Tag Archives: Cali Fabrics

Craft Fail: Seamster Rose Hip Tights in Double Brushed Polyester

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Craft Fail:  Seamster Rose Hip Tights in Double Brushed Polyester

Hey, everyone! Long time, no post! That was unexpected, but we’re all fine over here. One week Flickr (where I store my blog photos) was down when I needed to upload. Then our computer showed the blue screen of death and was out of commission for awhile–luckily that has been fixed. And then it was school vacation week. Life! What are you going to do? Oh, well. Thankfully I’m back, and while it’s been a surprisingly busy week, I really wanted to get this post out.

It’s been awhile since I had a real craft fail, but these tights are definitely that! And it’s not the fault of the pattern. Oh, no. It was a combination of user error in the form of a serious rookie mistake and a miscalculation on my part about how stretchy my fabric was and what that meant for the pattern.

So let’s dive in! I made tights! Yes, I actually MADE TIGHTS! You don’t see a lot of patterns for tights, although it’s not hard to imagine that you could combine a leggings and sock pattern or something, but as someone who loves sewing from a pattern more than drafting or hacking patterns, I wanted a tights pattern. After making my fun wedding guest outfit back in October, I realized that the cost of awesomely-colored tights could really add up. I started to wonder if there were any patterns out there to make your own. That’s when I stumbled on this blog post from Lauren Taylor’s blog, Lladybird. A long time ago, she had tried out the Rose Hip Tights by Seamster Patterns.

Seamster Rose Hip Tights
Seamster Rose Hip Tights

This is an “old” pattern as far as modern indie patterns go, and it came out before there were a lot of indie patterns on the market as we know them today. That made it a little hard to track down because Seamster Patterns seems to have disappeared in the mid-twenty-teens. I thought I had hit the jackpot when I found the pattern on Kollabora, so I bought it and tried to download it.

Here’s a PSA for any of you that think that is a good idea–don’t do it.

I couldn’t get the pattern to download on my computer. It seems the site had made me a mysterious login and password which I hadn’t chosen and couldn’t access. After searching the internet, I started to see forums and discussions pop up where other people had tried the same thing, paid money, and gotten no pattern and no response from Kollabora. I had also e-mailed both Kollabora and a blogger friend who had once made the pattern to try to find out what happened, but had gotten no response from Kollabora.

Then I remembered reading an article by the Craft Industry Alliance about the founder of Kollabora and her newest venture, CraftJam, so I e-mailed the help section of CraftJam to see if they could assist me, even though it seemed like a bit of a long shot. Around the same time, my blogger friend sent me a copy of the pattern, since I had paid for it and didn’t seem to be getting a response from Kollabora.

Luckily, CraftJam was both very responsive and kind enough to dig up the pattern and send it to me. Their customer service was amazing and they really went above and beyond since they are a different website from Kollabora altogether.

As for Kollabora, while it’s still around, it isn’t really active at this point. That’s a long, drawn out story, but I wanted to share it in case anyone else has the same issue that I did. I don’t recommend flooding CraftJam with questions about Kollabora. I just wouldn’t try to buy any patterns from Kollabora at this point since it seems to be largely inactive at the moment. Maybe someday a new company will buy it and revitalize it, but as of this writing I don’t think that has happened.

All of that means that I’m now blogging a pattern that is more or less unavailable, which is an interesting choice. I know. I still want to discuss it, though, because some of you may have this pattern, but have never tried it, and I have a not-so-good memory, which means I might just forget I made these tights if I don’t blog them! Haha. Sad, but true!

So let’s get to it. This is the first time I have ever tried a Seamster Pattern, and this one is really cool. The Rose Hip Tights have options for thigh high stockings, low rise tights, and high rise tights. I decided to make the high rise tights. It’s clear that the designer put a lot of thought into these. There are only four pattern pieces–the main leg piece, the foot, the crotch gusset, and the waistband (or leg band for the thigh high stockings). The seams are strategically placed to look nice and not chafe, which is cool, and there are instructions for how to adapt the pattern to your fabric depending on your height, foot length, and the fabric’s stretch. The sewing is not too difficult. I think I did all or almost all of it on my serger. (I’m struggling to remember since I made these in fall 2021). Overall, it was a nice, quick project. And the thought that I could have tights in whatever color I wanted was pretty appealing.

I decided to try the pattern out first with double brushed polyester (DBP), which I bought from Cali Fabrics. I got some in mustard yellow and some in lavender. DBP is, as far as I can tell, what they make those super soft leggings everyone loves out of. And the nice thing is that the fabric is usually not very expensive. Seems like a win, right? Well, it could be…if you don’t mess it up like I did. Hahahaha. Here’s where the rookie mistake comes in.

