For Christmas Dinner I’ve gotten in the habit of having a little treat at each place. Usually the treat involves See’s candy and they’re wrapped in some cute way.
This year I made little paper pouches. They were really simple to make and using different papers would be easy to do for any season or a party.
I purchased 12″ sheets of scrapbooking paper at the craft store. The paper was cut into rectangles 5″ x 9″
The paper is turned over and the bottom edge is folded up 1/2″. I didn’t measure it, just eyeball. Exact isn’t required.
Then I used roll on adhesive along that folded edge. Glue stick would work as would double stick tape. Then fold the raw edge up to meet the fold and stick it together.
To close up the bottom of the bag I used my sewing machine. It was all threaded up with white thread so I just picked a simple zig zag and sewed the bottom edge shut. Any stitch would work. Or, skip the sewing and use a fancy tape. I had looked for white tape with visions of scalloping the edge in my brain but didn’t have any luck at the store.
You will want to line up the raw edges so that the seam is in the center of the bag.
Now, fill up the bag. Be sure to leave room to close the bag – that other edge needs to be closed too!
This year the bags hold a mix of chocolate balls and homemade salted caramels.
To seal the opening you’ll press the raw edges together the opposite direction as the bottom. Instead of the seam being along the center of the bag, it will twist and be along the side. This gives the treat bags a fun shape. I did have to “squish” the bags a bit to get them to fit under my sewing machine. When I was finished I just tugged on the raw edges of the bag a bit and they went back into shape.
Again, instead of sewing, tape could be used to seal the bag.
Before you know it, you’ll have a pile of bags for your party.
Have fun with these!
- – marcella
I’m behind a bit on posting about this book, but we’ve been baking over here.
These yummy cookies are simply a variation of the chocolate chip cookie recipe. Easy to mix up and bake.
Again, I baked “regular sized” cookies and the batch yielded 3 1/2 dozen rather than the recipes large cookies that makes just 6.
I did prefer these to the chocolate chip ones – they were less “flat” tasting since the lack of vanilla didn’t matter with the additional chocolate in there. These cookies went to a pot luck and disappeared pretty quickly.
Happy holiday baking!
- – marcella
With all the holiday wrapping and decorating and baking going on, there hasn’t been too much time for sewing. I was inspired by all the adorable tags that Kristyne and Amy have been posting each Wednesday this month. Finally, I could resist no longer and made one myself.
I used their pattern for the template. Rather than embroider the words on the ribbon, I used a technique a friend had just told me about: printing with an ink jet printer onto ribbon. Who even knew you could do that?
It was actually pretty straight forward, and even I whom electronics hate was successful on the first try. Just print out the words you want in the size and font you like onto plain paper. Place double stick tape on the back of the ribbon. Place the ribbon over the printing on the paper and smooth it down well. I used a credit card to rub over the ribbon. Then re-print. The directions I found online also suggested setting the printer to “transparency” for paper type so that less ink is used and the ink is less likely to smear.
Linking up today with those creative quilters at FreshlyPieced. Take a peek over there and see what they are all sewing this busy season.
- – marcella
I’m nearing the end of the ornament project. It’s looking like they’ll be finished in plenty of time to mail.
I also took a little time to sew up a dishtowel. I joined an on-line holiday treat exchange. We’re paired up and then send each other boxes of goodies – not all have to be homemade and not all have to be edible. A friend had shown me how to sew these a while ago and I thought adding one to the box would be nice.
The ones my friend made had a different cotton print on each side. I decided to buy basic white cotton bar towels for the back side. I pre-shrunk the towels – the 30″ square towels shrunk to 28″ square, so pre-wash if you go this route. The fabric and towel were cut together to measure 18″ x 26″. Measure your favorite dish towel and copy that, or perhaps your fabric will determine the finished size of towel.
First the long sides were sewn with 1/4″ seams and the rick rack was inserted. I did cut the trim an inch longer so I had a bit extending past the edge on each end.
Then one short side was sewn from edge to edge with a 1/4″ seam.
Next the second short side was sewn but this time leave an opening for turning the towel right side out.
Trim the corners at an angle to reduce the bulk, and turn the towel right side out. Pull the corners out neatly and press.
Hand sew the opening shut. Then top stitch around the outer edge of the towel. This will keep it from twisting when it’s washed.
Super easy gift and really cute! Now, back to ornament sewing for me.
Hop over to Freshly Pieced and see what everyone else has been working on this week.
- - marcella
It’s been a little cooler here and there’s even been some rain so the idea of hot chocolate has been having some appeal. What better to top off some hot chocolate than some homemade marshmallows?
The recipe from the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook is pretty straightforward. I don’t think there can be too much variation in a marshmallow recipe after all. Gelatin is softened – I used powered which I had rather than the sheets which the recipe called for. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as written. Egg whites whipped. Sugar syrup cooked. Then the syrup is poured into the egg whites while the mixer is running. Next the softened gelatin is added and beaten well. Pour it into a pan, cool, and cut into squares of puffy marshmallow.
It’s raining again today. I think that means it’s time for another mug of hot chocolate with homemade vanilla marshmallows.
Hope your baking is going well and you are warm and dry.
- – marcella
I’ve been sewing on noses. Lots of little, orange wool, carrot shaped noses.
I’ve been working on some ornaments to tuck into our Christmas cards. I’m getting pretty good at using the blanket stitch on my sewing machine. I’m really appreciating the knee lift!
Next comes the hats. Hope I can get these done in time for card mailing!
Visit some other quilters and see what they are working on this week.
