Archive for March, 2010


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Today’s brief break led me to finally locating an over-locked piece of fabric, meant to be the belt of a dress I never finished, and turning it into the waistband of a skirt I never really finished but which I have been wearing for nearly two years now. My pool table skirt, made with some kind of bright green, felted wool. Insert joke about balls round about here.

(coupled with a polka-dot shirt, I look like Lady Luck in this skirt)

So this unwaistbanded skirt with dice fabric lining the pockets has finally been finished, using that same dice fabric to make a waistband. I even got round to putting a zip in! At last, this skirt may be put on in the conventional way, instead of just over my head.

(putting skirts on over my head was a revelation c.2003 when I found opshop ones with small waists and short zips couldn’t conquer my hips)

There’s a little bit of unpicking to do around the zip where the sewing machine rebelled. I don’t want you to see the appalling job I did with the buttonholes. But as far as finished skirts go, this one takes the cake for distance from start to finish, probably due to the fact that it was still wearable… until it got a bit loose and needed washing to set it back into shape…

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Last Night’s Dinner

The bar has been raised. It’s a tough world out there. And in the kitchen at my house, it’s full on warfare. Of the most delicious kind.

Yes, I now live with not one, not two but THREE omnivorous foodies, two-thirds of whom are very good cooks. So I have definitely had to up my game, having for the past year been on a break and for the six years previous having cooked only for myself. Now I cook at least once a week for five or six people. Talk about in at the deep end.

Fortunately I know my onions. I know about protein and nutrition and making a varied and filling meal. So last night’s dinner for four was more or less a success.

As a filling accompaniment to a frittata, I made these potatoes, which I stumbled upon in a glorious voyage of food porn on Monday night. I didn’t follow the recipe, just sliced ’em (with the help of two wooden spoons on either side to keep the knife in check) drizzled oil and sprinkled some salt and smoked paprika and baked them for 45 minutes or so at an average temperature on a low shelf of the oven (I am learning, slowly, how to use this beast). They were crispy, delicious and just like a roast potato without the long, long wait.

With a green salad. And two flatmates who didn’t show up. Which made this the perfect meal for four. Foodies satisfied, and now I have a wee trick up my sleeve for the next potluck dinner. Nom nom nom.

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I discovered BurdaStyle this week, having known about it for a while but not having the energy to investigate it properly. It’s a little like Craftster, but better resourced, and you can print off some patterns for free, others for a measly sum like USD$3. Then you can look at all the people who have put their finished versions of your desired pattern and mine their comments for tips.

So these pants are now on my to-do list, adapted from a nice pair of shorts with cutey-pie buttons down the sides. The maker also has a blog, which I read until I felt a bit like a stalker…

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Plan One: a new skirt with some spotty/circly material purchased today (by my mum, for me). I may ask Imogen to make this, in return for some awesome favour to be agreed upon before sewing commences. Imogen has an over-locker, so tidiness is on her side. That girl also has some mean sewing skillz, and a knack for teeny tiny paper cranes…

Plan Two: Garlands. I pulled all the stamps I liked out of an old anonymous stamp album which has been making itself un-useful for many years. A quick search on TradeMe revealed that this album is worth all of three dollars! But so much more in craft materials value. So I pulled ’em out, organised them into colours, got slightly sentimental and worked out how to make them into garlands without destroying them completely… and then put them away as the bebe had arrived home… but tomorrow is another day!

Plan Three: to make some more brooches to put into the jewellery cabinet at my mum’s work. I’m not a shoe-in, but this is easier than traipsing about town trying to find a stockist. I am shy. And lazy. And just not cut out for the selling of my craft in retail terms.

And I suppose there is also a Plan Four: Finishing the notebook I started with the gold embossed leather cover (a new bookmaking technique) and either a) giving to Imogen or b) selling it to the Paekakariki Beach Store.

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Thursday Retardedly Fastcraft

So, Thursday morning, baby wakes up super early… then goes back to sleep again. What am I to do? Well, certainly not the dishes! This is a WORLD SWEET WORLD quick project from their latest and last (sob!) issue. It took all of three seconds, which included sewing the button on. Now it looks awesome on the jacket I feared I’d never wear again, when I thought pregnancy would destroy my body forever… phew! Got out of that one alive. Anyway, the medal:

It’s a little bit of blue velvet ribbon, folded through a safety pin with a nice creamy-pearly button with gold polka dots sewn on top. Seriously easy-peasy. Instant gratification. Sorted.

Other projects for today include finding the perfect turquoise dye for my black and white gingham dress. And chasing the bebe, who is now crawling…

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Monday Morningcraft

Wow, who’s a girly swot then? Some gherkins turned up on my doorstep last night, and swift action was required. There was a variety of sizes, so I just went the traditional old ‘pack ’em in a jar and pour hot vinegar over ’em’ route, soaking them overnight first in brine.

Gherkins are the ultimate in maths puzzle geek preserving: I had an Agee quart jar and smaller one, and I wanted to fit all the giant mamas in the bigger jar. In order to do this, I got to arrange them, then work out where the gaps were, pull a few out and arrange the smaller ones between them. I was so efficient that there weren’t many left to fill the smaller jar. I then poured over the vinegar, which had been brought to the boil with some yummy pickling spices of unknown description picked up from Homestead Health. I had almost exactly the right amount of vinegar to fill the jars, with about half a cup left over for some future salad dressing… how awesome am I feeling right now? Yeah, pretty on to it…

(I took some photos on Charlotte’s camera, which I hope to extract from her soon…)

Sadly the colour is not quite what I wanted. I like to just use white vinegar so the gherkins look pretty. I didn’t have quite enough for this so sploshed a bit of malt in too – as you can see, highly precise practices. The resulting liquid is a dull kind of amber, but probably a little more dynamic in flavour. To be discovered in a month or so…

I still have a couple of jars of last years’ gherkin endeavours in the pantry. My normal gherkin practice is to eat ’em whole and unadulterated. Sadly, my first pickling experience was marred by Mr Salt, whom I foolishly invited to the party in the pan with the vinegar. As a result the gherkins are so bitingly salty they need to be cut finely and added to something like a potato salad to balance out their sting. On all other counts my 2009 batch are deliciously flavoursome and crunchy, but it’s the salt that hits home. So they are lasting a VERY LONG TIME, possibly years.

Fortunately for me, a friend who has been growing some this summer has had enough of bottling them, and I’ve had two small bags worth from their garden. Thus, I can redeem my gherkin reputation without forking out a bit of money and a trip to Greytown. The giant ones from two weeks ago were sliced and made into a bread and butter pickle, with turmeric and mustard powder in the vinegar… another experiment I am looking forward to sampling in the coming weeks.

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