Monday, August 29, 2011

Applewhite Guest Blogger - Top Ten Must Haves for Home Sewing

Once I really decided to leap into the art of sewing and bought my first machine, I turned to my friend Dana of Applewhite Handmade

Dana started sewing in Kindergarten, fashioning tiny outfits for her Barbies.  With her years of experience, calm vibe and thoughtful approach, I knew she could get me off to a good start. 

Dana graciously came to my house for a girl's-night-in and shared her tips over some Pinot Noir.  The best advice I received was her "Top Ten Must Haves for Home Sewing".  Armed with a list and an understanding of the basics, I headed to JoAnn's much more prepared and a lot less overwhelmed.  If you're a novice seamstress, you'll want to keep reading. 

Thank you, Dana, for guest blogging today!

Top 10 Must Haves for Home Sewing

1.      Dressing Making Shears:  Shears are the best scissors for cutting fabric.  It’s important for your fabric to have nice straight cut edge because your edges serve as seam guides.  If your edges are crooked then you seams will be too.
2.      Small Sharp Scissors:  These are used for snipping the threads from your work whether machine or hand sewed and allow you to get right up next to the fabric.  Keep them close by, they are needed often!

3.      Pin cushion filled with nice sharp pins:  I love to use a nice heavy pin cushion so it doesn’t roll around or scoot away while I’m sewing.  My new favorite pin cushion filling is crushed walnut shell. It’s heavy, nontoxic and environmentally friendly but still sharpens your needles like the old fashion emery filling does. 

4.      Seam ripper:  Even the best seamstress makes mistakes or needs to adjust her sewing.  Having a seam ripper on hand will make the job quick and easy.

5.      Sewing Gauge:  A sewing gauge is a six inch ruler with a sliding marker on it that you can move to your desired measurement.  This great little tool comes in handy for measuring little things such as seam allowances.

6.      Yard Stick:  I like the wooden ones because they don’t bend like metal ones do.  They are used for measuring larger pieces.

7.      Measuring Tape:  These are flexible plastic or ribbon measuring tapes. Used for measuring the body for clothing or anything that isn’t flat.

8.      Marking Pens:  These fabulous pens have disappearing ink!  Use them to mark button, seam, or embellishment placement.  Just remember not to iron over the ink until it has disappeared.

9.      A Little Collection of Hand Sewing Needles:  Fabric supply stores sell a variety pack of needles which would be perfect for most home sewers. 

10.  A Loop Turner or Safety Pins:  A loop turner is a tool specifically made for turning narrow tubes of fabric for things like tote bag handles.  If you don’t have a loop turner a safety pin will usually work just as well if it is pinned to one end of the tube and threaded through the tube and out the other end.
Happy sewing!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Easy Homemade Granola

What do you do when it's 115 degrees out and you've got two cooped up little ones? 
Put 'em to work in the kitchen! 

I've been wanting to make homemade granola for awhile and figured it's a kid-friendly snack and cooking activity. I spent a little time online researching a recipe that was fairly healthy and didn't require a trip further than my pantry. This one fit the bill and the yummy scent and flavors remind me of the fall. And that's a happy thing this time of year.

The only thing we were lacking was the puffed brown rice cereal, so I just doubled the oats. I also subbed dried cherries for the cranberries.  Coconut might be a nice addition if you're into that sort of thing. 

Here is what you'll need (plus unsweetened applesauce, not shown):

Can you well we are Costco members? Lots of Kirkland Signature action going on in that photo.  Their nuts and dried fruits Are a good buy and nice pantry staple.

This would be perfect with plain Greek yogurt, but we snacked on it dry and it was delicious.

Recipe can be found here.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Magnolia Market Summer Boutique

Check out some of the goodies offered at the Magnolia Market summer boutique.

The next Magnolia Market is slated for early December - just in time for holiday shopping!

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Favorite Things - Scottsdale

This is for all you locals (or those of you that may want to escape to our sunshine this winter).

When I moved here ten years ago it was going to be temporary.  A corporate work transfer to be enjoyed for few years before moving to Colorado or back to Washington.  Instead I met my husband/life partner/best friend and settled in.  Yes, there were times when I desperately missed (and still do) the water, greenery and general charm of Seattle, but Scottsdale has certainly grown on me and we're here to stay. 

A college friend of mine, who had moved here a couple years before me, once said, Arizona has it's own sense of beauty.  That it does. 

This photo was taken by my husband's best friend as they hiked just 10 minutes from our house in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Before moving here, I had never understood the "purple mountains majesty" line in that famous patriotic song.  Never noticed all the nuances of the desert in bloom.  Never knew there were so many wild critters who add a combined element of fear and fascination.  Never imagined our little slice of suburbia could house all at once some of the best hiking, dining and shopping on the west coast.  I've learned that I'm a country girl at heart and appreciate the quiet slice of life we've created here. 

Favorite Things in Scottsdale

McDowell Sonoran Preserve - I love hiking here most Sunday mornings in the winter and spring.  A variety of hikes and trailheads, superb gateway education center, breathtaking views and friendly volunteers offering evening flashlight tours and classes for hiking with dogs.

Blanco Tacos - (Or any other restaurant by Sam Fox for that matter) Perfect for an afternoon date or casual night with friends.  Be sure and try the guacamole and berry mojitos.

blancos tacos and tequila

Scottsdale Quarter - Lululemon, Pottery Barn, True Food Kitchen, Grimaldi's, Press Coffee, iPic Theatre and a splashpad with views of the McDowell Mountains and sleek lounge chairs. What's not to love?

Desert Botanical Gardens Noche de las Luminarias - While technically not in Scottsdale, DBG is just a smidge outside the border.  We never miss their annual Noche de las Luminarias when the entire garden comes alive with flickering luminarias, musicians and carolers are tucked throughout, and you'll find wine and hot cocoa stands as you stroll the winding paths.  Magical.

