Archive | May, 2013

Me Made May ’13 — Part 2

20 May

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Well, the month of May is almost 2/3 of the way done and I’m proud to report that I am holding strong on my Me Made pledge.  I have even managed not to repeat any items so far!  I will likely have to repeat something this week, though, as I am running out of items and I can’t sew fast enough to keep up (but don’t think I haven’t been trying!).  So without further ado, here’s May 10-19:

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Me Made: Sandra Betzina Vogue 1045 blouse
RTW: Citizens of Humanity Jeans, Cole Haan purse, New York and Co. necklace, red patent flats

 

May 10 (Friday) — We joined some friends and attended our local annual Rotary Steak Cookoff.  While the location was moved this year because of threatening weather, the grills were still going strong and we enjoyed tasting lots of different steaks.  In this photo, I am posing with my friend Catherine in front of one of the team’s displays.  It was too funny not to have a photo-op!

 

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Me Made: Renfrew #1
RTW: Kluster necklace, Citizens jeans, coral Cole Haan wedges

 

May 11 (Saturday) — Since this was the first weekend my husband and I have had to ourselves in a while, we drove to Pensacola, Florida (just across the state line) and had lunch at a cute little burger joint downtown called the Tin Cow.  They also had delicious milkshakes and I can’t pass up a milkshake.  After our lunch, we went to Joe Patti’s to pick up fresh sea scallops for Mothers’ Day dinner, to Four Winds market for steaks, and then met up with Matt’s dad and sister for dinner at a local Italian restaurant.

 

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Me Made: Simplicity 1808 shorts
RTW: New shoes T-shirt from Nordstrom

 

May 12 (Sunday/Mothers’ Day) — For the majority of the day, Mr. Homemaker and I piddled around the house doing chores and preparing food for dinner guests.  That evening my parents, sister, nieces, future brother-in-law, and friends Leslie and Danny came over for surf and turf.  Matt grilled the steaks and I prepared the scallops from Ad Hoc at Home that I have posted before as well as a Caesar salad and baked potatoes.  My sister brought bread, dessert, and sweet tea.  It was great to spend time with my family and friends.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Simplicity 2648
RTW: LOFT jacket, Nordstrom belt, Cole Haan wedges, The Limited necklace

 

May 13 (Monday) — Back to work this day and wearing a pre-blog Simplicity 2648 in a ponteroma knit.  This dress is a little big now but it’s okay when covered with a belt and jacket.

 

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Me Made: Vogue 8032 top
RTW: Old white belt, Nordstrom pencil skirt, Nine West pumps

 

May 14 (Tuesday) — Sorry for the blurry nighttime iPhone photo.  This day was just business as usual with a full day in the office.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Margarita Tank Top
RTW: Citizens jeans, black flats, Kenneth Cole necklace, Ray Ban sunglasses

 

May 15 (Wednesday) — My day off was spent sewing a new top (see May 17), getting a hair cut, and seeing a house with my realtor.  This tank top was refashioned from one of my husband’s old T-shirts using the A La Mode Margarita Tank Top pattern.  I haven’t blogged this top but I think it is a nice little pattern for a tank.  Next time I make it, though, I will lengthen it a bit and lower the arm holes a tad as they are a bit constricting.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Jalie 2921
RTW: Kenneth Cole ponte pants; red patent flats; Kenneth Cole necklace

 

May 16 (Thursday) — Back to the office this day but nothing exciting to report.  This Jalie 2921 is unblogged and largely unworn because I don’t like the ties.  But when I pulled it out to wear it, I decided to try wrapping the ties around and knotting them in the back and I loved the effect it gave the top so I think this will be getting a lot more wear now.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged, brand new Simplicity 1664 top
RTW: LOFT capris, Kluster necklace, Donald Pliner red patent slides

 

May 17 (Friday) — TGIF and the weather was beautiful so my stepson and I put the top down on the convertible and drove to the local Marriott Grand Hotel to take pictures of my brand new Simplicity 1664 top.  Can I just tell you, I LOVE THIS TOP!  It fits true to the pattern sizing (must be because it is a “Threads” pattern and not standard Big 4).  I didn’t do a full bust adjustment, just graded one size up in the bust area.  It sewed up really easily and was completed in 2 evenings’ time.  I will give it a dedicated blog post soon.

 

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I offered Kris $5 if he could catch a mullet jumping in the background of one of my photos.  Well, I owe him $5 now — can you see the fish?

 

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My handsome stepson/photographer, Kristofer

 

 

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The grounds at the Hotel are beautiful.  Mr. Homemaker and I try to find a reason to have a weekend staycation there at least once or twice a year.

