Autumn.

I got all inspired yesterday and collected a whole lot of pretty autumn leaves and made a collage, what do you think?

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The colours were just too pretty to ignore. Autumn is lovely.

L

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Tortillas.

I love burritos. It’s basically the only thing I ever order if I eat at a mexican restaurant. And these days I’m in a ‘if it can be made, I’m going to try making it’ mood. So I looked up a few different tortilla recipes and decided to give it a go. I decided to use a combination of half plain flour and half corn meal, because I couldn’t decide which I wanted more. I’m super-indecisive. Anyway, all the recipes said to add about a cup of water to a cup of flour, but I ended up having to add a whole lot more flour as it was way too sticky at first. I also added a little baking powder to give it a little lift.

So mix flour, baking powder and warm water. Mix it well and leave it to sit for 5 minutes or so, then split it into golf-ball sized portions. I actually made mine a little smaller, but that resulted in too-small tortillas. Learn from my mistakes.

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The Millennium-falcon shaped one was unintentional, but awesome. Also tasty 🙂

They took longer to cook than I expected, so my meat and bean mix ended up cooking a lot longer than expected. Still tasted darn good though.

So the recipe goes:

1.5 cups corn meal

1.5 cups plain flour

0.25 teaspoons baking powder

approx. 1 cup warm water

Mix well, let sit for 5 mins. Roll on well-floured surface. Careful not to make them too thin as they will get too crispy and don’t wrap up properly. The best thickness was about 2-3mm uncooked.

Cook on medium heat without oil. Use a non-stick or cast iron pan. Cook about 3 minutes per side or until there are a few browned spots. Keep warm in the oven while the others cook, at about 80 degrees.

I served with a tomato-avocado-spinach-lemon juice-red onion-tabasco salsa, and a meat and bean mix with onion, garlic, mushroom, red capsicum, cumin, paprika, pepper, red kidney beans and minced pork mix. Serve with more tabasco and sour cream, if you’re into such things. 

I didn’t get a photo of the compiled burrito as I was way too hungry to remember to take photos, but this is the salsa:

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And of course the cooked tortillas:

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I had a few over-crispy ones but the taste was right, and Dom ate five of them so I think he was happy too!

That’s it for now, gotta cook tonight’s dinner 🙂

Cheers,

Luci

Smoke Pouch.

AKA my first commissioned work!

There are way more smokers here in Germany than in Australia. I am one of four staff members in my area at work, and I’m the only non-smoker. So while I’m not pro-smoking, I’m pretty tolerant (the smokers in my family just rolled their eyes. What can I say, moving across the world has changed me, I guess). Anyway, a new colleague of mine got excited when she found out about my DIY experiments, and asked if I could make her a pouch for roll-your-own tobacco. I have a bunch of old pairs of jeans in my fabric stash that my lovely man Dom was getting rid of, and I thought denim was a nice tough fabric to choose, so I got sewing.

I needed the dimensions of the tobacco packet from my colleague, as I am bad at guessing. It turns out if I had’ve estimated it would have been WAY too big, so good thing I didn’t hey? Anyway, I used my new favourite toys:

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Yep, I’ve invested in a rotary cutter and mat. It makes cutting out fabric way easier, and more accurate. I know I’m a nerd but it’s exciting!

Anyway, I cut my fabric with plenty of hem allowance – denim gets really thick at folds and my sewing machine is older than me so I have to be respectful. Leaving a good wide hem makes less thickness to get through.

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I wanted to include a little pocket for papers, so in keeping with the upcycling theme I took off one of the back pockets from the jeans, shortened it to fit inside the pouch, and attached it to the back inside of the pouch, like so:

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Pinned pocket

 

Before I sewed all the seams down, I opened up the corners and cut off some of the excess, and from the corners of the pocket too. I decided on black stitching as I didn’t have the tan colour most often used with denim. I think it ended up looking alright, if you ignore my dodgy stitching.

Done closed

 

Then I added a couple of press studs to hold it closed (hand stitching and stabbing myself with the needle in the process), and that was that!

Open done

 

Then I wrapped it up, so I can deliver it on tomorrow. It was an interesting project, and while I think I could have researched the design a bit more I am happy with my off the cuff (haha, bad pun) style.

Wrapped done

I hope you’ve had a great Sunday,

Cheers,

Luci

Super Easy Olive Dip.

We have houseguests this weekend – my fiancee’s dad and step mum – so I’m sneaking in a quick bit of blogging before they wake up. Aren’t I industrious? Weird…

Anyway, Germans love their fresh bread rolls and cold meats, cheeses and spreads as breakfast. I already (as always these days) have homemade butter in the fridge, but I wanted something else on the breakfast table that was made by me. Aside from the bread basket, of course. So yesterday I bought some olives.

I always use black olives for this as that’s how I learned to make it (from my sister Petra). You could probably experiment with other olives, but I use the black ones. Plus they give an excellent colour at the end, too.

I could only find black olives that still had the stones in them, so I got to stone removing. 

