Monday, December 6, 2010

I Won a Giveaway ... Yeah ... I think.

I won my second giveaway in one year! Yes, the pattern and fabric are just as they appear in the photo. Eileen at Eileen Fashions did not misrepresent the giveaway in any way. BTW, please check out her blog if you are not familiar with it. So, why am I so happy with this "ugly" win? Well, the fabric is growing on me (it reminds me of a lazy boy one of my uncles had) and, as the pattern is not my size, it gives me the opportunity to practice my pattern alterations and to practice working with patterned - plaid - fabrics. Worst case scenario ... I hate it. Best case scenario ... I become a much better seamstress and get a head start on my Halloween Costume. Frankly, I think this is a no lose situation. Thanks Eileen. I am Happy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Michaels 40% Off Coupon - Good through Wednesday, December 11th, 2010

Here is a 40% Off printable coupon for one regularly priced item at Michaels. It is good through Saturday, December 11th.
Click here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Making Time for Life and Beading ... Christmas is Coming

I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted. Life has been a bit chaotic and fitting in everything I should be doing has left little time for everything I want to be doing. But, I think that is a challenge for most of us.

Though I haven't had a lot of time for sewing or crafting, I finally took some time to make a few ornaments - beaded ornament covers if you want to be precise - and to create patterns for them. I find beading and sewing very calming, even when it is challenging. I sometimes forget that. I am determined to fit more time for it into even my most hectic weeks.

Here are some of the ornaments I've made in the last few weeks. In looking at them together I realize my color combinations aren't classically "Christmasy" but I still think they'll look nice on the tree.

If you are interested in the patterns for these ornaments and others I've made in the past, click here.

What are you working on for the Holidays? Do you have any tips for fitting more sewing and crafting into my hectic schedule? I welcome your suggestions.

Happy Crafting!

Friday, September 3, 2010

100 Days Challenge - Finished ... Yeah!

My personal 100 Days Challenge ended on Wednesday, September 1st. I practiced my challenge 83 days out of the 100, which feels pretty good. I had an 8-10 minutes morning ritual, which included strength and balance exercises. Those of you who've followed this challenge know that, as easy as it seemed to be, I struggled with it. However, I've learned a lot and I've gotten a lot out of it.

1) I'm sure I've said this before but it is important. I found out that it takes me a lot longer than 21 days to change a habit when it is replacing a old bad habit of long standing. I say this is important because I'm sure a lot of you have been frustrated when you work on a new habit and, after a few weeks or even a few months, all your work seems forgotten. Life gets in the way, it just seems too hard, etc. Well, it takes as long as it takes. I know that's little comfort but I encourage you not to give up. Find out for yourself what your personal timeline is when you are making changes in your life. Don't be discouraged by others who seem to be able to adopt new habits, drop bad habits or change their lives more quickly or easily than you do. We're all different and they may have struggles with other things in life that come easily to you.

2) I've learned that I play mind games with myself. Weeks into this challenge I was still trying to find ways to avoid doing it. Most days, 83 to be exact, I didn't let myself get away with it but it was almost always a problem. Some days it took me 30 minutes to get through because of my delaying tactics. I even made myself late a few times. Wouldn't it just have been easier to do it and get one with my day? There's no good reason for it. I guess it's just the way the mind works, my mind at least. Now that I know this about myself, my goal and intention is to keep pushing through it.

3) Good habits really can inspire more good habits. As much of a struggle as this small task seemed to be, during the last half of it I realized I was following healthier habits in other areas. I got back on track with working on healthy recipes, started eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and started walking more, even through the knee pain. I think as I began to feel the benefits of having more strength and better balance, I wanted to do more to get healthier. I didn't want to sabotage my own progress. What I find interesting is that I purposely did not make a list of habits to work on during this challenge. I committed to one thing as I've seen suggested in books and articles I've read and I found these things easier to do on a regular basis. Even so, I began making healthier changes. Oh, and I almost cut out fast food from my diet; I averaged about once a week during the challenge, as opposed to five or six times a week (my pre-challenge norm). This surprising change was good for my health and my wallet.

So what now? Well, I still need to work on this habit so I think I will add a bigger challenge to this one. I will build on it. I'm not sure what it will be but I will let you know. I'm going to take this week off, enjoy the long weekend and come up with my next 100 Days Challenge. I'll still do my excercises but I won't be keeping count. I hope you are challenging yourselves as well. You can do it!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Getting the Right Fit with Contemporary and Vintage Patterns

I decided to organize some of the great tutorials I've found on using and altering vintage patterns for easy access and thought I would share them with you. There are so many terrific blogs and tutorials. This is not all that are available but will serve as a bit of a cheat sheet for me. This way, hopefully, I wont have to stop the middle of sewing and spend a half hour trying to find the answer online. I can just take five minutes and look it up on my own blog ... Well, that's the plan.

eHow has a number of good articles on sewing, these are for working with patterns:
How To Alter Sewing Patterns
How to Make a Paper Sewing Pattern

Sewing Vintage: Three Essential Alterations for Vintage Patterns - This tutorial focuses on 40's and 50's patterns but has tips which can be useful for other eras as well. I believe the author is Gertie. She also gives one or two tips for updating a vintage pattern.

This is a short but valuable tutorial from the American Duchess: Sizing Up Vintage Patterns for Modern Wear.

I like this article on It's Sew Karren's site, which "How to Take Sewing Measurements and Pattern Fitting Measurements." It includes a conversion table for fabric measurements and a simple description of the measurements needed to determine your correct pattern size, whether contemporary or vintage.

Gertie wrote a an article for Burda Style, Marking Unprinted Patterns with a photographic tutorial on her blog.

"Drafting Patterns for Women's Pants" is a tutorial on Leena's website. This site's tuturorials are for use with PatternMaker Drafting Software but some of the instructions and tips are applicable to hand drafting.

I've posted lists of tutorials before; here are links to my past postings.

How to Make a Sloper ... Vintage Sewing - It includes more links to tutorials on taking measurements, working with and making patterns.

More on Slopers and Muslins
Sewing Tutorials ... Pattern Alterations, Techniques, Fabric, etc
Making Time for Sewing - Stretch Knit and Bias Tape Tutorials
A few Tutorials on Piping

Please feel free to suggest other tutorials you think might help me and the rest of the sewing blogger community.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sewing Inspiration - Flappers and a Little Reality Check ... the 1920's

I think you've seen from past posts that I love the fashion of the late Edwardian and Bell Epoque eras. However, I also know that my sewing skills are not yet up to some of the intricacies these fashions requires. And, I'm not sure I'm ready to wear a corset yet. :) Fast forwarding a few years, I land in the 1920's, time of the flapper, of simpler silhouettes, higher hemlines, greater freedom of movement and the "One Hour Dress."

