Tag Archives: tutorials

Beet Pasta

IMG_3001We have a slightly ridiculous amounts of beets this year.  Last year was the first year we grew them and the entire family loved them so we grew three times as much this year.  Beets should keep well in cold storage so I’m looking forward to eating them most of the winter.

However, lots of beets means learning new ways of preparing them so last week I took a stab at making beet pasta.  It turned out great.  The dough was a really pretty color and the kids thought that was pretty awesome.  The only thing I was a little disappointed in was the color of the pasta after it had been cooked.  Most of the red came out in the water so we had very pale pink noodles.  Aside from that they were easy to make and not a whole lot more time consuming that making regular pasta.

Want to make your own beet pasta?  Here’s how I did it.

Recipe makes approximately 8 servings. This is a long process although not a ton of work. Start early!

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Peel and chop 1-2 beets.  Roast them in the oven at 350 degrees until soft.  Let cool.

If you store your eggs in the fridge, take 3 out to bring them to room temperature.

IMG_3014Blend until smooth in a blender. Try not to cringe at the color whirling around in your blender…

IMG_3016 IMG_3021Once your beets are blended, measure out half a cup of puree.  Save any leftovers for another meal, throw it in the freezer, or feed it to your baby if you have one!

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IMG_3017Put 3 cups of all purpose flour in a stand mixer and crack your three room temperature eggs in.

IMG_3022Use the dough hook to mix all the ingredients together.  Don’t have a stand mixer?  No problem, use your hands and your dough will most likely turn out even better than mine.

Continue to knead your dough.  Add flour until your dough is smooth and not sticky.  Depending on the size of your eggs you may need to add quite a bit more, or just a small amount.  If your dough is ever too dry you can add a bit of water.

Once your dough is looking smooth and elastic, remove it from the bowl and knead by hand for about five minutes.  Longer if you’re tough, shorter if you’re a weakling when it comes to kneading.  Like me.

IMG_3024Check out the color of that dough!

IMG_3026Cover your dough in plastic wrap and let it sit for at least half an hour.  Longer if you have time!

IMG_3028After the rest period split your dough in to four sections.  Keep one section out and cover the other three back up.

The rest of my instructions include using a pasta machine.  If you don’t have one you can hand roll and cut them.  I tried to find a good online tutorial for this but I didn’t have much luck.  It might be worth looking into however, I’ve done it before and it’s not very difficult.

IMG_3032Cut your small section in half and roll one piece through the thickest setting on your pasta machine.  Fold it in half and run it through again.  Continue to fold and run through until you get a nice uniform piece.  When you get a nice piece start rolling it through thinner settings until you get to the second smallest setting, or smallest, depending on your preference.

IMG_3033Cut your long piece in half.  This is totally optional, I do it because my pasta machine is terrible at cutting the noodles so the longer they are the more of a pain it is for me to separate them.

Dust with more flour and run it through your choice of noodle.  I always use my linguine cutter again because I have to separate all my noodles after they have been cut and that takes twice as long on the spaghetti cutter.

Repeat steps with all the dough.

This is also where I get help.  Lots of help.  Three kids fighting over who gets to help in fact!

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IMG_3035The next step is optional.  I like to hang my noodles partly because I freeze half of them and partly because I find if they dry for a half hour or so they just come out a nicer texture.  You can however cut and boil your noodles right away.  If you don’t hang them, flour them liberally as you continue to cut the rest or you’ll get a big pile of noodles all stuck together.

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I use my laundry rack to dry my noodles.  And yes I wash it before and after!IMG_3042It looks like a lot of noodles but this is barely enough for two meals for my family.

Once your noodles have hung for a bit get a big pot of salted water boiling.  Add your noodles and cook for about 5-7 minutes.  I’ve never actually timed it I just keep sneaking noodles and trying them until they are ready.

Drain and serve any way you like!

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Beet Pasta

3 eggs, room temperature

3-4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup beet puree

Combine eggs, 3 cups of flour, and beet puree into a stand mixer.  Mix with the dough hook until well combined.  Continue to add flour until you get a smooth, elastic, and not sticky dough.  Let rest for at least half an hour.  Roll out and cut.  Boil in salted water for 5-7 minutes.

