The Monday Project: 2 Hour Homemade Bread

It has been awhile since I’ve shared a Monday Project so I thought I’d make this a good one!Easy 2 Hour Bread

I make our own bread.

We eat bread almost daily: sometimes two loaves a day.  In total I usually make about 30 loaves a month using about 70 lbs of flour and I can guarantee you if this were a difficult thing to do I would not be doing it!!  I only buy two loaves of bread from the super market each month and I put them in the freezer for those days when we need bread to eat but I need the extra time more.

Home made bread is much cheaper: even buying the local organic flour from our Co-op I save a lot of money on bread.  Home made bread is so delicious even the artisan stuff doesn’t compare to a hot loaf fresh out of the oven.  You can make an organic real food loaf for less than half the price of the shop bought stuff with none of the hidden ingredients. If you find a recipe that works for you its easy to tweak it till it suits your tastes perfectly!  For example: M. likes his bread with a little sweetness but when my mother in law is over I bake loaves with no sugar added because she doesn’t like the sweetness.Easy 2 Hour Bread

Until I hurt my back and couldn’t knead the loaves I was doing it all by hand.  My back forced me into making the decision to get a stand mixer, I’m super happy to have the mixer but trust me that your bread will come out just as nice (maybe even better) and takes only 5 minutes more kneaded by hand.  There is a lot of scary snobbery about bread making:  You don’t need to be a baker or wonder chef to do it!  You don’t need a special oven that gets to extra ordinary temperatures!  And you don’t need to devote half a day to the task!  This recipe  makes two 2lb loaves and is super versatile and takes 2 hours start to finish (1 hour of which you aren’t even doing anything to it).  Later in the week I will share with you some variations on the recipe that we use all the time to make pizza bases, cinnamon/pumpkin rolls, and naan bread.

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Ingredients:

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550 ml (1/2 qt) warm (to touch) water

2 Tbs dry yeast

2 Tbs sugar or Honey

1 kg (2 lbs 3 oz) bread flour (Do weigh it out- it is far more accurate than measuring in cups) I use different flour mixes depending on what I want the loaf to be like but if you use less than 2/3 white bread you need to up the water content of the loaf and increase it rising time.  I like to substitute 300 grams of white flour for 200 g home-ground whole wheat, 50 g chia seed, and 50 g oat bran and add another 30 mls water.

1 tsp salt

2 Tbs olive oil

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Method:

Stir the sugar and yeast into the warm water in a large mixing bowl.  Make sure your water is not hot, it should be only a little warm.  Let it sit about 5- 10 minutes till it looks foamy. Stir/mix in the other ingredients- the sugar oil and salt are all optional but I find it gives a nicer loaf.  This dough is a little sticky but not difficult to handle.  If at this point your dough feels hard to push into you haven’t got enough liquid if it is difficult to get unstuck from your hands you have too much liquid.

Hand knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes- but don’t sweat it- a relatively easy bit of kneading will do.  In a stand mixer I let it mix for about 4-5 min. Set it aside in the same large bowl in a warmish spot and let it rise for an hour. When our house is cold I put on a pot of coffee and put the bread bowl on top.

Before you start the next step preheat your oven to 430 F and very thinly smear butter (I use the wax papers that come around the butter sticks) inside your two 2 lb loaf pans and lightly sprinkle flour over the buttered surface. You can make any loaf shape you like and if you don’t have loaf pans just make two rounded loaves on a baking sheet (like the photo at the top).

Knock back your dough (which should be twice the size it was- if it isn’t find a warmer spot for it and leave it till it is. If it doesn’t smell yeasty you may have killed your yeast with too hot water).  You don’t really need to knead it again but if you want a finer crumb bread knead it for just a minute or two- I don’t bother I just squish it around in my hands a little.  Divide the lump into two halves and smooth them into fat tube shapes.  Fold the ends under a little for a nice shape but its really not important how you shape it… its just aesthetics! Plonk one in each loaf pan.Easy 2 Hour Bread

Get your hands wet and just smooth them over the top of the loaf, sprinkle the moist surface with a little salt and then a fine coating of flour. Use a knife to cut a line down the center of your loaf about 1/2 in deep.Easy 2 Hour BreadAllow the loaves to rise about 10 minutes before you put them in the center of the hot oven.

