Monday, January 31, 2011

WIWW week 2

What I Wore Wednesday Week 2. Last week I started participating in The Pleated Poppy's WIWW posting. the pleated poppy blog

I decided to participate not because I do not get dressed each day (I do most days - but apparently its been a rough week for me) but to keep me motivated to try new combinations and apparently, update my wardrobe. Even after only 1 week, I realized that some of my fav outfits should NOT be my favorite outfits!! So, here goes week 2.


I got this sweater/wrap about a year ago at BCBG. It was not the cheapest item that I have ever bought, but I rationalized that I could wear it in several different ways making it look like different tops. I have found that I mostly wear it wrapped in the front, but when I am having a day, I sometimes just leave one side swaged around one shoulder and let the other hang.

I like my necklace too - it is a Lia Sophia that I just got in December.
My ruffle cream top underneath is from Ann Taylor Loft, and my pants are also from there.

Friday: Apparently it was suit day. I know, backwards right - Fridays are supposed to be casual. Except, Fridays I only have 2 classes which means I am standing and moving on my feet less. I have to wear cute, but tall shoes with these pants so I prefer to wear them on shorter teaching days.
Suit is from White House | Black Market

Honestly, I don't usually have it buttoned. I am much more likely so have the jacket unbuttoned so you can see my cute purple ruffle top (not the same as last weeks) that is from The Limited.

And my cute shoes that hurt my feet:

Sat: errands, cleaning, sewing day so I wanted to be relaxed.

Top from The Gap (probably 2 or 3 years ago, but I still love it). Trouser jeans from Eddie Bauer. Another cute necklace from Lia Sophia (I hosted a party in December and got lots of cute items!)

Sun: I don't think I did anything besides running to the local store - and I went looking like crap! I couldn't even get myself to take a pic!

Mon: ooops, I forgot my layers this day.

I meant to put a green Ann Taylor cardi over this, but was running late and never did. My striped shirt (shades of green and tiny pink stripes from New York and Co). My pants are my fav stretch bootcut pants from The Limited. My shoes are some of my most comfy, they have a wedge kitten heel so they are amazingly comfy to wear for my long teaching day. Necklace from Lia Sophia again.

Tues and Wed: I have been snowed in my house and have not left since Monday evening. So I have not been out of my pjs. I hope to sometime today, Wed, but we'll see. I understood before, but even more now, about not really being motivated to get dressed when no one but immediate family members are going to see me. I don't get how most of you gain that motivation! I it sooo comfy and warm in my pjs.

-Sew Sane Jane
(Posted using BlogPress from my iPad)

fabric holder tutorial

Okay, so a bit ago I posted a few pictures of some cute, addictive fabric holders that I had been making. I got the original pattern/tutorial from a blog that I frequent called, Sew Mama Sew. The Pattern is made by Jennifer Casa who has her own fantastic blog.

I liked the basic pattern, but ended up folding down the top edges of my first go-round so you could see the inside fabric a bit more. Inside of the one in the pic is a set of 6 fabric coasters that I made with other pieces of the same layer cake.

I then decided that while this was very cute, I might find more use to holders that could sit right next to each other - so what if I got rid of the cute "wings."

They turned out pretty good - you can see the edging stitch a bit - but it is still a finished enough edge that it looks nice. One of my 2 followers (yea, better than none, and hopefully the beginning of more to come) asked if I would make a little tutorial of the adaptation. so....

I still started with two coordinating pieces of a layer cake (or could be any 10x10" fabric choices). I used a mid-weight interfacing on the back of each.

Once the interfacing was attached, I notched out the corners. I decided notch out a 2x2 section from each corner (will become the "walls" of the container).

Do this to all 4 corners so you end up with a layer cake that looks like this:

Repeat with the other layer cake piece.

Sandwich the two layer cake pieces right-sides touching and pin around all sides. Plan to leave a 4" opening along one side (I have to put pins blocking or else I sew right past the part I was going to leave open!)

Sew a 1/4" seam allowance around the perimeter on all but the 4" marked area. Snip small turning slits on the "inside corners" and trim off the corner on the "outside" corners (Be sure NOT to snip/trim past the sewn perimeter as this will create a hole). Turn the fabric right-side out, being sure to get all the corners extended. fold in your 1/4" seam allowance on the 4" opening. I like to iron the seams down at this point. I slid in a small 5.5"x5.5" piece of chip board to give the bottom of the hold a little sturdiness. I slid it in as below, then topstitched the opening closed and around all the sides.

