31.10.12

' Color Story - Pureed Pumpkin

Color story for pureed pumpkin with ghost and pumpkin cookies

Happy Halloween everyone!!!

There´s no better color than "Pureed Pumpkin" for Halloween, right?! Have a good evening with lots of treats!

We hope to see you on Friday - and as it is already coming up to November, we will have a new monthly theme! It is going to be all about fairy tales!




29.10.12

' Bake squirrel nibbles cookies for fall!

Recipe for squirrel nibbles cookies.

Hello everyone and welcome to a new week on our blog! 

Today we have a cookie recipe for you! We call them squirrel´s nibbles because they have nuts in them and are great to nibble for tea time - not only for squirrels but also for little tea time lovers! (oh and grown up ones, too - of course!). They are great to bake together with your kids because you an have them crush the cornflakes! 

Squirrel´s very favorite nibbles

3 egg whites
1 teaspoon lemon juice
120g sugar
150g plain cornflakes, crushed
100g ground almonds
75g chocolate, grated

Preheat your oven to 150°C.

Beat the egg whites until they are almost stiff, then drizzle in the lemon juice  and keep on beating until stiff. Slowly add the sugar and keep beating all the time until it is really stiff and all shiny! Now fold in the cornflakes, almonds and chocolate with a wooden spoon. Drop heaping teaspoons of dough onto baking paper.
Bake for 25 minutes. Let them cool for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let them cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar to serve!

We hope you enjoy these little cookie treats as much as we do! Oh and pssst - they would also make great treats for a Halloween party! Hopefully we will see you on Wednesday!



26.10.12

' Sew a magical gnomes placemat!

free sewing pattern and tutorial for a snowwhite inspired placemat with gnomes.


Hello and happy Friday!

Are you all ready for some sewing time during your weekend? I got a cute little project for you that is also the last part of our apple series. You need to know that we have a big love of everything fairy tale related so we figured we need to involve one fairy tale during our apple month October! So there we go - what comes to mind if you think fairy tales and apples? The poisoned apple that poor Snow White is being gifted with! But Snow White got seven amazing little friends with beards and funky hats - the dwarfs! This placemat features these seven fabulous guys and will complement any Snow White themed table setting for your little ones! 

Ready to start? - We certainly are!

Supplies:

fabric for the front and back of the placemat
iron-on interfacing
felt for the gnomes
fabric scraps for the hats
heat-and-bond
black embroidery floss for the gnomes´ faces
thin batting 
thread
fabric for the bias binding


Cut one rectangle measuring 11.5 x 9.5 inches of the fabric that you want to use for the front. I used a bright fabric with a tiny star print - we love stars and I thought it adds that little extra magic fairy tale-y touch to our placemat.
Cut one rectangle (11.5 x 9.5 inches) of iron-on interfacing.
Cut one rectangle (11.5 x 9.5 inches) of background fabric.
Cut one rectangle (11.5 x 9.5 inches) of thin batting.

According to the manufacturer´s instructions iron the iron-on interfacing onto the wrong side of your front fabric piece.

For the gnomes cut seven beards of white felt.
Using your template transfer seven face pieces onto the heat-and-bond and iron it onto the skin colored felt. Cut out the faces and have a play around with positioning them onto your placemat front. Once you are happy with your layout peel off the remaining heat-and-bond paper and iron the faces onto the fabric.



Using black thread carefully stitch all around your seven faces. 


Position a beard on each face and stitch along both sides as well as the top bit of the beard. Trim the bottom of the beards to match them with bottom edge of the fabric piece. 



Time to make the hats! I chose to make some of felt and some of fabric. Once again I used heat-and-bond. Position them how you like it best, iron them on and stitch around each hat.


For the faces you will need three strands of black embroidery floss. Stitch on eyes, nose and mouth on each of your gnomes.




Now that we have completed our placemat front we can treat ourselves to something sweet and then make our quilt sandwich!


Layer the batting between the fabric front and back, lining up all the edges and secure the whole thing with a few safety pins. Quilt as desired. I simply quilted a couple of stars. Our secret addiction - remember?! 






I also added some ribbon bits because I fell heavily in love with the apples and toadstool on the ribbon. If you want to add cute little embellishments as well make sure you layer them between the placemat front and the bias strip before you sew the bias binding on!

In fact - we need to make this bias binding now! 
Cut  a strip of fabric measuring 45 x 2.5 inches. Take that strip, fold it into half lenghtwise, wrong sides of fabric together and press with your iron. That´s all our ironing done already!
Starting at one side of your placemat align the raw edges of the strip with the raw edges of the quilt sandwich. Sew the strip on with a quarter inch seam allowance. Don´t start right at the end of your strip, but leave 4 inches unsewn.




If you come to your first corner, stop a quarter inch away from the corner, backstitch to secure the thread and cut off the thread.



