Thursday, February 21, 2013

Crafty Crap with Carter

It is still sweater season here in NC, and I noticed the other day that two of my favorite sweaters had holes that needed to be repaired. One is a black wool pullover with 5 moth holes in it. At least, I assume that's where they came from. The other is a lovely moss green cotton affair with a smallish hole in the back, that originated Lord knows how. Last night I got a bug up my rear to fix my sweaters.
I am a big fan of Pinterest, and I have something like 40 boards on my account. (You should check them out, they're actually pretty awesome.) :-D
Anyway, I knew I had pinned a link about darning knitwear, but last night I could not find it to save my life. I ended up doing a search for "mend a sweater" and mixed in with pins of Eva Mendes wearing sweaters, I found some helpful info and got to work.
The green sweater was mended with 100% cotton embroidery floss. I wouldn't say it's an invisible repair, but I don't think it looks bad for a first try.

Since the wool sweater has multiple holes, I thought I would have a bit of fun with it. Inspired by this article on Martha Stewart dot com and this amazing sweater metamorphosis at Prick Your Finger, I got to work on the black sweater. I had a skein of alpaca/silk sock yarn that, let's be honest, will never be socks, so I grabbed it and got going. So far I have only fixed one hole, and I wasn't impressed with my darning stitches, so I went a step further and did embroidered satin stitch over the repaired hole. I think after the repairs are finished I will add some random embroidery to other spots, and make wearable art out of it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Let's go to the mall!

I hate shopping for clothes. Well, clothes for myself anyway. I LOVE shopping for my two daughters. There are so many choices, many of them budget friendly, and the girls are easy to fit. I, on the other hand, have a hell of a time. See, I am what you would call a "curvy girl". While retailers are slowly beginning to expand the choices for robust folks, I have a bit of a height disadvantage. Simply put, I am short like woah.
Unfortunately, most women's plus size clothes are designed for women who are six feet tall. The assumption being, if you're a "big girl", you must be big all over. Sadly, that is not the case. I, for example, barely graze five foot two in my bare feet.
"Just buy what you want and cut off the extra length" one might say, but alas, that doesn't always work. Nothing is properly proportioned for shorties like me. The arm holes are too big, the sleeves too long, the hips never land on my hips, instead they are always vacationing down south near my knees. The back pockets are usually end up in that zone where butt meets thigh... So finding clothes is a chore.
It had been three years since I bought jeans. Of the three pairs I own, one is simply unflattering and tends to sag due to some minor weight loss. As I am not a 14 year old boy, this is not an acceptable look for me. Pair number two were similarly huge, but fairly comfortable. Usable, but not suitable to wear in public. This pair was sacrificed to the DIY gods and is now covered in paint, sports a burn from a heat gun, and a small rip in the ass where they got caught on a nail. Of course, on me, that rip is somewhere mid-thigh.  Finally, my favorite and most flattering pair, is simply wearing out.
The husband and I are planning a trip with our girls for Spring Break, and Mama needs jeans for the trip. We are headed north, in March, and temperatures promise to be chilly. So husband sent me to the mall to buy jeans.
With much trepidation, I entered Big Name Plus Size Retail Shop, armed with a credit card and on a mission. Now, don't get me wrong, I buy new clothes pretty regularly, but 90% of the time it's either new shirts, or dresses. Sometimes I will go nutty and buy a skirt, but I had not even tried on jeans or pants (other than those of the  "yoga" or "lounge"  variety) in three years. So, I wandered around the store, faced with far too many choices. A girl with a name tag approached, cautiously, as one would a deer or other frightened woodland creature. I explained my situation, she did a quick assessment of my figure, and sent me into a fitting room with an armload of jeans to try on.
I ended up spending two hours in that store, and tried on no fewer than 17 pairs of jeans. Among the choices were the floral print "jeggings" that were unanimously voted "Most Likely to Resemble Pajama Pants", the distressed jeans featuring "Knee Wear on Your Shins", and the pastel floral skinny jeans with a double shot of  "AW, HELL NO!"
With help from the Most Patient Retail Employee EVER, and texted pictures to my dear Megan, I was able to walk out with 2 pairs of jeans that fit adequately. They're still about 5 inches to long and the back pockets linger somewhere south of the border, but they will do for now.
There was some discussion of buying bras, but after being measured and having terms like "Special Order" thrown around, I decided I had been traumatized enough. I still need to buy a bathing suit for the trip, but that is an ordeal for another day. Right now I'm thinking something retro...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cooking the Books

No, this isn't about some hinky accounting, it's about actual cooking.
I like to cook. A lot. I also like to read. A lot. I have found that a lot of authors of fiction make references to food in their books.
Three years ago I saw Julie and Julia. While I didn't love the movie, I did love the idea of a year long cooking project. After several weeks of planning and plotting and research, I launched the Global Cook-Along Project. I and some friends on Livejournal and Facebook spent a full year exploring the globe from our kitchens.  With the exception of a month I missed due to major surgery, it went really well. It's been almost two years since the project ended and there are dishes from that project that are still on my family's monthly rotation.
Recently I have been reading Kami Garcia's Caster Chronicles.
Throughout the first book, there is a lot of mention of food and its importance to the small South Carolina town that is the book's setting. Buttermilk pie is the pride and joy of Gatlin, SC - I had never heard of buttermilk pie, so I started doing some looking around online and the recipe looked pretty easy. I had all of the ingredients on hand, so today, the Cooking the Books project was born!

I used the recipe at - you can check it out here. It was super easy and the prep took no time at all. Now when it comes to desserts and the great Cake VS Pie debate, I am firmly in the cake camp. I don't even need frosting - it's all about the cake. I like the component parts of pie just fine. I love a nice, flaky pie crust; and fruit is perfectly tasty. There's just something about the texture of pie - especially a custard pie. Mama's not down with soggy food, you know?
That piece of pie you see in the photo there? It sacrificed itself for my taste test. It was both photogenic and delicious.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The role of women in 1950's advertising

While setting up this blog, I decided I needed a new user icon for my profile page. I decided, since I am the mom and housewife of the duo, that my icon should reflect that. As I was perusing pictures of moms and housewives, I came across the picture I ultimately used. 
When I pulled up the larger view of the image, I cracked up. It was just hilarious to me and so typical of 1950's advertising. This woman is in her kitchen, twirling about (judging from her skirt), with a blissful, almost psychotic look on her face. Is it an ad for appliances, cleaning products, or pharmaceuticals? 
What could she be saying? "I LOVE this kitchen, bitches!"
Or perhaps it's "Valium - behold the fucks I do not give!"
Anyway, I chose this picture because A) this is how I hope I feel when my kitchen diy is complete.
And B) this is also how I felt the last time I had valium. 

But that's a whole other story.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Legend of Cartermegan

September 1988, I was sitting in tenth grade Geometry class when the girl next to me passed me a note - "I know I'm just a stinky Freshman, but do you want to be friends?"

From that moment on, we were inseparable. So much so, that we were both dubbed "Cartermegan" by our Geometry teacher.

Now, twenty four years later, we are sharing our hilarity with the world. You're welcome.