You all were totally right about this dress I made out of vintage blue lace... (without even thinking about it as I cut it out, I made the skirt length the whole width of the fabric, since it had that nice scalloped edge woven in... and it ended up way longer than I was expecting. I asked what you all thought about it, and the primary response was, yes, it should be shorter!) So I hung it in the sewing room closet as I wrapped up my book sewing and writing, and finally had a chance to get to it over the weekend. It's no fun to redo something that you've already finished once, but I had some time plus some Mindy Project to watch while I unpicked, cut, and re-sewed.
Remember it? There it is on the left, and on the right the shortened version!
Much, much better!
So thanks for the feedback on the original dress! Now it's much more wearable and trendy for a springy/summery party, plus a little edgier!
Loving this navy and white striped dress I made earlier this spring. It's finally warm enough to wear it out, like I did last weekend with a bright necklace and some wedges that have been in the out-of-season clothing closet for ages.
Jacket: Necessary Objects via Goodwill. Necklace: F21. Shoes: Goodwill.
Bag: Target. Belt: Target via Goodwill. Dress: DIY, here!
Sure do love classic navy and white stripes. And that knit is so comfy! I hardly ever sew on knits, but I give five stars to this version of a fitted dress, zipper and all, but made with a 100% cotton knit (this one). Makes for a better fit, too! I lined the bodice with self-fabric, so it all moves the same way.
I highly recommend a stripe/natural leather/bright accessory combo this weekend, too! Have a great one!
It's been quite a while since I did a spray paint project... I guess winter gets that way. But now it's spray-painting weather, and I was megaproductive last weekend and made over a super ugly mirror I got at Goodwill a while back. It's been sitting in my garage while I used a tiny square mirror from my closet in the sewing room, and I was so ready for a new one.
Here's the before... pretty dated, as you see. (There's actually a stamp on the back that says, no brand or anything, just "MARCH 9 1988." So we know for sure it's not from a great era for home decorating style. ;) )
Pretty proud of myself on this one--I actually pulled out the sandpaper and sanded. Such an important step for something with a heavy grain, and with thin peeling varnish...
Then I gave it a light coat of the rest of my spray primer. Love that stuff.
I debated, but since I haven't really decorated the sewing room much yet, figured a neutral would be best, even though I love the bold spray paint colors. So I went with a matte black spray paint.
I'm working on dressing the space up even more, maybe with some art on one side or some other colorful touches in the rest of the room, but for now it serves its purpose and reminds me of some pretty Glitter Guide-worthy office spaces. =) Here are a couple inspirations so you see what I mean.
Oh, another thing I did this weekend--finally made a page for our home tour. Goes through almost all the rooms of the house, with names and links to all the oodles of sewing and DIY projects I've done everywhere. Check it out here or linked from my linkbar!
I sort of hate to admit it, but I really like ketchup. I almost never have any reason to eat it, but I've always really liked the sweet/tangy taste, whether on fried things or not... but I don't think my mom has ever bought ketchup and it's not something I ever included as part of fancy or healthy meal planning. We have some (the high fructose corn syrup-free kind) but I always felt guilty using it.
But, when I read this incredible book (Pure Beef) about grassfed beef, by an Oregon author, actually, I read the recipe that the chef at Lardo, a trendy high quality sandwich place in downtown PDX, uses for their house-made ketchup and it gave me an idea. Sure, why not try making my own at home?? Leave out the bad stuff from the processed store version, and know exactly what goes into it! Almost like a gourmet version of a very not gourmet food! ;)
So I tried the recipe, with a few variations, and shared it here. People were interested, so I thought I'd share the process with photos and the recipe, and make another batch! I made it again this weekend, with a few modifications, and ended up with a Paleo Diet-friendly version (more about our diet here). I'm sure there are a million ketchup recipes out there (so I'd love to hear about yours if you have one!), but for my first few attempts I'm very satisfied with this stuff. (I've also heard of cultured ketchup, like this recipe, for people who want to eat more fermented foods, but I'm pretty sure I'm sensitive to dairy proteins so am avoiding whey for the time being.)
Anyway! Here's my twist on the Lardo ketchup recipe, a real food/Paleo version!
1 tablespoon lard, bacon fat, or coconut oil
1 small onion and/or clove of garlic
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1 tbsp xylitol and 1 tbsp molasses OR 1.5 tbsp xylitol
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1 (14.5 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, strained
Cook the onion and/or garlic on low heat until translucent.
Stir in the spices and salt.
Add in the strained tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, and sweetener/s and cook on low until it becomes a thick sauce (about 45-50 minutes). Yeah, I know, takes forever... have to plan ahead with this stuff. Worth it!!
Let cool, then blend in a blender until smooth. (If you have an immersion blender, puree by hand in the pan.)
Pour it into jars and can it if you know how, or do what I did with the ketchup in this Instagram and store it in jars and freeze them (leaving the lid open so the jars don't break when the liquid freezes and expands).
Let cool for at least 2 hours. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
That's it! Summer is coming, and you may find yourself grilling something or picnicking and really needing some ketchup!
What do you think?! Totally worth the effort, in my book!! Do you have a favorite ketchup or condiment recipe?
Terrarium shop?? That's what I said when my coworker told me about Artemisia after getting a terrarium gift certificate from there as a birthday gift... an entire store dedicated to terrariums and indoor gardening sounded amazing! And definitely like something we would have here in Portland.
Since moving into our house last year, I've decided to really try at this whole gardening thing--planters on the deck with veggies, and happy houseplants inside in pretty pots. But unfortunately, I know very little about gardening. Or terrariums. But I really like them! I love looking at succulents at the grocery store but don't know what to do with them.
Anyway, so I checked out Artemisia online and decided I just had to stop by, and it's right by my work. I thought their terrarium kits were the greatest idea, especially for people like me who are not terrarium gardening pros. ;) I also wanted to share their stuff with you readers! So I contacted Amy, Artemisia's owner, and she was happy to share a kit for me to review!
They also have an amazing online shop where you can order terrarium kits like the one I got, plus beautiful planters, their custom made hooks and altars, and all kinds of other stuff. I checked out the online shop a couple times before coming into the store on my lunch break recently. The store--O. M. G. So pretty. I took lots of pics so you can see the wonderland I got to look around in!
Here are some of the terrarium kits--these are easy to ship in the mail as gifts, or just to carry home and make wherever. Each kit has a different theme or feeling to it, so you can pick out a personalized little scene to create at home!
They also have kits for hanging terrariums. So pretty, and how cool are those iron hanging stands they have made for them?
They have a big selection of sands for creating your own terrariums, and Amy said people from all over come in or order them online because they're hard to find!
This is the workshop table... how incredible would it be to get to play around with all the sands, rocks, and other materials, just little bits of each? I have so much to learn about indoor gardening, would love to take a class in it!
Turns out Amy also wrote this beautiful book, Terrarium Craft, which I've definitely seen before at Powell's or other book or garden/crafty stores. It's like a gorgeous cookbook for how to play with different types of plants and materials. So many ideas and so much I could learn from it!
So, I left the store with plenty of pretty images and ideas in my head, and this sweet little hanging terrarium kit in hand. Here's my review of making it!
Here's my medium hanging terrarium kit. This one came with an air plant, so Amy gave me some specific care instructions and I hope I can take care of it for a long, long time. (Turns out the spritz method is a no-no. Glad I asked!)
I loved this sand--it's made from recycled beer bottles. Such pretty colors!
Then I put in some pebbles, then the moss...
Then the purple moss, then my little air plant!
I wasn't sure what to hang it with, thought about string or ribbon, but for now I used this clear fishing line and a cup hook.
Hung the cup hook on the underside of the skinny window at the foot of our stairs, and doubled the fishing line, tied a knot on the end, and looped it through the teardrop eye.
It hangs happily near the front door and at the base of the stairs. What a pretty accessory, and so special and different from the other plants!
We're back from vacation in New Mexico over a long weekend and are getting back into a normal routine, which is always hard. We haven't been on a real vacation together since our honeymoon in 2011 so this little family visit to a new, sunny place felt totally luxurious! Mostly we hung out with our little niece and nephew, and my husband's sister and her husband, in their little place on the New Mexico State University campus.
It was definitely relaxing to hang out on kid time most of the weekend and play with puzzles and the new baby.
When I travel I'm always interested in the local architecture and history, tells you so much about a place! It was crazy how many very old homes we saw in El Paso and parts of Las Cruces/Mesilla, but all such different styles than the ones we see in Portland. Almost everything one-story, and obviously a lot of adobe and stucco, and for the most part big lawns and not a ton of landscaping. Makes sense, since there's not much rain!
More cool buildings (and church) in downtown Mesilla, New Mexico, where we got to hang out for the Cinco de Mayo festival! Greased pole-climbing competition and all! (And, wore my new DIY shorts a lot!)
On our last day we drove out to White Sands National Monument, one of the area's claims to fame. In the middle of the brown, brushy dessert, there's a gypsum sand dessert left from the inland sea millions of years ago. The dunes are huge and move all over in the wind. It is blindingly bright out there, but you can sled and picnic and soak up the beauty!
We were extremely grateful to feel the cool, moist air on our skin as we got off the light rail at our stop coming home from the airport. It was still in the upper 70's here (guess it reached 86+ this weekend in Portland?) but we could smell the evergreen trees and healthy grass. The dessert was fun, but I love the green grass!
Back to real life now. (What is that, exactly? Submitted the book and then took this trip, so am still getting used to normal home life.) Hoping to get some good time to blog and do some fun projects I've been dreaming about this spring!