Friday, August 17, 2012

Quick Three-Grain Brown Bread

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rye flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt
2/3 cup maple syrup, molasses, or barley malt syrup
2 Tablespoons canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9- by 5- by 3-inch loaf pan.
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir together.
3. Mix the rest of the ingredients in another smaller bowl and whisk until smoothly blended.
4. Pour the wet ingredients to the dried one and stir to get an homogeneous batter.
5. Put the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
6. Once down, let it cool in a rack.

The recipe makes 1 loaf and about 12/14 slices.

What do I think about this recipe?
It is an easy recipe to make and perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The bread is very moist. So you can have it with or without butter or spread. The combination of the tree grains makes an interesting brown color. The darker the syrup, the darker the bread. It smells wonderful. Depending on the type of syrup that you use you will get a different flavor. Using the maple syrup, you can serve this bread for any types of meal. However, I would recommend to have the bread made with molasses for breakfast for its strong sweet flavor. I have not tried the recipe with the barley malt.

This recipe is from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas

Monday, August 13, 2012

Homemade Fabric Gift Bags

- A Nice and Sweet Personal Touch -

Back in February, I was ready to send a present (clothes) for the birth of my second cousin (a little girl) to France and did not like the wrapping, not even one little bit, in the box. It looked crumpled. I tried to see if it looked better in a paper gift bag with some silk paper but the bag looked crushed in the box as well. Nothing could not feet the box nicely. Wrapping clothing is like wrapping an odd shape box.

So, I had the idea to make a fabric gift bag. I had some nice fabric that I could use to create this project with some miscellaneous sewing items, and  lots of imagination to personalize each bag.

- Bags for Girls -
  • My First Bag (March 2012)
The First Bag that I made.

To make this first bag, it took my a long time. I am doing better in that area and I have been more creative.

I added a small yellow plastic clothe pin to the bag to attach the card. Looking at the picture below that I took when my project was finished, it does not look nice with this big card hanging. I will have to find smaller cards.

  • 4 Square Patchwork-Button Holes Bag (January 2013)
Rectangular Bag for Alexias
This bag is so long and wide that you can put a folded blanket, clothes, books, and toys.

Light blue, pink and yellow pieces of fabric with patterns (small white flowers and bigger soft blue and pink flowers with black outline), white thread, and a pink ribbon (3/8 inch wide).

Dimensions of the box-bottomed bag:
Length: 12 inches, depth: 6 inches, and width: 17.5 inches

The Design:
Pattern of the bag
- Pieces of fabric organization (finished bag): see picture
- I sewed 4 squares of 2.75 inches next to each other following the following combination: yellow, blue pink, and yellow, and placed them in an horizontal line in the middle of the bag (front side).

- The hem for the ribbon is right at the top of the bag and is around 1.25 inches wide. In the middle of the hem on front of the bag, I made 2 buttons holes 3/8 inch a part from each other and 5/8 inch long.

Tag: On the patchwork, I pinned a name tag on the bag "Pour Alexias". I traced over a key that I had from the baby gift bags from Lucas baby shower and birth presents. You can use a duck, a tee shirt, and a flower. I traced over some strong paper with simple pattern, cut and erased the marks of the pencil. Then, I made a hole with a puncher, slid a ribbon, and wrote "Pour Alexias" or "To Alexias". Finally, I pinned the tag on the bag with a safety pin. The bag is ready.

  • Gift Bag with Matching Bib (May 2012) 

I used the exact same 3 pieces of fabric and pattern as the first bag. I just ended up sawing it differently. The yellow piece of fabric is sewn to the blue piece of fabric on both sides compare to sewing the yellow piece of fabric on the top of the blue piece of fabric.
"S" for Sarah

I made a monogram applique using the yellow piece of the fabric used for the bag to personalize this bib with pink edging. embellished the bib and re-gifted it. We had a boy and this bib was sitting in the closet. 

  • A Heart Theme for My Third Bag (June 2012)

This bag was made for the big sister of Sarah. I did not want to make something only for the new baby girl. So I made something a bit different.  

I used two different pieces of fabric for the bag and made a monogram applique as well as above in pink, standing for Solemnia. 

For this bag, I cut 3 white pieces of fabric and 3 red that I sewed alternatively. So you have opposite pieces of fabric as you turn the bag. I did not take any pictures but you can see the pattern on the bottom left side of the bag. The monogram is only on one side of the bag.

- Bag for a Boy -
Bag for Mail

  • Button Design Bag (September 2012)

This bag was made to wrap some newborn clothing. I only used 2 pieces of fabric for the bag, created a simple design playing with shapes and added some buttons.

Close up at the button's design.

The bag is ready for a long trip... 

The bag is in the box and ready to be mailed. I added a small card that I twisted on one of the buttons. A small card looks way better based on my previous remark.

I am planning to make more bags for Christmas present this year. Check for a new post in the month of December and here is the link: 2012 Christmas Present Bags

Friday, August 10, 2012

Small Bean Bags for Tossing - Tutorial

*** CrAzY bEaN bAgS ***

A couple of month ago, I was surfing the net looking for some craft ideas and came across this project of square mini bean bags from Art Nest . It gave me the idea to sew several "bean" bags of different colors, shapes, and textures. What a perfect project for our little guy! We will use those for awhile to learn colors and shapes, and have fun with the texture to explore our senses, especially touch.

Fabric colors (Plain): white, rose, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, and black
Textures: rice, lentils, wood mulch, sand, corn kernels, beans. 
=> I tried coffee beans in a bag but the smell was too strong, even through the fabric.
Shapes: square, rectangle, oval, circle, heart, croissant moon, star, rhombus and pentagon.

Storage: I kept a small shoe box to put all 9 shapes away. I took a pictures of the shapes, printed 2 pictures (1 big and 1 small) with a label, and taped them on the box (1 on the top and 1 on the side). 

Time: From the time to collect the fabrics, textures, and templates, this project took me over a month. Considering that I only worked on it less than 1 hour and ounce of twice a week.

Right now, someone is happy to play or should I say threw them in house. He likes to use the croissant moon to pretend that he wears glasses.

- A Bag in the Making Tutorial- 

After cutting the template of a pentagon on paper (31/4 inches), I placed the template on the top of the fabric (on the inside out) and traced around it. I pinned  a second piece of fabric underneath the one with the traced pentagon. Both right side should be facing. I pinned both pieces of orange fabric to make sure that they will not move when I will be sewing. So, I saw on the line. I started in the middle of the line, went all around the line of the template and stopped around 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches from where I started to assure that I will have enough room to twist the inside fabric out to be on the correct side. I made knots with the thread where I started and kept a long piece of thread (5-6 inches) to closed the fabric sewing by hand.

I ironed the bag. It got wrinkly after pulling the correct side of the fabric out.

I stuffed the inside of the pentagon with corn kernels this time (see above) about 3/4 of the bag. 

Afterward, it was time to saw again. I threaded my needle with the extra thread (from the sewing machine). I passed the needle twice on 1 side of the fabric, pulled the thread all the way and started the same process on the other side. I made sure to have very little space between each sewing to secure the corn kernels or beans   to go with the above picture. I kept sewing until I reached the opening was totally and surely closed. 

And Voila! A Nice Pentagon!