Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Food Craft: Perfect Pancakes


Food craft time again, and as I am trying to turn over a new leaf, it isn't dessert this time! Though, you could certainly add chocolate chips and make these pancakes more like dessert if you really wanted to, I won't judge. My husband actually makes these pancakes, aren't I lucky? We went all out this year for the holidays and put them into cookie cutters to make little gingerbread and mitten shapes, but they taste just as good without the trouble. If you do want to make cookie cutter pancakes, just make sure to use metal cutters so you don't melt them, and spray the cutters generously with cooking spray so you can get your shapes out in tact :)



To make these super yummy pancakes you will need:

1 cup All Purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup milk (you can use either regular milk or buttermilk, depending on your taste)
1 egg
2 Tablespoons fat of choice (we generally use melted butter, but have also tried coconut oil, canola oil, flax oil, etc. anything will do)

*Serves two hungry adults, double or triple recipe as needed.


Start by mixing all of your dry ingredients together in a bowl, so everything is mixed together. Set aside.

In separate bowl, mix all of your wet ingredients together, you will want all of these to be close in temperature (so you don't cook your egg with hot melted butter, or make your hot butter chunk up in cold milk, etc.).

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. Allow this to sit at room temp while you heat your griddle to medium heat, about 5 minutes.

Pour batter onto a greased griddle and cook until bubbles form all over the top of your pancakes, flip and cook until desired brownness is achieved.

Enjoy with toppings of your choice: butter, syrup, fresh fruit, etc.

Note: These also make fantastic blueberry pancakes, just add fresh blueberries (frozen also work, but the entire pancake typically turns blue, and fresh just taste so much better, so sadly I only have them in the Summer)






Thursday, December 29, 2011

Easy Beaded Necklace


I'm feeling a bit under the weather; body aches, sore throat, stuffy nose, etc. So while I was home today laying on the couch watching Harry Potter DVD's to my hearts content, I made this little necklace to cheer myself up. I am by no means an expert at jewelry making, in fact, I generally just kind of improvise. I tend to end up with stuff that's not half bad though, so I keep at it.

To make this necklace all I used were beads (larger orange ones with some glitter to them, and smaller Robin's egg blue shell beads), some wire, a jump ring, a lobster clasp and some little jewelry pliers (I got them for $1 at Wal-Mart back in the day).

I used my wire to make several groupings of beads (blue-orange-blue), and connected them together to get my desired length. I connected them all together simply by using my pliers and makings little loops at the end of each wire piece, the loops are then hooked together. This gives the necklace the ability to move, rather than stay rigid. One end of the chain of beds then got a jump ring, and the other got a clasp. Voila! New necklace :)

I especially like this necklace because I used my new color combo obsession to make it: I LOVE LOVE LOVE orange with light blue.

Do you have any color crushes at the moment?



Friday, December 23, 2011

Vintage Embroidery Patterns


Get out your hoops and floss, it's embroidery time! I found this great flickr group with thousands of vintage embroidery patterns (through Pinterest, of course). I just had to share with you all! If you are seasoned at embroidery these would make tons of great last minute gifts for the Holidays: on hand towels, tea towels, wall hangings, pillows, apron embellishments, etc.

There are a bunch that would be great for beginners too! Maybe over the holiday weekend you can teach yourself a stitch or two and whip up some goodies as well. Here is a great resource for teaching yourself some stitches to get started.


I am also starting some embroidery tutorials if the site above isn't informative enough for you. I will try to remember to come back to this post and link them all so they are easy to find.


Backstitch
French Knot
Satin Stitch
Couching


I hope everyone has a great weekend and gets to enjoy some time with friends, family and crafts!


Friday Food Craft: Cream Cheese Pound Cake


If you are like me, you own a bundt pan for some reason and often find yourself wondering why. It is to make this cake, trust me on that. If you are into pound cake, this is definitely the recipe for you. It is seriously yummy, and since it is a pound cake, has very few ingredients and is pretty easy to make. I got the recipe from Elizabeth's Edible Experience, and only tweaked one little thing(aside from topping mine with Marionberry Syrup)...as you will see later.

To make this delicious pound cake you will need:

One 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups butter, softened (3 sticks)
6 eggs, at room temp
3 cups flour
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar*
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt

*The original recipe calls for 3 cups sugar, if you want to do that, go for it. I ran out of sugar (who, me?), so I used 1/2 cup brown sugar with no adverse side effects as far as I could tell. In fact, the bottom (top when baking) of the cake turned out almost like a little crust of shortbread on the bottom of my cake. It was joyous and I recommend it.

