Thursday, October 30, 2008

Plate Spinner & Happy Halloween

Ok, let's begin on a perky note: HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I have some scary little bats hanging around. These are the Wee Wonderfuls "Wee" turned into a bat. So scary, right?

I unfortunately/fortunately am working this Halloween. Unfortunately: I'll miss the trick-or-treaters. Booo! (that's a sad boo, not a scary boo). Fortunately: I get to spend Halloween with some kiddos that need some Halloween spirit.

On an unperky note: I feel like one of those circus acts where I have little poles with spinning plates on my hands, feet, nose, head... I got a little ambitious with the crafting. Er, was unable to resist all the fun things to be made. So, a little progress on everything, and completion of nothing. Isn't it all about product, and not process? Kidding.

I'm having trouble with the quilt back. I can't decide what to do. I've had too many ideas (and the fabric to prove it!) I was thinking something like this. So cool, right? But this might be a better top than back. Decisions, decisions. But, it's almost done - and that's the super-exciting part!

And I'm trying to decide on a machine quilter - any recommendations? Any volunteers?

Ok, gonna break this poopy-pants cycle and go to work (where the sun shines). Have a great Halloween!! If you have too many twix bars, you could give them to me. I don't mind.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Harvesty Heaven on a Platter

Apples instead of plums worked fabulously. I clearly didn't have time to take a photo before I dove in - sooo good!

Thank you for the apples, David!

Friday, October 24, 2008

It Was Supposed to be So Simple

I had the whole thing planned out - it was going to be a 1-hour project. Unfortunately, it was so long ago that I made the last kimono shirt, I couldn't remember the nuances of my jankey homemade pattern.

So, it ended up taking 3 days (piece-meal), but I'm sort of please with the outcome. Please don't look at any of the inside seams, or anything at all really with a close eye (hence the strategically placed label), because this is not my finest work. But I do plan on trying it again learning from my many, many mistakes.

This shirt is made from an XL pajama top that I bought for $5 at a pajama sale (yes, a pajama sale). I knew it would be repurposed, but didn't know just how at the time. And I thought this project would be so simple because I cut out my pieces so that the edges were already overlocked and the hems already...well, hemmed.

Sleeve cut from a sleeve:

The ruffled collar (which I love, love, love) is made of leftover binding (surprise, surprise). And I had just the perfect amount. And so it evolved into this:

I did just get Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones for my birthday (thank you kkp and sp) and there is a kimono shirt pattern in there. Maybe I should try that one instead...but yay for me for trying, right?!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Almost Done with the Dia Paraphernalia

I just needed a couple more pieces - and when I found this on etsy, I just couldn't resist!

Proud to say, this was my first etsy purchase....first of many. And maybe one day I'll sell a thing or two (when I get the energy).

Is it not the cutest?!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Manic Monday

I take every Monday off because I rehearse in the evenings (and I work evenings). And I think it might actually be my favorite day of the week because I always get so much done...and my mood is directly correlated with my personal productivity (not really, but sort of).

Today I finished & sent off the skirt for my still unnamed friend. She should be receiving it this week! It's supposed to be a Christmas present, but I just got too excited. Plus, there may be a couple skirt days left, but definitely not by Christmas.

I also made yogurt from the recipe in this month's Ready Made.

Soooper easy. Rooms forgot they were in the oven and preheated it (they sit in there for 6-12 hours with oven off) - so may have to try it again, but that's OK. I think they'll be fine. So far the yogurt tastes mild and milky-flavored, and a little thin. I have one bowl in the fridge and one on the counter at room temp. I'm experimenting to see which one does better (post-preheat).

Update: The bowl I left on the counter for an extra 3 hours firmed up nicely and tastes a bit more tart (but still very mild). I like it much better. And it doesn't appear the accidental warm-up did any damage (it was only luke-warm anyhow). Good to know...

And lastly, I pieced D's quilt. Still need top and side borders, but I'm contemplating making the quilt a little bigger. And then there's the back and binding (I'm sending it out for quilting - is that cheating?). The point is, I made progress on it.

Chickety-check my corners!! I love that!

Ok, off to sing my little heart out!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

She's Got (Preppy) Legs

I know somebody who just learned to crawl (yay!). I thought she deserved a little fashionable knee protection until she's off and running.

I saw the leggies idea here and the tutorial here - super easy. And I couldn't just give a pair of leggies with nothing to wear them with, could I? Plus, the argyle onesie was something I had been wanting to make after a collaboration with my loyal customer, Lisa Flo.

I didn't anticipate hand-stitching the red, but I am so glad I did! It's not perfectly symmetrical, but I am so over symmetrical (I have to keep telling my Virgo self this).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Plastic Surgery

I fixed my doll's eyes.


She does need a more lively outfit though.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Making Cheese, Of Course

This is not your typical single unmarried, 31 year-old activity, but as we know, I am not your typical 31 year-old.

