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

Sunday, June 26, 2016


The sewing mojo chez Houtz has been strong lately! I made another Paris Piece,
a very textured silver tunic to go with many of my already-sewn jackets.

The pattern is my old friend B5526, with added pockets and a stand-up ruffled collar. Shams from Communing with Fabric chose the fabric for me, a textured synthetic from Fabrix several years ago.

It enhances many of the fabrics in my Paris Wardrobe-to-be, so I made it so that I could use it as a layer, as well as on its own.

Here it is under the Minoru

I'm very pleased with it!  Here is a peek at the new hanging rack I got to put the Paris wardrobe possibilities on...more on this later.

After I finished that, I went to work on my "Franken Pant" pattern, which is 
Marcy Tilton's V8929 plus my custom pattern from Lynda Maynard. I'm trying to get the combined patterns (that's the Franken part) to the point that I can cut them out, serge all the edges and sew them together in a day. The first one was a wadder, the second ok, but meh...and here's the third one in a stretch cotton from someone on Etsy...


It gets better every time! While I was doing all this sewing, I listened to the
final two books of Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes trilogy, Finders Keepers and End of Watch.  They're pretty good...I've not been a Stephen King  fan in the past, but I enjoyed Mr. Mercedes so I decided to follow through on the last two. After those, I started Barkskins, Annie Proulx's new book. It's loooooong and fabulous. I'm about ⅔ finished. All these audio books are available on Audible Books.

Before I bring you up to date on the puppies (I know some of you are mostly interested in them....!) here's a RTW outfit from Sun Kim that I had to have...

I've already worn it several times and I love it!

Our beloved housekeeper gifted me with this awesome charm "bracelet" for my birthday...her sister made it and I'm so touched by it!

It's a spool of thread, a button, a dress form, a measuring tape, a thimble and a pair of scissors with a rose. Love it!

And one more thing...there were quite a few questions after my last post about  my raincoat...here are some answers...

I didn't line it or add inside pockets as I wanted it to be as lightweight as possible.
I did not shorten it.
The top in "the wineglass picture" was the top of this Alembika outfit that I bought in Oregon


The sheer sleeves belong to my "Sleevey Wonder"!

And HERE are the latest pictures of the puppies...(they are English Cocker Spaniels, blue roan, and we're only getting ONE although Dave has been wondering if we should get TWO
NO I said...


I have a very cute video of them tussling with each other, yipping and GROWLING...
I'll try to up load it.

Well, I tried twice and I couldn't get it to work... 

I'm headed over to Patti's Visible Monday...come see us!


Sunday, June 12, 2016


Lots of time in my studio, working on my raincoat for Paris. I used that gorgeous red/black cross woven taffeta I wrote about last time...

gorgeous to look at, a bear to sew on. Because it's nylon, it doesn't take a nice press, so crisp edges are not possible. But....I'm very pleased with it!

I used Vogue 8934, Marcy Tilton's shapely "cocoon" coat, but used the collar and detachable hood from Waffle Pattern's Tosti Jacket.


I made it sufficiently roomy, to allow for layering over jackets and vests

I hadn't ever made a detachable hood, so I got to learn a new technique, and also learned how to use my new Goldstar Heavy Snap Press Machine.


I'm wearing my birthday present from Dave, a wonderful necklace from Kathleen Nowak Tucci, made from Harley-Davidson inner tubes and stainless steel brake cables (!)

Cool, isn't it?

While I was working on the raincoat, I listened to The Atomic Weight of Love, by Elizabeth Church, which I loved, and Don Delillo's newest book, Zero K, which was just ok. Both are on Audible.

I'm still getting almost daily pictures from the dog breeder...the puppies are alost 3 weeks old, their eyes are open, and they're SO CUTE.

I will be joining the Visible Women on Patti's website this afternoon...come on over and take a look!


Sunday, May 29, 2016


It was never my intent, but I seem to have taken the month of May off! The last few weeks have been busy with houseguests and family, a little sewing, and some cleanup in the studio.

I drove down to Los Angeles for the day, to celebrate both Maggie's birthday and Mothers' Day. We enjoyed lunch at a new restaurant downtown and caught up on news...(and took selfies)

I spent several days on what was to be a  new jacket, from a new-to-me Independent pattern designer

I used a fabric I have sewn before, a four-ply Taslan in a particularly beautiful
gray (you can't tell from the picture, but it has a little green in it, just enough to make it interesting)

HOWEVER...my attemps at using this fabric have been, for the most part, failures. It has no stretch whatsoever, and except for a pair of loose pants I made for Joan many years ago, I have struck out. As I did on this jacket. Pattern to fabric matching not so good!  I abandoned the wadder in my studio and left for a week!

