Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recipe: Not-Raw Sushi

I know lots of us are squeamish about eating raw meat, but just because you don't want to try raw fish, doesn't mean you can't enjoy sushi.  There are a lot of vegetables and cooked things you can put in a sushi roll that are nutritious, delicious, and not raw fish meat!

The Korean version of sushi is called Kimbap (or Gimbap, or Kimbob, or other permutations like that) and it uses all cooked things or veggies.  It's a fun way to mix up your lunch and to try out your favorite flavor combos.

Project: Marie Skirt Continued

I ripped the whole thing apart last night and have begun the task of putting it back together, stay tuned for updates!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Project: Marie Skirt

Clockwise from top left: Front, Left, Back, Right
(Hem is taken out)

This weekend I made this skirt using the free Marie Skirt pattern on Burda Style.  Although I took my measurements to make this skirt, the waist ended up being looser than I anticipated.  The waist hangs lower on my hips than it was designed to, and thus lowers the hips of the skirt down below my natural hip making it look strange and ill-fitting (a.k.a. my butt isn't usually that big!).

Unfortunately I didn't make a muslin (since I am lazy and never do, especially because I got the fabric on sale for $6 and this is just the leftovers from my dress) and in my hurry to finish it, I didn't try it on before placing the zipper either.  I took out my hem and tried doing some alterations without moving the zipper, (i.e. pinning up the back or other side) but because of the pleats, taking it in too much caused them to pull and look strange (In the photos I had already taken in each side about 1.5 inches).

I don't know if I'll ever wear this thing, it's just not very flattering on my body and I don't know if I'm committed enough to it to tear the whole thing apart and start over if I'm not really going to want to wear it anyway.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Recipe: Frothed Milk

You don't need a barista or a $500 espresso/milk steamer machine to make delicious, foamy milk for your lattes.  I like making my own chai lattes at home because: 1. They are cheap 2. I can control what's going into them so I don't feel like a cow after drinking a 300 calorie drink. The only downer is that they are kind flat and boring with just regular milk in them, they need a little pizazz, the pizazz that only bubbles and foam can bring.  They sell fancy machines that will do this for you but you can make frothed milk easily at home. And I'm going to tell you how!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"That was Wisconsin that was yesterday..."

Ah, winter in Wisconsin.  Snowy, cold, dark.  Sparkling, beautiful, crisp. In honor of the wintry weather (i.e. the current high temperature of 4°, yes, that’s in Fahrenheit) I want to share a favorite album of mine that personifies this time of year.

This 2007 release by Wisconsin artist Justin Vernon was critically acclaimed for a reason.  Recorded in a secluded cabin, the music carries all the eerie, delicate, rawness of Wisconsin in the winter.  In fact, his band’s name “Bon Iver” is a corruption of the French phrase bon hiver, meaning good winter. Tim Sendra, reviewer for says, “For Emma captures the sound of broken and quiet isolation, wraps it in a beautiful package, and delivers it to your door with a beating, bruised heart.” 

I've been lucky enough to get tickets to two of Bon Iver's shows, and the pleasure of attending one (ironically, winter weather caused me to miss the first). One of my favorite concerts to date and Bon Iver's last before their current hiatus, Vernon's artistry expanded in the live performance and even exceeded expectations. It was a real treat.

The haunting melodies of For Emma have been a continual favorite of mine since its release; in the middle of summer it can almost make you homesick for winter, almost.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Project: Postcard Quilt

This summer when deciding on what kind of quilt to make for my first apartment, I stumbled across this creation called 'Postcards from the Park' at Film in the Fridge.  I really liked the colors and the pattern and I wanted to attempt one of my own.

I didn't buy any fabric for this quilt except for the white for the border strips.  The prints all came from my mom's stash and my great-grandma's sewing room.  My great-grandma moved out of her house this summer right before I began my quilt and it was mom and my job to clean out her sewing room.  It was full of leftover bits of fabric from bygone eras, my grandma saved everything for her crazy-quilts! We got rid of anything that was smaller than what we could use and I gathered up all the pieces that I thought would look cute together.

Sewing this quilt wasn't hard, just time consuming. Quilting seems to me, a lot like knitting, very repetitive! Which sometimes can be relaxing and at other times can be monotonous. My queen sized quilt took over 250 4x6 postcards.

After all is said and done though, I really like my quilt and I like that it has a lot of history sewn into it too!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Project: Vampyroteuthis infernalis

I finished my Vampyroteuthis infernalis plush this weekend. He is based off the Cute Octopus pattern I shared on this blog, but I have modified him to have the usual 8 tentacles, or arms to be more precise.

I brought him along to a family get-together on Sunday and my cousins thought he was really cute, so I am considering him to be a great success.  I'm going to try and get my act together and make a few octys for my etsy shop in different species.  Would you want one?

Link Partayyyy!

