Friday, June 25, 2010

A Date Night Smorgasbord

Our housemates are gone for the weekend, so Jesse and I enjoyed a little date night in a home to ourselves. He went to the farmer's market and made me dinner, which was devoured without taking any pictures. Grilled asparagus, fresh beets, and a tomato salad were enjoyed tremendously.

After that settled, we moved on to dessert!

Don't mind the incredibly messy coffee table. What you see are two of our choice cheeses from Cheese Bar (both delicious), and three macaroons (pistachio, lemon mango, and cinnamon) and two truffles (Bleu Cheese and Chipotle Pepper), all from Pix Patisserie down the road. Yes, the bleu cheese truffle was quite good.

What you don't see is a chocolate brioche, a bit of wine, and us canoodling in enjoyment. Ah, I love food.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I am in Love with Cheese

And my fix can now be satisfied at our local Cheese Bar! Oh joy! Jubilation! Excitement! This is my new favorite spot for a date, located on SE 60th and Belmont.
Jesse and I wandered over there last night--it's walkable from our house, but I think biking would be a bit better, just to get to the cheese faster.

They have a chalkboard with a rotating menu of sandwiches, salads, and a soup, and then you can also order a cheese or meat plate, olives, baguette, beer, and wine. Jesse and I went for Sandwiches #1 and #2. #1 had fontina cheese, prosciutto, greens, and tomato-balsamic dressing. #2 had sheep's cheese and arugula, both served on a demi-baguette. They were both delicious, though more of a tapas feel than a whole meal.
 And then of course we got a cheese plate. It was three European cheeses, which our waiter thoroughly explained, served with baguette slices and plum chutney. My favorite was the goat's cheese Brie-type one, of which the name has completely left me despite all the goodness.
It was all amazing. The staff was so helpful and friendly, giving us samples of beer and cheese to try, helping us find exactly what we wanted. We went home with 2 little wrapped bundles of deliciousness--one a sheep's milk from Italy that fit Jesse's wish of "something pungent," and another a creamy goat's milk that will balance the pungent one perfectly! They are safely wrapped in paper, chilling out in our fridge until a later time.
The knowledge that they are sitting there is delicious and naughty, like knowing you're going on a fancy date later. And I will be! These cheeses deserve to be dressed up for! Have a table set for them, with fancy goblets of wine and crusty breads on rarely-used special dishes.  Well, hello, Mr. Cheese. Welcome to my plate.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Redemption of a Shirt

Awhile ago I made this shirt, my Art Nouveau Sencha, that I wasn't too happy with. I loved loved loved the fabric, but the fit was just so frustrating that by the time I finished I just hung the shirt in my closet and moved on to the next project.

Today I came across it, and thought I'd give it one more chance. Sometimes I anthropomorphize things a bit too much, maybe? I didn't want the shirt to feel bad about itself! So I tried it again. And you know what? I got so many compliments on it at work! My co-worker assured me it looked great, and doesn't even make my chest look flatter.

And then--here's the real redemption--the waitress at the Indian restaurant at lunch told me she loved it. Not even liked--loved. Those are the best compliments, when complete strangers feel moved enough to speak up. My co-workers may have felt some obligation to say they liked it, in the hopes of continued workplace peace, but a waitress doesn't really care about me after I walk away. Hooray for random compliments!

The shirt is redeemed!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cabo San Sundress

I've been finishing up my projects left and right, so prepare for an influx! I just need some photos now.
First in the Summer Dress Series is what I like to call Cabo San Sundress. I also like to sing those words to myself, to the tune of Viva Las Vegas. Whenever I wear this dress, I will probably have that stuck in my head. Just to warn anyone around me.
This pattern is one I got forever ago--before Christmas, even, and just never touched. I even have pretty purple chiffon fabric for it that is still waiting to be cut. (Why is it waiting? Probably because I'm scared of sewing chiffon.)
But when I was at Bolt for their big Spring Sale, I had my upcoming vacation to Cabo San Lucas in mind, and this fabric caught my eye. It's perfect for a Mexican fiesta-trip! What's happier than a brightly colored Day of the Dead sundress? And so apropos, too. I matched the fabric to some yellow accenting cotton with this pattern in mind, and proceeded to cut in.
I love the fullness of the skirt. And of course, pockets. I lowered the neckline a bit, which I like better, as well. But I had a bit of a hard time with the bust. As always. I did a small-bust adjustment, where I took out some of the fullness, but even with that I ended up with a lot of leftover gathers, and I needed to take it in a bit more. Or just add some kleenex...
In all, it turned out really well. I'm actually glad I tried this pattern out in a cotton first, just to see how it fits. Now I know what adjustments to make before cutting into my purple chiffon! The next one will hopefully come out a bit cleaner, but for a fun summery sundress, I'm quite happy with this one!
On a side note: some may think that brightly-colored skulls might be a bit strange to wear in a happy sundress. Though I am in no way Mexican, from what I understand the Day of the Dead holiday is a riotous, happy, parading good time that celebrates the lives of those who are no longer with us along with the lives of those who are. Because really, we could all use more celebrating.
And more sundresses.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Musings of the Day: Wrongness

