Monday, October 24, 2011

Fritters and Fabric

Today was a Suzie Homemaker kind of day.  It started out with delicious homemade apple fritters.  YUM!

Usually frying things in oil makes the house smell awful, but this time it smelled sweet, like apples and cinnamon.

And the delicious end product wasn't nearly as hard to make as it looked.


Then it was on to raking the leaves, doing the laundry, and ironing.  The best part about it was that I could finally pre-wash some fabrics I bought with friends at the local quilt shop.

They are mostly for Christmas presents, so it will be a while before you see what I'm turning them in to (can't go spoiling the surprise!).

Have you ever tried homemade apple fritters? 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fabulous Fall!

I love Fall.  The changing leaves, the crisp air, and the apples...oh the apples!  The other weekend we went apple picking and picked a LOT of apples.  Having never made a large pot of applesauce to freeze, I had no idea how few apples it really takes to get a whole bunch of applesauce. 

Tonight I finally dove into the bags of apples we picked.  I ended up going through one of these...

And making a pot of applesauce with my Mom's recipe.

Some of it is going in lunches tomorrow, a container of it is going in the fridge for this week, and multiple containers are going in the freezer for later enjoying.

I also made one of these...

We had an extra pie crust in the fridge from making a quiche at the end of last week, combined with some apples, and another fabulous Mom recipe, plus an cobbler crumb topping...and yum, Yum, YUM!!

I think I'm going to be making more apple recipes in the near future, seeing as the bag in the first picture is all the apples I have LEFT from tonight's endeavor.  But that's all right, I sure do love apples!

What do you love to make with fall apples?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

1940s Dress...the end

Well it is!  The 1940s dress got done just in time for the Saturday Lobster Dinner.  And by just in time, I really do mean it.  I was doing hems, sewing buttons, and finishing zippers Friday night.  But, it all worked out and I think it turned out rather well.

The one part I ended up having a little trouble with was the one part I had not practiced on the muslin.  The buttons at the collar go through bounded button holes.  Now, bounded button holes are actually fairly simple to make, the difficulty came when I made them on the wrong side.  So, I had to do a bit of hand work to make it all work out because it was a little late when I realized what I had done and it was no longer a simple fix with a seam ripper.

To make sure that the dress looked a little more modern vintage and a little less costume, we decided to nix the self-fabric belt for the time being.  It got jazzed up with a skinny black belt and some black sandals.  It looked pretty good!


Did you finish any good projects over the weekend?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

1940s dress...the beginning

Back in June I posted about some awesome vintage patterns I purchased, along with some wonderful red, white, and blue fabric from Moda.  Well, I finally started on the dress!  First thing was first, though...I had never sewn with a vintage pattern before, so I wanted to make sure I really knew what I was doing and everything would fit well before I cut into my fashion fabric. 

I was both pleasantly surprised, and super intimidated, when I opened the pattern envelope.  Surprised because, since you buy exactly the size you need, there is no pattern cutting...YAY!  That has always been one of my least favorite parts, because I inevitably tear the delicate paper of the pattern pieces.  The part that intimidated me was the single sheet of instructions...not only that, but it was only one side of the sheet!  They were relying on the fact that most women knew something about sewing clothing in the 1940s.

I decided that since I was just doing a dry run of the pattern, I would not waste fabric doing more than necessary.  I only cut out one sleeve and only cut the skirt pieces down about 12 inches from the waist, enough to do the waistline, while just checking the length with the paper pieces.

This is what I ended up with...and am I ever glad I decided to do it!  No part of the pattern was difficult, but some parts were a little confusing the way they were worded in the directions (or lack-there-of).  Now I feel much more confident to cut it out of the fashion fabric.

You will get to see the finished product soon.  Currently it is still in pieces on my ironing board, but since it must be finished for the Annual Lobster Dinner at the Litchfield Museum on Saturday, I better get to sewing!

