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41  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Have you made gingerbread? on: December 01, 2016 12:34:33 PM
Not the stuff of houses but an actual loaf? A friend brought this to dinner one time and I begged the recipe from her, it was so good. Thick and sticky, delish with barely sweetened whipped cream.


I'm thinking about something to bring to neighbours and serve in case someone drops by over the holidays. I think this might be nice with crushed a crushed candy cane topping or dried fruit added, maybe cranberries. I'd love to hear if you've made something like this another way, or if you've got a favourite seasonal loaf recipe of a different sort to share.
42  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Easy banana bread, add whatever extras you want! on: November 30, 2016 04:33:30 PM
I looked online for a recipe and tried a simple looking one. It called for creaming the butter with the sugar then adding the eggs, etc etc but I had frozen butter and didn't want to wait for it to soften. Some other kinds of loaves I've been baking lately call for melting the butter so I thought I'd try it and it turned out great! Here's my altered recipe:

For each 2 to 3 very ripe bananas (depending on how many you want to use, I usually increase the recipe by 5 so I use around 15) melt 1/2 cup of butter over low heat and let cool down just a bit.
Mash your bananas, stir in 1/2 to 3/4 cup of brown sugar, 2 beaten eggs, 1/2 tsp vanilla, then add the melted butter. Mix until smooth.

In another bowl combine 2 cups all-purpose flour (or any combo of flours you wish, I've used half whole wheat, some oat, a little quinoa, etc) with 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt (unless you used salted butter, in which case omit the salt).

Spices are optional, I use lots of cinnamon and occasionally mix it up with a little clove, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, &/or ginger.
You can also stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips &/or nuts, sometimes I use sunflower and pumpkin seeds for a school safe version. Take note though, the baking soda may react with the chlorophyll in the sunflower seeds turning them a brilliant emerald green. It happened to me, it was freaky!

Bake at 350 in a buttered loaf pan for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. It will rise quite a bit so fill to just about half-way, a tad more is ok.


I've made it a few times, it always turns out great and makes the house smell terrific. I can fit about 6 of these small loaf pans into the oven at once, it freezes well and makes nice neighbour gifts Smiley.

I don't actually like bananas so I am assuming from the rate my family eats this at that it is tasty. If you try the recipe, you'll have to tell me what you think Cheesy.
43  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Stitched moth on: November 30, 2016 07:27:25 AM
There are a lot of really lovely fabric moths out there and I've wanted to try stitching one myself. Since she seems to enjoy the ooky things, I sent this to Ludi as an extra in a recent swap.
Here's a progress shot, I sort of used stumpwork principles but cut away the white fabric in the hoop from under the base fabric. On top of that I stitched some sheer sparkly ribbon then added some murky paints and glue to stiffen it up for shaping.

Here it is in my hand for an idea of size.

I added bits of feather to the back and antenna to give it that wispy mothy appearance and iridescent beads for eyes.

The body is fuzzy black pipecleaner and glue stiffened twine for the legs and antenna.
44  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Slow cloth/boro box on: November 29, 2016 11:29:46 AM
For Ludi in the slow cloth/boro swap. We were supposed to make patches and while the sides of this can be cut apart into separate pieces, I had a hard time with the "making something that is nothing" aspect of the project.

It's about 4ish inches tall.

I used a few different stitches, some buttons and beads, sparkly embroidery thread sent to me by kbrison as a surprise just in time to be added to this. The clear bead holding closed the strings on top is artisan made hot glass from BC, a little treasure from my stash.

The bottom, I think this is a Canadian song bird. A friend recognized it as such anyhow. Neat Smiley.
45  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Teeny weeny gnome dome. on: November 28, 2016 02:33:31 PM
I have been itching to post this but had to wait until it was received and darn cross-border post takes forever!

Gozer sent me a box of awesome fussy cut fabric http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=442382.msg5410907#msg5410907 in return for a random item. Stalking her pins yielded way too many ideas but finally I settled on this one.
I had the gnome bead, used Knickertwist's mushroom making tutorial http://blog.pixiehill.com/2012/02/how-to-make-teeny-weeny-mushrooms.html, and found the rest of the bits and bobs at a craft store. Some hot-glue-burning-my-fingertips time later I had this:

My kids decided they LOVED it so I used the rest of the domes in the package plus a little bottle to make some more. I'm waiting on an order of more wee gnome beads to complete this bunch and have another package of domes to make a few more for xmas gifts.

This was so much of a good time. Thanks for the swap Gozer! XO  Kiss
46  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Plain old vanilla sock monkey. on: November 28, 2016 01:01:07 PM
I need one all of a sudden for a quick trade, good thing I made all those blanks! All I had to do was sew on the button eyes. No embellishments requested, not even a smile or a little heart. I did add nostrils though, heh.
Here she is in the studio which is under deep reconstruction, she's busy brightening up the place Smiley.

Plain Jane but still so stinking cute Wink.

47  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Ode to Chicken, for Quaggy :) on: November 26, 2016 04:46:28 PM
Sometimes you're in a swap with somebody who is not even your partner but you just get the itch to stitch for them, ye know? And sometimes you've made friends with somebody else who might just have that person's address and trust you with it... it happens now and then Wink.

This was for Quaggy, inspired by something in her pins that I really liked a lot and wanted to recreate, not exactly, just an inspired-by piece. It's been received now so I'm posting to see how many of you also have the quilt detail in your pins, ha ha.

Do you recognize the quilt detail it's from? The whole thing is really amazing, I could make little flags of every part of it! http://kimzsewing.blogspot.ca/2015/09/round-garden-with-wendy-williams.html

48  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Discussion and Questions / I am trying to find these gnome beads... on: November 13, 2016 07:55:17 AM

I have ONE left in my stash, no idea where I ordered them from previously but I can only find them now from an American etsy seller. No problem there except the shipping fee to Canada is OUTRAGEOUS! $20 worth of tiny beads (which would fit into the smallest padded envelop with room to spare) costs $20 shipping, ack! It could be sent with one stamp, lol. And that's in USD which will translate to much more in CAD. Sigh.

If anybody has seen them anywhere else please let me know. They are tiny, clay, made in Peru. I've seen other styles but these are the ones I like the best.

49  FIBER ARTS / Dyeing: Completed Projects / Pokeberry on: November 02, 2016 12:50:25 PM
A friend invited me over to dye some wool yarn with her using pokeberries she'd collected in the wild. It was messy, it was smelly, it was awesome!

Here are the wasted berries after extracting colour in a vinegar and hot water simmer.

Beautiful, beautiful, vibrant colour. Just incredible!

Another batch is being fermented inside a pumpkin for 5 days, I'll have to wait to see how that turns out.

50  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Easy Peesy French Bread~ 4 ingredients, 1 hour! on: October 27, 2016 07:52:58 AM
I'm always looking for a faster way to make bread. I came across this recipe and gave it a try with great success:

I've made it quite a few times over the past couple of weeks and it really is fool-proof.
While the recipe doesn't call for much kneading, I found those loaves a bit too dense and chewy so I did knead for about 8 mins. I have baked at the 20 minute first rise mark and also allowed the bread to rise for an hour, punched down, then a second rise. I've oiled the bowl and saran wrap cover to see if it made a difference, I've added an egg, I've played with the ratios, a little less yeast, a little less honey. I've baked formed loaves and used bread pans. Always a success no matter what though sometimes additional rise in the oven makes for a wonky looking bread, lol. Even the kids have been able to help make this bread and I'm hoping they'll go on to make it on their own after a couple more bakes with me.

First try, this is a roughly formed loaf with only one 20 minute rise

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