Cook them for 8 minutes then open your oven door and reduce the temperature to 330 F.   My oven takes less than 2 minutes to get down to 330 F before it kicks in heating again.  Cook for 30 minutes more.  This will give you a light crust which is a little crispy on top and more soft around the sides.  If you like a much darker crust you can up the temperatures.  I have read (in a recipe that makes a simple white loaf totally hard work) that you can start your bread at 500 F and reduce to 430 F.

Easy 2 Hour Bread

Enjoy!

Easy 2 Hour Bread

White loaf.

xx Jo

The Monday Project: A Hobbit Hole Tissue Box

Hello my dear Bagginses and Boffins, Tooks and Brandybucks, Grubbs, Chubbs, Hornblowers, Bolgers, Bracegirdles and Proudfoots.  It’s the beginning of allergy season in Bag End and quite frankly no self respecting Hobbit should be without some sort of nose blowing material!  To battle this sneezey time of the year I offer you a limited time SVG free-bee!

DIY: Hobbit Hole Tissue Box SVG

Its fun and easy to make and the pieces are mostly self explanatory.  All the pieces can be cut from 12 x 12 card and you will need 2 sheets for the Hobbit Hole walls, 1 sheet for the roofing and several colors of scrap card for all the embellishments. As usual please do not distribute or sell my files or sell products made from my files.  The file will remain free on this site (at the bottom) for about a month, after which time I will be offering it for sale in my shop at SnapDragon Snipits and Etsy.

1: Once your pieces are cut by hand, Silhouette Cameo (using the full size SVG) or Cricut Design Space (using the 50% SVG expanded to full size) adhere the windows and door to the back of the body of the house, crease the perforations and use double sided tape to stick together the edges.

DIY: Hobbit Hole Tissue Box SVG

2: Place the window frames and door frame on the outside of your hobbit hole windows/door.

DIY: Hobbit Hole Tissue Box SVG

3: compile your tiny window boxes with as much foliage and flowers as you think Samwise Gamgee can manage to keep watered.

DIY: Hobbit Hole Tissue Box SVG

4:Place the bushy foliage with the perforations aligned with the corner of the house.  The join in the front should be covered by the front door step.DIY: Hobbit Hole Tissue Box SVG

5: Once the front, back and sides of your hobbit house are compiled you can put the sides on. I suggest sticking the A frame part together first and then the sides.

DIY: Hobbit Hole Tissue Box SVG

6: The roof is compiled of 5 pieces.  But this photo shows it all in one piece… 5 pieces are much cuter but I ran out of time so just go with it eh? Align them slightly layered like shingles ensuring that the tissue hole lines up. Pop it over your tissue box!

Tissue Hobbit Hole SVG files for Silhouette and Cricut.

I hope you enjoy it!  I’ll be at the Green Dragon if you have any questions.

xx Jo

The Monday Project: Quick Up-cycle Crochet Hook Cannister

Chaos sometimes leads to awesome things but more often leads to big messes.  Occasionally it can lead to both!

The Monday Project: Quick Up-cycle Crochet Hook Cannister

My house… seriously. Disaster does not describe it.  Friday we decided to swap around bedrooms, Saturday K. E. and J. were in a fever of new room mania and sadly all my our stuff has been vomited all over the house.  But this huge mess lead to my mess of crochet hooks and a hoarded Lifesaver tin falling side by side.  Who knew Christmas Lifesaver tins were the perfect size for crochet hooks?

The Monday Project: Quick Up-cycle Crochet Hook Cannister

So our hoarding tendencies… oh man do we hoard… has lead to an easy up-cycle project.

Lifesaver tin  $0 (rescued from the recycling)

Paper Art $0 (Obey Crochet calendar page free with January’s issue of Simply Crochet)

Double Sided Tape $.05 (whole roll $2.50)

The Monday Project: Quick Up-cycle Crochet Hook Cannister

Its pretty self explanatory but trim your art to the size of your tin leaving an overlap at the back.  Stick double sided tape on both sides of the under-lapping edge of the art and on the back of the over-lapping (is that a word?) edge. Line up your tin into the center of the paper carefully and stick down the edges.  You could add some Washi to pretty it up!

