Peanut Butter and Jam Chocolate Cups

 
Peanut butter and Jam Chocolate Cups ingredients and supplies set up.

Peanut butter and Jam Chocolate Cups ingredients and supplies set up.

A while ago I watched Creativebug's video, "Homemade Dark Chocolate Peanute Butter and Jelly Cups" and was excited to try making my own. 

Mark and I gathered the ingredients and supplies and put everything out on our kitchen island.  We used Ghiradelli chocolate chips, smooth peanut butter, graham crackers, confectioner's sugar, and jam.  We used apricot jam in half the chocolate cups and strawberry jam in the other half.  (We both liked the cups with apricot jam better, but it is a personal preference.  Use your favorite type of jam.) We made a half recipe, and it made about 16 cups.

We lined a large cookie sheet with parchment paper to protect the sheets from jam and messy melted chocolate.  I found mini paper cupcake liners at Michaels.  We used them for the chocolate cup molds and laid them out on the parchment sheet. 

The graham crackers were crushed in a food processor. Then we mixed the crushed graham crackers, the peanut butter, and the confectioner's sugar together for the peanut butter filling.  This made a soft, shape-able filling that we formed into little patties. 

Mixing peanut butter mixture filling

Mixing peanut butter mixture filling

Peanut butter mixture filling formed into patties

Peanut butter mixture filling formed into patties

The chocolate chips went into a Pyrex bowl and then into the microwave for melting.  We did short microwave times of about 30 seconds each, taking the chips out to stir after each microwave session, and were careful not to burn the chocolate.

When the chocolate was melted, we used little pastry brushes to brush the chocolate onto the insides of the paper cupcake liners.  We covered the bottoms and sides with the melted chocolate and then turned the liners upside down on the cookie sheet so the chocolate could run up the sides and thicken the walls.

Liners with melted chocolate brushed onto bottom and walls, then turned upside down on cookie sheet

Liners with melted chocolate brushed onto bottom and walls, then turned upside down on cookie sheet

The cookie sheet then went into the refrigerator to speed up the hardening of the chocolate.  When the chocolate was solid, we placed a peanut butter mixture inside each chocolate cup, and then some jam.  This was a messy project, but very easy and a lot of fun

Peanut butter mixture and jam filling added to hardened chocolate cups.

Peanut butter mixture and jam filling added to hardened chocolate cups.

Then we used the pastry brushes again to cover the filling with more melted chocolate.  We were careful to go all the way to the edges, so the fillings would be well encased inside the chocolate cups.

Melted chocolate brushed onto chocolate cups.

Melted chocolate brushed onto chocolate cups.

p-n-j-choc-cups-finished.jpg

The peanut butter and jam chocolate cups were seriously yummy!  But the chocolate wasn't tempered, so it started to melt while you were eating it and had to be kept in the refrigerator.

p-n-j-choc-cups-finished-cutinhalf.jpg

 

 

 

 

Hacked Faux Fur Jacket for Sophie

 
Jacket WIP trying on.  Sleeves are longer to fit Sophie.

Jacket WIP trying on.  Sleeves are longer to fit Sophie.

I found a beautiful free download faux fur jacket pattern by Design by Lindsay and decided It would be perfect as a starting point for the jacket I had in mind.  I showed it to Sophie.  She loved it and asked if she could have it in the same fabric.  I was surprised to find the fabric was still available through fabric.com.  I found some soft, lovely dusty pink Bemberg rayon at Mood and some covered  Dritz hooks and eyes at Jo-Ann.  I set the printer to print at 100% for the size and printed out the pattern.  I lengthened the jacket a few inches,  flared the sides seams to be slightly A-line shaped, and raised the neckline to be a regular round neck.   I added side pockets and made them out of the lining fabric.  I also added covered hooks and eyes so the jacket could be worn closed.

Rayon lining pockets added to jacket side seams.

Rayon lining pockets added to jacket side seams.

I cut out the fabric using an x-acto knife cutting from the back and carefully going only through the backing fabric so I didn't cut any of the fur pile.  I sewed the body and lining separately and then sewed them together using a jacket bagging technique Threads has a clear tutorial for bagging a jacket lining here

My teddy bear sewing experience came in handy when constructing the jacket, as it is working with fur fabric pile.  I used an embroidery needle and my bunka brush to pull the fur out of the seams on both the inside and outside of the jacket. I trimmed all the fur out of the seam allowances and used a catch stitch to flatten and hold all the faux fur seam allowances and sleeve and garment hems against the  outer fabric. You can see a detailed catch stitch tutorial on the Craftsy blog.

Catch stitched shoulder, arm, and neck seams.

Catch stitched shoulder, arm, and neck seams.

Catch stitch close-up.

Catch stitch close-up.

 

I closed the opening in the hem created when I bagged the lining.  Lastly I hand sewed the five covered hooks and eyes to the front opening of the jacket.  Done! 

Covered hooks and eyes in process of hand sewing to jacket front.  (some pins still visible.

