August 31, 2012

A Skunk With An Exit Strategy

I'm home for the long weekend (to visit my family and go to a friend's wedding) so I'm staying with my mom, which means sleeping in, delicious breakfast smoothies, and yummy fruit preserves she just brought back from Europe on toasty French bread. 

Home sweet home.

It also means randomly waking up to hilarious conversations between my mother (who, by the way, has a delightfully charming French accent) and Animal Control. 

Of course I only heard her side of the conversation, but it was enough for me. 




My mother's one-sided phone conversation with Animal Control:


My Mother: Hi, there's a skunk living under our back porch

My Mother: Ok, but, um, how do I "harass" a skunk?
My Mother: But I think he has multiple exit strategies.
My Mother: Ammonia. Skunks don't like ammonia? Well yes, neither do we.
My Mother: But if I harass this skunk with ammonia, won't he just go somewhere else in the neighborhood?
My Mother: So they only stay around the area if they have babies and it's not baby skunk season?
My Mother: I see.
My Mother: Ok, well, thank you for your help...

***




August 30, 2012

A Little Treat

Sometimes,
 
because you've been working really hard, or
 
you need a little pick-me-up, or
 
you saw something you just couldn't let get away,
 
it's ok to treat yourself to a little something.
 
 
 
This is the lovely mint enamel and gold bangle I treated myself to from
 
 
an adorable Swedish Vintage Accessories Etsy shop.
 
Today is my last day working on this research project I've been doing since June, which I excelled at (if I may say so myself), and so I decided I needed a little treat.
 
Considering that I had my eye on this amazing, albeit very expensive, vintage coat,
the bracelet was a steal :)
 
Thanks, Me!
 
 
 

Good Thoughts



 
 

August 29, 2012

Moving Day and a Furry Surprise!

Moving Day is finally here. Well, it's really Moving Week.
 
Amanda moved out yesterday, Shannon and Amber are moving in today, our subletter is moving out Friday, Maggie is moving out Saturday, and Rachel is moving in on Monday.
 
But today--with two people and their movers moving in all their stuff--it seemed like sort of the peak of the week.
 
Our apartment is an absolutely shit show--so I'll preserve my dignity by not showing you any photos of that--but there is an upside to moving day...
 
... my new (furry) roommate, Willow!
 
(She does not seem super pleased about me holding her, but we'll become fast friends soon enough)
 
Isn't she the sweetest?
 
And she's smart enough not to jump off our 17th floor balcony! Win!
 
Willow, I foresee lots of couch-snuggles-in-front-of-the-TV evenings with you. And maybe a few runs in Central Park, to burn off the couch-snacking-in-front-of-the-TV calories :).
 
 
 

August 28, 2012

Herb Garden

When I was in Uruguay in March,
I saw the most beautiful little herb garden on the sidewalk outside of a florist:
 
 
It was so fresh and green and fragrant, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head.
 
I want one.
 
But it was still winter in New York when I got back--not a good time for leaving living things outside--and then I had exams and graduation and the job search and then my roommates started packing to move out, and before I knew it, it was the end of August and I still didn't have my herb garden!
 
But this week my old roommates are moving out (sadface) and my new roommates are moving in (yay!) and we started planning on what to do with the balcony.
 
Lucky for me (though not for my girlish figure) they all love to cook, so cramming the balcony with herbs is an idea that appeals to all of them.
 
The thing is, our balcony is big, but it's not huge, so we have to be strategic about where and how to place all our plants. So I of course took to Pinterst for some ideas.
 
Rosemary . Thai Basil . Bay Leaves . Curly Parsley . Basil
Mint . Celery . Tarragon . Lemon Balm .  Catnip
{via}
 
I love this tiered stand the individual hebs and the big aluminum tub for basil:
 
{via}
 
Otherwise a hanging window box would be perfect over the edge of our balcony--and would clear more space on the floor--but it wouldn't be as pretty to look at from inside.
 
{via}
I can't wait! I hate having to buy a whole bunch of cilantro for just a few sprigs and then having the rest wilt in the fridge.
 
And imagine all the delicious herbed foods!
 
Mint Lemonade, Thai Basil Stirfry, Chive Cream Cheese!
 
The possibilities are endless!
 
 

August 27, 2012

Make It: Peony Headband Tutorial

Peony Headband Tutorial
I was poking around my old posts and I found this tutorial I did for Leigh Ashley which I never ended up publishing here, so I thought I'd repost it.


