Do you have drawers full of T-shirts that you don’t wear? I do. I don’t wear them much because A) I have scads of them (don’t even ask how many fuchsia pink T-shirts I own), and B) they’re sort of boxy and not terribly attractive. Added to that, my figure is the Apple type (you know, skinny stick legs and BIG tummy, double-no, make that triple-chins) so I don’t like to wear things that are too closely fitting with round a neckline that comes up to my throat. And plain boxy T-shirts are … well, plain and boxy. No style. Plus, I am just barely over 5 feet tall, so most T-shirts come down to mid-thigh on me. Sure, they make great sleep shirts, but I want to get more use out of them than that.
T-shirts are great though, because they are so comfy to wear, and wash easily. I could donate them, but some, like my RAGT T-shirts, have happy memories attached to them that I want to be reminded of. I don’t want to get rid of my T-shirts. I want to use them!
Do you ever see something on Pinterest or somewhere and say, “Hey, I can do that!” Well, I do, and I can, and I did. I took a plain white T-shirt, cut off the edges, ironed on some floral appliques, added a casing for a gathered neckline, finished the raw edges, and Ta-DA! My new summer blouse. Here is how I made this:
Maddy’s Easy Peasant Blouse
T-shirt in a size that is a little loose
Any appliques, trims, or other decoration you like. I found this floral applique on clearance for $1.97.
Approx. 1 yard 1/8-1/4 inch wide elastic, or 1.5 yards narrow ribbon to gather the neck.
Sewing machine or serger
Iron (if needed to iron on transfers or appliques)
Wash and dry your Tshirt. If you are using an Iron On applique or transfer, don’t use fabric
Cut off the bottom of the shirt so it is 2” longer than you want it to be. When the neck is gathered, the bottom of the shirt will rise a bit. Keep the actual hem because that is what you will use to create the neckline casing.
Mark a circle around the neck and cut. I measured 2 inches from the neck ribbing as a guide.
Cut a slit across the top of the sleeve to create a flutter sleeve. (This is optional. You can just have a plain sleeve with a ruffled edge) Cut off arm ribbing.
Add any trim you like now. Red and Blue ribbon in rows around the hem would be fun for 4th of July. Maybe a scatter of those iron on rhinestones? How abut a strip of lace down the center front? Or no trim to make it even easier and cheaper.
Take the bottom hem that you cut off in step 2 and trim close to the stitching. On the wrong side of T-shirt, make a casing by stitching down the hem an inch or so away from the cut neck edge. Leave an opening to thread the elastic thru. Do not put the elastic in now. NOTE: if you want to use ribbon to gather the neck instead of elastic, you can stitch the hem on the right side of the shirt. The ribbon can be tied in a bow.
Create the lettuce edge to the bottom, the neckline and the sleeves. If you have a serger, you can use that to do a beautiful lettuce rolled hem. If not, a regular sewing machine works fine. Set your sewing machine up with a zigzag stitch. Stitch length should be like for a button hole, so .3 or 4, and width should be a 5 or 6. Be sure to hold your fabric very taut while you do this. If you don’t know how to do this curly edge, there are several YouTube tutorials like This One
Thread elastic (or ribbon) through neck casing. Fasten off.
These directions are pretty barebones, so it you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to help you out.
Imagine how many fun things you could do with all your T-shirts! How about a tied dyed T-shirt? What if you added some lace at the hem instead of doing the lettuce edge? Wouldn’t this be adorable for a little girl too?
I hope I’ve given you some good ideas for making some cheap summer tops, but I have got to stop now. I have a book to write! I won’t be doing regular Tuesday Teasers for Brave Hearts, but stay tuned. I want to drop you a few tidbits here and there. Dusty is turning out to be a more complex hero than I thought he’d be. And Isa has depths beyond just a somewhat embittered woman wounded in war. I can’t wait to introduce you to them.
I’m back from Lori Foster’s
Reader & Author Get Together!
