Sunday, December 16, 2012


Family and friends ~ HUG THEM TIGHT AND COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS ~ and remember those precious lives lost, so senselessly, this past week.
A Christmas mug of cheer from my dear friend, Jackie - hot chocolate (or even "better" - I just saw the ad for the new maple flavored Crown Royal) will taste extraordinarily wonderful from this one - set amongst a fabulous tea set I bought about twelve years ago at a speciality store "Going Out of Business" sale, and have never taken out of the box until this week.  Did I need it?  Evidently not (BUT, in my defense, it was 90% off the original obscene price).  Is it FABULOUS?  Look ~ LOOK with your special eyes!
Friends in my Mom's childhood doll buggy, with her doll being the beauty with the bonnet.  I believe the blonde friend was my grandmother's...someone in the family loved her, I know that.  The Mohair bear in the front was made by me, years back - took a class with an "at the time friend" (friends come in so many guises, and serve many purposes in a lifetime) in the art of real fur/old fashioned ways bear making.
The white bear wears a baby sweater that was knitted for my firstborn, by a dear family friend.  Tiny, beautiful white bunnies knitted into the design - too special to pack away, it now keeps my furry friend warm.  I made the second, golden bear, also...actually, he was the first made - never start easy when you can jump right in with an open mouth (much like my own!).  Both are heavily weighted and have jointed arms, legs, and heads.
The past few weeks brought some special treats from Internet friends, both far away (Denmark), and one state over.  Dorthe, at DEN LILLE LADE, sent me another of her enchanting little angels, who has joined her driftwood friend on my tree.  Sherry, at CREATOLOGY, gifted me with a beautiful little Christmas bag, perfect for holding some special jewelry items (and with two secret pockets!), a handmade (actually, it's all handmade by Sherry) journal with clever pages inside, and some delightful little Christmas adornments for my ears and scissors.  Thank you to you both, dear friends. 
My old Christmas Cactus, in the corner, never lets me down come December, though buds this year are sparse.  Running (literally) through the grocery store, looking for tree lights, I ran straight into this new cactus, loaded with about 200 blooms (literally).  Lighter in color than my first, I WILL be posting photos of this as it takes off and opens up.
A bevy of fake, but yummy looking, gingers from my friend/sister, Joleen, sits on the antique plate I recently obtained from yet, another friend...another gift, from Z, sits under my tree and will make an appearance here after I know her other friends have seen theirs, so I don't spoil anything.
Yes, I DO get by with a little help from my friends, and count each one among my dearest assets in life!  I hope your Christmas is wonderful, friends...if I don't show up here on a regular basis for the next week or so, know that I am VERY happily making wonderful Christmas memories with my dear folks (including physical therapy for her while she's here), and my own little family.  Merry Christmas ~ XOXO ~ Tanya
"Many merry Christmases, friendships, great accumulation of cheerful recollections, affection on earth, and Heaven at last for all of us" ~ Charles Dickens

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Joan Crawford has arrived at our house for Christmas...and LOOK!  She's brought along cigarettes!
Actually, I just finished this up this morning, and wanted to share...the last large present that needed to be finished before Christmas.  My daughter and I sat down one evening, a few weeks back, and shared some special Mother/Daughter moments watching the ever enchanting "Mommie Dearest"...I hadn't seen it in years, and she had never seen it.
Overly penciled eyebrows and batshit crazy outbursts aside, she was enchanted with the fabulous costuming of the 40s - especially the glamorous dressing gowns.  I was asked if I knew where she could get something like that for lounging around the house, and spewing her new favorite snarky quote from the movie, "I would rather be here, with you, than anywhere else in the world".
Shortly thereafter, I ran across this in the Butterick pattern book - and at 99 cents for the day at Joann's, it SCREAMED (No wire HANGERS!) to be turned into a Christmas gift for my Jaci.  The fabric is something they label as Simply Silky Prints - a stretchy, satiny/shiny polyester (perfect for washing) charmeuse, in "Betsey Johnson-esque" (another of my daughter's fav's) pink and yellow roses.  The pattern was marked "Easy", and they weren't lying!  I put this together in a day - start to finish.  I haven't sewn an actual garment in some years, and was PLEASANTLY surprised at how well this went together.
My daughter is built much more slender than my antique mannequin, so this should hang pretty close to the illustration on the pattern cover (she's built like the girl in yellow - we should hate her, by golly).  Where there should be "two" on my mannequin, is but one...a "dove breast" from the late 1880's.  Sadly, there is no "lift and separation" on this old gal, but she's pretty great for display purposes.  I am expecting this to drape exactly like the pattern, once on.
Black lace overlays on the front and back bodice - like I said, this really went together beautifully...especially for being a vintage pattern.
Extra wide sash belt - big flowing sleeves, gather into tiny bands at the wrist - fabulous and uberfierce!
Who knew they still made shoulder pads?!  The pattern called for them...Joann's had tons to choose from, happily.  I thought (or perhaps, wished) they had died with the 80's.  Yeah, who knew!
I think the only thing missing from this ensemble now are marabou mules for her dainty polished toes...
and a padded, satin hanger!  Happily retiring the sewing machine until after Christmas - hope your weekend is wonderful.

