Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Clarifying nomenclature

In yesterday's post Vreya mentioned that chickpeas and chana are synonymous, but my recipes mention both by name and mean different things, so I looked it up in a cook book I bought in India on Gujurati cooking. There is a translation list in the back, which is only marginally helpful as the English terms are British English and Americans have different names for some of the things. What we call legumes they call pulses. A whole Bengal Gram (see what I mean) is called a Channa in Hindi, split Bengel Gram is chana dal or a kind of yellow split pea. Chick peas are listed as lobia in Hindi, but I have never seen it labeled that in English in an Indian market, it either doesn't have an English name or it is labeled chick peas. There are a lot of other pulses that I use in my cooking that really don't make a lot of sense in English because they are only found in an Indian market here. The only ones that are readily found in supermarkets or health food stores are what we call black eyed peas, or field peas, and red lentils, though the Indian variety are smaller. As I said, an endless variety of vegetarian cooking.

We bought a half share in the local organic farm this year, local as being down the street local. I pick up every other Monday and we had a great haul yesterday with the weather having warmed up finally. I made the beets and Swiss chard with our salmon and polenta last night.
We also have 2 kinds of lettuce, bok choy, garlic scapes, zuchini, and the snap peas never made it home they were so good.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Eating Vegetarian

I like to plan several vegetarian meals a week not just for health or green planet concerns, but because we enjoy them. When we went to India the first time we became aware of the vast scope of Indian vegetarian cuisine. American Indian restaurants barely touch the surface, unless you happen to wander down Rt 106 in Hicksville south of Ikea. My husband loves the Dosa House a South Indian restaurant specializing in dosas as the name implies. He can actually eat dosas because they are made with lentil flour. It's a large pancake that is folded around a filling. Delicious. They also have a great thali plate. Next door and across the street are two great Indian markets with wonderful produce at good prices. He always calls when he is in the area to see what I want. Which brings me back to cooking vegetarian. I make a lot of Indian dal dishes, which is a type of yellow split pea in several variations. Last night I made chick pea and chana dal with mint sauce. The dal disolves making a thick fragrant sauce surrounding the meatier, firmer chick peas. The recipe, Paraati Chana, is from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian a wonderful, comprehensive volume of 'dishes from 5 continents touch on virtually all the world's best loved flavours for a unsurpassed selection of vegetarian fare'. It is a fabulous book and I have never been disappointed by anything I've made.
Dishes like this freeze well, so even though it is a fairly long and somewhat complicated dish, it made 4 generous meals, 3 going into the freezer.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vera Wang Lavender

Like a lot of people I bought some of the Lavender line fabrics that Fabric.com is selling. I bought 5 yards each of the black and charcoal wool jersey. Meh. It is a single knit(some people thought it wasn't), but heavy and not much stretch. They did say only 15% stretch, which isn't much at all.
I had visions of a Donna Karan like dress. Not happening with this stuff. I don't even know if I'd make a cardigan out of it because the feel of it is rather harsh. I wasn't going to buy anything at all because I figured that if so much of the line was polyester, which I don't wear, I wouldn't like the rest of it either. Then I got their 20% off anniversary coupon and I clicked my mouse. I bought some wool jersey in January at Paron Annex that is gorgeous and it was about the same price as this. At least Fabric.com takes returns, which is a pretty good deal.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dust Free Living Room

Seth finished most of the living room before my sister and bil came to stay. Here it is in it's dust free cleanliness! We still have trim on the staircase side and the staircase to paint. Should not be as big a mess. I hope.

Here, for my daughter Alex, is a picture of our dog Nicky.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bits and Pieces and This and That

My visit to New York last week included a very rushed visit to the garment district, of course! I wasn't really looking for fabric, but I wanted to get the Riri zippers for my motorcycle jacket. When you zoom in close to the Oscar de la Renta jacket the brand name is clearly visible. I bought the satin finish open end zipper just like the original, one 18" open end and 4 6" zippers for the pockets and sleeves. $68 dollars. I know I could have bought YKK for less, but the fabric is worth it. They make them up for you while you wait, maybe 10 minutes.

While I was waiting I browsed the store, and I found what I've been looking for in NY, Petersham ribbon! They have it labeled as rayon grosgrain, but it has the proper loops at the edges and it's half the price at $1.50 a yard for 1 1/2" wide that I paid $3.09 a yard on line. They just don't know what to call this stuff, so how can you find it when you ask for it?
See those edges? That's what enables you to steam this into shape. They have it in a lot of widths and colors.

My Jacket

Progress, even though I put my back out yesterday. Again. I have not been religious about doing my back exercises so this is my payback. I have stenosis of the spine, so I really need to keep up my exercises.
I made the pockets this weekend and sewed most of the lining together. That's the coral color on the left. Burda says to hem the jacket first and then sew on the pockets. I didn't because it would be impossible to bag my lining that way. I pressed up the hem and placed the pocket on the fold. I also decided to leave off the belt loops and I enlarged the pockets. They were so small that after the topstitching I'd be hard pressed to put my hand in them. But, then again if you make them following Burda's instructions, you can't put your hand in the pocket anyway. They have you put a buttonhole in both the loop and the pocket and button the two together. As I said, no way to actually use the pockets.

