Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I made up Colette Patterns' Cinnamon slip dress in Vera Wang hammered silk charmeuse in chartreuse (chartreuse charmeuse! fun to say!). In this fabric it's definitely a slip or nightie, not a dress. I really don't enjoy sewing a delicate, slippery silk like this; the fabric is so tricksy. I do nothing but worry and second-guess myself the whole time, but phew! I think it came out alright! The credit really must go (once again) to Sarai's beautiful and thoughtful designs.
Sorry I couldn't get a better photo; it was blowing like mad outside today and dark inside: folded on the bed was the best I could do. I still have a few gifts to get together. ahem, sorry ladies. And an orange skirt I'm finishing for myself that I need to post, before the nightmare that is winter quarter absorbs me (I am teaching and taking 20 credits - twice a full load for doctoral students). Ugh. I'm starting to feel too old and too tired to be excited anymore. Then again, I always feel this dread before returning; I just have to remember that I will enjoy it when I'm actually back in classes again. At least this quarter I have a slightly better schedule (eg, I've managed to get a full weekday OFF from campus - haven't had that in three years!) and have purchased all my books online on the cheap - or at least, all the ones I know about. That should offset the cost of having the beautiful gray boots my mother in law bought me on sale taken in at the back.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I'm not even sure if these are agates or some kind of jade - but I like them! I picked up the stones somewhere - Cali? Washington? I don't know - in the past few years, figuring I'd make earrings with them. I had originally planned to make a little cluster of garnet drops drape the tops of these stones, but while I was making earrings and playing in my box of beads and bead supplies, I found these little ...whaddya call 'ems? Pop-on...somethings? pendants? I don't know. Found these little metal bits and fit them to the green stone beads. Added some simple silver earwires. Because I can't wear giant tassels in my ears every day, but I can wear olive and chartreuse any day I want.
Speaking of chartreuse ... wait 'til you see my next sewing project. Hope to have it finished/posted tomorrow - so I'd better get to work!
I dream of the day I can make these right the first time. But still, they taste delicious, the unmelted flakes of Hawaiian sea salt make for a delightful surprise crunch!, and their smooth texture (aside from salt crystals, that is) is spot-on. Everything worth knowing takes time, eh?
If you haven't seen my caramel posts before, I've linked one above where I note the changes I make for a full-batch of caramels. And here's the original recipe on epicurious.
And why yes, that is sunshine on the parchment paper. For a brief hour or so, solstice morning dawned sunny (I love it when it does that):
I'm off for a walk. I overtaxed my injured wrist yesterday and am feeling the burn today. So, no gym today, a long walk instead. I'm going to pick out a nice vegan meal and go buy groceries to make it. I'll be back later this afternoon with another handmade holidays post: knocking off anthropologie again, this time it's some seriously dramatic earrings.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
I make these with frozen puff pastry (rolled out, cut into squares) filled with a little squeeze of chestnut paste that I brought back from Paris (Clement Faugier's chestnut paste, which is also available at DeLaurenti's in the Market now), and a dab of rosehip jelly that I made from the wild nootka rosehips we foraged in the mountains last winter. You simply swipe the edges of the little square of puff pastry with water and fold it over the paste and jam, pressing with fork tines to seal it together. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cut a little vent in the top (I like to make two small diagonal cuts). Beat an egg with about a tablespoon of cold water. Brush the mixture over the tops of the turnovers and sprinkle sugar over them. The egg will give them a nice gloss, and the sugar gives a tiny bit of crunch. It's that extra pzazz that makes it seem like you really know baking ;)
Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until pastries are golden. Let cool at least 10 minutes before eating - really. The jam becomes molten and Cass and I seriously burned ourselves (both mouths and hands) the first time I made these because we did not stop eating them!
A note on rosehip jelly: a Serbian friend of mine, upon learning what I'd been making this summer, informed me that rosehip jelly is a winter tradition back home, so I gave him a jar. He was able to confirm that the flavour of our native wild nootka roses is very different from the roses used in European jam recipes - which I think favour rosa rugosa and other large-fruiting varieties of shrub rose. So my rosehip jelly is tannic, like sweet black tea, but I think these would be just as good if you were able to source a more traditional European rosehip jam at an import foods shop.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
(speaking of to-dos, you should see the ridiculous list I've made for my two weeks off. There should be plenty of posting over the break - though, if I were wise, I'd hold some in reserve for winter quarter, when I'm in for another 20-credit quarter - twice a full load for a grad student - and teaching)
We still get a small tree - smaller than any I grew up with - but mostly because Rising Sun Farms (in Ravenna) has such great prices on their little trees. Plus, when I first moved to Seattle, I used to walk there a couple times a week to buy groceries at rock-bottom prices. They got to know me, and they cut me a deal on the tree that first Christmas. That kindness meant a lot to me as I was almost completely out of money that December, having only just managed to find work after months of looking. And so, I am perennially loyal.
But as I was saying. Every year I purchase 2-4 ornaments, usually the day after Christmas, on sale. And over the years, it's really become a beautiful collection of orbs, acorns, pinecones and glass icicles (a nod to the tinsel that I loved as a child). We haven't used the origami roses in a few years, but they still live with the Christmas ornaments in the Christmas box. I think one of these years I might them up in our bedroom, a romantic reminder of our early years.
Anyhow, I was struck by a ray of winter sun gleaming in through this blown glass pomegranate the other morning; it so perfectly expresses how I feel about winter, the brief glory of cold, low yellow sun.
But of course, the tree is particularly glorious after dark. So, for family and friends that won't be in Seattle this winter - here's a peek into our holiday. With presents for you under the tree, just waiting to be packed up and sent out!
wishing you a holiday as beautiful and special as winter sunshine, full of memories of love and family!
In the spirit of the thing I whipped this up for her - and got it to her just in time! - for a little extra black and white flair (it was charming against her Louise Brooks wig). Black and white rooster feathers (from this project), black leather (from this one), a vintage rhinestone earring that the vintage shop owner was willing to just give me, a vintage button I had on hand, and a small piece of one of the plastic combs I bought when I made this.
Times are tight, and moving this year reminded me just how many raw materials I already have on hand; so I'm trying to use some of them up this holiday season, when I can come up with a good way to do it.