Thursday, July 30, 2020

Russe 2020

Husband and I are travelling around the country, visiting my extended family. I hadn't been to Russe, a town I love so much, in almost 10 years. Unfortunately, despite the grand river Danube, the town has been hit by a a severe drought and a heat wave during the past month and it was not in its prime, when we went around yesterday. And some of the reconstructions made during the past decade, like the new quay, do not benefet the overall outlook of the city, IMHO. And I had missed my beloved Danube so much ...
A few photos from our short walk under the unbearable heat late in the afternoon:

: Because of its beautiful neo-baroque architecture, Russe is known as "the little Vienna"

: The new quay - lots of concrete, little greenery :(

Monday, July 27, 2020

Sponge Cake with Cream Cheese

I love creamy desserts. One of my favourite simple breakfast cakes is biscuit cake with vanilla pudding - you couldn't go simpler, but I love it and I make it quite regularly. (Yes, I breakfast with sweet cakes and coffee, I'm that decadent :)
A bit more sophisticated version of that dessert is a sponge cake with pudding filling and if we take it a little bit further - we get this two layered cake with gelatinized pudding on top.


 For the sponge cake:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the pudding:
  • 500 ml milk
  • 20 g pudding powder
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 175 g cream cheese Philadelphia
  • cocoa powder
  • 10 g gelatin
 For the syrup:
  • 150 ml milk
  • 3 tbsp sugar

Beat the eggs with the sugar until creamy. Sift and fold in the flour with the baking powder and the vanilla extract. Pour the batter into a cake spring form and bake in a preheated oven at 180C until a tooth pick test comes out dry.
Take the cake out of the oven and leave to cool. Soak with the warm milk syrup.
Cook the pudding and while hot add the gelatin, dissolved in 100 ml of water. Then add the cream cheese and beat until homogeneous and creamy.
Pour on top of the sponge cake and leave in the fridge overnight.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Borovetz 2020

The weather in our mountaineous part of the country continues to be prevailingly English - cold(ish) and rainy. Still, yesterday we found a window of mostly dry weather and went to Borovetz, to hike the pine tree trail to Chakur voivoda hut and back. The day was fresh, with a light drizzle of rain on our way back, which made the air even sweeter with a taste of summer flowers and pine needles.
I didn't feel like bringing the DSLR, so photos from the small Sony travel camera

: Borovetz ski and mountain resort

: Our tireless girl, who only two days before this hike had climbed another mountain peak - Ruen (an almost 30 km hike!)

: Lilium martagon (Петров кръст)
: The trail

: Spotted nutcracker (сокерица) at Chakur voivoda hut

: And back to Borovetz again,
15 km, a total of 4 and a half hours with lunch break at Chakur voivoda hut

Monday, July 20, 2020

Make That Look: Cache Cache Dress

This past weekend it was unusually cold for July and it rained almost incessantly for two days. So what can one do when the weather is not suitable for hiking, but sew a new summer dress :)

I am especially proud with this one as
1) it is a replica of a ready-to-wear dress by Cache Cache, which I bought for Gaby five years ago, so I had to come up with a pattern on my own; and
2) I managed to make the dress out of a very small piece of remnant fabric I bought from my favourite fabric store downtown - a large piece of about 60 cm in length and a small band approx 20-21 cm in length.

I liked the fabric - high quality dense cotton, which looked perfect for a dress, if only I had enough of it. I had almost given up and decided to make it into a skirt, when Gaby put on her Cache Cache dress to go out. I took a good look at the design and it occurred to me that the narrow band could be enough for the upper bodice and the straps and the larger piece could yield the skirt of the dress.

For the skirt I used the modified pattern pieces of this dress I made last September - Shkatulka WD240418. I had to play pattern tetris and further narrow the pieces to make them fit my scarce piece of fabric.

The upper bodice is a from another Shkatulka dress -WD150719. I cut the front parts with the princess seams, rounded the underarms and designed the upper band. For both the skirt and the bodice I used dresses Russian size 40 (EU size 34, XS). The back is a shirred rectangle, 1.5 times the width of my back, done with black elastic thread at 1 cm intervals.
And then I repeated the process for the lining, which is a black cotton voile.

The dress goes well with my black Miette, knitted in 2013 and still loved:

To be honest, I was very skeptical I could pull the look, as this dress pattern seems a bit young for me. But daughter and husband assured me that my worries were stupid and I'm glad they did - I love my new dress and I feel very feminine in it.

The inside of the dress - the shirred piece of the back is tucked neatly between the outer and the lining of the front.

To avoid too much volume from the gathering of both skirts, I sewed the gather seams through both fabrics, thus treating them as one skirt - thus the gathers are not so bulky. To reinforce the shirred back, I inserted 4 mm wide elastic in the upper and lower seams of the back bodice.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Smocked Top and Shorts

Two fairly quick summer makes for Gaby - a smocked top and a pair of shorts, made out of fabric remnants.

For the smocked top I used a piece of fabric, which was left after I made this short sleeved shirt last summer. I cut a rectangular piece, 1.5 times Gaby's bust circumference, 36 cm length and narrow hemmed the top and the bottom of the piece. Then I did the shirring with white elastic thread at approx. 1.2 mm distance, leaving a hem of 2.5 cm above and 5 cm below the smocked part.

My inspiration for the top was this Gut & Circle Smocked top I found while googling shirred tops. I didn't have enough fabric for wider straps, so mine are narrower. Gaby already wore it once and liked it, though she finds the ties on the shoulders a bit girlish, so I might redo the straps into simple straight straps.
The second make - a one evening pair of shorts, uses the polyester knit remnants from my blue Think Pink Cosy cardigan. The pattern is one I've used before - pants #117 from Burdastyle 05 / 2013. I find the pattern quite well drafted for pants with elasticated waist - the fit is flattering, the pockets are very deep and comfy. Obviously, I shortened the legs, omitted the belt and instead added 2.5 cm wide elastic band.

To finish the legs, I added cuffs, but next time I might just hem the legs, I find no significant difference in the look and hemming is so much easier.

The look from the back - I sewed a small label on the back of the top to mark the back, as otherwise it is almost impossible to distinguish it from the front and it does matter because of the placement of the straps. I still haven't decided where to order my own labels, and I need to, soon :(

Monday, July 13, 2020

Ovchartzi, Rila

Last Saturday, a sunny and very hot day, husband and I decided to repeat a hike we did three years ago almost to the date - to climb peak Big Rock (Golemiya kamuk) in Rila over the village of Ovchartzi and to visit the ecotrail to the Goritza waterfall. The trail to the Big Rock is rocky, very steep, bare and open most of the way and the climb up was sticky and sweaty. The rewards - strawberry patches with ripe wild strawberries and panoramic views to the Goritza cascades and the entire valley between Rila and Verila mountains. And the most delicious spring water I've drank, I regret we didn't bring home some.

: Peak Big Rock (1284 m)
: Goritza cascades
: Gourmet snack on the way up
: Mountain rose

: The village of Ovchartzi from the top

: Lilium martagon (Петров кръст)

: Goritza waterfall from the ecotrail in the village