I'm in my first link party today over at Simply Step Back, check out everyone's cute projects and even add your own!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Project: Franken-dress

Ever had a vision in your head and you're just dying to create that awesome thing you're imagining, but then when you actually get around to doing it, something goes wrong and you get discouraged? That's sort of how I feel about my franken-dress right now.

I was inspired by this PPQ dress Lily Allen wears in her music video for "The Fear" (yeah, it's a few years old, gimme a break!) I liked the short length and shift-like silhouette as well as the collar, though it's a little too over the top for what I'd wear in my real life, but maybe I'd wear it in my imaginary life as a sassy British singer though.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Project: Cute Octopus Pattern

In celebration of my blog reaching over 1,000 page views, I wanted to offer all of you an honest-to-goodness, genuine sewing pattern!

Vampyroteuthis infernalis, Nerdopus, & the cute octopus

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Super Awesome Surprise Coming Tomorrow!

Stay tuned for a super dooper surprise coming tomorrow to celebrate my little blog getting over 1,000 pageviews!  Thanks everyone in helping me get to this (tiny, itty-bitty baby) stepping stone and for supporting my creative endeavors!

Project: Wizard People, Dear Reader

Ok, so I'm a Harry Potter fan...well, a fan of the books that is.  (I know, NERD-ALERT, but honestly, you don't even know the half of it.) Anyway, I've always been disappointed in the movies since they always seem to fall short of my vision of the books.  Well, that is until I was introduced to Wizard People, Dear Reader a few years ago.  WPDR is a re-envisioning of HP by Brad Neely, a man who had never even picked up one of the books before recording an alternate audio track for the whole first film.  What started as a joke evolved into a hilarious, swear-laced retelling of Harry Potter that will have you quoting it to your confused, if not bemused friends, for many a moon.

Warning: This audio track is not for all audiences, especially for those who are offended by strong language, Harry Potter, or anything funny.

Recipe: Bangers and Mash

In college I got the opportunity to spend 4 months studying abroad, splitting the time between London, UK and Florence, Italy.  It was one of the best times of my life and I had so much fun visiting new places and trying new foods.  Although it's hard not to have a soft spot for home-cooked Italian cooking (which I got to enjoy IN Italy no less, jealous?), sometimes I get a hankerin' for English Pub food as well.

I used this recipe from Food Network as a base, and then altered it as I saw fit.  Pair this dish with a cold pint and you can almost imagine being back in London...almost!

p.s. I'm the first to admit that home-photographed food looks disgusting about 9 times out of ten.  I tried my best you guys, and the food really is delicious! Trust me!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Project: Etched Bottles

It's always smart to buy kitchen supplies or ingredients like olive oil in bulk, but the giant jugs are a little unruly to pour and a little unsightly to keep on the counter.  This project is a cheap, easy, eco- and budget-friendly way to solve all those problems.  The bottles can also be used to store dish-detergent, vinegar, beverages, and other condiments. You can etch anything on them, words like I did, or pictures to match your decor, it's all up to you.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Project: Bleach Stenciling


Ever want a custom shirt, bag, jacket, etc, but don't want to pay to get it made by a printing company? Don't have the time or supplies to do your own silk screening? Fret no more! Bleach stenciling is the way to go, it's pretty cheap, easy, and you only need stuff that you can find at home. Plus, the results are pretty freakin' sweet.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Project: Extra Soft Pillowcases

 My mom started making my brother and I personal pillowcases every year for Christmas when we were kids.  We'd always have one rolled up in the bottom of our stocking.  Even though we are adults now, we still request "soffie" pillowcases from mom, and my boyfriend has even gotten super excited about them and asked for a monkey one for christmas, how cute!

L to R: Barnaby (pattern by Aranzi Aronzo), Quigley (by Me), Rico (gift, by my cousin Olivia), Pandoctopus (gift from my brother, by Love and a Sandwich), Bunbury (pattern by Aranzi Aronzo), Octopus (by Me)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Project: Chickie Nuggets

Ever wonder where chicken nuggets come from?  If these cute, little guys have anything to do with it, you probably don't want to know!

Today's project is a little silly and frivolous, but I've been making little chickies like this since I made a giant batch with my friend Annie in grade school.  They are great practice for new sewers and a fun little diversion for experienced hand-stitchers. And even though a cute little chickie isn't very practical in my life, sometimes it's nice to have a fuzzy little friend to sit on your computer and keep you company in your cubicle or to cheer you up after a miserable day at the dentist.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Recipe: Totoro Cupcakes

Some of you might recognize this cute little guy from your childhood, that is if you were into Japanese animated-films as a child.  For those who weren't so lucky, this is Totoro, he's a gentle, forest-spirit that befriends two little girls in the movie My Neighbor Totoro, a Hayao Miyazaki Film.  If you haven't seen it you really should! (Hint: DO NOT get the dub with Dakota Fanning, it is not as good as the original release!)

What could be cuter than the real Totoro? TOTORO CUPCAKES! My mom came up with this "recipe" using techniques from the book What's New, Cupcake? by Karen Tack, and Alan Richardson, as well as some internet inspiration.