Friday, 23 September 2011

Fig, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Pizza

I had pinned (my Pinterest) a fig, prosciutto and blue cheese pizza recipe from Centsational Girl (please check out her recipe here) about 2 weeks ago and was dying to try it. But, of course, I was out shopping and hadn't bothered to write down the ingredient list so I had to wing it. I forgot it was supposed to be blue cheese but I'm a goat's cheese fan anyway so it was a good mistake. This is the recipe we came up with. It's a fantastic combination of the salty prosciutto, the creamy goat cheese and the sweet figs.

After I made the first pizza on Monday my 19 year old son requested it again on Wednesday. Now that's the sign of a good pizza!

The key to this is the "sauce." I can't stand those canned sauces from the store and that's what has always ruined our home pizza. So I picked up a jar of black olive tapenade (it's in the same place as the pizza sauces) instead. It's great as a tapenade too (I know, shocking) but we used the whole jar on two pizzas.

This is a very rich pizza because of the goat cheese. I found two slices was more than enough. You can add other things to it as desired. We threw on some ham we had in the fridge and some extra olives would have been great.

Sorry for the lack of pictures. I didn't think of taking any during the process and I had limited time after because of a hungry family. I will make this again and will hopefully add some decent photos of the process.

Fig, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Ingredients for 2 pizzas

2 thin pizza crusts
1 jar black olive tapenade (I used PC Black Olive Tapenade
100g prosciutto, thinly sliced then cut into bite sized pieces
6 black figs, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 small package soft, unripened goat cheese
Shredded mozzarella

Spread tapenade over pizza crust, leaving the edge plain. Add your toppings evenly and cover with mozzarella cheese as desired. Bake according to the directions for your pizza crust (ours said 6-8 minutes at 450 but we found it didn't take the full 6 minutes before the cheese was bubbly and the crust was nice and brown). Slice and enjoy.

Linking up to Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special:

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Baby Shower Gifts

Minky blanket and shoes

My niece is expecting her first baby in November (I'll be a great Aunt!) and the shower is this weekend. They have chosen not to find out if it's a girl or a boy, so all gifts had to be gender neutral. I decided the baby needed a little knitting and a little sewing to go with the other gifts I picked up. I hope to make him or her a quilt once I know if it's a him or a her.

For the knitting I made Sunnyside by Tanis LavaleƩ (available on Ravelry or on her website). I opted to do the cable option without the picot edge to keep things gender neutral. Many people on ravelry have chosen to continue the cables down the side and I love the look, but it was already coming out very small so I didn't want to risk pulling it in anymore. I did do EZ faux seams down the sides. Otherwise I actually followed the pattern (very rare for me).

No matter how much editing I did I could not get an accurate photo of this yarn. It's Sundara sock in sour apple and it has a brighter, more yellow tinge to it than my camera can capture. It's really much prettier in real life.

Minky blanket and shoes
Minky blanket and shoes
baby shoes
crib shoes
I also made a minky blanket and shoes set. The fabric is Michael Miller's Giraffe Garden in citron (from Tonic Living - they're one of the best for modern fabrics here in Canada). The shoes have minky insoles, flannel for the remainder of the inside and organic jersey bottoms. They are reversible, although in this case I don't think you'd bother. But it does mean there are no exposed seams to rub on little baby feet. Pure luxury and stinking cute. I made them in a 3 month size so I didn't bother to put gripper soles on them.

Baby shoes reversed

minky insoles
Minky insoles
It's only Thursday and I am actually ready for the shower. Well, almost. I haven't wrapped a thing!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Business Cards from MOO

I was positively giddy today because my business cards and stickers arrived from MOO. So often you order something online and when it arrives it just doesn't live up to your expectations. This was definitely not one of those times.

The quality of these cards is outstanding. The trike photo is crisp and bright (unlike my crappy pictures) and they look so professional yet modern. I opted to put my trike photo on the front with simple contact information on the back. I also ordered some stickers (they are in the bottom right corner of the top photo) in four different designs. 

