Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fun sewing: mock ups for re-sizing my 18th century Robe a l'Anglais

So, years and years ago I made this dress:

I got this to count as an independent study in college, so I got college credit for it. Sweet, right? Any who, it was snug back then. Now? Heh. I just can't get it to fit quite right. I am 99.9999999% sure I screwed up the front closures slightly (massively?) and now those problems are exaggerated with the two children later sizing problem.

I don't have a picture, but whenever I have worn it to parties (what would I give for a good re-enactment encampment!) I just pin a silk scarf over it to hide the fact that it can't close all the way.

I also decided that it could also do with some fun trim and I just scored some antique ribbons and lace from a junk shop. Also, the figure would look a lot better/fuller with a small pannier, so I improvised with pillows on my dress form until I make one.

Fun, right? Everything is crooked since it is just pinned in place. The pinkish color fabric in the middle of the bodice is called a stomacher. Right now it is just a piece of modern print scrap fabric. I think I want to make the real one with a burgundy silk, but I have a lot of other color ideas too.

 I like the ribbons, I think. I have found a lot of period dresses tied with ribbons. Obviously, when sewing in place they would be ironed and straight.

When the skirts are hiked up in the back, it is called a la Polonaise. This is the popular shepherdess style that you often see in movies.

As you can see, it is a lot wider in these new pictures compared to when I wore it a million years ago. That is because I added a mock pannier to the dress form.

I wish it wouldn't be socially awkward to wear this to the grocery store.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Geek shirt series: Doctor Who

I prefer to think of myself more of a geek than a nerd. Give me some Tolkien or Star Trek and we are good to go.

Any who, I have been collecting these shirts for a while and thought it would be fun to share them. I will try to include links were I can if you are a geek at heart and want to get one too.

Today is Doctor Who.

This is my fake Christmas sweater. I got it on Zulily a few weeks ago. Zulily often circulates merchandise, so it will probably be around again. I got it for about $12.

Ah, geekdom at its finest. On episode "Blink" one of the characters mentioned having this t-shirt. So it is an inside joke among Whovians. All very Timey- wimey and such. You can get it on Etsy from Starshipmates. It is about $20.

I love this one. Belle meets the Doctor. So cool! Haha. It is available form Threadless. If you wait for sales, every few months they have a $10 shirt sale. Threadless has a lot of amazing shirts that I don't want to look at because I try to conserve my budgeted spending money.

I have a lot of other shirts, but I am going to share them in other themed posts. Part of this is because I cannot find all of them right now. Also, some of my pictures came out blurry. In addition, my newest Jane Austen shirt is en route from Zazzle. Fun fun! Feel free to share with me any awesome geek stuff that you like.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

DIY Couple Silhouette

I have been collecting vintage art for a long time. I thought it would be fun to mix new with old and create a family silhouette to go with some of my antique art. Since silhouettes were a popular form of art "back in the day," I thought it would go nicely with it be super awesome.

Then I put it off. For almost a year. Sure, I read tutorials and bought some black paper (which I never needed). What put me off for a while was getting an oval picture frame. Then I got a couple, and let them sit for another few months.

However, I finally decided to do it today. It was a lot easier than I imagined. I did it all using some glue, scissors and minimal skills on (a free program that you can download if you don't have  Paintshop). It took very little time.

First I took pictures of Matt and I in front of a bright window. After that, I cropped them in an oval shape and edited the brightness/contrast until they looked like this:

You can use a paintbrush to make everything in the silhouette black.

I didn't take pictures of the next steps, but they are very simple. I printed the pictures to the size of the frame, cut the faces out, touched up the black with a black marker and glued to white paper.

My OCD side is twitching as I notice that I hung Matt slightly crooked. You can assure yourself that this will be remedied.

Have fun!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

Linen maxi Washi dress

I have been wanting a linen dress for a long time. My favorite skirt is linen. BUT LINEN IS SO EXPENSIVE. :( However, I found a great sale on one day and ordered five yards of lovely linen. I decided to make a maxi Washi dress.

I think it *almost* looks like a regency dress, so maybe I should sip some tea and play the piano while shopping for new TOMS because this picture shows that they are starting to get holes.

The inside construction is lovely, thanks to Rae's gorgeous pattern. I think I should have lined it with a soft cotton, but I didn't have any that matched the right color. I had to hand stitch the lining in place and it was one of the most soothing sewing jobs that I have ever done. I don't know why. I usually try to avoid hand sewing. Also, as you can see, the dress has pockets, which is super awesome.

The darts (in the bodice) look a little funky in the picture, but I was too lazy to readjust the mannequin and take more pictures after I realized it (hours later).

You can't see, but the back of the dress is shirred with elastic thread. No closures! Yay!

This pattern is so easy to sew- you should try it!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Backpacks of tears.

I decided to make these backpacks for the kids. You can get the pattern from Made by Rae here.

