Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Progress Report!

Well, I did it!! I finished a pattern and wore the dress to my friends wedding this weekend… then made it do double duty and wore it to church on Easter :)
Not only did it turn out really well, but I should have 2 of them listed to sell by this weekend! No, no pictures yet, sorry. But I'm so excited to share it with all of you… and start making money so I can pay off all of the fabric that I bough on my NY/PA trip :P
~ Claire ~

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I am constantly amazed at my stupidity! I have been s…l…o…w…l…y… working on the stuff that I need to for Laudably Lizzy, pushing just about every deadline back, procrastinating, and getting very little finished. I have been working on several dress designs and have lots of beautiful fabric to create some really great stuff… I just didn't seem to like any of it tonight, which is bad as I decided that deadlines can wait no longer and I have to sew like a mad woman over the next week and a half to get done what I need to. I have a wedding this weekend and have been pushing myself to finish one of my dresses so that I can debut it at the wedding. I finally finished the pattern!!!!!! … than all of the sudden didn't like any of the fabric on my shelves. After playing around with different ideas for a while, ok, like an hour and a half, I actually thought to ask the Lord for some much needed inspiration. HE gave me the gift to sew in the first place, HE gave me the ability to design, and HE gave me the very breath that I was wasting on the woe-is-me/complaining about my lack of creativity tonight! So I did what I should have done in the beginning, I asked the Lord to show me the fabrics that I should use for this dress, and He did!! I even have shoes that will go with it, which is good because I don't have time or money to go shoe shopping between now and Saturday :)
This got me thinking about all of the other times throughout my days that I fall into these frustrating ruts. How many of them I know could be gotten out of much or avoided all together if I would just humble myself before my Creator and stop trying to pr quicker ove that I can do it on my own, because ultimately I know that I can do NOTHING on my own and every ability that I have is from Him.
The book of James has always been one of my most, and least, favorite books in the New Testament. Most, because it is so practical and there is SO much packed into five short chapters; and Least, because I often feel as if I am looking in a mirror when I read it. Js. 1: 5-8 " If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."(ESV) - OUCH! How often I do this though! Asking without faith because of my own stubbornness and pride.
"Jesus, I know that I need you in the big stuff, please help me to see how much I need you in all of the seemingly little stuff too."
It's the thread that holds the fabric together.
~ Claire ~

Friday, April 15, 2011

What are you cooking for dinner?

There are times for healthy recipes… but there are definitely times for the all-fat calorie loaded ones too, like the Asiago Alfredo I made the other day and re-heated for dinner. I've never made an official Alfredo sauce before and I decided to give it a try without a recipe! It was amazing though and I really wish I had written down the proportions of what went into it, but of course I didn't (grrrr on me!). 

But here's my best guess :)
I know that I put a stick of butter, about 1/2 - 3/4c. of flour, 5-6c. raw milk (with the cream mixed in), about 1/2c. of shredded Asiago cheese, 1c. plain yogurt, 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, dried parsley, salt, black pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg (one of my new cooking kicks).

I basically melted the butter and added about half the milk then whisked in the flour. I then added the rest of milk and SLOWLY added the cheese and vinegar, whisking vigorously so that it wouldn't end up stuck to the bottom of the saucepan, then added the yogurt. 
The salt, pepper, parsley and nutmeg were to taste… but I think I put in about 1-1 1/2 tsp. of salt, 1/2-1 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and about 1 Tbsp. parsley.

Now for the good part: I served it over baked, breaded chicken breasts and pasta, with asparagus on the side. It wasn't just any breaded chicken though, it was rosemary and rye.

I made my bread crumbs by toasting a few pieces of Deli Rye bread and pulverizing them with more dried parsley and some (dried) rosemary. 

To bread the chicken I "dried" the breasts with paper towels than dredged them in a mixture of flour, salt and pepper (you could throw some parsley and or rosemary if you wanted some extra oomph!), then in slightly beaten eggs, and finally in the rye bread crumbs that I made. 

All was baked for 25-30 minutes in a 375˚f oven.

Well, now that I've made you all hungry, I'm going to go work off the alfredo sauce…

Bon Appetite!

~ Claire ~

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chicken Tomato Stew

I have been on a mission over the last few months to loose 20-30 lbs (almost there!!). I had some friends over for lunch last Sunday and one of them is also dieting so I came up with a dish that both she and I could eat without breaking our diet(s) and hoped everyone else would enjoy. This is what I created:

Roasted Chicken and Tomato Stew! 
Boneless skinless Chicken breasts - cut into 1-2 in cubes
Fresh Tomatoes - chunked into 8 or so pieces each
Fresh Basil and Rosemary - chopped
organic chicken broth 
then I seasoned it all with salt, pepper and some ground coriander. 

I layered it all in a baking dish (chicken, tomatoes, herbs, seasonings) and added enough chicken broth to  cover the chicken. I baked it for an hour and a half at 375˚f to make sure everything was juicy and extra delicious. 
I pretty much did 1 chicken breast and 1-2 tomatoes per person eating, but I also love leftovers so whatever floats your boat.

In hind sight I would have added more tomatoes and chicken broth, but if you make it, have fun experimenting with the proportions.

It was REALLY good! 

I felt kind of like a jerk after I put it all together though because I forgot that my boyfriend is not a tomato fan, but since he was coming he told me he would try it anyway and not lie if he didn't like it … he had two helpings ;) 

For the non-dieting people I also served pasta and ladled the stew over the noodles. (I mixed Penne and Rottini because that's what I was able to dig out of the cupboard).