When you cut out a pattern piece on folded fabric, you are actually cutting out two mirrored pattern pieces. When you cut a pattern out on a single layer of fabric and need two of a pattern piece, you need to cut one with the pattern right side up and one with the pattern upside down to get those mirrored images. Well…in my mustard fabric I cut two right side up. Yep. I’ve been sewing for a respectable number of years now, and I totally did that to myself. And the real kicker is that I didn’t even notice until I was sewing the crotch seam, almost at the end of the process! I was very confused for a moment there! Haha. Then I figured it out, but I was so close to the end, that I just decided to finish them so I could at least check the fit. Guess what? Perfect fit! Too bad one leg will always look inside out.

Seamster Rose Hip Tights
Yep–one leg is sewn correctly with seams on the inside and one has the seams on the outside.

Sadly, the purple pair is also a bust.

Seamster Rose Hip Tights
Rose Hip Tights–front view
Seamster Rose Hip Tights
Rose Hip Tights–back view

These two fabrics had a slightly different amount of stretch to them, and using the calculations in the pattern, I decided to sew an XL and lengthen the yellow by 4″ and shorten the purple by 2″. I did not change the foot length. Figuring out exactly how much to shorten or lengthen was the one part of this pattern that I found confusing. I managed to cut the purple fabric out correctly and the sewing went great. When I put them on, however, the crotch of the tights was probably about 2″ too low. Looks like I didn’t need to shorten them after all. Ugh. I knew I would never wear these as tights if they fit like that. Another fail! (A pretty funny fail, just like the last one, but a fail nonetheless.)

On the plus side, I tried one pair of tights with optional elastic in the waistband, and the other without, and I liked both options. The feet fit great, and it was a cool pattern with a great fit overall.

Seamster Rose Hip Tights
Here’s what the feet should look like (above)
Seamster Rose Hip Tights
At least the inside-out foot helps you see where the seamlines are
Seamster Rose Hip Tights
Seams wrap around the ankles, under the ankle bones, avoiding uncomfortable chafing
Seamster Rose Hip Tights
At the heel, the seams join together in an upside-down “Y”, with one seam running up the back of the leg

After telling my mom about it, she suggested cutting off the feet and using them as footless tights, leggings, or pajamas. This seemed like a brilliant idea (Thanks, Mom!), so I did that and just used my regular sewing machine to make a little bar tack at the edge on the serged seam so it wouldn’t come undone. After testing these, I found they wouldn’t work as regular leggings for me, since they are a little see-through. On my daughter’s purple leggings (blogged here), there is a bit more ease, and they really aren’t see-through. With the tighter fit of these on me, though, they are. So, they could still be pajamas (the yellow) or footless tights (the purple). And maybe the feet could make some “interesting” socks? I don’t know. In all honesty, these may not stay in my wardrobe for long, but we’ll see.

Seamster Rose Hip Tights

And despite the total failure of this particular project, having this pattern in my pattern library really is a win. It’s a good pattern with real potential. I also appreciate a good laugh at my own expense once in awhile. ūüėÄ

That being said, if you have a great tights sewing pattern or fabric recommendations for sewing tights, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern: the Deer and Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer and Doe Plantain T-Shirt

I have a new favorite t-shirt pattern, and guess what? ¬†It’s a FREE pattern! ¬†Yay! ¬†A friend of mine kept telling me she loved the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt, but it took me so long to try it. ¬†Now that I have, though, I see what she was talking about.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

This T has a scoop neck and is fitted in the shoulders, but tapers out at the waist and hip for a body-skimming fit in those areas. ¬†It comes with a few variations in sleeve length and optional elbow patches. ¬†I made two of these shirts and I’m excited to make more in the future.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

While PDF isn’t my favorite format, for a free pattern, I’m happy to make an exception. ¬†I stalled on this a bit because the few Deer & Doe patterns I’ve tried in woven fabrics cut into the front of my shoulders, something I haven’t resolved. ¬†I thought a shirt in a knit might be fine, but I just wasn’t sure. ¬†Well, I didn’t have to worry, because these turned out great.¬† Even if whatever fitting issue I have with Deer & Doe is still present, the knit makes them really comfortable, which makes me really happy.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

So, here are the details on the pattern and materials.

