Saturday, June 29, 2013

Little Geranium Dresses

Here are two more versions of Made by Rae's lovely Little Geranium dress pattern for newborns that I whipped up for a couple friends who've found out that they've got little girls on the way.  Not the most practical of gifts (maybe a diaper genie or something like that would be more useful), but damn cute nonetheless!

One in hand stamped batik (same as I used for one of my Ella Raglan blouses) and one in some pretty blue flowered fabric from Joann's (also used for my Pleated Playsuit last week).  Cute!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mickey Batik

I'm not typically one to buy clothes/fabric/things with licensed cartoon characters on it, but when I saw this Mickey Mouse batik for sale, I just couldn't leave it behind.  Last time I hung out with Zoe, she was obsessed with Mickey Mouse (and I hear she still is?).  Plus the idea of Mickey Mouse mixed with traditional Indonesian batik motifs was just too funny.  

FYI: if you're into the batik + pop culture sort of thing and you like sepak bola (soccer), you're in luck, because Premier League batik is also available... Tim and I have seen people rocking Manchester United and Chelsea batik around town.

I got the fabric from one of Indonesia's chain batik/souvenir stores, Batik Keris*, which has a whole line of Mickey and friends incorporated into batik (well, it's not true handmade, wax-resist batik, but fabric printed with batik motifs).  I wasn't enamored with the pre-made clothes they had for sale, but I found the kain batik (batik fabric) hiding out in the back and I bought the least offensive piece (some of was pretty heinous...).

I used a simple pattern that Chuck got me, Simplicity 2684, which is a little tank top and capri pants (I left off the ruffle to let the Mickey shine).  The set I made for Zoe had the border print on the bottom of the pant legs (yes, those are little red Mickey Mouse heads) but the set for Anna doesn't have the border print due to a cutting error on my part (oops!):

* Batik Keris actually has a pretty fascinating video on their website showing how handmade batik is made: the wax application via stamp or wax pen thingy, the hand painting, the dip and scrunch dyeing, even the industrial shirt-making process.  I love seeing how things are made!  Check it out!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Twin Lucy Tunics

Taking a cue from Chuck, who made Zoe and Anna some "twinsie" cardigan sweaters, I made them matching batik tunics that I hope they can wear next year:

 I used the Lucy Tunic pattern, a cute A-line cross-front tunic from Shwin Designs (same designers as the Maggie Mae top) and cut the 12 months and 3 years sizes.  The fabric is a printed batik I bought here in Jakarta, lined with some blue plaid/cross-hatch from the Real Martha.  I didn't make it fully reversible since the lining fabric is a bit sheer and the batik shows through.  I think they came out pretty cute!  Pair them with some skinny pants or leggings, done.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sour Cream Pancakes

Wow, I am in love with this sour cream pancakes recipe from The Pioneer Woman.  I stumbled upon it by accident while searching the internet for a way to use up extra sour cream at breakfast time... awesome find!

These pancakes are so incredibly tender.  Mostly made of sour cream and egg, with only a teeny bit of flour and leavener, the recipe seems a little bizarre, but it turns out these incredibly light, soft, tender pancakes that are still very rich tasting.  I loved them, and I'm not even really a big pancake person, to be honest. 

Give them a try!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ikat Meghan Blouse

After my success with Sis Boom's Meghan pattern a few weeks ago, I had to make another one.

This one is made from some hand-woven Balinese ikat that I bought in Ubud... rust colored with a pretty teal, green and grey print.  I think my pattern placement was much better on this version, although the print does have somewhat of a uterine effect on the stomach area.  Oops!

(Please excuse my shiny face and awkward hands.  I don't think a career as America's Next Top Model is in the cards for me, for obvious reasons.):

I made it one size smaller for a closer fit after wearing the green version out and finding it slightly blousey in spots.  I think the bust fits better, but it's a smidge tight in the hips... shocking, I know. I may have to add some vents or whatever you call them on the sides.  Maybe next time I combine the two sizes, smaller on top and larger on the bottom.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pleated Playsuit

Heidi from Elegance and Elephants (of Ruffle Top and Bubble Pocket Shorts fame) offered this Pleated Playsuit pattern for free on her blog... who am I to turn down something free, especially something this cute?

I made it with some flowered quilting cotton fabric I bought at Joann's a few years ago, and used some green-on-green striped Lisette fabric that the Real Martha bought me as the accent on the straps, cuffs and pockets. 

