What I’m reading…

I particularly enjoy histories, and this year I’ve been reading about the great wars, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and a couple intriguing and detailed writings about Australia and the British in India.


John Toland, In Mortal Combat: Korea, 1950 – 1953.

Churchill, WWII, all of his writings. I am fortunate to have the entire collection, from my father’s library. He is surprisingly easy to read, rather chatty at times. Of course the writings reflect his opinions, but what better transcriber of the times, challenges, background, and decisions.

Wade Davis, Into the Silence, the Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest.

Tuchman, Stillwell and the American experience in China, 1911 – 1945.

William Craig, Enemy at the Gates: the Battle for Stalingrad.

Philip Ziegler, Mountbatten.

Robert Hughes, Fatal Shore.


Max Hastings, Vietnam, an Epic Tragedy, 1945 – 1975. Terrible. He opines, speculates, second-guesses, through the entire history. I finally gave up on the book, and I’ll look for a more fact-based dialogue.

Update, since I will be in temporary accommodations for a few months, I just ordered the Nook ebook of John Toland’s The Rising Sun.


Doing that dance – embracing a challenge

Such a week. Subsequent to my annual chest CT scan (I get one every year due to my scleroderma), I’ve been diagnosed with a non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) lung infection. It is rare, even more rare than scleroderma. But I have all the markers:

  • Tall, thin, Caucasian woman, with scoliosis and a malformed breastplate.
  • And an immune disorder.

Mycobacteria are everywhere in water and soil, and most people’s systems just shrug them off. But not mine.

  • It’s not cancer, congenital, genetic, or contagious. It is opportunistic in the right host. Like my little body.
  • What it means for me: 1 – 2 years of a treatment program, 3 antibiotics taken concurrently, oral and IV. If you are familiar with drug toxicity, you can imagine what’s ahead of me.

Yes, I have symptoms now, and I have gotten in touch with an Orlando pulmonologist for continuing care. I’m moving in 4 weeks…

Scared? yes, a bit. It’s unexpected, to say the least. Exotic ? But I have lots of family support, and I’ll just keep sewing and focusing on all the wonderful things ๐Ÿ™‚


Simplicity 7051 Vintage blouse

Well, I thought I would head east to Europe on my armchair travel journey, but instead I went west to the great southwest desert.

I found this lovely blouse pattern (1985) on some random search, and I fell in love. Ordered it on Etsy.

The attraction – the deep revere collar and elegant lines. Getting the pattern was just the beginning. Surprises:

  • It has directions for shoulder pads…
  • And for multiple bust treatments, on the pattern tissue. Not as a suggestion or re-direct to a bust adjustment tutorial. No dart, my choice, and C and D cup darts. What patterns do that now!

Moving on, it seems I’m taking STOF France fabrics on my journey. This is a woven cotton from Fabric.com, Impressions de Nature Aloe Lorraine. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sewing notes:

  • I sewed the size 12.
  • Although the pattern has lots of drape at the armscye for a shoulder pad, I won’t use one, so I brought in the outside shoulder seam in by 5/8″.
  • The sleeves are short. I added 1″.
  • And the cuffs/pleats are very tight, a throwback to the ’80s. I added a 1.25″ button tab and simply gathered my sleeve into the cuff.
  • The pleated pocket and epaulets are interesting options, but I left off the epaulets and flattened the pocket, adding 1.5″ at the top for a nice fold.
  • Not being fond of fusible interfacing, I used Pellon SF785 woven sewn-in for my facings.
  • The collar treatment – I really dislike and abominate a collar that is clipped and turned in at the shoulders. Really really. I always draft a back neckline facing for a nice finish.


I have lots of plans for this pattern – this is the most comfortable, best-fitting blouse I’ve ever sewn. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ciao! Coco

New diet – vegan plus, over the moon, I’m trying!

Embarking on a new nutrition course is always challenging. But look how appetizing my new chop bowl looks!

Being proactive, of course, I’ve done some research on how to balance my diet and add nutrients that might help my recent carotid turbulence diagnosis.

To begin – I’ve been eating without beef, pork, chicken, turkey for a couple years. In addition to which, I gave up carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, rice, etc.). And sugar!! Not easy – I like ice cream as much as the next guy.

But perhaps I’ve been complacent. As thin as I am, things are not going as well as I thought they might. Ref, the carotid turbulence. Out of nowhere…

I spent some time looking through my pantry, and I found that my peanut butter (protein) and my thin-sliced bread (only 40 calories, no fat or cholesteral, format for my tomato and peanut butter sandwiches) and reduced-fat mayonnaise may not be all that great. And, OK, I’ve been eating 6 eggs a week, I just love egg salad.

After a lot of research, here’s what I’m trying. I ‘m making ‘chop’ bowls with lots of good stuff, no carbs, a bit of protein. And some ingredients that combat cholesteral production and adhesion in veins. Those tomato lycopenes and beet betains are intriguing to say the least. Plus it happens that I love beets.