I'm not sure I'll ever make a wearable dress in one hour, but I do believe that I can make something lovely inspired by this era given a few more hours. Here is one look I would love recreate.

Clara Bow in the 1920's - Check out the great boots.

I'm sure you can find this photo all over the net but I happened to find it on the San Francisco Podcast, Sparkle Tack.

Anna Pavlova in a Garden in the 1920's.

Girls just want to have fun! I love the variations in the details, fabrics and necklines. And, check out the hats. The photo comes from a post on with the unfortunate title: "Condemned to Be Virgins: The 2,000,000 Women Robbed by the War." I like mine better.

Pictorial Review from Summer 1925. These styles are so simple and sleek with small details and wonderful fabrics. I don't think these are "One Hour" dresses but I could see myself making one in three or four hours. I think I have a pattern or two similar to these. I'll take a look and post photos when I find them.

If you are tempted to try the 'One Hour Dress", please check out the SewMarm's video tutorial. Here is the link to part one of the six part tutorial.

You should also look at Dragonfly Formals' take on the one hour dress. She has three examples which show how you can put your personal touch on the dress. Her use of beads really lift the designs and seem to fit perfectly with the era.

Ok, before signing off, I just had to indulge in a little eye candy:

This beautiful dress has the simple lines I've been talking about but the beautiful beadwork makes it a bit magical. I found this photo on a blog called 100 Years of Fashion.

Here's one more beauty, this one by Norman Hartnell (1924). It's beadwork and embroidery have an Asian influence. This may be more of an 100 Hour Dress.

Have you sewn anything of or inspired by this era. I would love to see you creations and hear your adventures. Feel free to send your links and photos.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sewing and Weight Loss

When I began writing this blog, I did not really think that my return to sewing and my journey to a healthier me would intersect completely. Having read so many blogs before beginning my own, I simply thought I would write about those things I am doing and learning that might be worth sharing, though they might be unrelated to each other.

Well, sewing and weight loss have come together in an inspiring way for me. As I finally begin my first project, and having planned a few future projects, I realize that I am reluctant to plan too many projects because I hope to lose enough weight that I would have to alter eventually most of the pieces I intend to make.

Rather than making me discouraged or inclined to continue to postpone my sewing adventures, it has encouraged me to stick to be more dedicated to my health plan. I notice I am making better food choices and working out when I don't feel like it. Always the thought comes to me that, with just a bit more effort, can I become more fit and make the clothes I want to make.

For now I will concentrate on making basic tops and working on my sewing skills. And I will get healthier and lose the weight I need to lose.

I see so many wonderful women on these blogs, women of all shapes, weights and heights. You are all creating beautiful things through your sewing and crafting. You look wonderful in your photos, not just because of what you are wearing but becuase of how you carry yourselves and how you feel about what you've created. And I realize that this is a constant reminder that after health, the most important thing about weight loss or any change I make in my life is how I feel about it. I am inspired and, as you know, I've been low on inspiration lately.

Thank you for the inspiration! One day I hope to inspire some of you.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

If You Love the Fashions of the 1900's and 1910's ... or, Thank You Wilhelmina

I wasn't planning to write an inspiration post tonight but then I found that the wonderful Wilhelmina of Wilhelmina's Antique Fashion has posted a 1900's and 1910's post for me. This was such a sweet and unexpected little gift.

Please check out her blog if you haven't discovered it already. She chooses lovely photos and often includes detailed close-ups, which are great for research. BTW, she covers fashion from 1200 to 1959 so she has a little something for just about everyone intrested in vintage fashion and vintage sewing.

Wedding Gown c. 1907 from Wilhelmina's blog.

Inspired by the photos on her post, I want to share with you and her a few gowns I love from the Antique and Vintage Dress Gallery. They have many museum quality fashions and they include many detailed photos of each outfit.

This is just a little tease:

A Beer of Paris gown from 1905. This is one of two photos of the gown on the original owner. Notice that she is posing on a lion's hide rug. When you see the gown as it is now, notice how the sleeves have been altered and the bodice embellished a bit. Perhaps she had the dress "updated".

This gorgeous gown from 1910 was made for Madame de Bittencourt for a Regency Era costume ball. It's great to see the Edwardian interpretation. Please check out the embroidery and rhinestone embellishments.

<--- A pink assymetrical evening gown with beautiful lace and beading.

This La Femme Chic gown from 1917 is another gown inspired by a past era - "Celtic" or "Medievil." --->

There are many more beautiful fashions on this site, dating from as early as 1750, but I am tired and must get some sleep.

Sweet dreams.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

La Belle Epoque and Edwardian Era - The Luna Moth Dress by Dreamstress

For those who love these eras and who are not afraid to sew inspired gowns and outfits, please see The Dreamstress. I mentioned her dress in my last post on this era but I think she deserves her own post.

Not only has she created a beautiful gown, but she has posted her diary of its creation from inspiration to completion ... well, almost done.

Posts include (this is not the complete list):
Initial Inspiration
Initial Design Sketch
Draping the Fabric and the Toile
Under Support and Construction
The Beading
Almost Done

I do not know Leihomi Oakes but I love her blog and I am really grateful that she takes the time to outline the process. She also has great research links and photos of period gowns.

I'll definitely be using this diary as an inspiration and guide when I get the courage to tackle this era.

If you like this post, please take a look at my other posts on these eras.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Past is Prologue or ... Everything Old Is New Again

I was going to make this part of an inspiration post but I am curious to see if anyone can accurately date this wonderful photo.

Note: If you know this celebrity, please wait to see if anyone can guess the era just from the photo.

It is posted here in black and white so that the colors and/or glitz will not give the era away?

What do you think? When was this taken?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Inspirational Quotes ... Getting Started and Making Change

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming task into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.

Mark Twain

Simple, but true.
What inspires you?

Monday, July 19, 2010

100 Days Challenge - Belief and Trust

Please Note: I started my 100 Days Challenge on May 25, 2010 but you can start any time. I hope you'll join me in working towards positive change. My original post on my 100 Days Challenge will explain what I am doing and how I chose my challenge.

Today is the 56th day, the end of the 8th week, of my challenge. I'm a little more than halfway through and I have practiced my new habit 47 days out of 56, a little less than six days out of seven. Not bad.

Well, I can say that I recommend this kind of challenge to anyone working to make changes in their life and struggling with it. Though this is still a challenge for me, -- no, because this is still challenge for me -- I am learning things about myself that I need to know.

I have learned about belief, my belief - or lack of - in myself and my ability to change. I have found that I do not believe I can make all of these changes for good in my life. Even though the proof is around me that change is possible; even though I know, intellectually, that I have not set my sights too high.