I intend to cover it with sticky plastic cover film when I eventually get myself out of this mess and into town. On the bright side it is getting slowly slowly better.

Saturday:

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Sunday:

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Today:

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Excuse me while I go stare morosely at the mess.

 Happy Monday lovelies and craft on!

Joanna

xx

Monday Project: Adaptable Gnomes

Saturday was the day where little owls across the planet were settling down in the branches of their TOKmas trees to share gifts and celebrate all things Tiny Owl Knits.  Its the day they Hoot and Holler and drink hot sweet stuff and nibble little treats sent by their friends.  I’ve had so much fun joining in the swap and I just need to say thank you to Walterbear for the lovely package she sent me: I have finger-less mitts!! Hoot Hoot!!

I've had so much fun joining in the swap and I just need to say thank you to Walterbear for the lovely package she sent me: I have finger-less mitts!! Hoot Hoot!! 

Part of the Tokmas swap rules was that one of your gifts would be TOK related and my spoilee had in her wish list Stephanie Dosen’s adorable “Gnome Home DPN Holders” which featured in my secret knitting (remember the lovely spilling bundle of gnome hats?).  Sadly I forgot to take a picture of the 5 little gnomes that flew off with a helpful owl to Canada but I have gone wild with ideas to use the pattern for!.   The pattern is sooo easy and sooo fun!

Secret Knitting Project Yarn Along @ Sweet Little Wood

First I made my mother in law some needle tidy’s inspired by the Gnome Home pattern:

Felted Needle Cozies: MIL Gift @ Sweet Little Wood

My mother in law is not whimsical in the least but I thought she might find some needle tidy’s useful because she does travel and knit a lot.  As I say this was “Inspired By” so its only loosely related… I just used some of the same felt-able fingering wool (from Knit Picks) and knitted up a few rectangles 12/14/16 stitches wide and about 4 inches long, sewed them into a tube and felted them around a pencil or several pencils where they needed to be bigger.  The largest rectangle (16 st wide) fits 10 mm needles when stretched a little.  Basically whatever size and shape you leave the wet felted wool in it will stay in.

THEN (and this is really really fun) I adapted the pattern for a Gnome Home for BIC pens:

Gnome Home by Tiny Owl Knits Adapted for BIC pens @ Sweet Little Wood

These are for my girls.  I used Stephanie’s pattern but shortened the body of the gnomes to 2 inches.  The felting takes care of any other size issues!  I used BIC crystal pens and cut off the little arm on the lid to make the lid fit on nicely.

Gnome Home by Tiny Owl Knits Adapted for BIC pens @ Sweet Little Wood

Once everything was perfectly dry a little bit of hot glue on the bottom of the pen and on the lid holds all the knitting to the pen parts.  It is not a permanent fix (so then you can move it to another pen later).

Gnome Home by Tiny Owl Knits Adapted for BIC pens @ Sweet Little Wood

How darn cute are they?

Gnome Home by Tiny Owl Knits Adapted for BIC pens @ Sweet Little Wood

xx Jo

 

 

A Year of Presents

Happy Monday to you lovely people!

M. turns 39 this week and I have his solemn word that he will not peek at any posts before then… so M. if you are reading this:

You only have yourself to blame!!

A Year of Presents: A gift for men that lasts all year! @ Sweet Little WoodBuying gifts for men is so hard! Either they don’t want anything, or the stuff they want is so technical they have to buy it!  Which is why- men- you get socks, ties and chocolates.

Just sayin’.

M. falls into the “wants nothing” category but perversely I think he actually would be disappointed to get nothing!  I now realize that when he says he doesn’t want anything he means he wants me to think up what he might enjoy… that is almost worse than him wanting something highly technical.