Start off by creaming together your butter and cream cheese. Add in your sugar (I did this while my stand mixer was at a slow speed and I poured it in slowly until it was all incorporated).

Next, add in your eggs one at a time, stirring after each until incorporated. I crack my eggs into a small bowl before adding them to the batter. When you are using this many eggs, you want to make sure one bad one doesn't spoil the whole cake. You also want to avoid any egg shells.

Next, add in your salt and vanilla. Then, slowly add in your flour and mix until it comes together, but do not over mix. Scrape your sides to make sure no lumps remain and pour your dough into a greased and floured bundt pan, spread the top out evenly. I'm sure you could use some other kind of pan if you don't happen to have a bundt pan lying around, but I like that Mad Men feel of doing things all 60's like. Back then, they rocked the bundt cake. I may or may not have tasted some batter at this point, purely for scientific purposes. I almost forgot to bake my cake at that point, I'm a batter fiend...

Heat your oven to 300 degrees, and bake this yummy little guy for 1 hour 40 minutes. Yeah, you read that right, this cake takes 1 hour and 40 minutes to bake, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (mine actually needed an EXTRA 5 minutes). Your patience will be rewarded.

Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 15-20 minutes, then remove from pan and finish cooling. Eat this plain, with fresh fruit, fruit syrup (like me), or be really decadent and top this bad boy with hot fudge or caramel sauce. Not that I would ever encourage that sort of behavior...


Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tablet Cover


I finally finished making and sending all of my Christmas gifts out this year (some will likely arrive a little late at their destinations, but I am still proud I finished!). I received a digital e-reader from one of my employers as a Holiday gift this year, and as a reward for finishing all my other projects I decided to make myself a case for it. :)



I had some of this lovely graphic coral colored fabric leftover from another project and paired it with a mottled red wool felt lining. Add a little velcro, cut to size and sew around the edges and now I have a great little cover for my tablet! If I had a nicer one, I likely would have added some extra padding or gone all out with a zipper or snaps, but this was a quick 20 minute project and now my screen won't get scratched if I carry this around in my bag with me. Also, I love the color combo, it's so bright and fun (not at all like the Portland winter).


Have you finished your Holiday gifting? Get or make anything extra special for yourself this year? I'd love to hear how the Holidays are treating you :)




Monday, December 19, 2011

Scrap Project Roundup



I have been trying to finish up all of my Holiday crafting, so I got behind on my scrap fabric projects last week. To make it up to all of you, here are a bunch of super cute scrap fabric projects I found on Pinterest! Above you will see a fabric scrap Memory game, found at Babble.





This is a great wall art project using fabric scraps and embroidery hoops, from The Purl Bee. While this project just uses fabric swatches, you could certainly do some embroidery on your scraps to add even more visual interest.





Here are some garden flags from Design Sponge. I think these are adorable. Use toothpicks and the same idea to make cupcake flags!




A fantastic fabric mosaic, as wall art, by Cart Before the Horse. You could also Mod Podge fabric to a piece of furniture for the same mosaic effect, just make sure to seal your final piece.




This vintage chair rehab with scrap fabrics is absolutely gorgeous! I've recovered a chair before and it's hard work, but this is just amazing! Found at Dornob (they have several scrap fabric recover jobs, I highly recommend checking it out).




You can also use your scraps to make a cute pillow case, like this one from Cluck Cluck Sew.



What are your favorite projects to do with scraps?


Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Food Craft: Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge


What would the holidays be without fudge? This is a variation on my Pistachio Fudge recipe, and let me tell you, it is a winner! If you can find soft peppermint sticks (not candy canes, they are far too hard) crumble them up instead of nuts for a great chocolate peppermint fudge (or forego the chocolate and have just peppermint fudge!).

You will need:

A small baking dish (I used a pyrex dish that is roughly 9" x7", and 8"x 8" baking dish would also work, or double the recipe and use a 9" x 13" cake pan)

1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1/2 c. (heaping) dark chocolate chips
1 cup marshmallow creme
1 pinch salt

This fudge comes together very quickly, so you will want to have a helper to stir while you add all of your ingredients, or make sure you have everything measured out before you begin and close at hand. Also, make you sure you have greased your baking dish ahead of time.

