Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Do you ever get the blues?

I get them just like anyone else. There has been so much going on with my family. My parents...my grams...life. Sometimes being the one to hold down the fort can be tough, even more so when you are a military wife or maybe a single parent (of both I have and am currently). It is important to reach out to your support system. This week for my school discussion we are talking about the things that we need to overcome while we our pursing our academic goals and the importance of a support system. Well, upon writing my discussion, I let out a lot of emotion. Over a month ago my dad lost his job along with 2 other men. His boss tried to lie to unemployment so he would not receive money. My dad who has never been out of work since he was 14 has been turned away to the illusive screen of internet applications. At 51 years old the old fashioned ways of getting a job are of the past and he has too much technical experience to qualify for most jobs. I have watched him cry, I have watched him berate himself, tear himself apart, feel inadequate because he feels he has failed his family. I have watched them widdle away their savings to pay their bills, and I am helping them financially with what I can. I don't want them to loose everything, I don't want him to loose everything. It hurts to watch them go through this, and yet he is looked at as just another number, to even get food stamps he is told to sell his car, his house, when will it be enough? When he has nothing, I remember nothing, I grew up with it. My older brother fought for his life, and was taken by cancer, leaving astronomical bills, my parents couldn't afford them and they lost everything on top of loosing their child. I watched them build again from nothing, but I with my nothing stood proud of my family for every small thing we had. I was beat up for being poor, I was made fun of for being poor, I had very few friends. For little independent me that was enough, but now at almost 30, I am tired of people just being another number, this is my family it hurts to watch them struggle, it hurts like the dickens. I am low today, I just need to let it out, just when I thought I could restore myself for another day, I find out my grams is having surgery Friday...she didn't want to bother other us with it, and the surgery is to remove carcenoma and find out just how far, what kind, and where else it is. Today, I feel lonely, I have been the support system that my family needs, but right now, I need a little support. It is hard enough raising my two boys while my husband is gone. In one of the most celebrated years in my life, I am filled with such a deep sadness, but I wanted someone to know, so that I acknowledge it before it becomes a huge problem. I look forward to checking my shop in the morning and at night, I love blogging, it helps me feel like I am a part of something great, I love reading blogs and being inspired. In many ways my internet world has become a support system. So thank you. Here is something I wrote tonight and I urge anyone who feels down to reach out and find someone to talk to. Do not keep it bottled up inside, it is ok to be sad, it wont last forever, sometimes just saying what you feel is the best way to feel better.

How do You?
How do you hold your head up high, when you are trying not to cry, the saddest feeling on the rise?
How do you stand by what you know is true and right, when there are those that suffer by and by?
How do you wake up in the morning and try to paint that smile, when your heart is filled with sorrow?

How do you lift up a heavy heart when it is burdened, with a pride that has been shattered?
How do you walk out the door, put on a smile for the show, look at the world no longer glow?
How do you keep one foot in front of the other, when like doom it stalks and hovers?
How do you learn to sing a new tune, change the feeling of an old room, when the sadness only resumes?

You take a deep breath, you walk out of that room, you knock on a door, you pick up a phone, you pick up a pen, and you realize you are not alone…
Brandy Layton 2011  

Depression is a reality and many of us face it to some degree in our lives. Remember that you are not alone. No matter how dapper the situation seems at the moment, it will pass, you will change, and you will become stronger in the end. If you feel sad, alone, or scared…express it. Keeping in your emotions will make you ill 10 fold. You are never really alone as long as you reach out…someone will be there to grab your hand.

Bran

Stay tuned.....

