April OYW

Finny,

I know! April! And do you know how many of these projects I’ve sewn? 1.

It’s awful. I’m the worst sew-along organizing partner ever. I don’t know what problem has been, but I haven’t had any sewing mojo lately. The good news is, this afternoon it came back in a wave of creativity.

New zip

I’d purchased this super cute Columbia skirt at the REI garage sale that had a faulty zipper. It had been sitting on my sewing table for months. Voila. Now fixed. I even got some embroidery done too.

J is for

Ooo! Ooo!

More importantly, I promise you I’m sewing this month’s One Yard Wonders project — the Pampered Pooch. How great are these? I have many friends with furry children to spoil. I am looking forward to it.

Pampered Pooch

Also, I can’t wait to try your citrus fennel salad. I love both flavors and it is getting warm again in Phoenix; time to think of lighter meal ideas.

Now, off to the sewing machine. She’s finally calling my name!

With love,

Donk

Top of the Mornin’!

Irish soda bread

Finny,

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! In high school, part of my student council responsibilities included fundraising. My junior and senior years, I led the March of Dimes walk-a-thon team and coordinated coin drive contests between the classes. This provided a great chance to be on the morning announcements daily, and of course, because I was far too secure and far too silly, I did these announcements in an Irish brogue, pretending to be the Lucky Charms leprechaun. By the end, I usually had the principal laughing so hard at me (and with me) that she had to stop for a moment before she could finish with the lunch menu. Some 3,000 kids at my high school and I’m doing an Irish comedy act on the morning announcements; my mother wondered why finding a prom date from a different school was really the only option.

Irish Soda Bread

Yum

Of course, still overly secure and equally silly, I am wearing a green dress today and passing out the loaves of Irish Soda Bread I baked for our One Yard Wonder + Recipe Challenge. Even with matching correspondence, this seems like a lurch toward normalcy by comparison. I added cranberries, cinnamon and pepitas to the recipe. I’m not a huge fan of the messy, knotty loaves, but they smelled amazing coming out of the oven. Next time, I’ll bake them in a bread pan.

Irish Soda Bread, packaged

It’s a good thing you love your friends a green shade of ridiculous, lassie.

Wishing you luck and rainbows (in marshmallow form),

Kelli

OYW — March

Okay Finny, the winner for the February project has to be KraftyKraut’s bat bag. Love the way she made it from a t-shirt and what in the world is the prop that’s holding it? KK — shoot me an email and I’ll send off your prize! Although a close runner up is Sue, who inspired February’s selection only to create an entirely different bag that finds the balance between practicality and stylish design.

The March recipe is Irish Soda Bread — to celebrate St. Patrick’s command that all snakes be banished from Ireland. (Any man who hates snakes as much as I do is worthy of homemade carbs.)

(Modified) Cook’s Illustrated Irish Soda Bread:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups bleached all-purpose flour , plus more for work surface
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 tablespoons softened + 1 tablespoon melted)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup of dried fruit (cranberries and cherries are the best)

Directions:

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in large bowl.

Work softened butter into dry ingredients with fork or fingertips until texture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add buttermilk and stir with a fork just until dough begins to come together. Add dried fruit.

Turn out onto flour-coated work surface; knead until dough just becomes cohesive and bumpy, 12 to 14 turns. (Do not knead until dough is smooth, or bread will be tough.)

Pat dough into a round about 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches high; place on greased or parchment-lined baking sheet or in cast-iron pot, if using.

Place the loaf on a cookie sheet and cut a cross shape into the top.

Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into center of loaf comes out clean or internal temperature reaches 180 degrees, 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and brush with melted butter; cool to room temperature, 30 to 40 minutes

I look forward to hearing about your baking and sewing adventures. Don’t forget to post to the One Yard Wonders photo pool!

Fin, let us know what the sewing project is!

~ K

One Yard Wonders – February

Fin,

By the hair on my chinny chin chin, I got both of these projects completed this weekend. To be honest, I loved the cauliflower recipe. I love veggies just about anyway you give them to me. I went to an international dinner party of sorts last night, hosted by a Sri Lankan friend, and ended up bringing the cauli as an appetizer. I followed your recipe and then threw in all in the blender with a bit of chicken stock (minus the capers) and brought crackers. It was adored! Bravo!

OYW Cooking Challenge -- Feb

As for that folklore bag, I don’t know if I am just out of practice or grouchy from TOO MUCH YOGA. Phew. Needed to scream that. (Ask me how I feel about “namaste” sometime and I’m likely to bite your head off. I am loving this challenge and yet there are days when I cannot for the life of me catch my breath.)

