Bloney good blinis

Another ‘why haven’t I made these before’ moment. Easy, cheap and delicious.

My recipe came from bbc good food. Batter made with egg whites added at last minute. I added some baking powder to increase the bubbles and it was lovely. Rather than chives I added some tarragon leaves but, frankly, any herb or none would do.

Fry dessert spoonfuls of the batter in an oiled pan, flipping when bubbles appear. Makes about 20 – 24. Just don’t snack on too many while cooking. Can be reheated or frozen.

Useless (not pointless)sewing

A mini apron with bib and tie to decorate a bottle! A project from the rebecca page sewing summit this week.

One for the present drawer… it did teach me how to make a faced round neck hole though so lesson learnt.

I opened up some iron on vinyl to decorate and make it super kitsch.

Stamping and colouring fabrics

First of the custom size mats

I up-cycled a beloved old shirt into mats this week. The fabric was ironed on to a firm interfacing, then a rummage through old stamps unearthed florals suitable for creating this border image.

Stazon ink and Ikea fabric pens were used before the mat was trimmed to a neater rectangle. A backing fabric adhered with spray fabric glue was then sewn permanently with my machine’s decorative blanket stitch.

To finish I sewed another decorative stitch through the stamping then decorated with some Pebeo Perlen fabric ‘pearl drops’.

Once heat set with an iron this is theoretically washable.

So I made more!

Mask helpers

My mum has problems ‘fiddling’ her face mask, glasses and hearing aid around her ears so I have made some helpers to keep the mask elastic away from her ears.

Not sure how tight her mask elastic is so two versions made for her to try.

Small is two pieces of 6” by 2” fabric. Large is 7” by 2”.

Just sew both pieces right sides facing, leave a turning gap then turn right sides out. Top stitch around the edge to close gap and tidy up. Fix buttons at each end.

Bonus! I learnt how to use my sewing machine to fix buttons.

Fruit harvest creations

Fabulous donated fruit needed to be used so, using searches with different combinations of my supplies generated a few kitchen experiments …

I started with fig, date and marrow chutney then plum frangipane tarts. Then a look through ‘save room for dessert’ prompted plum and blackberry bars.

I roasted some plums with fig and rosemary to have cold, made some plumbrillo (pictured) to have with cheese and then put the rest of the plums into the favourite spicy Chinese style plum sauce. This batch turned out super spicy!!

Finally a trawl through the ever reliable bbc food site brought up slow slow cooked marrow and butter bean ideas. I switched out the suggested fennel for chili. Really brilliant discovery.

Vanilla Essence

A cupboard essential you can easily DIY

‘Why didn’t I know that before?’ Making your own vanilla essence is super easy, saves money and provides a quality ingredient that you don’t need to go to the shop for. BUT it isn’t instant so I am making this now for use in winter cooking.

Easy peasy make: cover vanilla beans with vodka for at least two months. I used 2 and a half beans in a 1/3rd of a litre bottle.

Do your research on quality of beans and proportion of bean to alcohol but it is that easy.

My advisers (bloggers and diy’ers galore) tell me you just top up the bottle with more vodka to make this a perpetual supply…

Citronella time

A quick citronella spray to keep those biting bugs at bay …

Into a little spray bottle I put a good 40 drops of citronella then a few drops each of of tea tree, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils. About half of the bottle was filled with witch hazel and then I added a slug of vodka and a couple of teaspoons of glycerine. (It isn’t recommended to put citronella essential oil directly on skin).

While the citronella was on hand I put some in the diffuser mix and dabbed some on the bedroom curtains …

Shirt conversion quickie

Blame me if the weather breaks … I have just converted his shirts (some of them) to short sleeved.

A simple chop and hem job using a ‘proper’ short sleeve shirt to get the length right. Just cut off an inch and a half below the intended hem line. Keep the chopped off bits for crafty projects.

Turn shirt inside out, press a hem along the intended length and then turn under the raw edge about a quarter of an inch. Press again, pin and stitch around the sleeve.

Tip: remove the bed from your sewing machine so you can turn the fabric as you sew. Tip 2: start stitching at the under arm seam so if there are any gathers (if the sleeve tapers) they can be hidden underneath.