Thursday, December 15, 2011

Baking Bread and Eating it, too!

It has been quite chilly here in Arizona.  I guess because we had such a hot, long summer, someone is trying to put us in the holiday mood.  I know this kind of weather puts me in a baking mood- my family thanks me for it.
I tried this recipe I have been wanting to try-waiting for a cold day so I could put the oven on and have the house smell delightful!
After the dough rose, I braided it and then it must rise for another hour.  Isn’t she pretty?
After the dough rose for another hour, I put an egg wash on the dough and placed some sesame seeds on the 2 loaves!  Oh, so shiny!
After baking for only 20 minutes, the final product!
This was a real lot of fun and SO rewarding after all the rises and baking.  There is nothing like the smell and taste of fresh, homemade bread.  Your family will LOVE you for it!  Score-now maybe I can entice my daughters to clean their rooms.  Clean room=homemade, sesame-seeded bread. I don't know smile
Everyone wins!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Inspiration comes when you least expect it!

If you have a craft of any kind, I think you will agree.  Inspiration sometimes creeps upon you when you least expect it.  If you sew, you see this in any kind of fabric.  Not just bolts from the fabric store.  This is exactly what happened to me…..

I was just grocery shopping at my local Fry’s(Kroger) and they also have a home goods section.  I always puruse through there to see the new items and the lovely displays of plates and linens.  They have a shelf within there, that has their clearanced items.   I took a peek at the unwanted items and saw LOTS of blue/white placemats, trivets, and oven gloves.  I thought to myself “how boring” blue/white stripes.  I did pass it up and strolled along to the cereal aisle.   The blue/white linens, I swear, called me back!  I took a second peek and noticed the price on these linens were 25 cents to 50 cents!!  Really.  Well, I knew I had to make something with these linens.  It was a challenge and I was definitely up to it!  I grabbed a bunch and ran home, almost forgetting about unpacking my groceries.  (I did unpack them, unwillingly, SO boring)

Here is what happened in my sewing room!




The blue/white straps on the apron and the apron pocket were cut from a placemat.  I attached the contrasting fabric to the oven mitt, placing insul-bright inside the fabric I added, so it will be well insulated.

I really like this pattern for an apron.  It is lined in the back with solid navy-blue cotton fabric.  It is a well constructed apron pattern IMO.  I think that is what I love about sewing aprons-you can make a better quality apron than you can purchase.  You can also add a little embroidery embellishment like I did on the apron pocket.  I added some coordinating fabric buttons on the neck straps, too.  Love that Open-mouthed smile

The pattern is


I made this apron for a friend of my Mom’s and I befriended her as well!!  She loves to cook, is an artist, and has the most generous heart.  My Mom was visiting her today and will be giving this to her.  I hope she likes it!!

I am sure this will inspire some serious baking and cooking for her.  And….for me, too, with the exception of having a cute apron set to bake with!  The constant dilemma of loving to bake and also to sew…I don't know smile



Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmasy Pillow

Wow!  It is that time of year again.  I cannot believe it, can you?  We put up our Christmas tree, decorated the stair rail with lighted garland, decorated the kitchen pot shelves with more lighted garland, put the two little Christmas trees in the family room, etc.  Sound familiar?

When I saw this tutorial, I knew I had to squeeze in a little sewing time.  I did and completed my Christmas pillow!

100_0596 (800x600)

I love the fact that it requires little pieces of fabric, great use for scraps from previous projects !  Plus I am practicing a bit of quilting, perfect for my upcoming project. 

Now to writing those Christmas cards….Eye rolling smile

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Little Red

Little Red Riding Hood, that is!  My daughter chose her costume and I thought it was pretty creative being that at this age the costume selections start to get pretty edgy.  Sierra seems to always "morph” into her character.

The finished project from different angles!




Little Red modeled for us before heading off into the forest….




I have so much fun making costumes.  It’s almost as if I am the one wearing the costume.   The pattern for this is McCall’s 6187

My Halloween fun is definitely sewing the costume, for sure.  Just think-it’s calorie-free but full of fabric.  My kind of treat!  Ok. Ok.   I’ll admit there is always room for a butterfinger or two or three…..  Oh, the chocolate, the peanut butter flavor.   Yum. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Have you ever been boo-ed?