Lay your placemat in front of you. Fold the binding up in a 45 degree angle, making sure it is in one line with the placemat´s raw edges.



Fold back down on itself and make sure that the folded edge matches the edge of your placemat, then secure with a pin. You just created a corner!



Now we just need to nestle the placemat back under the sewing machine needle and sew over that corner and along the edge. Don´t forget to backstitch on your start and ending points to secure that thread! Work all your corners in that same manner. 



When you get back to your starting edge do the following. Make the corner, but just sew down an inch or even less to secure it. Layer the unfinished bias strip on top of the "start tail" of your strip. We need both ends to overlap each other by half an inch. Measure that half an inch very exactly and trim off the excess of the binding.



Unfold both ends of the bias strip and pin together - right sides together. Sew together with a quarter inch seam allowance.



Fold the bias strip back in place and finish sewing it onto your placemat. This is the machine sewing part done already!



Let´s move on to hand stitching! What we do now is folding the binding from the front to the back. Make sure the binding covers the stitching line you just created with your sewing machine. Use pins to keep it in place. I usually only use one or two pins at a time because they always find it fun to catch my thread while I´m stitching, which is kind of annoying! Take some thread and a sewing needle. I usually use a pretty tiny whipstitch to stitch my binding on. When you get to a corner, the end from the side you are coming from goes under first, then cover with the end from the other side of your corner. Make sure the corner looks nice and neat on both sides!


This is how I bind my quilty stuff, there are tons of other tutorials out there on how to do that and you might find others more suitable for yourself, but this is how I do it.



And just in case you wondered...the black plate is a chalkboard plate. I simply took a very inexpensive plastic plate and covered it with two layers of chalkboard paint. This way Jamie can doodle along while she sits on the table! 



We hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that some of you make some placemats! Have a beautiful weekend and don´t let the Halloween preparations overrun you - at least not too much! 

24.10.12

' Color Story - Ivory

Owl cupcakes and chocolate spiders inspired by the color ivory.


Let´s talk about the color ivory! Today´s pick was totally inspired by this little fogy that has been haunting my mind for the last couple of weeks. He is a very sleepy woodland creature that will only open his eyes if you dangle him with a special treat!


His spider friends are a lot more adventurous! If you want to make them yourself, simply melt some dark chocolate, drop a little bit onto baking paper, "pull" out their legs by using a toothpick and push a black jelly bean on top it. Don´t forget to add tiny eyes!


We hope to see you on Friday for the last project of our apple themed month! It will have a great deal to do with this little guy here! Have a peek!


22.10.12

' Make some merit badges for fall!

Tutorial and template for fall inspired handstitched merit badges.

Hello everyone!

Let´s stitch some merit badges especially for fall! Can you remember - when you were little - how much fun and joy it was to receive a merit badge when you finished a task or did something really well? How proud you have been to show these these badges off? How you kept looking at them all the time because you were so very happy of having them pinned on? I do remember those times - so I thought it would be a lot of fun to give some to Jamie on one of our autumn walks through the woods! I can tell you, it was a huge hit with her! One look into her little face was worth every single second it took me to stitch them! So get your embroidery needle, gather you supplies and start stitching up these cuties for your loved ones! We have a template for two different badges. One is the "I love chestnuts" one, the other one is for little "tree huggers"!



Supplies:

embroidery floss
embroidery needle
scraps of fabric and felt
scraps of iron-on interfacing
safety pins

get your template here!

First transfer the image you want to embroider onto your fabric. I usually just hold it against a window and trace it, easy as pie! Then iron some interfacing onto the back of the fabric where you just traced your pattern! This will make embroidering so much more comfortable plus you won´t need a hoop to put your fabric in as the interfacing will make it sturdy enough to do nice and neat embroidery stitches! (this is very smart especially if you  - like myself - don´t have an embroidery hoop tiny enough to stick those scraps in, so I had to find another way on how to simplify my "embroider-on-teeny-tiny-scraps" life!)
Now stitch up your image! If you are making the chestnut, here is how I did the heart. 

Bring your thread through from the back to the front. This is where the bottom point of the heart will be. Now form a loop with your thread and push the needle through to the back, right next to where you just brought it to the front. Make sure you don´t pull the thread all the way through as we want to have that loop on the front to create one of the two halves of the little heart. Bring your needle back out to the front at the top point of the loop, stitching through within the loop and then push the needle back to the back catching the top of the loop. This way you will anchor the loop and it will stay exactly where you want it. 






Tadaa, this is the first half of your heart created!


Repeat these steps for the second half of the heart!



I used a simple backstitch for the chestnut outlines and a satin stitch for filling the chestnut tops.To fancy up the chestnuts I highlighted their round tops with a contrasting thread by doing the following. Bring the needle to the front right below the center of the first stitch. Then push your needle under the second stitch from the top to the bottom. Now bring the needle under the third stitch, but this time go from the bottom to the top. Go on working the needle through your stitches in this manner and go all the way around that little chestnut top. 