To start, toast your hazelnuts, if desired. You can certainly leave the nuts out, or leave them raw, but I love 'em! Just put your hazelnuts into a dry pan and toast them gently over medium to medium low heat for about ten minutes. You will want to shake the pan every 30 seconds or so to toast them evenly. Let them sit aside until cooled. I generally remove the skins once they are cool, I don't want that in my yummy fudge.

In a large saucepan, heat the evaporated milk, sugar and butter until bubbling, then continue to cook for 4 minutes while stirring continuously.

Remove from heat and add your dark chocolate chips, marshmallow creme, vanilla, salt and hazelnuts. Fill your prepared baking dish, smooth out the top and let cool. You may add extra hazelnuts on top if you wish.

Enjoy!


I usually store my fudge in the refrigerator, but set it out to come to room temperature when serving. It makes a very yummy smooth soft fudge, if you like it firmer, eat it right out of the fridge (or add a bit more chocolate chips)!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Scrappliques!


Here is another easy scrap project: appliques. These can be permanently fixed onto anything you like, or you can turn them into pins, brooches, etc. and put them on something temporarily, you can even stuff them to make a more 3-d pin! They can also be made in any shape you have scraps big enough for: I chose a mustache because I had the pattern handy from my Portlandia Potholders.



To begin, select the scrap fabric you will be using. Make sure it is large enough to fit your applique shape.

I didn't do such a great job of step by step photos on this one, but it's pretty easy to explain anyway. I used no-sew Heat n Bond and ironed it onto a piece of felt to start (I use eco-fi felt which is made from recycled pop bottles. It is also washable, as opposed to wool felt which will get yucky if you wash it a lot). I would recommend using white felt, but so people can see what I'm doing in the tutorial, I used yellow-orange. The great thing about Heat n Bond is it has a paper backing that you can use to trace your image onto, it makes it easy to cut out later on. I chose to cut my image out of felt and then iron it onto my final fabric. If you wanted you could iron Heat N Bond onto both sides of your felt, then remove the paper backing on one side and iron on your scrap fabric, then trace several images onto the paper still in place, cut them out and iron them onto your final piece.


Here, I have cut out my mustache from the felt first, and then ironed it onto my fabric scrap.


Then, I cut out my mustache! Now it can be sewn or pinned anywhere. I think these would be adorable on some onesies for a baby boy (let's be honest though, I'd put it on a girl with no shame in my game).


Don't forget to enter for a chance to win a bag of scrap fabrics on my Giveaway Day post.





Scrap Lampshade




Hey everyone, in keeping with my scrap fabric projects this week (inspired by my Giveaway Day giveaway), here is a great project I saw at The Pleated Poppy. Wouldn't this be great in a craft room? I see myself trying it out once I get a lamp with appropriate shade, thrifting this weekend perhaps?

I will have another tutorial with one of my own projects this afternoon, but hopefully this tides you over :) If you haven't already, go enter for a chance to win a bunch of fabric scraps from yours truly on my Giveaway Day post right now! Then you can make all of this week's fabulous projects yourself!



Monday, December 12, 2011

Scrap pincushions


These little pincushions are super quick and easy to make! They use the same idea as my paper gift bag ornaments, only they are fabric (thanks to Cameron for the idea)! You can use scraps that are either rectangular or square, and as long as you can manage tiny work they can be as small as you please! They are great to stick into sewing kits as well (fill a mason jar with a pincushion, tiny scissors, some thread, needles, buttons, etc and you have easy, cute readymade gifts!).

To begin you will need a scrap of fabric, cut to a square or rectangle. The example shown is approximately 4"x4".




Next, fold it in half, wrong side out.




Sew shut on two sides as pictured below (sides A and B should be stitched shut).





Next, fold your third side together so points C and D overlap in the center of your fold. Pin and sew from outer edge, to point where C and D meet.







Turn your pincushion right side out and stuff with batting as desired. After stuffed, sew shut by hand or with machine.



I think these are super cute on their own and often keep extras I have made in a little bowl or candy dish. They'd also be great displayed in an apothecary jar, which I have yet to invest in but think they are great.


More scrap projects coming up, stay tuned!



Giveaway Day


Welcome to the Craftinomicon! It is time once again for Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day! Above you will see a glimpse at my main prize this year: a quarter pound of fabric scraps (This is about 35 separate scraps of fabric)! These scraps are various shapes (mostly rectangles), sizes and colors, all cotton. Part of the fun will be sorting through them all when you receive them! Not sure what to do with them? I will be featuring projects on The Craftinomicon all week using fabric scraps!

