Monday, 30 May 2011

black bean and cheese enchiladas

Ingredients for the Enchilada sauce:

two bell peppers chopped (any colour will do)
1x chilli pepper (red or green)
two cloves garlic (sliced)
1/2 a large onion
3 tablespoons oil
one teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons flour (to create a roux or use cornstarch to thicken the sauce, or cheat and use onion gravy mix)
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 cups water
fresh cilantro(Coriander) about a good handful of washed leaves and stalks

to make the bean and cheese enchiladas you will need:
wraps (I used coriander and garlic flavoured wraps but any will do this is a quick recipe)
a can of black beans (drained)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
sour cream or creme fraiche


heat the oil a large frying pan. Add the garlic, onion, peppers and chilli and fry until nicely coloured.

In a sauce pan melt the butter and add the flour to create a thick roux. (ignore this step if you are being lazy and using cornstarch or onion gravy mix *ahem* which you will add with the water)

Add the onion, garlic, peppers and chilli to the pot with two cups water, cumin, salt, pepper, and oregano. Bring just to the boil and switch off.

Add the fresh cilantro (coriander) and blend the sauce using a blending wand (stick whatever you call it, or an actual blender).

Set the sauce aside while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Preheat oven at 180c (356F)

Open the package of wraps (tortillas) and place a few spoons of black beans and a few spoons of grated cheese. roll up the wrap and place it in a 9x13 baking dish. Repeat until the dish is full of wraps (I left mine open on the ends but you can wrap them like a small burrito if you prefer.

Pour the sauce evenly over the wraps/enchiladas.

Sprinkle more cheese on top.

Pop the dish in the oven until the cheese is golden brown on top and the sauce is bubbling on the sides.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

cook's notes: This is a quick down and dirty recipe. I have made plenty of chicken enchiladas and sauce before so I knew the basics but as it was getting late I decided to mod what I normally do to adapt it for time and laziness. The sauce isn't that spicy as H was eating with us but has just enough bite that we were all happy. Because the sauce was quickly made it tasted very fresh and zesty. If I had had some lime I would have added a few squeezes to the sauce. I know the basics of making a roux but really could not be assed to make it so thickened the sauce with a few spoons of caramelized onion gravy. Everyone loved dinner and there is still half a pan to reheat for lunch today.

Friday, 27 May 2011

literary crushes, procrastination and doll making

A few days ago while procrastinating on twitter and chatting with a few of my best geek friends I got the worm of an idea to make a doll inspired by Neil Gaiman himself. Mr. Gaiman is one of my favourite authors, he is cool, nerdy and all around fantastic. So with very little encouragement from the twitter peanut gallery I set to work sewing a new doll and ignoring the housework. But don't tell my husband that.

The dolls and monsters I make start life as scraps of fabric, lace and vintage buttons. I sit at my desk and play with ideas and fabrics until the pieces come together with the threads of small stories and fairy tales in my head. For me making the dolls and writing their little stories are one and the same, an outlet for my creative side. I make them for the love of craft and making things. This doll won't have a story because he is the doll of a wonderful storyteller and you should own his books already and if not then run out and buy one today.

Neil Gaiman the doll is made with scraps of cotton fabric, toy filler, and vintage buttons (green as that is the closest colour to hazel I had in my modest button stash. I did my research). I thin grunged up the doll with a mixture of coffee, tea, vanilla and cinnamon to at an aged look and a lovely smell.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Little Miss Melancholia

Melancholia is wistful and some might say wise. She is an expert on morose and obscure poets. She can often be found wandering aimlessly on cliff tops and moonlit moors. Rainclouds follow her every step. Every time she turns the radio on a song of hollow hearts, acoustic guitars and melancholy lyrics fills the room.

She tried to grow a garden once but only with weeping willow and love-lies-bleeding grew. The roses and forget-me-nots all withered and died. Poor little Melancholia never had any friends for long the all seemed to move away, or suddenly died in a quietly tragic way.

Miss Melancholia is made with cotton, vintage buttons, acrylic wool and scraps of fabric and vintage doilies upcycled into something new and magical. She was grunged up with a lovely smelling mixture of coffee, tea, vanilla and cinnamon. Melancholia will come with her own hand stained and typed story card for you to keep. She is an art doll and not meant for small children to play with due to small buttons. I have listed her in my little etsy shop.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

doodling on the road

While we were away in April I sorted out a little craft kit for myself, with a few pens, pencils, buttons, needle, note cards, three moleskin notebooks for gifts/swaps, vintage book paper, thread and thread cutter. Things that were small and I knew that the needle and tiny thread cutter were safe to take on the plane with us. Mostly I doodled in my sketchbook on the flight (when not occupied watching half a dozen films that I wouldn't have paid good money to sit in a cinema to see).