Waterproof Change Mat Sewing Tutorial

Those cold plastic change pads seem really awful to me.  It’s bad enough to a tiny baby that you’re going to take their clothes off and clean them up with cold wet wipes, who wants to lay on cold plastic too?  Never mind the fact that IF your little one pees during the whole changing process they end up laying in a puddle of pee.  Then again I really don’t want that pee to seep through a fabric change pad and end up on the floor so here’s a change pad that has a waterproof layer, can be made with cute fabric, and is soft for baby to lay on!

I also made myself a little diaper clutch.  Maybe a tutorial for that will follow up at a later date!

Waterproof Change Mat
Supplies:
1/2 yard PUL fabric
1/2 yard cute cotton print
1/2 yard cotton toweling (terry cloth)
Thread
2 inch piece of 1 inch wide velcro
Sewing Machine
Rotary Cutter and Mat or Scissors

Cut one 25×17 inch piece out of all three fabrics.
Cut one 6×2 1/4 inch piece of the cotton print.  Set aside.

Lay the three cut pieces on top of each other in this order:
PUL
Cotton Print (right side up)
Cotton Toweling
 
 

Pin around all four edges and stitch around all edges leaving a 4-5 inch opening.

 Turn fabric through the opening, making sure the cotton print and PUL layers are on one side as pictured above.  You want to make sure when it’s turned that you don’t see the PUL, only the cotton toweling and cotton print.

Use a point turner to get all four corners nice and smooth.  Carefully iron all around then top stitch through all layers and all the way around the mat.

If you want to add the velcro strap so you can roll it up, now is the time!  Take your 6×2 1/4 inch piece of fabric.  Fold in half right sides together and press.  Stitch around one short edge and one long edge.  Flip right side out and press.  Fold unfinished edge over and press.

Stitch one side of the velcro to one end of the strap. 

Measure about 4 inches from one short end of the mat and stitch the opposite end of the velcro strap in place.

Measure down 5 inches from the attached end of the strap and stitch the other piece of velcro in place.

To roll up your mat, fold it in half and roll from bottom to top sticking the velcro pieces together.
 

And you’re done!  The whole thing can be thrown in the wash machine and dryer if your little one makes a mess of it.

Baby Blanket and Wash Cloth Tutorial

Last week I was putting together some gift baskets for a silent auction the youth group at our Church is putting on.  I wanted to do one for women and one for a baby girl but when I put the stuff in the basket for the baby girl it seemed pretty empty still so I decided to stitch something up quick.
Baby blankets are always a quick sew and I’m the first to admit you really can’t have too many baby blankets.  Extra soft wash cloths are also really nice to have to so I made some of those as well.  While I stitched I snapped some pictures, in poor lighting of course, so bare with me.
On to the tutorial!
Flannel and Fleece Baby Blanket
 
Materials:
1 yard flannel
1 yard fleece (or another yard of flannel)
thread
sewing machine
Decide on the size you want your blanket to be.  I made this one 36 inches by 36 inches.  Nothing is more annoying than trying to swaddle baby in a blanket that’s just not big enough!
Cut one 36×36 inch piece in both the flannel and the fleece.

Place fabrics on top of each other, right sides together and pin all the way around.

 
 Stitch around all 4 edges using a 1/4 inch seam allowance and leaving a 3-4 inch opening on one side.

Clip all four corners to reduce some bulk and then turn the blanket right side out.  Use a point turner if needed to get your corners nice and smooth.

Press all the edges of your blanket on the FLANNEL side.  If you used fleece for the other side be extra careful not to touch it with the iron or it will melt!
Top stitch all the way around your blanket to finish it off and to close up your turn hole.  I like to use a zig zag stitch but a straight stitch works just fine too!
That’s it! Your done the blanket! Now on to the wash cloths!
Super Soft Wash Cloth
Materials:
7.5×7.5 inch piece of flannel
7.5×7.5 inch piece of minky dot fabric
thread
sewing machine
Basically we are making the blanket all over again only in smaller form!  Cut out your two pieces of fabric.  Lay them on top of each other, right sides together and pin.
Stitch all the way around with a 1/4 inch seam allowance leaving a small 2-3 inch opening.

