Thursday, December 31, 2009

Review of Sewing in 2009

2009 was not my most prolific sewing year, but here's what I made:

4 curtain panels for the living room
4 pillowcases
1 dog coat
1 pajama top (gift for my Dad)
1 pair shorts
4 skirts and 1 under-skirt
1 top
3 tote bags (2 were gifts for friends)
3 spa tabi (2 were gifts for a friend)

That's only 23 items sewn this year. I hope to make more next year.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Trying new foods, part 2

I made sauteed kale the other day. I used the kitchen scissors to chop up a lot of kale, enough to fill the colander two times, and cooked it all in a big pot of salted water for about two minutes. Meanwhile, sauteed chopped onion and garlic in coconut oil in a big skillet. Drained the kale and added it to the skillet. Stirred in some salt, smoked paprika, and ground red pepper, and cooked for about two more minutes. It was very good. I based the method on recipes I found at recipezaar:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Trying new foods

Ever since I found out that sweet potato leaves are edible, I've been wanting to try them. One of our neighbors has a bountiful crop of the leaves, growing up the front of the house! Finally, the other day I saw the people who live there and they told me I could take all I wanted. I took two long stems of leaves and one short stem. The short stem is in water in the kitchen window, so I hope it roots. The leaves of the long stems have been made into supper. I actually put them in a stew, and the leaves taste milder than spinach. I put the recipe with the picture:

Here's a link to the original recipe:


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Simple Fruit Smoothie with supper

I peeled two oranges and blended them in the VitaMix with some frozen strawberries. Dee-licious! This went very well with supper, which was orange roughy sauteed in coconut oil and sangria, with a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper. The side dish was boiled sweet potato slices, drained, with a little butter.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Diet of Real Food

I have wandered and returned to smoothies more times than I can count. I do know, though, that I lose weight when I take a smoothie to work and snack on it in the morning and afternoon instead of junk food. I lost 3 pounds this week, and that's a good thing.

Meanwhile, since DH is the cook at our house, my mere mention of reducing our intake of rice and pasta and bread brings a reaction that means he has closed his ears to me. Even quoting from books doesn't get me anywhere with him. My concern is for our inability to lose weight, much less keep it off - but especially him.

Imagine my surprise when a friend sent him an email with a link to this article and forwarded it to me. My "reply to all" said "I have a book called "Diet Wise" that Paul didn't want to hear what it said - which was pretty much what this article says - so I loaned it to a friend at work." DH told me, "Gee, thanks for embarrassing me in front of my friends!" My inability to tell a straight story with all the facts is what blocks his attention.

Since I had loaned that book to a friend, he asked me how was he supposed to know what it says. I told him to look up "allergy elimination diet," which he did, and he came up with this link and this link. I got the book back the next day because my friend was going to just go buy it at the book store, so he's had a chance to look at it.

The book "Diet Wise" basically says that no one particular diet is good for everybody - not the south beach diet, atkins diet, low-fat, low-carb, raw food, vegetarian, vegan, or even the grapefruit diet. The book says that you have to find out for yourself what foods are good for your own, unique body. Often food allergies or sensitivities block your body's natural health. By taking the most-common allergenic foods out of your system, you are giving your body enough time to really eliminate the effects of these foods. After that, you can start adding foods to your diet, one at a time. Reactions to re-introduced foods let you know what your food sensitivities are. Foods giving no reaction at re-introduction are safe to eat.

The bottom line is that after Thanksgiving we are going to ditch ALL grains, citrus, dairy, chicken, and processed "foods" for at least two weeks, maybe three. Then we will add certain foods back to our diet to see if we have any reaction. I hope we don't have the situation where he can eat a food that I can't, or vice versa. Meanwhile, such "clean" eating will probably become our new habit, especially if we do the intro for at least three weeks.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sewing Progress and Lost WIPs

Since finishing that paisley top (New Look 6828), I wore the top last week, and I wore the matching skirt this week. I will probably not wear them together in public because I look like a cone of paisley when I do.

I dug out a skirt I had started in early 1999 and finished it.

I was looking for a jacket I started at least four years ago. I had cut it out and bought a zipper for it. I must have put it away in a Really Good Place, because I can only find the remnant. Take a look:

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Look 6828 - Finished!

Yes, it is finished. I hope to write more about it within the next few days. Here are a few pictures:

nl 6828

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sewing Progress!

