Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Not Meant to be Pajamas

So... when I started these little toddler play clothes, I did not intend for them to look like sleep wear.  Oops.


I used fabric that the Real Martha sent, a baby blue seersucker* printed with pink roses that is probably vintage 1970.  I accented the delicate fabric with some loud, hot pink bias tape that is definitely circa 1970, as it says so on the tag. 

I used a pattern, also from the Real Martha, Butterick 4173**, as the basis for the dress (view C) and tank and shorts set (view A and D)...  however, I skipped the facings in favor of the bias tape.  I also skipped the ruffles, as I thought they were a little twee, but ultimately ended up adding my own twee bow to the dress when I realized how nightgown-y it was looking.  Not sure it helped.  Oh well!

* A story about seersucker: our cleaning lady, Mugi, who does our laundry twice a week (I know, life is hard), makes judgments on our clothing choices when putting our clean clothes away.  Specifically, she refuses to acknowledge that Tim's seersucker pants are not women's pants, putting them away in my drawer each time she washes them. Clearly seersucker is not a thing men wear here in Indonesia.

** I asked Tim which version of the Butterick 4173 pattern I should make... he couldn't answer except to say "Why are those little girls wearing make-up like they are going out to the clubs on the Jersey Shore?!"   He disapproves of Butterick's fashion drawing style choices:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Another Grainline Scout T-Shirt!

In anticipation of our upcoming trip to Laos (where I understand it will be hot and humid), I wanted another Grainline Scout T-Shirt made out of a light and flowy fabric.  Luckily, Chuck sent me this really pretty, light and linen-y fabric that is perfect for the job...

I never get sick of this pattern- it's super easy to make, easy to wear, can be dressed up or dressed down.  Good stuff.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Summer Play Outfit

Another pattern from the Real Martha's vintage stash (although this is one of the more modern patterns in the bunch)...  super cute shorts and cross-back top for Zoe for next summer:

I really like the cross-over back on the top... kinda hard to see in my photo, but I know Zoe will rock it:

The fabric is some gorgeous Amy Butler fabric that Jenny sent me (thanks, Jenny!!): Daisy Chain Deco Rose Navy.  The pattern is Butterick B3832, view B and was pretty straightforward, with the exception of the shoulders on the top.  It's a fully lined top, and the last place that the lining and front come together is the shoulders... I struggled with that area and mine are a little strange looking as a result, but you have to look pretty close to notice. 

Lincoln didn't notice the shoulders:

He did appreciate the top's easy-on, easy-off/no closures look. 
 Particularly the easy-off aspect of it:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ridged Cardigan

Loosely based on the Super Natural Stripes pattern that I used a few months ago, I knit up this cute sweater for Zoe, who won't be able to wear it for a few years since I made the 2-3 year size.


In my version of the cardigan, I kept the top down, one-piece, raglan sleeve methodology as well as the raised garter stitch stripes from the original pattern.  However, I maintained the stripes throughout the whole sweater (rather than just the yoke) to give some texture to the body and sleeves.  Also, rather than pick up stitches to add a separate collar and button band on at the end (remember how wonky my button band was the first time?), I just knit in a garter stitch collar and button band up front: about 8 rows of garter stitch before starting the increases, plus an extra 6 in garter stitch in the beginning and end of each row.

Friday, September 21, 2012

First attempt at bread making - boules!

I decided to try out Meg's favorite technique for baking fresh bread (from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book).  Not bad.  Maybe a little under-done. Will go get a thermometer to see if my oven temp needs to be adjusted.  

Basic ingredients ready to go
Dough mixed and ready for rising
Using plastic cutting board as a pizza peel
In the oven
Two.  Two wonderful boules!!   Mwa ah ah...
Thinking of making pizzas with the remaining dough along the lines of what Jim Lahey made in his kitchen at Co. on the Anthony Bourdain No Reservations "Obsessed" episode.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Low Brow Know How

This week saw some pretty low-brow, but quite tasty recipes grace our kitchen.  Sorry for the terrible low-light photos!

1. Pineapple BBQ pulled chicken:

This recipe is embarrassingly easy, so easy that it almost doesn't require a recipe (but I got the idea from this website): pulled chicken made with pre-made BBQ sauce jazzed up with hot sauce, pineapple and onion, all melded together care of the slow cooker. I'm not normally a jarred BBQ sauce person, but we were the recipients of a bottle of Jack Daniels Spicy Original when Ben and Erin moved, and it's that bottle of sauce that sparked this idea.

