Saturday, March 31, 2012

Vintage 70's...Simplicity 6971

I got quite a few lovely vintage patterns as a prize for winning the costume contest last year, and I have finally gotten around to sewing one! well, to be fair, I did make an 80's vest out of gorgeous purple velvet which I just LOVE, but 80's does not feel truly...vintage, so this piece feels like my fist real attempt at that.
I used Simplicity 6971, what a felt would be a lovely simple pattern, a wonderful piece to throw on over the top of a cami or tee in the spring and summer for a really glamorous yet casual look.
I had this truly unusual fabric that really seemed to represent the 70's, it had a hippie/ "That 70's Show" feel to it that I thought would translate well into this pattern.  The fabric is a sheer knit, with floral embroidery and a spattering of sequins.  I trimmed it with vintage cram lace, which I think is a great contrast to the white tee.

On a side note, boy do I need to touch up the dye in my hair.  Yikes!!  That is WAY past a little root showing, lol.

Overall, I like the look, and I really like it on Ginny my dressform, more than on myself, as it fits a little differently on me.  I promise  pics of me wearing it soon.  The sleeves are nice, but the shoulders and armsythe are just huge, and the back is also very loose fitting.  The front closure is better placed on my body, as my breasts aren't quite as perky as Ginny's, so the closure sits right below my bust.  Other than that though, it seems to look better on

I couldn't find a closure that matched, and so I made my own.  I really didn't like how it looked hanging open, waaay too loose, so the closure is a nice touch.  I LOVE the buttons I found for it.

Sadly, it is too apparent that I didn't quite get the pattern to quite line up in front, the flowers are about 1/2" off, but I just didn't have enough fabric to get and exact match, I hope it looks alright as is.
Oh, here is the cropped back:

I do still think I'll be wearing it.  It's comfy, and cute.  Well, I'll have to reserve final judgement for after I get some photos of me in it tomorrow.  I'll post them asap!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Springtime dinner

To celebrate the first week of spring, and some suddenly nicewarm days, I made a fun and colorful dinner with fresh (mostly) local fruits and veggies.  As much as I share about sewing, I thought it might also be fun to share a recipe or two as well. :D
I decided to braise the rainbow carrots dad had given us, using a variation of something I saw on the the Food Network. So here is my recipe for very healthy very tasty rainbow carrots:

Braised Rainbow Carrots:
4-5 rainbow carrots, scrubbed but not peeled, ends cut, sliced 1/4" thickness.
½ of a sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
4-5 springs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
white wine (I used riesling)
red wine vinegar
olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic, sautéing until translucent. Toss in the carrots and push them around the pan to absorb some of the onion-garlic-olive-oil-y goodness.

After a minute or two, add a generous glug of white wine, about 1/4 cup. Lay the fresh thyme sprigs on top of the carrots, cover with a lid, and let simmer on medium or medium-low heat.

Cook until the carrots have reached your desired state of tenderness, anywhere from 12-20 minutes. Finish with a splash of red wine vinegar. You can salt and pepper to taste if desired, but it tastes great as is! Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and serve right away.

This dish is so tasty, it really doesn't need salt or pepper, and we've been really cutting back on salt lately as part of our healthier diet.  Served with a nice piece of fish (we had some talapia with lime...mmmmm), or a lovely chicken breast, these carrots make a perfect side dish!  The purple carrot was sooo deep purple (it was nearly black!), it turned most of the other carrots and onions purple-ish as well, but it is still a very colorful dish.

Next up, my family has been really enjoying mango's lately, and I had just purchased a ton of strawberries and dad has also given us a very ripe avacado, so I wanted to try and make a fruit salad using those.  I found a great recipe at a blog called Pink Parsley, and altered it to fit what was in my pantry and herb garden, so here it is!

Strawberry, Mango, and Avocado Salad
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into bite sized cubes
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 Tbs honey
1/2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs orange juice
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 Tbs minced fresh cilantro
1 avocado, pitted and cut into small cubes
Pinch of sea salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, vinegar, orange juice, lime juice, salt, and cilantro. Toss with the strawberries and mango, and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes. When ready to serve, gently mix in the avocado and serve immediately.

I know, sounds like the strangest desert, and my family thought I'd lost my marbles! But after tasting, they dug right in and ate every bite. The avocado's creaminess really balances out the bite of the cilantro, and the balsamic vinegar adds such a brightness to the flavor. YUM!

A lot of this lovely food was a gift from my very generous dad. :)

My dad volunteers every weekend at the Portland Farmers Market (winter, spring, summer and fall!), and visited us Sunday to take Liz and I to see Dr. Seuss's "The Lorax".  Fun movie, btw, though with a serious message. It really held Liz's attention fully, and she even got a little emotional at the end.
Anyway, dad brought us those gorgeous Rainbow carrots; purple, golden, and a deep reddish orange, as well as the perfectly ripe avacado. Thanks Dad!!  Dinner was awesome, next time I'll have to make it for you, too. :)

My dad volunteering at the Portland Farmers Market, posing for a picture with one of his friends.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Our kitty cat plays video games

Recently, we were very lucky to receive a Samsung 10.1 touch tablet as a gift.  It is SO cool, lots of fun, and extremely useful!  I has built in GPS, voice controls, access to an entire free library of book, and lots of free fun little games.
James found a moving desktop background of a Koi pond:

We were curious if the cat could see it.  The answer:  He sure can!

