Wednesday, December 30, 2009
1 fennel bulb
6 oz green beans
1-3 oz sheep's milk feta (vary according to your preference)
mesclun salad greens or watercress
2 Tbl. pomegranate molasses
2 Tbl. mustard (we used stone ground)
1 Tbl. honey
1/4-1/3 c. olive oil
halve a medium fennel bulb lengthwise. core. slice thinly. Place in a bowl, toss with the juice of 1 lemon, and set aside. (Juice keeps the fennel from discolouring while you make the rest of the salad.)
trim 1/3 to 1/2 pound of green beans and cut into approximately 2" lengths. Blanch in boiling water, about 1 minute, or until they are a vivid bright green. Quickly drain and plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking. Let cool in the ice bath, then drain, pat dry, and set aside.
Whisk together 2 generous Tbl. pomegranate molasses (Whole Foods carries it, and you can also find it at many mediterranean import shops), 1 Tbl. honey, and 2 Tbl. mustard (we used stone ground). Add about 1/4 to 1/3 c. olive oil in a thin stream, whisking to emulsify into a thick dressing.
Seed 1 pomegranate.
Place half a bunch of watercress, rinsed, or a handful of mesclun salad greens on a plate. Drain fennel. Arrange fennel and green beans over lettuce. Top with pomegranate seeds, crumbled sheep's milk feta (so much better than cow's milk feta!), and drizzle liberally with the dressing.
Now, all the credit for this idea has to go to tinctory, who makes beautiful smocked necklaces from silk (aren't the feather ones amazing?). She dyes her silk in beautiful individual dye baths that she makes from plants, and her smocking is far superior to mine. But - alas - I couldn't afford to just buy one of her pieces. As she's kind enough to show you "how it's done" in some pictures in her flickr account, I used those images as a guide and gave it a go. Not too bad for a first try - I hope my friend likes it!
I bought the good stuff: Irish hanky linen, from fabric.com. I hope pale blue is okay, because it was expensive enough just buying the one colour that was on sale. I bought a half-yard, and cut three squares (12.5 inches on each side) from it. To make a rolled-edge seam, you need a good hot iron. Fold the edge over 1/8" (tricky!) and press. Fold over again and press. You now have a 1/4" rolled hem. Stitch in place - I did all of mine by hand with a blind hem stitch. Repeat on all four sides.
I also embroidered mine with colourful monograms in cotton embroidery thread (what do you think? too childish? I showed my fella and he said it was cute, but he also laughed. I'm not sure that's a good sign?), just for fun. The letter is in classic satin stitch and the accent is in back stitch. I worked each section separately, so no long tails connect any of the pieces on the back of the work - which is almost as pretty as the front. Even though it takes me a bit of extra time and caution to keep the back as neat as the front, it's a goal I strive for when I can't hide the back of the work.
To create a monogram pattern, I googled "monogram" and picked an accent that I liked and printed it out. I could see through the linen just enough to trace the monogram with a water-soluble pen. I had them all embroidered in an evening, while watching Return of the King. I think I'm done with embroidery for a while!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
So, last night I made the Pressed Chicken with Chestnuts, Porcini, and Cipollini Onions from Sunday Suppers. I served it on the carrot puree that they made as well. It was really, really good! New things are hit or miss around here, and he did NOT like the last recipe I made from them (a salad of watermelon and mint with caramelized onions and feta - I thought it was awesome, by the way), so he was really skeptical. But, a total hit this time. We'll definitely be doing this again.
I paired it with a pear crisp loosely adapted from Gordon Hammersley's Bistro Cooking at Home: I cored and chopped 5 pears and mixed the fruit with about 1/2 c. dried cranberries, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg, and about 1/4 c. sugar. Mix together, pour into a glass baking dish. Top with a crumble topping made of oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. I don't bother measuring this anymore, but there are lots of options on epicurious if you need a little help. Bake at 350 F for 40-55 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and topping is lightly browned. (We top ours with a splash of cream.) Yum!
I added the bronzy chains at the back because it wasn't nearly long enough for a necklace after I'd done the weaving (note: I began with 36 inches of mesh-covered cord - I needed to start with at least 54 if I wanted the necklace to be all one piece), and crimped a few bronzy jump rings around the mesh/cord part for texture. If I could do it over, I'd put a darker leather under the copper so you could appreciate the texture and contrast better, but oh well. I think it might be a nice piece for summer - especially if I ever make that olive green silk into a pretty dress!