 

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Me Made: McCall’s 6654 skirt
RTW: Nordstrom chambray shirt, Silpada necklace, Frye shoes, old belt

 

May 18 (Saturday) — I have been on call this weekend so that keeps me close to home and pretty free of major plans.  On the up side, though, it allows lots of time for sewing and other crafty pursuits!  I whipped up this skirt to wear in the span of about an hour and that included time spent waffling about which size to cut and measuring the pattern pieces.  You can read more about my experience in my last post.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Vogue 8887 halter top
RTW: Nanette Lepore skirt, Kluster necklace, Steinmart shoes

 

May 19 (Sunday) — This is also a new, unblogged top — Vogue 8887.  I sewed this halter up in a silk I got on sale from Sawyer Brook.  This pattern gave me fits and I am not 100% happy with the final product.  At least in this photo you can’t see all the things that drive me crazy.  I will try to get this one blogged soon, too.  My husband snapped this photo in the middle of our picturesque downtown.  Our city swaps out the flowers on all the street corners regularly but the May planting is always one of my favorites with the star-gazer lilies.  We even have flowers on top of our trash cans 🙂

Well, that’s all for now.  We’ll see how many more days I can hold out before I have to repeat something!  Thanks for reading 🙂

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McCall’s 6654 — Knit Maxi Skirt

19 May

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Well, friends, I have been on a sewing spree this week!  Me Made May has been Motivate Me May for me!  I have completed three projects this week, this skirt being the most recent.  I think I have been so eager to complete projects because I have made it 18 days into the month without repeating an item.  While that wasn’t part of my original pledge, I am amazed that I have made it this far with no repeats.  I am afraid I will have to show some reruns this week, though, but I will try to style them differently.  Aside from this skirt, I have also made two shirts, one of which you can get a sneak peek of on my Flickr stream and I will have reviews forthcoming for both tops.

 

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This skirt (McCall’s 6654) is one of the simplest things I have ever sewn — it is three straight seams plus a waistband casing with a piece of elastic inside.  I didn’t even bother to hem it.  It is really quick and easy if you have a serger but I can’t imagine that it would take much longer with a regular machine — just remember to use a narrow zig zag stitch so your stitches won’t break, especially on the waist.

 

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My only beef with this pattern is that it runs HUGE!  But I find this to be the case with all Big 4 knit patterns.  I suspected this going in so I did a little preparation before I started cutting.  I first looked at the pattern pieces to see what the finished measurements were for each size.  Unfortunately, the finished waist measurements weren’t given so I measured the waistband casing piece and subtracted the seam allowances.  I then realized that if I cut my size according to the size chart, this skirt would be GIGANTIC, so I decided to see which size corresponded to the waistband size I wanted.  Basically, I looked for the size that most closely matched my waist measurement plus seam allowances so there would be zero ease at the waist.  I didn’t want a bunch of excess fabric gathering at the waist of this skirt that is supposed to have an A-line silhouette.  I then checked the finished hip measurement for that size, and saw that it was only 1″ smaller than my hip measurement so I decided that I could live with that.  But honestly, there is no way this is 1″ smaller than my hips — do you see any negative ease?  My final skirt ended up being 2 sizes smaller in the waist and 4 sizes smaller in hips than what the size chart recommended!

 

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Overall, I highly recommend this pattern for anyone.  Seasoned sewists will find it a breeze and a great palate cleanser after more complicated projects.  Beginning stitchers will boost their confidence with the 2 simple seams and elastic waistband.  What do you think, should I shop my stash for a floral knit for my next version?

 

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For more details on the construction, visit my post on Pattern Review.

Me Made May ’13, Part 1

10 May

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Well folks, I’m about 1/3 of the way through Me Made May and I have to say I’ve been doing pretty well.  I haven’t repeated anything yet and I have even worn two me-mades that I have yet to blog (but I promise I will give you more details soon!).  So without further ado, here’s my Me Made May days 1-9.

P.S. You can follow my Flickr MMM set if you want to see daily updates.

 

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Me Made: Cambie Peplum Top
RTW: Citizens of Humanity jeans, Cole Haan wedges and clutch, and Kluster necklace

 

May 1 (Wednesday) — Sorry for this lousy photo that I took with the timer on my camera after dark. I wore this on my day off while doing volunteer work and running errands.

 

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Me Made: Yet-to-be-blogged Simplicity 1796 View D
RTW: Tessyla necklace, old white belt, Cole Haan pink patent pumps and wristlet

I also wore this dress on May 1, for date night with my husband.  I will blog more about this pattern soon, but I have to say before my mother calls me that it came out waaaaaaay shorter than I anticipated.  I was hoping to end up with a cute, easy knit dress for the summer but unfortunately it will be reserved for occasions where showing a bit of leg is more acceptable. I’m sure my mother will ask if those occasions really exist 😉

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Me Made: Sewaholic Lonsdale
RTW: Boden cropped cardigan, camel flats

May 2 (Thursday) — On this day I had to travel to Destin, Florida, for a board meeting.  Since I was staying at the Grand Sandestin Complex, I decided a sundress was in order but because conference rooms are cold, I topped it with one of my favorite cardigans. The night culminated with an impromptu gathering in my condo for pina coladas!

