About Me

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Los Olivos, California, United States
You can reach me at fool4fabric (at) gmail (dot) com

Sunday, October 9, 2016


It's been 3 weeks since I've blogged...busy with puppy, daughters visiting, foot problems, sewing...the usual!

 Here is the travel tote I've been working on...it's the Professional Tote by Creative Thimble, and I've made it once before; it was for my very first blog post, 5 years ago! I've had this marvelous black and white sashiko fabric for a while...I bought it on Etsy. I added some faux leather from Emma One Sock,

 a marvelous stretch cotton dragon print from Marcy Tilton for the inner pockets

 and a wine-colored nylon Taslan for the lining...

I'm planning to take this to Paris, as my plane carry-on; it has pockets galore, (I added several more to the inner pocket for my iPad), places for passport and boarding pass, water bottle, etc. It also has a strap to anchor it to my suitcase handle.

It closes on top with a chunky zipper...

 Maggie and David came up for the weekend a few weeks ago...more swimming with Teddy, Sunday Brunch. Always fun!

The next weekend, daughter Janet flew out from Salt Lake City for a few days...
and, you guessed it, swam with Teddy. That seems to be #1 on the activity list chez Houtz...

With so much time spent in the studio, I've listened to several good books: Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles, Nutshell, by Ian McEwan and just finishing up The Life We Bury, by Allen Eskens.
My favorite was A Gentleman in Moscow; Nutshell is beautifully written, but weird!

I bought a glass flask (borosilicate) to cook my beloved Rancho Gordo Marcella Beans, a la Romana...

They were delicious, of course, and so much fun to see them simmering away on the stove!
Here is where I got the flask.
Teddy is growing, losing his baby teeth (finally!), finding new ways to get in
trouble...we have a fountain in one of the gardens and the combination of water and mud is irresistable!

Supremely happy muddy dog...

and equally muddy kitchen floor! We had to drop out of Puppy Class; my injured
foot is very painful, and the surface of the class space, a rough dirt ring, was not good for the foot. I think we'll try again in 4 or 5 months. I'm seeing a chiropractor for my foot several times a week and am hoping for a miracle in the next few weeks. I leave for Paris on October 28.

I made a pair of pajama pants in a pretty knit from Girl Charlee and paired it with a tee from Uniqlo...

I used my TNT B5572 for the pants...for those innocent people who think a lifetime of sewing precludes foolish errors, my first attempt at pajama pants
(which are ridiculously easy to make) came out like this... (super high rise, super short legs)

and of course, by this time, I'd not only sewn the seams, I had serged them.
Live and Learn...NOT.

I think I'm almost done with Paris Wardrobe sewing...I have a pair of pants to make with a yummy cross-woven silk blend from Marcy Tilton called "Ruby Begonia"...and then the decision making/culling begins! I waterproofed my boots yesterday, so I am ready for whatever weather Paris has to offer!

That's it for catching you up...I will be joining Patti's Visible Women later this afternoon...providing she has power. She's in the path of Hurricane Matthew and 
my hopes are for safety for her and all the people in Florida.


Sunday, September 18, 2016


I fell in love with this wine/black crinkled brocade from Mood Fabrics

and decided to make a jacket with moto influences. I didn't want to use my TNT Kwik Sew 3764 again, so I went hunting for a suitable pattern. I made a muslin out of the Quart Coat
pattern by Pauline Alice, thinking I could modify it to my liking. I couldn't...

My dress form isn't shaped like that, and neither am I (wide shoulders, nipped
in waist).

I liked aspects of B5822 (OOP) which I used when I was making "manteaux"
for our Iran trip...

so I put on my thinking cap and came up with a frankinpattern using parts of the Butterick pattern and parts of the Kwik Sew. And this is what I made:

I added a separating zipper to the front, shortened the jacket, and added sleeve and pocket zippers...

I used the sleeve from the KS and also the pocket placement, the rest was from
the Butterick pattern.

I lined the jacket with a dark red satin lining, also from Mood Fabrics, and piped 
it in black satin.

I accessorized it with some wonderful Gujarati bracelets I got in India some
25 years ago.

That's kept me pretty busy; I took some time out to have a wonderful lunch with long-time
friend Diane and her SO

The puppy? He had his first grooming appointment, we went to obedience class (THAT was
traumatic for both of us!), he now weighs in at 20 pounds, and every ¼ inch he grows
means another level of mischief he can reach. I took him for a swim again yesterday and he jumped right in. I think he's tall enough now to get out on his own, but for now, we keep a hand on his collar. But he loves to swim!

Like the kitty, he LOVES boxes...

begging to go in the door (damage on door done by his
                  predecessor, Paddywack)

and benches.

My kitchen activities are still centered on somewhat frantic enjoyment of the tomato season...

Caprese salad for lunch today. We're also cleaning out the freezer, eating last year's beans and soups, getting ready for cooler weather (hah! it's currently 95 degrees, but "feels like" 105).

I'm joining BOTH Patti's Visible Women and Judith's Hat Attack this week...come take a look!


Sunday, September 4, 2016


That's how I've spent my time since the last post...

This vest is Sandra Betzina's new pattern, Vogue 1510 and the fabric, which is a wool mix with shiny dots woven in it, is one from several seasons back via Marcy Tilton.

I love this fabric...but it didn't behave very well, so I learned a new-to-me technique from a tutorial written by Bunny at La Sewista, flatlining with seam finish.

It involves sewing a layer of fabric, in this case silk organza, to each pattern piece before any sewing takes place. The resulting double fabric is treated as one piece, so the unsightly parts of the interior are masked, and the hems are
encased in Hong Kong seams. It took a lot of time, but the results were worth it!

