April 28, 2019

And Then There Was Paris

After a week in Italy, we spent a little over 60 hours in Paris.  If you remember, January 2018 was one of the wettest that Paris had seen in a long time.  Our first day was really spent travelling and other than that little town we were staying in, we didn't see much. 

But we did wander around town, figured out how to go the train to go into the City and had a wonderful dinner.

Since I'm basically blogging this vacation day - by - day - well that's all for today :) 

Pat, Krystle & JB ate snails.  Eleanor, Jessica & I refused.  I think we were right - I mean, what's the green stuff?!

I just really liked the way this log looked with the mushrooms growing on it.  I thought it was so pretty and textural.  This is something I'd print in black and white, frame and put in my house - would you?  

April 25, 2019

Cinco de Mayo

When you've created a monster by making your husband a wardrobe of bowling shirts.  I kid you not, the other day, he actually opened his closet and said "I don't have anything to wear!"

JB now has 32 bowling shirts in his closet.  All but 4 of them have been made with my hands.  And when I recently did the fabric closet re-org (look for a future post on that) I put a stack of fabrics for just JBs shirts.  There's enough for at least 4 more. 

Also, now if he goes to the fabric store with me.  The first thing he does is head to the novelty prints and ask if I can make a shirt out of X?

But - I will say - he does wear his shirts.  And he shows anyone who comments on them that they match across the buttonholes and asks if they can find his pocket!  So - it's worth it.  

April 21, 2019


The one thing I couldn't get over in Italy was

  • how clean everything is
  • how beautiful all the building are 
  • how old everything is
So, that's 3 - sue me.  

One of the places that the kids had gone on their honeymoon and really wanted to get back to was a little town called Orvieto.  It was within an hour's drive of where we were staying - so we made half- day out of it.  We went to Orvieto in the afternoon after our cooking class. 

Our first stop was at this charming old stone house that housed a winery.  While they were tasting wine, I went outside and took some photos.  It was just as the sun was setting. 

Also, I may have a thing for bare trees.  Especially against a beautiful sky. 

Then we went into town.  After finding a place to park, we walked around for awhile.  It seems the entire time we were in Italy, our timing was off just that much.  We'd all be ready for dinner and the restaurants were still closed for mid-day.  But we managed to make it work. 

The cathedral was set in the center of the town.  And it was huge and amazing and beautiful and clean.  The detail in the building was just incredible.  I have many photos of the detail carved into the outside of the building. 

We had dinner in Orvieto and then we headed back home to bed.  I believe this was our last day in Italy.  Thanks for joining me as a looked back over a year ago to a wonderful family trip.

April 18, 2019


Several years I ago I did a “what style am I drawn to” exercise with my ASG girls. Almost every single thing I pulled from the fashion mags that year was solid color neutrals – navy, grey, brown, some peach green, and a tiny bit of red – for colors, but mostly all solids.

Styles: pencil skirts, sheath and shirt dresses, turtlenecks and twin sets. Very classic looks.

As I revived my blog - I found this very old draft post and it still seems appropriate today as I find my way.  I am a dress girl, but my life is no longer dress up.  It's far more casual.  So, now that we're almost 3 years into this B&B gig all of my beautiful cotton work dresses are out of my closet.  And I've said bye-bye to the wool dresses as well. But I still can't bear to part with my work shoes, although, I think they aren't long for my closet. 

These days, I'm getting inspiration from Carolyn as she builds her Chicos Chic wardrobe; Megan with her gorgeous pembroke dresses; and Gillian and her swing dresses.

Share your comfortable, casual, easy to wear and feel put together patterns with me - please.  While I don't really enjoy wearing jeans, I am so inspired by Carolyn's shirt collection and have quite a collection of shirting fabrics of my own.  I did a quick search of Coldwater Creek, Dress Barn and J. Jill for some inspiration garments - guess it's time to get sewing! 

April 14, 2019

Italian Gardens

What I really enjoyed the most about being in the Italian Countryside in January was the lack of other tourists.  Often we were the only people in a particular garden - allowing us to run, play, take fun photos and have a good time - without interrupting anyone else.

On this day, after stopping for most of the fam to do a wine tasting (Pat, Eleanor & I don't drink wine) we headed to Villa Lante to see the formal gardens.  The day started out drizzly, but ended up being quite nice.

When we got to Villa Lante, we went in around the outside.  Walking past this beautiful fountain.  Formal Italian Gardens are filled with boxwoods and lots and lots of fountains.  

One of two identical buildings.  They were closed up and not in use, but were amazing.  I can only imagine living in one.

Looking down over one of the fountains.

From the top looking back down over the entire garden.  Isn't it spectacular?

This grotto was at the very top of the garden. 

Another water feature.

Some of the formal boxwoods and the designs created.

April 11, 2019

Siren Sundress - Part 1

This past was started as draft back in 2016 - oops.

Earlier this year, I won a pattern give-away from Stonemountain & Daughter.  It was during Indy Pattern Month and I won a pattern of my choosing from Decades of Style.  I chose to get the Siren Sundress pattern.

