In my quest for eating better it’s hard to abstain from certain favorite foods.
A staple in my diet has always been bread. I love german bread, the crunchy crusts and the rich taste (seriously, you have to try german bread!).
As a result of my changed diet however I’m trying to stay away from gluten, lactose (often added to bread) and empty carbs as much as possible.
I had already switched to grain/seed bread but I wanted to try and see if I could find a recipe for baking a nice grain bread at home. I love baking at home and it would give me full control over the ingredients. I looked up some recipes and found a winner quickly!
I deviated very little from the original recipe but since the source is in German, here’s my translation:
500ml lukewarm water
600g flour ( I used half whole spelt flour, half normal spelt flour)
200g seed of your choice (I use a mix of oats, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and flax seeds / linseed)
1 teaspoon sugar (can be substituted with honey or other sweeteners)
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages dry yeast (in german packages that would be enough for 1000g flour)
Dissolve yeast in the warm water with the sugar. Add the flour, seeds and salt. Mix throroughly (the dough is quite wet) and let rise for 30 minutes. Form into a bread shape or fill a loaf pan with the dough and bake at 200°C (ca. 400°F) for 45-60 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Yes, it really is that easy!
Let the bread cool before cutting and enjoy a filling homemade bread!
So why is this better than storebought bread?
a. The taste of freshly baked bread is divine
b. I used spelt flour instead of wheat flour. Spelt flour is not gluten free but it is much easier to digest than wheat for most people. I also like the taste better.
c. No additives, no added lactose
d. You get to choose the seeds you like best in your bread
The recipe resulted in quite a large bread, so I froze half of it and ate the other half within 6 days. I don’t know how long it keeps but it was fine for the week.
Ultimately I want to try making my own sourdough starter but right now this recipe feels like a great start!
It seems at a certain age all your girlfriends start getting pregnant. Which in turn gives me an opportunity to think up handmade gifts for them and their babies! Cue this little star pillow I made for a friend’s baby boy:
Inspired by star pillows on Etsy I decided to make my own. It’s a nice little evening project.
Draw a star form on paper in the size you want your pillow to be, add seam allowances and cut your template. Cut two pieces from contrasting fabric. I chose some green fabric I had in my stash which also makes it gender neutral.
I also added a stitched face to make it look friendlier. The lines are drawn on with a pencil and then stitched with embroidery floss.
Sew with right sides together, leaving an opening in one of the star legs. Ahem, yes my stars were cut pretty roughly and don’t fit together perfectly. Just cut away any excess fabric once you’re done sewing. I chose to handsew because a. I love me a little handsewing on the couch and b. I couldn’t be bothered to get the sewing machine up for just a few seams.
Clip the corners and curves and turn the pillow inside out. Stuff with polyfill and handsew the opening shut. Et voilà! A sweet, handmade baby gift made in one evening.
Done, my first knitted cardigan is officially finished!
Can you tell I’m excited? I absolutely loved knitting this, it was a great evening project to have on hand while watching a series (soo hooked on Game of Thrones).
Started in late December it took just two months to complete. I’d been meaning to knit a cardigan for years but considered it beyond my skills. Why do we always let fear keep us from just jumping in? The Shapely Boyfriend cardigan turned out to be a very easy, straighforward pattern and an enjoyable knit. Not to mention I love the result!
My Ravelry Project page.
I knit the size 34 on Drops Nepal yarn in this lovely butterscotch yellow colorway. My knitting got looser after starting on the body and I worried the cardigan would turn out to be too big. My stokinette back and forth knitting is also much more uneven than when I knit on DPNs. Thankfully both issues were improved by washing and blocking and while it is a tiny bit big I’m completely in love with it!
I’m now a sweater knitting convert, I had so much fun making this that I can’t wait to start my next cardigan or sweater. I’ve been browsing patterns on Ravelry for days, trying to decide on my next project.
Buying natural clothing has been my goal for years. Cotton, silk or viscose shirts are not hard to find, but real wool sweaters is another matter. Wool is not only a natural fiber it also keeps warmer than synthetic fibers, important for me as I get cold so easily in winter. Finding that I can just knit my own is such a revelation!
The only changes I made to the pattern was to shorten it by about 10 rounds and to space the buttonholes more evenly between the ribbing (as a result it has only 6 buttons instead of 7)
One of the things I love about having an Etsy shop is connecting with other artists and makers. The sense of community at Etsy is wonderful!
Having an online shop and working away for it at home can be a bit isolated and I find some of the teams incredibly helpful.
Up to now I’ve only been part in online teams and respective Facebook pages, but recently a team has formed in my hometown. It’s so nice to be able to meet in person and connect to people who know the unique challenges of selling in Germany.
Last december I had a photoshoot with two of the team members in a lovely studio space.
Manja from kandatsu sells beautiful handmade baby clothing. See her full photoshoot *here*.
Christiane from Nanoe’s Welt makes personalized stationary and candle covers. See her full photoshoot *here*.
