Bacon Guacamole

by Mel Alce

Bacon makes everything that much more awesome and guacamole is no different!

Ingredients

4 rashers of bacon

2 large avocados

Half a red onion

1 tomato

Lime juice

Salt and pepper

1/2 tsp cumin

Oil

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Method

Place oil in a frying pan.

Dice up the four rashers of bacon and toss into the pan. Fry off until crispy. Place on paper towel to soak up the grease.

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Chop up all the other ingredients (avocados, onion and tomato), deseeding the tomato and place into a bowl. Mix up everything in the bowl. Add the cumin.

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Add salt and pepper and lime juice to taste.

Mix ingredients again, place bacon on top.

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Use crackers, chips, or other dip extras to eat.

OM NOM NOM!

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Collar

By Marni Franks

I’m getting ready for Halloween next month and I decided that I’d make this collar to go with one of the costumes I plan on wearing. It’s orange and black so it’s still foxy-ish.

Materials

Two fabrics that co-ordinate

Medium weight fusible interfacing

2 buttons the same size

Needle

Thread

Sewing machine

Scissors

1m of 6mm stain ribbon

Elastic band

Assembly

Make sure you press your fabrics and if they are directional (stripes etc.) make sure you have enough fabric to get the direction of the print the right way up.

Iron the medium weight fusible interfacing to whichever fabric you prefer – as this collar will be double-sided it’s not really going to matter.

Print off your template here.

Cut out your template and pin to the wrong side of your fabrics. Cut 2 collar pieces from each fabric.

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Cut the ribbon in half and roll each length up leaving a 5cm tail. Secure the rolled up section with an elastic band (if your kids have been Rainbow Looming use them to hold the ribbon, they are a good size elastic band).

Pin the tail of the ribbon onto the right side of a collar piece. Use the photograph as a guide. Pin the second collar piece right side down on the top of the ribbon and the right side up collar piece.

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Pin and stitch along the edge, starting on the outside curve and leaving a 2in opening for turning.

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Reverse stitch at the beginning and the end. Notch the corners, then trim the raw edges to 1/8in from the stitched line leaving a bigger edge at the opening.

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Turn the collar sections right side out and press. Fold and pin the opening closed neatly and topstitch all the way around the collar.

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Place the collar pieces together, matching the front centre points. Using a needle and thread, stitch the points together, passing the needle through a few times.

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Place your buttons into position and attach using your preferred method.

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Your collar is now ready to wear.

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Christmas Chicken

by Mel Alce

This is a family recipe at the Alce’s. It’s an Italian recipe that is referred to as the Christmas Chicken because of the red and green ingredients.

Ingredients

2 large onions

1 large carrot

3 cloves of garlic

2 sticks of celery

1 capsicum

3 zucchinis

2 jars of Pasata

Mixed herbs

2 tbsp sugar

Salt & Pepper

3 chicken doubles

Oil

Note: This dish serves 14 people.

Method

Chop the garlic and onions finely and place in a frying pan with a splash of oil. Sweat them down until clear. Dice carrot and celery and add to the pan. Add the pasata, sugar and herbs and stir until when mixed.

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Slice up the zucchini and capsicum and fry on grill until charred.

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Clean up the chicken, slice into strips of about the same size and fry in a pan with oil.

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In a large baking dish place a layer of chicken strips, a layer of zucchini and capsicum, then a final layer of chicken.

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Pour the sauce on top.

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Place in the oven for around an hour on 160degrees.

Serve!

Pincushion

by Marni Franks

Materials

Main fabric – 10 1/2in square

Contrast fabric – approx 4in square

Sheet of Mylar

Fabric glue

Sewing machine

Thread

Needle

Buttons: 2

Method

From your background fabric cut one 10 1/2in square.

From a sheet of cardboard or Mylar make a 9in square template. This needs to be subjected to the heat of the iron so it either needs to be something that can take the heat like Mylar or something cheap like cardboard that you can replace easily.

