Friday, December 2, 2016

DIY Agate Coasters

You may have noticed from my choice of decor (here and here) that I love rocks, and whenever I saw the Agate Coasters that have been trending recently, I just had to have some!

This would also make a great Christmas gift!

Just remember that they are on the pricey side. They range from anywhere between $25-$50 for a set of 4. That's $6.25-$12.50 per coaster. I got mine for $4.45/each in an assortment of colors.

  • Agate Slices (I got mine from Science Surplus)
  • Gold Paint (I used DecoArt Dazzling Metallics in Glorious Gold)
  • Sponge and/or Paintbrush
  • Stick-on Felt Pads

How To:

 Decide if you want the sponge look or the paintbrush look.

I ended up choosing the sponge look because I liked how the feathered edge glittered in the light.

For Paintbrush: just paint the edges (If you get some on the face of the rock, just use your nail or a blade to scrape it off!)

For Sponge: sponge the edges with moderate pressure so that the sponge molds around the rock and leaves a feathered edge (You will still need the paintbrush to get into the small cracks on the side.)

Allow the edges to dry. I used thread spools to elevate my stones.

Apply stick-on felt pads (if desired). Use 4 per stone to keep them from rocking under your drink glasses!

All done! So lovely!

Here they are on my side table with my thrifted gold leaf.

Chicken Salad

I have't posted a recipe recently, and as I was enjoying my Chicken Salad Sandwich tonight, I thought, "Hey! Why am I being so greedy? I should share this delicious recipe with everyone!" This is a great quick recipe to make for lunches or dinner. You can serve it on a sandwich, in a pita, or on a bed of lettuce.

Serves: 6
Prep: 5-10 mins (depending on your chopping speed)
Cooking: 5 mins


  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 large chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/2 cup grapes, sliced in half
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in small skillet and cook chicken cubes until done.
  2. Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Stir in chicken and enjoy!

Super quick! And easy clean-up. You only need a small skillet, cutting board, and bowl. You can eat right away or chill in the fridge. This keeps in the fridge for several days and tastes just as fresh and delicious as the day you made it!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bodice Block Alteration: Dart Manipulation

Now that you have a Basic Bodice Block, what can you do with it?

In this post, I will show you how to manipulate darts.

This should be where you are currently...

I like to use a notebook to sketch out how I intend to alter my pattern instead of jumping right in and having to do a lot of erasing.

There we go. Let's start by removing some darts. Remember, the length of the sides (not including the dart) should remain the same regardless of whether you remove or add a dart.

There are two methods of removing a dart. You can either combine your two darts into one or get rid of them all together. Most people use the rotation method. I think it is the easiest, but my method doesn't use a drill hole to pivot.

Combine Two Darts into One:

Step 1
1. Cut out the "wedge" of the dart you wish to remove.

2. Select one side of the dart you just removed (red line) -- it doesn't matter which side, but you will select that same side of the dart you wish to combine it into (blue line).

3. With tracing paper, trace everything on your pattern between the two dart sides you chose (black arrows), AND trace the red lines.

3. You will now pivot your pattern to close the dart you are trying to remove. To do this, just pair up the dart arm you didn't trace with the arm that you just did.
Step 2 and 3

4. I have marked the part you already traced in black. Once you close your dart, you can trace the rest of your pattern (red).

5. The new dart will be larger than the original waist dart was (green). You can keep it or remove it all together by connected the ends of your dart legs. This will result in a looser waist.

Step 4 and 5
Remember that the bottom of your Blouse Block is only the waist line. Unless you want a mid-rift top, you will need to extend it. I will cover this in a later post.

For now, let's learn how to move a dart. It is very similar to removing a dart.

Moving Darts:

Step 1, 2, and 3
1. Decide where you want your new dart, and draw a line from the apex of your old dart to the new location.

2. Cut out the "wedge" of the dart you want to move.

3. Cut in the line of your new dart.

4. Rotate to close your old dart -- which will also open up your new one!

Step 4, 5, and 6
5. Smooth out your pattern where you closed the dart, and trace your pattern minus the new dart opening.

6. Cut out the new pattern and leave a little extra paper around the dart opening.

7. Find the center of your dart opening and draw a line between it and your Bust Point (BP).

8. Move 1.5 cm away from the BP on your line (never start directly on your BP or else you will have pointy boobs); this is your new dart apex. Connect this point to the two sides of your dart opening.
Step 7 and 8

9. Close your new dart and cut off the extra paper you left at the opening. Unfold, and you have your new dart point!

Coming next...

Examples of ways to use your Basic Bodice Block

Step 9

The Basic Bodice Block

Frankly, I hate commercial patterns. They never seem to work out for me. I've read many articles about how to properly read and follow the instructions, but nothing seems to help. Then I thought, perhaps it wasn't the instructions but the pattern itself.

You can't expect to pick up a pattern and find your exact size. Everyone is shaped differently, and commercial pattern sizes are crafted for the "ideal shape". That is, the ratio between hip-waist-bust on an average person. If you want to use a commercial pattern, you have to alter it in order to get a garment that actually fits you.

Or you could just make your own patterns using your Basic Blocks.

You may have heard of sewing Blocks (not to be confused with Slopers). They are the very basic form of a type of garment that is used to create different versions of whatever type it is. For example, the Basic Bodice Block can be used to make different tops, vests, and jackets. Best of all, you can craft your block to your unique measurements so that anything you create from it will fit you!

This is my Basic Bodice Block, front and back.

It looks simple enough, but it does take a little math. If you absolutely hate all math and don't want to take the time to make one, there are numerous places online where you can purchase various blocks made to order in your size.

If you want to make one yourself, you'll need a large sheet of paper (I like to use this paper), a pencil and eraser, and various rulers (12", yard stick, and curved, if you have it; if not, use a plate).

I tried 4 different Bodice Block tutorials before I found one that was easy to follow, complete, and made sense. I'm not going to name any names, but some tutorials were just horrible. These were popular bloggers with lots of followers, but the tutorials were full of mistypes and just bazaar measurements that seemed needlessly complicated.

So, I suggest that you use this tutorial by Em Makes Patterns because I think she did a great job explaining all the measurements and the "why" behind each step. There are other useful tutorials on this site, but sadly, she doesn't post on it anymore.

Coming next...

How to alter your Basic Bodice Block and projects you can use it for!