Monday, March 29, 2010

Skirting The Issue

Will I ever run out of pun intended titles? Doubtful.

I said I was going to sew this year so damn it, I’m gonna do it. To ease myself in I started with the amazing tutorial for the 20 minute skirt from Grosgrain Fabulous. I can see how it would take a seasoned sewer 20 minutes, but me… more like 45. Still, in 45 minutes each and the change in the bottom of my bag, I got two new skirts. Not bad for an afternoon’s work.

My first step was heading to Joann for supplies. All I needed was fabric and elastic, and I used mis matched thread I had at home. First I found crazy navy/pink sail boat material on clearance for $4 a yard. I think it is perfect for summer. The brown/red/aqua fabric was $9 a yard but I was mesmerized by it. I just love it and had to have it. I grabbed two packages of ¾” elastic for a buck a pop. The pink and red bottom layers were on sale 2 yards for $3 so the grand total was just $18. Not too shabby!

I won’t bother reinventing the wheel since the tutorial is so good. I just printed it out and kept it next to me as a guide. I wound my bobbins and threaded my machine before I put the pedal to the metal. The only semi tricky part was making sure I sewed straight when making the elastic casing. I built in a 1” allowance for ¾” elastic and figured as long as I didn’t sew like a drunken sailor I would be OK. Except for the one part where I did sew like a drunken sailor and the elastic has to fold to fit through. Oops! For everything else I found that when in doubt if I pinned like a mother chucker and/or pressed seams to help make a clean edge (like when doing the casing) I did ok. This pattern is so incredibly forgivable so it was a great way for me to ease back into sewing without committing to something too daunting.

I have plans to make about a gazillion of these over the summer. I want to dig through all of my mom’s fabric that has been filling up the basement and attic for years. There is some funky old stuff in there for sure. In the next round I may use ¾ yard to make it a little less full. I don’t mind the fullness except that the waist band tends to show through a t-shirt. I would also like to try a slightly heavier fabric and maybe just do one layer. Oh the possibilities!

Side note- I read a billion sewing blogs and I knew I recognized the floral fabric from somewhere, I didn’t realize it was from the skirt tutorial until I got home. So, I have a legit replica of Grosgrain Fabulous’ handiwork. I am now so in love with the fabric that I might make a valance out of it for my kitchen. In fact, I actually hung the skirt IN my window to see how it would look! I smell a new project…

Signs Of Life!

Can you see them? They are tiny but they are in fact there. Teensy tiny little sprouts in my Boston Gahhden! The oregano and basil seem to be adjusting to life in my windowsill, so fingers crossed that they continue and also that their brethren decide to join in the fun.

This series may be as exciting as watching paint dry to anyone but me, but I am psyched!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fly Me To The Moon

Spring fever continues, as does my shopping obsession. Unfortunately, so does my lack of disposable income. So here is a smorgasbord of things that I think would make a sickening sweet springtime outfit. The dress has airplanes on it for Cripes sake!

Here is the breakdown…

1) Wright Dress – Anthropologie
2) Featherweight cotton long cardigan (naples yellow) - JCrew
3) Benetint by Benefit - Sephora
4) Forget me knot ring (brass) - Fred Flare
5) Report Sawyer sandal - Piperlime
6) Kimchi Blue Flapover Saddle Bag - Urban Outfitters
7) A bulldog.  Because I just want one, and how cute would it be to strut around in this outfit being dragged by a beefy bull dog?  Rescued from a shelter of course. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chickpea Delight

After months of begging our friend Sarah to make Pakistani food for us, she finally caved. While she is admittedly no Top Chef, her chicken karahi and chickpea salad are absolutely amazing. I haven’t mustered up the cajones to make the chicken karahi, but the chickpea salad is a staple in my diet. Especially as the weather gets warmer.

It’s a lot of chopping but beyond that, easy peasy. Sharpen your Henkels, fire up your iPod and let’s do this.

