Monday, April 13, 2015

The little things

I'm getting the overwhelming sense that pretty soon my life is going to go through some big changes. I can't really say what changes, as I don't actually know yet. But within the next year there will be some sort of shift in career, home, and lifestyle. It's kind of freaking me out a bit. So I've been taking the time lately to indulge in little luxuries to help make this time of uncertainly a little calmer. I never spend a lot on big treats, but sometimes the simple things are those that matter the most...

...such as having a leisurely tea with one of my favourite teacups...


....spending time with Aggie...

...and of course getting dressed up to go antique shopping. 

I love this vintage dress, but only wear it a couple times a year due to the fragile nature of it's seams (every time I wear it some stitches pop and I have to repair it). I paired it with a vintage brooch, a 1930's hat, some bright tights, and a homemade belt. I tried doing something different with my hair, but it was a little messy by the time I got around to taking photos. It really shows off my grey-streak which I have mixed feelings about. While I actually quite like my grey-streak, I am rather young to have as many grey hairs as I do. It ages me a bit, but I can't bear to dye over them. 





Britt picked me up, and we had a wonderful afternoon looking at antiques and savoring some great coffee afterwards. It was a little chillier than expected, so she borrowed my cape. 



My purchases for the day included a postcard, a nightgown set, and a teacup. It's been a long time since I've found a teacup that is just so "me" that I have to buy it. I love teacups but normally have the willpower to leave them in the store. Not so with this beauty. I'm saving her for my birthday in June, so she will remain hidden away for a few months. The nightgown set I'm going to use right away, but I want to try styling it as a dress. It is a beautiful shade of mint green and will be perfect once the weather warms up a bit!


That's All.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

~The Vintage Vegetarian ~ Macaroni and Eggs (1891)

I love spending time in the kitchen. This probably stems from a love of food, experimenting, and trying new things. I rarely make the same thing twice, and I'm always substituting new ingredients into standard recipes. I've long wanted to try some historical recipes, as they are often vague and seem like a fun challenge. But here's the problem: I'm a vegetarian, who eats very little sugar, and try's to limit processed food as much as possible. The processed food condition isn't too much of a concern since pre-1930's recipes are almost entirely free of processed ingredients. But finding recipes that don't use meat (or meat-products such as suet) and are sugar-free is much more difficult.

But then I had a thought. Vegetarianism has been around a long time (some sources date it back to 6th century BCE) and had a resurgence of popularity during 19th century. There must be some historical vegetarian cookbooks out there! 

I went to Archive.org to do a bit of research (I seriously love that site. It is a wonderful source for free vintage music, movies, digital books, etc). They actually have a number of vegetarian cookbooks from the 19th century and early 20th century. Yay! 

So I've decided to launch a new series of posts called "The Vintage Vegetarian", where I try out recipes from old cookbooks. I've tried two so far (including the one in this post) and am looking forward to trying some more. If anyone has any requests or suggestions, please feel free to leave me a comment. I really have no idea what to do when it comes to "food blogging" so I will be making it up as I go along. Now after that rather long intro, lets get cooking!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Macaroni and Eggs  

The original recipe

My initial thoughts
Well this sounds mildly revolting. Macaroni with eggs? No, macaroni goes with cheese or tomato sauce, unless you are making a macaroni salad (which I don't really like anyways). Not sure about how it's going to look either. Ornamenting it with egg yolks? Hmm... Well, we will see how this turns out. 

I flipped through the book and discovered their "recipe" for white sauce contains no list of ingredients and very vague instructions. I'm assuming everyone was expected to know how to make a white sauce at the time. I don't, so I will borrow a simple recipe from my Country Cooking cookbook. 

The Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of Macaroni (approx 227 grams)
  • 4 Hard-boiled eggs 
  • Parsley (I'm substituting some chopped Kale as our parsley plant didn't survive the winter indoors)
  • White Sauce 
    • 1 cup of milk
    • 2 Tbsp Butter
    • 2 Tbsp Flour

Cooking Instructions
  1. Make the macaroni (easy-peasy)
  2. Make a white sauce using modern recipe of your choice. I did the following:
    1. Melt butter in a small pot on the stovetop
    2. Add flour and cook 3 to 4 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly.
    3. Slowly add milk and cook, stirring, until sauce has thickened.
  3. Peel the shells off the eggs, then slice each egg in half. Remove the egg yolk, which may or may not have actually been in the center of the egg. Now you have a bunch of lopsided egg yolk pieces. 
  4. Slice the eggs whites into rings. This is nearly impossible now that the egg yolk has been removed and the eggs have no structural integrity left. 
    Egg "rings"
  5. Drain cooked macaroni and put on your serving platter (I used a regular sized dinner plate which was much too small. I'd recommend some sort of large platter or large shallow bowl). Mix in egg "rings", then top with white sauce. Sprinkle the kale on top and place the egg yolks along the edges. 

