough to put together. I came across a little trouble attaching the skirt portions to the midriff piece however. (I had to seam rip a lot of stitches at one point.) But again, that wasn’t necessarily the fault of the pattern, it was more or less my inexperience with it. And well, dress-making in general. I’m still learning! ALWAYS LEARNING!

Another issue I had was the shape of the front bodice pieces. In the pattern photos and EVERY other incarnation of this garment I’ve come across online, it’s just a straight diagonal cross-over v-neck. But somehow mine had this weird curved edge by the collar-bone? It was certainly odd and honestly I still have no idea why mine came out that shape. I mean, I cut the pattern exactly. I think I’m going to make the dress again in another print and see if the same thing happens. At first I wasn’t sure how it would come out with that odd curve, but really in the end, I kind of like the way it looks. It adds a little uniqueness to an otherwise basic neckline!

Lastly, I most definitely had to tack down the cross-over bodice. Trying it on as is, it gaped very badly and made it look sloppy on me. Once I top-stitched the V, it lays nice and smooth, a plus for my well-endowed bust. I highly recommend this step, especially as a lot of the finished dresses I’ve seen online has the wearer adding a cami/tank underneath because of the low-cut neckline. I LOATHE wearing an additional layer under my dresses so I’m glad I found a comfortable solution.

A few pics:

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90s fashion

Look I can’t help it. I adore 90s fashion. I LIVED 90s fashion!

I started high school in the fall of 1988, we were just leaving the neon and shoulder pads of the 80s behind. Good riddance! In a few short months I was to dip my feet into the horrible world of Jersey-bred guido. Togs from Merry Go Round and Joyce Leslie. Z. Cavaricci anyone? Thank GOD that phase was short lived for me. Once I hit my junior year, it was men’s blazers and polka dots and crushed velvet and Doc Martens and chokers and daisy print!

I know there’s a fashion rule somewhere that states if you lived through the trend the first time around, do not, under any circumstance, partake in it when it eventually comes around again. Rules are made to be broken! And really, that rule appears super ageist by the way.

Long live daisy print!

I will say, my bff Denise actually made this dress first. She used our go-to pattern, the Moneta. Once she sewed hers together, she sent me a selfie of her wearing it. I instantly fell in love and had to, HAD TO, find my own daisy print knit jersey.

Enter Girl Charlee.

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I took this baby on vacay* with me this summer. It was the best little dress! Packs easy, is SUPER comfortable and is totally adorable! I wore it both with and without the belt.

*One of the books I read at the beach this summer was Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?. I picked it up for two bucks at our recent Friends of the Library book sale. Mostly because I love funny women and I’m a bit of The Office superfan. Having lusted after my daisy print fabric and worn my newest Moneta with cheer, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the following line, found in her chapter: When You’re Not Skinny, This is What People Want You To Wear

“Daisy Print: I think there’s something about daisies or daisy print that stylists consider synonymous with cheerful, simple, fat woman.”

Probably somewhat accurate?
To thine own self be true.

scenes from Handmade Arlington

Another successful show marked down in the books!

Despite the rainy weather this past Saturday, the Handmde Arlington event went off without any noticeable glitches or hitches.

The organizers did a wonderful job of getting browsers and shoppers to come on in, all throughout the day. It was so nice to meet so many lovely people! That includes some of my fellow vendors. I got to chat with Julie from Jules’ Jewelry, Lisa from Royal Revolution Crowns, Eileen O’Brien who does beautiful mosaic work, Robin from Heartfelt by Robin and Kate from Mirajean Designs. Kate has some wonderful handcrafted fabrics that I immediately loved, being the fabric addict that I am. I hope to get my hands on some of her textiles and use them in my work in the future.

It was such a great event and I honestly can’t wait to do it again next year!

Here’s some snaps of my set-up this year:

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better than take-out

Truly!

I came across this recipe by way of Buzzfeed of all places. You know how they have all of those list posts? I love a good list post, especially when it focuses on food. This is the post right here. Funny enough, it’s title is Easy Weeknight Dinners Your Kids Will Like. My kids though? Yeah, not so much. To say I live with two very picky eaters is an understatement and honestly I can write a whole post about it. Nee, a whole BOOK about it. It would be boring, but oh I’ve got the experience and content to author it, I do.

But back to the good.

I wound up pinning a few of the recipes, and hopefully I’ll give those a go before they fall into my pinterest food wasteland.

The details of this dish:

fresh broccoli florets
diced chicken breast
brown rice

And a fantastic little sauce.

chickbroc

I will admit, it took me slightly longer than 12 minutes. Brown rice takes over 40! But still this was relatively quick and it was very easy and it was VERY delicious.

