Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yoga mat felt naked.

I saw this cute idea a while back to make a yoga mat bag, not really sure where, but it gave basic outlines on how to measure and assemble the bag. It was a pretty basic bag with a handle, no zippered compartment or ties at the top. So after work today I went to the fabric store and picked up some fabric (not for this project) and a tonne of notions (zippers, buttons and what I can only describe as athletic strap material).

I found this cute dark grey and off white pineapple pattern at value village, one of my fave places to pick of fabric by the way. They have a full aisle of all sorts of fabrics in different prints an all sorts of strange lengths. The farbic is fairly thin, and maybe a 100% cotton, so it breathes. It was important for me to find a breathable fabric as I do Bikrams and DO NOT want to contain my mat into a heavily padded or plasticy type fabric. If you are as familiar with the stench of hockey year as I am, you will most definitely understand exactly why I am a fan of a little aeration in my life.

So, here's my brand new bag. Which I love. The pattern is crazy enough, and the style of bag is floppy enough to mask my virgin sewing skills. Plus I'm sick and am majorly lacking patience at the moment. I am pretty darn proud of the little zippered pocket I added onto it as it turned out really well with very little effort. I cut out a square, folded it twice, took a chunk out and then sewed up the corners so it wouldn't lie flat against the bag and would be able to hold more things. Generally when I go to Bikram I try to bring as little as possible, including clothing. (OWOW) ...Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Of course, what's a new bag pic with out my awesome mug in it. So I made Adam take a picture of me modelling my awesome new bag. He seemed rather confused but obliged. As you can see I left a tonne of room at the top; just because I felt like it. But actually it's a really good place to store a nasty stinky towel after the class, 'cause that thing gets HEAVY. (I know, yummy right?) Mind my yuckiness, I'm fighting the flu and couldn't care less about looking sexy, or even being in a good mood at that, so you guys have no idea how lucky you are about me actually smiling here. I added a bit of a draw string part into the top so my things don't fall all over the place, because sometimes I change into something else so that could also get a little nasty.

Basically I'm a bit in love with this bag, and would love to sit in my bed all night admiring it's awesome handiwork. Who needs a boyfriend when you have a fancy dance yoga bag to keep you warm.

Here's a little fun fact: the parents are in Florida and it seems my mother has relocated the iron in the last 4 years when I was too busy living on campus. So instead of ironing the seams and folds with an actual iron like a pro, I used my straightening iron which seemed to actually do a pretty good job.

Next up for me is 4 fabric covered cork boards I have been working on since the weekend. I will post them once I get around to sewing on the buttons and placing them on the wall of my embarrassingly messy room


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sew I'm trying something new..

I have decided to take up sewing in the last few weeks after a short return to the overly time consuming hobby of knitting. I had decided that I was going to knit the people in my life Christmas gifts, however, halfway though my one and only scarf I pretty much gave up because it was just taking far too long! So I decided to drag my sewing machine out of the crawl space and see what I could do with it.

My first project happened to be a '60s' skirt. This happened coincidentally when I found this cute pattern in Talize, a local thrift store while visiting a few days before Christmas. I also picked up some stretchy denim fabric whilst there, deciding this would be the fabric. While it did go rather smooth, there were a few hiccups amongst the way, mostly having to do with sizing... it's a used pattern that had been previously cut, and as I said before, is from the 60s. So I used the size I thought was mine and ran with it. Prior to this, I had ZERO idea how to read a pattern, hem, cut or even really sew. Total newbie right here. So of course my first mistake was to cut the hem line I had traced (oops). Because of this, I had to add a panel. However, this panel also made it a little big for me. So all in all, it came together well enough with few visible flaws. I sewed 3 white decorative buttons onto the left side to add a vintage feel. I personally think it's adorable.. I love vintage, and helloo, I MADE it!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Irish Car Bombs

Because St. Patrick's day is coming up, and a potluck at a friend's place here at school I decided to make some Irish Car bomb cupcakes. I had seen them about a month ago on a website and really wanted to make them but found the level of work necessary to be a little daunting. It is a pretty involved process as the recipe calls for stout chocolate cupcakes, whiskey chocolate ganache and bailey's icing. Plus, the actual assembly of the finished product requires you to remove the centre of the cupcake, pipe the ganache into the hole, and then add the bailey's icing on top.

So Saturday morning I decided to take on this feat, partially because I also wanted to see if I could actually do it. It took me around 3 hours from beginning to start, and came to 20 cupcakes. Here's the recipe from a blog, although I have seen it in a number of places...

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes Source: Smitten Kitchen

1 c. Guinness
1 c. unsalted butter
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c. all purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2/3 c. sour cream

Ganache Filling
8 oz bittersweet chocolate
2/3 c. heavy cream
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 tsp Jameson Whiskey

Baileys Frosting (I doubled this recipe)
3 to 4 c. confections sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 tbsp Baileys

Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Ganache filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped. Meanwhile, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

Make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.

Ice and decorate the cupcakes.

The process was much easier than I thought, and was more time consuming than anything. And came out absolutely delicious! Needless to say everyone was impressed with them and weren't sure if I was actually lying about making them. Up next, early grey cupcakes!