Whaddya think? For about $20 or $30 of materials, it's not a bad option, I think.
Now, I don't make a lot of things for my partner - or at least, it doesn't feel like I do. A Halloween costume here, a pair of really loud pajamas there ... that's about it. But upon learning that he really loves patchwork and starting to hear more often that he likes the things I make and that I should make HIM a shirt from that cool fabric I bought for myself, etc., I've realized that maybe he would like to have more personal things made for him. I mean, I do all this sewing and embroidery for everyone else I know.
So, in addition to the clothes that he really NEEDED, I decided to embroider a little something for hanging on the wall. It's the second stanza of Pound's two-stanza poem, "The Garret," which I can't read without thinking of him and the beautiful early dawn hours in the height of summer. You know those mornings, when you can smell the coming heat in the air, but while it's still just a promise - not there yet? Yeah, those mornings.
So, to do this, I typed up and printed out my poem, about 24pt font. (I used a font he likes, too.) I gently ironed two pieces of Solvy together with a very low iron, with a piece of paper between the solvy and my iron to prevent messes. This just kind of welds the two pieces of Solvy together. Normally, one piece is fine, but if I'm going to make a lot of holes very close together (say, when working words?), I find a single sheet of Solvy can tear and then my design warps before I'm done working it.
Once the Solvy is fused, I laid it over my poem and traced out the poem using a permanent pen (I use sharpie). When the solvy dissolves, the ink doesn't transfer - it's fine. I also drew rectangles on my solvy to use as guidelines for sewing my borders. You lay your Solvy sheet over your fabric and slip the pieces into your hoop together. When you're all done sewing, soak the sucker in water and the solvy will dissolve, leaving only your work! Its a nice way to make an embroidery pattern for yourself.
I stitched the poem in a combo of running and stem stitch, with french knots to dot the i's and make periods. I'm working two little borders around it, one in palestrina knot, and then a blanket stitch and laisy daisy combo that I found through google. When it's done, I might reinforce it with some fusible interfacing on the back, and then I'll find a little frame, probably without glass. It'll be just over 5" X 7" with the borders.
I hope he likes it ... because I sure like him a lot =)
Monday, November 23, 2009
Okay, I know that the last time I posted about sewing, it was to complain about commercial patterns. However, we all know that all commercial patterns are not created equal and I have to say, Sarai of Colette Patterns gets it right. In a big way. And I'm a little bundled up here, so you can't fully appreciate it, but trust me, this has been one of my favorite apparel-sewing projects ever. It's so darned satisfying to take the time and make something really beautiful, and Sarai is a genius at fit - because this thing is really beautiful!
This post and shout-out is long overdue, but since I've been hauting her shop's blog and waiting for her new fall patterns to come out (this Friday, Nov 27!), I may as well tell you now that I am SUPER impressed. This is the "Beignet" skirt (they have the cutest names!), still currently available in Sarai's etsy shop and through her blog. Though medium-weight fabrics are recommended for this skirt pattern, I made mine up in bulky herringbone silk suiting (it's constantly mistaken for wool suiting, it's so heavy). The skirt is fully lined, the waistband and button facings are self-lined; even the pockets are lined. The skirt has six panels, twelve buttons, beltloops and a matching belt, and fits like a dream.
I am SOLD! Plus, Sarai's patterns range from 2 (or even 0?) to 18, which is an amazing labour of love to grade all these different sizes. Cruise on over and check out her beautiful designs, if you haven't already! I'll be biting my nails until Friday...
Friday, September 11, 2009
You can probably tell where this preamble is going. This cotton jacquard has a rose pattern woven in. And this corset-style cami is fully lined in lightweight cotton, the bust cups reinforced with interfacing, the back zips up, etc. It's beautiful. And after all the work of carefully sewing up this pattern, it came out too big. I think I might just try wearing it over a T-shirt or something for fall, if only because I can't stand the fact that I wasted my time and fabric. Dagnabbit.
I think I'm giving up on fitted patterns. Oh wait; I still have Colette's Beignet to make. But I put indie designers in a separate category, and Sarai still has my faith.
