May 18, 2016

Cooking and Sewing Adventures

Hello! Just a quick post today to show you some cooking and sewing adventures from this past week. It's cherry season!! I love fresh cherries, and nothing that is "cherry flavored," if that makes sense. I whipped up a cherry clafoutis last week with some that I picked up at the market last week. Such a simple dessert and not at all overly sweet. You can make this many ways, as far as adding special flavor enhancers, such as  cherry liquor, or like this recipe that called for orange flower water. I didn't have any, so I put in a tablespoon of Cointreau.  I have one more recipe that I want to make with cherries, and I'll do a post on it because it is somewhat of an experiment, so stay tuned for that.
The other dish, that got uploaded in the wrong sequence, is a really yummy dish from the "Jerusalem" cookbook. It has a million spices and herbs in it. Well, not a million......but a lot! It has a spice called "baharat." The book gives instructions on making your own if you can't find it. I know I could find it locally, but didn't have time, so I made up a batch using the recipe in the book. The fava beans were brought over by Cyrous' dad from his garden. If you own this cookbook, make this recipe! The only mistake I made was not to prep all the herbs before I embarked on making this on a Monday at 6:00pm. I thought it was a simple meatball recipe, but there were more steps than I thought, and it lead me to be a bit scattered in the kitchen. Anyway......make this it's really good!

After working hard on the last pieced  in my last post, I decided to whip up something easy, classic and summery for the shop. Here is the result! It's a sweet little romper made out of Liberty of London art fabric, and the sweetest flower snapped buttons. The print is so darn cute, and came in many color ways but by the time I went to buy some, this primary color way was the only one I could get my hands on, and the name of it is "Theo." The romper is a size 3/6 mo. and it is listed in the shop. The link is on the side bar.  Great for summer, as the fabric is whisper thin. I'm going to make some bloomers and tops next, with fun summer colors.

These past couple of days we have had a blast of heat and now we are due for a whiplash of cooler temps with possible rain on Saturday! Gotta love these transition months. As I type this I have the AC on and just checked the thermometer out back and it reads 100!  I'll spare you the  rant on how I'm not looking forward to my least favorite season. Only thing about this summer is that at least we have a fun back yard to enjoy and we aren't 1. moving and 2. consumed in planning a wedding! Which might make it a bit more enjoyable.  I also really need to have some staple summer dinner recipes, so it won't be such a dreaded task when it is hot. 

On a different topic, I'm going to clean up my list of blogs to read that I have on the right side bar, since blog town is becoming more and more of a ghost town I suppose they just shouldn't be up on my list anymore. Seems like everyone has moved on except a few die hards and ones that make serious money from them. So, just in case you use my blog to hop to another from here, you might want to bookmark your favorite ones. Not sure how many people do this, but I thought I'd let you know. 

Be back soon!

May 13, 2016

Bunny Pinafore and Some Thoughts on Children's Clothing

Well this was a lot of fun to make! I used a 1950's vintage pattern that I got on eBay. The problem with this pattern though, is that the person selling them, photo copied multiple sizes for one pattern, which was good on one hand, but you didn't really get the original instructions. She paraphrased most of it. If you are a beginner, you probably should attempt this. Seam allowances were too small that were added I think. Next time If I make this, I'm going to alter it a bit with that. Other than that, it was pretty fun to make and sit down to embroider the sweet flowers and the bunny face. I used a really pretty light pink premium quality cotton for the skirt portion, I believe it could be poplin, and for the face and ears of the bunny, I used a cotton/linen blend.   The buttons are really pretty flower shaped mother of pearl buttons. I think you could also hang this in a child's room for decoration when they aren't wearing it. Very much a fun novelty piece!
When I make these pieces, I always hope the customer  understands the time in construction. There is so much junky throwaway children's garments out there that it makes me wonder why we don't value good design and quality in children's clothing in the US. I think I've rambled on about this before, so I'm sorry if I'm repeating myself, but why are children's main stream fashions so garish and basically miniatures of adult clothing? The Europeans get it right, why can't we? There are some lines like "Makie" that are making in roads into the market, which makes me happy to see, but for the most part, all you see is junk.   Which brings me to why I keep on making children's clothing. I would like to think that I'm contributing to the heirloom quality market of  children's clothing. Pieces that a child would love and remember and that their parents would like to save for a sibling or grandchild perhaps.  As a kid, my mom made a lot of my dresses, and I loved them and still remember them. I think that is where I learned the love of sewing. I would spend hours watching her cut out patterns and sew up garments almost weekly. If I was lucky sometimes, she would give me scraps and I would pretend to cut out dresses with my own homemade paper patterns. She didn't actually teach me to sew, because she said she just didn't have the patience but in a way she did teach me because  I watched and tried to learn that way. It wasn't until I took a summer school sewing class at my high school when I was 15, that I even got to use a sewing machine! From then on I was hooked and fell in love with sewing.  I stopped sewing for myself for a while when my girls were little, and my days were consumed with sewing for them. I made about 80% of their clothing. I got accused once from a person that will remain nameless, that I was spending too much money on dressing my girls. If they only knew how dirt cheap each piece was, they would have eaten their words! I guess in a way it was a back handed compliment, since they thought I was buying them ready to wear clothes all the time.   I was also told that the pictures of my girls look timeless, like they couldn't tell what year the photo would have been taken. Probably because I tried to use timeless silhouettes and not always fall for too many trends.  I would love to hear thoughts on this subject. Does it just come down to taste, or are parents just stuck with bad design that is out there?   I know from living in France, that even the most inexpensive lines of clothing still have style and design to them. The only main stream line of children's wear ( affordable) is Gap. Sometimes Target has some cute things, but really, besides independent lines on Etsy etc. What is there?