This morning when I came to visit my blog, I received a great question that I hope to try to answer by Friday in a little tutorial. The question was from Danemum: "How did you make such a nice moodboard/plan? Getting all the outfits you plan on it, colours ect? Any tip/helpful website or are you just that incredible computer talented? :D"
I dabble in graphic design, which I self-taught myself through trial in error. Friday I hope to show some tips and tools to get you going on your mood boards. Today, however like all Wednesdays, I am off to visit my mom and the big boy goes to sign up for Boy scouts. Tomorrow I will try to get my schoolwork posted early so that I can gather resources and create the tutorial. Thanks for your great question!
Cheers
Bran

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Joining in with the Fall Color Palette Challenge at Colette Patterns

I went shopping in my pattern bins and fabric stashes for my fall color palette and came up with this mood board to keep me focused. The color palette is Black, Red, White, Tan, and silver gray. After looking at my pattern choices I have a great deal of vintage 70's patterns that are included. All of my patterns happen to be by Simplicity or Colette, lol. I might include some more to my challenge or replace a few choices once my sewing book from Colette comes in. Check out about it at their site here

Lets take a tour of the Patterns and Fabric choices shall we?
First up is a Jacket from a 1973 vintage simplicity 5898. I feel that this will be a good choice for a new light weight jacket. Here in Florida we really don't get chilly until the end of December. So I figure this will be a great choice to throw on for those brisk mornings. Here is a view of the pattern and fabric:
Jacket View
Fabric
I like the ease of the jacket, I love red jackets I have red shoes that I like to compliment my red choices. This fabric is a stretch polyester blend, I have tons of it and I am hoping to make some dainties with them. I have to purchase a 20 inch zipper for this one.

Next up is a pair of pants from a 1973 simplicity pattern 6191 any of the pant views they are the same, I have a couple pairs of shoes that will go so well with this style of pant and lets just face it, I do not own a nice pair of pants anymore so I need this in my wardrobe anyways. Here is the Pattern and fabric.
Pants
Fabric
I love this color of gray and I love gray as a classy look, it speaks business but casual and fun with this design. The gray also allows me to pop other colors or pattern choices. I have the zipper for this one I believe it takes a 7" and seam bind or stretch lace, which I have as well.

For my top I might make two. I am very low on top options in my wardrobe right now and new to fill a few spaces with versatile pics. I like Colette's Violet top view 2 with the longer sleeves. Here is a view of the pattern and fabric choices.
Bottom view
Fabric Choice one is the one I will do I need it for my Thanksgiving outfit.
Optional 2nd shirt just a white one that would be great for my wardrobe.
I love the top fabric in fact I have it in black and white as well. When I made my fabric purchases this year, I shopped for versatility and functionality too. I have enough of that red to make a shirt for the big boy and baby boy for thanks giving too.

For Skirts I need to make quite a few I have one I love that is second hand boutique. I love a-line skirts and I love the ease of Colette's Ginger skirt pattern. I need to make 3 but I will work that in over time. For this palette challenge mine will be view B in a tan fabric. Here take a look.
Skirt B
The picture doesn't do it justice, this is the tan that matches my color palette but the skies are grey and my natural lighting just isn't par today
I think I have a zipper for this one too. Here is a peek at other fabric choices if I have time to fill the gaps in my wardrobe.
This is actually black but it will be another skirt for my versatile wardrobe
this will be view c for ginger it has a stripe look and will be fun it is blackish gray and a good add to my wardrobe
Like I said the last two will get done, but are not apart of this challenge.

The next pattern will be from 210 simplicity 2363. I have many plans for this pattern in whole but for my fall challenge I am taking view F and turning it into a lovely pajama dress/kaftan idea. I have a lovely leopard print in silky charmuse that I plan to wallow and ok you get the drift...this is a must and it just happens to be the inspiration for the whole color palette. Here is the pattern view and the fabric view.
bottom view and it is also view C
yummo, it has red, silver, black and white and it feels luxurious and I bought 12 yards on clearance for $8.00!
It calls for interfacing but we will see as this is for sleepwear. I have everything for this.

Using the same fabric as above I will also make another pajama outfit using Colette's free Sorbetto Pattern and a 2010 simplicity 2290 pattern. It will be a top and pants in this lovely material, hmmm I can't wait! Here are the views of the pattern and the fabric is above.
I am not going to have a pleat in mine.
The women's view this is simple and should prove smooth.
 The fabric is a tricky choice but I feel confident that it will come together well.

