Follow these links to the Index Blogs:
Blog 301 - Sewing a Double-Sided Bolero
"In today's blog I will show you step by step how to sew a pretty little double-sided bolero, perfect for those special occasions where you just need a little something to cover the shoulders with. This pattern is so easy that you can manage it in little more than an hour, including the sewing by hand!"
Blog 302 - A Summary with References of Blogs 251-300
"A number of people have mentioned that they find it difficult to find specific blogs among the growing list of published blogs. This gave me the idea of publishing a summary of previously published blogs, with links and photo references. This way you only need to save a handful of blogs which can easily be accessed to navigate to the blogs you are looking for. This is the sixth of these Index Blogs."
Blog 303 - Baking a Chocolate Roulade
"Today I am going to show you how to bake a delicious Chocolate Roulade. This is the ideal cake to bake for a small gathering as the cake is rather on the small side. If you are feeling adventurous, you can multiply the ingredients and bake a bigger one. Let me show you how to bake, fill and roll this all-time favorite."
Blog 304 - Making French Toast - A Family Activity
"Making French Toast is not hard to do, but I wanted to do a blog on this as it is one of those easy and fun things you can get the kids to 'help' with. I had three very young kids over for lunch today after fetching them from school. On the way home, they assured me they were not hungry and would not eat. When I told them that they would have had to make their own food, they were very keen to eat after all. Let me share a couple of ideas with you to make this fun and manageable."
Blog 305 - Decorating your Christmas Cake with Fondant
"It has been little over a month ago that I baked my Christmas cake and since then it has had regular doses of brandy to ripen it and to keep it moist. The time is right for me to cover the cake with fondant so all of that moist goodness is locked inside. Give it a few more weeks to ripen and it will be just about perfect around Christmas time!"
Blog 306 - Brew some Home-made Ginger Beer
"We are having hot summer days and lazy pool parties with friends. It is December and life is winding down. This was the time of year that both of my grandmothers traditionally brewed their homemade ginger beer. Today I share one of these recipes with you and show you step by step how to make it. The process is easy, but the refreshing drink does have a bit of a kick to it, especially if you let it sit for a while."
Blog 307 - Using your Adult Coloring Pages to fold an Envelope Box
"I love those nifty and ever useful envelope boxes, but they cost an arm and a leg to buy. So why not make your own. They are real easy to fold. I use one of the patterns from the Geometric Foursome collection to fold this box. The design is available from APrettyTalent.com as a Digital Download. I show you how to color the design, but you can skip over this part and do your own thing. Once the design is colored, we fold the box. Fun, fun, fun all the way!"
Blog 308 - Using your Adult Coloring Pages to fold a Milk Carton
"Today I am going to show you how to fold a milk carton. I would strongly advise against storing liquids in it, but I do think it could be fun packaging for a quirky gift. I use one of the patterns from the Geometric Foursome collection to fold this box. The design is available from APrettyTalent.com as a Digital Download. I show you how to color the design, but you can skip over this part and do your own thing. Once the design is colored, we'll fold the box. "
Blog 309 - Baking an Old-Fashioned Roly-Poly Pudding
"I have never tasted, nor baked a roly-poly pudding in my life. Yet this pudding featured in a couple of conversations over the past few weeks and so my curiosity was peeked. Whenever I get curious about something, I simply have to try it and this was not the exception to the rule. Let me show you how I discovered a very old style pudding and learned why it used to be so popular."
Blog 310 - Making PJ's a Boy won't wear to Bed!
"My little nephew arrived for a sleepover the other day and I became very excited by the idea of me making sleepwear for myself. I then promised him that I would make him some as well. The next day I had some time on my hands and a little boy conveniently close by for measuring and fitting, so I set about making him a pair of trousers and a shirt to sleep in. He was very impressed! Only problem is that he refuses to sleep in it, calling it his fireman's outfit and wearing it as day clothes. Well, it's his outfit after all, so who is to say he may not do so? Certainly not this aunt! Let me show you how easy it is to sew this outfit in just about two hours."
