Commercially Alternative: 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

2012 is almost upon us. Thank you so much to everyone who has been reading my blog! 2011 was quite a year and I was blessed in so many ways. I'm a little sad to see it end because 2012 is going to be extremely stressful for me. I'm in my last semester of school. Wow! I never thought it was going to end. My life is going to be filled to the brim with senior classes and projects for the next few months. Then I'm going to enter the scary world of employment! WIsh me luck. 

As per usual for this time of year, I've compiled a little list of my new year's resolutions. I try not to set vague goals such as "improve this" or "do more of that." I find that I am much more successful if I lay out small definite goals that I can check off as completed. 

  • Finish my black scoop neck blouse
    • My big hold up with this one is finding 3/8" black lace. I've found some nice ones in cream and white, but not black. I also have to decide which sleeves to use. Some days I lean towards A and others I'm leaning towards B. If you haven't already, please vote on the poll to the right! 
  • Make a hair corsage 
    • I think it would be nice to have some burgundy roses to match the three tiered skirt. 
  • Sew a hair bow
  • Sew a high waisted skirt
    • I have an idea for what I'm going to do for this that I'm really excited about. So look forward to seeing if it really works!
  • Attend a lolita meetup
  • Blog once a week
  • Get all A's
  • Finish school!
  • Exercise once a day 
  • Practice trumpet once a week (hopefully more once school ends)
What about you? Do you believe in New Year's Resolutions? What are they?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share my faith with you all. (Or at least a greatly condensed version) This blog shall remain largely nonreligious. However, my beliefs are a big part of who I am and I think everyone has the right to share what they believe in. If you feel uncomfortable with this in any way, that is perfectly all right. Happy Holidays and I hope I see you next week for some regularly themed content.

I am a Christian. I consider myself nondenominational, but the theology of my local baptist church that I am currently attending really aligns with my own. I believe in the God of the bible and that He created everything. And I believe that He sent His son Jesus into this world. The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit all make up the Trinity. They are three parts of the same whole.

Jesus was born to a virgin, Mary, in Bethlehem. He led a sinless life, performed miracles, and taught the word of God. He eventually died on the cross for our sins. He was the ultimate sacrifice, the perfect lamb. Three days later He rose from the dead. I believe all this and more was done such that it fulfills the prophecies of the Old Testament. 

Everyone sins and falls short of the glory of God. This means that no amount of good works can ever get anyone into heaven. However, Jesus died so that we may have eternal life. Salvation is God's free gift that is available to everyone.

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast." (New International Version)

The only thing required for this salvation is to have faith in Jesus and believe in God. God has also promised that once you are saved, you are saved for life. Nothing can take away your salvation.

John 10:28-30 (Jesus is speaking) "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." (NIV)

I believe that baptism is not the way to get into heaven. It is following Jesus' example, a symbol of Jesus washing away our sins and being reborn through him. It should be done once God has been excepted into your life. It is a public declaration that you believe that Jesus is your savior and that you will learn to walk in His ways.

Now, I also believe that Christians should live their lives by the following verses. 

Matthew 22:35-40 "One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (NIV)

I try to live my life by this. God is all about love. He loves everyone, just as they are. He forgives all our sins, you just have to ask. He hears all our prayers. I believe he has a plan for all of us, though it's too complex for me to understand. I just have to have faith and trust in him.

Thank you so much for reading. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know! Keep in mind, anything that I consider hateful about my beliefs or anyone else's will be deleted. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sleeve Indecision for Scoop Neck Blouse

Yesterday, I showed my mom the progress on my blouse. She asked my what kind of sleeves I had planned. I told her some short puffed sleeves. She nodded her head and said, "I think it would look really cute with long sleeves." That night all I could think of was, "Oh! It WOULD look cute with long sleeves!" From then on I've been flipping back and forth between the two. 

Therefore, I would really like to hear your opinions. I've drawn out four options. View A shows the sleeve that the pattern paired this top with. View B shows the sleeves that I had planned on going with. View C shows a three quarter length sleeve that, while not really lolita, I think is nice. However, I worry that, paired with the not inherently lolita scoop neck, the blouse will really not look lolita. View D shows long sleeves that I made up after looking at brand blouses and I don't have a pattern for, but I think looks nice and ties in the ruffle at the bottom. So, please, let me know your thoughts in the comments or using the poll on the right.

I apologize for the photos of the sketches. My ancient scanner was not cooperating today. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dramas I Love & a Big Thank You!

