Category Archives: fabric

Engagemoon

When I discovered that the latest meeting of the New England Modern Quilt Guild was going to be held at this marvelous place:

 

I decided that this would be the perfect excuse for a little getaway. Portsmouth is only an hour (or 45 minutes when Kyle is driving) away, but it’s one of the most charming, classically New England towns ever so once you’re there, you inevitably want to spend the night. Conveniently, Kyle proposed a week before the guild meeting, so we had yet another excuse to go: our Engagemoon.

What does an Engagemoon involve? Well, after ogling some gorgeous quilts at the guild meeting’s show-and-tell, I managed to escape Portsmouth Fabric, which is a literally overflowing with temptation, having only purchased this:

 

Really, the last thing I need is more fabric, but who can resist such a lovely fat quarter pack of Kaffe Fassett polka dots?

 

 Sigh, I didn’t even try to fight it.

Afterwards, Kyle and I met up for an evening on the town, starting off with a bit of bar hopping. In honor of the Kentucky Derby, one bar was offering $5 Mint Julips. This may sound like a light, refreshing summer drink—and don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely tasty—but as far as I can tell, it’s basically just sweet whisky and this made the rest of the night rather entertaining.

We dined at Black Trumpet, a wonderful little hole-in-the-wall restaurant where we enjoyed lots of delicious food, the highlights being duck confit and a cheese sampler:

 

Hours later, we ended the night with Izzy’s ice cream where I got the best possible combination—warm, gooey, chocolate brownie buried beneath coffee heath bar ice cream. I didn’t take a picture; I was eating.

The lovely thing about made-up holidays, is you can use them as an excuse to do whatever you like, and to declare every little mundane aspect of the day(s) special. Our Engagemoon, therefore, included much more than just the trip to Portsmouth. It extended all weekend long and included homemade berry muffins (from Jessica’s recipe—thank you, they were delicious!):

 

And turning my fat quarter pack into a swingy, polka dot skirt:

 

Not to boast or anything, but this was quite the success given that I used no pattern, and really wasn’t sure how well it would turn out. It fits beautifully, and isn’t it just so joyful? Wearing it puts me in the mood to twirl.

Part of our Engagemoon also involved grungy clothes, the new red bucket that my mother gave me…

 

And a whole lot of fabric dyeing.

I know have a massive pile of hand-dyed fabric, ready and waiting.

 

Again, I stuck with solids; I’m drawn to them these days. I also enjoy the low-water immersion method since I get that mottled, imperfect look which gives the fabrics more character. Wait until you see what I have planned for these fabrics—it’s a little different than my usual quilting, but it’s sort of a once-in- a-lifetime opportunity.

What we didn’t expect was that our Engagemoon would involve a massive water contamination problem in the Boston area, and having to boil all of our water before drinking it—not incredibly convenient. But if there’s one thing the Eccles family does well, it’s turn lemons into lemonade (made with bottled water, of course). So we (my parents, sisters, Kyle and I) used this unpleasant problem as an excuse to get dinner together at the Summer Shack in Cambridge, one of the few non-contaminated towns. What a lovely way to end the weekend—with people I love and a dinner that’s just as classically New England as Portsmouth: a big old steamed lobster.

 

 Delicious.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under clothing, cooking, fabric, quilting, sewing

Freak Flags and Fads

I like to crochet in unusual places. For instance, in my car when I’m stuck in bad traffic:

 

If I’m stuck at a really long red light, I’ll even weave in and trim the loose ends, thus my cup holder is actually full of scraps of yarn:

 

Last night, I knit in Noir bar while enjoying an LA Confidential (stoli peach, cointreau, peach nectar & champagne) and waiting for my dinner companion. Yes, I have no pride shame. But hey, we all have our freak flags­—it’s just that some of us wave them a little higher than others.

Fortunately, Welton arrived soon enough and we enjoyed a delicious dinner (not to mention inexpensive: Noir has to have the best happy hour deal in town with $5 flatbreads, $4 sandwiches, $3 salads, $2 snacks, $1 sweets, and free nuts!)

 

That glorious looking goo would be gruyere, spinach, and bacon dip. There are no words—and there wasn’t any left by the time we were through, either. I love eating with Welton because, like me, he has a hearty appetite. The only alarming thing about our dining together, however, is the mound of perfectly polished-off plates at the end of the meal.

For some reason, I was in the something uncharacteristically simple as my main course: a three-cheese pizza with spicy tomato sauce and caramelized onions. Of course, I dipped this baby in the gruyere goodness so it wasn’t really all that simple in the end:

 

It tasted just as good as it looks, and reminded me that I haven’t made my own pizza in quite some time…

Actually, I’m having a bit of a dilemma these days. I’ve been meaning to watch Food, Inc. for a while, but I’ve also been skeptical about this film since, like many young women, I’ve gotten caught up in diet fads in the past and it did me no good—I now try to avoid all that food hysteria and eat everything in moderation (most of the time…).

Anyway, on Wednesday night I took the plunge and squeezed in the first 15 minutes of this film before making dinner for some friends. So far, I’m sensing that the gist is this: be very careful about where your meat comes from. I respect that message, I really do. And I hope I can become a bit more conscious of it. I’m also really trying to be slightly vegetarian, especially when eating at home…but it’s hard! Gosh, I even contemplated buying turkey bacon for Wednesday night’s meal, but that lasted a whole two and a half seconds. Who am I kidding. What’s pasta carbonara without real, fatty, crispy bacon?

 

Some things you just can’t substitute. This was one good pasta, if I do say so myself, and I credit that to the fact that the sauce contained a good dollop of bacon fat (and plenty of butter). That being said, I’m an animal lover—believe it or not, I dream of the day when my house is full of giant pet bunnies and teacup pigs. I’ll never be a full-on vegetarian, but I’m going to suck it up, finish Food, Inc., and hopefully approach my meat consumption with a bit more awareness.

Meanwhile, bacon was actually buy one get one free at the grocery store so I have a whole lot in my fridge—I also happen to have plenty of cheese and a bag of spinach. Dare I attempt to make my own cheese-spinach-bacon dip?

My lovely dinner left me feeling rather energized so I went home, put on some elastic-wasted pants, and filled my sink with warm water and laundry detergent. My hand-dyed fabrics are now washed and hanging to dry, ready for my patchworking pleasure. Let’s admire them one last time (and ignore the blurry shot), shall we?

 

Other weekend plans include an Owl City concert and bike ride to Concord Center.

Sigh, life is good. This morning’s sing-along of choice: Cat Stevens. I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul.

2 Comments

Filed under cooking, crochet, fabric, Pasta