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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Make Me a Reader: More Books of 2015

by Tonya

Today I have Part 2 of my reading list from 2015. We're pretty close to the end of the year, so I probably won't finish any more books. We'll see how much reading I do in the next couple days.

Did you read any of these books? I'd love to hear what you thought. 

26. The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler. This one has tarot cards, circus performers, secret loves, a dilapidated house, and a secret family history. Having said that, I expected a bit more magic in this book. I liked it, but I kept waiting for more.

27. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. It's a classic horror tale about a mysterious circus coming to town off-season and the way that young people want to grow up and old people want to be young again. Can you be satisfied with the lovely little life you've made for yourself, or do you yearn for adventure? It's spooky and very thought-provoking.

28. The Worrier's Guide to Life by Gemma Correll. This is a cute book of drawings that you will love if you worry about weird stuff (and normal stuff). Do you overthink things or feel anxious about your anxiety? You might enjoy these lighthearted illustrations.

29. Tie Dye: Dye It, Wear It, Share It by Shabd Simon-Alexander. This summer I checked out a stack of library books about dyeing fabric. This was my favorite! I ended up buying a copy since I liked it so much. She lays out exactly what to do. You don't have to keep flipping back and forth to see all the steps. Her projects are beautiful and inspiring. Some of the other books had similar instructions but their projects weren't very attractive so I didn't feel like I just had to try them. Flipping through this book, I wanted to make everything!

30. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. Here's a little nonfiction book, by a novelist, about why he runs marathons. Really it could be inspiring for anyone who does anything that requires commitment, dedication, and consistency. It made me want to try running again. I love the idea of it - not needing anything buy yourself and a good pair of shoes. My hip doesn't really like it, but somehow I think if I get my form right, I could be a runner. 

31. The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey. Ooh, I liked this one. We're in an apocolyptic world that's filled with flesh-eating monsters. Not many humans are left, and they're trying to survive. I don't want to spoil the fun for you, but I really enjoyed it. 

32. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. This book was really popular this year, but I thought it was just okay. I don't think it lived up to its potential, but I definitely listened to the whole thing and wanted to hear the ending. The girl is an unreliable narrator, an alcoholic with memory loss. I do enjoy an unreliable narrator now and then. It's an interesting way to tell a story and lets us be suspicious and surprised.

33. The Vikings by Kenneth Harl. This is a Great Courses book that I listened to on Audible. I am currently fascinated by Vikings. I've been watching the tv show called Vikings on the History Channel. The show's main character, Ragnar Lothbrok, turned out to be a historical figure - I had no idea. Now I know how and where he died, and I wonder if the show will follow the stories in that respect, and I won't ruin it for you. When does the next season start?  

34. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. Loved it! It's about immigrants to the U.S., (often a fascinating story by itself), but these immigrants happened to be a woman made of clay and an imprisoned genie. They are complete opposites but both struggle to fit in with humans (or struggle against fitting in). 

35. Born Standing Up by Steve Martin. I listened to this book on Audible, with Martin narrating. I enjoyed his story of learning magic as a kid and eventually figuring out how to do well at stand-up comedy. 

36. Girl Walks into a Bar by Rachel Dratch. I also listened to this on Audible, and Dratch does her own narration. It was fun to listen to her story! I loved the little peeks behind the scenes at SNL and 30 Rock. Her personal life was really interesting, too. 

37. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood. I generally love Margaret Atwood! I thought this novel was okay, but it didn't really feel like her writing. I'm not sure why, as it's her usual theme of people trying to get by in a dystopian world. But I think I'd rather have re-read the Oryx and Crake trilogy, which I thought was great.

38. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. In this one Harry lives and dies over and over again, remembering each life. He has to discover why the world is ending, and decide if he should do anything about it. I liked it and was kind of sad that I finished it. I wanted to keep reading.  

