February Preserving: Gravlax & Citrus Salt

I’m really enjoying the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge so far. We’ve already eaten most of last month’s marmalade. Turns out we really like marmalade. Who knew?

This month’s theme is salt preserves. I make kimchi regularly, and I’m pretty familiar with salt preserved lemons. I like the flavor of the lemons but I just don’t use them very often. I have a 1+ year old jar in my fridge that are super good in a Bloody Mary. I almost caved and made more anyway after I saw this huge list of recipes and the gorgeous preserved grapefruit. But I really wanted to make something that we’d eat and eat quickly, so I decided on gravlax and a batch of citrus salt.

What follows aren’t recipes or reviews, exactly. It’s more explanations of what I did, and reflections on what worked and what I might change.

My tablecloth ladies are thrilled by homemade gravlax for Valentine's Day brunch! #fijchallenge

A post shared by kvt (@kittyvontrubble) on

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My first pants! Sewing Vogue 8909

Okay, so I couldn’t manage perfecting the fit on a simple shift dress. I knew what kind of low-maintenance, soothing, easy win sewing project to take up next: pants. The first pair I’ve ever made. What could possibly go wrong?

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The waist on this illustration is so misleading, these suckers come up to your bra wires unless you adjust the pattern.

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Sewing the Colette Laurel dress

Or not, as it turns out!

I bought a couple Colette patterns when they were on sale this fall: Laurel, Zinnia, and Moneta. Colette got really big while I was in my lolita sewing phase. I had a vague respect for the company and liked the idea of Seamwork’s modern & easy basics, even if the Mesa didn’t work out. I still wanted to try a minimal shift dress and had high hopes for Laurel. There were loads of successful Laurels on sewing blogs, and chatter in the comments indicated that Colette’s main brand patterns were better drafted than Seamwork ones.

Paige’s review for the Curvy Sewing Collective (CSC) was particularly inspiring. Her pictures helped me decide if the style would look good on me at all, and her post provided good guidance on what kinds of alterations I might want to make. I especially liked her attitude that it was worth fiddling with fit to find a solid go-to pattern. That’s what I want!

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This looks straightforward!

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Old Fashioned Cocktail Marmalade

I decided at practically the last minute to join the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge, and this is my actual last minute entry for January. This month’s preserve is marmalade. I’ve made marmalade once before. A coworker brought a huge bucket of backyard Meyer lemons into the office and let me take 3 pounds for free. I made 5 half pints, I think, and I ended up giving all of them away as gifts. Time to try it again and actually keep some this time!

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Sewing the OhhhLuluSews Evelyn Romper

I started 2017’s sewing strong on Jan 5th and 6th with three Evelyn rompers from OhhhLuluSews. I’ve admired her custom lingerie for a while now. I really liked her wrap-front crane romper, so I bought myself a similar pattern for Christmas. This was my first return to garment sewing since sometime in the spring/summer of 2016, and it was a great experience.

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2017 Sewing Goals

My main sewing goals for 2017 are to sew more frequently and more carefully. When I’m looking for excuses to feel bad about myself, I often fixate on the fact that I’ve been sewing garments for about two decades and I’m barely above the advanced beginner stage. I want to be more meticulous with boring, labor-intensive set up that will pay off with way nicer finished projects.

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