Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where the Wild Peeps Are

Check out the Peeps
I can't decide which Easter Peep picture is my favorite. Maybe the Mad Men one? Take a look and vote for the best one.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Changed My Mind

I was going to write a post about how I was going to copy...I mean, make make an homage to...this Diane Von Furstenburg top. I'd like to buy the top but La Furstenburg, for reasons known only to the teeny tiny fashionista mind, does not make it in my size. Or any size over size 12, for that matter. But I got distracted when I read Ann's blog and read that a customer of hers was proposing a merchant purity test, and was only buying from "Republican Voters". (NAYY, but I do buy my fabric from her. It's great stuff. And I never ask her how she votes.)
Well, to say that I was taken aback would put it mildly. Since our economy is so global now, a person would have to buy handwoven cloth made by Utah Republicans and grown by Texas Cotton growers (all purity tested themselves, mind you) to achieve a level of political correctness sought by this customer. "Are they aware," I asked Mr. Hunting Creek, "that Walmart sources most of their stuff from China, which is A Communist Country?"
Mr. Hunting Creek observed that the Roundheads of Cromwell, the Bolsheviks and the Brownshirts all had followed the same policies, so that this path could lead to a slippery slope of intimidation if we weren't careful. What other groups in history resorted to bricks through windows to intimidate dissenters? (Hint: they aren't nice people)
Of course it's always easier to intimidate dissenters by violence than by persuasion. But it's a dangerous game these people are playing.
We'll make it easy for Little Hunting Creek customers. We'll state right here in print that a portion of our profits every year go to charities that support children and promote social justice. This year alone we've given money to Doctors Without Borders, Smile Train and Catholic Relief. Just yesterday Mr. Hunting Creek gave a bag of groceries to our neighborhood food drive. We're obviously incorrigible. That Lt. Governor from South Carolina who said we shouldn't give food to the poor because they'll breed would be disgusted with us.
Rachel Larimore on Slate wrote that the bad behavior of a few extremists were making Republicans look bad. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Monday, March 22, 2010


"Can she get out?"
"Not as long as I keep my hand on top of the trap door."

This beautiful pattern comes by way of a box of vintage patterns given to me this weekend by my brother, as a birthday gift. (McCalls 9148 1952)
Thanks, K!
My brother said, "Designers must scour old patterns for ideas for their new collections, and pass them off as originals". He whispered it to me as if it were a secret. (And who wouldn't? I'd steal these ideas in a heartbeat. They are gorgeous!)
I love the pocket details - just look at those cute tabs! And notice how they echo the neck placket detail. I like the cuffs on the sleeves too. Modern patterns are remarkably sparse in the detail department, but anyone could copy these ideas into a modern dress.

Vintage patterns nicely show the pattern pieces on the back. They need to bring this detail back on modern patterns! I find this charming detail very helpful in visualizing how things are constructed.
Do you collect details from your vintage patterns? Do you think other designers do?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Eileen Fisher Wishes You Happy Birthday

picture Courtesy of Nordstrom

Eileen Fisher must have some secret pact with the Census Bureau or Social Security Administration, because on my 52nd birthday (just about 10 days ago) I received an Eileen Fisher email from Nordstrom. I was looking at it (like all oldest children, we obediently read what is sent to us; we're polite that way.) and Mr. Hunting Creek looked over my shoulder. "Those look like wrinkled pajamas," he said. "It's Eileen Fisher," I told him, "They always look like that. I think it was Nora Ephron who said that Eileen Fisher was for women who have just given up."
"But YOU haven't given up," he said, (a little alarmed at the prices, I think.)
"No, I can make my own wrinkled pajamas." I said.
This is more my style, Eileen, or this. Can you do something like these?
But thanks for the birthday wishes!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Simpler Time

Was it ever really all right to wear giant bowls of fruit on one's hip? And those sleeves! My inner five year old Carmen Miranda is in LOVE.
If this were my size I would totally buy it and make it.
If it is your size and speaks to you, find it here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Why didn't I think of That?

