Sunday, September 27, 2009


One of my goals in life is to learn, always learn new things and try out new experiences. So in this spirit I specifically chose the Bamboo shirt by Sewing Workshop for the Six-Piece Autumn Collection sew-along. To make things simpler it will now be called the 6-PAC. Thanks to Elizabeth (ejvc at Stitchers Guild) for coming up with the acronym.

I spent yesterday working on the shirt and have now made my very first welt pocket. It got off to a rocky start as I confused the pockets' right and wrong sides, but I just adjusted the markings and made the pocket bag smaller. The vertical welt pocket is just a design detail, as I wouldn't really put anything into such as pocket, so it really didn't matter if I goofed the pocket bag.

I was also busy making tucks and pleats on the back and have more pleats to look forward to on the cuffs. I also want to look for flesh toned interfacing. Do they make this?? I don't like the way the white interfacing shines through the white fabric.

I'm dreading making the buttonholes, as my machine seems to wig out every time I flip to the automatic buttonhole setting. But I will persevere and figure something out.

On a positive note....I have my serger back from service and it's stitching like a dream. It has never worked this well.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Glazed Strawberry Tart

This recipe is my TNT (tried 'n tested) summer tart/dessert. This is the 3rd time I've made it this summer. The recipe is in my scrapbook and it's a recipe card from the Easy to Bake series.

The tart shell can be made ahead and filled at the last moment or frozen for up to 2 months.

I'm not the best at making things neat and beautiful looking, so I like the rustic look on this one. I was playing around and made a "heart" shape as I thought it looked cute with the red berries. My hubbie walked in and remarked that Valentines Day was only in February, to which I cheekily replied that I show my love all year round. He liked that and the tart.

What's in it?

The shortbread-type shell:
flour, sugar, salt, butter, egg, vanilla extract
ground almonds
grated lemon zest

The filling:
glaze using raspberry or strawberry jam & lemon juice.

The Result

I love the tart shell, which is sweet, yet flavourful with the lemon and almonds. I once accidently broke the shell and cut it into squares and it made great cookies. Once the shell has baked and cooled, it is a quick dessert to whip up and can be served with cream or ice-cream.

And I think it would make an excellent treat on Valentine's Day too.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Eggplant Pizza with Pecorino

You're probably thinking eggplant on a pizza!!! But trust me it was delicious, although my 3 year old didn't agree, "I don't want the black things!!!!" I just went to the kitchen got another slice and pulled off the black the eggplant and olives and told him this was his special pizza. Did the trick, disaster averted. My 16 month old was none the wiser and ate the whole thing.

The recipe came from Homemakers magazine Sept 2009 issue. Unfortunately the recipe is not online.

What's on it???

tomato puree, I used strained Italian tomatoes
garlic, mmm.... what would a pizza be without it!!
Dried oregano & hot pepper flakes
black olives
Pecorino Romano cheese, this can be substituted with romano and mozzarella

Pizza dough from my local bakery

The Result

Half the fun of using this recipe was sourcing the ingredients. I love going to my local farmers market and picked up the eggplant and canned tomatoes there. I found pizza dough at my local bakery, which I had to order in advance and I found the cheese at an Italian deli. My grocery store didn't have all the ingredients, so I couldn't one-stop-shop.

The pizza was great, although next time I will cut back on the amount of cheese. The pecorino is pretty strong, but very flavourful.

I really like the eggplant, since it was salted, dried and then roasted in olive oil prior to contact with the pizza. Salting the eggplant draws out the moisture and helps prevent too much oil soaking into it and turning completely to mush.

Now the best discovery was this pizza dough, which was just perfect and so easy to work with. It came in balls sized for a medium pizza it stretched out easily to fit my pizza pan.

A few nights later I made up for the "black things" and made another pizza with my son's favourite topping, sausages. Now that I've discovered this awesome pizza dough, I will be experimenting with other toppings.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Six-piece Autumn Collection Sew-Along

I've joined the sew-along at Stitchers Guild. My colours are black, white, mist and grey.

I started a black, white and grey capsule last year from mostly ready-to-wear (RTW) garments and would like to continue. I have a large amount of black in my stash and would really like to use it up.

