Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Breadmaker Cinnamon Rolls

This is a lab favorite. The week after I give lab meeting, I provide the food. People get very excited for these! They'd also make a great Christmas morning or New Year's Day breakfast, which is why I decided to post them now. My recipe is for the breadmaker, but you could easily (or not so easily) make it by hand.

There are three parts: the dough, the filling, and the icing. This recipe makes one 9x13 pan.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A few DIY Christmas decorations

I just realized that I never took pictures of everything to show my completed decorations, but given that it's Christmas Eve, I think it's a little late for that. So here are a few of my DIY Christmas decoration ideas from this year in various stages of completeness.
Little jingle bells under overturned wine glasses with votive candles on top. I got this idea from several pins on pinterest back in early fall showing candles atop wine glasses with fall-colored flowers underneath.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tea rolls

Did you grow up eating the little pull apart frozen dinner rolls? The best part was that you didn't need a knife, you just pulled your roll away from the rest. Well, I decided to copy them with my own recipe. And, for some reason I was on a tea kick. My dinner rolls use tea where most would use water or milk!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pumpkin Granola

I am totally addicted to this. I don't remember what recipes I originally based mine off of. I read a whole bunch before coming up with my own. It's absolutely delicious. A perfect snack, the perfect blend of sweet and salty. Perfect for fall! I would guess it would go well with milk as a breakfast cereal as well, but I've been devouring it too quickly to test that out. I hope you make it and love it as much as I do!

Betty Draper for Halloween!

Betty Draper costume, complete with candy
I decided on this costume about a year ago, so you can imagine I was disappointed when it SNOWED Halloween weekend. I bared the cold, wet, grossness though, and I made my costume work! Here are a few pictures! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dry shampoo

I stumbled upon the idea of dry shampoo some time about a year ago. I had never heard of it, but if you've ever browsed the hair/beauty section of Pinterest or randomly clicked around DIY blogs like me, you've seen dry shampoo everywhere. In stores, it comes in a spray canister (I'd still like to make mine spray, but I'll have to live with shaking instead).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Harvest Dress

Remember my Waterspout dress? I had drafted the pattern myself--a circle skirt with a simple bodice. However, I never made a final version of the pattern on paper, so when I tried to make it again, I got a little frustrated. I got it to work, though, and turned it into the perfect fall dress! I did make this version a little bit longer than the first one, however, since it's not for the beach.
Front of the dress (I will get a functional
real camera for Christmas, I swear) 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Ice Cream

This super rich, creamy pumpkin ice cream tastes like fall! I have a feeling it won't last long! I was browsing for pumpkin ice cream recipes, and though there were many decent looking ones out there, I didn't end up following one. I did notice a few trends though: 1) Use a lot of egg yolks (I usually use two or three, and most recipes said to use five), and 2) Use brown sugar instead of white. Of course, I also used skim milk!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Apple braids

Inspired by this beautiful picture pinned a million times on Pinterest (originally from, I knew I had to try it out! The recipe on eatliverun says to use a dough not too different from pizza dough, so I just used my pizza dough recipe and decreased the yeast and rise time per instructions from the original and increased the sugar.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Apple picking with Shakespeare sleeves

Last weekend brought a nice little indian summer. It was great. 80s and sunny, but with the pretty fall foliage, what could be better? I went apple picking (hence the apple recipes I've posted and will continue posting until I run out of apples), so I made a new shirt for the event.
The black straps are from the bag on my back, but here's a full view of the shirt front

Friday, October 14, 2011

Amazing apple bread

I went apple picking this past weekend! Now I have a ton of fresh-picked apples, a new apple picking shirt (will post that soon), and lots of things I want to make.

This apple bread is one of my most-loved recipes... by everyone, even random strangers (I entered it in a baking contest once). I came up with this recipe myself, and some of the amounts are a little strange b/c I tweaked them based on a bunch of apple bread recipes online.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Black and white polka dots!

My apologies for the blurry picture--my camera is broken,
so this is the best I got... this is the bride with her bridesmaids,
all wearing black and white (by chance)!