Clip all four corners to reduce bulk then flip cloth right side out through the slip hole.  Use a point turner if you want to make the corners nice and smooth.

Press the cloth on the flannel side, taking care not to press the minky fleece with the iron or it will melt!

Stitch around all four sides finishing the wash cloth off and closing up your turn hole.  Again I use a zig zag stitch but a straight stitch would work just fine too!

Now make a couple more and you’ve got a great addition to a baby gift!

Simple Tote Tutorial

Supplies:
cotton canvas 2 – 13×14 inch pieces
coordinating cotton print of your choice 2 – 13×6 inch pieces
lining fabric (cotton or other) 2 – 13×14 inch pieces
1 inch wide cotton webbing (2 strips 18 inches long)
1 magnetic snap (optional)
thread
sewing machine
iron

Cut out all your fabric pieces.  You should have 2 lining pieces, 2 canvas outer pieces, and 2 coordinating printed pieces.

Take your 2 printed pieces (6×13 inch) and fold the top down 1/2 an inch and press.  Repeat for both printed pieces.

Pin the printed pieces to the bottom half of the canvas pieces, lining up the bottom and side edges. Pin along your folded and pressed seam.  Set aside.

Attach your magnetic snaps to your lining pieces.  Centred and approximately 1 inch down from the top edge.  If you’ve never attached a magnetic snap before, check out this post: 

Once your snaps are on, pin the lining layers together, right sides together.  Stitch all the way around both sides and the bottom, leaving a 3 inch opening along the bottom seam.  I usually double stitch it, just for added strength.  (second seam approximately 1/4 inch on the outer edge of the first seam)
To create a boxed bottom on your tote: Clip the corners.  Then you are going to fold the bottom two corners together, lining up the seams on either side.  This gives you a triangle.  Stitch approximately 1 inch from the point of the triangle all the way across.

 see where my thumb is?  You’re stitch line should be horizontal just above my thumb there.

Cut off the excess fabric 1/4 inch from your seam.  Repeat on the other bottom corner piece and you have a nice boxed shaped lining!

Grab your outer canvas piece and top stitch along the folded seam of your printed cotton.  You can do just one line of stitching or do a couple for added detail.

Next you’re going to stitch both your outer pieces together.  Place the two pieces right sides together and line up the printed fabric seam so there are even when you stitch it all together.  Stitch all the way around both sides and bottom.  You do not need to leave an opening on the outer bag.

Repeat the boxed corner steps that you did on the lining so your outer bag is boxed as well.

To attach straps:  Flip your bag right side out and measure in 3 inches from each side.  Pin each side of the strap and stitch across.  Repeat for the other side of the bag making sure your straps line up with each other.

Slip the lining over top of the outer bag.  You want the right sides to be together so your lining should still be inside out and your outer bag should be right side out.

Line up your side seams on the lining and outer bag and pin all the way around.  Stitch 1/4 inch all the way around.

Flip your bag right side out through the opening you left in the lining. Press your top seams carefully all the way around the top of the bag.  Take care by the straps especially if you used nylon webbing, it will melt!  Take care around your magnetic snaps if you used those as well, if you iron over top of them you can get a funny spot on your fabric.
Top stitch all the way around your bag and slip stitch the lining hole closed.  You’re done!

If you make a Simple Tote please share some pictures with me :)  Feel free to use this tutorial to sell items made with it but please do not reproduce the tutorial or use any of my photos without permission.

Magnetic Snap Tutorial

Ever wonder how to put in your own magnetic snap?  It’s really so simple and quick.  Here’s my method!
*the method I use is for putting snaps in a bag, you may have to follow other placement instructions for different projects.
Supplies:
Magnetic Snap
Pencil
Utility Knife
Wood block (I use a rubbers stamp)
Fusible Interfacing (4 squares, approximately 2″x2″)
Find the centre of your fabric.  I just fold my fabric in half and press.

