February 12, 2012

An Introduction

It seems that I have done a lot of introductions here on this blog.  And although I do not typically personify all my objects, sometimes it just makes the work more fun.  This is especially the case when sewing with a dressform, which is why I would like to introduce you to Cora.

This form was a graduation gift from my wonderful parents.  They knew how much I loved working with the school ones during my program and thought I should have one for my future career.

I get asked a lot if it is my exact size (it is not) and why it isn't an adjustable size.  The reason for this is that it is a professional form.  When commercial patterns are drafted, they are usually developed in a medium size (typically 8 or 10) and then graded up or down.  The eight is a little bit larger than I am, and for personal sewing it is easier to take things in after draping rather than enlarge them.

I also get asked a lot why it says "collapsible shoulder" on the hips.  That is because the shoulders are spring loaded and can retract into the body.  This allows for fitted garments to be slid onto the torso.  Imagine if you were getting into a tight fitting garment, your shoulders typically contort to fit through the waist seam.

There is your brief lesson on dress forms!  Random trivia of the day.

February 11, 2012

Too cute not to share...

**I thought that The Three Spinsters might especially enjoy this!

February 10, 2012

A Valentine Post

A happy valentines day to you all!

This year I am celebrating in style with my new roommate and all our friends.  We're having a grand bash, with an abundance of tasty food.

Our party includes:

Tea cup invitations inspired from this Etsy shop.
Garlands galore from Pintrest
Shortbread tarts -- recipe below, it's my favorite!
Teabag cookies from Frost Me Blog --so cute!

Shortbread Tarts with Cream Filling

1 cup butter, room temperature
½ cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour
3 T cornstarch or rice flour
¼ t salt

1-8 oz package cream cheese
1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
Zest of one lemon
1/3 cup fresh squeezed Lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract

Beat together the butter and sugar for 1-2 minutes, until smooth.  Beat in the vanilla extract.  Add the flour, cornstarch and salt and mix just until incorporated. If the shortbread dough is too soft to roll into balls, cover and refrigerate for about 30-60 minutes.

Take a scant 1 tablespoon of shortbread dough and place in the center of each (lightly greesed) mini muffin tin.  With your fingertips, press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides. Once filled, cover and place the tart pan, with the unbaked shells, in the freezer for about 15 minutes so the shortbread can become firm.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  About halfway through the baking time, if the shortbread has puffed up, lightly prick the bottom of each shortbread with the tines of a fork.  Once they are fully baked, remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  When completely cooled, remove the tarts from the pan. They can be frozen at this point.

Beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the condensed milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla and process just until smooth.  Do not over process or the filling will be too runny.  Transfer the filling to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 6-8 hours or preferably overnight. Can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for about a week.

Serve tart shells with a dollop of filling and a berry or slice of fruit on top.  Makes about 36.