First off, thank you so much to everyone who reads my blog! There are a total of 10 followers! ^_^ (although, for some reason, they don't always show up on the main page :/) Again, thank you and I will work hard to continue to improve my blogging.

I am still searching for some 3/8" black lace for my blouse project. As a result, my blouse will have to sit for a bit longer. 

In the meantime, I've decided to compile a list of my favorite dramas. I really haven't seen many, but I love these so much I think everyone should see them. Hopefully, I can watch some more over winter break. If any of you have any drama favorites, please share! 

Secret Garden (romance, comedy, fantasy)

Secret Garden is a 2010 Korean drama. The story revolves around Gil Ra Im, a poor stuntwoman, and Kim Joo Won, a rich and arrogant CEO. Through various things that can only really happen in a drama, the two meet on the set of Gil Ra Im's movie. After the first episode you realize that Kim Joo Won has fallen in love with our heroine. Although, he himself doesn't realize it. Our hero then does everything possible to get close to our girl, but she really doesn't want anything to do with him. This drama is perhaps my all time favorite because, one, the male lead is not a jerk, and, two, the male lead truly loves the female lead. (of course he goes about it in a stupid manner, if he didn't we wouldn't have a drama!) Now, where does the fantasy come into play? At about episode 5 they switch bodies! At first this feels a little disjoint from the rest of the plot. However, this element is quickly worked into the story in a funny and interesting way. We get some good laughs and really delve into Kim Joo Won's backstory.

You're Beautiful (romance, comedy, gender bender)
You're Beautiful, also known as He's Beautiful, is another Korean drama from 2009. The story is about Go Mi Nyu, a nun in training. Her twin brother, Go Mi Nam, has just been accepted into the hit boy band A.N.Jell. However, Go Mi Nam just had a botched plastic surgery procedure on his eye and is stuck in America getting it fixed. Go Mi Nam's manager begs Go Mi Nyu to take his place in the band, disguised as a male, until her brother can come back. As a result, she has to live in the band's dorm with three other men. To be honest, the girl is a little… how should I say… apologetic? I really wish she would stand up for herself more. And the male lead… well… he's pretty much a jerk. But don't let this turn you off from there series! It is so funny and the love square (?) relationship between her and the three band members is an amazing emotional roller coaster.

Nodame Cantabile (comedy, slice of life, romance, music)
Nodame Cantabile is a Japanese drama which aired in 2006. The story focuses on Shinichi Chiaki, a piano player who dreams of becoming a conductor. However, he has a disabling fear of the ocean and airplanes. Hence, he cannot leave Japan to train abroad. The female lead is Megumi Noda, or Nodame. She's a piano student at the university and she dreams of becoming a preschool teacher. Nodame is sloppy, disorganized, and quite frankly really really weird. However, she is a piano prodigy and her music draws in Chiaki. This series really isn't about their romance. Their love just kind of happens on the back burner. The slapstick comedy is way too over the top, but what really drew me to this series was the music. It is amazing and truly inspirational. I really want to get my hands on the soundtrack for this series.  

The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince (romance, comedy, gender bender)

Coffee prince aired in 2007 in Korea. The female lead is Go Eun Chan, a poor, hard-working tomboy who constantly is mistaken for a guy. The male lead is Choi Han Kyul, a rich boy who really doesn't do anything except live off his family's money. The two meet a couple of times and Han Kyul mistakes her for a guy. Eventually, after some miscommunications and assumptions, Han Kyul hires Eun Chan to act as his male lover to scare off the blind dates his grandmother sets up for him. Things happen and other characters and love interests are introduced and eventually Han Kyul is in charge of a coffee shop that only hires handsome men and Eun Chan is an employee. I felt the ending left something to be desired, but the tender moments between the two leads made my heart melt over and over again.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Scoop Neck Blouse Part 3: Construction

The semester has finally ended. It really is such a relief. I am so ready for a long winter break before the craziness of next semester starts. And with a vacation comes more time to sew!

When we last left our hero, the scoop neck blouse, the pieces were cut out. Now comes the long process of construction. The first part was sewing the darts on the front panels. This went smoothly enough and hopefully will fit well. I had pictures of the dart making process, but since everything was black on black it was a little hard to see anything. The next step was sewing the pin tucks. I had a little trouble with this as the instructions said to "stitch as close as possible to the fold." o_O Honestly, what is that supposed to mean? If I wanted to, I could stitch it so that the stitches are almost falling off the edge. Thus, I decided to stitch 1/8" tucks. There, a nice solid number. I'm a little worried though as there are four tucks on each side and too big tucks can really add up. Everything looked great until I pressed the pin tucks. I discovered that one had somehow managed to drift far far away from the others. :/ So I had to redo that one.

