Sew obsessed!!

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I’ve been possessed by the sewing angels😀 and sew I’m sew sew obsessed :p
Small projects, nothing fancy. I spend so much time making lists of projects that catch my fancy on Pinterest that I have little time to do much else:/
But I did manage to make a few things off the list. And first up is the fabric flower gift pouch from this tutorial.
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Since DS arrived, we’ve been planning on taking him on a little family holiday. He turned one earlier this month. It’s been a long wait but November is the month. We’ll need a passport wallet and so I followed this tutorial and made one for a cousin. Ofcourse it took on a life of it’s own and went in a different direction with a broad strap closure and a magnetic snap.
I will make more but I’ve run out of the polka dot fabric and cannot find it anywhere. So, if any of you spot it, could you please leave me a note with the name and address of the store? Please? Pretty please?

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I also made an iPad case. Inspired by a pin someone sent me. It was supposed to fit a regular iPad but, since there wasn’t any tutorial and I had to figure it on my own, the final case wouldn’t fit the iPad. And so a visiting cousin claimed it, to be used as a notebook case. The second one I made though, fit like a glove. And that on special request, was sent to a dear friend.
DS needs one for his iPad mini. I’m working on it🙂 maybe a different style this time.

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If you like what I sew, please visit my Facebook page. You can place orders for custom made soaps, salves, lip balms, clutches, pouches, wallets etc or simply like the page to show some support.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
See you soon 😊😊

linking up:

Cupcake and cupcake stand template (DIY)

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I started to quilt, or rather shop for my quilts when I arrived back home in Feb’ 13. And oh boy! Did I shop!!

I think the owner of that little cloth store waits for me each week with a secret stash of the cutest prints I will ever find around town. He just makes me so happy!

I promised photos of my quilts but, truth be told I’m such a lazy soul (I haven’t finished all four as yet) and my span of attention is almost the same as that of a toddler. I start one thing and I move onto another so fast I probably wouldn’t even remember I started the first thing. So I got home, went shopping, bought out the store, started quilting and then the cross stitch bug bit me. It bit me so hard I decided to make tea towels. Notice how that was in plural?? I told you it bit me HARD.

So I got onto Pinterest and started looking for free cross stitch patterns (which I’ve pinned here) and then I think the whole swarm descended upon me.

Though I must warn you, I’m not entirely sure if all the patterns are free as I’ve only repinned them and haven’t actually visited the sites. Also, most phones have the option of saving the image to your camera roll and that’s exactly what I did since it was only for personal use and then I didn’t copy the exact pattern.

I’m no pro at cross stitch, so if the experienced lot does get into the nitty gritties of it, there are a bunch of goof ups to be discovered. But I did put a lot of effort into making these for my sister, so I guess I’m happy.

It’s not a great picture and the background has been photoshopped. And the reason for all of that? I was in a tearing hurry to present them to her.

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The bottom of the purple teapot isn’t exactly pretty but I’m not the one who can take it all off n start over. So I just let it be.

And then, I wanted to make a third one for a visiting cousin but didn’t have as much time so I decided to try some appliqué work. Now, I tried to machine embroider it to the towel and it was such a disaster!! I mean if you zoom in and look at it, that stitch is going in all directions (I would like to remind you this was my first attempt ever!).

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I looked online for a template but since I’ve been blessed with inkscape and some little knowledge on how to work it, I decided to make my own template.

Of course I wanted a pretty stand with 3 cupcakes and the works but, like I explained earlier, this was my first and I realized something simple would be best. So I made up a template and this is what it actually looked like.

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The whole thing measures approximately 9 inches in width and 5 inches in height. And if you want to only piece the cupcakes together from the template like I did, then the cupcake should measure approximately 3 inches in width and 2.5 inches in height.

The template is in PDF format and needs to be printed in actual size and not scaled to the paper source. Click here for the template.

Since I had extra time on my hands, I turned the template into a coloring page for kids.

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Click here for the coloring page.

