Thursday, 17 December 2009

oaty, grainy, honey bread

this is my second favourite bread - its a new one that i have made a couple of times now and i am loving it, so i thought i would share...

oaty, grainy, honey bread

1 1/4 cups water
2 tbs milk powder
2 tbs butter
2 tbs honey
1 1/12 tsp salt
2 cups wholemeal flour
1 cup white flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup mixed grains
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

i throw it all into my breadmaker and put it on the dough setting (my wrists are dodgy and unfortunately not up kneading it myself) and then i pop it into a bread tin for the second rise.

once it has doubled, bake at 180 degrees C, for about 40 min.

mmm, fresh bread!

Monday, 14 December 2009

more crocheted stars

as i predicted, i am love love loving making these stars...

(although a confession, most of the yellow ones here were actually made by the fabulous sayraphim at another of our crafternoons)...

and how fun are crocheted christmas decorations!! 

check out the fabulous tree pattern from michelle at the fabulous royal sisters

crochet really is addictive, isn't it? (but in a good way...)

Saturday, 12 December 2009

another of these skirts (with a how-to)

so, you may be starting to worry about me and these skirts (i know i am). ok, ok, i know i have already made and posted about these skirts twice (here and here). so far. so i thought when i made another of them the other day, i would add a how-to, (my justification of being able to post about them again). so here it is, made from the great op-shopped fabric i bought a few weeks ago. 

this is a seriously easy skirt. it takes a very short time to make. the front is straight and it has a draw-string at the back. the measurements here make an aust size 12-14, but it is easy to make bigger or smaller, just change the width of the sides... and lengthen or shorten as desired (although, being a fairly straight skirt, you would have to take that into account). still to be easy easy easy, just follow the instructions below:

basically, cut two rectangles - the front being smaller than the back - and the draw strings

front: L = 24", W = 20"
back: L = 24", W = 27"
draw strings: L = 26", W =  3" (cut two of these)

hem the bottom of each (or cheat and make it even easier, like i did, by just using the selvage as the hem). then sew up side seams right sides together (i start from the bottom to keep the hem in line).

fold over about 1 and 1/2" at the top and iron flat.

then sew in a little rectangle of interfacing (or use iron-on interfacing - even easier). make sure that you sew it on the skirt side, rather than the inside (i hope that makes sense- here's a pic). it goes right in the middle of the back of the skirt. 

then make two button-holes into the interfacing - like this. (its where the draw-strings will come out). 

 once you have done this, sew along down the folded top. 

next make the drawstrings - fold them in half lengthways (right sides together), iron and then sew the up (leaving the ends open)

turn them right side out (i used a knitting needle to help)

and iron flat. 

then its just a matter of threading them through your neat little button holes and sewing them firmly to the side seams.

and you're done!

phew - have a cup of tea and enjoy your fabulously easy new skirt...

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

look, i can crochet...

ok, so its not very good, but i have to say this is my first ever crochet by pattern - and i am really proud of it...

big thanks to the lovely michelle at the royal sisters, for her easy to understand grandma twinkle star tutorial (found via the very talented and much more even crocheters miss muggins and kate).

more stars to come!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

we made a christmas tree...

what fun!

much credit to the engineer who did much of the drilling (for the branches - they thread through) and for a number of key aesthetic decisions (like the use of an old tomato garden stake for the trunk). now i just need to make a few more decorations for the bottom few branches...

Thursday, 3 December 2009

my creative space (with a fabric stash confession)

i am always amazed at the beautiful, neat and organised fabric stashes there are out there. (which are often showcased as part of kirsty's wonderful creative space meme). as i've mentioned, my creative space tends not to be as neat as other peoples'. but so far i have avoided talking about my fabric stash. its also not so neat. particularly like this week, when i was fossiking through to look for some fabric for one of this week's projects. in my defense, my fabric stash actually lives in the big plastic box, and usually i am able to squash the lid on...

Sunday, 29 November 2009

recipes and chocolate

i wonder if i should be worried. see there seems to be a chocolatey theme to all the recipes i have posted. i'd like to set the record straight - i do make non-chocolate based things too. and i'll prove it. right after i post about the choclate mousse i made... this is basically the chocolate mousse from the cadbury website. there only difference was that i used 200g of lindt mint chocolate (as this was what i had in the cupboard). i had always wanted to try making mousse, and this was such a big hit. it made 10 of these teacup sized mousses (and believe me, that was really all you could eat). the recipe below is my version, based off the cadbury one.

