Tuesday, June 17, 2014

summer things

There are a few things that I really don’t like. I usually try to offset them with things that I like a lot. Example: green beans and chocolate desserts (though not at the same time). Despite having grown up in the land of two seasons, warm and hot, I really hate summer. I hate the heat; I hate the inside temperatures that can reach 90 degrees when the swamp coolers become inefficient and fail to really provide some cooling. I really am trying to appreciate the summertime, because I would hope to enjoy all the seasons, but it’s a struggle.

So I’m accompanying it with things I like:

...daydream sewing: I want to make a Gabriola skirt and Simplicity 1587 (mainly because I have the pattern).

…running through the sprinklers and getting soaking wet

...reading beautiful blogs: right now, I'm slowly wandering through The Clothes Horse. Rebecca has a style that is so, so lovely, and she's inspiring my dream fall style (gotta get to sewing!)

....Call the Midwife in all its late fifties glory

…squares of dark chocolate as a reward for not complaining too much

…wearing pretty sundresses because they make me feel better about the triple digit temperatures

…reading recipe after recipe that requires heat, in fond memory of the time when it wasn’t too hot to cook--like this kale pizza Emma made or these pumpkin cupcakes from Sally. I miss pumpkin.

…cherry popsicles that paint my lips red

...doo wop and musicals and what my brother calls "hipster music"

...playing interior decorator in my head. I love these curtains!

…dreaming about that first snap of fall, when the mornings go from being a brief respite from the heat to being a crisp, cool herald of things to come.

I hope your summer so far has been filled with popsicles and sundresses and swimming and whatever sort of summer loveliness floats your boat. Happy Tuesday!

Friday, May 30, 2014

fo: procrastination sweater

What do you do when you give up wasteful internet for Lent? You knit a sweater, obviously.

Traditional Lisa looking-at-the-floor pose.

True story.
Knitting this sweater was my choice method of procrastinating, seeing as reading blogs and looking at recipes online were off-limits. Then I had a whole month of tech week after tech week during which I would do tech and dress rehearsals for a show, perform the show, and then immediately start tech rehearsal for the next show, which gave me plenty of backstage down time. So I had even more time to knit.(Read: I spent every single day for an entire month at the theatre, often from 5pm to almost midnight. I. Did. Not. Sleep.) Joys of being a dance major!

Serious face. Not sure why it sounded like a good idea.

The pattern was Julie Crawford’s Velvet Morning, which during the knitting process, I constantly called either Winter Night or Velvet Night. I used KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, and though I can’t say for sure (not having washed it several times) I’m quite impressed with KnitPicks quality. On the other sweater I knit with wool (a pre-blog letter sweater), I had pills the day I blocked it. KnitPicks, like with my previous poor felted sweater, is proving to be something I really, really like.

My only complaint is that with my apparently quite dramatic pear-shape, this sweater will never come close to closing over my hips (you can see how it kinda hopelessly hangs at my sides once it gets a little past my waist). True, it’s meant to be worn casually (but intentionally and therefore fashionably) open, but I wish the two edges had the capability of meeting, so that they didn’t feel left out or something. There’s nothing worse than left out hems, ya know?


However, the best part is how beautiful and truly well designed that colorwork is. It’s my first colorwork project, so there might be some extra tightness in my floats to blame for that snug fit over my derrière, but overall the pattern is so gorgeous, I never would care. I love it to bits, and I know I’ll be snuggling in this sweater when it’s finally winter again because I never actually produce garments that are appropriate for the season or my life.


Okay, I kinda lied earlier. My second (and rather minor) complaint is the collar. I wore it like a shawl collar here, but it really kinda attacks my neck when worn naturally. I’d even added V-neck shaping to make it fit a little better. Ah, c’est la vie. You win some, you lose some. 


I ravelled it here, if you're looking for more pictures or just want to look at a more exact details about how much yarn I used (oh, the joy of extra yarn/the pain of over-ordering and spending more money).

Happy Friday! Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

learning to fly

What with my birthday and the end of my sophomore year in the past month, I've had several moments when I realized that I am, in fact, halfway through college and halfway to being on the other side of the classroom and becoming something of an adult. But I think it was in reading Grace's beautiful post about finishing up her second year of college that really made me think about what this halfway point means to me. There's been joy and pain, laughter and tears, learning and many, many late nights (and therefore a few wake-me-up lattes), love and loss, faith and independence, and so much growth. I feel sometimes like a kindergartener who woke up and suddenly had an apartment and a degree plan and responsibility, like a fledgling who doesn't yet know how to fly, but has to. I'm not who I was in high school anymore--I've learned too much to be completely that girl again--but I haven't magically gained knowledge of adulthood and maturity and paying bills and taxes and social skills. But it feels a little like all this growth happened when I wasn't looking and now I don't quite know what to do with all of it. 

