Wednesday, November 30, 2016

BLC Day 30: Yes! I Blogged Every Day This Month!

I am an admittedly negligent blogger, having gone significant periods of time between publishing new posts.  I've mentioned multiple times my desire to work towards a more consistent publishing schedule, and recognize doing so would require more discipline on my part.  So, when Faye Lewis shared she was participating in the Blog Like Crazy challenge again this year, I thought I'd take it on as well and commit to publishing a new post every day in November.

Oh, what a relief it is!!

I'm so glad to say I've met the challenge but don't mind telling you that it was sometimes a challenge doing on Day 19 when I was just exhausted from my work and travel schedules.  And yes, some posts were simply observations, but the commitment was to simply publish something new each day.

There's an established theory out there which states that a behavior has to be repeated for 21 consecutive days for it to become habit, while recent research conducted at the University College London indicates the habit-forming time threshold is actually 66 days.  Regardless which theory is correct, I hope to maintain a more consistent writing schedule after having met this challenge.  No, I won't say it will be daily; in fact, publishing a daily post really isn't my goal, but it will certainly be more often than every few months - or even years!

Thank you so much for coming here and checking out what I'm doing, my observations, and even my therapeutic venting on current events.  But most importantly, thank you for sharing your comments and words of encouragement.  You truly have no idea how much they've meant to me!

Be blessed!


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

BLC Day 29: ABQ Bad Quest

I love TV and one of my all-time favorite programs is Breaking Bad.  I was late coming into this TV drama but kept hearing buzz about it as it led into its second season.  Just before airing, AMC ran the first season episodes which allowed me to catch up...and I was hooked!

In case you're unfamiliar with the story line, it's about Walter White, a brilliant and award-winning scientist who settles for teaching chemistry at his local high school and supplementing his income working as a part-time cashier at a car wash.  After receiving a diagnosis of inoperable lunch cancer, he enlists Jesse Pinkman, a former student, and begins making crystal methamphetamine so his family will be financially secure after he dies.  The series was filmed in and around Albuquerque, New Mexico, so when I was asked to travel there earlier this year to facilitate training to a group of new hire employees, I had to take the opportunity to conduct a Breaking Bad Sight Seeing Tour a la Aisha.  (FYI...there are real BB tours conducted in ABQ and they're pretty pricey...IJS!)  Note - this post contains lots of images taken by me and letterboxed images from various BB episodes to serve as points of comparison.

My first stop was the Crossroads Motel - or as Hank called it, The Crystal Palace - which is where we first meet Wendy, a meth-addicted prostitute who assists Jesse on multiple occasions.  It's located on Central Ave SE at the I-25 overpass and judging from its area, it didn't seem nearly as seedy as it did on TV.  In fact, the Presbyterian Hospital is located directly across the street and the Hotel Parq Central, a 4-star hotel, is diagonally across, which you can see just behind the I-25 overpass in the image below.

Monday, November 28, 2016

BLC Day 28: Making of a Body Double

In film making terms, a body double is defined as a person who substitutes in a scene for another actor where the person's face is not shown.  In dressmaking terms, a body double is a dress form dummy with measurements and dimensional contours which mirror its owner for the purpose of constructing and fitting hand-sewn garments.  I've wanted a dress form model that was close to my own measurements and dimensions for a long time but the retail price tags always seemed prohibitive.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

BLC Day 27: Sweater Knit Throw

I recently shared with you details on the pillow cases I made from thrift store sweaters for my Family Room, and mentioned that I wanted to make patchwork throws to accompany the cases.  A while ago, while viewing images on Pinterest, I found this one of the patch-work sweater knit blanket Michelle made and posted on her blog, Yellow Suitcase Studio.  This served as my inspiration.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

BLC Day 26: Singer Library - Still the Absolute Best!

I remember working for So-Fro Fabrics in my late teens/early twenties and the company's heavy focus on catering to "crafty" consumers by providing tools and supplies for many different types of crafts.  This emphasis increased after being purchased by JoAnn Fabric & Crafts, which I quite frankly found to be a turn-off because I never considered myself a "crafty" person.  I loved fabric and sewing and for some odd reason, I didn't categorize sewing as being a craft.  Yes, it's about making things with your hands, but the term craft always reminded me of making things from sticks and twigs or the whole Trash to Treasure phenomenon; a rather odd thought process, I know, especially when considering the formal definitions of craft and crafty.