Well, I have and this Halloween I vowed to “boo” someone!  I hope they keep the boo-ing going.  If you have never been boo-ed or have never heard of this concept, click over to this website and it explains how to “boo”

It is a lot of fun and gets the neighborhood in a festive mood.  I purchased 2 pumpkin baskets, candles, fun post-it-notes, Martinelli’s Apple-Cranberry Cider, pumpkin spice bread, and I made these towels to add to the basket!


These were Halloween towels from Kohl’s I purchased after-season-Score!

I added the topper so it hangs on your oven door!  I followed this tutorial and it was a real beginner project and the options are endless.

I only wish I had taken pictures of the baskets with all its fun Halloween stuff. Crying face 

I decided to have my husband take the 2 baskets and secretly “boo” 2 of his co-workers.  There is an office version “boo-ing” poem on the above website. 

Have fun and “boo” someone!  Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fabric Fanatic…That’s me!

I have had pictures on my camera that have needed to be downloaded for a while.  Let’s just say-since this past June!  In my defense(yes, I have to defend myself) on our vacation to Hawaii, we took 2 cameras with us.  We downloaded the pictures from one camera and “forgot” about the other camera…. 

Today I got the bug to download our pictures from it.  It was a surprise to see these pictures and relive those moments.  Maybe it was a good thing that I procrastinated downloading those pictures.  Yes, I am going to go with that!

My family and I took a Hawaiian cruise in June.  Ahhhhh, it is SO SO beautiful there.  I just can’t say enough about Hawaii.  One of the ports we visted was Kahului, Maui.  We walked to the beach as it was not a far walk and a good way to sightsee along the way.  Well, look what I found!  Yes, a fabric store!  OMG! OMG!  My poor family had to put up with my major obsession with fabric, even on our vacay!

But, but…… this is fabric from Hawaii.  Thank goodness the airlines have weight limitations is all my husband could think… On the other hand, as happy as I was to find this jewel, I only purchased about 15 yards of fabric, mostly tropical themed.  I knew there would not be too much room in my suitcase to buy MORE.  SighCrying face

Aside from me being in my beach coverup, overlook that and look at all those gorgeous colors.  I am not the souvenir type-fabric from other places IS my souvenir.  More to come on that…..

I miss the beach, cruising, tropical breezes, but if only I could have a fabric shop like that here at home… Hey, it’s JUST a plane trip awayBroken heartSick smile

Hawaii June  2011 (51) (640x480)-tile


Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Must Read

Have I ever mentioned how much I love to read.   Possibly as much as much as I enjoy sewing.  My sewing room isn’t as portable as I would like it to be.  Wouldn’t that be cool?  Okay, enough wizardy for a moment.

When I am on-the-go, I love a good book.  Sometimes it’s my Nook or a good old-fashioned book.  Doesn’t the smell of a new book and the act of turning pages so quaint-I know!! 

When I received an email from church looking for donations for a raffle basket, I could not resist.  The theme is reading!  The list complied of donations to purchase a Kindle and various reading-related items.  Barnes and Noble gift cards, books, eyeglass case, and  a “book bag”.  A book bag-that would be fun and possibly the one item they would not receive.

I have an APP for thatRolling on the floor laughing!  I have an awesome tutorial and some fabric possibly laying around, so a book bag is born…  Of course, a matching accessory bag is a must.  I picked this fabric combination hoping to appeal to most.  One-size-fits most!  I hope!

Jo's Sewing 031

Jo's Sewing 037

All wrapped and ready to be delivered for the raffle basket… Is it wrong to secretly want to win this basket of goodies? 

Jo's Sewing 042

The tutorial is from Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine!  Here is the link to this easy tutorial.

The cute accessory bag is a in-the-hoop project.  Love that!

Who doesn’t need a read bag?


