Wherein I Attack my Wedding Dress with Scissors

I have a philosophy about wedding dresses: Love it all you want, but it gets one use and, no matter how timeless, classic, or classy your dress is, in 25 years your kid will not want to wear it.  I’m not really the overly-sentimental type, so instead of preserving, I think, “My God this thing takes up a lot of space in my house.”  I tried to sell my dress, to give someone else a go at it in this decade, but that was a no-go.  I was contemplating what to do with it when someone said, “Well, it’s not like you’ll wear that one again the next time you get married.” My thought was, “Well, I’m not getting married again…” But oh well.  What’s important is, in that moment, I realized I could wear it again (with a bit of dieting of course).  So today I decided to take this:


And turn in into this:


I could not be happier with the result.  Here’s my disclaimer: sometimes in my life, I do things that are considered “risky,” such as cooking up mushrooms that could kill you.  Although not at serious, this project is considered risky for many reasons:

1.  Most, if not all, wedding dresses are dry-clean only.  That means you should probably not soak them in boiling hot water.

2.  Cutting up something so precious could result in tears, especially if the project ends badly.  Then you might get tear stains on your *ruined* dress.

3.  You’re not really supposed to dye 100% polyester, dry-clean only fabrics, and nylon (most tulle) is sort of a “proceed at your own risk” type thing.

4.  It’s a total crapshoot with the dye–you never really know what’s going to happen.

All that boring stuff aside, let me show you how I came to my final result:


First I took my dress and measured where I wanted the hem to be +2″.  Then I snipped.  Which was terrifying.



It’s a little rough.  I know.  The finished hem is a little rough too, but you know what? I hate hemming.  All the measuring, the precision of it all–really not my favorite thing in the world.  There were three hems on this bad boy that needed to be done, so I cheated–I just tried to cut the netting really, really straight and left it.  It’s good enough.

After I cut the hem, I tried it on (and sucked in).


Yup.  Still looks like a wedding dress.  This baby needs a touch of color.

Originally I thought, “You know, I need to get outside my comfort color palette (black) and branch out.  I think I will try pink.”


This would be perfect if I was a sixteen-year-old Homecoming Queen.  Lord.  Awful.  But one thing about this first go-round was very revealing: I had expected the flowery details to resist the dye instead of soak it up.  So I thought a dark color would be more appropriate.

Back to Jo-Ann I went for more dye, this time in a color more my style.  I went home, soaked the dress (again) in hot water until the dye was ready, and started again.  Here’s a brief rundown of how to dye things you probably shouldn’t:

1.  Soak the garment in hot water until it’s completely saturated.  Weigh it down with a plate or something to make sure the water covers it.


2.  Put dye in large enamel pot, add water and vinegar, and bring to a boil:


3.  Transfer to a bucket if you don’t feel like possibly ruining your cookware.  You are technically supposed to ‘stir continuously,’ but I am lazy and don’t have the time.  Corelle to the rescue again! Stir occasionally and let your garment sit in the bucket for about 30 minutes.


4.  Put in the sink or a tub and rinse until water runs clear.


5.  Try, try again!

Can I just say? I am seriously IN LOVE with the final result.  It’s perfect.  Some of the beads took the black dye and came out a metallic purple, some stayed bright white.  The flower details turned black, which I was hoping for, and the rest of the dress is a great gray-purple color.


The hub-dubs says it still looks like a wedding dress, but I’m not entirely convinced.


My dress form definitely does not fit into this dress (the zipper isn’t even close to being closed), so I need to think skinny thoughts…and find someplace to wear it–besides just my house.


All in all, I’d say it was a gold star day at the Bank household.  I think I can get at least one more wear out of this before I a) really don’t fit into it or b) can’t use it anymore.  I may not have wanted to keep my traditional, white, long, annoying wedding dress (which I actually love), but I may keep this one.  Mostly so I can admire it over and over again.

IMG_0494(yes, I know this photo is at the beginning already.  I just love it twice as much as any other photo.)


A Post of Many Parts: You Win Some, You Lose Some

Sometimes, you just win at life:


This is an antelope stroganoff, made with puffball and canned antelope (YUM!).  It was awesome.  Dare I say, bordering on perfection.  

Then I decided to make mushroom wild-rice soup (the hub-dub’s fava-flav).




Sometimes you don’t even come close:


This is indeed supposed to be soup.  You win some, you lose some, and you cover some up with biscuit topping and hope nobody notices. 


