Sunday, February 27, 2011

a bit of flare

a new project, inspired by one of my new favorite blogs: honestlywtf, a bit of almost-daily fashion/home/lifestyle inspiration, with a good dose of DIY projects injected into the mix, which I really like. Upon seeing friendship-bracelet-style necklaces featured in Flare magazine, they posted their own DIY version to create the look for less. I loved the idea - and the fact that this was a project that I could work on here and there over a long time, without feeling like I was failing to complete something (an anxiety which I just can't take any more of, lately).

I stopped at...7 or 8 or however many there are here because I couldn't find a larger cap to use as a crimp bead around all of these. Probably a good thing, too, or I would've driven myself crazy trying to come up with all possible combinations of these colours.

What do you think? Personally, I can't wait to don this this week with that green crinkle silk tee I made last year.

finishing up wips

sorry to just disappear for the last few months; I'm in the final quarter of classes for my doctoral program, which also happens to be the last quarter in which I take 20 credits (twice a full-time load) and teach. Ugh, I am SO tired and so stressed and so busy all the time.

So it's kind of amazing that I've found any time at all to work on old works-in-process (WIPs) this winter and start finishing them up. But, I have. I've also started and (almost!) completed some new things. So I should have a few fun things to show you over the next few weeks. I have a big plans for spring break: painting my shower, woodburning matryoshka dolls, a full skirt and some harem pants to sew, etc. In short, hoping to get back to posting a bit more regularly around here.

I can't believe it's taken me a year and a half to get this simple project done. I found this heavy leather hat at a vintage shop in Sept. 2009 and snapped it up. I was so in love - I'd never seen anything like it before! Of course, now I am seeing hats like this in catalogues everywhere, which is kind of crazy. I had no idea it would be a "thing," but seeing as it has the makings of a trend, I thought I'd better don this baby before it becomes ubiquitous. Rather than push the "Western" feel, I wanted something that would temper it, make it feel a little more equestrian/British than Western/American, and it has taken me 18 months to find a ribbon to make a proper band. I had planned to do a whole lot more embellishment, but I just haven't figured out a combination that I like yet; perhaps a spray of pheasant feathers will eventually find its way onto this baby. For now, a pale honeydew-green strip of silk dupioni, that I pleated and stitched on by hand, will have to do.

I want to wear this with a long, slim linen dress that looks like it belongs in the 1910s. And flat lace-up boots. Fun!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

macaron madness

this week: red-bean macarons, lemon curd macarons. I had the idea (genius, if I do say so myself) to colour and flavour the red bean cookies with beet powder. The sweet earthy flavour of the beets, diluted by all the confectioner's sugar and almond powder that comprise most of the cookie, tastes pretty similar to the homemade adzuki bean paste that fills them. The beet powder does have thickening properties, though, which means next time we make beet cookies perhaps I won't actually beat the eggs quite as stiff as I normally would.

Lemon cookies have tiny bits of lemon zest mixed into the sugar and almonds and let stand overnight for flavours to meld; homemade lemon-curd filling.

and last week we made rose cookies with rose-cream-cheese filling. The cream cheese overwhelmed the rose a bit; next time we'll have to just make a buttercream...or figure something else out. Still good, though - and so pink!
We've been using this recipe for our base, working with 28 Tbl. powdered sugar, 8 Tbl ground almonds, and 1Tbl flavouring (27/8/2 for beets) for dry ingredients and 3 egg whites beat with 2 Tbl granulated sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar (plus food colour) for the wet. We let them stand an hour before baking and they develop a great skin. It's working amazingly well, even in this wet northwestern winter.