Sunday, April 19, 2009

THREAD - comfy cozy sewing machine cover

Even I have to admit that I am getting a bit too 1950's out of control housewifey when looking at this project from afar - but there really is a purpose behind a sewing machine cozy. Really. When I signed up for my spinster quilt class I knew I would be carting my machine back and forth and there were risks involved - dirtiness and damage and such. I looked around for covers/carrying cases for my particular machine and there were two main problems - they were not all that cheap ($29.95) and they were ugly and orthopedic looking.

Thus - I had to take matters into my own hands. With a little help from online tutorials - one from Spool and another from one of my fave blogs Lavender and Limes. I kinda smushed the two tutorials together to make the easiest possible solution. And since I have a fabric buying addiction - I had plenty fabric on hand to stitch up a cover.

Just 30 minutes later and I had this functional masterpiece. It is absurd - I fully admit it - but it's cute huh?


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

THREAD - irish linen homemade dish towels

In a very bourgeois effort to go green - I have been slowly trying to wean us off of our paper towel dependence. It seems that we were going through a roll a week - using them for just about everything - as napkins to dish drying to counter cleaning. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers (life changing) have solved many of the issues of cleaning but not the dish drying.

Using super soft Irish linen fabric (1 yard) I bought as a remnant a while back and some scrap woven ribbon I was able to make four fantastic simple kitchen towels in just a few hours. While creating these really requires no pattern (in fact - you could just make a larger version of the napkins I made a few months ago) I got the idea from a great new book Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. The pattern is called good-guests-do-the-dishes dish towels. This book is full of great fast fun projects - I am especially excited to try the smocked sundress for my baby niece Leila as well as the hold everything tote.

A few things to note about making the towels:

Pick a fabric that is soft so it wont scratch glassware.

Chose a fabric that is also absorbent. Basic quilting/sewing cotton will not work because it just wont absorb enough water to actually dry the dishes.

Linen, soft thick cotton, jersey or lightweight terrycloth would work best.

When using a loosely woven linen like I did you have a little leeway with edges and hems - there is a very nice organic look when the hems are a little off - sort of a pretty softness.

Scrap fabric in an alternating color would work really well for the loop - adding an extra pop of color. I used the woven ribbon because it matched and it was just hanging about the apartment (recycle, reduce, reuse).

These pretty towels should make drying the dishes a little more exciting for at least a day or two.

Happy cleaning.


p.s. - don't you love my pot rack (it's from Crate and Barrel)? The thing is amazing - showing off our pretty cookware and clearing up key cabinet space for important - less pretty things - like the croc pot.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

THREAD - BIGGEST project to date!

I've accomplished the biggest project so far as a housewife. First off - no I am not pregnant - I'm talking crafts here - not procreation. It is a quilt and I made the whole thing myself. Even took a class. The class was me and a bunch of old single ladies - I do say - I fit in well with the spinsters.

The final product measures ~4.5 feet of pure sweat and tears beauty. I honestly shed blood over this quilt. Somehow - every time I moved my arm when hand quilting (so about 10,0000 times) I would scrape it across a row of pins. It looked like I got in a fight with a cat and lost - huge red scratches up and down my forearms.

I have no idea who this is for or what I am going to do with it but I find these projects are the best - there is a lot of pressure when making something for someone else - it is fantastic to just play around and be surprised by the final product.

things I learned and key accomplishments -
how to use a ruler - a fancy quilting ruler
how to cut a straight line (measure twice - cut once!)
needles are sharp
I cannot sit still for 3 hours (I pretended I had to go to bathroom just to shake my sillies out during my class)
pins are sharp
how to make bias strips and attach binding
hand quilting does make for a nicer/cleaner finish but it sure is a looooooooooooooong (pain in the ass) process
working with stripes is dangerous - you cannot hide any errors with them - they blow your cover with their straightness and symmetry - bastards

Like a mom with an ugly kid - I will always treasure this slightly wonky quilt as my first BIG project. Lots of time and effort went into it and I learned so much about sewing and determination and I now have a huge respect for people who undertake these sorts of projects. It was also a real lesson in patience for me too - I have lots of fantastic fabric and books and a big list of projects (nice, fast, cute, easy projects) that I was aching to get started on but I really stuck to my guns and would not start anything new until I conquered the beast. The green floral and pink polka dot beast.

Final words of wisdom - quilting is like a home renovation - assume it will take twice as long and twice as much money to complete as you originally planned.



Thursday, April 9, 2009

a girl can dream

Sometimes I have this fantastical dream where I wake up and magically there is a new room in my apartment - a room where you can bring dirty clothes - put them in a shiny machine and they come out clean and smelling of fresh april showers.

Then I wake up for reals and notice that my floor is strewn with clothes - clothes both clean but never put away - as well as dirty and falling out of the closet. I shamefully admit that I am 29 years old and very often take my laundry to my mom's house.

It's either the parental laundry walk of shame or spending an afternoon at the illustrious Big Bubble. The Big Bubble is neither big nor particularly bubbly. It is run by an Asian woman with a mustache who is fond of wearing overalls over a sweatshirt. For a good 3 months I thought she was a man. She also has a huge crush on Adam - refuses to acknowledge that I am his wife - refers to me as his "friend" - and once called me fat. All this in a place where homeless people bath themselves in the sinks occasionally.

Since both the trip home and the afternoon at the Big Bubble are painful in their own special way - I need to continue my fantastical dreams of one day having an entire room devoted just to doing laundry. One day, one day soon. A girl can dream....


photo from

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

four glorious years

Hard to believe it has been only four years since Adam and I went on that first fateful date (he called BS on a story and made me call my mom!) but here we are - four years older, wiser, fatter, happier and married. To celebrate this significant occasion we made plans to go to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants - El Dorado Kitchen (below) - in Sonoma - located right on the historic square.