According to the pattern, the loops for the corset back are made out of ribbon. I wasn't sure how I felt about this. As I searched through my collection of brand blouse pictures, I noticed that, indeed, brand blouses use loops made out of the same material as the blouse. So I made a bias cut drawstring and cut it into small sections to form the loops. I'll go through the same method for the corset lacing too.

Next, I sewed the darts on the back panel. It took forever basting each of the loops to the dart. One's slightly crooked, but… I don't think it's too noticeable. 

And finally, I sewed the front and back panels together. I'm going a little out of order right now. I was supposed to sew the lace next to the pin tucks first, but I haven't purchased any yet. ^_^" I'm waiting for a sale. Hopefully, I can get more done so I can get a make up post out later this week.

It's a little hard to tell at this stage (especially without a dress form), but how does it look? Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Short Hair Story

I love short hair with a passion. As you can see in my cartoon self in the banner, I have short hair.

I tried long hair twice in my life. The first time was just a miserable experience when I was in elementary school and I really didn’t know how to even properly do or take care of hair. The second time was in high school and I decided to grow it all out. (It was VERY short and spikey/flippy at the time) I was never happy with it during the growing out process and constantly wanted to cut it off. However, I kept telling myself, “Just wait a little more. It’ll look better when it’s longer.” Eventually, I reached my goal length of slightly past my shoulders. I got a nice haircut with layers and bangs and I loved it! I felt like I finally had hair just like all of the pretty and popular girls did. I remember playing model in front of the mirror and pretending to do the herbal essence commercials with the slow motion hair toss. Nevertheless, the love affair quickly faded. I grew sick of fighting massive tangles every morning. Most days I didn’t have time to straighten my frizzy hair into submission and just opted for a ponytail. That just led to damage, split ends, and a general boredom with my look. I felt like I had no creativity with my long hair. My options were up or down and I looked just like every other girl out there. Moreover, long hair is hot! I honestly don’t know how anyone stands it!

When I got to college, anytime I would see any girl with short hair I would die a little with envy. After weeks of this, I decided I had enough and the long hair had to go. I bought about three hair magazines from the grocery store and got to work finding my new look. I told a few people that I was going to do it. Most really didn’t care or said they couldn’t wait to see it. A few boys told me that I shouldn’t do it because girls look better with long hair. (I believe that only made the feminist part of me want to do it even more!) I found one I loved, but I didn’t want to make any rash decisions. Therefore, I gave the magazine to my mom. She looked through it, went back, looked through it again, and pointed to the one I loved and said, “What do you think of this one?” I immediately cut out the picture and scheduled an appointment with my hair salon.

Well, she didn’t give me the haircut like in the picture. Actually, it was nothing like the picture at all and much shorter than I had planned! It turned out that she was good at long hair, not so much short. Funny thing, I really didn’t care! I was so happy with my short hair even if it wasn’t a good cut. I went out and bought my favorite hair products again from back in my short hair days, with a few updates, and threw out all of my ponytails that night.

Now I love collecting short hair magazines and pictures. There’s a whole stack of them in my closet. Sometimes I’ll cut out a random picture and take it to my stylist and say, “I want this today!” I don’t look like every other girl anymore. I love that I have NEVER seen a girl with any of my hairstyles before. People will come up to me in the store or on the street and tell me how much they love my hair. (Seriously, my hairstylist is a genius! I’m so thankful that I found her.)

I just wish that short hair was seen more in Lolita! Short hair is really a rare sight in this fashion. I’ve scoured the internet and all I’ve found are bobs. There aren’t even wide varieties of bobs. They are the same thick, blunt bangs with the rest chin length straight hair. Very cute and I love it, but I want more variety. Short hair is an amazing way to play with color and different looks. Don’t like your haircut? Wait a couple of months and try something new!

What do you all think? Does short hair have a place in Lolita? Ever have short hair yourself? What do you think of short hair on women in general?

