Ethiopian Night

I really enjoy trying out new foods. You learn a lot about people just by the way in which they eat their food and by what type of foods are found in their recipes. My first taste of Ethiopian food was in Washington D.C. with my friend Andrea 10 years ago. She’d taken me to a quaint little spot for an early dinner before my train back home. My most fond memory was the cacophony of smells and flavors I’d never experienced before. Since I didn’t know what to order, I left that to Andrea to order us up a really nice meal. She’s told me about how they’d serve it and some of the ingredients that would be on our plate.

The communal style of sharing the meal was refreshing. I love to share food!! Just ask my Huzzband! The meal was brought out on a large dish with several entrees served up on this spongy flat bread. As the waitress explained the meal, I tried to picture what each dish reminded me of and wondered if it would taste even remotely close. Nothing was as I expected. Bright flavors, wonderful spices, and vividly colored foods really took my breathe away.

As I tore off the injera and tasted each dish, I immediately became a fan of this delectable cuisine. Each bite complementing the other with spicy, flavorful goodness. I knew this wouldn’t be my last taste of Ethiopian fare.

As the years passed, I frequented a few Ethiopian restaurant in my hometown and one day decided to try my hand at some of my favorite dishes. The lentils were my favorite, followed by cabbage and collard greens. I really loved the chicken & beef also, but I stopped eating meat years ago, so I’m not making any of that stuff!

There is an international grocery store that carries flavor-packed berbere  seasoning and iron-rich injera in West Philly. With a quick trip there and to the market for common veggies, dinner was easy.  I’d settled on misir wat (lentils), tikil gomen (cabbage) and beets. added some brown basmati rice (just because) to the meal and we were set. I used these recipes (from the links)as guides to creating my own renditions. I added jalapenos, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, tomato paste, etc to jazz them up a bit.

 

Ethiopian Fare- Misir Wat, Tikil Gomen, Yeqey Sir Qiqqil, Injira

Sunday Dinner

Michelle Obama’s Chic Floral Dress Is Inspiring Our Summer Wardrobes

scooterphoenix:

My day has been made. FLOTUS in this beautiful frock by Tanya Taylor has given me an idea! Time to find a print that I can make into something similar.

 

Michelle Obama in blue and white summer dress

Michelle Obama in a floral number by Tanya Taylor

Originally posted on InStyle:

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In her latest show of support for young American designers, Michelle Obama wore a dress by New York-based up-and-comer Tanya Taylor. She chose the white and blue floral print frock for a visit to the headquarters of Global Kids Incorporated in New York City, a non-profit group for global learning and youth development. Obama looked sophisticated in the summery frock, which she paired with metallic silver pumps and her signature wavy tresses.

Shop 38 Pretty Summer Dresses Now

This isn’t her first time in the label—Obama wore a look by Taylor to an event in Washington, D.C. just last month. We’re love Obama’s fresh and polished look so much, we want our own modern floral dress, stat.

For more Michelle Obama, see her best looks ever in our gallery!

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DIY Heat and Cold Packs

Allergy season is upon us. Depending on where you live, the grass, tree or weed pollen counts can fluctuate from day to day.

PollenCast

PollenCast from Weather.com

For some reason, this past Saturday, my face was so sore. Sinus pressure started under my eyes and as the day went on (and while I was at the On The Run concert), I got worse and worse. My head, my teeth even were giving me fits. I’d taken a OTC sinus pain reliever that day, but it only dulled the pain until it wore off. I didn’t have a back up. I suffered all night.

Kelly and Scooter at the On the Run Tour

Smiling through the pain

On The Run Tour

On The Run Tour

 

Fast- Forward to the next day, here comes the pain again. Annie Lennox, watch out! . Another OTC and warm wash cloths to ease the pain. I thought to myself, I wish I still had that microwave heat pack again. Not sure what happened to it it, but needless to say, I sure did miss it right now.

