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Maker

There is nothing better than being cooped up inside with a toddler all weekend long, while Mother Nature dumps buckets of snow all over your metro area.

(Did I say “better?” I meant to say “more terrifying.”)

Don’t get me wrong, I love weekends with Lilian. I look forward to weekends with Lilian. She’s my little buddy. We have crazy amounts of fun together. But… she’s also a lot like me. She doesn’t sit still very well. If we can’t go somewhere and do something, we need to have a project.

Which is how we ended up making all sorts of things last weekend.

It started with this article, which I read a few weeks ago (I may or may not have a wee bit of a backlog of New Yorkers to catch up on). “Bread is delicious,” I told Kristian, “and HFCS and vital wheat gluten are freaking gross. I want to try making my own bread.” Kristian did what he always does when I get an idea like this in my head. He told me to go for it, and he even picked up some yeast when he was out grocery shopping. Because, he is awesome. And he knows how hard it is to get an idea out of my head.

The results? Delicious.

It’s a running joke in my family that we keep our house on the cold side. As in the “we should probably all bring extra sweaters to Christmas” side of cold. (We turn the heat up for guests. I swear.) It would surprise absolutely nobody to hear that my dough took a long ass time to rise. It took so long to rise, I resorted to tweeting at a friend who is an accomplished baker for advice/reassurance. As one does.

(She told me to give it more time. It got there… eventually.)

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I already realized several key blunders that I made. Including scoring my loaves the wrong way before I put them in the oven. Next time (because there will be a next time), I think my bread will come out a lot better.

Someone on Facebook accused me of not getting a decent rise. Trust me, it’s just a Myspace angle. Do the kids these days still say Myspace angle? I guess it’s a Snapchat angle, or something.

This is the kind of faith my husband had in my baking ability… he picked up an extra sandwich loaf at the grocery store “just in case.” Even though I’d already taken two loaves out of the oven. And they smelled amazing. And had very much not caught on fire. Well, I’m here to tell you, we had sandwiches for dinner. With my bread. And they were 100% edible.

(In Kristian’s defense, I can be a pretty terrible cook when it comes to making stuff like… dinner. I make elaborate, tasty pastries. But I also fucked up pre-made ravioli a couple of weeks ago. There was really no way to know which way this was going to go until we cut into the bread and ate it.)

(Delicious. I really can’t remind you all enough that it was delicious.)

Another friend suggested that I make french toast with my bread. Genius! This dove-tailed perfectly with my plan to let Kristian sleep in on Sunday, and to surprise him by making breakfast. I knew I was going to be out of town this week, sticking him with a toddler and a couple more feet of snow. It was only right to try and do something nice for him.

This picture makes my french toast look a lot better than it really was. The bread itself was still totally tasty, but I would have to give myself a solid B+ on the french toast part of the whole deal. And that’s probably me being overly generous. Next time, I will use less milk. And let the bread soak more. And maybe give the toddler a project so she isn’t constantly trying to pull stuff off the counter while I’m working.

Speaking of projects…

I let Lilian cover my craft room in glitter and pink heart stickers so I’d have a chance to finish my latest sewing project. “I makin’ valentines!” she told the cats, “It’s a project.”

My project? The Betz White Metro Hipster bag. I’m pretty pleased with it.

This was a fairly easy sew, but I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do it with my old sewing machine. At one point, I think I was sewing through 4 layers of canvas, 2 layers of webbing, 2 layers of batting, and maybe there was some interfacing in there too. I broke a lot more needles than I would care to admit.

The trickiest part was waxing my own canvas. I couldn’t find any that I liked, so I used an online tutorial to take some remnants from a pair of curtains I made a few months ago and wax them on my own. I used a little too much wax, so this bag is probably going to be shedding for a while. It also deposited quite a bit of wax on my sewing machine. I am going to be giving it a deep cleaning when I get back from my business trip.

The pattern itself was pretty easy to follow, and I like the results a lot. I only made one modification, which was to add bias tape to the outside pocket after the fact. The pattern calls for leaving a raw edge, and I am just way too OCD for that. Even though the edge will be covered up by a flap about 95% of the time, I knew it was going to bug me to leave it like that.

I made the inside pocket pretty late on Saturday night, and it was slightly victimized by my tendency to sew for 30-45 minutes longer than I should. I always tell myself that I just want to finish the section I’m working on, but I make way too many mistakes when I’m tired. I should have packed it in. I ended up ripping out a bunch of my work (or, as my grandma likes to call it, “reverse sewing). And the top switching on the pocket is just not that great. I used a decorative stitch that would take about a million years to reverse sew, so I left it in. The irony of adding bias tape but not ripping out my janky top-stitching is not lost on me.

How great is that TARDIS fabric, btw? I’m a not-so-secret nerd, but I tend to not like using/wearing nerdy clothes/accessories. I liked that this fabric looks like a funky argyle. What do you all think?

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