Tuesday, December 6, 2011

McCalls 6444 - A Cozy Alternative!

I sewed McCalls 6444:

It is a PERFECT alternative to the cozy!

I like the cozy just fine, but to sew a cozy takes 2 yards of fabric. I made View A from McCalls 6444, which has a similar style effect, but takes much less fabric. I sewed mine with the cuffed sleeves from the Simplicity cozy pattern and the entire thing took a little less than 1 3/8 yard of 60" wide fabric. It is economical on yardage for sure!

What I like about the design is that it starts draping higher than the cozy because of the collar. I love that about this!

I used a soft and drapey gray and white knit that is perfect for this style.

Note that the pattern drawing makes it look like this has extended shoulders, but when I sewed mine, it sewed up as regular set in sleeves. Not certain, but it might have been because I used the sleeves from the Simplicity cozy pattern. The regular set in sleeves make this look casual, but not sloppy. And I like that!

If you want a cozy alternative, definitely check out this pattern!

And make this day a good one!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Pineapple. No, really, a pineapple!

I was at the grocery store earlier this week and while waiting for the produce clerk to cut a quarter of a watermelon for me, I looked around at what they had and saw some miniature pineapples. It piqued my intertest because this is my fave fruit juice:

It contains no added sugar:

The pineapples were soo cute that I went to take a closer look. They were on sale for 39 cents a pound. At that price, I definitely wanted to buy one. The only problem is that since I've never bought pineapples before, I didn't know how to pick one. I've eaten fresh pineapples, but I've never had to buy or clean one before.

When the clerk came back, I asked him about the pineapples. Whoa! He gave me a whole lesson on how to pick pineapples! I'm not kidding!

He taught me and now I'll teach you.

1. He had me smell two different ones so I would know how the good one smells. When you smell it, it should smell like a pineapple. If it doesn't have a smell, it's still too green.
2. And then he showed me how the pineapple should look--it should be the color of the pineapple in my pic. The pineapple should look like that all around. It shouldn't have any green spots. If it has green spots, you'll have to let it ripen a little after you get it home.
3. And after that, he told me to feel it. It should be firm. He told me to feel it all around and that if it's soft anywhere, don't buy it because it will be mushy inside.  
4. After that, I asked him how to clean it and he said to just pare it like an apple.

He was spot on on all points.

He picked my pineapple--it's the one he used to compare. And I have to say, it is perfect! It's sweet and it's also juicy! And it's not mushy at all. When I cleaned it, I did exactly what he said, and it turned out perfectly! That guy knows his stuff! I really appreciate when people know their stuff!

And here's the watermelon I bought. I seeded it and cut it:

It's Summer and all sorts of fruits are around right now. There's no need to stick to just run of the mill fruits like cherries, pears, apples and oranges. Branch out.

Buy your regular snacks, but also definitely buy fruits. When fruits require a lot of preparation, clean them and put them in containers as soon as you get them home so they'll be ready to eat whenever anyone's hungry and needs a snack. If you do this, who knows, you and your family might start eating healthier without even meaning to!

If you want to see similar posts, just search my blog for the word food.
Make this day a good one!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Instructions for my Westwood inspired top

This is the Westwood original:

Here's a pic of my top:

And here's the pattern info for my inspired top:

I made this top using the bodice of a TNT wide square neck dress pattern. I rotated the front waist darts and front side darts to the neckline to make the cowl, extended the front shoulder section so they'd be short straps, removed the back shoulder section to accommodate the straps, removed the back waist darts, attached the front facing, twisted the front shoulder straps inwards once, pinned it to the back, attached the back facing and . . . whew! It was perfect.

I redesigned the way the front shoulder attaches to the back because I didn't like the way it looked on the inspiration top. It looks like an afterthought.

I have to say, though, that if my straps weren't as wide as they are, they would have twisted the back bodice. Because I made wider straps, they lay flat. I now understand why the original was constructed as it was.

This is the pattern I started with (bodice only)--Vintage Simplicity 3994. I picked it because of the wide shallow neckline.

These are the adjusted main pattern pieces:

Adjusted bodice front with darts moved and the center front cut on the fold:

Bodice back:

I also drafted front and back facings.

I used the OOP McCalls 5278 for the gathered peplum.

That's it!

