30 September 2013

A Scarf in the Park

Hello! I hope you all had a delightful weekend. Today, I'll take you on a trip to the park.

Let's do a flashback to summer, when the hydrangeas were still beginning to bloom.

When the weather was just right for flip flops and tank tops and hanging out on the grass.

We're in Madison Square Park where every summer, there's an art installation on display. This summer featured Orly Genger's "Red, Yellow and Blue".

Re-purposed fisherman's rope, hand-knotted and painted in primary colors by the artist, snaked through the park.

From a distance, the installation looked like three gigantic knitted scarves {one red, one yellow and one blue} wrapped around the trees and bushes. Once up close, you'll want to touch it {you certainly could} and it will surely make you think, "How did she do this?"

I really enjoyed this piece of art, something both young and old can relate to. I also like how much thought and hard work was put into it, and that there's recycling involved {and you know how much I like that}. My only issue was that I could not capture the piece in one photo -- it was massive!

If you're curious, you can read more about the installation here, here and you can find more pictures here and here.

Have a nice day!

27 September 2013

Humble Beginnings

We didn't do any crafting this week, but I do hope that you found inspiration in the quotes I shared. Here's a particular one that I truly love -- where humble beginnings are the start of great things:

Start, Use, Do
via design milk

Have a nice weekend, friends!

26 September 2013

No Worries

If you're going through some blahs, my wish is that they will turn into TADAs!

Don't worry... About a thing...
via Pinterest

25 September 2013

Yes You Can!

I love the graphic design of this quote and its message of course:

via Pinterest
Here's to the fruition of all of our dreams!

23 September 2013

Happy Autumn

I'm taking a little break from crafting this week, but let me leave you with a few words to live by:

via Event Lucky

20 September 2013

A Strawberry Pin Cushion

Hello and happy Friday!

To end our strawberry-themed week, why don't we make a strawberry pin cushion. It's simple to make, no sewing machine necessary.

I'm using felt from my craft stash. Fabric scraps {even if they're not in traditional strawberry colors} are a wonderful blah to TADA! option.

Cut a circle from the fabric. This one is 4 1/2 inches in diameter.

Cut the circle in half. We will be able to make two strawberries with this.

Trim the base of each half circle at a 10 degree angle. 

Take one half circle and stitch on a bunch of French knots with yellow embroidery floss. This step is optional; I just wanted to make the strawberry as lifelike as possible.

Then, with needle and thread, make a running stitch close to the curve of the half circle. Let the leftover thread dangle, which we'll come back to after this step:

Fold the half circle at the center, wrong-side facing out. Sew the open ends together with a back stitch and finish with a knot.

Turn the half circle inside out to look this -- a cone shape.

Fill the cone with fiber fill {Martha Stewart uses sand which helps keep pins and needles sharp}. The fiber fill I used comes from an old pillow {TADA!}. Once the stuffing is in place, gently tug on the loose thread to close the top of the cone.

Knot the ends of the thread and reinforce with more stitches using needle and thread to fully close the top of the strawberry.

With a piece of green felt and a pair of scissors, make a "cap" for the strawberry. 

Secure the cap to the strawberry with needle and thread. 

And here we have it, mini pin cushions for any mini or maxi sewing project.

Have a delightful weekend, darlings!

19 September 2013

Thumbprint Cookies

One of the things I absolutely love are beautiful cookbooks.

This is my latest acquisition.

It's named after a lovely bakeshop in San Francisco creating traditional American cakes and confections. 

The shop is a pastel palace, as seen in this picture from the book.

One of the darling details of the cookbook are its scalloped edges!

I'm trying out these thumbprint cookies, buttery bites with a jam filling.

Of course I'm using the "No Cook Strawberry Jam" I proudly made.

Here is the dough made from flour, baking powder, salt, unsalted butter, sugar, vanilla extract {I omitted the almond extract} and an egg.  

The cookies are formed with a teaspoon and are rolled into marble-sized balls. These are placed on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper.

These are baked at a 350 degree oven for 12-14 minutes.

Make a dimple at the center {traditionally with your thumb but if the dough is too hot, use the back of a teaspoon}. Add the jam and let these cool on a rack. 

A sweet treat that turns any day from blah to TADA!

18 September 2013

Strawberry Jam and Scones

Well hello there! Yesterday, I tried my hand at making some strawberry jam. It was quite effortless with only three ingredients, no cooking and no jar sterilization involved. 

Here's what the jam looks like after I let it sit in the fridge. 

I'm pretty happy with the thickness and how strawberry pulp peeks through the gel.

It was luscious on the the tongue, but I found it a little too sweet for my taste {I wonder, for the next time I make it, if it's possible to decrease the amount of sugar without the consistency being affected}.  

With the heightened sweetness factor aside, it was full-on strawberry flavor!

Strawberry jam served on some homemade scones {made by my husband!}.  Of course we didn't forget the clotted cream and the cup of tea.

This brought us back to our trip to the Cotswolds last year...a TADA! memory in our book.

17 September 2013

No Cook Strawberry Jam

I have always wanted to try making my own jams and jellies. Making my own food, pouring these in jars, and lining them up on a shelf to give away or store for the winter months sound very appealing to me.

Especially when there is an abundance of produce, like these strawberries, at the market. However, I'm quite intimidated by the traditional canning process. "What is the proper way to sterilize jars and lids?", "How do I know if I've reached the right consistency?" are just the beginning of my endless list of questions. So blah. I think I need to take a class. But for now, I'll settle for this quick jam-making process:

I found these freezer jars at the supermarket. Sure, they're not as romantic as mason jars but because they're made of plastic {BPA-free!}, sterilization will be eliminated from the process {I would suggest washing these thoroughly before use}. 

These jars and lids can also be used over and over again, not just for jam making but for storing snacks and beverages.  

The package gives the recipe for a no cook strawberry jam. The fuss-free process sealed the deal -- I bought these freezer jars immediately!

I also gathered the ingredients like Instant Pectin {make sure it's "Instant" because there are different kinds like "Classic", "Liquid" and "Low Sugar"}.

Sugar and strawberries {crushed} are the only other ingredients we need.

Mix sugar and Instant Pectin in a bowl. Add the strawberries and stir everything together for three minutes.

Ladle the jam into the clean jars up to the "fill line".

Cover with the lids. Allow to stand in room temperature until thickened {about 30 minutes}. Refrigerate or freeze for future use or serve right away.

Easy, homemade strawberry jam...TADA!