Fabric

While I often love natural materials, I got sucked in by this cute cactus print and ordered some double brushed polyester knit from Cali Fabrics.¬† (The black cactus print is currently sold out, but there is still a blue colorway.)¬† I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but…I love it. ¬†It’s really soft, and I just love those cacti!¬† I thought it would attract a lot of hair and fuzz, but it really doesn’t.¬† I’m glad I tried it.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

The other fabric I used was a merino jersey I found on sale at Fabric Mart¬†(long since sold out). ¬†I hesitated the first time they had merino jersey, and I missed out, so when this appeared, I snapped it up. ¬†Merino was on my list of fabrics to try. ¬†I also used the scraps of light blue washable wool jersey from Fabrications I had left over from my Strathcona Henley.¬† I was surprised to find that I liked the merino less that I expected to. ¬†It’s a good weight and all that, but initially when I put it on, it has that very slightly scratchy wool feel.¬† (To be fair, Fabric Mart did say this had a “slight wool feel”.)¬† I stop noticing it after a few minutes, but that was a surprise to me. ¬†It also tends to attract all the hair and fuzzies in the washer and dryer (yes, I wash it on cool and dry it on low a lot of times–I prewashed and dried so I could do this without fear of shrinkage). ¬†It would be interesting to be able to feel different versions of merino in person to see if that “wool feel” is typical or not.¬† This is less of a problem with the yellow wool/Lycra ponte I used in my Strathcona Henley.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

While I always prefer to shop for fabric in person, it’s not always possible.¬† Both Fabric Mart and Cali Fabrics are online shops I like for their competitive pricing, variety of choices, and sales (in the case of Fabric Mart).¬† I’ve only shopped at Fabrications online once, but was very, very impressed with their customer service.

Pattern and Sewing Details

I cut a 44 in the bust and 46 in the waist and hips of Version C.¬† I tried using Eloflex thread, the slightly stretchy thread from Coats, but it didn’t work well with these shirts.¬† I also found that a stretch needle didn’t work well, but a 70/10 jersey needle did.¬† I used polyester G√ľtermann thread in the top of my machine and woolly/bulky nylon in the bobbin.¬† I lightened up the presser foot pressure, and used a zigzag stitch for construction and a twin needle for my hems and neckband topstitching.¬† It was really fun to use some contrasting thread in these spots on my blue shirt.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

I also added clear elastic to the shoulder seams as instructed to keep them from stretching out.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

Rather than using a straight stitch to attach the elbow patches on the blue shirt, I used a zigzag stitch (so there would still be some stretch) and then went over it again with a satin stitch (a closely spaced zigzag stitch).¬† The zigzag alone didn’t look that nice and¬† the satin stitch alone caused tunneling.¬† For some reason, this combination of the two was a winner.

 

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

I really, really like these shirts.¬† As I look at the pictures now, I can see some drag lines around the armhole, but that’s an area of fitting I haven’t really delved into yet and, in a knit, these are more than good enough–they’re great.¬† I would love to fill my drawer with Plantains in a variety of fabrics.¬† This pattern is a quick and easy sew‚ÄĒa real winner.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

Recommendations

  • I checked out The Cool Factor by Andrea Linett¬†from the library thinking it was probably a do’s and don’ts of fashion kind of book (I’m not super into that), but that I might find a little inspiration.¬† Well, I was wrong.¬† It’s a GREAT book where the author rounded up her most fashionable friends and showcased their style, breaking down how they think about creating their outfits.¬† This is definitely NOT a do’s and don’ts book.¬† It was really fun and inspirational, and it got me thinking that fashion is a kind of everyday art anyone can participate in if they want to.¬† Unless you’re a nudist, we all have to get dressed.¬† I found inspiration even from looks that are very different from what I would wear myself.¬† Now I have new ideas and types of clothes I want to try.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

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Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

It’s almost officially summer (the Summer Solstice is June 21st in the Northern Hemisphere this year), and it’s FINALLY starting to get warm here! ¬†I am so ready to think about summer sewing!