I like to ease into the day at work by sipping a hot beverage and browsing online news (I like to think I make up for it in soaring productivity afterwards). Lately my browsee of choice has been the online magazine
, where I can find articles covering everything from the oil spill, the latest How I Met Your Mother, thoughts on governmental policy, and advice columns.
They've been running a blog called the Wrong Stuff the last few weeks, which leads to my Musings of the Day: Wrongness and Mistakes.
I've had a lot of opportunity to make mistakes over the past year or so--starting a new job, figuring out how to sew, a first year of marriage...all of these are inherent with making scads of mistakes, some dumb, like when I forgot to include paper in our office supply order, some honest, like not someone's prefence to keep the conference chairs the same height.
In all the situations, though, I was wrong. A lot. And I had to admit it, as it was usually quite obvious. 
There's something huge in being able to admit you're wrong. And something so valuable in it, because that's how you get better. When I'm sewing, I'm wrong all the time. It's a wonder to me how my clothes actually stay on me, because about 80% of the time I'm working on it, I'm glazing over all these mistakes or just making it up as I go. But you know, my zippers have gotten better. I understand why you "press" interfacing and don't "iron" it. I'm better at taking my own measurements before deciding what size to make. And I don't wash my fabric right after Jesse bleaches his white shirts anymore.
All the same, the other night I was laying out pattern pieces to make a pretty new blouse with some pretty silky fabric, and about halfway through cutting, I realized the stripes were running the wrong way. Who makes a blouse with horizontal stripes? Apparently, I do. A few moments of thinking could have prevented that, but instead I just charged in. And now I am faced with either saying "Oops, I messed up," and thinking of something else to use it for, or saying "No, horizontal stripes are the new style," and spending hours matching up those dumb lines. I still haven't decided which road I'm taking.
In Slate's blog, the author interview's NPR's Ira Glass, who has this to say:
"Well, I register the danger that [something] might not work. But honestly sometimes you have to just do it. There are definitely interviews that we all go into knowing, "Ehhhhh, here's all the things that can go wrong and here's the one or two things that it can go right." And you just gotta do it.
I had this experience a couple of years ago where I got to sit in on the editorial meeting at the Onion. Every Monday they have to come up with like 17 or 18 headlines, and to do that, they generate 600 headlines per week. I feel like that's why it's good: because they are willing to be wrong 583 times to be right 17. "

Imagine saying you're wrong 583 times. In a row. Ug.

And yet, there's something thrilling about a culture where it's okay to really screw up. Creativity is actually just a willingness to be very, very wrong, and once in awhile be right. So, I admit. I messed up my blouse. It might be a wreck. But it just might work out.

I'll let you know.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Birthday Shirt for the Birthday Boy. Excuse me, Man.

I started a shirt for Jesse months and months ago, and have been so delayed in getting it done that it was his birthday by the time I finished! I planned that, of course.
I need to officially call this project a practice. This shirt has so many mistakes, flaws, and mis-sews in it that it would never fly on someone who wasn't obligated to love me. Look at him, so handsome in his giant shirt.
It seems like whenever I get confident in sewing, I come across a project that just flattens me, runs me over, and leaves me lying by the side of the road with my crooked seams and uneven sleeves. This was one of those projects.
The collar is huge. That's not my fault, since I was following the pattern. But still.
The buttons are on the wrong side. And I purposely tried to avoid that!
The cuffs face the same way, on both sleeves. Awesome. Good thing he's rolled them up here.
It's way too big, overall. I took in the sides, so that fits okay, but the shoulders sag down his arm, and the open chest/neck kind of evokes pirate to me...
Though surprisingly, I wasn't too dejected about any of it. It was my first foray into menswear, so I think I expected some road bumps. And the end product looks like a shirt (which was my aim, you know), so I'm happy enough. Now I think I know what to expect enough to be able to try again on nicer fabric, hopefully with better results. But what a pain! I'm going back to dresses for awhile. Sew a sack, put a belt around it, and you've got yourself a finished product.

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