Sunday, January 31, 2010

Busy weekend!

I've had a busy weekend! Friday, my friend Cat and I headed to the Burgh to see the kids. I had to bring Jeremy's car that we got him and pick up our station wagon so we decided to make a weekend of it. Friday morning we stopped at Joann's before heading out where I picked up some patterns on sale:

I figured I can make these from stash. I also got a vintage apron pattern and a purse pattern.

Then we headed out. We got to the burgh around 2:00 and ate at the Square Cafe where Ems is now working. It's a really nice place and the food was good! We headed off to check in to our hotel and picked up Ems when she got home. After stopping by Right by Nature to see Ems' roomate, we headed to the Warhol Museum to see the Shepard Fairey exhibit which was wonderful. Saturday, we went to Squirrel Hill and to Little's Shoes to look around. I was perfectly controlled and didn't buy anything there for a change. I did get some nice loose teas at the little tea shop on Forbes. We then went to the Carnegie museum to see the dinosaurs! It was a great exhibit! I'm sorry we didn't have more time to see more of the museum. We quickly went through the Polar Life exhibit and the Egyptian exhibit. News of the weather at home was making us a bit nervous as we were originally expecting about 2 inches of snow. When I checked the weather, they had increased the warning to 5 - 7 inches! We had a quick dinner at Mad Mex then headed out around 6:30.

The trip home was uneventful but we could see that snow had fallen once we got to Hagerstown. It was clearly worse in Howard County so we just took it slow. I was surprised that a couple of the bigger roads had not been plowed! We got home about 11:30 and Cat headed to her place. I was wound up from the trip so I ended up staying up quite late then sleeping in today.

I spent part of the day finding fabric online for my next big sewing project. It turns out that I have a formal to go to in March so I decided to make another gown. I wanted something elegant and I had a pattern on hand that met my needs.

This pattern is now out of print and I don't think that Vogue carried it for a long time. It took me a while to digest the instructions as they are really involved and hard to visualize. There are also a lot of pieces because it is assymetrical so most of the pieces are cut out in a single thickness of fabric. I only found one review on Pattern Review and it looked alright except that it had been made out of polyester which I don't think really works with this type of design. The folds in the drape don't lie flat with a synthetic and this type of garment really needs to be made of silk. I found a 30mm weight heavy silk crepe in bright red at Thai Silks and on Ebay and I've requested swatches. I will also have to order boning and figure out how I will bustle the train. I really love this gown.

Other news--I ordered some Icon Shoes! Those who know me know that I LOOOOVE Icon Shoes! They had a 50% off sale which included 50% off of sale items. I ended up with a make up bag and 2 pairs of sandals!

I'm thinking that I might get the purse to go with the "Yes We Can" shoes!

That's about all that's been going on. I'm plugging away at my red sweater and I've reached the end of the body up to the armholes. I now have to do the sleeves then join them and knit the yoke. I haven't gotten much done on that the last week because I had my winter concert and grades to do!

That's about it for now! Have a great week!

Kitty Cam: The tuxedo twins, Samantha and Harley, are spending some quality time together.

Monday, January 18, 2010

So much to do!

I've been collecting hand dyed yarn! Those who know me know that I don't simply buy stash yarn. I buy yarn for a specific purpose. Sometimes I may end up using the yarn for another purpose, but rarely as I demonstrated with my most recent FO which was planned over 2 years ago! Check out the goodies:

On the left we have Malabrigo Twist in Teal Feather. This will be for the Scoop Pullover:

On the right we have Dream in Color Groovy (chunky weight) in November Muse which will be for the Owls Pullover:
Next we have Miss Babs Yowza Watta Skein in Vlad's Red for Sylvar:

Check out the extra goodies that came with the Miss Babs--a sample of sock yarn, a stitch marker and a sample of Soak. I love those freebies!

Last we have Fleece Artist Nyoni in Ivory for Myrtle:

I'm thinking that Myrtle will be good for spring.
My current project is the Birgitte Lace Pullover in Red GGH Soft Kid. The mohair feels nothing like the itchy mohair I remember from the 60's! This stuff is super soft!

On the sewing front--I have boatloads of projects to make. There are three biggies though. One is a gold three quarter length coat with black velvet collar and cuffs. I have to redraft the pattern as I will be using a combination of two patterns to get the style I want.

A friend gave me some gorgeous white mohair blend coating which I intend to use for this:

This summer I want to make this:

I've had this pattern and some incredible 4 ply silk in a cinnamon color for several years. The pattern is out of print and I needed to get a larger size so that I can combine that with the smaller one for the right size. Fortunately I found it on ebay. DH and I will have a formal occasion in August so i figured that summer would be a good time to make this. It is too hectic to make something this involved around Christmas which is when our usual formal functions are!

