MidWeek MemDay

Every single year it happens!!!  The week after Memorial Day kicks my butt. You’d think I’d be prepared but nope nope nope.

The work week for many is shortened (not for moi) and yet the week is a killer. For me I think because I clear the decks for the long weekend if I can. I ride my bike, ride out for coffee, for the beach, to people watch and a lot of reading, sewing, and a stitch or two of knittery. It was a great weekend in all ways. This week leads to a double wedding to work this coming weekend in two states. I’m tired thinking about it.

The pattern for youknowwho has been drafted and tweaked and approaching what I hope is perfection. Drafting for big ole’ arms is tough, #danghermama. After a run to the local fabric store (ick) for appropriate fabric, and you know for a fact I settle!!!!!– I did find a gauze and a seersucker to make hot weather work tops. That’s on the agenda in the next 24. Once again with a hand drafted custom pattern via the Cal Patch class on Creativebug one of my favorite things is how the sleeves set in. Seriously, they just glide in….. ahhhhhh. Easy peasy.

In other sewing news, big for me…… BUTTONHOLES! Remember, mine were AWFUL—– so with research (and patience) I discovered the operator error of my ways. Hauled out the proper foot, messed around for just a little bit and – voila! LOVELY!

I retrofitted a tote bag for a camera bag because it’s lightweight, beautifully constructed (made a couple years ago as a laptop messenger bag) and sturdy. Cute doesn’t hurt! I added snaps on a couple interior pockets, a button to replace tired velcro on the outer pocket and super reinforced the strap/bag intersection. I’m very happy with the result!

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Welcome Summer: Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

Can you remember a time you welcomed summer more?

Probably not!

Judging by the island traffic, there were many who were anxious to get away and seek some sun and fun! Thank heavens for a bicycle as means of transportation because parking was pretty much non- existant!

I’ve been in the studio over this long weekend—— the new wreath on the door welcomes me for watercolors, sewing and yes—– time to organize that bin of purple and green yarn that has been languishing in there for a project that will never be finished. I do pride myself on being able to say, “thanks for coming but we won’t be needing you after all!”

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Foundation Friday: The Little Details

It’s very true—- the little details can make a huge difference! Why is it we overlook the simple changes that can make something go from meh to meow in a nano?

I recently created this sweet watercolor from the springboard at the Danielle Donaldson class I took recently on Jeanne Oliver’s Creative Network. Loved that class so much as I’ve mentioned quite a few times! This watercolor made me happy and I immediately framed her and hung her to enjoy.

Cute, right?

Well changing up the frame from a dark brown to a pop of yellow not only accented the watercolor, but it popped in the room with pale green walls AND the best part was that it took 5 minutes and $0.00 since I already had yellow paint!

Easy, effective and smile making! I have a couple other frames I’ll give a dry brush technique over the weekend.

It’s almost Memorial Day and I’ve stashed some great white wine to ice along with a nice beer selection. To go with a menu that’s fun and easy to woo guests without spending too much time away from the action, I’ve been working out a flatbread recipe. The first go was made with simple herbs and a nice salty top, yum! Now that I know that my yeast / flour ratio is good, I’ll roll it thinner with some nice tomatoes and veggies cut super thinly for opening apps—– and can’t wait to try it figgy and goat cheesy to enjoy solo on the front porch!

Lastly, the foundation for healthy dogs around Casita Contessa has been cooking for Prince. Mr. Prince has really been struggling for the last year and a half with one twist morphing into another. What has gotten weight back on my boy dog and kept food down is continuing to cook for him and to keep it simple. Not fancy schmancy recipes for pups (which I’ve tried) but good old fashioned boiled ground beef,  & cooked white rice at about 50/50 and no salt green beans, I use a can of whatever is on sale. It’s then all buzzed together with a cup or two of the cooking stock. I make enough to put a container in the fridge and 4 or so in the freezer. For a big ole ‘ treat I add a little baked sweet potato.

Check out that kitchen counter!


The potholder on the left of the Cuisinart? Horrendous.

And I only have TWO in the whole house.

What’s up with that?

The Cuisinart is VIN.TAGE.

Still works like a champ.

I’d replace it but I have a full set of all the blades and disks

& juicer and pasta attachment.

I’ve replaced the plastic disk stem. Big Whoop.

The  Kitchen Aid?

Similarly vintage! I’d love to have one in a fun color but why replace when this one works?

I did have to replace the everyday paddle….ten bucks. Boom.

And cookbooks.

Notice one of my new favorites?

Flour Too.


Hope you’ll have a fab Memorial Day weekend! Play, Dance, Laugh & Enjoy.

Count your blessings and pass one on!



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Let it be: Yellow Furniture!

The guest room is like the rest of the house, beachy in feel. It’s furniture was inexpensive and black, the nightstand black with a boring brown rattan basket on the shelf. In other words a rather ick brownish blackish boring bland yawny. Good enough to make the move and not bust apart but certainly not fine furniture by any stretch of the imagination!