I then served my healthy(ish) chocolate swirl cheesecake for dessert with some Raspberry purée over it. WOW!!
I use Ackerman's Berries in a Bottle which is a made locally in Oregon, OH. They grow their own fruit and make the purée themselves. They have 4 flavors of purée and also have some salad dressings and vinegar that you can get as well. Here is the website for anyone interested in more info about the company or the products: http://www.ackermanberryfarm.com/

Have a happy Wednesday!!
                                                                                                                  ~ Claire ~     

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Road Trip!

Now I know why they film Project Runway in New York City! It's huge, busy, and full of great fabric warehouses :D 

My friend Sarah and I had a great time in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey over her Spring Break from Culinary School. Other than spending time with Sarah, my main object of the trip was to purchase fabric for my sewing business because there really isn't much in my area of the country for apparel sewing. 
Sarah and I had fun shopping and doing the whole tourist thing in Pennsylvania. We went to the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory, which is the oldest pretzel bakery in the U.S., Wilbur Chocolates, and several cool little shops. This photo was taken at the pretzel bakery, after of course we had our freshly baked, hand made soft pretzels. They were really delicious!

After spending a few days with Sarah's brother and his family we went to NCY for a day to SHOP and EAT!!!! Mood Fabrics was the first warehouse that we went to and I have to confess I felt REALLY overwhelmed when we walked in the door! We didn't have a lot of time, so I went in praying that the Lord would help me find the things that I needed to. Sarah and a friend who went with us helped me pick out fabric and I am SO grateful their help and the great fabric that we were able to find. They then helped me lug it all over the city for the remainder of our time there. You guys are wonderful, thank you again!
Hailing a cab
Two things:
1- Yes, I am aware that there is a big kinda scary looking dude looking over my shoulder, but he's with us.
2- No, we did not get into the Cash Cab.

B & J was the other warehouse that we went to. (I had to tackle this one on my own however as there was a comfy couch that was calling to the non-fabric-junkies … we forgot to get a picture of them lounging!)

These Walk of Fame thing-ies all over the sidewalk were a really cool part of the Fashion District in NY.

One of my favorite designers!
 I just couldn't resist staking my spot on the Walk of Fame :P

Claiming my spot on the Fashion Walk of Fame!
My friends are going to pull an "I told you so!" because my feet were killing me before the end of the day and I'm actually admitting it, but I wore heels to walk around the city in! They were the perfect companion to my little black dress :)

Coppola's Restaurant
While I was on a mission for great fabric, Sarah was determined to have one of the best meals of her life while in NYC. Being that I also love food and cooking I was not at all opposed to this! By word of mouth we found Coppola's. It was some of the best food I have ever had!! The wait staff was amazing, the food fresh, delicious, and pretty fairly priced, and the maximum seating was just over 40. We didn't even have reservations, but we called ahead and they told us to just come over and they had us seated within 5 minutes. No, I'm not going to tell you everything that we had because you would just get really jealous, but I will tell you that I had Chilean Sea Bass (go figure :P) and it was perfect!

p.s. I made the flower on Sarah's bag… just sayin'

The day after our rather busy and exciting day in New York we decided that it was time for a break, so we went to the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ. It really was a perfect day! The sun was really bright but apparently I was not because I hadn't brought any sunglasses with me! So I bought a cheap pair from one of the shops. Just look at that sky!! It was 60˚f and spent a good while walking on the beach and enjoying the warm sand between our toes, which after walking in heels the whole day prior, felt pretty amazing. 

There were even people out surfing, but I didn't get any pictures of them. Actually, almost all of these pictures are ones that Sarah took because I kept forgetting to take my camera with me. Thanks Sarah!!!

This TASTEfashion mantra was all over A.C. which Sarah and I found really cool as it is kinda what I am about with my sewing. I don't want to just make clothes. I want to create an experience that someone can wear whether it's captured in the pattern or a unique cut. And… I love to cook, but you all knew that already :)

Hyde Park, NY was our next adventure!! As I mentioned before, Sarah is in Culinary School so of course we couldn't be so close and not take the opportunity to go to the Culinary Institute of America!!

There were banners like this all over the campus that had different cooking tools on them.

We got a tour of the institute given by one of it's students and got to see several classes in session. The best part of the tour was when we got some samples of what they were working on! It was donut and truffle day and a couple of the students brought out some of their creations for us to try. They were 

After our tour another friend of mine met us at one of CIA restaurants for lunch. Their restaurants are run by the students as part of their training. We ate at the St. Andrew's Cafe which uses local… um… everything. I had a bBeet and Citrus spring salad, Roasted Duck over a mushroom chutney on top of a Ciabatta Crustini, and Maple Creme Brulee. It was amazing. 

Then it was back to PA for some more fabric shopping and Amish country before we headed home.

Once home I jumped right into sewing and made these aprons for a fundraiser. 
I consider myself an artist and use fabric as my artistic medium and so, like most artists, I name my pieces. This first one is called "Made in Americana" and as you can see it is a pregnancy apron!!

I pleated the skits so that it lays flat if you don't have a baby belly to hold it out and made a detachable hand towel.

This is the other apron that made. "Mix it Up" I found this mixer fabric on my trip and bought about 6 yards of it to make aprons with. 

I made the strings extra long so that they wrap around and tie in the front for a fun flirty look and I really like the yoke waist!  

Well, I hope you've had a small fraction of the fun reading this that I had while on my trip and making theses aprons!
I hope my next update won't take nearly as long to post as this one did, but I'm learning not to make promises of that kind :)

~ Claire ~