Have you finally tackled a project you've put off all summer?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Well, the last month of summer came and went in a whirlwind of vacations, work, and projects.  We did a little bit of apartment cleaning...which our very helpful baby cat Annie thought she would help out with...

Isn't she such a helpful cat when it comes to flipping the mattress???? 

The other thing that has kept me occupied this summer...discovering the hidden treasures in the city we call home!  One of them, Tastease, is this amazing mini-donut shop with dozens of different varieties of mini donuts.  And, since it is difficult to make mini donuts with filling, they just pipe the filling right on top.  They are super tasty. 


Well, enjoy the beginning of your week!  I'll be back a little later with some great pictures from the season's last Brimfield Antiques Show, and some of those great projects I've spent the last month working on....first, I have to upload the pictures...

See you all again soon!

How did you spend your last lazy days of summer?

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Hello everyone!  So, I must admit that I did not plan as well for this vacation as I did the pre-written posts (which is fine since I didn't set up the last one correctly and it failed to post on time!), but I just wanted to say hello and let you all know I will be back to posting next Monday.  Can't wait to show you all what I've been up to!

Monday, August 1, 2011

More Eye Candy

Pre-script....So, apparently I need to work on figuring out the "schedule post" option for Blogger, seeing as I wrote this post before heading on vacation last week and it was supposed to post this past Monday, but since it didn't, you get it today...even though it is now showing up with the date it was scheduled for but it has really been posted on 8/8/2011...hmmmmmm....  Sorry about that!!!  Enjoy~

As most of you know from my post a few weeks ago, the July Brimfield was awesome.  Since I am currently enjoying the sun and sand in Florida, I thought I would leave you all with some more pretty pictures to inspire you.

Hope you are all having a great summer!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More Sandwich Sets...

A friend of mine moved to Ohio the other week, so I was in a tizzy trying to finish three lunch sets she had ordered for family for Christmas.  It was fun to pick out fabric to match the different personality of each individual receiving one.  Everything from girly-girl pink, to toned down autumnal orange.  I think they turned out pretty well....

This time, instead of wrapping them up in brown paper, I wrapped them in their napkins.  Since my friend who ordered them had not seen the fabrics yet, I thought it would be silly to wrap them when she would have to unwrap and re-wrap them all over again!  I think I liked this better...

I attached some of my new business cards to the front along with a care instruction card.  I hope they like them!  

What do you prefer....the self-wrapping in the napkin, or the brown craft paper?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Another Brimfield Adventure

This weekend we took another adventure to the Brimfield Antiques Show.  Usually I go with a list, because let's face it, there is just too much to see if you do not have a plan!  But, this time I had only one thing on my list...and I got it, from the exact seller that I wanted to visit to get it from :-)


A mid-century Ice-O-Mat ice crusher.  I cannot wait to make a nice cool summer drink with some crushed ice.

I also picked up some Bakelight dice and made these...

Two necklaces!

The day was a fantastic hit and we had a fun time, even though it was hot, it was very worth it!

And after hours of wandering around looking at things like this...

We took a rejuvenating rest and looked at this...

It was quite helpful!

What would be on your list at a giant antiques market?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Skirt

Lots of people enjoy shorts and tank tops in summer, me....I'm a skirt girl.  I think that breezy skirts are THE way to go when the temperature warms up.  I decided to make a new summer skirt, not for me, but for a friend...but I think a similar one for me is in the future.

The request was for a simple skirt with a shirred top, that was comfortable and breezy, but not super full.  So, I stuck to a straight skirt style with just three rows of shirring at the waist.  I've never tried shirring, so I decided it would be best to try it out first with a piece of muslin.  This also allowed me to figure out how much the fabric would shrink with three rows of shirring and calculate the amount of fabric I would need to start.


Then, it was time to tackle the fashion fabric....Yikes!  Always a scary task when you are trying something brand new.  I love the orange of the skirt, it really popped.  And here's the finished product...

I think it turned out pretty well for my first time.  Next time maybe I'll do some more shirring at the top and see how it changes things.  But I think this was a success!

