Friday, 26 September 2014

Craft Along - Week 1

Hi Everyone,

As I mention last time, the Craft Getaway that I had planned for last weekend didn't go ahead so I've decided to share one of the projects here in the form of a step by step craft along. I suppose it's like a tutorial run over a few weeks but you don't know what you're making. Every Friday for the next few weeks I will post the instructions for each step to make the mystery project. I know the whole mystery thing might be a bit daunting but I promise you will end up with something lovely at the end. It is a small project and you might have most of the materials already. I just went through my stash and used some leftovers from other projects.
I think this will be fun don't you?
As this is the first time I have done anything like this please feel free to contact me if you think something doesn't seem right or isn't clear.
Here is what you will need.
Edit: On the printable list it should be an embroidery thread that matches the 3" square.

Mystery Project Craft Along
7 x 2”x19” strips – coordinating fabrics
2 x 3⅝”squares – light colour
4 x 3⅛” squares crosscut into 8 triangles – dark colour
2 x 3” squares – medium or dark colour
(NB. All the above fabrics should coordinate, see example below)
1 x 11”x20” wadding
1 x 11”x20” homespun/calico
1 x 11”x19” fabric – anything you like
1 x 14”zipper
1 x 3”x6” fusible webbing
Embroidery thread to match your 3" squares
Sewing thread
Sewing machine
Pins & a needle
Rotary cutter & mat (not essential all the fabrics could be cut with scissors)

Below is an example of the fabrics I chose but you can choose your favourite fabrics.
I do have a few kits that I made up in preparation for the Craft Getaway so if you would like to purchase one of them, just email me via the "Contact Me" in the right sidebar. Also I am giving away a kit to one lucky reader who leaves a comment on my previous post HERE by this Tuesday (October 30th).
Looking forward to crafting with you next Friday.

Thanks for popping by and until next time 

I would love your feedback.
You can either comment here or on Facebook 
You can follow me on

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Craft Along & a Giveaway

Hi Everyone,
How are we all going? Hope all is well in your part of the world though if you watch the news at the moment it's a bit doom and gloom. I'm sure there's a lot more good going on in the world than they are reporting. I am opting for the head in the sand approach and trying not to watch too much news.
Anyway this is a happy creative place so let's stick with that. I was hoping that this post would be a round up about what a lovely weekend I had at the Craft Getaway that I was running with my friend Marita (details HERE) last weekend, but sadly we didn't get enough numbers so we had to cancel. We are not going to dwell on that though and will look at offering to do it again maybe early next year. Looking at the bright side, it gave us an extra weekend to enjoy the lovely weather and do some gardening. Marita is busy getting her place/garden ready for her son's wedding in three weeks and I'm getting our garden ready for the "Garden Getabout" open garden weekend in November. I will fill you in about that soon.
In lieu of the Craft Getaway not going ahead, I thought I might have a mystery project craft along here instead, using one of the projects I was going to do on the weekend. It is a fairly simple project, for anyone with basic sewing machine skills, so excellent for beginners. Here's a little sneak peak.
I haven't done anything like this before but this is what I thought I would do.
Every Friday for 4 or 5 weeks I will post the instructions for each step of the project.
It will start this Friday with the materials list.
Each step will not take very long (maybe an hour, depending on your skill level) so it is the perfect project for anyone who has trouble finding time for their creative pursuits. If you have more time available you might like to make more than one at a time, as it will make a lovely Christmas present.
So, what do you think? Would you like to join me and make a mystery project?
My Friday craft group are going to join in. It is a great idea for them, as not everyone can come every week and now they can follow along at home and not fall behind which tends to happen. Maybe you are in a craft group that might like to craft along too.
As a little treat I am going to giveaway a kit for the project to one lucky reader that leaves a comment here by next Tuesday (October 30th).
I have a few kits available for purchase if anyone is interested just send me a message via the 'Contact Me' on the right sidebar and I will send you the details.

Looking forward to you join me as we craft along.

Thanks for popping by and until next time 

I would love your feedback.
You can either comment here or on Facebook 
You can follow me on

Monday, 15 September 2014

Apple Sultana Walnut Cake - Gluten Free

Hi Everyone,

I'm back with a quick post. You may recall I shared a recipe for Apple Sultana and Walnut cake back HERE.
I have a couple of relatives who are gluten intolerant so I had a fiddle with the recipe and made a healthier version that is gluten, dairy and sugar free and topped it with a vanilla cashew cream.
I posted the following picture on Facebook and had a few requests for the recipe.
So I decided I would share it here just in case anyone else might be interested.

