Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My New Old Dress

We have about a bajillion weddings this summer (and by "bajillion" I mean 4), which always begs the question, "What to wear?" To make matters worse, as I've mentioned before, we're on a pretty tight budget (no fun for the wardrobe, but hey, we paid the last car payment a few weeks ago!). So what's a girl to do? Going back through my closet, I found the little white dress that I wore for our wedding rehearsal last year. It was so cute, and it was a steal at Nordstrom's Rack. I knew when I bought it that I would probably never have another opportunity to wear a white dress, but I got it anyway thinking I could just have it dyed. Well, it was time to revisit that idea.

I didn't think to get a Before picture before I got it wet, but at least I thought to get one then. It's not that translucent when it's dry.

One small problem here. I think I got a little too close to the chicken wings at our second reception (which we had for our friends in Colorado who couldn't come celebrate with us in Cincinnati), and there's a bit of a grease stain down toward the bottom.

See it there? I figured that I'm dyeing it dark, it'll cover it up. Problem solved.

So. I got my biggest pot and filled it with water and lots of salt, according to the directions on the dye.

And I got my dye. Rit actually has a great color selection, and a color mixer on their website. They give offer different formulas for getting colors other than the basics they offer! But I decided to go with just straight up teal.

I wanted as dark a teal as I could get, so I dumped the whole thing in.

That, my friends, is scary dark.

Get the fabric (dress, in my case) soaking wet. There was still soap left in it from the last washing—I could tell, because it bubbled out as I wrung it dry—so I had to soak, wring, soak, wring, soak, wring, several times.

In it goes!




What was I thinking?!? Welp, too late to go back now.

P.S. Those oh-so-fashionable gloves are left over from my textiles class in college. Nice, huh?

Let it simmer for over an hour (directions were on the dye bottle, thank goodness). I let it go even a little bit longer, since I wanted a darker color. (Plus I was doing laundry at the same time and was downstairs when the timer went off. Oops!)

Then rinse.

And rinse.

And rinse.

And rinse. You have to get all that extra dye out of there, or else it'll wear off on your skin when you wear it, or it'll dye all your other clothes the next time you wash it.

Then dry! It can be tumbled in the dryer or drip-dried on a line.

Apparently, grease doesn't take color the way un-greased cotton does, so there's still a hint of the stain. I've found an embellishment in a slightly darker teal that I'm going to sew over it, but haven't gotten around to that yet.

But anyway, that's what I did to make my old dress new!

All Photos © Me


Monday, June 14, 2010

Work-In-Progress #2: Cowboy Quilt

Here's the beginning of my other WIP.

My brother and sister-in-law are having their second baby in August. They also happen to be having the first grandson! I had seen some amazing retro little kid cowboy fabric by Alexander Henry a few months ago and bookmarked it for some future project.

When they told us they were expecting, I sent an email saying, "If you have a boy, this is the quilt you're getting." So, when they found out that he's a he, I went to plannin'.

I ordered both the red and the white version of the cowboys and cowgirls.

How cute is that?! There are even these little groundhogs that I hadn't seen until it came in the mail.

Oh, it kills me! I love it.

Anyhow, I was browsing some other kiddo fabric and found these horseshoes by Michael Miller. So I ordered it too, and wouldn't you know, the colors match perfectly! (Phew, thank goodness...)

All three together.

My mom & I made a date of fabric shopping (we were pretty busy for those four days!). We were looking for the rest of the fabric to make this quilt. I'm going to base the design off this quilt by Amy at ACommonPlaceLife. I knew I wanted a blue with white stars, something green, and something yellow.

Perfect, no? We kind of went back & forth on the green one, because it's floral and maybe not super-masculine. But then we thought Rob would probably jump at a chance to wear a shirt made from that fabric, and he's very manly. So we went for it. Hope the baby doesn't mind... ; )

What do you think?

The final touch is this red & white stripe for the border. I'm hoping to find a great gingham or bandana print for the binding, but I'm not there yet, so I'm not going to worry.

All Photos © Me

We got a little bit nauseous as the lady cut the stripe for us. It was pretty intense coming off the bolt. But it'll be perfect in small doses.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Garden Update

When my parents came to visit a few weeks ago, my mom helped me plant some vegetables, loosely interpreted as a vegetable garden. I watered faithfully each day, but they didn't seem to be taking to the Colorado heat & dryness. Then I thought "maybe I should water them in the morning before I go to work, rather than in the evening when I get home..." So I made the switch & all of a sudden my plants went from looking all wilty perking up, just as Mom had promised! These are my Roma tomatoes.

And these are my Big Boy, or Better Boy, or something, tomatoes.

Then over in my (slightly) raised bed, what is that I see?

Why, that's a green pepper! My salsa pepper plant had a pepper on it when I bought it, but the green pepper didn't. This is so exciting! Let's take a closer look.

I mean, I might be a little biased, but he's obviously the smartest kid in the class... And there are more blooms coming in, which means more peppers in our future.