One Yard Wonder Challenge

Anyway – the folklore bag was a chore to make. Not just the tissue paper patterns, which wisely I will now store in Ziplock bags, but also because I found the directions a bit tedious. I am hesitant to criticize, but I will just say it is not my favorite pattern.

It is, however, going to one of my favorite people. The end result is cute enough and on its way to Aimee, who may just be the world’s best advocate for animals. She is beyond sweet and I’ve wanted to return a touch of the kindness she’s sent my way over the years. An elephant bag with bee-print lining is just the ticket.

One Yard Wonder Challenge

Now, what’s up for March? I’ve got a recipe or two in mind. (Think Irish and bread.) And did you pick a winner? I’ve got an idea for that too…

xo,

Donk

P.S. More than a little excited I get to see you and the Bubba in a couple weeks!

One Yard Wonders: February

Awful horrible stupid tissue paper pattern

Dear Fin,

Okay, I have a big dirty secret to admit: there are times when I am so sick of sewing, I don’t look at my machine for months. When I left for Cancun December 15th, I tucked my machine and supplies away. They didn’t re-emerge until last night. I needed a break. You could tell in my work that I was bored and frankly, it gave me time to fall in love again with knitting. (Not to mention, this craft is much easier to take with you on said beach vacations.)

Awful horrible stupid tissue paper pattern

Yesterday when I pulled out my shiny new copy of “One Yard Wonders” for our sew-along this year I was utterly dismayed to find tissue paper patterns. Am I the only one who finds these insanely difficult to work with and store? Perhaps I don’t have the patience required. When I finally found the pieces, cut them out and refolded all the other giant sheets of tissue patterns, I realized there was absolutely no getting them back in the book’s tiny front pocket from which they had emerged.

Elephant pillow sham

The good news is — I’ve got the patterns cut and some super cute fabric to work with for this Folklore Bag. Isn’t this elephant print delightful? It is actually a giant pillow sham I received as a gift from a friend. I’ve been waiting to use it for just the right project. It’s folksy and fun and has elephants! Perfect.

Elephant pillow sham

Rant over. Hope you have the patience I’m missing!

xo,

Donk

One Yard Glory: February

Dear Finny,

You say you did a bit of fuzzy math to the tune of pi, and what I read was, “Pie? I want pie!!” The Homer J in me kept me from even trying the hat pattern, but I did rock the dressing. So, mission nearly accomplished for our January One Yard Wonder sew/cook along.

{Your hat is adorable.}

Congrats again to Lori, whose hat is pretty rad. Plus, it is recycled and plaid — two of my most favorite things. Preppy green!

january 31 025

january 31 024

As for February, I was thinking we’d keep up the green theme and go with the folklore bag. I like the simplicity in this design and I go through fabric totes like you wouldn’t believe. They never seem to be quite big enough to get all my gear and my lunch to my desk without appearing like a ragamuffin in the process.

Instead, with this new bag in the works, and your yummy new recipe for spicy cauliflower with capers packed for lunch — I’ll be set!

Also, I’m sending you a Valentine — as I do every year!

xo,

Donk

One-Yard Wonders Sew Along

Sew-Along

Dear Finny,

I once again found myself with a group of girlfriends yesterday explaining the origins of your nickname. Thankfully, they didn’t ask me about Donk. Can you believe we’ve been coordinating these sew-alongs for 3 years? I must say, I never thought we’d host one with one of YOUR books. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve long since known how fabulous you are. I just didn’t realize you were planning on conquering the literary world as well.

Dude.

You are awesome! Look at your book! Naturally, we’ll use it as our sew-along book for the year. And while we are destashing with these great patterns, we’ll also destash around the kitchen. Each month’s challenge will also include a recipe.

There are a handful of kitchen techniques that take you from being simply a cook”to a domestic goddess. This year is officially the year of going from good to great. The best part of these great secrets is they are easy! (Just like most cooking or sewing projects, they simply take leaving your ego behind and jumping in with both feet.)

So — to be clear: each month Fin and I will select one project from One-Yard Wonders and one recipe.

Interested in playing along? Whether you are new to the group or have been hanging around since day one — the rules of such a sew along remain the same (and are set up to be as easy as pie, I must say):

  • At or around the first of the month, Jess (Finny) and I will both post the month’s ONE sewing and ONE cooking project and one of us will announce the previous month’s winner. It’s possible that the number of projects might change and we’ll just expect you to be adults about the whole thing. Embrace change and what not.
  • By the last day of the month, anyone who wants to participate will finish one or both of the projects and post pictures to our new One Yard Wonders : Sew Along 2010 pool for judging.
  • We will then show back up at or around the first, announce the winners and do the rest of the stuff I just said in the first bullet.