Friday, December 7, 2012


"...December 7th, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy..."
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
A remembrance of those who have gone before and, again, a thank you to those who serve today! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

AEROSMITH AND CHEAP TRICK - The Most Fantastic Adventure!

I have the BEST friend in the world.  Her name is JACKIE.  She called me up a few days ago, and told me that Christmas would come early for me this year - she had some bizarre, unwarranted notion that she couldn't make me anything "gift worthy" for Christmas this year, and instead, got us tickets to THIS!  Aerosmith AND Cheap Trick, ON ONE BILL!  The Global Warming Tour!  At The MGM Grand Arena!   Believe me, my HUSBAND is going to have a hard time giving me anything gift worthy after this!  My friend ROCKS!  How many apostrophies am I going to need for this post?!  Let me mention, right here (so she knows) that I'M going to have a hell of a time with the whole "gift worthy" thing for HER this year, after this.  What an INCREDIBLE evening.
(Photo credit
Had seen Cheap Trick before, but singing the Sgt. Pepper album on their tour though Vegas a few years back - this time it was all them - with one Beatles song, thrown in for good measure.  SOOOOO great.  I don't know if it's Robin Zander I love, or those beautiful "nothing left to the imagination" leather pants!  Yeah, it's him. And Rick Nielsen.  And the rest of  "The Best F#* You Up Rock Band EVER", as they were introduced. And the pants.  The Dream Police were living large inside of my head last night!
And then, AEROSMITH - how do you come close to describing the wonder of THAT?!  On my "Bucket List" of bands, and there with a friend that evidently has that very same Bucket List!  I don't know how Steven Tyler is possibly alive this morning...movin' and shakin' for an entire 2+ hours.  And, "Little Miss We Need to Sit THISCLOSE to the Stage", did it to me again.  I could have shot the video above (which is the same opening we got last night), myself.  Steven Tyler, JOE PERRY (who has his WIFE on his guitar!  A Guitar God AND a romantic - SIGH!).
AEROSMITH!!!  I spent most of the evening with my hands over my mouth, speechless...unless I was singing along, and I must have been because my throat is scratchy this morning.   An unbelieveable (believe it) night of music from two LEGENDARY bands, shared with one of the best friends I could have ever hoped for in this life, or any other.
"Something right with the world today"...ALL day...and it will LAST for days!  It's left a HUGE smile on my face this morning - thanks for Christmas, Chica - know how much I loved it - and you.  By the way, your Christmas gift will pale, in comparison, just to let you know!   !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Rotary Cuff surgery yesterday, for a bad injury incurred after a nasty tumble two weeks ago, has my Mom out of commission for a bit ~ sending LOTS of healing wishes her way.  Christmas in Vegas can't get here soon enough.  Thanks for everything you're doing for her, Dad.  Christmas in Vegas probably can't get here soon enough for you, either!  Gobs and TONS of love to you both!  XOXOXO  

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Just got off the phone with my Dad, who told me his Thanksgiving costume was molting this morning...which got me to laughing about a scene from Addams Family Values (of COURSE, that would be my "go-to" Thanksgiving movie - go figure!  Family and friends, alike, are NOT scratching their heads about now, for they know me well).  Happy Thanksgiving, a second time...and all day long!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


To family and friends, near and far...HERE'S TO YOU!
I'm thankful for it all!
May you be among loved ones - if not, may you know that you are loved deeply, regardless!
Be safe.  Be happy.
See you on the other side of the tryptophan and Crown Royal (never, ever Canadian Club - my apologies to my friends north of the border)...
Happy Thanksgiving, 2012!  XOXO