39. A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear. I have loved the Maisie Dobbs series, but this installment felt too sad to me and left me feeling depressed. I'll probably read reviews of future books before buying - if they're too depressing, I will skip them!

40. Denton Little's Death Date by Lance Rubin. In this young adult novel's world, almost everyone knows, from birth, the day they'll die. It's a pretty fun book, as Denton tries to solve some mysteries before he dies. It's way less morbid than #39.

41. The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths. This is the first in a series of mysteries starring British archeologist Ruth Galloway. She is a fun character and I already bought copies of the next few books in the series.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Make Me a Reader: What I Read in 2015

by Tonya

What's up? As this year is nearing its end, I wanted to look back at one of my goals: to read more books. I set a goal to read at least 30 books this year. Now, that number is fairly low for me - or at least it was for the old me, the me before I had kids. Nowadays, I have less time to read and I make less time to read. Also, I have a smartphone now and I read email, blogs, and articles on my phone during times when I used to read a page or two of a book. 

I decided to count physical books, kindle books, and audio books. Combining all those formats, I was able to surpass my goal! I use Audible to buy audio books and I listen to them on the Audible app. I have a Kindle and I also use a Kindle app on my phone (the books can be synched across devices so you won't lose your place if you switch between phone, kindle, tablet, or computer). And I read some good old paper books, too. I wonder how many pages I read of blogs, online articles, and emailed newsletters. Of course, before I had kids, I used to read magazines, so maybe it balances out. And how many words have I read in children's books? I bet those would add up to more than a few adult books.

In case you're curious, here is the first installment of the books I've read so far this year. I'll do another post with the rest of them.

1. Surprise Island by Gertrude Chandler Warner. This is book #2 of the Boxcar Children series and it's a fun one. I loved those books as a kid and can't wait to read them to my kids, when they get a little older, but in the meantime I liked reading this one as an adult.

2. How to be Parisian Wherever You Are by Anne Berest. Meh. This was disappointing for me. I liked parts of it, but I wanted more about style, and just more content.

3. When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson. I really like this author and this series about detective Jackson Brodie. The books are smart, fun and interesting.

4. Not Buying It by Judith Levine. I have read this book several times and I was just thinking about reading it again! It's filled with research and a diary from a woman who decided to take a year off from spending money. She and her partner only bought necessities for a whole year. It's fun and inspiring to read about their experiences. Think about how you would define "necessities" and imagine giving up everything else!

5. Crooked House by Agatha Christie. I love Agatha Christie, and this is a good mystery.

6. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness. My daughter called this "the stinky book" at our house - because I borrowed it from the library and it reeked of smoke! This is the third book in a trilogy about witches, vampires, demons, and time travelers. It's also a romance. If you like that genre, you'll love these novels. 

7. The Walking Dead #18 by Robert Kirkman. This is a graphic novel series taking place in an apocalyptic world filled with zombies. But the worse threat is often the other human survivors!

8. The Walking Dead #19 by Robert Kirkman.

9. The Walking Dead #20 by Robert Kirkman.

10. The Walking Dead #21 by Robert Kirkman.

11. The Walking Dead #22 by Robert Kirkman.

12. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. This is the first book in the Jackson Brodie series, and it's a good one, too.

13. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. I listened to this one as an audio book, and it wasn't quite what I expected. A once-rich mother and daughter in 1920s London have to take in borders to make ends meet. The daughter becomes too interested in the borders, and unexpected events follow. This is not a great one to listen to with little kids around. 

14. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley. Ah, I love this series! Flavia de Luce is a child detective and chemist, solving murders in the 1940s and 1950s, while trying to discover the secrets of her own life and history. 

15. Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott. This blogger lived in Paris for a year and she shares the lifestyle and style tips she learned there. I like her writing style and advice.

16. Food: A Cultural Culinary History by Ken Albala. I listened to this audio book while doing a lot of cooking, which was perfect. I loved learning more about the history of cooking and cuisine and found it really interesting. I've been wanting to read more nonfiction, and audiobooks are a great way for me to do that! Right now I'm much more likely to listen to a lecture than to sit down and read a textbook, so the Great Courses series is a good fit for me.

17. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This is a good post-apocalyptic novel. It reminded me of The Postman, which I read several times when I was younger. In that one, a man puts on a mail carrier outfit and starts delivering mail from one post-apocalyptic town to another and ends up reuniting these isolated towns. In Station Eleven, the protagonists are a band of traveling actors and musicians who perform Shakespeare plays for some of the different communities of survivors in the Midwest. 

18. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by M. Wood. I listened to this one, and I was a little annoyed by the performer. I'd like to read more in the series, but maybe I will get them on Kindle instead of Audible. There are a lot of wolf sounds that I'd rather just skim over than have to hear performed. 

19. Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. Rubin researches and gives advice on how to make or break habits to get the life you want. She might not be that likeable (she doesn't like sweets, music, or spending any money) but her books are!

20. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. This novel has a ghost and two sets of twins: creepy! I haven't read Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, so I didn't know what to expect. I really liked her writing style and storytelling. 

21. The Practicing Mind by Thomas Sterner. I listened to this book, and I don't recommend doing that! The author over-annunciates and it is annoying. But, his main point is really good: to become good at something, to improve ourselves, to change habits, we have to practice and repeat A LOT. We know this is true for kids, but adults often seem to forget that we have to work hard for a long time to master something new. 

22. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. I really liked traveling to Amsterdam in the 1600s with this book. There's a little mystery and magic in this one, and it was fun to listen to. I definitely looked for opportunities to listen to more of it. 

23. Color Me Beautiful by Carole Jackson. This book from the 1980s organizes people into four "seasons" (categories) based on skin and hair coloring, to recommend which clothing colors will look the best. I also skimmed Color Me Beautiful's Looking Your Best,  the 1990s update. That one expands from 4 seasons to 12. For example, based on the original categories, I am an Autumn, but that means that I should look terrible in black. Well, I look pretty good in black, so what gives? When more categories are given, I'm a Deep Autumn, which means that I look good in the darker Autumn colors and also some of Winter's colors, including black. If you find this interesting, here is a website where you can find out your season. I don't always care about being as flattered as possible by my clothing, but it's nice to have this knowledge about what makes me look my healthiest and most vibrant. 

24. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. This is a short, inspiring book about creativity. It would be great to flip through at the library and see if it clicks with you. 

25. A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy by Sarah Lazavoric. I love this book! It's full of delightful drawings of things Lazavoric decided not to buy and little stories about clothes and objects, shopping and minimalism. It's very re-readable. 

I'll be back with the rest of my finished books soon. Have you read any of these? Do you have any recommendations?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Akita Dress, Linden Dress, and a Throw Pillow

What did you make last week? I made a couple dresses and finished making a throw pillow that I started a while ago. Want to see?

For my faux suede dress, I was inspired by this one from Aritzia

Suede dress

My dress began with the Akita shirt pattern from Seamwork magazine. I followed this tutorial to lengthen it into a dress.  (And just FYI, these tights looked much more grey and less blue in person. I think I prefer the black leggings above.)


I used a stretchy faux suede from It felt great on the right side, and so disgusting on the wrong side! My fingers were pretty dry from knitting, washing dishes, etc... I couldn't have put on pantyhose or touched silk without snagging it. Keeping that in mind, the wrong side of the fabric totally gave me the creeps to touch! Super raspy. I knew I wouldn't want that next to my skin, so I planned on using some kind of lining, but I didn't know what. 


Well, after I washed and dried the fabric, it still felt great on the right side and felt pretty good on the wrong side, too. Hooray! My fingers were back to normal hydration levels by the time I washed it, but I had rubbed it on my arm before and after, so it was definitely the fabric, not just my skin! 

I still decided to double up the fabric, wrong sides together, so I could have the extra-soft suede feeling on the inside as well. That also made it a bit thicker so it doesn't show bumps and lines from underwear and tights. And it's warmer. Better all around.


