Things are happening, so grab a cuppa and let’s start!
First, a dive into Muffin-land. After hurricane Flo visited, and slightly more normalcy appeared, the grocers seemed to be almost giving away berries.
I do love berries – strawberries, raspberries (my fav), blackberries (second fav) and all the rest, but I was receiving more than my greediness could eat. What to do . . . . .
I considered making jam, but lacking the accoutrement and experience, I demurred. Enter muffins, with a recipe for basic berry muffins (below). Ah! I’d much rather be baking than stirring a boiling pot.
We’re not talking industrial-scale amounts, but for someone who hadn’t baked in four or five months, anything was major. Then a few low temp and humidity days magically appeared.
I started baking.
For those who might not realise, American store-bought muffins are more like sweet cake than a true muffin.
All muffin batter is lumpy because the flour is not mixed until it is lump-less.
If you don’t believe there’s a reason why, just try mixing a batch of these one way, and then the other. I know which ones will get binned!
It’s the chemistry/alchemy of the baking process, which I shan’t explain because I don’t know what it is!
make sure the flour and baking POWDER are thoroughly mixed
the berries ~ here are blackberries from yesterday’s batch ~ are loosly mashed and sugar added
this marge is melted even though one of the cubes is still holding its’ shape
everything gets dumped into the bowl at one time, otherwise you won’t get this mixed properly
Stirred about 15 times and DONE!!!
(I always use those little paper baking cups in my muffin pans because I hate scrubbing out the pan.)
LEAVE the floured bits – this IS mixed enough!!!
SEE?! they look fine after baking! That floury one on the bottom right? Just blow off any excess flour.
Here’s the one with the excess flour . There’s one bit that didn’t get coloured by berries over on the right. It’s normal & tasted great!
Have I convinced anyone to take a quick break and mix up a batch? (Before we go on, special thanks to taste-testers at h-t #136 & others. You know who you are!)
This fabric has been on my cutting table for weeks because it kept telling me IT DID NOT WANT TO BE A SKIRT.
Oh. I finally listened, and realised how much more I’d wear some shorts, so the shorts pattern is now out and will fit after judicious finagling.
Sometimes, procrastination thinking is a good idea. Tereza, over at Sew for Me, just wrote an interesting post on that, amongst other things (including a look at some Brazilian fabrics).
Thanks to Sheila at Sewchet I spent last weekend, in-between batches of muffins, doing some more work towards Christmas.
Just yesterday I finished my latest adventure in the British Library’s Crime Classics. The Lake District Murder by John Bude kept me trying to solve the mystery and was definitely enjoyable!
The three books by Hay ( Death on the Cherwell & Murder Undergroundhere, The Santa Klaus Murderhere) were my intro to the series (known amongst aficionados as BLCC). Since then, I’ve branched out a bit, but only into books written with some humour.
A bit of escape via an entertaining book is part of my regime for staying (somewhat 😉) balanced.
There are limits to what I need in my wardrobe, which is something more and more of us are realising.
Some form of creativity, be it cooking or crochet, is a basic necessity. But more about those another time .
Hello, Lovely Readers — how are you? Life’s been happening since my last post, so this is a mite lengthy.
Hope you’ve time to settle in with something cool (or hot, as appropriate to your weather) and stay for a catch-up, including some sewing. Yeah!
Have cogitated and cogitated over what to do with this medium weight cotton, of which I bought maybe 1½ or 2 yards. Finally decided on shorts with pockets, as my blue pair gets worn constantly at this time of year. How long has it been in stash? Ummm . . . absolutely no idea.
But I couldn’t resist it as it’s that wonderful tomato red that I love but can never find when I have a specific project in mind. Now that I consider it, I was probably thinking “summer dress” but after laundering realised it would be too hot, and stashed it.
At one point I thought “tote bag” and have a piece cut off for that, as well as what I assume were the handles, except there’s a strange “V” cut on one end. Wonder what I was thinking…
Anyway, this is finally out of stash, ironed, and might be cut out by the time you read this. (Not yet, but the pattern’s out!)
Remember that green & mustard ski cap I was working on last time? I got it out and looked at it, then counted my stitches and realised I’d got off about 8 rows from the start.
Yes, I was good and frogged it back, but that put a damper on my crochet ardour. That, plus the early onset of extreme heat & humidity. Managed late last week to pull out of the doldrums a bit, and am almost back to where I was.
See what the triple digit temps have done to the lovely hydrangea bushes dotted around the apartment complex? The roses are too scraggly for piccies and grass that isn’t on a sprinkler system is dead brown because our rain has been sporadic.
Looking on the brighter side… Heat means time to tackle the small unread stack of books on my shelf… and was delighted to have found one I’d forgotten I had!
Back story: Several years ago I discovered the British Library Crime Classic series and ordered Death on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay. I quite enjoyed it, and learned what a humpty is (a.k.a., hassock), as well as absorbing more bits about British women’s university years.
BTW, if anyone has a humpty pattern they wouldn’t mind sharing, please let me know (sewing, not knitting or crochet).
My forgotten mystery was another Hay book, Murder Underground, which also mentions a humpty.
