Redefining “treat”

This is a really tough one for me. I grew up eating as healthy as mom knew to do, and treats were generally small and reserved for birthdays and holidays. (Before you feel too sorry for me – there were ten of us plus foster siblings, so there usually wasn’t a month without a birthday!) As I grew older, it seemed treat foods came more often, but they were always sugary – my sister’s beautiful and delicious cakes that were always worth the anticipation, ice cream cakes, homemade ice cream…. holiday pies, Christmas cookies….

Ok, whew, maybe they weren’t so reserved after all! In any case, once I moved out on my own, sweets were easier to get, and I didn’t have someone regulating them. I of course know the logic of eating sweets and the science behind not eating them, but many of us fight sweet tooths and I’m no stranger to that war!
As part of the WLC challenge, I’ve strictly limited sweets, so I don’t lose points (ah, the benefit of the challenge! Additional reserve strength for my willpower!). However, once a week the rules allow an alcoholic drink.

I’m hardly a drinker; I’ve been called a lightweight and that’s really ok. But now two+ weeks in, I’d like a treat that doesn’t “cost”. There’s no worry of me going overboard – I tend to get sleepy before I get drunk, and besides, with the adorable Mason jar shot glasses I found…. The serving is well-portioned! 🙂
I still want chocolate, LOL, but until I figure out one I like that’s acceptable on the challenge, it’s out for 6 more weeks.

Hot Patterns 1133

Plain & Simple Fitted T Redux

Decided to try making a t-shirt for the first time. I considered a nice knit fabric with some sheer stripes that I love, but ended up using a cheap knit from the G St discount table – no matter, it still looks great for a first try knit top! Love this pattern!

As for the instructions, I had to guess which sleeve went to which side as they are not labeled, and the diagrams did not say. Since the sleeve pieces are not front-to-back symmetrical, these really could be in wrong, but my fabric was very forgiving.

The one additional item I should mention is that the sleeve is snug at the elbow, so if you have any forearm muscle at all – measure and adjust!

It has an interesting back seam to help give it a bit of shape:


And the front view:


Burda 7108 – done!

Finished the dress in time for the party! It was my best invisible zip ever so I was pretty happy about that. Making the normal adjustments though, left it just a little roomy in the tush – perhaps because this was labeled plus size, and I was on the low end of the pattern sheet, vs regular, where I’m near the largest size, had something to do with it. It wasn’t enough for me to re-do anything over, but thankfully I did pay attention to sizing early enough to take out four inches at the waist, by curving the side seams just a little more (I find this unusual for a Burda for me). That would have been significant enough that I would have considered wearing something else!

For the rank beginners, if you’re used to folding darts… this pattern has you cut it in, but doesn’t tell you until several steps in, so definitely read ahead.

I took the sleeve pattern from the jacket, trimmed and inch down either side, and shortened to elbow length. It eased into the dress armscye quite well and came out just the way I wanted!

This was taken after the party… hopefully my exhaustion isn’t too obvious, but I forgot to get a photo before we left!



Burda 7108

Not in keeping with my goals, but in keeping with the time I’ve left myself (gallivanted to NC, & stayed an extra day, instead of sewing, LOL), the first make of the year is a dress! I fell in love with the lace fabric

20140107-115759.jpg and finally found an excuse to actually get it and make it into something. I had planned a different pattern for the office party January 9th, but while in NC decided to buy the lace, and a coordinating poly shantung, and cut it all out while I was there.

(Remind me later to tell y’all about Mingo’s totally-but-unexpectedly-her-dress-to-be! We picked up fabric for that too!)

Once I got back, I cut lining pieces and started sewing. So far, so good.

To be continued. The party is Thursday! 🙂

North Carolina = pants?

I got back home last night from visiting my twin sister in NC. I know a lot of families have their problems, and ours wasn’t perfect (LOL – I’ve never run into one that was!), but whenever I was stressed out…. the one person I could always count on to understand was Mingo (ok, yeah, lots of nicknames on this blog… ).

She and her husband recently got themselves a beautiful 19-acre lot full of trees, a couple of creeks, and a few old buildings. It was good and very de-stressing to just ramble around with her and her dogs, and not think about work, any of the organizing/consolidating/”disencluttering” (Scruff’s made-up-but-appropriate word) that remains at home, and all the goals I have for the new year. It was good to let my mind just LET GO for a few days, and  let me subconscious do some processing. Now, I can focus on GOING WITH IT and getting the action plan into place.