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sweet 16

Today is September 20th, 2011.   It is also sweet because after a 3 month hiatus of my blog, I felt that today would be just the inspiration to write a blog post, finally… Winking smile I have  projects and pictures that are awaiting modeling on my blog….
September 16th has a lot of significance for me, especially.  It is my late grandmother’s birthday.  Mom, as we all called her. Mom was the grandmother we all want to have and want to be in the future.  I was very fortunate to have her in my life.  Not to sound like such a cliché, but she left a deep stamp on me. 
I adore this picture of my Grandmother and Grandfather.  Mom has the most beautiful, warm smile.
Mom Raimondi
I spent LOTS of time with my grandmother.  Mom is the reason I LOVE to cook and bake.  Mom was always making something and most of the time, from scratch.  I can envision her in my mind in her simplistic kitchen cooking fantastic creations.  Her homemade pizza was amazing.  Italian cookies around the holidays, cakes, and pasta sauce simmering on the stove, are but just a few of her wonderful recipes.
This is Mom and I posing for her birthday with a cake I baked her!  Isn’t the writing just awful…But Mom-style, she loved it!
Mom Raimondi (3)
I remember when I was about 12 years old I had a cream puff over a friend’s house at a birthday party.  I asked Mom if we could make them.  She looked at me so lovingly and said she needed a recipe and didn’t have one.  She promised she would obtain one.  In those days, we did not have the internet to search for a recipe.  A couple of weeks later she told me to come by.  Mom had a recipe for cream puffs and all the ingredients so we could bake them!!  We did bake them and they were delicious.  We baked often, but this was extra-special because it was a dessert I wanted to bake.  Mom always did special things to make me happy.  I always knew that when I was with her there would be lots of hugs and laughs.  And there was….

Mom Raimondi (2)
Mom worked in the Garment District in New York City, sewing, in the 1930’s. She talked about her sewing.   Mom had a beautiful Singer sewing machine at her house that I watched her repair clothing.  It was shiny and black and encased in a fancy piece of furniture.   I asked her a couple of times if I could try sewing but the typical, protective, Italian grandmother she was mentioned she was too afraid my fingers would go through the needle and hurt me!  Therefore, she never taught me to sew…Crying face
When Mom passed away in 1992 and my family were going through her things, her sewing machine sat there collecting dust.   My mother mentioned donating her sewing machine and I just could not let that happen.  I had the sewing machine and a few supplies sent UPS to my home in Arizona.  I opened up the box it came in not knowing even how to thread a sewing machine.  Really.  
This is Mom’s sewing machine that she loved so much.  It is in excellent working condition and nothing goes through layers of fabric like this machine!  The reason I sew today.
A neighbor showed me how to thread this sewing machine and told me I could hem pants, make curtains, and such just by measuring and a straight-stitch on the sewing machine.  Hmmmm, really……  I did just that and each little project I just challenged myself.  One day I got real brave and wanted to make myself a skirt.  I found a pattern that had 2 pieces and a elastic waist.  I can do that…… I just kept trying and reading those directions for the pattern over and over…  I can do this! 
Joann’s opened up nearby my home and I took a sewing class to make an apron!  Wow!  Everyone I knew received an apron… This was all just the beginning of how I kept challenging myself.  If I can make an apron, I can make……
I then thought I would like a serger so my projects would look more professional!  I bought myself a Brother Serger and came home, opened the box and literally cried, thinking how naïve I was.  I cannot work a serger! You see, I am a Type A personality needing instant perfection.   I placed it back in the box so I could return it.  Something told me to just keep trying it.  I did…. and the serger worked great.  I was in LOVE! 
I then saw a Brother 4x4 embroidery machine and thought, WOW, just think of all the wonderful things I could customize!  Embroidery machine here I come.  At that point, my husband built me a sewing area in my laundry room.  Upper cabinets and a countertop to place all my machines on.  Lots of room for storing fabrics and notions.  Now I could just sit down and start sewing and not having to set up machines and such..
I amazed myself as well as my family with all the things I could sew.  How could I sew with such tenacity and skill not ever touching a sewing machine?  Humbly, I say, with very little instruction have I reached the point to where I am now..(I still have lots of things I want to learn how to do)
I honestly feel Mom is with me watching over me in so many ways, including sewing.  Mom sits on my shoulder and guides me and my sewing machines and honestly, without many mistakes… Mom’s sewing machine is like my magic hat!
I always knew that my grandmother was special.  She has given me SO much in my life and still is.  There is no doubt that one day she will be the first person I see, guiding me once again, hugging me and saying “Joanne” in that Italian accent she has.
If only I could I would make her a special dinner tonight.  Chicken Francese and pasta with homemade sauce.  Italian bread, Amaretto,(she loved) taralli, and gembelli(italian cookies)
As you can see, today is sweet and bittersweet at the same time!  I feel I have been so blessed.  I miss her SO much.
Happy Birthday Mom! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Wow!  I feel as if the last few weeks I have been preparing and packing for our vacation!  We will be gone for 11 days and you would think with the amount of preparing, we would be gone for a month….  Whew… The anticipation (and slight anxiety) kills me.  I seem to overanalyze and overpack so as not to forget a thing.  Not a thing… 

Sierra has been SO uber-excited(is that a word?) with her countdowns, things she wants to do, the plane ride activities, etc. and even her PJ’s need to have the correct theme!



