Friday, October 29, 2010

Fun Little Crafties

Fall, fires in the fireplace, and Fridays put me in a crafting mood. Fall is definitely in the air here in southern Indiana! We enjoyed our 'first fire' of the season in the fireplace last relaxing and cozy. And today is Friday! Here are a few things I've made this week.Our little great niece, Ruby Jane, is turning one year old tomorrow! So I celebrated her little precious self by making the above Bear card for her. I used my new Cricut for the 4th time ever, and was delighted with how nice it was for quickly coming up with circles, stars, and ovals. I saw this Bear on as a I changed up the colors and style a bit to make it a birthday card for Ruby. Happy Birthday little girl!
Then last night as the fire was going, I had a terrible itch to stitch. Finally decided on this sweet little felt bookmark. It isn't perfectly proportioned or stitched as it was my experiment, but it was so much fun, simple, and relaxing to make.
It has a top (the flower) and a bottom (the leaves) in one of my favorite color combinations. I had a turquoise ribbon which worked too. I plan to make more of these and will purchase some grossgrain ribbon, alittle wider, to use for the next ones. This would be a simple gift to make and mail in a b-day card. I love flat little gifties that can be mailed in a card.
Did I put you in the mood to craft?! The internet is full of ideas you can copy, if so!

Enjoy this last weekend in October....wishing my 2nd favorite month wasn't nearly gone!

Simple Joys to You!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pillow Talk ~ Up-cycling

Recently I wanted to make a pillow to jazz up our peaceful, serene bed. The aqua coverlet and light paisley pillow shams are just what I wanted...a beach cottage feel. And the green pillow is a great accent color. But just a little zip of pattern/color was still needed in my opinion. So I bought this amazing paisley fabric with all three of the colors I wanted for just a few dollars. Yay!I made a bolster pillow pretty easily, using a small plate as the template for the round ends, and then just sewing a rectangle of fabric to each of them, stuffing it, and whip stitching the opening closed. However, Little Paisley Pillow still needed some embellishments. Recently while wearing a favorite but older aqua knit shirt, I noticed it had a small hole in it. Bummer. But before putting it in the Goodwill pile, I realized it was the perfect color for embellishing this pillow! Ha!
I cut a strip from around the shirt, and it made a great 'band' around the center made it more interesting. Then I took the aqua knit, a scrap of the paisley, and a scrap of another green (from my sewing bench project), and fashioned a fabric flower....gathered it in the middle a bit, and added a button. Two of those were the finishing touch. Loving the up-cycled embellishments and the splash of color on our bed!
With the remainder of the paisley fabric, I made a pillow cover for this little pillow that no longer matched our bedroom.
Two little circle-scraps-buttons-flowers for embellishment on it and....
Finis!! (My high school French still comes back to me now and then. Madame Steele would be pleased!)
Thank for sharing in my little project...hope you will think of some kind of up-cycling project you can do with a pretty but worn garment too!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

For the Little Red Hen in all of us...Fresh Baked Bread...Recipes and Hints

There's nothing like fall for getting a gal in the mood to bake, is there? And baking bread just seems to be the most delicious idea of all...especially when you have a pot of soup bubbling in the crockpot. At the request of my niece Kara, I am posting 2 of my favorite bread recipes along with a few helpful hints.I like to use my bread maker to do the kneading and the rising of the dough. I don't have alot of arm strength, so kneading dough is not fun and therapeutic for me! Therefore I put all of these ingredients in my bread machine and set it for the dough setting, which takes 90 minutes.

Wheat and Honey Bread

1 and 2/3 cups tepid water
2 t. butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup honey
2 t. salt
2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
2 t. active dry yeast

(Hint: I like to add more fiber and nutrition by substituting about 1/4 cup wheat germ and flax meal [together in the same 1/4 cup] for 1/4 cup of the white flour. Adds beautiful color and a nice nutty flavor.)

Let the bread machine do it's thing. (Hint: check on the bread maker as it mixes. If the corner ingredients don't get mixed in well, help it out with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. And if the dough seems alittle too dry, add a teaspoon of water).

Once the dough cycle has finished, take the dough out onto a pastry cloth dusted with flour or onto waxed paper dusted with flour. I like to cut the dough into 3 equal parts and form 3 cute little artisan-style loaves...oval and not too fat as they will swell when they rise for the last time. Then I take a sharp knife and cut 3-4 diagonal slices about 1/4 inch into the dough. Looks nice! Put the three loaves on a baking stone or on cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper if possible or just greased.) Cover with a clean tea towel and let them rise again til they are nearly double in size. (Hint: if I am in a hurry, I let them rise about 30 minutes then go ahead and bake them knowing they will rise more in the hot oven). Bake at 350 in a preheated oven for 20-30 minutes. You will know the bread is done when it is browned and when you can tap the top and it sounds a bit hollow. Take out out of the oven and rub a stick of butter over the hot tops. Will give the bread a moist, shiny, buttery appearance and taste! Enjoy one loaf today, freeze a loaf for later if you like, and most importantly, wrap up one loaf to give to a neighbor or friend. :) Homemade bread is a powerful hug and hello to those around us.

#2 Moist Cheddar Bread

1 1/4 cup tepid (room temp) water
2 cups whole wheat flour (if you don't have this, use all white flour)
2 cups white flour (to which I once again substitute about 1/4 cup Wheat Germ and Flax Meal for 1/4 cup of the white flour.)
1 cup shredded cheese
2 T. sugar
1t. salt
1 3/4 t. yeast

Again, layer all of these ingredients in your bread machine pan. Do not let the yeast come in contact with the water. Just make a 1/4 deep well in the dry ingredients at the top and put the yeast in that.

Send it through the dough cycle, checking the dough during the first 10 minutes to make sure it isn't too dry and is mixing together well.

When it completes the cycle, follow the above instructions for baking it. YOU, like the Little Red Hen, can bake an incredibly tasty loaf or 2 or 3 of homemade bread.


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