Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hand Sewing with Wool Felt

As most of you know my foray into crafting is very recent. There are so many crafts out there just waiting to be discovered. I first heard about Kata Golda's wonderful book Hand Sewn Felt this fall when a bunch of the craft blogs I read reviewed it. I liked what I read and after checking out her lovely website I decieded to order the book.

I had done a very limited amount of hand sewing before I got this book and most of it was playing around with felt over the past few months. I had the book for a while and I spent a lot of time looking at all the projects before I decided to tackle this bag. I ordered the felt from Ohma Felt and a few days after it got here I started the bag. The directions were very easy to follow. It took about 20 minutes to cut out the felt, including the little dog, into the pieces that I needed. I spent 2 evenings watching a episode of season 2 of Mad Men completing it. It was that easy .

D loves her bag. She put her little toy dogs in it and has been carrying it around. It's a really good feeling to see your child playing and enjoying something that you made for her.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Nourishing Traditions and a Pancake Recipe

Recently, Emily at Live, Learn, Love Sew has been blogging about a cookbook called Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It’s one of those books that I’ve been hearing a lot about lately so after I read all the good things that Emily was writing about it I decided to order it. You can now count me among the book’s fans.

One of the concepts that I found intriguing in the book was fementing and soaking grains before you eat them. Fermenting or soaking grains neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid. Enzyme inhibitors hinder digestion of complex sugars, gluten and some proteins. Phytic acid affects the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.

With this idea in mind I decided to try the recipe for soaked pancakes in Nourishing Traditions. They came out great and R and Z loved them (D and T don’t like any pancakes). Besides for being delicious they needed only a little bit of maple syrup because they were so moist. You do need to think about it the night before you make them but it is well worth the effort. Here is the recipe:

2 cups whole wheat, whole spelt or whole kamut flour (I used whole spelt)
2 cups whole yogurt
2 eggs lightly beaten
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons melted butter

Soak the flour in the buttermilk, yogurt or kefir in a warm place for 12 to 24 hours. Those with milk allergies can use 2 cups of water plus 2 tablespoons of whey or lemon juice. FYI when I first smelt the flour and yogurt in the morning it did not smell good. Just ignore the smell and when you add the other ingredients it will smell fine. Stir in the rest of ingredients. The mixture will be very viscous. Add a little water to thin it to the desired consistency. I greased my pan with butter and cooked them like regular pancakes. The pancakes took a little bit longer to cook than regular pancakes. I made pancakes that were about 4 inches wide and I put 1 teaspoon of maple syrup on each of them (maple syrup needs to be kept out of the hands of children or they will use the whole bottle!). You can refrigerate any extra pancakes and warm them in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes the next day.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Potato Latkes (Potato Pancakes) for Hanukkah

It is customary to eat fried foods on Hanukkah to commemorate the miracle of the menorah oil lasting for 8 days when it should have only lasted for one after the Jews regained control of the Beit Ha Migdash (Temple) from King Antiochas and the Greeks. One of the reasons my family looks forward to Hanukkah because it's the time of year when I loosen up a bit and let them partake in such delicacies.

Potato latkes are a Hanukkah favorite for many people. I was inspired by a recipe I found on Gourmet Kosher Cooking to make latkes that I could freeze so I would not spend all Saturday night cooking and not enjoying our family Hanukkah party. I slightly under cooked them so they wouldn't burn when they were reheated. Make sure you hand grate the potatoes and onion on a fine grater and you will not be disappointed by the results. This recipe yields about 8 to 10 medium (3 to 4 inches) latkes and can be doubled or tripled.

5 medium Idaho potatoes. I use the organic ones so if you know how big they are that's the size you need
1 medium onions
1/2 lemon
4 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon of salt
Pepper to taste
Vegetable oil. I use to use expeller pressed coconut oil (NOT extra virgin) for frying.

Cheese cloth

1. Grate the onion and put it in a large mixing bowl. Peel the potatoes. Grate one potato and and add it to the onion. Squeeze half of the lemon onto the grated potato and onion and mix them up. This will prevent the potatoes from turning brown. Grate the rest of the potatoes and mix each one into the onion, potato and lemon mixture to keep them from browning. When you are finished grating the potatoes squeeze in cheese cloth or drain the excess liquid from the bowl.

