It's Friday and I finally figured out how to redesign my blog page. Hope you all like it. I also realized that it has been almost a month since I posted anything. So here is one of my favorite recipes- Apricot Scones. Every time I make these everyone goes crazy. And yes, this is my second recipe that contains apricots. You could say they are one of my favorite fruits. They are sort of unexpected and different. Hope you like them as well and can get a chance to try this great recipe!
2 cups, plus 1 TBLS all purpose flour
2 TBLS granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 TBLS baking soda
1 tsp. salt
grated zest of one orange (this is the secret ingredient that makes the scones!)
My daughter goes to kindergarten this fall and I wanted to perk up her school bag. At her school the PTA graciously gives each kindergarten student a blue tote bag with the school logo. It's practical and a lot easier to carrier than a backpack. But it's very plain. With my son I added a few soccer patches and he was happy. But a girl is a different story.....
So we added beads, ribbon and iron on flowers and dragon flies. My sewing machine has a basic font to write names so we added that as well. We had lots of fun doing this project. Hope it gives you ideas to add some style to your plain tote.
Recently I was trying to think up a unique gift for my children's teachers. I purchased giftcards for them but I wanted to give them in a unique way. I thought that some sort of fabric wallet would be interesting. So I searched for ideas online and came up with this cute and simple wallet. It's perfect to take when you just need to have a few items with you like money, credit card and an ID. There are three pockets and a separate area for bills inside. I made mine from two different fabrics (Amy Butler -Belle French Wall Paper in mustard and Belle Oxford Stripe in Okra). If you would like to put one together here is the basic info:
Cut two pieces 7.5 "x 5.25", one from each of the two fabrics. (for outside and inner bill area)
Cut one piece 7.5 "x 5.25" from a fusible interfacing- I used a fleece one for softness
Cut two pieces 7.5" x 4.25",one from each of the two fabrics. (for inner pocket)
Cut one piece 7.5 "x 4.25" from a light fusible interfacing- not the fleece
Cut three pieces 4.25" x 4", two from one fabric and one from the other (inner, 3 card pockets)
Cut three pieces 4.25" x 4" from a light fusible interfacing
Ribbon (7/8"), button and 4" piece of cord to match.
Fuse fleece interfacing to wrong side of outer fabric. (7.5" x 5.25")
Stitch ribbon 1.5" away from short edge to right side of fleece fused fabric.
Sew on button in center close to ribbon on right side.
Fuse light interfacing to wrong side of inner pocket fabric. (7.5" x 4.25")
Fuse light interfacing to wrong side of 3 card pocket pieces. Fold in half ( should measure 4.25" 2" and press wrong side together)
Attach card pockets to right side of inner pocket fabric that you just fused interfacing to. Position first pocket 3" in from left short side (4.25" ). This will be slightly short of half way in so that when you place a card in the slot you will still be able to close (fold) the wallet. Stitch down pocket piece at raw edges on the long side (4.25" edge).
Place the next folded pocket card .5" away from the first (or 2.5" away from left short edge) and stitch down as before.
Lastly place the 3rd folded pocket aligning with the left short side- stitch down as before.
Place second 7.5" x 4.25" piece, right side down on top of the pocket section (right side up) you just completed. Stitch across the the long top edge. Turn, press and topstitch 1/8" from edge.
Now take this section and place on right side of 7.5" x 5.25" piece that you did not attach the fleece interfacing to, align bottom edges and pin. Find center on left shortedge and stitch in the cord so it is secure.
Place fleece fuse section, right side down on pocket section, making sure button is at the opposite end from the cord. Pin leaving an opening at the top edge open for turning. Stitch.
Turn right side out and close opening by hand or by top stitching close to edge.
Fold in half, wrap cord around button and you are done.
Every year I am amazed how my garden explodes with color in the spring. I have always said that the fall is my favorite time of year but a good friend never agreed with me. For her it is the spring and finally I agree with her. I grew up in New Hampshire where the fall was the best. But now I have lived in NY- Queens, Westchester & Long Island for almost twenty-five years- yikes!- and here the spring is the best. My garden, full of roses, clematis, irises, alliums and peonies, makes me smile every morning. I have no special gardening tips except to give your garden lots of love and attention and it will give back to you. A friend called me a collector when it came to my choices in plants. It is true- somewhat- basically I want everything! I inherited my love of gardening from my parents. They are no longer around but my garden is and that keeps me close to them. Here are a few photos to give you a peak at my paradise.
I've always loved dried apricots. One time I bought these dried apricots that had a recipe for muffins on the back of the bag. I tried the recipe and loved it! It combined the apricots with orange juice. Well, I love to add oranges to my baking. I took it a step further and added the rind to the dough mixture as well as to the orange icing that topped the muffins. After making the recipe a few times I have added several ingredients to make it my own. And now I make it in a bundt pan and call it a coffee cake. It's one of my husband's favorites. I also took this idea of apricots and oranges to my scone recipe. That's a good one too, but I'll save that recipe for another day. Here is the original-
APRICOT COFFEE CAKE/MUFFINS
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup hot water
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup ( 1 stick) butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 TBLS. orange zest (usually from 1 large or 2 small oranges)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 TBLS. fresh squeezed orange juice (fresh makes a big difference-just squeeze the oranges you used for the zest)
1/2 tsp. butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Soak apricots in hot water for 10 mintues. Drain and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter until fluffy. (I use my Kitchenaid mixer for this)
Add sour cream and vanilla. Mix well.