Sadly, here ends the Post of Many Parts–the puffballs got a bit slimy so I tossed the rest.  I love mushrooms, but I won’t take any chances with these babies!

A Post of Many Parts: Part Two

In my last post, I was really excited to have gotten puffballs from my in-laws.  So I set out to make some pretty tasty mushroom stuff this week.  Know how much mushroom those wild rice burgers topped with mushrooms used up? Hardly any. 

But that’s ok–I can eat more meals with more mushrooms.  I can also take more photos:


I thought this one looked a bit like a skull.  In the spirit of Halloween, I helped it along a bit, got my Hamlet on, and started talking to my puff skull.


Today we’re making mushroom parmesan. 

If you are not lucky enough to have puffballs, just get some giant portobellos from the store.  They’ll do the trick. 

A NOTE ABOUT THE PUFFBALLS: I did not find this in my research, but the hub-dubs informed me that if you eat the skin, you could get irritation in the digestional region.  I have no idea what that might entail.  Of course he told me this while we were eating our unpeeled puffs, but we felt ok.  It takes all of two minutes to peel the skin off, so it’s easy if you don’t want to risk an upset tummy and whatever. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

Thickly sliced mushrooms

1/4 c. Italian bread crumbs

1/4 c. Panko crumbs

1/4 c. Grated parmesan cheese

1 egg plus a teaspoon of water

Spaghetti sauce

Spaghetti noodles

Shredded mozzarella cheese

Get those noodles boiling and set your can of spaghetti sauce on the counter.  Check on the spaghetti sauce periodically as if you’re cooking it. 

Slice the mushrooms in at least 1″ thick slices:


In a large skillet over medium heat, pour enough olive oil in to cover the bottom of the pan.  While the oil is heating, lightly whisk the egg and the water in a shallow container.  Mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan in a separate container.  Only batter what will fit in the pan–the breading will get soggy if it sits.  Dunk the ‘shroom in the egg wash first, then coat evenly in bread crumbs.  


See how in the egg container there are white spots? The mushrooms tended to resist moisture a bit.  Don’t worry about covering every square inch of the thing, but come close.  The natural moisture in the mushroom may attract the bread coating anyway. 

Fry in the oil until golden and crunchy (and delicious) looking.  It only takes about 2-3 minutes/side. 


Serve up the noodles, then the sauce, then the mushrooms, then the cheese.  Then enjoy. 


The Post of Many Parts will continue–perhaps with antelope stroganoff.  I am also 99% certain the sausage-wild rice-mushroom soup I made last night failed miserably (don’t boil off all the milk for 2 hours–bad idea).  I may post a photo just for your entertainment. 

A Post of Many Parts: Puffballs

I got a present from the in-laws last night:


That, my friends, is a puffball.  Not the poisonous kind, but the delicious kind.  I was really excited to get these because a) it’s fun to eat things larger than my head and b) I looooove mushrooms.


As you can see, I pretty much have the best in-laws ever.

As much as I love mushrooms, though, I knew I couldn’t eat all this at once–mainly because I was really jonesing for a wild rice burger.  What makes a wild rice burger better? Why, a big slab of mushroom on top of course.  So this is Part One of the Post of Many Parts: wild rice burgers with mushrooms.

The wild rice burger recipe I (mostly) used was found here.  Just follow the directions and while it’s cooking you can play with your mushrooms!

The first thing you have to do is make sure they won’t kill you.  Image

See how the inside is totally white and looks a bit like foam? It’s safe to eat.  Apparently the size also gives it away, but you really have to cut into it to make sure it’s alright.  Any gray/brown coloring, slime, or other weird junk and you’ll get sick so don’t eat it.  This one’s ok though, so I’m really excited to get going.

While you’re making your rice burgers, go ahead and cut nice-sized slabs of mushrooms to saute later.


Mercy me.  Pull those puppies off the pan and add a touch more oil (or butter) and throw the mushrooms on the skillet.  They’ll turn nice and golden while they’re cooking.


You know your mushrooms are done when they’re golden on both sides and a bit spongy.  Remove from heat and place on  your burger.  Add burger toppings like cheese (duh), ketchup, and mustard.  And then eat.  And then look forward to Part Two of the Post of Many Parts: Mushroom Parmesan.  Oh Bill.


(The mushroom shrinks up quite a bit so make sure to cut a nice, super thick slab).