Right next to my peppers I found this little guy.

There's a big ol' fat red-breasted robin that's been singing in the tree over our deck, so this must belong to him (her?). Or rather, one of his/her children.

What plant does this little twirly thing belong to?

That's my spaghetti squash! Rob & I discovered the delight that is Spaghetti Squash over the winter, and I can't wait to eat some from our own garden. Here's a bloom from this morning.

Tasty AND pretty.

And my salsa peppers? Well, there are FOUR little mini baby peppers on that sucker.

Can you find them? Here's another view.

And last, but not least, there's this little guy.

All Photos © Me

He's not really part of my garden—he's kind of off to the side. And I didn't really plant him. He just showed up. That's one mushroom I don't think even Rob would eat...


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Look

It's been a while since I let Rob cut my hair short. I think the last time was right before we got engaged. Which was over 2 years ago. He's been dropping (not-so-subtle) hints recently, and I was ready for a change. So...

Tada! Not too drastic, and I love it!


Monday, June 7, 2010

Grilled Chicken Parmesan

Rob has been craving chicken parmesan for some time now, and it's totally doable on a lo-glycemic diet! The best way to do it is to grill the chicken instead of bread it. So I did a quick Google search, and this is what I found:

Grilled Chicken Parmesan

• 1 pounds thin cut chicken breast, cutlets
• Salt and pepper
• Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, plus 2 tablespoons
• 2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 1/2 small yellow skinned onion, finely chopped
• 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, such as Muir Glenn brand*
• 1/2 cup, 10 leaves, fresh basil leaves, shredded or torn
• 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
• 1/4 pound sliced mozzarella
• 1 box Quinoa linguine **


Heat outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to high. Season chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil to keep it from sticking to the grill. Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side and transfer to a foil covered platter to hold. If you are using a grill pan, cook the chicken in 2 batches if necessary. While chicken cooks, make sauce.

Place a medium pot on the stove over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and chopped onions. Cook 10 minutes, stirring often. Add tomatoes and heat through, 2 minutes. Wilt in the basil and season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Preheat the broiler to high.

Layer the chicken with fire roasted sauce in a casserole dish. Top the casserole with Parmigiano and mozzarella. Brown the casserole under the broiler 3 minutes

* I stood in the canned veggie aisle for a good 4 minutes with the $.88 Kroger-brand diced tomatoes in one hand and the $2.19 fire roasted diced tomatoes in the other, weighing my options. At more than twice the price, the organic Muir Glenn seemed a bit extravagant. I mean, I'm on a budget, people. I finally decided to splurge, and boy was it worth it! I love chicken parmesan, no matter how it comes, but that extra fire-roasted flavor, combined with just a bit of heat from the crushed red pepper flakes, really sets this recipe apart.

** Quinoa is a whole grain that is native to South America. The Incas ate Quinoa! It's full of protein, and is gluten-free. It's great for those trying to eat lo-glycemic, and comes as a grain, pasta, flour, and flake, depending on what varieties your store carries. It cooks like wheat pasta (just don't over-cook), and it tastes like wheat pasta. It's a winner! Just watch your portion sizes, since it's still a grain.

We both loved this meal, and it's definitely going into our regular rotation!


Friday, June 4, 2010

New Work-In-Progress

It's been a while since I started a new quilt project. Here is the very beginning of one of my newest works-in-progress (WIP):

I am making a wedding guest book/signature quilt for one my friends who's getting married in July. It'll be a cozy toss blanket, not for a bed, so she wanted it to be something she loved and could have out, no matter how she decorates her house. I'm a firm believer that blues and greens can go with anything. We looked at a bunch of fabrics that could be both color-neutral and gender-neutral, and this is the print we settled on:

It's from the Free Spirit's Dolce collection. Those flowers are huge and gorgeous! I plan to fussy-cut this print to take advantage of them. I'm so excited about building a quilt around this print!

I also ordered this floral to go with it (from the same Dolce line).

Once the fabric came in, my mom and I went to Joann's to find coordinating solids.

The green perfectly matches the leaves in the first floral (though the picture doesn't show that). And the yellow adds a nice non-matchy-matchy touch. We also decided to add a white-on-white print for some variation.

The guests will be writing their wedding wishes to the bride and groom on the solids and white fabrics. I wanted them to be light and not really patterned so the signatures will really stand out. I mean, that's the whole point of this quilt, right?

To add a little depth to the whole thing, we picked out this great starburst print, and the green and white dot will be the binding:

And I nearly forgot, this stripe will border the whole quilt top.

All Photos © Me

My wonderful mother took some time on her visit to cut the stripe very precisely so it'll match up all the way around. She really is the best!

My job this weekend is to begin cutting squares. And rectangles. It'll be loosely based on this quilt pattern.The nice thing is that all I have to do before the wedding is cut the pieces. I'll sew them together afterward, since the pieces will be easier for the guests to sign than a huge quilt top. (Did I mention the groom is well over 6 feet? I want it to big enough to cover him for a nap on the couch.)