Wednesday, April 27, 2011

News Flash: I Finally Used a Sewing Machine! (and I hated it)

As all of you loyal followers know, I don't own a sewing machine and have never learned to use one. Every quilt on this site, for the last 13 years, has been made entirely by hand. Well, a few weeks ago I made this little purple dress for Gigi and was frustrated with the way the middle joined. The free directions were extremely vague so I improvised, but the seam kept coming apart in the middle gathers and I resewed it like five times. I was getting mad so my husband suggested that I dig out the beginner sewing machine my mom had given my oldest daughter 8 years ago that no one had ever used. I thought maybe he was right and it would hold that seam better so I agreed.

Well I took one look at the directions and my brain froze! So I made Mr. Babyquilts stop painting the kitchen to set it up for me. He'd taken home ec in highschool and claimed to remember how to thread the beast. I found a spool of machine thread I'd bought by accident long ago and we were off. I wasn't very good at it but I challenged myself to make an entire new dress with only the machine.

Here's the little dress I made, a copy of the purple one. Summary? I hated every second of using the machine and kept wanting to throw it out the window and go back to hand. It kept unthreading itself every ten seconds and I really didn't know what I was doing. Plus, to add insult to injury, I couldn't get it to sew over the gathers in the middle and ended up sewing it by hand again anyway!!!! Grrrr..... So guess what, this one comes apart in the middle every time I wash it too. I realize it's probably not the machine's fault, but I genuinely disliked the entire experience and am extremely unlikely to repeat it. You ladies can keep the machines!

At any rate, Gigi loves it and that's what matters. If I have to sew the middle a hundred more times, it will be worth it. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go sew it again, it just came out of the wash. (I only wish I was saying that to be funny!)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Best New York Strip Steak Ever

To commemorate the start of grilling season, today I give you the best dry rub recipe for thick cut New York Strip Steak. Try it!

Set a stainless steel grill pan (with ridges on the bottom) on medium high heat for at least 15 minutes. Let the steaks sit out at room temperature for an hour - an even meat temperature will make for more even cooking. Make the dry rub: 2T kosher salt, 1/2 c. brown sugar, 2T black pepper, 1 clove garlic, minced. When pan or grill has heated for at least the 15 minutes, rub the steaks with oil, then the dry rub, and put in the preheated pan immediately. Do not spray the pan or grill with oil, just rub on the steaks. The pan will smoke as the sugar caramelizes, so have the fan ready, or better yet grill them outside! Grill 4 minutes per side and they will be perfectly caramelized and medium rare.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Proud of Myself!

I'm very proud of myself today! I have been making the same easy little sack dress over and over for my three year old, and I decided I MUST try something new. The little dress and some newborn pants were the only clothes I've ever made so I was a little afraid to try a harder dress.

Well, it wasn't smooth sailing the whole time, but voila! I made this super cute dress! It only took me two days here in all-by-hand land. I got the pattern free from Made By Rae. If you want to make one too, you have to print out the pattern for the three year old, but the instructions for the itty bitty one. The instructions weren't overly elaborate, but I just filled in the gaps with my general sewing knowledge. I lined the bodice with lavender solid and accented the middle and bottom edge with fabric from the same line.

That line was Tula Pink's Parisville. I love it! It's soooo much prettier in person though. The lilacs and dark purples really pop. Do you see the cute mice hidden in the design? I love all the delicate details, you notice more every time you look at it.

Well ladies, it turned out super amazing, if I do say so myself! Gigi loves it. It feels more like a real dress dress than the sack-type ones I was making before.

She feels like a princess in it!

Even the cat had to come check it out. Well, enjoy looking and now go make one for your little girl!