This dress has been in the works for nearly a year. I actually finished it in early August, wore it twice and took pictures, and have been too busy to get it on the blog! Anyway, I made this dress for a friend's rehearsal dinner, but I cheated and wore it on vacation in August first. 
All our outfits for the weekend ready to go to the car--you can
see the knotted straps best in this picture, so I included it

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hurricane Bread

My Irene preparations--rich sandwich bread to the left, Italian Bread to the
right, both recipes below!
I had been wanting to make bread for a while. I've also been through a hurricane where we were left with no power or drinkable water for a week and had to leave, so although I was pretty confident Irene wouldn't cause much damage where I was, I bought a flashlight (my old one had broken and not been replaced), filled some pitchers of water, and made some delicious bread!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Garden Update

It's been a while since I've given a garden update. Some things are doing great (basil, lemon, orange), and some things are struggling (lime, chili de arbol peppers, chives). Others are just so-so.

Monday, September 12, 2011

5K granola

I've been eying this recipe for a long time. I actually tried it once a few weeks ago, but the granola came out as just a mix of oats and the other ingredients with no clumps. I did some research, made some changes, and came out with something that resembles more of a broken up granola bar. I could probably scale back on some of the things I added for maximum clumpiness, but it was delicious! Next time, I'll add a little more salt and maybe a little dry sugar, too, for texture and a tiny bit more sweetness.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chocolate-mint deliciousness

I've made mint chocolate chip ice cream a few times this summer (and apparently haven't posted it; I'll get on that some time in the near future). I wanted more chocolate, though. When I got back from vacation, my mint plant was out of control, so I needed to put it to use. Hence, chocolate-mint ice cream!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Beach thunderstorm dress

I made this wrap dress for vacation, too! The night I wore it, a storm was on its way. We made it out to dinner but had a long wait, so we went miniature golfing. Unfortunately, it started raining just as our table was ready, as we ran across the parking lots to get back to dinner as the big drops started falling. Oh well. the dress was fine despite the hair's frizziness ;)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pesto, my favorite food

My favorite food: pesto pasta with shrimp

Pesto pasta with shrimp has been my favorite food for the majority of my life. It's what I asked for for every birthday dinner. I hold out every summer to have enough basil to make my own, and by combining some of my own with some from my CSA, I made some great pesto last night!

I use basil, garlic, romano cheese, pine nuts, lemon juice, and olive oil in my pesto. You could use a different nut or a different cheese if you'd like.

Basil for the pesto: mine on the left, farm share on the right

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Waterspout Dress

I designed the pattern for this dress all by myself! I wore it twice on vacation--once the night we played charades, and once the night we took family pictures on the beach. Earlier that day, we saw a tornado on the ocean (called a waterspout). I love the way I can twirl in this dress like a waterspout, so that's what I named it :)

Waterspout over the ocean!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

CSA update

I have to apologize for not posting much. I have been creative--I've made three dresses, cooked quite a bit, and coaxed my garden to stay alive despite construction on my fire escape (where the garden belongs). I have just been super busy with work and then a vacation and haven't been posting!

What does this mean, though? Well, it means there will be a ton of posts in a few weeks updating you on all this awesomeness! For now, here's an update of my CSA, weeks 5-10. I haven't been updating as much because most of the food I've been getting hasn't required much cooking--lots of it has been good raw or just very simple--steamed or sauteed, so I haven't taken a ton of pictures. That being said, here are a few of my favorites meals from the past few weeks!

Week 5

Week 6

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cream of asparagus soup

Cream of asparagus soup
I really like asparagus. I really like soup. So cream of asparagus soup seemed like an exciting challenge. The dilemma: I can't eat cream. Greek yogurt is my standard go to substitute, but I have yet to cook with it without curdling it. This creamy cream of asparagus soup was delicious. I split it in two batches--the first I curdled when heating it back up to eat, the second is in the freezer, hopefully waiting on a better fate.

