That Mailbox is a Real Character!

life

I have come across some interesting mailboxes when out and about. Some look as though they might barely hold the mail. Some mailboxes are shiney and new. Some are wimsical. Some are bright, others dull. But it’s these latest characters that have caught my eye.

Minions! Not one, but two minion mailboxes standing side by side along the roadside in Maine. Needless to say, my husband turned around so that I could get pictures. Yes, I crossed the busy road and got my legs bitten-up by misquitos, while standing in the grass to get my picture beside these cuties. Of course, it was worth it. Love, love, love the Minions.

As always, Enjoy the Scenery!

Dress with Front Pockets

Projects

Here is my latest look for fall. I made this dress using the VERY EASY VOGUE pattern V9022 and yes, it was very easy.

The pattern does not require buttons or zippers. This may be a bonus for many who fear these notions. It instead calls for a hook and eye closure. I love that there are front pockets incorporated into the pattern that are semi hidden.

The pattern also is made in panels and could be done in different blocks of color. I tried this using a center panel piece in a coordinating fabric. I later ripped the panel out, not caring for the combination, and, instead, made the piece of one fabric.

This dress can easily be made in one day and is flattering on. A simple dress for a simple occassion. I would recommend this Vogue pattern.

As always, Happy Sewing!

The Maine Wave

life, Travel

Whenever traveling, there are always little “differences” that catch my eye. Things people do that are not the same as the area in which one lives. In Maine, it was the way people great each other with a wave.

I am used to waving to people by sticking my arm up and waving my hand back and forth, a little or a lot, depending on the occassion. In Maine, I noticed that people would always wave (as we drove by them walking alongside the road), however, there was no back and forth movement of the hand with the Maine wave. No, the Maine wave was simply sticking the arm straight up and then back down again, no movement what so ever.

At first, I thought it was just one person’s way of waving, but this style of waving quickly became a pattern. I then realized that when in Maine, one needs to take up the Maine style of waving. So, for the rest of the trip, I waved like I was born in Maine.

I commented on this style of wave to my niece, who lives in Maine, and she confirmed that this was the way to wave. She felt it would be too forward to wave by moving the hand back and forth. That type of wave would definitely be reserved for someone one knew quite well. It just was not done.

So, if planning a trip to Maine, give the old Maine wave a try. If planning a trip elsewhere, be on the lookout for how the locals do things. It is interesting how different the simplest thing, such as a wave, can vary from state to state.

As always, Happy Travels.

(photo: istock by Getty Images)

Thread Catcher Basket – DIY

Projects

Having done a lot of sewing projects lately, I was looking for a better option of disposing of cut threads. My option of choice lately had been to chuck them on the table where they found their way to the floor and left my sewing room in a state of disaster. Yes, I could have opted for a trash can, however, I don’t like the idea of feeling down below the table for the trash, slowing me down. What to do, what to do?

I came across this site https://mermaidsden.com/blog/2016/07/13/sewing-tutorial-thread-catcher-basket-free-pattern for a thread catcher basket. Genious! Just what I needed. I absolutely LOVE my thread catcher basket and it was SO EASY to make. Now I can reach over and place my threads into the basket and empty it whenever I get around to it (it holds a lot). It is also very pretty to look at and washable.

My sewing station with my thread catcher basket.

My thread catcher basket is made of scraps of material I had on hand, so it did not cost me anything to make. Well, of course it did, but I didn’t have to purchase any new items for it. Always wonderful to make a project with items from your own stash.

These wonderful baskets could have other uses other than catching threads. Make them in different sizes for different uses. The possibilities are endless.

As always, Happy Sewing!

B&W Bread in a Can – Review

Cooking

Researching an upcoming trip to Maine, I came across a unique food item. Bread in a can. These cans of bread are apparently sold on the shelf next to the Boston baked beans. It’s an East Coast thing.

My husband affirmed the fact that people on the East Coast do indeed eat bread in a can. It is meant to be eaten alongside Boston baked beans and hot dogs. He ate this bread growing up. He brought me back a can of the bread as a souvenir from his trip so I could give it a try.

The directions on the can say to open both ends of the can. This needs to be done so the bread can be given a little push out of the can. I did so and the bread popped out easily. I put it on a serving platter and set it on the table for dinner.

B&M Bread in a Can

I must say, I was a little disgusted looking at this bread on the platter. It doesn’t look appetizing. It has the exact look of canned cranberry jelly that pops out of a can at Thanksgiving with the lines of the can marked into it’s sides. I also did not like how the bread rolls around.

