About Me

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Los Olivos, California, United States
You can reach me at fool4fabric (at) gmail (dot) com

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


I'm back, just to say hello and to thank all you lovely people who have questioned my whereabouts, or asked friends if I'm "all right"!

I am all right, but I wasn't for a good part of 2017; I jumped down my hidey-hole and, except for occasional forays on Instagram (mhoutz4) and Facebook, I laid low.

I have continued  problems with my foot...not life-threatening, but life-changing. I had a complete rupture of the tibialis anterior tendon, resulting in drop-foot and considerable pain. It's not "fixable", so I have to find ways to live with it. I wear a brace a good part of the time. The psychological fall-out was way worse than the physical part...a good part of my identity is wrapped up in how I move and walk, how I present myself, what clothes I wear...none of this will be a surprise to you who have followed me over the years! At any rate, it hit me like a bomb and it took many months to come to terms with it. But I have succeeded in facing it and am determined to "take my body back" and live as I have done for many years! YAY!

I have not been sewing since early last year; not only was I distracted, but I haven't been able to keep up my years-long 4 miles a day walk, and my body has reacted badly to that...i.e. I can't wear a lot of my lovely clothes! SO...I am starting to walk again, gradually, and am determined to recreate what I can of the best parts of who I "used to be". I am in the process of cleaning out my studio, getting rid of a lot of excess "stuff", and whether I will sew again will be addressed in the future.

Other than that, Dave, Teddy, Micmac and I are all fine..

and wish you all a happy and healthy 2018.

I DO miss having a place to share what new things, books,meals, etc. I am enjoying...
so maybe I will blog occasionally. I'm not making that decision right now.

One thing I would love to share is a new makeup I've discovered (this is my opinion, only) It's LookFabulousForever, started 5 years ago by a lovely 65-year-old woman who despaired of finding makeup items suited to an aging face. The makeup itself is fabulous (I've ordered 3 times) but the very best part for me is a series of wonderful videos showing just how to apply the products and what tricks can be used to look better as you age. Most of the videos are done by Tricia Cusden, the founder, who is a beautiful woman.  So part of my determination I wrote of above includes looking the very best I can!

Here's a picture of me on a "road trip" with my dear friend Shams in October as we drove up to Ashland, Oregon, to attend a Design Outside the Lines workshop, put on by Diane Ericson and featuring Kathryn Brenne, a wonderful pattern designer for Vogue Patterns, a teacher of couture sewing skills and a leader of workshops in her own right. What a great time we had! Check out Shams post about it if you're interested.

Best wishes to all of you...thanks for caring! Till we meet again!



Sunday, April 23, 2017


After too many years to count of speedy sewing, trying to get things done quickly, I have become enamored of slow sewing. Why? For one thing, I don't really need many clothes...I have so much and lead a fairly quiet life (Clothes-wise). For another, I have come to appreciate the steps in the process of making something, which includes A LOT of hand sewing, basting, and experiencing the magical process of MAKING.  And for a third thing, I am able to listen to audible books, music, podcasts for some of the time I'm sewing. When I get to a hard part, I turn off the sound and concentrate on what my hands are doing.

So, as I mentioned, I have been working on another Koos van den Akker
pattern, V1493, a kimono-styled jacket with "tulip-banded sleeves".

I made it in an "embossed velvet knit" in two shades of gunmetal gray from Emma One Sock, trimmed with (LOTS OF) bias binding in a stretch taffeta in metallic gray. This jacket used even more bias binding than my previous one, and was very labor-intensive.

Laying out the criss-crossing bias tape on the sleeve band.

After attaching the sleeve band. I probably spent more than 2 weeks on this, but I am very happy with the end result; I wore it out to dinner the other night and received many compliments.

After that was finished, I moved on to a vest to add to my travel wardrobe for our upcoming trip to London and Scotland.

I'm sure you recognize my TNT vest pattern, V1453; the fabric is a very interesting Black and Red Abstract Embroidered Lacy Mesh which I got from
Mood Fabrics sometime last year. It is embroidered wool mesh on a nylon tuile

When I got it, I knew the red wasn't right for my use, it was somewhat on the orange side. So, I overdyed it...SEVERAL TIMES, with different types of dye, until I got the red I wanted. All that hot water also shrunk the wool a little
so that it's not so see-through. I really like it!

