Monday, August 29, 2011

I'm a baking nut

I find baking very relaxing, so from time to time, I cook for no reason.  This week is one of those random baking weeks.

I needed to kill some time before taking my mother to her surprise birthday party, so I thought I'd pull out a few of my favorite old recipes.

This is my Granny's old recipe book, and it is one of my favorite books to cook from.

The recipes from the Betty Crocker cookbook just make me happy.  I love the graphics and the way the recipes are presented.  However, I do have my own special book that I keep all my favorite recipes in.

I have been adding to this for over a decade.  Each recipe in this book has a story.  Some of them are family favorites such as the seven minute frosting my Granny always made for every family holiday.  Some are things people made for me on special occasions like the Italian feast my cousin Bettina made for me as a going away dinner before I left for college.  I took the notion to put together my own book from my Granny, who had a photo album filled with recipes, magazine and news clippings, pictures, and drawings from us.

Here are some pictures of the finished products:

This is a whole wheat banana, apple, raisin muffin.

 Here are the best chocolate chip cookies in the world.  This is a great dunking cookie as they have enough bite to withstand the moisture. 

For those of you who cook, what are your favorite recipes?  Where did you find them? Do any of them have family stories?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Some resale magic

One thing I feel strongly about is shopping resale and vintage or sewing my clothes as much as possible. I do buy some things new; jeans, shoes (sometimes), and underwear (of course). However, dresses, skirts, blouses, handbags, and even some shoes are largely the purview of resale and my sewing machine.

I am not a talented seamstress, but I have tried my hand at a few things over the last year.

This summer, I made my first circle skirt.  It's fairly simple construction and turned out pretty well.

I wore this out to an enjoyable day of antiquing with my mom and cousin.  Underneath is a crinoline I snagged for six or seven dollars from The Buffalo Exchange.  It's not vintage, but it's super useful.  I'll try and remember to get a picture of it sometime.

Additionally, I tried my hand at a pair of pants based on a 1940s suit pattern.  I very much appreciate pattern companies re-releasing vintage patterns as I am absolute rubbish at following old pattern instructions.

I like how they turned out very much, though I did have to do a certain amount of alteration to account for the fact that I have an unusually large waist to hip ratio.

I've also done a bit of resale shopping lately.  There are a couple of really nice shops in the area. Of course you have to be willing to dig, but I can usually find a few gems.

I found a few delightfully tacky tops from the seventies and a couple of blouses that have the most darling details.

Here are a couple of pictures of some of my most recent outings in my most favorite new pieces.

This is a new blouse, which I love for it's simplicity and the MOST lovely beaded bag I've ever seen.  I found the bag at a great new shop in Corpus Christi called Threads.  It is one of the funkiest little resale shops in the area.

 This skirt is one of several I found at the Goodwill in Portland, TX.  I was terribly surprised to find so many great pieces there as when I walked in, the prospects initially seemed very low.  But, indeed I found that I had to pick and choose what to take home as I was on a $20 budget.  I found a couple of other great pieces, one that needs some alteration, and hope to write about them soon.

This is a little outfit I put together to work as a hostess at the restaurant for an evening.  I had a lot of fun with this, though I made the realization yet again that double knit polyester is a dreadful choice for south Texas summer. Oh well.  I'll just have to wait for October.

I do have to say though, that while I have some outlandish tastes, there are some things that are just a little too much, even for me...

So, the last thing I have to do, is turn it over to you.  I'd love this to be an interactive blog.  So, please tell me, what are some of your favorite clothing pieces?  Do you have something that you inherited and treasure or found in a random, unexpected place?