Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Dressing My Edema

I have a condition called idiopathic cyclic edema, and when it flares, it makes me feel pretty self-conscious. My arms get swollen, my face fills with fluid, my tummy pokes out, and my legs get covered with dimples from the fluid that takes over. We won’t talk about the physical pain that comes with it. Whew. Kind of a downer, huh?

Let’s talk about how I cope with dressing myself when all this takes over. I try to cover my arms so it’s one less thing for my mind to worry over. I wear a shirt that has some flow in the middle for comfort. I no longer try to cover up my legs just for the sake of covering dimpling, because pants can be painful. My body expands as it fills with fluid, and clothes that don’t move and expand with my body can cause even more discomfort to my aching joints. Bike shorts have worked wonders for me this summer around the house.

I made this shirt to meet some of my edema needs and to be easy to nurse my baby. I made a rough pattern from a t-shirt that was flowy. I cut up one of my husband’s old linen dress shirts. Then I reassembled it according to my pattern, used French seams to keep the dress shirt look, went with short sleeves, and added some interest with the hem. I plan to wear it buttoned up with skinny jeans and a cardigan in the fall. If I’m wearing high-rise pants, I like it half buttoned. It’s a simple shirt, but it accommodates my needs. 

I guess I share all this to say I understand if you have some insecurities and if you have some physical ailments that really carry over to emotional burdens you fight each day. Thank God that He sustains me and teaches me through it all. 💛

Tools I Use to Draft Patterns

I’m pretty new to drafting patterns, but I’ve found a good process with a few simple, inexpensive tools. I like reusing paper that comes in packages in the mail— that brown paper they smoosh to keep your items in place. It folds nicely, doesn’t tear easily, and is easy to write on. When I don’t have a stash of that on hand, I like the brown craft paper from Dollar Tree. You get a roll of it for $1 (duh), and it meets all the same criteria.

For marking I’ve tried different pens and markers and have found that I prefer a pencil with a thick lead. I’m using the Papermate 1.3mm mechanical pencil. The lead is thick enough to see the outlines and markings and doesn’t puncture the paper like a thinner lead. You also can erase your mistakes.

The first ruler I use is one I bought over a decade ago at Hancock Fabrics (RIP). You can find lots of clear ruler options in your store’s sewing supply section. I would like one that’s even longer for drawing long hemlines. I use a wooden yard stick when I need to, but there’s something so convenient about being able to see through the ruler to make sure you’re marking where you need to.

The second clear ruler is a square one from Fiskars that I picked up from Walmart. I use it for adding 1/2 inch seam allowances. There are lots of square ruler options, but I like that this one clearly has the seam allowance highlighted in orange.

Curved rulers (not pictured) made for marking arms holes and sleeves and other curves are definitely handy, as well. I use the Lutterloh brand, but you can find other brands at sewing supply stores. These aren’t essential for getting started but are definitely helpful.

These few tools have made it so much easier to make my own patterns, whether I’m tracing store-bought/ready-made clothes or using a drafting system like Lutterloh. If I can make my own patterns, so can you! Having the right tools sets you up for success and for a more enjoyable experience!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Recipe: Parmesan Pecan Chicken Salad

This week in my Instagram stories I’ve been sharing what I’m cooking for dinner in case you’re in a rut or your brain is too tired to meal plan during this back-to-school season. I have the stories saved to my food highlight if you missed them or need more inspo.

Here’s a recipe you can make to serve immediately or make ahead to have ready for lunch. I love making different chicken salad combinations since it’s such an easy way to change up an easy recipe. I boil frozen chicken, but you could also use leftover grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken. Serve it on bread or as a dip with crackers.

🍗Parmesan Pecan Chicken Salad

What you’ll need:
・2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken (cooled to at least room temp)
・1/4 cup of mayo
・1/4 cup of sour cream
・1 tsp of Lawry’s garlic salt with parsley
・1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
・1/4 cup of chopped pecans
・Optional: chopped apples (I left them out this time, but sometimes I throw them into this recipe for some added “brightness” and nutrition.)

Let’s make it:
1. Combine the mayo, sour cream, and garlic salt.
2. Stir the chicken in with the mayo mixture.
3. Stir in the parmesan and pecans (and apples if using).
4. Serve immediately or let it sit in the fridge and serve later.

Just pretend my closeup shots of the chicken salad are in focus. We were in a hurry when I took these pictures.🤪

Recipe: Fruit Pizza

I don’t know who invented fruit pizza, but they deserve an award. There are a few different ways to make fruit pizza. I like this quick and easy way:

What you’ll need:
・1 package of sugar cookie mix
・8 oz package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
・7 oz of marshmallow creme
・1 tsp of vanilla
・Fruit (I used strawberries and blueberries but also really love it with kiwi)

Let’s make it:
1. Mix the sugar cookie mix according to package directions.
3. Flatten the cookie dough onto a pizza pan and cook according to package directions.
4. Let the baked cookie cool to room temperature.
5. While the cookie cools, mix together the cream cheese and marshmallow creme to make icing or “pizza sauce”. You may want to use an electric mixer to do this.
6. Add a teaspoon of vanilla to the icing.
7. Spread the icing evenly on the cooled sugar cookie.
8. Slice your fruit, and arrange it on the iced sugar cookie.
9. Serve immediately, or put it in the fridge until ready to serve.
10. Share if you dare. I won’t judge if you keep it all for yourself.

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