Place boneless (or bone-in if you're feeling sassy and don't mind picking out bones later) chicken breasts (would probably be even better with thighs) in slow cooker, cover with a roughly chopped onion and pineapple (you could use drained canned pineapple, but I used fresh because I live in the tropics and that's how we roll), top with BBQ sauce and hot sauce (I used Sriracha, tentu saja) to taste.  Turn on cooker, cook for 3-4 hours, shred chicken with 2 forks, cook for a little while longer so chicken soaks up sauce, eat.
We served the chicken in wraps with a little bit of lettuce and cheese, but you could put it in buns, too.  

We also served it with a side of crunchy jicama and carrot slaw:  matchstick jicama and carrot mixed with raisins that had been soaking in lime juice, a squirt of hot sauce, a teeny bit of oil, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper... I also added matchstick yellow pepper, but would leave that out next time as it was too watery and its flavor was overpowering.

2. Chipotle egg salad:

Egg salad made with a little bit of mayo, some Dijon mustard, adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle in adobo), minced green onions, minced dill pickles, chopped parsley and S&P.   Served on slices of homemade 100% whole wheat sandwich bread a la Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Brimmed Baby Cap

Amy told me that she wished Baby Alex had some more orange colored clothing, as it's her favorite color... In order to remedy her situation I decided to use some orange yarn I had lying around  to make Alex something.  Initially, I had planned to make this cute little contrast shoulder vest, but sadly I discovered halfway through that the 2 balls of orange yarn I had left were not from the same dye lot, a fact that was readily apparent in the inadvertent ombre look the vest had going on.  Boo.

Enter this cute brimmed beanie, which used only half of the orange yarn I had.
I added turquoise contrast stripes and skipped the flower from the original pattern.  Pretty cute!  Hopefully it fits Alex!


Shirt Striped Baby Romper

Before heading to Australia, Amy generously offered to bring me some stuff from the U.S., which she did, in spades.  Cheetos, soap... you name it.  I had also asked Martha if she had any extra baby clothes patterns or fabric that she hadn't gotten around to using/wasn't planning on using at she could send with Amy.  Never one to skimp on crafting materials, Martha sent 15 patterns, some of them circa 1970, as well as approximately 500 yards of fabric, some of which also dates back to that era.  Amy and Adam were good sports and dragged this all across the world for me:

That's a lot of patterns:
Fabric addiction much?
 In repayment for their porter services (and because Alex is cuper cute), I made Baby Alex a little blue romper using some of the fabric and a pattern (Butterick B5625, view A) that Martha sent.  Love it!  Hopefully he'll be able to wear it next summer!

Making this romper forced me to learn and use some new skillz, including applying facings, understitching, double stitching, and making buttonholes with my machine.  Thank god for the internets for guiding me through these things.  I did have to make about 25 buttonholes on scrap fabric before getting it right, but ultimately it worked out and now I'm a pro:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Slow roasted leg of lamb with arugula, lemon, goat cheese salad

Anthony Bourdain is on his last few episodes of No Reservations (very sad).  Last week's episode was in Sydney.  Amazing food.  Porteno Restaurant in Sydney serves an 8 hour wood fired leg of lamb.  Awe inspiring. 

 So, I got my own 6 lb leg of lamb.

Schmered it with a paste of garlic, rosemary, salt and olive oil. 

Cooked it covered in foil for 8 hours at 250 degrees F.   

Took the foil off and cooked for 40 minutes at 475 degrees F (would reduce that time at higher heat next go around).

Served it on a marble cutting board with an arugula/lemon juice/chevre/S&P salad.  Fantastic group fest.

Tarragon Infused Vodka Cocktails

Tons of Tarragon...

Infused some vodka with tarragon from the garden for 3-4 days.  Very nice bouquet.

Strained into a bottle for keeping.

Muddled fresh tarragon and mint, freshly squeezed lemon juice, a tiny amount of agave syrup, plus the infused vodka - shake over ice.  Add champagne topper (of course) and garnish with fresh tarragon and lemon rind.  Very refreshing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Meyer Lemon Cranberry Marmalade and Blackberry Lemon Rosemary Preserves

I got a bunch of Meyer lemons from Costco and wasn't sure what do to with them, so I made a couple of batches of jam with my new canning set from Target.

I more or less followed these recipes and added my own spin to each:

Blackberry Preserves (with lots of lemon juice and rosemary added)

Blackberry preserves at full boil
Pouring mixture into jelly jars
Blackberry preserves ready for water bath

Meyer Lemon Marmalade (with cranberry option described in comment section):

Meyer lemon/cranberry prep

Finished products!