Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Recipe: Quick(er) Sourdough Nut Bread

Nutty Sourdough 2

Some weeks I'm lazy and don't want to feed my sourdough starter, because I've accumulated too much or I don't have 8 hours to make bread. Here's a recipe that takes about 3 hours from start to finish, and uses unfed starter. It's a good way to use up extra starter, plus it's packed with nutty flavour.

Nutty Sourdough 1

Quick(er) Sourdough Nut Bread
makes 2 loaves

Ingredients:
  • 227 g unfed sourdough starter (1 cup)
  • 340 g lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 14 g sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 300 g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 300 g spelt flour or whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup flax seeds

Method:
  1. Mix sourdough starter, sugar, instant yeast, and water. 
  2. Add flours and nuts.
  3. Add salt.
  4. Knead on lightly floured surface until you get a smooth dough ball.
  5. Let rise in a covered, oiled, container for 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled.
  6. Cut into two and shape as desired. 
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour.
  8. Slash the bread loaves.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes at 400 degrees F, or until golden brown on the outside.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nursery In Progress: DIY Velvet Back Tab Curtains

I figured I'd tackle decorating the nursery before it gets too hard to move around. The first task was to replace the existing dull cream curtains. One of those curtain panel was 5 inches longer than the other (WHY!?!), and it was driving me nuts!

Enter some plush velvet in navy blue and forest green. We're having a girl, but I wanted to keep the major accessories neutral, and go with an enchanted forest sort of theme. I sewed two panels, each made of half blue and half green fabric.

Making back tab curtains isn't complicated. All you need to do is hem 3 sides of each curtain panel as normal. The top of the curtain requires a little more work, but if you can sew a straight stitch, you can totally manage this.

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Here's what the top part of each curtain panel looks like. I made a 4 inch wide hem, and folded some heavy duty black webbing under the bottom seam, and added another two lines of stitches to secure them to the top of the curtain. Each strip of black webbing is roughly 5 inches apart. Putting the strips closer together will make your curtain ruffles smaller and more full.

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Here's what it looks like all stitched together. You could make tubes of fabric out of the same color fabric as your curtains instead of using webbing, but in this case, the velvet would have been too thick, and it was faster to use the webbing. It hangs just fine this way. The best part about these curtains is that they pleat well without the need for any extra curtain hardware.

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Interested in making your own back tab curtains? Here are two tutorials that go into more detail:

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And here's what they look like hanging at full length. The nursery doesn't get a ton of natural light, so the dark curtains were tricky to get a good shot of. Hopefully things will look a little more put together when the nursery is complete.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Nursery in Progress: DIY Woodland Mobile

Never leave me alone in a room with a glue gun and scissors. I went to town on some felt, and many drips and scattered pieces of felt later, this is what happened over two nights of madness:

MobileIP

The hardest part was figuring out the hanging contraption. I ended up taking two wooden dowels, pressing them between two pieces of felt, and gluing like crazy. I hid the join with even MORE felt and glue, cutting out leaves from some of my scraps. Getting the strings to hang even, took more time than I expected, but I think I managed it in the end.

I took some inspiration from mobiles I saw online, and picked some of the animals I wanted to include: a bunny, a fox, a fawn, and a squirrel. To speed up the process I used my sewing machine to sew the animals together instead of hand stitching, and trimmed the excess felt afterwards.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Fireplace
[ photo: Fireplace via Arild Storaas CC ]

I hope your holiday season is filled up with good memories and good food. See you back here in January :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sew & Tell: Faux Leather Wristlet & Pencil Case

I'm mildly obsessed with mint green, so much so that I've been hoarding this faux leather / pleather remnant for months. I wanted just the right project for it, and I think I've found it. Drumroll please...

clutchPurse (1)

TA DA! It's a simple clutch purse or wristlet. The wrist strap is detachable. It's unlined because the faux leather is fairly thick and won't fray. I also wanted to whip up something pretty quickly and this came together in about 20 minutes.

clutchPurse (2)

I also made a monogrammed pencil case. The "J" is cut out of felt.. It uses the exact same method as the wristlet, but it's slightly narrower. It also lacks the wrist strap.

clutchPurse


They would both make easy presents for the holiday's, right? 

Here's the method I used to construct both, skipping the lining, so it's even faster. The dimensions are different but the idea's exactly the same!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sew & Tell: Bunny Softie

Bunny2

Baby's coming soon, and I want to welcome her into the world with a little something handmade by mommy. Sophia the bunny is made of one of El's old sweatshirts, plus some of the softest jersey scraps I could find (leftover from this kimono top). Isn't she adorable? Check out her fluffy pom-pom tail.

