Category Archives: Make, Do, Mend

Craft, Home Decor, Refashioning, fun

Make Do Mend: Beef & Squash Chili

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Food is one of my favourite things in all of the land. I spend most of my time thinking about what I am going to eat next. Particularly whenever I am broke, and can only afford to 2 minute noodles, I spend the most time trawling through endless recipes, via every social media platform imaginable, and make grand (meal) plans for when all(!?) the money comes in on payday!

I came across this recipe one poor, hungry night and man am I glad I did. A bowl chockas full of flavour with all of the best things in it. Beef, butternut squash, chilis, beer, avocado, pumpkin seeds. Seriously, how can that not taste good?

You’re going to just have to try for yourself and see. It takes a good amount of time to do so give yourself 2 hours, the beef is good and tender then. I added a chipotle to the mix to make the holy trinity of chilis (ancho, pasilla, chipotle)!

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Re-hydrated chilis are my favourite!

Get the recipe on Bon Appetit.  We served it with homemade sourdough pita. Yikes!

Happy eating!

Celeste

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Hygge and Hot Apple Punch

hygge-2‘Is there any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of friends by a good fire?’ C.S. Lewis

I was listening to BBC Radio 6 music while working this morning; Lauren Laverne dedicated her show to the Danish idea of ‘Hygge’  (pronuonced ‘Heu-gah’). We don’t have a direct equivilent in English but I came across this beautiful explanation:

‘The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open-hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other. Celebrating the everyday.

We all Hygge – around a table for a shared meal, beside a fire on a wet night, making coffee, together at work. In our overstretched, complex, modern lives, Hygge is a resourceful, tangible way to find deeper connection to our families, our communities, our children, our homes and our earth. It’s an uncomplicated, practical method of weaving the stuff of spirit and heart into daily life without sentimentality then taking time to celebrate it on a human scale. Hygge is a kind of enchantment– a way of stirring the senses, the heart and the imagination, of acknowledging the sacred in the secular – a way of giving something ordinary a special context, spirit and warmth, taking time to make it extraordinary. Hygge is about being not having.’ (http://hygge.co/definition-of-hygge/)

We are in the high season of Hygge, as we relish in it and be grateful for the simplest and greatest joys, my challenge to myself if who else I can make space for by the fire of my Hygge season; my advent season,  Who are those experiencing the coldness of loneliness, poverty, sickness near me who I can create Hygge for?  That I can extend warmth and welcome to? For whom is this season marked by isolation rather than the warmth of belonging? How can I cultivate Hygge in my advent? My prayer for this season is that I can stoke a fire warm enough for many,

In keeping with the notion of Hygge here is a little recipe for a Fairtrade Spiced Apple Punch (taken from the Fairtrade Cook Book) to warm your hands and your bellies:

Ingredients

800 ml Fairtrade apple juice

2.5 ml Fairtrade ground cinnamon or

4 pieces of Fairtade cinnamon stick

4 slices Fairtrade lemon

16 Fairtrade whole cloves

30 ml organic Fairtrade runny honey

Method

Gently heat the apple juice in a saucepan.

Add the honey as the juice warms through, and stir to dissolve.

Add the cinnamon powder as well if this method is used, stir well.

Once the mixture is hot (it should not be allowed to boil), pour the drinks into large wine glasses.

If you are using cinnamon stick put one piece in each of the glasses.

Take each slice of lemon and impale four cloves.

Add one cloven lemon slice to each drink.

To serve

Sip this beautiful aromatic drink, and enjoy curling your fingers around the hot glass.

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Bake your gingerbread hero

SarahF-Hero

This a a gingerbread a very liberal representation of my gran, Nessa, My gingerbread hero!  Feisty, strong, generous, brilliant. She raised two children and worked as a shorthand typist in Belfast all while going completely blind at 22. She walking her guide dogs through belfast in the height of the troubles, She was widowed young and has lives an independent, resourceful, full life, overcoming obstacles with grace and humour… she is brilliant

If ever there was a season to indulge in some simple but delicious baking it was advent.  So here is a delicious recipe and how to from Martha off of the Great British Bake off, and along with it, a fab little idea to get us thinking about who it is that has inspired you, by changing your world, or the world… As a season to take stock and be grateful, perhaps as you get baking some gingerbread you could take a wee bit of time to be grateful and make a little bit of gingerbread hero art.