Blog 311 - Sewing a Summer Dress for a Little Girl
"After making an outfit for my little nephew, my niece would not be satisfied until she had a new outfit as well. She loves wearing dresses and she is crazy about all things pink. Fortunately I had some fabric left over from a previous project. I quickly cut a her a dress from an old pattern I found among my mom's things and started on her dress. It was ready for her to wear home before she and her brother left later in the day. Let me walk you through this cute idea."
Blog 312 - Using your Adult Coloring Pages to fold a Wedge-shaped Box
"In today's blog we will be folding a wedge-shaped box. Fold a couple of these and you will have a full circle of boxes. That should make for some very interesting storage. Or how about arranging the gifts for your guests like in this shape at a wedding? There are a range of clever uses for this one. I use one of the patterns from the Geometric Foursome collection to fold this box. The design is available from APrettyTalent.com as a Digital Download. I show you how to color the design, but you can skip over this part and do your own thing. Once the design is colored, we'll fold the box."
Blog 313 - Using your Adult Coloring Pages to Create a 'Bouquet of Freshly Sharpened Pencils
"In the movie You've Got Mail, Tom Hanks' character sends an email to the character played by Meg Ryan in which he expresses the wish to send her a 'bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils'. This line has stuck with me since the first time I saw the movie all those years ago. Today I will show you how to turn your adult coloring page into a 'pencil pot' to make present just such a fabulous bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils to someone as passionate about coloring as yourself. I use one of the patterns from the Geometric Foursome collection to fold this box. The design is available from APrettyTalent.com as a Digital Download. I show you how to color the design, but you can skip over this part and do your own thing. Once the design is colored, we'll fold the container."
Blog 314 - Making a Fresh Peach Salad
"We are very fortunate to have a great harvest of cling peaches this year from the fruit trees in the back garden. There are so many things to do with cling peaches that using all of them is hardly a problem. However, a fresh peach is still one of the tastiest fruits to tantalize the taste buds, especially when they had a chance to ripen on the tree. Today I share one of my own recipes for making a delicious salad with your fresh cling peaches. Since making this salad the first time, I have had numerous requests for more, and as the season is still going strong, we enjoy this salad at least once a week."
Blog 315 - Covering Boxes with fabric to Create Cute Storage Boxes
"The hot Summer months are with us and with it came an increase in ice cream sales. My family joined in this and pretty soon there were three of these ice cream boxes floating around the house. I liked the shape of them and decided to keep them for a future project. Initially I figured I would cover them with paper, or paint them, or something. Then I figured it would be great fun to cover them with fabric and to use them as storage boxes to help organize a room, or my work area, or somewhere useful. I could even gift them as Christmas presents! Very versatile indeed. Let me walk you through these quick and easy steps. It took me less than two hours to make all three boxes."
Blog 316 - Designing and Sewing a Dress Inspired by Elsa from Frozen
"If you have a little girl in your life, you will be able to testify to the popularity of the character called Elsa in the movie Frozen. My (almost) four year old niece and my nine year old niece alike have begged me to make them dresses like Elsa's. I figured it would make the perfect gift for Christmas and paid a visit to the local fabric store. I show you how to design the pattern as well as how to make the dress in today's blog."
Blog 317 - Designing and Sewing a Dress Inspired by Elsa from Frozen Take 2
"In the previous blog I shared the steps for designing and making a dress similar to Elsa's from Frozen. This was for my nine year old niece. However, I still needed to make an 'Elsa Dress' for my four year old niece as well. The dresses had to be similar enough to satisfy the younger niece, but different enough so the older niece was satisfied that the younger wasn't copying her. I wanted to make the train removable for the younger niece, change the neckline and sleeves as well as to cut out the use of the stretch netting, which was too sheer (and scratchy) for a younger child. In the end it was a completely different dress, but still close enough to resemble the original dress worn by Elsa. Both nieces satisfied. Let me show you how to make this version."
