Monday, September 26, 2011


Two bits of background information:

First, when I got my sewing machine and tried the automatic buttonhole maker I thought all of 20th century technology had arrived at my house in one remarkable invention. Never, I boldly proclaimed, would I ever need to make a buttonhole by hand,

Second, when Adam was a teenager, many years before I knew him, he bought a tweed jacket at a used clothing store.

The story itself:

Two weeks ago when the weather became truly fall-like, Adam came downstairs happily wearing his favorite tweed jacket. I realized that the buttonholes were getting a little ratty and decided to take a closer look. (This might have been my first mistake.) I quickly realized that the rattiness was not the buttonhole thread. The buttonhole thread was gone completely, and the rattiness was the fabric of the jacket starting to unravel. For one brief moment I thought of my bold proclamation about "never" making buttonholes by hand and then realized that that was just what I was about to do.

It's actually not unpleasant work. I wouldn't do it by choice on a new piece of clothing, but to save an old favorite, a jacket that Adam has enjoyed for so many years, an item of clothing that has become a symbol of fall for me, it's worth it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hot Peppers to Spare

I get hot peppers with my CSA share. As much as I like spicy food, I just don't use the hot peppers fast enough. This is a quick way to preserve a small amount of hot peppers, without canning or drying.

A couple of handfuls of hot peppers
About two cups of vinegar (white vinegar has a bite to it, apple cider vinegar has a bit of sweetness)
1/4tsp salt
Pint jar (or larger) with a plastic lid

Seed the peppers. (You might want to wear gloves for this. I generally don't. I'm very careful not to touch the cut sides or insides of the peppers.) Mince them by hand or throw them in a food processor. Pack them into the clean jar. Heat the vinegar and dissolve the salt. Pour the vinegar mixture over the peppers. If there is not enough vinegar to completely cover the peppers, add more. Cap the jar and keep in the refrigerator.

If you don't have a plastic lid, put a layer of plastic wrap or waxed paper between the lid and the jar. The pure vinegar will corrode a metal lid.

I use this in cooked dishes, like stir fries or chilli. Since I don't know how hot the finished mix of peppers will be, I add a little at a time. I also use this method to preserve slices of jalapenos, sometimes adding garlic and peppercorns. Whenever we have "Mexican Night" we pile them on our tacos and burritos.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sewing (and more)

I was feeling bad about not writing more. The problem is while I love sewing, there are many other things I love as well. Right now on my counter there are three pounds of tomatoes waiting to be processed, a small jar of cucumbers quietly becoming pickles, and a bowl of rising bread dough. Plus upstairs there is a baby taking a nap. So it occured to me that what I should really do is have a blog about all of my domestic pursuits. Those of you who know me may have noticed my new email signature "Educator, Dolly Domestic Extraordinaire." Well it seems as if all the cool blog names about domestic pursuits - dolly domestic, domestic diva, urban hearth, etc. - are taken. So, for now at least, "sewing Without Zippers" will become "Sewing (and more) Without Zippers," and when I think of a new name, then we'll deal with that.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my expanded blog, where DIY meets SAHM meets locavore foodie.