I’m taking a page from the Cup and Penny book of doing “just one thing today” that gets me closer to my goal of being a fashion sewer. I too vow  to do something each and everyday that gets me closer to my goal of being able to see a garment and design my own look and create it to suit my body. If I don’t work on my craft each day, I will never achieve the level of success I’m working towards.

I haven’t sewn much lately. Ever since my flat pattern making class ended, I hit a slump.

African Wax Print Maxi Skirt
Self-Drafted Maxi Skirt

I did draft a skirt for the Beyonce’ & Jay Z concert and mend a few things for my son and husband, but that’s it. As I type this, I’m realizing that I only haven’t been sewing much, but I have been working on something sewing or fashion related on a consistent basis. Reading my Threads magazine on techniques, watching YouTube videos, reading blog post, reading fashion magazines, working on things for my Facebook sewing group, reading something from of my sewing related books, or going to my class; Fashion Studies Foundation at Moore College of Art and Design, I’m doing SOMETHING each day to put me one step closer to my goal. I just had to realize that.

Thanks to Rebecca for her sage words. She doesn’t know what they meant to me.

So for today, I’ve pressed my fabric and laid out my pattern pieces for the Stitch Once, Rip Twice sewing group challenge. I will do a little bit each day to make sure it’s done on time. Tomorrow, I may even cut it out!

Laying out my romper pattern
Laying out my romper pattern
View D Romper Simplicity 1355
View D Romper Simplicity 1355

Remember, you must work toward your goals everyday. Write them down, study them, allow them to become as much a part of your life as brushing your teeth. If you’re not working toward them, then they are mere dreams.


“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

–Robert Collier



Ethiopian Night

I really enjoy trying out new foods. You learn a lot about people just by the way in which they eat their food and by what type of foods are found in their recipes. My first taste of Ethiopian food was in Washington D.C. with my friend Andrea 10 years ago. She’d taken me to a quaint little spot for an early dinner before my train back home. My most fond memory was the cacophony of smells and flavors I’d never experienced before. Since I didn’t know what to order, I left that to Andrea to order us up a really nice meal. She’s told me about how they’d serve it and some of the ingredients that would be on our plate.

The communal style of sharing the meal was refreshing. I love to share food!! Just ask my Huzzband! The meal was brought out on a large dish with several entrees served up on this spongy flat bread. As the waitress explained the meal, I tried to picture what each dish reminded me of and wondered if it would taste even remotely close. Nothing was as I expected. Bright flavors, wonderful spices, and vividly colored foods really took my breathe away.

As I tore off the injera and tasted each dish, I immediately became a fan of this delectable cuisine. Each bite complementing the other with spicy, flavorful goodness. I knew this wouldn’t be my last taste of Ethiopian fare.

As the years passed, I frequented a few Ethiopian restaurant in my hometown and one day decided to try my hand at some of my favorite dishes. The lentils were my favorite, followed by cabbage and collard greens. I really loved the chicken & beef also, but I stopped eating meat years ago, so I’m not making any of that stuff!

There is an international grocery store that carries flavor-packed berbere  seasoning and iron-rich injera in West Philly. With a quick trip there and to the market for common veggies, dinner was easy.  I’d settled on misir wat (lentils), tikil gomen (cabbage) and beets. added some brown basmati rice (just because) to the meal and we were set. I used these recipes (from the links)as guides to creating my own renditions. I added jalapenos, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, tomato paste, etc to jazz them up a bit.


Ethiopian Fare- Misir Wat, Tikil Gomen, Yeqey Sir Qiqqil, Injira
Sunday Dinner

The complete guide to working out before work

I’m a morning person. I have been for a number of years. The great thing about mornings is that I actually have the energy to work out. I teach 3 SPINNING classes a week all before 7AM. I strength train in the morning 2-3 times a week. If someone told me that I had to switch my activities from morning to afternoon or evening, I’d never (I MEAN NEVER) workout again. I don’t have the energy, patience or wherewithal to do anything after work except, school or going home to cook dinner. I don’t even like going out for happy hour after a long day.
I find that my network of fitness folks who work out the same time of day that I do are more dedicated to their healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t come without it’s drawbacks. Forcing earlier bedtimes, thinking about tomorrows outfit WAY in advance, packing up for the entire day, the day before. How should I know what I want to wear tomorrow or what water bottle I should fill?
The success is definitely in the preparation. If you can handle most of the planning the night before, you’re more likely to be successful.
So here is a shout-out to all my morning peeps, the SPINNERS who come in ready to burn up the spot with me Monday, Wednesday and Friday and to all the folks that have the grind in them to lift heavy, eat clean and sweat it out right along side of me in the gym.

Props to you all! See you in the A.M.

DIY Heat and Cold Packs

Allergy season is upon us. Depending on where you live, the grass, tree or weed pollen counts can fluctuate from day to day.

PollenCast from Weather.com

For some reason, this past Saturday, my face was so sore. Sinus pressure started under my eyes and as the day went on (and while I was at the On The Run concert), I got worse and worse. My head, my teeth even were giving me fits. I’d taken a OTC sinus pain reliever that day, but it only dulled the pain until it wore off. I didn’t have a back up. I suffered all night.

Kelly and Scooter at the On the Run Tour
Smiling through the pain
On The Run Tour
On The Run Tour


Fast- Forward to the next day, here comes the pain again. Annie Lennox, watch out! . Another OTC and warm wash cloths to ease the pain. I thought to myself, I wish I still had that microwave heat pack again. Not sure what happened to it it, but needless to say, I sure did miss it right now.

Then the juices started flowing. My orthopedic surgeon had suggested to me in the past to warm up a bowl of rice and use it to heat up my finger before doing my home physical therapy. Eureka! I have rice and I can just make a heat pack for my face.

Using some scrap fabric from a maxi skirt I’d made the day before (post coming soon), I made a heat/cold pack.

2014-07-07 00.36.32


  • (2) 10″ x 6″ pieces of scrap fabric (feel free to interface them)
  • 2 – 2.5 cups of rice
  • Essential oil (6-10 drops)
  • Needle & Thread or sewing machine.
  • Ruler
  • Tailors chalk or pencil
  • Bowl & Funnel

With right sides together, using a 1/2 seam allowance, sew up your ‘pack’, around one side, across the bottom and up the other side. If on a machine, backtack for sure.

Sew the top closed about 2 inches in.

Turn right-side out. Use a chopstick or turner to push the corners out.

Fold the raw edges inside and press.

To keep the rice in place so it’s not falling all to one end or the other, measure the pack into thirds and stitch 2 lines starting and finishing 1 inch in from the seam. If hand sewing, the running or back stitch works.


Pour your rice into a bowl and drop some essential oil into the rice. I used lemongrass. Be careful, A little goes a long way.

Mix up the rice so the scent is infused throughout the bowl. Using your funnel, pour the rice into the open end of the pack and allow it to settle into the bottom and middle compartment. Fill the last compartment only 1/2 to 3/4 of the way. You’ll need room to tuck in the raw edges and close the pack.

Hand stitch or machine stitch the pack closed. If hand sewing, the slip stitch works.

When heating up the pack, 1 minute & 30-40 seconds is sufficient. Place a small bowl of water the microwave when you heat it to keep the pack moist and so the rice doesn’t burn.

Make several, some for the freezer, some larger for sprains and cramps or smaller ones for hand warmers in the winter.


2014-07-07 00.36.39


~sidenote~I hear flaxseed works as filler too

Challenge #7 A Simple Jumpsuit

Challenge #7: A Simple Jumpsuit

Welcome to Stitch Once, Rip Twice sewing challenge No. 7!  We had a close vote for this one, with three options to choose from.  A tunic, a jumpsuit/romper, and a beautiful piece of art for inspiration!



The Rules


  1. Your simple jumpsuit can be for yourself or someone else, and there’s no restriction to which pattern, fabric, or style!
  2. It can be made from scratch or refashioned, just as long as you use your sewing skills!
  3. Share anything you would like on your blog or on the group’s Facebook page along the way. That includes patterns, techniques, inspiration, project ideas, problems, and in-progress pictures.

Have your finished garment done and posted by August 10th September 1st either on your personal blog or on the Facebook page. The week after the deadline, I’ll put together a wrap-up post with everyone’s finished garments so we can all see!

Let’s get our machines fired up, and have fun!

Also, if you have a blog, post the badge above by grabbing the code here!


p.s. Val and I are just handling the details for Diane. This is still her baby, we’re just members that jumped in to help out this fantastic sewing group.