24.4.15

dreaming of summer with grace kelly

well, the weather was so beautiful and warm - i even got a sunburn on a hike last weekend! - that i couldn't bring myself to keep working on the hat for mrs. brown.

so, i decided to start something summery - something i've had in the back of my mind for ages.

there's a scene in to catch a thief where grace kelly scares the living daylights out of cary grant by racing her convertible along a winding mountain road.

she's wearing a gorgeous two-piece dress. it's one i've often thought of recreating.

it's simple; feminine yet sporty.

i'm reimagining the top as a pullover. i can easily imagine wearing both of these pieces a lot - together or seperately. the pullover would go great with the navy jacket and capris i'm planning. or the grey linen trousers i made last week.

and you can never have too many summer skirts!

i'm not much of a pink gal myself, though. so i've cast on in yellow. i'm sick (what, again?) so i got a fair amount done today, while watching ball of fire (a little-known classic!).

plan is to knit the shell, then add the paisley detail in duplicate stitch (i decided it would be a lot less painful than intarsia for so many little things). now i just need to be on the look out for a cotton voile in a coordinating yellow to make a skirt and scarf.

21.4.15

my pen is back!

years (decades?) ago i bought a pen and pencil set. i used the pen for ages (i could never get the pencil to work properly - jammed with wrong-sized lead i think?) and then i set it aside for one reason or another, and then the bladder wore out, and then it sat on a shelf for years waiting for repairs.

finally, the day has come! my pen was repaired by peel pen shop, and returned to my hot little hands last night! the pencil is working now, too. hooray!

it's a waterman ink-vue in "silver ray" pattern, from 1932. they don't make them like they used to!

18.4.15

things are getting done!

i feel like i am finally getting productive around here!

first, i planted some seeds, and they are almost all sprouted!

unfortunately this means i have to thin them out. which is my least favourite thing. i want them all to live! which they won't if i don't thin them out. cognitive dissonance. whatever.

i also have some sharp navy twill that i was thinking would make a pair of capris and a sweet little jacket, something betty draper-ish, along these lines:

after looking at all kinds of patterns online, i finally dug into my own stash and found this:

perfect! i also found this, which looks cheesey:

but with a couple of alterations (adding a high waist, and nipping in the back darts for a better fit), i have some awesome linen trousers. i just need to get some buttons.

and i also finished another long-awaited but super small/easy project - sewing up the pockets on these capris, as they are too small to use, and gape open awkwardly. hoping these look more tailored now!

17.4.15

a busy week of baking!

i am so behind on everything (as usual, again).

last week was crazy busy with out of town visitors and multiple appointments with the kid's docs. all on the same day. so it was basically take kid to doc (in distant corner of city), drop him off at school after, pick up a few things, go home, prepare buffet dinner for seven (poached trout with mayonnaise verte, green salad, potato salad, roasted asparagus, rolls, cake), pick up kid again, drive to other doc (in same distant corner of city as before, except farther, and at rush hour), come home to house full of dinner guests.

and it worked!

key was planning a menu of cold/room temperature items, and getting things done ahead of time where possible. the rolls were made the night before, using a recipe from the amazing amazing woks of life:

i made a loaf of bread, too!

also made ahead, was the clemetine cake from smitten kitchen. tastes better on the second day indeed!

note: the pattern on top was done by sifting icing sugar over a paper snowflake. if you are doing this, do it moments before serving - or the sugar will completely dissolve!

9.4.15

macarons!

this is something i had wanted to try forever! i even procured a giant bag of almond flour. and then... life.

sick, busy, or both, weekend after weekend. happily, easter is a four-day weekend, and no one was ill, so i finally had time for an attempt!

i followed david lebovitz's links to bravetart's recipe. first step is beating the egg whites. looked suspiciously like our ceiling.

somewhere, in all of my reading, i read that you can save time by drawing circles on a piece of paper, and putting it under your parchment when you pipe. seemed to work. but the only thing i was able to find that was the right size to trace was an old new year's eve noisemaker.

they are lumpy on top! but they have little feet!

and many cracks on the surface!

these are among the prettiest:

much more practice is required. lots and lots. i think i needed to crush out more air when adding the almonds. i was a bit afraid to do that. the chocolate ones are a bit beter than the plain for that reason - i made one bath of batter, piped out about half of it, added 1 tbs cocoa to the remainder, and squished out more air while mixing it in.

also, for the record, i made a half-batch of swiss meringue buttercream - 5 oz egg whites, 5 oz sugar, 1 lb butter - and flavoured half with caramel, half with raspberry puree. the raspberry... well despite a full punnet of berries, it had no flavour, and looked kind of grey. it's still edible, i have no problem eating it by the spoonful, but it isn't what i hoped for. luckily, the caramel half was more than enough to fill all the macarons, with a bit leftover. so next time, it will be 2.5 oz of whites and sugar, and a half pound of butter.

6.4.15

window seat: turtle-style

i finally did up the cushion properly for the window seat!

previously, i had cut the foam to size, wrapped it in some batting, and laid an afghan over it to hide the unupholstered truth. that was... probably longer ago than i care to admit.

anyway!

i decided to use my holiday monday to get it done. i had the fabric, piping, zipper, and thread all bundled together, and no excuses! so at last the cushion is done. the millwork to finish the front is still stacked under the bed, but there you are. baby steps, as they say.

the intended effect is something like this, but with less musical ability:

or to be honest, something more like this:

with me in jimmy stewart's role, casting a suspicious eye over the neighbours, and inventing apocryphal fictions about their sordid lives. i've already started with that - i guess it is the one part of the window seat that i actually have finished!

1.4.15

april fools!

it's april fools' day!

for the kid's lunch, we have alpahbet soup, as inspired by chickadee magazine.

well, it may look like alpahbet soup, but it is actually butterscotch pudding from smitten kitchen, topped with some alpha-bits cereal!

that's sort of healthy, right?

i added some food colouring to the kid's serving, to make it look more tomato-y.

i'm taking one of the plain ones for my lunch.