So this year I am giving him a year of presents which works like this:

A Year of Presents: 12 cards + 12 messagest and gifts + One cool gift for your guy!  @ Sweet Little Wood

12 cards all labeled with the date he is to open each card.  Each one contains a note and a gift (gift cards/ tickets/ planned days out/ etc). On every month’s anniversary of his birthday he gets to open a new card from his stash.  Thus giving a whole year of gifts in one small slim packet.  Because one of his jobs is planning and paying for date nights more than half of his cards this year have date nights- prepaid or gift cards (cinema gift certificates/ dinner out/ money for drinks at a free concert).  The other cards have ideas for things we can do as a family (picnics/ swimming/ hiking/ camping/ etc).  They can be free gifts like- M. loves cooking over a fire out of doors so its easy to incorporate that into a free date night or family fun day.

A Year of Presents: 12 cards + 12 messagest and gifts + One cool gift for your guy!  @ Sweet Little Wood

The cards I’m using are an SVG design available through my Etsy Shop– which includes the 12 card designs card lining (which are cut from patterned paper) and envelope pattern.  Obviously you could use any 12 cards!!

A Year of Presents: 12 cards + 12 messagest and gifts + One cool gift for your guy!  @ Sweet Little Wood

Last weeks Frugal Gift Wrapping Ideas are great for this gift!  I cut my adorable little house specifically to fit these cards and envelopes which I cut at 3.2 inches wide and 6.3 inches high…

A tiny house made from a cereal box @ Sweet Little Wood

Perfect Fit.

Joanna

xx

The Monday Project: Super Baby

My oldest niece (we will call her P.) is only 8 years younger than me.  We spent so much time together till she was 11 and I moved to England with M. that I felt like she was more of a little sister to me: in fact she is two months older than M.’s younger brother so it is plausible.  P. called me Nana -which is a long story that belongs to my eldest nephew but it really isn’t as weird as it seems. That has morphed now we are older into Aunt Joanna for most of my nieces and nephews though sometimes an Aunt Nana sneaks out and makes me all giddy inside.  I really wouldn’t mind if P. just called me Jo so long as she keeps calling me.

Of all my nieces and nephews (there are 13) I know her best of all which must have something to do with the time we spent together all those years ago.  She is the person who calls me most frequently and because she lives in my hometown some 6 hours away I probably have seen her more often since the move than any of the rest of the family.  I feel that I know P. like a sister where my other nieces I was always more of an aunt figure.  I’m not sure if anyone else gets the differentiation.   Probably it comes down to how I treat her: I tell her what I think and I don’t pamper her; that doesn’t always go down well but it is actually a complement so I will continue to do it anyway!   If I am honest P. probably gets a raw deal from it : Aunties are always nicer than sisters when it comes down to being spoiled rotten!

Super Baby 12 months of onesies @ Sweet Little Wood

P. recently had her third baby.  I have taken care of the three girl thing and she now has three boys so balance has been restored to cosmic forces. I am a lucky lucky Auntie because this weekend we braved the rain and drove the hundreds of miles so I could visit her and kiss that sweet wee boy.  And now- my friends- I can share with you the project I’ve been working on for awhile and itching to show!

Months and months ago on Pintrest I saw THIS:

12 months of onesies: on Pintrest.

12 months of onesies: on Pintrest.

I haven’t been able to find anyone to attribute this craft project to but I think it is brilliant.  And strangely there is nothing quite as cute on Etsy.  So when I found out one of my nieces was expecting a boy I decided I had to do this project but I wanted to up the ante (pun intended) and make it super cool!

Introducing a Pintresting SUPER BABY gift:

12 onesies- 0 to 12 months, prewashed

months 1-3 and the three designs

You can get the files for the pattern at the bottom of the page in SVG format, Silhouette cut file format , PNG and JPEG format. If you have a craft cutter like a Silhouette Cameo its easy-peasy to use otherwise the PNG/JPEG are there to use as a templates. My files are for private use only please do not reproduce the files, sell the files, or sell products made from the files without my permission.

I started out with the intention of doing the wax paper method but I had run out of wax paper so I decided to try to wing the painting using just card as a stencil… EPIC FAIL!  Don’t try this at home children! So I reverted to lovely old vinyl!  I so wish I had taken pictures of my craptastrophe… it was rather a mess.