I lined it in a red satin, so it should be warm for the all-spectrum weather we will have in Scotland.

We leave a week from today; we will fly to London and spend a few days visiting the new Tate Modern wing and have a dinner at NOPI. Then we'll take a train to Glasgow for 3 days. After that, we'll go by train to Inverness, whereupon we'll embark on a week-long small ship cruise on "The Lord of the Glens" to the "Heart of the Highlands". Neither Dave nor I have been to Scotland, so I'm really looking forward to it.

For those who have asked, this is what I've been reading/listening to in the last few weeks:

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Blacklight Blue by Peter May
Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves
Earthly Remains by Donna Leon
The Old Man by Thomas Perry

Broken Harbor by Tana French
The Secret Place by Tana French
Celine by Peter Heller


C.P.E.Bach Symphonies and Cello Concerto
Leonard Cohen, Complete Studio Albums

On Being with Krista Tippett

We've been escaping the ongoing construction and termite work whenever we can...last week we took a picnic lunch to our old winery and vineyard (now Beckmen Vineyards) so I could check out some of the many roses I planted more than 35 years ago...

Those olive trees in the back are part of a gift for my 50th birthday from Dave...
50 olive trees!

Here's Dave with his well-loved and used tractor, which came with the raw land when we bought it in 1979!

My travel wardrobe will rely heavily on my past trips to Portugal and Paris... I have updated the pictures, which follow:


As I did during my Paris trip, I will not try to blog, but I will put some photos as we go on my Instagram account, here.  We'll be back the middle of May. This afternoon, I'm heading over to Visible Monday, where Patti is hosting our party!


Sunday, April 9, 2017


I have been a busy bee with family and friends, food, deconstruction and sewing.

Here is my new Koos jacket, V1277...

I was inspired by my dear Paris traveling companion, Ruth, who was wearing this magnificent jacket the day I met her...

I used only stash fabrics for this, sticking to black, gray and silver
(in great number in my fabrics).  The primary fabric, a black and gray parallelogram taffeta, was from Marcy Tilton

 as were the rest of the fabrics.  I was able to use a fun silver trim from Paris for the bias sleeve seam.

Here it is on Ethyl, my dress form , where you can get a better idea of the fabrics I chose.

This was one of the more time-consuming projects I've taken on recently, due to the piecing, and to the making and applying of miles and miles of striped silk bias tape, but I enjoyed it, slowing down and listening to my Audible books. I listened to LaRose, by Louise Erdrich, and the first three of the Tana French Dublin Murder Squad books, In the Woods, The Likeness and Faithful Place...loved them all! I'm on #4 now.

Despite all the work involved, I enjoyed it so much that I am working on ANOTHER Koos jacket, a different pattern, which I will show you next time.

The weather here has been all over the map, and one morning recently, I went back in the house for another layer...and found a coat I had bought in Paris, had
put in my coat closet, and FORGOT ABOUT!!! I'm afraid that may be a sign that
I have too many clothes😜. Here is the coat:

It's by Lauren Vidal. It was in the window of the LV store which Shams and I passed on the way to a fabric store with the group. When we were finished, we whipped back to the store and I bought the coat immediately. It is gray felted wool with an irregular black splotchy design. The inside is quilted silk, and it is piped with silver leather. YUM!

It's hard to believe I forgot about it, and I will be building my wardrobe for an upcoming trip to London and Scotland around this coat.

Maggie and David came up for a few days last week, and were joined by some friends of theirs from Las Vegas. There was the usual amount of companionable cooking in the kitchen...

This was a tasty barley and vegetable bowl, topped by expertly poached eggs
by Maggie.

THIS gorgeous arrangement was a surprise from SIL David. Among the orchids and roses are half a dozen highly fragrant lilies...Over a week later, they are still perfuming the dining room! Thanks, David! You know how to impress your MIL!!!

We enjoyed their visit...we took a picnic lunch up the mountain one day, flew their friends's drone.

The deconstuction I mentioned is the frightening amount of work we are having done for a serious termite infestation. Among other things, our very large deck has to be replaced, and while they were working, they found some dry rot...

