Monday, 9 November 2015
This summer I have been learning to sew. I have sewn skirts, a top, a dress, a scarf, hairbands, bow-ties, purses and bags. I have made a lot of mistakes, unpicked a lot(!) of stitches and have frequently thought it would be easier to buy this instead. However, despite this, I have developed a love of sewing. It is amazing to start with a piece of material and a few hours (or days or weeks!) later to have a finished item that you have made yourself. Something unique. I am still not a great dressmaker and I am going to need to keep practising for years until I become anywhere close but I feel much more confident sewing and giving new projects a try. I have loved making clothes but they are incredibly hard. I am going to keep practising because I love having individual clothes but making smaller items such as bags, bow-ties and accessories is something I find much more enjoyable.
In September I decided that I wanted to set myself a challenge of making a number of the same items and trying to 'perfect it'. I had bought some beautiful material when I was in England for a few week and so once back in France with some lovely fabric I started to design a clutch bag. I wanted to include a bow-tie style bow somewhere on the bag and after many paper and fabric attempts I had a design that I really liked.
I have made four different versions, three with denim polka dot material and various bows and linings and a turquoise polka dot version. I have created an Etsy shop - Pesky Designs and they are listed there. I am working on some smaller items which I hope to add in the next few weeks.
Friday, 6 November 2015
It starting to get colder here in France, the days can still be quite warm but the nights are cold and a fire is usually needed (we don't have central heating). For me, longer, colder nights always mean drinking more tea, I will use any excuse to drink more! Recently I have been seeing amazing sweet treats on blogs that I follow and it made me want to do some baking. I love cinnamon at this time of year; in hot chocolate, cakes, bread, you name it. We also had some pears in the fruit bowl that had seen better days so what better way to use them up than to make pear and cinnamon rolls. I based the recipe on this one with a few additions.
Recipe - Pear and Cinnamon Rolls
400g plain flour (+ extra for rolling)
2½ teaspoons yeast
200ml warm water
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon (add more to taste)
3 tablespoon icing sugar
1. Preheat your oven to 180°c. Combine the warm water with the yeast and a tablespoon of sugar and leave for a few minutes until foamy.
2. Add the flour, eggs, salt and an additional 2 tablespoons of sugar to the water mixture and knead until all combined. Continue to knead for another 5 minutes until the dough will stretch when pulled.
3. Leave the dough in a bowl covered with a tea towel for 30 mins.
4. Cut the pears into cubes and place in a large pan with a splash of water. Cook on a medium heat covered with a lid and stirring occasionally until the pears have formed a puree. Leave to cool. (This is important! I didn't do this and it made the dough much harder to roll and cut. As you can probably see from the photos!)
5. Mix together the remaining sugar and cinnamon. Roll out the dough into a rectangle and spread over the cooled pear puree and then sprinkle over the sugar mixture.
6. Starting from the longer side of the rectangle, roll the dough into a log shape. Cut the log into around 12 pieces and place on a lined baking sheet. I placed mine so that they touched each other as I wanted them to tear apart once cooked. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for another 30 mins.
7. Bake in the oven for 25-30 mins until golden. Once cooled, mix icing sugar with a few drops of cold water and drizzle over the buns.
8. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea (or coffee!)