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21  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free raspberry coconut "ice cream" on: June 23, 2015 08:49:44 PM
There are tons of allergies at my house, but the majority of people here can eat this raspberry-swirl coconut ice cream.

It's definitely not ice cream, but it's definitely a yummy treat!

I found the recipe here.

Right out of the food processor.

I used olive oil instead of coconut oil without any issues that I know of. I also used half normal, white sugar and half maple syrup to sweeten the coconut/cashew mixture and normal, white sugar for the raspberries.

I chilled the coconut/cashew in the fridge overnight. It firmed up a lot! It took about 10 minutes to become firm soft serve in my automatic maker!

I had to do most of the mixing in of the raspberries myself.

It gets very solid in the freezer. I've taken to removing it 15 minutes before scooping so I can actually, you know, scoop it.

Not ice cream, but so good!

22  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Pizza Pockets/Mini Calzones on: June 19, 2015 11:10:37 AM

Going on a picnic? To work/school? On a day trip?

Make some pizza dough (or buy some) and tear off a ball about twice the size of a doughnut hole.

(I was looking around for something to help show the size and, low and behold, doughnut holes!)
On a surface coated with cornmeal flatten it into a small pizza shape. Try and dent it a little in the middle to fold the filling just a bit better.

Or you can get all neat and roll it out and cut it with a large glass or cookie cutter.

Top it with sauce, cheese (or not if you're vegan or allergic), and whatever other pizza toppings you want. Then fold the round in half, pinching it closed, trapping the filling inside.

Place it on a cookie sheet sprinkled with more cornmeal and bake at the temperature your pizza dough calls for until done. Mine said to bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes for a normal pizza, so I cooked my pocket calzones at that temperature for 10-15 minutes.

Eat them hot, cold, as is, with dipping sauce, in your house, with a mouse, you get the picture  Wink
23  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Simplest Simple Syrup (for italian sodas and other flavored drinks) on: June 19, 2015 10:55:48 AM
It's a sultry summer day. You think, "Gosh, a nice, cold italian soda sure sounds good." But you're out of syrup and you are so not going to stand by a hot stove on a hot day cooking some more.

You can make syrup without heating up the house!

No stove in sight.

I've been making my own simple syrups for a while, but always cooked them until this batch. I stumbled on a recipe that claimed that the only reason to cook a simple syrup is to kill bacteria so it lasts longer. I don't know if that's true, but considering how fast it goes around here I figured I'd give it a shot.

I squeezed just a tad under 1/2 cup lime juice and added it to 1 cup of sugar dissolved in 1 cup of water. (That's 1 part sugar, 1 part water and 1/2 part lime juice. Try 1 1/2 part juice if you're using another type of fruit, like raspberries.)

Pour yourself some sparkling water or whatever and flavor with the syrup to taste. It's good right away but it's even better after sitting a day in the fridge! And a little goes a long way!

Ah, refreshing!

24  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Moulage to Dress on: May 26, 2015 06:23:48 PM

By-the-book pattern drafting as always fascinated me.

A moulage (left) is like a body-double, a sausage casing made for your body. It's made out of woven fabric. It has just enough ease so you can try it on and not bust it!

Years ago, I was in sewing school (which I had to drop out of due to health reasons. Great sadness. Recommence self-teaching.) and had the opportunity to take a moulage class. So. Much. Fun! And so easy! Getting a sloper to fit had taken days and tears. The class itself took days, but the process was like a breath of fresh air. Instead of multiple fittings I made 1 version, a couple of small adjustments, tried it on to make sure, no adjustments. Yes! I was sold.

Unfortunately, or, rather, mostly fortunately, that moulage no longer fits. It hasn't for a while. I'd been meaning to make another, but it just didn't happen until recent weeks:

Next came the sloper:

And then transferring the results so I can draft and sew!

Yes, there are mistakes. Don't craft tired, folks.

Next up was to try it all out on a real pattern! I picked a really simple design that would have been easier to make by winging it, but instead drafted it by-the-book(ish.)

Princess lined back bodice.

Bound sleeve hems and neck.

I drafted the sleeves too.

There are still a few kinks. 2 I'll work on in the next pattern and 1 I think I'll live with. But, all in all, I think I'm pretty happy!

Even more info here and here.
25  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Take a Baseball Coin Purse out to the Ballgame on: May 19, 2015 09:08:28 AM
I was pretty excited to see my first baseball macaron coin purse/key fob listed for inspiration. I love baseball!
Here's another one:

"Who couldn't love a game where the whole point is to go home?"

When I take a macaron to a ballgame (easy to carry at 1.5" wide) I keep mints safe and secure in it while keeping it clipped safe and secure on my bag.

26  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Garlic Aioli on: May 13, 2015 07:33:41 AM

Garlic aioli on chicken burgers. Garlic aioli with fish. Garlic aioli on a ham sandwich. Garlic aioli!

I fiddled with 2 recipes and came up with this combo:

3/4 cup mayo
3 gloves of garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Press the garlic into the mayo and lemon juice. Mix well. Refrigerate at least 30 mins. before serving.
27  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / More Exploding Etuis on: February 14, 2015 09:36:38 AM
Christmas was a while ago, but with life and all my friends and I take a while to meet up and exchange gifts.

This exploding etui went to D:

This one went to E:

D. and E. love to craft. I've found these boxes incredibly handy for storing things. I made theirs 4"x4"x2", tall enough to comfortably store thread on its side. The grommet tape works great for storing blunt-tipped needles! The weave is loose enough but not too much so. I'm certain they can think of other uses as well.