Then the juices started flowing. My orthopedic surgeon had suggested to me in the past to warm up a bowl of rice and use it to heat up my finger before doing my home physical therapy. Eureka! I have rice and I can just make a heat pack for my face.

Using some scrap fabric from a maxi skirt I’d made the day before (post coming soon), I made a heat/cold pack.

2014-07-07 00.36.32

 

  • (2) 10″ x 6″ pieces of scrap fabric (feel free to interface them)
  • 2 – 2.5 cups of rice
  • Essential oil (6-10 drops)
  • Needle & Thread or sewing machine.
  • Ruler
  • Tailors chalk or pencil
  • Bowl & Funnel

With right sides together, using a 1/2 seam allowance, sew up your ‘pack’, around one side, across the bottom and up the other side. If on a machine, backtack for sure.

Sew the top closed about 2 inches in.

Turn right-side out. Use a chopstick or turner to push the corners out.

Fold the raw edges inside and press.

To keep the rice in place so it’s not falling all to one end or the other, measure the pack into thirds and stitch 2 lines starting and finishing 1 inch in from the seam. If hand sewing, the running or back stitch works.

ruler

Pour your rice into a bowl and drop some essential oil into the rice. I used lemongrass. Be careful, A little goes a long way.

Mix up the rice so the scent is infused throughout the bowl. Using your funnel, pour the rice into the open end of the pack and allow it to settle into the bottom and middle compartment. Fill the last compartment only 1/2 to 3/4 of the way. You’ll need room to tuck in the raw edges and close the pack.

Hand stitch or machine stitch the pack closed. If hand sewing, the slip stitch works.

When heating up the pack, 1 minute & 30-40 seconds is sufficient. Place a small bowl of water the microwave when you heat it to keep the pack moist and so the rice doesn’t burn.

Make several, some for the freezer, some larger for sprains and cramps or smaller ones for hand warmers in the winter.

 

2014-07-07 00.36.39

 

~sidenote~I hear flaxseed works as filler too

The Real Vitamin Water

I’m working really hard to stay hydrated. I find that I feel and look better when my body gets the hydration it needs. To make this task easier and in my opinion, sexier, I’ve taken to drinking fruit infused water everyday at work. I have a pitcher in my office and as soon as I get in, I cut up some fruit and veggies. I belong to a farm share so I get plenty off colorful items that can spice up the average glass of H20.

Here are a few of my creations last week. You can use just about anything, so be creative. A good way to start is a berry and a citrus.

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Strawberry, Orange, Raspberry

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Strawberry, Lemon, Blueberry

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Cucumber, Strawberry, Lime

Watermelon, Strawberry, Cilantro

Watermelon, Strawberry, Cilantro

Water is key in proper cell function, removing waste from the body and lubricates those joints. There is plenty of science to support how integral water is to living organisms, just google it if you’re not convinced.

Kiwi, Lime, Orange, Mint

Kiwi, Lime, Orange, Mint

Cucumber, Lime, Mint

Cucumber, Lime, Mint

Strawberry, Lemon & Basil

Strawberry, Lemon & Basil

Let me know what’s your favorite fruit infusion. I’d love to try it.

Stay cool & hydrated!

Scooter

Flat Pattern Making I Class Completed

For the past 10 weeks, I’ve been learning flat pattern making. It was course number 2 of the fashion studies certificate program in the apparel construction track at Moore College of Art & Design. Having only been sewing since October, … Continue reading

Afternoon slump smoothie

Today has been a cardio day for the record books. I taught spin this morning (600 calories) and took a spin class at Body Cycle for lunch (540 calories). I brought my breakfast & lunch to work with me, but I’m ravenous and I just want sweets (I didn’t bring any yogurt or fruit, ugh!) and the noise from my sugar jones is way too loud.

It’s 3:30 and that mental slump is rounding the corner. To head it off, I decided to make a caffeine fueled smoothie to get me by.

