A home for all things crafty, health-conscious, cake-related, or in need of a wagon!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Love: Farbenmix Ribbon

Did you know that you can buy fabric and notions on Etsy?  I've been doing it for a little while now, especially when it's something that's kind of hard to find (i.e. Viking fabric), but you can generally get really good deals on craft and sewing supplies.

That brings me to my latest finds: Farbenmix ribbons.  It's made in Germany, but manages to have both a Nordic and Japanese vibe at the same time, in my opinion.  This stuff is ridiculously cute!  I was initially looking for ribbon with gnomes on it (which doesn't really exist- at least not to my cuteness desirability level) but then I found this:

and this:

and this:

then this took the cake:

Red freaking Riding Hood ribbon?  You know I'll use that to edge Zizi's future red cloak!

There are also some like this that are super cute:

Just so. much. love.  How could you even choose? Let's just say that I went a little bit overboard, but my kid will have some over-the-top cute - one-of-a-kind clothes.  :)

(All of these ribbons/pics are taken from Chickadee's Supplies, where I bought my ribbons.  Not only was she super fast (i.e. so fast, she kept updating my special order as I added ribbons to it IN REAL TIME), she threw in a free piece of ribbon with my order!)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

NW Flower and Garden Show

It's that time of year again... almost time for the NW Flower and Garden Show!! 

It runs from February 5-9th at the Seattle Convention Center, and this year has some particularly amazing speakers.  Like Stacy Brewer from Seattle Seedling, and Erica Strauss from NW Edible Life.. super exciting to be able to see some ladies whose blogs I read all the time. This year's theme is "Art in Bloom"- I'm still trying to figure out the theme gardens.  Some years the designers follow the theme, and others it seems completely non-related.  Stay tuned for more pics in a week or so!

Friday, January 24, 2014

It's that time again... seed starting!!

Even though it may still be the middle of an Arctic winter outside...

You can start some seeds inside now!  I like to start my seeds in a mixture of compost and potting soil, and leave them under lights for at least 12 hours a day.  (This is probably way more light than they'll get in the ground at my house for several months.)  You don't need to get any kind of special expensive "grow" lights, seeds will grow with regular fluorescent lights.  More details on a seed-starting setup can be found here.  

This is a great book to give you some ideas for year-round gardening; the author is in Canada, so I figure it's fair to say that anything she can grow, you can grow in the U.S.!
So, what seeds should you start right now? I'm focusing on greens like kale, chard, arugula, and lettuce, as well as some quick-growing herbs that don't need to ever be outside to be delicious.  (I'm looking at you cilantro and parsley!)  Find some other great suggestions here at NW Edible Life.

Soon my garden will look like this, but until then, I'll take some indoor veggies!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How to make a Viking Hat (i.e. Vikings! Part 2)

(Winter is coming)

Just in case you want to join us as a Viking some day... you can make yourself a hat.

You will need:

brown fleece (1/2 a yard or less really)
white fleece (scraps are fine)
pillow stuffing (small amount)

To start with, hold up the brown fleece to your head, and see about how big your head is.  You will be cutting a half-circle that will fit over the top of your head.  Get the straight across measurement, and this will be the bottom of your circle.  Add about half an inch to the bottom measurement, then cut a makeshift half-circle.  Pin it together and try it on your head.  If it's too small, try again.  (You should have more than enough fabric with a half of a yard of fabric- get a yard if you want to make more than one hat.)

Do not sew the hat together yet!  The next step is to make the horns.  Using your white fleece scraps, fold it in half an cut out a horn shape. (If you are hesitant with your scissor skills, you could also start by drawing the shape on paper, then cutting it out with that... I'm just not that serious here.)  Make two for each hat (with two layers of fabric each, so 4 total, 2 each that match each other.)

Sew together the horn bits, right sides together.  Turn them inside out, poke out the ends with a pin head or chopstick, then stuff with pillow stuffing.  

