Sunday, September 29, 2013

1950s Ruffled Apron

And here she is - my TMS September Vintage Challenge. I felt quite the kitchen goddes wearing this.

Three tiers of ruffles, in yellow and black polka-dotted glory. Each ruffle is edged with black bias binding. And then I edged the ties as well, just to give it a great finish.

Darn thing is seriously poofy, it was obviously designed to go over one of those enormous 7-yard skirts that were all the post-war rage - I'd like to try to make one of them one day.

The ties were supposed to be in a contrast color, but I liked the idea of keeping it all together, so I had to manipulate the cutting layout a little to make it all  work. There was not enough fabric to cut out the wasitband and the ties on the advised grainlines so, giving it a little thought, I decided that the waistline cut on a slight bias would be just fine and adjusted accordingly so that I could fit it all onto the fabric.

Back ties done and edged with bias binding? Check!

Careful, dear, your novice-ness is showing! :)

Fortunately, as the waistband folds over and is stitched down, the distortion disappeared into the design. Phew! Close call! And another lesson learned. Of course, the original pattern didn't have bias edging on the ties either, so I really lived on the edge with this one.

My most complicated pattern yet and, if I may say so myself, a great success. Totally impractical but wonderful fun!

And, as you can tell, closely checked by my furry Quality Control Inspector. close-up inspection. 

Thanks to Mom G for the pattern and the materials. She gifted them to me a year or so ago. Hope you like, Mom! :)

P.S. Sorry about the pics. I think my camera is giving up on me. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Vintage pattern choice for TMS

The new TMS Challenge for September is "Vintage" - what, exactly, that means is left entirely up to individual interpretation (why I love this group!)

I spent quite some time browsing all my options. First, I started online and found this gorgeous V&A 1950s Day Dress reproduction - with a free downloadable PDF pattern. Yummly. Only.. not in my size and I'm not sure how well I'll handle the alterations with my novice skills and within the time restraints.

A collection of other offers did not really take my fancy, so I reverted to my go-to option -- Burdastyle. They have this delightful Retro Blouse which was introduced back in the 1950s. Pretty spunky, no?

As I pretty much live in jeans, the new mod version works for me better than a dress. I even have the fabric for it. Bonus!

However, after thinking about it for a while, I realized that I may be overestimating my skills again. It hass dawned on me (slowly, it's true) that if I match my aspirations to my skills, the item will be more likely to be successful, completed on time, and something wearable. So, sadly, I changed my mind about the Retro top and went rummaging through my patterns. Holey moley, look what I found!

I actually OWN a retro pattern. Me. While I love the look of this dress, it's cute, I can't wear it. Since my neck operation, I've battled to wear anything around my throat; necklaces, crew-neck tees, or halternecks. I'd have to modify again. Next?

Hmm... this may have some potential. Not too dated, kinda preppy. Sheath dress style... no-o-o... no, don't think so. My curves aren't in the right places at the moment and I don't know if I can carry this off.

But digging around in my library I found a book I had forgotten I have.

This book discusses the history of sewing, beginning in the 1800s and moving right up to the end of the century. Each decade (or so) is discussed with a few modern interpretations at the end of the chapter. And in the section for the 1950s...

"Quintessential" - did you see that? I would have thought a huge, poofy skirt was the go-to item of the 1950s, but nope. An apron is quintessential.

Gotta have me one of those, ja?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


That's $10 for six oranges. Each orange fits comfortably in my hand, so it's not oversized either.

We eat oranges almost every weekday for lunch in the office, so this is a "regular" expense rather than a luxury.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Make Your Own Edible Panties

Yup, you read that heading right, and it is exactly what you think it is.

It was with a gurgle of absolute delight that I found this delicious tutorial on Knitty and have to share it with you.