(I’m blaming my humpty fixation on triple digit heat. That and a desire to stuff one with stashed fabric. Add a zipped top & it might be great storage as well as hassock.)
Hay has a third book, The Santa Klaus Murder, that I haven’t acquired yet just ordered, but I’m also looking for a nice used copy of Bats in the Belfry, by new-to-me author E.C.R. Lorac (Edith Caroline Rivett).
If anyone’s read any of Lorac’s books I’d love to know what you thought. Somewhere I read she was a witty author, and if there’s one thing I like to read in summer heat, it’s something humorous.
(Speaking of witty, just found & ordered Doonan’s Wacky Chicks & another Gerald Durrell. And that third Hay book, too.)
I’ve been puzzling over what to do with some of this cotton batik (below) ordered last summer from Vogue Fabrics in Chicago, but now out of stock. It’s heavier than I’d thought and has a funny sort of texture (possibly from all the dyes used to get the particular splotchiness of the pattern). I love the colours, but the texture put me off for a season.
Chatting over t’internet with fellow sewer Jen (Let the Sewing Begin) with fabric in hand, she thought it would make a good duster, and we talked a bit about what colours to wear with it. Afterwards I remembered a green linen camp shirt I’d found at a thrift shop in Arlington and got it out to check. What do you think—a definite maybe?
Lastly, a “goodness, I’d forgotten” moment earlier this past week when WordPress sent a Sixth Anniversary note. It’s been a tough time down here for most everyone, and I’m trying to buck up and stay more focused on goodness.
To that end I really really am valuing all you sewing bloggers around the globe. Reading your posts and seeing how you all are coping with a very turbulent world makes me feel not so alone over here, and sometimes even hopeful for a decent future. To that end, am sharing one last thing, which I hope will make you smile as much as it does me. . . . . . .
I finally read the last bits of Doonan’s book, Eccentric Glamour, and want to share a quote from the “Wallflowers and Big Stinky Peonies” section (p. 217). This might sound a little strange, but hang on as I’ve the perfect example below it.
“As you begin to stick your toes into the luscious lagoon of eccentric glamour, you will experience a jarring increase in the amount of amorous attention you receive… It is simply a result of how gorgeous and fabulous you think you are…” (Doonan’s emphasis)
If you begin to feel overwhelmed at such prospects, Doonan chides us not to “stay at home and watch “Dynasty” reruns…” Instead, he flatly says that is “…a waste of time—yours and mine (meaning Doonan’s)—unless you share it with someone… It’s a “What good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play” Liza in Cabaret kind of a thing.”
As promised, here’s one of my favourite bloggers’ recent posts that perfectly illustrates Doonan’s concept. If you don’t already know NYC’s utterly & outrageously adorable Marcy Harriell, also known as Ooonabaloona, click and say howdy.
HEARTIEST THANK YOU’S & CONGRATS TO ALL WHO’VE MADE IT THROUGH!
“Some people can putter quite naturally, but others simply cannot,” explained butler Smythe to Cinderella man Smith in The Platinum Blonde (1931), with Jean Harlow, Loretta Young, and Robert Williams (unfamiliar to me, he’s acting up a storm just now).
Costume design: Edward Stevenson, who later designed for Lucille Ball when she was doing telly.
Direction by Frank Capra, so you know it’s gonna be good.
I’m puttering. Er… sewing on buttons and trouser hooks and wondering whether I should get into shortening them tonight, or wait.
Meanwhile, here’s a clip ~
Umm . . . one button still to go . . . . . the movie’s finished, so what to listen to? Missing a bit of Paul Hollywood for cooking inspiration. Ah, here’s his cheat’s puff pastry chicken & leek pie. Yummy!
Sorry, it’s not on YouTube, but Waitrose’s site here. Hope you enjoy that other judge!
A quick note to report Linda was correct in her comment,
“it looks like two different bodices – one straight and one bat-wing with sleeves incorporated in the bodice piece. Then you add a straight long sleeve onto the one. And a puffy sleeve end onto the bat-wing bodice.”
Turns out I wasn’t paying enough attention to those ickle fold lines on their drawing.
That got me energized, and I was off & running… a-hem, researching. 😉
From a 3-minute definition of why a bespoke suite costs $$$$$, to a centuries’ old jewellery haul being re-discovered by today’s jewel experts, to iconic fashion and make-up explained by experts, to vintage Biba… all this, and more is available.
Lizzie at The Vintage Traveler has some wonderful posts about author Elizabeth Hawes here, here, and here. After seeing the squib on her blog a month ago, and reading the NY Times article, I was hooked. Last night I gave in and got the Kindle version of Fashion is Spinach. Is it eveh fa-sci-na-ting! More to come as I read further…
Surprise! Surprise! ~ found a remnant at the local indie fabric store for another Vogue 1236. It’s a really soft cotton, and should feel soothing as we go through the dog days of summer’s heat & humidity. I think the print is sorta 1930’s retro. What do you think?
Have been watching Poirot DVDs lately, and lusting sighing over the 1930’s fabrics. Here’s some eye candy for inspiration…