Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Madras Skirt I Wanted to Wear On Vacation

In June, I was packing for a family trip to Niagara Falls and the Finger Lakes in New York when I realized I did not have a fun skirt I wanted to wear. (Related blog posts I have toyed with writing: Why Do We Get Tired of Our Clothes? And what can we do about it? Also, Why Do I Loathe Packing So Very Much? Really, why? Maybe I should find out why some people enjoy packing to shed some light on my loathing?)

It was late at night and I was not nearly done packing, but the ding-dong pandemic has ridded me of some pragmatism, so I went immediately to my fabric shelves to see what was "fun." Madras! And also unbelievably soft with the wonderful intersections of colors creating new colors. I googled "madras skirts" and spent some daydreamy moments in our trip designing the madras skirt I wanted. 

I found an image of a Ralph Lauren skirt that fired my imagination, so I modified a simple wrap skirt pattern I had to add the ruffle and make a tie closure instead of a button. I inserted some pretty little scraps in the ruffle and tie for the patchwork fizz I like, but then when I saw the ruffle in the mirror, I unpicked the biggest pieces and took them out. Just didn't like them - patchwork can be so surprising. I left the smaller pieces intact. 

I had enough madras left to squeak out a tank top (another Sorbetto tank). I love wearing the skirt and tank together for a dress look, or mixed with other shirts and skirts to hopefully avoid clothing boredom. 

The madras is a dream to touch. Truly the best thing float off sticky sweat in hot weather. However, it is really lightweight, almost delicate, and I did not add a pocket to the skirt because I was unsure it could handle the stress on the seams. I also could not quite figure out where to slap a pocket on a wrap skirt. Bummer. I really rely on pockets.

Back to packing: I have noticed that it does bring my clothing collection into focus when I pack for a trip. Suddenly I see that I have tons of navy, or that my tank tops are stretched out and sad, or that my favorite sandals need to be replaced soon. Or that I want a fun skirt! So that is a good thing I can focus on for future packing. . . 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Exactly What I Want To Eat

 I am slow to acquire cookbooks, although I do read a lot of cookbooks. I want cookbooks that I really use a lot. After checking out Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark from the library over and over, I bought a used copy this winter. 

Summer Vegetable Salad with Tapenade

No exaggeration, I have cooked 1-2 recipes from Dinner every week since then.

I love the concept: each recipe is meant to be dinner and she suggests side dishes if you want some ideas. Very few of the recipes require time ahead of time for marinating or something. Most of her technique is unfussy or flexible where it's unusual, and she's not bossy or snobby. Most of the food I've made has been delicious and creative and very more-ish. Melissa Clark's pantry is pretty similar to my pantry, apparently, and she has new combinations and suggestions that we have loved. Only a few dishes were just average or more work than I care to do for supper. 

Chilled Cucumber & Corn Soup 

The suggested Avocado Toasts to go with the soup

Some of our favorites are Coriander Seed Chicken with Caramelized Brussel Sprouts. . . Roasted Carrots with Walnuts, Feta, and Dill. . . Fresh Corn Cakes with Tomatoes and Fried Sage. . . Watermelon Gazpacho with Avocado. . . Mediterranean Tuna & Olive Spread. . . 

According to her website, Melissa Clark has over 3 dozen published cookbooks. I'm amazed. How does she have the time and talent to produce such excellent, diverse recipes? I'm a huge fan!

What's your go-to cookbook these days?