Now, it is bright and happy yellow! It doesn’t make the furniture ‘better’ but it makes things clean and bright and OH SO HAPPY! :)

A little sanding, and no priming whatsoever! (I kept telling myself cuts could be taken, they could- they could!) The hardest part was hauling the dresser outside and down the stairs solo! (We shall not mention the trip back up!)

The pieces were minimally scratched or with dings, the worst offender was a patch on the top of the dresser of unknown origin. It had been in full camo with something set on top of it to mask.

In retrospect, a little more sanding in between coats would have been a good idea  but other than that I’m happy with the resulting furniture and how it makes the guest room sing!

Whenever I haul out the dropcloth that RED shocks me! Every single time I think, man…. what have I painted that color???  And of course that red belongs to the wicker piece on the front porch, also rescued from ick brown.

And no, the drawer pull on the nightstand was painted over. It was cheap and ugly. The measurements reside in my bag so I can replace it with something that looks vintage and fun.

              I opted to paint the basket on the shelf a crisp white, that little stinker took an entire can of spray paint!

After it’s ‘set’ for a couple more days I’m going to add a few high and low lights with paint I’ll mix myself and then top that off with a coat of poly on the tops of the dresser and the nightstand. You never know how they’ll be treated by guests God love ‘em!

Sweet as can be, the framed Queen Bee was a Mothers Day card this year and I love how it sits in the room!

The color of the walls is “Ibis” from Sherwin Williams. Crazy, it looked very white with the brown furniture but pop in that yellow and you can really see the pinkish tones of the Ibis now!

Guest room finished and ready for guest season to begin.

When you live at the beach it happens often!

Posted in Chat, Home Dec

Ten Days Creative

It’s been ten days around Casita Contessa of solo time, me time, pretty much selfish time. Have I had a ball—– and been super creative.

On the first day I cleaned and reordered the display shelves, moved around some art and generally puttered. The rest is a blur of happiness! :)

One of my favorite projects was drafting a pattern from scratch for a dress! Yes, from scratch! If you have not enrolled in Creativebug’s classes you’re out of your mind——- truly—– but taking Cal Patch’s Pattern Drafting Class was AMAZING! It ran over four weeks and to be honest while I watched all installments and gathered supplies I didn’t start until the class time was over. (But lucky you, still available at Creativebug!)

Cal Patch Pattern Drafting

I had a blast!

To be honest the worst part was taking true measurements. I kept telling myself that no one would ever ever EVER see them and that once the pattern was drafted, there isn’t even a size number on it! So honest measurements I took, and I drafted a pattern for a dress. In this longest length I will be able to do my own riffs for tunics or shirts or anything in between and I can’t wait!!!

One of the most hilarious parts was digging through the toolbox and finding a pattern marking kit from who knows how long ago! Check the price, $1.55! AND… the little marking wheel is etched with my name! I used one of those little devices meant to carve your name into anything to prove ownership and deter theft on a pair of scissors (that are still amazing and in use today) when I was in college! Holy cow. It cracked me up which of course means I am way too easily amused.

Once drafted it was time to cut out the pattern for the first go. I found fabric that wasn’t TOO horrible (in case it fit and I love it) at the fabric store for $2.00 a yard- perfect. Once washed and laid out the pattern cut out quickly and easily. When it was pinned together the first thing I noticed was how perfectly everything lined up….. I mean Bang On.

It sewed up really fast as well and my favorite thing? THE SLEEVES! I was worried about drafting a sleeve— I mean how can something with basic measurements and a lot of eyeballed curves come together in anything remotely resembling a sleeve, much less one that fit into the armhole well? I shouldn’t have worried and praise and bless you Cal Patch—- this was the most beautiful sleeve I have ever set in my life! No kidding, and that’s saying A LOT!!!!

Most beautiful sleeves ever.

No rimples or dimples

not eased in, no gathering thread!

The dress? Fits like a dream! My only changes will be to narrow the dart in the front and add about a half inch to the bust. THAT’S IT! I may well wear the dress too! It’ll need short sleeves but that is a piece of cake!


Posted in Chat, Crafty Happy, Sewing

Mothers Day Weekend

Have a fabulous Mothers Day Weekend!

I’m ‘solo’ this weekend and while that’s a bit odd it is no less lovely as well, I’ll be beach walking, bike riding, dog strolling and front porch reading!

Happy Mothers Day!

Posted in Chat

Mothers Day: a Hat is Made

Mothers Day was planned well in advance—- I know, kind of crazy for me let’s admit that right now!!!!  Planned in advance, sewn in advance, shipped in advance. And it arrived a WEEK before Mothers Day! This could ruin my reputation!

My birthmother lives in AZ and has a pool so she spends a lot of time (mornings and evenings mostly) out by the pool.  I thought a cute sun hat would be just the thing. One of the things I appreciate about her is that she loves a handmade gift—– LOVES ‘EM!

I’d had the pattern for a year and thought I’d give it a run.

