Thursday, June 30, 2011

Insert "crack" joke here

I had to go to Costco the other day, and there just happens to be a Sally Beauty Supply very nearby, so of course I went in.  I was looking for the new China Glaze Crackle Metals, and was very surprised to find all six colors:

These now belong to me.  Yay!

I quickly tested a couple over a mani I was getting ready to remove and the application is very interesting.  When I didn't shake them up first, they applied more like a frosty over-coat and didn't really crackle much.    They worked much better after shaking the bottle vigorously.  When they dry, they look kind of 'meh,' but after applying a top coat, they really sparkle.  The directions say to wait three to five minutes before applying the top coat.

I wasn't really into the solid colored crackles, but these metallic ones really piqued my interest, and I'm glad I got them.  I think they'll be a great mani-extender.  I've already used the purple one to extend my navy blue pedicure and it looks great. Interestingly, they didn't crackle much on some of my tinier toenails, but they really did on the big toes.  It'll be fun to come up with color combinations for these.

What do you think?  Crackles:  yea or nay?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sorbetto in Action!

I wore my new top this morning to go to the library!

Waiting for the 'L'.

I felt cool, comfy and cute!


How could I not bring this fabric home and make it into another Sorbetto, I ask you:

More cotton voile from Vogue.

Is everyone sick of Sorbetto Spam yet?  The end is near, I assure you.  I only have three weeks left in which to do any sewing.  After that, my 9-year-old niece will be visiting for a month plus, and all bets are off!  We'll be far too busy going to the beach and the water park!  So I'm trying to get as much done now as I can so that I don't have yards and yards of unused fabric sitting around.

And I'm hoping there will be a finished Capri in the very near future!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I'm not sure I like this.

SpaRitual Driftwood
stamped with Essie Little Brown Dress
and Bundle Monster plate BM10

I want to be the kind of girl who wears animal prints, but I really don't think I am.  I think I'm more the kind of girl who wears floral prints.

Also, it would seem I don't really know what a giraffe looks like.  I thought it looked like this stamp.  It actually looks like this:

Giraffes at Lincoln Park Zoo, February 2011

Oh well.  It's only polish!

Monday, June 27, 2011


You may think that there has been no knitting going on around here since sewing hijacked my life.  You would be wrong:

Both sleeves at once.

I have been working away at my Capri sweater in my non-sewing leisure moments, and have finished both fronts and the back, and have started the sleeves.  This sweater has short sleeves, so to save time I decided to do them both at once on one needle.

I say I've finished both fronts, but that's not exactly true.  I've finished all but the button bands (which in this case will have snaps).  For this design, the seven stitches for the button bands are held on holders to be picked up later and knit in garter stitch on the smaller needle.  Not my favorite thing to do, but I've knit this sweater before and the result is very nice.

Now that I'm nearing the end of this sweater, I've realized I'll have to go back to the fabric store to get the 3/4" snaps I need for it.  I'm a little afraid . . .

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Here is the third polish from the SpaRitual Evolve collection for summer:

SpaRitual Driftwood

This color and Moss were the two I was most looking forward to when I bought the collection, and this one didn't disappoint.  It is a yellow-leaning cream which shows slightly pinkish in some lights.  Very lovely, a color I was looking to add to my collection for quite some time - and not at all like real driftwood, thankfully!

Above is three coats; application was patchy, which, given the color, didn't surprise me.  This one was on the thick side as well, making it a little harder to apply evenly.  Still, it evened out nicely after three coats and I didn't get shrinkage after applying China Glaze Fast Forward, so I'm quite happy with it!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Here's yet another Sorbetto.  This time in a cotton ditsy floral with 3% stretch and store-bought bias tape:

Colette Patterns Sorbetto

I'm nuts about this fabric.  It reminds me of Liberty prints, and is as close as I'm likely to get to any for a while.  I left the bottom two thirds of the pleat open to make the top more swingy.  

Here's a closer look at the print:

The color of the bias tape is called Mediterranean!  I can't wait to wear this with some khaki green pants and teal sandals!

I've really been on a Sorbetto binge, but this is just such a great top!  So easy to make, and a great layering piece.  As I'm making each one, I'm thinking of which of my hand-knit sweaters to wear over them!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sorbetto of the Day

Here's the Sorbetto I made on Wednesday morning:

Colette Patterns Sorbetto

This one was quite a bit trickier than the polka-dot one.  I made it in the same way, but this fabric is voile - significantly thinner and more slippery than the lawn I used before.  This one required a break for pie as well.