Blog 318 - Baking Banana & Almond Muffins
"Have you also found that during Summer your fruit has a much shorter life? It is as a result of the hot weather. No complains there. However, it does leave me with food that hastily needs to be used to avoid it going bad and bananas tend to lead the way there. Banana Bread is always a great option, but how about baking banana muffins as a variation? Add some almonds to that, instead of the usual pecans, and you have a sure winner. Let me share with you how easy this is to make."
Blog 319 - Baking Blue Cheese & Pear Muffins
"It is school holidays and we have a whole bunch of hungry kids passing through the house on a regular basis. Some of these are teenage boys and they tend to bring their appetites with them. It is a good time to have snacks and mini-meals at hand and muffins, especially giant muffins, fit this bill perfectly. Blue cheese is not something that a large part of my family appreciates and generally we are a select group left to ourselves to consume this fabulous delicacy. However, that all changes when I bake these Blue Cheese and Pear Muffins. Then everyone is a fan and I am hard pushed to bake enough of them. You will not believe how good these are until you've tried them yourself! And then you'll never stop baking them."
Blog 320 - Sewing a Girly Top from Offcuts
"I had cut a skirt for my niece and was left with all kinds of funny shapes in the leftover fabric. It seemed too small to cut a pattern piece from and was on its way to the offcut bag that I collect for a local preschool, when it occurred to me that I could put together different offcuts to cut this cute girly top. I show you how in today's blog."
Blog 321 - Sewing a Skirt to Match Your Girly Top
"I showed you how I made a top from offcut fabric in the previous blog, but I never showed you how I made the original skirt that resulted in the off-cut fabrics. The need arose when I made a full flair dress for one niece and the other got to see it. She had better manners than to say anything, but I could see that she longed to have one just like it. Which little girl would not? I released her on my fabric stash, and with certain prohibitions, allowed her to select the fabric combination she liked best. She settled on a glittering orange combo. Initially, I thought I would help her to make her own skirt, but the fabric would be a little challenging for a nine year old sewing for the first time. I decided it would be best if I made this one and she sewed something made from cotton. This skirt seems more intricate to make than it really is. Let me walk you through the steps and then you can make one for the girls in your life."
Blog 322 - Baking Brazilian Nut Shortbread Cookies
"I have finally decided what to put inside all of those gift boxes I have been coloring and folding all this time - Brazilian Nut Shortbread Cookies! These are a firm favorite with the whole family. What I intend to do, is to put the cookies in a cellophane bag and then to slide it into the box. That way the cookies stay fresh and the box is reusable if the recipient chooses to do so. Let me show you how easy it is to bake a big batch of these; 8 dozen to be exact! Feel free to adjust the recipe to accommodate more suitable quantities."
Blog 323 - Making Homemade Patties for your Burgers
"Are you also finding it increasingly difficult to find good quality patties for your burgers? Why not make a whole batch yourself, freeze them between plastic wrapping or wax paper sheets and defrost and cook as needed? I'll show you how easy it is to turn your minced meat into patties in today's blog."
Blog 324 - Sewing a Quick Top for a Hot Christmas
"It is almost Christmas and I have not gotten around to making something for myself yet. The truth is that I do not generally like to sew for myself as my style is very plain and I like to do more intricate sewing. In this case I shall make an exception. I have had this shirt for ages and absolutely love the way it wears and looks on me. The problem is that it has become old and faded. I will therefore copy the style directly from the top onto the fabric and cut myself another one like it. It is a completely different fabric that I use, which will affect the way it wears, but I decide to risk it anyway. Let me show you what to do so you can do the same thing with your own favorite clothing pieces in your wardrobe."
