Breakfast, Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Knitting, lunch, Savoury

Ballet Wrap Sweater & Thanksgiving Leftovers

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Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying this cold weather! Now that I’m back in knitting mode, I’ve been caught up in my latest sweater, this mini ballet-style sweater/cardigan/what-have-you. While it’s definitely not ideal to wear only THIS sweater in the cold, I think the fit and size is just perfect to wear over a dress or tank top (while you’re indoors!) The pattern is free on Ravelry and is absolutely adorable, if I do say so myself. While it wasn’t nearly as quick a knit as my last sweater (it’s those damn tiny stitches!), I would still say it was fairly quick for any article of clothing.

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In terms of yardage, this particular sweater was perfect because I just used some yarn that I had left over from a project I had done ages ago. I love the ivory tone and that it has iridescent threads running through it; it really makes it more feminine and just a touch more festive for the holidays. I decided to sew in the pink satin ribbon instead of knitting the straps as well, just to keep with that ballet motif.

In addition to knitting, I’ve also been doing quite a bit of cooking lately; after roasting my turkey for Thanksgiving (which was graciously provided to us by my workplace), I decided to turn some of the leftover meat into Turkey and roasted garlic Rillettes!

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I don’t think that I’ve mentioned it here yet, but a few weeks ago I decided to turn down my job offer in LA. I know, sad story. But at this point in my life I feel like I need to focus more on my personal life rather than JUST my professional one, as I have in the past. I mean,  I just got married, I’m still really young, and I would love to enjoy all this time that I have while I still have it. Besides, if I’m talented enough, there will always be another opportunity for me in the future that is just as good as that one, or maybe even better. As always, patience is key.

Anyway, back to the rillettes! Rillettes happen to be one of my favorite forms of charcuterie; give me any kind of rillettes, some crusty bread, a few cornichons, and some stone ground mustard and I’m pretty much the happiest girl in the world. While this isn’t your traditional rillette (notice it’s missing the layer of fat on top for preservation), this was just my way of using up most of the leftover turkey we had in our fridge. Apparently a 14lb turkey was too much for two people. Who’da thunk? No recipe here, but basically what I did was I took the meat off of about half of our roasted turkey and put it in a big pot with some melted butter, a ton of roasted garlic (which I conveniently roasted alongside my turkey), sage leaves, fresh thyme, peppercorns, dry white wine, and red wine vinegar. I let the mixture simmer in the pot over very low heat for at least 2 hours (with the lid on), until meat was incredibly tender and the liquid was almost completely reduced. Once the mixture had cooled slightly, I removed the peppercorns and herb stems (the garlic had completely melted by then) and put the meat and juices in a food processor and blended it on low until it reached the consistency that I wanted: spreadable, but not pasty. I packed it into a couple of ramekins, and refrigerated it until I was ready to dig in (:

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Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Knitting, Sewing

Twinkle Knits and My First Sweater!

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Now that the weather in SoCal is starting to cool down, I thought it would be a great time to break out the needles! I absolutely refuse to knit when it’s warm out. Does that make me a bad knitter? I just can’t stand having the yarn weave through my fingers if I think my palms are about to get sweaty; it changes the texture of the yarn, I swear! I also have a strange dislike for complex knitting patterns… I find them to be intimidating. BUT after seeing the pattern for this sweater from Twinkle’s Big City Knits, I knew I was up for the challenge.

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Because it’s been a few months since I’ve knit anything, I also decided to start small and knit this cute little headband first, just so I can brush up on some simple techniques. I found the pattern here, and adjusted it a bit to fit the needles and yarn I had on hand. I’d have to say that while it does take off a few years (it makes me look waaaayy younger than I should), it’s just so darn adorable that I couldn’t resist!

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Anyway, back to the sweater! I have been coveting that book for quite some time now (it came out in 2007!), but since I have been a bit hesitant to buy any knitting book (remember, patterns scare me?), once I saw that they had a free pattern of one of their creations online, I hopped to it! AND, guess what? It actually wasn’t so bad!

