Good Eats in Modena

Modena

Ryan, Sami, and I fetched our car and drove off to Modena, leaving La Spezia and Cinque Terre behind.

Sami drove while Ryan navigated over the winding hills and valleys until we got to the Emilia-Romagna region. We were in a rush, trying to get to the Pagani factory four our 11 am tour in English. I loved driving through the countryside, and saw cranes and a hare off in the fields. We got to Pagani only 15 minutes late, but they allowed us to join the tour. We stood in the factory itself, where they make the cars by hand, just 40 per year (up from just 20 per year in their old, smaller factory). Mr Pagani is also Mr Carbon Fibre, with what seems to be the whole car out of carbon fibre. Even in the main lobby, carbon fibre tiles were set into the floor. The tour guide said that the base price was €1.3 million for some models, with the sky the limit due to customers’ customization – the top price was somewhere near €3 million! Owners will sometimes have to ship their cars to the factory to be serviced, and some even store their cars at the factory. The factory itself was pristine, and there was a section behind windows where the workers layer the carbon fibre pieces and mold them with heat – if there is any imperfection, the part is destroyed.

PaganiPagani Pagani

We stayed a while after the tour, looking at the cars in the showroom, one of which was the car #5 of just 5 made. There was an Italian family that had ‘Supplier’ passes instead of our ‘Visitor’ passes, and they were talking to some middle-aged short guy – Mr Pagani himself! We awkwardly stared at him before we left. As we got into our car outside, he waved at us from his bicycle as he pedaled away. We freaked out. Then after we made 2 turns to get to Modena, we saw him again in front of us, and Sami was careful not to hit him, since he wasn’t wearing a helmet!

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DIY: McCall’s M7313 Knit Dress

McCall's M7313 Knit Dress

McCall’s M7313 is a knit dress that I sewed out of a brushed cotton knit fabric. It was the second time I sewed with knits, so I felt it went better than my first. I used a grey-beige knit with a floral print, and it is a really soft and cozy fabric.

McCall's M7313 Knit Dress

To achieve a sharp hem, I added strips of knit stay tape to the hems of the sleeves and skirts. I also added it to the shoulders to prevent them from stretching out.

I sewed a size 16 bodice and skirt in view D. The only alteration I added was lengthening the bodice by one inch. I’m glad I did, since now it hits at my waist; I think the dress would look like an empire-waist if I had left it as-is.

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Rum Crème Brûlée

Rum Crème Brûlée

Kiku Corner is on a crème brûlée roll, and for our dad’s birthday I made another version: rum crème brûlée. Instead of the plain vanilla or maple-flavoured crème brûlées of the past year, this time I used brown sugar and Kraken dark spiced rum to give the creamy dessert a Caribbean twist.
Rum Crème Brûlée

I’m more and more getting the hang of using the blowtorch. Once again, crème brûlée is quite easy to make if you’ve got a blowtorch at hand. The custard is easily mixed together and then baked in a water bath, which helps keep the custard at an even temperature. This allows for a bit of baking wiggle room so that the custard doesn’t curdle into scrambled eggs.

Rum Crème Brûlée

The crème brûlée can be prepared and baked a day or two in advance; just caramelize the sugar at the last minute. If you leave the sugar crust for too long, it will melt and turn into more of a crème caramel.
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Cinque Terre: Dinner in Vernazza

Cinque Terre: Dinner in Vernazza

We fled the crazy crowds at Monterosso and headed to the next village in Cinque Terre, Vernazza. Unfortunately we didn’t get to visit Corniglia, the fifth village, but we ended our trip to Cinque Terre on a high note.

Vernazza has the only working port (albeit a tiny one) where captains go fishing or take tourists out for tours, and the fishermen wear crocheted, pom-pom berets.

Cinque Terre: Dinner in Vernazza Cinque Terre: Dinner in Vernazza

 

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DIY: Roll-Neck Collar with Felted Hearts

This roll-neck collar project was created from leftover scraps from my arm warmers and the small ball of wool remaining from the crocheted beret Meinhilde made for me. When I found this shrunken cashmere sweater on a thrifting expedition, I really wanted the arms and body of the piece, but didn’t have any plans for the neck.

After some heavy Pinterest research, I discovered the roll-neck collar and decided to give it a go. To add a DIY twist, I decorated the collar with little turquoise hearts. This was my first attempt at felting and it was very easy. Using a small heart cookie cutter, felting needles, and a felting mat (or you could use a big plastic brush too), I created three hearts in the front and one in the back. I’m really happy with the results of these cute little embellishments.

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