Tuesday, February 28, 2012

~Tuesday Tutorial~ Ruffler Foot!

So the other day I got out my ruffler foot and decided that it was time I learned how to use it. This was the results.
Lots of ruffles.

I figured it would be fun to share with you the magics of a ruffler. 

Here it is, the ruffler foot.

Looks like rather a scary contraption at first doesn't it?

First step is putting it onto the machine. Since my machine is a Bernina it is slightly different from most machines in that you have to change the whole shank. You want to make sure that the hook/horse shoe type thing is around the needle clamp.

This lever thing adjusts the amount of ruffling you want done. You can ruffle every stitch, every six stitches, every 12 stitches or no ruffling at all.

You can also adjust the size of your ruffle with the stitch length. It also has the ability to sew a ruffle onto a flat piece of fabric.

Here it is in motion without any fabric in it.

You then feed the fabric in underneath the black grabber thingamagig. (You will have to excuse my utter lack of technical terms. I really don't know what they are called.)

Here is a shot from the side. As you can see you are putting the fabric in between the black thingamagig and the silver

Or here is my poor attempt at explaining it further with a picture. I admit.... I am not a technical term geek.
Basically you are not placing the fabric to be ruffled next to the feed dogs. When you want to sew a piece of flat fabric along with a ruffle at the same time the flat fabric goes next to the feed dogs.

Here is a close up on how it works. Hope it makes sense. Like I said I am not very good at explaining thing. I  can do things, but not necessarily teach them. 

This it what the final product is going to look like.

All nice and ruffled. You can sort of see the variation in stitch length and how that effects the size of the ruffles. You can ruffle really tight or you can make the ruffles more spread out. My ruffler foot actually has a piece broken off of it so that I can only make a ruffle at every stitch or never. I need to get one that does the variations.

On of the perks of a ruffler is no more sitting an pulling threads by hand until the break or leave you with sore fingers. And then it is all predistributed and you don't have to go crazy trying to even it out.

Well, that is all for now. I really need to work on my description skills.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

I am not a "Single's Awareness day." kind of person. Valentine's Day for me is simply a reason to be creative in the kitchen.

First, I made a maple brown sugar tea ring. It turned out a little dry since I over baked it.

So I thought I would try something else and made a Mocha Cream Cheese braid.

I thought it turned out pretty good. (Now my family had some different opinions.) I have one brother who has some definite opinions when it comes to food and he is not afraid to share all of them (the dislike for the coffee cream cheese glaze, and the cherries and the sprinkles were just a few of them.) The rest of the family loved it!

I suppose it is only fair to share the recipe. I got the basic recipe/idea The Prepared Pantry
Like any recipe that I make I alter it to fit what I like. Here is my altered recipe.


3 to 3 1/2 cups white bread flour

2 Tablespoons dry instant yeast
3/4 cup cooled strong coffee
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 ounces cream cheese

3 or 4 ounces chocolate, melted (I used a dozen Hershey kisses)

3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

A dash of salt

3 oz cream cheese
3 Tablespoons strong cold coffee
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Dash of salt
Enough powdered sugar to make it thick and glaze-like.

1. Mix about one cup of the flour, the yeast, and the coffee until smooth. 

2. Add the brown sugar, cocoa, butter, salt, egg  and vanilla and mix. Add enough of the remaining bread flour to make a soft dough.  Knead for about 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is smooth and has a stretch to it. (5 to 10 minutes in a machine I guess would be about equivalent.) Place in greased bowl and let rise till doubled, about an hour. 

3. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth. Add the melted chocolate while it is still hot and mix until smooth. Add the sugar, flour, egg yolk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and mix until smooth.

4. Once the dough has risen, use a knife to divide the dough into three equal pieces. Roll the dough pieces with a rolling pin to rectangles 15 inches by 5 inches. Spread one-third of the filling down the center of each leaving a one-inch border with no filling. Roll the rectangle into fifteen-inch long ropes with the filling inside. Pinch any seams together and roll the ropes with your hands on the counter until smooth.

5. Braid the three ropes as if you were braiding pigtails. When you get to the ends, wet them, pinch them together, and tuck them under. You should have a neat, symmetrical loaf when you are through. You can shape the loaf somewhat with your hands. If you don't like how the loaf looks, simply pull the braids apart and start again. Place the loaf on the pan, cover the loaf, and let it rise until doubled, about one hour. (I brushed it with melted butter at this point to keep the top from getting dry.)

6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread for 25-35 minutes till done. The bread should “thump” when tapped on the bottom and the interior of the loaf should register 190 degrees with an insta-read thermometer. Let the bread cool on a wire rack.

7. While the bread is cooling, make the glaze. With a hand-held mixer mix the ingredients of the glaze till smooth. Drizzle the coffee glaze generously over the bread. Then garnish with sprinkles, nuts and/or cherries if desired. 

There you have it. A great sweet bread that is very moist and in my opinion pretty amazing. 


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Knitted Cape!

So I finally finished my knit cape. After tearing it out two times the third time was the charm. I did not use a pattern and that might be why it took so long to finally do something that I liked. But I had been unable to find a pattern that I liked and wanted to do. 

I really like it and it turned out really good.

It is just the right length and I even have yarn left over. I only used about three 1/4 balls of yarn. And since I got the yarn for a dollar per ball that means the whole thing was less then $4!

Unfortunately my glasses are the ones that tint when in the sun. That is nice for my eyes, but not for pictures. In most pictures of my outside it looks like I am wearing dark glasses and am blind or something. So that is why most of the pictures are just of my back.

And I am not too partial to my face in pictures anyhow. It is not that I don't like my face. I just do not feel that it is captured on camera very well.

I am super excited about this and look forwards to finishing the rest of the outfit that goes with it. It is for an entwife costume in case I had not mentioned that before.

That's all for now.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Past Creations: Pink Formal

Last year I made a formal. It was sort of for my graduations and sort of not. I wore it to one of the summer dances. 

I designed it myself and drafted my own pattern.

I wanted something that was modest and relatively simple. 

I wanted it to have a vintage appeal and to combine several different aspects from different time periods.

Here are the pictures of my mock-up that I made for fitting and design purposes.

Yes, that is a duct tape dress form of me.

I initially was not going to bustle the skirt, but then after playing with it for a while decided that I liked the look and was going to lengthen the outer skirt to allow for bustling.

I have decided since then that simply bustling a skirt can really change the look and make it look much more complicated then it really is.

It was to have two different pink satins (I used satin simple because that is what I had on hand and I didn't want to drive the four hours to get to a Joann's. The satin was not originally meant for this design. It worked, but I think it would be fun to make it with some different textures.)

I also got pink beads and did hand beading on the front and sleeves.

Since I lengthened the outer skirt that meant that I had a train when it was not bustled.

I hand hemmed the entire outer skirt and underskirt. I took a considerable amount of time. I also hand beaded the bodice and the back of the tulip-sleeves.

When bustled the outer skirt was the same length as the underskirt and made it suitable for dancing.

I just realized that this picture make it look like my bustling is uneven. That is not true, it really is even.

Yeah, outside shots! I think these pictures were about as close as I even got to senior pictures.

I suppose that is a little bit better on the bustling. It just looked better in real life. I bustled the skirt using little tiny clear buttons and thread loops I crocheted and then sewed into place.

I made these flowers to go into my hair.

I enjoyed making it. It is fully lined and there is not a single visible seam in the inside or outside of the garment.  There was a significant amount of hand sewing done on this dress. I also put in my second invisible zipper while making this dress. (I have put in countless ones since.)

Well, that's all for now.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Opps, no tutorial...

So it didn't work to write up a tutorial yesterday. I simply ran out of time. So that won't start till next week. 

Anyhow, I do have some exciting news. I finally found the cable to use for getting the pictures off of the camera!!!

So that means I have just downloaded a whole bunch of pictures and simply have to sort through them and post them. So you have something to look forwards to.

I had mentioned last year that I made my first gingerbread house and had taken pictures to post. Well, here they are. I know.... really, really, really, late. 

And I would like to introduce you to one of my best friends. That's right, my sewing machine! She is a Bernina 930. None computerized, all metal parts and a dream to sew on. I shall write a review on her one of these days.

The other day I learned how to use my new favorite toy, the gathering foot!

I also learned how to use my ruffler.

There were piles like this all around the house as I played with the different stitch length/thread tension ratios.

I took pictures and will post a tutorial on them both. 

You can actually sew and pleat at the same time. So you can pleat one fabric onto another fabric. It is cool.

That's all for now.