December 22, 2012

When Christmas Cooking Goes Awry

Dear Liz and Tammy,

I was going to give you each a nice jar of homemade chocolate covered cranberries. Instead, you are getting this blog post. I am so sorry! Here's what went wrong.

To begin with, I have never made chocolate covered cranberries. It was just an idea I got when I found cranberries in Winn Dixie's produce department. It sounded like a good idea and I still think it is, it is just my execution of it that was horribly flawed.

The melting of the chocolate went just fine. It is, after all, hard to mess up that step unless you just walk out of the room and leave it for an hour or something.

It was only when I added the cranberries that the catastrophe occurred. See, I had left them frozen thinking that this would make the chocolate stick to them quicker and more easily. Well, it did all right. It immediately adhered to them...and turned them all into one giant mass.

Not particularly appetizing, is it?

Well, I thought I still might be able to salvage things by breaking the mass apart and separating the cranberries. Nope. When I tried that, I found that inside the huge block, most of the berries were completely uncovered with chocolate, and when I tried to get chocolate to stick to them, it wouldn't because it was now too cold thanks to the freezing berries.

Here were the sad results of that attempt. Some of them have chocolate on them that is still squishy, or was when I started this post at any rate. I guess it just couldn't handle the cold temperature of the berries and it started separating.

I am SO sorry! I love y'all and I really wanted to give you a unique gift. The good news is that this might end up on, so your names could be immortalized in the blogosphere. Not quite what I had hoped for, but maybe it will do for now?

Love (and Merry Christmas!),

December 18, 2012

The Last-Minute Christening Gown

In November, Doldin and I were confirmed and The Precious was christened. I knew it was coming for months but of course ended up waiting until right near the actual day to start making the christening gown for The Precious. I made a practice version, which you can see here.

Based on this prototype, which was based on a dress I have made for myself a bunch of times, I got ready to make the real thing. First I had a panic upon looking at the eyelet fabric I had chosen. What had seemed like plenty now looked like it would not be enough, so I took the long drive to the nearest Joanne's to find something similar. Apparently eyelet is considered a seasonal fabric and there was NONE in the store. I found an interesting alternative fabric, however, and mentally redesigned the dress to make use of a plisse cotton for the bodice and lower sleeves (added mentally to balance the fabric usage). While I was there I grabbed some bleached muslin to use for lining and found a gorgeous lattice ribbon for a sash.

Upon actually sitting down to cut the dress out, guess what I found out? I had had plenty of fabric all along after all! GRRRRRRRRRR

So with time running out quickly, I cut out the dress pieces.

I still use the pincushion that my mama made for me when I was about six years old!

I unfortunately don't have pictures of this part, but the night before the big event, I was still making the dress and realized to my horror that I had sewn the bodice on upside down. To make it worse, I couldn't find my seam ripper anywhere. I was worn out and collapsed, thinking that I would probably have to dress The Precious in a dress I'd picked up at a yard sale--the same one where I'd bought her Halloween costume dress, in fact! It wasn't solid white, but it would be better than nothing.

The day of the christening/confirmation found me taking The Precious to the doctor (another very long drive) because her hair was disappearing at an alarming rate. It turns out that she is pulling her hair out as a way to relieve stress. I'm very glad that it isn't a sign of a vitamin deficiency or anything, but it was very unfortunate timing--she had a big bald spot just in time for her big night!

We got home late in the afternoon and suddenly I was seized with the crazy idea that I still had time to get the dress together. I used a needle to pull up a stitch so that I could snip it with the scissors and so removed the stitches holding the bodice on upside down. Then I still had to sew it on the right way round, add the sleeves, make the elastic casing, thread elastic through the top of the bodice, get it to the right degree of tightness, and finish it off. Doldin came home and was dressed and ready to go to church; I was dressed too and still trying to finish the christening dress. We were already really needing to be at the church when I managed to tack the ribbon to the waistline to make a sash.

And so The Precious was christened in a white eyelet dress that has way too many flaws in it to be considered anything but a piece of last-minute sewing. Many of the seams are not twice-turned and the top still somehow ended up being too bosomy, but she looked beautiful anyway. The service was quite long so she was pretty tired when it came her turn, but she didn't even cry when the bishop leaned her head into the font, and remained quiet through the whole service.

Here she is with our priest, who is one of our favourite people.

Her proud new godfather, James, held her part of the time. He's so good with kids! (And ladies, believe it or not, he's available!)