This was surprising to me. It came to me while working on my challenge. I had the thought that I would not improve my health, lose weight, etc. I can see improvement in my health and my strength since I started this challenge, even though it takes less than ten minutes out of my day. I've also been making other changes that will help me to achieve my goals. Yet, I still don't believe. What is this about?

It is about the past. I've worked to make change in the past. I've succeeded in making some changes and most people consider me successful but I have let myself down in many ways. So I have stopped believing. I no longer trust myself. there is a part of me that believes I will let myself down yet again.

Instead of feeling bad about this, I actually feel pretty good because I now understand something about myself that I didn't before. This is a problem I can work to solve. Trust has to be earned, even trust in self. I need to work to prove to myself that I can be trusted again, trusted to change my habits for the better and to actively and successfully pursue my goals. As I rebuild this trust in myself, I know I will rebuild the belief in myself as well. I'm feeling very grateful that I made this challenge 100 days; it really gives me time to prove to myself that I can stay committed and keep my word to myself.

To those who say, "the past is past, just leave it there", I envy you but I can't agree with you. Would you let someone into your home who had a habit of stealing something each time they visited you? Would you continue to patronize a gas station after you found out they had purposely mis-calibrated the gas meters in order to charge more? No, you probably wouldn't. You would use past behavior as your guide until the behavior changed and then you would use the new past behavior as a guide. That's what I do at least. Now I'm doing it to myself.

Sometimes the work comes before the inspiration.

Have you experienced anything like this? How did you or are you handling it?

I can do it! You can do it! We can do it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Giveaways in Blogland ... Check these out!

I just found out a won my first giveaway from Lisette at What Would Nancy Drew Wear? It's such a great feeling and I'm really looking forward to receiving the two remnant pieces. I'm planning to use them to make accent pipining.

So, in the spirit of passing on the good fortune, here are some giveaways you should check out:

Long & Winding Bobbin - Vintage Patterns Giveaway
Miss Dandy - $25.00 gift certificate Giveaway
Fireflies & Jelly Beans - Jewelry Giveaway

Good Luck!

P.S. I know there are lots of great tutorials in cyberspace but I want to share three on piping that I like:

How to Make Your Own Piping from Warehouse Fabrics
Sewing 101: Piping from Design Sponge
How to Sew Piping Into Your Bag from U*Handbag

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My First Fabric Haul (in years) Leads to the Beginning of a SWAP

Well, the fates have conspired ... not against me or for me ... just conspired. I've been organizing my sewing supplies and collecting the old fabric from sewing projects never sewn, determined not to buy more fabric until I get through some of the old stash.

But ... I took a left when I usually walk straight ... literally. I was working downtown this morning and things went faster and smoother than I expected. I had more time between appointments and I was walking my usual route when I decided to take a left instead of continuing down the street. And there, in the middle of the block, were two little fabric stores, side by side.

I had a little time. I haven't been in a fabric store in at least five years. I thought it would be nice to get a feel for things to come. Can you say "kid in a candy shop.?"

The first store was overwhelming: huge bolts of fabrics; a big barrel of vintage buttons and racks of new buttons, fasteners, notions; beads and yarn, trims and threads. The border fabrics and African prints had me dizzy with the possibilities. I took the store's card and manage to make it out the door with my wallet still in my bag.

Feeling confident, I walked into the second store to more of the same ...and beads. But I have plenty of beads. So, I began to walk through the rows of fabrics, daydreaming of a closet filled with my handmade clothes. They were just daydreams until ... I passed the rack of remnents ... 75% off. Oh my!

No, it didn't matter. After all, I have fabric at home and my first project is planned, a yellow stretch terry top.

And the fates stepped in again. You see, before leaving the house I had taken most of the money out of my wallet. With what I had planned for the day I knew I couldn't spend more than $20.00 on fabric and what would I find for $20.00 ... actually for $17.37?

Behold, clockwise from top left, 1 1/2 yards of 45" 100% cotton print, 4 yards of 60" wide 100% rayon challis floral print (in two pieces)and 2 yards of 45" wide poly/cotton rainbow striped fabric.

I say the fates stepped in again because if I hadn't taken that money out of my wallet, I would have spent it all. There was one other piece of the rayon challis and two of the poly/cotton blend. And there were so many other pieces I was just itching to pick up. But for $17.37 I feel pretty guilt-free.

I grabbed a quick lunch and finished my work day and rushed home. I couldn't wait to pick out patterns. I know, I'm getting ahead of myself ... or, I'm creating a SWAP. Oh, that sounds - I mean is - much better.

The early 1990's won the cotton print, McCall's 5372.

I have just enough for view E, the bottom left and middle views but I would love to add a short sleeve to that. We'll see.

The 1910's won the poly/cotton stripe, Mary Manton 9498.

I love this pattern and could make either view with the amount of fabric I have. But I think I will use a different fabric, perhaps a lace or border fabric for the square collar and cuffs. The best thing is that this is a larger size pattern which will make the alterations easier for me.

I haven't come up with the patterns for the rayon challis. At first I thought I would make a simple shell and cardigan but then I unfolded the pattern and it made me think of postcards of Southern California and Hawaii before WWII. It drapes so beautifully. A 1930's dress? A 1940's dress? skirt and top?

I welcome your suggestions and please don't forget to vote on the pattern for my second - which may become my third - project here. I'm trying to break the tie.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Edwardian Era and La Belle Epoque - Sewing Inspiration

Though I'm a long way from tackling an outfit from this wonderful era, it is hot and rainy today and I need a little inspiration. So off I go into cysperspace, circa 1910's ...

Beaded Cotton Gauze Dress, c. 1914 - 1916. This was posted at the Past Perfect Vintage Blog. As I was searching for inspiration, I saw that this post from 2008, which happened to be posted on the day after a rainy day.

Gowns of Queen Maud of Norway, c. 1910 - 1913.

Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown on her wedding day, 1912. I found this photo and a brief bio of this wonderful woman on the Mulatto Diaries blog.

Olga Nicolaevna Romanov, c. 1913. -->

Tea Gown, c. 1910's from The Great Basin Costume Society blog.

A 1912 Ball Gown also shown on The Great Basin Costume Society blog.

Irene Castle in a Tea Gown, c. 1914.

The Tunic Dress, c. 1912. You can see more photos and a detailed description of this dress at the FIDM Museum Blog.

<-- Worth Gown, c. 1907 - 1910.

The wonderful Dreamstress posted these on her blog from the Brooklyn Museum Collection. Click on the link to see the other great photos she has posted.

