Natural Dreamcatcher DIY!

I’ve now had this blog for some… two and a half years, methinks? A lot has happened in that time, although I think the last few months has been my longest blogging break yet 😦 But I’m back now!!
It’s been a beautiful summer… And autumn… 20 celcius in September for two and maybe more weeks? Never before. I’m happy, and I think I become more creaitve in the sunshine. It’s like solid happiness for me! I’m out of school too, so I have had some serious crafting/whittling/drawing/music sessions over the past while, and the sun only makes it better!
My mum is starting her Forest School training group soon, and I’m going to be helping out, so I made some dreamcatchers as examples as they are some of the things we will possibly teach the kids to make. However, thinking I was beginning to make some regular natural dreamcatchers didn’t exactly turn out, because yeah, I never do things the same way twice! I think the sunshine was giving me cravings of some brighter colours so I used cloth strips. And you know what, I actually took photos for a tutorial! I have never fully succeeded in doing this before as I usually get too carried away to remember to photograph the important stages…
Enough talking, here’s the tutorial!
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Equipment and materials:
Scissors
A long, bendy stick that will not break or crumple when bent into a circle, preferably willow (I used dogwood, common in Ireland at least) Test around a bit, it might not work first time!
Wool/string of various colours, I like to use earth tones myself.
Feathers, Nuts, any beautiful natural things you can tie string to!
1cm wide strips of cloth, from 1/2 ft to 1 1/2 ft long
Imagination! (Most important)
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Bend your long stick into a circle. It won’t be even, so bend it a bit with your hand.

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Get your wool or string and tie it around the circle where the thick end of the loop stops.

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Wrap your string once around the thicker part and then cross over both to wrap towards the thinner part

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When it is holding together the ends well, pull the string toward the middle of the wrap and create a loop above as shown. Once the loop is made cut the string with a reasonable tail to tie off the loop with (about where my scissors are in the third photo

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Pull that loose end upwards and tie off the loop with the string as shown.
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To begin the weaving, cut a long peice of wool or thread (I was using a different, green one in this) and tie it around the top where the loop is. I used a timber hitch for extra strength but it’s unnessacary if you don’t know it.
Bring this peice of wool to another place on the frame and reaching underneath, pull wool through itself and pull tight (See pictures, it’s difficult to explain!) repeat all around the frame.
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Once you reach the top of the frame again, make the last section a little shorter. Then bring the wool around the first string in the same way as you did the frame, and pull tight until it is in the center of the supporting string. Continue this way until you reach as far as you’d like. If you run out of wool along the way tie another peice on to the end of the previous.
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If you wish, tie some of your natural things to some strings and attach to the base of the dreamcatcher. If you want you can leave it at that but I highly recommend the next step, as, in my opinion, it gives the dreamcatcher a very beautiful and summery feel.
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Take your strips of cloth, and if they are neat and orderly, attack them. Pull them, stretch them, twist them, fray them.
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Next, fold your strip in half and push the top around the dreamcatcher frame. Push the two loose ends through the top and pull tight. Continue around the base of the dreamcatcher as much as you wish, and ta dah!
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If you have any questions, comment or queries please don’t hesitate to use the comments box below! I would be glad to help you!

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Simple Summer Dress

It took me more time to make the pattern, take the photos and write this post than it took to make this dress. Oh and it was hand sewn. It’s that easy.
Basically you get a square of cloth, big, with hems already on it. I think what I used was a huge scarf or something. You fold it in half, sew down the sides, cut a neckhole, sew elastic onto the waist and if needed, tuck in a little bit, but other than that it’s basically just a square of cloth. It’s really comfy and light as well, perfect for really hot days (Not that we get many of those here)
Summer arrived today, so I’ll get on with it and give you the photos and pattern so I can go out and dance in the sun.
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Garlic Quinoa Patties

They’re cheesy. Garlicky. Eggy. Taste pretty goddamn unhealthy. They probably are. But quinoa is good for you, right? Ah well 🙂
IMGP6450Ingredients:
1 cup of uncooked quinoa
3 cups of boiling water
A reasonably large chunk of cheese, cut into little pieces (two handfuls maybe)
1 cup of flour
A handful of chopped chives
3 eggs
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 a teaspoon salt
(You could probably throw in some green vegetables if you wanted)

First, cook the quinoa with the water in a pan for about 10-15 minutes, if it is still too watery by then keep cooking, if it is dry but not soft enough add some more water (Oh dear I’m actually terrible at this.)
Okay. While the quinoa is cooking, beat the eggs in a large bowl. If, that is, you’re not going to exactly follow what I did. I actually ran down the garden in my pyjamas and a pair of crocs, got really excited about the fact that there was wild garlic with little bulbs in my garden, and ate some (only a tiny bit, I didn’t swallow it) only to find out they were daffodils. After the horror of almost dying, I skipped down to the vegetable patch and picked some muddy and wilted chives. And then the quinoa burnt a little. Shh.
Okay. So once the cheese and garlic and chives are chopped and the quinoa is cooked, mix it all into the eggs with the flour. And the salt, yes. And whatever else I forgot to say.
Mix it all up into a slightly wet mixture. It’s warm and eggy and unpleasant.
Scoop it out into about 10 balls, and flatten them, dusting with flour.
Heat up some olive oil in a pan and cook for about 7 minutes each side. I managed to fit about five into the pan at a time.
Enjoy!
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Orange Drizzle Cake with Chocolate Buttercream (GF, DF)

