Tag Archives: sewing

Tragedy Strikes. Great Food to the Rescue!

Tragedy struck the sewing room this weekend.

With temperatures unsafe for any outdoor activity on Sunday, I set the entire day aside for sewing. I carefully measured, cut and pinned a new skirt pattern and before sitting down to sew, went to oil the machine as The Mother always advised. “The best thing you can do for your machine is keep it oiled,” she used to tell me. I peered in the bobbin holder at the little oil sponge. Dry. Squeezed the oil bottle. Nothing. SQUeezed the bottle. Nothing. SQUEEEEEZED the bottle and it exploded. Oil went all over the machine, into the machine, onto my newest in-process skirt, basically everywhere. I sat there stunned, hand still outstretched holding what remained of the bottle, oil dripping from my fingers.

When I found my senses, I spent nearly an hour trying to clean up the destruction. With stains all over the skirt, I figured that it made the most sense to continue working. There wasn’t enough fabric to cut new pieces and logic told me that I should spot treat the skirt and wash it as soon as possible. My stitching has really improved and my pieces fit together really well – I was grinning as I watched it come together and feeling like quite the smarty-pants. Then I tried it on. Skin tight. Not quite what I was going for. That’s when I finally set the skirt in a puddle of oil, turned off the machine and gave up for the day. Sometimes one should really just listen to the signs and eat a cookie, they really took the edge off:

chocolate chip cookie
Thank goodness The Husband made chocolate chip cookies. This is the recipe from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook and makes for a tender cookie.

What did go really well this weekend was the food. Here’s a taste –

The Best-Good Friend and I had a great time at 3 Tiers. I haven’t been there for years even though they’re in my south Minneapolis neighborhood. Their bakery is yummy and they have a great brunch. After having dinner, I’m ready to move in and let them feed me 24 hours a day:

The Husband made one of our favorites, breakfast burritos. Yes, those are tater tots that you’re seeing in this picture. That’s his secret to ingredient and makes for the crunchiest potatoes, you’ll never look at hashbrowns the same again. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed:

breakfast burrito
My Breakfast Burrito: tater tots, black beans, cheese, scrambled eggs & salsa

We decided to celebrate the polar vortex’s return by getting dressed up and going out to Bar La Grassa. It was as good as everyone says and we had a spectacular evening in the north loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. The waitress made a brilliant suggestion – consider ordering two half-order plates for your entrée so you can try more things! I loved that I idea, and now have lunch for today:

If I had the wrong attitude, I’d think that new skirt didn’t fit because of all this great food. Fortunately I know better. 😉

Move Over Coco

Okay, I’m definitely no Coco Chanel and have no desire to be, but I did successfully make two new skirts which has me pretty stoked. This is proving to be the best $9.99 that I ever spent:book

This is a great book for newbie sewers, at least according to this newbie sewer.  I wasn’t feeling very photogenic, so I dressed up Matilda. Please note, I put a t-shirt on her for modesty, not to make a fashion statement.

Here’s my first circle skirt made out of cotton. Now if it would just warm up enough to wear it:

And my first wool A-line skirt, this was super comfortable and warm on its test-run out on the town:

Pretty soon I might be ready to take off the training wheels and give this pattern a try. After reading the directions of this “VERY EASY” Vogue pattern, it seems that their definition of “very easy” is completely different from my own:

Who would’ve guessed so much inspiration would come from finding The Perfect Dress on that trip to LA?

The Snowy Owl Invasion and Great Local Eats

I started the weekend off on a new foot – a Friday night out on the town!

The Girlfriend took me to a neighborhood favorite in her part of Minneapolis, The Grand Café. The menu is small but thoughtful and very well executed. We shared the flatbread and Daily Cheese Plate. The Girlfriend indulged her love of French Onion Soup and I tried the Squash Alfredo in Sage Cream Sauce. All of the dishes were vegetarian, so there was tasting all around:

After a meal like that, I had an excellent night’s sleep which had me ready for a full Saturday. Visits were the first order of the day and I’m happy to report that Grandma was in great spirits and The Mother was recuperating nicely from her shoulder surgery. The last part of my afternoon included a visit to The Fabric Store. Oh yes, I responded to the siren call and yes, I went tremendously over budget… but imagine the advancement of my Liz Day wardrobe if everything goes according to plan! I even found two Half-Priced Books to help me on the journey:


Unfortunately, there was no time to start pre-washing fabric or doing any reckless sewing, but for a great reason – we had a dinner date with The Mom-In-Law. She picked us up and I had my second evening out in a dimly lit, leisurely restaurant. This time we were at a favorite restaurant in our part of Minneapolis, Al Vento. Al Vento’s lighting is even darker than Grand Café’s, so until I remember to carry some glow sticks, you’re going to miss out on the full majesty of the food we’re eating. I gave up after these three photos, but the highlight of my evening munching was the Brussels Sprout Bruschetta (not pictured):

I was up bright and early Sunday for something I had been looking forward to all week, Snowy Owl Hunting. We weren’t hunting them with guns, of course, but we’ve been hearing about the “irruption” going on right now. According to the internet, the irruption began in the Northeastern U.S. and has gradually spread to the Midwest. As of Friday, there had been 150 snowy owls seen in Minnesota and we wanted to see one.

Snowy owls live on the tundra. I saw a NATURE documentary on PBS that said juveniles often spend their first winters south of the arctic in order to develop their survival skills, but this winter several hundred owls have been appearing on fields, airports and lakeshores in the United States. Some have been seen as far south as North Carolina and one was even seen in Bermuda. As a Minnesotan that has just gone through a polar vortex, I’m guessing that one knew exactly what she was doing.

Whatever, the cause, The Husband and I wanted to see some. First, I needed some breakfast. I think you know what I had in mind:

breakfast sandwich
Breakfast Panini: Salsa, pepperjack cheese, spinach and fried egg on a ciabatta roll with hashbrowns

We packed up some supplies (and Danny) and hit the road. We started in the Minnesota River Valley on Black Dog Road. It wasn’t long before we found a pair of eagles. I like this photo where it looks like the one at the roost is yelling at its partner (off camera):


A few minutes further down the road, we found a pond with Trumpeter Swans, Hooded Mergansers, Common Goldeneyes and a Great Blue Heron. I love the picture of the heron, he looks like a grouchy old man:

We kept driving and headed south towards Vermillion. Back on farm roads, we found a bunch of cars on the side of a road and spent a long time looking before we finally saw our first snowy owl. Do you see him?
snowy owl

There were so many hawks out, we lost count of them, but we spent a long time watching this Red Tail Hawk:

I love the stark beauty of Minnesota farmland in winter:

I was so distracted by its breathtaking beauty, I almost missed this snowy owl:

We started getting pretty good at spotting them:
snowy owl

In total, we saw four. When the day started coming to an end, we ended up where we had seen our first snowy in the field. The paparazzi was out:

Because he was too! He gave us some spectacular shots – we did not get as close as the other spectators but I think we got some great photos:

I zoomed in on a photo at home:
snowy owl

What a day. What a weekend! And there was still time for one more panini….

Soup and Sandwich
Panini: Bread, havarti cheese, spinach & pesto.
Soup: Bow tie pasta, carrot ribbons, celery, tofu, peas