This next year, I want to grow into my wings and to feel more at ease with the idea of gaining maturity, even if I don't feel very mature. After years of running on a ballet studio schedule, with our final recital as the school year ended, June feels like the time for a new beginning. I know she's in me, a more confident Lisa, happy in her adulthood, instead of feeling surprised by it, the Lisa I'll become. My goals are like me: a little silly, a little practical, but mostly curious and yearning to be more comfortable in the person I'm growing to be. I want to explore a little and stretch my wings and find her.

Monday, January 27, 2014

fo: magic switch-y dance-y dress

forgive me for the messy room

As a sidenote: do you ever see that girl in the cafe or the library who's got headphones in and a serious shoulder dance going as she mouths the lyrics to some song? Yeah, that would be me. The music in question might be show tunes or Shakira or indie stuff (often the show tunes--oh, to be on Broadway! All the world's a stage though, right, so it's totally fine, right?). But keeping it to the shoulder wiggle and the silent singing at least keeps it from full-out taking over the whole place and belting. Which is a good thing, right?

Anyways...the dress. which you might actually care about, as opposed to my true confessions about singing in public. I used these two tutorials by Sew Like My Mom to make this dress during Thanksgiving break as a dance costume for a couple of shows. It's a great basic dance costume because A. you can change it every show if you want to be indecisive (I sure as heck did) and B. it's so easy to move in! I loved my costume. Bonus points for following what a professor told me about good dance costumes for a piece: it looks expensive.

apparently my new game is don't look at the camera

I stayed at school over break and therefore was still over a 1000 miles away from my sewing machine. So this entire dress was hand-sewn. I searched a little bit for instructions for how to do a stretch stitch by hand. A couple (more like half a season) of Breaking Pointe later, I had a dress. It's only three seams (the way I did it at least), so it didn't feel like that much work to hand sew it. Actually, it was a lot of fun! I really like handsewing. It's relaxing.

I basically took pictures of all the ways I know how to tie it. I'm not super creative about it, especially because I have relatively high standards for modesty when it comes to how I dress.

wait! I do know where the camera is!

Yep, we've come to the end of my four different stylings. I'm not very exciting. Do you have any suggestions for tying this thing in more creative ways that are still fairly covering? I'm too shy to do strapless, but I'm trying to experiment with how to look like a cool person in this.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

top three tuesday

As I write this, it's actually last Tuesday (to the future Tuesday people). But honestly, having had Internet for a matter of a two days as I settled back into the world of textbooks (don't get me started) and dorm life and class schedules, I didn't really have the time to write up a blog post.

Here's my top three

...bloggy fountains of inspiration (sidenote: nice mental picture, right?)

Emma's old food blog, Food Coma, which has been my new obsessive read. Recently, I read a lot of A Beautiful Mess, too, which is really just food for all my DIY daydreams, which led me to Emma's blog, which is simply gorgeous and also delicious. I love that all the recipes are A. meatless and B. actually things I might make, as a broke college student. Sure, I love reading about the truffle-and-lobster-and-ridiculous-amounts-of-expensive-cheese concoctions of deliciosity that awesome food bloggers make. But I can't afford to make them. Emma's recipes are just so much more...obtainable. Which makes me happy.

Pati's Mexican Table 'cos I already miss Mexican food. And Pati just makes me happy with her joy of cooking and Mexican accent.

Flashback Summer--Emileigh is an amazingly sweet blogger and a wonderful vintage gal (to quote her) and I love her words of wisdom about living a vintage college life, especially here.

...things I'd like to try to do or make

turning this now shrunken sweater into a dance warm up

making an apron a la Marie's tutorial

Velvet Morning (the yarn should be in the mail soon--yay for yarny Christmas presents!) which I desperately want to call either Winter Night or Velvet Night and then I realize that I'm reeeally off.

...on my reading list (not the one just assigned to me, but the stuff I actually want to read)

The Story of a Soul by St. Thérèse of Lisieux--my current read. Oddly enough, the introduction called the book poorly written from a literary point of view, but I (a former English major) am finding it warm and personable, like sitting down for a cup of tea with her.

Divergent by Veronica Roth--I've been informed that I HAVE to read this, especially before the movie.

Citrus County by John Brandon--I started this one before break and it's too weird not to finish. Seriously. There's a kidnapped toddler and I don't know what exactly to do with it (the book, not the toddler).

So what's inspiring you? What are your creating fingers itching to make? What are you reading (or rather, in a self-serving way, are you reading anything that you think I should be reading)? I'm off to try to make the first grocery list of the year. Have a great week!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

princess for a day: ariel

Not to be confused with Arial, the font, which is what I first typed. Ah, font nerd jokes.


Happy Halloween! It's time to dress up like whatever you want! For me, this will probably mean a sleep-deprived college stude..wait, that's what I am everyday. *sigh* If only I could dress up like a princess!