I cut the shorter version so maybe Zoe can wear it this summer, but the long version is pretty awesome, too.   I cut both parts of the pocket out of the accent color so the contrast color would show at the hips, but otherwise I didn't make any changes to the pattern.  I found the pattern extremely easy to follow, except for maybe the cutting, but that's only because a few of the pieced were printed in layers on top of each other.  It just meant I had to pay a little bit of extra attention when cutting the fabric, not too taxing.  All-in-all a cute, easy to put together pattern that looks more complicated than it actually is!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pepitas Two Ways: Brittle and Pesto

So, this post may be a little too early, in the sense that pepitas, which are hulled pumpkin seeds, are not really in season yet, but I have an excuse.  I bought a bag of roasted, salted pepitas at Trader Joe's back in January when I was in the States, with no particular plan in mind for them.  I brought them back to Jakarta, set them on the counter, and there they sat for six months...  I felt like I needed to use them or lose them, so here we are.  I've got two fall recipes for you...

Pepita Brittle: sweety, salty, crunchy, awesome.  I was a little bit worried about candy making in a humid environment (see: weepy marshmallows, January 2012), but this recipe from Smitten Kitchen was pretty foolproof. 

A spicy pepita pesto, with basil and cilantro, pepitas in the place of pine nuts, lime instead of lemon juice and a chili for heat... served on pasta with roasted squash (I used kabocha squash, but you could do pumpkin, butternut, what have you...):

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chicken and Kailan in a Garlic, Ginger, Miso Sauce

Still trying to use up my stash of miso and take advantage of the super cheap baby kailan (Chinese broccoli) at the grocery store.  I mashed two recipes together and ended up with a pretty tasty meal:

I marinated the chicken as described in this Rasa Malaysia recipe.  Then I steamed the kailan as described in Steamy Kitchen's recipe, set it aside, cooked the chicken in the wok, set it aside, then cooked the garlic, ginger, miso sauce per Steamy Kitchen.  Tossed it all (chicken, kailan, sauce) together and served it on top of rice.  Pretty good!!

I bet you could use this sauce/methodology with lots of different greens- bok choy, kale, broccoli...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Batik Ella


This one's made from a pretty navy and pink batik and made for Georgia, the cute daughter of some of Tim's Peace Corps Armenia pals.  The Ella pattern is so easy... it's almost mindless.  I love it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Oven Baked Crispy Onion Rings

Sadly, despite really wanting this recipe to be a winner, I can only give it a "meh."  Tim had the idea to make burgers the other night* and I decided that onion rings would go quite well with the burgers.  I remembered seeing this recipe on one of the blogs I follow, Closet Kitchen, so I dialed it up.

While the onion rings did get quite crispy from panko bread crumbs and hot oven temperature, there really is no substitute for deep-frying when it comes to onion rings.... onion rings should be crispy AND a bit oily from the fryer. Oh well.  A for effort.

Made me crave some really onion rings, though.  In particular, the ones served at the unfortunately named but awesome temple of fried stuff, Kream 'N Kone on Cape Cod.  Mmmm... fried stuff...

* Tim's burgers were quite good: cheddar and bacon with sauteed mushrooms and onions, all topped with a creamy chipotle BBQ sauce (BBQ sauce + chipotle in adobo + mayo).  And, when he was buying the meat at a small Japanese grocery store near his office, he spotted an Indonesian celebrity: Farrah Quinn, the self-proclaimed "sexy chef."  I actually like to watch her cooking show because, although the food is not particularly appealing, she alternates between speaking Indonesian and English, sometimes repeating statements in both languages, which helps me with my Bahasa Indonesia.  I understand other people may have a different reason(s) to watch her show.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Maggie Mae Tunic

I'd had my eye on a couple of cute patterns at Shwin Designs for months now.  Recently they re-released all of their patterns with a whole range of sizes included, so I took the opportunity to snatch several of them up, including the Maggie Mae tunic/dress.  I love the curved seam on the bodice and the ability to easily do some fun colorblocking.

My first Maggie Mae is the tunic version, sewn in a beautiful leaf batik (scraps leftover from Colleen's Anda dress!) combined with some cute red polka dot fabric from The Real Martha.

I meant to add piping to all of the horizontal seams, but kinda forgot until the last step.  Thus I only added it in at the waist seam, but I think looks pretty cute in the end.  Don't look too closely at the sides of the tunic, though, as my piping insertion is not ideal at those seams.  Zoe won't notice, right?

I also skipped the pockets this time because the white polka dot fabric was fairly sheer- I thought they would show through.

Can't wait to make it again in more color combos!!  I also like the full button-front version shown on the Shwin and Shwin blog...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Kahlua Chocolate Banana Milkshake

I've been in a bit of a food rut recently... cooking the same old things repeatedly.  I think it's the lack of really distinct seasons here in Jakarta (particularly this year, now that rainy season is encroaching on what should be dry season!) and the new and exciting produce associated with that season change.  I am jealous of the seasonal farm stand strawberries and asparagus that I see on all of my cooking blogs...