(I have bought chip board from Staples on numerous occasions. They only sell it up at the printing/coping area, and only if you ask nicely. The other option I have used is cut sections of cereal boxes as they are about the same thickness)

Once you have top stitched, start at one corner and align the edges of the "walls" of the holder (making sure the inside corner is the bottom edge and the outside corner meets as the top edge. I pinned in place and folded the center section on top so I could easily fit it to sew in my machine. Repeat on each of the 4 corners.


A cute fabric holder it is.

-Sew Sane Jane
(Posted using BlogPress from my iPad)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Baking marathon - eat more cake post

So I generally bake something yummy once a week or every-other week. And I guess it has only been 2 weeks, but I apparently had been "jones-ing" for baking because I went a little mad today.

I made pumpkin bread (same as I made a couple weeks ago - though I added more pumpkin pie spice this time). I decided to try to make some after I found myself going to Starbucks not just for an addictive coffee, but also for a $1.75 tiny slice of their delicious pumpkin bread! Not EXACTLY replicated, but it's getting there!

I am apparently known for my Chocolate Chip cookies at my husband's work. A couple of friends that work with him have been demanding cookies - in fact, they stole a picture off of his desk and left a ransom note, "bring us cookies or you will never see your picture again." HAHA too funny - so I made some cookies for him to take.

I use the TollHouse recipe that comes on the back of the Chocolate chips - I swear - but apparently I have a secret ingredient (brand of one of the ingredients - and No, I won't tell them what it is) that makes the cookies "puffy." Makes my husband hate them (he loves flat, crispy cookies), and everyone else seems to drool over them. The other key - at least 2 days old!! You either need to eat them while they are still warm, or after an Entire day of having sat in an air-tight container. No, really! It keeps the moisture in so they are delicious! No slice of bread to draw the moisture out - put them in a sealed container or even a ziploc baggie.

Then, I made a lemon meringue pie - from scratch.

When I make pie crust I make enough for 4 crusts (either 4 bottom crusts, or 2 bottoms and 2 tops, or other combination). After all that baking I didn't know who I would give the other pies to, so I rolled out the remaining crusts, placed in cheapo aluminum tins, and froze them in a giant ziploc bag. My Grandma assures me this will work fine - I'll have to report how it goes after I try using the frozen ones.

-Sew Sane Jane
(Posted using BlogPress from my iPad)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


My first ever what I wore Wednesday post! WIWW came from a fantastic blog, Reading, the pleated poppy blog
Accountability in actually getting dressed! While I apparently need that for how my clothes fit, it might also help motivate me to clean my bedroom as it looks messy from these pics!

So I did not start this until Friday morning, and did not remember every day to take a pic. I did get at least a few days in though!

This Sweater is one of my favorites - it is soft and warm. From Ann Taylor Loft
I always throw a long sleeve t underneath so i'm not so cold. Wal-Mart 'hanes' favorite t
Pants are comfy, a little stretchy, and have good pockets. The Limited

I had a conference on sat this week. So I threw on this smock (The Buckle) with a really thin pink sweater underneath (Bananna Republic hand-me-down). Instead of jeans that I would normally wear with this sweater, I have on another pair of The Limited stretch boot pants. Can I say - I think I don't like this sweater now after really seeing it! Hope it looks better with jeans; I feel like I look prego and I'm NOT!

Monday, Monday
Limited "cassidy cut" pinstripe pants
Ann Taylor Loft teal 3/4 sleeve sweater
cute jacket/blazery thing from Target (too long ago, but I still love it!)

Okay, I used this angle because I looked monstrous in the head-on shots. I am starting to realize that I wear a lot of Ill-fitting clothes! These pants seem big in other views.
Anyway, white sweater is ruff hewn from a department store. Can't really tell from this angle, I have a purple tank with ruffles from meijer, and my terrible pants are from JcPenny.

Pink stripe shirt and pink blazer are from the Gap
Brown pinstripe pants are the Limited, but a slightly different cut (drew I think)

Linking to pleated poppy blog (or trying - still learning how this stuff works)
the pleated poppy blog

-Sew Sane Jane
(Posted using BlogPress from my iPad)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Something about black today

After I got done working on projects today, I realized I had apparently had a theme - black.
I got myself to finish this binder cover that I started at Christmas at my sister's request. It is for a 1/2size 1" binder that she uses as a planner. She asked for a zippered one, but she is getting a magnetic one instead!