It's definitely kind of a boxy fit, but the drape seems to keep it from feeling too shapeless for me. If I could change one thing, I would finish the sleeves differently since they kind of flare out. I am also considering adding patch pockets. I have plenty of fabric left to do it. But I think I will wear it as-is for now. I think I can dress it up this winter if I don't add pockets. Imagine it with black tights and ankle boots and jewelry.

And here it is, still casual, with a cardigan and necklace:

I also made a Linden sweatshirt dress out of flannel. 


I made this one a little longer than my scatter-dyed french terry Linden dress. I added about 12 inches to the original pattern since I imagined wearing this with tights, not always leggings. Since I run (and crawl and climb) around after little kids, I like to have the coverage of thicker leggings or extra length when I wear a dress. 


I used Robert Kaufman Mammoth flannel in grey. It is really nice fabric: soft and cushy and cozy. I cut it on the bias so it would have a little stretch. You can see how loose-fitting the dress is, and I think one would need to make it fairly loose when using non-stretch fabrics. I might have been able to make it one size smaller, but I love the comfort of it like this.  


I also followed Jen's instructions for making a split hem. It was easy to do and it adds a little something different from my other Lindens. 

That's my fourth Linden and I will certainly be making one more, since I haven't made the cropped version yet. I don't have fabric picked out or anything, but a fifth Linden will be coming into my life. 

The other thing I finished sewing is this pillow cover:

It's an envelope pillow case, so I can remove it for laundering when my kids spill something on it. I love this bright orange fabric. I think it will be awesome all winter long. If I get tired of it after a while, I can put on a different cover for a different look. We are getting new couches this month and it will be nice to replace our old, sad throw pillows with some pretty new ones. I want to make more covers from the fabrics you see above. 

I had made this pillow case a long time ago (maybe even a year ago!) but it somehow turned out rectangular, so one side had a couple inches of saggy emptiness. I had to take it partway apart to shorten it. That's the only trouble with piping! If it had no piping, I would have just sewn the new seam and cut off the extra fabric and been done. Instead, it sat on my To-Sew pile for a long time. 

I still prefer using piping, though. It takes a little bit longer to sew (and especially to rip out and re-sew), but the pillow ends up holding its shape better. 

I'd love to see what you're working on, if you'd like to leave me a link. :)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Things I Made Last Week

This week I finished up a few sewing projects. 

I made this Grainline sweatshirt in red mystery-jersey from Colorado Fabrics. This is my second Linden, and it was so quick to make and so satisfying. It's fun to whip something up and have it be so wearable. 

I also made the copper corduroy skirt using Grainline's Moss skirt. Yeah, they're kind of obnoxious together. Here's the skirt with a better-paired color:

How FALL is this combination? Wine (or Marsala, if you insist, Pantone) and 1970s copper corduroy! I could blend in with a leaf pile.

I also used my scatter-dyed french terry to make this Linden dress:

I added about 10 inches to the length of the original sweatshirt pattern, since I wanted it to be a dress to wear with leggings. I'm 5'10", so I needed a little extra length to be comfortable calling it a dress (meaning that it has to cover my butt!). I saw a few bloggers' posts saying they added 8 or 9 inches, so definitely measure for yourself! 

It is so fun to make clothes, and I'm very glad I finally discovered Grainline patterns! The instructions make it really easy to successfully make something quickly. I'm also totally spoiled by Colette Patterns. I think their motto is, "Sewing Patterns that Teach." I love good instructions and online instructional posts and sew-alongs! It makes it so much more attainable for a less-skilled or less-experienced sewist to make wearables - and become more skilled and experienced. 