The Result

Ta-da! 

Yes, I know! It actually looks half-decent, much to my surprise. I definitely needed a larger plate though. This makes enough for maybe 6 to 8 people, (assuming you were serving some sort of side-dishes as well). 

The taste? Well a little bland, but not as bad as I expected. It was rich and creamy, and not overly "egg-y". Some curry powder in the sauce would improve it, but it was certainly eatable as-is. 

This would be an easy recipe to make dairy-free. Just swap the white sauce for some sort of coconut-curry sauce. 



For my first attempt at a Victorian recipe, I thought it went rather well. It was really quite easy to make and has me all geared up to try some more challenging recipes! (Or not. I do tend to favor simple recipes...) On the next installment of The Vintage Vegetarian series, we will be making an "invalid custard".

That's All.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter

Happy Easter everyone! I had a great outfit planned for today, featuring my homemade floral crown and a straw boater. Unfortunately, someone (you know who you are) infected me with strep throat. So instead of frolicking around in my Easter bonnet, I'm home on the sofa eating raw garlic and drinking ginger tea (which is actually surprisingly effective).  

 I had to take a few pictures of my hat, even if I don't get a chance to wear it this year (I may have to wear it out for coffee one day, just to give it an outing). I was planning on pairing it with these darling pink vintage gloves. 

I hadn't finalized the rest of my outfit yet, but it would have looked something like this:
 

 I hope everyone else is having a better day than I am. 

At least I have a homemade rhubarb/apple upside-down cake to look forward to later. 
It's grain free and free of added sugar, so fingers-crossed it still tastes as good as it looks. 

That's All.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cinderelly, Cinderelly


I went to see Cinderella last night (it was half-price movie night!) and had quite a good time. I don't often go to movies, but with Britt's extra discount we can now see movies for only $5.38 which is fairly cheap for a night out. 

I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Cinderella. Ok, about 98% of the time I was paying more attention to the costumes than the movie, but wow! The styling was excellent!! I loved how the costumes weren't specific to a particular period but seemed to borrow elements from 18th century, 19th century, 1930's, 1940's and 1950's styles. It was quite a mix but it worked amazingly well. I can't think of a single costume I didn't love. 



As always, I dressed up for the occasion. I was going to do a Cinderella themed outfit, but couldn't find a dress that worked. So instead I decided to go more "ugly stepsister", borrowing elements from the new movie and the old cartoon Disney version (specifically Drizella's costume).

My outfit is entirely me-made (yay!). The vest is a new piece made from a Victorian pattern. It was my first attempt at sewing something from my Victorian pattern drafting book. There was no instructions and I had to dramatically re-size the pattern. I'm not 100% happy with the result, but overall it came out alright. 




I hope everyone is having a good week so far!

That's All. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

How Studio Designers Use Lines to Remedy Defects (1930)


(open in a new tab to view larger)

I'm not sure about the term "defects", but I do love reading about the visual impact lines can have on our perception of size and length. It is possible create a dramatic optical illusion with your choice of clothing. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

New Stock

I've been a busy beaver this past week and have finally added some new stock to my Etsy store. Britt was kind enough to model for me (in a wig, in case you were wondering), and even Aggie joined in at one point. Here are a few of the new items:






While I never went on an official break from my shop, it has certainly been on the back-burner for the past few months. But now I'm back to working on my shop more or less full-time. I'm still doing a bit of tutoring (and contemplating getting a second degree), but the shop is taking priority. My studio overhaul is almost complete (pictures of my space coming soon!), and it is so much more functional. Working in such a small studio has always been a challenge, but the new setup is making all the difference. Sewing/designing is my passion and I am so grateful to be able to continue doing what I love.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

That's All. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Winter Blues




Spring is finally in the air! Unfortunately, the ground is still covered in 3 feet of snow, so it still looks like winter. (Please go away winter. I like you, but it's been long enough. I want flowers and greens plants again!)

Speaking of spring, I've undertaken a massive spring clean. This includes going through every single thing I own and deciding whether or not to keep it. While I will never (ever) be a minimalist, I am trying to streamline my rooms and live more simply. I have a bunch of vintage magazines, sewing patterns, etc that I'm going to be selling (cheap!) so stay tuned for that. 




This outfit is almost entirely me-made, as I knit the hat, designed/sewed the skirt and top, and even made my earrings. Britt was kind enough to snap these photos for me. I had everything set up, when she popped by to pick up some beads I ordered for her. It's so much faster to take outfit photos when someone else presses the button!


An obligatory photo of Aggie:



She is such a cutie, but very tricky to photograph. Her fur is almost entirely black, and her only facial feature is her eyes. If her eyes are closed you can't tell one end from the other!

I hope everyone is having a good week!

That's All.