Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Carry your Water Bottle in Style

Just a quick note to let you all know that my new sewing pattern is now available in my Etsy shop! This is a 17-page PDF containing detailed instructions on how to make a one-of-a-kind Water Bottle Carrier. It comes with 39 photos!

Isn't that cool?

With the instructions, you will be able to sew a water bottle carrier that: 1) is insulated (to keep your water hot or cold); 2) has an adjustable strap; and 3) closes with a drawstring to keep your bottle from accidentally slipping out. Directions on how to customize your carrier to suit a bottle size of your choice are also provided.

This is great to take anywhere! Why not make one for your kids, for school or for presents even? Christmas is not too far away...

I worked tirelessly on this one yesterday and am mighty proud of the resulting eBook. Hope you'll give it a go! You won't be disappointed...

Monday, September 21, 2009

The makings of an eBook

In my previous post, I mentioned about creating a new eBook. The truth is, I've been laboring on it for months now. My pattern has gone from one revision to another as I have been trying to find the easiest sewing process as well as the simplest explanation to go with it. It's been a challenge...

Personally, I prefer including loads of photos to go with my instructions because I like my readers to be able to figure out what to do just by looking at them. Taking photos can be a real pain for me though. Natural lighting is the best, but the weird Melbourne weather is just too difficult to work with! Yesterday, I was all set to go on with my project but the weather kept changing from sunny to cloudy and I just could not take decent shots from inside the house.

So today, when I woke up to what seemed to be a beautiful, sunny day, I had the awesome idea of transferring my crafting our backyard. Not only was it great because it was bright, but also because I had a huge space all to myself! Why didn't I think of this before?

I started real early, was very hopeful I was going to accomplish something and that I would have all the good photos I needed...

And yey, I did it!

The weather turned cloudy just after I was done and I was so thankful I had finished what I had set out to do. Now all I need to do is organize my photos, write up the instructions and complete the PDF. Sounds easy but I still have a long way to go...

Here's just a sneak peek into my soon to come out 'How To'. It's actually something you've already seen here before though just a little bit different...

Hope you all would look forward to that!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kitchen (Mis)adventures

I have been away from blogging for a while, haven't I? For the past week or so, I have been quite preoccupied with a lot of experimenting, mostly in the kitchen. I was hoping I could share some great discovery in here...unfortunately, a lot of my experiments were unsuccessful.

My particular focus was finding the right recipe for steamed rice cakes, a popular Filipino food more commonly known as puto. Traditional puto is made from rice soaked in water then grinded and allowed to ferment before the actual steaming. The whole process is quite long and tedious. Commercially produced puto nowadays make use of wheat flour. Although delicious as well, it is just not the same in texture and flavour as the real thing.

I've tried a variety of puto recipes over the years. To this day, I remain unsatisfied. I am not really after doing it the traditional way. All I want is something that at least will come close.

So what happened with my experiments? Well, I do not really wish to bore you by documenting all of my failed attempts. Let me just say that out of my four tries over the past two weeks, only one batch was worth sharing with the rest of the family and was photograph-worthy as well...

This particular puto was nice and soft and very tasty too. However, after eating one piece after another, the baking powder aftertaste became so overpowering. It's a pity because it looked so good...sigh

For now, I've decided to set aside my search for the perfect puto recipe. Today, I just wanted to try something else...something my family could actually eat and enjoy...

I thought of making this other Filipino favourite as my daughter has been requesting for it anyway. It is called Cassava Cake (Cassava Bibingka)...considered a cake, but not really what we usually imagine as one. I like this version because it is not too rich and the recipe yields just the right firmness and sweetness unlike others I've tasted. I made use of packed grated cassava and canned coconut cream, ingredients which are readily available in Asian groceries.

Finally, a successful kitchen adventure I can proudly share with you!

(the cake still in the pan) (the cross-section)

(ready to be served)And here's the recipe!

Cassava Cake (Cassava Bibingka)

about 10 -12 servings

For the cake

500 gram pack frozen grated cassava, thawed

3 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 cups thin coconut milk ***

For the topping

300 ml can sweetened condensed milk, about 1 1/4 cups (I used skim)

2 eggs yolks

1 cup coconut cream ***

1/4 cup butter

*** Please see Step 1 below.

Take note that cooking times may vary depending on your oven. I'm using a crappy, old oven so it actually takes me longer!


1. From a 400 ml canned coconut cream, set aside 1 cup for the topping. Add just enough water to the remaining coconut cream to make 2 cups thin coconut milk (to be used in Step 3).

2. Preheat oven to 190C (350F). Prepare a 9" by 13" baking pan by lining it with non-stick baking paper. Brush the bottom with a little butter.


3. Beat eggs until foamy, then add the sugar, salt, and melted butter. Mix in the grated cassava and the 2 cups thin coconut milk (from Step 1).

4. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until cake is firm to the touch. Cook the topping while the cake is in the oven.


5. In a double boiler, combine condensed milk, egg yolks, coconut cream (the 1 cup set aside from Step 1), and butter. Stir constantly while cooking until mixture is thick, about 15 minutes.

6. Take cassava out of the oven when ready, then spread the topping evenly over it. Put the pan back into the oven and bake until top is golden brown, about 10 - 15 minutes.

7. Cool cake completely in pan before cutting. Cake becomes firmer as it cools down.

8. Slice and serve with coffee or tea. Enjoy!

I am hoping to do some sewing over the next few days. I have a long overdue new eBook in the making. Fingers crossed, I will be able to finish it really soon!

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I ♥ Japanese fabric

I recently made a fabric journal cover (to go with a journal, of course) to give as a birthday present for my daughter's classmate. I took advantage of this opportunity to take photos and update my Fabric Journal Cover eBook listing on Etsy.

Adorable Japanese fabric does wonders to a simple project, doesn't it?

French animal faces fabric by Kokka

Close-up of heart button closure and pen loop

Something I made differently with this cover (which is not in the original pattern) is this ribbon page marker. A great addition, if I may say so myself.

The recipient was very happy and even thanked me personally. Why wouldn't she be? Handmade gifts are the best after all.

By the way, I am still looking for a swap partner. Head on over here, if interested (just scroll down to the bottom).