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Spring Sewing Swap Reveal!

26 Jun


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Hi, friends!  As usual, I am a bit behind on posting things — my lovely parcel from the Spring Sewing Swap is no exception, considering that it is now officially summer!  Early last week I had the fun of receiving a nice little package all the way from Australia — from my new sewing friend Shelly at Shelly’s D.I.Y. Style.

Shelly and I chatted a bit before the swap and realized that we share similar tastes and sewing goals. That made shopping for Shelly both easy and hard — easy because I could buy her things that I would like myself, but hard because there was so much I wanted to send!  (If you want to see what I decided on, head over to Shelly’s post and check it out.)

So without further ado, let me show you the wonderful things Shelly sent all the way around the globe for me:

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1. Two yards of beautiful pink cotton lawn which is likely to become a summer top from a pattern I have been asked to test. The fabric looks a bit wrinkly now because I have already washed it for sewing :)

2. An adorable set of flower print buttons (perhaps to go with said top?).

3. Some needle gripper pads.  I have never seen these before but I will definitely love using them — I can see them saving me a lot of headache!

4. A new retractable measuring tape.  Shelly must have a spy in my sewing room because I just broke my favorite retractable tape and have looked at a new one every time I go to the store but haven’t bought one.  It’s a good thing because the one Shelly sent is so much better than what I’ve seen around here.

5. Aqua and brown bias tape.  I love print bias tape and this one has such a soft and supple hand I can’t wait to find a project to incorporate it into.

6. Red and white trim.  Red is one of my favorite colors so I know this will be easy to use.

7. And last but not least, that cute little ladybug you see is a darling thread cutter that can be stuck onto my sewing machine.  How adorable is that??

Thanks so much, Shelly, for sending me my lovely treats — I am so excited about giving them all a good home.  And thanks to Kerry at Kestrel Makes for organizing this swap.  It’s so nice to receive a sewing-related gift from someone who knows about sewing.  I look forward to doing it again soon!

6 Airplanes, 3 Days, and 1 Gertie!

6 Feb

Drumroll, please!  The winner of my One Year Blogiversary Giveaway is… Breenie!!! Breenie, please contact me at susiehomemakermd [at] gmail [dot] com so I will know where to send your Craftsy gift certificate for a free course of your choice.  Congratulations and thanks to everyone who commented!

You may recall me mentioning last week that I was going to a workshop with the lovely and talented Gretchen Hirsch of Blog for Better Sewing and Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing fame. Bright and early Friday morning I boarded a plane for Monterey, California, and three flights and nine hours later I arrived on the beautiful and sunny west coast. I let the rental car agent talk me into upgrading to a convertible and I headed with the top down to the peaceful and wooded grounds of Asilomar Conference Center, a state park that was built in the 1910s as a women’s camp. After unpacking and resting for a bit, everyone met in our sewing lab for introductions.

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There were about 24 workshoppers in all plus our excellent instructors, Gretchen and Heather Ross. Heather was an amiable hostess and was a natural at making everyone feel welcomed and like an old friend. We were also assisted by another Katrina (how often does that happen?!?), who worked at Hart’s Fabrics in Santa Cruz, and she was kind enough to tell us all about their Super Bowl Sunday sale. So not only did we gets lots of sewing and socializing done, we also got to go on a field trip to an awesome fabric store!

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Me and Lauren in our mid-construction shirtwaists

Before the workshop most of us introduced ourselves via email. Through those communications, I met Lauren and realized that we had similar sewing interests and were both planning to work on the shirtwaist dress from Gretchen’s book. We chatted back and forth about our muslins and fabric choices in the weeks leading up to the workshop and we were neighbors in the sewing lab. I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet Lauren and hope one day I can make pretty bound buttonholes like hers!

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Mid-construction fitting check

I chose to work on the shirtwaist dress from Gretchen’s book during the workshop because I have always loved the look of a classic shirtdress but have had a hard time finding one to fit off the rack. I worked on a muslin prior to the workshop and only had to make a few tweaks once I got to California. My alterations included a FBA, lowering the darts (a lot!), shortening the bodice (a tad), a forward shoulder adjustment, bringing in the shoulders, and lowering the armscye. I also shortened the hem. I didn’t quite finish the dress during the workshop so I will wait until I complete it to give you my official review.

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Please excuse my darts — we didn’t have a tailor’s ham!

But here’s you a sneak peek. If you look closely, you will see I only have one sleeve sewn on! :)

Gretchen was so nice to work with — she is the reason I chose to attend the workshop.  The week before I left for California, I emailed Gretchen to see if she would bring the actual shirtwaist dress from the book and she graciously agreed.  We all oohed and ahhed over her beautiful creation and teased to stick it in our suitcases when she wasn’t looking.  Her fitting advice was spot on and she made sure to spend time with each sewist in the room over the course of the weekend.  And, yes, the pink hair is awesome in person!

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Do you see the beach deer?!?

On Sunday afternoon we took a tour of the grounds with the park ranger and actually looked at the ocean (we had all been way too busy sewing!).

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That’s my cute little rental car there in the middle of the picture.

It was a gorgeous day so after our final goodbyes, I put the top down on my little car and headed to Santa Cruz for the sale at Hart’s fabrics. I ran into Gretchen, Lauren, and at least a half-dozen of the other ladies while I was there. I doubt Mr. Homemaker reads this far down so let’s talk about what I bought. I racked up on some awesome solid color knits, cotton/silk blend, rayon challis, and silk chiffon.

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Thankfully Hart’s was willing to ship my fabrics home for me, so when they come in later this week, I will show you what I got.