They're really good, too. I've been making these for about 8 years now, though I don't do it often because they really are a lot of work. I like to put extra raisins and chopped nuts in. Give 'em a whirl!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
A friend of ours fell in love with them; we gave them away. He still needs PJs (his old ones fell apart; in fact, I used the old ones to make a pattern for these), but wants something in a ticking stripe or a lightweight linen. I can't say that I blame him, or that I don't approve his taste; french ticking and linen are some of my favorites!
Another installment of PJs is likely on the horizon.
So here we go: this is a Vogue quick-sew pattern, probably from the 90s. I swapped the long full skirt from one view and paired it with the V-neck, V-back from another view. I had to alter the skirt to make it longer, and take some of the fullness out of it. My boyfriend's sister is also a bit busty, so there was some fidgeting around as I had to use two different sizes of the pattern and accomodate her petite stature by taking some of the height out of the midsection panel, but in the end, somehow I managed to make it all work!
I lined it in muslin as this cotton was so thin I couldn't self-line it without creating the shadow of the pattern showing through. BF's sis asked that the pattern be asymmetric on the front and picked where she wanted the bits of the mandala to appear. I forgot to ask her about the back, and so made the back symmetric (nothing to disguise/reduce there). I aligned the four skirt panels to get the whole mandala to appear and though my dress is twisting a bit on this bit of clothesline, yes, the two mandalas are parallel/the two sides of the skirt are symmetrical.
Quite a bit of work, but worth it, I think! I hope she likes it!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The beads in the main body are tri-cuts my partner's mom gave me; she bought them decades ago and they probably actually date from the 40s or 50s. They're this beautiful purpley-grey-brown colour, and sparkle from the cuts. Nice! The edging is in peyote, simple black 12-ought seed beads. I worked it on calico leftover from a skirt I altered, backed with fusible web leftover from a home project. The strap is leftover leather thong strung with stone and pewter beads my partner's mother bought in Mexico. All in all, I paid about $5 for the fusible faux-suede that I used to back this thing, that's it.
Much better than dropping $230+ at a store for a new one. I think I might try wearing this layered with some chains; any thoughts?
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
OR. I could try and fix 'em up so they WOULD stay on. Does anyone else remember those super-cute black Chloe wedges from a few years back, with the big leather ties at the ankles? I sure did. And so I DIY'ed my Lulus to make 'em more like Chloes. And it seems to have worked!
Here's how I did it (illustrated - click photos to enlarge and see detail):
Materials: wedge pumps, leather ties, studs, exacto knife, shoe goo.
1.) align your leather tie where you want it to sit on the shoe. Press a stud into the strap near the bottom edge (but not quite AT the edge, you need something to cut into!) so that its pointy ends mark where it will go.
2.) still holding your strap in place (fyi, I made little pen marks on my shoe to use as a guideline for where the strap went), now press a stud in near the top edge. You want it to be close enough that it will help hold the strap near the top of the shoe, but not so far that the prongs overshoot the edge of the shoe itself.
3.) lay your strap down flat. Press another stud roughly halfway between the marks for the top and bottom studs. Set all studs aside.
4.) Using a fresh exacto blade, gently cut through the leather strap to the backside. My straps were made of nice kidskin leather left over from when I cut a pair of $5 thrifted elbow-length gloves into tiny little gloves that just covered my palms. (a la SJP in that SITC movie - or was it just SITC? I've seen very little of either, really, but I loved those tiny black gloves!) Anyways, I cut a kind of balloon shape with the longest tails my leather scraps would allow, and sewed them into these straps (the bottom of the long thin tube was still open at this point; I didn't bother to sew them shut).
8.) Open those windows! Now, uncork your shoe goo and gently press a little INTO the tube. Wrap the end in paper towels (to absorb and wipe away the excess) and gently press the ends of these tubes shut, sealing them together with the shoe goo.
12.) Step 12: shoe torture. When I applied the straps to the shoe, I first placed them against the shoe and pressed, so the points of the studs' prongs pressed a little mark into the side of the shoe. I then took my exacto blade and made little cuts into the shoe for the prongs to go into (note: if your prongs can go THROUGH the shoe, so much the better. Cut through the shoe, push those prongs through, and use needle-nosed pliers to press the prongs down tightly against the inside of your shoe.) My studs' prongs were too short, so I just made little knicks in the leather to help each prong find its proper place.
