Seven Steps to a Successful and Happy Life

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It can be really hard to recognize when something in our lives needs to change.

It’s harder to implement that change when the unknown waits on the other side.

Harder still, is thinking of the future with nothing changing.

At some point in all our lives, we are faced with an opportunity.  It can be family-based, career-based, or emotionally-based.  Sometimes it can be the right decision not to take the opportunity….and other times, it is the only and right thing to do.

It is the last of the two choices that I want to focus on today.

Everyone defines success as something different and more often than not, happiness is tied up with that success.  Is there something in your life right now that you feel must change?  Is there some decision that needs to be made to ensure future happiness?  Are you on the brink of success and need a little extra push to see it all come true?

 Then read on as I share seven steps I have cultivated and learned on my journey to success and happiness.

 It is important to note that these steps are not on a time limit, and are not keys to over night success.  Yet followed faithfully, they will become fast companions on your journey to contentment.

But before I share step one, I want you to take some time to think about what it is that you want or need to change in your life.  When that change happens, what does the final outcome look like?  Format that thought into one specific and direct sentence.  Write that sentence out and continue to refer to it as you read through and ponder each step.

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This is the core of all the following steps.  If you don’t believe that you can do something than you won’t.  Period.  It is vitally important that you value the essence of yourself and trust that little voice which leads and guides your life.  Recognize your strengths and put them to good use!

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Nothing of value and longevity comes in this life with out the exchange of hard work.  Understand that basic principle and embrace that work with sleeves rolled up!

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This one can be really hard to follow.  In fact, it’s down right scary.  But that’s okay…just think of the first time you jumped into the deep end of the pool.  Sure it was frightening, but there was that refreshing water waiting for you after you took that leap!

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 Stand strong, but be willing to change when you need to.  Success comes to those who see their glass half-full…even if they have to switch to another glass!

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Accept your own limitations and recognize the value that can from working and collaborating with others!  Employ those like-minded people to encourage you and aid you on your road to success.

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Engaging in competition with others, career based or not, distracts you from focusing on your own goals and dreams.  And that’s a big no no! 🙂

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Success isn’t measured on the number of things you’ve done that have worked out.  It is measured by your dedication to following your heart even when things didn’t work out.  Always keep planning , dreaming, and believing in yourself and your happiness!

Decide what you want out of life and go for it!  

Life will deliver only what you ask from it…no more and no less.  The speed bumps we encounter, that may shake our resolve, should be viewed as opportunities to show our strength and determination.

Now, my friends, go and be happy and successful!

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The Tea Set

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Every woman needs her very own tea set.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, ornate, or exhibiting fine examples of hand painting (although none of that can hurt!)  The only requirement for any proper set is that it hold enough tea for all one’s friends.  While I am more of a coffee drinker and do not know all the in’s and out’s of proper tea, I have come to realize that a tea set is something more than just porcelain.

 Below is my personal tea set and it comes with a story that will always make it dear to my heart …though the colors no longer match my kitchen.

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I came across this set ten years ago while I was in my senior year of college.  Like many college students, money was tight, and I happened to be out one day trying to find a few clothing bargains for my senior student-placement.  I wandered through the mall and ended up in Bon Ton, unsuccessful on my search up to this point.  I began ambling my way through the home section and came across a small box containing this tea set.  It had, as one can see, two tea cups, a tea pot, and of course a matching creamer and sugar bowl.  It was greatly reduced in price, but still would take all of the money I had in my meager clothing budget.

As with many purchases, I took sometime to think about it and mulled the decision over in my head.  I needed the clothes.  Yet the tea set suddenly came to represent more than just a few pretty dishes, and the pressing issue of expanding my tiny wardrobe began to melt away.  I started to view these little pieces of china as my future.  As something that showed I was ready for the more “adult” aspects of life.  As an investment in the future me, who, I was convinced, would need a tea set.

The choice became crystal clear.

After I had reached my definite conclusion, I made a bee line to the store, plunked down every last cent I had in my wallet, and carried my purchase back to the college townhouse proud as a peacock.  Ten years later it still has a special place in my kitchen.  Though the bold maroon flowers clash with the soft pinks and turquoise of my current color scheme, the set still reminds me of the investment I made in myself and my future.  So it is true when they say that every tea cup has a story…and this is mine.

Oh and the clothing situation?  

Well, when you live with seven other girls of the same size…the problem sort of takes care of itself! 🙂

 

So whether it be mismatched, chipped around the rim, or covered in painted flowers, bring out from hiding that most beloved set.  It stands for more than just tea! 🙂

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Sewing Alternatives for Fur

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It’s cold.  

And when it is cold, one wants to wrap up in something warm, cozy, and soft.  One wants to make sure that any piece of clothing that touches one’s body is warm, cozy, and soft.  Yet, in our 21st century world, what was once our grandmothers choice of warm and cozy…isn’t such a great option today.  I’m talking about fur. Real fur.  And besides the cost, I don’t feel comfortable or right putting it on my outfits.

Still, when one sees stunning dresses such as these, it is tempting to want that textural trim everywhere!

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But never fear, I have collected several alternatives that will add dimension, depth, and character to your outfits, all while keeping the fur on the little bodies who were born with it.

Option 1

Faux Fur

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Available in bolts or as trim, faux fur is the obvious alternative to real fur.  Like many things in life, the more it costs the better the quality.  Just note that the more inexpensive varieties can shed and it, like many fabrics, does have a clear direction of fibers, so cut accordingly.

Option 2

Velvet Ribbon

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An elegant upgrade, velvet trim is available in a variety of widths and colors.  And at a reasonable price, it can be used to trim and edge many parts of a gown.