Ok enough of that for now......Now that I'm finished with this little garment, I'm going to whip up some fun summer pieces and try and get some staple garments done as well, like bloomers and tops. I really need to stop for a bit with the time consuming ones hahah.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

May 9, 2016

Mother's Day and Lots of Flowers!

What a lovely day Mother's Day was! Filled with flowers, great food and time with the family.  After being showered with gifts in the morning, we had brunch at our favorite spot "Flora," then because the bay bridge was backed up from here to eternity with everyone else having the same idea, we took a little detour to get to the city via the Golden Gate Bridge. For those following me on Instagram, I did a fun little video going across this big beautiful bridge. After living in the Bay Area for 28 years, I never tire of crossing the bridge, its just so dang majestic, and yesterday there were blue skies once we headed into the city so it was extra gorgeous. I wanted to go to the de Young museum to see Tiffanie Turner's paper flower exhibit. I have been following her blog for a while and now her Instagram. I was fascinated by her beautiful and giant paper flowers and just had to see them in person. They look so real when you come across them on Instagram! She is a local artist and if you live in the area, go and check out her exhibit. She was there yesterday and I got to chat with her briefly.  She was so friendly and it was so neat to see her also working on some of her new creations. She teaches classes on making these beautiful flowers too.
I had  forgotten that the de Young was also having an exhibit on Oscar de la Renta. It was fun to see these beautiful dresses, but oh the line to get in!! Still fun though, and towards the end there were gowns that were recently worn on the red carpet! They had a cool video playing with the actresses wearing the dresses that were on display.
After quickly going through the Oscar de la Renta show, we headed over to grab some dinner at the Wayfare Tavern. I've been to this restaurant three other times and had great service and food. Last night we had good food and our waiter was great, but the kitchen staff really messed up. It actually became quite comical so we just went with it. After our cocktails, they brought everything out at once. The poor waiter came and saw the disaster and apologetically removed the entrees and tried to make it right. After we had eaten the apps, they forgot to bring back Caitlin's dinner! It really reminded me of a very funny dinner we had in Paris once, so we laughed it off, chalking it up to it just being very busy. They ended up comping an extra cocktail that the waiter thought I ordered, but didn't, and they took off Caitlin's dinner. I'll have to say that at least the dessert was an A+. It was a coconut layer cake. Normally I would have gone for chocolate, but this looked good as I saw it go by for another table, so Caitlin and I ordered it. At least dinner ended on a sweet note.

On Saturday, I was surprised with a knock on the door with the beautiful flower arrangement that Nicole sent to me via my favorite florist Florali.....remember them from all the beautiful wedding flowers?!(I really miss not getting to spend Mother's Day with both my girls.) This arrangement is GORGEOUS, and to fully enjoy all aspects of it, I did a little video of it on Instagram. Hard to photograph it and do it justice. Such a talented group over there! When I just linked them, for this post, I happened to notice that Caitlin and Cyrous' wedding is featured on their website! If you want to see, click on the link and go to "weddings."

I hope everyone had a lovely day. Today I'll be finishing up the little piece I have been working on and I'll do a post very soon.

May 4, 2016

Hello May!

Happy month of May everyone! I just had to post pics of all the peonies that bloomed out back, because they are so lovely. I have a hard time not cutting them and bringing them into the house, but I resist because they look so pretty out in the yard. I'll be sad when they are done blooming, because I like to go out daily and gaze on their pink lusciousness.  Like I mentioned in my last post, we didn't fully get to enjoy the back yard last year, so we are making up for lost time and spending most of the weekends planting and enjoying all the blooms. I bought some lights to string up in the sitting area for extra coziness, but I have to go back to the store to get another strand, since one will not be enough. Once those are up, I think being out there in the summer will be a pleasure. David planted some tomatoes and and few other veggies this week, and potted the David Austin rose bush we bought last weekend. There really wasn't room to plant it on the property, so we bought a giant pot and will keep it on the porch to enjoy.
After I finished the little dress with the oranges on it, I told myself that I wanted to whip up something quick and simple for my next project, so how exactly did I get side tracked and end up doing this little outfit with the embroidery? Oh well, it's going to be really cute even though it will take me a bit more time that whipping up some bloomers and tops, which I plan to do soon enough, but first, this embroidered bunny pinafore must be made.
As always, I have a zillion ideas, and never enough hours in the day to execute them. I've gone back to the gym with Caitlin and this always chips away at some of my sewing time, but of course fitness has to be made a priority for good health. I've been at it for three weeks now and feel much better!

My apologies to those born in April, but why is it that in that month there are always either really, really sad deaths of icons, or some terrible disaster? My sister and I always talk about this when April rolls in. It was close to the last week when we had this discussion and I think I said, well it's almost over and we might make it without something too horrible happening........then Prince died :( I wouldn't say I was a rabid fan, but I did love a lot of his music and was in awe of his musical genius.  His music was the backdrop to some fun college times and when Nicole was first born. My favorite memory was with the song "Raspberry Beret." When Nicole was about 6 months old, we bought her this really sweet purple beanie that was made of mohair. We would always sing that song to her when she wore it and she would squeal with joy! Ever since he passed away, his songs keep popping up in my head! I won't even be thinking about him or his music, but there it is!!! Mostly Purple Rain, and 1999. He was a true gift to us all and a very sad loss. If you were a fan, which song was your favorite?
If I don't blog before Mother's day, I hope all the mamas, grandmas, and moms to be have a wonderful day!