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While I DID have to read over the pattern about a thousand times before I really understood everything, I think it was worth it to me to get out of my comfort zone for this one. I learned a few techniques that I’ve never done before, like bobbles and shaping, and in the end it turned out to be super cute, comfortable, and amazingly warm. The pattern can be found here (Canadian Living, not what you were expecting, right?) and I highly recommend it for a first-time-garment-knitter.

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Happy Knitting!

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Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Jewelry, Knitting

Jewelry Making and a Quick DIY Wire-Knit Necklace

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After seeing all the amazing hand-made jewelry listed on Etsy, I knew I wanted to try my hand at making some of my own. When Black Friday sparked this year’s holiday shopping, I had a bit of sparkle envy; all these amazing pieces of bling were on sale but I still couldn’t afford it, what with all the money we still need to save for the wedding and all.

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I knew for my first couple of pieces I wanted to make something classy that I could wear on an everyday basis, but also something very simple that I could actually do from start to finish. So what’s more classy than pearls? The necklace pictured in the first image is just a simple I-cord with freshwater pearls woven into it as you knit; it can also be wrapped around the wrist and worn as a bracelet. This second image is just a very basic twisted bracelet, also strung with freshwater pearls. For these pieces I used 24 gauge wire, which is slightly thicker than what you would normally use for knitting wire but I think the thicker wire looks a lot better and less fragile.

DIY I-cord Wire-knit Necklace

What you’ll need:

12 metres of 24 gauge gold-tone wire

2 US size 2 (2.75mm) double-sided knitting needles (I used bamboo needles to keep the wire from sliding off)

about 20-30 freshwater pearls or beads of your choice (my finished piece had 22)

Some sort of clasp closure (I suggest a lobster claw)

Wire cutters

Leather finger guards (optional, but they definitely help)

String 30 pearls onto your wire. Loosely cast on 5 stitches using the backwards-loop cast-on, making sure to leave a tail of at least 5 inches. Continue knitting as you would knit an I-cord: knit one row, then slide your piece down to the other end of the needle and bring the wire around the back, and continue knitting in this fashion. I added the pearls very randomly, around 1 or 2 for every inch. To add your pearls to the piece, slide one of the pearls up the wire and place between the needles when you make your next stitch, holding it it place. As you knit, every couple of rows you want to stretch your piece a little, just to keep the cord at an even width along the necklace.  When you have about 6 inches of wire left, remove needle and string your wire through all 5 stitches twice, then pull together. Use the tails on each end to attach your clasp, then weave in the ends of your wire as you would with yarn, making sure the end finishes on the top (right side) of the piece so that it doesn’t scratch your skin.

Happy knitting and enjoy your new bling!

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Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Knitting

First Knit of the Season

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After seeing Frankie Hearts Fashion‘s white sequined sweater top, I knew I had to make one of my own. I loved the low-cut back and the cream color that kept it looking very classy.

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I know it looks small, but this piece took almost an eternity to finish (okay, so closer to a month, but it felt like an eternity!). I modified this Berroco tank top pattern so that it uses smaller needles and so that the back is cut a few inches lower than the front, which is where most of the mishaps occurred, but nevertheless, I am thoroughly satisfied with this piece! Also, instead of sewing on sequins after I finished knitting it (because lord knows I don’t have another month to spare) I decided to use an ivory yarn that had just a touch of shimmer running through it.

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I know that crop tops are probably best left for summer, but I think this makes a perfect pair with the vintage high-waisted pants I found at the thrift store, so I couldn’t be happier! Winter in SoCal doesn’t always call for a heavy sweater anyway, and this one provides a nice touch of warmth without being overbearing. So if you’re a knitter, definitely check out Berroco’s free pattern library, or if you’re just into fashion, take a look at frankieheartsfashion.

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And here’s a sneak preview of my next knit; I still have a whiles to go, but the pattern is a bit simpler than the last one, so here’s hoping it’ll take me less time, haha. Happy knitting!

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DIY, Fashion, Places, Sewing

Maxi Dress and a Day with the Fiance

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Since work has been getting a tad stressful lately, I’ve been looking for any excuse to get out of the house or to at  least spend some time for myself and Robert. A few days ago I finished sewing a maxi dress, and since today was my day off (finally!!) I wanted to take it out for a spin, and what better place than the beach?

