Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Forty Napkins

Although I do not quilt I went to a huge quilt show in Lancaster last week with my friend Eleanor, who is a quilter. I can admire the art and the craft, and let's not forget, fabric is fabric. Notions are notions. Cute bag patterns are cute bag patterns. 

What made me happy was to find a stack of homespun (which means it's the same on both sides of the fabric, as opposed to being printed on one side and having a shadowy wrong side) in colors that weren't in dark browns, reds, and blues. I've needed to restock our "every day" kitchen napkins and haven't been able to find any fabric. Until now:

I loved them. They are perfectly casual and a good quality cotton. Notice, before you think I turned and hemmed 40 casual napkins, that they are serged with a rolled hem.
And look how lovely they are with my shiny red dishes...

I did buy two printed fabrics that will make lovely napkins with the dishes as well, but I might have to back them with a solid.

I cut and serged the Forty Napkins in a few hours, any of you who sew know how really easy that project is. I listened to a Trollope novel while I serged what felt like miles of napkin edges, then seam-sealed and trimmed the threads. Voila. Table linens I don't have to be ashamed of - I have been quite remiss in replacing our existing pile.

There was one vendor with fashion fabrics, all natural fibers, from Italy. To. Die. Boiled wools, linens, amazing shirtings, cashmere, and cashmere vicuna. Cashmere vicuna, which I have never even touched before. At $115 a yard, a bargain compared to pure vicuna, which starts at $1500 a yard. Yes, you read that right. I bought a lovely woven cotton for a skirt. From another vendor I bought a Japanese cotton that I think will make a nice skirt or pair of capris.

I chatted with friendly women throughout the day, Eleanor and I had and enjoyable dinner with two women we met that day, and it was a fun Friday!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tie Dye Eggs

This was a fun Easter egg project! I was in a little fabric store that sells designer ends, and another customer told me about a way to use the silk tie fabric. They had rolls of tie fabrics for $1 a yard, and since I am not making any ties for DH (!) I bought a few to try this egg thing. The fabric, by the way, is pretty cool - cuts are clearly indicated and the blue one has the designer's label strategically printed so that it will end up on the back of the tie. If I was going to make it into a tie. Not.
However, if you don't have a access to $1 a yard tie fabric, you are supposed to take an old silk tie (or blouse, or whatever) and pick the back apart so you can cut the bottom of the tie off to make a square. It must be 100% silk.

Wrap the egg in a square of tie fabric, printed side facing the egg. Twist-tie it closed.
 Wrap a small square of cotton fabric - old sheet, muslin, whatever you have - around the egg and twist-tie it closed as well.
 Put all the eggs into your egg-boiling pan, add 3 tablespoons of vinegar, bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove them and allow to cool COMPLETELY before you oh-so-excitedly untwist the ties and open the fabric to reveal...
 Ta da!! You can see that the darker the tie the better, because the color is light. And I see my fold marks, which I might be able to work on if I decide to dye more eggs. However, every small detail from the tie is there. If you like your eggs you can polish them with some cooking oil so they are shiny. 

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Olive Oil!

Have you been to A Taste of Olive in West Chester, if you are a local? An entire store of olive oils and balsamic vinegars, with a few other specialties as well. That's right. Entire store. Check out the website; it's an education in oil and vinegar. Every one of them is set up for tasting - lovely dispensers with stacks of small tasting cups.

I think it's interesting that on my first and second trips there I chose the same olive oil without realizing it. There are perhaps a dozen filtered and unfiltered EVOOs from all over the world to choose from, and I clearly know what I like: the Italian Leccino. Yesterday, however, I nearly bought an unfiltered Grecian, but decided I didn't yet need another bottle of unflavored. What did I buy? Glad you asked.
 Aren't they lovely?
Lavender Aged Balsamic Vinegar, Modena, Italy
Grapeseed Oil (Which I used sparingly, for a high-heat sear or when I need a no-flavor-at-all oil.)
Persian Lime EVOO, Tunisia
Honey Ginger Aged Balsamic Vinegar, Modena, Italy
Roasted Sesame EVOO, Japan

Both my sons were with me, one willing to taste a few things, one looking forward to tasting everything. DS1 bought a few things to take back to Virginia. His selection:

Aceite Nuevo, California - an unfiltered EVOO
Golden Pineapple Balsamic, Modena, Italy
A jar of Himalayan Salt. Gorgeous color, eh? A strong salt, to my taste.

DS2  really liked the Lavender Balsamic, and he isn't a huge balsamic fan in general. Last night I made a delicious dressing with it and the lime vinegar for a spinach and walnut salad. Delicious.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Good Karma Day

Yesterday was a remarkably busy, productive day. I have been home alone for several days, prevented from participating in an annual family ski trip by a nearly-but-not-quite-healed injury. I have, however, enjoyed my time alone and spent a great deal of it sewing and reading, with just one morning for household projects. Yesterday, however, I had to make up for it with a highly organized list of things to do, wash, cook, return, purchase, and put away.  It was a lovely day and I was humming along, enjoying the day, when increasingly good things started happening:

  • As I was paying for a gift for a friend, a strange woman offered me her "secret" scratch-off coupon for 30% off of a total purchase. Nice! I not only used it for the present, but backtracked and did some more shopping in that store.
  • As I was paying for shoes - one pair for me, one for DD - at DSW, the woman in front of me handed me her reward coupon, saying she couldn't use it. (I have no idea why; she was buying shoes.) It was for $20 off the purchase. That's right. She basically handed me a twenty! 
  • My last stop of the day was at Target, and I went to the service desk because my very favorite handmade, elbow-length, purple gloves disappeared about a month ago, on my last trip to Target. I remembered walking into the store wearing them but walked out without them. I looked for them at the time but they weren't around. Last night I tried again, searching through their collection of lost umbrellas, totes, hats, gloves, and toys. No gloves. Later as I was bagging my purchases into my own cloth bags, I found my gloves stuffed into the bottom of a bag! I was so happy!
I went home and put the groceries and stuff away, grabbed the dog, and went out to buy a lottery ticket. Seriously, wouldn't that be funny?