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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

PRIVACY WALL FOR BACKYARD PATIO

I have been so looking forward to having this project completed!  This is my new privacy wall for our patio (we have one more board to add to the bottom, but I couldn't wait to share).


You may recall last year, I posted about the outdoor curtains I had made for my patio.   Unfortunately, they didn't work out quite like I had planned.  While they definitely could provide a little privacy to my patio, that only worked when it wasn't breezy.  Despite the weights I had placed in the hem, we get quite a few breezy days up here, so the curtains though pretty....weren't functional.   Bummer, since both me and my husband put work into that project.

I really liked my little sanctuary, so I was anxious to find another solution.  One night I was taking a walk around the neighborhood and I got really pumped when I saw a home which had what looked like a wall of wooden blinds for their patio.  They didn't move like blinds, but they had the angled look of blinds.   I thought it was genius actually, so I got up the nerve to introduce myself to this neighbor (after many walks in which I kept ogling their patio).   He took me out back and we chatted about the construction and how it was working since he put it in place.


Of course, I promptly ran home and told my husband I had a new solution for the patio.

Not only did I see this providing privacy, but it would also provide a bit of a wind break from the North.  I had learned from the neighbor that Home Depot carried the pre-made supports with the angles already cut into them.   So, we ordered those and painted the two which attached to the patio support and the house to match the house trim color.   As for the slats, I really liked the idea of natural boards, so my husband simply finished those with a weather protectant, no stain.  Same thing for the middle support....that was left the natural wood color as well.

My husband gets all the credit for this one.  I merely provided the cheerleading and encouragement along the way.  I'm so looking forward to spending time out here again.  It really was like sitting in a fishbowl without it....several of the neighbor's bedroom windows look right onto our patio, and their trampoline is now hidden as well.

I bought a new umbrella and cushions to replace the worn, torn and faded ones which were purchased many years ago and we're good to go!  This is going to be awesome!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

CRANBERRIED LEMON YOGURT BREAD

I always have a huge bag of craisins in the house...I mean the large bag from Costco.  I put them on my salads, and flavor lots of other dishes with them.  I did recently get a noticeably less fresh bag and after working my way through about 3/4 of the bag, I decided the rest would make for a good baked item.
So I went straight to the source for a recipe.  This is from the people from Ocean Spray....and it's a truly yummy bread!  The texture is great and it's got a combination of tangy lemon and cranberry in every bite.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup lowfat plain yogurt
2 eggs 
¼ cup lemon juice
1 heaping cup of craisins

Glaze:
½ cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan.  

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl; set aside.  Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar in a medium mixing bowl, until light and fluffy.  Add yogurt, eggs and lemon juice; mix well.   Stir in cranberries.  Add to dry ingredients.  Stir until dry ingredients are moistened.

Bake for approximately 50 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool.  In the meantime, prepare the glaze.  Once the loaf is cool, drizzle over the top of the loaf.

Enjoy!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

SHORT RECEPTION DRESS

I had the pleasure of making a short reception dress for a bride recently; a first for me.  She wanted to change into a sassy little number afer the first dances were finished in order to fully enjoy her reception.    She had a pretty good idea of what she was looking for, having spotted something online.
In this case, I added a few custom touches which allows me to have some fun creatively, and for the bride she then has a dress that is truly one-of-a-kind!

I found a beautiful lace online in a diamond white color for the outer layer, and found a matching crepe for the underlayer.
The  neckline, sleeves and hemline were finished with a 1½ inch alencon eyelash lace that I found locally.  It had some pearls and sequin embellishments which gave it some sparkle!

I changed up the shape of the underlayer in the back making it a curve and instead of the simple double lapped center back zipper on the original, I chose to add a lapped zipper with some satin covered buttons for a more polished look.

To match the tulle at the hemline, I chose to add a small tulle peek-a-boo at the hem of the 3/4 sleeves; not all the way around, just enough to add some fun!

So cute!!  Thank you Tara for letting me be a part of your special day.


Friday, June 23, 2017

RE-STYLED WEDDING GOWN

I had a bride contact me since she wanted to wear her Mom's wedding gown and veil on her special day, but wanted to update them a bit and wondered if I could/would do it for her.   Since I've always wanted to work on a project like this, it was a resounding YES!   I was excited to be a part of the transformation.
The gown was in amazingly good shape....a little staining on the lace on the hemline, but other than that it looked great.  As for the fit, both Mom and daughter were very similar in size and height, so I really didn't have to worry about alterations.  

The bride knew that she wanted a deep "v" in the back of the dress, removing the zipper from the top of the neckline to the waistline seam. Other than that, she was open to ideas to make it more current.
The bell sleeves were so unique and are certainly current again, so those absolutely had to stay. But, the high collar in the front was definitely going to have to go!
I discussed a simple, yet classic "v" neckline for the front as well.  I also suggested the vertical bands of lace on the front and back bodice should be removed, making the gown more classic and simple. The train was very wide and long making it a definite keeper. A "one button" bustle swept it up nicely!