I actually finished the red paisley top which I started several months ago. It was my first project ever with a light-weight knit mesh, and it mocked me every time I saw it in its unfinished state. I will share pictures in a few days.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Raw Fruit Pudding

I started my early morning errands with a cup of iced coffee from the gas station. It was a steal at $1.80, and oh, so yummy!

My hubby brought me a donut when he came back from a motorcycle ride this morning around 11:30. Since he had not had breakfast this morning, he also bought himself a sandwich at the donut shop. I figured that I might as well fix myself something for lunch.

Whether to atone for my sinful-eating ways or to balance out my so-called meal, I threw some fruit into the VitaMix. What I got was the texture and thickness of pudding, and it was really good. Here's what I put in it:
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 banana
  • 4 chunks frozen mango
  • 1/2 Cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 Cup iced tea (MY liquid of choice - there's a pitcher of it in the fridge at all times, sweetened with stevia)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kayak tales

Sometime after our "once-in-a-lifetime" experience, our double sit-upon kayak developed a crack and started to take on water. This was noticed three or four weeks ago at Tomoka State Park, when every breath either of us took would wiggle the boat. Yikes! Upon landing, the boat was too heavy for TWO MEN to lift! It had so much water in it that the hatch had to be opened and the boat turned over to let the water out.

A crack was found and Paul tried to repair it. Took the boat out again last weekend on the Silver River. After an hour we turned around because we were feeling a little instability in the boat. Besides, the patch fell off! Oh, and for once the weather-guessers were right: it started to rain at exactly 11 am, or should I say, about ten minutes before we reached the canal to Ray's Landing.

Since then, Paul found me a single sit-upon kayak (with built-in back rest) on Craigs List, which is reviewed as fast and easy. He also took our SUV kayak to the dealer, who repaired the crack with an Ugly patch. We will be taking it to Sanchez Park in Ormond Beach for a little test drive. We may take the new-to-us kayak out there Sunday morning.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thrift Shopping

I like to buy clothes at thrift stores. Here are some dresses and a skirt I've bought.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sewing with "baby steps"

When my friend came over on Tuesday to finish her tote bag, I pinned the straps to the yoke of the New Look 6828 top I'm working on. Yesterday I sewed that seam and removed the pins. Today I turned the yoke and basted the raw edges together. Sewing just a little bit at a time is what I meant by "baby steps."

DH is starting a web site business on the side, since his hours were cut back on his day job. He wants me to make him a little zippered tote bag so he can carry his business stuff around - camera, mini-notebook, pen, and receipt pad. Today I rough-sketched the pattern, and cut out the fabric for a mock-up.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Nuts to Smoothies!

I just made a smoothie that I can declare a total success, but only when Success is defined by "DH couldn't taste the greens in the smoothie!"

Blend until creamy:
  • 1 large handful raw walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup iced chai tea, sweetened with stevia
Add and blend until smooth:
  • 1/3 head leafy green lettuce, rinsed, vein removed
  • 1 Cup blueberries
  • 1 Cup raspberries
  • 1 Cup strawberries
  • 1 large banana
I think the nuts cancel the lettuce flavor. DH said that he can tell it's got fruit in it, but the rest is a tasty mystery.

I filled up a salsa jar for my lunch tomorrow, and there was enough left for us to each have a large tumbler of smoothie.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blueberry Smoothie

I just made tomorrow's lunch smoothie:
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce,
  • 1 Cup blueberries
  • 1 Apple
  • 1/2 Cup iced tea
I often use iced tea instead of water.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Diabetes-friendly Smoothie

I just made a smoothie for tomorrow's lunch, and I shared the extra with DH, who has diabetes II. Here's what's in it:
  • 1 large apple
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce (shh, don't tell him)
  • 8 frozen strawberries
  • lots of powdered cinnamon
  • a little bit of stevia powder
It's pretty good. I'm going to experiment more with herbs in my smoothies.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Green Kiwi Smoothie

I made the kiwi smoothie for tomorrow's lunch. It has one banana, one kiwi, and half a bag of spinach.

While my kids were here, we ate out too much (but it was So Good!), and I gained some weight. I'm making myself keep up with making smoothies because I need to lose that weight for the wellness fair at work. If I lose one BMI point since last year OR if my BMI is below a certain number, I will not have to pay the insurance increase for this year. I think that's a pretty good incentive to get or keep in shape. I've also been trying to ride my Trikke every evening (unless it's raining).

