The thigh slit meant adding a seam in the skirt’s front; not a big deal. The skirt front has darts so I just extended the left dart into a waist-to-floor seam/slit.
I did not want to have the flounce in front. In this case, it would not have been flattering to the wearer. I don’t know if many women can wear such a flounce since I think it emphasizes one’s tummy. I tapered the rear flounce’s width to nothing at the side seams. Also, I finished their edge with a two-thread rolled hem stitch on my serger because I did not think the stitch-fold-stitch-fold-stitch edge finish dictated by the pattern instructions would work very well on such a pronouncedly curved edge.
The fabric was a nice red cotton sateen. The fabric turned out to be more wrinkle-prone than I’d have liked, but it did have a very nice sheen which added glitz, especially in a darker room. The contrast fabric was a red embroidered polyester organza from Jo-Ann Fabrics.
I liked the method by which the neck and arm hole bindings were applied: straightforward and easy to apply and looked great.
With a 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ square (using 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper), the dimensions of the cuts and folds and overlaps are as follows:
Additionally, the shape of the stars makes it applying pressure while the glue dries quite problematic. I used “clamps” to hold the stars together: a string of rubber bands with ends hooked together with a safety pin:
I already had Vogue 2899, bought quite a white ago. Lengthening the hem to ball gown length will work perfectly. I went with a red polyester knit from Jo-Ann. It was a fairly cheap knit, I’m afraid, which is a bit against my usual approach of “if you’re going to put a lot of effort into a garment, make sure the fabric is worth it”. But it has very nice fluid hand and suited the dress very well.
I went with a smaller size 10; I’m normally a size 12 on top and size 8 on the bottom. The pattern I bought was 4-6-8 so I graded size 8 up one size. The pattern’s directions say “No provision made for above waist adjustment.” and they were not kidding about that! It turned out that size 10′s bodice is too short on me, so the cool shaping seams in the back ended up about 4-5″ too high and caused a lots of fit problems. Unfortunately, by the time I figured that out, it was too late to make length adjustments.
So I did the best I could to camouflage the fit issues by adding a drape across my butt. The drape covers some of the wrinkles and also draws attention away from them. I added soft pleats to the drape to match the pleated sides so the drape looked like an extension of the side pleats and blended in nicely.
The dress looked quite presentable in the end and I looked… smashing, in it if I do say so myself. It was a big hit at the party as well. But, you be the judge.
(The other dress in the last pic was my take on Vogue 8849. More on that in a future post.)
We had turkey and in the aftermath, turkey soup. The twist was that my sister-in-law made pistou, a “Provençal cold sauce made from cloves of garlic, fresh basil, and olive oil”. That, plus super-sized garlic crouton made from a baguette made for a very memorable turkey soup.
I used a baking thermostat that beeps when a set temperature is reached. At 150 °, I turned off the oven and let the cheesecake sit until an inserted cake tester came out clean. Then I opened the oven door and kept it ajar for about twenty minutes, then opened the oven door all the way for another twenty minutes, and finally took it out of the oven and ran a knife around the edge to release the crust from the mold. Doing so relieved tension in the batter as the cheesecake cooled and shrank away from the mold, avoiding cracking. I let it cool on the table for another twenty minutes. That yielded a perfectly baked cheesecake: not too overdone, and no cracks.
I chilled the cheesecake overnight in the fridge, loosely covered.
I reserved a couple of tablespoon of the “plain” cheesecake mix and piped stripes on top of the cheesecake’s top pumpkin layer, then drag a skewer across the stripes to make the resulting pattern. The batter was liquid so the design was not as sharp and crisp as I would have liked: by the time I put the cheesecake into the oven, the design had begun to “bleed” a bit and became slightly blurry. Next time, I would wait until the very last moment before putting the cheesecake into the oven to decorate it so hopefully the top would start getting baked right away and not have time to bleed out.
My pea soup was pretty much the standard pea soup: onions and carrots, garlic, peas, chicken stock (no celery; Whole Foods does not have single stalks available, only in bundles). My differentiation was the prosciutto instead of ham hock. I rendered the prosciutto, took the prosciutto bits out, and sweated onions and carrots in the rendered prosciutto fat. I added garlic, then peas and chicken stock, simmered for about 10 minutes. I puréed the soup in batches, then put the prosciutto bits back into the soup, added ground dried pasilla chili, and simmered it for another while.
We ate the soup with garlic bread, made my way. That was a nice, hearty, cozy, meal for a chilly winter evening!
I signed up and decided to make some chocolate truffles. I followed America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe and process, as described on this page. I divided the recipe into four batches and flavored each differently. The flavors were: orange zest and ginger, bacon, pasilla chili, and Chihuahua de Mexico smoked salt.