The bread sliced easily. It has no crust. It was very sweet because it contains molasses. I would call it more of a sweet bread then a dinner bread. Almost more like a muffin really. Apparently, if the original flavor isn’t sweet enough, one can purchase the version with raisins.

While it tasted fine, I really do not see the point in purchasing this bread. I would be embarrassed to set it out for company as it doesn’t look appealing. It would be a good pantry staple for emergencies, however, I would prefer a fresh loaf of bread (homemade or store bought).

The bread in a can does bring up some questions for me. How does B&M get the bread in the can? How is it cooked? I looked into this and found that the bread is steamed in the can. https://www.mashed.com/270569/the-surprising-origin-of-canned-bread/ Martha Stewart even has a recipe to make homemade bread in a can. https://www.simplemost.com/make-boston-brown-bread-in-a-can-at-home/

It’s interesting how different regions have their own specific food items. I do not know of any stores in So Cal that sell bread in a can. I wonder what other unique food I am missing out on. If any of my readers have food specific to their region of the map, drop me a line and let me know what I am missing out on.

As always, Happy Eating!

Thinking of Making Burda Shirt Pattern 6326? You May Want to Read This First…

Projects

I decided to make a simple looking shirt pattern from Burda. Being a somewhat experienced sewer, (I’ve been sewing since at least junior high) I did not think I would have any problems with this pattern. Think again!

But it seems I am not the only one who had problems with this pattern. A youtuber threw her project in the bin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mqjBTHHWFk Another reviewer found the neck facing pattern piece the wrong size (ME TOO!). https://sewing.patternreview.com/review/pattern/164799 I only wish that I had seen these reviews before I bought my pattern. Thank goodness it was on sale, it is not even worth sale price.

The back neckline facing was way too short (we’re talking 4 inches too short!). I drafted another one to fit the back neckline, cut it out, attached the interfacing, and sewed in place to the front side facings. All was well.

Moving on to the the sleeves, I found another problem. Come-on Burda! Now the sleeves were too big to fit in the arm holes. No, things could not be stretched or made to fit the hole. I had to rip-out the sleeve stitches and re-sew the seam to make it a smaller diameter, trim, press and it fit. Ok, now everything should be fine.

After putting in the buttonholes, I tried the top on. The neckline looked bad. What! I should have tried this on before I did the buttonholes. Ugh! How on earth was this neckline supposed to be attached!!! It called for cutting two pieces of each neck facing piece. I was supposed to add an extra strip to the neckline otherwise there would be three layers to cut buttonholes through. But it looked horrible on. The neckline wouldn’t lay flat and was ugly. Luckily, the buttonholes did not go through the front shirt piece since the facing was put on in the extended manner. I ripped out the extra facing all around the left side piece with buttonholes, re-cut the side with the buttonholes, fused interfacing to it, re-attached it and watched the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjkUd9m_nMk where a similar neckline is put in without this extra facing piece. Just as I suspected. The extra facing went in the bin.

This was strike three for Burda in my oppinon. I did not toss the project in the bin as I liked the fabric. That’s the only thing that kept me going. “I must save the fabric,” I kept saying to myself. However, I won’t be spending my money on Burda patterns in the future.

Does Burda have a quality control department? Do they test their patterns? There are real pictures of the garments on the package, so they are making the pieces. Are these pieces made with patterns or are the patterns made from these garments? Whoever is drafting the patterns is not making them accurately and the directions are horrible.

There is also no size for the buttons. None that I could see anyway. I would recommend a size 1/2″ or 12mm button.

I finally finished my shirt! It shoud have taken a day. Instead, I honestly have lost count of the number of days spent ripping out seams, creating new pattern pieces, re-sewing, re-ripping, wadding things up, throwing things on the floor, screaming, complaining, etc…

So, would I recommend this pattern? It’s bloody well unlikely! I doubt that I will ever make another Burda pattern again. However, I will wear the shirt, as it did turn out fine with the tweaks I made.

As always, Happy Sewing! (And if it’s not happy, it’s the project, not you.)

No Bake Avocado Pudding Review

Cooking

Trying to find new ways to use avocados, I came across the following recipe: https://www.today.com/recipes/kourtney-kardashian-s-3-ingredient-avocado-pudding-t85836 . It seemed healthy and simple enough. I thought I would give it a try.