I made another iteration of the PaperCut Rise and Fall Turtleneck, using a lightweight Ponte knit, also from Marcy Tilton. Unlike my previous attempts,
the collar on this was "upright and uptight", so I removed it and recut it.

I really like this fabric, which Marcy called "Black Marble".

And here I am with Teddy, who is growing up fast! He had his final puppy shot this week, so he is safe to go "out in the world", he got microchipped, AND
he and I are signed up for 6 weeks of puppy school. We both need it!

 Here he is in the kitchen last night, trying very hard to trip Dave and me up!

And the books...The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead...I had a little trouble getting into this, but I persevered and am glad I did. Quite an insight into slavery and the attempts to end it, and very well written.

A Man Called Ove, by Fredrick Backman. Enjoyable and quite a good character study of a difficult man.

And I just started listening to Louise Penny's new book A Great Reckoning, another chapter in the life of Three Pines and Armand Gamache. I haven't tired of this series yet.

These 3 books were on Audible, which I listen to in my studio. As far as my Kindle books go, I have discovered a new mystery series by Inger Ash Wolfe which features a 63-year-old female D.I. in Port Dundas, in a Canadian county. I'm on #2 and enjoying it.

There are 7 ½ weeks till the Tilton Paris Trip. I THINK my travel wardrobe is in
good shape, except for a pair of pants I will sew in a couple of weeks. We shall see!

Other than enjoying the amazing fruits and vegetables available right now, I haven't spent much time in the kitchen. Except for this...

I adore fresh figs, and the season is so short...these are Roasted Mission Figs with Blue Cheese and Honey. AH...so delicious!

My 5-year blogging anniversary is coming up next week...first post! And, as long as I'm looking at stats (which I don't do very often), I hit over-a-million page views a little while ago!

I'm headed over to the party at Patti's Visible Monday...come join us!


Sunday, August 21, 2016


Here he is, folks...swimming with Maggie!


Maggie came up for the weekend last week and took Teddy for his first swim...

He was eager to get in the pool...she held him the whole time, as he's too little to be able to get out by himself...

And he gave her a kiss for thanks!

The last 3 weeks have been busy with "Baby Teddy"...how reminiscent of the days when
you put the baby down for a nap...

then agonize over whether to take a nap yourself, or go to the studio to recover more outdoor cushions...(I recovered the cushions...)

We temporarily fenced in the patio off our bedroom so we have a place for us to sit, and a big playpen for Teddy! He's learned and loves to retrieve, which is great for exercising the little guy...

(That's a rope thingy that is almost as big as he is!)

Micmac is slowly warming to the dog, occasionally playing chase; meanwhile he is enjoying the almost daily Amazon delivery.

There's been very little dressmaking going on, although I am half way through one item,
waiting on interfacing and interlining. 

I did do a little cooking; this is one of my favorite recipes using fresh figs...Chicken with Roasted Figs

and of course the tomatoes and corn are at their peak, so we've had this a lot
lately...Corn and Tomato Salad.

I have a painful arch from plantar fasciitis, so I'm not walking these days...no boot this time,
thank goodness, but I need to get back to walking before I "grow" out of my Paris wardrobe.

We are way too close to the "Rey" fire, burning in the back country...our skies often have a strange yellow-brown hue, especially in the late afternoon. So scary...

Hopefully, my next post will be a little less Teddy, a little more fun in the studio...


Sunday, July 31, 2016


Sounds like a retro rock group, doesn't it?

The "Teddy" part is, of course, our new English Cocker Spaniel puppy...we picked him up from the breeders last week in Grass Valley. He's 9 ½ weeks in this photo, and full of beans! He eats, sleeps,plays and nips...those little puppy teeth are sharp, and Dave and I have the wounds to prove it.

Isn't he a handsome boy? His coloration is "Blue Roan with Tan" and his face
portends a real character...

The "turtlenecks" part is due to trying a new pattern, Rise and Fall Turtlenecks by
Papercut Patterns. I found a black and claret striped knit on Etsy that went perfectly with my Paris wardrobe, but I wanted to try out the pattern before I cut into it.

 The first try was in a rayon/lycra knit from EmmaOneSock. This view has a dropped shoulder and is somewhat loose. I used the higher neck from the other view.

The body on number two is a little more fitted, the neck is the same. This is also a rayon/lycra knit, also from Emma One Sock.

And here is the third one in that black and claret stripe...

Interesting to note is how different the collar is in each top...I wanted the high neck of number 1, but the different fabrics (all rayon/lycra) translated differently, 2 and 3 being more droopy.

Being a parent to a new puppy has curtailed my studio time a little...but I've done some listening...Richard Russo's Nobody's Fool and the sequel Everybody's Fool.,,very good, I do love his writing. Also now listening to The House at the Edge of Night, set in an island off Sicily during WW2. Also enjoyable. I read No Man's Nightingale by Ruth Rendell...love her Inspector Wexford novels, and gave up in the middle of Ethan Canin's A Doubter's Almanac, mainly because I didn't care for the major character and didn't want to spend any more of my time on him!  I read the latest Daniel Silva book, The Black Widow...I am hooked on his
 Gabriel Allon books!

Taking advantage of our plethora of French Plums, I made my favorite Plum Crumble

I make it exactly according to the recipe, except I double the fruit. I halved and pitted 200 French plums to freeze so we can enjoy this several times more. It's that good! Don't eliminate the candied ginger as it really adds to the flavor.

A few more puppy pics because, well, just because!

 The chairs and ottoman I reupholstered...

This dog finds the most comfortable places to sleep...

Come on over to Visible Monday and say Hello!