Chambray Shirt

I love Chambray and made a pattern to make little e a long sleeve peasant shirt.  During initial fittings, I was worried because it made her look like what I imagine a Shakespearean male actor would wear, or maybe  “1800s prairie look.”  Little e did say she felt like “ma” from Little House on the Prairie due to the puffed sleeves.  However, thankfully, I think in the end, it turned out ok.  And, more importantly, it created the basis for a few other pattern ideas that are swirling around in my head for dresses.

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I love the tuck detail in the front and this is the first time experimenting with them.  I made them quite wide just based on ease of measuring at a 1 inch interval and sewing on the 1/4 inch edge of my sewing machine foot.  I ended up having to adjust my pattern to accommodate more tucks but I think it turned out perfectly for this shirt.  The process of “tuck making” is quite therapeutic: measure, drawn line, iron, sew, measure, line, iron, sew.  This is all done on a separate piece of fabric and then the pattern is laid on top of the tucks to cut.

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I also finally learned how to properly sew a button.  There are many button sewing tutorials out there so I won’t go into it but the final product is a strongly anchored button with only one clean, tiny thread line in the back.  The ends are actually all hidden, in the front behind the button, and also in between the fabric fold.  E jumped on my button sewing bandwagon and quickly handed me some of his shirt and pants that were missing buttons.  Lucky me!

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about launching clothing lines and e-commerce sites. There’s a lot to learn out there and sometimes, I think the more you know, the less likely you are to just jump out there and do it.  I was considering having my Princess Lougewear manufactured but the risk seems high that I would end up with a bunch of dresses that never sell.  So, I will just make them myself for a bit, and sell one at a time, see if anyone is even interested.  It’s scary to put something out there and I do see how entrepreneurs can be so into their own product that they can’t see when it’s just a plain bad idea.  Obviously making the clothes myself will not be a long term sustainable plan and I would probably only make enough to cover my materials and maybe get paid like $2 an hour, but at least I can see if there’s any traction.

Somebody tell me if this Princess Lougewear is just plain dumb.  =)

Well my cousin from Taiwan has already said that while she thinks it’s cute, no one would want their child to wear a floor length dress in Taiwan because they would essentially be sweeping the dusty floors.  Here in the US, that doesn’t seem to be an issue and my little princesses seem to love the floor length and moms don’t mind either as floors are carpeted or hardwood for the most part and not dusty.  Anyway, I feel like a kid about to open a lemonade stand.  It’s fun.  =)

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Bestia – Los Angeles

For our anniversary, E took me to eat at Bestia, this hipster Italian restaurant located in downtown LA.  It was a rare treat to be able to eat by ourselves in a nice restaurant without the kids, thanks to my lil sis and brother in law for watching our kids.

It was so hipster that I couldn’t really understand the menu.  You know when the ingredients listed are so complicated that your brain just can’t process what it actually is? We had to look up pictures on yelp to figure out what we were ordering.

Here are my “layman’s” descriptions of what we ate.  The waiter suggested that 4 plates, 2 appetizers, a pasta and a main would fill us up and he was exactly right.

Below is the “little gems” salad.  Their name, not mine.  I have to say that this might be one of my favorite salads of all time and possibly my favorite dish at this restaurant.  A salad!  It may have been because we were seated at the counter in front of the salad chefs, watching them carefully make each individual salad, rubbing each leaf to make sure that it was covered with the right amount of dressing.  They had a bucket of tasting spoons used for tasting each salad dish to ensure it was seasoned to perfection.  Sometimes they were unsure (there were three of them) and had another re-taste for a second opinion.  I suggested to E offering my tasting services to them so that I can try some of the other salad creations we did not get a chance to savor.  The whole scene reminded us of being in Japan where culturally they value the perfect presentation of everything they create.  It was fascinating to watch.  One of the salads had three perfectly shaped green leaves laid on at the end like lily pads with a few drops of oil drizzled on to look like dew.  We came up with so many SNL skit ideas from watching them.

Anyway, I digress.  Back to our salad:  each leaf was then individually laid carefully piece by piece onto the plate to create this salad pyramid, with interlocking pieces of lettuce, radish, ricotta cheese, and nuts, herbs, seasoning for the perfect bite each time.  Even the tasters never just tasted one leaf.  They had to taste a perfect mix to ensure it was correct.

The result is the best salad I ever had.  It was the dressing that made it.  But the flavors were just a perfect balance of salty, peppery, tart/sour.. I ate every last bite and wouldn’t have minded another plate.

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Next we ordered the bone marrow gnoccetti.  We scooped the bone marrow off of the bone and mixed it in thoroughly with the gnoccetti.  This was a very hearty savory dish, with very well flavored pasta.   The taste of each piece just felt like it had a lot of depth.  Not just salty, but meaty, like it was well cooked in broth.  This was my second favorite dish of the night but you can’t eat too much of it, and they didn’t give much.