I decided to stitch all the edges in contrasting thread:

But all the seams (French again) were done with a blue similar to the background of the fabric.

I love this whimsical print!  I may end up stashing more of it!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Is it hot in here, or is it just me?

Being a Lady of a Certain Age, the answer to that question is usually that it's just me.  But today the answer is that Yes, it's hot in here!  In fact, it's 108 Degrees!!

China Glaze 108 Degrees, Island Escape collection, summer 2011

How pretty is that?  Hot pink with hot pink shimmer!  Sign me up!  Here's a closer (unfocused) look at the shimmer:

So summery!  This is two coats, and although this polish is a little sheer, I think two coats is enough because of all the sparkle.  I don't see any VNL.

The formula on this was great but the brush, not so much.  There was one really long bristle sticking out (how apropos for a Lady of a Certain Age! - if you're my age or older, you know what I mean!) that I had to remove, and the rest were not cut evenly.  I ordered this collection online, so I didn't have any control over the brushes.  When I buy polish in the store, I open each bottle of the color I want, inspect the brushes and choose the bottle with the best brush!  Still, it went on pretty well, and I'm just smitten with the color!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sorbetto #3: Now with French Seams!

Can you tell I'm in love with this pattern?!  This time I followed the instructions and made a box pleat down the front:

Colette Patterns Sorbetto

I'm so happy with it!  I wasn't sure I would like it with the pleat in this fabric, but I really do!  This was my first time sewing with lawn, and it wasn't as difficult as I'd thought it would be.  In fact, it wasn't difficult at all!  And making the bias tape was actually easier than it has been with the heavier fabrics I've used.  Here's a closer look at the fabric:

Dark blue and pale blue polka dots!

My mother asked me the other day how I made the bias tape, and I realized I forgot to add the link when I posted my first Sorbetto, so here it is:  Continuous Bias Tape. Wonderfully clear instructions and photos!

This time I decided to finish my seams by doing French seams.  I used to use these a lot when I was sewing ten years ago.  I'm gradually relearning all my skills!  It makes a very clean inside: 

A lot of people have reported whipping out this top in an hour and a half.  It is still taking me two hours to make one, even though I no longer have to look at the instructions.  I think I spend an inordinate amount of time admiring my handiwork.

And eating pie.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Agenda in the kitchen

I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon cooking.  I had a lot of things I wanted to use up before they got too old.  Now we're set for a few days!

First up was to make some Lemon Buttermilk Sherbet.  Last week when we had guests for dinner, I made a berry cobbler which required a half cup of buttermilk. Of course, the store only had the quart containers in stock!  So I had a Whole Lot of buttermilk left.  I made blueberry buttermilk pancakes over the weekend (for dinner!) but that didn't put much of a dent in it.  I'd made a similar sherbet before with buttermilk and pineapple, but I didn't have any pineapple in the house, so I googled and came up with this. Simple enough!  I didn't have any real lemons either, so instead I added about 2 tablespoons of Key Lime Juice.  The result was delicious, if I do say so myself!  So tangy and refreshing!

This ice cream maker was a wedding gift.  We'll
be married 15 years tomorrow, and we still use
this thing!

Yes, you may have some.  But you have to eat your dinner first.

Next up:  Blueberry Pie.  Mmmmmm . . . pie.  I love pie.  And blueberry is my second favorite (number one being cherry, and number three being Key Lime. Number four is Lemon.)  Last Friday I popped into Whole Foods to get a loaf of bread, and they had pints of organic blueberries on sale for $1.99!  Unheard of!  I bought three.  One became the pancakes and some smoothies, the other two became this:

Would you like a slice with your sherbet?
OK, so it's not the most gorgeous pie you've ever seen.
Thankfully, Martha Stewart doesn't read my blog.
I'm pretty sure.

As it was sitting on the counter to cool, I kept wondering if a hobo would come along and steal it.  Good thing we have an alarm system.

So that's dessert settled.  How about some dinner?  I made a main dish salad of brown lentils, potatoes and garlic-sauteed spinach with green onions, parsley and red wine vinaigrette, a summer favorite of ours.  Delicious (and healthy) to eat, but not so beautiful to photograph.  It's very brown.

Its accompaniment is brown too, but I did take its picture.  I made some garlic crostini, on top of which we put this Sardine-Tahini spread:

I taste much better than I look.  Honest.