10 small red potatoes
4-5 tomatoes
2 cans of chickpeas
1 bunch of cilantro
½ red onion
2 tsp coriander
1 Tbs cumin
Dash of salt
Drizzle of olive Oil

Of course I never use an actual recipe, so proceed with caution. I chopped up the potatoes to be about chickpea size, and put them in a pot to boil. Then I got to work on chopping the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and onion and put them in a bowl. Give the chickpeas a quick rinse, and set it all aside and wait for the potatoes. Once they are cooked and drained, mix it all together with the cumin, coriander, salt, and olive oil and Voila! Pakistani chickpea salad. I’m sure there is a real name for it so my apologies. I just call it delicious.

And the best part is that it gets better as it sits. I have it on its own for lunch or sometime over a salad for dinner. Cook once, eat all week. It’s a beautiful thing. Thanks S-Money!

My Little Urban Garden Of Sorts

Here in Boston we don’t typically have much of a spring. We go from blizzards to sweltering humidity with only some torrential downpours in between. However this year, it feels like a legitimate spring and I like it! To honor the season, I have decided to garden. In my windowsill.

Due to my obvious lack of space I thought that herbs would be the best choice so I headed to Home Depot to get the goods. After swiping a few paint samples (the new Martha Stewart paints are to die) I headed for Lawn & Garden. Since I do not have total faith in my green thumb, I picked up a seed starter before investing in pots and soil.

The only bummer, I read that they had buy one get one organic seeds this weekend, but I saw no such thing. Even though my seeds aren’t organic, I am growing them in my house so I know there will be no crazy toxic chemicals involved. I picked up basil, chives, cilantro, oregano, and rosemary seed packets. So this seed starter business, funny little thing. You look at these dehydrated little biscuits and think “how the heck is this going to grow anything?” It’s made of coconut fiber, which is apparently a renewable resource. Bonus. You pour a little warm water on the hockey pucks and POOF… they expand. I dropped some seeds on to each (in alphabetical order so I can keep track), added a little more water, said a prayer, did a dance, and plopped it in the window.

So here we go. My little horticultural experiment. I really hope this works and I will be sure to keep you posted. Grow little babies, grow!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wine and whine with the gals!

It’s official, Spring has sprung! The weather crept above 50 and all of us Boston gals broke out our spring finest. Pasty legs? Who cares? It’s dress season! We have a glimpse of summer and we are going to CELEBRATE! I don’t know about you, but when this weather hits all I want to do is sit outside with some good wine and great girlfriends. Here is the soundtrack to do just that.

What wine should you pair with this play list you ask? I have some suggestions for that too. I am of the school that good wine does not have to be expensive. I rarely if ever spend more than $10 on a bottle of wine, and I love me some Charles Shaw (Two Buck Chuck). Below are a few of my favorites du’jour. Let me know what you think.

 Red – Echelon Merlot ($3.99) One night I wandered into Trader Joe’s and when the woman in the wine section asked if I needed help. I said no thank you. Then she said “We have a great Merlot for $3.99.” I said “YES PLEASE!” I am a die hard Pinot Noir fan but this Merlot is mellow, and just a twinge sweet. Well worth $3.99 and a change of pace.

White – Woodstock Sauvignon Blanc ($4.99) Normally I would say the Charles Shaw Sauvignon Blanc, but there is a new comer in my life. Woodstock Sauvignon Blanc. White is typically only my choice when paired with a patio and $1 oysters but I always keep some on hand for my friend Jen. The beauty of cheap wine is that we can open a bottle of red and a white and if we don’t finish them (like that ever happens) what’s the big deal? This beauty is clean and crisp, just a little fruity. Spring time in a glass.

Sparkling – Albero Cava Brut ($6.99) As far as I’m concerned, “sparkling” is the fifth food group. It goes great on all occasions and can lighten just about any situation. The added bonus of this Albero is that it is organic. You heard me, organic at $6.99! When you can’t or just plain don’t want to drop a lot on a bottle of bubbly, this is an excellent choice. Plus it’s organic so it’s good for your health.

