31 May 2007

The blueberry pie is so. good. Mike tried the first piece last night after I went to bed, and he wanted to wake me up to tell me how excitingly delicious it is. (I'm glad it's so good. The rest of dinner was kind of eh, and the pie redeemed the evening.)

The Biggest Loser is on TV. They're showing outtakes of Bob the trainer sneaking doughnuts and whatnot when he thinks the cameras aren't rolling.

I'm eating pie for breakfast.

I feel better about the wedding than I did a few days ago. I was just having a bad day.

30 May 2007

GF Blueberry Pie.

I have a blueberry pie in the oven, made with Gluten-Free Pantry's Perfect Pie Crust Mix.

I don't believe it is "perfect"; maybe "good enough" is more accurate. Right now the top is falling apart around the blueberries, looking more like a weird, thin cobbler topping.

Also, it calls for butter-flavored shortening. I had never even heard of that before today. And I didn't have enough butter, so I used the dairy-free modification, which means using double the amount of shortening. (Also, you can make it vegan if you use an egg replacer.) I wonder if I should have used regular shortening in place of the butter, instead of twice the amound of butter-flavored shortening? I'm thinking next time I'll make sure I have plenty of regular butter and shortening on hand.

The pie crust is yellow. They add yellow coloring to the shortening to make it look more buttery-licious. And I nibbled on a little bit of it of the raw dough. You know that fake movie-theater popcorn butter flavor? Butter-flavored shortening kinda tastes like that.

The dough handles well. I chilled the shortening and my rolling pin and used cold water. I left the dough in the fridge until the absolute last minute. It tears a little bit, but in a way expected from GF pie crust dough. It will take a little more practice before I can do an attractive top, like a lattice or cut-outs. For the time being, tasty but unattractive will have to do.

As it's been baking, it's starting to smell more like blueberries and less like fake butter. I think that's a good sign.

The finished product:

The baked crust is less yellow than the raw dough, so that's good. It seems pretty delicate, though. Maybe it will harden a bit as it cools. As for the taste, I don't know yet. I'm saving it for dessert tonight. The taste is in the hands of the blueberries now.

Grendel says it's about time we bought him his own couch

We bought a chaise lounge over the weekend. We now have a bona fide seating area in our living room. And Grendel loves it. He's hardly even glanced at his favorite chair since we brought the chaise home.

Also over the long weekend...

We did quite a bit of housecleaning.

I sewed many linen napkins.

I also sewed 2 quick skirts.

We saw The Lives Of Others. I really liked it. Mike thought it was okay.

25 May 2007

make a little birdhouse in your soul

After coffee, shower, and breakfast I feel a little better.

Now excuse me while I go fold 50 linen napkins.

I feel grouchy

I don't think it's the heat, because it's warm but not unbearably so. I suspect it's wedding planning, and that makes me even grouchier because I'm not supposed to be a bridezilla. I'm supposed to be calm. But we're a month out and it feels like we have a lot to do.

And people are not RSVPing. A note to anyone who gets invited to a wedding or other large event: Even if you're not attending, you still have to RSVP! That's just common courtesy. This isn't a frat party that you can decide on at the last minute. This is a wedding. There are caterers and cake-bakers (not to mention a napkin-folder and a favor-maker) who need to know the headcount ASAP.

Sorry for that outburst.

Maybe I need more coffee. Or less.

23 May 2007

Piece #2 Done

Here is the black linen top. Simplicity 3887, View C. I know it's hard to see any detail in my poor photo. (Click on the garment photo to enlarge it.) I think the linen I used was not quite as soft and lightweight as is needed for this kind of top. But luckily, since it's black and puffy a lot of imperfections are disguised. When I make this up in the soft cotton eyelet, it should look like an entirely different shirt.

Yesterday when I finished this and put it on I didn't take any pictures because I was disappointed with how it looked. This morning I tried it on again and I loved it. I think the difference must have been the shorts I was wearing. Yesterday, Bermuda-length shorts made this top look sort of dowdy. This morning, short shorts made it look fabulous.
No pics right now, but a quick update. I finished my black linen top yesterday. I also cut out and started sewing the easiest shorts ever and the easiest skirt ever. The shorts pattern I wanted to use for my crinkle cotton just wasn't going to work, so while I was notions shopping yesterday I picked up a cheap skirt & shorts pattern. We're talking 2 pattern pieces, a drawstring, and a yard of fabric.

The skirt is a deviation from my list, but after seeing how easy the shorts were, I decided to grab a print from my stash that I happen to be saving for an easy skirt. Drawstrings = my new favorite way to make shorts and skirts stay on. So much easier and quicker than zippers and I think they look nicer than elastic waist. Fine for schlepping around the house in summer. No need to get too fancy. But I want to look somewhat presentable when the mail carrier stops by or if I have to pop into the apartment manager's office.

22 May 2007

Piece #1 Done

I finished the first garment from my list today. A simple cotton shirt, McCall's 4922 in an off-white embroidered cotton. (Click on the pics to enlarge them.)

This is just a great casual shirt, not too fancy, but nicer than a t-shirt. That's my objective for the summer. Easy, casual, but not t-shirts. I love t-shirts and I wear a lot of them. I'm thinking it's time for a bit of a change.