Worth Gown, c. 1910.-->

Actually, the Dreamstress is the perfect conclusion to my search for inspiration on a rainy day. If you love this era, you should check out the making of her Luna Moth Gown, inspired by this era.

I hope you've enjoyed this little stroll into vintage wonderland. These are only a handful of the beautiful fashions from this era. I do feel inspired and have set a new goal for myself:

To sew a gown inspired by this era to wear on New Year's Eve 2011.

That gives me a little less than a year-and-a-half to develop the skills to make the gown and to develop enough socials skills to be invited to the kind of party where I can wear it. (hehehe)

For now, it's time to back up my computer and do some house work.

I'd love to see your inspiration photos or your sewing projects.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Making Time for Sewing - Stretch Knit and Bias Tape Tutorials

My organizing is taking longer than I thought, though I have managed to organize my notions. That was a real treat. I had no idea how much I have. At this point, the only things I may need to buy for my stretch knit top are needles.

It looks like I will not be ready to sew until next weekend, so I thought I'd take a little time to search out tutorials, which may be useful to me in making my stretch knit top. I am treating myself as a beginner since it has been so long since I have made anything. Through my search, my respect for the online sewing community has expanded enormously. I am so grateful to the many seamstresses and home sewers who are sharing their knowledge.

Here are the tutorials I found:

A Primer on Sewing Knits from Threads Magazine

Sewing with Knits from Patterns by Figgy's

From -
Sewing with Knit Fabrics
Cutting out a Pattern Using Knit Fabric
Shoulder Seams
Knit Neckline - Sewing "In-the-Round"
Inserting Arms using Knit Fabrics
Finishing Knit Top

Tips for Working with Knits & Mock-Coverstitch Tutorial from Sew, Mama Sew!

Knit Neckline from The Sewing Divas

How to Make Bias Tape from Collette Patterns

From Amanda's Adventures in Sewing
Bias Seam Tutorial
Bias Tape Covered Seam Tutorial
Bias Tape Finish for Necklines and Armholes

Sew Your Own Ribbing Fabric from The Sewing Divas

I hope you find these helpful too. And, please stop by these sites and blogs to see what they are up to now.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sewing Pattern Giveaway - Retro 30's - 40s - 50's - 60's - 70's

I hope that all in the USA had a wonderful July 4th and to those in the rest of the world, I hope you had a great weekend.

I'll be posting later this week but, in the mean time, I wanted to tell you about a great pattern giveaway at My Happy Sewing Place.

Debi, who has a great blog, is giving away one pattern from each decade between the 1930's and the 1970's. Check out the rules here to enter. I've included two photos but there are five patterns up for the giveaway. Don't wait. The deadline is tomorrow night.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Inspirational Quotes ...Positive Thinking

"It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts."
Robert H. Schuller

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

100 Days Challenge - Making New Habits

Please Note: I started my 100 Days Challenge on May 25, 2010 but you can start any time. I hope you'll join me in working towards positive change. My original post on my 100 Days Challenge will explain what I am doing and how I chose my challenge.

Last night (Tuesday) was the end of the 35th day of my challenge. Five weeks and one thing I have learned for myself is that it DEFINITELY takes more than 21 days to develop a new habit. Out of the last 35 days, I've missed four, so I'm averaging a little more than six days out of seven, which is good. I am still struggling to make this a smooth part of my morning routine but there have been some discoveries and improvements.

I have discovered that once I get through the first step, the rest is routine. So, though I still struggle through the first step, once started I no longer struggle to complete my new morning routine. I sometimes change the sequence of my routine but I have decided to always do the same two actions first. I think I may be developing a positive trigger and I don't intend to mess with it.

I have noticed two key improvements: 1) My attitude about making changes and establishing good habits is better. I'm actually looking forward to tackling a new one -- yes, even though I'm still struggling with the first. I feel like I'm ready to take on more. Maybe I will start a new habit on day 51. 2) I'm feeling better in general. With just these few minutes in the morning (7 - 10) I have begun to feel stronger and my knee pain is minimal.

One thing that happened on one of the days I missed was that I completely forgot about the new routine. This was around day 23 or 24 and I got out of bed and went about my day. It was lunch time when I realized what had - or hadn't - happened. It took a lot not to get down on myself but I concentrated on the fact that I am making this change, I committed to it, and this one day did not change that.

My advice: If you miss a day or don't follow through on your challenge for a day, don't start over, keep going. Accept that the missed day is part of the process, not an excuse to quit.

I'd love to hear what your challenge is and how you are doing. Drop me a line.

I can do it! You can do it! We can do it!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cauliflower, Zucchini, Carrots and Tomatoes with a Tex-Mex Flair

I came up with recipe last week when I realized that if I didn't use them my vegetables would spoil. I was pleasantly surprised by how tasty this combo was.

The cooking goes a lot faster than it seems from the directions and this dish is good the next day as well. It can be served as a side dish or over 1/2 cup brown rice as a main dish. The second day I took the leftovers, added low-fat grated cheese and salsa, rolled it is a whole wheat tortilla for a lunch burrito -- tasty. You can check out the complete recipe here. (Sorry, no photo.)

I hope you like it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Making Space ... Picking Patterns ... Closer to Sewing

I haven't gotten as far as I would like to on my plan to make space but I am definitely closer to my first sewing project. Though I am not finished creating a space to sew in, I did organize my patterns - a little stunned by how many I have - and fabrics and I've begun to organize my notions. AND, I have chosen my first pattern.

Simplicity 7395 - I'm going to sew the top in a bright yellow cotton stretch terry cloth I bought in high school. The pattern is from 1976. I really like the neckline but may modify the sleeves a bit. I would like to make at least one more top before making the wrap skirt.

Though I'm not ready to SWAP, I did choose two more patterns but I can not decide which to make for my second project. McCall's 6379 is a pullover blouse pattern from 1978. I like views B and D.

The other pattern I am considering is a poet's blouse by Sew & Sew 3125 from 1993.

I'd love your opinion on which one you think should be my second project. Suggestions for fabrics would be welcome as well since I will be going on my first fabric shopping trip in years for my second project.

These are baby steps but I'm feeling good. My goal is to start sewing right after the July 4th holiday. So, it's back to work on my "Making Space" for sewing plan.

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Making Changes ... Making Space for Change

Frustration was the theme this week ... frustration with myself. There are so many things I would like to do and changes I would like to make and I am very aware that there is not an infinity of time. Yet, it seems that there is always a reason why I can't do this, a conflict that prevents me from doing that, a commitment that must take precedence over the plans I have made.

Alright, we all have responsibilities and commitments we must attend to but most of us can make room for other things in our lives. I refuse to let this frustration become overwhelming and to just give up. I have decided to look at my life as it is now and figure out what is really getting in the way. What have I discovered so far?

