July 31, 2011

Antique Typewriter!

  Yesterday my fiancĂ© and I went shopping around town.  We bought our wedding rings at Jewelers Row and went to a few antique markets in Edgewater.  One of the best items we bought at the market was a typewriter.  It was only $20 because it moves around in its casing and had chipped paint.  But all of the keys still worked so I went for it.

Once I got it home I sanded down the outside and painted it.  I also found out that the ribbon with it still had some ink on it!  Here’s the end product!

We also bought a 1950’s overnight bag.  Though it doesn’t need any work to it besides a good cleaning. 

July 28, 2011

Mouth Watering BBQ Ribs

I made some fantastic ribs last night... and coming from me, you know that must mean they are good.  I love ribs.  I combined a few recipes that I've used in the past to make this one.  The ribs turn out really well with a nice mix of falling off the bone and crispy on the outside.

Becky's BBQ Ribs

Rack of ribs
Garlic powder
Bottle of BBQ sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Put aluminum foil on a baking sheet.  Cover the ribs liberally in garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Wrap the foil around the ribs so it is closed in.

Cook for one hour at 350 degrees.  While cooking, preheat your grill.

Take the ribs out of the oven and out of the foil.  Cover in BBQ sauce.  Put on heated grill for about 5-7 minutes per side, adding more BBQ sauce each time you flip it over.  The sauce will get thicker and you will see the outside of the ribs get crispy.

And enjoy!

July 27, 2011

Sewing Challenge: Nautical Theme

This week’s sewing theme is Nautical.  I’m not big on Nautical designs, but I’ve missed the past few weeks since I’ve been so busy so I thought I’d try my hand at a modified nautical look.

I took inspiration from the big nautical collars and striping.  Instead of using blue stripes, I went for red.  And instead of the usual large collars, I picked a pattern that had a unique collar to it.

I’ve had this red striped fabric around for years, but hadn’t done anything with it since it is all slippery.  (Not that fabric above, that's just an example of red and blue nautical fabric.)  Sewing slippery fabric is one of the most annoying things to me.  Actually it might be the most annoying for me. 

I bought this retro pattern earlier this year because I fell in love with the great lines of it.  I knew I was never going to make it floor length, but I thought it would do pretty well as a knee length dress too.

I can usually whip up a dress in one night without too much trouble.  This one is definitely a two day project.  The top alone has 8 pieces of fabric and 8 pieces of lining, with numerous sections that needed to be gathered.  The skirt was an additional 4 pieces and if I had decided to line it too then it would have been 4 more. 

I laid out the fabric and made sure that Zoey was comfortably asleep on the couch so she wouldn’t try to walk all over it.  Usually when I’m cutting I don’t use pins to save time, but in this case I wasn’t going to take any chances. 

After cutting it, I had to sew around all of the edges so it wouldn’t fray.  I hate doing this too since it takes so long.  Silky fabric all around sucks…

Once all the prep work was done, I could get started on the actual construction.  This took most of the night since there was such small detail work and it’s not easy to iron silky materials.  But by the end of the night I had it all put together.  Thought the directions it came with was missing important pieces.  I could figure out what I needed to do, but it was still annoying.

My second day of work was mostly to do the fitting of the dress.  I had to take out the hips, take in the waist, sew up the front, and hem. 

Here’s the final dress.  The hardest part of wearing this is going to be keeping the seam straight on the front!  It keeps shifting as I move.

What is your least favorite type of fabric to work with? 

July 26, 2011

T-minus 2 Months

Wow… our wedding is nearly 2 months away!  I guess I really have to get down finishing the planning.  I did most of the big planning last year, so there wasn’t too much to get done, until now.  Now it’s hitting crunch time. 

We’re waiting on RSVPs back in the mail.  We had some fun with them by designing creative responses for our friends.  We gave them more choices besides the traditional “Gladly Attend” and “Regretfully Decline.”

We’ve been getting some fantastic DIY gifts too.  Including an heirloom table from my family that has previously been my great grandparent’s and a set of mugs.  I don't have a photo of the mugs yet.  I'll have to take one when they are both clean.

I’m still on the lookout for some antiques to decorate the reception location, such as a typewriter and some suitcases.  But if I don’t find those it’s not a big thing.  There’s an antique mall here in Chicago that I’ve been meaning to check out.  I’ve heard great things about it; I just have to find some time to go see it.