Friday, November 25, 2016

BLC Day 25: Fabric Water Repelling Challenge

About 3 years ago, I created a profile on, another social media site which focuses on fashion, beauty and home decor.  It allows users to view products that are available for purchase - primarily online - and create collages to see how different items look together.  For me, it had the feel of playing with virtual paper dolls.  I created one fashion collage which included this yellow trench coat.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

BLC Day 24: Happy Thanksgiving!

However you choose to celebrate, I wish you and your family peace and love as our country sets aside this fourth Thursday in November to acknowledge and give thanks for our many blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving, and continue to be blessed!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

BLC Day 23: True Blue Original

If you've ever had to hem a pair of denim jeans, you know how difficult it can be to get over that "hump" at the seam line due to the multiple layers of fabric.  Including those involved in flat-felling the side seams, there could easily be 12 layers of denim your machine needle has to get through - and not always successfully.  One work-around technique I've used is to overcast the hem's cut edge then simply fold under the hem once and stitch in place.  While this process does accomplish the task, you do lose the original jean hem and its stitching.  Plus, the hem top tends to fold down which I have found annoying.  However, I recently saw Nancy Zieman demonstrate a faster technique which looked super-easy and maintained the jean's original hem, so I thought I would give it a try.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

BLC Day 22: Stash Inventory

Hey everyone!  It's the beginning of a busy holiday week, so I thought I'd share a quick tip on how I inventory my fabric stash. I recently shared with you that I reorganized how my fabric is stored, affording the benefit of using all the shelf space in my Sewing Room closet.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

BLC Day 21: Autumn Sweater Repair

Do you have that one garment in your closet which is your all-time favorite?  For me, it's my Autumn themed sweater which I bought it a Kohl's department store about 10 or 12 years ago.  I remember it was Spring and I was there undoubtedly purchasing something for my daughter - probably for Easter - when I spotted it hanging on a clothing rack marked 90% off.  Being a Michiganian, I appreciate and love being able to experience all 4 seasons, with Autumn being my favorite.  So, when I spotted this sweater priced at $3.90, I thought it was the score of the decade.  Imagine, then, my distress when I discovered a hole on its left elbow.

BLC Day 20: Sweater Knit Redux

When my kids were younger, our family spent many hours together in the Family Room watching TV, movies, eating, playing games...whatever!  Now that they're adults and out doing their own things, the room's most likely occupants are my husband and I, with napping being a frequent activity enjoyed by both of us.  Therefore, comfort is of paramount concern in this room, but also important to me is its visual appeal.

A few years ago, I saw Pinterest images of decorator sweater knit pillows and decided to try my hand at reproducing the look with thrift store sweaters, so I purchased several from my local Salvation Army a while back and made cases for the pillows located in the Family Room.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

BLC Day 19: Taking a Break

This past week's travel and work schedule wore me out and I feel like I have to take break today, so I'll catch up with y'all tomorrow.

Be blessed!


Friday, November 18, 2016

BLC Day 18: Edith Said It...

Hello Friends,

I live in the Metro Detroit area but traveled to Grand Rapids this week for work.  If you're unfamiliar with Michigan's footprint, Detroit is in the state's Southeast quadrant, and Grand Rapids is westward, practically on the other side of the state.  So, today I'm wrapping up my final work day here and have a pretty lengthy drive home ahead of me this evening - approximately 2 1/2 hours - so it will be pretty late when I get home.  In an effort to remain true to my Blog Like Crazy commitment, I thought I'd share one of my favorite fashion quotes with you.

On one of my Thrift Shop excursions a few years ago, I picked up a commemorative graduation shadow-box frame, painted it black, added a decorative paper background, adorned with an old cameo broach and hung on my Sewing Room wall.