Option 3

Grosgrain Ribbon

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Silky ribbon’s coarser cousin, grosgrain ribbon adds an element of homeyness and sweetness to a dress.  Use in rows to turn a skirt into something special and unique!

Option 4

Beaded Trim

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Requiring careful application, beaded trim in multiple widths is a great option for necklines, cuffs, and under bust seams.  Options that include pearls and sequins are also wonderful decorations for any outfit!

Option 5

Feather Trim

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A recent discovery, I have not had the opportunity to sew with feather trim, but I would imagine it creates a stunning finished product!  I have never seen any in a brick and mortar store, but was able to track options down online at websites such as Lamplight Feather.

Option 6

Lace

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While lace may not add stiff and bold texture, it nonetheless is an elegant option for blouses, coats, and dresses.

So embrace the many wonderful options available for all your warm, winter sewing!

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1943 Ruffled Blouse Tutorial with Pattern

1943 Ruffled Blouse

Sweet and elegant both describe this little blouse from the 1940’s.  I had such a fun time creating it, that I wanted to share the pattern with you!  However, unlike patterns I have created in the past, this one is a bit different.  I have created a drafting guide with the hopes of allowing anyone of any size the ability to recreate this pattern just for them!

If you try this, I would love to hear from you!!  Send me an email or connect with me on Facebook!

Happy Sewing!

Tools to Draft Pattern:
  • Ruler
  • Curved Ruler for Armholes and Hip Curves
  • Pencil
  • Craft or Wrapping Paper
  • Meausuring Tape
  • Knowledge of your own upper body measurements

1945 Ruffled Blouse Pattern

How To Draft:
  1. Following the guide below, write down all the proper measurements.
  2. On a large piece of craft or wrapping paper, begin marking and drawing the patterns using the picture above and your measurements as a guide.
  3. Once completed, cut out and drape on body or dress form.  Note needed alterations and adjust accordingly.
  4. Once base pattern is satisfactory, cut out of fabric making sure to add in seam allowances and extra width on one side for the zipper.  Check armhole fit for comfort and ease of movement.
  5. I also recommend to test the pattern first out of muslin for proper fit.
Guide:

 

1943 Ruffled Blouse Pattern Drafting Guide

Cut 2 of Bodice Front Top.  Cut 1 on fold of Bodice Front Bottom.  Cut 1 on Fold of Bodice Back.

You will also need a long piece of fabric measuring 3″ wide by length of total neckline plus 10″-15″

Supplies:
  • 1-1/2 yards of fabric
  • 9″ zipper
Process:
  1. Stitch back dart if needed.
  2. Run gathering stitch along bottom of Bodice Front Top.
  3. Pull gathering stitches to fit the angle of the Bodice Front Bottom making sure that most of the gathers are closest to the top.  Pin and stitch right sides together.  Repeat with the other side.
  4. Stitch shoulder seams.
  5. Choose side for the zipper and insert.
  6. Stitch other side seam.
  7. Give a narrow hem to sleeves and to the bottom of the blouse.
  8. Turn long strip right sides together and stitch the ends only.  Turn out and press.
  9. Run a gathering stitch along the long strip of fabric wrong sides together.  Tie off one end of gathering threads and then gently gather to fit in neckline.
  10. Pin to neckline so raw edges line up.  Stitch.  Trim or serge seams.
  11. Optional: Apply a facing to raw edges of neckline for a neat trim.
  12. Press and enjoy!

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Winter Hats for the Winter Chill

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I am not much of a hat person…but I want to be.  I sometimes wish that hats would come back in fashion so that it would sway me to buy one….or even three!  While it is perfectly acceptable to wear hats on the beach, gardening in the summer, and skiing down the slope, it isn’t all the common in one’s everyday life.  A few bold women will wear those wonderful wide brim hats or the fedora hat so apart of the bohemian style, but that’s about it.  At least where I live.

So how can I change this sad state of affairs?  How can I welcome a little fashion topper for my bare head?  Well, there is no time like the present, and the present is winter, soooooo winter hats, here I come!

To get the hat wearing juices flowing, I have collected a few of my most favorites for the winter months, both past and modern.  Maybe you will see something you like as well! 😉

1890’s

I love when one’s hat, scarf, and muff all coordinate.

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1900’s

Feathers and flowers? Perfect!

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1910’s

Same hat, different outfit.  That’s the sign of a classic hat.

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1920’s

I love any of the outfits from the show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, but this is truly stunning!

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1930’s

Marlene Dietrich knows how to rock a fur hat!

1937: Marlene Dietrich (1901 - 1992) American actor and singer. She was born Maria Magdalene Dietrich von Losch in Berlin. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

Any of the hats from Green Trunk Designs are stunning! This Rustic Green Felt Hat, though, is one of my favorites.

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1940’s

Matching the hat and the purse….that’s a good idea!

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1950’s

I don’t think I could pull this look off, but I still thought it was a stunning ensemble.

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Interested in making your own millinery masterpiece? Mrs. Depew has many wonderful options available if hat making is your thing!  Here is one of my favorites:

1930’s Eugenie Hats

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Image from Mrs. Depew

 

With so many choices and styles to pick from, it will be fun to see what strikes my wintery-fashion sense!

Have a wonderful day!

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Poetry: The Snow Man by Wallace Stevens

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The cold has finally arrived, and with it, the lacy drifts of snow.  

 

The Snow Man

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Sources:

The Snow Man by Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)

John F. Carlson (1874-1945) Aisles of the Forest

Hendricks Hallett (1847-1921) – Winter Moonlit Scene