The intro is just so tempting: Always wanted a pair of edible panties?  Been too embarrassed to buy them, or had no time for an extra shopping trip?  Found the prices in those fancy boutiques were just too high?  The clever knitter can make her own pair in a jiffy for very low dough!  The supplies can be picked up on a regular Friday errand route -- chopsticks with the Chinese takeout, candy at the video store -- and no one will be the wiser!  Enjoy your meal, then cast on at the beginning of the movie, and the panties will be ready for dessert after the credits!

Now, I won't be making these any time soon, but please do let me know if you do, and how well they turned out.

Pattern on for your ... um... knitting pleasure. :)

Would you make these? And, if you did, would you wear them? (I'm not going to ask the obvious 3rd question!) ROFL

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Frightening Man and a Lot of Funny Women

Author: Mark Bowden
BlurbA tour de force of investigative journalism-this is the story of the violent rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, the head of the Colombian Medellin cocaine cartel. Escobar's criminal empire held a nation of thirty million hostage in a reign of terror that would only end with his death. In an intense, up-close account, award-winning journalist Mark Bowden exposes details never before revealed about the U.S.-led covert sixteen-month manhunt.

Review: Chilling. Absolutely chilling to read what man is willing to do to man in order to make a fortune. Pablo Escobar was a family man, a businessman, and a cold-blooded killer. Not only was he personally responsible for killing people mercilessly himself, he indirectly destroyed the lives of thousands of folks who were the recipients of the drugs he shipped into the United States to make his vast fortune.

This is the gripping tale of the growth of Pablo’s empire and the subsequent determination of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s to put an end to it. The cat and mouse game, revenge and betrayal is cold, and awful. This man had absolutely no regard for anyone except his own family, and the bravery of the men who went up against him, knowing their lives meant nothing before his wrath, made quite a tale.

I didn’t feel like this was at all built up into a publicity stunt. The book is written calmly, factually, an outline of what happened and who was involved. I guess that’s what makes it more effective. I don’t often read historical non-fiction and would not have read this if it were not a personal recommendation by Himself. It proved to be an engrossing and dreadful read.

Author: A Helen Exley Giftbook

Review: Ok, so this is a bit of cheat. This little “book” is way too small to really count as a book, but it’s such fun, I just couldn’t resist. After all, a collection of witty sayings that not only make me laugh out loud, but make Himself chuckle too, deserves a mention!

These sayings are straight from the heart of women, wives, mothers, who have walked the walk and now can talk about it. Witty, wry, honest, and most importantly, funny, I recognized my own experiences in the droll statements.

If you only buy one book in my entire book review saga, get this one. In fact, buy a bunch of them and hand them out at Christmas! If you’re not a woman, you know one who’ll appreciate it! LOL

Friday, September 6, 2013

Chimbu woman

This is a Chimbu woman, but apparently she has done her face paint in an unusual, individual style. It is probably a stylized interpretation she created for the Sing-Sing.

I love the fun flower painting she has on her torso!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Baked Stuffed Mushrooms

Himself found these huge portabella mushrooms at the store and decided we should have some. Nothing like dropping a chunk of change on mushrooms, right (impromptu price comparative here), only $2 per 'shroom.

They're not a bad size, even if they're extortionally priced. I forgot to add a comparison, but each one would cover my palm easily enough. I read online that the best way to do stuffed mushrooms is to remove the inner stalk and the brown gills, as these are bitter. I found that surprising, but dutifully did so and it really made a difference. The dish went from 'shroom to va-va-voom! Do yourselves a favor - use a spoon and scrape out those inner sections. It's a bit fiddly, but well worth it.

We sorta concocted our own filling, using frozen mixed veg that I warmed up to remove most of the moisture, then tossed with some herbs and spices for flavor. I squirted some pizza tomato sauce in the bottom of each cleaned mushroom, spooned in some veg, and topped it all with cheese and sliced cocktail tomatoes. Bake in a warm oven (about 350'F or 175'C) for about 20 minutes.

Serve with tossed green salad. Yum!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Corn on the Cob

Now this price just blows me away!