If you want your horns to stick straight up (instead of the kind of floppy ones I did) you could put a pipe cleaner into the middle of the horn to give it some stability.

Now you are going to sew it together!  Place the finished horns FACING INSIDE the hat, and pin it along the edge. (*Note, the horns should actually be between the two brown fleece layers, I just did it this way to show you what they should look like on the INSIDE.)

Check and make sure that when you flip it, the horns will be facing the way that you want them to.

 Carefully sew the whole thing together.  Turn it inside out and put it on!

The nice thing about fleece is that it doesn't unravel.  At all.  So you don't have to hem it anywhere.  You could make a fancy pattern on the bottom or add some ribbon or something, but you totally don't have to.

Optional Braids (like Z's hat):  
Cut some thin pieces of fleece, way longer than the braids you want.  Tie three of them together with a knot, then braid the fleece.  When the braid is a length you like, tie another knot, and cut off the ends.  Make another one, then sew the top of the braids to the inside of the hat on either side, spacing them evenly.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sickness= Ginger Tea

I appear to have a bit of a cold.  :(  I'm mostly just stuffed up and sinus-headachy, and extra tired.  I looked up some herbal home cold remedies online, and most of them sounded disgusting.  (Garlic tea? Wearing castor oil like a lotion?  Salt water nose enemas?  No thank you.)  However, Ginger tea is a plan I can get behind.

image source
All you really need to do is chop up some ginger and steep it in hot water for 15 minutes or so.  You don't even need to remove the skin since you're not really eating it.  You can add honey or lemon if you want to, or just keep it straight up ginger.

image source
Since my awesome brother got me this gorgeous electric teakettle for Christmas, all I have to do to get piping hot water is press a button... and I have (almost) instant ginger tea!  Sayonara, head cold! (I hope)
You can buy it here! (no one is paying me to endorse this product, I just really love it.)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Projects of the week

The first thing I finished this week was THE CUTEST APRON IN THE WORLD.  Observe:

Even Damon the Vampire thinks it is cute!

Then I proceeded to start on Z's new gigantic sleep sack, which was really pretty easy.  (All that's left is the zipper and neck/arm edging.)

I also started on my secret Valentine's Day present for the hoos-band.  (more secret glimpses to come!)

Zizi needs some more fleece pants.  These brown ones are pretty much done, but I wanted to do something to make them a bit more exciting.  First, I tried some bear claws:

(maybe they are more like ogre claws?)

And then I thought about some hot pink knee patches... which might be much better.  Thoughts?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Maple Coconut Acorn Squash

Image Source

I have made this a few times lately, and it is so delicious... I may have neglected to take a picture myself.  Thank you internet, for your wealth of images!

I've been trying to eat less sugar lately, and while this technically still has some, it's got to be better than straight up brown sugar, right?  It sure tastes better!

Maple Coconut Acorn Squash
serves 2

1 large acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise
1 Tbsp butter (margarine if you want it to be vegan)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp shredded coconut

Put the squash cut side down in a large baking pan, with about an inch of water in the bottom.  Roast at 375* for about an hour.  The squash will be done when it is soft when you poke it with a knife.  Remove squash from oven, and remove the seeds with a spoon or tongs.

In the hollow of the squash, put half of the butter in each side.  Then drizzle the maple syrup over the top.  Lastly, add the coconut, and mix it together somewhat with the squash.  Bon appetit! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Crafty Day Update

So, after much shopping and shlepping through the rain, I was able to buy some material for Z's party dress.  Here's what I've gotten done so far (including cute headband that took 5 seconds to make):

 I traced the pattern from another dress of hers that fits well; but I'm not sure how I'm going to fix the "very small neck hole" issue- either snaps, a zipper, or scissors+safety pins.  It's a Gatsby party though, not a punk rock one, so the last one might be out. She was kind of scared to try it on last night (too much sparkle?  Is there such a thing?) so we'll see how this week goes!
Then I turned some pyjamas of hers that don't fit any more into a super cute fleece dress.