17.) Don the lovelies and giggle at your own cleverness. I haven't worn these OUT yet, so I'll keep you posted as to how well this crazy DIY holds up. FOr now, it's looking good!
Monday, July 13, 2009
So I chopped up the good figs and cooked them with the blueberries - and cooked the blueberries down a bit more this time. No cream on hand, so a small splash of nonfat milk (didn't want to think the potato too much) had to suffice. I used less sugar overall, and less brandy, and cooked the sweet-potato-custard in this frozen (thawed) pie crust for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F while I cooked the berries. I cooked it for another 20 or 25 after adding the berries on top - basically, until the pie crust was all nice and golden brown.
We had it with dinner: slices of local Essential Bakery walnut bread, roasted beets (his were dressed with horseradish vinagrette, mine were dressed with a simple lemon juice vinagrette) and crumbled chevre, roughly chopped steamed kale topped with a gruyere cheese sauce and nutmeg, and a glass of merlot.
Oh, and candles. Seems a must-do for a quiet dinner for two, curled up on the couch, food spread across the coffee table, sipping and eating and chatting.
Yeah. I think this will be pretty fab in autumn, too.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Dinner: roasted peppers wrapped around either a.) smoked mozzarella and basil or b.) chevre and chopped herbs; a big bowl of fresh-picked peas from the garden (crisp and uncooked, just de-stringed); a bowl of vegan yam and sage gnocchi topped with olive oil, salt, pepper, a touch of parm and a generous sprinkling of chopped thyme blossoms.
... and dessert:
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
happiness is finally getting things done. Nearly completed this canvas on spring break. Then got a few glazing coats in during a crazy spring quarter, but didn't get the final coat on until today.
Olivia Bee is my hero. She's simply amazing, so talented.
sanctuary. oilbar and acrylic on linen canvas. 24x24. 2009.
and after I finished this, I ate one of these, with butter and honey. And a whole pot of Harney and Sons' Bangkok tea. With cream and sugar. (yum) :
lemon cream scones (see beth hensberger's the bread bible). flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, cream, eggs, cinnamon.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
I added some things we had knocking around in the pantry and fridge and this is what we came up with:
Finshed the book on Havel. Working away at cleaning my closet, the shibori dress, and reading Annie Dunne, and perhaps tomorrow I'll have more to show and say.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
In the meantime, I've been thinking a lot about summer. Here's that dreamy ideal summer goals list that I always fail to complete (partly because I add to it as I go along!):
Acts of Courage - Open Letters - Swann’s Way - To the Lighthouse - Between the Acts - Something on William Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement - Julia Child, My Life in France - Glass Bottom Boat (Herman’s new book of poetry) - Dylan Thomas; look for “Poem in October” - Anais Nin's diaries (?) - Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man?
Overhaul Yeats paper - Research Trial of Six - Work on Thorne research?
CK buildings/red roofs - and then...?
Green silk blouse (BBW pattern) - Lengthen Moroccan blue dress - Shibori stitch, dye, lengthen, and embroider Maggy London dress - Use tussah cocoons: collar on blouse (neutral Japanese twill)? Dress from ice blue silk? - Make pale green knit into cowl-neck tee? - Vest from one of the two vest fabrics - Marc-Jacobs-esque obi/waist corset-esque belt from lemon plaid - Buy BBW jacket pattern, make up in lilac wool? - Shopper bags – 2-3; (+ tulle produce bags?) - Doll - Plush
Finish beaded bib necklace - Cut apart openwork sweater, rework with brown merino in crochet? - Finish stitching fulled vessel.
Other hand work, etc:
Get rough diamonds? - Stud a pair of shoes. For kicks. - Make 2-3 new pairs earrings - Make hair thing for fall (acorns?) - 5 things post from facebook: DO.
Friday, April 17, 2009
johnnycakes with chili jam and goat cheese
1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar (I reduced this to about 1/6 c.)