One-Yard Wonder project: The “Good Hat Day” Hat by Rebecca Jo Malmström

Recipe: Spicy Garlic Salad Dressing

Homemade salad dressing can take any salad from “eh” to “Wow!” Plus, it is healthier and less expensive than anything you’d find in a grocery.

Homemade Salad Dressing
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon or more of Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons red vinegar
1 pinch of garlic salt
1 pinch of coarsely ground black pepper
juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon honey
any fresh herbs you may have — I used thyme

Homemade Salad Dressing

Homemade Salad Dressing

Blend this in a food processor, adding more red wine vinegar and lime juice if necessary. This is also easy to make if you want to omit the chopped garlic by simply adding all ingredients to the Dijon mustard bottle and shaking with fury. Then pour over your salad and enjoy the fresh, rocking dressing you’ve made!
Do you have a salad dressing idea? Share it!

Thanks again, Fin. Looking forward to another great year of creativity with you!

-donk

P.S. The winner from Nov-Dec’s sew-along was: Askercado. Bravo! Email me with your contact info for your prize.

Adventathon: 12

Two birds

CRAFT Along, Nov/Dec

What’s that, Dear Finny? You say — “Donk! That looks like one of the November CRAFT projects that you didn’t complete so we extended the deadline through December!” Correct, my sweet friend. This is the scrappy zippy wallet.

CRAFT Along, Nov/Dec

It’s also meeting my Adventathon requirements for a cute, simple* and easy project that can make the holidays a bit sweeter. Sure, it is a spotty little zippy wallet. But you know what would make it even better? A gift card inside. Or a zip drive full of music. Or a tiny genie with a magic lamp and one million dollars.

Hey? A girl can dream.

Check, my friend. Your move.

~K

*The snap? Not so simple. In fact, this process produced a rather vulgar series of screams from my kitchen involving a hammer, my fingers and directions printed so tiny you’d think they were created for the yet-to-have-appeared magic genie.

CRAFT November

Halloween details

Dear Finny,

So glad you selected our sweet Lori for the October winner. You know, Lori has been one of those interweb friends (just the term makes my father twitch with discomfort) for years.  She is so kind and I love how she routinely stretches my idea of creativity. Plus, I know if I ever stumbled through Kansas, she’d be one of the first to offer me a seat at her kitchen table.

Brava Lori and that delicious pumpkin pasta!

This month’s challenges that you’ve selected are a fun mix. The t-shirt scarf, the chocolate beet cakes and the scrappy wallets? Like the gumbo of the craft world. I don’t know about you, but I am certainly making my holiday lists and checking them twice. Lots of crafty happenings, including the purchase of a snap press. Have you ever used one? I’m also thinking of hosting another “Advent of Craft.” Any interest in participating/helping?

Miss you Fin. More than I can say, I really wish you were here this week (and not just because my garden is dead.)

~Donk

CRAFT Along: October

Finny,

Guess who I had breakfast with this morning? Our friend Greg from The Lumberjack! Oh, it was so fun. We had a good time catching up and you wouldn’t believe how big his children are getting. Gorgeous, smart, sweet little ones — those two.

Anywho — we had some pretty entries for the September CRAFT Along. I have to say, that Junie Moon never fails to disappoint. The woman is such an artist. She takes the most basic of projects, goes several notches higher and manages to leave me wondering how my photos are even in the same pool. Not only did she make the pouches for pooches, but matching collars. No kidding:

junie moon

Say it with me Julia: winner winner, chicken dinner.

The other winner has to be Nutsy Coco for this awesome photo.  Not only is her sewing fab, but her dog is so darn cute I want to put her in my pocket and run off into the sunset.  Send me your mailing addresses and I’ll send some crafty prize love your way!

The October projects, again, come in triplicate:

Food — creamy pumpkin pasta

Knit — balaclava (which let’s just say right now I am not cabling)

Write — Halloween correspondence

For those paying attention — new sewing machine required this month! The rules, for review: complete one or more of the above projects, take a photo and upload it to our Flickr pool, sit back and wait to see if you are the winner, bask in your creative glory. So, no “But I don’t have a sewing machine!” whining this month.

And not to cause too much of a panic, but ohsweetmarymoses, the holidays are right around the corner and my sewing machine hasn’t been plugged in for weeks. Time to get back to the sweatshop this weekend, fueled by some of that creamy pumpkin pasta of course.

Love you Finny! Hope you are doing well in that gorgeous garden of yours,

the donk