Have you ever made anything with shirring?  How did it work out?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy (Belated) Birthday America!

I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July weekend.  We surely did.  First up was a day at the Annual Litchfield Pet Parade.  It is sponsored by the Litchfield Historical Society and everyone seemed to have a great day.  There were everything from hamsters to puppy dogs and the only downside to the day was that it made me want a puppy!  There were dozens of different breeds there and it was so hard not to go home with the little beagle who was wearing an "adopt me" coat in the parade :-)  But alas, our tiny apartment and our two cats would never allow it.  So, we went home without any extra pets, and headed towards the local fireworks...which, as always, were my favorite part of the day.

To gear up for the Pet Parade and the general patriotic mood of the day, I made a red, white, and blue cockade.  I found the tutorial, here, at American Dutchess.  The best part of this project...I used things I already had!  Since it did not require a large amount of ribbon, I was able to do it with scraps I had lying around.

I quickly found that having something to pin the cockade onto, that had a whole in the middle, ended up being a VERY important part of the process.  I did not have a cork board as American Dutchess suggested, so, I pulled out an old piece of cardboard I was saving for something and cut a small hole in the middle to allow me to sew the cockade together in the center when I was done pleating it.  Even though I kept getting my thread caught on the pins, it still worked far better than trying to hold it in my hands.

After doing another layer in red, I stitched the two together and added a white vintage button.  I added a pin to the back so it could be easily attached to a white t-shirt for the Pet Parade.

I think I may have to make some more of these!  

Did you create anything special to celebrate America's birthday?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An Entire Weekend of Inspiration

This weekend I spent with my parents camping in Massachusetts.  Not only was it a great and relaxing weekend, but it was a weekend of inspiration.  Just being in nature and looking at the way the trees grow and the water falls over a rock gives me so much to consider making.

This is one of the pictures I took of the water.  I love the way it blurred.  It almost looks like snow!

I hope to get working on some new projects in the next week.  So, stay tuned...and you should be seeing something with that dress from the other week soon...

What has inspired you lately?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Fancy Bachelorette

Next month a friend of mine is getting married.  My sister is the Maid of Honor and asked me to create a fancy and fun sash and blusher for the bride-to-be.  So....I did!

There was one stipulation, the bride-to-be is going to wear a pink dress to her bachelorette party, and it needed to match.  Instead of doing the traditional wording on the sash, I had a bit more fun with it and decided to go with something that still says, "this is my party" without screaming "I'm a bachelorette."  Here is what resulted:

Here's a close up of the blusher...beads, fabric remnants, feathers, and sparkles...doesn't get much better!

And just to make sure that it fit the bride-to-be perfectly, I made a little pin so she can pin the sash together, and even pin it straight to her dress if necessary throughout the night of fun!

I hope she enjoys them and has a great time in the next few weeks as the best part approaches!!!!

Love you D.!!!!

What kinds of random crafty projects have you been asked to create?

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Great Week, Followed by a Great Project

The past week has been super amazing.  I spent the majority of it at the Costume Society of America's National Symposium.  It was up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the last day of the conference you could go on a post-symposium tour of your choice.  I decided to head to the vintage market in Boston's South End.  It was cold and dreary, but well worth it.

While at the vintage market, I found these fabulous 1940s dress patterns. 


I plan to make the two on the ends at some point in the future.  But the one in the middle...that one you will see sooner rather than later. 


Make sure and check back to see what becomes of this amazing red fabric, and beautiful pattern.

Do you have any fun and exciting projects in the works right now?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Naked Mole Rat...Gets Made

One of my nieces turns three this month and this year she received an Aunt Karen original :-)

We found this adorable book by Mo Willems entitled Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed and thought that the perfect way to complete the present was to make a Naked Mole Rat that my niece could dress while reading the story.

