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.
Lesson to self: to not take lightly tools or techniques that tailors have used for hundreds of years! After over 35 years of sewing (!), I finally decided that I should try making and using a wrist pin cushion, a gadget very commonly seen on tailors’ wrist. I should have done that 35 years ago! To me, the wrist pin cushion is one of those things that seem as if I can do without and not until I use one that I wish I had done it a million years sooner!
I just heard from one of the coordinators, who wrote: “You have brought so much happiness to one kiddo that he has apparently worn out his cape! His case worker has asked if a duplicate can be made.” !!! Wow, one cannot have a better sentiment on one’s work than that!
I printed a pic of a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser and fused it to two layers of stiff cardboard (from a cereal box). I added some white lace as “clouds”. The fusible web that I used was easy enough to manage, but it turned out that even an 80/12 needle (for light fabrics) can sew through two layers of stiff cardboard without problems, so it would have been a lot quicker just to sew all layers together instead of fusing them together. I used clear swimsuit elastic for the strap.
I had so many compliments and it seems like everybody wanted to have their pic taken with me!
The extra oomph this time was going to be just inlays at the hem, from a contrast fabric. When I laid the fabrics out, the contrast was not… contrast-y enough. I wanted a bit more separation between the skirt and the contrast. I opted to added a light blue flat piping at the border between the two.
I used the skirt of Vogue 8135, a skirt suit pattern. It’s out of print, but you can still get an idea of what it looks like from a review at patternreview.com.
Here is how I did the piping for the outside corners:
Here’s how I did the inside corners:
And here’s the finished skirt:
I tried several variations and settled on one with dark forest green sides and light blue trim at the waist:
It’s a good thing I wanted contrast inserts at the sides because I didn’t quite enough of the fabric for the dress, not even for the shorter knee-length version.
Edit: A person asked on my review on patternreview.com about the facings. Here are a couple more pics of the lining and facing. I cut the facing in pieces from the fabric’s scraps, positioning the pieces’ inside edge on the selvage. I stitched the facing in position on top of the lining and construct the dress and lining as normal. The left pic below is the inside of the bodice back and the right pic is the inside of the bodice front. As you can see, I did not add a facing at the neck line, choosing instead to merely understitch the lining. (The zig zag stitches secure the rick rack trim.)
I decided to tear the tip of the corn husks’ and weave them together to keep them flat. The obviously progression was, well, why not wave all the corn husks into a mat? I tore the husks into narrow strips and weave them into little mats, which then lay perfectly flat, and looked great too.
I decided on Stuffed Mushrooms with Pancetta, Shallots & Sage for the gluten-free dish, and Parmesan-Basil-Cheddar Stars for the vegetarian dish. I made a “test run” of the stuffed mushrooms beforehand. I was a bitleery of the sage, not quite sure how much of it to use. It turns out that between the pancetta and the cheese, I needed to be a bit heavy-handed with the sage othherwise its flavor would get drowned out. Generally, I stuck pretty close to the recipes.
I got over-eager and made all the mushrooms two nights beforehand instead of making them the night before. Fortunately, they lasted just fine covered with Saran wrap in the fridge. They did bake up beautifully:
For the cheddar “crackers”, it’s important to roll the dough out as thin as possible otherwise the crackers may turn out a little doughy instead of crunchy and crisp. I took the easy way out and not do them star-shaped and just cut the dough into rough geometric shapes, with a pizza cutter. I baked them just before heading to the party. Once cooled, they keep fine in a tissue paper-lined wicker basket:
(P.S. If you’re not already doing so, you must use beeswax when hand sewing. I sewed for 30 years before I discovered that doing so makes hand sewing about a gazillion times easier: the wax makes the thread a lot less likely to tangle.)
I started with a distilled water container (I use distilled water for my iron). I cut off a portion of it, putting a notch in one side so it’d fit against the side of the sewing table. I drove two drywall screws into the table edge to hold the bin in place. A bonus is that the bin is easily removable for emptying.
I found a 50/50 cotton/polyester fabric at Jo-Ann, charcoal gray with white stripes. I like the blend because it should make for a wash-and-wear garment. I also like the stripes because it gives me the opportunity to play with the pattern’s design, which I think lends itself very well to juxtaposition of stripes. I would have liked the stripes to be a bit bolder, wider. That would have made for a more dramatic dress, but this fabric is not bad.
The pattern preparation is straightforward and easy: print out the pattern, tape the pages together, and cut out the pattern pieces. As is common with many burdastyle.com patterns, this pattern has no seam allowance. The seam allowance has to be added when cutting out the pattern.
I made a few changes to the pattern to better position the stripes. The first was to convert the back pieces, originally one per side, to have a princess seam: I extended the upper end of the back dart up and into the armscye seam. Adding the princess seam resulted in two pattern pieces per side, which can then have stripes running in different directions:
The other change was the addition of a “belt” mid-section, which can be cut in four sections, again allowing for stripes in different directions:
The construction is very straightforward. I would recommend this dress for less experienced sewers. The only slightly challenging part was the easing of the sleeve back piece into the sleeve front piece:
As is, the skirt is a “pencil skirt”, with the expected degree of movement restriction. For the next version, I will add a center back walking slit. I might even add one to this dress, depending how annoying the lack of a walking slit turns out to be.
One thing I learned is “origami paper” makes a huge difference! I have been using ordinary printer paper, 26 ozs I think, and it’s quite challenging for objects with many layers and folds, such as the tarantula. Someone gave me a couple of sheets of origami paper to fold the iris, and wow! It’s like switching from a Yugo to a Ferrari! :)
I taught myself how to fold the dragon from one already folded, and a couple of other intermediate folders followed along. I figured out most of the dragon but the legs were a little challenging. Somebody had brought a tablet so we looked up up the video on how to fold a dragon and followed that to do the legs.
I especially love the tarantula! The guy who taught it to us had it memorized!
The flower (an iris, I think) is from the same base as the taratula.
Its construction is fairly straightforward. The only tricky thing is the fit of the bust band: since it’s constructed and finished before being joined to the lower part, it’s just about impossible to adjust its fit if it’s too loose or too tight. The only possible way to do that I can see is to include a tiny of room for adjustment at the side zipper opening. You can’t really add too much allowance there since it’s to one side and too much added or taken out there will make the garment too obviously off-center.