Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Tent Life

So as usual I procrastinated until about five days before Christmas and finally decided that I would tackle the teepee in this book:

See that awesome tent on the cover? I wanted to make that for my son's Christmas gift. 

And wouldn't you know... in true fashion I had tackled a bit too much in too little time. The book does provide you with a excellent list of the things you need, the dimensions to make your own pattern and instructions.

However, the instructions were a bit confusing at times. But I began to understand the sewing language a bit more (still fairly a newbie sewer here) and I got my bearings and pushed on.

Sometimes I thought to myself. "I have to do what?!!?" and "Why do I do this every year!"

But as I neared the finish line I thought...I can do this! 

Then my first mistake was made. A mis-measure which you can see is beautifully covered up with the fabric above. A pretty detail added to an oops. None will be the wiser!

The funniest part about this sewing journey was that I was about 99 % done when the timer on my sewing machine went wonky. Since it was Christmas eve and I live in a small town there was no sewing machine repair person to take on my emergency. So technically my son got this gift on the 27th of December. 

He LOVED It! Thank you Meg from Sew Liberated! I learned a-lot and gained confidence in my sewing and bias tape making abilities. It is so great to see my son enjoy a creation of my own hands. 

Unfortunately, I have not learned my lesson regarding last minute sewing since I just sewed a baby gift hours before the baby shower. GAH!

Much Love,

~ Misguided Maiden

Saturday, December 29, 2012

January Garland

To ring in the new year...and because I had the hankering to do something quick and creative I whipped up some festive winter garland to update my wreath for the month of January. This is a simple garland, for a beginner sewer and is similar to my fall garland post.

So I grabbed my felt and found my small star cookie cutter...putting it to a different use.

Once the tracing is done we cut cut cut!!!

To add some color variety I just freehand cut a few dozen circles. They are of various shapes and sizes.

Then feed them through your sewing machine and you get something pretty.

Wrap it around your tree and stick a little ornament snowflake (made my my little crafter) and you have a January wreath!

Happy New Year!

~ Misguided Maiden

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Tradition: Tamales. Part Three. Cooking

 You have done your prep and your making;  now it is on to the best part! Cooking and eating the tamales! The best way to cook a tamale is by steaming them. You can either take them right from the freezer and steam them for about 45 minutes to one hour, or you can defrost them in the fridge overnight and then steam them for about 30 to 45 minuted before eating.

See that handy dandy took on the bottom of my pot? That is my steamer. Its a very useful tool and can fit into most pots. I mainly use it for tamale steaming. Fill your pot with about 4 cups of water and set it to high till just boiling. Now place your desired amount of tamales into the pot with the open side facing upward and the folded side at the bottom.

Once you have the desired amount in there. Set the temperature down to low and cover your tamales with the pot lid to steam.

Set your timer to the cooking time (depending if frozen or thawed out) and try to distract your self. Check back about halfway through to make sure you still have water in the pot for steaming. If not add a cup or two of hot water and cover again. 

After the time is up, turn off the heat and uncover the tamales. Allow them to sit in the pot for another five minutes allowing them to cool slightly and to cook further. Then take them out with tongs or your bare hands (if you can't wait to eat me), unwrap them and eat them to your hearts content!

Now I would have posted a picture of the final product but these babies were gone before I could even take one! Oh well next time perhaps. I hope you can enjoy this holiday tradtion as much as I do. Please let me know if you have any particular questions on the process. 

Buen Provecho! 

~Misguided Maiden

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holiday Tradition: Tamales. Part Two. Making.

Remember Our first tamale post? All the prep is done and you are ready to sit down and make some tamales! Now tamale making is always better when you are doing it with friends. Everyone can bring a essential ingredient and you can all make the tamales together while chatting. It makes the time for fun and the tamale making goes by so quickly! Then everyone gets to go home with a couple dozen tamales. I will say that about 5 pounds of masa will make approximately 4 dozen tamales. so work that into your needs ratio. The great thing about tamales is that they freeze beautifully. So make a few dozen so you can enjoy them for multiple dinners!

To start with making the tamale. Lay out one of your soaked husks, grab a heaping tablespoon (and I mean heaping) and plop that onto the husk. Then spread the masa out with the back of the spoon until it is about 1/8 inch thick.

Then add your innards. In this case we have chicken with tomatillo sauce. You can also do a 1/4 x 3" stick of cheese with a jalapeno or with tomatillo sauce or pork with tomatillo sauce or even shredded beef with a red sauce. I don't have a tutorial for the red sauce but I will post one when I can.

Then you wrap it up.

keep going..

and going...

and going... until it looks like the picture above. Then ruck the bottom and set aside in a tray. Keep piling them up until you are ready to distribute them into freezer bags.

Then label your freezer bags with the type and the amount of tamales. You may even want to put the cooking instructions on there in case you are giving them as a gift.

Next post will be on cooking the tamales!

Buen Provecho!
~Misguided Maiden

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Happy Birthday to my little one. Your only two yet you already have the desire to conquer to world. 
You are my legacy. My little Knight.

All my love,

Misguided Maiden

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday Tradition: Tamales. Part One. Prep

One of the holiday traditions that has been passed down in my family has been the making of tamales. There are several ways to make tamales. Here is the way I was taught from my mother, who made her own adaptation from the teachings of my fathers mother. Lets just focus on the prep for this post. Then we will move on to the making part!

Here are the items you will need to make tamales:

Any corn husk packet will do for making tamales. However, if you want to save a bit of time, I would spend the extra dollar or two and get the cleaned version.  See below how there is no soot or corn silk in the husks.

Plug your sink and fill with hot water. Place your corn husks in there are let them soak for about 30 minutes. You make need to plunge them into the water every now and then. This is the make your husks pliable for tamale wrapping.

Once they are ready. Wring them out of as much water as you can and set aside in a tray.

Next you will need masa

Now you can make this beautiful stuff from scratch, but that is for a different post. today we are going to buy it. Here in my town, masa preparada goes for about 75 cents a pound. HUGE time-saver! Just go to your nearest Mexican bakery. If you don't have one I will show you how to make it from scratch in another post.

For meat based tamales you are also going to need anise tea.

This is anise seed. You can get it for cheap at almost any grocery store.

Just place the whole bag in about 3-4 cups of water and set the pot to boil. Once boiled, set to a medium/low temp and let stew for about 10 minutes.

Once done, strain out the seeds and your left with anise tea. This tea has the aroma of black licorice. Trust want to add this to your masa!

Next we will get out masa ready for making tamales!

For every five pounds of masa, you are going to add one cup of anise tea.

Mix well into the masa.

When you are done you will have a light paste consistency. Perfect for easy spreading. You will also have the anise tea incorporated. This compliments the chicken and pork fillings, which I prefer to the beef tamales.

Other ingredients not shown:

Tomatillo Sauce (Tutorial can be found here)

Shredded chicken from 1-2 whole chickens
(I usually pick up 1-2 rotisserie chickens and shred them to save me time)

Shredded pork (From your crock pot)

Once you have all your prep done. Set up your assembly line!

My next post will be on making the tamales!

Buen Provecho!

~Misguided Maiden