Monday, November 28, 2011

10 Things That Change

Since finals are approaching fast and my final projects are all due this week and next, there hasn’t been much time for sewing. I really can’t wait for this semester to end! My favorite time of year is the holiday season; making fudge, drinking eggnog, decorating, the smell of pine trees in every grocery store parking lot, and singing badly to Christmas carols in the car! *sigh* In addition, no homework will allow me time to sit down with my sewing. There are so many crazy ambitious things I want to try!

In the meantime, here are 10 things that changed for me, both good and bad, since learning how to sew.
  1. Appreciate high priced quality garments more. These things take a lot of time, energy, and an attention to detail to make
  2. Develop an “I can totally make that” attitude with every garment you see
  3. Notice how poorly made readymade garments in standard department stores really are
  4. Better understand how clothes should fit
  5. Better understand how to flatter your body
  6. More aware of any weight gain
  7. Browse patterns online instead of doing homework
  8. Gain a huge collection of patterns that you will probably never use just because they were on sale for $1 at Joann’s
  9. Joann’s morphs from an amazing wonderland to a never-ending feeling of frustration that they are the only fabric store around
  10. Never enough time in a day, but gained an amazing outlet for creativity
I am so glad that I did learn how to sew. I've finally found my medium in which I can successfully create amazing art. It is both stressful and challenging, but I enjoy every minute of it. When I sew, I can forget about my troubles and just relax.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Scoop Neck Blouse Part 2: Cutting Out the Fabric

After the pattern alterations are complete, the next step would be to create a muslin prototype. However, I have very little time to devote to sewing and I don’t want to create a blouse twice. Therefore, I am throwing caution to the wind and skipping this entirely! Wish me luck.

I prepared the fabric as I outlined in my previous post, Fabric Preparation and the Importance of the Grain Line. The fabric was pressed well and folded in half. Next, the pattern pieces were laid out according to the diagram included in the pattern instructions.

Tip: Iron your pattern pieces before you lay them out and cut any fabric. This will make the pieces easier to work with and more accurate without any folds or bumps. To do this, turn the steam off on your iron and turn the heat up to about medium. Pass the iron over the pattern piece and work out any folds or bumps. Don’t be afraid of burning the tissue paper. Just don’t leave the iron on one spot for an extended period of time.

Caution: It is important that the pattern pieces are laid out according to the diagram. Some fabrics have a different sheen when viewed from different directions. If you flip the direction of your pattern pieces, parts of your body could be slightly shinny while others could be slightly dull. This is also obvious when using one-way fabric patterns.

How I learned to pin a pattern to the fabric:
  1.  Lay out the pattern with the grain line arrow parallel to the fold in the fabric (or selvage if your fabric is not folded)
  2. Measure from one tip of the arrow to the fold edge (or selvage) and pin tip of arrow in place
  3. Measure from opposite tip of the arrow to the fold edge making sure that it matches your previous measurement
  4. Begin pinning the outside edges. Pin to that you go from the inside to the outside. This helps keep the tissue paper flat and not compressed and wrinkled.
  5. Try to pin going to opposite corners. Don’t just pin one after the other right next to each other. This also helps keep the tissue paper flat.
  6. Once ALL the patterns pieces are placed, cut along the correct line for your size.
After the fabric is cut, I like to mark the fabric with chalk as to which side is the wrong or right side. With a print fabric, this is obvious. For a solid, it doesn’t really matter which side one calls the right or wrong side. However, it’s best to be consistent so your finished garment is uniform.

Tip: Leave the tissue on the cut fabric pieces. Don’t take it all off once you are done cutting. This will help you know exactly which piece is which. Then, once you are ready to use that piece, double check that all of the markings are transferred to the fabric. There’s nothing worse than realizing your disappearing ink has faded while you were working on something else. 

Tip: Once all my pieces are cut out, I like to hang them on a hanger. This will minimize the need to iron the fabric pieces during construction.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Handmade Highlights

This week I looked for inspirational jewelry pictures for my scoop neck blouse. The idea in my head was some sort of ribbon choker. I browsed through various tutorials and images, one Google search leading to another. Eventually, I stumbled across the Etsy shop, Medieval to Modern, run by a woman named Chris. My jaw dropped when I saw her beautiful handmade venise lace chokers. These works of art range from simply delicate to ornately gothic. While most of them would probably not work with a traditional Lolita wardrobe, they are still lovely and fascinating to look at. Here are a few of my favorites.