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Grab some washable fabric glue – Sewline Glue Pen or Roxanne’s Baste It Glue.

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Centre your 9in template on the wrong side of your background fabric. Press the top and the bottom edges in towards the centre of the template making sure that the edges are against the template and crisp.

Place glue in the corners of the square (the folded edge) and press the sides in towards the centre in the same way, the glue will set with the iron’s heat and hold it all in place.

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Pull out your template gently.

Fold your square into quarters and press to get your guidelines for the next step.

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Open up your square with the raw edges facing up. Pick a corner and fold it into the centre. Press lightly. You really want your outside corners to be as accurately folded as possible so in this step make sure you focus on them and if your centre is overlapping for the outside corners to work that’s ok and I give you permission to fudge this as needed. Once your corners are good press firmly.

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Place the square with the folded side up (so you can see the centre points), then fold the corners in to the centre, this time making sure that the centre points match perfectly!

Measure inside the folded unit and cut a square of your contrasting fabric to that size. I tend to cut mine 1/8in smaller so that I know it fits perfectly.

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Pin the folds down and stitch the centre in a little cross to secure the points down on the contrasting fabric.

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Pick any of the openings and fold back, curving it gently, not pulling it too hard and press it with the iron. Fold back all of the openings that match the first one you have done (keeps the folds looking consistent like when you do cross-stitch). Press each fold and pin to secure. Fold the opposite openings back to match, pressing and pinning as you go.

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Pick a curve and stitch the full arc, crossing over your little centre cross – this way you will only be stitching four rows and not have to start and stop for each mini arc. Reverse stitch at the beginning and end of each row.

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Measure your finished window and cut a back for your pincushion that is a half-inch bigger all the way around. Align one edge of your window section to one edge of the backing and pin.

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Start stitching on the edge that is opposite the aligned edge you just pinned. Reverse stitch and then stitch all the way around leaving a 1 1/2in opening for turning.

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Trim the edges off leaving a wide edge at the opening. Notch the corners.

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Turn the pincushion out the right way. Stuff firmly with toyfill.

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Ladder stitch the opening closed.

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Pull in the middle of your pincushion with a button either side and use your preferred method for attaching buttons.

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Stick your favourite pins in it and you’re ready for your next sewing project!

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Lemon Cream Bundt

By Mel Alce

Ingredients

5 large eggs

1 3/4in cups sugar

pinch of salt

2 cups self raising flour

3 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup heavy cream

6 tbsp melted butter

finely grated lemon zest of 2 lemons

2 fresh lemon juice

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Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees

Prep the tin.

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In mixer combine eggs, sugar, salt and mix until a light lemon colour.

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In a bowl sift flour and baking powder. Gently stir the flour/baking powder mixture into the egg/sugar mixture, a small amount at a time, blending well.

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Blend in the cream and melted butter mixture. Then fold in the lemon zest and lemon juice.

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Pour the mixture into the bundt tin.

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Place the tin into the oven for 40-45minutes.

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Turn out onto a cooling rack to cool.

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Cut to serve.

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Serving options – ice-cream, custard, sprinkle with icing sugar.

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Moustache Card

By Dawn Lewis

Project Life (aka pocket scrapbooking) is everywhere at the moment!  There are lots of cards you can buy … but then your album is just like everyone else’s!  I have made my own using Photoshop, but, of course, not everyone has that program.  So, I recently began investigating PicMonkey.  Wow!  This free photo editing website is amazing, and you don’t even have to have an account … just go in and start using it!


So … let’s go through it step by step and make a cool 6″ x 4″ card, and by the time you’re done, you’ll know your way around PicMonkey easy peasy!

