Especially Creative Broad Has MOVED!
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Recent Posts

  1. It's Moving Day!
    Wednesday, January 22, 2014
  2. Back, with a Modified Schedule
    Monday, January 06, 2014
  3. McCall's M6442- A Completed "Muslin"
    Friday, December 27, 2013
  4. Time Off to Enjoy the Season
    Saturday, December 14, 2013
  5. McCall's M6442- A Work In Progress
    Friday, December 13, 2013
  6. Chicken with Mushrooms, Garlic and Wine
    Thursday, December 12, 2013
  7. My Preschooler Makes Better Paper Snowflakes Than I Do.
    Tuesday, December 10, 2013
  8. Apple and Onion Pork Roast
    Monday, December 09, 2013
  9. How to Sew Your Child in a Bag
    Friday, December 06, 2013
  10. Hungarian Red Potato Goulash
    Thursday, December 05, 2013
E.C.B. (Especially Creative Broad) has moved to blog.edesignsfashion.com

It's Moving Day!

  Ok guys, I told you it was going to be coming, and I've decided it's time to make the leap.  Follow me on over to the new site at:


  There will still be construction going on for a while...I realized that with over 600 posts here and everything else I have going on, there was no way I was going to get everything moved in a timely manner.  For now, all new posts will be at the new site, but links in old posts (even if they're on the new site) will still come back here.  I'll get it all transferred eventually, but for the time being, all the info is still available.

  Update your blog readers or subscribe via email on the new site.

  See you there!

Back, with a Modified Schedule

  I've been putting off writing this post.  Mostly I've been enjoying spending time with my family, but I've also been working on a couple of new projects that have been swallowing all my free time whole.  Which brings us to the modified schedule.  I haaaaaate admitting that I can't do everything (that's another part of the reason I've been putting off writing this...I was determined to figure out a way to find more hours in the day) but when it comes down to it, for my sanity and the sake of spending time with my kids/husband, I'm going to have to cut back on posting here.

  The Mr. and I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately.  Talking about goals and dreams and hopes for the future, and, aside from resulting in some really bad penny projects for the house, it also has gotten me questioning what I've been doing in regards to a future career.

  I put off going back to school this fall because of my postpartum anxiety.  The meds my doctor prescribed have me to a point where I feel normal in my day to day, but I worried that adding more stress to my daily routine this past September would be a recipe for disaster.  In the meantime, I started going to SEMi Crafty Meetups and got to know several lovely, local sewing bloggers.  One of those was Rae, of Made by Rae, who released a darling line of flannel fabrics this past September.

  Now, I've mentioned in the past that I got my degree in Apparel and Textile Design.  I've always focused on the apparel portion of that, but I certainly was trained to design textiles as well.  It just wasn't something that occurred to me as being any more possible in our little corner of the Midwest than the apparel was until I saw Rae doing it.  Design is really where my heart is.  I haven't been disliking the accounting stuff I've been doing in my classes, but I'd be a big, fat liar if I said I had anything resembling a passion for it.  So, I sat down with Rae and asked for some advice on getting started and she pointed me to Lizzy House's e-book on getting started in the current textile design industry.

  The book is a fabulous how-to and I now have a list a mile long of things I want/need to get done before May, when I hope to attend Quilt Market.

  If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen this teaser of my first piece:



  That piece is already up on Spoonflower, proofed and ready to buy as yardage if you like it.  I also have 4 prints up (but not yet purchasable) that I'll be ordering proofs of as soon as I finish the coloration on the piece I'm working on currently.



  I want to have a couple of lines ready to go with me to Quilt Market.  According to the book, each line should have 4-12 individual pieces in 2-4 color selections each.  ...I've got a lot of work to do.

  As well as creating the prints themselves, I also need to research the fabric companies who will be attending to get an idea of which companies would be a good fit for me and my designs.

