Sunday, January 10

Save That Baby! A Woolens Salvation DIY Story.

As you know, I'm a rabid Up Cycler, Recycler, DIY person, so this project will not surprise you.  I've had a gorgeous, stretch wool Ralph Lauren blazer for probably 20 years and all of the sudden it sprang a few holes.  It's such a classic and fits so well I couldn't bear to pitch it.  
The venerable Dame Vivienne Westwood wrote somewhere that she notice mending spots on the Prince of Wales wool jackets, so I thought - YES!  If it's good 'nuff for Charles, grandpa to those beautiful Wills+Kate babies, it's good enough for me.  Here it is:
The beloved Ralph.  Just curvy enough.

One of the nasty buggers.

What to do?  I chose my favorite Mod 1960s/70s bathtub no-slip sticker shapes to applique out of scraps from a brighter blue cashmere sweater.
Reducing/enlarging stencils on the printer gives you several sizes to chose from.

After I had the templates (stencils) cut out I practiced placing them on the jacket like so.  This is a very important step in making the decisions on what sizes look best and how to achieve overall visual balance.  In order to make an exciting design I added more than was required to cover the holes.


Next I ironed the cashmere onto my favorite fusible, Heat n' Bond Lightweight.  (Their heavy weight ones are too stiff and gum up sewing machine needles - don't buy them!)  Whole bolts from fabric stores or online if you appliqué a lot, as I do.   After I cut out the "posies" I began pinning them over the holes and wherever it made visual sense.  Once I was happy with the "layout" I ironed them on using a thin cotton pressing cloth so as not to burn the cashmere appliqués or the jacket fabric.  Where the seams and curves around the shoulders are I used a tailors egg-shaped pressing form to make the iron-ons conform to the shape.

The next step was to start hand sewing them on with a simple embroidery edge stitch.  A  fairly thick needle was necessary to go through the layers of fabric.

I chose heavy black embroidery floss because I thought it framed the shape well and stood out just enough from the navy jacket.
Now, a commitment caveat - this is not a 10-minute project!  I reckon it took about 5 hours to finish all of the appliquéing.  If it were possible to do them on the machine I would have, but that also wouldn't have produced the same textural, shiny effect achieved with embroidery thread.  If you want to take on an act of salvation get into your best zen mode and relax, just do it:-)


The finished blazer elicits all kinds of compliments and "Wow! You did it yourself?!" comments.  You can do it too!

Saturday, January 2

A Lesson in Longevity. Or, Trends be Damned.

The pair I wanted more than ANYTHING.  Nude, fabulous.
Confession - I came of fashion age in the 70's so consider the context but..... I've always loved a good, high-heeled clog.  This started in the earliest days of 70's platform clogs because allllll the cool girls in Southern California had them: 
 And then it moved to Candies, the ultimate slide/mule/clog.  Being a tween at the time my mother would, on no uncertain terms, allow a pair and I have pined for some version ever since.  
Candies, just to refresh your memory - - 

In the early 80s someone added furry stuff, which usually looked like a wet dog, but nary a second did my devotion waver.
I was STILL forbidden to own a pair. 

Somewhere down the clop-clop-clop road of clogs I switched allegiance to a black, closed-toe variety with dear-to-my-heart SILVER STUDS.  Of course, Prada has done them well (Miuccia being a devout 70s girl) but that has forever been above my price range, and anyway, Prada runs way too narrow for me.  So, WahhhhHHHH.    

I would fall over dead, and would look amazing en route.
H E A V E N!

I have looked and looked and looked for upwards of 20 years for the perfect pair.  No one has them just right - heels too brown, too bleached pine like above, brass not silver studs, gold not silver studs, $1200, brown leather, too Hasbeens, heel too low.... you get the picture.

Ta-DAAAAA!  The perfect pair!

 Here are my less-than lovely pics - I was so excited to share I couldn't wait another minute to snap them better:-(  Get 'em quick on - link above.
Ok, so they're calling them a "mule" - NOT flattering, but, who cares? 

