Monthly Archives: October 2012

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Halloween Tattoos

For all of my Pinterest-ing and grand planning, I’ve been kind of a slacker in the Halloween department.

Pumpkins: not carved.
Candy: not purchased.
Fancy Treats: not baked.
Costume for K: totally dialed it in (cat ears purchased at a drug store, leotard and tights re-purposed as-is from last summer’s ballet camp).

However, just in the nick of time, I did make some cute little Halloween tattoos…

I used Silhouette’s printable tattoo paper, which is so much fun. The downside is that the package comes with only two sheets, hence unless you cram in a lot of little designs, it’s not the most cost-effective craft. Yet oh-so-satisfying to see your own designs as temporary tattoos…

I tried the stars on my hand but found it tricky to take photos that didn’t make my hand look grotesque (though I guess that would be appropriate for Halloween?) so will have to wait for my model with darling appendages to come home from school to display the temporary tattoos in action. Laying the adhesive on the printed sheet was the hardest part and though I didn’t do it perfectly, they seem to be working great.

I made some obviously themed ones (I used the illustrations of the vampire girl and witch from here) and added a few others that I thought would look sweet as a tattoo. Here’s the whole sheet:

I’m off to go buy some candy!

Halloween Yummies

As October 31st draws near, I have been thinking about making fancy Halloween treats for K, and here are some fun ideas I’ve been gathering…oh, so many choices!

Trick-or-treat cookies by notmartha
DIY mini caramel apples via Classic Play
Black cat cookies via Land o Lakes
Spooky ghost pizza via She Knows Chef Mom
Handmade bat treat boxes  via craftgawker

I hope everyone in NYC is doing OK in the wake of Sandy…best wishes to all.

Recipe: Banana Bread with Mini Chocolate Chips

On Saturday night, after a fun Halloween party filled with dancing and costumed elementary school kids, I baked banana bread. It was pretty late, but I think all the sugar I consumed at the party gave me an unusual amount of extra energy.

I have one of those rather un-stylish yet very handy digital alarm clocks that automatically updates to the current time in the event the cord gets accidentally unplugged. You’d be surprised at how often that happens. However, for reasons beyond my understanding, the daylight savings schedule is off by one week. So Sunday morning I thought that we got up at 8am, but it turned out that the sneaky clock was off by a week as usual and the time was, in fact, 9am. We were due at a friend’s house by 10 and suffice it to say, I didn’t realize the situation till well after the appointed hour. It was as I was snapping pictures of this lovely and decadent loaf that I realized the time difference, so I only got to take a couple photos before I whisked it off to said friend’s house.

We polished off almost the entire loaf in half a morning. (OK, there were eight of us, but still).

My taste testers declared it awesome, and I have to agree. I ended up modifying an already wonderful recipe from Molly’s book, A Homemade Life. I highly recommend her cookbook – it’s filled with charming and touching anecdotes (I nearly cried on a couple of occasions, but I am prone to tears) as well as easy-to-prepare dishes and sweets.

Banana Bread with Mini Chocolate Chips
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg 

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 large bananas – I only had 2 on hand and it came out fine)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a standard-sized (about 9×5 inches) load pan with cooking spray or butter

2. In a small bowl, microwave butter until just melted (on high, it took about 30 seconds)

3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the mini chocolate chips and whisk well to combine. Set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs with a fork. Add the mashed bananas, sour cream, melted butter, and vanilla and stir to mix well.

5. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir gently with a rubber spatula, scraping down the sides as needed, until just combined. Take care not to overmix. The batter will be thick and somewhat lumpy, but there should be no unincorporated flour.

6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and jiggle the pan a bit to even out the batter in the pan.

7. Bake until the loaf is a deep shade of golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 50 minutes to 1 hour (mine took 56 minutes). If the loaf seems to be browning too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.

8. Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Then tip it out onto the rack and let it cool completely before slicing. Which I did, and the bread was fabulous.

Molly also adds that once fully cooled, the bread freezes beautifully and tastes great straight from the freezer. Since the bread went so quickly this round, I didn’t get a chance to try this, but will do so next time!

 

 

Happy Friday + Sashiko Sailor Collar Pullover + Lucky Skirt (Culotte)

Happy Friday! I am so smitten with this Sailor Collar Pullover embellished with sashiko stitches. I used silver embroidery floss for a little bling around the collar and pockets, and love the subtle glitz it gives the charcoal grey linen top. The pattern is from the tried-and-true book (I am going to make every single pattern!). I really took my time with this pullover and I’m really proud of it. I am gaga over everything, but the angled pockets and leather buttons are high up on the list of things I love about this top.

And how cheerful is that green flounciness? A perfect pick-me-up for the ever increasingly grey Pacific Northwest weather. K calls it her “lucky skirt” because it makes her think of four-leaf clovers. It’s actually a culotte, from a bygone era: shorts that look like a skirt. Genius! Made out of Japanese double-gauze, it’s soothingly soft. Pattern from this other book, but frankly, these are so easy to make, you hardly need a pattern.