1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
1 Tbl baking powder
1 1/4 c. milk
2 large eggs, room temp
1/3 c veggie oil, plus a bit for the pan
2 Tbl unsalted butter
1 15-oz can of corn kernels, drained
4-8 oz goat cheese (we used chevre)
pepper jelly (we got pepper jelly with ancho chilis - it was all we could find at whole foods, but it was so excellent I encourage you to do the same! It was nice to have a little heat with the sweet)
Whisk dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and stir until batter is just combined; fold in corn kernels.
Heat a saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat and rub with enough oil to coat surface. Working in batches, drop batter into the pan - basically, you're making pancakes. Make them whatever size you like. Cook about 60 seconds per side or until golden brown and heated through.
Spread each johnnycake with the jam and top with crumbled goat cheese.
We served ours as part of a makeshift feast for five, with some sauteed kale, some cherry tomatoes roasted with reduced balsamic vinegar and a fruit salad. yum.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
So I made one cake layer for her, and poured the rest as cupcakes so the bf could take them into the office tomorrow. But we'll have at least one tonight ourselves, with this big Sicilian blood orange that I bought as a special treat for us. It's been a wet and windy day, a bit on the cold side, and I have given up trying to force light "spring" meals for a few days. Nope, tonight we're going to have a potato gratin with leeks and fennel (and provolone and parm...) on a bed of frisee for dinner. And then you-know-what for dessert!
My friend E gave me a really nice clove-spice-scented soy candle a year ago, in a little mason jar. I used to call it the "study candle" and light it before I would read; it just kind of make the atmosphere nice and cozy-comforting, good for working and not feeling like I was missing out on life somehow. Anyways, I finally burned through the last of it, and put the candle in the freezer a couple weeks ago (I learned this trick from Martha; I freeze all candleholders to easily remove wax). Due to the odd shape of this jar, though, a lot of the wax wasn't burnt, and it seemed such a shame to waste. So after I carved it up and pried it out, washed the jar (we use mason jars to hold homemade salad dressings, chutneys, reduced vinegars and etc. in the fridge), I set the wax in a little metal bowl I could stand to sacrifice.
A bit of reading suggested that my linen kitchen twine might work as a wick (I'll let you know if this turns out to be a bad idea!). I cut a length of it and tied the end around a small ball of wax, squishing it into the bottom of a candle holder. I wrapped the extra around a pencil set over the top of the candleholder. I melted the wax in the metal bowl over a pan of simmering water. I was worried that pouring it all in right away might make that button at the bottom melt and release the wick, so I used an old plastic spoon to ladle the wax in, bit by bit at first, pouring the rest in after I was sure I had a good layer of solid wax holding that wick down.
turns out there was just enough wax to fill the candle holder, how perfect is that? I don't know if this is a new low (melting down and repouring candles), but I'm pretty excited to have another study candle. Obviously, I'm procrastinating at this very moment, so I probably need one to get me back on track!
Monday, March 30, 2009
School breaks can get a little lonely around here; everyone else is still working, and I haven't established strong social ties to the community at my program yet. Plus, on top of everything else, I'm a terrible hermit. My breaks are centered on long lists of things I want to get done in order to be a happy, well-rounded, and satisfied person for the next three months in which there will be no time for creative expression, gardening, or home repairs - and while it makes me rather productive and satisifed with life in general while in grad school (I recently received an email from the president of a graduate student body in my field that described our education as "the horror of graduate school"; I not only disagree with the sentiment but also am rather taken aback by such negative language!), it does leave me rather lonely at times.
I've found that putting time and consideration into the small rituals of the day is a good way to remind myself that this time off is a luxury, even if I'm alone. It seems to help put things in proper perspective. So, one day, I cooked the last of the salmon raviolis (recipe below), and served it up with leftover salad (greens, half a plum, sliced, and a small handful of toasted walnuts tossed in a dressing of equal parts walnut oil and mirin, with a bit of dried thyme, and salt and pepper) and some leftover beets (tossed in a bit of olive oil and lemon juice, with grated lemon zest) topped with a bit of chevre we had in the fridge. And nice big glass of water. I put on some Bach (performed by the lovely Lara St. John) and lingered long over lunch and Stoker's Dracula.
And life is good again. Yes, I know, I'm easy to please.