Blog 325 - Paving the Road to a Little Boy's Dreams
"My little nephew has been eyeing all the dress fittings with dubious pleasure. Finally, he could hold it no longer. He sidled up to me, looked me seriously in the eye and asked what I was going to make him an outfit for Christmas as well. I looked at him with a grave expression and asked if he really wanted an outfit for Christmas. He said it would be okay, but his enthusiasm was not exactly overflowing. I bent down and whispered that I should perhaps rather make him something from wood. This had him bubbling with excitement, making all sorts of plans and suggestions. I decided that what would be best was a network of roads for his set of miniature cars. This was done in one afternoon from off-cut wood I had around the house. Quick, easy and cheap. Let me show you how."
Blog 326 - Baking Chicken Pie
"We have a tradition of gathering together as a family on the evening before Christmas. We have a light meal together, read from the gospels about the birth of Jesus, and sing a number of carols. After giving thanks in prayer, it is time to hand out the gifts. Great excitement! This frees up Christmas morning to attend the Christmas service at church before we gather again for the actual Christmas meal. So what do we serve the night before? Finger food! We make a selection of finger foods, some nutritious and some less so, that will take the strain of an extra meal with its accompanying washing up off the shoulders of the adults. One of my dishes for this Christmas was baking small Chicken Pies. I'll walk you through it."
Blog 327 - Putting up a No-Hassle Tree, etc.
"It is two days before Christmas and it is getting high time to put up the Christmas decorations. We left it late on purpose this year as most of it is edible! This year we are going for a no-hassle Christmas tree. I should explain, we do something different every year. We had a tree die in the front garden and this was brought down. We use a branch from this tree as a Christmas tree and decorate it with ... Wait, I am getting ahead of myself. Let me show you how to decorate Christmas with things that do not need taking down and putting away."
Blog 328 - Sewing Matching Polka Dot Dresses for a Girl and her Doll
"My niece turned four shortly before Christmas and I wanted to give her something special. She asked me a while ago already for a pink dress with white polkadots. I figured this was a great time to present her with just such a dress. But I had a surprise up my sleeve; I would make a matching dress for her favorite doll, a hand-me-down walking doll! Let me show you how easy it is to fill a little girl's heart with delight."
Blog 329 - Making Quick & Easy Fish Cakes
"It is not the time of year for big meals and lots of cooking. Chances are the fridge is still full of leftovers and everyone is growing tired of the big and rich meals. That makes it a perfect time to quickly whip up a batch of fishcakes. These can be enjoyed hot or cold and take almost no time to prepare. They are healthy, nutritious and a brilliant alternative to Christmas leftovers."
Blog 330 - Sewing a Frilly Skirt
"I have been wanting to make a skirt with layers for a very long time and needed little prompting to make it when I found myself with just the right fabric for the project. It is one of those patterns that seem very intricate, but really isn't. I will walk you through the process form beginning to end and you'll see that you have the skills required for the job."
Blog 331 - Baking Jam Tartlets with Rough Puff Pastry
"Today I will show you how to bake one of my Dad's favorites. When I do not have time, I will bake these with store-bought puff pastry, but they really are incredibly good when you bake them with a Rough Puff Pastry. I show you step by step how to make this tricky pastry before we make the jam tartlets. I also had some store-bought puff pastry left over from another dish and turned this into jam tartlets as well so you can compare the appearance, if not the taste."
Blog 332 - Making Doll's Clothes - tricks for dealing with those small spaces
"I am being taken advantage of by my nieces ... and loving every moment of it! Yesterday my youngest niece arrived with another of her dolls in tow and informed me that she needed a new dress. Well, I had some fabric left over from my Elsa projects and figured it would not take too long anyway, so I might as well make the doll a dress. Doll's clothing are very similar to clothes made for humans, but the tiny necklines and armholes make them tricky to sew. In today's blog I show you a couple of tricks for dealing with these obstacles."
Blog 333 - Making Ouma Marietjie's Ginger Beer
"In the previous blog on making Ginger Beer, I told you that both my grandmothers used to make it. I shared my paternal grandmother's recipe with you, but today I want to share my namesake's recipe with you. This grandmother did not wait for Christmas or special occasions, but you could almost guarantee that there would be homemade ginger beer on the farm when you went to visit. I'll show you how to make Ouma Marietjie's Ginger Beer in today's blog. And with this blog being published on the last day of 2015, I'll raise a glass of ice cold ginger beer and wish you all the best for the year ahead!"
