Thursday, July 17, 2008

infernal brownies

So, I've been wanting to make something from the Black Oven blog since it started -- because it's not just funny, the recipes all look really good! I'd been thinking of trying her brownie recipe first (because who doesn't like brownies?) but hadn't really thought about it too much. Until I was browsing the King Arthur catalog before placing an order, and spotted BLACK COCOA. Black Cocoa for my Black Oven brownies? Too good to be true! A week later, this arrived (along with assorted other yummy cooking things):

the cocoa

But was it really black? You be the judge:

how black is black?

Pretty close to black, I say. That's black cocoa on the left, natural process cocoa on the right. And on hands and counters, it looks even blacker. Seriously, I looked like I'd been shoveling coal! So, I got to work, making the recipe but replacing the baking chocolate with the equivalent in cocoa powder and oils (I used a little less than 1/2 black cocoa, natural process for the rest). It passed its first test with flying colors -- the batter was probably the tastiest brownie batter I've ever eaten, and everyone else in the house agreed. Then it was time to bake -- and the result was, well, pretty evil looking:

surface of an asteroid? no! evil brownies!

We couldn't wait for them to cool, so I cut few pieces as soon as possible and wow, these are some dark chocolate brownies!! So cool!! Ta-da!

brownies as black as your EVIL HEART

We loved them. Unfortunately....the following day was when we all started getting sick. So I ended up eating, maybe one of them. Evan ate several though, and said they were great. Emily hated them though -- and she will eat ANY crappy brownie on the planet. She just didn't like the color, mainly. (Although there is a slightly odd taste from the black cocoa -- I saw it described somewhere as slightly chalky, like the taste of the chocolate cookies in oreos.) So I promised her that future batches of these brownies would actually be brown. Now I just have to figure out what to do with the rest of this black cocoa!

Monday, July 14, 2008

the horizontal dart

I'm getting questions and comments about the horizontal dart, so here's a pic:

RÖMÖ skirt -- the dart

Okay, that's an online edit of the original, not a new detail photo but I think you can see the dart clearly? So basically, every a-line skirt I've ever seen had vertical darts that led to the waist. This pattern has four horizontal darts that hit around the hip area, left and right, front and back. The waist curve is much deeper than usual, but when you sew the dart, it all pulls into this nice curvy shape. Honestly, I didn't think it would work since I'd never seen it done before (and found no examples on google of such a thing) but it actually fits better than patterns I've used in the past with the usual darts to the waist. I'm totally sold!!

I made no adjustments to the pattern at all, just figured out my european pattern size (on Ottobre's size charts, which you can download as a pdf here, btw) and cut the pattern out. So far, farbenmix has yet to disappoint! (if you're interested, take a look at the official design gallery.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

skirts ahoy!

So, we're (mostly) back to speed now. Emily was luckily only sick briefly; Evan and I developed horrible (and I mean horrible) sinus infections that are just now finally winding down. So now the catching up begins in earnest!

I got my replacement Spoonflower fabric quickly and the grainline is much straighter -- still a bit off but nothing like that first batch. One thing I did notice -- the colors are slightly different on the monster fabric (not on the milk & cheese fabric), not obviously, but just a tiny bit brighter. So you're definitely going to want to treat each print run as a new dye lot and don't expect to piece them together. Although, sometimes you'll be able to (just like different dye lots of regular fabric, yarn or whatever). Order the amount you need in one go! And what's happening to all this lovely fabric? Well, I haven't been able to get back to making any more stuff (sorry for those of you waiting!) but Emily finally got her wish. It's not a dress, but I think it may work even better than my original idea:

monster skirt

The pattern is the same Japanese pattern I used for her brown polka dot skirt; the solid tiers are a pink denim I've had forever (which was still slightly less stiff than the spoonflower fabric), and the trim is a "mauve" velvet ribbon. She was wearing it within oh....15 minutes of it being finished? The fabric works well pieced in like this, I think I will keep trying to come up with ways to work with it.

Then I decided that I really needed to start trying to sew for myself as well..and this is the result:

RÖMÖ skirt

It's the farbenmix Rømø skirt pattern (which is actually a mother-daughter pattern in all sizes!), made out of some....ah! Amy Butler fabric. I bought this from someone I knew because I liked the color and the silhouette pattern. It's lined instead of faced, and trimmed with more velvet ribbon (plum, this time). It's very comfortable, and fits well. The horizontal darts kind of freaked me out but they actually work! The only thing I don't like about it is that I had to use a regular zipper as my local hellhole Joanns had invisible zippers in about NO sizes and NO colors. I'm thinking this'll be great as a winter skirt in something heavier, too! But first...Emily wants a matching skirt. Luckily, I have fabric leftover and this pattern includes her size! If the kid version is as easy as the mom version it'll be done in no time at all.

Anyway, more later as we slowly catch up!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

spoonflower love

A write-up over at CraftStylish on Spoonflower features a pic of Emily! So cute!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

wha' happened?

I know I am in the middle of several email conversations, a few transactions, and more -- plus there has been no spoonflower update -- and you all are thinking we've gone into hiding or something. Actually, not so glamorous. We got back from Heroes Con and literally 2 blocks from our house, the car started acting up. The next day, it died. As in dead. As in, a new motor is necessary to make it work again. So....the car is still (one week later) awaiting its new motor and we are carless. But we thought, well, okay, we've got lots to do and there is plenty to walk to around here including the Greenmarket. Whammo! By Thursday am Emily was terribly sick, then we followed. We are all still sick -- Emily's cold is fading into a cough and crankiness, Evan seems to be doing worse, and I seem to have just developed the FLU on top of the summer cold. So...there is no Fun here at the House Of. Thank goodness for the Lawgiver, who visited and helped us restock our fridge and cabinets. Hopefully we will be back in action soon. Until then, thanks for your patience!

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