Starting tomorrow, I hope to be spending a lot of time here:
Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? The goal of National Novel Writing Month is to write a novel (or 50,000 words of a novel) during the month of November. That’s about 1800 words each day. When I retired at the end of last November, one of the things I looked forward to doing was to spend time writing. I haven’t. Written, that is (unless you count blog posts, which I really don’t.)
Now, I’ve been visiting a friend in Ottawa for the last two weeks, so haven’t been able to do much in the way of preparation. In fact, I’m dashing off this little post while waiting to board my flight home! Anyway, according to the NaNoWriMo calendar, today is the day to publicly state your intention.
I am going to give this my best shot. I’m going to put my head down and see what happens. Good or ugly. Maybe no one will read it but me, and that’s okay.
If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo too, you can find me on their site under the name nitadances. Hope to see ya there!
It’s Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means Apples! My neighbour down the road has a lovely little orchard full of spartan apples and I picked three boxes! They are out in the cool of my garage, just waiting for me to cook with them.
I stumbled upon this apple cake recipe and tweaked it up a bit to suit me. I’m calling it Apple Betty Coffee Cake because it reminds me of my (self-proclaimed) world-famous Apple Betty. This coffee cake makes it’s own crumbly topping, is fast and easy to prepare, goes great with a cup of coffee, is perfect for last-minute guests, and keeps well. Bake it today and serve it tomorrow!
Chop up 3 cups of apples (that’s about 3 medium-sized apples). Whatever grows on your neighbour’s tree will work just fine. I don’t peel them, but you can if you want to.
Put the diced apples into a large mixing bowl and dump 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon and 1 heaping teaspoon baking power over top. Stir it up until the apples are coated. Now, pour 1/4 cup cooking oil into a 1-cup measuring cup. Add 1 egg and 1 generous teaspoon of vanilla. Stir until it’s all blended together. Pour it over the apple mixture and stir, stir, stir until it is all stirred together. The batter will be very thick and glumpy. (Is glumpy a word? It is now!)
Grease and flour a baking pan (I used a round cake pan, but a 9″ square pan will also work). Spoon the batter in and bake for 40 – 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Heaven couldn’t taste better than this. Honestly.
Nita’s Apple Betty Coffee Cake
3 c. apples, chopped
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1 generous tsp. cinnamon
1 generous tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 generous teaspoon vanilla
Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir well until everything is mixed together. Spoon into one greased & floured cake pan. Bake at 350 approx 40 – 45 minutes.
Let me know if you give it a try!
Have you heard of the Curvy Sewing Collective? If you haven’t, and you are a curvy gal, plus-sized or not, you’ve got to check them out! Anyway, right now they are having a wrap-a-long, which is being hosted by Jenny. Since learning to sew my own dresses is on my retirement play list, I decided to play along.
This was my first real foray into sewing with stretchy fabric and I was quite nervous! I didn’t want to screw it up and end up wasting the money I’d spent on the fabric and the pattern. I really hate waste (which is probably why I love scrap quilts so much). Anyway…I’m not going to learn how to sew if I don’t jump into the deep end, and this sew-a-long was the perfect opportunity to have a support system. If I needed to call for help, I knew help would be there.
Jenny was making an entirely different pattern, so her instructions didn’t match exactly up with the Vogue instructions. Because I don’t have the confidence to step off the path yet, I elected to follow the Vogue instructions, but at the same time pay close attention to the differences as I went along. My thinking was that this would be a good way to learn, and I could then make a second dress and follow Jenny’s directions where it made sense to do so. That way I’d understand the whys and how comes instead of just blindly doing it. (If you know me, you’ll recognize this trait! I always want to know how come things work the way they do!)
Some of the differences in instructions were:
- Vogue had me assemble the bodice and the skirt separately, before attaching them together while Jenny suggested sewing the back bodice to the back skirt, the front bodice pieces to the two front skirt pieces, and then sewing together at the shoulder seams, leaving the side seams open (for now).
- Vogue had me sew the sleeve seam and then insert it into the arm hole scythe. Jenny walked everyone through how to sew the sleeve in flat and then sew up the sides and sleeve all in one.