1 cup chopped dates
Water (enough to just cover the dates)
½ cup mild tasting oil
3 eggs (lightly beaten)
1 teasp vanilla
2 cups almond meal
½ cup rice flour
½ teasp bicarb soda
1 teasp baking powder(gluten free)
2 teasp mixed spice
150g (5oz) sultanas
60g (2oz) chopped walnuts
2 apples (peeled & diced)
Cover dates with water and allow to soak overnight or until dates are very soft.
Set oven on 180C and grease (with oil) a 20cm cake tin, line the base and dust the sides with almond meal or rice flour.
Blend together the soaked dates, oil, eggs and vanilla until smooth.
In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients, sultanas, apple and walnuts.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
Put mixture in prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 40-50minutes or until done when tested with a skewer. (It may take longer depending on the moisture in the fruit)
Allow to cool for 5-10minutes before removing from the tin.
Vanilla Cashew Cream
85g raw cashews
¼ cup chopped dates
½ cup water
1 teasp vanilla
20g cacao butter(melted in a bowl over hot water)
Soak the cashews and dates in the water with the vanilla overnight.
Blend together until smooth and creamy then add cacao butter and blend until thoroughly mixed.
Spread on the cooled cake and sprinkle with extra walnuts.


You will notice I have included a link to a printable version of the recipe. I am hoping over the next couple of weeks to update all my previous recipe posts to include printable recipes. That will make your life easier if you want to try any of them.

Thanks for popping by and until next time 
I would love your feedback.
You can either comment here or on Facebook 
You can follow me on
Facebook or Instagram @oneearlybird

Monday, 8 September 2014

Crafty Bits and Pieces.

Hi everyone,

Hope you're enjoying these beautiful Spring days (or Autumn days if you're in the northern hemisphere). Aren't they lovely, they always make me feel cheery. It has occurred to me that this blog is in need of a crafty update. While I haven't been making anything substantial, like a quilt, I have been fiddling around with a few bits and pieces. So what have my busy fingers being doing.

I finished my traditional Granny square rug(blanket/afghan). It has been finished for a while now I just forgot to do the big TA DAH so here she is bathing in the Spring sunshine
Just as I was finishing the last couple of squares I discovered a tutorial HERE at "Once Upon a Pink Moon" for a bobbly(pom pom) border. I immediately thought that it had to go on the edge of "Granny". I love bobbly trim and even though I thought it was going to take ages it didn't, once I got the hang of it.

I've been meaning to have a go at tapestry crochet for quite sometime but never got around to it. A couple of weeks ago I came across a tutorial for a simple coin purse, you can find it HERE at "Poppy and Bliss". I decided to give it a go and it wasn't difficult. I love the patterns you can make with tapestry crochet so I will be doing more.
I came across a V-stitch crocheted square at Le Monde de Sucrette while I was blog surfing last week.  I decided to have go at working it out for myself even though you can buy the pattern from the blog HERE.  I did work it out but I wasn't happy with the way centre of the square looked so I worked out another way to do it and I'm much happier.
Now everyone knows you can't just make one crocheted square, so I made a few more. These squares are quite addictive, just one more row, just one more colour, oh heck I'll just start another one, now I can't leave a square half done and on it goes.
Now I've put it away in the cupboard so I can't see it, but I'm sure I can hear it calling me. No it's going to be a long term project I have other things I have to do.
Yes the other things like projects for the Craft Getaway Weekend. Bookings have been a bit slow and we haven't reached our minimum number yet but I best be prepared. I don't want to give away exactly what we will be doing but I can give you a couple of sneaky peeks. I have been experimenting with a few ideas.
Some have worked, like this.
And this one
Some have not.
I'm hoping to have one session on the weekend that will be experimenting and playing with patchwork so I was testing one of my ideas. I think I know where I went wrong but I'll have to do some more playing. As it turns out when I was doing this trial I came up with a grander plan for this idea so it might not make it to the getaway weekend anyway.
At craft group on Fridays I thought we could do a joint project. The idea is for everyone to make some blocks based around a heart theme. When we have enough we will put them all together in a quilt and raffle it. These a few that I have made so far. 

And here are all the hearts so far. They're looking lovely.