I received a direct message from Decades of Style that said the key to this dress fitting well is all in the bodice.  The message also said that if you have the fabric to make the ties wider - by an inch at least.

This dress is a double wrap.  The front is just a mock wrap - although it overlaps - as if it wrapped.  The real wrap happens in the back.  So - what I did was trace the bodice pieces and cut it out in lining fabric.  The first go round the bodice gaped at the front and the armhole and the back had all kinds of issues - it gaped and was too long.

So - I sliced and overlapped the front in 3 places and took out about 2" of length.  I also narrowed the bodice a bit at the shoulder.  I thought I took photos of that step, but clearly did not.  However, thanks to google photos I do have photos from a 3 year old project.  

For the back - I did the same - sliced and overlapped.  And this is why you trace a pattern.  Had I cut into them I would never know what the original pieces were meant to look like.  

In this photo you can see that the pieces are just too tall for my short back - see how the piece is folding up on itself?  I sent these photos to my sewing friends before moving on.  Keep in mind - I'm still using the lining fabric at this stage.  

Second back muslin.  It's getting better.  If I remember right I went straight to my full on muslin dress at this point.  I thought I had photos of me wearing it - but I could not find them in the google photos vault, so I'll show you on a hanger and then tell you that the dress is in the giveaway box.  And that I'm a tiny bit sad that this fabric is no longer available for my use.  

April 7, 2019

Why Not Take a Class?

Have I mentioned yet that Krystle & Pat when to Italy on their honeymoon?  So, this wasn't their first choice for a family vacation, but they were game and went along.  One of the things that was important for them was to take a cooking class.  Luckily for us, our hotel was offering a class where you learned to make bread/rolls, pasta and fresh ricotta.  So - with the exception of JB, we were all in!  JB - or Gramps - got the fun of spending the morning with Eleanor - all to himself.  I think there may have been chocolate croissants involved!

Our day started with making bread dough. While that rested we had a lovely espresso.  Then we made the dough into pizza.  In Italy, pizza is baked on a cookie sheet and it's rectangular - I don't think I saw a single round pizza.  The dough was spread out edge to edge on the cookie sheet, topped with olive oil and then the tomato sauce and set aside to rest and rise again.  We then played with the bread dough - dividing it into 4 and making 4 different types of rolls - as well as baguette.  The rolls were:  panchetta, olive, caraway & plain.

Before making pasta, we learned how to make ricotta.  It seemed pretty easy, but finding the special ingredients might make it a bit harder to do.

Then it was pasta time!  We had so much fun making the pasta.  Gramps & Eleanor arrived just in time for lunch of our pizza and fresh ricotta.  It was a good day!  Recently a friend loaned me her pasta machine so I can try making fresh pasta again.

We learned to make different shapes with the pasta dough. The bow ties are basically cut with a pinking rotary cutter.  :D

Finally - learning to use the pasta machine.  It's a 2 person job!

All in all - I was so glad that I spent a fun day with the kids learning to make bread.  Now to find Italian flour here and try my hand at pasta!  

April 4, 2019

Floral Vogue

So, many of you know that my daughter is an interior designer.  What does that have to do with my new top?  Well, let me tell you - I pulled this pattern - Vogue 8962 when I was looking for a pattern to make her some professional clothes for her birthday.  Turns out there wasn't enough fabric to make this up for her.  But the pattern remained front and center on my cutting table and it kept calling to me. 

Then, along came Carriage Corner Sew Camp and I had a few minutes to sew with the gang.  Pattern was sitting right there along with a beautiful, floral liverpool knit from FabricMart.  So, I did the only thing I could do - I cut it out! 

I mean - I cut the tissue.  I didn't even trace - which was a risky move because this is a pattern from 2013 and it's no longer available.  I quickly took some measurements (they hadn't changed!) and laid everything out.  Then I did some flat pattern measuring and decided that the top was going to be a smidge tight around my hips (I was wrong). 

There are no pictures of this next part - but this is what I did - I cut a straigh size 20 for the back yoke.  For the back, I cut a size 20 at the top going out to a 22 at the bottom of the armhole, then I "graded' between the 22 and a 26 at the bottom of the side seam.  I also added about an 1" to the bottom of the center back seam.  For the front I cut a 20 through the neckline and shoulders, out to the 22 at the bottom of the armhole, graded the side seam same as the back BUT I put the center front, cut on fold 1.5" away from the fold at the very bottom.  Does that make sense?  The top of the pattern was on the fold and I pivoted the entire piece so the bottom was 1 1/2" away from the fold.  For the sleeves, I cut a straight size 22 and just eased the extra in. 

This is an incredibly quick sewing project. and I love it!  While the neckline is a bit wide and would benefit from a band - it won't stop me from wearing it - in fact, I've already worn it 3 times - with jeans, black leggings and my ellis skirt! 

Photos in the post are courtesy of Carolyn - she always makes me laugh and takes great photos.  And - I've already made a second version of this top I liked it so much.  Will my daughter ever get a version for her professional wardrobe - remains to be seen.
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