Giraffes on the Coffee Table

June 23, 2009
Two little giraffes grazing on my coffee table.

Two little giraffes grazing on my coffee table.

A little something for the preschool set. My cousin is expecting her third child any day now, and I thought these little giraffes would be a nice addition to the older childrens’ menagerie.

The pattern is from Burda, and the fabric is leftover from the two baby dresses I made earlier this summer. Just print out the pattern (it’s free!), cut out the little giraffe, and you’re on your way to a new set of animals.

I traced the giraffe onto the wrong side of my fabric, then I added a quarter-inch seam allowance all round. To trace out the seam allowance, make lots of little dots 1/4 inch from the edge of the giraffe, then connect the dots.

You can then use the fabric giraffe as a template for cutting. Put the paper giraffe on each new fabric giraffe and trace around the edges so that you can see where to sew.

You’ll need to cut out two giraffes – be sure that you cut them out so that they face opposite ways – if you put the two giraffes together, rightside to rightside, they should match up.

Sew the giraffes together along the edges (1/4 inch away from the edge – just follow the line you made tracing the paper pattern – and make sure that the rightsides of the fabric are together), until you’ve gone most of the way around. Leave a good sized hole so that you can turn the giraffe rightside out later.

I tried making my hole around the giraffe’s head, and I had to perform emergency neck surgery when I couldn’t get it turned rightside out again. I’d recommend making your hole somewhere around the back or belly of the giraffe.

Once you’ve got the giraffe turned rightside out again, stuff it with cotton and sew up the hole. If you’re feeling ambitious, sew or draw eyes and a mouth. And voila! A giraffe!


Cold Lentil Salad

June 22, 2009

This is the perfect dish for a hot summer day.

Put 1 cup green or brown dried lentils in a pot with three cups water. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the lentils are done, about thirty minutes. (Note: if you do this with red lentils, they will disintegrate in ten minutes or less, at which point you’ll be well on your way to making daal. Stick to brown, green, or puy lentils if you want to make a salad.)

Dump the lentils into a colander and rinse them with cold water.

Chop up a bunch of vegetables. I try to stick with whatever is in season – sugar snap peas, cucumbers, scallions, and garlic scapes this time of year; tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, and scallions in mid-summer; tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers and onions in late summer – but you can put in whatever you like.  I recommend buying whatever looks good at the farmers market (or harvesting whatever looks good in your garden), and then chopping up enough veggies to make your salad look colorful.

Put the lentils and vegetables in a big bowl or tupperware container, add plenty of vinegar. I like rice vinegar best for this dish, but red wine or cider vinegar would be just fine. I think lemon juice would be good too. I’d start with 1/3 cup vinegar, then add more vinegar to taste. I’d add a little salt at this stage, and you can add a couple tablespoons of olive oil, too, though I usually leave the oil out.

Stick the salad in the fridge to finish cooling and/or marinate – this is one of those dishes that tastes better the second day.

Things I Love Thursday

June 18, 2009

Washington Square ParkPhoto Credit: Carolyn Kelly

Washington Square Park is open!

Craigslist finds: I found a handmade red bookshelf and a little red dresser with a wavy front. Nine strangers offered to help me carry the bookshelf home on the subway.

The mulberry tree by the reservoir.



Robins bathing in puddles.

Raccoons in Central Park.

New babies.

New Baby, New Dress

June 17, 2009

Carolyn sewing

I’ve been making oliver + s’s teaparty dress and bloomers for all the new little girls in my life, and I’m really loving the pattern. Everything is so clearly illustrated and explained, and the little dress is so beautiful when it’s done.

The pattern comes with a playsuit as well, which I’m planning to make for the next baby boy in my life. I’m very excited about making things with snaps.


June 17, 2009

mosaic801cd8838e54561663ba099a7e9905727a51d3571. Strawberry, 2. A Flickr social strawberry, 3. Strawberries (La Trinidad, Benguet), 4. My first strawberries of this season..

I’ve been waiting all year for them, and they’re finally here!

A local strawberry is so different from a transcontinental one. They’re red all the way through, not white in the middle, and when you hold them to the light, they’re like stained glass. Of course, they taste sweeter too.