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

I completely got sucked into that change-of-season-restlessness/spring fever feeling going around, which is bad for your wallet, sewing, and general contentedness and I wanted to SEW ALL THE THINGS! ¬†The fact that this feeling coincided with the end of my Make 9 was rough, because it left me very unfocused and mentally breathless. ¬†Luckily, however, I found¬†this¬†project which actually fills a gap in my wardrobe for a cropped light layer that works with dresses and other garments with a natural waistline. ¬†It was also a great project after the surprising complexity of the shirt from my last post because I’ve made this before, so it fits and I know it goes quickly. ¬†Unfortunately, my having made it before didn’t stop me from making a small blunder, as you’ll see.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Today’s project is the cropped Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

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Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

This is a wrap top with raglan sleeves. ¬†It has a neckband, cuffs, and long ties that also function as a waistband. ¬†It’s close-fitting, but comfortable in a fabric with the right amount of stretch.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Before sewing this, I relied on a few ready-to-wear options that I had when I needed this kind of garment, but they weren’t ideal (one is a wintry knit and the other is very casual). ¬†So this year, when a midweight, four-way stretch rayon/Lycra knit went on sale at Cali Fabrics, I jumped on board and got some in order to make this a reality.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

This is the second time I’ve made this cropped, wrap cardi (The first, as well as the long faux wrap version can be found here.). ¬†This time around I did most things the same way. ¬†I do a few recommendations, however. ¬†I sewed around the hole that the tie goes through with a closely spaced zigzag, like you would with a buttonhole. ¬†A straight stitch looks much better, but I wanted it to stretch. ¬†Test your stitch on some scrap fabric first, though, because I had some distortion of the fabric the first time I tested it. ¬†I also recommend trimming the bottom edges of your neckband¬†after beginning to attach the waistband/tie so that you trim it at the correct angle (yes, I’ve now trimmed it wrong twice). ¬†Finally, when the directions tell you to stretch your neckband as you stitch it, you really need to do that, maybe even slightly more than you think. ¬†I didn’t and you can see that my neckband stands away from my body a bit in a way it shouldn’t. ¬†I was afraid to stretch too much, so instead I went to the other extreme and stretched too little. ¬†Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Neckband issues aside, I’m really happy to have this in my closet. ¬†It will be a good, yet inexpensive way to see if this is a style that I will feel good in with some of my natural-waisted garments.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Other sewn outfit details:

Skirt:  Megan Nielsen Brumby Skirt; blogged here

Camisole: ¬†Shortened slip from McCall’s 6696; unblogged

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Recommendations

  • Have you seen the jeans Jenny of the SoleCrafts blog made? ¬†Jeans are impressive enough on their own, but she made her own pattern! ¬†People who make their own patterns continually amaze me. ¬†I love reading Jenny’s blog because, even though we have different styles, she is completely fearless in her projects and figures out things I would use a pattern for or didn’t even know you could make at home (like shoes!). ¬†Amazing.
  • Speaking of making shoes, Carolyn of Handmade by Carolyn makes ALL her clothes, shoes included! ¬†You can watch a video of her talking about the shoes she has made here.
  • I definitely prefer paper sewing patterns over PDF patterns, and one more thing that has always been a strike against PDFs for me is that you either have to print a bunch of pages at home, or pay close to the price of the pattern to have the large sheets printed at a copy shop. ¬†Jenny of Cashmerette talks on her blog about how to print those large pages cheaply, and she goes over resources to do this for numerous countries. ¬†What a great idea. ¬†Even with my love for paper patterns, I certainly have several PDFs. ¬†The more money we save on printing, the more we have for fabric! ¬†ūüėČ

 

UNSELFISH SEWING??!!! Yes, Aliens Have Taken Over my Body. I Made My Husband a Thread Theory Strathcona Henley.

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Well, that about says it all.¬† Either aliens really can and do take over our minds and bodies, or I just had a rare bout of unselfish sewing under my own power.¬† Hard to judge sometimes.¬† ūüėČ

Before we get into this, I will say that this little bit of unselfish sewing (plus a shirt I sewed for my daughter AND pants for my husband…yes–MORE THAN ONE UNSELFISH PROJECT!) got me thinking.¬† Why do I make most of my clothing for myself?¬† Well, besides the fact that it’s fun and I like clothes, there is the reality that when you sew for someone else (or make anything for someone else), you have to work in a different way.¬† If I’m making a garment for myself and I make a mistake, I can decide if I care enough to fix it.¬† Sometimes I do, often I don’t.¬† I prefer to finish things over having them remain a perfect but unfinished project forever.¬† Making something for someone else (especially if there is money involved) means I have to work to a different standard.¬† I still have to finish the project AND it has to be at a higher level.¬† If picky people are involved, it goes to a whole new level, which is why I try to avoid sewing for those who¬†are hard to please.¬† Even when sewing for someone who is not super picky, if the fit is off or they weren’t honest about what they really wanted, all your hard work ends up in a closet.

