Sunday, February 9, 2014

Super Simple Ironing Board Cover

I try very hard not to form sentimental attachments to objects. One exception is a set of ironing boards (a big one and a sleeve board) that I took from my grandmother's house after she died. There's something about standing over it, doing a task that it so stereotypically domestic, that makes me very pensive. My grandmother was the typical Mad Men Betty Draper-style wife and mother. When I'm ironing (and let's be honest, that doesn't happen often), my mind will wander to how she must have felt, standing over that same ironing board decades ago. Was she content with her life? Was she bored beyond belief? By the time I was old enough to ask her those questions, she was suffering from Alzheimer's, so I'll never really know.

Similarly, my grandfather made the sleeve-board. It's just some dowels and boards with padding stapled over the top, but I love that he built it himself rather than going to the store and buying one. He died when I was ten, so I didn't really know him either, but he should be happy to know that his legacy lives on every time I need to iron something small.

Sentimentality aside, I really like both of these boards because they're so sturdy. The large ironing board weights a ton. It's almost a struggle to put it upright and back in the closet. The advantage of that, though, is that it doesn't move when I'm ironing. Same with the sleeve board. I had a collapsible one before, and it was constantly collapsing on itself while I was ironing. This one takes up more storage space, but it doesn't go anywhere when I'm using it.

I had a piece of fabric from the October Small Craft supply sale that I really liked, but I didn't have enough to make a shirt (how I originally envisioned it). I had the genius idea to use it to cover the disintegrating ironing board covers. A few minutes on Google revealed that ironing board covers are ridiculously easy to make.

I just draped the fabric over the boards and cut, leaving about six inches around the edges. Then I sewed a casing and strung a piece of elastic through it. I pulled the elastic as tight as possible and safety pinned it together (mostly out of laziness - writing this now I realize it would have made more sense to take the cover off and sew it together). Et voila!

I repeated the same process for the smaller board, but didn't take any pictures. My most productive hours are often after 10pm on weeknights. And while I can bang out a lot of stuff, I don't always take the time to properly document it. The next time I iron (which may be a while from now), I'll try to remember to take a picture.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Snow Day Feast, V'con Style

I've always said that winters in Detroit aren't really that bad. Sure it's cold, but the cold isn't brutal. We get some snow, but it melts after a few days. The skies are sometimes grey, but it makes me appreciate the sunshine on clear days. Those factors that make winter unpleasant (but not unbearable) make spring AMAZING.

Then the winter of 2014 hit. This winter also coincides with me living in a house with zero insulation. When it's windy outside, the curtains move inside. We got another big snow storm today. Determined not to let Mother Nature get in my way, I put on my boots and trekked the mile to Kroger to buy groceries and spent the day cooking Backyard BBQ sauceBBQ Black Eyed Peas Collard Rolls, and Messy Rice, all from Veganomicon.

This was a perfect snow day dish. I spent a leisurely three hours making it. I could have been more efficient with my time, but to me, one of the luxuries of a snow day is not stressing about multi-tasking. On a weeknight, I definitely wouldn't have taken the time to let BBQ sauce cook down for an hour or delicately roll steamed collard greens. But on a snowy Sunday, there wasn't much I'd rather be doing.

These turned out great. They were everything I think food should be -- a variety of recognizable textures and clean, distinct flavors that meld together perfectly. Full success!