Add eggs one at a time and mix well.
Sift dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda. Add to cream mixture. Mix just enough to combine.
Gently stir in apricots, nuts, and half of the orange zest.
Pour into greased bundt pan or muffin pan (12 regular size or 6 large).
Bake coffee cake for 35 to 45 minutes until golden and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Muffins should bake 18 to 2o minutes depending on size.
Make glaze by combining powdered sugar, butter,orange juice and rind.
Remove cake/muffins from pan and let cool for 10 minutes. Make glaze and pour over warm cake/muffins.
Well it's finally spring here in New York and the daffodils are in full bloom. I am so excited this year about all the blooms I'm getting on them. You see, I bought bulbs several years ago- a package of 50 from Costco that only gave me ten blooms. This happened for two years in a row and then I finally did a little research and found out that a little fertilizer (low in nitrogen- I used a 5-5-10) right after they bloom will help set the blooms for the next year. Can you believe it worked!!! My garden advice for the day- fertilize!
This is the first in many posts to come on the things I love to do. And one of my many loves is sewing. Almost a year ago I started on an adventure to create handmade bags such as backpacks and handbags. This was one of my first- a simple bag with a little bit of style. Made with Amy Butler fabric and store bought bamboo handles it's an easy bag to make.
Here's how to make your own -
2 fat quarters of coordinating fabric- one for the exterior, the other for the lining
18"x 13" piece of fusible interfacing
1 set of handles
1 large button, approx. 1" wide
1 yard of 3/4" grosgrain ribbon
Cut the following from the exterior fabric:
18" x 13" - for outside body
8" x 6-1/2" - for interior pocket
2" x 16" strip to attach handles (or 4 - 2" x 4" strips)
1" x 4-1/2" strip for the loop
Cut the following from the lining of the fabric:
2- 9-1/2" x 13"
Cut the following from the ribbon:
1- 8" piece
18" x 13"
(Note: always use 1/2" seam allowances and always backstitch)
Make button loop. Fold 1" x 4-1/2" lenghtwise, wrong sides facing. Finger dpress down. Unfold and then fold sides toward center, press. Then fold in half again, press and top stitch down close to the edge creating a 1/4" x 4 1/2" strip.
Make handle loops. Use same technique as for button loop to create a 1/2" x 16" strip. Cut into four 4" strips.
Fuse interfacing to the wrong side of the 18" x 13" exterior fabric.
Position the 13" ribbon strips 2 1/2" down from top and 2 1/2" up from the bottom. Stitch down ribbon.
Fold the piece in half, right sides facing, to create a 9" x 13" piece. Make sure to match up ribbon ends. Stitch down the 9" sides.
To create the "flat box" bottom, take one side seam you just sewed and force the bag to flatten with the bottom of the side seam forming the a triangle. Measure 2" down from the point of the triangle, draw a line across. Stitch on the line. Repeat with the other side. Turn and press.
Fold the 8" x 6 1/2" pocket piece in half, right sides facing. Sew all three sides leaving a 2" opening to turn. Once turned, press and place horizontally 1 1/2" down from the top and centered left to right on the right side of one of the lining pieces. Stitch three sides leaving top open to create pocket. (Make sure one of the the stitched sides has the original opening used to turn the pocket. You want this to be stitched closed.)
Take the two 9 1/2" x 13"lining pieces and place them right sides together. Sew down the 9 1/2" side, turn and stitch about 3" along the bottom. Stop and back stitch. Repeat on the other side. By doing this you will be leaving an approx. 7" opening at the bottom to eventually turn the bag once you bring the lining and bag together.
Repeat the "box" effect you did for the exterior of the bag in step six for the lining. Do not turn the lining.
Fold the button loop (from step 1) in half and pin it to the top center of the bag exterior.
Fold the 4" handle holders (from step 2) in half and pin to top of bag exterior. Two on each side. Position will be determined by the width of the handles. If you purchase handles that do not unscrew at he base, you will need to loop the fabric holders through the base of the handles before you stitch the top closed. This is a little awkward because the handles hang between the lining and the bag while you sew the top closed.
Place the bag into the lining with the right sides facing.
Stitch top closed.
Turn through opening in lining bottom.
Stitch lining open closed. I usually press down the seam allowance and top stitch close to the edge with matching thread.
Press top edges of bag and then top stitch 1/4" away from edge. This helps keep the lining from curling up over the exterior fabric.
Over lap and stitch together the 8" ribbon to make the base of the bow. You have made a circle. Now flatten it slightly and the the 2" section of ribbon and place it around the center. Overlap this piece in the back and secure by stitching to the base of the bow. Be careful not to show your stitches in the front of the bow. Hot glue the bow where desired onto the from of the handbag.