Covered hooks and eyes in process of hand sewing to jacket front.  (some pins still visible.

Sophie loves her faux fur jacket.

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faux-fur-jacket-sophie2-550.jpg

 

 

 

Studio Shots - Tuesday, My Sewing Corner and W.I.P.

This is my post for the first week of the  Studio Shots - Tuesday collaborative blog project. studio - sewing table

My sewing table sits in the northeast corner of the studio.  Right now I have a Baby Lock Ellegante, a Pfaff Creative 1473, and my serger, a Pfaff Hobbylock all sitting on it.  I'm in the process of sewing a pink elephant leg.  The other legs and body parts are waiting in their baggies.   A clear 1/4" presser foot helps to help keep an even seam allowance when doing small curves. 

Teddies and elephant parts in baggies waiting to be sewn

Cut pieces for a turquoise teddy, lavender rabbit, and a reddish teddy are also on the table in their baggies.  (There is an ongoing quilt project for our bedroom at the back of the table. )  The baggies keep the pieces for each critter all together so they don't get lost or dirty.  As I work on the critters, I tend to add eyes, joint discs and cotter pins, sewing thread, and pearl cotton for noses to the baggies so they serve as little work kit containers.

Baby Lock sewing/embroidery machine

I love my Baby Lock machine and use it for most of my sewing now.  It has a start/stop button so you can sew without using your foot.  This is helpful if you have bad knees and it's painful to push the foot pedal.  It does only give you one hand to control the fabric with, though. 

The other great feature of the Ellegante is the presser foot up button.  When it's activated, the needle goes down into the fabric every time you stop sewing and the presser foot comes up allowing you to turn the fabric freely.  This saves so much time because you don't have to raise and lower the presser foot manually every time you have to turn the fabric.  It's great for sewing curved teddy parts and for doing applique.

Table top - work in progress

 Some work in Progress - two teddy heads, an elephant head, body parts in baggies, some pearl cotton for noses.  My favorite Fiskars Softouch Micro-Tip Scissors are very sharp and comfortable to use.  I use pliers for bending cotter pins for joints and pulling needles through the mohair.  The hemostats next to the pliers are for stuffing as is the little pointed wooden stuffing tool.  Here I am trying out some eyes and pearl cotton nose colors for the peach teddy.

My Japanese Craft Books II - Sewing Handbags

Japanese Craft Book - making bags My collection of Japanese Craft Books is now taking up a whole shelf on one of my bookcases.  (And I am waiting for the arrival of two more I bought just this week.)  I have so many of the books that I have arranged them into categories.  I have sewing/clothing, sewing/accessories, patchwork, wet felting, needlefelting, teddy bears and other critters, embroidery, fabric flowers, handbags, and interior decorating.

On my Japanese Craft Books bookshelf, I have several books on sewing handbags.  The photography, as in all the Japanese Craft Books I have seen, is yummy and the designs range from simple and pretty to inventive craft pieces.  I love the wonderful fabrics used for the bags - my favorite fabrics are  ones with writing on them and ones that look like abstract paintings.   Because of the growing popularity of the Japanese Craft Books, the distinctive Japanese fabrics are becoming easier to find here in the US.  And I have been amassing a small collection of these, also.

The imaginative shapes and surface designs of the bags are intriguing.  There are geometric shapes such as circles and pyramids and doll and animal shaped bags.  The designs  are imaginative, but avoid being cutesy.  Several of the bags incorporate unusual surface design that elevates them from handmade bag to an art/craft piece.  Hand-painted, appliqued, stamped, and embroidered animals and everyday objects add to the whimsy and uniqueness of the bags.

These books have patterns in the back with instructions in Japanese.  Some of the books have step by step how-to photographs for a few of the patterns.  While it can be daunting when you first look at the directions, once you cut out the patterns and start following the diagrams, they start to make more sense.  Usually I can figure out how the bags are made from the drawings in the pattern section of the books, but others are more difficult to decipher.  I look at these as ones as a puzzle challenge.  Some sewing experience though, is definitely helpful for figuring out how the pieces go together.

Amazon.co.jp and YesAsia are two online resources for Japanese Craft books.

Kinokuniya Bookstore is a great U.S. resource for ordering Japanese craft books. They have a huge two-story store in New York City and one in Seattle.   It is a lot of fun to visit. They also have a website which I found very difficult to navigate as it is in Japanese.   However, if you have the ISBN number or can email them a photo of the cover of the book you want, they can order most books in print. The sales people are gracious and helpful.  This site has the addresses and phone numbers for the Kinokuniya stores in the US, Asia, and Australia.

The book above with the little girl peering into an inside-out bag has wonderful, creative bag designs incorporating everything from embroidery to applique, slit designs, geometric felt handles, and fun shapes including snails and birds.

This bag, the right side out version of the cover bag, utilizes appliqued rabbits and frayed edges to create a charming total effect.  It even has interior sashes (seen in the cover photo of the book) to keep the bag closed.

