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.