I cut out and started sewing my next piece, a black linen shirt. Tomorrow I have to venture out for notions--elastic for some of my shirts' sleeves and a zipper for my HP Weekender shorts.

Has anyone else had trouble seeing the preview of their blogger posts recently?

20 May 2007

I love lists!

I wrote down my summer sewing plan this afternoon. I've gone stash diving, and I've also made some careful purchases. This is not a SWAP, since I won't wear every top with every bottom, but it's a good list of summer clothing that fills some classic, neutral needs in my wardrobe.

McCall's 4922 in an embroidered cotton (right) that I bought from Textile Studios during their winter sale. I'm making a version with the longer shirttails and making it short-sleeved. It's almost done. Hemming and closures. Where I always lose momentum.

Simplicity 3887 (left). One in a black linen from my stash. One from an off-white cotton eyelet that I recently purchased.

Hot Patterns Floribunda cami in a white silk from my stash. Maybe also from a champagne silk in my stash. And maybe in black, if I get around to buying some black silk.

Okay, so a couple not-so-neutral stash fabrics want to get sewn up into summer tops, too. Simplicity 4589 will be made at least twice: a black and mauve print and a black and light blue print, both rayons from the aforementioned Textile Studios winter sale.

New Look 6565 (right) in a white on white print, recently ordered.

Hot Patterns Weekender Chino shorts in a beige twill, recently purchased. I finished the muslin on Friday, received the fabric on Saturday, and pre-washed it today. I had planned on working on the shorts right away, but I might work on some quicker and easier stuff first, like the Simplicity or Floribunda tops.

New Look 6160, shorts modified from the drawstring pants in a white and olive print crinkle cotton, recently purchased.

New Look 6177 (below), as many skirts as I can possibly piece together from my stash.

I wrote down my list in ink and pinned it to my bulletin board with some swatches. It has to all get sewn up now that it's written in ink, right?

19 May 2007

Movie Reviews -- Pan's Labyrinth

Last night we saw Pan's Labyrinth, or El Laberinto del Fauno. (The movie title people don't think Americans know the difference between a faun and a fawn. I'd bet even fewer actually know who Pan is, and the Pan in the film has nothing to do with the god Pan. And the subtitles refer to him as a faun, not as Pan, throughout the film. Give us Americans a little credit. Any of us going to see this probably know Mr. Tumnus from Narnia.)

Mike keeps saying it was so awesome. I'd say it's beautifully crafted, but a disturbing, adult fairy tale horror film. It's definitely worth seeing in the theater if you can find it. It's still playing in many arthouse theaters. There's a richness to the film that will be lost on a television screen, even a big tv screen.

Classic fairy tale plot. Ofelia and her pregnant mother move to the country to live with Ofelia's stepfather, who's a captain in 1940's Fascist army in Spain. They, of course, live next to an enchanted forest, which includes a labyrinth. Ofelia finds out from the faun in the labyrinth that she's an immortal princess but she has to do three tasks in order to earn her immortality. And hilarity ensues. No, not really. The exact opposite actually. There is cruelty and torture and death, in both the real world and the fantasy world Ofelia escapes to.

Fascists, rebels, magical creatures (including a disgusting giant toad), a fiesty servant whom Ofelia befriends, all existing in the dual worlds of Fascist Spain and the labyrinth forest. This film has a little bit of everything. (Except romance. If you're looking for one of those mushy princess/prince charming type fairy tales, look someplace else.)

This is not a children's movie. Mike thinks it's no worse than The Dark Crystal, but The Dark Crystal wasn't rated R for being somewhat of a horror film. This one is. I was afraid I'd get nightmares, particularly from one of Ofelia's task involving a gruesome child-eating monster. I also closed my eyes a few times, particularly when the captain, after being sliced through the cheek, sews his own stitches (because he shot his doctor after finding out he was aiding the rebels).

It's Spanish with English subtitles. This is a film that is told so excellently with images and very little dialogue that after a few minutes you'll hardly be glancing at the words. You don't need them and you shouldn't let them keep you from seeing this film.

ETA: Mike would like me to issue an addendum stating that as the film went on he realized it was darker and more disturbing than The Dark Crystal, in that Crystal is an entirely fantastical film, where as Pan had some frightening "real life" scenes.

18 May 2007

So, those shoes (see yesterday's post). I was standing on a corner waiting for Mike, wearing my blue Franny Glass coat with a little bit of brown herringbone skirt peeking out underneath and those shoes and a little old man--a well-dressed, probably 100-year old man--walked up to me and started telling me how much he liked my shoes. My husband is a lucky man, but he shouldn't make such a pretty girl wait. That's the summary of what he said. He wasn't harrassing or threatening or vulgar in any way, but it was just a smidge creepy at first.

Mike and I wanted to see the Picasso exhibit at SF MOMA last night, half-price night. But it didn't occur to me to buy tickets online, and the line was around the block when we got there. So we decided to go to dinner early instead. I'll buy tickets online today for a weekend viewing.