Those are the big projects on hand. It will be interestsing to see how many of them I actually complete!

Kitty Cam: Greg eagerly waits for someone to start a fire!

An Indian Treat!

I am in love with Indian food! Nothing warms my innards more on a cold winter day! Lately I've been really enjoying some ready made frozen entrees containing Paneer which is a fresh cheese cut into cubes and put into one of a variety of sauces. I was looking online for sources to purchase Paneer and found comment after comment about how easy it is to make and how much better it is. So I embarked on a cheese making adventure. Here is a little tutorial.

How to make Paneer

1. Gather your ingredients: 1 half gallon of whole milk (do not get milk that has been ultra pasteurized) and 1 or 2 lemons.
Equiment: large heavy saucepan, strainer and cheesecoth.

2. Put the milk in the saucepan and heat, stirring so the milk doesn't stick to the pan. Squeeze the juice out of one lemon and
put aside.

3. Prepare your strainer. Place a double layer of cheesecloth in the strainer and a bowl underneath to catch the whey when
the cheese is drained.

4. Bring the milk to a boil and remove pan from heat quickly before milk bubbles over.

5. Stir in the juice from 1 lemon. You will see curdles begin to form right away and the whey will separate. Stir gently for a
minute or two then let the pan sit for about 10 minutes.

6. Pour the cheese into the strainer. Twist the cheesecloth tightly around the cheese and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.

7. Keep the cheesecloth tightly twisted and press the cheese into a disk about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Place on a plate.

8. Place another plate on top and weight it with cans or heavy books.

9. Leave weights on the cheese for 30 minutes or so then unwrap cheese and use or wrap in plastic and refrigerate.

10. You may choose to keep the whey to use in soups or baking. It should be used within a week or two or it may be frozen for future use.

Check out the cubed fresh cheese!

Here's the finished meal! The paneer was lightly browned in ghee and simmered in Korma sauce. It was served over a Basimati/Wild rice pilaf accompanied by a spinach lentil dal. Mmmm Good!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Happy New Year!

Better late than never! I've been busy since the new year. I was involved in the usual holiday happenings plus I had some projects to finish up. My first FO of the new year was a sewn one:

I cut this out before Christmas for the Patriot's Ball which was scheduled on Dec. 19 --the day of the big snow! It was rescheduled for Jan. 2, so I put this together on Jan. 1. It took a little longer than I expected because I decided to do my usual seam finishing--French seams! They just look so nice in silky or lace fabrics. The fabric was a cheap lace from Joann's with a polyester lining--two things I never sew with but I was trying to go on the cheap! The lace was embroidered and had more texture than most inexpensive laces. It also had some gold in it. The lining was a light taupe. I was pleased with the final result. The bustier is one I've had for several years. I get a lot of wear out of it. Here's a close up of the skirt fabric:

I have a couple of knitting FO's:
First--the Whirligig Shrug from IK Weekend Knits. This was made for Baby Bianca--my niece's baby.

Pattern: Whirligig Shrug by Stephanie Japel, Size 12 - 18 mos.
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash in Ivory, less than 1 skein
Needles: Knit Picks Options, 24 in. size 6
Modifications: none
This is a fun, quick knit. If you have any little girls to knit for, this makes a sweet gift!

My most recent FO is Wicked by the Zephyr Girls. I've had the pattern and yarn for several years and I finally decided to get this one done.

Pattern: Wicked by Zephyr Girls, Size 32
Yarn: Odyssey by Reynolds, 100% merino in Teal--10 skeins
Needles: Knit Picks Options 24 inch, size 7; Addi Turbo 16 inch, size 7
Modifications: Extra hip increases and I picked up 2 stitches under the arm when starting the sleeves. There were 54 sleeve stitches and the cuff pattern is an 9 stitch repeat so I added 2 stitches for the pattern to fit!

I'm happy with this one though I wish I hadn't done as many hip increases. I forgot that seed stitch doesn't cling like ribbing and the bottom is a little loose. I may run some clear elastic thread through it for support.

I've started a new sweater for the SKC Knit along. I'll post about that later. This weekend we've been taking down Christmas. I still keep winter around though. I collect snowmen and they stay out until March when the bunnies come out. This year I added to my snowman collection:

The top 2 are candy containers as their heads come off!

I'll have to fill you in on some of my knitting and sewing goals for the upcoming year--but I'll do that later!

A monumental thing--my car turned 200,000 miles! And people say American cars are junk! I love my trusty Ford and I'll be sad when it finally dies--which doesn't appear to be any time soon!

Kitty Cam: This one is from Ems. Chelsea and Mokey pause for a portrait before fighting over who gets to sleep in the sink!