Wrappy, strappy moto style perfection
 So there, I have them, a 20+-year-old dream come true!  It happens, don't give up the fashionfaith. Ever.
The lesson here, since that's what we started with, is.... When you love something, you love it; it doesn't matter which decade you buy/wear/find/revive it - it's YOU.  Trends be damned, dammit.  After all, this is 2016 - Candie's was 1978, and and look how long that style has lasted?   
#candies #prada #pradaclog #trendslast #wearwhateverthehellyouwant #wearwhatyoulove

Saturday, June 6

Delicious Fat Free (Vegan) Greek Chickpea & Olive Soup

I haven't made this in years but boy was it worth the wait!  In fact, so worthwhile I had to share.  The flavors are complex and tangy and besides, when do you ever have olives... in a soup?  Try it!  
It's so easy to make and with minimal ingredients which is necessary for our busy lives, no?   

The original, non-vegan, recipe was from April 2004 Food & Wine magazine which I used to LOVE, but since it is nothing close to vegetarian (organ meats anyone? No THANKS.)  I have let the subscription lapse:-(  

1 Chopped large Onion
Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper
4C. Vegan Chicken Stock or Bouillon
2 - 15oz cans of Chickpeas or 1 can Chickpea and 1 can Large Butterbeans (as shown here)
4T. Lemon Juice
2t. Dijon Mustard
3/4C. Chopped Parsley

Serve with Green & Kalamata (or whichever you prefer) Olives on top!

Directions:  Saute the onion in the juice of one of the cans of beans - {ha! a fat-free sautéing trick I bet you didn't know?} for about 7 minutes until soft.    Stir in the Red Pepper, stock and canned beans  (drain the second can first).  Simmer for 20 minutes and then add the last three ingredients and serve with the olives.  Fantastic!  

(NOTES:  I like the can of butterbeans because they are sweeter and very starchy - good comfort food.  I have used both the mix of green & black olives, and just kalamata olives as shown here and it's spectacular both ways.  This is a great summer soup too because it's good even when just barely warm)

Monday, May 11

Fab How Often to Wash? Guide!

'Ever wonder how often you should wash that hoodie?  What about your ski jacket?   

We had an uncharacteristically rainy week here in the Colorado Mountains which has prompted lots of water conservation and California drought discussion.  Just so happens a splendid eco website I adore just posted a comprehensive When to Wash Guide!  Thank you, EcoGreenLove!   
For example: 

I'm not sure I'm up with the raw denim trend of wearing 
jeans for eons, but... maybe a few more wears, eh?

Thursday, March 19

Food! Fat Free Salad Dressing - I found a Goodie!

Another food post!  What's going on here?  I guess it's that the more I read and listen to podcasts (favorite right now: ) the more I can't separate what I'm eating* from what I believe in from an environmental impact + fashion perspective.  And, I've learned I need to cut out fat due to cardiac concerns that run in my family (thank you, Dr. Esselstyn!).  

So - what can I use as salad dressing?   I don't like sweet ones and the only two I ever loved are Blue Cheese and Ranch (which, after living in Texas where pizza is dipped in it!!!!!!  I was so grossed out I couldn't eat that anymore.  It doesn't wash off plates very easily either - can you imagine what it's doing in your body? ugh.ack.yuck.).   

Fat Free Dressing?  Does it exist?  How can one live without olive oil???  Here's what I just invented, and it's pretty tasty on top of being nutritionally dense!

"Salty" Lemon Dressing

2T. Lemon Juice
1-2T. Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Shake or 3 of Maine Coast Sea Seasonings Dulse Flakes (yummy seaweed)
Shake or 3 of Toasted Black Sesame 
    Whip it together w/ a fork and pour over your salad.  Done. 

