Sunday, February 14, 2016

Mini Sundried Tomato and Fetta Dampers or Scones

In trying to find more lunch box snacks for my girls this year, I've started making these super simple 'Mini Dampers' which are a big hit.

Damper is a traditional Australian bread cooked on a camp fire with just basic ingredients. The very basic damper would be flour with butter rubbed in then mixed to a dough with water or milk and then baked in a large round. 
To me, this is basically a simple scone recipe like I grew up with in England - although we didn't cook scones on a fire and generally they were cut into smaller pieces rather than one large round.

So anyway, this recipe you could call a type of Damper or Scone.  It uses fetta cheese instead of butter and adds the extra flavour of sun-dried tomatoes, basil and onion.

2 cups Self Raising flour 
1 onion chopped and lightly fried
5 or 6 sundried tomatoes
1 cup fetta, crumbled
handful of basil leaves chopped
milk to mix (approx 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 200C (400F)
Sieve the flour then add the onion, tomatoes, most of the fetta and the basil. Gradually add milk and mix until a soft dough is formed. 
Knead lightly on a floured surface.

Divide into 8 portions, shape into rounds and place on a baking tray.
Mark a grid - like a noughts and crosses (tic tac toe) grid on the top of each one and sprinkle with remaining fetta.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

These really are best enjoyed warm from the oven, but also keep a couple of days in an airtight container and make great lunch box snacks!

I like to cut mine open to eat!


You could add really anything you like to these mini dampers - use butter instead of cheese, and substitute anything you like for the sundried tomato and basil - pumpkin, zucchini, other herbs, or even something sweet like sultanas or dates.

What kind of snacks do you put in your kids lunch boxes? I'd love some new suggestions and recipes to try with my kids!

I shall be linking this post to many of the fabulous linky parties whose pretty buttons and direct links can be found on my linky party page.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Saturday Spotlight - last minute Valentine's Ideas

It's the weekend once again and time for some fabulous features from this week's Round Tuit party.

Since Valentine's Day is tomorrow - it's my last chance to feature some Valentine's inspiration. So here you are..

First of all, Valentine's Crafts.

And some tasty Valentine's treats.

I hope you enjoyed this week's features and that you have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

I get it! Granny Squares decoded - and a Pentagon made.

So this year (2016) I've decided to really learn how to crochet.
I've made a start with Granny Squares and decided that I was doing ok with those after making a few, each one a little neater than the one before.

Next I decided to try something new. I'd found this tutorial via Pinterest for making Granny Triangles so thought I'd give that a try.
After a first failed attempt when I'd been confused by the instructions talking about treble crochet. 

I thought treble crochet was a new stitch until I realised (and read the pattern properly) that the pattern was a UK pattern and that UK treble crochet is the same as US double crochet, which is what I'd just learned!
Once I'd got that sorted, the pattern was easy to follow and my new Granny Triangle worked out just fine!

Once I'd made this triangle, I realised that it really wasn't anything new, but simple the same principle and instructions as for a Granny Square, but just 3 corners instead of 4! 
It was a real 'light bulb' moment.

The next day I got up and just had to put my theory to the test, and decided to try making one of these with not 3, not 4, but 5 corners...yes a Granny Pentagon!

I didn't use a pattern, just working from my new knowledge of how to make a Granny Square, but added and extra point and....voila.

Now to those of you who are expert crocheters, this may not seem very exciting, but to me it was! I really have learned something new here - I haven't just learned how to follow the pattern to make a basic Granny square - I understand the pattern and could see how to adapt it to make something new!

Now that I feel like I understand Granny Squares - I thought it was time to get a little creative. So I got a thin crochet hook and some embroidery thread and made myself a pair of earrings!

I feel like I've made a good start to my learn to crochet quest. Time to keep moving forwards onto something other than the Grannies now I think! Any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Upcycled Flowers on Denim Peg Bag Tutorial

I've needed a new peg bag for a while now. Mine is getting a little bit worn...

It has lasted 3 years of constant use and being left out in the harsh Queensland sun means it has faded somewhat. Here's what it looked like when I first made it (that tutorial is here):

Anyway, I decided I wanted a change this time and I'd seen some pictures on Pinterest that inspired me to try something different.

So after a bit of puzzling, drawing and altering patterns and a couple of practice attempts..

I was finally happy with my new peg bag!

Once I'd figured it out and perfected the template, it was quite simple to make. Here's how you can make one of your own!

You will need
The templates - download the free PDFs here. You will need to print them then match up the main pieces where they are marked A and B, then fold your fabric to cut where marked as the templates are rather large!
Inner and outer fabrics - approximately a fat quarter of each (46 x 56 cm / 18 x 22") - cut two of each fabric from each template.
Small scrap of fabric, cord or I used a jeans seam strip for the hanger.
Metal ring or clip for hanging - I used a clip salvaged from an old keychain.

For the outer denim of my peg bag, I just cut strips of denim scraps from other jeans projects. They were varied in sizes and I just arranged then stitched them together so the resulting piece was large enough to cut out my two templates.

At this point you need to add any extra embellishments you want to the outer fabric of your peg bag.  I have a stash of small 
fabric yoyos that I wanted to add.

I stitched them on with buttons in the centre and used green embroidery thread and a simple chain stitch to stitch stems and leaves.

To assemble your peg bag
First take your hanging loop and hanging clip or ring and place them like this on the tip of your large outer fabric piece, right side facing up. 

Then place your two large pieces right sides together and pin, then stitch them around all edges except the curved base.

Turn right sides out, making sure to poke out the corners.

Now top stitch around all the edges you just stitched around - only the curved bottom edge should be open.

Now fold this whole piece in half with the outer fabric on the inside, and pin along the two straight edges.

Stitch along those edges. With the top edge, if your hanging loop is thick as mine is, you can just stitch up to that point and leave the rest open.

Now to attach the base. Take your outer fabric circle and the bottom edge of the outer fabric main piece you've just been working with.

With right sides together, pin the circle all the way around the base edge of your bag.

 Then stitch all the way around.

Now take your inner fabric circle and the inner fabric part of the main bag. 

Again with right sides together, pin the circle to the bottom edge of the bag inner. This time leave a gap of about 10 cm (4") so you can turn the bag right sides out when you're done.

Once you've stitched your inner base circle on, turn right sides out through the gap you just left.

Finishing off
Finally you need to reach inside your bag and pull out the inner base and find the open gap in your stitching.

Pin then stitch this gap closed. You can hand-stitch for a neater finish, but I just used the machine as this seam will be hidden at the bottom of the peg bag.

Push the lining back inside the bag, and you've now finished your new peg bag! Fill with pegs and hang out some washing.

I was very happy to transfer my pegs out of my old peg bag, which is definitely at the end of it's life!

When I was figuring this peg bag tutorial out, I did try making one with a layer of buckram in it (very stiff interfacing).
Although this helped the bag to hold its shape really well, I didn't like how bulky all the seams were so decided to leave this out in the final version. I like the softer feel of my bag, but you could just as easily add a layer of interfacing if you prefer a more structured look or bag.

Overall I'm really pleased with my new
 Flowers on Denim Peg Bag

It's nice to have a change don't you think?

For the free downloadable PDF version of this tutorial with the templates included, click here.

If you liked this tutorial, then do take a look at my other free sewing tutorials. There are over 100 to choose from to make all kinds of different things and for all levels of sewing ability.

I shall be linking this project to many of the fabulous linky parties whose pretty buttons and direct links can be found on my linky party page.