This is one of my favourite stand-by recipes, it’s really easy to make and always delicious!
There’s a bit of a disaster story with this, however.
So, last weekend I went to a singing weekend. Every year I bring a cake. This year, I decided to make this one:
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Yup. Doesn’t it look pretty amazing? Sorry. But usually I mess up on cakes, this cake, I didn’t. There was orange drizzle. Rich chocolate icing.
So I put it in a box, clearly labelled “this way up” with arrows pointing in the right direction. I put it on a shelf in the back room.
And the next day, it was upside down.
I don’t know who, I don’t know why. But they missed out on some good cake thanks to their ignorance, as it was virtually crumbs and icingy mush after. At least it was still a bit edible.
So of course, I took it home. Not presentable to anyone else. Ahem. I got to eat a bit more of it than I would have originally thought. On the bright side, my sister got some too 🙂
Also: I am going to Scotland for ten days for a nature camp! I will be camping all week (fingers crossed for the weather to continue) and hopefully it will be awesome. But no posts for ten days! I’m leaving tomorrow. Can’t wait!

Ingredients:
120g butter substitute, I use Pure
120g caster sugar
120g gluten free self raising flour, I use Doves Farm
2 eggs
1 orange
20g icing sugar

for the icing… Just make your usual chocolate buttercream, dairy free or not.

Preheat the oven to 190c
Mix together the butter and the sugar until creamy
Beat the eggs and then mix them in
Zest the orange and juice half of it into the bowl, mix into the egg/butter/sugar
Sift the flour into the bowl, mix.
Put it in a cake tin and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
Mix the other half of the orange with the icing sugar, and when the cake is baked, stab the cake with a fork a few times and drizzle the drizzle all over it 🙂
Ice as needed, chocolate icing tastes amazing on this!
Enjoy!

Courgette and Pesto Bean Burgers

These are delicious! I kind of adapted the recipe but now it’s changed so much that it’s a new recipe in itself.
They usually take me about half an hour to make from start to finish, and they are really easy to make.

Ingredients:
15 oz can of butter beans or other beans, drained
1 average sized courgette, grated
3-5 tablespoons of pesto, freshly made or store-bought
5-7 tablespoons of rice flour or other flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for frying
Burger buns
Cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce etc. or whatever you like inside a burger

Put the beans, courgette, pesto and flour in a blender or food processor and blend until a thick paste. Taste and season and add more pesto if needed. Take out a bit, roll it in your hands for a second and see if it sticks to them, if it does, add more flour and stir.
Shape them into equal sized patties, depending on how large your burger buns are.
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Heat up a small amount of oil in a pan until sizzling hot, then slowly place however many burgers fit in at one time in, for 2-3 minutes each side, or until golden brown
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Put one in a burger bun with some other fillings and enjoy!
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Easiest earring upcycling ever!

Basically, you get an old flat stud earring, twirl a spiral out of copper wire, and hot glue it on!

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Because I am prone to ear piercing infections even through sterling silver earrings, I stuck these on to plastic posted earrings which are really hypoallergenic and every time my ears get sore I just pop these in and within days they get better again.

Tempeh Potato Curry

I usually don’t try making savoury foods, as they usually turn out disastrously, but today I had come back from the longest way home from school I have ever gone on, and I made a curry for dinner.
I had previously thought no. Curry? Curry was one of the many things that are a mystery to me. It’s just so unreadable. Who knows what goes in? I never understood how from a few simple ingredients, half an hour of time (For me, the slowest cook in the world) a great lot of fumbling with mutterings of ‘aah! Oil? Butter? Potaoes? Do I put the oil on before chopping the onions? What’s going on!’
Most people avoid that, and know the sequences of what to do, or at least don’t go crazy about them. But I only know sweet food. I’m a really healthy person, but maybe once a week, once every two weeks I will break out the bowl, eggs, sugar, flour, butter and cocoa powder. Sheer heaven. There, I know what to do. I’m a natural with sweet things. But putting in spices, salt, different ingredients? It just never tastes right.
But today it did…
With THIS
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(sorry for the blurriness, it was perfect before I put it in the post… whats going on???)

And it does taste as good as it looks.
I adapted this loosly from a recipe somewhere I have not been able to find again. If I do source it I will put the credits in.
Ingredients:
150g Tempeh (For those of you who don’t know, it’s a really tasty fermented tofu. It has a wonderful chewy, tough texture remeniscent of chicken)
3-4 Medium potatoes
1 cup of tinned tomatoes
1/4-1/2 cup water
Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons oil
One large onion
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (only if you like spiciness, if you really do add this much to taste, and then taste some more into the curry)
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons yogurt
3 teaspoons soft goats cheese

(Seems like a long ingredients list, but it’s really very easy. I promise. Also, read this in an Irish accent. Please.)

First of all, chop up the potatoes into little bits and throw them in a steamer. Leave them there for a while. While they are cooking, Heat the butter and oil in a saucepan. Chop the onions with minimal (hopefully) weeping and throw them in for five minutes with the spices. Once they are soft, pour in the tomatoes and the water (If the tomatoes are very watery, only 1/4 cup, if they are drained well 1/2 cup.) Pop in the yoghurt and the goats cheese.
Transfer this strange, disgusting looking mixture into a blending thingy. For a hand blender. Get out the hand blander and give it a good ol’ blend, until creamy and wonderful. Pour all this back into the pan and keep heating on a low temperature.
Chop up the tempeh and throw it in. By now the spuds should be ready, pop them in and stir for a while.
Once this is heated, serve this wonderful concoction on a bed of fluffy white basmati rice.

I’m in a really good mood today…