Family Visit

Both my kids (adults, really) came to visit last weekend and stayed a couple days. My son and I rode Trikkes around our neighborhood one day, and we went kayaking the other day. My daughter joined us after that for lunch and thrift shopping - my son was the only one of us who bought anything!

All in all, I was glad they could come to visit.

From Family

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sweet Smoothie

Tonight I made a sweet smoothie that was just enough for two people:
  • 1 banana
  • 2 Cups frozen papaya chunks (from the freezer section at Winn-Dixie)
  • 1/2 Cup shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
That gave us lots of fiber but it tasted suspiciously like dessert!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Spinach Bisque Soup

Yay!! I found an interesting recipe at the Raw Epicurean site. I subscribe to their RSS feed via Google.

I made Spinach Bisque Soup last night, and the first taste test was yummy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sometimes I Misbehave

Last Friday I was at my lowest weight this year. So far this week, I've been stuck at about two pounds above that. Aaargh!

I don't always eat green smoothies for lunch or drink only water or tea for my beverage. Yes, sometimes I misbehave when eating. It's usually on the weekends.

I think my greatest food problem is quantity. What is your greatest food problem?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Weight Loss

By sneaking in veggies via green smoothies, I continue to lose weight slowly. Today found me at my lowest weight this year!

Just a "heads up," y'all!

Kiwi Smoothie

The smoothie I ate today had one kiwi fruit, one banana, and about 1 cup (packed) of spinach.

I think that the spinach has the most nutrients of these ingredients. The predominant flavors are the banana and kiwi fruit. I could not taste the spinach in this smoothie, but it was Very Green!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Spinach in Smoothies

My sewing pal mad-SewIKnit2 questions spinach in smoothies. Spinach has a much milder flavor than most greens. Give it a try!

We are expecting delivery of our VitaMix, which is a super-charged blender. That doesn't begin to describe it, but I will be sharing pictures of it in future days. Keep watching!

Easy Vegan Picadillo

Picadillo is a cuban dish, usually made with ground or shredded beef. The texture is similar to chili, but the flavor is not. Here is my vegan version.

Easy Picadillo
A Cuban dish with the ease of a dump cake

Fill a coffee cup half-way with raisins, cover with rum (any booze), and let soak overnight. If you’re in a big hurry, nuke it for a minute or two, instead.

Dump a can of chopped (no salt added) tomatoes and a can of rinsed black beans into a medium-sized crock pot, and turn the heat up.

Chop and rinse half a small jar of green olives, and add to crock pot. Rinse a small can of sliced or chopped black olives, and add to crock pot.

Throw in ¼ to ½ Cup chopped onions (optional).

Throw lots of ground cinnamon into a coffee cup. Throw in some other spices, too, such as cumin, oregano, basil, garlic, and cilantro, then stir together and dump into the crock pot. Just don’t add salt because of the residual salt in the olives.

Dump the soaked raisins into the crock pot, stir, and turn the heat down.

After about an hour, stir in about a cup of frozen veggie crumbles, and turn the heat up. We use MorningStar Meal Starters – Grillers Recipe Crumbles (usually in the grocer’s freezer next to the frozen Indian food).

In about 30 minutes, turn the heat down, and spoon into bowls. Serve over rice (optional). We also top it with sour cream, which is not vegan.

Here is a picture of the type of veggie crumbles we use:

Monday, July 6, 2009

Almond Milk

Coming soon ... I will tell how to make almond milk, and also how to make the strainer bags for nut milk.

Today's Smoothie ...

... is lettuce, blueberries, bananas, and some coconut and almonds. It looks like purple mud, but it tastes pretty good!

Friday, July 3, 2009

More Green Smoothie talk

Today's smoothie was spinach leaves, strawberries, blueberries, a banana, and some coconut. Pretty much any smoothie that has coconut in it is very good.

What's your favorite smoothie?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Handy Tool - Elastic Glide

From Sewn Shorts
I was asked about the tool shown in my shorts tutorial. It is called an Elastic Glide. I've had it for a while, so I don't know where I got it, but I found that it's for sale at The set has 3 or 4 sizes, and it's really convenient.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More Green Smoothies

Sunday night, I made enough for Monday and Tuesday's lunch:
  • romaine lettuce
  • some parsley
  • 2 peaches
  • 1 apple
Today's lunch was quite good. I made a lot, and I ate it all:
  • spinach
  • blueberries
  • 1 banana
Some day I might consider taking pictures of the process. The only thing holding me back from that is that my kitchen does not look like a studio of any sort.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Friday's green smoothie

Friday's smoothie was even better:
  • romaine lettuce
  • small amt parsley
  • one apple
  • one kiwi
  • a few dashes of lemon juice
The predominant flavors were kiwi followed by lemon. Very good!

