Monday, January 31, 2011

Homemade Bread

I never thought I would be one of those moms that make bread. My mom really didn't bake bread when I was growing up. In fact, I have fond memories of going to the Hostess Bakery Thrift Store with her. However, in my quest to be a little more self-sufficient I went to a class on bread making and found out how easy it is. And for all of you that have a ton of wheat in your food storage and you don't know what to do with it, may I suggest making your own bread? As long as you have a wheat grinder, that is. Without further ado, here is my recipe:

5 1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup wheat gluten (I found mine at a well stocked grocery store)
4 tsp. yeast
2 2/3 cup warm water

1/4 cup oil (vegetable, canola, salad)
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. dough enhancer (I had to get mine from a natural foods/health food store)
1 1/3 cup flour (more or less as needed, I usually need more though)

1. Place 5 1/3 cup flour in mixer with dough hook (see note below about mixers). Add yeast and gluten. Add warm water and mix for one minute, or until everything is mixed. Cover with towel and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Add oil, honey, and salt. Turn on mixer and add dough enhancer and the remaining flour until dough cleans sides of bowl (it's better to add less flour than too much)
3. Knead bread for 7-10 minutes. Preheat oven to 150 F (mine only goes down to 170, which is fine too).
4. Oil hands (olive oil), divide bread into two equal portions, shape into loaves and add to greased pans (I use Pam, which works wonderfully)
5. Put loaves into the oven, shut the door, turn off the oven, and let rise for 25 minutes.
6. Turn oven on to 350 F (with loaves inside). When up to heat, bake for 25 minutes. If you want, you can put a pan of water on the lower rack of the oven. This helps the bread to not be so crusty.
7. Remove bread from oven and pans and let cool on a rack.
8. Cut and enjoy!

Note on Mixers: If you are using whole wheat you need a serious mixer. I have a KitchenAid professional mixer, and if I let it mix for too long (the dough hook helps knead the bread) the motor gets pretty warm. You cannot make this using a standard mixer. A good Bosch would work too. I don't think the miniature one would work though.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Project Report

Can I just say that I love that I put my list of projects up here? This way I'm able to self-check and make sure I'm getting things done. And getting things done I have been (too bad my house isn't as clean as it should be, so my budget for next month will be a little tight).

Things I've completed:
Love Blocks
Pink flower hair clips for BIL's wedding
Vinyl Nativity Glass Block
Redecorating for Valentine's Day (this was easy because all I have is two small metallic garlands and two sets of gel window clings (and now the wooden blocks too!)

Things in the works:
The coat hangers/shelves. I've stained all the wood (still need to do a coat of poly on top) and spray painted the baskets ($3 at DI!). Need to get the nail gun back from a friend so the bad boys can be assembled and installed.
Seed packet wall hangings. I figured out where to put them, but I need to take down the other ones, putty, texture, and touch-up the wall, then rearrange them all, since they are all going together. That's why it hasn't gotten done yet. So many steps, and so much laziness. It took long enough just to figure out where to put them. :)

The skirt idea got scratched off the list, since I found a super cute eyelet sundress at DI for $5. It does need a cardigan to go over it, but I'm hoping a few more trips to DI should solve that problem. Can you tell that I love thrifting?

Something I might do soon:
Work on my quilt. It would be nice to have done, but it's such a big project, involving pulling out the sewing machine and making a mess of the living room. Oh how I wish I had a craft room.
Oh, and I might work on painting those wooden fences from the dollar store. They will be super cute hanging on a wall in my living room if Spring ever shows up. Which should be around June here in Idaho.

And, some eye candy:

These blocks are so easy to do! If you have a huge stockpile of scrapbook paper and scrap 2x4s, they are basically free! These papers I actually printed off my computer. I have a former roommate that designs digital scrapbooking materials, and this is from one of her kits, Sweet Love O' Mine. Go here to get it. Go here to visit her blog. Yari is awesome and I love pretty much everything she designs! So, to make these blocks, cut some 2x4s. I don't measure I just cut some bigger, some smaller and really just eyeball it. Then I measure so my papers will be the right length. The papers need to be 3" wide, and whatever length. Mod Podge the background papers to the blocks. If you have a Silhouette or Cricket cutting out letters is easy. I don't, so sometimes I use an alpha set from a digital scrapbooking kit, but this time I made my own using a font from Photoshop, and then using the masking text tool and a few other steps to make the font, including a layer style to get the ridges around the edges. So, after I Mod Podge the background papers I Mod Podge on the letters, then put another coat of Mod Podge over the top. This can all be done in about an hour, if you don't have littles (children) distracting you. Or husbands, or pets, or life, or whatever. I might still add some ribbons or flowers or something, but I still have bathrooms and a kitchen to clean.