For a fab recipe and how to make your gingerbread hero pop over to here

Happy Baking and hero making!

-Sarah

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Make, Do, Mend: Sweet little presents for the wee ones…

We have some pretty special little people in our lives. And there is nothing more fun than finding little presents to give them. Once again Pinterest is our best friend (surprise)!

Here’s few fun little pressie ideas that I crafted to our sweet little friends. Also because they are not wallet busting it doesn’t matter if these little people decide to enjoy them for 5 minutes before they move on to the next thing! 🙂

Mouse in a tin (I’ve lost the link to the original if someone knows it please let me know and I’ll link up!)

mousetin

Lolly Dollies (+in the name of fairness I had to add a few boy dollies too)

lollydolly

These are both such easy ideas and require very little materials. Top tip for finding nice coloured masking tapes is Ikea – their papery goods department is off the charts 🙂

Hope you’ve had a good long weekend! (The biggest mistake I made was to start watching the Keeping up with the Kardashians marathon – so hooked now!!)

– Hanna xx

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Make, Do, Mend: DIY Moving Cards

MovingHouseCard

We moved house nearly a month ago now and because of my mammoth summer holiday I actually had time to rustle up a card to let our friends know our new address.

All it took was a little staging of old suitcases, camera on timer and us (or our legs) in the frame and there we have it. I added “we’ve moved” text on the front and arranged the back in a postcard style in Photoshop. If Photoshop isn’t your cup of tea then it could easily be done in Word or have you checked out A Beautiful Mess app where you can add text over photos? Easy peasy.

MovingHouseCardBackToF

It feels almost old school to send a change of address cards rather than an email but it’s always fun to receive things in the post, right?! Bring back good old snail mail.

Hope your week’s off to a good start!

– Hanna x

 

 

 

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Make, Do, Mend: Loose Tea Jars

loose tea

We love a good cuppa over here. Boxes of loose tea are filling our cupboard shelves and trailing tea leaves are all over the place. In my post-move huff I decided to put a stop to it.

spray painted lids

We had some jam jars left from all sorts of preserving so I washed and scrubbed off any sticky labels, dried and spray painted the lids black (I had chalkboard spray handy so that did the trick).

dymo

Now I had an excuse to get my beloved Dymo out and start making labels.

tea jars

tea jar

It’s so much easier to get the tea out of the jam jars rather than messing around with the boxes and bags. And maybe it’ll make me reach out for the green tea more often! 😉

-Hanna 

Ps. This project was inspired by a brief stop in a shop called Granit in Stockholm where glass jars were labelled with dymo tags. Check them out!

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Make,Do, Mend: Frothy coffee at home

coffee makingYou might have caught on that I like a good cheat recipe or a tip! It makes me feel like I’m beating the system 🙂 Maximum results with minimum effort.

Warning: If you’re a coffee enthusiast you might want to stop reading now.

We don’t own a fancy espresso machine with milk frothers and all.. and to be honest it would probably get used twice a year so there’s no need for us to own one anyway. But every now and then I get a hankering for a good milky frothy coffee, and usually at a point when it would take serious effort to go out and get one from a coffee shop.

So I discovered a way of making super silky smooth foamy drinks at home – with the help of a cafetiere/french press.

All I do is make my coffee a bit stronger than usual – either just in our Chemex or, if we have espresso, in our stove top pan.

cafetiere milk

Then I heat up milk in the microwave (remember it doubles in size when frothing so you only need about 1/3 mug) until nice and hot (not burned though!)

After this I pour the milk in the Cafetiere and pump it few times (try not to do it too briskly otherwise the milk will squirt out of the pouring bit) until I have the right amount of foam. Dead easy.

froffy coffee

Good way to have a nice frothy coffee at home without any expensive machinery!

Enjoy!

-Hanna

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Make, Do, Mend: Healthy (fake) ice cream

This is another one in the cuckoo health kick series that I’m still plodding along with (with varying success).

blended banana

After the success of the two ingredient pancakes I decided to give this one ingredient “ice cream” a go. It’s not officially ice cream, it’s frozen-banana-blended-like-crazy-until-it-looks-like-Mr-Whippy. If the real stuff isn’t available or too calorific this is a good alternative!