The ingredients

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Picnic Date Dress

The Picnic Date Dress
Photo by ChyLn
Here's the finished product of my sew along. I wore the dress with a blue belt from H&M. A friend of a friend took some pictures of my fiance and me for us to give our family/use on our wedding webpage. So the really good pictures are from our little photo shoot. Here is his flickr page, if you're interested.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Garden update

It's been a while since I've done a garden update. My plants didn't handle the move too well (and the fact that my brother stacked the basil pot on top of the tomato pot to carry them didn't help much). Long story short: I have no tomatoes :( I moved my avocado tree outside right before I moved because it was doing very well, and I thought it could use the extra sun. Unfortunately, i got sunburned and died. I do have some plants, and they've been doing very well in the past two weeks because we've had a lot of sun. I miss my old porch, but I love this apartment, so I'll compromise.

My friend just gave me some seedlings to add to my garden (some more thai basil, some cilantro, another green onion, and a mystery plant that I have to ask her about). I also bought miniature lemon, lime, and orange trees through Amazon! I've had them in my Amazon shopping cart for about two years, and I finally bought them! They're so cute, and in about a year and a half, I should have some fruit! I planted some new avocado pits, too, so hopefully I'll get a new avocado tree.

Anyway, here's my garden at the moment!

Living room windowsill--my baby citrus trees! 

Sew along, day 22: hem your dress!

Dress before hemming, but otherwise finished
You're finally almost finished! You need to hem your dress and lining. We'll start with the lining so you're not tempted to wear the dress out without hemming the lining.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Strawberry Basil Mint Ice Cream

What's more refreshing than strawberry ice cream? Basil? Mint? How about all in one dessert? This is sooooo good, and not all that bad for you, either.

I got the idea from this post, and modified it a bit (used skim milk, and I used both basil and mint because my basil plant couldn't provide enough). Here's my version!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Coffee Date Dress Sew Along exit survey

At the start of the sew along, I posted a survey to find out who my audience was. 14 people responded to the survey from a variety of different careers and fields of study.
86% of people were age 18-30
The average level of sewing expertise going into the sew along was 1.7 on a scale of 1-5.
The ages of sew along participants who responded to the survey.
When you've finished your dress (probably on Sunday,July 10th), please please please post it on the flickr group page and fill out this exit survey!

Sew along, days 20-21: hand sewing inside

There are a few things you'll want to clean up by hand at this point before hemming (and therefore finishing) your new dress. There's a very good reason I put these steps BEFORE the hem: if I save them for last, I end up getting impatient and never doing all this stuff, and then the dress doesn't hold up as well in the future. So do this now so you could in theory wear your dress as soon as it's hemmed!

1) Hand sew the seam below the bottom of the zipper to connect to your machine sewing, and stitch across the bottom of the zipper to lock it in. I also hand stitch just a few stitches down the side of each zipper to help lock the thread in.
Hand sewing to connect the bottom of the zipper to the seam
Sewing over the bottom of the zipper (I had already trimmed
off the excess zipper here)--see my stitches over top of the
zipper teeth
Finished zipper from the outside

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sew along, day 19: Finish the side seams

Now that your zipper is in place, you can sew the seam from the bottom of the zipper (where you sewed to, even if there is more zipper hanging off) to the bottom of the skirt. There will be a little gap between the bottom of your zipper sewing and the start of your new seam, but don't worry, we'll fix that by hand. Press the seam open.

Next, you'll want to sew the side seam in the lining. Pin the entire lining side. Then, mark where your zipper ends. Baste above that mark (sew using a long stitch that is easy to remove). Sew the bottom of the skirt with a regular length stitch. Press the seam open. Now, using your seam ripper, remove your basting. Basting before pressing helps guarantee your pressed opening is centered with a 5/8" "seam."
Here, I have just sewn the entire lining side seam.
I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but the
above the zipper is basted, and below is sewn regularly.

Pressed open the seam
Now, stitch down your pressed edges that you just created by removing the basting stitches.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

I finally figured out the secret to making ice cream with skim milk--EGGS!! This was my second ice cream that turned out scoopable, and it was delicious! However, we were so excited to eat it that I never took a picture of the final product! I'll DEFINITELY make it again, though, so I'll take a picture then and add it later!

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream:
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups skim milk
1 tsp vanilla
~15 crushed oreos

The recipe instructions are in the photo captions!

Whisk together the eggs and sugar, then stir
in hot milk (just before boiling)

Sew along, day 18: inserting the zipper

Today's the big day! You're going to put a zipper into your new dress!