- – marcella
We like lemon things around here. A lot of lemon recipes are tried out and not too many make the cut. The last time I tried a lemon muffin recipe it was in a magazine that got all scientific in their testing and declared that their recipe was the ultimate in lemony. Ick. Ultimate in chemically maybe but it was a terrible muffin.
This recipe looked really promising. No extracts, oils or flavorings. Just fresh squeezed lemon juice and lots of fresh lemon zest. They also have poppy seeds and a certain someone around here likes lemon combined with poppy seeds.
I have to say there were lots of differences with this recipe than the usual muffin. Even with that, it was really simple to put together. The muffin batter is chilled for 12 – 36 hours so I made the batter the night before. It’s a one bowl recipe and everything is mixed together with an immersion blender so it’s speedy quick and there are few dishes to wash. Rather than using a bowl, I mixed the batter in a round tupperware pitcher which has a nice lid for storing in the fridge.
In the morning I used my muffin scoop and portioned the batter into 12 regular sized muffins. Into the oven and then into our tummies. Yum!
These were truly lemony muffins. The texture was more cake like than muffin. They also kept well for a couple more days of breakfast and snacking treats. Definitely a recipe to be repeated around here.
Grab a copy of Bouchon Bakery and bake along with me.
- – marcella
This week we took a turn away from the sweet and made some bread.
I confess I made a few adjustments along the way and didn’t strictly follow the directions. Even though I strayed, the bread was still very delicious.
A few minutes are needed the night before to mix together a poolish. It is simply some flour and water and just a pinch of yeast all stirred together. This rests overnight and serves as a starter for the bread. In the morning it will be very bubbly and will have risen quite a bit.
The poolish is mixed with the flour, yeast and water to start the bread dough. Salt is added and everything is allowed to mix for quite a while. Then the dough rests and is given a series of folds to help develop the gluten.
This is where I strayed. The book directs to put the dough in a greased bowl and let rise for an hour and then carefully and gently move it to the counter where it is folded. Then the dough is put back into the bowl and this is all repeated two more times. I left the dough on the counter, covered it with the upturned bowl and when it was time to give things a fold, just moved the bowl over to the side out of the way. Much easier! I doubt it changed out the bread turned out but it sure saved me some work.
Next the dough is divided into two and shaping begins. Here I forgot to weight the dough so my loves are not precisely the same size. I don’t think that those of us who ate it particularly cared. They weren’t off enough that it affected baking time. The loaves are then placed in linen to rise.
Somewhere I have a length of linen that I paid too much money for at a baking shop. I’m sure it will turn up when I do not need it. It was no where to be found when I did. Instead I used my canvas pastry cloth and it worked perfectly well. The picture highlights how much practice I need on my loaf shaping, but with all the recipes yet to go I’m sure I’ll get better at it.
Into the oven went the baking stone and in my case a heavy cast iron skillet. The book directs that for the best steam to fill a baking sheet with 10 pounds of river rock and some heavy chain from the hardware store and let that heat in the oven. I can hear you laughing but I swear it’s true. I did not have the time nor inclination to go to the hardware store and frankly my garage doesn’t need the addition of chain and rocks in between baking sessions. I went with my skillet. Much less thermal mass but a better trade off for me.
After the loaves were risen and (poorly) scored – another task I really need tips or practice or something to improve – they went into the oven and water was tossed into the heavy cast iron skillet making quite the cloud of steam. I donned a good oven mitt and poured the water into the pan from a measuring cup. The directions called for a super soaker water gun. I suspect my son may have one boxed downstairs with the rest of the outgrown toys, but I didn’t go hunting.
In spite of my corner cutting we ended up with some very good bread to go with our dinner. The crust had a really good color and while it wasn’t as thin as a bakery (likely because of my laziness regarding rocks and chains) it was fairly thin and crisp and the bread had a good texture.
I’m having a lot of fun baking through the Bouchon Bakery book. I am having trouble deciding what to try next as there are so many tempting things to choose from. Come back next Friday and see what we baked.
- – marcella
This week I went for a standard – the chocolate chip cookie. We were headed to a pot luck and thought a batch to share would be a nice addition to the meal.
There were a few twists with these cookies that made them different from the usual recipe. Molasses is added to the creamed butter and sugars. I confess that I’m not a huge fan of molasses. The flavor can be pretty overwhelming. In fact, in tasting the raw dough I thought the flavor of molasses was definitely too strong. However, once baked it was not overwhelming at all.
The cookie also has a mixture of chocolate pieces which melt into the cookie and chips which retain their shape. I really liked the mix.
Finally there isn’t any vanilla and I confess I missed it. If I make these again I’m adding some into the cookie. I thought it was a little flat without it.
The cookbook warns that they love BIG cookies. One batch makes 6 cookies. Clearly not enough for us to share. Instead I made these using a small cookie scoop. This yielded 3 1/2 dozen cookies.
Kind of sobering when you think one cookie baked according to the recipe would equal 7 regular sized cookies – yikes! More scary if I’m honest with myself that I would eat more than one giant cookie in a sitting!
Get a copy of the book and bake along with me.
- – marcella
This week I’ve been trying to make some progress on my hand work projects.
Three of the basket blocks got the embroidery added. This one you haven’t seen before:
It’s the August block. There are heart shaped buttons that will be sewn on the top of each cupcake and in the center of the leafy garland. Those will be sewn on after quilting.
I’ve also tried to spend a little time each day working on that Thanksgiving quilt that will never be finished. If I’m being generous, I’d estimate that this second panel is 1/3 of the way complete.
Hope your quilting week is productive too!
- – marcella