Whoever you thought I was going to be

I wrote this poem in April, 2006:

Whoever you thought I was going to be

Ain't here now; she got up at three

In the morning before I was born'd

And you got me.

Whoever you thought I was going to be

Lives in your dreams; can't you see?

Maybe someone should have warned

You 'bout me.

Whoever you thought I was going to be

Is nothing like you, only like me.

I'm not someone to be scorned;

I'm just me.

Whoever you thought I was going to be

Lives in your dreams, so set them free.

I am not you; you should have learned -

I am me.

How we got our once-in-a-lifetime kayak story

Some friends of ours tried to tell us that Juniper Springs had some dead-fall in it, and there was an indication that absolute beginners should not go on that run, but, uh, really ...

Our first indication of things to come was that getting close to nature was like being married to it. We had to duck under trees and push away branches every minute or two. Often as not, we were alternately pushing away from trees and branches.

Every bend in the run had us going sideways towards the opposite "shore." That was the only sense we made of how the water's current ruled. The current was expert at breaking all the paddling rules; expected results never came.

Hard to believe there was a lull in the stream, and Paul actually got some pictures of a juvenile white ibis.
Oh, about that dead-fall? There was the big one we didn't see ... The river dumped us.

My life vest works great! I think my glasses stayed on because the strings holding my straw hat were tightened around my chin, thus crossing over my glasses' temple pieces. Paul got the boat turned over, and started throwing stuff back into the boat: two flotation cushions, tote bag (with now-wet towel, bananas, and jerkey - aah, lunch!), sun screen, bug spray, the less-full of two plastic water bottles

In a few seconds, two canoes showed up and the people helped by holding the kayak while we flopped back into it. They gave us our paddles and Paul's ball cap, which had been floating.

My cell phone was in a pocket of my life vest, but I knew I could replace the phone itself for under $30. Our small digital camera was in one of Paul's pockets, but we have a better one at home. Paul's wallet and keys got wet, but both of mine were in the car.

Somewhere after that, a low tree took Paul's glasses, but he keeps a spare pair at home. Another tree snagged his hat and the river sucked it in.

We will never do that run again. That's why it was a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Drink my Lunch

It's not what you might think if you don't know me. I mean, it's not booze, or even a traditional protein drink.

It's Greens!!

Yep, my lunches at work have been what basically amounts to blenderized salads. Here's the line-up:

leftover salad with cheese and salsa
- yummy with a salsa attitude

red leaf lettuce, cut cross-ways and rinsed
one pear, quartered, cored, and cut up
a few mint leaves
1/2 Cup water
- just OK

6 large romaine leaves, cut cross-ways and rinsed
two bananas, broken up
1/3 Cup shredded coconut
1/3 Cup leftover iced tea
- the best so far

romaine lettuce
leftover tea
- tasted like a fruit slush

I put the smaller and wetter things into the blender first, greens on top, and liquid poured over. Then I blend on the Liquefy setting until it looks, well, blended. I pour this into a container which I then leave in the freezer overnight. When I take it to work and leave it on a napkin in the back corner of my desk, it thaws to just the right temperature by lunch time.

I thought I was doing this for my general health and for the health of my eyes. There is a nice side side effect of 3.4 lbs of weight shed, and I started just this week! I also don't have that mid-afternoon dragged-down feeling. If this is an experiment, it's not over yet!

I have made it a point to not change any other eating habits, except that two weeks ago we gave up carbonated beverages completely. Oddly enough, that had no effect on my weight.

I recommend any book by Victoria Boutenko, but especially "Green for Life" and "12 Steps to Raw Foods."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

More Fruit than Cereal in my Breakfast Bowl

As you can see, there is more fruit than oatmeal in my cereal bowl. What a healthy way to start my day!!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Tote Bag with Plain Pockets

From Sewn Tote Bags
I made a tote bag for DH, and added two plain pockets to one side. To copy this pocket method, here's what you need:
  • for each pocket, cut a 6" x 6" square of fabric
  • My tote bag pattern - replace those pocket instructions with these instructions below
Each pocket piece is serged on opposite edges. One serged edge is turned under 1" and hemmed. The other serged edge is turned under and pressed.