I've also been knitting a little on my Daelyn Pullover sweater, but it doesn't look much different from my last photo. I think it's almost long enough, so I should start on the hemline ribbing this week. Then I still have the sleeves and neckline to do, and I will have knit my first sweater!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Daelyn Pullover Sweater Progress

Hi guys! I'm learning to knit, slowly but surely. Last winter I knitted a few hats, and this year I decided to knit my first sweater. Luckily my sister and mom are great knitters, so I asked them for advice about this pattern before getting started. My sister offered to knit one, too, so she could help me out if anything was difficult for me. Amazing! 

I chose this Daelyn Pullover by Isabell Kraemer. I love the loose-fitting shape of it, the fact that the front and back are done in different stitches, and that the back pattern wraps around to the front. I also love the big ribbing at the hem and cuffs.

Here's the front of mine so far:

You can see the different pattern on the sides, as the back gradually reaches around to the front.

And here is the back:

I had a rough start with it, as there are German short rows used to extend the back, right under the neckline. I had never knit German short rows before, and the instructions were very sparse. Many of the tutorials I found online seemed to use short rows to make curves, like shaping a bust or the heel of a sock. I just couldn't picture it based on all the curved samples I was seeing. 

Stefanie helped me to get the concept, and once I understood what the point was, it was super easy! I wish the pattern had included a longer explanation, a close-up photo of the short rows, and a graphic showing what was going on. I ended up finding this video to be helpful to me. 

In case you're new to short rows, too, let me explain it in my beginner's language. For this sweater, you are not using short rows to make a curved shape. The curve is very gradual and is 2D - the curve goes down to add length; the sweater still lies flat on your back. 

You just want to lengthen the back of the neckline so that the front will end up being lower than the back. If they were both the same height, the neckline would be very high in front. So you go partway across the back, turn, and go back the way you came, turn - several times. You are adding length to the back, and you knit or purl a couple stitches farther each row (creeping toward the front) so that the increase is gradual and you'll be able to keep knitting in the round when you're done adding short rows. Hopefully that helps if you are a newer knitter working with this pattern!

Since I finished the short rows, I've been sailing along, knitting a few rows whenever I have a chance. I hope I won't mess up my sleeves when I get to them. Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Scatter-Dyeing French Terry Fabric

When I started planning this fall's capsule wardrobe, I kept thinking about sweatshirts and fleece pants! Those were definitely missing from my closet last fall and winter. I want them to be cute enough that I can wear them out of the house to run errands or for casual socializing. But I still want them to be super-comfortable and not too fitted. So far I've made a blue Linden sweatshirt, using the pattern from Grainline Studio. I love it! It didn't take long to make and turned out perfectly. I definitely want to make some more, but with patterns or something so they're not too similar. 

So I bought some white cotton french terry to dye. I decided to try just scattering the dry dye powder onto the fabric and see what happened.

First I washed and dried the fabric (using no fabric softener as it can interfere with dyeing). Then I soaked the fabric for 20 minutes in water and soda ash (mix 1 cup of soda ash per 1 gallon of water). Next I laid out the fabric on the grass, right side up, and gathered my chosen dye colors: red, yellow, and turquoise. With my helper, I sprinkled on small amounts of each color. 

I decided to add green as well:

Here is my cute helper:

I let it sit for a few minutes, while I thought about how to keep all the dye from smearing and transferring from one side to the other. When dyeing with procion dye, you should keep the fabric wet for 24 hours before rinsing. I knew I wanted to put the fabric in a garbage bag to keep it wet, and I realized I could use the bags in between the layers, too. I put them on top of half the fabric and folded it over. Then I laid a bag on top and rolled up the fabric.  

As I rolled, I added another bag. Then I put the roll inside one more bag, tied it up, and set it inside for 24 hours (keeping the wet fabric warm will help the dye work). 

The next day, I rinsed the fabric in cold water for a long time, until the water ran clear. Finally I could see how it looked! I machine washed it in warm water with Synthrapol detergent, which helps remove extra dye so the white parts stay white. Then I dried it on hot to help set the dye even more. 