I love corn on the cob. Sweet, juicy, crunchy corn that just begs me to chomp into it - roasted, grilled, boiled, or baked. It's good.

Not good enough to pay these prices for, though!

Himself bought them for me, knowing how much I love them. I know how much he loves me, because he was willing to spend this much.

K27 for four teeny tiny cobs. That's nearly US$14! Yikes! And do you see how big they are? That's a standard butter/side knife. Our dinner knives are longer!


I love you, baby, but I'm willing to do without.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

When Upcycles Fail.. and the FAIL Fails...

It's one thing to have an UFO haunting you and taunting you until you finally finish it and discover you have a FAIL on your hands. It's quite something else to photograph the FAIL and have it turn out looking good! I mean... seriously?

This thing makes me look like an ironing board in a hospital gown. But do I manage to get that look? No, of course not. The photos look great. Even my FAIL UFOs are conspiring to drive me crazy.

Although I do sort of manage the ironing board look here, if you aren't distracted by the hair swish...(clever trick that, must keep it in mind. "Here," swish "is my latest creation. Don't I look" swish "gorgeous?")

To add insult to injury, this photo shoot was a swipe-on-a-dash-of-lipstick-and-get-it-over-with two minute special because Himself was huffy at having his morning routine disturbed. Usually I have to work HOURS to look photo-ready.

 Hmmmm... at least my butt doesn't look too big in this. I'm usually an ironing board with an s-bend; tummy and butt.

Even Himself taking wonky photos guaranteed to annoy me (I HATE wonky photos) doesn't manage to make the dress look awful.

Oh, you know what?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Inspector Morse and the funniest Wild West Romance

Author: Colin Dexter
BlurbBeautiful Sylvia Kaye and another young woman had been seen hitching a ride not long before Sylvia's bludgeoned body is found outside a pub in Woodstock, near Oxford. Morse is sure the other hitchhiker can tell him much of what he needs to know. But his confidence is shaken by the cool inscrutability of the girl he's certain was Sylvia's companion on that ill-fated September evening. Shrewd as Morse is, he's also distracted by the complex scenarios that the murder set in motion among Sylvia's girlfriends and their Oxford playmates. To grasp the painful truth, and act upon it, requires from Morse the last atom of his professional discipline.

Review: Apparently this was the first Inspector Morse novel and I was really excited to read it. While it doesn’t happen often, occasionally the movie or TV series is better than the written form, and I think this may be true for this book. I’ve not seen many of the Inspector Morse series, but the few I’ve seen I enjoyed and I was hoping to get the additional depth that the written word allows better than any screen rendition.

Methinks a bumbling inspector is better portrayed without depth. L

On the screen, Morse’s genius shines through his odd ways. In the book, he is almost a buffoon. Yes, he makes the brilliant deduction that solves the case, but I’d rather have read the Readers’ Digest Condensed version  so as not to suffer through the waffle that covers the middle third of the story.

There were a couple of very clever red herrings, and the storyline, of itself, was clever. Overall, though, I found it extremely difficult to work my way through the book. Most disappointing.

Author: Catherine Hart
BlurbLeaving behind the social scene in Boston to reunite with her saloon-owner father in Dodge City, high-spirited debutante Heather Blair-Burns meets undercover Wells Fargo agent Morgan Stone, who is disgusted by the spoiled Heather.

Review: What a romp of a story! I laughed, giggled and chortled my way through this Wild West romance that had a hunk of a hero and the spunkiest, funniest heroine this side of Deadwood!

The heroine is young and makes mistakes common in those afflicted with this temporary condition, the hero is older and therefore dashing and deliberate. The clash of youthful enthusiasm and old teasing, the sparks of passion, and the highjinks Heather gets up to made for a delightful read beside the pool.

I loved the book, and have an unruly urge to make myself a saloon slut outfit for Halloween this year, in honor of one particularly memorable scene. I gotta get me a corset, some crinolines, fishnet tights and lace up boots. Hi ho, cowboy!