Here's a tutorial if you want to try making your own. No sewing required!

28  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Fabric Paper (Popcorn) Bag Bag Tutorial on: November 04, 2014 05:37:01 PM
I’ve always wanted a bag based off a paper bag. I really like paper bags. They’re such a good size for so many things! I also really like popcorn. This Halloween I wanted to join the circus, so I got off my duff and made this:

(More on the whole outfit is here.)

It was fun to make once I stopped making things more complicated than they needed to be Tongue It’s a habit I’m trying to break.

I used:
A paper lunch bag
Fabric for the outside (and fabric paint to paint the stripes on the muslin. Masking tape and a sponge brush were also involved)
Lining fabric (Cut 2 pieces as long as the top edge of your bag + 1/2” seam allowance and as tall as 1/2 of the finished bag width + 2” seam allowance so it can close in the middle.)
Drawstring closure fabric (I used unpainted muslin)
Interfacing (I used some cheap, light-weight stuff to give it a lunch bag personality)
General sewing supplies like scissors, sewing machine, pins, etc.

After settling on a plan of action, I snagged a paper bag from the pantry and cut it open like this to use as my pattern:

Next time, I will square it up before cutting Roll Eyes

I just added 1/2” for the seam allowance by measuring that far away all around the bag except for the top (I wanted mine a smidgen shorter, so I didn’t add any on the straight parts there.) Draw where you want the seam allowance to be for the curved cut-outs at the top of the bag. Cut like this for the outside and lining.

Make and attach pockets if desired. (I just had one inside to hold my ID and such. Don’t forget to allow for the gusset and top seam when positioning.)

Take outer body piece and fold in half right-sides together so the edges of the small rectangles meet and the long edges are even. Sew. Repeat with other side. Repeat with lining, leaving an opening to turn bag through (or not. As long as the stitch length isn’t on teeny-tiny, the seam ripper is my friend. And it sure helps with pressing to sew it all closed)

Press open side seams. Trim to 1/4” if you want.

Take 1 body piece and open out a small rectangle so that the edges meet in 1 line, with the side-seam in the center of 1 side. Sew right-sides together with your seam allowance. Repeat with the other side and with the lining.

Iron in folds (like a paper bag!)

Sew closure pieces right sides together along short sides. Press open seams. Fold seam allowances under so the edges meet the seam like this…

…and iron.
Sew seam allowances down close to the edge, like hems.


Press top edge of closure under 1/4”. Press under another 3/4”. Sew close to the edge.

With seam ripper open the side seams sewn into the hem. Slipstitch the inside side and the bottom 1/4” or so of the outside closed so the opening is only on the outside and the 1/4” raw edge inside is covered. These will be the openings for the drawstrings.

Time to put it all together!

Slip closure piece on the outside piece, aligning edges and side seams, right side facing right side of outer. Slip lining piece on, right side facing wrong side of closure, aligning edges and side seams. Sew around top edge using your seam allowance. Turn through lining and press, poking the rounds (and everything else) into shape!

Top stitch around top edge 3/4” away from the top edge with the closure tucked down inside.

Slipstitch lining opening closed.

Insert string for 1 side of drawstring in and out through 1 side. Knot. Repeat, going in and out through other side.

Your fabric paper bag bag is complete! Yay!

29  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Circus: On the tightrope is... on: November 04, 2014 05:33:48 PM
This year I decided I'd join the circus for Halloween!

I made the dress...

...from my own pattern and lined it:

I love how the lining looks old and gauzy. I was fortunate to find it and the dress fabric at the thrift store.

At first, I wore a store-bought black cardigan underneath the dress...

...but after the outing to the zoo on costume weekend, I snipped some fishnet, tape-style yarn apart and sewed the netting together to make "sleeves":

I must remember this for future projects. I totally recommend it!

Of course, I had to make a popcorn bag to go with it all:

(A tutorial on this is coming here.)
I love popcorn!

Thank you so much for looking!
I had so much fun with the circus.

30  COOKING / Dessert / Popcorn Balls (or Ice Planets!) on: October 28, 2014 08:18:42 PM

I saw the idea for popcorn ice planets on this blog, and knew I had to make some for a girls Halloween night where the secondary theme was choose-your-own-theme. I used my old (very old! Mostly from my grandma’s cookbook with a little tweaking) recipe for popcorn balls.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/3 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
32 cups of popped popcorn (takes a bit over 2 batches for me to get enough from my air popper. I get it popping while the syrup is cooking.)

Cook the first 3 ingredients in a small pot over medium to medium-high heat. I stir occasionally most of the time, but, really, I’m a ditz and I haven’t figured out a way to screw this recipe up yet.

Put the popped popcorn into lightly greased, shallow containers (don’t include unpopped kernels if you can. They’re no fun.) I use 2 disposable aluminum roasting pans from the grocery store (but I wash ‘em and keep ‘em instead of disposing of ‘em Smiley)

When the syrup reaches softball stage- use a candy thermometer or the ice water trick to tell -quickly stir in the vanilla and salt then pour over the kernels. Stir to coat.

When it’s cool enough for you, grease your hands (butter is tasty!) and get to forming the sweet, corny goodness into balls. If you want to make them into ice planets, form each around a strand of baker’s twine long enough to tie to a bbq skewer or whatever later.

Let cool all the way. If they haven’t been devoured after that, wrap in plastic to keep fresh and/or hold together better (soft ball stage is soft!)

Don’t fear candy making! Popcorn balls are delicious and easy! Ice planets are too, if problematic to eat Wink

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