I guess it depends on who you are making it for and what they care about in a garment.¬† Luckily, in this case, my husband has seen enough of what goes into a garment and what it takes to finish it, that he isn’t going to get crazy about the details, but I’ve also been married to him long enough to know that it has to be finished to a certain level of wearability for it to be a true success.¬† But then, I guess that’s the case even when sewing for myself…

In the garment I’m going to show you, there are some mistakes, but I think my husband, being the awesome encourager that he is and actually wanting a finished garment, went with “imperfectly finished is better than perfectly unfinished forever”.

Let’s talk about the Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory!

Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory

Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory

Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory

I LOVE Henleys for both men and women.¬† A Henley, as I understand it, is sort of like a t-shirt, but with a partial button placket down the front.¬† This type of shirt is made from a knit and has a certain “woodsman” vibe.¬† Thread Theory really has that vibe down, making it possible for me to make L.L. Bean style clothes to my own preferences.¬† Also, these guys get a gold star for coolest packaging ever, even including a Thread Theory tag so you can sew it into your finished projects.

Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory

Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory

This year my one Black Friday purchase was a cool, double layer knit fabric from Cali Fabrics.¬† The outside is a grey rib knit and the inside is a soft off-white jersey.¬† The two layers are tacked together every so often making them work as one.¬† (I don’t see it on their site anymore, so I’m guessing it’s sold out.)¬† The garment pattern came from Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, NH.

I made Scott Variation 1 of the Strathcona Henley.  His measurements put him at a size Large, but since this is designed to be slim-fitting and he likes more ease in his clothing, I sized up to an extra-large.

I’ve never sewn a Henley before, so I was hoping this wouldn’t be too tricky.¬† There is a lot of helpful information in the pattern booklet, including width and length suggestions for your zig-zag stitch.¬† I ended up using a height of 2.5 and a length of 1 with a jersey needle and a walking foot on a standard sewing machine.¬† I¬†found the button placket a little bit tricky (and frustrating) to do.¬† Since I’ve never done this type of thing before, I chalk that up to my own inexperience.¬† Perseverance paid off in the end, though.¬† If you make this yourself, you should definitely hand-baste the placket in place as suggested.¬† Just hand-baste everything!

Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory

Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory

Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory

The square at the bottom of my placket came out crooked, but that was one of those mistakes that you look at and move on.¬† My husband actually didn’t notice it until I mentioned it.¬† (Oops!)¬† I also think that my fabric, which was bulkier than a single layer would be, made things more difficult.¬† If I make a billion of these, I’ll have to report back on if this gets easier.¬† If you haven’t done this before, don’t be put off.¬† If I can do it, so can you!¬† You can’t expect your first time going through a technique to be perfect.¬† If it turns out perfect, great, but expect it to be imperfect.¬† You’re learning.

Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory

Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory

One really great thing about Thread Theory is that they have a lot of tutorials and sew-alongs online.¬† Morgan, one of the owners, is also very willing to answer questions.¬† I didn’t email her about this project, but I did about another pattern (still to be blogged), and she was really helpful.

Final analysis:¬† I like this pattern, and it looks GOOD on my husband!¬† You may not be able to tell from the pictures, since he rarely smiles in pictures, but he really likes it, too, and has worn it a lot.¬† ūüėĬ† I LOVE how it turned out.¬† I’ve even thought of adapting it to fit me, but that is for another sewing season.¬† Cold weather sewing ended for me on Wednesday when I finished my last winter project.

Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory

Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory

Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory

And look!  I even got Scott to smile.  Ha ha!  Triumph!

Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory

And now for this week’s recommendations!¬† (Maybe “recommendations” can be my working title.¬† I still want a better title.¬† Suggestions?)

  • Smoothies!¬† Here is our general recipe, adapted from one we found in a magazine ages ago:¬† 1/4c. flavored low-fat yogurt (like peach or strawberry), a splash of milk, 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter, some strawberries (maybe 2 c.?), a banana, a handful of ice, and maybe a handful of spinach (optional).¬† Top with cinnamon and whipped cream (and sprinkles aren’t a bad idea, either!).¬† Enjoy!¬† This makes enough for one tall glass.¬†¬†I can usually triple it in my blender.
  • Looking for an interesting source of fashion inspiration?¬† If you are on Instagram, check out @artgarments to see fashion details found in paintings.
  • If you have kids in your life and like cooperative games, try Outfoxed! by Gamewright.¬† To beat the game, you all have to work together to uncover clues and reveal suspects until you have an idea of which fox stole the pot pie.¬† If the fox escapes before you guess correctly, you lose!
  • Have you ever watched “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”?¬† It’s so cute!