August 5, 2013
Saturday I had a run in with some fruit at the farmer’s market and ended up with more than could fit in my smallish fridge.
I found some blueberries, and some lovely ripe yellow apples. I set the apples on the counter in a bowl, and my house started smelling like September…time to throw everything in the pot to jar and fill the pantry.
I mixed blueberries, a package of frozen dewberries, apples, and the juice and zest of two lemons. I added some sugar, but not too much. I simmered the whole thing for about 20 minutes or so, and then let it sit for a few hours. Then I reheated it, and processed the jars in a hot water bath.
I am planning on making fruit tarts with pastry cream in the fall and winter. Nothing like opening a can of fruit dump pouring it into a pie shell and calling it homemade. Very easy later on down the line.
April 14, 2013
My friend Darin posted a picture of oatmeal pie on her blog a few weeks ago, and I have been wanting to make it ever since.
I started to think about all the things that I like about oatmeal. Milky, sweet, buttery…
I found a few recipes, and altered them a bit to find something that I thought would work. I don’t like things super sweet, so I cut down the sugar a lot. I also really like the toasted flavor of lyles golden syrup (my mom carries it at the At Home Store), so I substituted it for the corn syrup I saw in many recipes. And I added a lot of chopped pecans, some cream, and a dollop of yogurt for good measure.
The final recipe came out like this.
Pie dough for one 9″ pie crust, no top (1/2 the recipe)
Mix the following dry ingredients and set aside:
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup roughly chopped pecans
a shake or two of salt
In a separate bowl combine the following ingredients:
1/4 cup cream
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup lyles golden syrup
1 t vanilla
3 T melted butter
1 dollop (a healthy tablespoon) of yogurt or sour cream
Stir the wet ingredients until everything is nicely mixed together. Add the dry ingredients, and mix thoroughly. Pour into 9″ pie crust. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 50-55 minutes. It will be a little bit golden on the top.
Cool on a metal rack.
The pie isn’t very sweet, and is a little bit crumbly, but I like it that way. It is very rich, but can almost pass off as healthy because of the lower sugar content.
photo credit Chloe Hennesy (My guest, and excuse for pie baking!)
October 5, 2012
Another hand-woven cotton and vintage fabric dress. The black fabric is hand-woven cotton, and the brown from a roll of fabric that I found nestled among countless delightful rolls in a quiet little alley. There is nothing like the feeling of pulling out rolls of fabric, each more wonderful than the next, and collecting them in your arms until you can’t hold anymore!
Initially I had planned on making a horizontal neck line for this dress. I tried the top part of the dress on and decided that it looked better at an angle. The line worked better with the strong vertical line of the brown section.
The brown fabric on the bodice is sewn at an angle onto the black bodice. The angles of the shoulder, neck, and front pull the eye into the waist and then opens up again with the skirt.
The brown section almost pours out of the waistline, and onto the skirt. I matched the brown panel from the bodice to the skirt. The black part of the skirt is gathered on the back to create more fulness in the skirt. It is a pleasant view to look at when sitting down…
The back of the dress is all black. Because there is so much going on with the pattern and embroidery on the front I left the back plain. It is important for me to have some major elements of simplicity in design. Things can get too busy.
I haven’t managed to buy bias tape to line armholes and the like, so I came up with some fabric left over from another project. So the armholes are lined with purple and black spots..
October 3, 2012
These dresses are all the same pattern, using different fabrics. Made with a combination of hand-woven cottons and vintage embroidered skirts, both from the hill tribes of northern Thailand.
There are three dresses. The first is red with blue and red embroidered bodice and trim. The red fabric is hand woven cotton. It is a thinner weave, and very soft. The embroidered fabric was originally a skirt. I took apart the embroidered and appliqued skirt, and only used one of the sections, pictured below. I have the bottom section left for something else. It includes a corduroy trim and more fabric patchwork.
The dress is billowy, and hits just above the knee (on me anyways). The gathered sleeves, cuffs, and bodice create a peasanty sort of look that I hope isn’t overdone…
The brown dresses are a little bit simpler. The bodice is all the same color. On the first brown dress I added a hem of another skirt. This particular skirt was all hand embroidered. I fell in love with the back of the skirt and used it instead of the front.
The above picture is of the “right side” of the dress, using the “wrong side “of the skirt border material. Below is an image of both the wrong side, top, and the right side of the fabric, bottom.
I am sure that some would prefer the right side of the hem, but I was really drawn to the muted colors and slight imperfections of the wrong side. I saved enough fabric to make another garment, and maybe the next time I will use the right side.
The third dress went along with the simple brown theme and was brown the whole way through, border and all. I made it simple to experiment with using only the cotton. I also wanted to try to belt this dress, and felt that the quieter brown would lend itself well to that. The plain brown one is also about an inch longer, to adjust to the belting.
May 8, 2012
It is delightful to me how two different pieces of fabric, with the same general format can inspire two different designs. By general format, I mean size, color scheme, etc. The difference in these two pieces of fabric was the geometric pattern printed in black. One piece of fabric seemed to be based more on squares, and the other on circles. From that difference came the two different dresses.
Circular vs square neckline, and on and on.
The second dress is also a tunic shape. A bit on the large size. Again, the patterning creates an illusion of shaping!
The sleeves are a little bit more interesting. I added little pleats on the cuffs, and they pouf out a little bit.
The sides of the dress match up nicely, with circles being created at the seams. I love how geometric this fabric is. The cutting and sewing are easy because of the patterns.
The rest of the dress is pretty much straight down. I am thinking that it would look good with a belt, but I don’t have one yet to try it with.
May 7, 2012
I made this sweater thinking that I would be needing a simple sweater while visiting Thailand. The temperature has been so so hot! I have only used a sweater when traveling in cars, taxis, buses, airplanes, etc. So this sweater is finished, and will probably wait until I am in a slightly cooler climate to be worn.
But it turned out well! I adapted the pattern from a Jo Sharp cardigan that I like. I took out the waist shaping and added a garter border around the front, and ribbing on the bottom.
The yarn is beautiful Silken Straw, by Alchemy yarns. Each strand is made up of many tiny threads pressed together and dyed. When the garment is washed and blocked, the material softens, and takes on a beautiful drape. Each skein is hand dyed, and so there can be a bit of variation from skein to skein. To help balance the color, I kept changing the balls of yarn as I moved from piece to piece.
Also, I knit the back of the sweater using two skeins of yarn at the same time. One for the right side, and one for the left. This created a seam up the middle, and I liked the division of color. It was especially interesting in the upper back when the yarn began to pool in different ways.
May 6, 2012
This is a dress pattern that I have made before, but with a new material. I found the fabric in one of my new favorite spots in Bangkok, Pahurad. It is a street completely packed with fabric vendors. All kinds of materials are piled, stacked, and stuffed into every possible space. I would be happy to wander around for a few days just to see everything!
This material is Japanese cotton. It is thin, and I have a nice slip to wear under the dress. (It would either need a slip or a lining.)
The fabric came in three different colorways. I bought several meters of each, and plan on taking the additional two colors to the dressmaker with my dress and the pattern.
So far I do have only one difficulty with my interactions with the dressmaker. I don’t speak Thai, and she doesn’t speak English. We manage to communicate many things with pointing and smiling, and the rest we figure out by calling someone on the phone, or stopping by and talking with someone who can translate for us.
I would like to have her make some dress samples for me in different sizes, but so far I am not exactly how to tell her that is what I would like. This whole dress making business is certainly a good motivator to learn a bit of the language!!