I renamed them to being the "backpacks of tears" I probably would add "and great lamentations" to the name, but they are cute. Actually, they are not even hard to make! My problem was just that I made both of them on a day when the kids were in a baaaad mood. And me. So the three of us together in bad moods + some other life events that were not super awesome left me making lots of little mistakes sewing. I ripped out so. many. stitches. BUT the end result was great. The pattern is awesome.

It takes very little fabric, so you can spurge on designer prints. I chose prints by Heather Ross and Michael Miller. If you made them with a separate print on the sides, you could totally do this with a fat quarter= Japanese Kokka print splurge on Etsy may be about to happen in this house.

They are fully lined which was startlingly easy.

The instructions also show how to make a quilted padded bottom and straps with adjustable D-rings.

I am glad to have a promising future of not carrying their stuff on our walks, haha.

Isn't this print the cutest thing ever? I love love love Heather Ross.

I am thinking about making them to sell on Etsy. Due to the cost of notions, fabric, license to sell, pattern, (HOURS OF SLAVE LABOR)etc... I would sell them for $35 each. There are a lot of others on Etsy for the same price. If anyone would be interested in buying one, send me an email and I'll get to work. ;) I kind of want to sell them just because I want to work with cute Kokka prints or more Heather Ross, haha.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Selfish Sewing: Washi Dress

I have been wanting to make a Washi Dress for a while. I have been following the blog Made By Rae and have loved her designs. I finally bought the pattern and within two days had completed two dresses (even while battling the stomach virus). The pattern is so easy!

I have been saving this fabric that I brought back from Belguim last year. I thought it would make a fun dress, and it did. :)

I added a lace collar and vintage brass button. I also modified the gathers to be pin tucks.

This pattern runs from size XS to XXL. It is so simple to follow. There is elastic shirring in the back so it doesn't need a closure(Cheers and drinks for everyone!). After I finished it, I thought I might put it in my Etsy shop (remember, I was sick at the time, haha) but now I think I would be crazy if I did that.

I am including this as part of a fun event that I found called Selfish Sewing Week. Check it out! It is a great way to find new patterns/ideas/blogs.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Easy hoodie for kids plus sewing with knit on a basic sewing machine

I found a super easy pattern. It is for a knit hoodie/cowl/shawl neck top for children (12m-6). Really, I think the most effort was cutting out and taping the pattern pieces and cutting the fabric. The step-by-step photo instructions that accompanied the pattern were very simple to follow.

The best part? They are made out of knit! I finally learned how to sew knit on my basic sewing machine. I just needed a ballpoint needle and set the zig-zag to the narrowest width and longest length. Hooray! There have been so many things that I have been wanting to try, but was too intimidated by using my machine on knit. Fear no more!

Any who, you can get the pattern from here. It is an Etsy shop. You will get it as a PDF file, so you can use it over and over in various sizes. After looking up the link to post, I have realized that I used the same fabric as in the shop picture, ha.

My, what willing models I have. Haha! This picture made me laugh so much.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My undying love for tea...

Chocolate coconut ganache macarons
If you are cold, tea will warm you;
If you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are exhausted, it will calm you.

William Gladstone

So true! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hiking in Upstate New York

This is one of my favorite places in NY- right off the highway, just before Lake Placid. It has a marvelous view of Mt. Marcy and some of the other high peaks. I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours there (waiting to meet up with friends) a couple of weeks ago.

But! As lovely as it is, gazing up at the mountains from a meadow is not the same as looking across from the top of one of them!

My goal was to have hiked all 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks before finishing grad school, then it was getting married/having kids, and now it is before I am 30.

But since I am going to be 28 tomorrow, I am not sure if that goal will be met! I am just over halfway through them. If I could get a few more trips in (having babies in summer for two years in a row set me back!) I think the goal could be accomplished.

Oh, and if any of you want to give me $250 for a new tent, you are welcome. Haha ;)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

April Cornell on Zulily

I have been a fan of April Cornell for a while. Except I can't afford anything from that shop, ha. However, April Cornell clothes are on Zulily today, yay! It still is a little pricey, but the items are so lovely and elegant I still wanted to share them (especially if you have some Zulily credit saved up). I like looking at pictures of gorgeous clothing (that I almost never buy) to get ideas for future sewing projects.

$130. $49.99

$110. $42.99
$110. $44.99
$94. $36.99
$140. $49.99
$60. $27.99
$64. $24.99
$80. $32.99
Aren't these dresses so lovely? I really appreciate that April Cornell focuses on modest beauty. It isn't about how much skin you can get away with showing, but delicate and beautiful feminine detailing. The children's clothing is very appealing to me as well. Too often companies focus on making little girls little women. That aggravates me so often. When I was swimsuit shopping for my daughter I was shocked to find string bikinis for toddlers. What a horror! At any rate, April Cornell dresses girls like girls.

*As I have explained before, I have a Zulily account. If someone makes a new account (using my link) and purchases something, I get $20 credit. You do not need a blog to do the same thing! If you like Zulily, share it with your friends spread the good deals and to earn credit for yourself.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Les petits macarons

I have been on a macaron baking spree. My brother got married last week and I made them for the wedding. Hundreds! They were up to their traditional macaron tricks- hundreds of them didn't rise properly in the oven due to one of a thousand potential trivial changes.