Make this day a good one!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Another Westwood inspired top

Of my July sewing projects so far, my piece de resistance is a Vivienne Westwood inspired top. I made a solid gray one last year and loved it. This time around, I made a plaid one!  Here is the Westwood original:

I wanted to make an exact knockoff this time, but I used fabric from my stash and didn't have enough yardage. I ended up making the top with a standard gathered peplum. I used the gathered peplum piece from OOP McCalls 5278.

Because I didn't have much yardage to work with, the plaid isn't perfectly matched. But the mismatching doesn't really bother me and I am happy as pie with this top! The peplum is rather plain compared to the original, but it works for me. I really like this top. Here it is, first on me:

Then flat:

This is a style that goes with everything--jeans, shorts, dress pants, skirts! Here it is with a skirt that I made earlier--the color of the top in this pic looks like the color IRL:

If you're interested in making this top for yourself, check back tomorrow. I'm going to repost the instructions then.

Ty--Thanks for the compliment and for your support! I let that garbage affect me for too long. No more.

Well, that's it for today!

Make this day a good one!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fruit Snacks

A few months back on the Dr. Oz show, he shared an invaluable snacking tip!!! From that tip, I learned how to set things up in the kitchen so there would be less snacking on chips, cookies and ice cream, and more snacking on fruits. It is too valuable to keep to myself, so I'm passing it on.

It is soo simple that you will probably wonder why you didn't do this earlier.

When you're at the supermarket, buy more fruits. Ok, that's a no brainer. But wait, there's more!

To save time and to get you and your family to eat the fruits, buy them already cut and ready to eat.  Yes, you will pay a little more for cut up fruits, but it'll be worth it. I mean, come on, eating chips, cookies or ice cream is so easy that it's no wonder so many of us snack on them. There's no preparation required.

Fruits, on the other hand, require preparation. Eliminate the preparation requirement and they're on the same footing as the fatty snacks.

Buying fruits already cut is worth it.

If you have time and the inclination, you can buy the fruits and prepare them yourself. I love watermelon and always buy a quarter cut. It's more expensive than a whole watermelon, but it works out because a whole watermelon would be too much. A lot of it would go to waste here.

As soon as I get home from the market, I cut the watermelon in slices. Then I separate the fruit from the rind. I cut it in chunks, seed it and put it in a container. I drain the water and stick it in the fridge. And that puts the watermelon on an equal footing with the junk food snacks when it comes to convenience. It's just as easy to eat the watermelon as it is to eat the fatty stuff. Note, drain the watermelon container whenever you take it out of the fridge because if you don't, it might get slimy and spoil ahead of its time. When you drain it, you are left with delicious crisp watermelon chunks. YUM!!! And because you seeded it when you cut it into chunks, you don't even have to worry about the seeds when you pop them into your mouth!

I prepare strawberries, avocados and other fruits like that, too. Having ready to eat fruits around makes it much easier to eat healthy.

A note about strawberries. I bought a tub of strawberries recently and learned something. See the bright yellow and green things on the skin of the strawberries in the pic below?

Here's a clearer pic:

Well, those bright green and yellow things change the taste of strawberries. Strawberries with those things on them taste different--they taste awful to me! Eeuuww!!! I don't like it, so I started skinning the strawberries. They taste like strawberries without those things on them.

I usually don't prepare fruits like apples or oranges ahead of time.

Peeling an orange is no big deal, so having to peel them just before you eat them isn't off putting.

I don't prepare apples ahead of time because they would oxidize and turn brown when saved. Coating the slices with a little lemon juice or vinegar would keep them from turning brown, but it's just as easy to eat the apple on the spot. So, for me, preparing them ahead of time would require too much unnecessary work.

If you really are serious about adding more fruits to your diet, keep 100% fruit juices around so you won't drink sugar. I'm not kidding and I'm not getting wise. Sodas and other sweetened drinks are mostly sugar. When you drink them, you are essentially drinking sugar. One hundred percent fruit juice is much healthier!

Don't overdo on the fruit juice, though. It's healthy, but it does pack a lot of calories. Too much and you'll put on some unnecessary poundage.

Hope this helps you to eat healthier this Summer!

Make this day a good one!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How to Cut an Avocado

I know this is random, but some people think it's really had to cut an avocado, so I had to share the knowledge.  :-)

First, cut it in half and cleanly remove the seed.  Then score it like this--be sure to cut from the top all the way down to the skin of the fruit, but don't cut through the skin:

After you've cut it, push up at the center from the bottom.  What will happen is that the pear will start to separate from the skin:

Keep pushing and you will get this:

And you're done.  See, that wasn't so hard!