  • 6 oz of black coffee
  • 3-4 oz of almond milk
  • 1 heaping scoop of vanilla whey protein powder (I’m out of chocolate)
  • Spoon of unsalted peanut butter
  • Ice

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My office magic bullet is a life saver and made quick work of of this smoothie. Since “I’m so Fancy”, I added some whipped cream to knock it out of the park.

Bye bye afternoon slump! Hello focus!

Patternmaking isn’t for the faint of heart

I’m in course number 2 of a  fashion studies certificate program in the apparel construction track at Moore College of Art & Design. The curriculum covers most of what I think I’ll need to become a part-time fashion designer and full time bad ass fashion creator.

  • Fundamental Sewing Technique (done)
  • Fashion Studies Foundations (next)
  • Photoshop & Illustrator for Fashion
  • Fashion Textiles
  • Construction & Flat Patternmaking I (in progress)
  • Advanced Sewing Techniques
  • Construction & Flat Patternmaking II
  • Fashion Studies: Advanced Projects

Flat Patternmaking  is NOTHING to play with. I skipped taking Advanced Sewing Techniques to take this and I really wish I hadn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I’m learning so much it’s mind numbing. I had no idea what a croqui, sloper, block, half-scale, dart manipulation, slash & spread or pivot meant in relation to sewing, but trust and believe, I know what they mean now, but there are some techniques that I’m not 100% comfortable with and it can be very stressful when you don’t have a frame of reference to draw from.

One upside is that I’ve made more half-scale patterns, moved more darts and used more scotch tape than I’d ever thought possible. Yet, I feel a little unfulfilled. I want to SEW SOMETHING NOW!

7 Weeks of classes and not one stitch sewn, one patter cut, or one garment made. I’m jonzin’ to make and wear something new. I mean, it’s the only reason I got in to this, to design and make hot gear for myself!  (Vain, right!)  Well, I don’t plan on quitting my day job anytime soon and the impetus for learning to sew was to be able to see something (think FLOTUS)  and make it or think of something cool to wear and make it, for ME!

After 7 weeks, the patterns were all 1/2 scale.

1/2 scale pattern of final project dress

1/2 scale pattern of final project dress

 

I still don’t know how to size patterns up yet, but I guess that part is coming. However, this past week we were giving the task of starting our final project……. Drum Roll!

 

We are to design a dress (however we want), draft the pattern (facings and all), make a muslin, then make a finished garment for the dress form in class.

GASP!

I’ve only been sewing since October and since I’m not Anya from season 9 on Project Runway with her luck and awesome haircut, I really struggle sometimes. I’m so slow (SLOW).

So, my final project is a dress. Nothing fancy, just a dress with pleats. As Michael Kors or Zac Posen would say, “It’s so banal!”

Here is an example of what the finished product should (might) look like:

 

example-dress

Nice, huh?! Classy and elegant just like I like my dresses.

If I had more time and skill, I’d be making an Emily Blunt inspired design. I love her style to pieces! She loves flowers (I love flowers) she loves a classic silhouette (I love a classic silhouette). Although, my design choice is close, I wish I could find a similar pattern like the one on the left.  Perfect for this time of year.

 

2014-05-30 23.42.40

So where were we, oh yes, MY DESIGN! I have the muslin done, just issues with the bust darts and how they translated from the pattern. I pinned and made it work, but I’ll have my teacher give it  the once-over to be sure.

I’ve since added the facing and that turned out OK. After the instructor reviews the muslin and makes any edits, I’ll be well on my way to creating an actual garment. I’m going to add inseam pockets like Emily has in the the muslin before I move on to the real deal. The only down side is that’s it’s for the dress form and not for me, but this is such a wonderfully scary project, I’m just enjoying what I’ve learned with each and every mistake.

As I previously stated, pattern making is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of technical details that cannot be omitted and there has to be a firm understanding of many garment construction techniques. I’m learning as I go and I’m enjoying the journey.  I’ll be sure to post her critique as well as my journey to my 1st finished garment that I drafted from scratch.

 

Wish me LUCK!

 

Scooter,

Designer-in-Training