Sunday, January 26, 2014

Wrap Coat + Electric Blue Fur = 7 Pounds of Awesome



And, if you thought it couldn't get any more awesome, ladies and gentlemen...

That electric blue fur collar is completely detachable. :D

(Not like anyone would ever actually want to go without such a glorious turquoise mantle, but for the sake of versatility and laundering.)

This work has been in-progress for so long, it's almost embarrassing. I made the coat over a year ago, and the fur came before the outerwear. 

I found this fur at the Mood in New York. It was not a case of love at first sight; I was inclined to jest at the nearly phosphorescent nature of the fabric. Fortunately for my wardrobe, it was a case of love at first touch. I will endeavor to help you comprehend through visuals the textural euphoria of this textile:

Friday, January 24, 2014

My First Time Making Fresh Pasta

So I finally had a chance to break out my new Christmas present...

It's a pasta-roller attachment for my mixer. It rolls the pasta dough out for you mechanically so you have two hands free for the really long diaphanous sheet that is the final product. It's a super nice machine and I was excited about it, because I have been talking about rolling out pasta with a dowel for a really long time and, predictably, have never yet gotten around to it.

There are actually three attachments: one to roll our your sheet to the desired thickness, and another two for splitting it into spaghetti or linguine noodles. I decided to make ravioli, but now that I've gotten the hang of it I'll probably make a go for homemade spaghetti!
I ended up making two batches of dough. I did the first one manually. It just doesn't feel like you can claim you've actually made pasta until you've kneaded some by hand!

Unfortunately for my romantic pasta-related ambitions, I have never made it before, so I pretty much copied the ratio and the technique from this YouTube video posted by a very nice man who clearly knows much more about pasta than I do. You know what, I'm just going to embed it in my blog so you can learn from the expert.

I was pretty giddy when my finished product looked like pasta dough :D

It was at this point that I was informed that we would be having three extra high-school-aged boys for dinner and that we would probably need more pasta. I thought I would experiment with the second batch and try making the pasta dough completely mechanically, which, if it worked, would be much more convenient in the future. 

I also used a different recipe that lent itself more easily to combining in a mixer, this one containing olive oil instead of just flower and eggs. 

Guess which one worked better. :(  So much for being an honorary Italian ;) 

What happened is when I tried to thread the hand-kneaded dough through the roller-attachment, it was developing these strange pockmark-like indentations, in contrast to the mixer-formed dough, which smoothed out very nicely into a strong, stretchy, translucent sheet that could be rolled very thin. It could be because I refrigerated the hand-kneaded dough, which apparently you're not supposed to do, or it could be that the addition of the olive oil in the second recipe helped everything come together better, or it could be that I am an incompetent kneader, which is not entirely out of the question!

At any rate, both of the doughs I made were functional (and delicious!), so I am posting both recipes/techniques. If anyone has any tips or input about preferred pasta-making methods, please comment!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


It has come to my attention that except for its foray into my pumpkin bread, there has been no chocolate on this blog yet!!!

And I call myself a baker.

It's ok, because believe it or not I can redeem myself. In a single individual confection, within the confines of a 4-inch-wide ramekin. Without floof or decoration. Just chocolaty goodness.

I present...the molten chocolate cake.

It is a rich, decadent dessert, served piping hot and still syrupy in the center, with a dollop of melting whipped cream to cut the depth of the chocolate. In my quest to define this cake-encircled elixir of sugared cocoa, I asked my younger brother to define my molten chocolate cakes. He replied "It's something that I want...and don't have."

That pretty much covers this dessert's role in my family. Either I am making them for my brothers or I am receiving injunctions to produce them. Bottom line: they are delicious.

They are also deceptively impressive, because they have to be served right out of the oven. That's really just a matter of putting them in 15 minutes before dessert is served, but it's a flair that cannot be purchased in a store. They're a great dessert for a dinner party, since they're elegant, remarkable, and yet quick and easy to put out once it's time to eat.