Blog 334 - Sewing a Drawstring Purse
"I overheard my two nieces discussing a need for purses to carry with their Elsa dresses. They rummaged through my offcut fabrics and putting some pieces together, they came up with some shabby looking handbags that was fine for the moment, but soon discarded. I knew it would take me no time at all to make them cute little drawstring purses and set about it as soon as they returned to their own homes. This was the ideal solution for the surprise gift I was looking for to add to their Christmas boxes, as this was still before Christmas. In the end it took me an hour, almost to the minute, to make these cute bags. Let me show you how easy this is."
Blog 335 - Mixing Mustard a la Mama
"My mom has one of the best recipes for mustard that I have ever tasted. This is brilliant with meat dishes, on bread rolls, as a condiment, and even as a dip ... if you have some hair on your chest! It is a no-hassle recipe that requires no cooking and only mixing. I'll share this family secret with her blessings in today's blog. As a matter of fact, she mixed it while I worked the camera."
Blog 336 - Sewing a Pair of Flowing Holiday Pants
"I will be leaving for a holiday at the coast soon and I've been looking for some loose-fitting, free-flowing pants made from a lightweight material to wear on the beach for our early morning walks there. You see, the friends I am going with have a black Labrador crossbreed who makes sure we do not get to lie in, but insists on waking us in time for sunrises and spectacular beach scenes. Why do we put up with it? The enthusiasm with which this lady greets each day is simply contagious, making the bed seem a lot less fun than being out and about with her. Like, Quinny, I also like to get my feet wet and wade into the shallow surf. Inevitably that leads to me getting soaked by unexpected big waves and that is why I need some pants that will dry fast and wear patiently. Not finding what I like in the shops, I made myself a pair in less than an hour. I'll show you how easy this is to do."
Blog 337 - Making Delicious Homemade Sweetcorn
"I love sweetcorn, but the tins rarely if ever satisfy in terms of quality. For this reason I experimented until I was satisfied with the results and I now have a recipe that has my guests asking for more. Best is that it is so simple to make and that you probably have everything you need at hand."
Blog 338 - Mixing Non-Drying Clay
"I get very frustrated by how quickly the salt-based clay dries out. The kinds are too young to remember to return the dough to the bags and then it dries out before the adults notice it. That is why I went in search of recipes for non-drying clay. This recipe has glycerine added to the mix which presumably will prevent it from drying out. It also has a substantial quantity of cooking oil mixed in there. No cooking required."
Blog 339 - Baking Corn Bread
"I love everything made with corn, be it chips, pap, or bread. The rest of my family are much the same. This is why baking corn bread is such a hit and I return to this family favorite every so often. Never baked it before? You will not believe how easy it is."
"My little niece turned four 3 days before Christmas. I have blogged before about her love for Minnie Mouse and it came as no surprise when she said that she wanted a Minnie Mouse Cake for her birthday. She even placed an order for a pink polka dot dress as a gift! Inevitably this became the theme of the party and her aunt set about baking and decorating the cake. In today's blog I share a brilliant recipe with you for baking shaped cakes and we cut the shape from the cake. In the next blog we'll begin the decorating process."
Blog 341 - Baking and Decorating a Minnie Mouse Cake Part 2
"Today we will be decorating a Minnie Mouse birthday cake for a four year old. In yesterday's blog we baked the cake and shaped it. Today we will fill it, dirty ice it and then cover it with fondant. I'll walk you through this very easy process."
Blog 342 - Sewing a Stationery Bag
"It is time to get organized for the Back to School frenzy. Not finding the perfect pencil bag for all those brand new stationery items? Perhaps I can help. I show you step by step how to sew this stationery bag in today's blog. This is a lazy afternoon's job and should take you between 2-3 hours from start to finish."
