Making a veil for my homemade wedding!

Veils are really expensive. Well, you can get a really cheap, fingertip-length piece of tulle with some beads glued on it. But if you want something nice, it costs a lot of money. Which it should, in the case of nice, handmade, high-quality veils! Those take a TON of time and effort. Of course, then there’s the ridiculously overpriced crap that people sell, banking on a bride’s liberal spending because it’s her wedding. Either way, you’re in for a big cash ding if you want something fancy without doing it yourself.

I decided on a long veil with a crown and scattered crystals, with lace trim at the bottom but not the sides. I don’t really like huge, poofy, dramatic wedding dresses (they’re gorgeous, just not on me), so I’m relying on the veil for the drama. Plus, in my heart of hearts, I’m still a little enamored with elves and fantasy creatures. I don’t want to do a costume or a theme wedding, but a simple wire-and-crystal circlet nods to my love of fantasy while not being silly about it. I hope.

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Green eggs and… garlic.

Looking to get some more greens in your diet? Well, you should be. They’re super good for you, and anywhere you can sneak some in, you should do that. Plus, light cooking in olive oil can kick up the health factor by a few notches. (Nutrition. It’s weirdly interconnected.)

This is an awesome breakfast full of protein, healthy fats, and green goodness. Try it, Sam I Am!

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Meatless/vegan Monday: Spiced lentil soup

It’s been a few weeks since a meatless Monday. I know, I know. How am I ever going to break through into blogging popularity, monetize, and sail off into the land of beautiful people and passive income? The answer is, I’d much rather make everyone wait around for content that I can feel good about, instead of tons of micro-reblogged posts about glitter and 5-minute crafts. Yada yada, let’s get to the lentils!

I’ve been working out a lot lately, for various reasons, including having fewer clients/less workload lately than I have in the past. It’s the first time since going veggie that I have lots of time to really burn calories and build muscle, and I’ve been feeling the lack of animal proteins. So I’ve been turning a lot toward beans. And spinach. And tofu. But mostly beans.

This lentil soup isn’t super flashy, but it’s easy, satisfying, tasty, packs a whopping 18 grams of protein per cup and is fantastic for a cold and gloomy day. Add marbled rye bread for dipping, and it transcends the workhorse soup genre, reaching something magical. Bonus: it’s vegan! I didn’t notice until I was typing up the recipe.

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Meatless Monday: Savory Pumpkin Soup with Green Tea

011One of my favorite genres of food is Thai. The Compatriot took me to a Burmese restaurant in San Francisco recently called Burmese Superstar, and it was pretty scrumptious. From what I could gather, Burmese food is sort of like Thai, but with squash and tea scented stuff. (My impression may not be accurate.)

But on my return home, I couldn’t find very many savory pumpkin soup recipes. There are a few, but they require lots of prep and batches of soup puree. Besides, I had a can of pureed pumpkin left over from Thanksgiving. My roommates aren’t fond of single-texture soup. And I like to cook things that everyone wants to eat. So I wanted a savory pumpkin broth with green tea and vegetables. This is not Burmese, exactly. Let’s call it fusion.

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Trash costuming: Rams-horn headdress

I love using up trash in my projects, for a few reasons. Number 1: It’s good for the planet. Number 2: I’m not quite as worried about testing my limits and screwing up; if I can’t salvage a project, at least it was trash already. Number 3: I’m simultaneously lazy and extremely frenetic. When a project occurs to me, I need to get started on it NOW, nothing silly like going to the store.

So, when I decided I wanted an elaborate hat for cool festival nights, I wanted to get started NOW, and I didn’t want to spend any actual money. I cheated a little; I’m a habitual crafter, so I already have things like wire and spray paint sealant. But the horns themselves are a wire coat hanger armature covered in strips of cardboard and tape, old brown paper bags, and paper mache paste from flour and water. (Side note, I’m recently learning about the raw awesomeness that is paper mache.) The crown is braided copper wire salvaged from an old lamp/headlight. Originally I was going to make a dreadlock wig out of leftover tulle scraps and wool roving, which I may still do, but I was a little bit burnt out after the paper mache (it took so long!) and just wanted a finished project.

This isn’t a tutorial, exactly. I have a couple of photos so that anyone who is so inclined can have an idea of how I did mine, but you should do yours however works best for you.