After the initial zombie state when I had a few minutes time here and there I pulled out my collection of assorted craft supplies (which I kept adding to as we went to thrift shops and estate sales) and went to work doodling and sewing buttons and letting my imagination roam.

I had a slight obsession with doodling little imps, I even doodled an imp on a plastic travel bag for Harrison before we left on holiday. It was nice and I was glad that I remember to bring craft supplies with me. In the past I have traveled with knitting, which is good but I loathed the circular knitting needles that were the safest to go through security without being confiscated.
The crochet hook and book didn't work out so well as I just got fed up of not understanding the Idiot's Guide I had bought and read a magazine instead.

If you are a crafter travelling I think it's important to bring something crafty with you, even if it's only a notebook and pen to roughly sketch ideas. I find that my creative sparks when we are away and bumming around various coffee shops. and then more coffee shops... and possibly a few more too. I have quite a bit of blogging and crafting to catch up on but I was sorting out the rogue pile of holiday stuff on my desk and found some of the doodles and button cards that I brought back with me.

I suppose I best go hand some laundry out and get a few more housey jobs done before Matt and Harrison get home from getting haircuts. I will cry and rage if the Boy's hair is too short...*sob*

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

sugar cookie dough truffles

Sugar cookie dough truffles


· 1/2 cup butter, softened

· 3/4 cup caster/white sugar

· 2 cups flour (I used self-raising/all-purpose)

· 1-2 teaspoon vanilla extract

· Sprinkles or edible glitter.

· 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate, chopped


In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the flour, milk and vanilla. Mix well. You may add coloured sprinkles to the ‘dough’ as I did.

Shape into 1 inch balls by rolling teaspoons of dough in the palm of your hand. Place the dough

balls on waxed paper-lined baking sheets and pop the tray into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes until firm.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate by microwaving it for a few seconds at a time stirring until smooth.

Dip the dough balls into the chocolate; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with edible glitter, sprinkles or more chocolate.

Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Cook’s notes: I had intended to make cake batter truffles but when I researched recipes most of them called for readymade cake mix, which I don’t have as I never use the stuff. I then researched cookie dough truffles. Most of the recipes called for condensed milk, which I rarely ever have in the cupboard as Matt has a tendency to eat it all, I ignored this and decided to play with what I did have (the ingredients to bake a cake minus the egg of course). They were fun, very sweet and easy to make, H only ate the ones not tainted by dark chocolate and asked to make them again so I take this as high praise indeed and made sure to scribble down my recipe as such.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Dream Share

red riding hood doll I'm working on

Selena of Apron Thrift Girl has blogged her Dream Share dreams for May and I thought I would jump in and share my dreams too. It's a great way to get out dreams out there and perhaps make those dreams a tiny bit more attainable. I shall keep checking back to Selena's post to see what everyone's dreaming and see if there is a way I can help someone in my own small way.

my dreams for May:

* I would love to write for a magazine. I have a Somerset Studios magazine or two and find them so inspiring I would love to write something or submit one of my dolls to Prims or Stuffed (that little dream has been in my head for awhile now and I dare not write it down or share it before now) I'm very scared to do so but I want to.

* I want to do some short story writing and submit it to publishers. I'm not sure I'm ready to write my own book but would love to share some small piece of my writing more than just in blog form.

... I think for now these two little dreams are big enough for me.

What are your Dreams?

Friday, 6 May 2011

Miss Gertrude on Indie Fixx

Miss Gertrude

My dolls.. or Miss Gertrude got a mention on Indie Fixx yesterday in a post about some fantastic plush makers in the UK. I am quite speechless to be included with some very talented crafters.

Please go have a look here

Miss Gertrude's story can be found here

I'm doodling honest....

the white owl's sharpie pens

White owl cigar box filled with vintage ephemera.
behind the sharpies is a stack of fabric & magazines

I'm home. I have returned my loyal blog readers. Well technically we arrived home on Sunday but with the jetlag and grumps nobody was close enough to human until today. I may still be less than human but I'm here and I'm blogging so that you don't forget me, and so I don't put of writing for another day.

buttons, buttons and more buttons on a vintage tart tin.

Yesterday I did the last of the unpacking. Now I just need to drag all the suitcases back into the attic and finish sorting out the pile of craft treasure that have overtaken my little desk. Mostly vintage buttons from yard sales, estate sales and a lovely junk & antique shop in Coeur d'Alene, ID. I will blog about our trip, adventures in thrifting and playing with pugs but the sun is shinning for a little bit so I'm going to grab my notebook and sit in the garden doodling a few ideas for dolls I have and writing the notes for a story that is rattling around in my head... way more fun than doing the housework... right?

mmm sharpie pens