As always, I had a fantastic time. My first time at RAGT was in 2011, so that makes 6 for 6. If this was baseball, that would mean I was batting 1000. I think this is one of the best reader events out there. This is the only one I’ve ever been to, but I still think it is the best. Why is it the best? It’s small enough that there is time and places to hang out with authors and readers. It’s big enough that there is always something going on to do, but if you want to just sit down in the ballroom and relax you can do that too. I got to spend time with some of my favorite people like Paige Tyler, Janet Juengling-Snell, Monette Michaels, Joni Anderson, Janet Rodman, Wendi Zwaduk, Jennifer Sapa, Linda and Mary Ellen Faneuff… There are just too many to name! And this year Tina Holland, my fellow LSB author and local critique group member, came to RAGT for the first time. I think she liked it a lot. Who wouldn’t?
The raffle baskets are awesome! The Science Fiction/Fantasy basket my friend Jessica and I put together was pretty popular. It had the Star Wars quilt I made, the first season of Sherlock on DVD (not specifically fantasy, but Benedict Cumberbatch!!! Need I say more?), a Firefly Monopoly game, and gift cards to both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Jessica and I both put in a large number of tickets but didn’t win anything. I was disappointed, but as Jessica said, it was a great donation to One Way Farm, and how would we fit any winnings into the car for the drive home? It was already stuffed to the gills.
I did my third fashion show at RAGT. Lori Foster caught us and did an impromptu filming of each model. Fun! Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/lorifoster/videos/10153648932642966/
And of course Paige and I had to play with Dean and Sam! Most of us had our picture taken with one or more of the hunky cut outs. 🙂
Another super fun thing is the goodie bags. Everyone who registers and comes gets a tote bag full of swag. Pens, mirrors, lip balm, BOOKS, screen cleaning cloths, notebooks and more stuff! More than I can use. Stay tuned for a newsletter going out later this week. I’ll be having a contest to win some of that swag.
And now I need to kick my writing into high gear. Dusty Wolfe and Isabel Ybarra, prepare to fall in love!
That’s the wrap up of the 12th Annual Reader & Author Get Together. I’m already counting the days until next year!
Every year for the past six years I have attended Lori Foster’s Reader & Author Get Together. It is a fairly small romance novel conference as these things go. Lori keeps it limited to only 500 attendees, 100 authors and 400 readers, and the focus is on readers. Maybe that’s why I love it so much. It’s not so big that shy little me feels overwhelmed, and I get to actually meet and spend time with readers. It is closed to the general public, but the book signings at 3pm-5pm on Friday and Saturday are open to everyone. If you are in the Cincinnati, OH area, stop by the Marriott in West Chester on Muhlhauser Road and say hello to me. I’m signing on Friday. I’d love to meet you!
We (we being me, my friend Jessica, and fellow LSB author Tina Holland) are leaving tomorrow morning at 7:00am and heading to Ohio. I’ll be mostly out of touch for the next few days, but I promise pictures when I get back.
Also, since I’m positively giddy with excitement over RAGT, I have reduced the price of Wolf’s Glory from $3.99 to $0.99. The price will go back up on Monday June 13, so if you don’t have it yet, this is a great time to pick it up. Don’t forget that the first book, Sleeping With the Wolf, is still FREE. And hey, if you like audio books, if you buy these in digital format on Amazon, they are only $1.99 each over on Audible. As my grandmother would say, such a deal!
Ciao for now and Happy Reading!
Once again it has been too long since I made a post. I have not fallen off the end of the earth, I promise!
