Hardcore Holiday Crafting

For someone who gets excited  about Christmas as soon as Halloween is over, Thanksgiving marks the ultimate threshold to 100% Holiday Happiness. That’s not to say that Thanksgiving isn’t a wonderful holiday in its own right. Of course, I honored it with a little nine patch:

And my contribution to our Thanksgiving feast was, naturally, homemade maple wheat bread. I’d made this recipe the weekend before, and was happy to do it again since the results were so lovely (even without La Cloche, which we don’t have at my family’s home). It’s another one of those slightly sweet savory breads, and though fairly dense, it’s still soft and fluffy.

(I forgot to take a good picture both times that I made this so you’ll have to trust me: the bread is in the long thing basket in the middle o four lovely Thanksgiving spread)

Maple Wheat Bread

  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1-2 cups bread flour

Pour the yeast into the warm water, stir slightly, and allow to proof until slightly bubbly (about 10 minutes). Add the maple syrup, milk, and butter and mix well. Stir in the whole wheat flour. Gradually add the bread flour until you have a dough that is just firm enough to knead by hand. Knead on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes, adding more flour if needed to keep the dough from sticking.

Grease a medium bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn it over so it is greased on the top. Cover the dough with a clean cloth. Preheat your oven at 350 degrees F for one minute, turn it off, and let the dough rise in the warm oven for about 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and knead it again for about 5 minutes (you shouldn’t need to add any more flour at this point). Shape the dough into a loaf and place it on a greased pan, cover it again, and allow it to rise in oven for about 30 minutes. (You might want to preheat the oven again for one minute. If you’re pressed for time, remove the bread after 20 minutes so you can preheat your oven for the final baking as soon as possible.)

Bake the bread at 350 degrees F for about 30-35 minutes. Allow it to cool on a rack before slicing.

But now that Thanksgiving has passed, I’ve been going a little Christmas crazy and filling up my tiny apartment with festive cheer. First of all, it just seems wrong to not have stockings (even though we don’t have a fireplace to hang them at) so I made one for myself, Kyle, and—of course—Shuffle.

I’m not sure why Shuffle is the only one with his name embroidered on there (especially since that stocking could obviously belong to no one else) but I liked a more unadorned look for the others. For now, they’re hanging on old curtain hooks that were already stuck on the wall when we moved in. Personally, I think they give the place some much-needed Christmasy vibes.

I also can’t imagine not having a wreath—but was surprised at how expensive they can be, and was rather drawn to the idea of one that could be used over and over for many years to come.

Basically, I used a compass to trace out a cardboard template of a 1/8 circle segment. I used this template to cut out four pieces from each of two different fabrics which I stitched together into a circle. I stitched through the tie when adding the baking, turned it right-side out, added stuffing, slip stitched it closed, and voila. No one will mistake my door for anyone else’s.

That’s all for now; back to my secretive holiday stitching. Isn’t Christmas the best?!?

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Filed under accessories, Bread, cooking, sewing

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