Photo 1
2) Choose ‘Design’ and ‘Custom’
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3) Make your canvas 900 x 1200 to create a 3 x 4 portrait.
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4) Now you have a blank canvas.  Choose ‘Overlays” (butterfly icon)
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5) Choose Facial Hair.  Click the moustache and it will appear on your canvas.  Click & drag the corner to resize (larger), and place it where you want it (refer to photo).
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6) Choose ‘Text’ (Tt icon).  Click the ‘Add Text’ box at the top of the left column and the text box will appear on your canvas.
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7) Click inside the text box and drag it into position (refer to photo).
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8) Click on the text box, and type  a capital letter i.  Highlight it (click & drag, it will be pale blue).
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9) Choose font (I have used ‘Special Elite’).
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10) While it is still highlited, increase the font (in the pop up text box) to 168.
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11)  Repeat steps 6-10, but move text box below the moustache and type ‘you a question’.  Extend the text box edges by clicking on the left side and dragging left, then on the right side and dragging right.
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12) Choose ‘Effects’ (wand icon) and select ‘Dark Edges’.
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13) Click ‘Apply’ to create a dark shadow around the canvas.
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14) Choose ‘Frames’ (frame icon).  Choose ‘Simple Edge’.
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15) Change the outer thickness to 35.  Change the inner thickness to 10.  Change the corner radius to 113.  Apply.
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16) Choose ‘Effects” (wand icon).  Choose ‘Cross Process”.  Choose Green, 30%.  Apply.
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17) Choose ‘Combine All Elements’ (2 ‘pages’ with a downward arrow) in the top bar.  Then choose ‘Save’.
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18) Name your file.  Choose file quality (these are James Bond actor references), either Pierce or Sean.  Save to your computer.
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You are done!  You now have a 3″ x 4″ custom-made project life/pocket scrapbooking card that you can print and insert into your album!Of course, if you have digital scrapbooking kits, you can use them as well.  If you’re interested in another tutorial showing how to do that, just let me know!
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Foxy Friend

by Marni Franks

All you’ll need for this project is a cheap pack of plasticine.

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Firstly make sure your hands are clean and dry. Also make sure your work surface is dust free.

Work with the orange plasticine first, then white and then black. This is to keep your colours and your hands clear. If you work with the black first your orange and white will become tinted with the greyish-ness from the black.

Grab a stick of orange. Combine it so that it warms in your hand and is malleable.

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Tear off two chunks the same sort of size (tail and head) and leave a bigger chunk for the body.

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Roll the body chunk into a rounded blob, that’s a bit flatter/squarer on the base.

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Roll the head chunk into a ball. Pinch one side of the sphere into a triangular snout.

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Then pinch the ears above the snout.

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Place the head on the body – you’ll have to smooth the join to seal the head and body together.

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Roll out your tail chunk and attach it to the back of the body.

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Lastly with a tiny piece of orange (whether you need a new piece or have pinched a small bit off the other chunks) roll a small roll and cut in half for your fox’s legs.

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Take a small chunk of white and roll into a ball.

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Use a pen to roll it out flat. If you have the world’s tiniest rolling pin feel free to use that. :)

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Make sure it fits your fox’s body and then add some texture.

I use tweezers but you can use a toothpick or other sharp tipped object, rough up one side of the oval you rolled out

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Attach it to the body and continue to texture it in place to secre it.

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Take two tiny balls of white and place inside the ear cavity, then texture like you did the chest white.

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Take another piece of white and do the same texturing for the tail.

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Finally take a small pinch of black.

Pinch off two tiny balls of black for eyes and a tiny piece (equal to the two eye pieces) for the nose.

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Place the nose on the snout and pinch so it’s slightly pointy.

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Grab a glass head in and create two sockets for your eyes.

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Place one of the small black balls into the socket and flatten. Repeat for the second eye.

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Take a smudge of white on the tip of the pin and make a pupil on your fox. NOTE: This is really fiddly so take your time.

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Take a small piece of black and roll it into a small log. Using the pen roll it out flat.

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Cut it in half and roll out a little further.

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Take your orange legs and cap them with the flattened black piece, pinching in to secure.

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Attach your fox’s legs and you’re done!