On the paper, I printed a quote attributed to Edith Head, well-known and Oscar award winning Hollywood costume designer.  I love this quote and feel it still holds true today.  Enjoy!

Be blessed!


Thursday, November 17, 2016

BLC Day 17: Chocolate Suede

Whenever I visit a JoAnn Fabric store, I have to check out the remnant bin to see if any interesting fabric cuts have been added, which is how I found this chocolate faux suede in July 2012.  Being a remnant, it was marked 50% down from it's retail price of $26.99/yd. and I'm pretty sure it is normally found in JoAnn's decorator fabric section and therefore had a stiffer hand.  It measured 1 yard in length and 58/60-inches wide - perfect yardage for a straight skirt.  I brought it home and added to the stash.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

BLC Day 16: One Canine's Nocturnal Behaviors

I've mentioned my big guy, Max, in past blog posts. I love this dog! As an American Bulldog, he possesses a large, bulky chest and upper body with slightly bowed front legs. When something has piqued his curiosity, his perked up ears and furrowed brow gives him an aggressive appearance which, partnered with his deep bark, is quite impressive and can be intimidating. To me, however, he's a great big love and my dawg!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

BLC Day 15: Symbol of Solidarity

If you spend time on various social media platforms, chances are you've noticed a new movement gaining momentum. Regardless your politics, speculation abounds regarding what the incoming presidential administration will mean for our country and its citizens.  In the wake of the election results, many have expressed their heightened levels of anxiety and fear of being targeted, while respected news outlets report more incidents of "hate crimes" and intimidation levied against members of various demographic groups.

In an effort to make a positive statement and establish solidarity with anyone in our communities who are afraid, an online movement has started where supporters visibly wear a safety pin attached to their clothing.  "As a show of support, groups of people across America are attaching safety pins to their lapels, shirts and dresses to signify that they are linked, willing to stand up for the vulnerable."  (Source -

image courtesy of Instagram

Sunday, November 13, 2016

BLC Day 14: Have You Met Christopher?

The internet can be a wonderful space to learn new techniques and encounter new people.  One such person is Christopher Nejman.  I recall searching for information and videos on leather handbag construction when I found this You Tube video...

I was so impressed by the beauty of these bags that I set out to learn more about their creator.

BLC Day 13: Yes I said, Yes I will, Yes

I'm sometimes skeptical of people who boisterously proclaim "I've been happily married for X years!" as if to imply they've all been happy and conflict-fee.  Anyone who has maintained a long-term relationship knows there will be disagreements and differences of opinion, but you do what you must to work them out and nurture the relationship.  If you count the dating period, my husband and I have been a couple for 37 years, married for 25 years, and most of these years have absolutely been happy.  There have been times, however, when we've encountered huge challenges, not always seen eye-to-eye, have argued and even went through periods of time where we've spoken very few words to one another.  Heck, some of that happened just last week!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

BLC Day 12: Out, Damned Spot! Out, I Say!

If you read some of my past blog posts, you'll find that I'm often reevaluating the organization in my Sewing Room to improve its efficiency, which prompted me to recently reorganize my fabric stash.  As most sewing enthusiasts can attest, we often buy a length of fabric - or many lengths - with the plan to do "something" with it, and we then add it to the stash.  Additionally, we may be gifted or inherit, others - as was the case with this cotton print.

Friday, November 11, 2016

BLC Day 11: Deconstruction and Empire Inspo

It's been quite a whirlwind for the past couple of days, and I'm so glad to shift my focus back to my favorite topic - SEWING!!!  I think I mentioned a couple of times that I follow many blogs, some of which focuses on refashioning clothing, most often using thrift store finds - i.e. RefashionistaThe Renegade Seamstress and Thriftanista in the City.  Each of these bloggers has her own techniques she uses to restyle an existing garment.  I tend to do a full deconstruction to see what pieces I'm working with, especially if I intend to use a traditional sewing pattern to make the final project.  This was the process I used for my leopard print skirt, and it's what I'm using for the wool and leather coat I mentioned on Sunday.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

BLC Day 10: Reflections

I love the United States and being an American citizen.  I love that ours is a country built on democratic principles and laws to ensure our country's sovereignty and the rights of every citizen.  I love that ours is the model of government the rest of the world looks to when developing and molding their own democracies.  I love how we, the people, elect our leaders as opposed to having them appointed to us by birth rights, and that we honor and hold dear the principles of peaceful transfers of power from one leader to the next.  No coup d'etat for us; we're more evolved than that.  So, I must continue to love all of these things even when presented with what I consider to be disappointing outcomes in our election process.