I love how it turned out! This is the right side:

And here is the wrong side (the terry side with the loops). I like this side a lot, too!

Now I'm trying to decide how to use it. I might make another Linden sweatshirt. I'm also interested in the Mesa knit shift dress from Seamwork. Hopefully I'll whip something up this weekend. 

Do you think you'll try scatter-dyeing? I bought my dyes, soda ash, and Synthrapol from Dharma Trading Co. They have 130 colors of procion dye available, so you should be able to find the colors you need. 

Here's another photo of the right side of mine, just for inspiration. Give it a try!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Blue Linden Sweatshirt

by Tonya

I made another garment using a Grainline Studios pattern. This time it's the Linden sweatshirt in a smoky blue french terry. 

I made a sweatshirt in junior high, so I knew I could do it. I was still pleasantly surprised at how quickly and smoothly this went together. I think I spent less than three hours cutting and sewing. I didn't have to re-do anything or search for a tutorial to learn a new technique. It was so satisfying!

I graded out the hem to the next size up, but I don't think I needed to. For my next one, I'll just try a straight size 12. I already have the fabric for it (olive green french terry). Now I just have to find a couple hours since it should go together even quicker than this one did. 

Here's a link to the pattern, in case you don't already have it and you need it. :) 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hemlock Tee in Splatter Print

by Tonya

I made my first Hemlock tee, using the pattern from Grainline Studios. I used a drapey jersey, and I made it a bit longer than the original pattern so it covers my butt and I can wear it with leggings. 

I'm so glad that I finally made this! It's a super easy, quick shirt to make. I can imagine whipping several more in different lengths and different fabrics. The pattern is free if you sign up for the Grainline mailing list (which is just a newsletter about sewing and patterns - nothing annoying at all). 

Hooray for these easy-to-sew clothes that are so wearable! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Five Rose Water Beauty Recipes

Here we showed you how to make your own rose water. Now, how about some more ideas for how to use it?

Five Rose Water Beauty Recipes

Rosewater Makeup Setting Spray:

4 oz. rose water
1 tsp. glycerin

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake. It's ready to use. Spritz on a little to help your makeup last all day.

Leave-In Conditioner:

2 oz. of your favorite regular conditioner
1 oz. rose water
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle, shake and spray. Your hair will be smoother, shinier, and it will smell great.

Almond-Rose-Honey Face Mask:

2 tsp. rose water
2 Tbs. honey
2 Tbs. almond oil
3 drops vitamin E oil

Mix all ingredients. Apply to face and leave on for 15 minutes. Maybe you can lie back and listen to a podcast while your skin becomes refreshed and softened. Rinse and enjoy. Honey can make your skin glow, clear your pores, and slow down aging with its antioxidants. Almond oil is known for moisturizing, calming, removing dark circles, and reducing wrinkles. Vitamin E oil is another wrinkle-fighter and dark circle remover, along with healing scars and remedying dry skin. 

Rose-Honey-Oats Face Mask:

1/2 cup oats
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs rose water

Grind the oats in a food processor so they'll stick to your skin more easily. Then mix with the honey and rose water and apply to your face. Ideally, you'll lie back with rose water-soaked cotton rounds over your closed eyes and relax or meditate. Leave on for 5 - 15 minutes; gently massage into skin before rinsing. Oats are soothing, gently exfoliating, and contain antioxidants.

Rose-Cucumber-Yogurt Mask:

1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 cup peeled, grated cucumber
1 tsp rose water

Mix all ingredients. Apply to your face, place cucumber slices over your closed eyes, and leave on for 15 minutes. After rinsing, your skin and eyes will be moisturized and perked up. Yogurt moisturizes, dissolves dead skin, tightens pores, reduces discoloration, and minimizes breakouts. Cucumbers help reduce dark circles, puffy eyes, tighten pores, fight wrinkles, and soothe skin irritations.