Hope to see you again soon…

 

 

DIY Draw-string pouches

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I’ve been away too long.

I wanted to share much of all the journeys I’ve been on but I just couldn’t do it. Maybe a little later.

So here I am, trying my luck at writing again. Here to share my excitement with you and oh! has it been an exciting time or what!!

A very close friend of mine recently started up her jewellery page on Facebook and let me do a small shoot of some of her jewellery. It was a lot of fun and learning. I’m glad and so grateful for such an opportunity.

This is one of my favorite shots!!


And I know I didn’t do a completely professional job but hey, I tried!

So anyway, a month or so later, my dear friend decided that she wanted to be part of an exhibition and that was exciting news for both of us! But like mommy says, ” You laugh too much and you end up crying, so be careful!” And we laughed too much it looked like for the delivery of the packaging material she’d ordered was delayed.

But dimaag ki batti jali and just in time! I took some of her old dupattas and sewed some pouches! Now now, they’re not so bad looking and i didn’t do a completely amateur job of it. See for yourself!!



I told you they weren’t so bad. And they were real easy to sew! I’d imagined them to be a lot of work but I made 50 of those and it really didn’t seem like much.

I followed this tutorial, but of course, I made a few changes as you can see. I only wish I had more time to have made exactly the same ones, they’re just so pretty!! Maybe next time.

I’ve been quilting of late. I’ve finished two and am working on two more. More on that later🙂

The Clean Up Act

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I’ve been meaning to tell you so much for so long now. Trust me, I have. I just haven’t found the time. We’ve had cousin after cousin visit us for the last month. And of course we went to a BIG FAT wedding last month as well. So the plum jam I intended to make, well the ingredients are all mixed up and in the freezer since I got back! I will make the jam, I will. Tomorrow!

So why have I finally found time? Well, I’ve just shipped 16 gift boxes of a custom order, I’m home alone and dinner can wait J

You remember the cheesecake that was inspired by the baking class? I don’t think I told you this, but……………………………I also took a soap making lesson!

Much needed after numerous failed attempts to recreate the liquid soap from a bar soap that so many blogs promised could actually happen. Well, in my case, it never happened. It just looked like snot! Who the hell in their right mind would want to bathe with snot! Well, um….I tried. It really was terrible to look at but it made my skin feel amazing. So I found the class online, booked and marched to it right after my baking lesson.

My soaps have come a long way since I first started J

I make cold process soaps now with herbs and oils and natural essential oils. I like making them so much that I’ve decided to set up shop so I can keep making em J but there is one small glitch however. It takes 4 whole weeks to get a bar of soap out there so you can go gaga over it. 4 whole weeks! Of waiting! Imagine! But then you do need a hard bar of soap. Can’t have it melt in the shower.

There are so many things to think about and decide upon. When I first started thinking of setting up shop, I knew I would be making very simple/plain-looking bars of soap but I still wanted so many different fragrances. I wanted a chocolate soap bar and I wanted a strawberry soap bar and the list would never end. Then I went straight back to where it all started and was reminded that the reason I wanted to make soap for myself was because I wanted it to be chemical free. And if I wanted that for myself, why could I not want it for you?! No chemicals, no synthetic fragrances and nothing artificial as far as I can help it. But if someone does come along and ask for a custom order then I might think about it. It is a free country and you should be able to use the kind of soap you want to at the least!

There is much about cold process soaps online, so if you really want to know then you can just Google it. I wouldn’t want to direct you to any particular website and have you think that I’m out to paint a rosy picture J

Here are some pictures of what I’ve been doing and do feel free to visit the Facebook page of Corina Soap Works (yup that’s what I named it, more on that later)

My very first batch of soap – Green Tea and Ylang Ylang (not a great pic)

After a month of thought – Chocolate swirls (not scented with synthetic chocolate fragrance, it has cocoa in it)

And my latest – Cinnamon Cookie (I don’t know if it smells like a cinnamon cookie really but to me it spells Christmas J )

Oh! Btw its wet soap and that’s why its so shiny…

Do leave a comment or two. It is very encouraging🙂

Chocolate Banana Oat Muffins

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Lately, I’ve been going bananas! (Over bananas)

Gosh, it’s quite an obsession. I can’t get it out of my head (or my taste buds).