Donald Trump is our new president-elect.  There... I actually put his name in print rather than treat it like Voldemort - he who shall not be named.  And while he was absolutely not my choice, I have to respect my fellow Americans who did choose him for their own reasons.  Believe me, getting to this acceptance level was not easy for me.  I, too, was angry and bewildered over the election results.  But after having time to vent, yell, and reflect, I am now ready to move forward.

I've seen many comments on various social media platforms where "friends" identified Trump supporters as racists, and even second-guessed the people with whom they work and socialize everyday.  I understand those feelings, given the divisive and hateful rhetoric he said for 18 months.  And, I too found myself looking at people and mentally skewering them for having voted for him - whether I knew this to be the case or not.  While I'm sure a fraction of his supporters voted for him because they indeed held such hateful, extremist views, I'm not convinced this was the sole motivation for the overwhelming numbers which swung in his favor.

There were so many variables which factored into his election - Sec. Clinton's inability to change the narrative regarding her trust-worthiness and protest voters who couldn't get "excited" about her candidacy; almost daily Wikileaks news dumps of hacked emails from key Clinton campaign staffers and others (Gee, thanks, Russia! Really, you shouldn't have!); the so-called reverse Bradley affect, where voters wouldn't admit they were voting for Trump in public or when asked by pollsters; and don't forget FBI Director Comey's pronouncement of additional emails which may factor in their investigation of Sec. Clinton's private server, only to reaffirm there was no new information 2 days before the election.  But what must also be acknowledge is the fact there are people in our country whose economic pain seemed to go unnoticed by their elected officials and both major political parties, and so they voted with their pocketbooks.  Reminds me what James Carville said during President Clinton's 1992 presidential run - the economy, stupid!

So, here we are and we all must decide how we want to proceed now that a new president has been selected.  No, I'm not ready to offer my congratulations to him, but I am ready to see how he transitions into this leadership role.  And no, I'm not ready to embrace him as my president as I did Barack Obama, but I am ready to acknowledge him as president-elect and hope that he will indeed be a good president.  If he is able to live up to this measurement, it means he would have done what was best for America and Americans - ALL Americans - and isn't that what our president is supposed to do?

We will have mid-term election in 2 years with another general in 2020, so make no mistake about it - if he doesn't live up to the good president measurement, and instead conducts himself in a manner consistent with what we observed during his campaign, I will call it out and do all I can to ensure he is voted out of office as swiftly and decisively as he was voted in.

Be blessed!


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

BLC Day 9: Recovery

My dear readers,

I had a completely different post ready to go for you today, but I can't even lie... the presidential election results have me feeling certain ways, and not one of them is positive.  I need time to process my feelings and get back into a space where I can move forward.

I'm sure I'm not alone, so I wish you all the best as you reconcile yourselves with these results.

As always...

Be blessed - we're gonna need it more than ever!


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

BLC Day 8: I Voted... Did You?

I am a self-confessed news junkie, especially that of the political variety.  On any given day, you can find me consuming the programming on MSNBC and CNN (and sometimes even Fox), often engaged in one-sided, sometimes profanity-laced "conversations" with the pundits as they opine on the events of the day, week, month and/or season.  When election time comes rolling around, I try to take time to acquaint myself with the candidates and/or issues on the upcoming ballot.  And. I. Never. Ever. Miss a primary or general election.  Not ever.  In fact, I've often quipped that I don't care if the only item on the ballot is the office of local dog catcher - I'm voting!