My vinyl Nativity. I love how this turned out. I ordered from the site Say it on the Wall and was very pleased with the outcome. Laura has an offer for people who become "affiliates" so I got $5 in free vinyl from her! I did have to pay shipping, but that's okay. And this was a custom design. She had quite a few Nativity designs, but I wasn't completely in love with any of them, so I asked her to tweak the "O Holy Night" one, and she was more than happy to oblige. She was great to work with! And her vinyl was the easiest to work with that I have ever done. I thought the hay in the manger was going to be a pain, but it was EASY! It was actually the bottom corner, under Joseph that almost ripped because I wasn't paying attention. But it didn't. Thanks, Laura!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Super Easy No-sew Tutu

Another guest post:

A tutu for Miss A. that Mr. B wears about as much as she does.

A Fall Wreath Tutorial Guest Post

I did a guest post on a friend's craft blog (well, I actually did two).

It's a fall wreath I made for under five dollars!

Go here to check out the tutorial:

Two Winter Projects from Last Year

These are two of my recent crafts. I made the wreath this past weekend, out of a store bought wreath, felt, glitter glue, thread, ribbon, and some safety pins (to secure the mittens to the wreath).
And finally, my "Winter" wood blocks. I'm going to outline the letters at some point in time, since they are a little hard to see.

My Newest Blog

I've had this idea floating around in my head for awhile. I see lots of crafty blogs in the blogosphere and some of them are fantastic. I have a digital scrapbooking blog, which has been a fun creative outlet, and I have a private family blog. But I really needed another outlet for my projects. The thing is, I don't think I'm very funny, so I don't know how many readers I will get. My goal is to do at least one post a week (this way I get some projects done, right?) and hopefully be able to help others get their craft (or other hobby) on too.

A little bit about me...

I'm a 5'5" natural brunette with the most beautiful blue eyes (I don't mean to brag, but my daughter gets compliments on her eyes so often, which she gets from me, that I can't help it :)). I like virgin pina colodas and don't like to take walks in the rain. Something about getting soaking wet just doesn't appeal to me. I'm a SAHM of two kids, Miss A who is four, and Mr. B who is two. My DH is an engi-nerd that convinced me that I was madly in love with him, and two months after that we were married.

My loves and hobbies...
My Heavenly Father is my first love and my family is my second love. My hobbies...oh, that's a long list. Since 2007 I've been an Idaho Master Gardener (no, I don't grow potatoes), but this year I'm going to take a break from the MG program. I used to paper scrapbook, but since having children (I don't have any kids, goats aren't allowed in city limits) I've taken a break from that and now enjoy digital scrapbooking. I used to make cards, but again, the children. What I do instead: occasionally sew, pretend to quilt (I've been meaning to make a quilt for my bed for the last year, and even had the whole top put together until I realized the colors were too bright for my bedroom, so I gave it to my mom), buy Christmas decorations for cheap, buy gel window clings, decorate my living room for various holidays, reorganize, make dollar store crafts, and just craft in general.

Projects in the works or planned:
Coat hanger/rack things for the kids
Quilt for my bed
Wooden fence wall hanging things bought at the dollar store and needing to be painted
Quilts for the children
Flower hair clips for BIL's wedding for the nieces
Possible skirt for BIL's wedding for me
Glass block and vinyl nativity set (mostly just need to purchase the vinyl from an online store)
Hang some seed packet things that I bought and framed a long time ago
Redecorate for Valentine's Day

Yeah, so I think that's a lot of projects to keep me busy for awhile. And having them here holds me accountable to you, dear reader, whoever you may be. In the mean time, I'll see if I can find some of my old tutorials to post for your crafty goodness.

Have a fantastic day!