I haven't made space for the things I want to change in my life and add to my life.

When I say space, I don't just mean physical space but also space in time and mentally. For example: Sewing. I have finally made the commitment to return to sewing but have yet to begin. I have the sewing machine, patterns to choose from, fabric and notions and I have this wonderful blog community to reach out to for advice and encouragement. But, I don't have the space to sew. Rather, I have not created the space to sew.

Yes, I live in a small apartment and yes, a lot of my space does double duty. But I want to sew. And though I have decided to spend some of my free time sewing, I haven't made the time. I've just counted on the time being there. And mentally, I am continuing to find other things to do instead of sewing. I am not making the space.

Time to make space in my life for what I want in my life and, to that end, here's my plan for the week.

1) All of my sewing supplies and notions and create a storage space that is for crafting only.

2) Create a work space for my sewing - it will probably be a shared space with my business work space.

3) Practice setting up and breaking down the work space. (I know this may sound silly but for those of you who have small spaces, you know how frustrating it can be to have an hour to sew or to craft but to have to spend the first fifteen minutes setting up and the last fifteen minutes breaking down the space.)

4) Clean and oil my sewing machine.

5) Choose my pattern and fabric.

6) Schedule time to sew and sew.

My goal is to begin laying out an cutting my fabric by next Saturday. Before the end of next week I will set a specific time for this.

Thank you for reading and letting me vent.

Are you making space in your life for the things you want? Have you been frustrated like me? Do you have any good advice for making space? I would love to hear from you.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More on Slopers ... Fitted Garments ... DARTS

I am DETERMINED to sew this summer and frustrated that my work schedule is getting in the way ... but, a girl's gotta make a living.

I am consoling myself by looking through the great sewing blogs and websites when I have ten or fifteen minutes to learn and re-learn as much as I can before I begin. During today's ten minutes I found a guest posting at Sew Mama Sew by Sarai Mitnick of Collette Patterns . The topic: Darts.

Sarai gives a very simple but vauluable tutorial on darts, which can be applied to your sloper, muslin, or projects you are making or altering. The illustrations are very helpful and easy to understand.

I am so sew happy I finally entered the world of the blog. I am learning so much and I am continually inspired by these creative people who are willing to share their knowledge.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, June 7, 2010

100 Days Challenge - Creating New Habits

Please Note: I started my 100 Days Challenge on May 25, 2010 but you can start any time. I hope you'll join me in working towards positive change. My original post on my 100 Days Challenge will explain what I am doing and how I chose my challenge.

Today is day 14 of my personal challenge ... two weeks completed and I am still struggling to make this small change a habit in my life. Who knew that changing the first 10 to 15 minutes of my day could be so tough? Each morning I find myself struggling to get through my stretches and exercises even though I can feel the benefits already. My knee, which was troubling me almost daily, is beginning to feel better and stronger from the stabilizing exercises I do as part of my morning "habit."

Why is this small change such a challenge? I really looked at this for myself since what I have chosen would seem to be a much easier change than someone trying to quit smoking, follow a restrictive diet, sew every day, exercise one hour every day, etc. Am I really this weak willed? The answer I came up with is "NO!"

I am working to change a habit I've had since childhood. What? Yes, you read that correctly. Almost every morning of my life, I have gotten up at the last possible moment, whether the alarm goes off at 4:00 am or 9:00 am. No matter what time I have had to get up, I get up at the last possible moment to get ready for the day. As I have always been a night owl, even as a little girl, waking up has often been irksome to me and I do not consider myself a morning person.

In other words, I am trying to change behavior that I have practiced and reenforced for more than 25 years. When I look at it that way I realize that this IS a real challenge and that I should not condemn myself for how I am struggling with it.

It is amazing to me how I resist this challenge some mornings. I mean, this is only 10 to 15 minutes out of my day. Yet, I have found myself delaying and trying to find excuses for not doing it. I don't think this is about will power. I think this is an example of how the brain works and how it seeks to continue the activities and behaviors that have become habitual.

Stop being so hard on yourself! Be persistent! Be Positive!

(BTW - I'm talking to myself as well.)

The good news: I have only missed two days out of the fourteen, which I consider a good beginning.

I found a few articles on breaking bad habits that, I believe, offer good advice and insights:

"Breaking Bad Habits - The Habit of Negative Thinking" and "Breaking Bad Habits - 5 Simple Steps for Changing a Habit"

"Tips for Breaking Bad Habits and Developing Good Habits"

The bottom line is I just have to keep doing what I'm doing and not get frustrated. There are many habits I would like to break or change but I need to continue with this one and really make sure it is established as a habit before trying to work on the next one.

I can do it! You can do it! We can do it!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Vintage Sewing Inspiration - 1918 WWI Dress

Though I am still far away from attempting to sew a garment with one of my vintage Edwardian or WWI Patterns, I have just been incredibly inspired by Rita at the Vintage Sewing Blog.

Rita has done a wonderful job creating this 1918 New Idea Pattern:

If you are interested in this era of vintage sewing and fashion, or if you just appreciate vintage sewing projects, you should check out her "diary" on the making of this 1918 Dress. She has great photos of the process and the finished dress plus notes, which may prove helpful in your future projects.

(Note: You will also see some notes on a 1931 Dress, which you should check out if that is more your era.)

Thanks for the inspiration, Rita!

Happy Sewing!

Friday, June 4, 2010

New Month, Same Goals ... Health and Fitness

My Health and Fitness Goals for June

I did pretty well in May, but not as well as I would have liked. However, I realize, in keeping with my 100 Day Challenge, that it is important for me to continue with these goal in order to develop them into habits.

So here are my goals for June plus my notes on how I did with them in May.

1) Stay Hydrated - (8 - 12 glasses of water per day) - I did really well on this. I've been working on it for a while and I'm now at the point where I don't really need to think about getting enough water ... unless I'm really stressed.

2) Get sufficient Fiber - (25gm - 30gm per day)- I did pretty well but I could have done better.

3) Eat in Moderation - (1800 calories or less per day)- Honestly, I did not very well on this. I averaged about 2,100-2,150 calories per day. This is still about 350-400 calories per day less than my usual but I need to work on this.

4) Get Moving - (Walk at least 10 miles per week)- My knee was bothering all month, which was very discouraging. I found it hard to walk more than a mile at a time. However, I did begin working on stabilizing exercises for the muscles around my knees and it has been feeling much better.

5) CIY - Cook It Yourself - (Learn at least two healthy recipes.) - I did learn one fast, healthy and easy soup recipe.

6) Take off the Weight - (Lose 2.5 lbs per week - 10 lbs in May)- I did lose a total of 5lbs this month. Though half of my goal, it is still a loss.

