Monday, June 25, 2012

Sewing: Fun AND Fiasco!

Recently I have had a lot of sewing problems, machine wreckage...( ̄▽ ̄)(T ^ T) and since, my sewing life came to a slow trudge, hand sewing being my only choice. I don't mind hand sewing but having that as the only option makes me appreciate my machine a whole lot more.

I went to take my singer to the store to send it out and instead of having a 25 year warranty that applies to everything, like I thought, it doesn't apply to the $99.00 fee for the labor which I thought was covered.

Apparently not...

I was then sent on a wild goose chase to a man named Mr. Matook, a former sewing machine mechanic and sewing fiend, to see if he could help me out. He was absolutely amazing. He's a very kind, old man, works out of his basement shop, which has about 300 sewing machines, at least!

Mr. Matook took a look at my machine and opened it up asking me what was wrong with it, if I knew, and gently scolded me for breaking needles. He just kind of goofed on me, he was definitely a goof, singing songs as he opened my machine and attempted to get into the thing.

Anywho, the goose chase part came when I left it with him and he found that the job wasn't mechanical, but electric. I sort of figured, but I am getting tired of dealing with the thing and sending it out finding out several things that weren't mentioned before after warrenty and everything...

We struck a deal and he sold me an old metal model that I had my mother help pick out for me (she's pretty good with machine and make). We tested it out, confirmed working order, and my mom was excited to say she had other parts to the machine that were just inserts for different stitches, it's really cool.

It's a Singer Fashion Mate 360 from the 70s, but that's just the tip of the iceburg from his shop collection. He has a child's learning machine from about 50 years ago, which is about half the size of a normal machine. It still has it's case and everything and still works. He even has a model from the old Rhode Island Outlet, which did both retail and broadcasting all from the same building.


Matter of fact, the building for the old Outlet Company is based in Providence and right down the street from me.

Welcome to The Outlet Company. ^_^
 So now I have a working machine for really cheap, and it's all metal and mechanic insides will make my sewing life easier. I already restarted a project and everything has been in working order. All that is needed is getting used to making button holes on the machine.


I'm still trying to figure out what exactly I want to do with this one, it's missing something...I just don't know what exactly. I don't want to overwhelm this and I don't want it to be missing that one thing, I'll just keep experimenting though, like always.

I hope to finish this by Tuesday for a picnic, hopefully I will, and also have a macaroon recipe to post, I've never made any before.

Hope your morning is going well, grab a cup and let the day go!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lolita Runway Challenge: Project Summer

I am proud to announce I am partaking in the Lolita Runway Challenge!

It's a recent development brought to us by ABC Lolita and it sounds like a pretty neat way to spend the summer, sewing away on a project that one could improve upon their sewing skills and enjoy a new project to wear at a meet~up or event.

I'm certain everyone enjoys a little motivational challenge, and you can join up too, just go to her webpage and say you want to be in on the game.

She will have polling to have everyone vote for their favorite challenger and we can all enjoy and share our tricks and treats.

The plan is to go, as follows:

1) Challenge Announcement
2) Fashion Sketch or Fashion Drawing or Technical Flats (basically, get your idea in)
3) Material Hunt
4) Drape, Pattern, Alter, etc.
5) Sew forever
6) Photo and post!


I know she hasn't made an announcement for what the challenge is, but I've seen she's thinking of making a dress replica and possibly one of the Btssb Tartan jsks. In about a week or so, I think she will be announcing the challenge, if there is enough interest.

Check out her blog and ask her questions about it. She is also looking for suggestions on what the first challenge should be.

I'm already thinking of ideas for my choice, my concern being how close to the original details does it have to be? And what are the rules for the project. And out of all the details, my major concern is LACE! Finding the right lace for the project will be a pain in the bloomers if e'er I saw.

So check out ABC's blog and sign up for a fun round of stitches and ruffles, for the next Lolita Runway Challenge!

Cheers ^_^

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sew...

Among the many things I did last week, between baking and sewing machine drop offs, I did a little sewing shopping by accident...

I didn't mean too, It just sort of happened! I wasn't even in a fabric store, I was in a crafts store that I never knew had fabric.

It might have been a bad thing for my wallet, but it was an excellent find I couldn't pass up.

I found this awesome black and grey striped fabric, at 3yrds for $10, in a small corner of A.C. Moore. The one that my mother and I often visit doesn't usually carry fabric, so I was surprised to find a small section with little bolts of pre~cut yards. I bought to bolts. ^_^


Print up close.

Not only did I find some pretty fabric, I stumbled through a section for lace, not expecting to even look, and I found this:


Usually lace from a crafting store is nothing like this, everything scratchy and unsuitable for Loli(usually!), and yet I found this.

There were three spools, one yard per spool but cheap, I bought them all! I am so ridiculously excited about these finds, I can't help myself.

What has been some of your best fabric finds?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake, Cream On Top, Tell Me The Name Of Your Sweetheart ♪

I made Strawberry Shortcake!!!