Please forgive the photo, for some reason it only wanted to upload sideways and it's blurry. Oh well that's the way things go sometimes.
So that's the craft update. Hope you're having a crafty time too or doing something else you really enjoy.

Thanks for popping by and until next time 
I would love your feedback.
You can either comment here or on Facebook 
You can follow me on
Facebook or Instagram @oneearlybird

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Happy Birthday

To Me
Hi Everyone,
Well it was happy birthday to me a couple of weeks ago but this post is really about the cake I made myself not my birthday. I posted a picture of it on Facebook and had a request to share it here. I hadn't planned on blogging about it so I didn't take an photos of the process but there is no rule that says that I have to so I'm going to share it anyway.
It's not very often I have to make my own Birthday cake, usually one of the kids does it but they weren't home and baking is not Ross' forte, so it was up to me.
Originally I was going to make a wheat free version of this experiment that Heidi and I made a couple of weeks ago, Caramelised Pear Cake with custard cream.
Yes, I know, not the most elegant looking cake (the components needed to be well chilled before assembly hence the oozing custard cream) but it did taste REEEEEEALLY good. I was a bit pushed for time on my birthday so I didn't have time for chilling things so I decided to do another experiment instead. The challenge was to make a healthy cake that tasted decadent and naughty.
I already had some tried and trued healthy recipes that I thought, when they were combined, might just fit the bill. I started off with my 'Innocent Chocolate Cake', a perfectly yummy guilt free cake. I did a post on it a couple of months ago and you can find it HERE.
For the filling I took my inspiration from the recipe for this chocolate tart that we made in a raw food workshop with Cat Cannizzaro. I changed it so that the flavours blended better with the cake. (If you want the recipe for this tart, which is to die for, it will be available for purchase at Wild Raw soon)
And I  made an orange cashew cream that I used on some muffins a little while ago. I also love hazelnuts and I thought they would go nicely as well.
This is what I came up with,
Innocent Jaffa Hazelnut Cake.
Looks pretty good, don't you think? It tasted pretty good too. It certainly fulfilled the brief. In fact tasted so good I almost felt guilty eating it, even though it's perfectly healthy.


1 cup chopped dates (cover with water & soak until soft)
1 teasp vanilla
1/4 olive oil
3 eggs (separated)
1/2 teasp bicarb soda
1/2 teasp baking powder
200g almond meal (approx. 2cups)
1/3 cup cacao powder (or cocoa)
Set oven to 180C & grease and line a 20cm cake tin. Puree dates, vanilla, oil & egg yolks until smooth and  add to the dry ingredients, mix well. Beat egg whites to soft peaks and mix 1/3 into the rest of the mixture then gently fold through the remaining egg whites. Pour into the cake tin and bake for approximately 30 mins or until done when tested with a skewer. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin.
NB: While the cake is cooking roast 1/2 cup of hazelnuts for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and roll them in a tea towel to remove most of the skins and chop roughly.
Chocolate Cashew Cream
11/2cups chopped raw cashews
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped dates
1 teasp vanilla
30g cacao powder
40g cacao butter (melted in a bowl over hot water)
Soak the cashews and dates in the water overnight. Blend the cashews, dates, vanilla and cacao powder until really smooth. Add a little more water as needed to achieve a smooth result but it doesn't want to be  runny. Finally blend in the cacao butter until well combined. The chocolate cashew cream will firm up a bit as it cools down so it best to fill the cooled cake straight away while it's still easy to spread.
Orange Cashew Cream
11/4 cups chopped raw cashews
Juice of 2 orange
Grated rind of one orange
5 teasp agave syrup
20g cacao butter (melted in a bowl over hot water)
Soak the cashews in the orange juice overnight. Blend all the ingredients except cacao butter until really smooth (add a little water if needed). Add the cacao butter and blend until well combined. This also will firm a little as it cools so best to use straight away.
When the cake is cold slice in two. Spread one half with the chocolate cashew cream and sprinkle with half the hazelnuts. Place the second half on top and spread some of the orange cashew cream on top, sprinkle with the rest of the hazelnuts and some orange zest and pipe around the edge if desired.


I hope you give Innocent Jaffa Hazelnut Cake a try and let me know what you think.

Thanks for popping by and until next time 
I would love your feedback.
You can either comment here or on Facebook 
You can follow me on
Facebook or Instagram @oneearlybird