Next up is a Jumper dress with a criss cross back that I found to be fun and I will use a very funky fabric for it. It is a 1977 simplicity 8059 pattern. I have not decided on the length, but I do have enough fabric to make either. Here is a peek at both fabric and Pattern.
not sure on the length, my fabric is a little more clingy so it will hang more closely, I presume.
This is a stretch jersey blend I have quite a bit at $1.00 dollar a yard on clearance.

It looks like I have everything I need for this pattern. I am anxious to see how it will turn out.

Next up is a Tunic shirt that I think will be versatile with all of my fall choices and regular wardrobe. I plan on making two. One for the challenge and one for my wardrobe. I will be using a 1979 simplicity 7627 pattern. I will use view one. Here is the pattern and the fabric choices.
view 1
This one is for the challenge
this one is my additional for my wardrobe
I have everything to make these as well. I am sure my button self will add buttons to just about everyone of these creations somewhere. :) So while I am waiting for my sewing book to arrive, I have some fabric choices already waiting here is a peek of them.
A black Jersey knit hoping to become something sweet also the boys capes for halloween
a nice sateen hoping to be a dress
beautiful linen by Calvin Klein mmmm thinking cigarette pants...enough said!
Well, now that I have worn you out looking at my picks go check out Colette Patterns for their challenge, more info on her book, and find your fall wardrobe and join me in my many adventures.
Cheers
Bran

Monday, August 29, 2011

This weeks recipe from Grandma's Cookbook

Pumpkin loaves: I relied on this in particular last fall, my little bun in the oven at the time, made me crave pumpkin everything for 4 months! This one is a good one and I have all of my ingredients.

Pumpkin Loaves:

Ingredients:
2 c. Sugar                               1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. salad oil (EVOO)            1/2 tsp. double acting baking powder
3 eggs                                     1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. canned pumpkin              1 tsp. ground cloves
3 c. sifted all purpose flour    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
unbleached                             1 tsp. ground nutmeg

Directions:
Early in the Day:
1. Grease well; three 7-1/2"X3-1/2"X2-1/4" loaf pans or your choice of pans. Start heating oven to 325 degrees.
2. In bowl with electric mixer at medium speed, beat sugar and oil until blended. Next add eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each addition. Continue beating until light and fluffy and then beat in pumpkin.
3. now onto large piece of waxed paper, sift together the rest of the ingredients, With mixer at low speed, beat this flour mixture into pumpkin mixture. Divide batter among the three loaf pans and bake them 60 minutes or until cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
4. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. remove from pans and finish cooling on racks.
5. When cool, wrap each loaf in plastic wrap, foil or waxed paper.
*I think I am going to try mini loaves for this attempt. I want to give out small loaves to friends, family, and neighbors*

Grandmas Story:
When my dad's brothers came home from the war they brought the flu with them and we all got it. Dad was really sick and the doctor got him some whiskey from a bootlegger and gave him a hot toddy and this helped. I go earache with the flu and am still bothered with it. We had two nurses come in and take care of us. I also had a kidney infection and was wrapped up in mother's shawl, that saved her life on the boat coming from Denmark, and taken to the doctor.


Sewing news:
I have decided to back off of the walk-away dress, just not going to work for me. I am also picking and undoing a part of my rooibos from the all-in-one interfacing, something just doesn't look right and I want to fix it before I sew the whole thing together. That will get done well, when I feel like picking it up.
Shop news:
I am extremely busy working on new products for the shop that I hope to get up and going by the weekend. I am also planning on a Labor Day Sale!
Enjoy the rest of your Monday!
Cheers
Bran

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Shop News, Cook-a-long news**Graphic Heavy**

I have been busy putting my list for the shop into action. I went out and purchased supplies today to help in the creation of handmade products for my shop and I have been trying my hand at cute fashion doll clothes too.
New in the Shop: "Sweet Elegance" A handmade card by me (Bran) It has vintage lace trim, different paper stocks, some zig-zag stitching, stamping and 6 hand-sewn vintage buttons for easy removal. Here is what she looks like, there are only 7 in total, they are about as identical as can be for handmade, there will be slight differences and she is only $3.50 USD plus a dollar shipping. I have many more styles on the way too.
The Front of "Sweet Elegance"

The Inside

the back is hand stamped, numbered and signed by me
Now Onto The Cook-A-Long!