My fiancĂ© and I have to start looking for rings too.  I’m having trouble figuring out what style of ring I want as my wedding ring.  I know I don’t want anything with stones in it and I’d love it to somehow match/go along with my engagement ring.  Anyone have any ideas?

I think beyond that is lots of little things, like making sure decorations are done, doing some sewing crafts, etc. 

I'm thinking of making something like this for our dog to wear down the aisle.  Though I might just have her wear a flower and not deal with carrying the rings.  That scares me too much.

Any advice on elements we should add to our vintage and fall wedding?

July 25, 2011

Cake Time!

With my parents in town I decided to make a cake.  My plan had been to make an angel food cake with blood orange filling and buttercream icing.  

The worst part of it all was making everything without a stand mixer.  Lots and lots of beating of egg whites and all. 

We couldn’t get blood oranges at our grocery store, I guess they’re out of season… So I substituted it with a grapefruit. 

The end product looked pretty good, but I personally didn’t like the taste too much.  I put it in the fridge since I didn’t want the buttercream sitting out for a day and it made the whole cake too hard.  And the buttercream for me was really buttery.  There was lots of butter in it so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

I added the fondant bow to the top.  It started to crumble and fell to pieces when I tried to remove it to cut it. 


July 24, 2011

Stress Baking

Does anyone else craft when they are stressed out?  I often want to bake.  Not eat the stuff, just make it.  The last few days have sucked for me so I came home very stressed out.  After sitting around for a while feeling miserable, I decided to bake.

This weekend my parents are coming to town and I was planning on making them a cake.  A homemade angel food cake with blood orange icing filling and buttercream icing on the outside.  I wasn't sure how I was going to decorate the outside of it though.  I had a recipe for marshmallow fondant in my book.  I have always found fondant to taste disgusting, but you can do pretty cool things with it.  The reviews for this recipe were saying that it tasted amazing, so I thought I would give it a chance.  I decided to try making a fondant bow.

The ingredients were simple.  I just had to buy some marshmallows and I already had the powdered sugar, vanilla, shortening, and food coloring in my cabinet.  I put everything together and went to kneading it.  I got my workout just trying to knead it.  But it eventually all kneaded together.  I stuck it in the fridge for a bit to firm up.

After taking it out I rolled it flat and cut it into strips.  After forming the pieces, I sat it out to dry for about an hour.

Then the assembly started.

And the final bow.

You'll have to check back in to see how the cake turned out too!

July 22, 2011

How to Find the Time...

I have surprisingly had little time to craft this week.  I have about ½ dozen projects that are in the middle of being done, but nothing completely finished that I can show… sorry.  But coming soon I’ll be able to show you my chalkboard globe, my Hitchcock inspired outfit, and some fantastic food that will be made this weekend, including an angel food cake with grapefruit icing and pineapple soy burgers.

My parents are coming to visit this weekend too, so that means even less time for crafting, but at least it will still be a fun weekend!

How do you find time to do your crafting each week? 

July 20, 2011

Food... drool...... drool......

I have a favorite website that I could waste the rest of my life on.


I am a visual person when it comes to cooking.  When I look through recipe books, I just pick out the recipes that have good looking photos with them.  When I found out about foodgawker.com, I about lost my mind.  It’s a sight full of photos upon photos of amazing looking food, and most of them have recipes to go along with them!  I have a cookbook filled with recipes from there. 

This is where I've found recipes for things such as...

PS- They also have Craftgawker.com and Weddinggawker.com!

July 19, 2011

Furniture Re-Do

Here’s an update to the furniture I redid in an earlier post on this blog.

We used the furniture as is for a few weeks now.  It is already getting little scratches in it and showing marks from where our hands and feet have touched it.  So I’m going to go ahead and add on a layer of polyurethane. 

Now let’s hope that I holds up better with this layer!  It should give it a nice smooth surface now and it won’t feel like we’re always touching our walls…

Though it does have to sit for about 72 hours to fully dry…

We went away for the weekend to our bridal shower so we, luckily, didn't have to sit in the apartmetn with the fumes all weekend.  But we did have a very goofy and very sleepy dog in the car for most of the trip.