It this has been a graded test, I probably would have received a C- for the month. Thank goodness there are not grades, just personal accountability.

In the past, I would have gotten down on myself for not completing the goals I set for myself 100%. Of course, this has never helped me in the past so I need to change the behavior. In looking at how I did last month, I am choosing to concentrate on the positive things I did and what I did accomplish. It is the only way to move forward.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw

I am choosing to change my mind and my life ... one step at a time.

I wish you all the best with you goals for the month ... the year ... your life.

Have a great May!

P.S. I would love to hear from you on how your are doing in your journeys to change your habits, your life ... your wardrobe. :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Inspirational Quotes ... Habits

“First we form habits then they form us. Conquer your bad habits, or they’ll eventually conquer you.”

Dr. Rob Gilbert

Okay, that was more a warning but one that is good to keep in mind. Try this one ...

"Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow."

Doug Firebaugh

I think this one may be the best theme for the 100 Day Challenge.

We can do it!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Simplicity Sewing Patterns - 40% Off Sale

I just found on another sewing blog a notice of a 40% off sale on Simplicity Patterns - thank you, Diary of a Sewing Fanatic. The sale is only until Friday, May 28th and doesn't include It's Sew Easy and New Look.

The promo code is: BLOGPS40. Enter it when you check out.

You can use this link to Simplicity or just go to the site yourself to shop.

Happy shopping and sewing.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

100 Days Challenge ... Making Changes for Good

I hope some of you in cyberspace will join me in this challenge. Like many of you, I have been trying to change my life for more than half my life. Determination, "don't try, do it," the "light bulb" moment, Monday, to save my life, fill in the blank __________; I've tried and done so many things to change my life for the better. I have made some changes but not enough to really set myself on the path I want to be on in my life.

I have my month of May goals and I am still working on those. However, I've been reading a lot of about changing habits, making new habits and dropping bad habits and I realized that most of my efforts have not taken into account the way the mind works beyond the concept of "willpower."

I'm sure many of you have seen articles on changing or adopting habits. Recently, 21 days seems to be the magic number in the "how to change a habit" craze. That made no sense to me because I can and have followed many programs and dropped many bad habits for at least 21 days. So, I kept reading. And I found that, yes, you can change or adopt some habits in 21 days

but ...

and this is a big one ... what if you are trying to change a habit or replace a habit that you have been practicing for years? Well, I came to understand that habits can become ingrained in the mind and their triggers can as well. You may change a habit and feel you've overcome and still, days, weeks, or years later, you experience some trigger and it is as if you'd never made the change. Well, it turns out that, like most of our muscles, the brain has muscle memory, which is great when it is a good habit but not so great when it is a bad habit.

I encountered this during the past week and a half. I was doing very well, maintaining and practicing good habits. I was ready for whatever came next ... I thought. A sudden out of town trip, a family event and a small crisis at work were enough to derail me. Now what?

The 100 Days Challenge

Starting today through September 1, 2010, I want to do something to not only adopt new habits but also to thwart some of the triggers, which have derailed me in the past.

My Personal 100 Days Challenge -

For the next 100 days, I will spend the first 10 to 15 minutes of the day on me, doing a sequence of exercises and stretches to start my day off right. Even if I wake up late or if there are other things tugging at my time, I will spend these first minutes of the day changing old patterns and adopting new habits. If, and only if, I firmly establish this habit, will I add a new challenge, a new habit to adopt, break, or change.

My hope is that by changing the way I enter my day, I will avoid and suppress some of the triggers which have proved my undoing in the past. I know it may seem like a small thing but I wanted something I felt confident in committing to for the next one hundred days.

Okay, that's my personal 100 Days Challenge! What's yours?

It doesn't matter how small or how large. It doesn't matter what day you start. It doesn't matter what kind of change you make, as long as it is about making your life better: Health, Diet, Sewing, Family, Career, Beading, whatever you want to do. Just make a decision about what you want to change or what to want to add to you life and commit. This is about improving life and breaking habits that sabotage that goal. And, PLEASE, post a comment to let us know what you are doing and how you are doing as the time goes by.

I can do it! You can do it! We can do it!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sewing Tutorials Online ... Pattern Alterations, Techniques, Fabric, etc.

Sew Tutorials is a great resource and will save you from spending too much time searching the web for how to sites. The last entry on this blog was March 11, 2009, which is unfortunate. However, the blog is still up and contains organized links to many tutorials on the web.

Here are some of the topics and links:

General Sewing
Pattern Alterations
Fabrics - How to Determine - Use - Prepare
Use of Special Sewing Feet
Using Serger and Coverstitch
Buttons - Buttonholes - Button Loops

Sense & Sensibility Patterns has a very good tutorial as well titled "How to Resize a Pattern."

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Inspirational Quote by Danielle Fotopoulis

Goals ...

"Even if I don't reach all my goals, I've gone higher than I would have if I hadn't set any."

-- Danielle Fotopoulis

Sunday, May 9, 2010

An Update on My Goals for May and My History of Diets Continued

My Goals - the 1st Week of May: I give myself a grade of C for the week. My biggest challenges were to walk enough (goal - 10 miles per week) and to learn a new recipe. I realize that I need to plan my week. I also was not under my 1800 calories per day goal every day but I kept the Food Diary and that helped to remind me about my choices. There were things I wanted to eat or times I wanted to eat more of a tasty dish but just thinking about having to write it down helped me to make better choices.

Weight Loss 1st Week: 7lbs. (I know, crazy right?)

My History of Diets

The diet I am going to talk about today is both very restrictive and considered by many to be a fad diet. It is also a fasting diet. Please remember that I am sharing my personal experience of the diets I write about. Do not take any of this as a recommendation for or against a particular diet. I just hope my information will be informative to people making choices about how they are going to lose weight and get healthier.

I have done the Master Cleanse about four times. The first two times I followed it for only four days and I will admit that I stopped because of how I felt. I had an awful headache and my energy was so low that I just wanted to stay in bed. I had written the Master Cleanse as something that was not good for me personally and moved on to whatever was next on my list of diets. About three years after the last attempt, I came accross a website on the Master Cleanse and read many of the entries from people who had tried it. I found that many people seemed to have a bad day or two somewhere between the third and fifth days of the cleanse. Many people also describe feeling much better in the subsequent days, more energetic and clear headed. Well, I thought, maybe I needed to give it one more try.