I made my batch the other day and had my dad come down and try them out. It has been the first time in these past few weeks I have seen him truly smile. He said it was like re-living a childhood memory. With that said, between my parents, brother, the package I mailed to hubby, my son, and myself...ahem..there are not any left. (I did mention that I am addicted to peanut butter cookies right?!) Thank goodness I walk over 4 miles every morning during the week! So here is the picture breakdown of the process. ***Again Graphic Heavy***
Ingredients and Pre-heat oven 350 degrees F
Cream 1c. Shortening, 1c. Brown Sugar, and 1c. sugar
Well, this is about as creamy as this gets (hmm)
Beat in 2 Eggs
well that looks a lot creamier
Mix in 1c. Peanut Butter

Now that is creamy
Whisk in Separate bowl 2c. flour, 1/2tsp. salt, and 2tsp. baking soda
mix in flour mixture half at a time
Nice and stiff
Mix in 1c. of oats
Tip: Mix in oats by hand
Roll into 1 inch balls
Place on an un-greased oven
Use Tines of fork and make a criss-cross hatch on top
Like So
Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes (depending on altitude)
Enjoy!
They were very good!
Well, that is it for tonight, I am getting ready to work on some other things around the house. You know domestic stuff.
Cheers!
Bran

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

To all of my Readers up the North Eastern Coast

I hope yesterday treated you better than the news made it sound. My hubby is right up near where it occurred. I have baked my batch of cookies and will have pictures of those up tomorrow. In the mean time sew-a-long news I have constructed the majority of my Rooibos, I just have to put the top and bottom together. The FBA could have been maybe a slight hair less, but nursing right now makes it ok seeing as well I am fuller there. The poor little one is not sleeping well and is curious about everything and he is teething and due for shots next week. I just really wanted to stop in and let my north eastern family, friends, and hubby know that I am thinking of you and hoping for no more action. The weather here is miserable as we wait for Irene to pass us by. Hopefully it will stay off mainland for my northern and coastal friends. We might see heavy rain as we are more central. Hurricanes always make it so heavy and gloomy even on a sunny day. The air is thick, muggy, and hot. Until Tomorrow have a good night all!
Bran

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kick-Off to Grandma's Cookbook Cook-a-long

Here we are it is Monday and it has been a busy weekend! Now that we have successfully seen the big boy turn 8 and off to his first day of school, we can try and concentrate on the sewing room project, my sew-a-longs, fall wardrobe planning, the shop,  and yum yum the cook-a-long.

Today starts the cook-a-long for Grandma's cookbook. I have had many of these recipe's but many are new to me. This week will start off with the first of my favorites.

Grandma Clay's Peanut Butter Round-ups

Ingredients:

1 c. Soft Shortening            2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1c. granulated sugar           1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. brown sugar                 2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs                                 1 c. oatmeal
1 c. peanut butter

Instructions:

Beat shortening and sugars together until creamy. Add eggs and beat well. Blend in peanut butter. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda separately then add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Stir in Oats.

Roll dough to form one-inch balls; place on uncreased cookie sheet. With tines of fork, press to make criss-cross on each. (if dough sticks to fork, dip the fork into flour occasionally). Bake in preheated moderate oven (350 degrees) about 12 minutes. Makes six dozen.

The Story:

Esther Petersen Clay
I was born 16 August 1915 in Tremonton. We had gone there to help Mormor and Bestfa (mother's parents and this is Danish for grandma and grandpa) with the threshing. Mother took sick and there I was. Mother was no help. Mormor called Aunt Amelia to come over and take care of us. One day when Ruth, was entertaining us by cutting out of a catalogue, she not only cut the paper but the front of her dress. I had lots of black hair and the doctor cut out the front off before mother saw me as it hung clear down over my face. We lived in Elwood until I was five. We had a Danish woman and her two children living with us and I learned to speak Danish but I know very little now. (in1993).

to be continued...