I prepared a little intro video to putting in the zipper. I didn't even watch it all the way through because it's too painful to watch myself talk to the camera, so hopefully it's not too horrible. After that, I have some pictures of how I put in my zipper. It's still not a fully cohesive tutorial, so you should follow another one that goes into more detail on each step.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sew along, day 17: BONUS catch up day

Knowing that some of you are way behind, I added an additional catch up day before we insert the zipper. Tomorrow, I'll post information on how to do that! As always, if you have questions about how to do something, leave a comment, and you can post pictures of your confusion on the flickr group page!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sew along, day 16: connecting the skirt to the bodice

Today's another easy day! You're going to sew the bodice to the skirt and the bodice lining to the skirt lining! This is pretty straightforward: pin the skirt to the bodice, "right" sides together. Even though the bodice lining and bodice are sewn together, they're separate at the bottom, so make sure not to catch the bodice lining when you pin the bodice to the skirt. Then repeat for the lining--sew the skirt lining to the bodice lining, "right" sides together. The seams will only show on the "wrong" side.

Pinning the skirt lining to the bodice lining--you want your
pins to perpendicular to the seam you're making
This is what you'll have after today!
Once everything is sewn together, press the seam up toward the bodice. I do this by first pressing over the seam, then pressing the seam down, then pressing it up. Finally, I press on the "right" side of the fabric.

Tomorrow, we'll put the zipper in, then you'll have another day off to catch up before moving on to the finishing steps.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sew along, day 15--put the skirt pieces together

Today is REALLY easy. So in essence, it's another catch up day for all of you who are still behind.

You're going to connect the skirt pieces together on only one side, and do the same for the lining. Like with the bodice, you want to leave the left side open for the zipper. Keep in mind that the lining "right" side faces you, so it will be like you're sewing the opposite side of the outer skirt than the lining. If this confuses you, hold it up to yourself when you pin it together--the seams will face out when you do the lining, and in when you do the outer skirt.

Pin the skirt pieces together, and sew! That's it. Plain and simple. Today's a short day--hope you're enjoying the 4th of July Weekend and aren't planning to spend your afternoon and "holiday" in lab like I am.
Pin together the skirt (skirt front is the top piece shown here)

CSA, weeks 2-4

After a busy month of weddings and work, I'm all caught up on my cooking with the CSA veggies (and fruit). In week 2, we got some of the best strawberries I've ever had along with the other produce. Everything has been absolutely delicious, and it's forcing me to try new things with veggies other than my usual go to meals. I've been getting more squash than I really know what to do with, but it's ok because 1) I LOVE zucchini bread, and 2) my fiance was in town last week and made a really good summer spaghetti with the squash.

So, to catch you up, here's what I got and what I did with it!

Week 2:
green leaf lettuce
greenhouse-grown tomatoes
summer squash
Week 2 of the farm share, to be split between two people

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sew along, day 14: catch up day!

I know we've done a lot on the dress, and we're definitely over the hump. It's coming together at this point!

So far you should have altered the pattern to your liking and cut out the fabric for your dress and lining. Then, you should have sewn the darts, connected the front and back bodice pieces, attached the ruffle to the dress front, and sewn the dress fabric to the lining. That's a lot! My dress hasn't been as perfect all along as I've made it out to be on the blog, so I wanted to share some mistakes with you!

1) When I marked the ruffle template onto the dress, I marked the "wrong" side! The "wrong" side is also the wrong/incorrect side! However, the ruffle template is asymmetric, so fixing the problem would have required washing out all the markings on the piece of fabric and starting over. Since I'm inpatient, I just flipped all the dress fabric pieces in my blue fabric to make the opposite side be "right." Luckily, the fabric is the same on both sides, and at least now it's consistent.

2) When I first sewed the dress fabric and lining together, I made a HUGE mistake. I fed the front into the inside out back incorrectly, causing a twist on the side. I've used this method a million times, and it always amazes me how you really can't mess up, so I just went with it thinking it was right. Then when I pulled the dress right side out, it was twisted! I had to undo the shoulder seams and fix it--refilmed it as well!