Life has been a little crazy lately. I was diagnosed with diabetes a few weeks ago, and since then my life has revolved around exercise and learning how to eat. I can’t tell you how much I mourn the loss of eating half a package of cookies at a time. But on the other hand, I’m feeling much better already. I have more energy, more enthusiasm for things, and I’ve already dropped a few pounds. I’m doing fairly well with managing my blood glucose. I started out with my numbers in the 120s to the 170s, and now it is usually in the 90s to 120s. That’s practically normal! I don’t even flinch anymore when I have to press the button to poke my finger. 🙂 Of course, I’m not happy to be diabetic, but I’m glad to have the chance to make changes in my lifestyle. I’ve feeling pretty well these days. Except for work. The day job is just a teensy bit stressful right now. Just a teensy bit. *cough*
Anyway, just wanted to drop a quick line to let you know I’m still alive and kicking, and to give you a heads up that I’ll be sending out a newsletter tonight with a super quick contest. I will introduce the new website (Ta-Da! Isn’t it beautiful?) and gave a giveaway for TWO $10.00 Amazon gift cards. Who can’t use an Amazon gift card, huh? If you’re like me you’ve been buying birthday, shower, wedding, and graduation gifts left and right for the past couple of months. You deserve a gift too! So if you get my newsletter, check your email tonight. If you don’t get my newsletter, why not? It’s easy to sign up; just look on the right and fill out your info.
Ciao for now, and Happy Reading!
Today is the Day! At last, Olivia’s Mate is out!
Olivia Stensrud, a beloved daughter of the Lakota Wolf Clan, lives a charmed life in a world recovering from the nuclear attacks seventy-five years earlier. When she is stolen by a feral cat-shifter who insists she’s his mate, the men of her clan track her down and take her back. Sent away to safety, Olivia finds it impossible to forget the handsome savage who lives according to nature’s law.
Kit is heartbroken. A mate is a rare thing for his kind to find. Her father promised to kill him if he ever came near Olivia again, but Kit can’t give up such a precious treasure. Determined to make himself a fit mate for a Daughter of the Wolf Clan, Kit goes to live with humans and learn their civilized ways.
Will the thin veneer of culture be enough to win her heart? Or will her menfolk drive him off before he even has a chance to court her?
Olivia’s Mate is the first book in a new spin off series called The Daughters of the Wolf Clan. (There may be a second series called Sons of the wolf Clan. Taye and Carla’s son, Colby, is just screaming for a mate of his own. As you’ll see in Olivia’s Mate, Colby needs to be whipped into shape before he can make a good husband. 😉 ) Olivia’s Mate is the story of Tracker and Tami’s daughter. Remember them? They were the hero and heroine from Wolf Tracker) They were two of my favorite characters. I enjoyed writing them again, and seeing some of the other couples from the After the Crash series.
If you’d like to read Olivia and Kit’s story, you can follow the appropriate link below. 🙂
It’s been quite a while since I made a post, so I thought it was time I let everyone know what I’ve been up to!
Warning! Pictures ahead!
Olivia’s Mate-I got the edits back from Athena at Wandering Minstrel Press. I’m taking a break right now from editing to write this post. I have a wedding to go to this afternoon, but I plan to finish the edits before bed. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll read through it one more time before sending the manuscript to the proof readers.
I’ll be sending out a newsletter in a few days with instructions on how to win an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) . The release date is April 28, 2016.
My next project is Brave Hearts, part of Paige Tyler’s Dallas Fire & Rescue Kindle World. This will be a contemporary romance between a Latina yarn store owner who lost her lower leg in Iraq and the medic who saved her life. When they meet again a decade later, can she embrace a future with him or will she stay in the safety of the past?
You know I love to spin and knit and sew. So far this year I’ve finished a few little knitting projects like this sweet summer cotton cowl. It’s made with cotton yarn with strips of shiny rayon. This will show up in a future Mystery Giveaway.
I’ve also been busy sewing and repairing costumes for the Fashion
Show at Lori Foster’s Reader & Author Get Together. (More about RAGT16 later). One of them is this steampunk. I bought the corset, but the skirt and blouse and hat I made myself. What do you think?
I am looking forward to #RAGT16 SOOOOO much! It’s the only author event I go to. I can’t wait to see some of my author friends again, and every year I get to meet some of you. If you are at RAGT in June, please come find me! And bid on my raffle basket! My friend Jessica Pease and I always try to put together a fun and unique basket. This year our theme is Sci-Fi Fun. I have a Firefly Monopoly game to put in, and I’m making a Star Wars quilt, and Jessica is adding a season of Dr. Who dvds and a gift card to either Barnes & Noble or Amazon. The quilt is ready to sew together. I have completed the blocks and squared them up. I plan to add some narrow sashing to sort of break it up. What do you think? Is that the sort of raffle basket you would be willing to bid on?