All you have to do is slice a banana or two and put in the freezer (we had three bananas between two people and the portions were pretty huge – I reckon one banana per person is best). Once frozen, pop the slices in a blender (and add a touch of milk or water just to help the blender along a bit). Now the world is your oyster – you can add coco powder (I added 1 tbsp), peanut butter (I did this but reckon it’s better without), chocolate spread or just have it as it is.

blendedbanana2

(Excuse my half melted final product, I took my sweet time taking a photo of it).

It’s yummy and dairy free (that is if you don’t add the splash of milk).

– Hanna 

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Make,Do,Mend: From Tea Towels To Cushions – Guest post!

We have a very crafty friend called Sarah E. She makes all sorts of lovely things and has agreed to grace our humble blog with this amazing tutorial on how to make cushions from tea towels! Here it goes…

Tea towel Cushion Tutorial

A quick and easy tutorial for making two square, envelope style cushions from a supermarket pack of three teatowels!

1 Teatowel pack

Step 1. Find three coordinating tea towels (the pack I used was £5 from Sainsburys)

2-lay-out-ttowel

Step 2. Pick a tea towel for your first cushion and lay it out on a flat surface, pattern side facing down. Fold it back on itself to make a square (measure your square to check!)

3-use-2nd-ttowel-and-overlap-and-cut

Step 3. Take a second tea towel and lay it on top of your square with the pattern facing up. Overlap the two tea towels by about 3 or 4 inches and chop off the end of your tea towel that hangs off the edge of your square. This is what your cushion will look like when you’re finished.

4-turn-inside-out

Step 4. Fold the whole thing over turning it inside out as you go. I found the simplest way to do this is to hold on to the middle point where the two fabrics overlap, and then flip it over. The front and back patterns should now be facing each other and the reverse of the tea towels are facing out. Double check that it’s still square!

5 pin and sew

Step 5. Pin your square and sew round the edge (you don’t need to sew along the side that’s folded). Leave a wide enough hem to make sure you sew through all the layers of tea towels (my tea towels weren’t all quite the same size).

6-trim-corners

Step 6. Chop off the corners. This will mean you have nice pointy corners to your cushion. (make sure you don’t cut in to your line of stitching!)

7-stuff-cushions-and-repeat-with-remaining-ttwoel

Step 7. Turn your cover the right way out and stuff it with a cushion (a 45cm x 45cm insert worked perfectly for me).

If your cover seems really baggy then turn it inside out again and sew another row of stitches inside the ones you’ve already done. This will make the cover tighter.

Repeat with your remaining tea towel and voila! Two smart new, coordinating cushions.

7.-finished-cushions

Step 8. Smug.

-Sarah E.

Thank you so much Sarah!

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Make, Do, Mend: Healthy two ingredient pancakes

TwoIngredientPancakes

Now that Spring is around the corner and layers of clothing are starting to come off I realised there needs to be a few pound shred before I’m ready to show these pegs to the world. This happens yearly, I just can’t help gaining a few pounds in the winter… If you can keep your “fitivation” up during the winter months you’re a better person than I’ll ever be!

Anyway, the health kick has started, with the help of an iPhone app I’m counting calories (zzz) and trying to get some exercise in too. Nothing drastic just a pound a week loss should get me back on track and, most importantly, still allow me some chocolate!

Because of this kick I’ve been on the look out for low calorie treats and when I came across these two ingredient pancakes I knew I had to give them a go. All you need is 2 eggs and a banana. They’re not as filling as normal pancakes but taste yummy which is the main thing!

EggsBanana

Here’s the recipe:

1 large ripe banana

2 medium eggs

1. Use a fork to mash the banana into a mash

2. Combine banana and eggs and whisk for few minutes (I used a Kitchen Aid to get maximum air in – it makes the batter more substantial. If doing by hand,consider it a workout!)

3. Melt a little butter in a pan and cook as you would normal pancakes (keep the heat a little bit lower as normal as these burn easier. Also don’t get despaired if the first few go to the pancake gods – I’ve come to accept this as the norm.)

4. These babies are quite sweet so natural yogurt and fruit are a great companion for them!

Hoping to walk a little lighter into the Spring…

-Hanna

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