July 15, 2011

Sewing Table

This weekend I received the best gift ever.  Well maybe not ever, but it’s something that I have been wanting for years.  I received a vintage sewing machine.  It’s in a table and everything.  I got it from my friend Megan (who also has a blog over at Meg the Grand).

The condition of the table isn’t very good.  My original plan was going to be to attempt to restore it to its original condition.

I sprained my toe this weekend too, so I couldn’t do very much on Sunday.  This table became my project.  I started off sanding it.  I spent at least an hour just sanding the top of it.  It helped… a bit… but not enough to make a big difference.  Maybe if I had a belt sander or something heavy duty like that it would have been more successful.  After what seemed like forever (about two episodes of Doctor Who, which I started watching the series when I started on my project), I gave up on the sanding.  It hadn’t made enough of a difference and I had spent so much time just on the top.  There was so much other surface to go!

I decided to just paint it the same way I had done the bedroom furniture.  It loses the wood, which makes me sad, but it was the only way I could figure out to make it look nice and new.  Well sort of new… it’s an antique, so it’s not like it’s going to look new exactly.  I even thought about just leaving it with a weathered look, but only the top looked weathered, not the rest of it. 

I went to work painting it, being very careful not to drip any paint on the floor… I forgot to put a sheet until I had painted a good amount. 
The rest of the bedroom furniture that I had previously painted wasn’t holding up as well as I had wanted.  The paint was showing little scratches and anytime you touched it, you’d see white splotches.  I went out and bought some gloss polyurethane to paint on top of the paint.  This project, on the rest of the furniture, will be completed later this week.

Oh, and wow doesn't polyurethane smell bad.  I was fine while painting it, but even with all of the windows open and fans going, I still woke up with a huge headache.  And my hands are covered in polyurethane... and it doesn't want to come off.  This is where I need some paint thinner...

After the paint had dried on the table (I let it sit overnight), I painted the polyurethane on then.  It says to let it sit for at least a day to dry and longer before you put anything on it.  So it’s going to hang out in our living room for a while just looking pretty.  Even though that is what it’s going to be doing most of the time anyways.  The bobbin doesn’t work right now.

Here it is hanging out to dry!

And the finished product!!!

Now I just have to do some work to figure out how to fix the bobbin!

July 14, 2011

Work Dresses

I always have so much trouble finding things that I’ve sewn that are appropriate for work.  Most of my sundresses are too casual or my formal dresses would look way too out of place.  This year I have been consciously trying to sew more dresses that I can wear to work. 

For the blue dress I used Butterick pattern 5603.  I had this fabric sitting in my box for years.  I was going to make a pair of comfy cargo capri pants out of it.  I never got around to it and when I got this pattern, it just seemed so perfect for it.  This dress looks great for work, but is one of the comfiest things I own.  Win Win!

I started with style B.  The darts were too short, so lengthened them.  Also I didn't want to have the ties sticking up on the shoulders (so it could be more work approriate).  After making the dress I decided to add the fabric at the shoulders to make it a bit more interesting. 

For the black and white dress, I used this New Look pattern.

I was going to sell this one after I made it because the bust was a bit too small, but every time I wear it I get lots of compliments so I guess it isn’t too noticeable!

July 13, 2011

Another Vintage Inspired Dress

My latest sewing venture continued in my recent pattern of not using directions/one pattern.  This one combined two patterns, Butterick 6582 and 5603.  I really like the bottom of 6582 and have used it on a few dresses now.  The fit is fantastic on it and I love the lines.  The top of the dress is much higher on my neck than I wanted though.  I thought the neckline of C on 5603 would be what I wanted, so I started with that.   

What ended up happening is the neckline was just as high as the other pattern!  So I lowered it to make the neckline I wanted.  I also made the darts deeper, and sewed down the overlay.  It turned out really well and I can’t wait to wear it… though I need some hooks and eyes before I can wear it out… I really need to get those.

The fabric is red and green although it looks orange when put all together.

Sometime I should redraw the top of this pattern on some paper so I can easily make it again another time.  That would make the most sense anyways.

 I’m in the mood to make a trench coat.  But I don’t have any of the right fabric around here.  And there aren’t any fabric stores close by me.  Fail all around.