Archive for December 2011

Making Angry Bird Plush

I saw an Angry Bird plush at a bookstore and thought that kids would totally love it…but it was really kind of expensive considering it’s generally poor quality [not to mention, most mass produced stuffed animals kinda make me grumpy since they make me imagine people who had sewn them together — lovelessly (completely understandable considering the probable circumstance in which they were created…) — and didn’t get paid fair wage]. Besides, what’s the fun is having just ONE angry bird, I’m sure kids would want all of the set! …So I thought about stitching some up, and upon poking around internet, I found that some one else have figured out how to make it already and kindly shared it with the world! [Go HERE for her very helpful tutorial!]. I added a tail in the back, and hand-stitched the whole thing (since my machine sucks for this kind of sewing) but lookie, I made my first plush! I had everything I need to make it already (and many more!) so how wonderful is that?

 

Ashland loved this bird at first sight and has been taking very good care of it ever since it was finished. Immi wants a yellow bird, so I’ll get to work on that.

Sticky Pecan Buns

I have always wanted to be able to make sticky buns or cinnamon rolls or such like, but never thought I could do it. I finally had the courage (It uses up a lot of butter and eggs, potentially messy!) to try it. ….And by amazing luck, it totally worked! I thought it would be difficult to roll out the dough to make the swirl, but as it turns out, dough enriched with butter is easy and fun to handle. This is right before it went in the oven.

And this is about to be eaten.

We are spending the holiday hanging out at home and making and eating yummy treats. Relaxing for a bit for change!

Baking Little Breads

I have been baking bread a lot lately. Because how great is a relaxing hobby that saves us $ in grocery? After looking up ways to make milk enriched bread, I decided to just substitute milk for water in the recipe I have been working on developing…and it worked! I baked it in a vintage loaf pan ($0.50!) that was  a drawer organizer until…I washed it to bake this bread in.

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…And Kaiser Rolls. Making the knot in the dough was easier than I thought but baking the quite slack dough made it a very subtle effect. I think improvements can be made, visually. But, it had great texture.

And here’s regular dinner rolls. Spherical dough with design made with a knife pre-baking.

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Candied Pecans

…So I love candied pecans. I have never actually thought to buy any, but I enjoy them a whole lot when it comes in salads or garnishing french toast etc. Then, I encountered a candied pecan recipe recently and thought to give it a try. It turned out alright, but I thought it could be even tastier, crunchier, and easier to make. After some tinkering, I’m quite happy with it, and wanted to share!

 

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • a bit of salt to taste

hardware:

  • 9 inch cast iron skillet (this size fits 1 cup of nuts perfectly)
  • spoon
  • parchment baking paper

Direction:

  • Pre-heat oven 350F.
  • Melt butter in the cast iron skillet on stove top (low).
  • Pour in pecans and stir around to coat in butter
  • Add honey, maple syrup and sugar to skillet and mix well with a spoon.
  • Sprinkle some salt to taste (I imagine you know how salty you like your treats better than I) and mix again.
  • Put the skillet in the oven and bake for 7-9 minutes until toasty but not burned.
  • Take the skillet out of the oven, spread candied pecans onto parchment baking paper to cool. [When it cools, the gooey candy becomes crunchy.]
  • Enjoy!

Basically, using the cast iron skillet saves you clean up quite a lot. If you don’t have one, I imagine it would work ok to use a regular skillet to make butter/sugar/pecan mixture and transferring it into baking dish to bake.

I tried making this with just honey, honey + sugar, maple syrup + sugar, but found that combining honey AND maple syrup AND sugar produces best flavor and consistency. You need the regular sugar for the “crunch” factor and honey/maple syrup facilitates even coating for fail-proof baking fun.

 

 

Sewing by Hand

It’s been a bit quite here on this blog — for some reason a lot on my mind makes me out put fewer words in writing! Not for lack of crafting though. I have been enjoying sewing by hand lately. Using my sewing machine isn’t all that relaxing for me right now because when  I do have the opportunity to use it, I feel rushed to finish up the project. In contrast, stitching by hand makes me relaxed and happy.

Here’s a little bag. One of my favorite thing about hand-sewn item is that stitches are basically invisible.

And here’s a wrist cuff. Entirely hand stitched and instead of making too many “invisible” stitches, I used some decorative stitches too. I was experimenting fusion-ing up steampunk/new-victorian look with vintage fabric from Thailand while incorporating colors that are more pop. …I dunno, I have nothing to wear with this cuff 😀

And here’s Immi’s princess room shoes. She kept trying to makes shoes out of all kinds of things (hand towel, paper napkin, t-shirt…) so I made her ones that will stay on her feet a little better. This pair is actually made from a pattern designed not by me — which is a first for me, making something from a pattern! These are hand stitched except for zigzag machine-stitching in the inside edges to prevent fraying. I would have just used sewing machine for this but I wanted to test durability of hand sewn items thought this is a great opportunity.