Well my fellow booze bags, happy spring time! Get out there and rediscover your favorite patio bars, old friends with patios, strangers’ patios, front stoops, whatever you got. Enjoy every second of sunshine before you forget what winter feels like.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mrs. Plumber

As a renter I have the constant debate of what is worth fixing/replacing when I don’t own the place. I have decided to start doing some of the simple fixes that don’t cost a lot but are worth it if it makes me happy. I mean, just because I don’t own the pace doesn’t mean it isn’t my home.

Today’s challenge was my grungy disgusting bathroom sink knobs. They are that crystal looking acrylic material that is less than desirable. Herein lies the rent vs. own debate. If I owned the place, the whole dang faucet would be replaced but I’m not dropping a hundo on a new faucet. Time to get creative.
First I tried to clean them. My limited plumbing knowledge lead me to believe that I had to crawl under the sink to take them off, but after a quick call to my dad I realized I just had to flip off the top with a screw driver, and unscrew the knob. Duhhh. Cleaning was no match for the years of grossness that was caked on. Believe it or not, my “before” pictures are after cleaning! So the decision was made. Time to replace.

For $12 and 5 minutes of labor, my sink looks (almost) new again. I unscrewed the old knobs and put the new ones on. After screwing them in place and popping on the new cover, the chore was done. It was beyond easy and way rewarding. I only wish I did this a long time ago!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Better Than Rednecks

You know that whole "you might be a redneck" thing? I have a new twist. "You might be pushing 30" if.

Today's gem- you might be pushing 30 if... you're at the airport and you wish you had a wheelie laptop bag.

Function is starting to win over fashon and I don't like that.

This is my first post from my Blackberry. Hope it came out OK and semi typo free. Can't wait to get back to Boston!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!

It hit 50 degrees in Boston this weekend. That may not sound like a big deal but that little dose of warmth was all it took to send the whole city into a sunshine-y frenzy. I even went for my first outdoor run of the season yesterday. And while only two miles, today I feel like my legs were hit with a baseball bat. Repeatedly.

But the good news… it’s almost dress season! I have spent all of my indoor time this weekend looking at dresses to hold me over until I sew some of my to-dos. In the spirit of being fiscally responsible these are all things I want but have not purchased (OK, I bought the sandals).

1) Flutter Capsleeve Floral Dress - Forever 21
2) TarteVitamin-Infused Lipgloss in Apple-A-Day - Sephora
3) OPI Nail Lacquer, Pompeii Purple -
4) Flash-And-Fete Clutch - Anthropologie
5) Burnished Metallic Gladiator Sandals - Old Navy

Friday, March 5, 2010

Three Sheets

First I fell in love with a sandwich, now a set of sheets. I love just about anything from Anthropologie, but these ruffl-ey sheets are to die for! If only I was ready to drop $150 on a set of sheets (300 thread count at that).

Still, I will dream of dreaming in these sheets.

Don't Decorate, Curate.

You have to love a site whose motto is “Don’t Decorate, Curate”. Artwall Online gives me another reason to wish I had more wall space. You can scroll through adorable sketched rooms with spatterings of art hung on the wall, and you can click into each for more detail. There are some great finds with prints starting at $18, up to some paintings around $500.

Let the curation begin!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

All Dressed Up - Part Deux

My first attempt at salad dressing wasn’t half bad, but I think I was so proud of myself that my opinion may have been influenced. This weekend I took my second crack at it, and this one is much better! Here is how I made my new favorite- roasted garlic & white balsamic vinaigrette.

I decided to roast some garlic on Saturday, which was a gamble in itself. I have done it plenty of times as a whole head, but I only had peeled cloves in the fridge. I threw a bunch of them on some foil, drizzled some olive oil, salt and pepper, and folded it up tight. After 30 minutes in the oven at 350, they were beautifully roasted. Now I had to figure out what to do with them. Time to break out the mini Cuisinart. I dropped in about 10 cloves, some olive oil, salt, pepper, white balsamic vinegar, and a squeeze of lemon and some zest. Simple simple simple, and delicious!

My dad always taught me that a recipe is only a guide. I completely agree with this philosophy except when I accidentally make something amazing and only hope I can replicate it. Here’s to hoping.