Author: Amanda K

Amanda K holds a master's degree in Library and Information Studies. She's a housewife, a Planned Parenthood volunteer, a sewist, and an aspiring gourmet home cook.

2015’s Project: Learn. 

Twenty Crafteen is almost over, friends. This year I made (deep breath): coasters, tote bags, crayon rolls, aprons, circle skirts (I miss wearing you so very much), a misshapen dress, baskets, zippered pouches, wine totes, pajama pants, pajama shorts, a nightgown, and baby blankets. 

I didn’t make everything I wanted to make. I was so hoping to make a dress that a) fit and b) I liked, but that didn’t quite happen. But. BUT. 

I started 2015 by texting my amazing friend a picture of my machine’s deconstructed bobbin case with the caption: “what is this and what did I do.” I cried over that stupid bobbin case. 

I started 2015 not knowing how to sew a straight line. 

I started 2015 with no handmade clothes in my closet. 

I started 2015 a less patient person. 

To really stick with a new skill, you have to be patient with yourself and forgiving of yourself, things I’m not sure I have ever done. Past Me had visions of the Wondrous Creations that would fly from my machine with no effort at all. I got frustrated when I realized that this would not be the case. I thought I was failing because I was inherently bad at sewing. 

I changed my expectations, but I still pushed myself to try more challenging projects. And now, at the tail end of the year, I have skills I didn’t have before. I’m proud as hell. And maybe a bit more forgiving of myself?

At the very least, my bobbin case doesn’t make me cry anymore. 

Sleep, You Elusive Jerk (and Overnight Oats)

Oh, sleep. I miss you. You haven’t been easy to come by for two years or so, and now you’re even more difficult to find. My nose is constantly clogged, a delightful symptom of pregnancy, and I have never peed more in my life. 
(I know you have good intentions, friends and readers, but please spare your “Just you wait!” and “You think you’re tired now!” comments. Guys, I know. But you can’t store sleep away in a jar for later, so I’d really like to get it while the getting is good. And being pregnant is really tiring because there is a person living inside me stealing all of my nutrients and fluids.)

So. In addition to being super tired, I am super hungry. All. The. Damn. Time. (Nutrient stealer.) I’ve tried many things to stave off hunger and keep me filled up, but I think I just found my favorite thing. I even bought some cute pint Ball jars expressly for this recipe. I make my own fun. 

Overnight Oats for One

  • 3/4C old-fashioned oats (not quick oats!)
  • 1/2C coconut milk (the kind in a carton; or any kind of milk)
  • 1/4C plain yogurt
  • a glug of real maple syrup 
  • a teeny splash of almond or vanilla extract 
  • a pinch of salt
  • a small handful of dried cranberries
  • pinches of cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, cloves, nutmeg

Mix all ingredients in a pint jar. Leave in fridge overnight. In the morning, add fresh berries, sliced banana, diced apple, etc. 

Snow! (and Zesty Cranberry Sauce)

We got a foot and a half of snow last night. Our Alaskan Malamute is delighted. I’m happy because lots of snow means a day for baking, cooking, and sewing! And reading. And lots of tea. 

One thing I’m cooking up today is cranberry sauce for next Thursday. (Thanksgiving is next Thursday, by the way. What?!) I make cranberry sauce from scratch every year because it is insanely easy and tastes a million times better than canned nonsense. 

Zesty Cranberry Sauce 

  • 1 bag of cranberries (I use Ocean Spray), rinsed and picked over
  • 1C white sugar 
  • 1C water
  • 1t fresh grated ginger (keep your ginger in the freezer and use a microplane)
  • zest of half a lemon

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. You’ll hear the berries start to explode; turn down the heat to low and cook 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Uncover, stir, and continue cooking until sauce coats a spoon and sticks there. 

If you like your sauce smooth, strain it. If you like it chunky (yes), leave it alone. Either way, let the sauce cool completely and then transfer it to a zip-top bag or covered container and refrigerate before use. I freeze mine until the day before I need it, then thaw it in the fridge. 

Suggestion from my friend!

“Try replacing the ginger with a couple of diced chipotles. Use the ones packed in adobo, and scrape the excess off with your finger. Spice and smoke go very well with the bitter and sweet.”

Permission to Feel Excited: Granted 

Today I’m 18 weeks pregnant. I actually look pregnant now, something that Mr. Something takes great pleasure in telling me daily. (“You know,” I said last night, “I’m just going to keep looking more and more pregnant from this point on, so really, you can stop saying that.”)

It’s real now. Once I crossed into the second trimester, my risk of bad things happening plummeted, and all of my blood work results are stellar. We have a healthy kid in there. 

But there’s still something that keeps me from celebrating out loud, and that makes me feel like a jerk. Full disclosure: we tried for the better part of a year before we conceived, and that experience gave me some insight into how scary and disheartening and crushingly sad it can be when your body doesn’t do what you really, really want it to do. (Not to mention, what you spent the majority of your adult life trying to prevent, so it’s weird from top to bottom.) Then, when I got exactly what I wanted, I immediately started thinking of worst-case scenarios. Anxiety is a joy-sucker. 