The next time I tried the Master Cleanse, I committed to ten days. I scheduled it during a lull in my life and made sure that the third and fourth day fell on a weekend that I had few commitments. The first three days went as usual. I was hungry most of the time and had cravings but it was not unbearable. Late on the fourth day I felt very emotional with low energy and a headache that just would not stop. This lasted on and off for more than 24 hours and, yes, I considered quitting at this point once again. I kept reminding myself that I just needed to try to get past this point, that I was almost half way through. When I woke up on the morning of the sixth day, I felt better than I had in months. I had a lot to do that day, including teaching, but I had energy to spare. I also felt very optimistic. I had no cravings. These feeling lasted through the end of the fast. On the eleventh day, I was ready but not anxious about ending the fast. I took four days to add solid food to my diet and tried to follow the guidelines for doing this. The most recent time I tried this, I had an almost identical experience.

Though I would not try this for 40 days, as some people do, I believe I would do it again. The biggest challenge for me is finding a time when it will not interfere with my schedule. However, overall, the Master Cleanse has some positive results that lasted for almost three months. I had fewer headaches and more energy, made better food choices, and found myself less likely to give in to emotional eating. All-in-all, it was a beneficial experience for me.

From my first review of my diet history, I determined that:

1) I need a diet that allows me to snack throughout the day.
2) I need a diet that does not cause cravings, one with limited refined carbohydrates.

What have I discovered from my experience with the Master Cleanse?

3) Periodically doing a very simple and restrictive program can be helpful to me.

Hmmm, I'm not sure where this list is leading but it is an interesting journey.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

More on Slopers and Muslins

This is just a quick note to let you know about another link I found on slopers. This on is on the Threads Magazine webiste. The article is called "Drape a Skirt Sloper." This is a very clear and detailed tutorial.

Another tutorial on this site, which looks invaluable for creating a good custom fit is "Get the Right Armhole, Fit the Bodice." Not only does it offer good tips on fitting for your body type - with illustrations, it also walks you through applying these tips to making a well-fitting bodice muslin.

I hope these help.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How to Make a Sloper ... Vintage Sewing

Last night was a long one for me. Since sleep was allusive, I decided to check out some of the sewing blogs I like and I found a great entry on Sew Craftful's blog titled "How to Make a Sloper." Callie, who is Sew Craftful, offers a lot of great advice and instructions.

I agree with Callie that making a sloper is essential for getting a great fit with vintage patterns. However, I also believe this holds true for sewing with contemporary patterns as well. Though a time consuming project, initially, I believe it is worth it. I'm not sure I will make a sloper as my first project, but I will make it one of my early projects ... maybe third or fourth. The only reason for waiting is that I believe my first two or three projects may be simpler garments then the sloper will be.

Here are some additional entries on the Sew Craftful site, which should be helpful to the beginning or returning sewer/seamstress:

How to Take Body Measurements
How to Take Measurements Hints and Suggestions
How to Make a Basic Pattern
How to Make a Pattern from an Original Garment
How to Pick a Starter Vintage Sewing Pattern -- These guidelines may be helpful those who want to start with a contemporary pattern as well.
How to Compare a Basic to a Commercial Pattern
The Benefits of Working with a Muslin Mock Up or Test Pattern

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Bed Sheet By Any Other Name ... A Muslin

I was inspired by Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing and her entries on muslins - start with "What's Your Muslin Strategy?" and check out some of the comments as well. I decided that, even though I plan to choose a simple pattern for my first project, I should do a muslin. It's about getting back to basics and working on my skills from the beginning.

Well, it is a busy time for me and I know I won't get to a fabric store soon but I felt a need to make progress towards my first sewing project. There's a bedding store in my neighborhood that's open until 8:00 pm. Coming home I saw they had queen size flat sheets for $9.99. I bought one to use as a muslin. Flat queen size sheets are 81" x 96" which translates to 4.25 yards of 44" wide muslin, making allowance for the hems and finished borders. That's less then $2.50 per yard and I didn't have to spend extra money on public transportation or gas to get to the store.

I'm feeling good about this. I believe I can finish my first project before the end of May.

I hope all of your projects are happy and successful!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sewing ... Preparing to Sew

I started sewing when I was about seven. My Grandmother taught me on her 1923 Singer ... just a straight stitch, not even a back stitch or zig zag. I loved it from the start. I was a kid who bounced off walls when I wasn't hanging upside down in trees or spinning on my head on the living room floor. The concept of me being able to sit quietly in front of a sewing machine for hours was pretty farfetched ... but I did.

In middle school I started sewing in the high school's costume shop and by the time I was in college I was being paid to work in the iniversity's costume shop. I also made various pieces of clothing for my personal wardrobe, including a prom dress and two other gowns. The last thing I worked on was a gown for a Moliere play. Then life quicked in: I got an internship and a job to support it, began working on my career, and so on ... It's been more than fifteen years since I've sewn a thing.

I've been thinking about returning to sewing for a long while but there have always been barriers ... not enough space in my apartment, not enough time, no sewing machine ...

Now, fate/luck/coincidence is at work and pushing me towards what I want to be doing. As I was standing on my front stoop talking to a neighbor, a man from the building next door put a sewing machine out for trash pick-up. I asked him if it worked. He said it did but he didn't sew and didn't know anything about it. Turns out it's a vintage Singer Dressmaker 2402 with all metal parts and very heavy. There were a few presser feet and bobbins in the case but no cams or manuals. It's in decent condition and I now have a recent sewing machine.

Next, I found some fabric in my mom's attic while looking for the Christmas ornaments. It's fabric I bought a long while ago but never got to use. And, I still like it.

More recently, another neighbor was moving and had a piece of 2'x4.5' 1/4" plywood that she was going to throw out. Eureka, I had found a cutting board which can be covered in paper or cloth easily as needed.

I've been collecting patterns over the last few years so what's stopping me? Just me.

Goals for the week:
1) Create a sewing and crafting space in my apartment.
2) Choose a pattern for my first project.

I'm actually getting exited about this.

Some of the blogs and sites that are motivating and inspiring me:

Amanda's Adventures in Sewing - great how-to advice
Diary of a Sewing Fanatic
Lower Your Presser Foot
Sew Retro
The Fashionable Past - Vintage Photos, Patterns, How-To & more
Zip Zip's Vintage Sewing - great how-to advice

I hope all of your projects are happy and successful!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New Month, New Goals ... Health and Fitness

My Health and Fitness Goals for May

Before I list my goals for the month, I just want to explain that I decided to keep it very real. I want to set myself up for success. So, this month is about setting goals that are challenging but that are manageable with my life and my schedule. Also, I have limited myself to five goals plus my weight loss goal.