Las Noches de las Luminarias

Pinnacle Peak - Another favorite weekend hike.  360 degree views of the valley and spectacular boulders.
Start of Pinnacle Peak Trail

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park - Everyone loves visiting the "train park" for the train rides, carousel, model museum and playgrounds.  Can't miss this if you have kids.  Especially fun around the holidays when Santa and his pals ride in to town.

Sweet Republic - As seen on The Food Network's Best Thing I Ate and now at Whole Foods.  Sweet Republic dishes up unique, artisan ice cream that will expand your palette and imagination.  Salted Butter Caramel, Honey Blue Cheese, and Banana Foster to name a few.  Their vintage orange ice cream truck is pretty sweet too.

El Chorro - The lodge was originally built as a school for girls in 1934, converted into a popular hangout for celebrities like Frank Lloyd Wright and Clark Gable in the 1950s, and operated as an iconic restaurant since the 1970s.  In the last few years El Chorro has undergone major updating and LEED certified renovating, while maintaining it's classic charm and memorable menu items, such as the Eggs Benedict and world famous Sticky Buns.  If the expansive patio and sleek yet rustic decor don't get you, the up close and personal views of Camelback Moutain certainly will.

Oregano's - One of my first hangouts when moving here, Oregano's is still a favorite today.  It's not just the food, it's the people.  When you recognize some of the same employees from five or ten years ago it says something about a business.  I can say with conviction that one of my last meal requests would be their Pablo Picasso salad, Lawrence pizza and Pizookie dessert.  Simply the bomb.

Harkins Theatres - Family run business, charitable owners, Summer Movie Fun Pass that allows kids to see 10 movies in 10 weeks for less than $1 a movie.  Love it at Harkins.

Heard Museum North - Being smaller than the main museum means less crowds and more manageable viewing.  It also means a charming garden cafe and scenic drive to and from.  Worth checking out.

The Cafe at Heard Museum North

Scottsdale Public Library - I've always been a huge fan of libraries.  Award-winning LEED architecture, stunning design, superb storytimes and early literacy programs set Scottsdale's apart.

Waste Management Phoenix Open - The Open is practically a holiday around here.  You're guaranteed to bump in to old friends, share lots of laughs, get a sunburn and most likely a hangover (very likely if you hit the Bird's Nest).  Some of the best people watching in town.


The Mission - Romance, ambiance, mouth-watering food.  Everything is worth trying at the sexy restaurant.

The Herb Box - Taking the in-laws to brunch?  Meeting girlfriends for lunch?  Lucky enough to have a date night?  Want some gourmet to-go for your hike?  The Herb Box at DC Ranch Market Street is *the* place.  So many favorite menu items I can't even begin to list them all.  Live music some nights.  Friendly staff.  Red Velvet Cupcakes.  'Nough said.


This post is getting long...You can see Scottsdale has become my new hometown. 
A few more favorites for you to consider:

Arcadia Farm, North Scottsdale Farmer's Market, The Breakfast Club, Scottsdale Culinary Festival, Kierland Commons, Sassi, Sanctuary Resort & Spa, The French Bee, The Embellished House, Kazimierz Wine Bar, Pure Sushi, Taliesin West, Old Town Trolley, Camelback Mountain, Parada del Sol

Friday, August 19, 2011

Halloween Itty Bitties

Halloween Itty Bitty for little girls.
Perfect festive piece for all those Halloween parties!
Pin it to a shirt or use as hair clip.

Limited quantity. 
Available at Magnolia Market or
email me directly at

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Bling Itty Bitties and Headbands

One thing I've discovered is little ladies love their bling.  I've revamped the Itty Bitty style, adding some bling to the center.  Each Itty Bitty is 2 inches in diameter, backed with grosgrain-covered alligator clip and pin.  A variety of solids and a great basic for any outfit.  Halloween and Christmas Itty Bitties coming soon.

Shine on.

Love, love, love the new Headbands (if I do say so myself).  The flatter style looks darling on girls of all ages and each is layered and topped with a vintage button or embellishment making them one-of-a-kind.

You'll see all of these and more this Saturday at Magnolia Market.  It's at Desert Camp Community Center in DC Ranch in Scottsdale from 11am-2pm.  Bring a friend and shop unique local vendors and mom-owned businesses, such as Stella & Dot and Thirty One.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Opa! Greek Couscous Salad

I was hankering for some fresh Mediterranean food so, using mostly what was in my fridge and pantry, this is the result.  True Greeks might scoff, but it has been a huge hit among my friends.  Easy and fresh - if you read my blog you know by now those are important words for me when it comes to cooking.  Enjoy and please forgive me for not having any photos - got eaten too fast. 

For the salad you'll need:
1 box Near East Couscous
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
(garbanzo beans might be a nice addition too)

For the dressing you'll need:
3 tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Cook couscous as directed and allow it to cool in fridge. Add dressing to couscous and toss to coat. Add all other ingredients and mix gently. Serves 4-6. 

I like this salad as a lunch with Stacey's Baked Pita Chips and Trader Joe's Cilantro & Jalapeno Hummus.  Also makes a super side with grilled lemon pepper chicken. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Funky Blooms and Mini Petals

Here's a little sneak peek at some *new* styles I've been working on. 
These will all be available at Magnolia Market this Saturday.

Mini Petals with a square edge. 
A little sassier than the traditional Mini Petal and available in every color imaginable.

Funky Blooms in layered styles with hand-picked vintage buttons. 
Each one is unique and such a joy to create.

I'll be posting new Itty Bitty and Headband styles this week too, so stay tuned!

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