Once I closed down Hart’s, I headed to San Jose to visit my favorite department store, Nordstrom. I picked up a few shirts, belts, and shoes, and they, too, were willing to ship. Thank goodness because I otherwise would have had to buy a new suitcase!

I finished off the night with a delicious and decadent dinner for one at a charming little restaurant in Pacific Grove called Passionfish. I had a scallop appetizer, crab and avocado salad, Wagyu beef brisket entrée, and Meyer lemon panna cotta for dessert. I was stuffed!

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I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the beautiful Monterey peninsula. Traveling across the country by myself to spend the weekend with like-minded women who don’t mind talking about sewing over dinner or who will gladly pin you into your dress and give you fitting advice was refreshing and a needed change of pace. Heather Ross puts on a great retreat and I can’t wait to join her and Gretchen again soon!

Check out my Flickr set for more photos.

1 Year Blogiversary Giveaway!

24 Jan

As I mentioned yesterday, I am celebrating one year of blogging about my cooking and sewing adventures.  I am amazed that I have accomplished all that I have — I have baked fancy cakes, perfected roasted chicken, whipped up some tasty cocktails, made some cute tops, conquered a princess seam sloper, and sewed a boutique-worthy dress.  I have also enjoyed “meeting” other bloggers, helping me broaden my sewing skills and exposing me to things I may not have otherwise come across.

In the coming weeks/months, I hope to share with you all the finished projects that have been hanging in my closet for a while now as well as the ones that are just getting finished up.  My life is pretty hectic, so finding time to sew is hard enough, but finding time to get good photos and blog about them is even harder.  I hope with longer days ahead, this will not be as much of an issue.  Right now I have about 6 unblogged garments to show you.  Perhaps I will aim to present 1 every two weeks?

 

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In the kitchen, Mr. Homemaker and I have recently subscribed to an organic produce delivery service and receive a box every other week.  So far we have been very pleased and find ourselves eating at home a lot more often.  I will try to share more recipes with you that involve fresh produce from our box as well as go through some of my entertaining essentials.

 

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Well, enough of that.  Now for the giveaway I mentioned yesterday.  I am giving away, compliments of me, a gift certificate for a free Craftsy class to one lucky reader.  All you have to do is comment on this post and tell me which of my posts in the past year has been your favorite and what you would like to see me post in the upcoming year.  This giveaway is open to readers anywhere in the world (the prize will be provided via e-mail).  If you aren’t familiar with Craftsy, it is an online learning platform that provides video courses for many different crafts (baking, cake decorating, sewing, knitting, jewelry making, gardening, etc.).  You can watch the classes at your convenience and on your own time and they never expire.  Even if you don’t win, they offer several free mini classes, so it’s worth checking out.

Please note, this giveaway is not being sponsored by Craftsy.  I am purchasing this prize myself to celebrate my one year Blogiversary.  Yay!!!

The giveaway will close next Thursday, January 31, and I will announce the winner shortly thereafter.  Good luck and thanks for reading!

Weekend Round Up

18 Feb
 

Don’t you hate it when you finally have a day off and you still wake up at 6:30 AM?  Today is my first day off after 12 days straight of nursery rounds, office hours, and after-hours calls and I was looking forward to snoozing until at least 8!  Oh well.  I got up and ate my usual Nutella toast and decided to let y’all know the things I’ve been working on over the past few weeks.  I have to run out for a new pair of fabric shears today but hopefully after that I will get some of these unfinished projects wrapped up!

From the Sewing Room

Here are some of my current fabrics under construction:

 
This was my first time scanning fabric. I promise there isn’t a stain in the middle.
  This Marc Jacobs stretch cotton will involve this cute peplum — that’s all I’m telling you for now!  It’s ready to be finished now that my wonderful alterations expert, Lisa, helped me finish fitting it.
 
 
 

This stretch Tahari suiting has shades of fuschia, coral, and green on a peachy background.  I am practicing lining and seam finishes with this one.  I hope to wear it to work one day this week so I will show you pics when it is done.  Please notice my lovely fuschia serging thread.  I finally got brave enough to change the thread on my serger all by myself! :)

 
 
 

These dots have been underway the longest.  They are the skirt for my Bombshell Dress from the Sew Retro class on Craftsy.  I am having fitting issues with the bodice so I may go ahead and finish the skirt to wear until I can get some professional help with the bodice.

From the Kitchen 

On the cooking front, I made three really good recipes from the interwebs this week but didn’t have a chance to snap a pic of any of them.  The first one is a regular in my rotation.

 I like Tiny Urban Kitchen‘s method of steak preparation because it eliminates all the guess work.  While my husband is usually in charge of cooking the steaks in our house (he is the steak whisperer, after all), occasions arise where I may be called on to complete the task.  Enter steak prep method for the immensely OCD :O

 To accompany our steaks, I tried Ina Garten’s roasted asparagus.  It was perfect for a weeknight meal (and would also be a great low maintenance side for a big dinner party).  This is super easy and involves tossing trimmed asparagus with olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper, and roasting on a pan at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  There.  Now you don’t even need to click the link.

Photo look too good to be taken by me? You're right -- it's from Bo's Bowl.

Finally, I made Bo’s Bowl’s Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins to use up some waning strawberries from the farmer’s market — delish!  I took the leftovers to the nurses at the hospital and they were gone within minutes.  Be sure to check out Bo’s blog — he also hails from the Heart of Dixie.

So that’s it for this week.  Stay tuned for a fully-loaded Mardi Gras recipe just for you in the next few days, as well as some fun Mardi Gras trivia.  Have a good Saturday!

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