1) Stay Hydrated - (8 - 12 glasses of water per day)
2) Get sufficient Fiber - (25gm - 30gm per day)
3) Eat in Moderation - (1800 calories or less per day)
4) Get Moving - (Walk at least 10 miles per week)
5) CIY - Cook It Yourself - (Learn at least two healthy recipes.)
6) Take off the Weight - (Lose 2.5 lbs per week - 10 lbs in May)

Of course, there are many other things I should be doing to get healthy and fit: eat more fruits and vegetables, weights training, plan healthy meals, stretch, clean out the kitchen, deep breathing, cut the fat, etc. I would love to work on all of these things and more but I believe that if I take on too much, I may get overwhelmed and discouraged. So, I will try to do as much as I can but my focus will be on the above six goals.

Calorie Counting - Food Diary - You may notice that my daily calorie intake maximum is a bit high. Well, I have quite a bit of weight to lose so my calorie needs are a bit higher than someone who is closer to their ideal weight. Also, I kept a food diary for almost four weeks when I was eating in my usual fashion and not trying to count calories, fat or carbohydrates. I consistently ate around 2,600 calories per day -- so much more than I thought I was eating. I did not gain weight during this period and wasn't exercising much due to a problem with my knee. At 1800 calories per day I will be eating approximately 800 calories per day less than I usually do. We'll see what happens.

More on keeping a Food Diary - I hate it. I really do. However, I do believe it is an important tool in successful weight loss. Weather you are counting calories, units, fat, carbohydrates or protein, the Food Diary is a reality check. I honestly did not think I was eating as much as I was. I felt sorry for myself and my slow metabolism. While I still believe I have a slow metabolism, I also know that I overeat and the Food Diary is proof. Though I haven't put it down as a goal for the month, it is an important tool in tracking and achieving my calorie intake goal.

I use Spark People to keep my Food Diary. It is a free site that offers many of the same options the paid websites offer. I've also noticed that they have improved the site over the last year that I've been a member. For those on a tight budget, this may be a great alternative to paid websites. If you have internet access, you have no excuse. Check it out and let me know what you think.

I wish you all the best with you goals for the month ... the year ... your life.

Have a great May!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My History of Diets

So, I've decided to make a list of all the diets I've tried over the years. This is not an effort in defeatism but a search and discovery. Like many people who struggle with their weight, I've had better success on some diets than on others. In making this list and recalling my experiences, I hope to discover what works best for me and to encourage you to do the same. Personally, I don't believe there is one "right" diet for everyone. I think we need to start paying attention to our bodies and our feelings to find our best and healthiest way to lose weight and keep it off.

Here goes (diets I've tried more than once or have followed for at least two weeks):

3-Day Diet
Atkins Diet
Atkins Diet Revolution
Beyond Pritikin
Cabbage Soup Diet
Carbohydrate Lover's Diet
Eat More, Weigh Less
Fit for Life
Low Carbohydrate Diet
Low Fat Diet
Master Cleanse
Slim Fast
Weight Watchers
The Zone

Diets I have read about, wanted to try an/or have tried for no more than one week:

Fat Flush Plan
McDougall Program
Mediterranean Diet
South Beach Diet
Sugar Busters

I'm sure I've missed some but this is still a frighteningly long list ... But, again, this is about discovering positive things that I can learn from and apply to my life.

The first thing I have discovered is that I do not do well on the restricted diets on which you can't snack when you want to or need to. I did not do well on the 3-day diet, Beyond Pritikin, Slim Fast, Weight Watchers or the Zone. On Beyond Pritikin, I had fewer cravings, so I only had to deal with the hunger.

Just to play my own devil's advocate I will tell you about people I've known who have had success on these programs: I had a friend in school who lost over 30 pounds by doing the 3-day diet every week and eating what she wanted the other four days of the week. I don't think she overate during her four "off days" but she also was not afraid to go out on the weekends and enjoy wine or cocktails. She has stayed pretty slim over the years.

I don't know anyone who has tried Beyond Pritikin for a long period of time but I do believe there are people who have had success. Like I said before, I did not have the cravings I have experienced on other programs and I think that goes a long way to supporting a persons efforts to lose weight. I also liked the simple food choices.

I know a few people who swear by Slim Fast for losing 10-15 pounds for special events. And, the flavors Slim Fast offer are very good. I think I have trouble with this, not only because of the restrictive nature of the diet but, also, because of the high sugar content. I find myself having a lot of cravings and feelling hungry through much of the day. I have tried mixing the shakes with 8-oz of 2% milk and sipping this mixture rather than drinking it in one sitting. This did help. Also, I do find this good in a pinch, like those times when someone in the office has brought two dozen Krispy Kremes to the office.

My mom's secretary has been on Weight Watchers for over 25 years. She lost at least 100 pounds and has kept most of it off. I don't think she's gained more than 15 pounds back and she immediately gets back on a stricter version of the program when she finds herself gaining weight. She usually eats meals she prepares herself rather than the pre-packaged ones. She's in her 60's now and still going strong. Honestly, she should be a spokesperson for Weight Watchers.

A woman I worked with went on The Zone for a few months. She had the meals delivered to her and lost about 20 pounds. She continued on the program for a couple of months after she had lost the weight and seems to have kept most of it off during the last few years.

What I have discovered that I can use in choosing and/or designing a weight loss program for myself:

1) I need a diet that allows me to snack throughout the day.
2) I need a diet that does not cause cravings, one with limited refined carbohydrates.

Well, that's all for now. I wish you well on your journey and hope you will share your questions and experiences with me.


PS - If you want a brief description of many of the popular and fad diets from the past and present, WebMd is a good source of information: "Evaluate Latest Diets."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Taking the First Step

Welcome to those who happen upon this blog. I have been inspired by the many blogs I have found when seeking answers that give a personal perspective. I have learned great recipes, gained advice on organizing and been inspired by the many people who are blogging about their sewing and crafting. So, with a lot of reservations, but encouraged by fellow bloggers, I begin this journey into my own blog.

Like many people who want to change their lives, in very small or in enormous ways, I have been frustrated by day-to-day life, small failures, and huge life events, which can never be avoided. I have wondered why I haven't had that "light bulb" moment - or moments - which would change the course of my life forever. I have berated myself for not having more willpower, energy, faith ... And, I have given up one less time than I have tried to persevere.

But, I have given up one less time than I have tried to persevere, which means I have tried one more time than I have given up and I am still trying now. To me that means that there is still hope and life and the possibility for positive change.

In the next weeks, months ... year(s), I will strive to create a healthier lifestyle for myself, to be more social and socially conscious, and to be more creative. In other words, I will work to make a better life for myself and for those in my life.

It is my hope that some of my discoveries, adventures and stumbles along the way may prove helpful to you in your own journey. Whether it be diet, exercise, cooking, sewing, beading, or anything else I may share, I hope I may answer a question, offer an insight or even prove to be a cautionary tale.

Thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments.