Well, I have a few things to show you today one being the All British Car Meet that was held at the Van Dusen Gardens in Vancouver B.C. I have always wanted to go to this show and finally, “my husband and I” (imagine it being said in a right royal “Queenie ” voice !)had a wonderful day out to the gardens, by the way always a great place to visit if you love flowers, trees and a vast expanse of serenity.
The cars show up early so being there by 8:30- 9am was a real plus and we could still find a parking space! The day was hot and sunny with a lovely breeze blowing. Now in truth I am not a car aficiando I go simply to see the few cars I like and remember fondly, but my nearest and dearest loves old british cars I’m not sure why but he loves them! So we spent a good portion of the day there. I wandered around some of the lovely gardens and enjoyed the glorious colours on show and the beautifully manicured lawns.
Now to a fabulous recipe that a friend sent to me: DELICIOUS Chocolately black bean brownies.
This recipe is from the best-selling new book Spilling the Beans (White-cap Books). Canadian authors Sue Duncan and Julie Van Rosendaal say these brownies are the real deal, and nobody has ever detected the merest hint of a bean. Use good-quality chocolate; you’ll be happy you did.
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 28 to 30 minutes
Makes: 16 brownies
1 cup rinsed and drained canned black beans
11/4 cups pecan pieces (optional)
1/2 cup butter
2 oz. (60 grams) unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup all-purpose flour pinch of salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup good-quality chocolate chips, or a 3 ½ oz. (100 gram) bar of good quality bittersweet or semi-sweet dark chocolate, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the rinsed black beans on a double thickness of paper towel and blot them gently to remove as much moisture as possible.
Leave them uncovered on the counter until later.
Spread the pecan pieces (if using) on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant and lightly browned, about six to seven minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a small saucepan set over very low heat, melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate, taking care not to let the mixture scorch. Whisk to combine, then remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and salt together and set aside.
Place the dried-off beans and cooled butter/chocolate mixture in the bowl of a food processor and process until very smooth, scraping down the bowl once or twice.
Add the eggs, sugar and vanilla; process again until combined. Scrape the mixture into the flour mixture and fold gently, leaving streaks of flour still visible. Add the pecans and chocolate chips and fold to just combine.
Pour the batter into a lightly buttered (or sprayed, with non-stick cooking spray) eight-inch square pan, and smooth the top. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes: the batter should no longer jiggle when the pan moves, but any toothpick inserted would be very chocolatey. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
I have yet to get hold of the book Spilling The Beans but from the LONG wait at the library I gather it must be popular and let’s hope really good. I love these brownies and in place of the wheat flour I used brown rice flour and just a bit more than the 1/3 cup. Next time I make them I think I will try using a blend of flours maybe quinoa and brown rice. Let me know if you like them too!
Not much going on in the way of knitting or felting I seem to run out of time and energy after work and household chores. But I have been reading mostly novels that I can pick up and put down easily during quick 30 minute lunch breaks and 15-20 minutes before I fall asleep at night.
I have been able to sew up a few skirts, one of which is my first Alabama Stitch Project trial. Very plain natural coloured organic cotton made with six gores instead of four. Stitched with purple thread ! I have not been able to take any photos of it yet but when I do I will post them 🙂 I promise.
I have three more different skirts ready to sew, one in a floral linen which just needs the waistband and hem to be finished. Another in dark purple organic cotton a different style again in A.S.P but I cannot decide on the stencil design for that one so it may be a while! and I completed a short A-line skirt in a lovely floral indian cotton. Can you tell I am hoping for warm weather here in B.C
I hope that you are enjoying whatever creative project you are working on at this time, that’s all for now.
With Love ❤
Here I am making another attempt at the Alabama Stitch project skirt. I have made one in plain oatmeal coloured jersey…but the waistline was a little big, I know that is a good thing !!! but to unpick all that hand stitching and re-do each seam, six in total seemed (pardon the pun!) daunting.
I had another skirt cut and ready to sew, this time I thought I would do the leaves stencil from the aforementioned book. No problem, I used my sewing machine to baste each seam plus the waistline to prevent bagging or stretching while working on the appliqué stencil work. Each panel was laid out to start the stencil, I then realized I had stitched each panel (gore) to the backing fabric. So I decided to draw around the leaf stencil with a Sharpie pen.
At some point along the way I made a decision to appliqué all the leaves. I started out with the creamy coloured fabric on the grey, but I wasn’t sure I really liked it. So I had some cream fabric that I had done some practice stencils on and so I cut out the shapes from this and placed them on the drawn leaves to see if that made it better or worse. I liked it and so began the process you see now.
My creamy fabric has been painted on with a mix of green and cream fabric paint and I used real ferns from the garden to get some leafy designs. I just painted onto the backside of the fern with a sponge and then lay it onto the cream fabric and pressed down gently. Pull off the fern and you have a very delicate imprint of the ferns leaves. Remember to heat set your painted fabric BEFORE cutting out you pieces. I cut my appliqué leaves out of this fabric, some have more defined leaf designs than others, I just went with what I liked the look of at the time!
As usual I cannot follow the basic design….my mind goes off at a tangent…I believe that is called being creative !!!
If you like let me know what you are working on that gives you pleasure, happy summer sewing to you 🙂
Here is my own design of the lovely market bag from the wonderful Alabama Studio Style Book by Natalie Chanin. I love the designs from this book and the previous one, aptly named Alabama Stitch Project.
The work is slow and therapeutic and uses old gently used cotton t-shirts. I had originally thought I would be making the skirt from the first book (ASP) when I designed this stencil pattern. But on closer inspection I decided that the pattern for the skirt would not fit me! So the fabric with the stencil painted on languished in the corner of my sewing area for a REALLY long time! Finally I hauled it out and planned a market bag shape and used the sewing instructions from the second book (ASS)
I will have used three t-shirts in total, one turquoise, one pumpkin with a Pennsylvania logo, and one for the lining. At this time I am not sure what colour I will use for the lining but I am leaning towards green, always one of my favourite colours. I do have leftover turquoise pieces from the skirt but I would have to piece them as I did for the front of the bag and I would rather not have to piece the lining, you will have to wait and see what I do! I still need to make handles for the bag BUT I am almost finished. Just a little note about thread, I used jeans thread which comes in a lovely array of colours, it is polyester and is made by YLI corp and comes in 200yard / 180m spools and is called Jeans Stitch.
As you can see from the photos I also made a hat band in the same method using small scraps of leftover t-shirting. I think the process so far as taken me about a month. But I also knit in between!
I have knitted up a green shrug to go with my blue dress that I made a little while ago. I didn’t use the Alabama style completely for the dress. I did however use the spiral designs in green and the rosebud stitching and I added pewter grey beads around the swirls. I am hoping to add more spirals and stitching to the dress before I wear it again. The shrug came about because the dress is sleeveless and I sometimes need a little extra warmth. I had thought I would make just a pair of knitted long sleeves but it morphed into a shrug. I have to say it is very cosy.