Giveaway Details:

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
All entries must be received by Friday, December 16th at 5pm, PST
One entry per person, please.
Please make sure to leave an email so I can contact you should you win.
To enter simply leave a comment on the bottom of this post answering the following question: What is a favorite handmade gift that you have given or received? This doesn't have to be holiday related, it could have been a birthday, anniversary or "just because" gift as well.




Thank you to all who entered! A winner has been chosen and it is Lorraine:

lorraine said...

all my favorite things ive received have been handknit items..right now im loving the cowl a friend of mine made me :)


Congratulations Lorraine, I have sent you an email and am packaging up your prize right now!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Food Craft: Cheesecake


I know some of you may be running to hide at the mere mention of cheesecake. It is something that I myself always considered too difficult to tackle. When you see recipes on tv and in books it usually involves spring form pans, water baths and more. Let's face it, I'm not always down for the theatrics. This recipe came from my friend Melissa whom got it right off of a cream cheese box years ago. I can't figure out why they stopped printing this recipe on the box, it's amazing. Better still? There are 4 ingredients in the actual cheesecake portion of this cheesecake. Best? It's probably the creamiest, most delicious cheesecake I have ever had!

So how do you make this amazing cheesecake? For starters you will need:

2 8oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 whole eggs

You also need a graham cracker crust. Here's fantastic Holiday news: feel free to go out and buy one pre-made. If that doesn't suit you, you can use the graham cracker crust recipe listed on my Mounds Bars recipe.

Heat your oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until well combined. Add in your eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated after each. You should end up with a very smooth creamy "batter".

Pour your batter onto your graham cracker crust and smooth. Bake in 325 degree oven for 40 minutes, until center is ALMOST set (it will continue to bake slightly while cooling, do not worry if it looks a little runny to you, I thought the same but it came out perfect). Place on cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. I refrigerated mine overnight (with visions of cheesecake dancing in my head).




That's it! You will have a perfectly moist and creamy cheesecake with no hassle :)

Serve plain or with fruit topping (you could also get really awesome and make a caramel or chocolate sauce!).



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gift Wrap: Ribbon Plaid


Time for some gift wrap embellishment! For this gift wrap method, you start with a present wrapped in brown kraft paper, and add strands of ribbon to create the look of plaid! This has always been a favorite look of mine, and it's pretty easy to do! It helps to use ribbon in different widths, colors and textures to create the effect, and of course the larger the surface area, the more intricate you could get with your design :)

To start, cut several lengths of ribbon that will wrap around your gift once each. You will want to make these for each direction (width and length--if you have a perfect cube, all lengths will be the same).



Next, take your first length of ribbon and place it around your gift, securing it on the "unpretty side" of your gift with tape.



Then, take a length and go in the opposite direction, overlapping your first length.



Take another length, and add it to the mix, this time overlapping length #2.



Once you get to your fourth length, you will need to start doing a little weaving, overlapping one length, while going under another. My gift was small, so I stopped at 4 lengths of ribbon. However, it really looks quite nice to have many more added in. The best part is you can use any colors you like!


There you have it! Plaid gifts done with colorful ribbon!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gift Wrapping 101




I know, I know, I was going to post a bunch of gift wrapping tutorials. As usual, life got in the way. Plus, I was half way done editing some photos of a basic gift wrapping tutorial when I came across this totally pro gift wrapping tutorial and thought "I'm pretty much better at accessorizing my gifts, maybe I should forego all of these gift wrapping steps and move straight on to the good stuff!" So, if you are looking for a great way to wrap your gifts, check out that tutorial from The Mother Huddle, and break out some double sided tape to have some fantastic looking gifts!

There will still be more in the gift wrapping realm coming up from yours truly, so go ahead and wrap up some gifts and then check back for ways to make them extra special! One tip I'll give for presents that are to be embellished later on: I love using brown kraft paper. It removes all of the clutter of having 30 rolls of wrapping paper in your closet, and the bows and trimmings really stand out!

Also, if you have lots of gift cards on your list, don't forget my gift card envelope tutorial, pictured above.

Work In Progress



I don't usually post projects that are in progress, but since there was so much interest in this post about me learning Tunisian Crochet, I decided to show you all how it is going.

I haven't quite had the time I would like to work on it, but it is coming along quite nicely and I think if I do a few more projects with this technique I will be pretty good at it. A special Thank You! goes out to Mary from Crocheting the Day Away for all of her tips, and of course the tutorial that made it possible for me to even attempt this crochet technique!






