Saturday, September 18, 2010

Apron Attempt #2 (Apple Cider Challenge)

This season the Apron-based Blog Tie One On's apron project theme is "Apple Cider".

Instead of using fabric I already have stockpiled, I wanted to start fresh this time - inspired by the colors associated with cider (and hoping to end up with an apron I could host Thanksgiving in as well).

I started with what I saw as a cider-colored, lightweight corduroy, and a vintage looking mini-plaid in red, pale yellow and dark green.

I collected a bunch of apple red do-dads (giant rick-rack, a red ruffle trim and an apple appliqué) and some bright apple-red thread.

I found a vintage apron photo that inspired me, printed it out and drew over it the changes and measurements I needed.

I couldn’t help but further indulge my current obsession with vintage labels, so I searched for the perfect apple crate artwork online, and printed it onto cotton printer sheets. Now, because these sheets are very expensive (I got them at Hancock, which can be overpriced, for about $3 a sheet - Hobby lobby may be cheaper) you should first print on regular paper to check color and size. I used cream cotton sheets for a more vintage look. I planned to make the sheet into a pocket.

After removing the paper backing, I folded the edges back and stitched an apple red border around the printed label.

I sewed the pocket on skewed (I thought it looked a little too fussy straight).

I used the plaid for ties, and trimmed the waistband top and bottom with the rick-rack (leaving room for my apple appliqué).

I stacked large green and a tiny red buttons at the straps (non-functional).

I sewed the ruffle to the skirt, and gathered the skirt into the waistband.You can almost smell the mulled spices!

Banana Rescue Hoe Cakes

Nothing makes me feel guiltier and more wasteful than a bowl of brown bananas.

So depressing. Just look at 'em.

After watching the Top Chef DC episode featuring apparently mind-blowing banana-chili fritters, I had a craving for fried banana-something, and figured, if I left out the chili, the kids would eat the bananas they were supposed to have eaten anyway (I actually HATE raw bananas! Childhood traumatic food experience….you know what I mean).

Banana Hoe Cakes

Bunch (5 or 6) smooshed bananas
1 cup self-rising flour (or pancake mix/ bisquick type mix)*
*may need as much as 1 cup more to get the desired consistency –
I’m in Colorado so flour ratios are especially difficult to gauge
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar (only 1/4 cup if you're using sweetened pancake mix)
1 TB vanilla extract
2 TB cinnamon
¼ cup half and half (you can also use buttermilk, regular milk or cream)
¼ cup vegetable oil

Stir everything in a bowl (except the oil) until mixed well. Put into freezer for 10 minutes while you heat up oil on medium in a skillet.
Check banana mixture. It needs to be thicker than pancakes batter, so if it’s too gloppy add flour until you can scoop it with a spoon (more like cookie dough).

Spoon the mixture (you can decide your own hoe cake size) into the hot oil. Be sure the oil’s not so hot that the outside browns before the inside gets fluffy.
Turn once until golden brown and crisp on both sides. Cut one open to check it’s not gooey on the inside.
The bananas make these cakes very dense, so if there are any that have not gotten cooked all the way through, but are browned, just place them on a cookie sheet and bake for a few minutes at 400 degrees while you’re finishing the rest of the batch.
Top with powdered sugar and serve warm. Makes about 12 (4inch round).
The guy on the left ate 8 of these in 2 days. Breakfast, snack and dessert.


No-Sew Tutu Tutorial

My very good friend (and awesome designer), Gordana Bordighi, is the fashion world’s tutu Queen. Who else could get tutus into Nordstrom?

When I had an idea to use a fairy-like tutu in a fashion shoot I thought of her first, and asked advice.

When she was gracious enough to send me not just instructions but a pattern (which required many, many sewn seams), I was grateful and excited.

But, at some point, after Googling tutu projects, and seeing hundreds of search results for “no-sew” tutu instructions, I became intrigued with the idea of not having to sew. I guess I really wanted a project I could do sitting around the living room while the boys’ watched Marmaduke (Horrible movie!), not interrupting with my usual racket made by my sewing machine.

Time wise, it’s got to be about the same (if not more) than a sewn tutu – but I like the result, and the meditative aspect….

These instructions are for an adult sized tutu,but you can reduce accordingly for a smaller sized one.

What you need:

10 yards tulle – if you want a tonal color story, divide that up between 2 or three colors
(Hancock Fabrics was having a sale, so my iridescent taupe tulle was only .93/yard, but my smoky blue color was $1.99.)

Piece of elastic 2 inches longer than waist measurement
(I used a vintage cream 1.5 inch elastic which was .66 a yard)

First measure the length you’d like the finished tutu to be. Add 3 inches to this measurement and cut your entire yardage crosswise this total length.

Now cut all of the pieces lengthwise into 10 inch wide strips (this project is very forgiving, so varying widths and shaky crooked cut lines are fine).

Now sit down and relax for a while because this will take an hour or so….
Tie the strips onto the elastic (at first I used a double knot, but realized a single knot held just as well).

Push each subsequent strip right up against the last. If you are using multiple colors alternate the colored strips the way you want (I did 2 taupe, 1 smoke).

Once all strips are on you can sew the elastic ends together, or (as I did) just tie them with a double knot.

Here is my lovely toothless assistant to model it…….
See this tutu featured in my portfolio shoot HERE.