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


ALWAYS lead with the Bakelite!  For lack of a better post right at the moment, I wanted to show you just what I've been up to the past few weeks, gearing up for the holidays...lots of handmade.  Plus a few baby quilts for friends thrown into the mix (one is probably the single MOST "bad ass" baby quilt, EVER!), BUT, you MUST start with the Bakelite!  "Birthday" and "Just Because" Bakelite...four of these five pieces came from my folks this summer - I treated myself to the black one.  The big "Blue Moon" is to die for, and the one with the swirls is yummy...hell, they're ALL yummy!  I've said it before - who knew 80 year old plastic could make me so happy!
I turned some fabrics purchased in Hawaii this summer (the only thing I really brought back, except for 8,000 photos and my most comfortable "Slippahs" ~ Dad told me to leave the pukka shells there, as he still has his left over from the 70's) into a fabulous online pattern called NEW WAVE, by OH, FRANSSOM!  Goes together fast and easy.  I tried to get really artsy with my interpretation...the tan colored fabric in between the "waves" is representative of the sandy beaches.  There you have it - that's about as "deep" as I get, and probably the main reason I never made it as an interpretive dancer! 
I turned some "local" fabrics into two baby quilts (or quilt tops, at the moment) for friends of my kids...the red Tattoo Dragon one is going to a tattoo artist (my daughter's profession) and his wife.
So NOT cutesy baby themed (and so out of square here in this photo, because of the angle I was holding the camera above it, and over my head - believe me, it is square), but SO perfect for who it is going to...yes, it's been dubbed the "Bad Ass Baby Quilt".  The Puppies quilt is absolutely darling, and IS cutesy baby themed, with more retro colors to it.
Soldering for friends, and family...Christmas ornaments up next.
I've been keeping myself awake on the couch at night, watching The Walking Dead and KNITTING!  Winter is made for knitting, though my shoulder is starting to turn to mush and I need to take a break this next week.  One more Mukluk to be made, and that's it...the bandanna is WAY cool, and super easy (I've done three), and from another free online pattern, PURL BEE BANDANNA COWL.
More sewing - free Infinity Scarf tutorial I worked up HERE, for those that might want to join in the fun on 2 Bags Full's, PINK SCARF PROJECT, HERE.
And even more sewing friend Jackie was "in want" of a kitchen makeover this week, and I was happy to oblige - new towels, napkins, and a valance, while the sewing machine was still set out - she put it all in place this afternoon (CHECK IT OUT!).  Retro looking aprons for Christmas are next on the agenda (and finishing up that one last Mukluk), after Turkey Day.  Hope your Thanksgiving weekend is wonderful!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I'm participating in 2 Bags Full's PINK SCARF PROJECT~ a wonderful, year-long effort to gather pink scarves for Breast Cancer patients.  My first instinct was to grab for my knitting needles...however, Vicki is collecting ANY scarves for the project - knitted, crocheted, store-bought, etc.  I have been teaching my friend, Jackie, to knit, but she has told me she thinks she will never be able to finish a full scarf in time ~ and has already sent a store-bought beauty.  Being a seamstress, first and foremost, got me thinking...Jackie sews too - how about an easy FABRIC scarf, for those that hate the thought of knitting?!
I knitted a Mobius scarf (the Infinity/Mobius scarves are a continuous loop, with a permanent twist built into them) similar to this a few years back, as a gift.  I've never made another ~ yes, the hours involved were plenty.  THIS, however, can be achieved in 45 minutes or less, start to finish...with THREE sewn seams (and 5-1/2" of hand sewing).  I made four this morning, plus took photos as I went, all in under 2.5 hrs.'s how to do it.

WHAT YOU NEED:  1 yard fabric and thread!  That's it!  Well, that and a sewing machine and necessities like scissors, pins, etc.

I used three 100% cotton fabrics for these, and one knit that reminds me of a top I had in the 70's.  The cottons I chose were all soft to begin with (the one above is almost a "voile" - VERY lightweight cotton.  Use what you love - I washed and dried my cottons before cutting, to make sure they softened up, and/or shrunk before they were used.

Cut TWO pieces 20" wide X 36" long. 
Lay these two pieces, right sides together, and seam across one of the two short ends, using either a 1/4" or 1/2" seam.  Press seam open on wrong side of fabric.
With right sides together, fold the now joined fabric piece (20" X 71.5", or so) in half LENGTHWISE (meaning you will have a long piece of fabric with a fold along one long side, and raw edges along the other long side - or 10" X 71.5").
Mark your long side (along the raw edge side) 3" in from each end.  Start sewing at one of these marks/pins, and continue along long edge til you come to the other 3" mark.  Press this seam open, centering it in the middle of the scarf, and not along the edge.  Press just the seam - not the edges of the scarf.
Reach inside this tube and pull right side out.
Center your seam so that it is facing up (so you can see it), and down the center of the length of your scarf.  Now for the "twist"...
Fold the left side length of your scarf UP, as shown.
Take the piece you folded UP in the last step, and fold it UNDER and DOWN.  Should look like something like a backwards 7 at this point.  It doesn't matter where you fold it, as long as you go up, under and down - this will add that "twist" into the scarf.
Bring your short, open ends in towards each other, as pictured.
Match your raw edges, right sides together (pinning if needed).
Sew seam across, from opening to opening edges.
After this seam is sewn, gently pull on scarf and your sewn end seam will roll to the inside, through opening left on end.  Press seam allowances on this opening to inside.
Close by hand stitching opening (I use a ladder stitch, which ends up being virtually invisible...YouTube it!)
Your scarf will have a built-in "twist" to it...can be worn long, or twisted once or twice, and doubled over your head, for the short version.  WINNING!  A snap for everyone on your Christmas list ~ or join in the giving over at THE PINK SCARF PROJECT.  Three of these are heading there tomorrow - the tutorial scarf will be in my daughter's Christmas stocking.
Addendum - 11/28/2012:  My son's girlfriend was sporting a knit Infinity the other day, and mentioned that she loved them really long - hers was wrapped three times.  SO...
This was made with a piece of soft, thin wool/polyester fabric - again, one yard.  I cut it across the width of my 58" fabric, into 4) pieces 9" wide X 58" long - THIS GIVES YOU ENOUGH FOR TWO SCARVES!  Constructed the very same way as the directions above (use only two pieces for each scarf), it left me with a finished scarf that is approx. 4" wide X 115.5" long (sewn into a round), and a few more options for styling.
  Happy sewing!