This one is probably my favorite of the group.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Scoop Neck Blouse Part 1: Pattern Preparation

I have begun my next project, a scoop neck blouse. There are not many low neckline blouses out in the Lolita world. Most blouses feature the sweet Peter Pan collar or the classic high neck. In addition, Lolita usually has a large focus on modesty and showing skin is sparse. However, I think scoop or square necks are a lovely change. It reminds me more of Lolita’s Rococo influence rather than Victorian. It also provides a little respite for extremely hot weather.

For this project, I thought it would be interesting to take you through the entire process instead of just the result. I used New Look 6599 view A for the body and view D for the sleeves. I chose a black 100% poplin fabric. Luckily, this blouse has plenty of Lolita themes inherent in its design. However, a few fitting alterations were needed.

The first step for my sewing project was to prepare the instructions. I went through and highlighted all of the relevant information, from required pattern pieces to instruction steps. This helps prevent skipping a step in the middle of a project or leaving out a crucial notion. I then read the instructions a couple of times, making sure I understand each step. If I have any questions, I consult my book, “Reader’s Digest New Complete Guide to Sewing”, or I Google. Next, I cut out the entire set of pattern pieces.

Commercial patterns are typically made to fit someone with a B cup bust size and 5’6” tall. I fall into neither of those categories. Thus, I have to alter. I checked out “Fitting Solutions: Pattern-Altering Tips for Garments that Fit” from the library to aid in this endeavor. Since I had so many alterations to make, I transferred the relevant pattern piece to tissue paper. This way I can preserve the original pattern in case I make a mistake.

I altered the bust according to “Fitting Solutions.” The following illustration found here shows what I did since you can’t see it well on the actual pictures. I then did a pin fit and found that the bust point was still too high. Therefore, I lengthened the pattern by ½” above the bust. The book didn't tell me how to locate where to lengthen above the bust on the back pattern piece so I guessed. Finally, I lengthened the pattern by a ½” to lower the waist. Now, I have to cross my fingers and hope for the best. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Commercially Alternative has a new look!

I want to say a big thank you to my five followers! I really appreciate you taking the time to read my blog.  I hope to further improve the content and my sewing skills in the future. I shall also try to maintain a more regular posting schedule, ideally once a week.

As you can see, I finally finished my banner. I don't have any coding or photoshop skills, so it is just a basic Blogger template. However, I've wanted a personal banner for a long time now. The drawing was done by hand, scanned into the computer, and edited with GIMP. Hopefully, I don't actually have such an experience in real life! *crosses fingers* 

Thank you again for reading my blog!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Three-Tiered Skirt

For my first Lolita skirt, I decided to make a three-tiered skirt instead of a simple rectangle skirt. I used this tutorial by tian_shi on livejournal for the measurements of the tiers. My skirt measures a little over 23" long. It took a long time with all of the gathering, but the ratios seem to be spot on and it is super full! I really suggest everyone use these ratios for their own skirt. My only complaint is my waistband. I didn't want an elastic waistband like the tutorial. Therefore, I was going to use the waistband of a renaissance skirt I had made, as I knew it would fit well, and a zipper. However, I couldn’t locate it the pattern piece and used the waistband from another skirt pattern. As a result, my waistband is a tad too large. Next time I will do a test fit after I baste the gathers to the waistband and before I sew everything up. Luckily, I have since found the waistband for my renaissance skirt. It had decided to run away from me and hide in the bottom of my sewing box. 

Anyway, please tell me what you think! I would love to hear everyone's opinion's and suggestions. You can see the color better in the previous post.
Without a petticoat

With a petticoat

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blouse Pictures

As promised, I have pictures of my new blouse. The added waist ties definitely help prevent the blouse from poofing up too much over skirts. I am really happy with how it turned out. Is it perfect? Does it look like brand? Gosh no, but I think it is great for my first blouse. I learned a lot during the whole process and that’s what counts. In addition, the pictures show a little preview of the skirt I made. Please tell me what you think. 

Here's the blouse without waist ties. For some reason my flash wasn't cooperating at this time.

And here it is with the waist ties. You can't see them as they are below the skirt, but they do bring in the excess bulk.
 As a bonus, here are the shoes I painted for my Danny Fenton costume. I was originally going to buy a pair of red converse. However, I didn't want to spend $45 on shoes that make my feet look like a pair of skies. Therefore, I bought a pair of $8 white sneakers from Kmart. I used the same red-pink glitter paint I used for the shirt. Masking tape was used for the white toes. Since the toes are just plain canvas, I used some Scotch Guard as well to try and prevent them from getting too dirty.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Detatchable Blouse Ties and a Costume

After a couple of weeks of busy insanity, I’ve managed to get a couple of things done.

