03 June 2010

An Apology:

Dear lovely readers:

I promised that by Thursday I would post photos of my awesome creations from this past weekend. Unfortunately, this is the last week of school for students. Therefore, I have not had the time to get my camera working and to have Nate take pictures of anything. And I am unable to take pictures that are decent at all by myself with my camera phone.

I'll have this situation remedied as soon as I can.



Best Summer Beverage. Ever.

Well, at least until we break out the meyer limoncello. You shouldn't drink meyer limoncello first thing in the morning. Even if you are on summer break.

You should start your morning off every day this summer instead with a Greek frappe. Well, you should also have one in the middle of the morning and one in the afternoon. And unless you have the caffeine tolerance of my dad you should not drink one right before bed in an effort to cool down. That would be an acceptable time to drink some of the aforementioned limoncello.

A frappe is a cold shaken instant coffee drink that you will hate to love. I've been thinking about them a lot lately because 1. it's hot outside, and 2. our 1st wedding anniversary was this past Sunday and we went to Athens, Greece for our honeymoon and drank lots of frappes. I wanted to recreate them for our honeymoon picnic of all Greek foods. So I did some research and did!

[and as I'm writing this a little Greek man just totally poked his head into my classroom. I swear it's true.]

Greek frappe
serves 1

1 T Nescafe instant coffee
1T sugar (more or less to taste)
3-4T cold water, plus 1.5 c water
6 or so ice cubes
evaporated milk (NOT sweetened and condensed milk, oops, my bad)

In a glass jar that has a lid (I use a canning jar, but you could use a cocktail shaker if you want) throw in the 1T Nescafe, 1T sugar, 3-4T water and 2 ice cubes. Then shake it like a polaroid picture. Seriously. It'll take almost a minute of shaking. But you will be rewarded with a jar full of delicious coffee froth. Grab a tall glass. In the bottom of the glass throw the rest of your ice cubes and some evaporated milk if you take milk in your coffee. Pour the coffee froth from the jar and into your glass. Next you need to top off the glass with some cold water. Throw a bendy straw into the glass and enjoy! (and if you're really cool and green, then you'll have some of these stainless steel bendy straws and glasses made out of recycled wine bottles!)

02 June 2010

An Obsession: Pygmy Goats

OK, you guys, one day I NEED to have pygmy goats.

Seriously. I NEED THEM. Look at them!!!!!!!!

I have been known to giggle uncontrollably and hysterically when looking at pictures of them.

True story: I did a google image search one day before I knew the power of the pygmy goat. I was hysterical for an hour just looking at the pictures. I think I only looked at 3 pictures. I couldn't stop giggling insanely. Nate got worried.

LOOK AT THEM! I need some as pets. I want to love them, and squeeze them, and hug them, and call them George.

One day. One day I will have pygmy goats to play with every day. First I need a yard.

Also, I need a sheep.

So I can shear it and spin it's wool and then make a sweater and take a picture of me and the sheep that the sweater came from.

But I can't handle doing that with a dog. This guy can:

He looks rather pleased with himself, don't you think?

Me: Hello there strange Scottish man and dog.

Strange Scottish man: Why hello there, lass.

Me: What are you doing?

SSM: Oh, just out for a hike by the loch with me pup in this fine weather we're having here.

Me: That's a mighty fine sweater you have on there.

SSM: What, this old thing? It's nothing, it's just spun from the hair of me pup here.

Me: Wow. You just said that. And you kept a straight face.

Also, why is he Scottish?

And why is it OK to me to take a picture with the sheep the wool came from but not OK to take a picture with the dog the wool came from?

That's probably because it creeps me out that this man saved THAT MUCH DOG HAIR. Seriously, that's a good sized sweater. That takes a fair amount of dog hair to spin into that amount of yarn.

I wonder if the dog likes it when he wears the sweater? He smells just like the dog I bet.

Just don't ever get caught in the rain in one of these sweaters. You will lose all of your friends.

For more portraits of sweaters and their dogs: click here. Ignore the creepy body builders flickering on the page and click on "dogwool" on the left.

01 June 2010

A Productive Weekend!

This weekend was one that I've needed for a long while. 4-day weekend! I got a TON of sewing done.

I started on the Collette mini-bloomers pattern, Madeleine. It's a really cute and FREE pattern that you can download from their site.

See? Don't you want a pair now? I made mine for my upcoming trip to the beach. I decided that I needed something cute to sleep in. And honestly I'll probably wear them over my swimsuit, also.

I made mine out of Anna Maria Horner Cotton Voile that I got from Fancy Tiger at their trunk show recently.

The pattern was really easy to follow. But sleep shorts are generally pretty easy to sew up. Same thing with sleep pants. I'm kind of OCD when it comes to sewing, so I did all french seams. It probably took me longer than it is supposed to. But whatever. I love them. I'll have pictures up by Thursday.

The other project I decided to tackle this weekend is the BurdaStyle Alison Swimsuit #BS-002.

This was my first experience sewing swimwear. It's easier than I expected, after the chastity shirt disaster. I did learn a few things along the way.

1. Thicker knit fabrics are waaaaaaaaaaaay easier to work with. I made the suit in black with a nude lining. The lining fabric is really a lot thinner than the fabric I got for the body. It was a pain to lay out flat, it was a pain to cut, it was a pain to pin, it was not too much of a pain to sew 'cause it was pinned to a thicker knit.

2. Everyone on BurdaStyle is right, the directions are CRAP for this pattern. But if you've ever made any clothes at all you should be able to figure out the construction. The way you make it doesn't matter so much as the end result. That being said, I'll have my construction notes along with pictures up by the end of the week.