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Crab Fritters

by Mel Alce

Ingredients

Fritters

tin of corn kernels

2 eggs

1/3 cup of milk

3/4 cup self-raising flour

chives

salt and pepper

Ocean Blue Crab (crab in a can or a fresh crab of you prefer)

Salsa

tomatoes

avocados

lime

red onion

parsley

Tools

herb scissors

frying pan

spray oil

lifter

whisk

bowl

cooling rack

Method

Fritters

Mix egg and milk in a bowl and gradually whisk in the dry ingredients. Add the chives and corn into the mixture, stirring until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Spray oil into the frying pan and add small amounts of the mixture. Wait until there is a skin and then turn the fritter.

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Place on cooling rack or plate to cool.

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Salsa

Quarter and de-seed tomatoes. Chop finely into a bowl. Chop up and add avocado and diced red onion. Add some parsley to taste. Squeeze some lime juice over the salsa. Mix and place a spoonful onto each fritter.

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Top with a pinch of shredded crab meat and serve.

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Pixel Fox

by Dawn Lewis

Here is my original inspiration for this design
http://diyfascination.com/2014/02/14/cloud-regali-di-pasqua-cross-stitch-fox/

Here is the stamped cross stitch card I made using this design:
Materials
18″ (46cm) x Homespun – Blue
9″ (23cm) x Homespun – Orange
4.5″ (11.5cm) x Homespun – White
1.5″ (3.5cm) x Homespun – Black
White Thread
Rotary cutter
Quilters ruler
Self healing craft mat
1/4″ machine foot
This grid is 24 x 24 squares.
Any cross stitch, perler bead or basic graph pattern can be turned into a pixel panel.  I used graph paper to plot out the pattern as I wanted it to appear on my panel.  I opted for a little less bulk in the white tip of the tail, and though I neglected to add it to the top of my graph, I allowed a full row of the background blue around each edge.  My personal preference is to create these as a square … I just the like the symmetry of it.
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Once you have graphed out your design, it’s time to add up those colours.  This pixel panel uses:
337 x blue squares
149 x orange squares
81 x white squares
9 x black squares
TOTAL – 576 squaresYup … that’s a LOT of squares!  Be prepared for some maths!
The next steps help you figure out how much fabric you need.  I have used 1.5″ x 1.5″ squares.  Given that your average bolt of homespun is 42″ of useable fabric across, you can confidently expect to get 28 squares from a single 1.5″ strip of fabric.
337 x blue squares divided by 28 = 12 strips x 1.5″ = 18″ (46cm)
149 x orange squares divided by 28 = 6 strips x 1.5″ = 9″ (23cm)
81 x white squares divided by 28 = 3 strips x 1.5″ = 4.5″ (11.5cm)
9 x white squares … being less than 28 = 1 strip x 1.5″ = 1.5″ (3.5cm)
That’s about 84cm of fabric all up, and there will be leftover squares.  If you get hooked on making these 8 bit pixel panels, you might want to keep those for your next project.
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You will notice on my graph paper that there are black dots at each side of the lines.  The last thing I wanted to do while I was sewing was to make a mistake and have to undo all those little squares!  So, as I finished each line, I marked it left and right, so I could clearly see which line I was up to.  I started at the bottom, and worked my way up to the top.
To make it easy to follow the graph, I put it up on the wall in front of my sewing machine and kept my black marker close at hand.
Row 1 was super easy … I just had to stitch 2 blue squares together 12 times.  I chain pieced them, so I didn’t have to snip threads as I went, I just cut them all apart when I was done.  This gave me 12 x double blue squares.  So … I stitched them together in pairs.  That gave me 6 x quadruple blue square pieces.  I stitched them together in pairs, giving me 3 pieces with 8 blue squares.  I sewed all 3 together and had a finished row of 24 squares.
When I finished with each row, I laid them out on my ironing board in order.
Row 2 was a little trickier, as I had to include the 2 black squares for the feet.  I calculated that I needed to sew together 6 pairs of blue squares, then a blue + black square, another blue + black square, then another 4 pairs of blue squares.  Because they were chain pieced, it was really easy to keep them in order.  As I snipped the chain apart, I laid it out on my sewing table in order.  I soon got into a rythm of doing this … stitch together block 1&2, 3&4, 5&6, 7&8, 9&10, 11&12 … and make sure that the right colours are next to each other.
If you get into a habit of laying them out so that the colour in the even number square is on top, then stitch that to the odd numbered square in the block next to it, you can actually chug along quite easily without making a mistake.  I did make a few, but that was before I got into a rhythm.
Row 3 and beyond brings more challenge as there are more colour pieces, but if you keep your system going, you should be fine.
When all the rows are stitched, it’s time to iron.  I pressed every single seam in one direction first on the back, and then pressed the front.  Then I flipped it over to the back again, and pressed every single seam open.  This helps it sit flat when it is finished … definately worth the time.
At this point your squares will look more like rectangles and your design will have this weird stretched out look to it.  Don’t panic … that’s how it’s supposed to look!
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When all the rows are pressed, it’s time to stitch the rows together.  It was about now that I realised that, despite using my 1/4″ foot, not all of my seams were lining up.  Full disclosure … this is not how I usually make my 8-bit pixel panels, so this was a learning experience for me, which I am pleased to pass on to you.  For starters … my 1/4″ foot does not give me a true 1/4″ seam.  Even a fraction of a mistake cutting and sewing will show up in this stage.  I recommend pinning, and getting the seams to match as best you can.  You can see in the close up of the foxy legs how they really didn’t match up (good thing I’m getting over my need for perfectionism!).
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Stitch Row 1 to Row 2 … make sure you have the correct rows (this is why I suggest laying them out in order, and keeping them that way!), and that they are right side up BEFORE you sew.  It will save you the heartache of unpicking later.  I speak from experience (between the kids, husband and Quality Control Kitty, the order or rows was disturbed more than once, and quite spectacularly!).
Press between rows, opening out the seams which gives a flatter finish at the end.  Take care when sewing not to stretch one strip too much.  If you look closely you can see some uneven fabric … I was trying to match seams and got a little carried away.  I also have a teeny tiny pleat in one square … be sure to keep it flat as you can.
Now all those stretched out rectangles will be back to squares again, so you will have a lovely blocky, 8-bit, graph-like design, just like the one you mapped out on your graph paper :)
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What can you do with your panel?  Whatever you like!  Add some borders and make a baby or lap quilt.  You could also turn it into a wall hanging or a cushion cover, or even a bag!