It actually makes a lovely abstract painting, but it has to be repaired...😟

I was honored to be the subject of an article in our local paper recently...

Here's a link to a readable page if you're so inclined...it's on page 14.

Our Teddy boy is doing well; he's learning some new hand signals and goes to
doggy day care twice a week; he comes home EXHAUSTED from playing with the big guys, which is such a help!

Then he goes to sleep...

One last picture before I go to roast a chicken for dinner...

Dave came in from collecting the eggs the other afternoon and showed me this...it must be a first attempt by one of our new hens. Back to the drawing board, Henny-Penny!

I am traveling over to Patti's Visible Monday today...come admire the Visible


Sunday, March 12, 2017


I didn't really plan to take a break...I've been dealing with a health issue and a few other inconveniences, then I began a BIG studio clean out and finally got back my sewing mojo...so here I am!

I tried out Sandra Betzina's new jacket/vest pattern, V1540, in a two-sided
quilted poly from Mood Fabrics.

I love that the other side (solid "merlot") shows a little when I move...

The weight of this fabric is better-suited to my climate than some of the heavier ones I've sewn lately...although, it's in the high eighties this weekend, so I'll
need to bring out my lighter-colored clothes now.

I also made another pair of my "Trifecta" pants in a pretty floral print stretch cotton from Marcy Tilton..

Teddy is doing well, maturing a little bit...he goes to a doggy day care several times a week at his trainer's where he gets to play with the big dogs. He's growing
big, himself!

I forgot to take pictures of some of the food I've been cooking, except for  this recipe for
linguini and clams,
 which is one of our favorites...

It's better with little manilla clams, but this is what my market had.

I'm hard at work on a somewhat complicated jacket in my studio...I hope it will be finished by the next time I post!

I'm heading off to Patti's Visible Monday party...come pay us a visit!


Sunday, January 29, 2017


I carved out some studio time over the last two weeks and worked on this;

I returned to V1510, Sandra Betzina's vest pattern from last fall. I have been holding on to this verrrrry interesting fabric from EOS which I got a long time ago. It's a medium weight black jersey with squares of faux leather glued on. It looks a little like an alligator, but with a lot more texture...and you know me, I'm all about texture!


I removed the extended shoulder, drafted a facing, and changed the pockets to folded patch pockets. The facing, collar and pocket lining were out of a lightweight faux leather, also from EOS.

Here are closeups of the collar and pockets:

The vagaries of the fabric made this a little hard to fit, but it's unusual and subtle and I really like it! The snuggly boots are my latest Stuart Weitzman find on eBay..."Humzozomay Shearling Studs Wedge Boots"

Dave came in the other afternoon with the first harvest of our "Moro" blood oranges...so we had these at cocktail hour...

 Blood Orange Margarita with Ginger  Beautiful AND Tasty!

Since I had the camera out yesterday, I also took pictures of an outfit I bought in Paris at Juliette Ozouf.I would characterize her clothing as high-end boho...simple shapes, exquisite fabrics, subtle textures.

These are mostly wool, but so lightweight that I can wear them in my climate at least half the year.

Dave and I celebrated our 41st anniversary last week...with a fantastic meal and a bottle of good wine.

To celebrate the arrival of my Rancho Gordo Bean Club quarterly box, I used
the RG Cassoulet beans to make one of my favorite recipes:

Here's the recipe: it's Caramelized Onion Cassoulet and has no meat or cheese in it. It's OUTSTANDING! And while I was at it, I made this: Bon Appetit's Best Chai Masala.

I'm drinking it as I write.

Books? I read "The Dry", a debut novel by Jane Harper set in Australia, which I quite liked. I'm listening to "The Mischling" by Affinity Komar...a very hard book,
but the writing is gorgeous. I listen to it in small segments. It's about a set of twins in Auschwitz. If you can handle the subject matter, it's well worth reading (or listening to).

And finally, sad news about our Teddy...he is deaf. He was not deaf when we picked him up from the breeder, but he is now, and is proving very hard to train.
But we love him dearly and will do everything we can to help him learn his manners.

That's it for now...I'll be heading over to Patti's Visible Monday to join up with the other Visible Women. Come on by!