She'd probably make a quick and easy last minute Christmas gift for all the babies and toddlers in your life too.

Bunny1

I probably won't get much crafting done after baby comes. El and I are in for a whole new adventure.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tutorial: DIY Poster Frame

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Here's a simple way to display your artwork, in a way that you can change it up easily! This is going in the nursery, so I didn't want to use glass frames in case baby tries to touch.

I think this would make a great gift to showcase some of your artwork, or photos of you and your friends, or your favourite quotes, even magazine pages you adore.

Materials and Tools:
  • faux leather / vinyl / felt / any material that won't fray
  • clear vinyl / plastic
  • sewing machine
  • 2  1/4 -1/2" diameter dowels 1" wider than the artwork you plan to hang
  • embroidery floss / twine 
Instructions:

Step 1: Cut a piece of faux leather wide enough to leave a border around your artwork. Also leave 2" of extra length on the top and bottom for wrapping around your dowels.

Step 2: Make a casing for each dowel. Wrap the extra leather around your dowel, and sew a stitch as close as you can to the dowel. A zipper foot can help with this. Repeat for the bottom of the frame. The second dowel will give your frame some weight so your artwork hangs flat.

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Dowel casing. Really just a fold wide enough to insert your dowel into.

Step 3: Slide out the dowels. This will make sewing on the clear vinyl easier.

Step 4: Cut your vinyl the same width as the leather, but ensure it doesn't overlap with either dowel casing. 

Step 5: Sew along 3 edges of the vinyl, attaching it to the leather. Leave the top open for inserting your artwork.

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Sew along the dotted lines.

Step 6: Use a small punch to make 2 holes in the back of the leather along the top casing. Thread some embroidery floss through the hole on one end and tie to secure. Tie the other end of the embroidery floss to the other hole at the other end. This will be how you hang your artwork.

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See the hole in the dowel casing?

Step 7: Optional: Embellish with tassels. Use a dab of hot glue inside the casing to secure your dowels to the leather.

It may look like a lot of steps, but the whole thing is really just a big clear pocket! Enjoy.

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Note: The bird print is via the Biodiversity Library. If you're into botanical or nature prints they've got tons of public domain images available. I'll probably change it out for an illustrated alphabet or something more kid friendly when I find some artwork I like.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sew & Tell: Pom Pom Pillows

PomPom1

Here are more throw pillows! I covered some of our old mismatched throw pillows with blue and pink fabric. The pom-pom trims are yellow and lime green. The two blue pillows have a simple envelope back, but the pink pillow cover isn't removable.

It's simple to add pom-pom trim to your pillow covers. It just takes the extra step of pinning and sewing on the trim to the front piece of the pillow fabric before sewing the cover together like normal. Here's a tutorial that shows how that's done.

PomPom2

It's much needed pop of colour against all our neutral furniture.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sew & Tell: Dino Softie

Dino1

When I was a kid, I went through this long obsession with dinosaurs, and one day I fell in love with this plush velvet triceratops that I never got to take home. So when I came across this dino softie tutorial, I just had to make one! Isn't she a cutie pie?

She's made of sweatshirt fabric, felt, and some blue fabric scraps for the spine. She's stuffed with leftover bits of fleece and poly-fill for extra squish. She's going to be a Christmas present, but I may just make another one for our baby to be :)

Dino2

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Jam Session


Isn't it beautiful? That's the last of summer's figs, strawberries, and blackberries. The blackberries were picked from bushes near our house, and the blueberries were part of my mom's haul over the summer. The figs were from our neighbour's tree that overhangs the fence. They were hanging out in the freezer for a while, and needed some attention.

I wanted to experiment with some new flavours and recipes this year. What resulted was a beautiful assortment of jams. They're not particularly beautiful to photograph in the jar, but I assure you they're delicious.

FigJams1

Here are three recipes that don't require pectin, and taste tested by yours truly.
  • Cinnamon Fig - My favorite of the three. Lemon, ginger, and cinnamon are a heavenly combo. Just the right amount of spice and tang! I was surprised. This was the recipe I was least certain about.
  • Blackberry Blueberry - The blueberries cut back the acidity of the blackberries, so it's a lot mellower than plain blackberry jam. Delicious.
  • Strawberry Fig - I threw in about 100g of blackberries (see photo) because I didn't have quite enough strawberries on hand. The blackberries are also higher in natural pectin, so helped it come together a little better. This tastes like a bright strawberry jam. 
I doubled up the recipes, and ended up with twenty-two 250 ml jars of jam. I like to leave the jam a little chunky so you can see pieces of fruit when you spread it on toast. I also always like to add lemon peel into the jam even if the recipe doesn't call for it. Extra brightness! Home made is so much yummier than store bought.

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