Asked the husband to get me a bunch on Monday and it was over by Wednesday! So I sent out for some more. Another bunch arrived the day before and since I don’t have one of those contraptions you hang em on so they don’t spoil, they were gonna get rotten! Those poor darlings were going to end up in the bin! Personally, just between the two of us, I like to think of my tummy as their little heaven. I mean that’s what they were meant for.

Plus the husband (and I a little) has had a bit of a growth spurt. Horizontally!

I’ve been trying to get him to eat healthy forever. Never seems to work. Even tried pulao with mixed grains (basmati/brown basmati) last night. It just ended up crunchy (just a little) L and who on earth is going to enjoy a pulao that goes ‘mmmmmmmm…crunch crunch’ in your mouth. Also, there is going to be a BIG FAT Indian wedding (his cousin) in November and that just might get my weighing scale broken L

Things do look glum and it does feel like there isn’t much hope of us ever getting back to what we looked like before we got married. This, I told myself was my last n I mean laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast attempt at making him (and of course let’s not forget me) something healthy. So I did my new fab tummy workout (I’ll let you know if it’s for real) and headed straight for the kitchen. I was a woman on a mission (barking orders basically as my help was running around J).

I got the ingredients and in the blender they went and then my blender broke L

Upon closer inspection however, I found that the safety switch had tripped. Very fixable problem. So it was blend blend blend again and straight into the muffin cases and the oven.

What came out of the oven changed me. I will never be the same person again. I just can’t.

(This does not mean I’m giving up on making sinful food. I will make it and eat it and feed it to people. I’m just saying I believe healthy can be yummy too.)

Fresh out of the oven and this is what they looked like.

And in case you decide to give it a try, I’m writing down the recipe for you.

Makes : 12 medium muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups Kellogg’s oats (you could just use 2 ¼ if you don’t want them too chewy. I would totally suggest it)
  • 1 cup Hung curd (thick)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Bananas
  • 1 tbsp Milk
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tsp Baking powder
  • ½ tsp Baking soda

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 200⁰C
  • In a blender or food processor, powder the oats to sand like consistency. Then add the other dry ingredients (sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda) and whizz again so it’s all mixed well.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the hung curd, milk and eggs.
  • Slice the bananas into little pieces and put into the blender along with the wet ingredients.
  • Process this in the blender till u have a smooth batter (it’ll take you a while and you’ll have to stir it with a spoon a few times).
  • Pour into the muffin tin or silicone muffin moulds (do not use paper covers as they stick and are hard to get of no-flour muffins).
  • Pop them into the oven for 20 minutes (I used the convection setting on my microwave so it might take a little less time in an OTG or vice versa. You’ll just have to find out for yourself).

Eat them fresh out of the oven or you could reheat and eat. They’re best enjoyed warm J

I know you’ve been reading but if you’d leave me a comment, it would mean the world to me. Thank you J

Chocolate Cheesecake

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For many years I wondered where I could get cream cheese. I just couldn’t find it in any store/supermarket. I looked online but it just wasn’t to be found. So I enrolled for this baking course that promised to teach me how to make a cheesecake. I packed my bags and left. There was just no looking back. I was so excited I could barely sleep the night before.

So I got to the class and what followed could only be described as madness, nothing short of it.

The instructors were not prepared, the class was overbooked, there were no chairs, the workstations were filthy, the helpers were running about like a mad bunch and of course I had to land next to the class snoot.

In short, three long days of one disaster followed by another. I did make some good friends in the bargain. Thank god for silver linings.