Part of the reason why I'm so adamant about exercising my right is the awareness of sacrifices made by those who have come before me.  Therefore, I cannot in good conscience take this right for granted or squander its opportunity - a principle I've tried to instill in my children.  I've asked them multiple times this season "Are you voting?", only to be given a lackluster "Yeah, I guess so."  I understand their conflict.  I remember my first presidential election in 1984, a year where the candidate nominated by my party didn't excite me, either.  But, as an adult, you have to recognize what is at stake, put on your big boy/girl pants and do what you know you must.

Of all of the presidential campaign seasons I've observed, this one of 2016 has been the most distasteful, divisive and repulsive I've ever observed.  The fear mongering, hatred and vitriol spewed by the Republican candidate has lowered our national discourse to an embarrassing level.  For example, when the RNC held one of its primary debates here in Detroit last year, this guy actually made veiled references to his virility and sexual prowess.  REALLY?  WHO DOES THAT?!!  His behavior has been so repugnant that I can no longer stomach looking at his face on my TV screen as the various news outlets provide him with free airtime so they can be the first to report on the outrageous rhetoric to ooze from his lips.  And what about the outright - and dare I say, easily verifiable - fabrications he has disgorged?  As if we didn't hear anything he previously said to completely contradict what he just said!


But, after 19 long and despicable months, we have finally reached the point where we, the people, cast our vote for the 45th president of the United States.  I took this day off work so I could make it to my polling place early to cast my vote and be able to follow the news coverage.  However, I found myself so eager to vote that I actually went to my city clerk's office last Saturday to complete and submit an absentee ballot.  So, most of the TVs in my home will be turned on so I can be within earshot to catch all of the action right up until tonight when a winner has been declared.  No matter what your politics or party leanings, I encourage you to get out and make your voice heard by casting your vote.  Many people have surrendered so much to ensure you have this right - don't waste it.  Your vote really does count... just ask Al Gore!

(Ah, the good 'ole days of 2000.  And I thought that election was unprecedented!)


Be blessed - and VOTE!!


Monday, November 7, 2016

BLC Day 7: Wool & Leather Coat Refash - The Plan

I can't tell you why, but I have a fondness for white wool coats.  Not white-white, but more winter-white. Something about them looks sophisticated and classic to me, almost regardless of style.  I shared with you yesterday my observation regarding the sudden trendiness of shopping at thrift stores, and that I, too, have shopped them to see what treasures I could scoop up.  Last week while traveling in Grand Rapids, MI for work, I stopped by the Goodwill store located on Kraft Ave. to see what they had.

I found this winter-white wool coat.  It was in very good condition, but it didn't fit me well, especially around the biceps which is always a fitting challenge for me.  But, I thought there was enough fabric to do "something" with it.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

BLC Day 6: Empire Refash

Have you noticed that thrift store shopping has become trendy?  I wonder what changed to make this shopping experience "stylish".  I've had several recent experiences where I've voiced my admiration over something a person is wearing, only to hear them proudly proclaim it was purchased at a thrift store - and by young women, too!

I've supported The Salvation Army for many years, both financially and through donations, because I believe in their cause and the work they do.  About 2 years ago, I went to one of their thrift stores on New Year's Day because I wanted to purchase a supply of inexpensive white sweaters for a home dec project - more on that later.  While there, I was drawn to this red empire-waist pullover sweater.  I loved the color, the pronounced cable knits and the weight.  I could see this being a welcomed and much-appreciated layer of clothing on cold winter days.  And, because the store was holding a Half-Off Tag sale for the holiday, I was able to scoop it up for about $3 or $4.  Once I started wearing it, however, the sweater bodice felt constricting and the style almost maternity-like.

I went on Pinterest and found several sweater refashion images which inspired me, and because I still loved the color and knit, I thought I would like the sweater better as a cardigan than of a pullover.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

BLC Day 5: Accidental Icon

When I made the decision to begin blogging, it was after being inspired by so many talented women in the blogosphere who were willing to share their time and talent online.  The first blog I started following was Sharon Sews, where Sharon shared not only her sewing talent but also life challenges she encountered and overcame.  I then happened upon Sew Many Ways, and to say I was blown away with Karen's ability to recycle and re-purpose everyday items in her sewing and craft room is an understatement.  In fact, I'm unashamed to admit that I've adopted several of her organization ideas in my own domain, like the use of pipe stripes found in your local hardware store as handles on recycled storage boxes.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

BLC Day 4: Poppin' Wheelies!