It’s a very well written pattern….. and super simple to make. My only caution is to make sure that the brim and crown lengths are exactly the same when they’re ready to go together!! I made mine reversible using vintage fabric from Pam Kitty Morning (that is it had been in the stash for a couple of years) and love how it turned out, it looks like Miss C! I like a firm brim for a hat and used Timtex in the iron on form to give it that nice shape.

On the ironing board you can see how the fabrics coordinate so nicely, as always they were lovely to work with too!

Maybe the happiest sun hat ever?

Forgive me for not photographing in ON……

There was no way to self photograph this hat in a way that wasn’t, well…… y’know.

A great gift for the investment of minimal time, Win-Win!

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Artsy Weekend

This weekend was an artsy fartsy one around the Casita Contessa!

LOVED the class with Danielle Donaldson at Jeanne Oliver’s Creative Lifestyle Network. LOVED IT! Stuffed with great projects they really rounded out my creative mojo. Watercolor for the most part with lots of unique and interesting methods. Did I say I loved it????

The second project almost finished and pretty much finished l to r.

Frame to come.

The  third project was ‘alphanesting’.


The concept was to create a hand drawn alpha and use letters within the alpha that represented you…. and to those emphasized letters treat them in a special and unique way. My special letters are T K B…. the  T is a doubled and twisted piece of green yarn in just the right green. The “B” was cut from a small scale fabric also in perfect colors and the “K” is my favorite, cut from a vintage cookbook “biscuit” recipe page!  LOVE LOVE LOVE!

The first project was also fun…… on a birch art board—–

I enjoyed the thought that went with the art—- my words for taking flight were easy to come up with but deciding a rank order was harder!

Happy Monday—- I’m entering refreshed and rested! What’s not to like about that????

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Sweet Lil’ Diaper Shirt

Diaper Shirts….. I  love ‘em!  I made them a bazillion years ago for the kids in the appropriate pink and blue. Appliqued ducks and trains for the blue and frilly lacy pintucky bits for the pinks. If you ask me there’s nothing cuter than a hot weather baby wearing a little diaper shirt and little diaper cover. You can really appreciate those fat little legs!  This latest incarnation is simple—- fun pink floral fabric, a pinky-peachy trio of buttons and a hem of flat vintage lace. It’s a gift and I can’t wait to give it!

I used a blind hem stitch with a little wider bite than I’d use normally to attach the lace to the bottom of the hem. As I’m not sure how this Mama will launder, it seemed safer to make sure that the lace was firmly down. Love the narrow little bands of self bias on the neck and armhole….. it’s a coordinating print that is smaller in scale– hard to see in the photos. And the buttonholes. ICK. My beloved Bernina makes horrid buttonholes and yes, I know it is partially operator technique. My old Viking 1100 was a total workhorse, I drove her till she dropped, her buttonholes were remarkable. Anyway, these are bigger than they should be and my technique was part great and part hack. Not equal portions either! I marked the buttonholes with washable marker and using a very narrow zig zag in a medium long stitch and a piece of medium pink buttonhole twist thread, the twist was zig zagged around the blue marked line. Then trimmed and the hole cut cleanly. Not my favorite by far but it works, it works.

My new focus has to be working on buttonholes exclusively!

Once completed and pressed this sweet little diaper shirt, from an out of print pattern from Mildred Gould, was tucked loosely into a length of pink tulle and tied with a fat hemp cord. Then this tulle packet was tucked into a small gift bag.

Stinkin’ cute for a very sweet baby girl who just turned 2 weeks old!

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All Sewing & None of the Knittin’!

It’s true, knitting is on the back burner. I’ve fallen behind on my promise to knit a mitered square a day for the afghan that never ends— and I’m on the last quarter of the project! I think it’s because I know it is a Christmas gift that leads me into such a lull. Sadly, I’m not to the halfway point of this final block of 25 mitered squares. Maybe I should set a new goal and light a fire!!!

There IS however sewing, and there has been a lot of it!!

Cutest tunic ever–and I look ‘not fabulous in sleeveless’, but this one is great, just enough to give a good arm look! It’s  from Indygo Junction!  It’s the “Over the Top Tunic Pattern”…. and it is super cute and really fast and easy to put together!

Urban Tunic

I have a few other Indygo Junction patterns on the radar as well. Isn’t the Urban Tunic above nice? Lots of options!  I’m also crazy about the Midtown Trench (below)…. cut in a sassy shorter length, it would be great for a fall winter coat here in the South!

Midtown Trench

Back to my tunic…… the wild floral print was perfect for a coastal summer…. not too light, not too heavy— and colorfully right! The striped accent color was cut from a blouse that had been worn once— I love how it shows off the print and grounds the tunic all at the same time. The inset at the neckline is from a bit of stash in the oh so perfect pale acid green. I had just enough of this Japanese kanji print to make the lined insert.

The inset detail:

The pocket was reduced to ONE….. remember last post I showed the little bag made from the other pocket?

Another project in the works—- a gift for Mother’s Day! Any guess what it is????

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