Friday, November 25, 2011

Do It Yourself Pattern Weights

Pattern weights are a good way of securing your pattern to the fabric especially if you are worried about pin marks in either.  I wanted some of my own and found they were about $11.99 for a set of four.  Knowing that I would need more than four, I decided to make some of my own. Off to the hardware store I went to find some oversized washers. 

The largest washers in the bin seemed too small and weren't hefty enough even when doubled up.  Lukily, I found a box of assorted hex nuts, flat washers and lock washers (I had no idea what a lock washer was before this experiment). 

These will be much prettier once they are covered with a scrap of fabric!

First, I measured the washer and added about a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Doubling the length and adding for seam allowance and a flap gave me a resulting measurement of  3 inches by 6 inches.  I found the result to be a little short so if you would like to do this cut a piece 3 by 6.5.

Fold up the raw edges of the short ends 1/4 in.  Finger press. No need to be super accurate.

Place the washer on the fabric. Fold the fabric to cover the washer.  The length of the excess will be your flap. Measure or eyeball the ammount of excess.

Unfold the fabric, then fold the amount of excess to make the flap so that right sides are facing each other.  Finger press.  You will have more that the photo shows if you cut your fabric 3 by 6.5.

 Fold your fabric in half right sides together.  Pin, catching the flap.  Stitch a 1/4 inch seam on both sides.

Clip corners.  Turn right side out.

Slip two washers inside your envelope.  

Turn flap out. You are done with the washers. 

The hex nut was a little different.  I measured the circumference, devided in half and decided to cut my fabric 2.5 by 6.5.  Follow the same instructions as above but your folds will be about 1/3 of the fabric each for the front, back and flap.

Place both the hex nut and the lock washer in the envelope. Turn the flap out.

I didn't love the way this turned out for me.  I couldn't get the hardware to lay nicely in the fabric pouch.  So I resorted to the cutting a 5.5 by 5.5 swatch of fabric and tying the hardware inside. Much easier and just as cute and functional.

Of course you could lay out your pattern with plain old hardware. 

But this looks much prettier.  Don't you think?

As soon as I finished my weights I discovered several blogs that talk about how to make pattern weights.  Some used beans, pennies, etc. Some even published on this very day!  But I had fun figuring out my own way.

The total financial outlay for the hardware and scraps of fabric?  $4.67 plus tax for six weights as opposed to 11.99 plus tax for only four weights and not nearly the delightful, creative experience. 

Since this is Foster Reviews It, I better review myself and give myself 5 out of 5 stars for knocking more than 50% off the price!

I will also be posting this on Sew Country Chick's Saturday Sew and Tell.  (See the button on the right.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Dodo Restaurant and Epic Casual Dining

The previous two weekends have found me at two local restaurants. I always try to go local before any of the franchise fare.  My husband and I went to The Dodo for his work's once a month "try a new restaurant" get together.  

The Dodo is located in Sugarhouse on 1355 East. and 2100 South. Their menu had a large variety of choices from sandwiches to the the fancier specials of salmon or staek.  Prices for dinners ranged from the low teens to low twenties.  

My husband got the Coconut Thai Chicken and I got the Portabella  Ravioli in Creamy tomato sauce.  The sauce had just enough cream, to make a perfectly delicious addition to the ravioli without being overbearing.  My husband couldn't say enough about his dinner.  Everyone in our party had positive things to say about the quality of the food.  The service was excellent and the waiter handled our partly of twelve with ease. The key lime pie is reputed to be the best outside the South.  I didn't have any as I was too full, but it sure looked gorgeous!  

                                        (Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Dodo Restaurant's Key Lime Pie.

The decor was simple, modern and elegant. When we left the restaurant, the lobby area was packed with people waiting to get a seat. This contributed to the loud atmosphere, which is the only complaint I have.  I guess when the delicious food attracts that many people, it is going to be loud.  4.5 out of 5 stars.

Epic Casual Dining is located in Midvale, on 707 East, Fort Union Blvd.  My husband and I had a Groupon to use before November was up so we gave it a shot.

We ordered the crab cakes and the grilled artichokes for appetizers.  Both were quite tasty, and the sauce on the crab cakes was tangy and the best part of the appetizer.  

