Thursday, June 17, 2010

Random Finds: A dress for me?

While waiting on my spinach, artichoke and feta lasagna to cook (smells heavenly), I was browsing some favorite sites trolling for dress ideas for an upcoming wedding. I bumped into a review for the new Burdastyle patterns on Selfish Seamstress. I fell instantly in love with this dress, apparently known as klein 120 - Sanfte Wüstentöne. I don't read (or speak) German, so I can't tell what that means. But I do know that as soon as I can get my hot little hands on it, I'll be baking up one of these for myself. Sadly, I get the impression it won't be out till July. Ah well... good things take time :) Like lasagna...

*Update later that night...*

The lasagna was yummy but not overly, and there was a fight to get the kids to eat it. Not likely to make it again. Also, found out that Google translates sites for you, so now I can read Burdastyle in German-translated-to-English... funny and informative at the same time. Turns out that the dress I love is "dress 120 - soft desert tones". Not so romantic, but I still want to make it. Let's hope it's a little more exciting than the lasagna. I'll take confidence in the fact that my husband went back for seconds anyway :)

*Update 6/28...*

Still obsessing over the dress. Have found paltry substitute pattern and purchased fabric, but am having second thoughts about diving into a project half-heartedly. Have called every bookstore in the state to see if anyone has gotten their imported magazines in yet. I think I think the clerks know my voice now. Shoot. Darn. Fudge. I want it now!!!! Am debating doing a little knock-off pattern making of my own. I found a dress from the May issue of Burda mag (available as a not-free download) that has a similar neckline... here. I think this new dress will have similar back shape, and that is the bit I'd like help with as I don't have a dress form in my size for tailoring. Since the bottom is fairly shapeless and the bust is simple (in theory, in my mind), what could go wrong, hmm?

This might not be easy, but I have an imagination and a will of iron. Well, maybe it's more like a will of warm 18K gold, but at least I'll imagine that I look good while I make a muddle of it. And then have to wear the back up dress as self-inflicted punishment for putting this off so long. *Involuntary shudder*... I do not want to wear the back up dress.

*Update 6/30...*

I made a dress. I do not like it. The pictures don't make it look as awful as it looked on me, but I'm not loving it at all. The color is good. The length (still unhemmed) is good. The invisible zipper is very good, if I do say so. My French seams were perfect. It certainly fit me. Apparently I just really suck at choosing shapes that are flattering. Folks, it was capital F "Frumptastic" on me. Anyway, this project was a flop. When I get the actual pattern, I may try again with the real thing.

Lucky for me I found a great dress today at a local resale place, so I'm feeling good in general. Hopefully this blow won't demoralize me in the world of sewing. I'll be posting soon about some kid pajamas that were not a failure, so keep reading :)

*Update 7/9...*

Sorry to bring it up one more time, but I just encountered more detailed drawings of the dress I fell in love with. I still haven't gotten the Burda magazine yet (and now I'm vacationing in the boonies and will not be able to get it here), but blogging seamstresses everywhere are talking about how great the recent designs are, and I can't help but be a little bit disappointed in what I'm seeing.

Is this not exactly what I just made, without the pattern, that looked horrible (take my word for it)? Okay, so I didn't have gathers at the shoulder seams, but really! I moved the zipper to the side and totally guessed about the bodice shaping and back. I was hoping the real pattern wouldn't have a disappointingly boring back, but clearly it was even more boring than mine, since I at least added some darts.

Apparently, I'd been dreaming that this could be a good look for me, but I guess I need to grow about 9 inches, drop a solid 20 pounds and move to the Sahara to rock it like the model in the magazine preview. Sigh. I think the blonde brownies (tomorrow's post) I just ate in quantity are making me cranky (I forgive them). That might also explain the blatant overuse of italics.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

From the Kitchen: Corn Chowder with Salmon and Shrimp

I was struggling to decide what to make for dinner yesterday... I wanted something warm and substantial, like beef stew, but was also in the mood for fish. I looked at many soup recipes before combining a couple with what I had on hand, and the end result was a flavorful, creamy chowder with corn and seafood. To my surprise and delight, all three of my young kids enjoyed this (unheard of!), and I was not disappointed myself. It was perfect for a rainy afternoon, warming the house and the family.


1 1/2 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup finely chopped bacon
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
2 oz jar of diced pimiento
6 oz salmon, skin removed and cut into 3/4" cubes
6 oz cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed and cut in half
1/2 cup heavy cream or sour cream


In a food processor, mix half of the milk and half of the corn, and process until smooth. Set aside. Heat large saucepan over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook until fat is rendered and bacon bits are almost crispy. Remove and discard most of the drippings, then add the onion, garlic and celery to the pan with the bacon. Continue to cook the vegetables for several minutes until soft, then add the potato. Cook an additional 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the rest of the milk, the broth, the processed milk/corn mixture, seasonings and pimiento. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add the salmon and shrimp and cook for 5 minutes, then stir in cream. Remove from heat. Serve with hearty bread and enjoy!