So when the husband found his way home after his (very separate) vacation, I decided to hang (straining, just straining) some yogurt and make us a chocolate cheesecake. That’s all there was to it. It was right under my nose all this while and I went around the world looking for it.

It was good. Of course, I found the recipe on the net but I tweaked it a bit. I love chocolate but then I can’t handle too much of it and this was supposed to be three sinful layers of chocolate. The process I must say is quite violent. It involved beating, whipping, crushing and that was just the beginning. You can imagine why the little ones will need some parental guidance making it J

So for those of you who want to try it and have never thought of making it because you couldn’t find the right ingredients or they were too expensive, I’m going to try and simplify it as much as I can.

Cream cheese : You can either buy it at a gourmet store or you can take a piece of muslin and hang (strain) some yogurt (dahi). Keep in mind if you leave the yogurt out too long it might (actually most probably will) turn sour. So take a big sieve (chalni) or a steaming basket and line it with the muslin and then pour the whisked yogurt into it. Stand the basket/chalni in a metal pot and put it into the refrigerator for about 6 – 8 hours.

Cooking/Semi-sweet/Bitter-sweet chocolate : Don’t fret over the name. if you don’t have it or can’t find it then just use any plain chocolate you can get your hands on (Cadburys is probably the best).

Cooking butter: Well and good if you can get your hands on it. If not then just use good old Amul. A little salt does bring out the flavor of anything chocolaty.

Sugar : I know this recipe doesn’t mention whether to use plain old granular sugar or caster sugar or powdered. Just please use what you like. I personally prefer caster or powdered.

This is what my chocolate cheesecake looked like. I must say I am quite proud of it (the cake and the picture). All my very own work with no help J

Recipe time J

Makes : Fills up a 7 inch cake tin (use a 6 inch spring form if you prefer to)

Ingredients:

  • The Base :
    • 60 grams chocolate biscuit crumbs
    • 90 grams digestive biscuit crumbs
    • 75 grams melted butter
  • The Cream Cheese Filling:
    • 170 grams chocolate
    • 340 grams hung curd/cream cheese
    • 100 grams sugar
    • 1 ½ eggs (yeah I know that’s difficult) lightly beaten
    • 120 ml cream
  • The Ganache:
    • 115 grams semi-sweet chocolate
    • 80 ml cream
    • 1 tablespoon butter

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180⁰ C and grease your cake tin.
  • The Base : If you haven’t already then crush the biscuits and make fine crumbs. Mix both the varieties in a large bowl and pour over the melted butter (butter in biscuit bowl not the other way around). Mix well with your fingers (it really is the best way). Line the bottom of the cake tin with the crumbs (try making it as even as possible). At this point you would want to pop the tin into the refrigerator for a bit. The freezer will do if you’re in a hurry like I always am. If you’re going to pick the refrigerator (it’s going to take the better half of an hour at the least) then preheat the oven just before you start to make the cream cheese filling.
  • The Cream Cheese Filling :
    • Set up a double boiler and melt the chocolate. Once melted and smooth (you don’t want lumps darling. Really) take off the heat and set aside to cool.
    • In a large bowl cream (yes, you might want to whisk it or beat it. Whatever sails your boat buddy) the cheese, cream and sugar. It needs to be smooth. Make sure there are no lumps please.
    • Once the chocolate has cooled enough (feels just warm to the touch) pour it into the cream cheese mixture and beat beat beat till it’s all smooth.
    • Now half of the lightly beaten eggs go in. whisk whisk whisk as hard as you can.
    • Now the other half and then beat again
    • Pop into the oven for about an hour (keep checking. I’m not to be blamed if you end up burning it J I told you to check)
    • Place on wire rack to cool

  • The Ganache :
    • Remember we’re only making the ganache once the cake has cooled completely. So once it’s cool to the touch then break the chocolate into little bits and place into a large bowl.
    • In a pan, heat the cream and butter just to a boil.
    • Pour the hot cream/butter over the chocolate and let stand for approximately 5 minutes
    • Stir till smooth and then pour over the cake (of course your supposed to spread it out evenly)
    • Let it cool for 15 minutes and then cover it and pop into the refrigerator
    • 6 – 8 hours should do it (I’d love to give you instructions on how to eat it as well but this time I will allow you to experiment J)

Well I hope you enjoyed reading this and making the cake just as much as I enjoyed instructing you J

I will write about my trip sometime next week when I feel inspired enough. I know it’s been long since I’ve been back but I do hope that I’ll write and you’ll read.