3) This one's not so much a sewing mistake, but I did burn myself really bad with the iron during the creation of this dress. I was shifting fabric on the ironing board, and the iron toppled over onto my hand. That was about three weeks ago, but it's still not fully healed. Hopefully I don't have a bad scar.

Why am I sharing this with you? Well, I'm sure you've made some mistakes so far. Don't worry about it though. I've been sewing for years and still do silly things like this. That's why you have your seam ripper! Don't be afraid to use it!

Tomorrow and Monday will be easy days, so if you're way behind, you can use them as catch up days as well :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sew along, day 13: attaching the lining to the dress fabric

Now that you've given the bodice its three dimensional shape through darts and attached the ruffle to the outside, it's time to connect the outer dress fabric to the lining. After today, you'll just have to sew the skirt together down the side and attach the skirt to the bodice. The last few days will be finishing steps... the zipper, the hem, and hand sewing.

We're going to use the Burda Style tutorial, "How to sew an all in one facing." Here's a video to walk you through the tutorial! The video is available in HD, depending on your internet speed. You have to click read here/go to the actual post to see the video now because it was making the main page load too slowly.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sew along, day 11: The ruffle

The ruffle seems to puzzle a lot of people who are making this dress, but it's really pretty simple! I think the point of confusion is that it's not an actual pattern piece, but since you've already cut it out, it shouldn't be too complicated.

You're going to use your handy overlock stitch that you used in the reusable grocery bag practice sew along. Finish the long raw edges. There is a special presser foot for this stitch. If you don't have an overlock stitch, it's ok, just zig zag along the edge to close the open edge. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check my reusable grocery bag practice sew along post.
My overlocking foot

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sew along, day 10: Start sewing!

Today is the first real sewing day! We'll sew all the bodice darts and sew the front and back pieces together (for both the dress and the lining). If your alterations included skirt darts like mine, then you'll sew these as well.

You should have marked darts on each bodice piece. Keep in mind that I'm doing a side zipper, so I have a front piece and a single back piece for both the dress and lining. Fold along the center of each dart, "right" sides together. Match up the dart lines you drew with your fabric marker. Pin along them, with the pins perpendicular to your lines.
Bodice lining front--folded along the dart centers

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sew along, day 8: Preparing your pattern for sewing

This is the last pattern prep day! I'm giving everyone another catch up day tomorrow to make sure we all start sewing at the same time. Pattern fitting, altering, cutting, and marking are my least favorite parts of sewing. If you're bored right now, you'll survive. We're almost over the hump. You'll also be thanking yourself later--when  I rush to cut out something without checking to make sure it fits or decide I don't need fabric markings, I always kick myself later because the final product never turns out as well

This pattern doesn't have a lot of markings--it really just has lines for the darts. You'll also want to mark the center front and center back on each piece, which will make it easier to match up pieces later. I ALWAYS skip this step and then end up screwing things up. So, take my advice and just mark it! You'll also have to copy the ruffle guide to your bodice front and iron on the interfacing to your lining bodice front and back piece.

We'll start by ironing on the interfacing. Most interfacing comes with directions for ironing. First, iron the piece of fabric flat, and place it "right" side down, "wrong" side up. Remember, we folded the fabric so the right side was facing in. Then, bumpy/sticky side down, lay the interfacing on the fabric. Iron it on medium-high heat until it's mostly stuck. Then, flip the fabric over to the "right" side to iron out any wrinkles. Finish by going over the interfacing side again, making sure it's totally stuck. You'll need to do this for the LINING bodice front and bodice back.
Iron lining fabric piece flat 
Lay the interfacing in place 
Iron on the interfacing, following the description in the text

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sew along, days 6-7: cutting out your fabric

Now that you have a perfectly tailored pattern, it's time to move on to your actual dress! The pace will pick up after this post, so make sure you're up to date! We'll still move slowly, but there will be something to do each day. So far this has been all prep work, which is time consuming but doesn't involve sewing, but I'll start splitting things into short sewing tasks.

Today it's time to start cutting out your fabric!

Start by ironing your paper pattern--yes, iron your tissue paper or packing paper, whatever you used! Use low heat, no steam (you don't want to light the paper on fire or shred it by getting it wet.
Ironing paper
Nicely pressed paper--all the pattern pieces