Friday, September 11, 2009

the hardest thing in the world is debating if you pick the pepper before it's entirely red, or if you get it when only the sunniest side is red. If you wait too long around here, the bugs get in and eat half of it up, so this is one of the more dramatic ones (accented by a branch I did not mean to tear off, whoops.) I have to say, it's been lovely growing peppers this year! It's so great to just pop whatever's ripe in the oven for a few minutes, let them cool, and to have fresh roasted red peppers around for nibbling almost any time you want them!
I think my flower-arranging skills are improving.
one thing really frustrates me about patterns and about buying clothes online: for some reason, even though I know my measurements - and I know how to take them, I used to work in costume shops - ordering clothes in my size doesn't necessarily mean they'll fit. I mean, I've ordered things that have turned out to be three sizes too big. As with vanity sizing, I find this inconsistency frustrating. For one thing, it's a lot of work to keep track of all the different numbers that one wears in different brands/stores. For another, I feel like I'm the only one being honest in this interaction, and I wish there was a standard of measurement.

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.


isn't this a happy sight? They look so cheerful and plump. Better yet; they're low cholesterol. That's right. The dough for these is made of flour, water, yeast, and mashed boiled potato and potato water. (As in, not butter, like most of these delectable doughs.) The only real difference is that the bun itself tastes more like a lightly sweetened potato bread bun, rather than a super fluffy calorie-whammy. So, if you like potato bread (I pretty much like potato anything), these are a great option! Plus, without all that butter and fat in the dough, I think it's okay to make a cream-cheese frosting for these (and, in fairness, I do think they need some kind of icing on them). I made mine with neufatchel.

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!

out with a bang

whew, back from Virginia and with tons of back posts to put up! Here we go!

Owing to a little project that I'll post shortly, I had some extra watermelon lying around last night. I thought I'd try this recipe from Sunday Suppers, and what a great idea! I used a sheep-and-goat's-milk feta, and ignored all proportions of the various ingredients, mixing at will. It was delicious; I think it's foolproof. We paired it with fresh French filet beans that I've been growing up the side of our house (at last! a good use for those tiny side-flowerbeds next to a driveway: beans!). We simply washed and trimmed the beans and sauteed them in a bit of olive oil and butter. voila!

we're drinking ours with a Reserve Pinot Noir (released this summer) from Riverbench, a relatively new winery down in the Paso Robles/Los Olivos area of southern California. I'm really impressed with these folks, although I do think the reserve Chard was better last year than this year. Seriously, if you like a truly oakey Chard, try their Reserve. I've never had such a toasty, buttery bottle before - or since.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

African Wax Prints #2: The World's Loudest PJs.

Um. Not exactly his style (or mine). Primus is one of the two leading beers in Rwanda. Boyfriend's sister drinks beer and thought this was funny, but it was just too bright. Still, I made up the PJs, aligned the pattern better than I'd realized - note, serving wenches right on the crotch, oops) with the elasticized waistband and all. He tried them on - and then quickly took them off again.

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.

African Wax Prints #1: The Mandala Dress

My boyfriend's sister returned in August after spending the last year in Rwanda. She brought some African wax-print cottons with her, to make garments for herself, her brother, and me. I should clarify: she brought fabric for me to make these garments. I didn't have cash to buy her a birthday gift this year, so I figured the time spent tailoring a dress to fit her specifications and her body would be just the thing.

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!