And some fresh tomatoes on the side.  Way back in the dark ages, when I was in my early twenties, I decided it would be a good idea to eat a macrobiotic diet.  It didn't last long.  This was the only macrobiotic recipe from my macrobiotic cookbook that I actually liked.  It's super simple to do:  a can of sardines, approximately 1/3 cup tahini (the cookbook is long gone, so I just eyeball it) and about 1-2 tablespoons of soy sauce.  Mush it all together and you're good to go! Fishy and salty - yum!  And full of calcium too. (In case you were wondering.)

And now, if you're still reading, I really ought to invite you to dinner!

Monday, June 20, 2011


I changed my mind about the white shatter.  I decided I'd like to do some really feminine stamping in white on this dusty mauve.  It doesn't get much more feminine than this:

SpaRitual Native Rock
Konad Special Polish in White
Konad plate m71

I'm not usually great at aligning patterns that need to be straight, but I've been practicing.  I'm pretty happy with this one, it's the best I've done so far:

This lace with floral tip is on all fingers except the right thumb.  So pretty!  I can't stop looking at it!  There are a few places where the mesh design didn't transfer completely because I was too lazy to clean off the plate after each stamping.  But overall I'm really happy with it!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Native Rock

Here's the second polish from the Evolve collection, Native Rock:

SpaRitual Native Rock, Evolve collection, summer 2011

Although this color also wasn't what I was expecting based on the website's color drops, I really like it.  It's like Essie Merino Cool's summery, sun-bleached sister, a really lovely medium greyed mauve.  Above is two coats.

I decided to try this one before the cream colored shade that's my favorite from this collection (Driftwood) because I wanted to see if a darker color would apply any easier.  But I still had the same troubles I had with Moss.  So my experience so far with SpaRitual is mediocre in terms of application.  Not so horrible that I would never buy them again, but not as flawless for me as Essie or China Glaze.

When I used Moss yesterday, I used Essie base coat and top coat, and I did get some shrinkage.  Today I used China Glaze base and top coats and I have a feeling this one will shrink too.  Unless I put something on top of it.  I'm leaning toward White Shatter.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Something New

I just got some new SpaRitual polishes - the Evolve collection for summer.  I think these are really lovely, soft colors, so different from all the other summer collections.  I was most excited about Moss and Driftwood, and I started with Moss:

SpaRitual Moss, Evolve collection, summer 2011

This green isn't really what I was expecting.  I thought it would be a little darker, but I like it. I don't think these colors look so great on me though!  Especially in photos!  Once it was on my nails, I thought it might be a dupe for OPI Mermaid's Tears, but a side-by-side comparison in the bottle shows Mermaid's Tears to be slightly bluer.

I've never used SpaRitual polishes before.  I found this a little tricky to apply, but not any more so than other pastel polishes.  I only needed two coats.  The brush was nice and the cap is rubberized, making it easy to hold on to.  

After I did my nails, I sat down and knitted on my new project, Capri, and watched Netflix.  Then I decided the green could use a little something.  So I got out my China Glazes and stamping plates:

stamped with China Glaze Poetic and
Bundle Monster plate BM07

Just a subtle little scroll design; I didn't want to cover up the green too much.  I actually did a better job with the placement of the stamps on my right hand:

Has anybody else used SpaRitual polishes?  I'm really curious why they market their polishes as 'vegan.'  Does nail polish have animal products in it?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Exhibit B

My second Sorbetto:

Colette Patterns Sorbetto Top

Made in exactly the same way as the first, except that this time I used the same fabric to make the bias tape:

Once it was done, I wished I'd done the pleat the other way around.  It just seems too plain.  I may add a couple buttons for interest.  My thinking was that the pleat done the way the pattern shows is more formal, and I wanted this to be a breezy, casual summer top.

The embroidered gauzy cotton presented a few challenges in sewing, especially in the making and use of the bias tape.  The embroidery stops the fabric from stretching along the bias as much as it would without it, so there are a few places where the fabric is a little wonky.  The astute among you will notice that I didn't photograph those bits.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Exhibit A

Proof that not only do I purchase fabric, I also sew it into garments:

Colette Patterns Sorbetto Top

This is my "muslin" - constructed to check fit.  Who says a muslin can't be cute?  This fabric cost less per yard than real muslin!

I cut out the pattern for size 2, and the only adjustment I did was to cut the length of a size 4.  Fit is perfect.  Some people had issues with the armholes gaping or the top being too short, but it's just right on me.  The only other change I made was to invert the pleat down the front and only sew it down about 1/3 of the way, a la Casey.