17 May 2007

I've gone through this phase before. I'm hoping it's easier to stick with it during the warmer summer months. And that my motivation is stronger this time.

Dressing nicely when I leave the house. I bought these shoes months ago and tonight they make their public debut. Carrie on Sex and the City works from home and manages to get dressed up when she goes out. Laura Bennett has her studio at home with her 27 children and manages to look fabulous. I work from home. I have the clothes and the shoes and the means for buying and making more if I want to. I really have no excuse.

16 May 2007

Whenever I go through a sewing phase I find myself going full-speed into all aspects of it. Not just the sewing, but the browsing and shopping for fabrics and patterns. Of course, the browsing and shopping is quicker and easier than the actual sewing, and that's why I end up with so many more fabrics and patterns than I will actually use.

When I decided I wanted fuller summer skirts, of course I started browsing for new fabrics even though I'm supposed to be sewing down my stash. EmmaOneSock vexes me so.

15 May 2007

I didn't do any sewing yesterday. But I made a deee-licious fresh pesto to have with dinner. Tonight I'm going to attempt my first salsa verde with roasted tomatillos.

To get some inspiration for sewing down the stash I've been browsing pattern sites. I know I have the fabric. What am I going to do with it all? For some reason I've been hit with an urge for super-casual skirts to wear in the heat of the summer instead of shorts. Like New Look 6177 (left) and New Look 6565 (right).

The way these skirts are pieced together, I can combine small bits of different fabrics, thus finding a job for some of those remnants that are too small to use but too big to get rid of. I tend to buy my fabrics in capsules, so I have lots of matching pieces. I also have leftover SWAP fabrics that can be used. The options are just about endless.

14 May 2007

oh, and about gas prices

If you want to spend less money on gas, drive less. Surely you can cut a few miles off your weekly routine. Car pool? Take public transit? Consolidate errands? Horror of horrors, walk or ride a bike? (And when you do drive, check your tire pressure. Low tire pressure makes your car use more gas.)

The gas companies want to make money and as they see us paying the high prices and keeping the demand up, the prices will stay high. Complaining won't make a difference. You need to take action. Reduce the demand and the prices will decrease.
We had a somewhat domestic weekend. After spending last weekend making 8 centerpieces for the wedding, we did absolutely nothing wedding-related. Was it wise to take that time off? I don't know. I still have many, many favors to make.

Mike went biking, we went walking together. Did some light house-keeping. Mike baked brownies.

I hit the sewing room with a vengence. I took out a nearly-finished jacket and worked on it so it's even closer to being finished. It just needs closure. (Ha, ha.) I cut out a shirt. I traced two pants patterns and started making a muslin of one of them. I am Sewing With a Purpose (not SWAP, which is Sewing With a Plan). We will most likely be moving again a year from now and I want to move clothes instead of boxes of fabric. So I'm sewing down my stash. I also need some summer clothes and I need neutral pieces to go with some of my more colorful pieces.

Coming up later this week: The Gluten-Free Beer Taste-Test. The BevMo near us has three different kinds of gluten-free beer and I've spent the last few days trying them.

07 May 2007

all your skogs are belong to us

We have some hot skogs lounging around the house. It's warm here now. And it most likely stay like this until next November or so. If you're coming out in June, get your hats and sunblock ready. The sun is scorching out here.

04 May 2007

Next week is my last week of fitness camp. I feel like that man to the left there. After yesterday's strength training I could hardly get out of bed this morning. I think today will be something cardiovascular. Tomorrow we're having a session at a climbing gym. We certainly stay active for a full hour.

I'm not certain how much my fitness has improved. We did a test at the begining--push-ups, timed mile, etc. I don't think my mile will be much faster for the final test. We're not doing the kind of working out that I need for improving my running signficantly. I'm hoping to increase the number of push-ups I can do (my original number is embarrassingly low). My body mass index was in the good-to-fair range. Ultimately I'd like it to be closer to excellent, but I really don't know how much it will actually change over just four weeks.

Time for my light breakfast.

03 May 2007

San Diego

Can someone please confirm if Ron Burgandy is based on a real anchorman from San Diego? The so-called news anchors in San Diego are so dopey and flakey that there's no way Ron Burgandy is an entirely fictional character.

News idiots aside...

On our first day in San Diego, after wandering around Ocean Beach and having dinner in our favorite Mexican restaurant there (where after 2 years the waitress recognized us and remembered my usual order) and wistfully thinking about how much we loved that neighborhod, we walked down the pier, over particularly high waves splashing some spray up onto us, and we saw dolphins. It was the first time I'd ever seen dolphins in the wild, in their natural setting, away from an aquarium or zoo. It was so awesome. It was like Ocean Beach was telling us to come back, showing us what we're missing by not living there anymore.

The rest of the trip was pretty great, but nothing beats dolphins.

02 May 2007

We miss San Diego!

Last night we got home from our 5 days in San Diego. We miss it so much! We hung out in OB with our old neighbors, and we went to our favorite restaurants and we walked and we kayaked and we went to Balboa Park. San Diego is awesome.

01 May 2007

We're home from San Diego! The skogs are thrilled to see us. Details of the trip to follow. No pics, though. We forgot to bring the camera.