The veil was very dated with a typical "juliet cap" from the '70s/'80s. I suggested a simple lace trimmed elbow length veil to allow the beautiful sleeves of the gown to shine through and also showcase the clean neckline.

We chose to use the lace that was on Mom's veil for the new veil, as well as using pieces of it on the garter set. I even had enough leftover so she could give some to her florist for her bouquet.

The bride will be changing out of this gown after the first dance to a sassy little reception dress I made for her.  I'll be sharing that next!

Friday, June 16, 2017

PORK TENDERLOIN WITH CRANBERRY CHUTNEY

I loved the flavor of this dish!   My sides to go along with the meat were asparagus and roasted potatoes.  Yum!!!
I reviewed a number of recipes online and chose to combine elements from several of those I found.

INGREDIENTS:

ROAST
*2 ½ lb. pork loin roast or pork tenderloin 
2 Tbsp. Herbs de Provence
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice 

CHUTNEY
1 (16 oz.) can whole cranberry sauce
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic minced

Mince onions and garlic and brown in an olive oil and butter mixture in a medium skillet on medium high heat.  Remove from heat and drain on paper towel.  

In a medium bowl blend the cranberry sauce, lemon juice and browned garlic/onion mixture until well incorporated.  Cover and set aside until ready to serve.  

In a small bowl, mix together the herbs, onion powder, brown sugar, olive oil and lemon juice. Season both sides of the meat with salt and pepper.   Rub the olive oil mixture over the (top side) meat.   Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp. olive oil.  Sear the meat on all sides using tongs to flip the meat from side-to-side.   Slide the skillet into a 450 degree oven for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temp is 155-160 degrees.   Let rest approximately 5-10 minutes; serve with some chutney mixture spooned over the top.  Guests can add additional chutney as desired. 

Enjoy!

*  I went with two pork tenderloin versus the roast.  Also, if you don't have a cast iron skillet, you can roast the meat in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes per pound.  

Sunday, June 11, 2017

WALTZ LENGTH VEIL

A waltz length veil is truly a unique length and it may be one of my favorites.  Perfect when you're looking for elegant, but maybe not too formal.  It can also work well when the train of a gown is elaborate and long and you want a statement veil but one that doesn't compete with the train.

This particular bride is wearing a true ivory lace gown (with a champagne underlay).  In searching for the perfect lace, I stumbled on a shop in Latvia with an absolutely exquiste lace that was labeled as ivory.   When I received it, it was clearly an off-white, not a true ivory.....but the lace was gorgeous. So, I went about dying the lace in a tea bath.  I have to tell you I had never done so before, so I was a bit nervous.   I used a minimal amount of tea and hovered over the bowl the entire time it was bathing in the steeped tea.  I probably squealed like a pig when I took it out of the bath and realized how well it worked.   It is a beautiful match to the gown!


I think the pictures below show the original color and the finished product pretty well.  And as you can see from the picture above, it looks awesome with the gown.
A waltz length hits right about the back of the knee.

Due to the plunging back and beautiful covered buttons on the back of the gown, I went with light gathers at the comb allowing all the beauty of the gown to shine through.

Erin also had me make her a keepsake garter.  I chose to continue the lace theme from her dress and veil and make her a one-of-a-kind garter with some remnants from other projects I had worked on.

Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your special day.

Best Wishes to you and Devin!











Sunday, June 4, 2017

CATHEDRAL VEIL WITH APPLIQUES

What a treat to work with beautiful Kylynn!  Knowing that she wanted me to create her veil, she invited me to meet her at the bridal salon during one of her fittings.   Being able to see the gown's style, silhouette and embellishments allowed me to determine what might look best for the cathedral length veil she had her heart set on.

It was just the inspiration I needed to create the perfect veil to accompany her gown!  Based upon the fact that her gown had a number of lace appliques on it, I chose to use matching appliques for the veil (with a little extra sparkle in the way of pearls and sequins).
I knew I didn't want the veil to get completely lost in the train and/or compete with the gown, so I chose to make it a bit longer, and extra wide.  This picture shows the beauty of both the gown and the veil.....and of course, the love of this sweet couple just after they were married!


The veil has a total of 12 appliques around the perimeter of the train, as well as one on each side at about the knee.

When creating a custom veil, especially one like this, it can take me a good couple of hours cutting the appliques in different sizes and shapes and placing them on the veil to create just the right design.  I pin, move, pin again, and so on until it feels and looks just right.
I love the process....and when I land on the design, it's magical! Then it's hours of handstitching the appliques to the tulle.   Kylynn's veil is truly a one-of-a-kind, which is exactly what custom made is all about.  The beautiful picture to the upper right is from Kylynn's boudoir shoot.  No doubt, one of my veils has never looked so sexy!
I also made a garter set for Kylynn, that she also wore in her boudoir shoot.  Once again, she told me she wanted some bling and then gave me the creative license to design something for her.

Thank you Kylynn for making my designs look fabulous and for being such a peach to work with!

Best wishes to you and Mario on a long and happy marriage!