Earth Apple workshops!

Mini-Tote amongst the Borage

Meet Mini-Tote. She’s here to share some good news. Starting in April, I’m going to teach a series of workshops at Studio Jurk in Nijmegen! The ladies and I sat down and decided on three projects: a tote bag, zipper bag, and phone cover. Each workshop is three hours long and will take you through one project from start to finish. You’ll be working fabrics I select and using the fine machines at the lovely Studio Jurk atelier. The workshops will be taught in Dutch. However, if you want to participate and don’t speak much Dutch, get in touch. We can either see about putting together an English language group or see if you’ll be OK in the regular workshop.

I’m so excited about this opportunity and can’t wait to see who’s going to be in the first tote bag workshop on 14 April! Sign-up now at Studio Jurk’s website!

Braided Hazelnut Coffee Cake

Braided Hazelnut Coffee Cake

A couple of weeks ago, I had an internet exchange with a friend about coffee cake, this coffee cake. It’s a braided hazelnut coffee cake that my mom used to make when we were kids. When you slice it open, there are layers upon layers of lovely hazelnut-chocolate filling and yummy sweet dough. It looks like magic and tastes better. However, explaining how to make it without pictures was beyond me. So, last weekend, I made one and took a ton of pictures in order to share with you! It’s actually pretty easy to put together once you know the trick and would work equally well with any kind of filling. Ground hazelnuts aren’t easy to come by. During the holidays, they carry ground hazelnuts at the Aldi just over the border in Germany here. I stock up each year and that’s how I manage it. My mom used to buy whole hazelnuts and put them through a grinder when we were kids. You’ll have to see what works best for you. I’ve decreased the sugar over time, so there’s about half the sugar and half the icing I used in the beginning. This works great for us, but you might like it sweeter. Have a look and give it a try!

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Garden time

Cauliflower

Borage

Blue Kohlrabi

The garden: 20 March 2014

The garden: 20 March 2014

On the first day of spring, this is my other work in progress. Last year, we painstakingly dug out the garden in our new backyard. It was overflowing with weeds and flowers. Just about everything got moved, either replaced in the garden or moved to the front yard. Our goal was to make room for a whole lot of vegetables this summer. My inspiration for this year’s garden is coming from Alys Fowler’s book and BBC series, The Edible Garden. I watched the BBC series and needed to have the book, which is lovely.

We’ve kept a lot of the flowers from last year and planted some last year for some quick color as well. Right now, we’ve got borage, lungwort, and helleborus up in the shade and violets and grape hyacinth up in the sun. The tulips are coming in the front yard (so many!) and all of the perennials are coming back strong.

The veggie plan is to grow lots of variety and focus on plants that are going to grow a bit quickly and be pretty to look at. We’ll see this year what does well and what we like. Fowler recommends starting lots of young plants in modules and then planting them out as they mature and as space comes free in the garden. We don’t yet have much of a space problem, but we shall see what the season brings. It’s gorgeous gardening weather here just now with lots of warm sunny days and some rain coming, too.

In my modules right now are fennel, kohlrabi, basil, tiny tim tomatoes, chives, and some lettuce. I’ve got a couple more tomato plants that are older and in pots on the window sill. The cherry tomatoes were a big hit last summer and I’m hoping we will get plenty this year. Growing them from seed is a new challenge. Out in the garden we’re taking out plants that over-wintered and have started to flower with the warm weather, kale, cabbage, and brussel sprouts that never really took off. On the other hand, lettuce and kohlrabi that seemed to grow so slowly over the winter have started to really take off and just might give us an early spring crop. I’ve planted out peas in two varieties: Oregon Sugar Snap and Kelvedon Wonder. These are recommendations straight from The Edible Garden. I’m figuring that the climate in the UK is fairly similar to what we have here. I ordered my seeds and some supplies from Tuinwinkel Van der Wal and am quite pleased with them.

This week we’ve also been adding compost to the soil from our own compost pile. On Saturday, it’s National Compost Day (I’m not kidding) and we’ll pick up 40L of free compost from the city. If you live in the Netherlands, check “locaties 2014” menu to see where you can pick up some free compost! I’m planning to keep that aside to add as I plant or move plants through the season.

It’s exciting to have a garden season in front of us – can’t wait to start watching things grow!

WIP Report

My hat model

A Fitting Hat

So far, March has been mostly a market making month. I’m itching to do some sewing for myself, but it’s not in the books quite yet. There’s a Music Box Jumper that’s been waiting patiently for a couple weeks now and a Sorbetto Top pattern that the printer just finished for me. I just might indulge. I added an “Abandon” category because let’s face it, some projects just aren’t ever going to get finished!

Finished projects

  • Mittens (Pumpkin): Just in time for spring!
  • Drop sleeve shrit using Mandy Boat Tee pattern. It’s very wide, but I like it. Maybe another version in a nicer fabric in the fall
  • A Fitting Hat: Hinagiku Hat made with Drops Lima in grey.
  • Dress up dress skirt (Pumpkin): used scraps from curtains.
  • Knight’s pants (Peanut): A hit – must find/take pictures to share.

In progress

  • Pillow: finish buttons and assembly! (it’s been a year and 2 months in progress for no good reason at all
  • Serger cover: draft pattern
  • Button down shirt: draft pattern using Cal Patch’s Design it Yourself
  • Clutch: The next BMB Challenge bag. Waiting for hardware to arrive!
  • Sorbetto top: Put together pattern, make muslin version
  • Neutral long-sleeved top: from my own pattern. This one will have more ease throughout than the tops I’ve made in the past.

Abandoned

  • House pants for Peanut: These didn’t work out in the end. Maybe another time.

New Projects

  • T-shirts for summer: I think there’s only one in my pile that I really like. Time to make some for myself!

Sewing for market

Sewing, sewing, sewing

Bibs

Work in progress

Card Holder

This has been my busiest and most productive sewing week yet. I’ve been making inventory for the Feel Good Market on Sunday – that’s 12:00 – 18:00 on 16 March 2014 in Eindhoven. Last October I visited the Feel Good Market with a friend. It was during Dutch Design Week and there were lots of people, lots of energy, and lots of really good and interesting products to see. People were there with everything from artisan breads to greeting cards, to gorgeous scarves and vintage interior pieces. I knew it was a place I wanted to be and can hardly believe it is going to happen on Sunday.

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On the road: Brugge & Ghent

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Last week was Crocus Vacation here in Nijmegen. We had a week of lovely weather and a great four days in Belgium, two in Ghent followed by two in Brugge (Bruges). It was my first trip to both cities and one of our most balanced family trips in the sense that everyone got to do something they really wanted to do, we found lovely places to stay, we ate out, we ate in, and no one got pushed past their limits. The result – a lot of fun!

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