Thursday, May 23, 2013

Martha Makes: Blueberry Fool

Blueberry Fool – probably the easiest dessert I’ve ever made (especially coming from Martha Stewart!) 

At its bare bones, this is just whipped cream swirled with blueberry puree.  I had never heard of a fruit fool before, and according to Wikipedia it traditionally is custard swirled with fruit puree.  Making whipped cream is easier than making custard, so I approve of this version.

This was super easy to make and just seemed to be a perfect summer treat.  Want to try this?  (Of course you do!)  The recipe is on Martha Stewart’s website.  I’ll show the steps below.

First you make a blueberry puree (or really any berry would be good in this) by boiling blueberries with some lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon.  Then puree it in a blender and strain the liquid out using a fine mesh strainer.

If you don’t have a mesh strainer you could use cheesecloth.  And if you don’t have cheesecloth or a mesh strainer then Martha is disappointed in you.

Stir the puree to get all the liquid out, leaving just the solids being in the strainer.

I just threw the solids away, which seemed like a waste.  Next time I’ll save them to add to yogurt or oatmeal or something.  Refrigerate the puree for an hour, then make the whipped cream. 

Homemade whip cream is so yummy, yet I never seem to get the consistency I want.  For this you’re supposed to whip heavy cream and sugar until soft peaks form.

I settled for soft blobs.  Then drizzle on the blueberry puree and swirl it together.

Refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or overnight to get a more mousse-like texture (according to the recipe).  We are impatient for our desserts round here, so we had some right at the 2 hour mark.  It tasted delicious, but was somewhat soupy.  I had some more the next day, and while it had definitely firmed up, it certainly wasn’t mousse-like.

I think this would be so good on top of some shortcake, or served as a dip with some fresh fruit or cinnamon chips.  So even though mine didn’t end up looking anything like Martha’s, it was still delicious and I will definitely be making this one again.  Thanks Martha!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Anthropologie Inspired Fringe Bag

Anthropologie is one of my favorite stores.  I always feel inspired after shopping there, and usually come away with thoughts of how I could recreate on my own something I saw in the store.  And also usually a new cup or plate or bowl.  

Much as I love their clothes and accessories though, they are a bit out of my price range.  A few months ago I got their catalog and instantly fell in love with this tote bag:

Until I saw the price tag:

Yeah, it’s real leather and all that, but jeez, I could buy a lot of fabric and yarn for $300 dollars!  (This is actually on sale on their site right now for $100 off, still too much for me)  But I really liked the look of the ombre fringe on this bag, and I knew that I could figure out a way to recreate it.  Put my creative hat on and voila:

This actually turned out pretty awesome.  I love when that happens!  Yeah, the fringe isn’t a perfect ombre, but close enough for me!

I used suede for the outer fabric to give it a pseudo-leather look.  (Or should I say a suedeo-leather look, ha ha.) I bought the fringe at Joann’s; I don’t know what kind of fabric it is.  It is almost a little paper-ish.  I dyed it to get the colors I wanted. 

Cotton lining complete with some handy pockets.

I really like how this turned out.  The fringe is bouncy and fun, and I love the colors of it.  It’s perfect for summer.

Want to make your own?  Of course you do.  But, I may have been a bit lazy this time and didn’t write up a full tutorial on how to construct the bag itself, just some tips on how to do the fringe.  I just made a simple tote bag and sewed the fringe on to the front panel.  You could even just add some fringe to an existing boring bag to jazz it up!

To get the ombre look on the fringe I dyed it using Rit Dye.  The fringe itself was a little brown, so first I soaked it in some Rit Color Remover.  This step was crucial to getting a good color.  My first dyeing session I didn’t bleach it first and the color came out more green.  Bleaching first let the true color set it.

What a difference!  The bottom fringe is the unbleached one, and bleh, what a gross color.  To get the ombre look I used two different color dyes (Aquamarine and Navy Blue) and soaked the different strips for ½ hour to get the lighter color and 1 hour for the darker color. 

The color gradation isn’t as obvious as I had hoped for, but still fine.  After soaking these, make sure they are laying completely flat to dry.  If the fringe dries tangled up it stays that way and looks all wonky.

The dying part was long and annoying, but once that was done I quickly sewed the bag together and was on my way with my new awesome bag!

Just chillin’ at the river.  And yes I did match my pants to my bag. 

Cause I’m cool like that!

Thanks Anthropologie for the inspiration!