Tuesday, November 27, 2012

recycled coffee bean sack tree skirt

Hey, here's a project you can make with all those pretty coffee sacks over in my Etsy "supplies" shop (you can also check out a past project here).

A reversible coffee bean sack Christmas tree skirt! It's not too tough, just a little cut and sew.

I started with a vintage sheet with a vaguely woodgrain-ish pattern for the flip side. A twin size will do.

You'll need two standard coffee sacks for this project. When you get them, take out the stitching to make two large panels.

I used a permanent marker tied to a two-foot length of string as a compass to trace semi-circles on each panel. You'll want to zig-zag or serge the edge of each panel.

You'll probably find you're happier if you treat the sheet the same way, cutting two semi-circles instead of one big circle. It's easier to handle the compass when you're not trying for an entire circle, and it leaves you the right amount of seam allowance at the slit.

Cut out the centers and zig-zag the new edge.

After stitching the two burlap halves together on one center seam only, do the same for the backing.

(Please excuse the lack of photographs for this next part; it's exactly like sewing a pillow case.) With right sides together, stitch the burlap and sheeting together around all edges with a 1/4-inch seam allowance, leaving an eight-to-twelve-inch space to turn it all inside out.

Turn it inside out, pin and press flat, and reinforce by stitching all edges.

Depending on the sheet you use for the flip side, you can get really Christmas-y, or leave it more neutral so that BOTH sides can be used with any color scheme.

You could dress this project up with rickrack, ribbon, or trim. I'll leave that to you. This one, I kept simple.

Of course, if you'd rather buy than make this close to Christmas, you can always jump over to my Etsy shop and snap this one up! Or start collecting supplies now; this project is pretty quick (maybe three hours, total) so you totally have time to order your coffee sacks and still get it stitched up weeks before Christmas. Use the code "CAFECHRISTMAS" at checkout to get a 25% discount on all coffee sacks in my supplies shop between now and December 25th.

But enough about me; what are you working on for the holidays? Any big projects you're trying to tackle?

Thanks for reading!

p.s. you can make these photos larger just by clicking on them, but you probably already knew that.

Linking up to:

Visit thecsiproject.com

Saturday, November 24, 2012

homemade thanksgiving pretzels

My kiddo has a deep, abiding love for our red KitchenAid mixer. I hadn't planned to do much baking for Thanksgiving, but he made a special request to bake today, so we got the mixer down and pulled out the old BHG New Cook Book intending to make rolls . . . and somehow ended up deciding on pretzels instead.

And since kiddo wants everything to be green lately, he asked for food coloring to be added while we were kneading the dough.

Recipe similar to the one in the cook book can be found on the Better Homes & Gardens website.

Combine 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour and a package of active dry yeast in mixer bowl.

In saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups of 1% milk, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt and whisk until warm (between 120 and 130 degrees F).

Add warm milk mixture to flour + yeast in mixer bowl; beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.

Add up to 3 cups of all-purpose flour. (I used my white paddle attachment rather than the whisk attachment to my mixer for this step.)

Turn onto floured surface, add food coloring, and knead for 6—8 minutes. Roll into a ball then place in a greased bowl. Make sure top of ball is greased too, then cover with a towel and let rise for 75—90 minutes (till double in size).

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Punch dough down, then leave on a floured surface and let rest for 10 minutes.

Start a pot to boiling 3 quarts of water + 2 tablespoons of salt.

Roll dough into a 12x20 inch rectangle, then use a pizza cutter to cut 20 half-inch strips.

Twist into pretzel shapes, then bake on greased baking sheets for 4 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees F.

Boil partially-baked pretzels in water for 2 minutes, flipping once, then drain on a towel. After putting back on baking sheet, brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Taa-dum! These are best hot from the oven.

Here's hoping your Thanksgiving was a happy one, American readers! Happy Thursday, everyone else!

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

fozzie wozzie woz a bear . . .

We actually did a Muppets trifecta for Halloween this year, and since Christmas seems to be rushing up at a crazy pace, I wanted to make sure to get a Fozzie Bear post up sooner rather than later.

The basics are pretty similar to my method for building Kermit the Frog, so you can follow along over on that post. It all starts with a baseball cap with the bill removed.

Add a foam structure.

Cover with furry felt.

Add features in felt and fake fur. To make the eyes more 3-dimensional, I put the bowls of plastic spoons under each one before hot gluing to the head.

The most frightening step of opening my work back up to attach the nose (another felt-covered foam ball, like Kermit's eyes).

All done!

And here we all are! Fozzie, Kermit, and the Swedish Chef. I'm hoping to get a tutorial up sometime for the apron and chef's hat; stay tuned!

So relieved to finally have Fozzie posted. Phew! It's been a real bear. Bu-dum-bum!

Thanks for reading. Do you have any tardy posts you've been meaning to make? Let me know in the comments below, or heck, make the posts and link to them! I love visiting your (non-spam) links.