Saturday, July 31, 2010

Random Threads

A couple of weeks ago I bought some new thread at the local fabric store.  I already have a lot of thread from years of sewing, so buying new is a rare occurrence.  I was surprised at the prices.  Even one small spool cost more than $2.  So, this week when I came upon a $2 zip-loc bag of 50+ spools of thread at the thrift store, I bought it.

All the thread was on wooden spools by a number of makers.

Beautiful colors that I have already been using in my sewing.

The most amazing thing was the old price tags.
Now that's more like it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cookie of the Month - Chocolate Chip Pecan

Well it's the end of the month again and time to bake for my cookie patrons, the Nelsons.  Since my oldest son (Lars) requested, as one of his birthday presents, that I make chocolate chip cookies, I thought I'd make them for cookie of the month, too.  Lars is turning 26 (wait, can that be right???) and hasn't been home for the last few summers since he got married so now that he's graduated and heading to China he knew just what to ask for that mama would be more than happy to furnish.  Anyway, I made a batch and gave him dough snitching rights and as many cookies as he wanted which ended being the whole batch especially once the rest of the family started chowing down.  So the Nelsons got a new batch.

Everybody thinks they have the best chocolate chip cookie recipe and I'm no exception.  When I was attending BYU back in the 80s, my neighbor, Robin worked at Mrs. Field's cookies in University Mall.  One night after work she knocked on my door and sheepishly showed me a scribbled up piece of paper... she had copied down the chocolate chip cookie recipe!  The ingredient amounts were in bulk  for a huge commercial batch of cookies, but we worked on it until we got the recipe down to about a double batch size.  The original directions were also for a commercial oven -- for example:  baking for 33 minutes at 275 degrees in a massive rotating convection oven -- but over the years I have decided upon a reasonable cooking time for my regular old oven which yields (IMHO) the perfect chocolate chip cookie... mind you, I don't like crispy cookies, I like them chewy and almost underdone.  So, now that you have read all this explanation, let's get on with it.

1 lb. butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups dark brown sugar
6 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
bag of chocolate chips (original recipe calls for 4 cups)
2 cups chopped pecans
(makes 5 dozen or so)

 Mix butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla for 3-4 minutes on medium speed.

Add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.
Can you tell I was wearing a bright pink shirt that day?  
It's reflected in many of the pics!

Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.  
This is my batch for Lars - he wanted milk chocolate chips and no nuts.

For the Nelson batch I used 60% cacao chocolate chips and chopped pecans.  Yum.

This next part is critical.  After the dough is mixed up, I shape all the dough into ice cream scoop size balls and crowd them on a cookie sheet and refrigerate them for at least a half hour.  The cookies turn out so much flatter if you skip the refrigeration.  Besides, this step makes all your cookies uniform and you can decide to bake them whenever you want to.

Once your cookie balls are chilled,
you can put them in a bowl or even freeze them for later baking.

Place your chilled cookie balls on your favorite air bake cookie sheet.
Gotta be air bake.

Bake at 350 for 11 minutes until you barely see brown on the edges.
Let them set on the cookie sheet for a few minutes
and then remove them to the counter to cool completely.

So that's my version of the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Pretty Little Filly with a Ponytail

This is a close up of one of the screen printed, long lashed, winking fillies on a dress that I've had for about 20 years.  I must have found it at a thrift store.  I didn't buy it for me, but had to have it because it was so cute.  It's been hanging in my sewing room closet all these years.  I'm going to list it in my Etsy shop in the next few days.

It's a very preppy 60s shift - similar to Lilly Pulitzer dresses.

It was made by The Vested Gentress of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Whoever created this line had a playful sense of humor.
Check out those gingham bows on the pony tails on the back of the dress!  

But all I can think of when I see it is a song my husband remembers from Mr. Ed!  

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Some Enchanted Evening

These three vintage dresses are
going up for sale in my Etsy shop tonight.
This one, with the embroidered bodice, is my favorite.

Crunchy taffeta and chiffon - 60s all the way.

But let's not forget the pink and yellow girls from the 70s.

They've had a bit of a makeover since the last time you saw them.

I added velvet ribbon to the waist and removed the sleeves.

Now they're ready for a summer wedding
or some other enchanted evening.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fantabulous Knits!

Ok, I admit it.  When double knits rose to meteoric popularity in the early 70s, I was as interested as anyone else.  That was before they conjured up the image of a grandma in a coordinated, belted lavender pantsuit.  

Here's an unusual 70s piece with tags still intact that someone
once snapped up at a "fantastic riot sale" at Minnesota Fabrics... 

Yeah, I remember that blue floral "maxi" dress I wore to my brother's 1975 wedding (hi Dave) and it was full fledged polyester double knit.  That's me with the high forehead - my sister Barb on the right (also in double knit - I'm telling you, it was everywhere!).  Oh yes, I admit it.  I must not have been adverse to double knits at first.  After all, it was the new miracle fabric, easy to sew, didn't fray, kind to the figure, easy to wash and never needed ironing.  Double knits were used for everything from women's dresses to men's suits.

Alas, synthetics fell out of favor in the 80s and 90s when we all became fiber snobs and chintz and 100% cotton ruled.  Lately, there's been a return to stretchy, clingy, funky, who care's what it's made of single knits and I think the prejudice against double knits might also fade away.  I've been taking another look at them.  Of course they aren't so easy to find, but patience at the thrift stores will yield a few goodies... and I've got plans... mad, mod clothing plans.

These are a few of my recent thrift finds and all polyester double knit.  

My vision hasn't completely crystallized yet,
but I am seeing mod, London, Twiggy, 1968-1972
skirts and jumpers with contrasting trims and pockets.

Or if some are stretchy enough - leggings will be fun and funky.  

Oh yes, I have ideas.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Yep, you guessed it!   I made bunting... or flagging... or pennants... or whatever you call these colorful decorations.   I see them online a lot and creative Etsy types are making 'em like mad.  Here's what I did:

I went through my vintage fabrics and gathered a bunch of reds and yellows - the colors for my niece's wedding shower.  I quickly made a pattern and cut up the fabric with a rotary pinking blade.

I made red pennants...

...and yellow ones.
I had to supplement with a few purchased fat quarters.
Can you tell which ones are new?

And I cut some red and yellow pennants.

Soon I had a pile of double sided fabric triangles
ready for binding.

About time I used up some of those old calico bias tapes I have.

I stitched the tape on top of the triangles with the raw
edges even - leaving an inch or so between each flag.

Then I flipped over the bias tape to the other side
and stitched the length of it.  Easy to make for sure.

They looked festive against my sister's carriage house.

Yeah, sometime I'll blog about my sister's 1905 Bed and Breakfast.

Here's my niece, Amy, getting ready for guests to arrive.
Sunflowers were used to brighten up the tables.

Here's some family... Spring (daughter-in-law), Sarah (sister-in-law),
Brianna (niece), and Chelsea (daughter). 

The giant hydrangeas were in full bloom... but I digress...

Here's Amy with her maid of honor and sister, Lauren.
Congratulations Amy and thank you Lauren
for throwing such a fun party!
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