Blog 343 - Making an Old-Fashioned Trifle
"Trifle is certainly not a fashionable dessert any longer, yet it remains one of my firm favorites. Every Christmas, without fail, my maternal grandmother would make a huge trifle and the whole extended family would gather at their home for Christmas. The kids would sleep in the lounge on a huge Christmas bed and the adults would try and fit into the bedrooms. Those are some of my fondest childhood memories and no doubt is a primary reason for my nostalgia about trifle. When I was in high school, I tried my first attempt at making trifle. How difficult could it be? My gran said that you prepared the different parts separately and then simply mixed them together. I did just that! What I got was a gooey mess that resembled something associated with castor oil, which does not belong on a food blog! Yet, I learned from my mistakes and am happy to walk you through the pitfalls of trifle in today's blog."
Blog 344 - Sewing a Bedside Book Bag
"Do you also have a pile of books resting on your bedside table? I am always reading and more often than not, from a number of books. At one time I have counted that I was busy with 12 books! Fortunately some of those were e-books and easier to accommodate space wise. My frustration over the lack of space on my bedside table have been growing for a while and I finally decided to do something about it. Getting rid of the books will never be an option, but I can shift them ever so slightly and still have them ready at hand. My solution is a crafty bedside book bag. This you can easily make within an hour."
Blog 345 - Baking a Lemon Meringue Pie
"I love Lemon Meringue Pie, but I can't always find one that is just the perfect balance of sweet and tangy. Truthfully, I often resist buying myself a slice, because I find that too often it simply becomes unbearably sweet. Is mine better? I don't know. Perhaps it's simply that I do not serve myself humongous slices and therefore find it more manageable! You be the judge of the quality, but in the meantime, I'll share with you my own version of a baked Lemon Meringue Pie."
Blog 346 - Baking a Garlic, Chili & Cheese Loaf
"I have become fascinated with bread of late and am experimenting with a lot of recipes. One that found great favour with the family over the holiday season was a savoury loaf I baked with garlic, chili and cheese in it. I did not have a lot hope that my sisters-in-law would like it, as they are very squeamish when it comes to chillies, but even they went back for second and third helpings. That decided it; it was a recipe I had to share with you."
Blog 347 - Leftover Dough? Bake some Savoury Quick Snacks
"I often have small pieces of dough left over from baking projects, such as when I've covered a pie, or something like that. I freeze these and when I have enough of them (or unforeseen guests), I quickly roll them out and make a couple of quick snacks. In today's blog, I use two different kinds of dough, leftover from other baking occasions, but treat them exactly the same when making the snacks. This one is easy enough for the kids to do, with you supervising when it comes to the warm oven."
Blog 348 - Sesame Seed Bread
"Today we will be baking a lovely Sesame Seed Bread with wholewheat flour. As mine is intended for a potjiekos as a side dish, I choose to bake it in rolls so that it can be served as a tear and share bread. This makes it so much easier to serve when gathering outside around the fire. Always try to keep in mind the type of gathering when deciding the shape your bread should take."
Blog 349 - Mixing Your Own Sour Dough Starter
"We have become so accustomed to bread and other baked goods made with instant yeast that most of us had forgotten about the rich flavours and aromas afforded us by baking with a natural sour dough. Not familiar with this? I had to explain this to my brother the other day, as well. Sour dough is developed when we mix a basic dough to which we add a natural reactor. We let this stand for a few days, allowing a process of fermentation to develop. When all is ready, we have a dough with live cultures that will leaven our baked goods adding that distinctive sour dough flavour. I show you how I learned to start my own sour dough in today's blog and then we can put it to use in upcoming projects."
Blog 350 - Baking an Olive Bread fit for Italy
"Olives. You either hate them or you love them. I fall into the latter category and can hardly think of enough uses for that delectable little fruit. Small wonder then that my experimentation with bread brought me to a recipe for baking olive bread. I baked this one during the course of a morning and it was ready for early lunch. Very easy to do."
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