I have long dreamed of having a beautiful and functional space in which to enjoy the various craft activities which interest me.  I recall in the pre-Pinterest days initiating and saving online image searches to see how other sewing-enthusiasts have set up and organized their sewing spaces.  And who hasn't thumbed through a copy of Dream Sewing Spaces by Lynette Ranney Black?

While working in my Sewing Room now, I look around and am pleased to see the progress I've made in improving its efficiency and appearance, but it has not been an overnight process. Most of the improvements have been done over a period of about 10 years - reminds me of the saying "slow and steady wins the race."  Case in point, my Project Table which I actually completed building in 2014 and blogged about in January 2015.  It has truly become a workhorse piece of furniture in my Sewing Room, and provides a lot of great storage capacity underneath its table top...

BLC Day 3: I Could Be Wrong, But...

Welcome to Day 3 of my Blog Like Crazy challenge, and as promised, here's a post about an observation I made.  When it comes to design elements in women's clothing, my favorites are asymmetry, double-breasted and wrap styles.  I recently did a quick scan of the patterns in my collection and counted no fewer than 10 wrap-style tops and dress patterns.  I think it's safe to say I don't need to purchase more.

So, when I saw this image last night while scanning through my Pinterest feed, I had to ask...

"Am I missing something?  Where's the asymmetry?"

I won't even address the price for this top and the fact that it probably is a poorly made and poor-quality garment and wouldn't look this good in the reality... IJS.

Be blessed!


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

BLC Day 2: Blog Like Crazy Challenge

If you follow my blog, you already know... I'm an inconsistent blogger.  I really don't mean to be.  In fact, I've written in past posts how I don't like going long periods of time without publishing something and have vowed to be more consistent, only to find myself falling into familiar patterns. In reviewing my blog archive, I've realized that I didn't publish a single post in 2014.  How awful!!

What the what?!  Where's 2014?

When I reflect on the reasons why my blogging is so sporadic, the biggest factor for me is time - there never seems to be enough to fulfill all of the tasks for the many roles I play, so engaging in activities I enjoy doing (like sewing, crafting, and blogging) is often sacrificed.  And, if I'm not sewing, then what on earth would I blog about?  This reminds me of a quote I recently read...

"Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem.  We all have twenty-four hour days."
~ Zig Ziglar ~

Yesterday, while catching up on reading my favorite blogs, I saw Faye's recent post where she decided to participate in the Blog Like Crazy challenge - for a second year!  The challenge is to commit to publishing a blog post each day throughout the month of November.  She took up this challenge last year, and amazed herself with how consistent she was in publishing.

After reading her post, and reflecting on Zig's words of wisdom, I thought "Why not?"  So, I've decided to accept the challenge this year and publish a daily post this month.  I can't guarantee each one will be sewing or craft related; they may only focus on a daily observation or thought, but I think this may help me improve my consistency.

We'll see how this goes...wish me luck!!

Be blessed!


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

BLC Day 1: Saving My Bum

I recently shared with you that my Sewing Room serves many functions, including where I manage my household affairs, so it's fair to say my office chair and desk has received lots of use since purchasing them in 2006 and '07 respectively.  My desk, purchased on, was part of their "Our House" collection and I liked its streamlined appearance and function, plus the approximate $99 price tag was right up my alley.  At the time of my purchase, this furniture line was being discontinued and the only color available was white, so I knew I'd be painting it black as soon as it arrived.

Images taken in 2012

The chair was purchased from Art Van, a well-known furniture store in the Midwest.  I think I paid about $100 for the chair - a price I would never ever pay again for a similar item.  Hindsight is 20/20, right?  Anyway, the seat bottom flattened out significantly over the years.  In fact, I've had several "Princess and the Pea" moments because I could feel the hardware through the seat cushion whenever I sat in the chair.  It is, however, in otherwise good condition, so I decided to simply replace the seat padding.

The space between my desk and chair is one of Max's favorites.