Materials:
2-3 9x12 Felt squares (one or two colors)
Glue gun
Glue sticks
Scissors
Pins
Paper
A headband
Ribbon (optional)
Start by covering your headband with the ribbon, if you want to (I don't have photos for this, because mine was already covered in ribbon). I hot-glued the ribbon, flat-side down, along the headband, and then folded each overlapping under, gluing them down one at a time. Set aside to dry.
Cut out paper circle templates in decreasing sizes. Mine were approximately 2 inches, 1 1/2 inches, and 1 inch across.
Pin the paper to your felt, and cut out around the circle.

Cut out a total of six circles of each size (three of each color in each size, if you're using different colored felt). Two of each color and size might actually be enough, I ended up having a lot left over.
Cut the felt circles in half.
Cut out a large circle of felt for the base, about 1 inch smaller in diameter than you want the finished headband. My finished headband is about five inches across, and my base is about four inches across.
Start hot-gluing the half circles, in alternating colors if you're using more than one color, around the edge of the base, overlapping the edges slightly. The circumference of the base should fit about six half-circle.
With the remaining large half circles, pinch the center slightly,
and glue them with a slight crease in the middle.
Hot-glue the creased half-circles inside the ring of uncreased half-circles. Overlapping the edges a bit, you should be able to fit six in this ring as well.
The finished second ring should look like this:
Now, using four of the medium size half circles, glue them down, overlapping the edges, without creasing them.
Using a few of the smallest half-circles, pinch and glue down the crease, and hot-glue them into the center, sort of bunching them together (at this point it's hard to put them in a circle because they're so small). I accidentally erased the photo for this step, sorry, so I don't have any to show you.
If you want, you can use the extra small half circles to fill in the gaps around the edge, to make it look more round and less petal-y. Just hot-glue them between the biggest petals.
Cut out a tiny circle of felt to glue down in the center.
Cut out a rectangle of felt, about 1x2 inches. Measure how far down the headband you want to put the flower, and glue that point on the headband to the flower. Then glue the felt rectangle over the headband, sandwiching the band between the rectangle and the flower.
Place the headband flower side down, and let it dry.

Admire your beautiful work!
Try it on!

August 24, 2012

Filling in Blanks on Friday

Happy Friday Everyone!
 
When I woke up this morning I thought it was Thursday, so imagine my delight when I realized it was actually Friday!
 
What a nice surprise.
 
***
 
 
 

1. My favorite thing to do on Friday is     Come home after work, crack a bottle of wine, and spend some time unwinding on the balcony and chatting with my roommates  .

2. This Friday I am     Going to my roommate's work party and then hosting a mini dinner for a couple of friends. We're carbloading for our 5k race tomorrow morning and the extra 4 miles we're going afterwards    .

3. The best thing about a weekend is    getting to sleep in  .

4. Now that summer is almost over, I'm feeling     a little bit sad that I didn't make more time to do outdoorsy summery things like go to the beach and hang out in the park. 

5. The best thing I did this summer was    graduate from my master's .

 
6. The thing I'm looking forward to about fall is   fall fashion and getting to wear layers again! It's hard when its too hot for accessories. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm a little sundressed out at this point. Bring on the pants and tights and boots!  .

7. If I had to be stuck in one season for the rest of my life, I would choose    Those two weeks between spring and summer, when the sun is getting warm but the breeze is still cool, and the weather is finally nice enough to be out at night in just a cardigan. Also, all the best flowers bloom around then, so everything smells amazing!


Don't forget to link up with Lauren!
 
***
 
 

August 22, 2012

Scalloped Jean Shorts Refashion

 
When I saw these adorable scalloped jean shorts on Pinterest,
 
I knew I wanted to make some:
 
{via}
But I'm not that into the whole frayed jean look (remember those jean skirts that were super popular a few years ago with the unsewn frayed hem? Well I bought one of those and then promptly hemmed it back up!) so I thought I would take a slightly different approach.
 
Luckily I had some old jeans lying around, and I cut them long enough to hem the scallops like I wanted.
 
 
 
 
I fashioned these!
 
 
(Sorry for the blurry pictures!)

 
I probably could have done a better job pressing the scallops (though stretch jeans are surprising difficult to iron) I think they came out pretty cute, no?
 
Too bad summer is almost over...
 
 
 

August 21, 2012

Baked Flounder with Faux Pesto and Sautéed Greens

Last night I got home from work after running some errands and I was exhausted.

I was hungry--not hungry enough to make a whole complicated meal, but hungry enough for some real food.

So I poked around in my fridge and freezer and dug up some frozen flounder fillets, a package of cilantro, and some baby spinach and arugula. It would do!