The pocket pieces are sized to be stitched into the straps. The straps are first stitched onto the tote bag along the outer edges, leaving the inner edges free. Each pocket is placed on the bag so that the raw edges will be enclosed by the straps.

The first pocket is placed about 4" from the top hem edge of the tote bag. It is basted along the sides and stitched firmly across the bottom of the pocket. Do not stitch through the straps at this point.

The next pocket is placed at least 1" below the previous pocket, and basted and stitched in the same way. Additional pockets are attached in the same way. The bottom of the last pocket should be at least 1" above the top edge of the side cutout.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tote Bag Tutorial

Click on this picture to see all the pictures that go with this tutorial:
Sewn Tote Bags
Cut the following pieces:
  • One piece of light-to-mid weight bag fabric 20" x 32" and one piece of woven fusible interfacing 20" x 30". If you use a heavy-weight bag fabric, you may omit the interfacing. The 20" edges of the fabric are the top hem edges, and the 32" edges of the fabric are the side edges.
  • One strap of 1" wide woven cotton webbing 94".
  • Pocket: One piece of bag fabric 11" x 7" and two pieces of elastic cut to 5".
To make the pocket, serge the 7" edges. Turn one serged edge 2" to the wrong side, and press in place. Turn the other serged edge 1" to the wrong side, and press in place. Fold wrong sides together with the 1" hem on top, with the fold 1" from the other folded end, and press in place. Trim a tiny wedge off each pocket side, starting 1/2" from the outer edge of the fold, tapering to nothing at the upper edge of the pocket assembly. To form the elastic casings, stitch down the serged edges and stitch again 1" from the fold of the deeper hem. Insert one piece of 5" elastic into each casing, aligning the elastic to the fold edge of the casings, and zigzag the elastic ends into place. Baste the pocket sides together.

Steam the wrong side of the interfacing to the wrong side of the bag fabric, leaving 1" bag fabric showing at each end.

Serge finish all edges of the bag fabric, trimming off only excess interfacing.

Fold the bag in half so that the ends of the interfacing align at the sides. The fold forms the bottom center line. To form the bottom corners of the bag, cut out the corners of the bag at the fold 3" into the bag from the sides and 2.5" into the bag from the fold.

Lay out the bag piece, right side up. Place a pin at the center of each top hem edge. Place one pin 2.5" to either side of the center pins, then remove the center pins. The remaining pins are 5" apart.

Place a pin at the center of each cut-out at both sides. To show the bottom center line of the bag, lay a ruler across the bag, from side to side, lined up to one side of the side center pins.

Place a pin at the center of the strap. Without twisting the strap, overlap the cut ends by 1". Pin the cut ends of the strap together, placing the pin 1/2" from both cut ends.

Align the middle of the strap to the outside of the top hem edge pins on one side, aligning the center pin to the bottom center line of the bag. Stretch the strap, and pin in place at each top hem edge. Fasten the strap to the bag with one pin 3" from each top hem edge. Secure with more pins between these two pins.

Without twisting the strap, align the strap to the outside of the end pins on the other side. Align the pin at the strap-end overlap to the bottom center line of the bag. Stretch the strap, and pin in place at each top hem edge. Fasten the strap to the bag with one pin 3" from each top hem edge. Secure with more pins between these two pins.

Remove the pin where the strap ends overlap. For the section of strap that goes under the other end of the strap, edge stitch starting 3" from the top hem edge of the bag, turning twice at the cut end of the strap, and ending 3" from the top hem edge of the bag.

Tuck the upper strap piece's raw edge under so that the raw edge is enclosed, and pin in place. Edge stitch the upper strap section along the outside edge, starting 3" from the strap's fold, turning twice at the fold, and ending about 3" from the top hem edge of the bag.

Edge stitch along the outer edge of the strap on the opposite side, starting 3" from one top hem edge and ending 3" from the other top hem edge.

On the part of the bag where both inner strap edges are free, place the top edge of the pocket 4" from the top hem edge, centering the pocket between the straps, and pin in place. Baste the side edges of the pocket in place, stitching the bottom edge of the pocket securely to the bag.

Stitch all remaining strap edges to the bag, ending 3" from the top hem edges. The inner edges of the strap will encase the raw edges of the pocket.

