Monthly Archives: January 2012

Easy Sewing Project – Pajama Bottoms

This title is a little misleading.  Pajama bottoms are easy – for most people.  For me?  Not quite.  When I decided to take up sewing I knew I had to start with easy projects.  Since I put on PJ bottoms or yoga pants every night to sit around and watch TV,  they would be put to good use.  And, I could make some for Matt.  It’s about the only thing I would sew for Matt that he would actually wear.

So I went to Joann and bought fabric from the remnant section for each of us, knowing these could potentially be a disaster.  I bought a super easy Learn to Sew pattern.  It had one pattern piece.  How hard could that be?  

Pajama Try #1 – total failure.  Sadly when we took our measurements, according to the pattern chart, Matt and I would wear the same size albeit in different lengths.  That was depressing.  I decided to cut his first figuring I can do my shorter version second.  Learned the hard way that I need to pay more attention to cutting.  I missed the notches and sewed each leg together at the wrong angle.  Because of this the legs wouldn’t fit together properly.  Ended in scrap pile.

Pajama Try #2 – mixed result.  Since the only other fabric I had remaining was a floral pattern, I made up my pair.  I followed the instructions and sizing to the letter.  They worked out fine until I tried them on.  They were about 6 inches too long and so huge in the waist, they would be good maternity PJ’s!  I chopped off a ton on the bottom at that stage so they were very stumpy.  Ideally, I would have figured out what length I needed and adjusted the pattern before cutting but I didn’t have the patience for that.  I look funny, but wear them anyway.  And, I’m not ashamed to admit I was relieved they were much too big.


Pajama Try #3 Finally Matt would get some PJ’s!  I bought some nice gray and cream fabric and set out to make them.  When I went to cut, I found they were too short for the large.  Since the others were so absolutely huge, I thought, “I’ll just make the smaller size – you can barely tell the difference”.  Construction went smoothly and quickly now that it was my third time.  When Matt put them on and they barely stretched across his hips, I questioned my sizing decision.  But, I got a pair that fit me.  Sorry, Matt!


Pajama #4 – Success!  I bought some soft plaid flannel and since I cut up the last pattern, bought a new one.  This pattern had two whole pattern pieces – 100% more difficult!  I should have but didn’t worry about trying to match the plaids.  It was hard enough to keep the four pieces and right and wrong sides straight.  When I bought the fabric, I didn’t notice that it was the same on both sides which made it a little more difficult.  But with some extra marks and pins, all worked out well.  Matt finally has some PJ’s. 

And I can FINALLY move on to something different!


I learned a lot though:

  • More cutting pattern practice
  • More familiarity with the machine
  • Hemming
  • Inserting elastic
  • Paying attention to finished garment measurements and compare to similar article of clothing I already own.  Learned that after the fact…

Definitely done with pajamas for awhile. 

Next up: a tote bag!


Sadie Saturday

Rain?  What rain?  It (literally) just rolls off my back.  I love it out here!

sadie rain_edited-1

Feline Friday

I will hypnotize you into getting the treats out of the pantry….

(It’s almost impossible to get a good picture of Kirby!)


Foggy and Spooky

A couple years ago I decided to learn more about photography.  I wasn’t happy with a handful of so-so pictures from holidays or vacations every year.  That didn’t represent my life.  I also wanted to take the time to look at what is beautiful and good in my life.  I’m really fortunate to have a great life surrounded by special people.  I wanted to have a conscious way to pay attention and appreciate that. Photography could be a way to do that.

So, I learned all about the settings on the camera, lenses, etc…  I took an online class which was incredibly helpful.  While technically I could have learned all the information through books or online, the class forced me to do the weekly ‘homework’. The assignments (aperture, shutter speed, etc..) directed how I looked at the world around me so I could find the right things to photograph.  I loved it.  I did a photo of the week project and I found I would look for things to shoot, which was the whole point.

Last year, with a new job and a new house, I got away from taking pictures.  I struggled with balancing being the annoying person with a lens in front of peoples faces and doing something I enjoyed (and was glad I did after the fact).  I hardly took any photos and realized I missed it. 

One of my goals with this blog is to get back into taking pictures regularly.  I’m definitely a little rusty.  I would love to do a Project 365 but with my work and travel schedule, it would feel like a burden.  And, frankly, without kids, what would I take pictures of?  You can only have so many cat or dog pictures (and my husband is not a willing participant in such things). 

Are you still reading? All that long-windedness (is that a word?) as an introduction to some photos today and to explain why there will be random photos pop up from time to time.  It was super spooky but kinda pretty out this evening.  Behind our house are trees and a large field.  You could barely see the field except bits and pieces through the mist.  I went out on the back patio and got a couple shots before I saw a blur of white run by me. Somehow Ollie escaped and ran under the porch.  I chased after him in the rain, grabbed him, tried (unsuccessfully) to avoid his claws and brought him back inside.  By then, the light was gone. Oh well.  I’ll keep at it.



Where Have You Been All My Life, Peanut Butter Sheet Cake?

I’m slightly (completely) obsessed with Pinterest.  I see so many dishes and desserts I want to make that I’m constantly pinning and repinning.  But, when it comes to actually making something new, so far I have stuck with my old standbys – one of the amazing America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks.  They are basically foolproof and almost always delicious.  Plus, I could read them as if they are novels.  Weird, huh?

Anyway, I pinned a Peanut Butter Sheet Cake awhile back and couldn’t get it out of my head.  I am a HUGE fan of Texas Sheet Cake which I’ll share some other time.  The recipe I grew up with is still one of my all-time favorites and a great go-to cake when feeding a crowd.  There was a little voice in my head that said the Peanut Butter Sheet Cake would probably be good but how could it ever match up?

Making it was super easy.  Basically the same process as the Texas Sheet Cake, just peanut butter instead of cocoa.  I’ll let you go to the link above if you’re interested in the directions.  The only things I would add that aren’t spelled out would be to make sure to mix the batter for a couple minutes before pouring in pan and to wait a few minutes for the cake to slightly cool before icing so it doesn’t completely melt and run off the pan.  The latter I learned the hard way the first time I made TX Sheet Cake. Oops.

Tasting the batter and the icing put my mind at ease.  The icing is amazing.  But I had to wait another hour or so ‘till my husband got home and we had dinner (slow cooker sloppy joes – another recipe I should share sometime).


The verdict?  Well, I didn’t wait ‘till after dinner.  And don’t worry I had plenty of room for sloppy joes and chips.  The cake is great – especially slightly warm.  The cake itself is light and moist with a slight peanut butter taste.  The icing almost overpowers it, in my opinion, because it is so peanuty and sweet but it’s so good you won’t care. It won’t replace Texas Sheet Cake in my heart but has definitely earned a spot in the dessert rotation at our house.

Try it soon!

Easy Dinner – Slow Cooker Chicken with Wild Rice

Four ingredients! One of the cooking blogs I follow shared a recipe for Crockpot Chicken with Wild Rice.  It looked so simple, I decided to try it last night.  It takes mere minutes to make (the hands-on part).  The hardest part was chopping an onion!  I thought it was delicious, but then I love wild rice and anything with cream of mushroom soup so it was right up my alley. Definitely comfort food. Click on the above link for the recipe.


I made minor changes to the recipe.  My package of chicken breasts only had three but they were huge.  I browned each side first so the breasts had a little color and flavor.  I think a whole onion is too much unless it is very small.   Just keep an eye on it – I think the size of the slow cooker can make a difference. Large slow cookers like mine have a tendency to burn if they aren’t full.  I had to switch it to Warm toward the end.


Sadie Saturday

Visitors to our front door see such a fierce guard dog.