The Plan

The "rules" state:
skirt or trousers in the neutral colour
3 blouses/tops one to match, two to complement
1 layering top or cardigan to match bottom
Jacket in coordinating neutral

I've decided to add a dress instead of the 3rd top and my coat will match and my layering item will be a vest/waitcoat.

1) Black silk blouse in Simplicity 3887 View C
2) White blouse using Sewing Workshop Bamboo shirt
3)Black dress with black/white polka dot accent using New Look 6589 View C (middle blue on pattern envelope)
4) Black skirt using New Look 6546, an a-line just below the knee

5) A waistcoat or vest using Amy Butler Fabric from her Daisy Chain Collection.

I have these fabrics below and will find two others to make a patchwork of the grey & mist coloured fabrics. It should look nice against the black and white tops.

6) A black raincoat using Burda 7750, the longer coat with the hood.

Photo Inspirations

I've noticed a few ladies using photos as inspirations to create a clothing collection. I really liked this idea and did some googling. I've come across
Color Hunter which allows you to upload a photo or add an image url and it generates a colour palette based on the photo.

This is actually rather addictive and I can imagine amazing clothing collections based on this principle. I'm thinking of using this for the next SWAP (Sewing with a Plan) contest over at SG.

These are a few from the site that I liked.

Fire Hose

Have some fun and play around, you might be inspired!!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lorna's Moist Fruit Cake Part 1

I had a jar of maraschino cherries that I wanted to use up, so I found this recipe in my scrapbook. It reminded me of the fruitcakes that my dad makes every year around Christmas time.
I'm not sure about the origins of the recipe, I don't know who Lorna is or where the recipe came from, but it looks like it came with food packaging or advertising. It has some South African terms so I'm assuming I found this while still in SA.

What's in it?

The usual cake ingedients: flour, sugar etc....
Dried fruit: raisins (giant and yellow),currants, mixed peel, dates
maraschino cherries
spices: nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, ground ginger

topped with a brandy syrup

The Result

The cake took a few days to make and will only be ready to devour in a few weeks. I soaked the fruit in a brandy syrup on Wednesday night, baked the cake on Thursday and topped the cake in brandy syrup today. It could've been done in one day, but I had company and ran out of brandy.
A fruitcake should mature for at least 2 weeks and preferably longer so that the flavours can deepen. I will inspect the cake in two weeks and add more brandy syrup to keep it moist. It was baked in greaseproof (wax) paper and is then tightly wrapped in foil and stored in an airtight container. This cake can store for six months or even longer.

I have a number of occassions over the next few months which could benefit from a good fruit cake, but since I'll be visiting my parents in December, I'll leave the Christmas cake to the master. Anyway who wants to lug a fruit cake across the Atlantic AND deal with the boys, not me.

I can only remark that the cake looks good, but I will show the cake interior and describe the rich, boozy taste in Part 2...whenever that may be.

Now, what can I make with the maraschino liquor leftover in the jar...a drink perhaps...some bubbly added? If I can't enjoy the cake right away, I'll get my boozy fix elsewhere.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In the Beginning

I've jumped aboard the blogwagon and will be taking you through my adventures in sewing and the culinary arts. I don't profess to be an expert in either, but they're my two favourite hobbies and I have fun doing them.
My original mentor in these areas was my mommy, Gill, who taught me to sew, cook, knit and be a good mom. My new mentors in the sewing world are the ladies (& some guys) on the Stitchers Guild Forum , who provide constant inspiration and advice. They also have contests and sew-alongs that give me a much needed kick-in-the-butt to get some projects done and sew with purpose.

As far as cooking is concerned, yes I am sometimes inspired by the celebrity chefs out there and at a stage did religiously watch the Food Network, but I'd rather be cooking and sewing than watching it on TV. I love to browse through my cookbooks and pick out recipes or find one in my recipe scrapbook (you'll probably hear about that in detail later) or other sources such as food packaging, magazines, TV, Internet and emails.

My husband will probably look at this blog, roll his eyes and laugh. He thinks I'm obssessive compulsive about certain things and my need to make lists and spreadsheets probably comes from my engineering days. This is just another crazy way to document my activities...but hey why not.

So although I don't make a recipe every day and I won't finish a garment every week, I will try to keep the blog updated about my thoughts and crazy plans.