So without further ado--I give you--a unique staple of my dessert repertoire:

V1316--Chic & Sophisticated Rebecca Taylor Blocked Dress

Yes! Here it is: after two missed deadlines, several angsty late nights, and perhaps unwarranted fabric bashing, the finished masterpiece!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Knew I Hated Stretchy Fabric

So I really don't prefer stretchy fabric. I think it's because of my dogmatic aversion to making basic, casual clothing in favor of unique, attention-grabbing eveningwear (and also since I have a uniform that's kind of casual clothes out the window). Stretchy fabric is often reminiscent of sweatclothes or cheap sausage dresses

because they look like a sausage casing
and if I wanted those I could go to Target. Besides, I like  nice fabric. Can you blame me?

But my mom does contains some notable exceptions in her interminable fabric armoire. Before Christmas, I really wanted a new dress to wear to my family's annual Christmas Lunch. So much so that I deluded myself that I could whip up a new one in three days right before, between, and across final exams.

I scrounged (ok it's more like free shopping) for an appropriate pattern-fabric combination. I was inspired by a white, beaded, beautiful but sparse swatch. I had other fabric to pair it with, I just needed an appropriate pattern to...

Vogue 1316, Rebecca Taylor. I've loved this pattern since I bought it off the Vogue Patterns website, and now I could throw it together at home without pursuing four different coordinating textiles in half-yard increments at a store!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What's high tea without scones?

And what better occasion for high tea than the SEASON 4 PREMIER OF DOWNTON ABBEY TONIGHT?!?!

I am a pretty big Downton Abbey fan. A few main reasons: it is one of the few shows I can watch live, the costumes are awesome, I appreciate everyone's diction, it's not completely stupid like most TV, and I think I am Lady Mary :/ To be sure (and I'm pretty sure, because I've watched the available footage an embarrassing number of times), I haven't ever seen an actual scone on the show.

See, Granny's frowning at my Photoshopping. Photo from
But we're Americans! Apparently we don't let tradition or order deter us! And besides, if we all followed the dietary examples of our virtual British counterparts, we would all probably be eating more silver polish than actual nutrients. So in honor (in spite?) of today's long-awaited television event, I give you: arguably the best English food you will ever taste.

My mom has been making these scones for years. There's usually a batch baking around my house about Christmastime, but I'd say they're fair game any time of year. Also, they can take about whatever type of zest and dried fruit you have sitting around the house (Actually, I haven't tried scones with lime zest...would that be disgusting?).

This is the first time I've made them, and they're actually really easy Sybil could probably make them!

The only catch seems to be to steer clear of over-kneading/mixing, which can easily be avoided if you do it by hand.

I dare you to whip up a batch before (while?) you watch the riveting* and breathtaking* new episode of Downton Abbey. Maybe I'll take a shot at those lime ones!

*This is what Anelise hopes at least...but a car crash, really? I can only hope Season 4 lives up to my awesome scones ;) 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Gorgeous green zigzag wool shaped like a dress

I have had my eye on this fabric since I was able to put a garment together.

Isn't it beautiful? It's a woven wool, and it gives a little but doesn't stretch. I love the rich green color, which is interspersed with turquoise, brown, and even threads of orange. The zigzag pattern makes it interesting but it's subtle enough not to be obnoxious. The only reason I didn't make use of this beautiful textile immediately is because I was waiting to find the perfect garment to make out of it.

And then, after discovering this BEAUTIFUL piece in my mother's fabric stash, I found this in my  mom's pattern stash...

Before you scream, charge me with fabric abuse and sue for possession, check in the bottom lefthand corner
Pretty good catch, huh?
It's a simpler design than I usually go for. Usually I gravitate towards more architecturally complicated designs, because they are more brag-worthy and you're less likely to find something comparable in a store.

But in this case, it would be quick to make and I liked the cowl and the fabric was so beautiful that the garment was sure to be gorgeous in any case, so I went for it.