When we woke up on Saturday morning the weather was beautiful - warm and sunny and gorgeous so we made the impromptu decision before leaving SF to try to stay overnight and enjoy Sonoma a little longer. Feeling like Mary and Joseph we started calling all the inns in the village trying to get last minute reservations for one night during high season while a film festival (umm Bruce Willis was being honored??) was going on.

After striking out at many places - including our usual favorite - The El Dorado Hotel - we finally found a room right across the street at The Sonoma Hotel. The hotel was adorable - very classic Sonoma County B & B. Unfortunately - we did get the bastard room nestled nicely between the lobby and the street - obviously this was our penance for not planning ahead.

The food at the El Dorado was fantastic as usual - steamed mussels with frites, potato leek soup, steak, halibut (which was life changing), dessert(s) and wine...phew!! From the first bite to the last every morsel was just superb - and we were truly glutenous. All in all - just the perfect impromptu weekend - good weather, great food, incredible service - all with the man of my dreams. What more could a girl ask for?


Monday, April 6, 2009

rollin' rollin' rollin'

All this running lately has given me quite the tight ass. Unfortunately - I'm not giving myself compliments here - my ass is not yet modelesque high and tight. Instead my backside is just painfully sore and in need of a good massage - preferably the Thai or Swedish variety - no American style Sharper Image massage chair BS is gonna work on these knots.

Until I hit it big selling my strange birds and sock creature creations - I am going to have to find another solution to my backside problem that does not involve have a foreigner with hands of gold on my constant payroll.

Thus comes in the elegant blue foam roller. Six inches wide, 36 inches long, bright blue solid hard foam - simple, concise, ugly and somewhat unruly (stupid thing rolls around the whole apartment) but gets the job done. Just 5-10 minutes of sometimes painful rolling and stretching has made a huge difference - especially if I am well behaved and roll out my legs and butt right after my run and not later in the week when I am also trying to read the new US Weekly sideways. The bonus is that you can use the thing for tons of other exercises - including abs - since you are unbalanced on it you engage your core muscles more - very pilates.

So if you are having some stiffness in the leg and bottom area - get rollin' - it will change your life.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

run run and run some more

Goodness gracious - I really do not know what is coming over me. Just 2 weeks after finishing my freezing cold, rainy, windy miserable 12k I went ahead and did a 10k and - gasp - almost enjoyed it!

Almost everything was better with this run- the weather, my speed, the course and on and on. The day was absolutely fantastic - sunny but cool with just a touch of breeze. The course went over the Golden Gate bridge and back. I doubt there was any more beautiful place in the world to be running right then.

It was sad to do the race without Mean Wendy by my side this time. Luckily - I had a few other good friends running along with me (Britney, Beyonce, Katy, Fergie etc.) and no offense to Wendy but they are much better singers.

Oh by the way - at the end of the race I was burnt - that's right - just two hours in morning sun will now cause me to burn. I went ahead and bought a hat to run in from now on but at the rate I am going I will soon have to run in a full body sun suit and only at dusk.

If all goes well with my running over the next few weeks - I will be running a half marathon at the end of May - the race is in Alameda and called....drum roll please...I Run for Chocolate and Champagne! Seems so fitting because - let's be honest - I run to eat and drink. If they called it I Run for Nachos and Margaritas - I would have run it years ago.

Let's hope this running thing continues a little while longer because I am now officially signed up to do the Nike Women's Half Marathon in mid October!! There is a lottery every year to even race because it is so popular. It's the creme de la creme of all races - people come from all over the world to participate in this fancy pants race (Tiffany's necklaces at the finish line fancy).

Phew - good thing I don't have a job because I have a lot of miles to log over the next few months. Pesky things like jobs and kids get in the way important goals like champagne and Tiffany's necklaces. Ahem - I mean - personal goals like bettering myself through exercise and raising money for important race sponsored charities.

Cheers -


Friday, April 3, 2009

FOOD - bacon, eggs, cheese oh my!

My mother likes to say "everything is better with bacon" and I would like to consider this the new family motto - because truly - there are very few things in life that are not vastly improved by the addition of a little bacon (even chocolate).

On this note I decided to finally try a quiche - which I would like to refer to from now on as bacon pie. I got a great simple recipe from my friend Marissa - so easy and so delicious. Here it is - give it a whirl.

Ingredients -
6 slices of lean bacon (just to kill us faster I used 8 slices)
3/4 cup (6 fl oz) heavy cream
3/4 cup (6 fl oz) milk
3 eggs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Gruyere cheese
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions -
Partially bake the pastry shell at 425 until it begins to color (10-12 min)
Lower heat to 375 for the quiche
Fry the bacon, dice and set aside
In a bowl combine milk, eggs, and cream and melted butter. Whisk these together until well blended.

Stir in cheese

Season to taste with salt and pepper and add cayenne pepper.

Pour mixture into pastry shell and sprinkle the top with nutmeg.

Bake until the custard is set and the tip of the knife stuck into the center of the custard comes out clean, 25-30 min.

Remove from the oven and let stand for several minutes before serving.


A few things to note -

I skipped the nutmeg because I don't like it - to me - it tastes like old Christmas.

I needed to bake 35-40 minutes but my oven has been off recently. Just start checking it around 25 mins and you should be good to go.

This reheated very nicely in the microwave and we had it again the next day with some artichokes. When reheating it gets a little melty but the crust still stays crisp so don't worry.

Obviously - if you eat this everyday you will die of a heart attack within months - so use some caution my friends. I served this up with a big healthy salad to try to counter attack the bacon pie sudden death potential. It was a good balance.

photo from