Ariel's not the easiest princess to dress up as in her "normal" state. It might be because she has a mermaid tail, and we have people legs. Well, most of us have people legs; I don't want to offend any mermaids out there. But can we say that it's the challenge that makes her interesting? But for those who have an affinity for not wearing mermaid skirts, she fortunately gets to wear that pink 80s monstrosity lovely 1980s-inspired ball gown. I'm not a big fan of the 1980s, especially the formals (except, of course, for my mommy's wedding dress; that was beautiful).

Ariel doesn't wear too much in the clothes department as a mermaid, just a little purple shell bra. Of course, for we humans, something greenish is also necessary to camouflage our lower appendages. 

When I first approached this, I thought instantly of 1940s playsuits. The tops on those are absolutely darling!

for the some day ariel costume
If you mentally add a long mermaid skirt, with ruffles and maybe a train to act something like a tail with fins. Something like this, perhaps. 

lovely full mermaid skirt

But of course, with the right coloring (which is essentially the major component in redoing a princess constume), a different silhouette could be used and still be Ariel! What about a crop top and a maxi skirt in a purple and green (respectively)? I could imagine a modern Ariel wearing just that. Or even a high-low hem skirt with a green chiffon overlay--it'd be kinda floaty like a mermaid tail, dontcha think? 

For Ariel's ball gown, there are a multitude of eras to pull from. Of course, you could embrace your inner vintage Molly Ringwald and go eighties.


You can even sew it yourself from all the ruffled, puffed sleeve patterns on Etsy!

Vintage Belleville Sassoon Vogue Designer Original Sewing Pattern Ball Gown Formal Wedding Bridesmaid Rose Sleeves Bow V Neck 80s 34 Bust

I'm going to have nightmares about that one. 

You could also bring out your inner Cosette and rock it 1830s romantic style. They were all about the giant puffed gigot sleeve with the narrow long sleeve underneath.

Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum c.1830-33
as close to the source as I can link you

Or you could be really, really, really ambitious and break out the 1660s. They also loved the puffed sleeves, full skirts, and tight bodices.  (Which is about four more layers of ambition than I have, frankly, but I'd love to see someone else do this--maybe for Costume College?)

Dress, 1660s, Museum of Fashion Bath

Honestly, I'm pretty sure the make or break element is having that bright red hair. Fire engine red, anyone?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

dorm room diy: des oeufs gastronomes

*title in French to be all fancy pants*

There are many ways to do microwave scrambled eggs. But I've come to realize, there's a barely acceptable, get-food-in-my-tummy-now way (which I, on my dorm room gourmet pedestal, will call the wrong way) and there's a delicious, deluxe, I-feel-like-a-fancy-pants-chef-person way (a.k.a. the right way).

Wrong way:

Right way:

(We might also note that, while still nothing special, my food photography skills have increased minimally.)

Assignment: The Incredible, Edible Microwave Egg Project

Every college student with a microwave, a coffee cup, and a Pinterest knows about the basic egg-in-a-cup. It's fast, easy, and actually tastes like what it's supposed to. But. This is the boring, unreliable method. We want to step this up a little because we're fancy. In making a couple dozen microwave eggs, I've figured out how to finesse the basics into something a little shnazzier.

Hint 1: use a bowl, not a mug.

Yeah, I know all the recipes say you can make it in a mug. But the thicker something is, the longer it takes to cook in the microwave, just based on how microwaves work. I use a fairly flat bottomed bowl and my eggs cook a lot faster than they ever did in the coffee mug. Plus, you can get fancy like I did and call it a frittata.

Hint 2: spice up your ingredient list.

Basic recipes (if you can call them those) call for an egg, some milk or water, and some salt. If you keep some simple spices on hand, like oregano and basil or cayenne or cumin, you can turn your egg from basic to awesome in about two dashes. Plus, you'll have spices on hand for all kinds of awesome cooking activities. And you know you want that.

Hint 3: shop the salad bar. 

Does your dining hall have a salad bar? Good. Go there and fill up a box with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, shredded cheese whatever you like in your omelettes. Throw them on top of your eggs to really jazz up your eggs, while upping the healthiness too! Look at all those fresh veggies just sitting there smiling at you.

With all my acquired knowledge, I made some eggs today. And you know what? Instead of merely "interesting", they were delicious.

a suspiciously similar picture...wonder why?

Eggs Florentine Frittata*

1 egg
1-1/2 tbs cream cheese (I got mine at the dining hall convenience store)
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp dried basil
4-5 leaves baby spinach
4-5 cherry tomatoes
1 tbs sliced mushroom (very much estimated)

Whisk the egg and cream cheese together until fluffy and uniformly colored. Stir in the oregano and basil. On top, place the spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Microzap for 1 minute and 15 seconds, then let cool before eating. Enjoy!

Grade: C for the regular way. A for the jazzed up way! 

Have you tried microwave eggs? Do you like/hate/eat them? Do you have any tricks to turn the ordinary into the fantastically yummy?

*Florentine just means with spinach. But it sounds super fancy, right?
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