Archive for January, 2011
Alright, everyone. I’m going to come out and say it. I can devour pretty much every Showtime series there is. I’ve gone through all of Dexter. I think it’s brilliant. I spent a month over the summer watching the first few seasons of Weeds. I think it’s hilarious and compelling. And I finally experience United States of Tara.
Of course, I’m probably the last person in the world that hadn’t heard of the show, as usual. But I have not been able to stop watching. And, in fact, I spent the entire weekend watching both seasons. Now I’m eagerly waiting for the new season in March (and, for the first time not regretting cable!)
Anyway, I’m not just here to tell you about how I watched a lot of TV and you should too. I love all of the characters on the show and I think Tara’s teenage daughter Kate has made a great transformation out of angst and into post-highschool hi jinx. I’m really loving her wardrobe in the second season!
She’s mostly seen in her Princess Valhalla Hawkwind costume (seen above) but here are a couple of my favorites:
Kate’s new job lets her wear some professional outfits with a little spin like this playful polkadot outfit. I’m all about taking business and making it fun. I have a firm belief that you should have a big sense of humor when it comes to clothing. Reverse polka dots are not too outrageous. They make people smile!
I love this adorable vest and short tie combination that she sports in and out of the office. The back of this vest is pin-stripped which is just perfect.
You can see here a little better the best part about her vest. Those little faux-pocket watch chains at the pocket are such a great play on classic masculine style. I just love making masculine pieces sexy and feminine.
This shirt reminds me of Mary Tyler Moore. Kate’s certainly got spunk. Here’s the whole outfit:
I love it. So I went looking for some pieces to give myself a ‘Tara’ makeover.
And I’m loving this ModCloth Mod Couple shirt.
Now, fabulous people, I’m still looking for some info on the dress Kate wears to the wedding in the season finale. I can’t find a photo of it anywhere or I’d have you all searching for it. It’s super adorable and I’d love to know who designed it. If anybody even has photographic evidence of its existence, I’ll love you forever. Until then, I’m going to be searching for the episode myself to screencap.
Now, go! Watch as much United States of Tara as you can!
(screens by capslikewhoa)
So I knew I said I’d give the toys a rest but, well, I guess I can’t resist. You must be wondering what happened with the afghan! And I’ll tell you, it’s turning out beautifully. There will definitely be an update on it soon. But look at this little critter! What a cutie!
He is Amanda Berry‘s Carnaby Rabbit pattern. He’s knit in Lion Brand’s LB Collection Baby Alpaca in Fawn Heather. What a great name for this color! I’m still sticking by the fact that the LB Collection yarns are the best and most affordable yarns for knit toys.
Here are some WIP pictures:
As you can see, I also knit this guy in the round. I just think it’s a big time-saver when working on toys. Sewing up seams doesn’t make sense to me when you can do it all at once.
I also didn’t use the little felt pads on the feet that the pattern calls for. They’re so adorable but I didn’t have anything suitable. I’m a pretty low-maintenance knitter when it comes to things like that. I think his feet turned out fine, though!
This was another quick knit and I think he has the most adorable face ever.
Follow Amanda Berry’s blog here.
Buy her patterns here. So many cute critters!
And I think this picture is cute. Sorry, hun!
Also, I gave the blog a little bit of an overhaul yesterday. I’m so excited to put a lot of energy into it and it seems to be paying off. I hope you are all enjoying it! Let me know what you want to see more of. I hate to feel like I’m posting just to hear the sound of my own keyboard typing, so to speak.
My stuff is driving me crazy. I’ve got tons of crap. I don’t have the time or energy to organize it. So it’s time to get rid of it. I’ve been holding on to things that I really don’t need anymore. I literally haven’t looked at most of it in months. New York is not the kind of place where you can collect things.
And besides, I’m redesigning everything I can and good design has no place for clutter. It’s time for clean.
Yesterday I went through my closet. All of my clothes and shoes and about fifteen tote bags that I got for free. My desk filled with ticket stubs and business cards and an old lease I wasn’t sure I should hold on to or chuck. I was ruthless. I’ve never gotten as much done in as little time as I did. It felt great.
I’m ready to just forget about the things that I’ve packed but I could use some extra cash. I’ve thought about going to somewhere like Beacon’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange but my clothes aren’t that nice and certainly aren’t new (and not in a vintage way) so I don’t think they’ll buy any off of me. I do have some other stuff that I am hoping to sell. I’ll keep you updated with how that goes.
I’m so excited to start with a clean slate. It’s time to downsize in a big way and I can’t wait to finish.
And if anybody is interested in buying a purple mountain bike that’s probably only been ridden about 15 times ever, drop me a line.