If you've thought of using MOO and weren't sure - I highly recommend them. The price was reasonable, they arrived faster than promised, and they are very high quality. The packaging is fun too.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Sinking thread ends

The awesomeness that is the Internet never ceases to amaze me. For example, today I'm quilting a baby quilt that's a modified log cabin pattern. I decided I wanted to outline each square, but knew that turning the corners might be problematic as the back is solid so any wonkiness would stand out. So I decided to machine sew the lines but then hand sew each corner. Although time cosuming, I actually enjoy the hand sewing and the control it gives me. What I don't like is the constant threading of the needle. I just started and already I was feeling a little cross eyed.

corner ready to be "fixed"
A corner ready to be finished

A quick google search and voila - a way to sink threads without constant needle threading.

ends tied ready to be sunk into quilt
One side tied - ready to sink the ends

This method is brilliant. Essentially, you double thread a needle with a bright coloured thread (okay, it doesn't have to be bright, but it does make it more fun) but don't pull it all the way through, leaving a loop.

ends placed through loop
Thread ends placed inside the loop

Push the needle through the quilt as if you were burying your ends but before you pull the thread through you place your ends through the loop and then draw them through together.

ends pulled through
Loop pulling the ends out

It's all explained very nicely here by Art with a Needle - scroll down to Robbi's method.

One corner down, many more to go.

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Edited to link up with Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Handmade labels

At this early stage in my business I was not ready to commit to the cost of pre-printed labels. I also wanted the flexibility of changing the label for specific products. I thought I'd share my experience here in the hopes that it will help others trying the same thing.

My first try were these printable fabric sheets from my local Staples ($13.96 for 5 sheets).

I thought they'd be perfect. Fabric. Ink jet printable. Sew on.

Well, the sew on part is a bit misleading.  See up in the corner where it says iron-on or sew? These are iron on fabric sheets so they are backed with a thick, stiff plastic. Not exactly what I wanted to attach to my baby blankets. I could see where you might use these on something hard, like maybe paper scrapbooking, but not on fabric products. I didn't bother with a picture of the label because it was the feel rather than the look that failed here. To be honest I didn't even test the ink fastness because I knew this wasn't an option.

Next, I went out to Michaels and picked up a pack of these (about $23 for 10 sheets - make sure you have that 40% off coupon).

They did not have the silk so I couldn't try them out for a comparison.

These came out very well. The fabric is nice and soft and it fed through the printer very easily. The problems came with the setting of the ink. I first tried my label in black and red. Here it is straight out of the printer. Nice right?

And here it is after a vinegar bath to set the ink. Not so nice.

I then did a scrub test and the ink basically disappeared. This was after waiting 24 hours for the ink to dry and heat setting them before the vinegar bath. I didn't take a picture after the scrub test because I was so discouraged.

I then tried the same sheets, but only used black ink. The results were certainly better. They survived the vinegar bath but again, the scrub test resulted in the ink almost disappearing.

At this point I was getting pretty down.  So what does every crafter do in this situation? We google it! I had seen quite a few recipes for label fixatives so decided why not try it.

A quick trip to my local grocery store for alum, fabric softener (I don't use it) and freezer paper and I was ready to go. I already had washing soda from making homemade laundry soap.  I followed this recipe from Lillipops Designs exactly how she wrote it so I won't go into those details here.

I decided to try some organic quilting cotton (white) and also some eco bamboo jersey (white). After soaking I threw the pieces into the dryer because I already had a load tumbling (and I was impatient to try the printing).

After ironing the fabric onto the freezer paper and cutting it to size it was simply a matter of loading it into the printer. Oh yeah, right, couldn't be that easy. The darn stuff jammed up inside the printer. So I tried it again - same thing. What to do now?!?  

I went back to my cardmaking/scrapbooking days when I would tape things to cardstock to feed through the printer. I placed a strip of double sided tape as close to the edge of the cardstock as I could (the end where it would feed into the printer) and carefully placed the fabric over top. Worked perfectly!!

Well, almost. The jersey did not work. The ink did not adhere at all and just smeared right off. I should note that I use a Lexmark printer with regular ink so you may get better results if you have a different printer/ink.

But the cotton was looking good. After waiting just hours (not days) I heat set the sheet then popped them into a vinegar bath. Eureka - they are still dark! After a soak, rinse and one more heat set they still looked like this:

Now those are nice.  (The print is actually much crisper in real life.)

For an idea of how much ink washed out of the storebought sheets versus the handmade sheets, here they are side by side:

Now I have fully customizable, make anytime I want, pretty tags that will last. I have put a test label through 8 washes so far with very little fading.

And what did I learn? Making it yourself really is better (and cheaper).  In fact, I've already changed the design so thank goodness I didn't order something expensive. 

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special
Linking up with Donna's Saturday Nite Special party.