Thursday, August 5, 2010

Skirt of Roses

I've been thinking about making a cute bias cut skirt ever since I saw this post over at Angry Chicken a few months ago. I shopped for the perfect fabric, and finally had a couple of hours to whip this lovely up last weekend. I made this with just 2 yards of quality cotton fabric, and a white ribbon from my stash. (Total cost: less than $20!)

Modifications to Amy's design:

1. 2 yards on the bias wasn't enough to both fit around my voluptuous hips/waist AND be the length I wanted it; so I cut it as long as I could to accommodate my waist measurement, and then cut a 6" bias strip out of the leftovers, piecing it together to sew along the bottom. To keep the hem from stretching while sewing, I did a quick stay-stitch along the bottom edges of each piece first thing. Then, I added the 6" strip to the front and back, and stitched up the sides, then top-stitched the seam between the strip and the bottom hem. I think this would look FABULOUS with a contrasting color along the bottom, but I can appreciate the subtle line created by the break in the pattern. Last, I just did a quick 1/4 inch hem along the bottom, being careful not to stretch as I sewed A little Bohemian, but still professional:

2. Rather than the fold-over elastic for the waist, I cut a 1 7/8" strip of fabric on the bias to make my own bias tape. (Yay, Clover bias tape makers!) I applied this along the waist, leaving an opening in the middle of the front so that I could use it as a casing for my ribbon:

The result? I love it. Flatterning, flirty and fun. No zipper, but the bias-cut allows enough stretch that a quick shimmy-shake lets me pull it on without stretching it out, and the drawstring ribbon pulls the waist in just enough to allow it the skirt to sit atop my hips without falling down or creating an unflattering muffin top. The hem hits just below the knee, a perfect length appropriate for my age and body type.

I was so inspired by this skirt project, that I've found the perfect color of green yarn in Cascade 220 to knit the Acorns cardigan in this month's Twist Collective. I can't wait to pair the two this fall for a completely handmade outfit!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Turtle Cheesecake

My youngest sister and niece were over this week, and thankfully my sister brought over her famous cheesecake recipe! She also has allowed me to share it with you, so enjoy!

Viki’s Basic Cheesecake Recipe

1 stick of salted butter
1/4 C. white sugar
6-8 oz crushed graham crackers (about 1 pkg)

3 pkg cream cheese (full flavor, please)
1/4 C. heavy whipping cream
1/4 C. sour cream
3 eggs
1 C. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the crust, crush the graham crackers in a sealed plastic bag by gently rolling over them with a rolling pin. Meanwhile, melt the stick of butter in the microwave. (about 30 seconds on high does the trick.) Add 1/4 C. White sugar to the crushed crackers and mix. Then, mix in the melted butter until all of the crumbs and sugar are moistened in buttery goodness. Press the mixture into the bottom of a springform pan.

*Vik’s pro tip: If you’ll be serving a bunch of people cheescake in one sitting, this recipe can be divided into two 8-inch circular cake pans to make 2 short cheesecakes :)

Next, begin mixing up the filling. Place the 3 packages of cream cheese (brought to room temperature) into a medium mixing bowl. Stir the cream cheese until smooth, and then add the sugar, heavy whipping cream, sour cream and vanilla extract, mixing after each before adding the next. Then, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until smooth before adding the next.

Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust. Place the springform pan on a cookie sheet, and bake for about 1 hour at 325 degrees F. Remove the cheesecake from the oven when the cheesecake is like a good man... firm around the edges but a little bit jiggly in the middle. Allow to cool. Serve and enjoy.

Variation: Turtle Cheesecake!

Before pouring the filling over the crust, add about 1 C of mini chocolate chips and mix evenly. Bake as directed above. Once the cheesecake is cool, top with pecan halves, a handful or so of mini chocolate chips, and then drizzle the top with melted caramel.