The end result was what mattered though. The duds were still delicious to eat! I ended up making a couple hundred more than first planned because of the ones that rose poorly. 

Pink: Rose water butter cream
Orange: Peach blossom butter cream
Blue: Chocolate ganache rolled in coconut
Purple: Blackberry jam made by the monks at St Tikhons
Lavender: Vanilla bean butter cream rolled in lavender flowers
Green: Peppermint chocolate ganache
Yellow: Lemon curd
White: Coffee bean topping with mocha ganache filling.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Parchment Salmon with Mushrooms and Spinach

2 Cups spinach
1/4-1/2 Cups fresh mushrooms
2 Salmon steaks
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Springs of fresh dill weed
Salt and pepper to taste

Layer parchment in a baking pan. Spread spinach and mushrooms on parchment (the juices of the salmon will cover them with deliciousness) then cover with salmon. Drizzle with oil, then a good shake of salt and pepper. Top with fresh dill, then fold parchment so that its scrumptiousness is sealed inside. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 for 15 minutes.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Make your own Waldorf doll (links)

A good friend of mine recently gave me a Waldorf doll kit. I've wanted to try making a Waldorf doll for a while, but never got around to getting all of the supplies (which are not that much) for it.

What supplies do you need?

Wool or other stuffing medium
Flesh colored knit 1/4 of a yard should do the trick with some left over.
Yarn for hair
Colored thread for eyes, mouth and detail work of body
Strong cotton string
Stretchy tube thing (like a thick nylon stocking)
Beeswax crayon or something similar for cheeks

I followed two tutorials online. This one shows in great detail how to make the head. This post covers most essentials of the body and reiterates most of the first tutorial about the head. They both have printable pattern pieces, though you may need to tweak them to get the right size.

I used a different method for adding the hair. Sandwich strips (lots and lots) of yarn over similar colored tissue paper (or tape). Sew a tight seam down the middle, then rip off the tissue paper. Now you will have a strip of parted yarn hair that you can hand sew on the doll's head. There are lots of other tutorials online if you search "how to add doll hair" or something like that.

These dolls are very expensive ($100+) to buy, but if you make one it is very inexpensive. I made the whole thing from start to finish in one day. Granted, I devoted a lot of time to it, but I still had plenty of time leftover to make breakfast, lunch, dinner, go to church and watch two episodes Deep Space Nine. Haha.

My daughter fell in love with it before it really had a form. It was just a ball of wool stuffed in a white tube with some strings, no face or anything. I made the body, attached the finished head and also made a quick dress while she was napping. She was so excited when she woke up!

I certainly made some doll making rookie mistakes, but I'm pretty satisfied for a first attempt. I hope you give it a try!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Crock pot goulash

This is an old stand-by of mine. My mother and grandmother used to make it often, though I think it was a little different. You can also make it on a stove-top just as easily.

2 cups ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups egg noodles or 1.5 cups elbow macaroni
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups water or vegetable stock (tastes better)
Sea salt and pepper to taste

If you want it to taste extra delicious, fry the ground beef with the onions and garlic on the stove top(add a little oil to keep from sticking), then add to a pot with the stock and tomatoes.  You could also just put everything in the crock pot and let it sit for a few hours on low.
Add the pasta about ten minutes before you want to serve it. It probably goes without saying, but bring the soup to a boil before adding the pasta, then let simmer for about ten minutes- or until the pasta is cooked. Add salt and pepper.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Shiitake ginger chicken soup

Shiitake Ginger Chicken Soup
1 small onion
thumb sized piece of ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms
3 carrots, cut
2 chicken breasts, cut (or you can shred them after cooking)
6 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
(opt) 2 teaspoons of dried hyssop
2-3 tablespoons of oil
(opt) 1/4 cup long grained rice
Sea salt and pepper to taste.

Saute the onion, garlic and ginger in oil. When onion becomes translucent, add carrots. Continue to saute until carrots begin to get soft, then add mushrooms.

While vegetables are cooking, fill a pot with vegetable stock, rice and chicken. Bring to a boil, then let simmer.

When mushrooms are soft, transfer all vegetables to the pot. Let them simmer together for quite a while or at least until chicken and rice are cooked. Add herbs and seasonings.

I've decided to start posting my personal recipes. Part of this is for selfish reasons and that is because I always forget how to do it a second time unless it is written down.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lavender vanilla macarons

I used vegetable coloring to make these a soft purple. I stuffed them with vanilla butter-cream, then rolled them in dried lavender flowers.

On an interesting note, that day I made four batches. One of them completely failed in the oven. I have no idea why! It is so weird to make the same recipe, using the same method, and have one batch out of four completely messed up.

Sometimes I wish I could run a part-time bakery. No, no- a coffee shop! Now that would be amazing. That has actually been a dream of mine for about ten years. Maybe one day!
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