Here's why I like it - lemon juice aids in the absorption of iron and calcium from greens; Bragg's and Dulse add a sea salty taste without being refined salt; Bragg's is of course an amazing source of Amino Acids (meat, schmeat!);  sesame seeds (the wonder food!) add beauty, crunch, a gazillion minerals, fiber and an earthy sort of meaty flavor; Dulse Flakes are also mineral dense.   
There you have it!  Enjoy:-)

*BACK STORY:  I was raised vegetarian but went meaty in my teens believing the hocus pocus about "needing animal protein" but then, after reading Skinny Bitch 6 years ago I switched to a 95% vegan diet because I didn't have any legitimate excuses for eating animals anymore.  I struggle to this day completely avoiding cheese and ice cream, but I get better every month:-)  And better, the less dairy eat the better my skin and overall health/well-being.  
Brie, oh how I love thee, but thee lovest not me:-(

Sunday, March 15

Food! Homemade Organic Sneaky Strawberry Applesauce

I just can't bear to buy those evil little PLASTIC containers of pre-made applesauce for my kids' lunches anymore.  The guilt was overwhelming once and for all:-(  Just buying a 6-pack every two weeks ads up to soooooo many little plastic bits that will never bio degrade, and recycling them just seems lazy when I can make my own 'sauce.  My family loves it with some sort of berries mixed in.

You will need a large sauce pan and blender.  I love my Vitamix because it completely purees out any chunkiness which my texture-sensitive children absolutely can't tolerate.


  • Clean and cut into 2" chunks an entire bag of Organic Apples - variety of your choice.  I used Granny Smith this time (which require more sugar as these are tart) but any variety works.  One bag will yield 6-10 servings depending on how big the serving size; approximately one serving/apple.
  • Clean and remove tops of 6-8 strawberries or a handful of other mixed berries.
  • Place everything into a big sauce pan.
  • Simmer about 10 minutes with 1Cup of water.  If you prefer to eat raw, you can skip this step or shorten the time.  I prefer the carmelized flavor that comes about as a result of cooking with a bit of sugar.  
  • Let cool as long as you have the patience to wait. 
  • Scrape into your blender.  If it doesn't hold the whole batch, make sure you reserve some of the liquid for the second blending.  
  • Blend until as smooth as you prefer.
  • Sweeteners - here's where you can be as creative as you wish!  A bit of sugar is important as it acts as a preservative giving you a good 7-10 days in the 'fridge to finish off your batch - if it lasts that long;-)  I recommend sweetening to taste AFTER you blend the sauce, as you may not need any added sugar.  If your apples are tart you will need about 1/4c. of organic sugar or an equivalent liquid measure of agave, rice syrup, maple syrup, etc.  Here's the SNEAKY part - try some dates for extra nutrition (fiber, magnesium, B6) but blend them well so the brown bits disappear!  So - start by adding a couple tablespoons of your sweetener, blend and taste.  Repeat until it has the flavor you desire!
Pour into reusable containers* and dole out for lunches as needed.  If your sauce is not cool before you put the lids on - let them sit out for a bit otherwise the cooling lids contract so much in the fridge they may be too difficult for small hands to open.  

*I happen to LOVE the stainless reusables from Kids Konserve which we ordered from a fantastic website called  Unfortunately the lids are still plastic, but at least they are very hearty and you will get many, many years out of them before recycling.  They do leak a bit with some things so I bag them in baggies for extra protection (yes, plastic again:-( )  Reusit has a huge selection of every container you could ever need, including water bottles and bags.  
If anyone knows of a truly leak-proof container, please, please let me know!! Thanks. 

Cooked and cooling.  I feel like they are done with the skins start to fall off and the berries are fading, as shown, about 10 min. on low heat.

If you use red apples and/or more berries you will get a much prettier pink color than this.

Tuesday, February 3

Dear, Deer

Our new neighbors

Elk in back yard

young buck Mule Deer in backyard

an Elk herd meandering through our little downtown. thx, 99.9 KEKB