2. Lightly scramble the four eggs and add them to the bowl with the salt, flour and pepper. Combine the ingredients.

3. Cover the frying pan with about 1/8th of an inch of oil and heat it up. Fry the pancakes for 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remember to slightly under cook them so that when you reheat them they won't burn. I found that I could fry 2 batches of latkes in the same oil with out having to change it.

4. When they are cool freeze them. To reheat them first defrost, place on cookie sheets and then bake in 350 degrees oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are sizzling.

Serve the latkes with sour cream and apple sauce.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hansel and Gretel at the Met Ticket Give Away at Craftzine and Oh My G-d My Sparkley Menorah is on Craftzine

I got an email today from an editorial assistant at Craftzine (A very cool crafts blogs) today asking if I wanted to post a give away they were having for tickets to Hansel and Gretel at the Metropolitan Opera. I was out with the girls when I got it and wasn't able to get back to them right away. When I got home and checked my email there was another email from Craftzine. The editorial assistant had passed my menorah to their editor-in-chief and she posted it on their blog! Wow!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jewish Crafts: Sparkly Hanukkah Menorahs

Any child who has attended a Jewish nursery school or kindergarten has done some kind of version of a Hanukkah menorah that was made with a piece of wood, some nuts as candle holders and paint. These menorahs are generally not keepers. I usually sneak them into the garbage right after the holiday (Sorry kids. I guess you now know where all your menorahs are!) .

While I was searching the web looking for some Hanukkah crafting inspiration I came across a more sophisticated version of this woodblock and nut menorah on It was very pretty but on the plain side. I came up with a little bit of a louder version (but not too loud) that I could do with the girls. D and T did the simpler version and R and I did a striped version that was a little more complex. You might want to do stripes on both sides of the menorah so you can practice getting the stripes as straight as possible. That's what I did and the second set of stripes I did were so much better than the first. I just need to make sure that the good side is turned to the front when we light the candles!

We really like the way the Menorah came out and I am pretty sure that these will not end up in the garbage on December 19.

This is what you need to make them:
1 Walnut Hollow wood carving block 1.75"x1.75"x10"
10 finished 1/2 hex nuts
1 1/2 " washer
Craft glue. We used Tacky Glue for the nuts and Sobo glue for the glitter.
Martha Stewart Crafts sterling glitter (any fine glitter will do but you can easily get this at Michaels)
Martha Stewart Crafts turquoise glitter
1" foam paint brush
small flat paint brush about 1/2 inch wide
Krylon Low Oder Clear Finish

1. Glue 9 nuts on the top of the wood block. The middle nut is where the Shamash candle goes (the candle you use to light the other ones). According to Jewish law the Shamash needs to be higher than the other 8 candles so I glued a washer on top of the middle nut and another nut on top of the washer.

2. When the glue is dried use the flat paint brush to spread glue all over the top of the menorah and all over the outside of the nuts. Then liberally sprinkle the glitter all over the areas covered in glue, wait a for about 30 seconds and shake off the excess.

3. If you are making stripes skip to step 4. If you are not wait for the glue to dry and then do the same to the front, back and sides, one at a time. If you are not making stripes skip to step 10.

4. If you want to make stripes draw lines with a pencil that are one inch apart on the front menorah and the back if you want to practice.

5. Tape 1" painters tape on every other rectangle, making sure that the tape had been pressed on well. Then paint the glue on the rectangles that were exposed, making sure to cover every bit of the exposed wood.

7. Liberally sprinkle the glitter on, wait about 30 seconds and shake off the extra. Carefully take the tape off.

8. Wait for the glue to dry and then carefully apply the glue to the newly exposed wood with a 1" foam paint brush. Dab the glue on to the wood, right next to the glitter stripe next to it.

9. Glue and glitter the sides of the menorah.

10. When the menorah is completely dry spray it with the clear finish


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