Stitch the sides by folding the bag right sides together, aligning top edges of interfacing at the top and bottom of each side. Pin in place and stitch a 1/2" seam. Press the side seams flat, then press them open.

Make the bottom corners by aligning the bottom edges of the sides to the bottom center line, and pin in place. Stitch with a 1/2" seam. Serge the raw edges of this seam and thread the serger tails through the seam.

Turn the top hem to the inside 1" and pin in place. Topstitch this hem in place, avoiding the straps.

To secure the straps to the top of the bag in each of four locations, stitch along the inner edge of the strap, overlapping the previous stitching, up to and across the top hem edge, and ending by overlapping the previous stitching on the outer edge of the strap.

Please, if you have any questions or suggestions, let me know!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Today's Sewing - KS2806 shorts

I used the skirt of an old dress to create a pair of shorts using the KwikSew pattern 2806. I have not taken a picture of the end product, but hope to do so after a couple more loads of laundry. I took pictures of the construction process.

I made up the pocket pattern, and I hope to publish its drafting instructions soon.

Please click on the picture to see all the pictures for this project, not in any particular order:

ks 2806

I also cut the fabric for two tote bags for my DH. It's a start!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Special Projects - Tote bags!

I haven't posted in a few days because of a surprise project. The green tote bag was made in March, and all subsequent pictures show the latest tote bag being made. Please click on the picture:

Sewn Tote Bags

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Here's the skirt I made on March 8 using Simplicity 4189:

... and here are the towels I made last week from a linen tablecloth I found at a yard sale for $2:

There are six towels, but when I took the picture, one was already in the laundry and another was hanging on the stove handle.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Sewing Mojo Came Back - again!

I had traced a pattern for a top, but it seems like it was forever ago. I finally decided to cut it out tonight. It's New Look 6828:

From nl 6828
Here's a picture of the top being cut out:

I had enough left over to make a skirt. I realized that the knit fabric is kind of thin - maybe it's a mesh fabric - and that it would have to have an underskirt to prevent see-through. Since it's a red-and-white print paisley, I found a white knit to go under the skirt. I cut a rectangle of the white for the underskirt and used Simplicity 9265 to cut the overskirt. I will probably stitch the two parts together at the waist, as I do not anticipate any future skirts needing an extra layer. I will have to think about that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Finding Old Patterns

I am usually MIA right before doing taxes. We owed a little bit this year, so I waited until the last minute to file and pay. Now I'm back!

I have been wondering about the early patterns I sewed. All sewing stuff left at my folks' house have been duly donated to worthy causes over the years, but I still remember some of the garments. I've been most curious about that V-yoked skirt I made in hunter green mini-corduroy.

Well, wonder no more! I finally opened an email from Pattern Rescue, started poking around by clicking the "Still Hoping" link because it had been so long since I made it. Oh, my -- there it was! I probably made the short version without the fabric tie or belt carriers.

I don't need it now, of course, but I'm glad to be able to identify it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Health and Drugs

I remember when it was recommended to visit the doctor once a year. A few years ago, I started to take statin drugs for high cholesterol, so I had to get my blood checked - and subsequently visit the doctor - every three months. About a year ago I stopped taking these meds - mostly so I could enjoy the grapefruits on the tree in our backyard - and I also stopped going to the doctor. I have tried to eat less starches and sweets, and partake of foods with "good oils" (raw nuts) and more fiber.

I finally decided to change from a "family practice" doctor to an internist who was recommended to me by a friend. My previous doctor really, really, really wanted me to take the statins. Some people cannot tolerate statins (my DH was on them for a while, and had noticable weakening of his muscles). My new doctor advocates natural methods before drugs, and gave me a referral to a nutritionist before I asked her to do so. Since I'm not taking any meds, I don't have to go back for six months.

I went to my class yesterday ("Hi, I'm Mary, and I'm here to educate my cholesterols"). It turns out that I'm already following most of the food guidelines for improving my cholesterol situation. DH and I have been vegetarians - off and on - for several years, but we've recently gone back full-bore to vegetarianism for health reasons. Within the past week, I have increased my evening dog-walk from 10 minutes to 20 minutes, and then to 30 minutes. If I do this at least five times each week, I will have done much to correct my calorie-intake vs. calorie expenditure imbalance. Within the past few months I have been more conscious of what I eat and when I eat it. My weight has started to go back down, but I do have at least 10 lbs to lose, and 20 would be more to my liking.