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It was a bit windy, yes haha. A lot of inspiration came from this ($3,000!!!) Chloe dress, but I chose a slightly bolder print and avoided the sheer overlay fabric. Robert and I are becoming regulars at the local swap meet, and I jumped for joy when I saw this fabric; for 6 bucks it was a pretty good steal.

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We paid a visit to Baguetier because I wanted to try out their raspberry rose croissant, which I’m sure is a take on Pierre Herme’s gorgeous Croissant Ispahan. It was pretty damn good too, although I would have wanted the rose flavour to be a tad more pronounced. Still totally worth the money, I’d say.

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Overall, it was a pretty amazing day. Tomorrow we plan on going to the fair, so here’s hoping your weekend is as good as (if not better) than mine!

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DIY, Fashion, Sewing

Golden Peplum

So I’ve wanted a fitted yellow dress for a while now, basically ever since I saw this Sugababes music video, and I’ve also been trying to figure out how to make a peplum dress for a long time too; what better time than in the midst of Spring?

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Cute, right? This one is from AX Paris, for $48. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any sort of peplum dress anywhere here, and I’m also still trying to save up money for the wedding so buying one was out of the question. It was time to fire up the sewing machine once again!

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I chose a dark gold fabric with green undertones, and it actually came out pretty nice and was a lot easier to make than I thought. Basically you just make a simple pencil skirt, sew a mini circle skirt on top of it, and attach a basic tank top. From start to finish this dress took roughly 2 hours to make.

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Robert kept making me laugh in these pictures! Sigh, that boy! Anyway, while I’m not a big fan of ruffles, I think peplums add a nice touch of femininity to some dresses, and the bateau neckline keeps it classy.

If you want to make your own peplum dress, I suggest watching this video from LoveSewing.com, and have fun!

Create Your Own Office Peplum Dress

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DIY, Fashion, Sewing

High-Waisted Shorts and a Tale of Revenge

Last week I went out with a friend to a very well-known and high end shopping center in southern cali, which will remain unnamed for the story’s sake (hint: it has the same initials as the phrase “Some Cats Poop.”). Anyway, we were shopping around and came across the store Zara, where I spotted and quickly fell in love with these shorts.

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But alas, a dilemma arose when I saw the price tag. $40 for a pair of shorts that I could probably only wear during summer? I have a wedding to save up for, dammit, and here these shorts are, flaunting around their cuteness in front of me while I tried to hold back my impulse-buying senses. I decided to shop around to other stores before committing.

After shopping around, I decided that I NEED these shorts. Like, NOW. I head back to Zara, only to find that they are closing. I walk into the store, only to be promptly turned away by an employee.

“But I know what I want! I’m just gonna get one thing!”

“Sorry, WE’RE CLOSED.”

Well sheesh. There was certainly no need for raising your voice, and I was immediately off-put by her rudeness, almost angered by it. If someone came into my restaurant 1 minute before closing, we would still have sat him and offered him a menu as if he were the first person there, because that’s just good service, and I shouldn’t have to tell that to anyone working at SCP!

So, I was on a mission. What was the next best thing I could do? Make’em of course!

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I was certainly not going back to that place after that incident, so I furiously perused the interwebz for a free shorts pattern. I have never made shorts before, so it was somewhat of a challenge, but luckily I came across Danielle’s free pattern on Burdastyle. The pattern is actually for spandex volleyball shorts, but could be easily adjusted for what I wanted to achieve.

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Close-up of the buttons. I opted for a soft, stretchy camel-colored fabric; I wanted something neutral that could easily transition between any season.

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Et voila! I’ll admit that at first the pattern was a tad intimidating, as I haven’t used a sewing pattern in over 3 years. At first it was like I was cutting out a puzzle piece from hell, as I couldn’t quite figure out what piece goes where, but once I got it down it was actually quite simple. I adjusted it to make it high-waisted by adding a few inches to the top, and also added a few inches to the sides as the pattern is only offered in size small. I love that it came out looking very 1940’s-esque.

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So take that and shove it, snooty Zara saleswoman! I don’t need your overpriced clothing! Just kidding; I’ll probably go back another time wearing some sort of disguise, just so you don’t recognize me as the girl who tried to sneak in while you were about to close.

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