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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Roast

You all know I'd rather sew than cook - but since cooking was a necessity this last weekend, I found this recipe in Martha Stewart's collection online - and it was DELICIOUS!!!

Pork Loin (15 pounds)
8 to 10 cipolini or small white onions unpeeled (WHY unpeeled I wanna know!)
1 T. Extra Virgin Olive oil
Coarse Salt and feshly ground pepper

1 T. finely chopped freh rosemary, plus several springs (I figure out to take those spky 'leaves' off the main stalk before chopping them!)
1/4 pound pancetta (Italian bacon), or bacon, thinly sliced. We found the Pancetta - and though $$$, it sure was good!

FOR THE SAUCE (Psst - I used my turkey gravy - and they never guessed!, but here's the recipe as Martha would do it!)
1 t. unsalted butter, softened
1 t. all-purpose flour
1 C. Chicken Stock

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large cast-iron skillet over medium heat (I used my Mom's old roaster then just put it back into the roaster for the oven part). Sear pork on all sides - about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Rub pork with chopped rosemary, wrap with pancetta, overlapping strips slightly. (I had to use some toothpicks to hold it all on til I got the string all rapped avround it to hold everything int place. - Then I took out the toothpicks.) Scatter onions and rosemary springs around pork. Roast, basting occasionally with cooking juice until reaches 145 degrees on meat thermometer. 35-40 minutes. I did 20' per pound - as my roast was much, much larger. Also - there sure wasn't much juices to baste - but I did what I could - and I was also sure to place the roast fat side up - so those juices went down into the roast as well.

Transfer to platter, cover with foil.

3. Make gravy - in small bowl combine butter and four. Pour off fat from baking dish, place over med heat. Add stock, scraping bottom of skillet to loosen browned bits. Bring to boil, reduce liquid slightly, about 2 min. Whisk in butter mixture, cook til thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Apron Stitching Directions - My Suggestions

Apron Stitching - Arghhh to Simplicity Directions!

This week I took time to stitch up an apron for Dear Daughter - to go with her decor of her first little home with #1 Grandson and wonderful new hubby! Thought it would come in handy as she does Christmas cooking in her first home's little kitchen. Here is a snapshot of the completed project. I whipped it up in about 1.5 hours - but arghhhhh - if I weren't a seasoned 'old' seamstress, those directions - or shall I say LACK OF directions in Simplicity 3752 would have had me saying not-s0-nice things and cursing sewing forever!

First it starts off with notions of Piping" and 1/2" double fold bias tape. More arghhhhh.
I selected 3 coordinating little prints - one a stripe - cause I always love strips on the bias, and knew without even looking further at the 'directions' that I'd do bias cut bindings instead...MUCH easier!

First of all, it was obvious that that pocket would have NO body to it - as there was NO lining, no interfacing along the top edge. The directions said to 'stitch piping around all edges of the pocket'!!!! A few curves and 2 corners to navigate - yea, that would be simple if I didn't know anything about sewing!

So - I cut a lining of the little polka dot 2" taller than the pocket pattern. I stitched that onto the top - right sides together in a 3/4" seam, then pressed it up - then down, to 'line' and bind the pocket top edge. I fused some of my Straight Fusible Stay Tape along that upper edge - 3 rows of it actually.
Then - instead of piping around the pocket, I cut some bias 1 1/2" wide of the same polka dot and bound the edge stitching it right side to right side as you can see in this photo. Then - I trimmed the seam allowance to 1/4", pressed it away from the pocket, and around to the backside. THEN I stitched it to the apron's top section. About that time, I'll admit, I realized that I should have trimmed the pocket outer edges down by 5/8", as it reallly seemed to large - but who can't use a BIG pocket while in the kitchen?

Step 3 of the directions provided had you 'piping' the lower edge of the bottom flounce. I knew I wanted to use a bias binding instead - of my stripe, so I folded my hunk of fabric as I instruct in my How to Fold Fabric to Cut Lots of Bias technique as you can find in my FREE INFO tab at my website - or in lots of my Creative Sweatshirt Jacket patterns, and my Embellishment DVD. Here's a photo of the finished bias-folded hunk of fabric which I then cut into 1 1/2" bias strips.

I used this bias to bind first the bottom edge of the polka dot flounce, and then the side edges of the apron. The photo below shows how I angled the fold just a bit at the corner before I did the final fold back - which then got 'stitched in the ditch'. The bias edge inside the apron was trimmed down a bit - but left 'raw' as this edge being bias will not ravel.