The avocado pudding was very easy to put together. Simply dump the avocado, coconut milk, and honey in a blender, give it a spin, refrigerate for a while, and it is done. My pudding came out on the thin side. Next time, I would use coconut cream or a thicker variety of the coconut milk than what I used. I also thought, after sampling a small bite, that it was a bit bland in flavor. I decided to crumble-up some graham crackers and place them in the bowl and add my scoop of pudding on top. Yes, that was just the something it needed. Now, it was actually quite addictive.

So, do I recommend this recipe? Well, yes, I would say I do, with the minor adjustments I mentioned above. Maybe even a spot of whipped cream. I suppose that makes it a bit more unhealthy, oh well.

As always, Happy Baking!

Potato Ricer

Cooking

Being the Master Chef want-to-be that I am, I decided to try a new kitchen gadget (new to me that is…). The potato ricer.

Normally, I mash my potatoes with a little bit of milk and a potato masher. This has left me satisfied as I can mash the potatoes to the desired consistancy. However, after one use of my potato ricer, I may never go back to the masher again.

The reasons I love the potato ricer… It is so simple to use. Put the cooked (boiled) potatoes in, press down, and the potatoes are done. The potatoes do not require milk to make them smooth. They do not require the strength/effort to mash. The potatoes come out smooth and creamy and are way better than anything I’ve ever mashed. I’ve even heard that you can put the potatoes in with skins on and the ricer separates the skins so no peeling is required. I have not tried this myself, but this would save a step in the preparation.

Trying new things in the kitchen is always fun. In this case, I found a new favorite gadget. What should I try next? Any suggestions?

As always, Have fun in the kitchen!

Making Granny Squares at My Age

Projects, Uncategorized

I have been in love with granny squares since I was young. I have always wanted to learn to crochet, but could never get past a single chain. This being only good for shoe laces. I decided to give it a try again.

I got a book on crochet, however, I found it hard to understand the procedures through the pictures. Maybe as a refresher once I have the hang of it, but for a beginner, this did me no good at all. My next step, youtube.

A lot of people will try and teach “beginners” to crochet granny squares on youtube. I gave three a try. The first one went too fast. Yes, I did pause and rewind and all of that, however, it wasn’t working. Proof of this fact is the above photo. The white “blob” is my attempt with this youtuber’s help.

I was beginning to think that maybe I was too young to be making granny squares. Do you have to be a “granny” to make them? Surely that couldn’t be the case…

Moving right along, I went through various videos until I came across my HERO. Jayda InStitches https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_5nIpXg8OM was just what I needed. Her video was slow and she explanded everything so well. I actually made a granny square that looks like a granny square, with her guidance. THANK-YOU Jayda! (The three colored granny squares were made using the video as my teacher. They are arranged in order of making them. As you can see, I got better as I made a few. The blue/gold square was the last to be made and clearly the best.)

From this learning experience, I have come to the conclusion that not everyone is a good teacher for every person. Some people might have learned well from the first video I watched, but it wasn’t for me. Teaching and learning styles vary greatly from person to person.

As always, Happy Crocheting!

Drawstring Waist Dress

Projects

Years ago, while vacationing in Las Vegas, I purchased a very comfortable, soft, knit, sleeveless dress with a drawstring waist and front pockets. This was the perfect casual summer dress. A great dress to have for going to the beach or going shopping. Of course, one can never find the exact dress years later, so there is only one thing to be done. Make one.

I hunted on the internet until I finally found a similar (but not exact) dress pattern. It was the Connie Dress Pattern (from the UK Sewmag site https://www.sewmag.co.uk/free-sewing-patterns/connie-dress#) and it was a free printable download. Nice! The only trouble with the download was that I could not get it to resize to the proper dimensions. It was supposed to print out with a test box a certain size. Mine did not and I could not get it to print properly. However, I cut it out anyway in a larger size so that I could account for the wrong dimensions. This worked and the dress fit beautifully.

My finished dress.

The pattern was so easy to make and I learned a couple of new techniques that I have a feeling I will incorporate into future patterns that I make. One technique was sewing the neck facing into the neckline. In this pattern, one shoulder seam is sewn together and then the open neck facing is put in place and sewn in. After this, the neck facing and remaining shoulder seam are sewn. Brilliant! No trying to get a circular facing to fit into a circular neck. I absolutely love this method! The other technique I learned was to use bias binding to form a casing inside the garment for the drawstring. Fast and easy.

Why is it that the UK has all the good patterns, merchandise, stores, etc… for sewing and knitting products? I am jealous. Anyway, thank-you for sharing via internet to those of us in the States.

As always, Happy Sewing!