Monday, June 20, 2011

The cake is (not) a lie

So this weekend was Fathers' Day, maybe you noticed.  Anyway, in honor of my Dad (see previous post), I made a cake.

When I was about 12, I started discovering boxes of cake mix at my place at the table when my father wanted cake.  He thought it was subtle.  Anyway, I started with those mixes (powder, water, oil, eggs) and a pot of duncan hines icing.
Since then, my cakes have gotten more complicated.  I worked in a professional bakery for almost a year in Ohio, and that honed my decorating skills.  One thing I had never done was a genuine Swiss Meringue  Buttercream from scratch, and so, that became my project for the weekend.  I found a great tutorial on Sweetapolita.  It worked wonderfully.  I made mine chocolate buttercream by adding ghiardelli to it, and put it on a beautiful vanilla yellow cake.

I didn't have any vanilla extract (sign of an over-vigorous baker) having run out a few days ago making cookies, so I had to pull out the vanilla beans (of which I had two).  I scraped them and added them to the cake batter, making the richest, vanilla-y cake I had ever had.  It also makes for a nice color texture when I cut the cake.

Thanks Sweetapolita!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I love old things

It all started with my dad.  Here he is in 1948:

Growing up with his stories, his lifestyle, I couldn't help but discover an appreciation for the way things used to be built.  He worked for the Singer sewing machine company for forty years, but he had been retired at least 10 years before I was born.  He loved everything Singer.  We had an old one when I was a kid that my mother still uses.  My father knew the ups and downs of that machine, and every machine Singer built while he worked there.  When I got a traveling machine from the 1950s, he looked it over for me.

It is because of him I find myself drawn to all sorts of vintage items.
A toy singer that was my mother's

My friend Karl's typewriter

So Happy Fathers' Day, Dad.
I love old things.  That means I love you.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Handy Billfolds

I got the idea for small wallets from a friend who said she likes to only bring cash, ID, and one card with her when she rides her bike.  A bulky wallet makes an uncomfortable lump in her pocket, and so she has taken to just keeping said items directly in a jeans pocket.  The result is that she loses money often.  It occurred to me that  a small wallet with a limited profile would solve this problem with no problem.  It could also be a cute, vegan alternative to a leather wallet.
In response, I have been designing small cloth wallets with three card slots, and a pocket for cash.  The are cute and have the added benefit of limiting the amount of stuff I accumulate.

Each wallet is made from four pieces.  I fold the long piece to create the card slots and sew it all together on the inside piece.  I then attach the backing and turn it inside out.

I have added snaps to each design and other elements to make each wallet one of a kind.
Let me know if you like them, and if you want one, check out my etsy shop.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I promised pillows

Finally feeling like an adult, making a home, I notice details I never have before.  I want throw pillows on my bed and art on my walls.  I want each item in my home to be unique to me.  I handmade these pillows using a beautiful bronze fabric as the main accent.  The color reminded me of autumn leaves, so I worked with a tree theme.
The bronze pillow is a branch, hand-embroidered and designed by me.  The branch reaches, longing, to the right and leads the eye to the second pillow (which I place on the right).  The leaves on the blue pillow are sewn individually as little pockets and then turned inside out before the vein on the leaves are sewn.  I sewed each leaf onto a blue cotton pillow I made.  Each one is attached with an X of embroidery floss.  They pair well together and combined with this really cool wall decal from walldesigner006 on and my duvet.  Even if my bedding is nothing special, these pillows make my bed feel like none I've seen before.
Finally, I am starting to feel at home.