I’m surprised that French macarons haven’t made more appearances here yet. They are probably one of my favorite things in the world. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that over the summer I started my obsession with these delicate little desserts and here we are.
Since then, Jon and I have been experimenting and playing with flavor combinations and it has been fun. Like these from my birthday, rosewater with honey buttercream (and of course some adorable glitter on top).
So our last batch were a spicy winter nibble.
Gingerbread macarons with Lemon Ginger buttercream filling.
I am a huge fan of this book. There are a billion recipes for macarons on the internet and I believe that if you can get anything for free you should. But this time it is worth investing in a good book. You should really buy her book. I can’t just type out the recipe it’s not the same.The book really spells out every step of this very exact process and it has not failed me yet.
(Actually, my macarons were not growing feet in one oven that we bake in often but it’s the ovens fault. The heat is not accurate and we’ve bought a thermometer but have yet to try macarons in there again. I’m too nervous that it will go wrong and the I’ll waste all of the ingredients. But it works everywhere else.)
I took Ogita’s macaron recipe and used this Ginger spice with 1/4t of vanilla:
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ginger
It’s spicy but absolutely perfect for a cold winter dessert.
We used this buttercream recipe and I think ts my favorite buttercream recipe yet. Simple syrups have burned me too many times. I also like this recipe because I can use the egg yolks from the whites that go into the cookie part of the macaron. Hooray for not wasting!
3 egg yolks
5 Tablespoons sugar
3 oz corn syrup
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cinammon
zest of one lemon
splash of lemon juice
Beat the egg yolks until fluffy. Bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil, and immediately remove from heat. Pour over the egg yolks and beat at high speed until fully cooled. (Try not to get any on your beaters, or it will spin to the sides of your bowl.) Add the butter, a pat at a time, until fully incorporated. Finally add the ginger and lemon, to taste.
We colored the filling a little bit pink and we topped them with these adorable snowflake sprinkles. They are so cute!
I’ll be honest with you, I like looking at macarons even more than eating them.
Anyone else have a fun macaron flavor combination?
With all of this cold winter air, I’m just wishing I was on the beach. I finally had some time to scan my polaroids from my trip in October. All I could think about is laying on the beach!
Back in October, I was able to take a really fantastic long weekend trip to the Dominican Republic. It was so nice to finally get out of the city and somewhere warm. I had never been to an all-inclusive resort before. In fact, I feel like I’ve never been on a “real” vacation even though my family has done plenty of fun stuff together. Vacation has mainly meant running around museums and occasionally a roller coaster or water park. We’ve only been to the beach together twice. This was such a treat for me.
And, I have to admit, it was wonderful to be waited on and massaged and served wonderful food. We were spoiled. But sometimes you deserve that.
I wish I was there, on that beautiful bali bed sipping something tropical.
I used to have this crazy obsession with Polaroids. And by that I mean, I lived in Williamsburg. Anyway, they are gone now which broke my little heart. I had a really special birthday this past summer and among the wonderful things I got, my dad found the Fuji Instax 210 camera. It was really great especially knowing he’s been looking for a Polaroid replacement for me all this time. The Instax film is easy to find and it’s the same price as Polaroid once was before it was a collectors item. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the shape of the camera and the viewfinder. It’s awkwardly large but the viewfinder is tricky.
Still, I love having these photos.
Along with those adorable cookie jars I made for Christmas presents, I whipped up a batch of tomato ketchup. I thought the recipe jars would be a hit and I was so excited. But I was a little nervous about making one for my cousin. He’s brilliant with computers but in the kitchen…I had my doubts. He and I meet for lunch at Heartland Brewery and he is all about hamburgers with nothing but ketchup.
That’s how it all began. I started with this recipe from Jamie Oliver. I think he’s adorable and I generally trust Food Network recipes. I’m a little addicted to their shows.
But WHAT A DISASTER! I was taking photos of the process with hopes of posting it but I can’t show you any of them. They are really gross. It was the most confusing recipe I’d ever read and I had to make two batches two different ways before I figured out we were doing everything totally wrong. I was so frustrated. I’ll take some time out of this post to apologize to both Jon and my mom for taking the brunt of it.
Anyway, I gave up.
Luckily, Jon helped me find a new recipe and it worked like a charm.
1 6oz can of tomato paste
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
dash garlic powder
Over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Make sure to stir often. Remove from heat and cover until cool and store in a close container in the refridgerator.
Pretty simple. And turned out delicious.
So you can see, I made a double batch and put it in one of those cute canning jars. I included the handwritten recipe in case he was son inclined to make his own. He actually said “Hey, I can do this!” And I hope he does.