Choc-mint mousse
125g cream cheese (note - don't buy the cheap stuff - my mistake)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
200g (2 blocks) of lindt mint intense chocolate
600 ml of thickened cream, lightly whipped
  1. Beat the cream cheese, sugar and egg together until smooth.
  2. Break the chocolate into little bits and melt in the microwave.
  3. Add the melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and stir through until well combined.
  4. Stir in the cream, again stirring until well combined.
  5. Divide into 10 teacups.
  6. Pop in fridge for a couple of hours 'til chilled.
  7. Serve with strawberries...
mmm, chocolate mousse...

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

op-shop goodness

so, there's been lots of busy-ness 'round these parts, but very little crafting. but even when there's not time for crafting, i can usually manage a little bit of op-shopping... i love love love this fabric - and i have such plans!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

more thread sketching

its pillowcase and thread sketch central 'round here (you may have noticed already). i've been making more pillowcase veggie bags, and a request came in for a peg bag... i had to peg it both sides in this pic (simply to get the photo right), but it actually has a tab at the top for pegging to the line. i am so in love with thread sketching (and we have the wonderful gina to thank for it)

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

my creative space

it feels a bit like it has been all show and tell round at marjoryjane recently - i seem to be finishing projects left right and centre. so its almost nice to post my creative space with a still being finished project, its actually a project i have been finishing for about the last 12 months - but i really am starting to get there with it. its now tantilisingly close to done. i am loving stencil art - a new skill i am still learning, but its so so much fun! (and for a little bit of show and tell from last time i creative-spaced it up- you can find my finished sheet skirt post here) as always - join in with kirsty...

Monday, 16 November 2009

skills from uni (or candlemaking with a how to)

well, i don't know about you, but i learnt some very useful skills while i was at uni - like how to make candles. i have never actually done it though, and it has been a number of years since i was at uni. however, i had a couple of candles that had burnt through the wick, but with plenty of candle left. in the reduce/re-use/recycle way of things, the other day i decided pull out those old university learnt skills and give candle making a go. i started with an old candle, some new candlewick, a plastic cup and an old can. i then chopped the candle into little bits. and popped the bits into the can and popped the can into a saucepan of water over a fairly low heat (the water didn't even need to be simmering). the peg held the can in place, as otherwise it tended to float and threatened to tip the wax into the saucepan. while waiting for the wax to melt, i set up my molds - plastic cups - with their wicks. i trickily tied the wick to toothpicks and suspended it from the top of the cup, to ensure it didn't get swamped when i poured the wax in. once all the wax had melted, it was simple to pour it into my molds. i then left it to cool down and solidify - i left them overnight for good luck. i ended making three candles like this. then i popped them out of the cups, trimmed their wicks and...ahhhhh... how lovely.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

flourless birthday goodness

its been birthday central 'round here - with cakes galore in recent times. i thought i would share great recipe for the non-gluten eaters amongst us (adapted from the cupcake recipe of a friend) Flourless chocolate cake

2 tablespoons brewed coffee

125g butter, chopped

200g dark chocolate, chopped

¼ cup cocoa powder

¾ cup caster sugar

4 eggs, separated

100g (1 cup) almond meal

100g milk chocolate, roughly chopped

Cocoa powder, to serve

  1. Preheat oven to 180oC. Grease cake tin.
  2. Place coffee, butter and dark chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt in microwave, stirring often. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Add cocoa and ¼ cup sugar to warm chocolate mixture. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in egg yolks, almond meal and milk chocolate.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Add remaining ½ cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until thick and glossy. Fold into chocolate mixture, spoon mixture into prepared cake tin.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes (i left it for 35 minutes and it was a touch overcooked, so keep an eye out) or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool. Dust with cocoa. Serve.
i forgot to snap the cake itself, but here is the evidence at least that i made it...