I hope you'll try some recipes today and enjoy your great-looking, great-smelling skin and hair!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Planning My Fall Sewing Projects

by Tonya

Are you planning any projects to sew for fall yet? Sarai's recent post on Coletterie is all about planning ahead and sewing for fall. Already?! I still have things to sew for this summer. But I have to admit that it's a great idea to think ahead a few months, especially if you're a slow sewist, like I am. I put together some things that I'd like to sew for fall:

Things to sew for Fall

Upper left corner: I've already cut out the fabric for this Bettine dress. It's double gauze, which should stay cool in the summer and warm in fall. I can add a cardigan, tights, and boots for extra warmth. (See how I'm talking myself into believing that this isn't just a summer dress? It will work for cooler weather, too! Really!)

Upper right corner: Anna pants in a dark green french terry. Hopefully they would look good enough to go out running errands, and they should definitely be cozy and comfortable for around the house. 

Lower left corner: I love the look of and the reviews for this Linden sweatshirt pattern. I chose a turquoise french terry. A good-looking, comfy sweatshirt was seriously lacking from my wardrobe last year.

Lower right corner: Sailor Sue pants in drapey jersey. The taupe is probably more practical, because patterned wide-legged pants can easily be too much. But in theory, I like the dark blue with white squares. Maybe the pattern would be subtle enough for pants?

Four pieces might be a reasonable goal for me to sew before fall arrives, but it's fun to daydream. If I were to have time to sew a bunch, I'd love to make the following clothes, too:

More things to sew for Fall 2015

Upper left corner: the Oslo cardigan, possibly without buttons. A stripey blue would be nice.

Upper right corner: a v-neck Aberdeen in a black and white aztec print jersey would get a lot of use. I've only sewn a knit v-neck once before, and I didn't quite master the technique. This shirt would give me a reason to get more practice!

Center left: a cropped Astoria sweatshirt would be great with high-waisted skirts and pants. Avocado green french terry seems like a good match.

Center right: this easy-to-sew Danni dolman sleeved dress seems quick and simple. I couldn't decide what color I'd want. I think I'd go with a print, but I'm curious about that yellow-green colored jersey. According to some seasonal color analysis websites, that is one of my colors - but I've never tried it.

Lower left corner: an Italia shirt dress in two-toned chambray would be really fun! This dress would make me stretch my sewing skills, and would feel like a big accomplishment if it turned out well. 

Lower right corner: this Mesa shift dress could come in handy in so many colors! I'm imagining an off-white french terry to stay warm on a brisk day, and a messy plaid jersey print when I feel like I don't want to wear sweatshirt material (could that happen? I don't know if you noticed, but I have four different colors of french terry included in this round-up! I think it's a theme.)   

What do you think? Will you be sewing any sweatshirts and sweatpants this year? What are you planning for fall and winter?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Three Solid Lotion Bar Recipes: Karma, Serenity, and Ache Relief

One thing that Tonya and I both like is LOTION.  Well, any apothecary, really...from lotions to bath bombs to oils, perfumes, and makeup.

This time we got together, we made lotion bars.

I made three recipes.  Each quantity is by weight in ounces, and the process for melting and molding each one was the same.

"Karma" bars
2 oz beeswax
2 oz shea butter
2 oz almond oil
3/4 stick Karma solid perfume from LUSH

-melt all ingredients together in a double boiler and pour into molds.

Because I used a store-bought, proprietary fragrance, this isn't one that I could ever sell, but I really do enjoy it for personal use!

Chocolate and Rose bars
4 oz coconut oil
4 oz shea butter
2.5 oz beeswax
chocolate and rose essential oils

Peanut oil muscle aches bars
2 oz beeswax
2 oz shea butter
2 oz peanut oil
a few drops dōTerra "Serenity"

Peanut oil has been shown to reduce muscle and arthritis pain, as well as having a number of benefits for the skin.  I don't notice any peanutty smell in the lotion, and have seen improvement in my knee and lower back pain. If you have joint pain or even aches from working out (I have both!) give this one a try!