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We had asked if ordering two pasta dishes was too much but the waiter told us that the portion of the bone marrow one was a small appetizer while the next pasta dish was a full sized pasta.  Well, even the full sized pasta was tiny.  Here we started doubting the waiter’s recommendation of four dishes.  E ordered bread just in case we were still hungry and also asked for the menu in case we  needed to add more.  This pasta was like little dumplings with oxtail stuffed inside.  The pasta skin was really perfect, just the right thickness, chewiness, consistency.  The flavor was a bit too strong.  It wasn’t just salty, it had a flavor that I think was from wine?  I don’t have the food vocabulary to describe it but with first bite, it tasted good.  However, by the time I ate three or four of these things, it was enough.  E ate it together with some bread to tone it down.  It wasn’t bad or anything.  Just something overwhelming about it.

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To finish off our main meal, we had a whole Branzino and the waiter was right, this was all we needed, and nothing more.  This fish was delicious and probably tied for second with the bone marrow.  It was covered with herbs and lemon on top.

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The bones were removed and the middle stuffed with watercress.  The fish was tender and perfectly cooked, still juicy and salty with the flavor of herbs.  I like watercress and it was a nice light surprise in the middle.   The crust was a bit salty by itself but when mixed together with the meat inside, it was delicious.  E and I gobbled up the whole thing and declared ourselves wholly satisfied with room for one dessert each.

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I ordered for the both of us.  E is not a big dessert person so he usually lets me pick.  I have been ordering a lot of Panna Cotta at restaurants recently and have never been disappointed.  This one is with blood orange, grapefruit (I think) and honey.  It was refreshing, light, and the perfect sweetness.  The three thin wafers were some sort of lemon meyer cookie that wasn’t very memorable.  I think I ate half of one.

For E, I ordered this persimmon tart with ice cream and a berry compote.  It looked interesting to me and our waiter also recommended it.  I thought it tasted good, not too sweet, but also, not amazing.  I wouldn’t order this again.  For our anniversary, the restaurant gave us a scoop of pomegranate sorbet that really hit the spot.  The cold tartness  was refreshing after a heavy meal.  We finished all three desserts.

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What a nice dinner date.  Good job, E!  We should do this more than once a year.

Some Pouches and a Dress

Little e begged me to make their basketball team snack pouches just like the ones we made for her soccer team  but I was just not up for it.  It takes a lot of motivation to make 8 pouches, especially just one week in advance of the game.  But, little e is so persistent and she wore me down.  Plus, she promised that she would help and do half of the work for me so I agreed.

She did keep her end of the bargain and did most of the sewing, serging, and cleaning up of the threads while I handled the cutting, ironing, the embroidering.  We inserted the ribbon pulls together while watching Shark Tank.  =)

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In the end, I was happy that we worked on this project together.  It was fun to spend an afternoon with little e, I got to clear up my fabric stash a bit (finished all of this chevron fabric that was originally meant for a crib skirt for little c’s crib – he has been out of a crib for over 2 years… that was a project that never happened), AND little e got to get more practice sewing straight lines.

She was so excited to hand out the pouches after the game and the girls loved it… well worth the 2-3 hours it took to put these together.  I’m loving our embroidery machine, by the way.   It’s more than paid for itself (~$220).

Little e has also just completed a summer dress, finishing off the last bit of fabric she picked out from Hawaii as a souvenir last summer.  She used the same pattern that I had made for her other Hawaiian dress but she didn’t like the dress bottom so just made a simple shirred skirt attachment.

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I think it looks lovely and am so proud whenever she makes anything.  I’m just waiting for her to be good enough to go on project runway junior.  =)

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Princess Dress #4

I’ve made another princess gown for little e.  My mom agrees that she looks like a little Korean princess with the empire waist and pouf-y bottom.  I switched it up a bit and added some 3/4 sleeves, which ended up more like 1/2 sleeves.

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I love the look actually and every night when I see little e floating around in it, it makes me happy.  She likes the floor length as well and is happily modeling it.  I like this length of sleeve better than the short sleeve version, probably because I like 3/4 sleeves in general. The double gauze is super soft and comfortable.

 

E still dislikes it.  He doesn’t get it, I guess.  When I was in third grade, my friend had a god mother who made her all these fancy ball gowns.  We used to play dress up in them and I’d wish that I had my own.  This princess dress makes little e feel like a princess because it’s floor length and poufy, but is also suited to my grown up taste because it’s so soft and not tacky, like most costume princess dresses are, in my opinion.  I know many little girls would love princess dresses because I did.

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After binge watching Shark Tank the last few weeks, I’m almost tempted to figure out how to manufacture this and see if it sells.