Sunday, November 27, 2011

so I can find it more easily

here's a recipe for a drink we came up with back in October - I had to scroll through a month's worth of posts on my facebook wall to find it! It definitely belongs here, where it'll be easier to access for the future. Cass is becoming quite the mixologist around here.

The Katydid:

2.25 oz vodka
1.5 oz rhuby
.75 oz grand marnier
½ capful green chartreuse
½ capful maraschino
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
Dash angostura bitters

Shake together over ice. Strain. Serve up in two glasses, with a maraschino cherry.

watch out - it tastes like a sweettart candy (remember those?) but it packs a punch! Drink water afterward!! =)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

next: hot streak clutch

I'm loving the envelope-clutches with a bright stripe of neon paint down the middle lately. It seems like they are everywhere! This is the hot streak clutch from anthropologie. It's quite small, actually, only 6.75" high and 9" wide - but $148. Ouch! Definitely one to DIY.

From the reviews I learned it's rather squishy-soft, so it doesn't need very stiff leather to make it - which means I may be able to do it on my machine and not have to buy a sewing awl. And it looks to me like it's lined in very lightweight suede. Okay.

I'm starting my first test run now; pics soon if it works out. It'll be about the same size, but lined in a heavier weight leather (I'm using up what I've got on hand); it's a good test for my sewing machine to see if it can handle the bulk, with a leather needle and heavy-duty thread. The little button/knob closures - whatever you call them - cost about $2.50 at Tandy Leather, and my mother in law was telling me over Thanksgiving that she actually has a bunch of deerskin hides that she once purchased and is never going to use (how PERFECT, no?) so if the test-run works, I'm definitely going to make a big pretty one, maybe even make some for gifts!

make-do: waxed suede shoes

my old oxfords were literally falling apart after Europe - I'd had them four years and walked oh so many miles in them. When these Matt Bernson shoes came up on sale for $30 (down from $150) at Urban Outfitters, I snapped up a pair for my mother and one for myself. They needed a few tweaks, though; these were laceless oxfords, the top of the shoe held together by a strip of elastic affixed between the suede and the leather lining, and fed through the two layers of the tongue. They were too loose on my narrow feet. So I cut the elastic out and sealed the slit in the layers shut with shoe goo. Next problem: I needed oxfords I could wear year-round here in Seattle, and these are made of suede.

The inexpensive solution? Sno-seal. Sno-seal is a beeswax-based leather sealant, and it really works. We would use sno-seal to seal a new pair of ice skates - you did four coats over four days when you first got your new skates, and never had to worry about it again. Use a hair dryer to heat the shoe to a comfortably warm temperature, then just rub gobs of the sno-seal in with a rag (I cut up Cass' old shirts and boxers into rags for just this kind of thing - you're going to have to throw the rag away afterward). Let the shoe sit for 10-15 minutes, and wipe away excess. TO do multiple coats, just warm the shoe back up and apply again, wait, wipe excess.

The sno-seal darkened the colour from a very lackluster, ho-hum grey to a nice slate. I even sealed the sole and heel, to protect them from water damage as well. Then I threaded in an old pair of laces leftover from when I painted my fryes green and switched out their laces, and there you have it! New, winter-ready brogues!

Of course, now I'm on a sno-sealing kick - all my boots are getting a good coat, especially my poor frye boots that got completely soaked in a rainstorm last year.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

make-do: sweater leggings

It's that time of year; I'm pulling out leggings and wool tights to wear under skirts and add a little insulation to my wardrobe. I love the look of intarsia sweater leggings, but geez, the things are so expensive.

What's a girl to do?

Well, last year (yeah, last year! I am so behind on getting things done!) I bought a pair of gorgeous intarsia sweater tights by Eloise from anthropologie's clearance section ... for $5 (down from $38). score! But here's the thing: I bought these tights even though Eloise is too small for me (btw, from what I read, Hansel from Basel tights are too short for anyone over 5'2" or 5'4"). I figured that with a little elbow grease, I could turn them into leggings.

Here's how I did it:
first, take your seam ripper and carefully cut apart the stitches that hold the toe together. You don't want to pull or yank too much, so that you don't start the tights unravelling. These eloise tights are essentially long tubes - there is no figured heel or toe cap. I think if you have a pair of tights with a figured heel, you may want to just cut the tight open above the heel and continue.

next, fold the tights over and pin. Then fold again and pin. You want to trap the loose edges inside this roll. Use pins to keep it together, and remove while you sew.

You can hand-sew a stretchy stitch if you use a catch stitch. Catch-stitch around the opening, stretching the fabric slightly as you sew. I made one line of back stitches (half of the catch stitch) down the middle of my double-folded hem, and one at the top edge.

voila! done! Cute geometric-pattern wool sweater leggings for $5 and about 1 hour of time.

hm. Lots of bright pink lately ...

happy thanksgiving!

green salads with warm walnut-crusted goat cheese balls, roasted brussel sprouts with chantrelles and shallots, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and homemade cranberry sauce with orange zest and pomegranate molasses.

pumpkin pie, champagne with rhuby, and a nice slow afternoon and evening with Cass and his parents. Here's to family time and relaxation. Tomorrow's black Friday and I think I'll spend it grading, cutting down my mla paper, and putting some finishing touches (read: alterations) on some thrifted pieces.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

handmade holidays: wrapping up gifts

literally - more on the wrap itself later, though. I've been so stressed out with these fellowship applications and whatnot that I've been crafting like a madwoman in any free moment I can get - hammering and filing brass and copper into necklaces, weaving another wrapped glow bracelet," this time with pearlescent white leather and lapis lazuli beads, making more sets of those cinched quartz earrings, etc. It's all in the name of sanity and peace in the home.

So, the net result is, I'm basically ... done preparing for yuletide. Before Thanksgiving. Isn't that insane?? It's a little sad, actually. And I'm totally broke, so I really need to resist the siren song of "holiday sales!" after next week.

Well, I have a few things left to make up to keep me busy - I ordered a pattern to make Cass a new plaid shirt, and one to make him some chic skinny wool ties (a post coming up on that soon, with an inspiration scan from the recent j.crew catalogue) that I'm sure he won't wear as often as I'll want him to! I've heard tie-making is difficult; if I can get the knack of it, I think I'll have to start giving them away. I've always wanted to make ties - it's just the right mix of precision and handwork, and the kind of accessory that can really make (or break, or change) a look. I'd love to master it.

Other than the guy stuff, I finally decided to commit to sewing something with my ralph lauren red plaid fabric - colette's jasmine blouse. I haven't decided what to use for the contrast collar and cuffs yet, but I think I want to embroider the blouse, just at the top of each shoulder. Something ... Slavic-inspired, I think. In thick white thread or yarn. I think the juxtaposition could be interesting. Hopefully. Oh, and I've got a scarf/chiffon wrap I want to make for a friend, we'll see if I can pull that off.

Hm. Maybe my holidays are not quite so "finished" after all?


you know it's winter when it's suddenly impossible to get enough light at 2pm (or noon, for that matter) to get a photo that isn't grainy.

Had to make my silimba loop in pink (rowan big wool "glamour" instead of "madras") when the golden colour was sold out. Oh well.I still like it! Though I feel like it's going to take a bit of chutzpah to wear this thing. I feel a little silly, but shouldn't we all be able to laugh at ourselves from time to time?