Tag Archives: King Arthur Flour

Rainbow Skirt: Simplicity 2215


Let’s pretend that Jackson Pollock was a finger-painter instead of a paint flinger.  Then, we can pretend he painted the fabric for my skirt.

Simplicity 2215; Skirt

This is not what happened since Jackson Pollock is no longer with us and I don’t think the little I know of his personality matches up with a rainbow skirt, but oh well.  Sometimes it’s fun to imagine things.

So how about a new skirt?  🙂  Here’s what I’ve got for you today.

After the beloved outfit I created to wear to my friend’s wedding in January, I decided that I really wanted to find a pattern that was similar to that skirt.  The original skirt has pockets, pleats, a waistband, and is just the right length.  I could teach myself how to copy or draft this, but I don’t want to!  Right now, I just want to sew.  I came up with a few contenders, but one of the most promising was Simplicity 2215, a Cynthia Rowley design.  I was able to get this pattern at a Jo-Ann’s pattern sale for a few bucks.  I love those pattern sales for building my pattern library (and I do think of it as a library!).

Simplicity 2215; Skirt

Simplicity 2215; Skirt

I decided to pair that pattern with some stretch twill that I got at Hancock Fabrics in Indiana last summer.  I kind of wish I had more of that fabric.  It would be great for a pencil skirt or some close-fitting pants AND it contains nearly every color of the rainbow in the hues that I like to wear.  It does NOT contain purple, but it just so happens that purple looks great with it!

Simplicity 2215; Skirt

The details (a.k.a. a good time to skim if you are not into sewing details):

I made a size 18 with no adjustments, and I made View C, the skirt.  (You can also use this pattern to make a sleeveless button down shirt or dress).

Simplicity 2215; Skirt

There is a note in the pattern that states that the pleats are uneven on purpose.  I was glad for that note, so I didn’t have to waste time wondering what was going on with them.  After cutting out the fabric, I took a long time to mark each pleat and even to draw in the arrows so that I would know which way to fold the fabric.  This was really helpful.

Simplicity 2215; Skirt

Simplicity 2215; Skirt

The only other necessary items beyond fabric that you need for this skirt are some interfacing, a little bit of lining fabric for the pockets (I think I used a scrap of handkerchief linen because I liked the white color), an invisible zipper, a hook closure, and thread.  I bought my zipper at Jo-Ann’s, but everything else was in my stash.  The one great thing that I have never had before but had this time was my new invisible zipper foot!  I got that at Marie’s Sewing Center in Woburn, MA, which is where my Mom got my sewing machine a bunch of years ago.  They gave me a 25% discount on the zipper foot!  🙂

After the cutting, which wasn’t hard, and the marking, which took awhile, the sewing was pretty easy.  I was nervous as I put in the zipper, hardly believing that the whole invisible thing would really work, but it did!  I was so happy!  One sort of odd thing (to me, at least), was that the zipper, rather than being in the back, is right next to one of the pockets.

Simplicity 2215; Skirt

I think I would prefer it in the back, but it’s not really a big deal.  The fit is very comfortable, but maybe on the slightly looser side.  The nice thing is that this allows it to sit a little bit below my natural waist, which I like, but I could potentially size down.  That’s a decision for another time, though.  I also added a little ribbon tag because I was afraid I would put the skirt on the wrong way otherwise!  😉

Simplicity 2215; Skirt

And that was it!  New skirt!  (I may not look excited in these pictures, but don’t worry, I am.  I was just under the weather on photo day.)

Simplicity 2215; Skirt

Simplicity 2215; Skirt

I realized at the end of last spring/summer that I didn’t have many skirts in my wardrobe for those seasons, so I’m very happy to add this one.  I can see wearing it with both my purple button-down, as pictured, and my pink and white gingham shirt (both Butterick 5526).  That last one will be some crazy pattern on pattern…which will be great!  I’d recommend this pattern to anyone who is interested in this type of skirt.  The other views in the pattern look pretty cool, too.

Now for some fun recommendations to enjoy over the weekend (or any time!):

  • I know I’ve reviewed it before, but it’s still a favorite for me:  The King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook.  It doesn’t help you hide gross-tasting, “healthy” whole grains in your food…it has delicious recipes made with whole grains.  In fact, I have a Peach-Blueberry Cobbler in the oven right now!
  • I just checked out Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book by Gretchen Hirsch from my library.  It’s her newest book, and it looks really good so far.  Whether or not you are a big dress wearer, this book is full of amazing reference material.  I feel that this is a bit beyond my current sewing skills in an exciting way that makes me want to learn more.
  • Spring!  Want to know my favorite source for really interesting seeds?  Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  I discovered them through a Martha Stewart Living magazine article years ago.  Their catalogue is one of the highlights of  my winter.  Sadly, this year, garden planning has gone by the wayside (Surprisingly, it is not actually possible to sew all the things, cook and bake all the things, forage for all the things, grow all the things, and decorate all the things plus be a phenomenal wife, mother, and friend!  Who knew?), but most years I order in January or February because it’s just so exciting to think about spring.
  • As an American who wishes we had more bike paths, I find this video on Bicycle Rush Hour in Utrecht (Netherlands) really fascinating:

Happy weekend!