This past week has been a bit of a baking week, what with shortbread cookies and a shortcake. I don't know why, but I've definitely up'd the baking hobby, sometime tomorrow, I plan on doing macaroons. I've just prepped the eggs leaving them at room temperature for 2 days. It's necessary. 

This recipe has been turning into a tried and true favorite for both me and my friends and family. I would suggest putting this one in your recipe books, but that is only my opinion.

Try it for yourself and see how you like it.

♡Ingredients♡

♥3 pints fresh strawberries♥
♡1/2 cup white sugar♡
♥2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour♥
♡4 teaspoons baking powder♡
♥2 tablespoons white sugar♥
♡1/4 teaspoon salt♡
♥1/3 cup shortening♥
♡1 egg♡
♥2/3 cup milk♥
♡2 cups whipped heavy cream♡

☆Directions☆

★Preheat your oven to 425F ☆Next, wash your strawberries, semi~dry them, and the cut them if you want to. Take into consideration how you want your cake to look if you wish to decorate it with different cuttings. Put them in a box and add 1/2 cup of sugar with them, close the lid then shake to evenly distribute the sugar.







★In your main bowl combine you flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons of white sugar, and salt if you're using unsealed butter. I'm not so I'm skipping that step.












☆With a butter knife or fork cut the shortening into the mix until it starts to look crumbly.









★Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg and milk in the well. Combine until just mixed.




☆Grease and flour whatever container you're using. I used a heart shaped silicone cake pan. A cute idea for a meet~up would be a cupcake pan, but don't use wraps if you want to half them and put whip cream and strawberries in the middle. You can use cups after. Again, just a cute idea....








★Bake at 425F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. ☆once you take it out and remove it from your baking pan let it sit on a wire rack until partially cool to cut. I didn't do that step because I didn't want to.

★Decorate your half and top with strawberries and you can use your whipped cream as a glue. I used whipping cream and did it by hand. You don't need to use anything special but a whisk, or you can use a hand mixer, whichever is fine.  If you do it by hand prepare for it taking a bit and, whatever you use, be careful of over whisking! If you whisk the whipping cream too much it will turn into butter, so just get it to be peaky.

For tubing purposes, you can easily use a ziploc bag with the tip cut off to tube the cream, alas, I had none and had to use a bit of syran wrap with the same thought. It was a little difficult and can't promise anything pretty, but my cake turned out fine. ^_^




☆Top, whip, have fun and enjoy your shortcake!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Vanilla~Bean Sable Cookies

Vanilla~Bean Sablé Cookies
These little cookies are a great find! As you can probably tell, I have been searching for a good shortbread cookie and have been coming up with...well things that aren't so much shortbread cookies...In my search I stumbled onto these. These are soft, but firm, and bake through. They aren't like the chai shortbread cookies I posted about in this post, here: http://thebloodyteaparty.blogspot.com/2012/05/chai-shortbread-cookies-recipe.html

Although, like the chai shortbread, these are icebox cookies and can be saved for a few weeks til you have use for them.(^∇^)

♡Ingredients♡

♥2 plump vanilla beans (or be prepared to make vanilla sugar my way)♥ 
♡1/3 cup granulated sugar♡
♥8oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, the better quality the butter the better♥
♡1/2 tsp fine sea salt♡
♥1-1/3 cup confectioners sugar, sifted♥
♡2 large egg yolks♡
♥9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all~purpose flour♥
♡sanding sugar for your cookies♡

☆Directions☆

★Note for vanilla~bean★ you will need to scrap the pulp from the bean pods then stick the pods and mix the in seeds, your sugar to make vanilla sugar! Just cut the bean in half, length~wise, and separate into the granulated sugar.(I didn't have vanilla bean so I added 2 tbsp to the sugar and blend)

☆Take your butter and mix until smooth and creamy, don't make it light and fluffy, in your main bowl.

★Add your salt.

☆If you haven't already, make your vanilla~sugar until well blended. Add the vanilla~sugar and sift your confectioners sugar into the mix, blend well and don't forget to scrape your bowl when needed.

★Add in only 1 egg yolk and blend.

☆Add in your flour, don't over mix now, it should be just blended. It should be doughy and soft.
★Next, you will need to take the dough and gently kneed it on a floured surface. Divide in half and roll them into 9 inch logs. Wrap in plastic wrap and set in freezer for 3 hours.
☆Preheat your oven to 350F.

★After you take your cookie logs out of the freezer, place cooling racks. Whisk your second egg yolk with a small splash of water and brush each log til fully coated. 

☆Take a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper and sprinkle it with your sanding sugar. Fully coat then cut them into quarter inch cuts. I did 1/2 inch like the recipe i had found had called for but I believe smaller would be better.

★Bake for about 8-10 minutes and flip the cookies over to continue baking for another 8-10minutes. They will be golden brown on the bottoms and tops and a little darker on the sides. Once done, take out and place cookies on cookie sheet for 5 minutes.

They taste better than they look. And smaller would be better.