You can find the original posted recipe here.

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
salt and pepper
1 bunch broccoli, chopped into small florets
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and mostly cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking, make your sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, cornstarch, garlic, ginger and sesame oil until combined. Set aside.

Once the chicken is browned, add the broccoli and stir to combine. Continue cooking for an additional 3 minutes, until the broccoli is bright green. Stir in the soy sauce mixture, and cook for an additional 1 minute until the sauce has thickened.

Remove from heat and serve immediately, garnished with green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

I only made three small modifications. I didn’t have rice wine vinegar, so I used apple cider vinegar in the sauce. Instead of just one crushed fresh garlic clove, I used 4 small ones. I LOVE garlic! Further, I didn’t have any ginger on hand, so that I completely omitted.

Appearing this Saturday!

Here’s where I’ll be in just a few short days!

swansonad

This years is expected to be even bigger and better than last years event. (Which was great by the way!) They even had food trucks coming in. Foooooodd truuuuccckkks!

current work

I’m working hard to bulk up my inventory after the rush of holiday shows! Just a few snaps of my completed items. Only the tip of the iceberg!

3ringbinders

coffeesleeves

weezippy

kittymakeup

scrunchies

sachets

leafzippy

tulipzippy

Flowers and polka dots and kitties and oodles of adorable fabric prints! I’m so in love with color and nature this spring!

DS zippy pouch

My 10yo LOVES any and all of the DS game systems that Nintendo has put out over the years. I think we’ve had just about all of them. From the first incarnation to the 3DS and now the 2DS (which, weird right?). We’ve had a few cases that worked okay. Though they never have enough room for the game, the power cord, and the cartridges, so it winds up being annoying that things don’t get to stay together when they’re not in use or we’re traveling. I can’t tell you how many times those teeny tiny cartridges came spilling out of a ripped ziploc baggie. Frustrating!

I don’t know why it took me so long to make a case for all this trouble, but sometimes the most obvious things slip right by our view. I mean, I’m the queen of zippy pouches! I’ve made hundreds over the years. Perhaps even over a thousand? Could be!

So here’s one more, heehee

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I made this using cotton linen for the exterior and cotton lawn for the lining. I interfaced it with fusible fleece and added the wool felt DS applique. It’s smaller in size than a piece of paper and holds everything together!

chicken sausage tortellini

I came across this one-skillet dinner one day about a month ago. Don’t even ask me how/where/why. It came upon my screen and I thought, yes please! (I mean, I’m sure it was on Pinterest somewhere, but I can’t even find the original pin. Oh wells!) The original post was from last October, so seriously, I must have been sitting on this one a while. You know how you bookmark and pin stuff that you SWEAR you’re going to make? Hundreds of them yo.

Here’s what I like about this dish: it’s easy and SUPER flavorful. Need any other reasons to whip this up on a weeknight?

sausagetortellini

On to the details!

2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 package pre-cooked chicken Italian sausage (4 links)
1 small shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 cups tomato sauce (I used homemade, because it’s better!)
1/2 cup heavy cream
18 ounces cheese tortellini (fresh, not frozen)
kosher salt & pepper
fresh basil

I’m going to include my own instructions because I altered it just slightly for my own preferences and tastes.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat
Cut sausage links into coins, place in olive oil, let them brown for about 10-12 minutes. (You want a nice caramelization on the edges.
While the sausage is cooking, mince your shallot and garlic.
Remove sausage, let the oil drain off of them by placing them on paper towels.
Leave the bits in the pan!
Put a splash more of olive oil in pan.
Throw in the shallots and let them sweat for about 3 minutes.
Add in your minced garlic.
Give it another minutes.
Your pan is getting brown now, but don’t worry!
De-glaze the pan with the chicken broth. Release all those flavorful bits!
Slowly stir in the tomato sauce and the cream.
Add about 1/2 tsp each of black pepper and kosher salt.
Carefully add in the tortellini and sausage.
Give everything a stir.
Lower heat to simmer.
Cover.
In 12 minutes, it’s all ready!

To serve, chiffonade some fresh basil leaves and sprinkle on each serving.
You can also add some freshly grated Percorino Romano cheese. Yum!

I serve this alongside steamed asparagus with lemon zest.

An easy, lovely, delicious 20 minute meal, enjoy!

Washington-Lee Holiday Bazaar

After having such a successful event at TC Williams a few weeks ago, I’ve really had my work cut out for me producing more items for my inventory. Especially with the Washington-Lee Bazaar happening in mere days! I’m making lots of fresh new goodies for my booth with super cool and adorable fabrics. I’m excited and exhausted!

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