12 onesies- 0 to 12 months, prewashed

You can easily make the onsies using a wax paper stensil and hand cut design… assuming that you unlike me have got the wax paper when it comes to it!   I have linked to a wax paper stenciling tutorial before but I will give the steps her as well.

What you will need:

12 onesies- 0 to 12 months, prewashed

Wax Paper

Printed image in reverse

 craft knife

fabric paint or all surface paint in 3 colors

paint roller, brush or sponge

1: For cutting the pattern by hand first print the PNG or JPEG in reverse onto copy paper with each image being about 4 inches wide.  Iron wax paper (wax side) to the un-printed side of the paper and cut the pattern using a craft knife.  You many want to leave the word “month/s” off your pattern and just include the number for quick cutting.  If you have a craft cutter cut your patterns out of self adhesive stencil material or follow the instructions above without printing and cut the reinforced wax paper on a light card-stock setting on your machine using the SVGs provided.

2: Iron a square of wax paper larger than your pattern- wax to fabric- inside the chest of the onesies. This will support the fabric, stop it pulling and prevent paint from going through the fabric to the back of the onesie.

3: Peel the copy paper off the wax paper and apply the wax paper wax side down to the chest of the onesies and iron in place. 

4: paint the onesie inside the wax paper stencil using a sponge to dab on paint or a paint-roller .  Immediately remove the front wax paper but leave the inside wax paper till the paint is dry.

5: When dry remove the inner wax paper and allow the paint to set a few days before washing.

What I used:

12 onesies- 0 to 12 months, prewashed

Easy-weed vinyl in green black and red

An iron and my Silhouette Cameo

 For the Vinyl cut version follow the Vinyl manufacturers instructions for application and care.

Superhero Baby 12 Months Of Onesies Zip File

Have a wonderful sweet morning this autumnal Monday!

xx

Nana

The Monday Project: Making Autumn Fall

Well darlings the autumn is softly creeping into The Sweet Little Wood.

Leaves and rain @ Sweet Little Wood

I love autumn.  Like so many of us: it is my favorite season.  There is so much magic in the darkness of the morning- not on school days when it would certainly be more convenient to be woken with light- but at the weekends when you wake and the light is still low, it’s cold enough to keep wrapped up in the duvet and a hot cup of tea in bed feels like utter luxury. What I adore the most about autumn is the cinnamon scent of fallen leaves and the rustle of stepping through them.  I can’t help but want to hurry the leaves along: it feels like fall but here we sit waiting for fall to… er … fall.

We always get leaves in the spring a few weeks later than the dryer, hotter valley over the hill.  We also start to go to ocher and rust a few weeks after them too so here our trees are still resolutely green.  The days are still reaching the 90’s but they feel cooler with the lower angle of the sun and brisk sea breezes.  Positively cold temperatures are settling in to the evenings and waking us in the morning with a nip.  My daily routine has changed with the seasons:  now I don’t have to worry so much about over-heating the house my mornings are filled with bread making and dinners are being planned for roasting in the oven.

Fall Leaf Collection Bunting @ Sweet Little Wood

Yay for bunting!

In order to satisfy my crafting lust and my yen for fall I have been decorating with my favorite thing: BUNTING!  Americans don’t seem to use bunting as much as the British do.  I find it completely charming; I would hang it on every strait line if it didn’t collect so much dust!  So this week I have been pinning up strings of paper leaves (I just staple the leaves to the string so they slide into the right place… very little actual work involved!)  and adorable acorn bells all tied up with raffia.  Its is totally comforting. The adorable little bells are from Michael’s.  They are so sweet I want to add them to every thing in my house!  I wonder if I would look too eccentric with them on the toes of my shoes..

Fall Leaf Collection Bunting @ Sweet Little Wood

The leaves are from my Autumn Leaf Collection SVG I cut on a Silhouette Cameo.  The SVG is available on my ETSY shop and soon in a NEW LOCATION!! There have been secrets being kept in the dark recesses of the forest where quiet conversations stay private…  but more on that very soon.

Fall Leaf Collection Bunting @ Sweet Little Wood Now all my doorways are festooned I can get on with the real business of  making cookies and hot chocolate to have while I watch my favorite fall film: Practical Magic !

xx Jo