So, stripes and silk, what was I thinking? And yet ... it turned out perfectly. (You might not be able to tell from the photo, but just trust me - if those weren't perfect 45- and 90-degree angles, I'd own up.) I even matched the stripes on the front-to-back pieces of the body, so they wrap around continually.
I'm still not sure how that happened.
This is a Built By Wendy pattern for Simplicity. I guess the pattern is technically discontinued, because when I tried to buy it at my local fabric store this summer (and thus avoid paying shipping fees), they told me as much. However, in September, I was still able to order it from Simplicity's website, so if you think you might want to make this someday, I recommend snapping it up sooner rather than later (the only caveat is that this pattern runs small - it only comes in sizes 4-12, and size 12 has a 34" bust and 26.5" waist).
The only alteration I made to the style A garment (blouse) was to cut it with the style B (tunic) length, so that later I could set the hem where I wanted it to be on my rather tall frame. I had a 3-yard piece of silk, so that I could have the freedom to rotate the pattern pieces and change the angle of the stripes. I have a fair amount left over, but I'd still recommend using at least 2.5 yards if you want to play around this way.
And it must be simple, because I didn't mess it up. Granted, I found the inset (the diamond-piece on the front) so difficult that only sewed the bottom seam and part of the each side seam on my machine. I left perhaps an inch or more on each side unsewn, as I could NOT seem to get that corner to lay flat on the machine. After botching it for the third time, I realized I could leave that little bit, and then by turning it right and pressing, I could get that corner point to lie perfectly flat and just hand-stitch. Hey, whatever it takes to get the job done, right?
And though this isn't nearly as impressive, I also took the hem down on this beautiful silk dress by Laundry that a friend bought for me way back in September. We'd been out cruising secondhand clothing stores together at the end of our visit and I tried on this dress and, well, it was perfect, if a little short. "Oh, if only it had about 3 inches of hem to let down," I sighed - and turned up the hem to find (voila!) three inches to let down.
And then it showed up as a late bday gift. Gotta love those old friends, who know us oh so well!
Monday, March 23, 2009
the stones are carnelian - I bought two strands of varigated chips, but only used part of one (oh well; they weren't pricey, not even as chips go). Each chip is on a tiny silver headpin (handmade by etsy seller piecesofve - who, by the way is a delight!), made into a loop on the inner side. They are all strung by their loops and kind of packed together to make a rope of pretty colour!
As to sorting and stringing them to achieve this effect, it wasn't difficult: I put all of the little stones, on their headpins, in a bowl. I strung two at a time, then switched to the other side of my linen twine and strung two more; this keeps the fade even (the first time I strung it, I did five at a time - bad idea). As far as knowing which ones to string, you just sort of relax your eyes and pick the darkest pieces in the bowl, and work your way through all the colours. It's pretty simple - and it's not an exact science.
I think I'll wear this all spring! It's great because it's kind of like a bib for a gal who doesn't like a whole lot of heavy bib-type jewelry (ie: me).
do you remember how I promised to make you a flag for your kingdom?
well, I hope these will do. Winging your way, birthday girl!
PS. I made lots in case you wanted to use them for, say, a reception table or something. (wink, nudge)
These little garlands sure are a lot of work; I suppose they don't have to be, but I like it when all their little edges are finished and sealed inside, and they are washable and therefore durable. I think, if you're going to go through the bother of putting one of these together, you should a.) like the fabrics and b.) make it to last and be reuseable! So I back all of my triangles in the same fabric, sew on two sides, turn, press. I trim the tops, and then slip them into the ties that hold them together - this time I used seam binding (almost 60 feet of it!) for my "strings/ties."
Saturday, March 7, 2009
So, I bought some fabric today, even though I haven't had a chance to tear into my last order of fabric yet. I figure my summer is pretty much going to be spent cleaning, reading, painting, and sewing, so I'm snatching up deals so that I have options in the months ahead. Here's what I snagged (sorry for the blurry little swatches):
3 yds of a 100% silk suiting fabric in navy with a feathered herringbone. I'm thinking that's good for a skirt.
1 yd of a 60 %wool/40% silk plaid in pale yellow, blue, and white (a vest?).
1.5 yds 100% silk suiting in a black/iris mini-check. Another vest, maybe a more substantial one.
