Monthly Archives: February 2012

Why I’m Supporting A Kickstarter Project

Some of my class binders filled with samples and notes.

I haven’t had much reason to mention this, but one little known fact about me is that I almost have a technical certificate training in clothing design and tailoring. I say almost because the vocational sewing program at Lake Washington Technical College just went *poof* when I was about two classes shy of earning the certificate. Since I wasn’t planning on becoming a professional seamstress, I simply moved my sewing attentions over to quilting. I originally started taking classes because I’d been laid off, and I wanted something to occupy my time while looking for new work and/or procreating. It was a toss-up which would happen first, new job or baby.

I’ll never forget the first lecture, when the teacher asked how many of us had grown up sewing. I raised my hand. My mom made most of my clothes, and my first job was in a fabric store. I sewed a lot, but had always struggled with the details with fitting and was in the class to learn more.

The teacher went on, “Remember the pattern directions that said, ‘apply facing’?” We all nodded. “Well,” she continued,”in the printed pattern all you get is the single direction. Apply facing. What you need to know is there are twelve different steps to applying the facing properly. If you don’t know those twelve steps, all you have is the little, almost meaningless picture in the pattern to go by.”

Therein lies the problem with patterns. The manufacturers simply don’t want to put the directions down in print every time they print a shirt pattern. It’s added expense. If you don’t know those twelve steps, you get a collar that is pretty messed up looking, fits badly, rolls wrong and has wads of extra fabric in the seam. The facing is just one part of the garment. Expand that out to every sewn line in a garment, and you can see why people have stopped sewing. Without knowing what’s missing from the pattern, you get crappy looking clothing that doesn’t fit.

There’s a lot of knowledge that has to be handed down or passed on or it will get lost. Having a mother hovering over you as you sew for hours is one way of doing it, but how many of us get that kind of apprenticeship?

So, what does this have to do with Kickstarter?

Well, when a friend of mine posted a link to this Kickstarter campaign on Facebook, I was instantly intrigued. I have made two corsets–one for me and one for my 17YO–without any real help from either patterns or internet. I can guarantee you there are at least a dozen steps missing from the patterns I used that I did not learn from MY mom. (I’m pretty sure the idea of making a corset never entered her head.) Not only that, finding the ‘proper’ tools for making corsets is a pain in the ass even with Google at my fingertips. The underbust corset I made for myself was simply for a costume and didn’t need to have much permanence or support. I made it in a few hours, and that’s all it needed to last. But it wasn’t a thing of beauty or integrity. The corset I made for my daughter was more carefully constructed, but the boning material began to poke through within a couple of wearings. If I had known more about the intricacies of corset making, both pieces of clothing would still be functional.

Alexis is planning on producing a video tutorial on making corsets. Her years of practical experience and knowledge will provide scores of people with an electronic apprenticeship of sort. The use of modern technology can fill the gap of the teacher over the shoulder. The level of workmanship, artistry and design in Alexis’ corsets only makes her plan of sharing the details that much more worthwhile. Kickstarter is a pledge program for which you may or may not receive some sort of reciprocation. In the case of “Making Corsets is A Cinch” people donating at various levels get various rewards–from thanks on Facebook, to the video series upon completion, to personalized artwork by the owner. I clicked the link, watched the video and went to Amazon to support the project. I hope you do, too.

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Cold Oven Pound Cake

I love it when I encounter something new in the kitchen. The title pretty much says it all, but I had never heard of putting a cake into an oven without preheating it before. I’ve made a lot of cakes, too.

When we get together with friends for New Year’s Day dinner, we are usually tasked with bringing the main course and dessert. (This just goes to show you how I sometimes start a post and then totally forget it in draft form.) Our hosts provide grits casserole, corn pudding, greens and hopping John…so you can probably guess the theme is “southern.” I was on a quest for an easy-yet-yummy-sort-of-Southern dessert, when my husband reminded me that our friend had been posting pictures on Facebook of a pretty amazing sounding and looking pound cake. I glomped onto it as it only has a few ingredients. I read the list and made sure I had the ingredients out to room temperature before I even skimmed the whole recipe.

When I was about to start baking, I took a moment to read the recipe from start to finish before cracking an egg. This is a good idea with any new recipe, and it saved me from maybe ruining the cake in this case. The direction to NOT pre-heat the oven had me looking at it several times wondering if there was a mistake. I read it over, and decided that this must be some new cool trick.

I put together the cake according to the instructions and popped into the cold oven as directed. It turned out to be a rich and dense pound cake–almost creamy. It was definitely something between a ‘regular’ cake and a cheesecake, neither one exactly, but something in between the two. The husband would have preferred it without the optional pecan, sugar and cinnamon mix in the middle, but I thought the pecans added a nice southern touch.

I resolved to do a bit of research on the cold oven thing. None of us had ever come across it before, and when you think about the cooks at the party, it was sort of surprising. A google search on “cold-oven pound cake” or “Cold oven cake” brings up plenty of hits. Cooks.com alone has ten pages of cold oven pound cakes. If you go looking for it, it’s easy to find. It does seem to pertain specifically to pound cakes–not something I make with great regularity. The recipe that follows is pictured at the top of the page.

Dot Tynes’ Cream Cheese Pound Cake
(Used with permission here by Karen Blackwell Tynes)

( Spray bundt pan with Pam and flour, or use the Bakers Spray. Also eggs, butter, cream cheese must be at room temperature)

3 cups sugar
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
3 sticks butter( if you use unsalted butter, add ½ teaspoon salt)
( BUTTER, not margarine)
6 beaten whole eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 cups Cake Flour ( honestly most of the time I use All purpose, but whip the flour with a whisk first)

Cream sugar, butter & cream cheese for 10 minutes.
Beat and add eggs one by one
Add vanilla, beat well
Add flour in small batches, beating after each one
Pour batter in bundt pan. I have also divided this up into three loaf break pans.
Place in a cold oven, set to 300°, bake ~1 ½ hours. Let cool for ten minutes, then turn out of pan while still hot.

Mom Tynes liked to pour in half the dough, then sprinkle a cinnamon sugar mixture with a few pecans.
2 T Sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup chopped pecans

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