16 December 2010

Satsuma Mandarin Ice Cream

I know that this isn't a cooking blog. Last year I received an ice cream maker for my birthday, and I have been experimenting with recipes and posting about them on Twitter. I have had many requests for recipes, so I may be posting more of the best of them here.

This recipe has a quite subtle lovely flavour of fresh Satsuma mandarin with a little warmth from the Grand Marnier for a light holiday dessert treat.

1 pint (16 oz) heavy cream
1 pint (16 oz) whole milk
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
3 Satsuma mandarins (juiced)
2 T Grand Marnier

In a saucepan gently heat the milk and cream. Whisk in sugar, satsuma mandarin juice and egg yolks. Whisk constantly until the mixture just starts to simmer (do not let the mixture boil!). Chill for at least 4 hours. Freeze in ice cream maker according to instructions. When the mixture is almost frozen add in the Grand Marnier until blended. Yields about 2.5 pints.

Happy Holidays!

13 September 2010

vintage slip

after weeks/years of "too busy" and fretting over my aged wardrobe, i decided to spend the weekend making some things for myself. here is one of my finished projects:

i have been enamoured of vintage slips forever. you know the ones: black taffeta, cut on the bias, great for layering or wearing on their own. i have loved many to death. the inevitable rips that are repaired and modified and repaired until the whole things is tattered and in shreds. they languish unwearable in my closet, because i cannot bear to throw them away. whenever i go to vintage or thrift stores, i am constantly on the lookout for a new one, but lately, they seem harder and harder to come by, so i decided to make one.

it is freeing to just make something without having to worry about making a zillion carbon copies graded out to fit the whole spectrum of possible women wearers. it only needs to fit me. i don't have to draft out a pattern; i can just kind of free-hand cut the whole thing. i used a basic bias dress pattern for the skirt, and made a composite of my favourite bodices of slips passed..

i love the details that were so common in vintage clothes: top stitching, french seams, pinked edges, lace, bows. it is second nature for me to incorporate these little details into every garment i make. here the lace around the edges, and top stitching the seams make the garment look more finished.

i wanted a bottom detail, but not a traditional gathered ruffle (too bulky), so i decided to add this hand pleated ruffle to the bottom. it only added about 45 minutes to the project, but was well worth it, don't you think? i sewed lace over the seam to tie it in to the bodice detail.

and the finishing touch: a velvet bow. i love bows, and would add them to everything. it just makes a nice finishing touch. now i have a nice new slip that should last me for years, and it only took an afternoon.

06 August 2010


SATURDAY 7 AUGUST IS MY LAST DAY AT 323 NW 6th we will be open from 12-6

yes, in all caps. come by, take away some sample pieces at amazing prices. and if you come to view this post afterwards, here's what is happening (until you hear otherwise). i am NOT going out of business. what i am doing is taking a bit of time to regroup, and focus.

first up: my wholesale and online etsy store will continue as usual. there will be a couple of days where i won't ship (monday and tuesday 9-10 august), but after that i will certainly be filling orders on time as always. and as always i will answer my phone and my email.

second: i will not be taking custom work for a little while (close friends excepted), because i will be working out of my tiny turret room where i can barely fit myself and my cat, much less a full service atelier. so for the time being, i won't be doing any ground-up gowns or large projects. however, i will still be filling custom colours of existing styles and making things that do not involve fittings or alterations. so flowers, feathery things and garters, yes.

third: i have so many designs that are half-finished that i have been trying to add to my line FOREVER. i am hoping to complete some of those so that they may be available for wholesale and retail before next spring. yes, i am slow, but i am a perfectionist. i want you to look good.

don't be a stranger. i am still living in town. you will still see me meandering around town in my fancy dresses trying not to catch my skirt in the back wheel of my bicycle. i will keep you posted about it on my twitter account. i will be doing some selected trunk shows and holiday fairs in the coming months. when i know where i will be going next, i promise to keep you posted...

03 May 2010

i am slow.

or at least i feel like i am slow. in actuality, i am pulled in too many directions, so something is always left to the wayside. in this case it is my blog. i have had many people comment that i haven't posted in a long time, and that would be right. my convoluted sense of how things have to be done has led to a strange list of conditions i put on myself when it comes to posting here.

the first one of them is photos. i am an awful photographer. you might disagree with this until i tell you that i don't take many of my own photos. and who wants to see a blog without photos? that is why i love twitter so much. it is all writing.

the next one is that i moved. it is true that i moved into my new studio at the coeur in september. i know that it seems like long enough, but know i have just finally finished unpacking last week. i thought i would hit the ground running when i got there, and i did. but transitions don't ever happen as fast as we and them to. people are still figuring out that i am there. heck, i am still figuring out that i am there. it still takes a moment to remember that i am not at the top of the stairs at the egg anymore. this has taken a good amount of time on the back end. much marketing, planning, moving furniture around to find the perfect configuration of studio and showroom. and actual open hours. yes, that's right. something i vowed never again to when i moved out of my retail space in 2003. but you know what? my business has evolved, and is evolving, and i have to go with it.

so many ideas. i have been developing new ideas. in between maintaining a busy online, wholesale and custom work business, i am designing new products. this year i have been working on (among other things): cocktail hats, veils and garter belts. it can be a long distance to travel from idea in the middle of the night or on a walk to my studio and its appearance on the ready to wear rack. many trials on different bodies for the most universal fit. much fretting over the perfect colour combinations. waiting for the answers to intricate design questions to surface from my subconscious. and lots and lots of research.

and lastly small projects. while it is hard to wrap my brain around the giant pile of small projects, i would rather take on the task of expertly fitting and mending peoples' wardrobes and making custom everyday clothes than booking out another wedding season. there, i said it. it is a little harder this way, but it is for the best. i would rather trade a little financial instability for my sanity. i am still making garters and flowers, and i am still willing to talk about your wedding dress (sometimes it is a really amazing fun project), but after so many wedding seasons, i am finding it more and more difficult to do.

oh, and i have been working behind the scenes on a couple of volunteer projects; ironically it will be involving me writing some blog posts.

that is what i have been up to. chances are, if you are reading this months later from the date of this post, wondering why i haven't posted, the reasons will be the same. maybe i will excavate and finish some of the posts that i have started over the last few months. who knows?