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51  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / More stitchery on: January 09, 2017 10:58:55 AM
I finished this one last night.

After piecing it I didn't think it looked quite done so added the small stitches in plain white thread. It gives a textural element that I quite enjoy, it's interesting to touch and all that sewing makes it durable enough for handling.

While the studio's been in post-xmas chaos I've had to entertain my itch to stitch with a basket of scraps and some random embroidery thread stashed by the bed.

As much fun as it's been to do this mindless piecework and stitching I think I'd better stop soon. I'm still not sure what to do with all the patches, or the fabric beads I've been making. There are quite a few.

They could be added to something else but what? Maybe framed for an exhibit. At least they are small and don't take up much room, lol.

52  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Crafting with kids, fabric bookmark on: January 07, 2017 06:50:16 AM
I'm not sure where this should go, it's fabric with some stitching & applique but not stitch work or quilting exactly or entirely.
In any case, it was made by my daughter who is 9 & I'm so impressed with her creativity & skill. She chose the design & the fabrics, cut the shapes, then stitched the dolphin in place. I did help her a bit but not much, advice, the machine sewn edge.

The back is a purpley pink colour.
53  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Slow cloth patches on: January 07, 2017 06:42:09 AM
Made for a private swap with Joyfulclover. We sent each other pieces that could be incorporated into something else if wanted.
The first was a winter scene based on a lino print I saw online somewhere that made an impression on me.

The trees are reversed wheat ear stitch, it was the closest to the evergreen shape I imagined.

The second has reverse appliqued circles then circular embroidery in various colours. This was better in my mind but I still liked it.

I am still trying to imagine what to do with this sort of thing. They are fun to make & look at but then what? Maybe a fabric book...
54  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Big batch cooking on: January 02, 2017 04:42:40 PM
Feeding 5 people, including a large man and a teenaged boy, is challenging at best. I cook giant batches of things to try to keep up with all the hungry mouths, lol.
Here's tonight's effort:
Apple crumble with raisins, cherries, berries, or pineapple.

It freezes very well, I just increase the baking time from 45 mins at 350 to 30 mins with a foil tent & 30 mins uncovered.

Here's some bread, wheat in various flavours & corn. Sliced thin or the kids eat it like texas toast & it's gone in no time!

We love bacon but it's so fatty it causes a few of us tummy upset. Better to cook a couple pounds of it to sprinkle into things instead. You still get all the flavour. & yes, that is a large mason jar of strained bacon fat. One of two, for frying stuff, lol.

Vats of tomato meat sauce (bison) and a rice & tri-colour quinoa mix. Both of them freeze well for later use in soup, stews & casseroles.

Black eyed peas, these freeze well for the above.

There's a chest freezer in the basement, I freeze batches flat in the fridge freezer to make them easier to line up in the big freezer. It's like filed food, ha ha!
55  COOKING / Dessert / Donut bread pudding. on: December 27, 2016 06:53:31 AM
One of the kids came home with half a box of donuts from a class holiday party. I didn't really want anybody eating that much straight sugar so chopped the pastries up & mixed with an equal amount of bread. Let that sit out a couple hours to approximate day-old staleness. Beat eggs & cream/milk (1 egg for each cup of liquid), enough to saturate the bread. That went into a buttered baking dish at 350 for 45 minutes.
Somehow I deleted the photos I took but here's one of the pudding sliced the next day. It's good warmed a bit with butter or cream poured over top.

You can add vanilla, cinnamon, sugar or maple syrup to the egg mix if preferred, also citrus zest which is really nice.

Found the pics Smiley.
56  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Pranking the teenager on: December 26, 2016 07:32:31 PM
I have a riot playing tricks on that kid, ha!
We gave him a little cash but to make it fun we did the box inside a box inside a box thing. Times 10. With gift wrap on every single box. Cheesy

Inside the last, smallest box was a wee envelop containing a tag that said "your gift is hanging on the tree".

He thought it was funny, I about passed out laughing. Every second of that prank was fun, from finding all the boxes to setting them up to watching his amazement as he discovered another, smaller box inside the last one. HA! I am getting funny in my old age...
57  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Another childhood craft archived by my mother. on: December 26, 2016 09:32:05 AM
She pulled these from her suitcase stash this morning, she for real saves everything  Roll Eyes. I actually love when she digs these things out of storage, it's always worth a good laugh Grin. Of course I can't have them, she's only exhibiting her treasures for our viewing pleasure Cheesy.