Home-made dried apricot jam with a hint of rosemary

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It’s been raining here a bit off late and I’ve been wondering what to do with my time since I don’t like the idea of getting out there and ruining my pretty shoes. To be honest I haven’t stepped out of the house in 3 days. And considering you are speaking of me, that is a LIFETIME!

So I cleaned up my cupboards, arranged my clothes in pretty little stacks, fixed my broken fridge magnets, packed for my trip to South Africa next week, played so many games online that my eyes hurt, downloaded and watched 6 movies, planted some corn n coriander in my backyard and maybe a few more unmentionable things but I still had plenty of time on hand. Did I also mention I drove my poor maid crazy? Well I did to amazing results. She looked through the whole house to find me something to do and came up with a bag of dried apricots a friend got me from Kashmir a few weeks ago.

My mum likes to stew em up in sugary syrup but I’m kinda trying to lose weight. Its winter in South Africa and I feel cold when the temperature reaches 24 degrees (C). So you can well imagine what all 60 kilos of my petit frame would look like in layered woolens. Dried apricot jam for mum it was.

I looked online and stumbled upon this website http://www.foodinjars.com which had a dried apricot jam recipe by Yvonne Tremblay. Unfortunately I had to cut all the measurements in half seeing as I didn’t have enough apricots.

I also added ¼ tsp of dried rosemary. I love the aroma and flavor of it when added in subtle measures.

I’m sorry I didn’t take the step-by-step pics that everyone is so obsessed with these days. I just dint think this would make it to the blog. However, I will try and give you less than vague directions.

This is the color you’re looking for. Just got it off the heat for this pic.


Now time for the recipe.

Makes approx 400g – 450g (depending on the consistency you like)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of chopped dried apricots
  • 2 ¾ cups of water, divided
  • 1 ¾ cups of sugar (I suggest you put in 1 cup and then adjust it to your taste, my mum just likes everything sweet)
  • ¼ – ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • Juice of ½ lemon

The original recipe has the option of adding liqueur or peach brandy if you’d like. I didn’t have any at home so I just skipped it

Method:

  • Place the chopped dried apricots in a large bowl with half the water and ¼ tsp of rosemary. Cover and let stand for approx 12 hours (until soft and plump).
  • Transfer the soaked apricots with liquid et all into a blender and whiz it up a bit if you’d like. You can completely skip this step if you like the chunky variety.
  • Transfer the puree/soaked apricots and liquid into a heavy bottomed pot (a non-stick sauce pan works just fine with me). Add the remaining water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer covered for about 20 – 30 minutes or until apricots are softened. (now would be a good time to add the extra rosemary if you’d like)
  • Add the sugar in a steady stream, stirring constantly. (don’t forget to taste and add more as and when your taste buds feel the need)
  • Turn the heat up to high and bring it to a boil (all the while stirring). Reduce heat to medium high and cook until the liquid has reduced and jam has become quite thick and sticky.
  • Once it passes the plate test, it’s done.

For those of you who’re new, you might want to read up on the plate test before you attempt jam making at all

And then you follow the drill of bottling. Funneling jam into sterilized jars leaving a headspace of ¼ inch. Wiping rims, applying lids and rings and processing in the boiling water bath canner for a good 10 minutes. (Be sure not to crack your jars, I’d hate to see all that effort go to waste)

Don’t forget to check the seals on your jars once they’re cool enough to handle. Any unsealed jars should go right into the refrigerator. The others can be store for up to a year if kept in a cool, dark corner.