2 yds 100% cotton sateen damask in a rose pattern, in goldenrod. To be honest, I'm hoping to try and find a bustier pattern. I haven't made a proper corset/bustier since I was an undergrad working in costuming shops, but the last one I made (for a production of The Country Wife) had 18 panels (god, what a pain to cut), so I know I'm capable of doing it AND matching the grain. I'd really like one to layer over blouses, or to wear under jackets (after seeing a shot of this look in a recent Lucky Mag), and this shade of yellow would pop!
3 yds 100% cotton swiss-dot in black with a floral print. Either a slip or a blouse.
3 yds 100% silk lightweight shirting fabric in a blue and white stripe.
2 yds. 100% cotton swiss-dot in a pale ivory/blue/tan floral print. Also, slip/cami or blouse.
Normally I have terrible buyer's remorse, but not today. See, I have been lusting after a certain blue-and-white-striped tee at Anthropologie, which is on sale on the website for $30 (plus shipping, of course, which would have been $7 or $8 dollars). So yes, I've spent an extra $10, but I've picked up 15.5 yards of fabric, that not only includes blue-and-white silk to make my own stripey top, but seems to make a nice little palette. If only I were a faster sewer, I could put a whole spring wardrobe together out of these.
Who needs to drop $30 on a dry-clean-only cotton t-shirt, anyway?
Thursday, March 5, 2009
In the midst of all this, I really am trying to keep my head. I had a bit of a cry last night - induced by the charlie-horses that have been visciously attacking my feet (I think it's just stress), but part of me just sobbed for the relief to sob and let some of this out. But other than that, I've really been trying at least to sleep more, to stay on task and work rather than let myself get distracted with worry. And this weekend, I spent one hour Saturday setting up the garden with Cass (peas and lettuce are in, netting is up and staked. Fingers crossed!), and on Sunday, when he was out skiing with his father all day, I cleaned and cooked in addition to homework.
I think it was good for me. Certainly, it was nice to have some nice food (like a vegan waldorf salad, and cooked azuki beans with mochi flour and coconut milk) to eat in my lunches. I'd planned to make this cake weeks ago, and after replacing the lemons about three times, I vowed to finally try it. Now, I'm not a big cake person, but this Pistachio, Almond and Lemon cake is really something else. Click the title to link to the recipe on Epicurious. I didn't change a thing on this one.
Okay, I may have added a bit more vanilla, but I love my Mexican vanilla, so don't blame me. Also, I think my oven runs a tetch on the cold side, but I had to bake this sucker for at least double the 45 minutes in the recipe, so I think that may be a typo in the recipe. Worth the wait, though. With very little flour, this cake is primarily made of ground nuts. It's moist, just sweet enough, and slightly sticky without being heavy or dense. With an eye to the fat content (see above: it's made of ground nuts!), Cass packed most of it in the firm on Monday, where it disappeared rapidly with morning coffee. This is my idea of a perfect coffee-accompaniment: it's flavourful and has enough personality to be just fine on its own, and it's not dry. And have I mentioned how wonderful it is on one of these soft grey afternoons we've been having, with all the sudden spring rainstorms? With a little tea or coffee, it's just the thing to get me going again. I shared some with a sick colleague this week; he proclaimed, "this is love. LOVE." There you have it.
A final note: the recipe includes an orange salad as accompaniment to this. I didn't make it; actually, I made JUST the orange salad weeks ago, by itself, for dessert. It was quite good, actually, as a light fruit dessert. I'm sure the two are beautiful together, but I have to say, they're also stand-up options on their own!
I'm back to the books. If you don't see me for another 10 days, you know what I'm doing!
Monday, February 16, 2009
I bought these boots on etsy with a bit of money sent to me by my grandmother for the holidays. I suspect they are new old stock from the late 80s, as their thin crepe soles show no wear whatsoever. They are really slim, which is great: for once, it'll be a good thing when the leather stretches/relaxes a bit.
... but I thought they could use a few minor changes...
I had a shoe repair man take the back seam in a little (easy to do, since they are exposed, and there's no lining) so they would fit my ankles and not flop around.
I polished them with cordovan shoe polish - a rich purply brown, that I knew would get into the leather's texture.
I replaced the original laces (one was torn, anyway!) with the last bit of leather thong I had leftover from an old Halloween costume.