Baked Flounder with Faux Pesto and Sautéed Greens

Ingredients:
  • 2 Flounder fillets (or any other white fish)
  • 1 heaping handful of baby spinach
  • 1 heaping handful of arugula
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro
  • 1 small bunch of basil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

You’ll Need:
  • Baking pan
  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s knife
  • Frying pan with lid.

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Pat flounder fillets dry, season both sides with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in baking pan.
  3. Mince garlic, finely chop basil and cilantro.
  4. For the fuax pesto, mix about 2/3 of the minced garlic with the chopped basil and cilantro and about 2 tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. Put fish fillets in preheated oven, set timer for 5 minutes.
  6. While fish is baking, heat a tbsp or so of olive oil in the frying pan on medium heat. Toss in remaining minced garlic and swirl around pan a bit.
  7. Immediately add baby spinach and arugula, toss to coat in oil and garlic. Cover.
  8. After 5 minutes, remove fish from oven and top fillets in about half of the faux pesto. Return to oven and bake for 3 more minutes.
  9. Remove lid from frying pan, toss sautéed greens a bit. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. After 3 minutes, remove fish from oven and top with remaining faux pesto.
  11. Serve fish immediately with a side of sautéed greens.
  12. Cheese and crackers optional but recommended.


Bon Appetit!


August 20, 2012

Make It: Polka Dot Chiffon Top Tutorial

Remember how I wanted to make a cute flowy blouse out of my polka dot chiffon?

Well I did! And you can too!

Chiffon Top Tutorial

1. Fold your fabric in half right sides together (the top edge along the ruler is the fold and the bottom edge is that selvage) and mesure across the fold how wide you want your top to be at the shoulders, including the sleeves.
I think I made mine 28 inches. Cut straight down so that you have a rectangle.

2. Measure down from the fold (the right edge how big you want your sleeves to be. I made mine 8 inches.

3. Measure 2 inches in from where you marked the sleeve, and then cut down parallel to the edge (cutting off a strip that measures 2 inches X the lenght of your folded fabric minus the lenth of the sleeve. Do this on both sides. Pin those cut edges (leaving the sleeve openings open).

4. Now you have a rectangle that's folded along the top, open along the bottom (selvage) and pinned up both sides, except for where the sleeve openings are.

5. Sew up both pinned sides, leaving yourself a 1/2 inch seam allowance. This will leave you with raw edges. You can either leave them as they are (if it's chiffon it will fray), serge the seam, or do a french seam, which is what I did (in this case, you'll have to fold and sew your fabric WRONG sides togethers for the first seam, then trim the seam allowance, turn the garment inside out, press it, and resew the seams RIGHT sides together).

6. As you're sewing up the seam, when you get to the sleeve pivot and sew along the bottom of the sleeve.


7. Make sure you make a little clip into the corner of the sleeve seam to keep it from bunching, being careful not to snip the thread.

8. Turn the garment inside out and press it.


9. On the top folded edge, measure from the center how wide you want your neckline to be. I made mine 10 inches wide, so I measured 5 inches on each side of the center. Pin to mark.

11. Measure down from the center how deep you want your neckline to be. I made my 4 inches deep.


12. Using a french curve (or a good eye) make a template of the collar on a piece of paper or cordboard that is 10 inches wide and 4 inches deep.

13. Fold it in half to make sure both side are symmetrical. Cut it out.


14. Place the template on the fold and trace around the end with a rotary cutter. You can also trace onto the fabric and cut with scissors.


15. For a curved bottom hem, fold the garment in half lengthwise and mark on the front middle and side seams where you want the hem to go. So I marked the front middle seam about 3 inches longer than the side seam, because I wanted the bottom seam to curve up. If you want a straight bottom seam, skip these steps.

16. I improvised with two of my french curves, making a seam that curve up from the middle to the sides.


17. Cut along the curve with a rotary cutter.



18. In the end of I didn't like the look of the square sleeve, so I cut it on a slant from the armpit to the top of the shoulder.

19. It made more a cap sleeve look.

20. The idea of folding and pressing and hemming all that chiffon made me crazy, so I decided to improvse a bound edge with seam binding. Take regular flat seam binding and press it in half, essentially making single-fold bias tape. Conversely, you could use bias tape for this, but I didn't have any, and I actually preferred the supple rayon seam binding to the stiffness of cotton bias tape.



21. Pin the folded binding around all raw edges (the bottom hem and the sleeves).



22. Sew down with a small stitch, making sure to catch the binding on both sides.


23. And done!

{Sorry about the godawful photo. By the time I finished it was dark out and the lighting in my room was terrible. It looks much cuter in person, I swear!}