Winter: is cold nights snuggled by the fire watching movies and knitting. Cold grey days [luckily not too many in Nelson] also mean time inside staying warm and keeping ourselves occupied beyond movies. This winter I have been enjoying planning sewing projects with my 4-year-old who thrives on Mumma time doing grownup things. My Mum and Bonnema [grandma] taught me how to sew and knit and I look forward to sharing these skills with my children as they grow. There is something so satisfying [and therapeutic] about crafting and making things from scratch. A little bit like cooking I suppose, maybe why I like it so much!
You can find plenty of inspiration online and I often pin knitting/crochet projects on my Pinterest craft board so I can find them later [this is what I am knitting above without the intricate pattern and less of a sausage neck]. However I am quite old-fashioned really and love the printed word – you should see my cookbook collection – so we have been working our way through Melissa Wastney’s book of projects / Sweet & Simple Handmade. You may recall this time last year I teamed up with Melissa to run a craft & food night in Nelson with 100 people attending. Melissa is a longtime craft blog hero of mine, having started her gorgeous blog Tiny Happy over 8 years ago. Originally from Nelson, Melissa now lives in the capital with her family and continues to inspire through her daily musings on Tiny Happy.
If you are into making things for little ones I cannot recommend this book enough, in the pages you will find 25 projects to sew, stitch, knit and upcycle for children aged new-born to 10 years. Including her signature Reversible Baby Booties – I used to buy these from Melissa for new babies when she had a craft stall at the Nelson Market. If you follow along on my Instagram feed you would have seen the cute-as skirt I made for Mika from Sweet & Simple, and I recently made some 2-year-old boy-pants. I would post a photo of them but getting a 2-year-old boy to sit still for more than half a second is not an easy task.
Just in case you need a new project – Here are a few of Melissa’s craft tutorials on Tiny Happy:
Find more listed on the left-hand sidebar of her blog.
When we craft we like to munch on something sweet and these fudgey cookies have become our latest favourite. They are sweetened with dates and 70% chocolate, and the addition of oat flour and pureed chickpeas give them a decadent chewy crumb. Please don't be put off by the addition of chickpeas, you would never know if I hadn't told you. They remind me of chewy North American chocolate chip cookies without the bucket load of sugar and condensed milk. Enjoy!
1 cup dates*
1 cup rolled oats [GF: use 1 cup almond meal]
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 400g can, rinsed and well drained
1 free range egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
100g butter, melted [DF: use coconut oil]
1/2 tsp baking soda
100g 70% chocolate, chopped to make chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- *Soak the dates in hot water for 20 minutes to soften then drain well.
- Preheat oven 180C. Line a cookie tray with baking paper.
- First grind the oats in a food processor into a fine flour. Tip into a bowl.
- Place the chickpeas, dates, egg, vanilla and salt into the food processor and blend until smooth. Stop and scrape down the sides several times as you go to ensure an even mixture. Add the melted butter and blend to combine. Tip into a bowl and add the baking soda, oat flour, chocolate and walnuts. Mix well. [If you have a large enough food processor you can do this in the processor.]
- Using 2 tablespoons scoop walnut-sized balls onto the lined tray leaving space between each one. You will fit about 12 cookies per tray so bake in 2 batches. Flatten the cookies with a fork [wet the fork if the mixture is sticky] and bake for 12 minutes until golden. Cool on the tray for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.