Once you have completed your embroidery you need to cut a circle of felt in the same size as the embroidered badge front. 



Lay the front onto the felt circle and start to work the edge by whipstitching around it.


Attach your safety pin to the back of the badge and you´re done! You can either just push the pin through or you can secure it with a few stitches. 



The tree hugger badge is worked in the same way, but only uses backstitch all the way along.


Now have fun rewarding your little ones with their very own merit badges and see you on Wednesday!

19.10.12

' Make Candy Apples and discover the secret about chestnuts!

recipe for chocolate caramel apples.

Happy Friday to all of you and welcome to part three of our apple themed month!

Today is going to be all about delicious caramel apples but give me a moment to show you the easiest craft to make with your little ones for some weekend fun! I am assuming that you all - just like us - have an overload of chestnuts this time of the year. So Jamie and I tried to think of a fun way how to use them...and we found out that chestnuts have a secret identity - they are chocolate cupcakes in disguise! 




To make your very own chestnut cupcakes you just need some acrylic paint in red and white. First give them a white cream topping and let dry, then paint a sweet little red cherry on top. That´s it! Easy as pie and it will keep your little people entertained for the day! Let your chestnuts sit in little muffin wrappers and pop them in a small box and you have the perfect bakery style play food ready to be played with in under half an hour! The kids can totally use them in their play kitchen or for tea parties with their dolls and softies! 



But now let´s move on to our main subject...delicious caramel apple goodness out of your own kitchen!




Ingredients for 4 smallish caramel apples

(I said "smallish" and my apples for making these usually are really small, because I find caramel apples to be very filling anyway and rather take small ones that you can actually finish than huge massive apples that will fill you up at half way.)

4 small apples 
110g sugar
1 Tablespoon water
a dash of lemon juice (about 1/4 teaspoon)
a dash of cinnamon
100g white chocolate, chopped
cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle (optional)
4 twigs

First you want to make sure that you got apples that don´t have a waxed skin. Wash them with hot water and dry them really well! Take your twigs and push them into the apples. This will take a bit of force, but believe me, they will eventually stick!

Put sugar, water and lemon juice into a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow it to caramelize. It should have a nice golden color. Add cinnamon if you like.
Take the pot off the heat and dip your apples into your delicious caramel. Keep turning them to make sure they are nicely covered with caramel all around. Let them drip off and then place on a baking sheet and allow to cool. Once cooled pop them in the fridge for about 20 minutes. 

In the meantime put the white chocolate into a bowl over a water bath and let it melt. Once it is melted take it off the water bath and let it cool down. You will notice that it will slightly thicken again, while it cools. Leave it to cool for a good ten minutes, then dip your apples into it. Once again keep turning the apples so they will be well covered in chocolate-y goodness all the way round. I like to let the caramel peek out on top. I just think it looks really cute if you do.
Sprinkle with some cinnamon and sugar if you like. 



If you missed out on the first two projects for our apple month you can read all about them here:

Fabric apples

Apple bunting

Have a happy weekend and we will hopefully see you on Monday!

17.10.12

' Color Story - Chocolate Truffle

Chocolate truffle inspired color collection and recipe for chocolate hedgehogs

Hello!

There we go...today´s color pick is called "chocolate truffle"! What a yummy color! I thought it might be fun to share a recipe with you. We didn´t make chocolate truffles, but we made chocolate hedgehogs! 


For six hedgehogs you will need:

100g of marzipan
25g of white chocolate, chopped
25g of dried cranberries, chopped
a dash of cinnamon (this is optional, but we love cinnamon!)
almonds, cut into small "sticks"
100g of milk or dark chocolate to dip your hedgehogs 

First we will put the milk (or dark) chocolate into a bowl over a water bath to melt it. While the chocolate is melting, we have time to knead together the marzipan, white chocolate, cranberries and cinnamon (if using). Once it is all nicely incorporated divide it into six balls and then shape it into hedgehogs. Stick almond pieces into the back of your hedgehogs for making the spikes. 




Now sit one hedgehog at a time on a teaspoon and dip into your melted milk (dark) chocolate, carefully turning it to make sure the marzipan body and spikes are completely covered. Doesn´t it just look beautiful all dressed up in a chocolate mantle?! Place it on a baking sheet to let it dry. Repeat for the 5 remaining hedgehogs. 


You will be surprised how quickly they are going to disappear! They would make such a fun treat for a fall table setting, for a kid´s woodland themed birthday party, on your Thanksgiving table or you can wrap them up nicely for a small gift! If you make them let us see!

They are also really nice with a white chocolate cover...see, you could totally use them for your Christmas table!