Well, that’s what I’ve been up to lately! I better get back to Olivia’s Mate and get those edits done. Have a great day, and
Your books are winging their way to England as I type, Anthea.
Thank you to everyone who entered. I’ll be giving away ARCs of Olivia’s Mate in a week or so through my newsletter, so stay tuned!
First, to those who celebrate,
Second, Ellie’s Wolf, Wolf’s Vengeance, and Wolf’s Lady will be available very soon in paperback. I haven’t had a giveaway on my blog for quite a while, since I do monthly contests through my newsletter, but I’ve decided to do this giveaway right here.
The PRIZE: A set of the three newest books in paperback. That is Ellie’s Wolf, Wolf’s Vengeance, and Wolf’s Lady.
How to Enter: Just leave a comment on this blog post BEFORE 6:00PM CENTRAL DAYLIGHT TIME MONDAY MARCH 28. Comments left after 6pm on Monday, March 28 will not be added to the drawing. The drawing will take place at 6:30pm March 28. I will email the winner right away and ask for their snail mail address.
Please remember that if you get my newsletter and you use that same email addy to leave your comment, you are automatically entered twice in this giveaway.
Ready, Set, Go!!!
Hello! We have come to the end. Yes, the end of Olivia’s Mate, and the end of the Tuesday Teasers until May. *sob* But I’ll be working hard on Olivia’s Mate for the next 6 weeks. After that I’ll be starting Brave Hearts, the story of Jesse Dustin “Dusty” Wolfe, an EMS in Dallas TX, and Iraq veteran Ysabel Ybarra. Izzy was the squad mate of Tami Casper Wolfe. Small world, huh? You’ll be getting to know them pretty well in May and June.
This is the last teaser from Olivia’s Mate. What you’ve seen posted here is not the finished product. I will be working feverishly to add a few scenes, maybe remove a few scenes, and generally polish it up. It goes to the editor on April 1, and I’ve set the publish date at April 28. So, without further ado, here is the last scene in Olivia’s Mate. It is adult in nature, so if you are under the age of adulthood in your country, please read no further.
Her gaze settled on him, and slowly the outrage was replaced by passion. She knelt beside him and took his face in her hands. “We’re not done yet,” she agreed, and kissed him.
He loved the taste of her tongue in his mouth, and rejoiced in the heat of her hand circling his cock. He remembered what her uncle had told him: a mate’s pleasure always came first. That was so obvious that Kit couldn’t imagine why Taye had said it. In the pride, the queens’ pleasure was the most important thing. A male who couldn’t make the queen come wouldn’t be allowed to service her again. But the other thing that Taye had said was new to him. A woman could climax just from the touch of his hands and mouth. He was anxious to experiment with that.
“Lie down,” he urged Olivia, pushing at her shoulders gently.
She was a feast laid out for him, her legs slightly parted and the uncertain expression not quite hidden by anticipation. “Should I turn off the lamp?” he asked.
“No,” she said instantly. “I want to see you when we make love.”
He moved slowly and gently, ignoring his own body’s roaring need to part her legs and sink deep inside her. He made love to her with his fingers and his mouth, paying attention to her body’s reactions to see what she liked most. He could tell when she was nearing climax by the way her body tightened and her breathing became moaning gasps. The sight of her cresting was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. When she had finished writhing beneath him, he kissed her.
“You are so beautiful,” he murmured. He looked down at her with an unspoken question.
“Yes!” she cried. “Come into me now.”
Go slow, he reminded himself. Taye said a woman’s first time could be painful, and he didn’t want to cause his mate any pain. He entered her very carefully, and nudged deeper with every controlled stroke, waiting for pain to blossom on her face. She twitched very slightly and he stopped, sweat blooming on his upper lip.