- Vogue had me make an interfaced neck facing. Jenny taught everyone how to replace the facing with a t-shirt edging.
- Jenny also had us using products such as wonder tape and knit stay tape. Which I didn’t use, but probably will next time.
I plan on sewing this dress again, using Jenny’s directions this time as everything she said made perfect sense and I could follow along with her reasoning for the changes. Also, I’d like to try the different way to finish the neck line.
I didn’t have enough fabric for the ties, so I had to piece them. Since I was piecing them anyway, I also made them longer. Surprisingly, I can wrap them around so they cross in the back twice! I love this because it feels much more secure. Next time, though, I’ll use a diagonal seam on the piecing because the straight across seam has left a bulge that annoys me (even though I’m sure I’m the only one who can see it).
It was a challenge! I can’t tell you how many times I balled it up and threw it in the corner! Seriously!
I had some trouble with the neck gaping. It really bothered me.
…then this morning I woke up with the idea that if I moved the side opening (where the tie comes through from the inside) down onto the skirt instead of having it on the bodice, it would snug the left bodice piece up a bit.
And it worked!
…but if any of you are sewers, I’d appreciate some tips on how to prevent neck gaping in general. What can I do next time to make the neck edge snug down instead of curling back? Does it do this because the interfaced facing prevents stretch?
Next time I’ll also lengthen the bodice about 1 inch. I’ve been giving the dress a test run around the house today, and I find I have to keep tugging the bodice down. It wants to sit just above my waist. Again, a bit annoying. I don’t like to be constantly tugging at my clothing. Other than that it is very comfortable!
Vogue 8379 is a keeper. I think it is surprisingly flattering (I didn’t expect it to be!) and so I will definitely make it again. Next time I’ll make view A with the long sleeves.
I have the most wonderful husband in the world. Have I ever told you that?
“Honey, do we have a yardstick?”
“Nope! I don’t think they even make them anymore.”
“Why? Do you need one?”
“I need something to measure my hem from the floor”
“Do you want me to make you one?”
Aaaand…he knows how to use it!
He’s a gem.
I think I’ll keep him!
And now for the sneak peak:
I keep thinking of great bloggy things that I want to write about, and then I go off and do something else (like mow the lawn or hang out the laundry) and my ideas fly away like birds. Scattershot.
So instead I’ll catch you up on my sewing life.
I signed up to take a block of the month class at my LQS (that stands for local quilt shop for all you non-quilters who wonder what the heck I’m talking about.) It’s a applique class that will teach me all the cool things that I can do with my sewing machine beyond simply sewing. This is my first block. I added the bird and his tail is going to extend over into the sashing, which is why it looks unfinished. I HAVE to add my own creative mark, right? Right! It’s machine applique. I’ve never done machine applique before and I am still sitting on the fence with it. It looks very…manufactured (to me, anyway.) It’s a very different look from needle-turn-by-hand. I’m linking this new project up to the NewFO Challenge over at Cat Patches. The object of the challenge is to start a NewFO (new fabric object) every month, which can then become a UFO (unfinished fabric object), which is something I have no problem accomplishing, lol!
And I also started a project from a book, which makes me eligible to link up with the Let’s Book It party over at Vrooman’s Quilts. The object here is to make a project from a book that you actually already own. What a concept! I have an entire shelf (okay, two shelves) of quilt books full of things that I want to make someday. So I have started an applique project from a book that I’ve had for years, called My Whimsical Quilt Garden by Becky Goldsmith Linda Jenkins. It uses needle-turn applique. Here is my first block, which is NOT finished yet.
PLUS, I made the Ring Toss quilt (blogged here) from my Project Linus book. So I am doubly eligible for the Let’s Book It party!
AND, my Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt is featured this week as part of the Tuesday Archives over at Val’s Quilting Studio! It’s really cool to see my quilt featured on someone else’s website! Go check it out!
And on the dress front…
I am still working toward my goal of sewing a dress out of real fabric (as opposed to a bed sheet).
Now…can I get a Whoop Whoop?
What are you making?