Then, I decided to pull out some fabric scraps from a previous quilt and make another pillow. I got the ideas from this blog. I sewed a few leftover stirs of varying sizes, cut out the circle, and appliqu├ęd it to some plain black fabric for a pillow sham. The sewed on the binding (my first machine sewn binding in fact.

I thought it turned out great and it was a very simple project.

Since I already had that fabric out, I also made a quick cute pot holder out of the same materials. This is one side,

And this the other.

These will be great for throwing in the bottom of my cake carriers when I put pies in them to transport (having the fabric underneath helps prevent sliding - and I always have ugly ones till now!

-Sew Sane Jane
(Posted using BlogPress from my iPad)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Change of plans?

WIP Wednesday (or a little earlier in my case). I am linking up with Naptime Quilter on whose site I posted my plea for help.

So I have been thinking about the hunky dory - awesome lap Awesome lap quilt quilt that I have started...

...And deciding that I don't like it.
I Love the pattern, don't get me wrong. I just don't like my execution - I don't feel like you can see enough of the squares. I'm sure I will try this one again with another set of fabrics and try to do better picking out which fabrics to do where.

This means I need to figure out something else to do with the strips and blocks so that I don't have to change too much of what I already have done. I was going to need to add some border to make this closer to twin size anyway so I have some extra matching fabric.

I was thinking something like This, or This, or something more piece-y and random - united by a reoccurring border/sashing color. like alternating between stripes and squares with blocks of plain-ish cream fabric in between. Can't decide though

Accepting and and ALL ideas!!

-Sew Sane Jane
(Posted using BlogPress from my iPad)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Evil Meringue tammed

So I do a lot of baking from my Grandmother's recipes. Years ago when I asked her about making meringue she said, "use cool whip," and that was the end of it from her. This is VERY unlike my g-ma! She is usually Very excited to con me into a day to hang out with her. So, I did use cool whip for a long time.
Then, two years ago my husband volunteered me to bake a lemon meringue pie from scratch for a co-worker. Without doing much research (in hindsight, this was stupid!) I tried "winging it." The pie crust I have down - not an issue.
The homemade lemon filling actually went very well
It was the meringue that MISERABLY failed! Again, keep in mind that I had not done any research, and I did not really get the concept of meringue. what little I had read said to whisk the eggs until frothy. I thought this meant bubbly; I was wrong. Needless to say, I did NOT beat the eggs strong or long enough. However, I thought they would "magically" rise (cakes do - why not eggs) once in the oven. They of course did not. So I then had raw eggs slightly browned atop my lovely pie. Somehow or another (I think I tried turning the broiler on since the oven wasn't magically making the meringue work) and caught the eggs on fire. Oops. I got them out of the oven, down the garbage disposal, and it was the most successful part of the day!

I avoided meringue for the next 2 years.

Once again my fantastic hubby volunteered me to make ANOTHER homemade lemon meringue pie. After I laughed and screamed inside my head, I decided to stop avoiding the mean eggs and figure this thing out. I did some research this time (meringue for dummies, common meringue mistakes, fool proof merginue, etc types of google searches) and I started to understand better. Apparently the keys are:
**NO OIL or fats. Use a metal bowl, metal whisk, wash well and dry with a fresh towel without touching with bare hands (oil from the skin will ruin it).
**USE A STAND MIXER - not all sites say it is allowed, but it is Very worth it!
**Use Fresh eggs
**when the eggs are cold, separate yolk from whites (the yolks hold together better and are less likely to break when they are cold). Separate one, add to a clean bowl, separate the next into a different dish (this way if some yolk does get into the white you only have to toss the one egg and not all of them. **DO NOT JUST SCOOP OUT YOLK and still use the white. if ANY of the yolk gets in - get rid of the whole thing - it really will make a difference in the end. Do your best to avoid touching the whites when you are separating them (I have a metal spoony-weird thing from pampered chef whose job it is to hold the yolk while the white slips through.
**let the white come to room temperature (about 30-45 min usually) before you try to beat them
**turn the mixer on to low and beat until you start to see the eggs froth (little bubbles all over). Then turn it up to medium and add the cream of tarter. Leave it on medium until you start to see the eggs turn white and expand. If after about 5 min there is no white and no expansion, oil or fatty acids from the yolk likely contaminated your whites and you are out of luck - keep trying.
**once the eggs form soft peaks (if you pull the beater out of eggs and flip upright, the white egg matter should be pulled by gravity and fall downward. This means this is time to add the sugar.
**Add it SLOWLY! the slower the better. I often will add it a teaspoon at a time!
Then let the sugar dissolve completely - continue beating until stiff peaks are formed (now when you pull the beater out and turn upright, gravity will be no match for these eggs!)
**top pie filling to the Very edge - get a good seal on the pie - crust to crust to crust.
**bake in oven (350) for about 10 minutes and Voila.

**NOTEWORTHY: you can/should wait until the morning to add meringue if the pie is for the next day. Meringue and the fridge do NOT get along! weeping (water droplets on the meringue) and/or grand canyons (cracks in the meringue) are common after refrigeration.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mug rug

So I keep seeing these cute, elongated coasters called mug rugs. The idea, or so I am told, is that you could get a mug, spoon, and treat on one contained area. Think cross of coaster and placemat. And since I have what seems like a thousand things on my to do wish list, I did this quick project instead. It's a disease I tell you!

It turned out cute though for using scraps and an hour-old concept.

-Sew Sane Jane
(Posted using BlogPress from my iPad)

Monday, January 17, 2011

MLK day sewing.

So I was off work today which meant I should get a thousand things off of my sewing to do list right?!. Why of course not! I sew in our basement and have a radio on when I sew - I was waiting for the UPS guy today(had to sign for my replacement dishes that I have been without for 3.5 weeks) and was not afraid I wouldn't hear him. Thus, I wasted most of my day upstairs piddling around waiting for him to arrive. By 3pm I finally got down there to begin!

Worked on finishing a cute little fabric holder that I started yesterday

To total now 4 cute containers - these are proving to be cute, quick, and addictive!

Then moved on to bibs. A friend of mine just finished making a real chenille baby blanket. It inspired an idea for a bib. This pic is pre-washing, but cute anyway.

And a recent fabric purchase had sparked the vision of this next one. I actually have a few different animals, but this one was the most complete.

How cute right!

Finally, somewhere in there I pin-basted the sparkling gemstones quilt I am making - I finally bought some batting for it.

Not too bad for trying to turn my idealistic sewing day into a sewing power evening.

-Sew Sane Jane
(Posted using BlogPress from my iPad)

Friday, January 14, 2011

help! - suggestions??

I am thinking about starting an etsy site where a friend and I can start selling our wares.  Suggestions from you expereiences bloggers/etsy-ers out there??
How easy/difficult is the site really to use?  Good experiences or bad ones?  I feel like there is a lot of "competition" out there for this kind of thing - is it worth trying to sell?? 
Any input or insights are much appreciated!

-sew sane jane

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I stopped by the cute fabric store near my work to get batting for my sparkling gemstones quilt and got side-tracked!  I think I might have a problem.  instead of buying batting to finish that project, I added 3 new projects to my to-do list.

This shop sells batting in pre-cut sizes and did not have the size I wanted in stock - darn.  Instead of leaving, I started looking around at fabric.  Since I have a few projects (with fabric already) in my to-do pile, I was trying not to buy.  ooops - dind't work out so well. 

I found 3 different fabric that I thought would make cute bibs (apparently that will be my new obsession for a bit). 
 This "A" is for aligator is perhaps my favorite of the three!

 I saw a Very cute pattern when I was reading up on one of my favorite blogs.  So, while I was trying to NOT buy every cute fabric to start a collection of colors for it, when I saw this polka-dot fabric (a Moda fabric from its "Bliss" collection) I could not help myself.  Thought this would be Great for the white borders.

I also got Moda's "Sunkissed" layer cake.  I wanted to make more fabric coasters - I think they will make great little gifts.  Housewarming, host gifts, prizes for bunco, etc.  I also found a great fabric 'dish' that I think I can adjust the measurements on to make it a holder for ~ 4 coasters (a nice little kit to make it a better gift).

Moral of the story - I have even MORE fabric and just added 3 projects to my to do list.  I am guessing that I am not the only one with this problem - any suggestions on what to do about it?
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