In the Studio:: On tossing out and starting fresh

This past week I did an extensive studio clean-up and scrapbooking supply organization (don’t get too excited, still not quite done with that part but it’s coming along nicely).  I have a pile of sewing projects to start/finish and a list of layouts and albums both digi and paper to work on, oh and hello…December Daily will be upon us before we know it – ahem!

I have been vexed by a dress that I sewed in April, and it has been in the pile and on the list since then.

Enter McCalls M5890

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I had a lot of trouble with my sewing machine which resulted in not a great sewing outcome for this garment… the fit was OK and I wasn’t as wild about the fabric as a long dress, and the topstitching was horrible due to said machine problem (since having machine thoroughly cleaned this fall, the problems have all resolved themselves…magic!)  and I just wasn’t feeling it.  at.  all.   For months I’ve been going back and forth… can I fix the topstitching?  Should I just make a skirt out of it (I have about a yard extra to make waistbands etc…) and try and salvage something?  Do I even like the pattern anymore?  Do I like the fabric anymore?

Answers to above ?’s ??  No fixing the topstitching… No to the skirt, it’s just too contrived…No to salvage….No to the pattern, at least the top of the dress, don’t like how the neck/arm/capsleeve came together weirdly…No to the fabric, maybe for a t-shirt or shorts but not a dress, plus, it’s winter now ugh.

So here is my answer to the above conundrum:

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Yep…86’d the whole thing… including the extra fabric…and I crossed it off my list.  I have to say, it was really hard to just toss it in the trash.  The save-every-scrap part of me was screaming but for the good of my sewing karma, it had to go.

I feel so much better now.

On to the next project!

Have you ever totally trashed a project?  Was it freeing or guilt inducing?

 

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1/14: The Big Gray Pot

Happy Middle of January !

Winter had finally arrived here in New England.  It’s cold, it snowed (not enough to really shovel but enough to look pretty), the sun is out and it’s cold.  Just the kind of weather for hearty yummy carb-laden goodies made in the Big Gray Pot.

This week (so far) I made risotto with shrimp and peas.   Risotto is one of those dishes that everyone in the house loves, but I kind of forget about when I’m thinking of things to make.  It is super easy, I use the basic recipe from an old, old Williams Sonoma “Risotto” cookbook.  There is half an hour of minding the pot on the stove as you add the chicken stock but easy to do while you are puttering around the kitchen making salad or cleaning up.  Add to that peas in the freezer and frozen cooked shrimp on sale at MarketBasket and it’s risotto for the win!

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The night I made it was my basketball carpool night, after the risotto was finished, I put the lid on and put it in a 200 degree oven to stay warm while I picked up and dropped off hoop stars.  I’ve never “held” risotto in the oven like that before and I think were I to do it again, I’d add a little extra water on the top to keep it moist.  The rice kept sucking up the cooking liquid and wasn’t dry but not quite as creamy.

Hope you try something like this, I love the fact that I can cook something on the stove and then hold it in a warm oven rather than letting it get cold and them microwaving to heat up later.

Have a great day everyone!!

 

…It was supposed to be a quick project…

How many times have we said that??  Come on, raise your hands, I know you are out there.  It seemed so easy.

Me:  Hey honey, I decided I want to use my birthday money from your folks to help pay for a new worktop for my studio, can we go to Ikea and pick up the new furniture for my studio?                                                                         Charlie:  Sure!

That was the easy part.  Actually, I should say going to Ikea and actually getting the stuff, easy peasy.  I had made a list of what we needed.  I’d even mapped out the entire project step by step.  Yay for organized!  We brought everything home and put it all together in a few hours.  PicTapGo-ImageLooked great!!  Of course it did, fit just like I’d planned.  So excited to have drawers!  So many I’m not even sure what I’m going to put in them (ha ha ha).  On my list of things to do was to clear out the shelves and re-organize them, and take down all my notes on the wall from 2015.   PicTapGo-Image copyYay organizing project.  In addition to cleaning out, I found $6, and a bracket for the shade I would like to hang on the driveway side window (hopeful bracket #2 will turn up soon), and I cleaned.  I am going to swap the workstations with sewing on the right with the ironing board behind me and computer/memorykeeping on the left.   All was going swimmingly, until the subject of this came up… PicTapGo-Image copy 3and yes, people I went down that path.  I thought I’ll just put a coat of poly on the top so I don’t mess it up.   Um no…. old poly, wrong brush means took for.ev.er. to dry and didn’t cover well.  One new fresh can of poly later (read on the This Old House blog you should toss poly after it’s been open for a year….yeah, that can came from our old house 😉  ) here we are.  Looks much much better!!  Dried perfectly, nice and smooth, full coverage (just a tiny bit of fine steel wool polishing will happen today) All ready to go!  PicTapGo-Image copy 2Put the stuff back in that’s been junking up the upstairs hall.  PicTapGo-Image copy 5So excited, can’t wait to work on one long continuous counter, spread out my fabric or my projects, a home for the scanner and maybe the tablet, this is going to be great!  Or not, wait, it seems a little low for me.  Get out the tape, measure, yup, the worktop needs to come up 1″ – 1 1/2″, and I need a big piece of something for on top of the cart to make up the space on the back that won’t be covered by the top, since I have to move it forward to the edge of the drawers (overhang = not getting into the back of those drawers) *sigh*

Honnneeeeee  !!!  I have a little project for you !

Pray for me…hoping to have this all sorted out on the weekend and be making stuff in here soon… this wasn’t going to be on of my 52/16 projects but it is starting to verge in that direction!

1/7: The Big Gray Pot

Happy New Year!

As I opened up the blog this morning, I realized that i averaged about one post a month last year … let’s see if we can do better this year shall we??  So much good stuff to share, so busy doing I never took to write it down!

Last month for my birthday, my beloveds gifted me with a big new Le Creuset dutch oven.  Swoon and be still my heart!  I have wanted one of these in my kitchen for years.  PicTapGo-Image copyCharlie joked that I used it 3 times the first week I had it… and the problem with that would be????  I thought it might be fun to share what I’ve been making in my new toy this year.    We are in the season of basketball now and I am finding that planning a soup/stew item and a casserole that can be time-baked in the oven gets us through the dinner hour on the nights we are out over dinnertime and want to come home to a hot meal.  It worked during soccer season and seems to be working so far for hoop.

This week my “in the pot” recipe was the Pioneer Woman’s “Chipotle Chicken Chili”.   I love Pioneer Woman and have had great success with her recipes, this one was no exception.  Easy to make with not crazy ingredients, easy to alter for our taste (1 chipotle pepper rather than 3 eeekkk!)  and scoring high on the yum-o-meter with the offspring.  PicTapGo-ImageChili for the win!  This one was deemed a keeper.   My alterations were chicken stock rather than beer and the aforementioned reduction in chipotle peppers (love the flavor need to moderate the heat).   I also tried using some boneless chicken thighs instead of some of the chicken breasts…won’t be doing that again, waaaay too much trimming for the picky eaters so chicken breast it will be next time I make this.   I highly recommend, give it a try!!

Have a great day everyone!!