Sierra picked out the fabric from my stash and I used a pants pattern and shortened the length to make PJ shorts.  The applique is also from my “stash” from a few years ago, so I do not remember where it is from.  Sorry-brain freeze.  I added cap sleeves from a RTW shirt.  PJ’s done!

Sierra can be fashionable and fun in her new PJ’s overlooking sunsets and lots of oceanDon't tell anyone smile  It always pleases me to sew things for my family when it is something they are looking for.  This theme is close to my heart.

Aloha all and Mahalo for reading my post!  I will have to share some pictures on my return. (if I decide to come backWinking smile)



Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Fast Sew!

I think that is the name of the game these days, my mantra, so to speak!  Fast sewing.  Summer time is here and it seems as if sewing goes on the back burner.  Not my ideal, comfort-zone, don’t like, not fair, I miss my fabric, etc…. Okay, now that my rant is over(at least for today) here are some quick projects for my nephew and niece.

On Easter Sunday, my family was over his house spending Easter together, and Michael was reading and reading all the new books he received.   Hmmmmm, reminds me of my 2 daughters(and myself).  We are a bunch of bookworms for sure!  Well, that is the inspiration for this tote bag for him.  My sister frequents the library  and the bookstore with the kids LOTS during the summer.  As do my 2 DD’s and myself!  Perfect for him to carry his new treasures in!  I also placed a fun little activity book in there and some new crayons.


But of course, for Miss Kate, something pink or a dress created from my sewing room has to be…



I think I accomplished both!

Just as these are fast sews, this is a fast blog post, too!  Enjoy your holiday BBQ’s this weekend.  I plan on that….Now off to the kitchen to cook up some holiday treats!  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Animal Print Tank Top Makeover Tutorial

It’s official.  Summer Break is here. Now.  I know…..  We have cleaned out our closets to make room for the summer clothes we will be shopping for!  Aaaaaaaah, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Love shopping.  In cleaning out our closets, this shirt was tossed in the donate pile.  I yanked it out SO fast as I just love animal prints.  It would make a great tank top-matches our current weather!


I cut the top just under the sleeves!  Of course, saving the cut pieces of sleeves.


I hemmed the top part that I cut.  I love the fact that the bottom is already hemmed.  Great quickie makeover!


The cut sleeves now become your straps!  This is definitely to your liking.  I like a thicker strap so it covers those pesky bra straps.  Yep, one of my pet peeves…. I measured how long I needed my straps to be.  I put on the shirt/tank part and measure from the top of the tank, over my shoulder, and reaching the top part of the back of the tank.  Easy peasy….  I came up with 16 inches and cut my fabric strips at 18 inches giving me seams allowances and sewing it to the tank itself.  I had just that measurement….




I cut 4 inches wide by 18 inches long.  I folded the strip in half(so it is 2 inches wide) and ironed it.  Open up the strip and lay it flat.   Then I took the raw seams and turned them towards my ironed lineby a scant 1/4 to 1/2 inch and ironed that.  I then folded my strip along the original ironed line ensuring that all raw edges are encased inside.  I then sewed all sides again making sure raw edges are inside!  Repeat for other strap!


Try on your tank again and place your sewn straps where you like them.  Pin in place front and back.  (you might need a friend to help pin the back)  After carefullyRolling on the floor laughing removing your pinned tank, sew them in place-front and back!!

You are DONE!!

I still had some scraps leftover and just eyeballed it and cut out some flower shapes, added a button, and hand sewed it to my new tank top!



This particuliar shirt is made of a knit fabric.  Sewing with knits is super easy-ONLY if you use a knit needle.  It makes all the difference in the world.  This is such a super easy and fast makeover.  I LOVE these projects because of that and also for the fact that I can repurpose fabric that I just love but may not LOVE the style of the shirt! 

I am sure you have some long sleeved shirts that you can makeover as well.  Anyhow, who wants to wear a long sleeve shirt.  I am happiest in my tank top and my flip-flops.  It’s a good day….Sun


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