The collar and lapel still need to be topstitched.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers Day and the $200 pair of jeans

The weather today is conducive to retreating indoors and laziness. Considering how hard my dh has been working lately, he deserves the day off. Our children are not physically close, but they both called and sent cards. Seth has always been a terrific hands on dad generous with himself and his time. Happy Fathers day!

The $200 Pair of Jeans

I didn't do much sewing this week with my sister and bil visiting, but I did hem her high end Citizens of Humanity jeans. There is a recent thread on Pattern Review about sewing and fitting jeans with a lot written on flat fell seams and that the industry can make a pair of jeans in 16 minutes with a machine for everthing including the flat fell finish. These pants are made in LA as the label clearly states and I assume at one of the small factories that specialize in making jeans. But there isn't a flat fell seam in sight. The inseam is is serged together, pressed to one side and topstitche. The outseam is pressed open. The fit is unbelievable on these, and while maybe not worth $200, certainly worth what she paid on sale. She bought these at a place called Rear Ends, and boy do these make her rear look great! The side seam comes forward about 2 or 3" past the normal side seam and adds to the slimming, flattering fit. The fabric has 2% lycra. Enough for comfort but not enough to have them falling down after a days wear. The finishes on these are very much within the capabilities of the home sewer.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Whine, whine, whine

My goodness, if my kids whined the way I did in my last post I'd certainly call them on it! I apologize for all the complaining. Blame it on the weather, the rain continues.
The house is progressing nicely and I love the color. As I am putting it back together I am also editing out and de cluttering. I do have to remind my dh that no, we do not need to keep broken things or the cassettes and player that I can't remember when it was last used!

I usually pass by reviews of baby clothes and patterns, after all I haven't had little ones for quite a while. But, now that my son and his wife are expecting!!! I have to decide whether I want to make baby things. I started looking around for cute patterns and the big 4 are sorely lacking in anything interesting.
Ottobre magazine is a big step up and BWOF has the cutest childrens things, but no baby stuff that I can remember. I probably won't make infant things; it really doesn't interest me, but when he or she gets older I may be tempted.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Progress and setbacks.

The Burda jacket is coming along slowly. I was sidelined by putting my back out over the weekend while helping DH move our extremely heavy dining room table back into place. I am feeling better now but I can't seem to get my sewing mojo back. The jacket shell is together, but when I went to sew the lining, I realized that I had neglected to make a piece for the side back. Woops! No more lining fabric. I found a silk charmeuse in my stash in a kind of coral color that I bought from Fashion Fabrics Club and it wasn't exactly the color I thought it would be, but it works for the lining. While I washed and dried it I cut out the cotton knit Hot Patterns Weekender Sunshine top. The lining is now cut and ready to sew. But, am I sewing it? No, I am working on a pattern for a knit dress. I seem to spend more time working on patterns lately than sewing.

I can't seem to concentrate on finishing anything and then I read in Trina's blog that she sewed four projects in four days! Not simple tops, either, but some great dresses. I am so envious of her ability to just sew until it's done. I'd be happy with even a fraction of her output. Only when I have a real deadline do I manage to get things done that quickly. But not even then. Four projects in four days? I can't even finish a simple knit top in a day.
How to better manage my time is really the question. One thing is to stop wasting so much time on the computer! It is next to my sewing machines and it calls to me whenever I am having a hard time with a project. It is the great time waster in my life.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Snoop shopping

At least on line at Net a Porter. I swear I have this fabric, or one that's pretty close to it. I bought 2 yards of Oscar de la Renta wool blend boucle on sale from Fine fabrics last winter and it has been waiting for inspiration. I love this casual style in a dressier fabric. Wow, a boucle motorcycle jacket! I don't know how this would look on me, but there are several patterns available for jackets very similar to this one. I even have them in several issues of Burda magazine. I would make a muslin of this just because I am unsure of the look on me. But the length is about right and easy to adjust anyway. It has very few details, so a pretty easy jacket to make. Inspiration at last!

Sewing going on, really!

My black silk t shirt with lace sleeve is done as are the black linen pants except for the hem and my jacket is coming along fabulously. I added shoulder pads to it because they are flattering to my sloping shoulders and big shoulder look is back. These are not that big by any stretch of the imagination! I have too short a neck for that, but I like how they balance my hips. I have one low shoulder so I like the ability to even them out. It gets rid of drag wrinkles too without having to really lower the shoulder too much.

This fits me much better than Zelda. Unfortunately her bust has dropped a bit; in real life there are no drag lines. This is silk jersey and I had a b* of a time sewing it. The thread kept shredding. I changed types of needles and ended up using a microtex needle on it and changing thread with better results. Here is a picture of the sleeves before I inserted them and you can see the fabric more clearly. I cut them on the cross grain to take advantage of the net selvedge and left the hems unfinished. You really can't tell the difference between the straight and cross grain on this because the flowers are sewn on in a truly random pattern. The fabric is a leftover from a skirt I made a few years ago and came from Emmaonesock. This is from my V8151 tnt t shirt. It was tricky figuring out how much to add to the sleeve because this fabric isn't a knit. It worked, but I need to narrow the front chest on the pattern and make the sleeve cap a little wider to fit me better. In a knit it isn't so critical because of the stretch, but these sleeves showcases that the fit isn't perfect.

Next up is finishing my jacket and cutting out a couple of tops. The Hot Patterns Sunshine top in white cotton knit and maybe another animal print top.

My house is almost back to normal! My stereo is hooked up again and that makes me happy.