The first thing done was to add waist ties to my blouse! This simple project didn’t take much time at all. The ties are about an inch wide and about 24 inches long each. I wanted them to be longer, but this was all the fabric that I had left over. The best part was sewing the buttonholes and buttons. My sewing machine is really a dream to work with on both these fronts. I just insert the button into the buttonhole foot and adjust the width and my machine makes a lovely buttonhole all on its own. The most trouble I had was turning the ties right side out, especially the corners. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get crisp corners. This is definitely something for me to further research. In addition, I initially sewed on the buttons too high. However, this was a simple problem to overcome as I just snipped them off and quickly reattached them with my sewing machine.

I added some interfacing on the ends with the button holes as this is an area of high stress concentrations.

Ties pined and hand basted

Now I just have to figure out how to tie a nice bow behind me.

The second thing was my outfit for this year’s costume party.

Does anybody recognize it? It’s Danny Fenton from Danny Phantom! Yay for simplicity! It’s going to be a gender bender Danny, as I don’t feel like binding. In addition, what I thought was red fabric paint turned out to be a pinkish red with glitter. I really don’t know how that happened. I guess I don’t know what the word scarlet means. Despite that, I think it looks cool and it looks red if you're not looking too closely. I still have to buy some sneakers and paint them a matching pink glitter as well.

I used masking tape at the sleeves and neck to get crisp lines. This method worked best on the sleeves, but was troublesome on the curve of the neck. I also followed Happy Catmint's tutorial for the front oval. I had a little trouble as I think my X-acto knife was a little dull.

I hope that I can get some pictures of the blouse worn in the next couple of days. I’ll save pictures of my Danny shirt worn for after the party.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quick Update

Here's a quick update. School just keeps bringing waves and waves of work, so I haven't gotten much done. In addition, Operation JSK has been put on hold in favor of fixing up my blouse. As I've mentioned before, it has a tendency to bunch up over the waistbands of skirts. Even though it's not made out of quality material, it's still a nicely shaped blouse. I want to make it useful until I get around to purchasing some nice fabric to make another one. 
I've been debating with myself on how I wanted to fix this problem. However, most of my ideas seemed to be more effort than this cheapie experiment blouse was worth. I thought of ripping out sections of seams and sewing in waist ties, but I always pushed this idea aside because it just sounded so permanent if something went wrong. Then, a couple of days ago, I noticed something on Innocent World blouses. Their waist ties are detachable! Brilliant! If the waist ties look wrong, or don't do their job and just add bulk I can simply snip off the buttons and have the same old shirt once again!

Example of an Innocent World blouse with detachable waist ties

Hopefully, I can get this ball rolling Friday! (I also hope I have enough leftover fabric *crosses fingers*)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Snickerdoodle Recipe

My anime club had a snack day this week and we all brought in some of our favorite tasty treats. I decided to make my snickerdoodles. This is an amazing cookie recipe. My dad, who usually requires chocolate in his desserts, LOVES these cookies. I always have to leave him a couple if I make these for a party. 

The recipe is actually a tweaked version of the Joy of Cooking recipe, but the tweaking really makes all the difference. 

Makes 3 dozen

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs

Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Make sure that the cream of tartar and baking soda are fresh. Don't use baking soda that's been sitting around for a year. 

In a separate bowl, beat the butter, shortening, and sugar until light and very fluffy on medium speed.

Add and beat the eggs until well combined.

Stir in the flour mixture until it's smooth and well combined.

Refrigerate the dough. I usually make the dough the night before and then bake them up the morning of the party. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper.

Separate the dough into 3. Work with one third of the dough at a time and keep the rest refrigerated. Break the third into 12 pieces and lightly roll into a rough ball. Don't make the balls too perfect as the heat of your hand will start to melt the dough. Roll the balls in a sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Sugar and Cinnamon Mixture
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Place cookies on cookie sheet and bake 8 to 11 minutes until edges are light golden brown. My cookies typically take 10 to 11 minutes, but this varies by oven. Rotate the cookies half way through.

When the cookies are done let them sit on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a rack.

Cook only one cookie sheet at a time and let the cookie sheet cool a bit before the next batch. This will prevent your cookies from melting too soon.

These cookies truly melt in your mouth. The sugar and cinnamon create a light crisp crust and the inside is soft and moist. I really hope everyone tries these cookies and I hope you enjoy them!