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Miscellaneous tips and tricks for costuming/sewing on a budget

Whenever I’m working on a costume, I think “this is super cheap. I should share it.” And then it doesn’t quite fit into the tutorial, or it’s a weird tributary of eddying thoughts that strays far away from the main flow of the post. So here’s a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up about obtaining materials on the cheap, that hopefully go beyond your standard “go to the thrift store. Thrift. Good job.”

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Meatless Monday, Valentine’s Edition: Heart-shaped wonton recipe (vegan or vegetarian)

Oh man. That title almost makes me swoon with how incredibly yupster I am. Oh, you made homemade wontons? Well mine are slightly healthier, and have both a vegan and a sweet option. And dig this; they’re heart shaped. They’re almost barf-worthy, except that they’re so delicious and topical, as Valentine’s day is this week. So, if you’re having a Pinterest-worthy party, add these to your menu. They’re not that much work, kind of soothing, and you can change the level of healthiness and deliciousness to suit your needs.

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Mini-tutorial: Embellished lace-up costume bracers

Quick and easy tutorial today, guys. It’s almost like cheating. But hey, not every project has to be crazy complicated, right? I wanted some bracers for a costume I’m making, and I had this piece of crazy beaded fabric lying around. It came from the waist band of a child’s skirt that I bought forever ago and ripped up for its plain black cotton. (Every time I use something years later, it enables the hoarder in me. Alas.)


-Strip of heavily embellished fabric that will go around your wrist ~2 times, at least 2 inches wide. Wide ribbon is a good choice. Alternatively, use this as your chance to practice beading/embroidery/smocking/whatever crazy techniques you want, since it’s such a small piece of fabric.

-Equal amount of lining fabric. I used a silk scrap that I had lying around, for extra luxury and to help diminish forearm sweatiness.

-Grommet tape or grommets. I used grommets because my bracers are tiny and I needed them close together.

-Short amount of shoelace, ribbon, string, I-cord, what-have-you. Something to lace it with.

-Heavy interfacing. (Optional, but essential if you want them to look like armor.)

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Meatless Monday: Stir-Fried Veggie bowl with Low-Sodium Teriyaki Sauce

I’ve used this recipe for teriyaki sauce poured over veggies a couple of times now, and it’s delicious. But it’s also got a TON of salt and sugar in it. So I set about making a teriyaki sauce that utilizes less than half of the sodium and sugar. The secret is miso. Yes, miso has a fair amount of sodium in it — anywhere between 100 and 300 mg per tablespoon, which will easily make a cup of miso broth — but soy sauce has over 2,0000 mg in 1/4 cup! That’s a lot of salt! The recipe also calls for 1/4 sugar AND 2 tablespoons of honey. Don’t worry, though, we can make up the difference in flavor by actually adding more good things.

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Refashion Friday: Southwestern jacket

I got this jacket from the Male Compatriot’s mom. It’s a beautiful color, very soft suede, (for more information on why I sometimes use secondhand leather even after converting to vegetarianism, click here) and overall really nice. But the double shawl collar and the waist skirt made it really fussy.

Fussy, fussy.

Fussy, fussy.

Back view

First, I removed the waist skirt, button plackets, and collar. This left it very nice, but incredibly simple. I tried adding back in one of the collars, but it suddenly looked like something a politician in her 50s would wear — polished and upscale, but not what I want right now. It was also much more formal without those button plackets! I thought about just overlapping the front with a button loop, but that created a couple of minor fit issues, and looked even more political.

Much better, but it's still missing something...

Much better, but it’s still missing something…


Instead, I decided to add a silver zipper. Unfortunately, JoAnne’s didn’t have silver separating zippers in exactly the length I needed, so I used gold instead. It worked out well, but I did want silver for the southwestern feel. I chose to hand-pick the zipper because a. I don’t have thread that matches exactly, and I don’t sew with this color enough to justify getting a whole spool, and b. the bottom of the jacket is slightly curved, and I needed the control that hand sewing gave me to make sure things lined up. I considered adding a lace “yoke” at the back and cutting away the leather underneath it for a cutout, but decided it would be too kitschy Southwesty and overdone.

Unfortunately, you can see the white of the zipper. If I were really committed to this refashion, I’d have dyed the zipper before inserting it. But I didn’t.


Boxy and drag lines. Boo. 😦


Unzipped is much better. Also, I have blue hair now. And T-Rex hands.


It’s a simple refashion, but it makes a huge difference! I’m not 100% sold on the jacket when it’s zipped up, though; there’s a couple of pull lines (probably because a full 2 inches was removed with the button plackets), and it kind of eliminates my waist. I love it unzipped, though, so I’m calling it a success.

002 Jacket