I have last year's blood numbers, so I guess that's my real base line. I had a blood draw this morning, and I'm looking forward to seeing if the numbers have improved and determining how far I am from my goals.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Back to blogging more soon

I have been working to reorganize my pictures. After I finish that task, I will get back to blogging.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I did some sewing today!

I mended two things and I made a skirt. I will post about it after I get a picture of me wearing it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Smell of Spring!

The smell of spring is in the air - orange blossoms! I haven't found the tree that's giving the sweet scent to the air. It's certainly not coming from one of four blossoms on our old, little tree:

From New House

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How to eat after going to the dentist

I took DH to the dentist today and he can't really chew for a couple days. I made our supper's salad in the blender:

4 big pieces of leaf lettuce, cut up
1 large tomato, cut up
1/2 apple, cut up
1 Tablespoon frozen, chopped onion
1 Tablespoon Italian dressing

Blend until liquid. Pour into large drink cups (14 oz. with handles, is what we have). Serve with a spoon (for when you get to the bottom). It tasted better than I thought it would, but at least we each "ate" a whole, large salad. I like to eat fresh food for the nutrients and enzymes.

I also pureed the contents of a can of clam chowder, poured into mugs, nuked for 2 minutes, and served with oyster crackers. That was supper!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Good-bye to Winter!

We had three days last week with a low temperature of 30 degrees or less. It was so cold that I can almost run around the block without stopping more than Marco requires. I am so "over" Winter and am glad to have good weather this weekend.

I actually sewed some last week. Aside from mending, I also made two pillowcases. I found two old kitchen towels, and they are being sewn together to create a tote bag. I am in "tote bag" mode, and want to improve my tote bag pattern to make it easier and faster to make.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I did some sewing today!

DH helped pin the tabs to the curtains and I finished them. The old curtains need to be taken down and the new hardware needs to be installed to hold the new tab-top curtains.

I also finished the Kwik Sew 2467 undies using fabric left over from DH's Kwik Sew 2417:
From ks 2417

From ks 2467
Then, if that weren't enough, I mended the hems on two of his T-shirts, and I'm getting ready to shorten some lounge pants I got at a thrift store a while back. I also wouldn't mind if I got started on some more pillowcases.

Stay Tuned!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Finished sewing the ugly things

I went to Joann's, got the elastic, and finished the things. I will post a review soon. They are made from the Kwik Sew 2467 pattern, using a cheap lycra knit I got on ebay a while ago.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Sewing Mojo Came Back!

I did a little sewing one night this week. I may eventually write a review at Pattern Review, but it's just ugly under-things.

I got hung up when I ran out of elastic. That is about as preposterous as my declaration of a fabric fast - to which my daughter recently said, "Who are you and where is my Real Mom?"

Check out my new "What I'm Reading" section at the top of the right column. The current book shows how we became a toxic species. If you think you know all you need to know about health, think again! This book is a real eye-opener. Reserve your copy at the library now!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

I was just given this award by CatSpec who has a blog called "eyelets in the seams." What a surprise! At first I thought, "Oh, no, I have to find seven bloggers who have not yet been awarded. Later I realized that I WANT to pass it on to seven Kreativ bloggers!

I present the Kreativ Blogger Award to:
1. Gwen - "After the Dress" - she sews, teaches sewing, weaves, and is in a musical family
2. Richy villa - "charlie & miguel" - clothing, including costuming
3. SewIKnit2 - Craft Chat with SewIKnit2 - sewing, knitting
4. Comnurse - "Oz-Tralien" - sewing, machine embroidery, photography, quilting, travel, reading
5. Lisa - "Tree by Sea" - hand-made pretties, plus she's my SIL's DIL
6. Dawn - "Two On, Two Off" - a very prolific sewista
7. Trena - "The Slapdash Sewist" - sewing with style and bravery

Here are the rules:
1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to those on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominated.

Remember to have fun!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Winter Musings

I went for jury duty, but the only time my name was called was to make sure I came back after lunch.

Thanks to the cold weather - hey, 30 degrees in Florida IS cold - I am getting better at running around the block while "walking" the dog. I will probably post a message here when I can run around the block without stopping.

By the way, two days in a row with a low temperature of 30 degrees is too much. I am glad a warming trend is predicted.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Help Make Health Freedom a Top Issue

I think health care is so important that I've given up on allopathic medicine and have truly taken charge of my own health. The allopathic doctor I used to go to just wanted me to take some pills, so I quit going to her. My TCM doctor (Traditional Chinese Medicine - includes acupuncture) really cares about my health.

