Monday, April 25, 2011

Karen's favorites

There are three things I can't start my day without. Two of them are from Arbonne and if you aren't familiar you're really missing out. Arbonne is not new but in my area it's fairly new to me. Their products are phenomenally made and who doesn't love their tag line - pure, safe, beneficial. That's says it all for me. I used to just pick-up my cosmetics and personal products at the big-box store but after studying nutrition I understand what you put on your skin really does enter your system. So that is my plug and if you are more curious you can contact Lauren who is a very helpful Arbonne rep at and visit the main site -

1) Awaken body lotion - put this on right after you towel dry out of the shower. It disappears quickly into your skin and leaves you moistened and soft all day long without any greasy feeling. It's great for guys, too as the scent is very lightly citrus / earthy. Hubby loves it!

2) The Arbonne eye shadow formula is the best I've ever tried. I can't live without the color Sand - a great neutral - never creases or falls into wrinkles like some shadows can do.

3) fresh Sugar Lemon Eau de Parfum spray is the BEST! fresh is the brand and their tag line is Feel Good Beauty. I do feel good when wearing it. :) This company introduced using sugar as an essential ingredient in their skin and body calories. Ha! You can find their products at Sephora stores. Stop in to smell something delicious soon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vintage Gingham - peasant top

Ta-da! This is the big reveal. I am feeling really excited about this little addition to my summer wardrobe.

If you remember back to my earlier post on March 28. Mena over at Sew Weekly inspired me to do something with my stash. My stash included a pattern of some cute peasant style tops I've had in the closet for years. Then on a fun thrifting jaunt with my daughter I snatched up some green - big bold vintage green gingham checks that is.
To be honest I plucked two cute fabrics that day totaling 5+ yards at total price of just over $2.50. I intended to make a cute dress with the solid green linen-like cotton but the darn buttonholes kicked my butt. I even had hubby in the dining room helping me sort through all my "extra" parts that came with my sewing machine (a long time ago) that I never ventured to experiment with - namely those required for buttonholes and zippers. We had the parts and the instructional guide open, reading, reading... Yes - I was the poster child of the straight-stitch, but hey, over the years I made a lot of darling curtains, tablecloths, quilt tops, baby blankets and pullover Halloween costumes without ever needing these attachments.

But now - at nearly 50 years of age - I wanted more. I wanted to stop avoiding the patterns that really appealed to me, and yet here I was stuck, frustrated and feeling low. Now I had blogged about that dress with buttons down the front so I had to meet the challenge. I decided to take a little break and use the gingham to meet the stash challenge and make a peasant top for summer. This would boost my sense of accomplishment, right?
Imagine my surprise when after cutting out the pattern I read the step-by-step instructions and did a double-take when I saw ...mark the buttonholes! What? Buttonholes? Where, oh where, could a pullover peasant blouse with drawstring neckline require buttonholes? It turns out the two openings that you feed the draw string through are actually buttonholes. Time to meet the challenge head on.
After asking a few friends - quilters - no help. I found a Sewing Center in a neighboring town where I took my machine in to complain it would not make buttonholes. It must need repairs or adjustments I told the woman at the register. Immediately she identified that I did not have my bobbin installed correctly - I was red faced with embarrassment but she was so kind. She talked about a "get to know your machine" class coming up in May. May? I told her I know my machine very well, just not the buttonhole attachments. LOL. Long story short she invited me that very night to an ongoing open workshop style class where people work on their own projects every Monday night, and she is there and available to call on for help. She felt very confident she could help me learn to make a buttonhole with my own machine.
Well friends, the rest is history as you can see by the pictures. I made two small and perfect buttonholes - easy peasy! Thank you Nancy! I even had the correct foot all along but just couldn't identify it from the instruction photo's. I plan to continue with the Monday night workshops - it reminds me of the sewing part of high school Home-Ec which is a fond memory for me. Some of the other ladies have been coming for 8+ years! I'm really pleased with how the little top came out and I really love the cotton crocheted lace trim.
Next project - the button down shirt waist dress.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

41 Years Ago Today

Today I was struck by the fact that in 1970 the movie Midnight Cowboy starring John Voight and Dustin Hoffman was awarded 3 Academy Awards - Best Picture - Best Director - Best Screenplay. It remains the only X Rated film to receive an Oscar. That just jumps out at you - X rated film. I am fairly certain that the ratings have softened and that this movie would no longer carry the same rating. Have you seen it? It really is a touching tale of the unlikely friendship of two down and out souls, Joe Buck from Texas and Rico Rizzo from the Bronx. It's one of those movies that sticks with you. The music is also phenomenal with the great John Barry composing the theme.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Beekman Love

I got my order in! I can't wait to receive the jars of Cajeta from Beekman 1802. Honestly, I had never even heard the term Cajeta until this week. It's a thick goats milk caramel sauce. The Beekman Boys have their own goats at the farm. I'll confess here to my fondness for the Fabulous Beekman Boys show. I get to live out one of my alternative dreams (you may have seen my older post ...Somewhere in Texas there is a Blueberry Farm With My Name on It) through them - actually it looks pretty rough, so better "the boys" than me. Grin. The show is sweet and it's a recently discovered guilty pleasure of mine thanks to on-demand from Comcast and a few days spent resting my back. I also have a small personal connection in that hubby and I took our family to Sharon Springs, NY to stay at a B & B there while we visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in the mid 90's. It's such a beautiful area of NY and we had a view of the Hudson Valley from our balcony - stunning.
Back to the Cajeta - I'm particularly excited about the Hot Habanero variety - ordered 2 of those. I'll bring it to a Friday night gathering with friends. One of our friends has a habit of making delicious ice cream from scratch and this will be a perfect topping to try with friends.

If you have on-demand I encourage you to reach out and perhaps try something that isn't on at a time you normally watch TV, something that might not be something you would typically watch. There is always Billy The Exterminator for more mindless entertainment - come on - Billy rocks, you know it. Ha ha!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pattern Selected

This is just a quick update to mention that I found a pattern to use with that solid green fabric you saw in my Thrifty Discovery post. I love this pattern and it should be a challenge for me as well. It's been more than a decade since I attempted buttonholes and those feature prominently in this adorable dress. So here you have it - drum roll...........Butterick B5600! Wish me luck!