Saturday, July 24, 2021

Old Sheets, New Jammies, New Curtains

 I save sheets that have a stain somewhere, a rip, or whose partners were worn to shreds. I use sheets in sets, pretty much, so the orphan sheets go into my fabric stash. 

I made pajamas for myself with a sheet from a Tommy Hilfiger set I bought for Genevieve when she graduated to a big bed. So, that would be about 12 years old now, and that speaks to the quality of the namebrand in this instance. I had a pair of pajamas from Old Navy clearance a few years back that were so floaty and cool, I laid them down on the sheet and used them as a pattern. I also used a length of cotton eyelet to fancy them up a bit.


Then, the new bedroom needed some curtains.  I had a lot of fun treating myself to fabric from Spoonflower.

But here's a little word of caution: this was my first time ordering fabric from Spoonflower. I bought 8 yards of their petal cotton, giving myself 2" to spare with all the seam allowances included. I prefer this kind of no-waste sewing because, even though I adore patchwork, my piece bag overfloweth and there are only so many little piecey projects one house needs. 

But when the fabric came, there was a wide white selvage on the sides and both ends. I expected selvage on the sides, but not on the ends! Uneasy, I measured the whole dang yardage and discovered it was 6" shy of 8 yards. When I contacted Spoonflower help in a froth, she said that 1-4% shrinkage is within the range they stated on their website and also that the fabric is cut and measured before the dyeing/printing process and it shrinks after that in its mordant process. She indicated if the fabric was unusable that they would give some kind of refund/discount, but I did not feel right about doing that because I did indeed use the fabric and the shrinkage was what they stated. I did suggest to her that they clarify when the shrinkage happens - as part of the manufacturing process, even before the washing the buyer is going to do at home.  Never have I done measuring and math for shrinkage of commercial fabric I have purchased and washed, but any shrinkage always seemed negligible. Please note that I am not mad at Spoonflower, just newly aware of the differences in purchasing from smaller companies.  

On the plus side, I do not have one single shred of this fabric left over. 

I made the narrowest possible hems on the tops and bottoms, and cut the height as skinchy as possible. I think they turned out well! I used old white sheets as the lining fabric. I do find old sheets really useful. 

What do you do with old sheets? 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Kale-Sauce Pasta

I found this recipe in The New York Times a couple years ago and it has been in regular rotation ever since because
1. It is delicious.
2. It is easy.
3. It uses pantry staples. 
4. It's a complete balanced meal if you need it to be. 
I've used it as a side-dish to fish or grilled meat. Here we are having cold grilled turkey leftover from a birthday dinner. It's great for using up scrappy pieces of kale and if the stems are not too thick, I don't even bother stemming the leaves anyway.

 I've used all kinds of pasta to make this. Sometimes I increase the sauce amounts to use a full pound of pasta because my people eat a lot of food these days. 

I'm also cooking outside on a single-burner induction cooktop to keep the steamy heat out of the house. I keep hotpads and an extension cord right in the drawer there. 
I've made this in kitchens in summer vacation houses - just check first that there's a blender or something like it.  
Kale-Sauce Pasta

1. In large pot of salted boiling water, blanch 1/2-1lb. kale, thick ribs removed.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in small pan and gently over low heat cook 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely. When I can smell the delicious garlic scent and small bubbles are forming around the pieces, I pull it off the heat. Definitely do not let it brown!
3. Pour garlic oil with garlic in blender. 
4. Fish kale out of water with tongs and add to blender. 
5. Add 1/4 cup hot kale water. Add 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan. 
6. Puree. It will be a lovely green!
7. Cook 1/2-3/4lb. pasta in the same hot kale water. 
8. Mix kale sauce and hot pasta, adding freshly ground pepper to taste, as well as more salt and Parmesan as desired.