♥Viola! Now you should have some yummy cookies! They only stay for about 4-5 days but I think they are so good and small that they make for good light snacks, perfect for a meet~up. If you don't think you will be able to eat them all in 4 days, or you want to be prepared for a meet on the weekend, you can simple leave the logs unbaked in the freezer.(^∇^) Don't be afraid to play with this recipe either, get creative and roll them out to about 1/4 inch and cut your cookies out in cut little shapes, like teacups or whatever else you might have. ♤♢♡♧

Hope you enjoy the cookies and, please, tell me how they turn out if you do try them. Don't forget your cup of tea...

Friday, June 15, 2012

When It Rains, It Pours!

Hello all you wonderful Lolis and Non~Lolis who like to check in every now and then for a spot of tea and a slice of blog, I have been extra busy.

This past week I have baked french shortbread cookies and whipped up some strawberry shortcake for my boyfriend's birthday. I will post both recipes, they both turned out quite yummy if I do say so myself. The shortbread this time is a keeper for recipe books, and the shortcake is one I've used for a few years now, so keep an eye out for those two!

We had a great time for my boyfriend's birthday I took him to Six Flags for the day and even got a flash pass to quickly jump lines. We went on coaster after coaster, trying every ride we could think of, flipping upside down and side~ways, it was awesome! Being the adrenaline junkie that I am we even went up the new Goliath that drags you back up until you are ninety degrees facing the ground so many stories below you. I wanted to go more than once and do more of those bungee springing rides that throttle you up in the air with only two cords keeping you from being so much splatter.

It was a fun~filled day that we both enjoyed.

Yet with the sweet comes the sour, my sewing machine has busted again, this is the third time I will have to send it out and the machine is only TWO years old. The timing is off and I learned from a sewing machine mechanic that it is from breaking needles. With newer electronic machines it becomes a mega problem.
Within moments of the machine bust, unfortunately my little genie lamp look a like ottlite broke too, it was bizzare to say the least.

Despite all this up and down week I will forge on.

In other good news; my new Lumiebre "Fraulein Alice" parasol came in yesterday! I was very excited to use it while out shopping and goofing off and have had several opportunities to do so.



That's all for now, folks!

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Bet's A Bet

Betting. I usually don't like to gamble, never do at casinos, however, I do the very harmless kind quite often. The type where you bet family or friends over chores or buying gifts for the other person, and win or loose no one gets hurt. And, in the end, I will do the chore anyway or do whatever I would have to do if I had lost, leaving everyone happy.

This week is no different.

I bet with my father that a building I had used in the past for theatre only had 2 stages and he thought there were 3. If I lost I had to go clean my parents backyard and if he lost he would buy me a parasol.

I won. ^_^

We checked the location of course and after much grumbling and denying, my father finally conceded and told my mother they had to get me a parasol.

I picked out my winnings, they paid, and next week I will be cleaning up their backyard and most likely clean the rest of their house. Hopefully they will be surprised ^_^.

My parasol is actually a Lumiebre Fraulein Alice parasol in blackXgrey, for a pretty decent price. I'm so excited about it, it will be my first parasol and it is good for rain and shine, it's perfect!

With as often as I go out for a stroll, this parasol is a great purchase.


Have you ever bet for brand? What did you win?

Monday, June 4, 2012

What Time Is It Mother Witch?

I feel like I've jumped over the moon with excitement, I have finally finished my clockwork jsk!

Wahoooooo! Yeeeaaaaahhhh! Woot woot woot!

Sure, it took a few months for me to finish it, but between theatre shows, babysitting, and just intervening family in general it was a little difficult to be able to just sit and do what I wanted.

The bodice was the easiest piece to sketch out, cut, and sew; I had done that type of bodice, I feel, about a hundred times, so that wasn't the issue.

None of it really was, there was a bunch of hand basting, from zippers to somewhere around 5 yards of lace, making it easier to go over those areas without them moving around. Hand basting is my friend, it controls my out of control machine stitching and the only part I needed to remove after everything was done under the machine was the zipper area. Easy~breezy.

Trying out scallops for the first time ever, without a pattern and going in alone, honestly, way easier than I thought including the scalloped bib on the bodice, though it was very aggravatingly difficult to get that straight.I know for sure that was one of the most time consuming efforts for this piece, leaving me in a state where I'd like to scream sucker~punch someone and leave, theatrically, on some type of bike.

The bib I had to re~do at least 4 times after hand basting and even machine sewing once I realized it was still askew. I had to go back and even replace the ribbon, but that was the worst of it.

I think I still want to make a bow for the front, I just feel there is something missing from the waist area and just can't decide what, but that can easily come later.

Here are a few pics:

Finished jsk sans petti and blouse. Once I get a good coord I'll post.

I did the back without a shirring panel and used black coord to do the lattice work. It can be adjusted.

Double sided waist ties, the under is the tan and the face is the black.

There are 4 sets of these little bows that I also had to hand sew.

Obligatory side~ways shot!!! ^^P
That's about it for now, I am proud of all this particular jsk, never done scallops before, it was kind of nice. I still have about 4 more projects to get back to...that I remember...but for now I'll just enjoy this without freaking out.

Let me know what you think. <3