One part, as usual, involves sewing. Already, Scruff and I have switched the bookcases between my office and the basement (not really that easy a feat), and I’m able to start unpacking my fabric stash! Such lovely-to-be-remembered fabrics, with so many fun clothes to be made! I love to see each fabric, and remember what I want to turn it into, and hope my skills hold up for the item. This year I plan to conquer pants – I’ve made quite a few dresses now, and thankfully gotten better with each one. While I am still learning fitting techniques, I have the basics of making a dress down, but have only made one pair of pants – I don’t count the sweats I made in 7th grade home ec! Although I often wear dresses for swing dancing, in my daily life I almost always wear pants (no girl shoes required!), and I’d really like to step it up a notch from the jeans I usually wear to work. So, since I will be repeating my minimal-clothing-purchased-change-most-of-my-closet-to-me-made-plans… pants conquering it is!

PS One of my habits is counting the hawks I see as I drive. On long trips I can sometimes make Traveling Hawk Blackjack – 21 sightings of various raptors. On the trip down, I saw 28 (woo hoo, blackjack+, baby! and one of them was a kestrel!), but with the foggy and rainy weather, only 13 roadside hawks on the return trip. On the (big) plus side, I did catch a pileated woodpecker just south of Roanoke!

Some goodness to start the new year

Last night, I and another woman whose name I’ve since learned is Kathy (could be a C), took a cold wandering dog to his or her home. The dog was a beautiful gold color (retriever? I’m not really up on my dogs), extremely well-behaved with thick luxurious fur, and a name tag that said Harbor. His or her people’s phone numbers were on there but really tiny (so if you have a dog – think about making the numbers bigger!)… no luck calling but we found a neighbor home – it was maybe 20 degrees out and we were glad the dog was safe! Then we went back to the dance.
This morning Scruff and I are meeting up with some other dancing friends for New Year’s Brunch. I think that’s a good occasion for a treat, so I’ve made some whole wheat currant scones, and tried a new recipe. The title made some outrageous claims of being the world’s best, their Scottish grandma’s recipe so I thought it worth a try – and they are really good! The only change I made was to use white whole wheat flour. We’re bringing lemon curd to go with.


Chirp! Welcome to my new home!!

KestrelGratuitous kestrel – Squire, a traveling ambassador from Busch Gardens.


You know how it goes when you try to come up with username somewhere, right? All the good ones are taken? Whatever you think up feels contrived, but has to do because you just can’t think of anything.

Well this ain’t that.  Back in November I did the Whole Life Challenge with my sister and a friend of mine. We went back and forth quite a few times trying to come up with a name for our little team… and nothing sounded great. A lot of things just sounded lame. However, late one evening I was driving home from work and chatting with my sister on speakerphone. While we were talking something made me think of a trip I made to Smith Point, TX. It was borderline time for hawk migration and hey, you start talking hawks I get all excited. I started telling my sister about kettling – when the raptors are all together in the sky it’s pretty amazing to see. She’s not a bird nerd, but she laughed when I used the term “kettling” – because quite often in this challenge, we planned to be using kettlebells for our workouts.

Lightning struck me and a name for our team, and my new corner of the internet, was born! I wrote this for our team description:

When raptors get ready for migration, kettling is the staging of the group, an announcement of the imminence of departure, and a way of gaining altitude and conserving strength. The “birds” in this group are takin’ off, kettling for departure toward better selves. (It doesn’t hurt the wordplay any that we use a few kettlebells along the way too!)

The more I thought about, the more I loved the name. So I registered the domain and am launching it into the new year! This will collect things, ideas, and friends that strengthen me, give me joy, and hopefully, help me be the best me ever (not the least of which is my sweet hubby, Scruff). Lots of goals… too little time to work on them. In any case, more to come in the new year! I hope you have a great New Year’s Eve, with many awesome plans for the future.

(Oh, yeah, the challenge? It was tough but eye-opening, and yes, we’re doing it again. The next one starts January 11 – feel free to join my friends on our team, named – you guessed it, Birds Of A Kettle.)