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Does anyone know a quicker/cleaner way to de-stone olives? I know you can buy a special device for it but I”m talking just at home with normal utensils. This way just seemed too messy. Anyway, I ended up with a bowl of olive meat. To turn it in to dip I just pureed it briefly with my trusty stick blender (I really must buy more machines for my kitchen), and added a little sour cream. You could leave the sour cream out if you want, or use a natural yoghurt instead. Add the sour cream and mix through, tasting as you go until it is at the right level of creaminess for you.

And that’s it!

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Isn’t it a pretty colour? I leave my dip a little chunky, as I like having the texture. You could blend longer if you prefer it smoother.

I hope you’re having a great weekend so far!

Cheers,

Luci

Mentioning the Unmentionables.

Both of my parents read this blog, so I was unsure whether to post this one until now. I’ve been making my own undies, guys! Hi Mum, hi Dad!

I’ve made a few pairs over the last couple of months – originally it was just a great way to use up small amounts of material, but it turns out that tailored underpants are super super comfy, too. Previously I’d only used t-shirt material, with varying amounts of success. I didn’t know how to finish the edges at first, so I tried a few ways:

– Adding a separate strip of fabric as edging. Doesn’t work, the stretch is all wrong.

– Just folding the edge over and sewing it down. It worked okay, but went a bit shapeless after going through the washing machine, which means they’ll have a very limited life span.

– using elastic. Worked a treat. I should have known, since pretty much all undies that you find in stores have elastic hems, but at least I got it right third time around!

So this time I wanted to work with this stretchy lace I’d found. After checking other late items I own, I found that the greater amount of stretch needs to be side to side, which also makes sense. Unless you’re into pulling undies up to your chin, vertical stretch isn’t really needed.

A note: if you’re working with lace when making undies, you’ll still need some stretch cotton or jersey cotton knit in a matching colour to work as a lining, so that the lace isn’t directly contacting the body in the most delicate of areas, otherwise you’d be in for some discomfort. Oh I’ll use the word I’ve been avoiding – you need to put in a (ugh) gusset. I’ll get back to that shortly.

I copied the pattern from a pair of knickers that I know fit me well, allowing a little on all sides for seams. Then the first seam that needs to be sewn is the underneath seam. I used a wide zigzag stitch for all sewing in this project. Once that is secured, get your cotton lining piece (about 6 inches long, and width to match your pattern) and sew it to the wrong side of the lace. Centre it so that the underneath seam is about in the middle of your cotton piece. Sew down the two ends. You’ll sew the sides up when you put the elastic in.

Next, sew the two side seams. You could it on at this point to check fit, but I honestly didn’t bother.

For the elastic, I only had quite wide elastic in the right colour, but it turns out elastic stays strong even if you cut narrow strips of it to use. I made a few strips about 2mm wide and pinned them in place.

Pinning

My sewing machine complained a little with this fabric, as in it snagged the lace a couple of times. Patience is a virtue, though, and I’ve learned that slow and steady is the key. Anyway, sew the elastic in around the leg holes and the waist band, trim off any excess, and enjoy!

Pinning

Hope you’re having a great week!

Cheers,

Luci

Living in Germany, schnitzel is often on the menu. My fiancée would happily eat it with boiled potatoes every time, but I am more fussy and need to change things up a little, occasionally. I can’t take the spuds completely out of the equation, of course. I decided to do a cauliflower potato blend as I’ve been hearing good things about cauliflower mash – it’s high in vitamin c too, which sick old me needs at the moment! Mix with a little salt and pepper, milk, butter, and sour cream – guys, it was tasty stuff! The man of the house approved, too.

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That’s it, not too much to this one but I’m definitely satisfied. What’s your favourite mash veg combination?

cheers,

Luci

Making a Nice Shirt Fit.

So I found this nice shirt in the op shop a little while ago, cream with dark brown stripes, and wanted it. I forgot to take a before shot but this is the pattern:

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Huh. Doesn’t look so impressive here. Well I liked it anyway.

Unfortunately it was an XL and swam on me. It was cheap though, so I bought it with the intention of taking it in and wearing it to work. Then it sat in my sewing/blogging room for a few weeks. But today I got my arse into gear and tailored it to myself. The shirt, not my arse. That fits as well as it ever will.

I plan to buy myself a dressmaker’s doll at some point, or make one, but until then I take clothes in the old-fashioned way. Put it on inside-out and pin it in as best I can. I bought a pack of 120 safety pins a while back and they are so good for pinning clothes. Straight pins fall out or stab me, so safety pins are the way to go. I always pin just one side and then take it off and pin the other side to match. Then I sewed it up and tried it on (always try on before cutting off the excess, just in case!). Luckily it fit, so the superfluous fabric got chopped off and I called it done. Now I’ve got something to wear to work on Monday 🙂

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Have a great weekend! I’m planning to go to a farmer’s market tomorrow and a second-hand market on Sunday (or maybe tomorrow as well…). So I will probably get inspired and buy WAY too much, and I’m looking forward to it – wish me luck!

Cheers,

Luci