Beach Plum Adventure


As I’ve mentioned before, I’m slowly trying to learn more wild, edible plants.  I like discovering treasures and, like shopping for antiques and visiting thrift stores, foraging for wild food feels like finding treasures.  Last year I learned how to identify beach plums.  We have a lot of bushes that grow right by the boardwalk of one of the local beaches, so they are easy to find and pick.  Also, most beachgoers don’t seem to know about them, so they aren’t all picked over.

This year, I felt confident about finding beach plums (Maybe a little overconfident, as I’ve picked a number of underripe ones, which tend to be extremely sour.  I guess you learn more each year, right?).  Jam still seems like slightly too much work (although I hope to try it again someday–my first attempt was unsuccessful), so I decided to try something else.  To me, beach plums look a lot like cherries.  Check it out.  Here is a picture of ripe beach plums:

Beach Plum Adventure with Pattern and Branch

So, I thought maybe, just once, I would pick a bunch, pit them, and make a pie using a cherry pie recipe.  I reasoned that since cherry pies use sour cherries, and beach plums look like cherries and are somewhat sour, it might be a match.  Now, I have to tell you, that I have never tasted a newly picked sour cherry to my knowledge.  The taste of beach plums, though, is sort of like a cranberry.

What do you think?  Was it a good idea?  I’ll show you what I did in pictures, but first, here is a picture of unripe beach plums, so you’ll know in case you ever find them in your area.

Beach Plum Adventure with Pattern and Branch And lastly, before we get to pie, here’s a size reference:

Beach Plum Adventure with Pattern and BranchNow, to pie!  My little helpers and I picked three small buckets full of beach plums.

Beach Plum Adventure with Pattern and Branch We took them home and rinsed them off, and then I went to work pitting them.  I used this cherry pitting tool made by OXO to get it done.  I definitely recommend it–works for olives, too, supposedly.

Beach Plum Adventure with Pattern and BranchMany episodes of “Duck Dynasty” later, I had six cups of pitted beach plums for my pie.  I used a recipe titled “Our Favorite Cherry Pie” from one of my go-to cookbooks, King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking

Beach Plum Pie with Pattern and Branch

Beach Plum Pie with Pattern and Branch

Beach Plum Pie with Pattern and Branch

Beach Plum Pie with Pattern and Branch

Beach Plum Pie with Pattern and Branch

The finished pie had a crumb topping (plus the whipped cream topping that we added).  So what do you think it tasted like?

Well…it was SOUR.  Ha!  Once you got used to the contrast of the sour filling with the sweet crumb topping and the sweet whipped cream, it was pretty good, but initially, it was a shocker.  I fed it to a bunch of hungry college students, and they voted that it was good.  I thought at first that it was a failure, but everyone liked it, so it turned out to be a surprising success.  Hooray!  Maybe next year I’ll try jam.  🙂

Book Love: King Arthur Whole Grains Cookbook


Today we’re going to look at one of my favorite cookbooks.  I have many cookbook loves, but one of my all-time favorites is King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains.  

King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking

Before I had even heard of the book and movie Julie and Julia, I discovered this book and decided that I needed to try every recipe because they all looked so good.  It may take me 10 years, but eventually I’ll try them all.

This was one of the first cookbooks that I decided to take notes in.  I don’t always remember things well and I knew I would forget the little discoveries I’d made in each recipe as well as which optional ingredients I had or hadn’t used.

I also wanted notes in the book for whoever used it after me.  How many beloved family recipes do we have?  Wouldn’t they be all the dearer for some notes on exactly how to make each one from the person who first brought the recipe to the family?  In some ways, these notes become a love letter to my family and future family as I record our favorite recipes.  I even include things like when I tried a recipe and for what occasion.

Recently, I decided to cook through the doughnuts section of the book (Are you sensing a doughnut theme?  I’m starting to.  Should I be troubled by this?).  I had never fried anything in oil before.  My first batch wasn’t stellar, but they started to improve as I made more.  They also improved when I discovered that cast iron isn’t the best frying container.  (Thanks, Jo-Alice!)  Actually, the last time I used our cast iron skillet, I sloshed some oil over and inadvertently started little grease fires which luckily did not turn into a big grease fire (but could have with the pool of oil I didn’t realize was still under the stove burners).  Now I fry with this close at hand.

Safety first!

Safety first!

Anyway…….by the time I took these pictures, I was on batch number four of my doughnut experiments.  I’m totally an expert now!  (Why are you laughing?)

I tried out the recipe for Yeast-Raised Beignets.  Here’s a little look at the process:

Yeast-Raised Beignet dough

the dough

Cutting the beignet dough

cutting the dough

Frying the beignets

putting the beignets in the oil to fry

Beignets frying in oil

frying in progress

Beignets cooling and ready for a glaze or a dusting of sugar!

beignets cooling and ready for a glaze or a dusting of sugar

All in all, these turned out well and everyone seemed to really like them.

This book is always an education.  It has detailed information on all the different whole grains used in the various recipes.  Since I’ve begun baking from it, I’ve learned that I love spelt flour and oat flour more than whole wheat, and that whole wheat’s bitterness can be tamed with orange juice.  It has helped me make doughnuts, scones, cinnamon rolls, waffles, and even simple syrup (think coffee shop flavorings).  Today I’m trying out a blueberry pie from the book for a birthday party tonight.

If you are ready for an adventure, I’d suggest checking this book out from the library and giving it a try.  You’ll open up a whole new world of baking.