Foxy Headband

This week’s guest blogger is Samantha from Miss Skeleton’s Hair Bows & Accessories.

Samantha creates beautiful headbands, hairclips, maternity sashes and all sorts of other hair accessories. I myself own quite a few. :)

Make her feel welcome…

*Marni*

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Hi everyone! My name is Samantha and Miss Skeleton’s Hair Bows & Accessories is my small business based in South East Queensland. I started creating simple hair clips about two years ago just as a hobby but some of my friends admired my creations and started placing their orders, shortly after that I started selling my accessories online.

My range quickly went from strictly clips to headbands and it has continued to grow from there. I try to cater to all ages, styles and occasions by having a large range of pre-made items and also offering custom pieces. Photographers and brides-to-be often contact me wanting a unique piece and I am more than happy to take on the challenge even if it is something totally outside my comfort zone as I love creating anything from simple to very elaborate.

I purchase supplies from almost everywhere and I have a large assortment of embellishments ready to work with at all times. I spend numerous hours every week designing and sewing new accessories to show my fans. I am still very surprised with what I can create and how much my skills have improved since picking up my first needle and thread. I hope to continue crafting for years to come so I can only imagine what my store will have grown to include in the future.

When I was approached by the 55FF girls about a fox inspired project I designed this headband.

If you’d like to see more of my work you can find me on Facebook.

Thanks for having me!

Samantha