  Like I said, I really would like to be able to do all of this AND keep updating the blog 4 times a week AND take care of my house and children AND sleep once in a while AND have a bikini body Gisele Bündchen envies (hey, we're talking about things I want, not reality)...but I just can't do all of that.  Quilt Market is mid May, so come June I'll come back and reassess how things stand, but for now it's going to get a little bare bones around here.  Obviously, I'll still be doing creative stuff.  Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly and Creative Broads gotta create...so I'll post when I have projects, but unless it's something special the Mr. came up with, or really blow-you-out-of-the-water, have to share good, I'll be skipping the recipes.

  If it's going to drive you totally bonkers not knowing when I'm going to post, I highly suggest either tossing my URL into a reader, or, subscribe over on the left hand side there and any new posts will come directly to your email**.

  You'll obviously be able to see my progress on the lines in my Spoonflower shop, and I will most likely be sharing occasional images here and on Instagram as well.  Please, please, please give me any feedback or thoughts you have on pieces as I finish them, especially if you quilt!  Thanks guys!

**Ok, so because I obviously don't have enough going on, I'm finally moving off of this terrible free GoDaddy platform...so hold off on subscribing/putting me in a reader.  I wish, wish, wish I could figure out a way to just dump everything into a new service with the same URL, but that doesn't seem to be doable, so it'll be a new one.  I'll post with the redirect as soon as everything is in order!

McCall's M6442- A Completed "Muslin"

  Just in time to wear for Christmas, I finished my "muslin" of the McCall's M6442 coat!  It's fabulously comfy and I got lots of compliments.





  I did wind up making quite a few modifications to this pattern.  First and foremost, my long torso needed an extra 2" length to get the waist where it was supposed to be.  That oughtn't be a problem for the average person...but my torso is anything but average.

  The rest of the alterations were to the sleeves.  I was using version B of the coat, because I really liked the hood and the longer skirt...I did not like the cuffs though.  It was easy enough to swap in the un-cuffed sleeves, but I noticed they seemed a little short...and like they weren't going to have any facing at the cuff.  I really don't like it when my homemade stuff looks homemade, and I think having the lining coming right to the fold of sleeve cuffs is a huge giveaway in that regard.  I used the same basic method that's used on the opening of the jacket and stitched narrow bands of blue on top of the lining for the sleeves before attaching them to the outer portion.  This way there's about an inch of blue inside each cuff before you see the flannel.  Much more finished looking.

  The other alteration to the sleeves was to make them narrower.  I stitched them up the way the pattern outlined, turned the lining to the inside and tried it on.  They were HUGE.  It made the jacket look incredibly frumpy.  Luckily, since I hadn't sewn the lining in just yet, it was easy enough to flip everything inside out again and take them in.  I wound up taking 2.5" off of each sleeve.  You can see the difference in the picture below.  The sleeve on the left of the picture is the original width, the sleeve on the right is fitted.  ...I ought to have belted the jacket to keep it out of the way so you can see how much tighter it is around the elbow, but you can see the difference at the cuff.



  All in all, once I made the modifications, I'm pleased with this pattern and am looking forward to making my next version (as soon as I can get the guts to cut into that fabric!)

Time Off to Enjoy the Season

  Wanted to let my early-morning (and afternoon and late evening!) devotees out there know, I'm going to be taking a break from posting to enjoy the holidays with my friends and family.  This time of year gets far too overwhelming far too easily, and I want to be certain my kiddos remember this as a time when we made cookies with Grandma, and looked at Christmas lights, and hung out and had hot chocolate, not as one when Mom was pulling her hair out from trying to do eleventy billion things at once.



  I'll be around if you have any questions, or just want to say hi, but I'm going to give myself a pass on getting any projects done "on time" til after New Years.

  Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful, warm and happy holiday season!

McCall's M6442- A Work In Progress

  Finally some progress on this sucker!  I needed to do some modifications for the length of my torso, so tracing the pieces for this took longer than it would have...and there are a pretty good number of pieces...and then I had to figure out what fabrics I had enough of to make a muslin, both outside and lining...and on and on and on.

  But, all the pieces are cut out and it's just a matter of sewing it together now!