I will post pictures of my cookies at some point this week. If you would like to join that would be great, if you bake them take a picture and leave a link in the comments, I would love to see.

My Photo Book Aug 22 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Get em while you can!!

I happened to visit Joann's today with my mom and Simplicity patterns were on sale 5 for $5 )in stores only it seems when comparing prices online). Got to love it! I mean who doesn't love getting patterns for less right? Even more so when they are new. I think the sale ends tomorrow however so get em while you can! Here are my lovely picks and there was not a limit on quantity but New look, Sew easy, Burda, and Simplicity books were not included in this sale FYI. I saved a total of $262.15!
1. View C from the Original cover
2. View A reminds me of some of the aprons in our family
3. View B looks fun, I am on the fence with view C maybe not in black but a fun print
4. I love every view here and with winter coming I need some nice trousers 40's beauty here
5. I love every view here and this will be nice for winter as well
6. View A<B<D, this is just great and looks sweet, maybe make some pants to interchange for fall
7. I like view C for evening but not the color scheme I think it looks too washed out on top adore view A and the the Sleeves from view D
8. Love the look of view A and and B, I would make a top for View F and pair it with some pants
9. Adore view A and B just not the fabric color for view A
10. In love with view B I want to make this for an evening out with my hubby when he gets home Love the look of view C great for casual winter and A would be great in Spring or Summer
11.Love the look of view B and A I kind of like D but it might be too overwhelming on me but I could see it in a fun blue jersey knit.
12. Love Views A<B<C, ah my little boo boo bear put some grips on those soles and he will be ready for walking around for winter in the house on the wood floors, I have some great fabrics lined up for this cutie!
13. Love View B and D multi-seasonal
14. Love all of the looks do not love the overpowering sleeves on view B however, but a sweet simple top for all seasons
15. Family Pajama bottoms I have a great flannel monkey print for these for the whole family :) it makes my heart smile (Come home Hubby!)
16. Love the 60's flare this pattern offers I really like the polka dot look too.
Alright more Pictures of the fun Sunday my big boy will be 8 at 2:07am and I have been up mopping, baking, and prepping for his wonderful Birthday tomorrow. He starts school Monday and just maybe, just maybe I will get to work on some sewing for the Rooibos and The Walk-a-way dress...just maybe :)
Bran

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Week Ran away!!!

The week ran away from me. The final get stuff done before the big boy returns to school Monday and his 8th Birthday party on Sunday! Whew...

Touching Stories: Take nothing for Granted...

Photograph by Sarah from M4H Photography
My friend Sarah at My four Hens Photography has shared a very touching photo session with a wonderful little girl who was diagnosed at 3 with Ewing's Sarcoma. In this session Sarah has captured the life and magic inside this little girl. They are stunning and so is the blog that her parents have for her. Read Sarah's post and view her stunning pictures here to read more about Jocelyn visit her blog here
I am rocked to my core with memories:
Those who know me know that my older brother passed away at the age of six with Leukemia, it will be 26 years in January. Two years my senior I was taught at the age of four how fragile life is. My mom always told me I was a breath of fresh air to her. She always feared that the time she spent by his side and away from me would affect how I would grow up. Of course as a small child I showed anger and than I gradually became free. I was like a bubbly butterfly flitting around spreading the joy my dear mother needed in her heart. Today almost 26 years later my big brother Bobby is still me hero. It was that near four year battle that he fought that taught me how to fight at 25 when I was diagnosed with cervical and uterine cancer. I was told I would never have anymore children...and I could not accept that and so I did not. I pray for this little girl and all who face the battle...

Sewing news:
I created my muslin for my Rooibos sew-a-long Tuesday and had to do a FBA. Today I am cutting my real fabric and should be starting to sew here shortly.
The walk-away dress is still postponed until I purchase my petticoat materials.

School news:
Surprise you get an extra 2 weeks Bran. My classes were changed and so now I have a different class to take first starting on the 30th.

Shop news: I will be putting a handmade thank you in the shop this weekend. More info to come.

Well, that is it for this moment, maybe I will get back on later with some pictures. Hmmm...
Bran