October 20, 2014

One Little Word: September

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The goal for OLW this month was all about getting real with the true, accurate story of your word. It is often easy to make everything look beautiful and glossy online, even when the reality is far from that.  Whilst I’m loving my year of trying to live my most radiant life, it doesn’t happen every day and it certainly isn’t going to happen overnight.  It is a journey and I’m glad I’m on it.

 

October 17, 2014

Easy cushion cover DIY

 

When I turned 30 in July, my mother gave me a sewing machine.  Growing up, I’d always dabbled with Mum’s machine, but I’d never really had the patience to become the perfect seamstress.  Fast forward about 15 years and I still don’t think I’ll become a really brilliant sewer, but I’ve definitely developed more patience and interest in learning to sew well.

After madly pinning lots of possible projects in the lead up to getting my machine, I decided that I probably should start simple as it had been a long time since I’d used a machine.  I settled on making an ‘envelope’ cushion cover.  Posts all over Pinterest toted it as being a very easy project that you can complete in a matter of minutes, so naturally, without trying it first, I decided to make it one step more difficult and add pom pom braid to my cushion.

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As I cut out the fabric and pinned the pom pom braid in place, I realised that I’d made things much more difficult than I had intended and this quick, easy project, might be less quick and easy than I had originally planned.  At that point I decided not to take photographs of the process, in case it didn’t work out.  I’m annoyed now about that, because the finished project is actually kind of cool.

_MG_0342So sadly, without pictures, here is what I did:

MATERIALS

  • Enough fabric to cover a 50 x 50 cm cushion with some overlap (I bought mine from Darn Cheap Fabrics in Glenhuntly)
  • Just over 2 metres of pom pom braid (enough for 4 x 50cm sides) (Also from Darn Cheap)
  • An iron
  • Matching thread and bobbin for your machine

METHOD

  1. Measure and cut your fabric into three pieces.  One should be a square 50cm x 50cm (with an inch seam allowance) and the other two pieces should be rectangular pieces of 35cm x 50cm (with an inch seam allowance).
  2. Cut the pom pom braid into 4 x 50cm strips and pin it around the edge of the back of the square piece of fabric.  Sew it into place.
  3. Iron flat and hem one 50cm edge of each of the rectangular pieces.
  4. Pin the two rectangular pieces (face in) onto the square piece (also face in).  Sew around the edge of the entire thing.  Advance warning – this is a bit tricky because of the pom poms.  They’re a bit close and fat for the foot of the machine.
  5. Turn inside out and it’s all done.

If that all seemed a bit vague, here are some tutorials of organised bloggers (who took pictures!) to help you.

Two seam envelope pillows
How to sew an envelope pillow
How to sew a pom pom pillow (This is closest to mine, just with a cushion insert instead of stuffing!)

I’m going to make a ‘two seam’ version and one with a zipper soon, so I’ll be sure to photograph those efforts to share.

October 15, 2014

Christmas Cake

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I’m completely aware that it is far too early to be talking about Christmas.  I won’t mention it again. As part of my challenge to complete 101 things in 1001 days, however, one of my tasks is to bake a Christmas cake. (Oops, I mean I won’t mention it again after this.)

Last year, I was too slow on this one and by the time I thought about baking a Christmas (fail!) cake, it was already December and that would leave no time for it to mature and for me to feed it brandy.

This year, if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you will know: I’m prepared. And I’m a bit obsessed with Jamie Oliver.  So it made sense for me to try out his Traditional Christmas Cake recipe.  I pretty much followed the method found on the website exactly, but made these changes to the ingredients:

INGREDIENTS

• 600g raisins
• 200g currants
• 100g glacé cherries (I used one packet of these, which I forgot to check the weight of, but I definitely should have added more.  They are like jewels in the mixture.)
• 250g mixed dried fruits (I just used a packet of ‘Mixed Fruit’ for these, then spend half an hour picking out the mixed peel while the Kitchen Aid whipped the butter and sugar into a frenzy.)
• 400ml booze, plus extra to ‘feed’ the cake (I used brandy, which I realised that had never purchased before.)
• 300g butter, at room temperature (which is important for the whipping.)
• 200g dark brown sugar
• 1 lemon (Forgot to buy one so I had to use a lime. Craaaazy!)
• 4 eggs, at room temperature
• 2 tbsp treacle (I decided that golden syrup would be just as good and we would be more likely to use the rest of the container throughout the year, rather than keep a tin of treacle in the cupboard with the sole purpose of making a Christmas cake once a year!)
• 300g plain flour (Ours used gluten free flour so I can enjoy them too.)
• ½ tsp ground ginger
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• A pinch of ground cloves
• 150g ground almonds (I used almond meal – is that the same?)
• 150g walnuts, chopped

The only other thing that I did differently is that I split the mixture into two round springform tins to bake it.  There was no way that it was going to fit into one tin and I’m kind of excited because now I have twice as many cakes to enjoy come December.  (I’m actually thinking of icing one with marzipan and fondant icing and giving it to Mum for Christmas.  I think she would totally be into that as a gift.)

Now both of the cakes are in their own airtight containers and are being fed some brandy every couple of weeks to ensure they are moist and delicious come Christmas.

(Sorry about the additional five mentions of the word Christmas.  I won’t mention it again this post. Promise! If you liked this recipe, check out my gluten and grain free granola.  I’ve made two batches in the last month and I’m loving it mixed with yoghurt, dried fruit and fresh berries. Yummo!)

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