This was the first time I made my own bias tape, and I'm pretty darned proud of myself:

Now I've got at least one more to do!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Here's what I did last night:

Essie Sweet Talker
China Glaze Hey Sailor
Konad plate m60

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Feelin' Zesty

I finally wore my first Ginger skirt yesterday to go up to Evanston.  Yes, I couldn't contain myself any more; I had to visit the flagship store of Vogue Fabrics!  The good news is, what I saw was pretty much the same as what the store in my neighborhood has, so I didn't buy a single thing!  Here are the modeled photos of the skirt, to show the fit.

And here's how I put it together into an outfit:

Sunnies:  Boden
Jacket:  J. Crew
Oxford:  J. Crew
Wedges:  Naturalizer
Nails:  China Glaze Electric Pineapple

Here's a closer look at the nails - I'm totally digging this color:

China Glaze Electric Pineapple
Island Escape collection, summer 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011


This is the first time in I don't know how long that I've taken pictures for Ravelry (and now, the blog) on the very same day I finished a sweater!  May I present The Jan Sweater:

I spent the morning yesterday finishing the second sleeve and sewing the whole thing together.  We finally got some sun, so I resolved to go out to a nice location and have Hubby take some pictures!  We went to the Art Institute of Chicago and took these in the South Garden.  After an exceptionally delicious and filling lunch at Terzo Piano.  On the balcony.  Sigh . . .

See that pudgy tummy?  It's filled with smoked
whitefish puree with cripsy fried lemon and caperberries,
summer shandy, and chocolate semi-freddo with
spanish peanut nougat and salted caramel.

When I started this sweater, only two or three other people had started it.  I really expected to be the first one done, but as you know, I fell victim to a prolonged case of sewing fever.

The sweater front and back are exactly the same, so aside from the eyelet pattern, not too much thinking is involved.  Exactly my kind of pattern.  The only modification I made was to cast on a few extra stitches for the waist ribbing and then do fewer increases for the main body, so that the waist wouldn't be too tight. Somehow, I must have known I would need room for that semi-freddo.  Also, I used the same size needle for the rib as for the main body.

I had fun playing with the vintage silk scarf I bought in Hendersonville, N.C. last fall.  Well, actually my mom bought it for me!  Thanks, Mom!

Here's me trying to look extra-vintagey:

Outfit details:
vintage silk scarf
Ray-Ban Retro Wayfarers
Jan Sweater
Odille Picked Plaid skirt (Anthropologie)
Frye Wanda Ankle Strap in Poppy

I love the boat neck style, but I may end up sewing up just a half inch on each side so I don't have to keep adjusting my bra straps.  I hate when I have to do that.  

This was a really fun and easy knit and I will probably end up making another one in wool in the fall.  

New sweater!  Yay!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mandarine, on a person.

Yesterday our friend graduated from the University of Chicago.  It was cold out, so I finally got to wear my Mandarine sweater, and I got Hubby to take a couple pictures.

These pictures were taken when we got home, after I had spent five hours outdoors in insufficient clothing.  My nose was running and my face was red from the cold! The temperature had continued to drop throughout the morning.  As soon as these were taken, I jumped into my warm jammies and made some espresso!

I really love the sweater, and I'm glad I got to wear it.  But I'm ready for it to be summer again!

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I'm talking about Vogue Fabrics in Chicago, IL.

I went in yesterday to get this:

embroidered cotton

Isn't that cute?  I had seen it the other day when I was at Vogue getting the zipper for my third Ginger skirt.  I decided to try out the new (free download!) Sorbetto Top pattern from Colette.  It's dotted swiss, one of my favorite fabrics:

Well, by the time I walked out, I had this:


Look at these lovelies!  I just couldn't resist!

Cotton voile!  I LOVE voile!  This might become another Sorbetto,
or I might try copying the pattern of a top I bought from
Boden years ago and love.

More cotton voile!  How could I not bring this
adorable print home?!

Heavier cotton with 4% lycra.
border print!  I'm a total sucker for
border prints!  This will become a skirt.
Because I don't have enough skirts.

More embroidered cotton, gauze this time.
My camera wouldn't capture it, but this is a
bright tangerine orange.  And you know how
happy that makes me!  This will be a
Sorbetto too.

I did show some restraint though - there were a few other fabrics I wanted but passed on.  For now.  The best part?  I got all this, plus a zipper for the skirt, for $34!  And that's including our exorbitant Chicago sales tax!  Yay!