  ...sometimes the best pictures come out of my checking my lighting.  This one made me giggle.  So serious and "strike a pose" for somebody who has a bunch of random scraps of fabric on her head!



  I'm honestly super excited for this "muslin" to be done.  The blue is from some secondhand curtains I'd bought years and years ago because they were like, $3 and I loved the fabric.  It's horrible, plasticky polyester on the back, but all of that is going to be inside the coat, and the front is gorgeous!

  The patterned grey flannel you can see in these shots is actually the lining.  It won't show much when I'm wearing the coat (that blue is a big, thick facing along the neckline edge so when the hood folds back all you see is the external color), but it should make it wonderfully snuggly and comfy.

  Fancy dancy lady on the outside, jammies on the inside.  My kind of piece.

  I'm a little worried this is going to wrinkle like crazy when it's done...but...maybe it'll wrinkle in a cool way?  We'll have to see!

Chicken with Mushrooms, Garlic and Wine

  Don't like garlic?  We probably can't be friends...mostly cuz I always have garlic breath, and garlic breath is one of those things that loves company.  Or drives company away.

  Also, you probably want to skip this recipe.



8 chicken tenderloins
2 tsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
¼ cup all purpose flour
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz mushrooms, sliced 
¼ c white wine
⅓ c chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
¼ c fresh parsley, chopped

  Start by heating a large skillet over medium heat to melt 1 tsp of your butter and 1 tsp of oil.  While it heats, season your chicken with salt and pepper and lightly coat it in flour.  Add the chicken to the heated pan and cook for around 10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the chicken isn't pink any longer.  Set it aside somewhere you can keep it warm.

  Add the remaining oil and butter and your garlic to the skillet and cook for a few seconds before adding your mushrooms.  Allow to cook approximately 5 minutes, until golden.  Add wine, broth and parsley and stir to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Cook until liquid reduces by half.  Serve the chicken topped with mushroom sauce.

  This was a great, quick, easy recipe that should be perfect for even households with picky eaters.  G was fine with the whole shebang, but I'm-not-eating-no-stinkin'-mushrooms kids could easily be fed with just chicken, while reserving the sauce for the adults!

My Preschooler Makes Better Paper Snowflakes Than I Do.

  This past weekend the Mr. and I went to a party where the hostess put out scissors and paper for everybody to make paper snowflakes.  This was an adult only party, but it wound up being a surprisingly good ice breaker!

  Monday morning rolled around and it had snowed outside.  G desperately wanted to go outside and dig in his sandbox, but I felt under the weather and really, really did not want to go out there.  I decided rather than being a total kill-joy mom, I'd figure out something else cool we could do.

  Like most little kids, G loves using scissors.  They're forbidden most of the time, so holy cow does he want to cut up anything he can get his little hands on.  I figured paper snowflakes would be perfect.



  Problem is, while G is semi-competent with scissors, he's not good enough with them yet to try and cut out shapes when it comes to many, many layers of folded paper.  Especially when you have to be careful not to cut through both sides of the folded flake.  And especially because little kid scissors aren't particularly sharp (for good reason).



  He played for a while, snipping away, but I could tell that he was getting frustrated fast.

  I didn't want him to get upset, but I wasn't quite ready to call it a bust just yet, so we changed tactics.  Instead of him cutting, I gave him a pencil and asked him to draw a design on the folded wedge.  After he did, I did my best to cut along his lines (obviously doing some interpretations) to create the snowflake.

  Holy cow did the random squiggles, blobs and zig zags he drew make cool patterns!

  The very first one we did wound up looking like hornet faces.  The second like a flower...the third like jagged ice.  So long as we hadn't already cut really close to the edge there I let G do the final snip, cutting off the tip of the triangle.

  We were both thrilled with the results and wound up decorating most of our living room.

  All in all a great experiment, and I think I'll be making it a tradition with the boys, at the very least, til they're able to cut their own!