I read in this month's Food and Wine magazine how easy it is to make your own ricotta. I, of course, had to try it out. I couldn't find the recipe online, so I used a hybrid of my memory of the recipe with this one.

Basically, you take 1 quart whole milk and 3/4 cup half-and-half or cream and bring it to a near-boil (185F). Add some salt (1 pinch to 1/2 teaspoon) and 2 T lemon juice or white vinegar* and stir for 30 seconds. It's gonna get clumpy and start separating into curds and whey. Cover and let sit for about 1 hour (it will get even more clumpy and separated).

Then, pour it into a colander lined with cheesecloth (I used what I had) set over a bowl and let it sit and drain for another hour.

And voila! You have yourself some delicious ricotta cheese!

Turn it into a cheesecake or baked penne or just eat it with some honey drizzled over top (then go for a long walk to burn off them calories). Next time I'll try it with lower fat milk. And anyone know what you can do with the whey? Seemed wasteful to toss it.

* I used lemon juice, but next time I'll use vinegar for a more neutral flavor. If you're going to use it in a lemony dish, it doesn't really matter, but mine tasted a bit too lemony for my liking.

Mas Dia de los Muertos

Yesterday, I finished my little towel set. I almost feel bad using them, they're so cute! (I'll bet "cute" isn't the word they're going for...)

And I may have set up a little shrine in my bathroom too:

Ok, moving along to other crafts... and back to work for the first time in almost 2 weeks. Man, do I ever work??

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Traveling Projects - A New Medium (Just What I Need)

I had to make a quick trip to Washington this weekend, and I needed something to keep my hands busy during layovers and whatnot. Thank goodness I just rediscovered embroidery, but not just any embroidery - Sublime Stitching. It's so fun and as they say, "this ain't your gramma's embroidery." I haven't embroidered since I was 6 or 7. I used to embroider a lot and in fact, I think I was better at it at 6 or 7 than I am now (More time? More patience? Smaller hands? Better eyesight? Poor recall?).

Anyhow, here's how I kept myself busy (I will return to the topic of the Twilight Series in another post), just in time for Dia de los Mertos (hi Tracy!), a holiday I happen to love decorating for.

Ooh, wouldn't that be fun to turn the senorita into a nurse instead, replacing the mantilla with a nurse hat and (of course) replacing the margarita glass with something else? A syringe? (ok, fun for me...)

Here are my next projects:

Mas Dia de los Muertos - ay que cute-a!

And Sushi!

Next time, I think I'll get the pattern with the sewing maching and spools of thread. But, oh my gosh, I just found one with vital organs. I must have this one too!! And this one too! Oh, brother...this is a problem.

Changing the subject a little, it should be mentioned that this DDLM post Pink Chalk Studio back in 2006 was the very spark that rekindled my flame for sewing and crafting (and blogging). So, thank you from the bottom of my big ol' maniacally-crafty heart.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Need...

This shirt:

("Need" is often a loose term with me, but not in this case)
My friends Karen and Scott gave me a gift certificate to for my birthday. I've already started browsing, of course. But isn't the s'more tee so perfect for me? Unfortunately, it's currently out of print, but I've requested a reprint and my hopes are high!

This one I should probably own too:

I couldn't exactly pull off the "hottie" or "cutie" tees, but this one, I could certainly rock.

Fingers crossed they decide to reprint!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Bakesale Betty

I am in love with Bakesale Betty.

Sitting at our ironing board table, D and I just shared a fabulous fried chicken sandwich with spicy coleslaw atop. She threw in two fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies for free. Ooooh, so good! And, their ginger cookies are. to. die. for!!

The ironing board tables all lined up.

And I should mention that this place is dangerously close to my work.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Not Exactly a Skirt Day...

But I made one anyway. The weather's crummy today, so I thought it fitting to stay inside and sew a little (oh please, I do not need crappy weather to justify staying in to sew).

I wanted to make my friend (who shall remain unnamed for now) a simple A-line skirt. I had searched for the right pattern, and I found it in Amy Butler's Barcelona Skirts patterns. I kept thinking the frayed layered skirt on the front was the only option (which I didn't like at first, but after looking at some of them on Flickr, I think I may make that one too), but was pleased to find it was not.

I didn't want to dive right into the gift skirt, so I made myself a rough draft to see how the sizing went and to dry-run the zipper. I had this Denyse Schmidt fabric sitting in my stash begging to be used (I think I paid like $3/yard - score!). After ripping the zipper and first seam out about 15 or 16 times (literally), I got it. Next time should be better. Good thing I tried it out first. The rest of it came together fairly easily.

And here is the finished product, shortened by about 3 inches - boot- or flip-flop worthy (was so excited I was finished, I didn't even press it):

My fear was that it wouldn't lie flat at the belly, but it did.

Sneak peak of the next one - should be nice and Autumnal, but also appropriate for Spring/Summer:

Good times.