Essentially I spent quite a bit of this year thinking I was broken, and then the first two months after I found out I was pregnant afraid to believe it was real. It’s been a surreal, stressful time. After all that, it’s difficult for me to jump into this headfirst; what if, what if, what if. 

Well, pardon my language, but fuck that nonsense. It’s time for me to get out of my head and into the world. I’m going to get rid of my nervous smile, the one that says, “I hope this works, crapcrapcrap, it’s going to work, right?” I’m all in, baby, and dammit, I’m excited. 

April’s Project: A Human

Hello, friends. I disappeared there for a while, but I have a very good, tiny reason. 

*drumroll*

I’m pregnant! I’m due mid-April 2016, so for much of late summer and early fall I felt like garbage. I’m back to feeling mostly normal and my sewing projects will resume (with baby-related themes, sometimes) ASAP. 

Look for new recipes and sewing posts to start this weekend. (We’re really excited!)

August’s Project: The Zaftig Housewife

I’ve been absent for a while…. There’s a good reason for that. Remember when I talked about Project Tango Zulu Hotel?
I opened an Etsy store! It’s called The Zaftig Housewife, and it went live about five minutes ago.

This is a nerve-wracking new venture for me. As you all know, I only started this year-long sewing project eight months ago. I’m certainly not as experienced as many other sewists, but I know that the items I’m offering (for now) are high-quality and fun. Eventually I’m going to offer custom circle skirts, totes, and zippy pouches.

Everything is colorful, functional, and fun. Functionality is really important to me; there’s already so much clutter in our lives, so if you’re going to invest in something new, it should fit into your daily routine and make your life better. (I sell wine totes.)

My first goal with my shop is to make enough money to buy myself a new sewing machine that has embroidery capabilities. Everyone seems to love a monogram! My longterm goal is to sustain my sewing habit with this shop. I’m not going to be a millionaire, or even a thousandaire, but I might be able to break even.

 

And don’t fret, friends. I’m still continuing on my sewing journey. Next up: a cute knit top.

Thank you for all of your support and feedback. It means the world to me!

July’s Diversion: One-Hour Basket

July’s project is technically “more dresses,” and I technically completed another dress (but it needs tweaking). After finishing the zipper, I tried it on and immediately sighed because the bodice is nowhere near big enough for my bodice region. 

After sighing and cursing and sighing again, I took off the dress and started making one of these baskets. It uses techniques I’ve used in making tote bags and zippered pouches, and the finished product is large enough for a myriad of items. 

  
I love it. I think it only takes an hour if you are a super beginner and cutting the fabric is the most annoying part. I’m going to make a bunch of these and use them as catch-alls around the house. This one now holds patterns. 

  
Get to basketing!

Goals 

Yesterday I went to Joann because I needed fabric. (This is a permanent need.) They were having a 5 for $7 sale on Butterick patterns. 

Let me elucidate how extraordinary this is. Butterick patterns normally run around $19.95 each. Math math math–I got them for $1.40 each. Please take a moment to jump up and down because that is the appropriate response. 

I got one “Very Easy” pattern (sleep shorts and nightgowns), three “Easy” patterns (really cute mid-century dresses ranging from a 1940s swing dress to a 1960s Mad Men Joan-style dress), and an “Average” pattern for a sweet, modern dress with a keyhole. 

This brings me to goals. This “Average” dress pattern is my current goal. I am going to build my skills to the point where I can successfully make the Butterick 6168.  

 
Let’s. Do. This. Shit. 

Butterick 5317

July’s Project: Another dress/Project Tango Zulu Hotel

Twenty Crafteen is moving along at a nice clip, I think. The projects I’ve completed so far include:

  • coasters (January)
  • tote bags (February)
  • zippered pouches (March)
  • skirts (April)
  • dresses (May)
  • more dresses (June).

Well, I guess May and June could be compressed into one harried and frustrating month of attempting to make one dress, but I also do things other than sew. (But WHY?, you ask.)

For July, I want to make another dress. I have a pattern picked out, which I think is pretty cute. I haven’t done sleeves yet, and I suspect those are going to give me a raging case of Sailor Mouth. That… sounds like something else.

ANYWAY. I’m also working on something that, for now, I’ll call Project Tango Zulu Hotel. That should be ready to go by the end of the month, when I’ll give you the low-down.

June’s Project: DONE 

Owwwww. My hands hurt. My brain hurts. I hate knits. I hate pins.

I finished my first dress (ever!) and it has some issues. The bust area is a little tight and the hips are a little loose (I always have the opposite problem, so this is weird). I think I can fix it… another day. 

  
For now, I’m going to stick to dresses with flared skirts–I have too much junk in the trunk to deal with fitted patterns right now. And now I’m going to take a relaxing bath. Oof.