I definitely see more homemade ketchup in my future. I hope that one day I can have the time and energy to make all kinds of things myself. I have to admit, I was a little weary of using the recipe since it called for corn syrup. Corn syrup is the reason I have a personal love/hate relationship with ketchup. It’s prettymuch anything but tomatoes. But at least there aren’t all kind of crazy things in there that I can’t pronounce. Hooray for homemade!
Here’s what I want this week!
to stay at Versailles!
to try lace knitting for the first time!
to keep up the colonial color-scheme of my knitting with some of this beautiful yarn.
to wear this dress and pretend I’m Christina Hendricks.
Oh well. Got some fun stuff coming up this week. Stay tuned! (This photo via Miss Moss reminds me of my dad. Motorcycles!)
In case you were unaware after my last post about this project, I am head over heels for this afghan pattern. And I’m a little addicted to it. I have been churning out squares for it day and night and I can’t seem to put it down. I don’t want to do anything but knit…but what else is new? The cold weather outside is really keeping me in bed, in front of some Law and Order on Netflix instant watch (proof that there is a higher power, I think) and giving me plenty of time to stitch.
But I’m quite content. I’m not intimidated by the scale of this project. I’m loving every second of it.
These big squares are pretty simple and formulaic. I did have to rip the last one I made out but I cannot be shaken.
I love the colors. Seeing it laid out together makes me think of a cold summer evening on the beach in New England. Sitting on the porch to a big white house in a rocking chair wrapped in this drinking a glass of wine or eating some clam chowder. I’m totally imagining all of this but the colors are class Americana to me.
Big thanks to Jonathan for taking these beautiful pictures. He’s a great photographer!
More updates on this WIP to come! Now I need to get back to knitting…
Boy has it been a while since I’ve made gloves. A year ago, I was churning out two pair a day. I was a fingerless-glove machine. I was the warm hands hookup for everyone I knew.
Just in time for the snow, I finished a pair for Jon last week.
Jon really wanted to make these himself. I was confident he could tackle them. But double pointed needles are a little awkward for a beginner knitter. I don’t know if I blame him for handing it over to me.
They’re made of Ella Rae bamboo silk yarn. Jon loves that they’re made of bamboo.
This pattern is kind of a mish mosh of things. It’s my old-reliable favorite fingerless glove pattern “Knucks” from Knitty’s summer 2006 issue. I remember making these in high school. They’re pretty fool-proof and beautiful.
But the man wants to keep his fingers warm! Who could blame him? So I adapted part of another Knitty pattern. I took the glove cap from the “Broad Street” pattern. I kind of just adapted it to fit the slightly smaller gloves I made. I’m not a perfectionist until something goes wrong.
Jon picked out these buttons I mentioned the other day.
I made a little 2 stitch I-cord loop and added the button. And voila!
I’ll tell you about the thumbs which are a little awkard. I knit them like a long tube of the fingerless version and sewed them closed. I’m not thrilled about it and one of them needs to be adjusted because it’s too long. But it was the only way to really get a top-down closed finger. (Actually I can think of a few other ways. This one just happened out of frustration I guess.)
Also, I knit the second glove cap and it looked beautiful. And then I realized that I’d made two left-hand gloves. So I ended up ripping out the whole cap and re-doing it. So embarrassing. But I’m admitting it!
Last week I made my favorite recipe for a cold winter’s night. Chili pie!
It warms you from the inside out. And sometimes it keeps the whole apartment warm, if you know what I mean.
This recipe is perfect for a cast iron skillet. Jon is obsessed with the one my mom gave him for his birthday. It’s totally possible to make this dish without a cast iron but it’ll take a couple of pans to do it.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 large onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 green pepper
1/2 lb ground beef
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
15oz can of black beans
16oz medium salsa
juice of 1 lime
shredded cheese (monterey jack? cheddar?)
2 boxes of corn bread mix (plus ingredients needed)
Start cooking the onion, garlic, and pepper in the cast iron with some olive oil. Add and cook until the veggies are nice and soft and the beef is browned. Degrease your skillet with a paper towel.
Add the spices, beans, and salsa. Let this simmer on medium for about 15 minutes.
While the ingredients simmer, mix the corn bread mix with the ingredients listed on the box. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Add some salt to taste and the juice of a lime.
Turn the heat to low and add the cheese. Let the cheese melt for a minute and turn off the heat. Pour the corn bread batter over the chili.
Carefully put the skillet into the oven. Let the corn bread bake (see your mix’s instructions for baking).
Take cornbread out of the oven and serve! The bread should already be soaking up the delicious chili spices!
Mine has some avocado. Delicious!
Don’t forget, the leftovers!