“Olivia? Are you okay?”
“Yes.” She threaded her hands through his hair. “This is incredible. I feel full. Stretched. It doesn’t hurt, though. Keep going.”
Control was hard to maintain with her body clamped around him like a hot, wet vice. He rocked gently into her over and over. When she arched against him and screamed his name, his control broke. He lifted himself on stiff arms and pounded into her.
“Yes, Kit!” she cried.
When he climaxed, he yowled the scream of a mountain lion victorious. He collapsed on her, his cheek pressed to the sweat-damp flesh of her shoulder. They panted together for a minute. She tilted her head to nuzzle his hair, almost like a mountain cat would. It made him smile.
“Is it always like that?” she whispered.
He forced his head up to smile at her. “I hope so.”
She frowned. “You hope so? Don’t you know? You’ve done it before with those women from your pride.”
He rolled off her, so they lay on their backs shoulder to shoulder. He grasped her hand and brought it to his lips. “Yeah, I have.” He kissed her hand again, tasting the salt of her sweat in the palm. “This was different. Before, it was a natural thing, like horses mating. Not emotional. It’s different with you because I love you.”
Olivia lifted herself and half-sat to look at him. “I love you.” She paused, seeming to savor the words. “Kit, I love you.”
“I love you.” He gave a little tug to pull her on to his chest. “This is what I wanted when I stole you. I wanted a mate who would love me.” He stroked her hair. “I didn’t understand then that a mate forced to accept me against her will wouldn’t give me what I wanted.” He brushed his lips over the top of her head. “Thank you for giving me a second chance.”
She was silent for a long minute, snuggling her cheek against his shoulder. Her fingers stroked back and forth over the edge of his jaw. “I’m glad you came looking for me. In the past year and a half, I’ve been courted by other men. They were all good men. Every time, I tried to fall in love, but it just never happened.” She must have felt the growl vibrating his chest because she lifted her head to smile at him. “I know why now. It was because none of them was you.”
He held her tightly to his chest. The year he’d spent with Justin and Teresa had been long and hard. Deprived of his pride and his mate, he had spent many nights roaming the hills around their ranch, screaming his loneliness to the night. He had dreamed of finding his mate again and wooing her properly. But he hadn’t dared to dream of all this. Now he had his mate in his arms, with a future as a rancher ahead of him, and a new family that accepted him.
He tilted his head to glance at the wreckage of the bed. Well, they mostly accepted him. Olivia followed his gaze and her sated, sleepy eyes sharpened.
“I am going to kill them,” she said conversationally.
He thought about it. “No, we might need them to help us out on our ranch.”
She drummed her fingers on his breast. “We have to retaliate.”
Smiling, he trailed his fingers down her spine. “Someday. But for now I have the perfect revenge.”
He rolled her over onto her back. “Let’s love each other forever, and make love all the time.”
She parted her legs for him to press between them. “Sounds like a plan. And right away tomorrow morning, let’s tell them how much fun it was to make love on the floor.”
“Oh, is it?”
Her smile was almost like a cat’s. “I seem to remember some fun. Maybe you should remind me.”
He kissed her. “With pleasure.”
I’m doing a Mystery Giveaway from my Newsletter this weekend!
I’m one of those people who just can’t resist a grab bag. You know, those plain paper bags that a store has stuffed with merchandise that hasn’t sold. You never know what you’ll get! My local needlework store does that. They put in patterns, a pack of needles that someone opened and stole one of the needles from, a few skeins of floss, etc, and sell the whole thing for a dollar. Most of it is crap, but it’s so much fun to open the bag and see what’s in it.
I promise this giveaway isn’t a bunch of crap! I put several items into this bubble envelope and will mail it to the winner on Monday after work. What’s in it? A grab bag is supposed to be secret, but I’ll give you some hints. There are 2 paranormal romance paperback books in it, one by me, and one by a writer I admire. There is a small knitted item (knitted by moi), a piece of jewelry, some magnets, and a bunch of swag.