Sunday, December 30, 2012

Recipe: Bread in the Slow Cooker - yes for real!

A couple of days ago, one of my friends posted some pictures of bread that she made using this no knead dough recipe from the Simply So Good Blog.  I was all set to make it until I read that I need some sort of cast iron pot.   I contemplated the pros and cons of using basically everything I had until I realized that it wasn't going to work.

But, after sleeping on it, I decided to go back to an old favourite:  Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes or less.  I made this bread back in 2008 when I only had 1 child.  When I made it, I didn't have a baker's stone but did my best.  I even made it once in a toaster oven!  Afterwards, life got busy and it was too easy to go to the Italian Bakery down the street.

Then I saw that that the Artisan bread people made Artisan bread in a crockpot.  I didn't believe it so I had to try it myself. 

I halved their original boule recipe:
1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water
1/2 tbsp granulated yeast
1/2 tbsp salt (if you like a saltier bread, I would suggest using 3/4 tbsp)
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour

I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer to quickly mix it together.  It didn't look at all like the 5 min dough.  Theirs is very watery... Mine looked like dough already!   Here's a pic of it under saran wrap.  I let it sit for about 2.5 hours.

After 2.5 hours, I picked it up, made a ball, and placed it in a slow cooker lined with parchment paper.

I was a little nervous about how it would turn out but after 1.5 hours, I noticed that the bottom was crusty!!!  But the top didn't look appealing at all.  The Artisan authors suggest broiling it after it's done but I decided to just flip my bread upside down.
 3 hours later, my bread was cooling on a rack.
 Crusty!  I can't believe it!

Kids had it toasted for their bedtime snack.  I'm off to eat some too!

Happy Baking!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Appliqued Drawstring Pouch

After I made the monkey drawstring pouch for the barrel of monkeys, I made another one using some scrap jersey.   I have a lot of scrap jersey... it's one fabric I cannot part with. I use it mainly for appliques for things like a toddler backpack, or a tricycle bag.   Appliques are my thing...

Instead of folding the straps and sewing them down, I ran them through my new serger.  I am still a little afraid of my serger and used a 4 thread stitch.  I think a rolled hem would have been better but until I learn how to thread it properly, this is what I will do!

The best thing about working with t-shirt jersey is that it doesn't fray so sewing this was even faster!

What went in the pouch?

That stuff is GOLD!  I use Healthy Hands since my hands get chapped from constantly washing my hands in the daytime and sewing with denim at night.

Yay again for scrap fabric!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Tutorial: Simple Drawstring Bag

Hard to wrap gift + scrap flannel + sewing machine/serger + napping kids = a simple drawstring pouch.

Who here doesn't have a stash of fabric scraps that you "might" use?  I made these PJs for my son when he was 2.  I have been holding onto the remnants since then. 

I decided to make a simple drawstring pouch to store the gift and I love that the fabric is yellow so it matches the barrel.   The best part is that this is re-useable and good for the environment.

Here's how to make a simple drawstring pouch (reads from left to right)

Test your pouch by putting the barrel in it.  If it fits, move onto the drawstring.  Cut 2 strips of fabric to your desired length.  I usually cut 2 x width of pouch + 2 inches.  You can always cut it if it's too long but it's a pain to lengthen a too short strap.

Press the fabric in half , open, and press both sides in again (almost like a bias tape).  Sew and that's it!

Thread the bag from opposite ends and tie a knot on all 4 ends.

Well, there you have it!   This doubles up as a little toy bag for action figurines or little cars.  So easy and ready by the end of naptime.

Just monkeying around...  (ya ya bad joke)

Yay for scrap fabric!

The holidays were quite busy so I missed most of the Ruby Star Wrapping Series from Sew Mama Sew!
Ruby Star Wrapping is a book with ideas to inspire you to reuse items you already have to wrap your gifts.  Less landfill is always a good thing.   Check it out... it's not too late to be inspired for the next upcoming holiday!

Linking up here:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Baking is Done... now I can say Merry Christmas!!

So every year I go a little bit crazy baking for us and everyone. At the end of it all, I always say, "never again!" But here I am again :o)

So this year, we made giant gingerbread boys (which still have to be decorated with jube jubes and m&ms).   

We ended up making a lot of gingerbread which the kids helped to decorate.

We filled up some Ikea Burken jars with cookies (inspired by this post at One Chic Mom) and wrapped them with bows before handing them out.

We ended up making the coconut treats from that post too.  More on that at a later date...

We also made some sugar cookies which are iced and ready to be packed too.

I'm done!!!!   I am hanging up my baking apron for the next couple of days.  Merry Christmas and Happy 2013!

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas!

Christmas is coming up pretty soon so we've been doing lots of Christmas-y things at our house.  Sewing has taken a bit of a backburner as a result.

We don't have snow but we have a Christmas Tree!

We took the kids to see Raffi at Roy Thomson Hall.   Hubby and I grew up listening to songs like Baby Beluga and Bananaphone.   Now our kids are listening to him.  It was a fantastic show!

Made a couple (or more...) trips to visit Santa

We mailed out our Christmas cards early this year.  I got some fantastic cards from Thunderpeep Designs, a local Toronto shop on ETSY.

We wrote letters to Santa

Then to practice his handwriting, Josh wrote Christmas cards for his classmates and we stuck some candy canes onto the envelopes.

I got presents for his teachers... nothing handmade this year but maybe next year with better planning!

In between all of that, we got a new front door!

Happy Christmas and hope you're spending some time with family,

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Yellow Train Toddler Backpack

Earlier this November, I took my last toddler backpack order for the season.  This one is for my friend Monique's nephew.  He loves yellow so she asked me to make him a yellow backpack with a train on it.  It's been a while since I made the train but I still love it.

Planning it out

Finished product


Great to wear with yellow boots

Or spidey boots

I forgot to take a pic of the lining but I used stars and stripes like this one.

Time to get ready for Christmas and Free Shipping Day Canada on Wednesday December 12!