The bishop was very busy but he held her for some pictures too. He also blessed and signed the Bible she was given, which is, appropriately enough, covered in white eyelet.

Read Your Way to Freedom--Literally!

My husband, Doldin, just wrote a really interesting blog post about a solution to jail overcrowding that is truly (warning: pun coming!) novel.

To read about it, visit Lost in Dictation here.

December 17, 2012

Accessories FTW

I love how adding a different hat or piece of jewelry can completely change an outfit. Here are some of the accessories I'm drooling over at the moment.

I have been dying for a mini top hat ever since I first saw one, and this is, to me, the best-looking of the lot.
Satin Top Hat

I am in love with this shabby-chic fascinator!
Victorian Rag Doll Fascinator Hat

Big floppy hats are a must, in my opinion. You can't go wrong with one in a colour like this.
Head First Hat

I love all of the handcarved hairpins from The Ancient Muse, but this is my favourite.
Forest Elf Mori Girl Woodland Hair Pin

Tie dye is always fun and cheerful. Yes, I am a hippie and I know it.
Tie Dye Headband

I know that some of my choices are a bit unusual, but surely everyone will agree that this is wonderful.
Giant Dwarf Constellation Crown Silver

Let me just say here that I was going to include my favourite bobby pins and realized that they will have to be their own post--I have so many favourites!

Literature and jewelry--a great combination.
To Kill a Mockingbird Finch Brooch

Cats and flowers are another.
Black Cat Brooch with Pink Flowers

This ring has been tantalizing me for too long now! It has even inspired me to try to achieve the same look on my nails (with mixed results).
Sea Green and Gold Size 8 Multifaceted Eco Resin Ring with Suspended Gold Flakes

I can't imagine a ring getting much prettier than this.
Vine Heart Ring Size 8 to Size 9

Everyone needs an unusual necklace or two. I love this swinging rabbit!
Rabbit on a Swing Necklace

For darker moments, this heart necklace is perfect. I have never been into cutesy hearts so this is just the thing for me!
Anatomical Heart in Brass Necklace

I love funny jewelry for dreary days. So here it is, a true "statement" necklace!
Look at My Shoes Necklace

Tiny golden masks are somehow both whimsical and elegant.
Tiny Gold Mask Earrings

These amazing earrings not only make you look beautiful--they help Darfur too.
Dreamers for Darfur Earrings

Art Deco is big again, thank goodness, and these bracelets from Avon would add a hint of Deco flair to any outfit.
Pavé Accent Bangle Bracelet

Real fern and baby's breath are preserved in this bangle!
Fern and Baby's Breath Resin Bangle

As a seamstress, I want this measuring tape bracelet! What a creative idea :)
Red and Black Vintage Measuring Tape Bracelet

Coloured, textured tights are a necessity year-round. If you can stand wearing them in summer, that is. Aren't these fun?
Sheer Houndstooth Tights

20 Denier Checkered Fishnet Tights

Commando Big Dot Tights

The closet goth in me is dying to make some cuffs like this!

For carrying around my books and knitting, this would be cute and useful.
Red Kitty Tote Bag with Pink Bow

I would probably use this as an everyday sort of bag, especially if I ever get to go back to college. It would look perfectly at home in the anthropology department!
Pocket Boho Bag

To organize little things inside the bigger bag, I would need this cute pouch made by a local seamstress.
Brown Linen Zipper Pouch With Cotton Crochet Trim

And this I would love to have for fancy occasions! Tres chic, non?
Light Blue Silk Clutch Purse with Gold Antique French Script

Finally, I have to include some bow ties, because, as we all know, bow ties are cool! I really enjoy wearing them.

Eco Friendly Bow Tie

Hawaiian Quilt Freestyle Bow Tie

Mens Bow Tie Cocoa Brown Irish


Fashun iz Exausting

December 16, 2012

Make a Literal Hair Bow

I plan to try this sometime this week and will add my photos when I do.

See Hair Bow and 1000's of others - or share your own on Cut Out + Keep

I'm just a bit worried that my hair will not stay that way as it is annoyingly fine and is always slipping out of ponytails. Things like barrettes just slide right down and fall off of my head. I think I may use some texturizing stuff on the parts that go through the loops and see if that helps it to hold. I'd appreciate any suggestions! To make a suggestion, click on the title of this post if you've not already done so, and the comment box should open up at the bottom.

Nerdy Quote of the Week

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”
― Victor Hugo>

Gives a whole new meaning to that song that goes, "Come on baby, light my fire!"