Monday, 9 November 2009

the sheet skirt

so, here is my sheet skirt all finished and done.

i am really very happy with it. my first pattern-less skirt success. (you may well note the similarities with the pillowcase skirt i posted below - they are the same basic idea, but i did actually make this one first).

and thanks to everyone for their great ideas on what to do with the rest of the sheet. i really like the pj idea, and the cushions. and the bag lining and the softie... well all of them actually. i can see much potential!

Note to self - i really must clean that mirror!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

my sunday afternoon

so, how was your sunday afternoon? mine was great, thanks.

i made a skirt.

without a pattern.

out of a pillowcase.

i am so very very pleased with it....

Thursday, 5 November 2009

my creative space - with a problem and a challenge

my creative space this week is somewhat messy (who am i kidding, my creative space is messy every week, so unlike everyone else's creative spaces, hosted by kirsty). see i am in the middle of making a skirt. i am pretty proud of it - its not from a pattern, i'm making it based off a skirt i already own. i have tried this kind of thing before, and it always ends in disaster - so i am really pleased that this one is going sooo well. just a few finishing touches and i will be all summer skirted up. the problem is i am making it out of the fabulous fabric in the foreground (ooh, big word) of the pic. the problem isn't the fabric - i LOVE the fabric. its a double bed sheet i opped some time ago that has been waiting for the perfect project. the fabric is soft, vintage, brown and yellow and orange and white and second hand and utterly perfect for this skirt. the problem is more what to do with it now. see the fabric is pretty distinctive and having made a skirt that i can see myself wearing all summer, i am unsure what to do with the rest of the sheet. this is where the challenge comes in - i need some help. does anyone have any ideas of what i should do with the rest of the sheet? or indeed with what you can do with the rest of the sheet? or with part of it? i'm happy to share the sheet around and i'd love to hear your thoughts...

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

a macrame birthday

so since my last post, i have deliberately set aside two whole days to do crafty things - the plans i had, pillowcase projects, wardrobe refashioning, crochet, some stencil art... unfortunately things came up (as they do) and both of those days ended up being used for other things. oh well. on the plus side - one of the reasons i have been so non-crafty busy was that it was my birthday! *blushes* and i did get some lovely crafty presents from a lovely crafter. Including: the gentle arts - by jennifer isaacs (which catalogues "200 years of australian women's domestic and decorative arts") this great little beading magazine - for use with gay art bead loom. and this - how fabulous! a macrame nativity pattern book. for a full nativity set with macrame baby jesus a macrame sheep and even macrame camels (although i think they were being a bit creative - i can't actually make out the camel in this pic. a challenge made even harder as blogger refuses to orient this pic correctly. don't ya love fighting with blogger... ). i have no idea how to do macrame, but i am so excited - i have wanted to make a nativity scene for ages... yay for birthday fun!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

crafternooning along

i love all the creative people i have in my life, friends and family who are also keen on making things. creating things. a few of us have gotten together and started having crafternoons - every two months or so. we pick a saturday, invite people along and eat and make stuff, and talk and laugh and create together. its so lovely. and it was yesterday. we have people doing all sorts of arty/crafty things... painting sewing wheat bags doing crochet (and no, this is not mine, i'm still much more beginner than this) eating much yummy food, and drinking Ethiopian coffee and for the first time - we also had a pottery wheel to play on it was just brilliant to spend a saturday in this lazy yet creative way.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

my creative space

my creative space this week is filled with a combination of my two new favourite things. op-shopped vintage pillowcases and thread sketching... you have to believe gina when she says its easy - it really is. and play along with other spacers and the lovely kirsty...

Monday, 12 October 2009

so excited....

i love it when inspiration builds on inspiration... see, i was feeling inspired to make some more pillowcase veggie bags. i have been talking with some friends from my church about being more sustainable - including reducing packaging etc. and as part of the discussion, i showed them my veggie bags and from the positive result decided to make a few extras to pass around. but a few of my recent pillowcase purchases were fairly plain single colours. hmm, i thought - what can i do to make them a bit more interesting? the lovely gina from clutterpunk inspired a solution, with her thread sketching the other day - followed by a great tutorial today. so here they are (not quite finished - they still need draw strings, but i was so excited i had to share) note the pre-requisite bird on a branch (i suspect we will see this design popping up everywhere as a first attempt). big thanks gina!!!
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