3. I look HOTTTTTT in vintage styled swimwear.

4. Thicker fabric has more benefits than just being able to sew it easier. The sample suit on the model, um, just shows a bit TMI. I think this is because the suit is made from thinner fabric and not lined at all. I'd like to not show off the shape of my privates to the whole world (and all of my family at the wedding). So I opted for thicker fabric and to line the body of the suit. Turns out, this was a GREAT idea! The suit accentuates the positives and smooths out just about all the lumps. I feel great and confident wearing this suit.

5. Look at all the pictures, repeatedly. That's really the only way I was able to figure out some of the construction.

6. If you want the back to tie, YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE TIES LONGER YOURSELF. It's not in the pattern. I didn't realize this. I just went about my happy way cutting the fabric. Then I read the instructions. They tell you to make the back ties longer if you want them to tie. But it's not until THE LAST STEP. So, before you cut anything out, read the instructions to the end. I didn't. But I did have way too much fabric.

7. In spite of everything, I'd totally make this suit again. And it'd be easier. Maybe in red? Or turquoise?

27 May 2010

Sorrel & Cilantro Pesto

Photo is a wikimedia commons cc licensed photo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorrel

Our front yard garden is going great. We're all anxiously awaiting our first major harvest. In the meantime, we've been snipping at the greens that are growing in our cold frames. Yes, it's still cold at night here in Colorado. [sigh]

One of my new favorite things to eat is sorrel. If you've never eaten it, be prepared. It is the most intense lemon flavor I've ever had when not eating a lemon. But it's so so so good! The flavor is bright and springy. And we need more spring.

The other day we decided to make a cilantro and sorrel pesto. It was awesome. It will make your mouth sing. It also goes good with just about everything. Angel hair pasta would be awesome with this pesto. It also goes great atop fish tacos I'm told. Essentially, add this to anything you want to brighten up.

Sorrel & Cilantro Pesto
This recipe, like so many of mine, is something I just threw together. Its more like a guideline.

1/2 - 1 bunch of cilantro
1/2 - 1 bunch of sorrel (we probably used about 1/2 a cup loosely packed)
olive oil
coriander seeds
salt & pepper to taste

Put all ingredients into your blender except for the olive oil, slat & pepper. Turn the blender on and drizzle a few tablespoons in while the blades are going. Stop and scrape down the sides and test the consistency. It'll look like regular pesto does when it's ready, maybe a bit runnier because there is no nuts or cheese in this recipe. Give it a taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. Proceed to eat it on everything. It would be great on bruschetta, also. Just toast some crusty bread with a bit of olive oil brushed on top. Add some yummy cheese and top with pesto.


26 May 2010

Planning & Sewing

If you haven't heard yet, Collette Patterns is having an Almost Summer 30% off sale. You just have to sign up for their newsletter to get the coupon code.

I'm in love with a lot of their patterns. They have a vintage vibe that is really awesome. I like the fact that the patterns are so well designed that they look good on a wide range of body-types. That is the mark of a great designer in my opinion. Check out the gallery to see what I'm talking about.

I got my coupon code and promptly placed an order. Now I just have to decide which one to make first. And in what fabric.

Well, I know already what I'm making first. I first fell in love with Rooibos. Just check out those details. Pockets! Piping! Cute neckline! I'm in love. Now I just have to figure out what fabric to make this out of. I hate synthetics, so those are out. Cotton? Silk? Wool? I'm thinking my first one will be cotton since it's summer. Although, the Parfait pattern is also on it's way and that's a mighty fine sun dress. I think I want to make that one out of a gingham or a seersucker. I may even make that one first so that I can wear it when I go to the beach for my sister's wedding.

I've set a goal for myself: I'm going to be in FL for 3 days, I want to have handmade clothes to wear for each day. I've already got one dress. Now I need 2 more dresses or at least a dress and a shirt. Maybe a bathing suit?? I think that's pushing it a little too far. A girl can dream, can't she?

I think though that the mini-bloomers that come as a free pdf pattern on Collette's site are a necessity for sleepwear or at least as a swimsuit cover-up.

I have too many things I want to make.

25 May 2010

A Ravelry Revelation

I've been a member of Ravelry for a while now. But only recently have I really really gotten into it. It's a serious problem. Is there a Ravelrers Anonymous that I can join? 'Cause it's getting out of hand. I have a tab always open with it. I love looking at all of the cool things that people do to make the patterns their own. I love seeing the pattern adjustments and all of the different yarns. It's a time drain though.

But, I think it's also a major encouragement. There are so many awesome projects and patterns on there that I want to knit. I never knew I wanted to knit a shawl until two weeks ago. I thought shawls were old and fuddy duddy. But I'm knitting a shawl now.

In peacock blue malabrigo sock yarn nonetheless. It's going really well, too. I love the pattern, I love the yarn, I love how the yarn knits up. I'm addicted.

The pattern that I'm knitting is called Simple Things. You can find it's Ravelry page here.

I've made significant progress considering how busy my life has been lately. I'm pretty proud of how much I've actually gotten done!

Isn't that yarn gorgeous?!? The eyelets in the middle are so fun. I'm smitten. If you're related to me, what color do you want for Christmas? ;)

Also, knitted and felted shoes. Yes. Yes, please. I can't wait to get the yarn for this pattern. I'm thinking that I can sew on some leather or maybe a jute/hemp sole and then wear them outside. It'll feed into my obsession with making my own shoes.