Hand stitched felt hats, made between the ages of 10-12. Machine sewn with hand made pompoms, I must have been mid to late teens.

Though I made them for our family of all ages at the time, not one of them fit heads older than 6, lol.
58  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Very last minute decorating on: December 25, 2016 12:26:01 PM
We hung this about 5 minutes before family arrived Tongue. But I'd had it planned and it was sitting out so it *had* to be finished, right?

It should have been done before but the letter stickers were not very sticky so I had to break out the hot glue.

Crafting stilled my "Family's coming!" nerves so it was worth it Smiley.
59  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Fabric beads with tutorial, photo galactica! on: December 24, 2016 06:16:43 PM
ETA more pics of different techniques & more beads added to pages 2, 3, & 4.

I've seen some beautifully embroidered and embellished fabric beads online but no free tutorials so I thought I'd try to figure it out and share with y'all. After I'd made a few I wanted to see maybe what could be done with them so put together this little totem. I have a few other ideas but love this small being a lot.

Cut a small piece of fabric (square or rectangle, maybe even a long triangle like a paper bead!) and stitch/embellish/decorate however you feel like it.

I've read some makers use batting but thought a bit of felt would be easy and effective padding/stabilizing.

Wrap around a chopstick, pen, dowel, whatever and start stitching around the top edge.

I did this a few ways so however feels right to you is probably fine. Once I had some stabilizing stitches around the top I pulled the tube off the stick so it would be easier to stitch into.

You could leave your end with spaced out stitches or fill them in like I did. Then stitch around the other end of the tube and also close the side seam, you can make the side closure obvious or invisible.

See how great the felt is for the inside of the bead? I think this is so groovy. Really, as these came together I totally fell for them. I hope you'll try making some and post them here.

Here I'm trying it again but making the stitches close together the first time around instead of spaced out then going round again to fill them in.

I pushed the tube up so just the end was past the pen/chop stick/dowel. This helped the bead keep it's shape while I was stitching which was helpful.

I stitched down the side first this time.

I'm trying to make the stitches while the bead is on the pen here, it was awkward.

Easier to take it off.

I made a few.

Just one more...

One. More. Scraptastic little treasure...

Ack, stayed up way too late but, I hope you'll agree, it was worth it. Super fun, please give it a go Smiley.
60  COOKING / Dessert / Fruit crumble on: December 24, 2016 05:20:50 PM
Here's another recipe I make with many variations.
We try to take it easy with sugar & weird unpronouncable ingredients so dessert in our house is the sort of thing that can actually be eaten as a healthy breakfast. Because I am a horrible mother that way :/. Thankfully I've been doing it for so long that my family just thinks it's normal, ha!
The fruit crumble I make is basically glorified oatmeal with fruit. It's super quick & easy &, get this, I tried a little experiment the other day & IT FREEZES PERFECTLY! I wasn't sure because raw apples but Yes, perfectly Smiley.
This is so easy, peel some apples &/or pears & chop them into whatever size pieces you like (mine are about 1-2" cubes-ish). Toss them with some cinnamon (or whatever, clove, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, vanilla, maple, cayenne? Seriously whatever!). I also use a thickener (tapioca starch, flour, corn starch etc would do) but that's totally optional.
Half fill a buttered pyrex baking dish with the fruit & kinda squash it down with your hands. All the air pockets will collapse when cooking so squeeze that fruit in there good. You can sprinkle in raisins, berries, etc. Tropical fruit blend, cherries, I've added it all & everything tastes awesome. Except oranges & bananas. Don't use those. Trust me.
The topping is butter or substitute (I've added in some coconut oil, avocado oil, etc) melted in a big pot, sprinkle in oats (whole, quick, flaked spelt/ kamut, etc), cinnamon (etc), sugar if you like, flour of any sort (wheat or gluten free), vanilla, maple, etc,  stir until it's all buttery (if it's not melt more butter & pour it on) . Put it on top of the fruit & squish that with your hands.
Look how pretty!

Bake at 350 for 45 mins. Or wrap the dish in foil & freeze for when you need it. Bake frozen covered in foil for the first half hour, uncovered for another half hour. It's excellent warm or cold the next day.
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