However, Tim and I did discover a new treat this week:  another, more "adult" iteration of my beloved banana shake: the Kahlua chocolate version!  Dudes, this is my new favorite dessert/after dinner drink.
Please excuse this blurry photo; I couldn't be bothered.  I was, however, bothered by the fact that Blogger refused to upload it upright. Apa boleh buat?  (Indonesian phrase for "What can I/we do?," usually accompanied by a shrug and a sigh)
It barely qualifies as a recipe; it's really just a question of adding ingredients to taste, but the rough ratios are:  

1 cup of milk + 1 frozen overripe banana + a tablespoon/good squirt of chocolate syrup + a shot of Kahlua = heaven  

(and if you wanted to go more hardcore with the booze, I think a bit of rum or vodka wouldn't hurt!)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Meghan Peasant Blouse

I think I may have found my new favorite pattern... the Meghan Peasant from Sis Boom.  It's basically the adult version of the Ella raglan blouses I made last week and it's awesome: comfortable, flattering neckline, amazingly clear directions.  Now that I've sewn up the blouse version of it, I can't wait to try the dress version!

I made it from this Michael Miller Kaleidoscope fabric I bought when it was on sale... apparently it's part of a Christmas line, which makes sense when you see it with all of the other coordinating fabrics, but on its own it doesn't really seem all that Christmas-y to me.  It's pretty summery, actually.  Well, at least I hope so!  

Regarding how I put the pattern together, I chose the lowest neckline option (there are 3), cut the bottom to be 15" long, and I skipped the arm elastic (too pinchy on my guns).  I probably should have paid a little closer attention to the placement of the large print of the fabric when cutting out the top, but it's not the end of the world.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Another Day, Another Anda

Burdastyle's Anda dress is addictive to make.  This is my first second third fourth fifth version? 2 pattern pieces?  You can't go wrong.  I mean, it's not high fashion, but it's damn comfy and shows off a piece of pretty fabric quite well! 

I got this gorgeous piece of batik last week at Pasar Mayestik... look at those colors!!! I went to buy elastic for bubble pocket shorts and raglan blouses, but I left with that plus an additional 4 pieces (almost 12 yards) of batik.  I have an issue.... I may need to be cut off.  And I was holding back, too, because I only had so much cash on me!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ella Raglan Blouses

This is the Ella Raglan Blouse from I Think Sew (same pattern company that designed Zoe's cute overalls):

It's a ridiculously easy pattern that whips up quite fast and looks quite comfy.  In the future, I could see lengthening it into a dress or adding elastic to the waist for a slightly more fitted look.  Maybe piping on the seams between the body and sleeves?  The pattern includes sizes for ages 3-8, so I foresee many more of these in the future.

 Today's iterations include one made from some very pretty Amy Butler Linen Optic Blossom fabric (thanks, Jenny!):

And this sunny version is made from two Indonesian batiks, the body a beautiful yellow floral that I bought at Pasar Mayestik last week and the contrasting sleeves a cool pink batik that you might remember from this ruffle blouse and this Tiny Pocket Tank... I am getting my money's worth out of that piece of fabric!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013


The cute kiddo shorts keep coming... this time a little longer and a little more retro in style, kinda like old-school board shorts:

I was browsing the tutorials section over at MADE, saw this awesome tutorial for Retro Racer Shorts and remembered that I had printed out her free Kid Pants pattern several months ago, but hadn't yet taped it together...  30 seconds of taping and cutting well spent just for these shorts, and Dana's got about a thousand awesome variations on the Kid Pants pattern that I plan to try now that I have the pattern put together!!

I made the first pair of shorts a little bit girly with flowered fabric (same used for Zoe's overalls) and thin pink double-fold bias tape (vintage, from 1978, care of the Real Martha):

This awesome pair is actually up-cycled from a pair of Target pajama pants that I have had (and loved) for several years, but recently ripped in an unflattering way.  I was able to cut one pair of toddler shorts from one of the pajama pant legs, so I could potentially still cut another out of the second leg... score!  Add some more vintage bias tape and ta-da!:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Sorry for the delay in posting... been hanging around with monkeys and orangutans in Sumatra.  To make up for it, I whipped up a bevy of toddler shorts (or shawties, if you will) in a fit of productivity after returning from my great Bukit Lawang trip.  

Two pairs of teeny Bubble Pocket Shorts (using the pattern from Elegance and Elephants), one made from the remnants of my favorite Tiny Pocket Tank (well, maybe my second favorite) and one made from the remnants of a purple flowered Scout Tee:

And two tiny pairs of simple cuffed shorts (using Simplicity 4203, same pattern I used for Zoe's flowered prairie dress) made in hand-stamped batik leftover from a couple Scout Tees: