Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cable Car Tour Dress: A Modcloth-opy.

A few months ago I found this dress on, and just loved it.

So cute and chic! But I didn't want to pay for it, so when I saw a similar pattern on BurdaStyle, I just had to make it. I bought some basic cotton off Etsy, and started in, and ended up with this:

I made a few simple changes from the pattern (Madison), mostly in the collar, to get it to look more like the modcloth version. Here's my version:

Just a few issues with it:
-It's a little big, but with the belt added it looks great and you can't tell, so not a big deal.
-The pockets stick out a little funny, but I almost think they're supposed to. Either way, it gives me a bit more hips, so also not a big deal.
-I used leftover scraps of interfacing for the collar (I was too cheap to go out and buy more), so the back collar doesn't have quite as much body or shape as I want. Again, probably not a big deal.
-And last, the fabric. I was focused on savings and on the houndstooth, so when I bought the fabric off Etsy I didn't realize it was just quilting cotton. Not the best for clothing--it's kind of cheap feeling.  But it turned out okay. The body in the fabric works well with the pattern, as it's not supposed to be too flowing. Next time I make this, I 'd spring for the nice wool houndstooth and maybe put a lining in it.

Overall I'm pretty happy with it, and I love the way the collar stands up and just shows hints of the neck and collarbones. Modest, but almost in a teasing way, if I do say so myself! And I love the buttons. Buttons are always very nice. version: $50 on an impulse buy.
My version:$20, a lot of time, and so much more meaningful!

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Dress is Coming

It's been taking me awhile, but I'm almost finished with a new dress. It's another Burda Style pattern, slightly altered, and modeled after a object-of-lust.

Here's a hint of it:

Houndstooth--so fun!

My goal is to finish before my parents come to visit on Wednesday, and I just have a few details left, so I think I can do it.

New dress for me!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

La Calaca Comelona, or, "The Hungry Skeleton"

I realize it's a little off to post about a Mexican restaurant on St. Patrick's Day. But I'm not Irish, so St. Paddy will forgive me, I'm sure.

We tried a new restaurant on Monday night: La Calaca Comelona ("The Hungry Skeleton"), on SE 23rd and Belmont. It was an instant favorite. It's ironic, actually, because we used to live 3 blocks away from it, but never tried it. Now we live across town, but decided to make the trip. And hooray that we did, because it was so good!
 Besides a lot of burritos and taco stands, we don't actually have a good selection of tasty Mexican food around, so it was quite a nice change from a giant burrito. They make everything from scratch there, from the salsas to the tortillas, and it all tastes so delicious. A friend asked "Isn't that the place where they don't serve you chips and salsa?" Well...yes. But it doesn't matter. They do give you different salsas to drench on your food, and that's all you need. And the food!

It's inspired by central and southern traditional Mexican, and look nothing like what you'd see at the local burrito stand. They have a short menu, almost like a lunch menu, that has tacos, sopas, and tostadas to choose from, with varying ingredients, for a little as $6-7. Then the dinner menu has bigger entrees, a bit higher priced, that are delicious and wonderful.
We decided to share the pulled pork sopa: a mixture of pulled pork, cabbage, and salsa over a thick corn tortilla. And then we split the Blackberry Mole over Chicken, with pears. We just had to try that once we saw it. It was a perfect mole--a little smoky, but with a fruity taste from the blackberries. As good as that description sounds, though, we both preferred the sopa! It was a bit stronger in flavor, I think.
I sipped my horchata throughout the meal, and we gazed on the slightly creepy Day of the Dead skeletons hanging around as decor. They're brightly colored, so they come off as happily eerie. The whole atmosphere and the food all brought me back to our honeymoon in Santa Fe.

{Photos from La Calaca Comelona}

Out back of the restaurant they have a cute little garden space and an outdoor bar. It was too chilly when we went, but we'll be back! Another horchata, a few tacos, and I'll stay all night long!

Doesn't that sound way better than potatoes and green beer?
Nonetheless, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Bike, in Green

Lucky girl that I am, I get a brand new bike! And by that I mean a bike frame from Craigslist that we got painted. Hey, it's new to me.

Isn't it such a perfect color? I almost went with a purple lilac color to get in touch with my girly side more, but I'm so glad I chose this one. It's a mixte frame, which means it's good for wearing skirts with because I can step through. Jesse will tell you other things about it, like how this frame is stiffer than a normal stepthrough frame (a good thing), and other details about the construction. It's a good city-bike frame, for riding around Portland, going grocery shopping, or meeting a friend across the river for coffee. And I can wear skirts or dresses with it!

Jesse's been slowly collecting other parts for me, and some we'll take off my old bike, so now that we have a frame, the building can begin! We have a gorgeous leather Brooks saddle, new handle bar tape, and other parts that I can't describe. but are very important. Once we get it built, I want to get one of these beautiful bike purses from Poka Cycle Accessories in Toronto:
You can put on your handlebars or rack, and then just sling it across your shoulder when you're ready to go inside a shop! So stylish! They also have amazing headbadges:

I can't wait to see the finished product! I'll post updates!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Etsy Wishings for the Day

It was a slow day at work, so at lunch I found myself gazing at Etsy, and here is what I wish for.

Hungarian Scarf, from objetapetita. I just love these colors--like Saffron and Paprika. Very Hungarian indeed. Also, I particularly like browsing objetapetita's store, because she has a little story vignette with every item. It's so lovely!

Radish red Paisley secretary shirt dress from CapriciousTraveler. Oh what a perfect style! So proper and secretary like, but very sexy. At first I didn't realize this is a dress, not just a blouse and skirt. I love how the red shirt pops! This seller has a TON of great finds.

Feminine navy blue high collar blouse by CapriciousTraveler. I love the color, the dainty ruffles and high collar. It's so satisfying to wear things like this to work now that I have a job that lets me. Somehow it's just not the same wearing it to the grocery store.

Cranberry wine bow heels, 1970s, from Thrush. I can just feel these shoes going with a pencil skirt and the navy blue blouse from above. Oh, yes!

Lovely Yellow flower cotton gauze, from UniqueShiny. I can envision an adorable little blouse being sewn out of this. Cotton gauze is so light and sheer my fingers just ache to touch it! I found so many fabric samples I wanted from her store!

So there it is, a little sampling from my "favorited" tab. My budget would perhaps let me get one of these goodies, but how to decide??

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rice Pudding!

We saw this recipe while browsing the other night, and just had to make it. It looked so tasty, and when we realized we had all the ingredients just laying around, it had to be done.

It's not often that we have milk on hand, actually. Soy milk is the usual thing for cereal, and even for most cooking, so we rarely have milk. But last week I was ambitious enough to think that I would try making ricotta cheese, so we bought a gallon of whole milk. But then a cup was needed for one thing, another half a cup for something else, until there wasn't enough for ricotta anyway, so we might as well just use it all. Thus, rice pudding. She suggests floating a bay leaf in the milk for a little zing, so we tried that--honestly I couldn't taste anything. But I'm a little stuffy-nosed coughy right now, so I might not be so great at detecting the subtle flavors in foods. I did detect the sweet, sticky goodness of the pudding, though, and it was amazing!

Jesse was the one that did most of the work. Sometimes that happens: he does all the cooking, I do a lot of eating, and then I brag about it later. At least I'm good at giving credit where it's due!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hello, Spring!

It's my weekend! Since I often go a few days without even leaving the building (the curse of working in the same place you live), on weekends especially I like to make a special effort to get out. Sometimes it's hard, though, when it's a gloomy day and all I want to do is sit inside, drink tea and sew.
But this morning was a cloudy, sun-spotted, spring morning, so it was the perfect day for a bike ride to Washington Park.
A few notes about this picture.
  1) The hat. I bought it for $5 at Urban Outfitters, and I'm pretty much in love with it. Hats take a certain commitment to wear--you have to wear it knowing that some people might think you look ridiculous, but it doesn't matter, because you like it. And for $5?? Why not, I say.
2) The hill. This is only a slight hill, but it came after 5 major hills, a few stops for breathing, and a couple bike-walking intervals. I need to get more exercise.
3) And perhaps most important, The Tree in Bloom. I love these trees! Portland is full of them! It's like the world's signal that it's finally spring, and even though it might rain a few more weeks, it's okay, because things are blooming and the gray days are over.
Washington Park is up on a hill above Portland, giving it great views of the city, but also making it feel in certain places that you're nowhere near a city. Lots of trees, a Rose Garden, benches, green grass, and birds make it a perfect place to go look for Spring. Jesse and I brought some pastries and books, and took our time.
It makes me want to read The Secret Garden.

The first rose of spring!

What a good weekend morning!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I needed a quick and easy project to finish after my skirt, and I've been eyeing these mini-bloomers for awhile. The pattern is a free download from Colette Patterns--same company as the skirt.
I had an old wrap-around jersey dress that I never wore anymore, so I decided to reclaim it for this project. And in one day I whipped up my own bloomers! It's very satisfying to have an easy project you can finish in one day--especially after a long, involved one. I really like how they turned out. Next time I might make them a little bit bigger, especially the leg openings, but other than that I loved it. And they are so soft and comfy to wear!
I liked them so much that the next day I decided to take the rest of the fabric and make a little bandeau bra to go with the bloomers. Just in case I needed a matching outfit to lounge around in, you know? The bra is just a strip of fabric with elastic at the top and bottom. So no, it's not a lot of support, but it's just for lounging. Plus, it's pretty cute. I may add a ribbon detail, or even straps to it sometime, but for now it's good the way it is. Fast and easy!
It was a good detox project on my weekend. And these are both so comfy I think I will just live in them all summer--once it's warm enough!

a little ridiculous, old-school, and oh so stylish