My new patterns arrived this weekend and I am very excited to try making the Sencha Blouse from Colette Patterns.
I was mulling over how I was going to solve the puzzle of the buttoned-up back (I have limited mobility, and it would be difficult for me to button it) when I read the the Slapdash Sewist's blog today and she said that she would turn the back of a pattern into a neck slit with one button. And I had one of those epiphanies! Yes! That's exactly what I'll do. As you can see by the pieces on this picture,

Placing the back pieces on the fold and doing a faced slit, or doing a seamed back and then a hemmed slit would be super easy (child's play, she says, hopefully).
I'll let you know how it works out. We get the best ideas from our sewing friends, don't we?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Brioche

Long ago, when our son was a baby, I told my husband I wanted to be a pastry chef. I had to work as a high-powered manager(well, maybe medium-powered, we are in the DC area, there are higher-powered jobs here) to pay the bills, and with two small children, it just wasn't the moment to quit my job and go to pastry chef school.
So I kept cooking at home, sometimes baking custom orders for friends(once I made a real wedding cake - I will never do that again!)

Mr. Hunting Creek said when our youngest was in school, I could quit and go to pastry chef school. But then...lots of other stuff happened. And I couldn't quite get away. And then 9/11 happened and Mr. Hunting Creek was among the thousands of people who were laid off from transportation industry jobs. He started his own business, and it just wasn't the time to be a pastry chef. But I kept on studying on my own and baking away. My family and friends raved about my cookies and breads and cakes and pies. Then came the Global Financial Meltdown, and then I found out that I had M.S., so I think I understand now that the powers that be did not want me to be a pastry chef. my grandmother used to say, when God closes the door, She opens the window. I found this wonderful book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
and it changed my baking life. Because of my M.S., it was difficult for me to knead bread or stand up for hours baking, but I missed making homemade food for my family. Mr. Hunting Creek loves to cook, but he is not a baker. Baking is very exact and precise, and he is more spontaneous. When I found this book and tried the recipes, I was delighted to discover that I could bake bread again, easily, because the techniques taught in the book could be used to allow a person with limited hand strength and stamina to bake amazing bread and pastries with very little effort. It really does take five minutes a day or less. My family is raving over the crusty bread, sandwich bread, sticky buns, fresh brioche (see brioche buns above) and this morning, a Lemon-Blueberry Coffee Cake Ring (also seen above).
Of course if you are a regular, non-handicapped person, it will be even easier for you. So thanks, Zoe and Jeff. If you like to bake, be sure and try the Brioche Ring with Lemon Curd and Blueberries. It was easy to make and it was amazingly delicious.
If I can do it, so can you. :)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Go Ask Alice

This is my Gala Birthday Weekend (we celebrate birthdays thoroughly in our family). Yesterday I had the day off, and we went to the Penzey's Spice Store in Falls Church to restock. I always love coming home with new herbs and spices. It inspires one's cooking.
Then we went out for Indonesian food. We fell in love with Southeast Asian food on a trip to Thailand several years ago, and we are always looking for local restaurants where we can get our fix. Satay Sarinah is near the Van Dorn Metro in Alexandria. I must figure out how they made the peanut sauce for the satay, because it was amazing.
While we were at the Penzey's Spice Store, the manager told us about a new Chinese Dim Sum place in Falls Church nearby. (We had bought so many spices we must have looked like serious eaters.) He said that the chef had trained in Hong Kong as a child and knew his stuff. This made me want dim sum in the worst way, so we decided - next week - dim sum! It's my birthday all month, right?
This afternoon we went to see Alice in Wonderland. We really liked it; it was weird and wonderful all at once.
I especially loved the costumes and whole ambiance of the movie; it was like whole other reality. Dreamlike and odd and off-kilter.
Tomorrow, homemade brioche for breakfast. (no calories on birthdays!)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Patterns for Spring

It's my birthday this week, so I decided to treat myself to some new patterns. These beauties are from the new Colette Patterns. I've heard good things about them, and admired what other sewistas have made.
I love the vintage feeling they invoke - so elegant. Just my cup of tea.
Since I had not bought any patterns for myself yet this year, it was fun to pick out a whole new batch for Spring. I'm sure I have just the fabric already for the Sencha blouse, but I'll have to poke around the sewing cave to see what I have that wants to be an Oolong dress.
I suddenly realized what we all have to do to make spring arrive with warmer weather - sew something for winter! Yes, we all must sew some wintry garments, and just like wearing your pajamas inside-out will make it snow(experts have proven this), hundreds of sewistas sewing turtlenecks and wool skirts will make it hot in no time. (Doesn't washing your car always make it rain?)