Friday, February 17, 2012

Sweet Stitches From The Heart - Cross Stitched Linen Tea Towel

I recently discovered a wonderful shop called Est located in Auburn Road, Hawthorn which is filled with lovely goodies like linen, hand carved wooden stamps and twine. I bought a Russian linen tea towel which was just begging to be embellished!

I used waste canvas for the first time, and was a little apprehensive as I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to remove the canvas once the cross stitch was complete. Never fear! Just spray some water to soften the canvas, fray the fibres and use tweezers to remove the strands. It couldn't be easier so now I'm thinking of all the things I could cross stitch with waste canvas!

The pattern is from Sweet Stitches from the Heart by Agnes Delage-Calvey and Anne Sohier Fournel who can do no wrong when it comes to cross stitch patterns.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Betty Crocker's Whoopie Pie

The Australian's monthly Wish magazine (which is always filled with gorgeous male models - but that's not why I read it... really) compiled a list of trends to look out for in 2012. Shock horror - cupcakes and macarons are out, and whoopie pies are in so I had to see what the fuss is all about.

I have quite a few whoopie pie recipes from Hummingbird Bakery's Cake Days which calls for marshmellow fluff which I haven't been able to find in Melbourne, so I settled for Betty Crocker's Whoopie Pie mix even though I am a bit of a snob when it comes to pre-packaged mixes.

The instructions are easy to follow and all you need is water, oil and one egg for the cake mix, and milk for the filling to complete the whoopie pies.

Verdict: the cake had a rich chocolate flavour, but I was a bit underwhelmed with the filling but overall, a quick and easy treat to make.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lychee Jelly

I bought Mum a copy of Rachael Lane's Wobble 35 Tantalising Jellies after she saw a write up about it in Good Taste magazine. The cover is indeed very tantalising so we made lychee jelly using titanium strength gelatin sheets (seriously, that's how gelatin is classified) which I bought from Leo's of Kew.

I was going to use individual moulds, but thought these glasses from IKEA worked just as well. The recipe is quick and easy, and the jelly tasted great - two enthusiastic thumbs up!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cross Stitched Bamboo Baskets

I like cross stitching especially small motifs that take just a few hours (well in the stitching world, a "few" could mean at least 10 hours) to complete, but I'm sometimes at a loss at what to do with the completed pieces. Being a practical gal who likes to make not only lovely but useful things, these great bamboo baskets with flip top lids from a Japanese variety store called Tokuya is a great way to display my cross stitch.

Cut a piece of cardboard slightly smaller than the lid, and glue a thin piece of wadding to the cardboard. Neatly fold the cross stitch fabric to the cardboard, and glue the cardboard to the basket lid. Nothing is compete without my signature bow!

The cupcake motifs are from a Japanese cross stitch book, and the toadstool and cherries is from Rico Designs' "Stickereien fur die Kuche".

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Homemade Apricot Jam

It hasn't been a good season for apricots, but Mum managed to buy a few kilos from a stall at Victoria Market last weekend. The recipe is from the Australian Women's Weekly's The Book of Preserves (like the plum jam we made a few weeks ago) and we've made this jam for the past 10 years so it works.

25 medium (1kg) apricots
1 1/2 cups water
5 cups (1 1/4 kg) sugar

Halve apricots and discard stones. Combine apricots and water in large saucepan, bring to boil, simmer, covered for about 15 minutes or until apricots are soft.

Measure fruit mixture, allow 1 cup sugar to each cup of fruit mixture.

Return fruit mixture and sugar to saucepan, stir over heat, without boiling, until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil, boil, uncovered without stirring for about 15 minutes until jam jells when tested. Pour into hot sterilised jars; seal when cold. Makes about 5 cups