Left them was to create the top finish and tie ends - which those great directions said to do with bias tape! Yuck!!!!! I created a 'waistband' of the stripe fabric - on the bias - cut it 5" wide. You can see here that I also knew to interface that band across the front. That is the white piece here in this photo.

I I added healthy 55" extensions to that center front waistband for the ties, set the edges right sides together and stitched as you can see in the photo above. That put a seam on an edge - and to get it to lay nicely when turned, I pressed the seam allowances OPEN first, before turning the tie right side out. See photo below at th
e left. The angled edges needed to be trimmed to eliminate bulk at those corners once turned right side out also. See photo below at the right.

To then turn those tie ends, I grabbed for my favorite little tool - the ball pointed bodkin and stuck the ball end into the tip end of the tie, the other end against my body and shoved the tie down it until the pointed end pushed by the ball end of the bodkin protruded through the 'hole' where the tie becomes the waistband of the apron.
You can see by this photo then that on the inside of the 'waistband area', the seam allowance turned under for a nice finish. I topstitched along that edge to secure.
Here's a back view of my finished project...on my 'body' - my Duct Tape Double.

Anyway - I just hate it that directions in the 'Big 4' patterns are so awful - and use such antiquated techniques. I hope the way I approached it and shared here can help you out some and improve your product AND make doing so more fun!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

GREAT Vest on my Houston Helper

As I was going through photos from the Houston Quilt Festival, I found these of my helper, Pat, and her great vest. She made it of recycled and felted wool sweaters, vests, etc. The striped binding is even the lining of a jacket she picked up for $.50 at her local thrift shop!

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Home and hard at work

Houston Quilt Festival was great. Sorry I didn't post more - but I was one tired puppy by the end of each day!

Onto new is my studio (corner of the basement!) piled with VERY organized stacks of fabrics, buttons, yarn, and sweatshirts...all assembled for my proposal for a book with a major industry publisher! Will share more as things develop.....

I'm hard at work also preparing for the MEGA SALE at my website:
next Mon and Tues. - Nov. 15 and 16.

Ordering NOW will entitle you to FREE SHIPPING during that big sale! I'm even scanning/photo-ing some of the season end KITS for my jackets and Crone Art Buttons for this sale!
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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Houston Creative Inspiration - 11/3/10

The inspiration we see as gals stop by our booth #717 here at the Houston Quilt Festival 'Preview' night was AWESOME!

Look at this top - on a sheer knit black base. My super dooper assistant Carol eyed this jacket and broughtd her over to me and my camera! She's sitting here with me in our motel room at 12:30 am 1 1/4" folded strips (ala Clover 3/4" wide Bias Tape Maker), then folded wrong sides together a bit less than half and stitched with white thread to the black base. Marking it would be interesting, but certainly possible: right sides together of the black base, with 2 layers of dressmaker carbon, right side out slipped inbetween.

At the top of my thumb nail, that is a folded edge, as the edge I'm holding.

An ETSY buy - this customer's fabric coiled necklace drew our attention. It was cotton, straight grain cut and folded strips, somewhat twisted here and there, but not twisted at the very center, with also just folded edges showing at the center. No stitching at all - all glued onto a base. Carol and I think trying this or a lighter weight fabric - on the bias and doing an ODD number of 'roses' would be a very inviting creative task. Gee - I can even see this done out of an old flannel plaid shirt! Chain was attached to each end to complete the necklace. She shared she thought it was still on ETSY (I'm too tired to look right now), just search there for 'coiled fabric rose necklace' and we think you'd find them.

I taught my first class yesterday - a 3 hour class on my sweatshirt jackets...starting out with my 'Frumpy to Wow' Design Principles class, then my Creative Journey program where I walked them through several jackets' design inspiration and construction. My students called it a 'sleeper' class - explaining that they loved it all and got so much more than they expected. That was great to hear - and a wonderful way to start this last show of the year for me. Their feedback also has led me to conclude that I will propose a hands-on all day class for next years' Festival. It was wonderful to have Carol in the class to help out too - and the wonderful staff in the Faculty Center are amazingly helpful and a great, safe place to keep teaching supplies.

We had a lazy start to this long day because we were lucky enough to get in quickly yesterday and got in 4 hours' work after my morning class. We finished setting up the booth from noon to 4 when the 'Preview' hours started and went til 10...!!!!

Tomorrow I'm looking forward to my Trunk Show class from 2-3 in the ballroom! Reporting more tomorrow......