He found it extremely entertaining for some time.  The fish respond and swim away when touched, and he batted gently at the screen (claws in, what a good kitty!) for a good 10 or 15 minutes.

He was such a patient little hunter, but eventually realized that he couldn't get the fish no matter how fast he was, and waltzed away, trying to show us how awesomely aloof he is.  I love our kitty!  He's about 14 years old now, but in such great shape and health, and so gentle and loving with Liz, we are really lucky to have such a great cat. :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Winter in....March?

Well, I am finally starting to feel like I've got some of my sewing mojo back. I've had some difficulty balancing our new full time college schedule with James, but I'm into the swing of things I think, and have again found some time, and desire, to sew.

I finally got Jalie 2911, and then I put off sewing it for almost a month. But now that the weather has warmed up a it, and I can go into the sewing area without freezing, I've found a lot more desire to be in there! I really enjoyed making this fleece top, and am liking it waaay more than I thought I would. I was afraid the print would be too cutesy, and although it is cute, it isn't overly so...I think.  For sure, the fit is so nice!

My brother and sister-in-saw gave me this really cute teddy bear print fleece for Christmas (along with a fleece print for James and one for Liz). I know it's pretty wintery, but hey, there are a few days left before spring! Seriously though, it is still cold here, so I'm sure I'll get some use out of it this year, and plenty of use out of it come next winter.

I found the shawl collar to be really nice, but technically hard to sew, for me.  i did eventually get the corners nice and square, but it took a few tries.
I like using the contrasting fleece on the collar, think it makes it stand out a bit.  I was really lucky to find the same candy apple red as was on the teddy bears bows.

I also added in some side seam pockets, because I think a pullover of this sort without pockets is like popcorn without butter.  What's the point?  Seriously though, I'ma big fan of pockets because of the utility of them.  I really put some effort into these as well, topstitching the outside, and matching the bottom seam of the pocket to the front hem, so the pocket is secured in place.

I'm very pleased with the final result.  I hope to use the rest of this fabric to make something cute for Liz next winter, but that's a loooong way off.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I'd like to share this award with...

My friend and wonderful blogger, Mary, over at Biblioblog was kind enough to award me the Versatile Blogger award. I'm very honored, as I'm still very new to blogging.

There are 3 basic rules to accepting the award. First, linking back to the site that awarded it to you (see above). Second, sharing 7 things about yourself. Third, Passing the award along to 15 more blogs.

So, let's get right to sharing 7 things about myself, things you might not know. Hmm, this is harder than it sounds!
1) I was married once before. I was young, in college, and easily impressed. It lasted 6 years (though 5 of it was pretty unhappy), but thankfully had no children.
2) I met my second husband at my first SCA event in 2001. It was like a real life fairy tale, and we've been inseparable in the 10 years since.
3) I'm a secular Taoist.
4) I adore Thai food (and anything curried)! I don't get it very often, but I just love it when I do.
5) I used to smoke cigarettes, but quit at age 30. Quitting is one of the best things I've ever done!
6) I love Disney movies (mostly cartoons), even as an adult. I was enchanted at as a young teen by the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, and find myself equally enchanted by some of the new films such as Tangled. I think Marry Poppins is one of the most charming and enduring films ever made!
7) I really enjoy musicals, and singing myself, and took lessens for over 4 years. I've seen a lot of musicals on stage, and have publicly performed songs (at fairs and such) from a variety, from Evita to Little Shop of Horrors. I even had 2 tapes made professionally, when I was in my mid 20's.

Well, hope a few of those were somewhat interesting at least. :)

It was difficult to chose just 15 blogs to share this award with, but here they are, in no particular order. :)

1. Kadiddlehopper.
2. Cation Design
3. The Slapdash Sewist
4. Danvillegirl Sewing Diary
5. Saint Nolt Sews
6. Kitschy Coo
7. Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing
8. Sew Mama Sew
9. The Rambling Taoist
10. Pharyngula
11. Cocktail Party Physics
12. Historical Personality Disorder
13. Old-Fashioned Charm
14. Great Old Movies
15. Ex Libris Draconis

Thanks Mary, and I hope you enjoy this list of very interesting blogs!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ribbed knits and a walking foot!

So I haven't been doing much sewing lately, but I did finally finish up the mock-henley version of Jalie 2805. A really great pattern! I used a ribbed knit I got from my great aunt. It's a pretty powder blue, but sewing it was a pain! first.
After cutting it out, sewing up the first seam was a wavy mess. But as luck would have it, my new Brother machine came with a walking foot. Well, I've never used a walking foot, it's a pretty bulky odd looking thing, but wow, it made all the difference in the world! I sewed this entire top with the walking foot, except for the sleeve hems which are hand finished.

Well, it isn't the fanciest thing I've made, for certain, but it is really comfy, and I think looks pretty RTW. I'm happy with it. :D