Apply your interfacing approximately one inch below the top of your fabric and right on that centre line you just made. I like to use 2 pieces of heavy weight interfacing per side of the snap.  If you don’t know how to apply fusible interfacing there’s a quick tutorial here or just follow the instructions on the package.

There are 4 parts to one magnetic snap.  Two backing pieces (like above), one magnetic side (the thicker one with an indent in it) and the metal side.
Using one of your backing pieces, centre it on your square of fusible interfacing (and centred still down that crease you made).  Using your pencil draw a line in each of the two strips on the backing.  Lay your second piece of fabric directly on top, lining up all the seams perfectly.  Feel for the small piece of backing on the first fabric piece and place your second one directly on top.  Trace your lines again.  This ensures that both sides of your magnetic snap line up perfectly.

Move your backing pieces aside and lightly cut 2 small slits on those lines you just drew.  Take care not to make them too big.  Repeat for each fabric piece.

Take one side of your snap and push those prongs through the holes you just cut.  You want the prongs sticking out the side with the interfacing on it.

Get one of your backing pieces and place it over the prongs.

Using your wooden block or rubber stamp push the prongs in on the backing.  (and yes I took that picture AFTER I had already pushed mine in and didn’t notice until later that I have the block the wrong way, that rubber isn’t going to be very helpful at pushing prongs in :P)
Some directions I’ve read for putting in magnetic snaps say to bend the prongs out but I’ve had bad luck with that.  Even with double heavy weight interfacing I find the prongs tear through the fabric really quick.

finished snap


Repeat for the other side of your snap and there you go!

Product Photography – A Total Non Experts Tips

The other day a friend of mine mentioned  that I should do a blog post on how I shoot my product photography so I thought why not.  I’m certainly no expert and sometimes I shoot the same product three times before I get the shots I want, but I’ve learned some of my best tricks from other non experts so here you go.
First off I use the best natural lighting in my house, my kitchen.  We have a huge sliding glass door so on a bright day the lighting is a close to perfect as I can get shooting indoors.  I also make sure I have my kitchen lights on as well, it doesn’t add much but it sometimes helps to keep that bluish light that comes from outside off my background.

I use plain white foam board and a kitchen chair to set up my backdrop.  If my product is tall and skinny I set it up like above, but usually I have the back board horizontal as well.

Then I angle my chair until I seem to catch the best light reflection, no shadows etc.  I set up my product and start shooting!

So there you go, a complete non experts way of shooting good (not perfect) product shots.

Infinity Scarf Tutorial

Supplies:
1 yard cotton or jersey fabric
coordinating thread
sewing machine
Iron out your yard of fabric folded in half (selvedge edge to selvedge edge)

Following that center fold, cut your fabric in half.  At this point you can choose to make your scarf one loop length or long enough to wrap up several times.  If you want it a single loop you can make two scarves out of one meter.  To make a longer scarf you will first have to take your two peices and sew them right sides together to make one long strip.  (you can also cut a 2 yard piece in half if you don’t want an extra seam) 

Fold your fabric in half lengthways, right sides together, and pin it.

Starting about 3 inches in from the end stitch all along the edge leaving the last 3 inches open as well.  Once you’ve made a few scarves you can shorten the openings closer to 2 inches, it just makes stitching the scarf shut much easier the bigger the opening.

opening on one side

Turn your scarf right side out.  It should now look like a tube.

This is where it gets a bit tricky.  Fold your scarf in half so that both raw edges line up. Taking both open ends you’ll notice you have 4 strips of open fabric.  Grab the bottom raw seams, pin them together and then start stitching (right sides together) all the way around the raw edges until you get to the end.

 nearing the end, the scarf is really bunched and things get tight, go slow!
Pull the scarf the rest of the way through and you’re left with a small opening.

Slip stitch the small hole closed and add a tag if you wish!  You’re done!

single wrap cotton scarf

multiple wrap jersey scarf

Pumpkin Puree

 Pumpkin Puree from your Halloween Pumpkin!