Apple and Onion Pork Roast

  Winter may be here, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy those last few fall apples to their fullest!  Besides, a nice, long cooking roast is a great way to warm up your kitchen.



3-4 lbs pork roast
5 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 fresh sage leaves
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
3 fresh thyme sprigs
3 apples, sliced
2 onions, thickly sliced
1/4 c butter, cut into chunks
1-2/3 c apple cider
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 c sour cream

  Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  Rub your roast with one of the cloves of garlic, salt and pepper and top with your herbs.  Place it in a roasting pan and surround it with apples, onions and your remaining garlic and then dot with your butter.  Mix together 1 cup of your cider and your soy sauce and pour it over the top.

  Place into the preheated oven, uncovered, until the roast reaches between 145 and 160 degrees (somewhere between 1 hour 15 minutes and an hour and a half).  Occasionally baste it with some of the pan juices.

  When the roast is cooked to your desired doneness, remove it from the pan along with the apples and onions, to a serving platter where you can keep it warm.  It should stand for around 10 minutes before you slice it.  While you wait, skim excess fat from the pan juices and transfer them (the juices, not the fat) to a small saucepan.  Add the rest of the cider to the pan juices and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add your sour cream, whisking until smooth and then serve with the pork.

  This was a great way to make a roast.  We tear through apples like crazy here and it was nice to have them cooked (my favorite preparation) and already in the meal, instead of the standard grabbed-out-of-the-bag we've been mostly doing.  G wasn't entirely sure how he felt about the fact that his apple was "squishy" at first, but seemed to enjoy this once he got over his usual desire to argue with us about...uhm...everything.  The original recipe calls for sparkling apple cider, but we used still.  I'm not sure how/why the sparkling would do anything different...it seems to me it would probably be less potent...which is NOT something I would go for, but, who knows!  Either way, a great recipe to try out on a cold day when you have plenty of time to putter around the house and enjoy the smells of dinner cooking.

How to Sew Your Child in a Bag

  G has been driving me crazy lately, so I sewed him in a bag to keep him out of my hair.



  I'm KIDDING.  The bag wasn't big enough.

  Also, you know, don't sew kids in bags or something.

  Wasn't kidding about him driving me nuts.  Between him and his brother, trying to so much as get the pattern for my coat traced has been impossible.  They seem to have a pact this week to not let me have so much as 30 seconds to myself.  R loves the way the tracing paper crinkles and so grabs it and tries to jam it in his toothy little pie hole every chance he gets and G thinks it's hilarious to try and use the edges as a blanket for his toys.

  I'll be going to the SEMi Crafty meetup tonight (Thursday night), so I should have SOMETHING done by next week.  But then, maybe I'll just hang out and enjoy not having anybody attacking me for a few hours...

Hungarian Red Potato Goulash

  This isn't my mother's goulash.  It doesn't have hamburger, or noodles, or even tomatoes.  I don't cover it in cheese.  In fact, the two recipes have almost nothing in common...except they're both pretty dang delicious.




Olive oil
14 oz smoked sausage, sliced
2 Tbsp butter
2 onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, smashed
Salt to taste
¾ tsp black pepper
1 ½ tsp paprika
10 medium red skin potatoes, sliced
1 ½ c chicken stock
1 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  Start by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add your sausage and cook them until they are nicely browned.  Remove them from the pan and set aside.

Add your butter to the pan and allow to melt.  Add your onions and allow them to caramelize for around 6 minutes before adding your garlic, salt, black pepper and paprika.  Saute for one minute.

Toss your potatoes into the pan and stir everything to combine it before adding your chicken stock.  Cover the pan with a lid, leaving enough space for steam to escape and simmer for around 15 minutes.  Remove the lid and cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Return the sausage to the pan and allow to reheat.  Garnish with parsley and serve hot.

  This recipe was a hit with everybody.  G wound up dipping most of his in ketchup, but seeing as he "really liked the hot dogs" that way, I'm not about to argue.  It was a simple, hearty meal and made for great leftovers the next day, so I definitely expect to put it on the menu again this winter!