I have to talk a little about those amazing boots, which are obviously ginormous on K because they are mine. They are from Cydwoq, and retails for close to $500. I found them at an end-0f-summer sale marked down to $70 a few years ago. The craftsmanship is impeccable. The pricing, unbeatable. And they are size 37, exactly my size! …the catch? I can’t zip them up. I thought the stiff leather just needed to be broken in, but unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. The ankles are achingly tight and try as I might, I haven’t been able to slide the zippers all the way…so sad. But because they’re so beautiful and because I hold onto the hope that I will miraculously have thinner ankles and lower calves, I keep them nestled in my closet. Maybe they will fit K one day.

We had a fun photoshoot:

Have a lovely weekend, friends! I leave you with some detail shots:

Animal Mask Doodles

 

A quiet day. A little doodling, a little sewing, a little volunteering (made endless amounts of die-cut letters at K’s school, which I found strangely satisfying). I have animal masks on the mind and am thinking of ways to incorporate fabric in a different way…perhaps I’ll have something to show you next week.

Exciting news: an art show for January 2013 is in the works, for which I’ll share details as it gets closer. Fun fun fun. Busy busy busy.

Salmon Croquettes

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being Julia Child), I would rate myself somewhere between a 5 and a 6 when it comes to cooking. I’m a good recipe-follower, but I’m not too innovative in my culinary endeavors. But these salmon croquettes are entirely of my own creation, and they are scrumptious, if I do say so myself. It is essentially un-mess-up-able and my finicky daughter who hates any food containing fish devours these.

It helps that they are full of buttery mashed potatoes and are fried up in olive oil.

Oh, and there’s a generous heaping of parmesan cheese in there.

They’re like a distant cousin to crab cakes, but ultimately feel like comfort food.

And hey, I wrote out the recipe for you, complete with illustrations! How you roast the salmon and make the mashed potatoes is entirely up to you (I like my mash to be extra buttery), and the proportions are completely estimated as I never measure anything out exactly. I usually peel about 5 or 6 potatoes, dice ‘em up, boil them for 20 minutes and mash them with butter and salt. At the same time, I sprinkle some salt and pepper on a salmon filet, wrap it in foil, stick it in the oven (at around 350 degrees) for 15-20 minutes. Trust me, you don’t need to be too finicky with proportions either because I’ve made these at least a dozen times with varying amounts of salmon and potatoes and they always come out yum.

Here’s the recipe – you might need to click on the image to enlarge it.

Origami Doll Kimonos

 

Origami was a huge part of my childhood. I can still whip out a crane in one minute flat, and I used to fold paper boxes by the dozen. My favorite origami activity by far was making origami dolls, though. They typically look like this (the tutorial here is also nice), but I actually liked making just the kimono. I would try all sorts of pattern combinations, which could keep me entertained for hours. These make great bookmarks as well! I am starting to think about holiday gifts and a little doll-making kit would make a cute stocking stuffer…

Handmade Pouches

Hello, hello! I hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable weekend!

Sometimes it’s nice to switch things up a bit and sew some quick and satisfying non-clothes projects. I made several pouches as birthday gifts for friends this weekend (two grown-up birthday parties in one weekend – so fun!).

The first pouch you see above is made from a sturdy burlap-esque fabric with a variety of colorful animals.

The second pouch is made from one of my favorite fabrics from Bitters, a fabulous store which sells all manners of amazing things including Heath ceramics. It’s a beautifully textured basket-weave cotton – I’m planning on making one for myself with this fabric.

This last one is a whimsical cotton print and is slightly smaller than the other two, measuring at about 4×6 inches whereas the others are about 5×7 inches. My favorite way of sewing these types of zipper pouches is from this book. I also made a teeny matching pouch for K using the same fabric as this glamorous dress from a couple of weeks ago. She immediately proceeded to fill it with her favorite trinkets.

I love making these and may have to create at least a dozen more!

 

Happy Friday + Boho Dolman Top

 

Happy Friday, friends! Here is the last of my KCWC creations from last week that I was finally able to get photographed.

First, the fabric: a GORGEOUS embroidered delicate knit. I am in love with the colors.

Second, the pattern: self-drafted. Sadly, I am no pattern maker and this was not a huge success. Since I’m not the best at sewing knits, it looks somewhat frumpy to me. But you know what? Six-year-olds don’t stay still long enough, so my many sewing sins are hard to detect.

I think it looks a little like it could have come from Anthropologie – what do you think?

Have a fabulous weekend, all!

 

Herringbone Jacket + Knickerbockers

It was early in the morning. We had ten minutes before we had to leave for school. K was very cranky and didn’t want to model for me (nor brush her hair, as you’ll see). I had to console myself with taking pictures of the stool at first. I think what used to be a fun, once-a-week fashion show was starting to feel like a chore when demanded multiple times a week.

But then she grudgingly got on the stool.

And then she swiveled…

And swiveled…

Until she started getting into the spirit of things and posed on the floor — can you see the hint of a smile starting?

She even started art directing me (“here! at the desk with me writing” – oh dear).

This herringbone linen is absolutely lovely. Silky soft and comfortably rumpled, it seems to combine luxury and casualness somehow. It reads pink, but is actually red and white, as you can see better in the detail shot. It is, of course the same pattern as this jacket. It seems a shame not to use a pattern more than once after all that tracing and re-tracing.

The knickerbockers are made out of a thicker cotton/linen blend, I think. I found it in a pile of long-forgotten stash and it’s the perfect grey with subtle speckled texture. The pattern is a mixture of two pants from this book.

 

 

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