So, after shopping around for the perfect Naked Mole Rat materials (a very difficult task if I may say so!), I went off of Willems fabulously illustrated Naked Mole Rat...with a few personalized modifications...added a few inventive felt garments so Naked Mole Rat can "get dressed"...and arrived at:


I love how he turned out.  I think he managed to be so ugly that he's cute!  So, he can be casual in his pants and tie-dyed shirt, or professional in his suit with fun red tie.  I made one horrifying discovery, however, after taking these pictures and looking at the book....I forgot to give Naked Mole Rat a tail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Yet, it is fairly quick and easy to fix...


The picture is a little blurry, but you can see the new tail, and you get a glimpse of the Midwest Nutmeg tags I made.

And, there is no way to spend an entire afternoon sewing without a little snack.  Vanilla and Lace put up this yummy recipe for peanut butter chocolate pretzels on her blog; to find it, go here.


I hope everyone had as happy and productive of a weekend as I did!!!

Have you created with inspiration from a book lately?

Monday, May 30, 2011

An Owl and A Tree

When my niece turned one last summer, I made her a little owl in a tree.  This year, I decided to give it another try.  Here is the result:

I think it turned out pretty well.  And this time I remembered to measure how high the hole had to be for little eyes to poke out before cutting it!  You always learn the more and more you do a project.

Both the owl and tree are made completely of felt.  I love using felt for projects like this because it is super durable, easy to work with, and you do not have to turn under all those pesky little seams.  Plus, you can get felt that is made of recycled plastic bottles!

Do you find yourself constantly fixing problems along the way?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Brimfield Find: Chair Redo

One of the things on our Brimfield list this year was a new chair for the living room.  After recently buying a new couch, our old chair was looking especially out-of-place and downtrodden.  So...out with the old and in with the old but revamped!

We went with high hopes, a Morris Chair from the early 20th century that was in our price range.  Well, lucky us, we found one!  The wood could use some eventual refinishing, but the bones are good.  The first order of business, however, was new chair cushion. 

These are the old ones...notice that they were originally light blue, but have faded to a dirty lavender.  Oh yeah, and they were hard as a rock!

After some careful measuring and a lot of debating as far as fabric choice, we settled on this oatmeal that matches the new couch.  Now here is a look at my first attempt to make chair cushions start to finish (with new foam of course) and with cording no less.

They turned out pretty well.  It is always amazing to see how changing one thing can make a huge difference.  And now this chair has a new home in our living room.

Have you redone a piece of furniture to go with your home?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Brimfield Fun!!

This past week was the first Brimfield Antiques Show of 2011, and may I just say....I...Love...Brimfield!  Acres upon acres of antique sellers with great bargains around every corner and even more amazing inspiration.  For those of you who do not know, the Brimfield Antiques Show means six days of antique sellers gathering in Brimfield, Massachusetts, and subsiquently, thousands of showgoers coming from around the country.  Your mind could go cazy trying to absorb it all, and it is so much fun to try.

Here are a few pictures that I snapped during our adventures.  Our favorite time to go is Sunday, even though it is the last day and not all the fields are open, I find it is a great day to get a bargain.  I find this especially true if you are looking for something that needs a little TLC so you can put some personal elbow grease into making it something special.  Many times I run into sellers who would like to pack up as little as possible, and are willing to offer great prices so you take it home instead of them.

So, enjoy a bit of eye candy...

I loved all the window many ideas!  And the leather lounge chair on the right was awesome.  Too bad it needed a little too much TLC, even for me.

I drool over the textile and fashion tents.  I did bring home an adorable 1950's straw hat.

Yes...some of these did come to my house.

Each time we go to Brimfield this ends up being one of my favorite tents.  This guy has every kind of hardware you can imagine and it is all just waiting for someone with great imagination.  If I could, I would try to take it all home to play with and be inspire by...just look at it...

Now comes the hard part....waiting until the July Brimfield show!

For even more discussion about Brimfield, head over to one of my favorite blogs, Design*Sponge.

Stay tuned for some upcoming projects surounding some of my Brimfield finds...

What inspires you?