Ingredients: One lean chicken breast for protein, 1/2 cup beets, 1/4 cup carrots, 2 plum tomatoes, 1/4″ vidalia onion, 1/2 cucumber, 1.5 cup cooked quinoa.

I don’t get hungry before midday so I can prep this before my afternoon nap and munch away for the rest of the day ๐Ÿ™‚

Snacks? Carrots and mandarins. I like a little something by me at night while I’m reading. Indulgence…pretzels.

Anyone else going to these extremes? And please, take me out for pan pizza.

Ciao – Coco

Wow – a tale of detergents!


Not my usual post. But I bought Arm and Hammer Sensitive Scent pods on a buy one/get one a few months ago. And I started to notice that my clothing smelled like I had just run a marathon!! It was driving me crazy and into the shower more than once a day. I finally figured out it might be my new detergent.


I’m back to All Free & Clear liquid, not pods, no smell, and I’ll never ever use anything else.


Of course, all my garments went back through the laundry, so compulsive, yes ๐Ÿ™‚ Has this ever happened to you?

Ciao! Coco

Mystery Blogger Tour

awardWow. I haven’t done an award rota in a while. But it’s always fun and, IMHO, revives flagging blogger inspiration. I was recently nominated by two favorite bloggers, Linda/Danville Girlย and Linda/ElleGee Makes. So, here we go!

The award description:ย “Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious post. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.”ย Created by:ย Okoto Enigma

That description alone is so complimentary!

Danville Linda:

What do you like to sew the most?
Things for me! I’ve often been asked to sew for others, but I find my attention and interest lag. The pressure, the pressure…

What is your favorite fabric to sew?
‘Favorite to sew’ equates to favorite to wear for me. Living in south Florida has its challenges, because I have to forego some of my beloved layered looks. Love love Brussels Washer Linen and knits.

What is your favorite movie?
Not one! No Country for Old Men, Sicario, Deepwater Horizon, Alien, The Revenant, Fargo, Jaws, Tinker,Tailor, Soldier,Spy.

What is your favorite book?
Has to be Theย Shipping News by Annie Proulx.

If you had a million dollars what would you buy first?
Nothing! I’d give 1/3 to each of my children and put 1/3 into savings for a comfortable cushion for myself.

ElleGee Linda:

If you could eat anything without worrying if it was healthy or fattening, what would it be?
Ice cream! I’m on such a strict diet, but every once in a while I give in and splurge on Halo Top…

Where would you like to go if you could go any where?
Paris. I love Paris. I’ve actually been to 29 countries on business or pleasure, and often to Paris. I would go back to Paris in a New York minute.


Which is bigger; your fabric stash or pattern stash?
Pattern stash! So much more affordable…the stuff of dreams.

What makes you laugh like a lunatic?
ummm…nothing ๐Ÿ™‚ I thought about this, and I’ve decided I’m an introvert. But I do dance in the kitchen. Below, made and gifted by my dear Ashley, she always dances with me.


What do you love about where you live?
I love the open sky, rampant color, warmth, and multi-cultural influences.

Three things about me:
  • I’m a Navy brat, born in California.

50 Dad 3

  • My young-life aspiration was to be a book editor and live in Chicago. Never got close, but I do love to read.
  • My degree is in computer engineering, and over 30 years I worked as a technologies project manager in the international divisions of 4 Fortune 100 companies. Wonderful career!

Argentina 2001 - 01

Nomination and rule time:

The award rules are simple:

  • Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog
  • Tell your readers three things about yourself
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
  • Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers you feel deserve the award
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice, with one weird or funny one
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

And nominees, some blog friends who inspire and motivate me. Hope you’ll join in, but in no way required.

La Sewista



A Colourful Canvas

Five questions:

  1. Whose sewing or style most inspires or influences your sewing?
  2. How often do you bin a garment and throw up your hands in defeat?
  3. How often do you pull the latter out of the bin and keep going?
  4. What is your favorite thing about your sewing space?
  5. How many sewing machines do you own?

In closing, a nod to all my Instagram fav’s who do not blog. Love everything you do!

Ciao – Coco

A huge thank you and an update…


Your many comments have been such a support for me over the last week. Thank you is not enough, so please know that I appreciate each and every comment, and each of you. Your friendship is valued.

The last week feels like a year. I didn’t think I’d have news so quickly, but I do. Background, I’ve been challenged since late last year with a heart issue. I was in hospital for 3 days in November. The first medication I was given was a set-back, as I had an adverse reaction to it. ย And over the next 4 months, I started four more. Ha. Instead of a chair of bowlies (I love Mary Engelbreit), I have a bowl of meds. The last one, started in mid-May, was just awful. I had subtle reactions to it that suddenly became acute. A seizure and more time in the hospital.

With the offending drug discontinued, I’m feeling much better. The underlying condition for which it was prescribed is still there, but my body needs some recovery time, as well as some tests to be sure all is well. Meanwhile I’m reading, playing Australian Patience solitaire, watching favorite movies, cruising blogs, drawing, and getting my head straight.

I adore you guys ๐Ÿ™‚ Coco