For our main courses I ordered the risotto with smokey bacon, mascarpone,  and portabella mushroom, and my husband ordered the sausage fettucine.  My risotto was good albeit on the salty side. I guess when you order something with bacon in it that's what you get.  My husband's fettucine was disappointing.  The tomato sauce was too sweet and it taste like something I could throw together at home on a busy week night, not something to spend fourteen dollars on. 

Prices ranged from the low teens to low twenties.  The decor was pleasant and warm with rich, dark wood on the walls. Although, I was very chilly throughout the meal. 3 out of 5 stars. My husband says that is too generous and would give it about 2.5 stars.

If I am going to spend about the same amount of money, I would choose The Dodo over Epic any day. 


Friday, November 18, 2011

YellowBird Fabric Shop and My Cool Vintage Patterns

I lead a secret life.  I suppose it is not so secret anymore now that I've blogged about it.  Secret or not, I love vintage fashions.  And I love looking for cool vintage patterns on Ebay or at vintage shops. I have discovered that there is a whole breed of people out there like me who hunt down and  preserve patterns and actually make vintage clothing.  I just haven't gotten around to the making part.

Here are the cool patterns I've acquired over the past little while.  




The Ebay seller put this one in an acid-free protective sleeve.

This is the pattern I will start with first.  I'm going to trace the original on to pattern paper and then put it all back in a nifty acid-free sleeve.  You would think that JoAnn's would have pattern tracing paper in that big behemoth of a store.  But no, I was disappointed in JoAnn's once again. I had to order it on-line.  I also didn't find a mid to heavy weight knit or wool there to use for this dress. Not surprising.  Can you tell I'm not a fan of JoAnn's?   

On the other hand I did find the darling, hip, little fabric shop in Salt Lake, called YellowBird Fabrics.  I loved everything about this shop, the classes offered, the exquisite high-quality fabrics, the hipster owner, and of course, the retro patterns.  Prices were high so I will really have to want/need the fabric to buy.  I guess that is what you pay for quality which is something JoAnn's doesn't have.  Did I mention I don't like the anxiety causing shopping experience of JoAnn's?  YellowBird was so much more pleasant.  

Patterns: 5 out of 5 stars.
JoAnn's 1 out of 5 stars.
YellowBird Fabrics 4.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ruby's Inn Campground

Bryce Canyon National Park has got to be the most beautiful and the most spectacular national park I have ever been too.  Consider the beauty of the national parks; to say this park is the most amazing is making a bold statement! 

If you travel to Bryce Canyon National Park, you will want to stay a few days, especially if you are a hiker.  The vast number of hiking possibilities include the extremely difficult to the easy and accessible.   

Ruby's Inn has the closest lodging to the park.  It is open all year long, has a large RV and tent camping area, and for those who don't like to sleep outdoors, there are several buildings of motel rooms. Not only are there several places to rest your weary body after a long day of exploring the park, the Inn has a swimming pool, a reasonably priced grocery store, (this came in handy when I forgot cooking supplies), a gift shop, and a restaurant.  We camped in the RV park.  Here is the view out the window of my trailer.

Going to Ruby's Inn during the off season has one large advantage; it is uncrowded.  The RV and tent spots were right on top of each other.  The above picture is so nice because it is facing the road.  On the other side of us, a few feet away, was another camper.  

The bathrooms and showers were clean, the kids loved the pool, and the staff was friendly and helpful--even when we ran out of propane to run our furnace at 9:30 at night and had to buy more!  I found the grocery store reasonably priced especially since the nearest store was about 25 minutes away and they certainly could have gouged the customers.  Speaking of gouging, the gift store was overpriced, and the jewelry was the worst offender.  So no trinkets for me this trip.

Going in the off season has it's disadvantages as well.  All the small shops across the street were closed. The guided horseback riding was not available, and the shuttle didn't run into the park.  And it is cold at night!  We were there in the middle of October and it got down into the 30s.  Brrrr.  Don't plan on tent camping unless you have some serious cold weather gear!

I will most definitely return to Ruby's Inn.  I found it reasonably priced and the close vicinity to the park and to the nearby Red Canyon State Park makes it well worth the stay.  

Enjoy more pictures of Bryce Canyon.  And don't forget to make sure your road side assistance it up to date and your gas tank is full.  There are no gas stations on the corner of I-15 and Highway 20 nor is there a gas station on the corner of Highway 20 and Highway 89.  Just a tip bred from experience.......