Japanese Craft Book - interior

This is another book on bag making that has lovely, unusual designs.  It is currently out-of-print.  Sometimes Kinokuniya will have copies of out-of-print books left in their store in Japan and will do special orders for them.  Ebay is another option to try for out-of-print titles.

ISBN4-7762-0045-7

The first page below from the interior of this book shows horse feedbag-shaped patchwork bags.  These bags are some of my favorites with their unusual shape juxtaposed with the beautiful, classic fabrics.  The second page shows a black bag with cotton fabric strips dyed with various teas.   I love the use of handwritten labels with the type of tea hand-stitched below each tea-dyed sample.  It is similar to the way a dyeing notebook might be laid out.

Japanese Craft Book - interior

Japanese Craft Book - interior

The book shown below is full of unusual designs made from reconstructed clothing.  The cover bag is a doll bag.  The arms reaching up with hands clasped together make up the handle.  There is a tiny head sticking up above the top of the bag, and two flat, yellow feet.  The doll bag is made from a sweater.

ISBN4-7762-0167-4

The  page below shows a bag with a cardboard handle hand-sewn to the fabric bag adorned with raw-edged circles and feathers.  I love the idea of this, even though it isn't very practical.  With its cardboard handle, feathers, and raw-edged appliqued circles, the impractical quality of the bag is part of its charm.  It makes a fun accessory for a special occasion (when it's not raining!).

Japanese Craft Book - interior

The page below has two bags made from reconstructed shirt and jacket sleeves.  The shirt bag with the flowered fabric and fringe is not one of my favorites because of  its  print, color and fringe, but the idea is quite clever.  I do love the jacket-sleeve bag, with it's proper grey striped suit fabric and three small buttons on the flap.  It has a whimsical, yet sophisticated look.

Japanese Craft Book - interior

If you would like to read about more of my Japanese Craft Books and resources for where and how to buy them, please see my previous post, My Japanese Craft Books I - Reconstructing Clothing .

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My Japanese Craft Books I - Reconstructing Clothing

ISBN # 978-4-7966-5419-7

ISBN # 978-4-7966-5419-7

I just received another wonderful Japanese craft book in the mail. The aesthetic sensibility of these books in general is so appealing -- clean and beautiful with lovely color schemes. The writing in the books is in Japanese, but there are clear how-to diagrams making the projects fairly easy to follow. Japanese craft books can be found online at Amazon.jp , YesAsiaeBay, and now there are several shops on Etsy that also sell them. Amazon.jp (On Amazon.jp you can use a credit card, but to actually see how much you are spending, the site Universal Currency Converter is very helpful.) and YesAsia both have English shopping options. If you put in an ISBN number in a search, the book page will come up if it is available. For eBay and Etsy, do a search for "Japanese craft books" to find the sellers. Shipping can be expensive because many times they are coming directly from Japan, but YesAsia has free shipping for orders over $39.00

Here are a few of my favorites on reconstructing clothing. The one at the beginning of the post and the one below have examples of new clothing designs created from old clothing, scarves, t-shirts. The ingenuity used in the reconstructions is fun and inspiring. My favorite section is the way the author approached reconstructing sweaters.

ISBN #4-579-11025-0

ISBN #4-579-11025-0

This photo is from the interior of the above book. It shows two versions for wearing the same reconstructed pullover. One is worn upside-down.

Japanese craft book - two versions of reconstructed sweater

The third book shows how to make wonderful stuffed animals from socks and gloves. It has also been translated into an English version, Sock and Glove: Creating Charming Softy Friends from Cast-Off Socks and Gloves, which is available here.

jcraftbooksockdogblog

ISBN #4-579-11061-7

The original Japanese book can be bought here.

Below is Riina, a red plaid dog I made from a pair of socks. I followed the diagrams in the Japanese version. I made her as a sample for a Renagade Sewing class I was teaching.

Riina -stuffed sock dog

Here is Riina wearing one of my daughter's American Girl doll dresses (one of Addy's dresses).

Riina - stuffed sock dog wearing doll dress

For some more on reconstructing clothing, please see previous post on the  “Renegade Sewing” class I taught to a group of teenage girls.

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Renegade Sewing

Renegade sewing

Last year I taught Renegade sewing at our homeschool co-op.  There were six teenage girls in the class.  We deconstructed and reconstructed t-shirts to make clothing and accessories and constructed our own fabrics from cotton scraps that we then made into bags.  The girls started out with a little knowledge of sewing, and fearlessly dove into their projects.   We didn't use any patterns in the class, but found wonderful inspiration in the book, Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt by Megan Nicolay.  The girls had a great time and the finished projects were inspiring.

Some Student Work:

Complete outfit Deconstructed T-shirts by Sara


Reconstructed fabric Patchwork Bag by Sara

Deconstructed T-shirts Top

Reconstructed fabric Patchwork Bag

Some Teacher Samples:

Deconstructed T-shirt Skirt

Deconstructed T-shirt Bag

Reconstructed fabric Patchwork Bag