I want to share with you my method, or rather what not to do! The recipe calls for putting the truffle mix into a parchment-lined 9″x9″ tray and chill for 2 hours then lift it out, cut it into rectangles and roll each rectangles into balls. I couldn’t do that since I needed to make four different flavors so I divided the mix into four small containers and flavored them separately. I planned to scoop the truffle mix out with a spoon. That sounded good in theory but was a nightmare in practice because the chilled truffle mix was stiff and difficult to scoop. (Once scooped out, the mix softened quickly in my hands so it was then not difficult to form into balls.)
Next time, I’ll probably make “dividers” in the 9″x9″ tray so I can chill all flavors in the same tray and then handle it as the recipe suggests.
They’re off the same design and construction, differing in fabrics and of course, sizing.
The top part of the dress is Simplicity 3618 and for the skirt is Butterick 6049.
The blouse is also from Simplicity 3618. I made half of the blouse in a lining material and the other half in lace.
I used blue gingham checked (what else?!) fabric for the Dorothy costume and a “fall harvest” cotton for the scarecrow costume. I made the hem high-low and trimmed the hem in 4″ wide ruffles. The white ruffles were on sale at Jo-Ann. I made the brown ruffles for the scarecrow costume from a brown polyester organza, cut and sewn into a bias tube 4″ wide and gathered into the skirt’s hem.
For fit and comfort, I added a stretch side back panel to the bodice on both dresses. The panels are lined in stretch lining. They allow the bodice to be very snug fitting without being uncomfortable.
I did a take on Texas chili this weekend, with a chili blend of equal parts of dried ancho, guajillo, and pasilla chili. I ground up all three chili in a coffee grinder. (Cleaning the grinder with a brush was good enough for me; no need to grind breadcrumb or rice in order to clean it.)
Then I made a mix of equal part of each chili.
The recipe is quite straightforward, pretty much similar to most stew. First I render some bacon:
then removed the bacon bits and browned cubed chuck roast.
Then I removed the meat and sweated the onions and garlic and added the chili, plus Mexican oregano and cumin, towards the end to “toast” them.
I deglazed the pot with half a bottle of beer (Lone Star, for that authentic Texas vibe ).
After the alcohol has evaporated I added beef stock, canned diced tomato, Grade A (formerly “Fancy”) Vermont maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, added the meat back to the pot, brought to a boil and simmered for two hours.
I like to cook my stews and chilis a day ahead and let it sit overnight in the fridge. That gives the flavors time to develop fully.
I have since also learned that instead of running the waxed thread between fingers, one can also run it under a warm iron to “set” the wax into the thread, to further reduce leaving wax residue on fabric.
This past weekend, I made a mac-and-cheese beaucaire and substituted leek for eggplant. I oiled a cookie sheet, spread the leek on it, straight from the freezer, sprinkled with salt, and baked at 450°. After about 8-10 minutes, the leek has softened completely. They render a bit of fluid but not enough even to cover the bottom of the tray. Most of the leek browned nicely; some of the thicker stalks did not, but that can probably be managed by removing the browned ones first and let the rest roast for longer, or reduce the roasting temperature and let it roast for longer.
I imagine I could probably do something similar if I was to use the leek in a sautée I can also just take the leek out of the freezer and throw it straight into the sautée pan.
This time, I tried to make the armcye a bit wider, to reduce the width of the dress across the back, in order to downplay my broad(er) shoulders and back. I overdid the front armcye and the dress gapes a bit in that area, so I have to add a dart to close it up.
- 11 tomatillos
- 1 white onion
- 3/4 C canned diced fire roasted tomatoes (I used Muir Glen Organic)
- 9 ozs of pureed mixture of:
- 1/4 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 1/2 tsp achiote paste
- 1 dried smoked poblano (soak in hot water for 1/2 hour to reconstitute before use), coarsely chopped
- 2 Tsps St. Germain elderflower liqueur
- 1 1/2 tsps salt
- 3 Tsps finely chopped cilantro
- finely chopped habanero to fine-tune the heat
- Quarter white onion.
- Cut tomatillos in halves.
Roast tomatillos and white onion at 450′ for approx. 20 minutes, or until blackened:
- Separately, puree to desired chunkiness: roasted tomatillos, roasted white onions, canned diced fire roasted tomatoes in blender.
- Puree together the next six ingredients:
- In large bowl, mix:
- Approx. 15 ozs. of tomatillos
- Approx. 6 ozs of pureed roasted white onion
- Most of onion/garlic/achiote/poblano/etc. mixture
- Add more of each mixture, and chopped habanero, to adjust taste and heat level.