Sunday, December 4, 2011

Paper Bag Gift Ornaments



As expected, here is a gift wrap tutorial for all of you! These are cute little gift bags that can be hung as ornaments on your tree (if you so choose) or you can leave off the ribbon and just have a little stack of them off to the side. Mine are filled with Hershey's kisses, but they would be great for any small gifts such as barrettes, Match Box cars, etc.



To make these yourself you will start by selecting your paper and cutting it to size. You can make these any size you want, but I chose to make 8"x5" rectangles. It leaves plenty of room for candies :)




Next, fold the 5" edges of your paper together. Do NOT make a hard crease in your paper, just fold so the opposite edges match up, then sew them together (if sewing isn't your thing you could also use glue, but sewing looks so cute don't you think? I chose to add in a ribbon to this edge so I can hang my final project.




Once you have the first edge sewn, you will sew shut the top edge. Simply fold your paper so the edges match up evenly and sew!


If you are making a large batch of these, you may want to make them all through this step, then stuff them and sew them shut at the end. Or you can continue on and make each one start to finish one by one.




To finish, fill your paper package with your little candies, gifts, etc. then fold the bottom of your package to make a little pyramid type shape by lining up the center of your paper with your first sewn seam! Ta-Da! Nice little 3-D paper tree ornaments filled with gifts!


While I haven't made one yet, I plan to try some of these with fabric and close one edge with velcro or a zipper so they can be re-used. I will let you know how that turns out :)





Friday, December 2, 2011

Easy Gift Tags


It's almost time for my gift wrapping tutorials, but first, you may want to cut out some gift tags so you have them ready! These gift tags are made from decorative card stock. To make them you will need:

Scissors or Xacto knife
card stock in desired colors/patterns
ruler
pencil to lightly mark some measurements (if needed)

I have some pretty nifty rulers in varying widths, etc that are made from clear plastic, so I generally skip marking my cuts with pencil, but if you feel more comfortable doing that, go right ahead. Just make sure to make your lines lightly so they may be fully erased on your final project.

I start by deciding how large I want my tags to be. These are 2 1/2 inches wide and 4 inches tall. Cut your rectangles out of your card stock and set aside.

Next, to make your tags a little more exciting than a simple rectangle, pick one corner from which to start your measurements. Measure 3/4 of an inch from the corner in each direction, make a small dot with pencil if needed. Using your measurements, cut out a triangle from the corner. Repeat on other side so you are left with your gift tags as seen here:



If you plan on attaching your tags to your gifts with ribbon or string, you will want to use a hole punch to make it easier to attach your string. This will make your finished gift tag look like this:


If you do a lot of paper crafts you may have some decorative corner punches, or edge punches that you can use to make your edges more decorative, but I like going with standard straight lines on my tags. When not using string, I attach mine to gifts using double sided tape (while not necessary, double sided tape really can make gifts look much more professionally wrapped. I generally prefer to just use regular tape, no one I know generally cares about a little tape showing on their gifts).

Come back all weekend for some great gift wrapping tutorials! I even have some sewn gift bags for the smaller gifts on your list!

Nutella Cookies with Candy Cane Kisses


Friday once again, and I am back with an experimental recipe that was, admittedly, a little bit of a fail on my part. I meant for these to turn out more like thumbprint cookies, but I lacked margarine or shortening (and my first attempt didn't have enough flour). As a result, my cookies spread a little too much and so my pictures are not that great. The cookies do taste delicious, however, so I had to share anyway. I'm not above admitting my shortcomings. The recipe is, of course, updated, to give you a better shot at more eye pleasing cookies.


To make these tasty morsels you will need:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup margarine, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup Nutella (chocolate Hazlenut spread)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Candy Cane Hershey's Kisses (If you don't want to mess with the thumbprint cookie idea, these can certainly be chopped into smaller pieces and mixed right in with the dough!)

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and margarine (I typically use both butter and margarine because I have found that butter gives a better taste, but margarine typically allows your cookies to become fluffier and not fall flat, alas I was out of margarine). Add the brown sugar and sugar and cream together. Beat in the Nutella, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing until combined. Mix in the vanilla extract.

In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix well. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes before scooping cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and scoop out tablespoon sized balls of dough. Roll gently in your (clean) hands to make a ball and place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Once all of your dough balls are on the cookie sheet, place one Candy Cane Kiss in the center of each one and press down gently. You want the kiss to stick into the cookie without smashing it flat. You will have a tray that looks something like this:



Bake your cookies at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool on cookie tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an air tight container.