I am trying to reduce my intake of processed carbohydrates. I gave up statin drugs so I could eat home-grown grapefruits. My husband gave up statins so his muscles would still work. We both try to drink more water for health and weight loss.

Please read this letter to the Wall Street Journal about health care - as compared to disease care.

Please go to this page at to vote up the importance of health freedom. Here's how to help the future government understand the need for health freedom:
  1. Click on the Vote Up button
  2. Sign in (or make a new account, if you don't have one already)
  3. Search for "health freedom"
  4. Click on the title "Health Freedom IS Our First Freedom"
  5. Click on the Vote Up button
Perhaps they could have made it easier to access the first-time voting, but I'm glad it IS a topic that can be voted upon. I recommend reading the comments there, too.

Here's to your health!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Jury of Whose Peers??

I am scheduled to go to jury duty next week. It will be at the main county courthouse, and I'm told that this means two specific things:
  1. The parking is terrible, so get there early.
  2. Since it will be at the main county courthouse, the cases won't exactly be tiny. For this reason, I've warned people at work that I might be out for more than just one day.
There is one other thing, though. Since when am I a peer to a criminal? With that attitude, I might not last through jury selection. I will just be myself and see what happens.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Getting Rid of Processed Carbohydrates ...

Getting rid of processed carbs means ingesting carbohydrates in their natural forms, right?

I happen to love grapefruits. We happen to have a grapefruit tree in our back yard. Last summer we finally culled out all the old grapefruits, leaving the baby ones to grow for this year.

Since the middle of December I have picked two or three grapefruits every two to three days. I juice one every morning, and the average yield is eight ounces.

My usual breakfast is a glass of grapefruit juice, followed by two scrambled eggs. The fruit gives me fresh enzymes to help digest my eggs. The eggs give me enough protein to keep me from being hungry (for anything, including processed carbs) until lunch time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I almost broke a sewing resolution

I almost bought fabric today. I saw a long black slinky dress at the thrift store that would have been perfectly repurposed as a perfect long black slinky skirt. It would have been a stupid purchase, as I already have a long black slinky skirt. Oh, well.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Progressing in Baby Steps

Today I reorganized my sewing patterns. Three cardboard boxes contain about half of my patterns. My Stretch & Sew patterns are in the top drawer next to my sewing machine, and the rest are not over-crowded in the white cabinet.

I did my data backups today, too. I backed up all the money and taxes information on one CD, and all my web site stuff on another CD. I feel better already!

A Blog about Thrift Shopping

I just found this blog and I hope you enjoy it, too: The Thrifty Chicks

By the way, I'm not the only sewing person who likes to buy stuff from the thrift store for its fabric value. A long dress ten sizes too big for me might become a skirt and top one day. We call it repurposing.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

One More Sewing Resolution

I have one more sewing resolution to add. I may regret it soon, but here goes:

I plan to NOT buy more fabric this year. That's easy - I have too much already.

Patterns? Now, that's another story. Here's a pattern that I don't have. I NEED this pattern - Simplicity 2933 - since I discovered that this type of yoke looks good on me:

Friday, January 2, 2009

Getting Organized

I have added the following to my google calendar:
  1. Weekly on Mondays - work on sewing documents
  2. Weekly on Tuesdays - shredding
  3. Weekly on Thursdays - post on my blog
  4. Monthly on the 28th - Marco Polo (our dog) gets his pills
  5. Quarterly on the first Saturday - data backups
Not added to my google calendar is Friendly Sewing Forum's weekly chat on Wednesday nights.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

It's a new year already!

I've never been much for New Year's resolutions, but apparently I started by creating goals for the year 2009. I might have to enter some items in my google calendar as small, specific goals.

1. Pay off van (automatic payments will have it done by end of September)
2. Ramp up the emergency fund and make it stay there!
3. Save up money to pay taxes (also, need to re-do W-4)
4. Get rid of paper clutter so that all important papers are in one place (includes some much-needed shredding)
5. Start doing quarterly backups of my computer data
6. Finish at least one sewing project each month, starting with UFOs (un-finished objects)
7. Finish at least one sewing document each month (includes lesson plans, instructions, and web pages)
8. Write on my blog at least once each week (which explains why I'm posting today)
9. Drink more water per this site and this site
10. Last - but not least - get the processed carbs out of my life! AAACK!!

Is this not enough?