  Do you ever wonder what to do with the pumpkins you carved for Halloween after the candy filled holiday is over?  I’m guessing most of you compost yours, or even throw them out but did you know you can use them to make your own pumpkin puree?  Pumpkin puree is good for so many things, muffins, pumpkin pie, soups, baby food and it’s really pretty easy to make. 
I hate throwing any potential food out so despite the fact that turning those carved pumpkins into puree is a bit of work and quite time consuming I do it anyway.
Here’s how I do it.

Pumpkin Puree
Cut away the carved portion of your pumpkin.  This part you’ll want to compost just because it gets real dirty when you’re carving and you may have used ink or other things to draw your design on first hand.
excuse my poor lighting, I did mine early early this morning and forgot to check my white balance before I started shooting

Next you’ll want to cut the rest of the pumpkin up into medium sized pieces.  I slice from the top all the way down in about 3-4inch pieces.

Now you’ll want to cut off all the very inside layer of the pumpkin.  It looks a bit stringy and is often a bit scorched from the candle.  Make sure you cut away any pieces of candle wax that may have dripped on your pumpkin.
Chop the big pieces into smaller squares and lay flesh side down onto a foil or parchment lined cookie sheet.  You can forget the foil or parchment if you want but you’ll spend hours scrubbing your poor cookie sheet after.
Pop your pumpkin into an over preheated to 350 degrees and bake for at least an hour.  Check your pumpkin after about 45 mins, if your fork pushes into it really easy it’s done.  The timing is really very dependant on how small you chopped your pieces.
Once your pumpkin is done cooking, let it cool almost completely.  Then scrape all the flesh off of the outer peel into a large bowl.  I did two pumpkins and ended up needing 2 huge bowls for all the yummy pumpkin I scraped out.
Lastly you’ll want to blend your pumpkin up in batches in either a blender or a food processor.
I freeze mine in 2 cup portions so I have the perfect amount for pumpkin spice muffins ready.
There you go! You made your own pumpkin puree!
Just in case you were wondering what this pumpkin looked like before I chopped it all up….

Little Toy Pouch Tutorial

I’ll admit, I’ve been working on this tutorial for a couple of months already.  I started it a long time ago and then promptly forgot all about it!  Well, I’ve remembered and so here it is.
Basically, it’s just a little zipper pouch for your little dude, or little girl to carry all her toys or crayons, or papers or whatever in.  My guys love to take some cars and other toys with them when we go to the grocery store so this is a perfect way to make sure they carry their own stuff and my purse doesn’t get too heavy.
I did it up in google docs again to make it easier to print, so all you have to do is click on the link below to access it!

Braided Bread – How To

In order to keep my interest in baking at least two basic loaves of bread every other day I’ve taken to trying out new shaping techniques.  (and yes we really do go through a loaf a day, could you imagine how much that would add up if I were buying it from the grocery store?  Never mind the fact that grocery loaves are much smaller)
My latest favourite, looks wise, is a braided loaf and it’s really easy to do!
You can use pretty much any basic bread dough recipe, I used this one: Stone Ground Oatmeal Bread (just the dough recipe)
Here’s how it’s done!

Step one: Once your dough is ready to be shaped, knead it out for a couple of minutes then roll it into a medium sized rectangle.  Make sure you get all the big air bubbles out to ensure your bread has a really even crumb.

Cut two slits along the rectangle, starting about 1 inch from the top and cutting all the way through to the bottom.

Starting at the top, take a piece from one side and fold it over the middle piece.  Then take a piece from the opposite side and fold it over top the new middle piece.  Continue all the way to the bottom.  Make sure you braid fairly tight or your end result won’t look much like a braid at all.

When you get to the bottom, pinch the three pieces together.

Tuck both ends in a bit and then gently roll the loaf back and forth until it forms a nice loaf size

Place your loaf in a greased bread pan and let it rise until double
Follow the bread recipes baking instructions and there you have it!  A delicious braided loaf of bread!