I buy handmade whenever possible and documenting the process of things made by hand has been a real joy. Seeing and capturing all the little steps until a product is complete has really made me realize their value once again.
I had been thinking about getting a tablet for some time. Seeing as I still don’t have a smartphone I though it would be a nice on-the-go addition to my heavy laptop. So when Lauren got one and made a lovely case for hers and gave me a ton of great advice I just had to get one too! And the first thing I did was make a sleeve cover for it of course 🙂
I got some inspiration online and wanted to make something easy but functional.
Here’s what you need:
– felt in two colors
– needle and thread
– a big button
– some elastic
– fabric paint (optional)
First, measure your tablet and determine the size of your sleeve (I recommend adding 1/4″ seam allowance at each side as well as 1/4″ at the bottom). Cut all felt pieces to the correct size and lay on top of each other in the color combination you like and sew on three sides.
I initially wanted to sew it together by machine but the felt shifts a lot and in the end it was easier to just stitch it together by hand.
If you sew by hand make sure you double your thread for more stability. Make sure the layers stay precisely on top of each other and do not shift.
Sew a button on the front and determine the length of your elastic (it will be sewn to the back side on the inside of the sleeve). If you want the elastic to be a coordinating color you can paint it with fabric paint.
Sew on the elastic and admire your pretty new tablet sleeve!
Now for the tablet: I love it! I got the Google Nexus 7 (like Lauren, but I really did read some tests and comparisons online and it was the best by far). It has email, facebook, pinterest and google reader and I just love coming home late in the evening and not having to get out the big laptop but instead going straight to bed and just doing some blog reading and looking at pretty pictures on the tablet.
I also got an app for taking notes and using MS Office, so I can work with it as well. I have small hands so the 7″ size is perfect for me.
I guess I just got cool again 😉
It’s that time of the year again where there are elderberry bushes in bloom at every corner. These bushes (or sometimes trees) grow wild pretty much everywhere around here and it always amazes me that hardly anyone knows what they are or “uses” them.
I made elderberry syrup two years ago but found that we didn’t use the rich syrup very often. So this year I wanted to try the lighter version – syrup from the flowers to add to cold drinks.
Making elderflower syrup is very easy, as attested by the fact that I made it between working late and hurrying off to yoga class on a monday evening.
You’ll need a couple (maybe 20-30 at max) elderflower heads, lemons (I used three), sugar and plain water.
I think everyone makes their syrup differently, but here’s how I did it: I stripped the flowers off the plant as well as I could, placed them in a pot and covered them with water. It’s important not to wash the flowers before or you’ll lose the pollen that makes the syrup so yummy.
I left the flowers to soak in the water overnight (this also gives the creepy crawlies time to escape) and then strained the now bright-yellow water through a coarse sieve first and through cheesecloth afterwards. Somewhere in between I added the juice from the three lemons
Now you could use that water to make the syrup right away but I didn’t want to boil it long in case it lost flavour. So instead I boiled down 1 litre of plain water with about 1.5-2kg sugar until it thickened into a nice sticky syrup, then added the elderflower water and brought the mixture back to the boil for a short time.
Now all that’s left is fill the hot syrup into canning jars and bottles (I usually give them a spin in the dishwasher first or, as in this case, sterilize them in boiling water). And you’re done!
The syrup is very sweet and the flavour is heavenly. Add to ice water on a hot day and enjoy.
So much for my high-flying plans to try out new things in sewing this spring! I always fall back on old favourites it seems…Wiksten patterns just fit me great and the tulip skirt is such a classic piece that I just had to make a summer version (see the winter version in corduroy here).
The fabric is a lightweight linen-rayon mix. Perfect for warm days.
To shake things up a bit I added pockets and a contrasting waistband inside.
I love this pattern…simple and easy and yet so neat with all the handsewn seam finishes. I also love how it sits at my natural waist, which I know suits me.
I hope Jenny decides to make more patterns in future, I can’t wait to sew them up!
I love doing things, being out and about, seeing new stuff, learning new techniques. But especially in winter I also love, and need, quiet weekends at home.
Sewing kitchen towels (need to take proper pictures soon) and baking bread
Putting the first seeds in the ground and preparing the first of many containers (I have a pretty chaotic excel sheet that combines my research on what goes with what and when each should be planted, I will spare you the sight). Saving space is definitely an issue with all I’m wanting to plant this year so each container will hold 2-3 plants that go well together. First out in soil this weekend were fava beans. I felt mean putting the seeds out in the cold but the package specifically says to put them in the ground mid February, so I guess they can take it. No pictures of that, I figured a container full of soil isn’t very interesting to look at.
We made progress on the lid of our seed starting light box (which may or may not work, it’s definitely an experiment).
A colleague of my boyfriend’s is going to solder the led-lights in and I hope to get started with starting next weekend 🙂
Other than that, a movie, lots of hot tea, some knitting, some online shopping (a vintage map and fabrics for a new dress project, to be shared soon) and some more taking it easy.
On sunday, a long and relaxed ride out with the ponies.
And topping that off, a fun and cozy dinner out with family.
Perfect and needed and too short.