She always likes the kitty on the back.

 And lastly...

Introducing... Sally the Chipmunk!

I started working on Sally during Christmas Crafting Mania(R), but since she really wasn't a present for anyone, she has been patiently waiting to get finished.

Of course Zephyr instantly loved her and rubbed her on her face, so we'll see if she stays here or ends up in my future Etsy shop.  It really didn't take too long to make (and her tail is flexible!) so I'm sure I could bust out another one pretty quickly.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Crafty Day Tomorrow- Bring it!

These are some of the things I'm working on right now...

The world's cutest apron, with polka dots, ruffles, and anthropomorphized cupcakes!

It will be, quite possibly, the cutest thing I've ever made (and it's almost done!)

Also working on a new sleep sack for Z:

And a very cool floor cushion, filled with fabric scraps! (That's already filled with all the scraps I have.  It may be a while before this is done, but it will be very comfy and sturdy to say the least.) ETA: This is where I got the idea.  :)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

One Pot Indian Rice

Really, this is for a large saucepan, but you get the idea.  When you want something Indian-like, without the piles of oil or the need to use every pot you own at once... this is what you should make!!

Indian Pilaf
adapted from Appetite for Reduction, by Isa Chandra Moskowicz

2 tsp. olive oil
1 1/3 c. basmati rice
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. mustard seeds
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 1/2 c. diced carrots
1 onion, diced
1 can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I've also used half a package of firm tofu to good effect)
1 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 c. vegetable broth (possibly more if necessary)
1/2 a can of tomato paste (about 3 Tbsp.)
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. chopped almonds or cashews
1/2 c. frozen peas
2 c. fresh spinach, chopped

Start off by heating up your oil. Add the mustard and cumin seeds, and wait until they start to pop. (You may want to use a screen here, those suckers get hot!)  Add the garlic and let that cook for another minute or two.  Then add the carrots and onion, cook until the onion starts to become translucent.

 Next add the spices and the rice.  Stir it together, then add the broth and the tomato paste.

Once it is boiling, turn the heat setting to low.  Let it cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If the liquid is absorbed before the rice is done, add another half a cup of water, and keep cooking!
Chop up your almonds or cashews, and add those, along with the cranberries and frozen peas.  Cook a few minutes more, then add the spinach at the end.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter Craft-a-mania

I really do have a reason for not blogging for so long.  See, I was trapped in a plethora of crafts and craziness...

Like a sparkly headband I made for myself, and those chevron pants that Z is wearing.

And the Viking hat that she used to hate but now can't stop wearing (and then I made one for me and one for John so that we could all be Vikings for Halloween.)

Then I made Z some more pants, but white fleece this time, and with pink bunnies on the knees. (more on that later!)

 On December 6th, we celebrated St. Lucia's Day, so I felted Z a candle hat, wrapped her in a sheet (in lieu of a white dress) and made an amazing braided bread.  It didn't rise, but was still delicious.  (Note to self: next time, don't keep heating up the butter+ milk to melt it.  Also, add saffron to the milk to color it a little bit.)

Oh look! More pants! With fancy pom poms on the booty!

That is a hair thing I threw together with a pipe cleaner and leftover felt from the hat project... and fancy trim on the bottom of the dress that I sewed on to make it fancier.

I'm beginning to think I have a problem.

For Christmas gifts, I made some ornaments with a cornstarch/baking soda dough that I found on Pinterest.  At first, only the Star Wars ones were working.  No one complained!  

My Cricut also got some serious use, making banners for six or seven friends.

By the end of the night, my dining room table looked like an elf sweatshop.

It snowed!  Zizi got some use out of the mittens I made her (and didn't take them off right away either!)

Last, but not least, this is the awesome bicycle that I felted for my sister.  I think it turned out really well! (and I may have to make some more for my etsy store that will be opening soon... more details to come!!)