Friday, July 13, 2012

On the Table

I'm one of those people that has at least five projects on the go at once. I start something, get tired of working on it, and start something else. When I'm in the mood I go back to each thing and they all eventually get finished. I'm also one of those not so organized people. My craft supplies mostly sit in baskets. I've been working like crazy on the Pyrex cross stitch and have been toting around a bag filled with materials for three different projects. Each time I need a new colour embroidery thread I'm searching turning things over, reaching around, and it's just not the way to go. A while back I got a drawstring bag pattern from Jeni at In Color Order and decided this was the perfect time to try it out!

The fabrics are part of Heather Ross' Mendocino line, specifically HR05Blush (the mermaids), HR07Rust (the seahorses), HR09Blush (for the lining), and HR11Blush (the large octopi). I abosolutely love this fabric line and wish I stocked up more when it was widely available.

Jeni's pattern was so easy to follow. I really like the way she calls for the bag to be assembled. I would have never thought of doing it the way she does, but it is so much quicker and easier! In her instructions, Jeni includes pictures along for each step so things are very clear, as well as several size options. She even included a custom calculator so you could design a bag in your own preferred size. I used this as I only had a tiny bit of each fabric, but wanted to make the most out of what I did have. It was so easy to plug the size I wanted into the calculator and have all the lengths figured out for me. I'm going to have to keep this in mind during the holidays when I can never find the proper sized bag for certain gifts.

It only took about an hour to make, and all the while I had this sweet little pup by my side..

After a movie date yesterday afternoon with Janet and her girls, there was a bit of cooking going on. Soft pretzels and currant jam! Our currant bush is overloaded and we cannot keep up. I ended up making another batch this evening.

The jam was so easy to make. Currants have enough pectin that we didn't need to add any. We were low on sugar, so we ended up using mostly honey for sweetener. It is so good! Our freezer jam stash is getting huge.

The pretzel recipe was pretty easy too. Here's what you'll need:

*4 tbsp dry active yeast
*1 and 1/4 cups warm water
*5 cups all-purpose flour
*1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon white sugar white sugar
*1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
*1 tablespoon vegetable oil or butter
*1/2 cup baking soda
*4 cups hot water
*1/4 cup kosher salt (for topping..I didn't have kosher so I just sprinkled some regular salt on top)
In a bowl dissolve yeast and your teaspoon of sugar in the warm water. Mix well and let sit for 10 minutes. It should foam up a bit.

Mix together flour, the rest of your sugar, and salt. If you're kneading with your hands you will have to make a well in the middle of your mixture. Add in your oil and yeast mixture. You're going to have to knead the dough for around 8 to 10 minutes. It needs to be completely smooth.  I had to add a couple tablespoons of water because my mixture was too dry.

Butter or oil a large bowl, coat your dough ball in the butter or oil and let rise for an hour. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and place it in a warm place. Since it's so hot outside I put mine out on the patio. In the winter I usually let dough rise in the microwave.

Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.

In a bowl dissolve the baking soda in water.

Divide your dough into 12 pieces. Roll out each piece and fold into a pretzel shape. If you roll out the dough too thick the holes in your pretzels will fill in.
Dip each pretzel into the water/baking soda mixture and place on a baking sheet. Make sure you leave space between each one as they will rise more. Sprinkle with salt and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes. They should be golden brown all over.

Let cool and enjoy! Jer and I like ours with mustard. My mom liked hers with the currant and honey jam.


Jeni said...

Seriously, my head is exploding. Pyrex cross stitch, your kind words on the pattern, Mendocino pouch, cute pup, AND a pretzel recipe?! Too much! :)

Nikki said...

Thanks for the sweet comment :)

I am seriously impressed with your pattern. Obviously the bags are adorable, but I've never seen a pattern with such thorough explanations and clear pictures. You've done a great job.

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