Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cautionary Tale

Be careful when making pencil skirts not to make them too tight, or your head will correspondingly expand.
Penciled notes on the envelope read: Dec 1960, White fur-Carol. E-skirt 6/89- material left from folding seat covers.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm not feeling the folding seat cover fabric idea.
Pattern found here, if you have a better idea.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dreaded Sewing Chores

There are certain sewing chores that we all avoid if we can. Some people avoid buttonholes, others hate gathering. I myself hate to fill bobbins. It just seems like such a waste of time when I'd really rather be sewing. They always run out of thread right when I am in the middle of sewing, happily cruising along in a state of flow. Then the Pfaff little bobbin low light comes on and the machine nags at me and stops everything. I swear, Mrs. Pfaff here is like sewing with a mother-in-law. A German dominatrix mother-in-law. When I do everything right, she purrs along nicely, but let that bobbin run low, or leave the needle in the too low position and WHAM, I'm in trouble.
I have a pair of blue linen pants to finish- except for the bobbin thread I could finish today. But that means that I have to set up the bobbin winder and wind it. Not exactly like chopping wood or working on the chain gang, but I resent having to do it. I want to be finished! I don't want to stop everything to fulfill Mrs. Pfaff's unreasonable thread demands!
It's funny. I don't mind ironing, or gathering or any other dreaded sewing task. I don't even mind cutting things out. (I like to see how little fabric I can use, so that's always a fun challenge.) But I hate winding bobbins.
What sewing chores do you avoid?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More Summer, please

We went to our local produce stand and bought more tomatoes, more peaches, more squash, more plums...summer is all about MORE, isn't it? (As winter is about doing more with less.)
I plan to make a tomato pie, a sub sandwich pizza (Mr Hunting Creek invented it this morning) and another peach cake. This peach cake is a little simpler than the fancy one I invented a few days ago, and smaller. But it is moist and delicious, and best of all, super easy to make.

Summer Peach Cake
(Adapted from Fine Cooking a few years ago, with dare I say, a few improvements)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 teaspoon rum, or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or add all three - sometimes I do)
2/3 cup plain yogurt (I have used sour cream or flavored yogurt when I was out of plain yogurt - it all works. Buttermilk works too)

Preheat your oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9x2 inch deep round cake pan.
Mix the flour with baking powder salt and soda and set aside. Beat butter with sugar until fluffy, then add eggs, vanilla and yogurt until smooth. Add flour, mix til smooth. Pour into cake pan, and top with a ripe cut up peach or nectarine, or some plums, or some peaches and raspberries, or blueberries. I like a combination. Sprinkle with sugar.
Doesn't that look beautiful? Bake about 40-45 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.

What are your favorite summer treats?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Quotable Friday

In the "you have got to be kidding me" category:

For Lyz Olko, a designer of the punk-chic label Obesity and Speed, the layered floral/tough girl Elaine look is nostalgic. “My entire wardrobe consists of floral, denim and black leather,” she said. Recently Ms. Olko, a self-proclaimed pack rat, retrieved many of her ’90s dresses from storage to wear again. (“I was also into floral print rompers,” she noted, “but I’ve retired them.”) On a recent thrifting excursion, she emptied an entire rack of floral dresses into her cart.

“I went into Screaming Mimi’s the other day,” she said of the venerable vintage shop in NoLIta, “and it was all dresses you would see in Arizona.”

NY Times August 18

Sometimes I think that the New York Times zeitgeist-trackers need to get out more, and see some new people. And what exactly do they mean by, "all the dresses you would see in Arizona." Obscure Morman polygamist cult wear? Laura Ashley floral leg o'mutton sleeved atrocities? Annie Oakley costumes? Discuss.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New (Old)Technique: Pin weaving

In my newest addition to the website's Indygo Junction Patterns, this new one caught my eye. The Mosaic Purse uses pin weaving to create an unusual texture and design. I immediately thought, "I could do that! and also started to think of all of uses besides a purse it could be used for, like a pretty pocket or an insert on a hem or a cuff or collar. So I started my ritual of gathering all of the fabrics that I think might make a pretty combination. Since my favorite color is turquoise, I have a bunch of batiks in that color family that would work.
The pattern gives instructions on how to accomplish this, and I linked above to the Threads article on pin weaving. I was reminded of the potholders we used to weave for my mom on those little potholder looms. Do you remember those? We used bags of loops in various colors and made all sorts of designs. My mom must have had hundreds of those, because they were really fun to make. The pin weaving looks like it will be like that, except I make my own loom. We'll see. Famous last hard can it be? (She says, hopefully...)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Consider the Peach

Smell a white peach and you will remember that peaches are cousins to roses. They smell like the most heavenly sweet perfume. Some perfume company should make a white peach perfume. When I'm not standing over the sink sucking down white peaches like a demented peach vampire, I try to think of peach desserts to make.
Something besides peach pie, and peach crisp, because I like to get creative.
I invented:

White Peach, Raspberry and White Chocolate Cake
(I'd show you a picture but there is none left)

3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt(if using salted butter, only use 1/2 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened (I use a Cuisinart, so I never soften the butter)
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional, but really nice with peaches)
1/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt (I used greek yogurt)
2 cups cut up peaches
1/2 cup raspberries (or use blueberries, or more peaches)
1/2 bag white chocolate chips, optional but highly recommended ( 6 ounces?)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour bundt pan or angel food pan,(12 cup capacity, 10 inch size) I use the spray that has oil and flour mixed. The person who invented that should get the Nobel Prize for Baking.
Sift flour, baking soda and salt together, set aside. I mix mine in the Cuisinart then place in a bowl while I combine the rest of the cake.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, using a mixer or processor. Mix in the eggs, vanilla and almond extract. A splash of Amaretto wouldn't be out of line either - maybe a tablespoon? You won't be sorry. Add sifted flour and buttermilk or yogurt. Then fold in the fruit and white chocolate chips. This is thick and very delicious,If you're the kind of person who loves cake batter, watch out, because it is wonderful, and you'll make yourself sick.
Scoop into baking pan. Smooth it out, (stop licking the spatula!)
bake about 55-60 minutes. Cool for about 15 minutes in the pan before removing - hot cakes are more likely to break - ask me how I know.
Glaze or not as you like - we are a no glaze family, but for guests we'd probably add a vanilla-almond glaze, or maybe raspberry.

Hurry and make this, because after summer is over, you won't see white peaches again until next July.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bad Memories Circa 1980's

Sometimes we see a vintage pattern and think, "I want that! How beautiful!" This is not one of those patterns.
Did women really wear floral printed jumpsuits?
I have no memory of doing so, but time may have drawn a merciful veil over my youthful excesses. What vintage style do you remember with horror? Tie-dyed jeans? Ripped sweats? Leg warmers?