Monday, March 25, 2013

Anyone can do it


It's been a blog drought lately, but I am back and ready to type my face off!

Lately, I have been finding myself loving the DIY trend. I have been very interested in learning the skills necessary to make things from scratch. Today is an update of how everything has been going in my quest to live using raw materials.

First, tarts:

Baking has always been top of the list of things that I want to learn how to do in my life. Therefore, I have been baking up a storm lately. (This is delicious, but highly bad for my figure so I am a big fan of sharing. Let me know if you want a homemade baked item!)

I began with a gluten free fruit tart for a dear friend's birthday party, I roughly followed this recipe from Food Network's website:

I didn't have a number of the ingredients so I substituted to the best of my ability. I used amaretto instead of brandy and I used vanilla extract instead of vanilla.

The crust was pretty simple, but the gluten free flour becomes slightly crumbly which made getting the tart out of the pan incredibly challenging. Anyway, I followed the remainder of the recipe exactly and it came out incredibly delicious!!

 The jelly mixture is was gives the fruit the fantastically perfect look that makes fruit tarts look absolutely delectable.

 This photo mostly shows off the beautiful tart pan I found! Who knew Target was so diverse in its color options?!
My second tart was a lemon tart, also from the Food Network website. Find the recipe here:

I used regular flour for this version but am lacking in the area of food processor so I had to hand grate the lemons and then mash them into pieces as small as I could make it. I then followed the recipe as written.

First, I made the dough and refrigerated it....

 While waiting for the dough to cool, I made the lemon curd...

 The pastry has to be half baked, pierced with a fork and then returned to the oven.

This was the most challenging part, heating the lemon filling. It requires the baker to stand and stir until the filling heats and thickens.

The slightly browned crust, ready for the filling!

The final product.

Next, sewing:

When going to the store to look for throw pillows, I realized how insane spending over twenty dollars for two squares of material and stuffing truly is.

 Therefore, I wanted to start to sew again. First, I made this guy for my bedroom...

Next I attempted to make a pillow for a friends birthday....

He had "written" a song (by written, I mean that loosely as this song was mostly a representation of what happens when a young Pittsburgh gentleman puts his best 'yinzer' to music) So I decided to put his lyrical genius on a throw pillow for his couch. Here is a close up of the embroidery that I attempted.

Here is the final look from the front.

Final look from the back....

Can't move on without a showing a good side angle...

I went to creative reuse lately and found this cool material that I thought would be perfect for napkins...I understand that sounds strange but I don't know how else to describe it. You never know when you may need cloth napkins right?

So, first I cut out four 14" squares. I wanted 12" squares and figured that each end would lose about a 1/2" once I sewed them.

First I turned the fabric over twice.

Then I ironed the ends to keep them in place...

Of course, when sewing...pinning is still a necessity.

Here are the napkins pre-ironed and pinned.

I chose this funky orange color because I thought it would accent the tan of the fabric.

 Here is one of the corners up close...

 After I sewed all of the napkins I ironed them again, just to get rid of any remaining creases.

The final product!!!!

 Ok, after sharing a bunch of pictures and showing off all of my most recent projects I need to make something clear. ANYONE CAN DO THIS. Besides precision, time, and a few materials, you need little else to create any of the above items. I want everyone out there to take the time to be creative this week. People always assume that creativity means making something out of nothing. For me, creativity is creating something out of something else!! Find time to make something, it doesn't matter if you buy a coloring book and take twenty minutes to very carefully make the picture come alive with all 100 colors crayola makes. JUST MAKE SOMETHING! The feeling of accomplishment afterward will make you so proud of yourself!

Until next time...Living Upward,

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