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Me Made: Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt
RTW: Elie Tahari ponte blazer (love!), silk shell, Kluster necklace, and Via Spiga blue suede pumps

May 3 (Friday) — I didn’t get to stay at the beach long because the very next morning I had to get up early to drive back to the Pensacola airport to fly to cold and rainy St. Louis for another work conference. I know most people opt for comfort when traveling but I also like to look put together so my Hollyburn, ponte blazer, and low-heeled pumps fit the bill. This photo was taken in the mall in St. Louis after I got my Nordstrom fix 🙂

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Me Made: Vogue 8603 skirt
RTW: Boden cardigan, Limited shell, Stuart Weitzman pumps, Tessyla necklace

May 4 (Saturday) — I was still in St. Louis (obviously) on this day, attending the conference.  This is my favorite Me Made May photo so far.  I have just learned to use the filters on the Flickr app on my iPhone so I had a lot of fun sprucing this shot up. Thanks to my excellent employee, Lesleigh, for taking the shot for me!

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Me Made: In-House Patterns Belle Bow Blouse
RTW: Citizens of Humanity jeans, Via Spiga blue suede pumps, Kluster necklace

May 5 (Sunday) — What do you do when you are stuck in the Atlanta airport for 2 hours?  You take silly pictures for your Me Made May Flickr set! I finally got home that night around midnight and boy was I glad to see my husband and my own bed!

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Me Made: Knit Peplum Top
RTW: Ann Taylor denim jacket, Womyn ankle pants, camel flats, Kluster necklace

May 6 (Monday) — Back to the office and my regular routine after a delicious but short night in my own bed. My husband and I joined a friend from residency for dinner after work.

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Me Made: Sewaholic Renfrew Cowl Neck Top
RTW: White pants, Cole Haan wedges, Kluster necklace

May 7 (Tuesday) — Typical day at the office. Looking forward to my day off the next day 🙂

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Me Made: Yet-to-be-blogged Megan Nielsen Kelly Skirt
RTW: CAbi top, Reef flip-flops, Silpada necklace, Ray Ban sunglasses

 

May 8 (Wednesday) — Whew!  My first real day off to relax in over 2 weeks!  I enjoyed it by hanging around the house, doing a few cleaning chores, but mostly SEWING! When my husband got home from work, we went out to dinner at one of our favorite Italian places and had a nice, quiet dinner together. We stopped at one of our local public piers to take this photo on the way to the restaurant.

 

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Me Made: Consignment shop silk skirt altered to raise hemline ~8″
RTW: CAbi top, chambray shirt, Cole Haan peep toe pumps, Tessyla necklace



May 9 (Thursday) — This is the first item that is not made by me but has been altered by me.  I purchased this 100% silk skirt from a local consignment shop last year sometime because I loved the fabric and shape.  What I didn’t love, though, was the mid-calf hemline.  I marked my desired hem length using a yard stick then marked another line 4″ below.  I then serged the skirt off at the longer length.  I turned up the serging and pressed then turned up the shorter marking line and pressed this as the new hem.  I then hand stitched the hem in place.  For the lining I followed a similar procedure except I just stitched a narrow machine hem. I am guessing from the tag (Rickie Freeman Teri Jon Nites), that this skirt is from the 80s or 90s, but with the updated hemline, I think it has a definite Kate Spade vibe. I have always worn it with a basic black top but this go around I was comparing it to various other things in my closet and got the idea to pair it with my chambray shirt.  What do you think about the outfit?


Well, that’s it for May 1-9.  What’s your favorite outfit so far?  Favorite photograph?  I’ll be back soon with more good stuff to show and tell!

Chicken and Orzo Salad

9 May

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I hope everyone is enjoying their Me Made May so far. I will have an outfit compilation post for you soon. But in the meantime, here’s a delicious, fresh pasta salad for you, perfect for a Mothers’ Day brunch.

This recipe is another favorite from the Junior League of Mobile’s Bay Tables cookbook (click here for other Bay Tables favorites). I made this salad most recently for a friend’s son’s first birthday party. According to my friend, it was a hit. I find it best when made the day before so the flavors have a chance to marry. But it’s also good eaten right away 🙂

 

Chicken and Orzo Salad

Yield: 20 servings

1 chicken cut into pieces (you can ask the butcher to do this for you)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 pound orzo
2 cups slivered toasted almonds
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 pound cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 package crumbled feta cheese, optional

Boil chicken in a large stockpot, seasoning as desired. Cook until done. Remove chicken from stock and set aside to cool. Reserve stock for cooking pasta. Once chicken is cool, chop or shred into bite-size pieces.

Combine mustard, vinegar, oil, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and basil in a bowl and mix well.

Cook the orzo in the reserved stock according to package directions until firm and tender. Drain, then let stand until cool. Toss with 1/3 of vinaigrette.

Toss the chicken with 1/2 of the remaining vinaigrette. Add the orzo, almonds, red and green pepper, celery, and tomatoes. Add the remaining vinaigrette and toss to mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve cold.

Crumbled feta cheese can be added to the chilled salad before serving, if desired.

 

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