Our grandson Caleb and two of his buddies from Iowa made a quick road trip
after finals and before summer jobs to visit us. They were such fun, lovely boys/young men, we really enjoyed their time with us. They went to the beach a lot, to nearby Vandenberg Air Force base to see the missile launchers, and to
Morro Bay to do some kayaking. (Hey, it was early in the morning!)

Maggie and David came up to see the boys and we had a "farewell" dinner before they left...

My friend Joan returned from a glorious plein aire painting trip in Tuscany with
a side jaunt to Menorca, and we had dinner to catch up.

Then, my dear friend Willie came by for a few days en route to her family in LA,
and we, as always, had much to catch up on...

So...back to our "normal" life...I am making a raincoat for Paris in a beautiful

using V8934 but trying the collar and detachable hood from the Tosti jacket above.

Wish me luck!

ANNNNNND:  This woman I know has a Blue Roan English Cocker Spaniel named Karma,
who gave birth to SEVEN little boys a week ago...6 of them blue roan, one blue roan and tan...

and I get a picture every day of the pups and see how they're growing...ANNNNNNNND
one of them has our name on it...stay tuned!

I'm off to VISIBLE MONDAY to join up with the highly visible women who frequent Patti's site...come take a look!


Sunday, May 1, 2016


It's full-on spring; the flowers around my valley are in vibrant bloom and the sun is shining. I pulled out a wonderful Japanese Cotton fabric designed by Yoshiko Jinzenji, bought some time ago from Marcy Tilton...

It was so much fun to play with pattern placement on this fabric, particularly because I had a limited amount, so I had to be extra creative.

The pattern, once again, is Vogue 1453 by Sandra Betzina; since this is my 4th make, I guess it qualifies as a TNT...

Those little striped circles are "porthole pockets" lined with a black and white stripe remnant...

While I was making this, I listened to The Sympathizer, written by Viet Thanh
Nguyen, which just won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It is beautifully written, somewhat difficult to listen to, due to the subject (the war in Viet Nam), and especially interesting to me, as I lived in Saigon for two years during the war, so many of the descriptions of places, and names were familiar to me.

Big news in our family...our granddaughter Stephanie gave birth to our first great-grandchild,
Amethyst Elizabeth...

Mother, father, grandmother and baby are all doing well!

Our next-door neighbor's farm stand is bursting out in all its glory...I made White Beans with
Broccoli Rabe (Rapini) and Lemon  the other night

and also Crispy Cauliflower with Capers, Raisins and Bread Crumbs, a favorite when the fresh cauliflower arrives.

I think this is my favorite time of year to cook, with all the beautiful young vegetables and fruits making their appearance. We're also enjoying baby potatoes, peas and radishes from Dave's garden.

Between Dave, me and our housekeeper, we keep Paddy's grave decorated with flowers all the time....

How we miss that beautiful boy...Thank you for all your kind wishes.

After I finished the vest, I dove into my stash in the studio and managed to cull at least 20% of my fabrics (and that's A LOT) and found an additional way to organize them, my left brain being in the ascendant last week! Now I have to deal with all those discarded fabrics...

This week, I am visiting BOTH Visible Monday AND Hat Attack...thanks to Patti and Judith for being such wonderful hostesses!


Sunday, April 17, 2016


The weather is warming up (82°F as I write), so I am shifting for the moment from the Fall Paris Wardrobe to Los Olivos Summer!

This outfit was inspired by my new Trippens...

The style is called Union, and it is in one of my favorite Trippen colors...
"Black Ice".

The pants are V8712, an OOP Marcy Tilton pattern...

I made View C, added a band at the bottom, and made sure to use these cute
pockets..they are particularly fun in stripes!

The fabric is a woven stripe in shades of gray on white, from Marcy Tilton.

The top is Style Arc Daisy, without the extra hems. The fabric is from the mists of time (i.e. I don't remember where I got it). It's a very drapey smocked rayon.

Hanging with Buddha...(and yes, I'm showing off the glorious roses :)

Maggie was up last weekend and we did our "fun in the kitchen routine" as
usual. The April cover of Saveur Magazine caught my eye in the market; Dave and I enjoyed our trip to Sicily so much, and particularly the food and wine, so I knew we would enjoy this:

substituted Quinoa for the Couscous, as Maggie is GF 

and we also made Sicilian Caponata, from the same issue.

The peas are from Dave's garden! It was a delicious dinner!

And on to the sad part...we lost our beautiful Paddywack 5 days ago...
He was only 6 ½, he went suddenly and way too soon. He was, of course, a 
part of the family, and as readers of my blog know, my beloved Fashion Accessory.

R.I.P., Paddy

I'll be showing up at Patti's Visible Monday later this afternoon, so pay us a visit!