*SOLD OUT* February Slow-Craft Care Packages

February Self-care care packages are now listed in my shop. A short video detailing what all is included in this month’s care package can be found below.

Bette sits on a black couch in front of a tan wall, talking about the contents of the February Care Package

I might do these monthly or seasonally as I have time and resources, and depending on the response.

All the best, Bette

Recipe: Sour Cream Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake and a Saskiko-Inspired Hand-Mending Project Update

There is a cake recipe at the end of this post as your reward for continuing to indulge me in my steadfast effort to convert my modest wardrobe into a curated collection of slow craft, folk art heirlooms. I’m only half kidding when I say “curated” and “folk art heirlooms” and I’m not kidding at all about the cake recipe… scroll down to the bottom if you need hard proof.

A slice of coffee cake on a light green plate atop a coffee table cluttered with fabric, a sewing project in progress, a mug of coffee, and a typewriter mostly out of view

Years from now I’m sure I will look down at these finished knee patches and remember fondly all of the delicious loaf cakes I baked and ate while stitching my way through the cold, dark winter of 2020.

Close up of brown cloth patches pinned to faded black pants in the process of being sewn and reinforced with linen thread

A meditative stitch (or 100 stitches) here and there, day and night, always quietly accompanied by a hot mug of coffee, tea, or cocoa…

Out of focus in the background Bette is sitting on the couch illuminated by holiday lights, sewing patches on to pants which are resting on the coffee table in the foreground next to a mug, and a stack of books topped with an unlit candle. Bette’s over-sized black sweatshirt says, “witchcrafts” and shows 3 spooky witches doing various handcrafts.

Now, about that Sour Cream Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake Recipe.

As a “mature for my age” child and an inevitable coffee lover, to me, coffee cake was the pinnacle of grown-up baked goods. I could argue the Seinfeld episode titled “The Suicide”–during which the main characters discuss at length the merits of Drake’s Coffee Cakes–had a strong impact on my young, impressionable mind.

The success of this cake depends on only two things, really: 1. starting with room temperature ingredients and 2. incorporating them together as thoroughly and slowly as time and reason will allow. It’s best not to just slap this one together; take your time and your prize will be an easy, delicious cake.

Sour Cream Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake Recipe

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature

Cinnamon swirl:

  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350ºF

Butter and flour a 9″ rectangular loaf pan and set aside.

To prepare the cinnamon swirl: in a small bowl combine 2/3 cup brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and set aside.

In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and salt, and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, beat room temperature butter on medium speed for approximately 2 minutes until creamed. Scrape the sides down into the bowl and add sugars. Cream together again on medium speed for an additional minute.

Scrape sides down into the bowl again, then add vanilla and molasses and incorporate on medium speed for 2-3 more minutes.

Scrape sides down into bowl again and add eggs, one at a time on the lowest speed, stopping to scrape the sides down into the bowl between each egg. Batter should be fully combined and smooth in consistency at this point.

Pour approximately half of the batter into your prepared loaf pan and even out the top using a spatula. Using a spoon, sprinkle approximately 75% of your cinnamon swirl mixture evenly across the top of this first layer of cake batter.

Proceed to pour the rest of the batter overtop the cinnamon sprinkle layer and even the surface with a spatula again. Finish the top with the remaining 25% cinnamon mixture evenly sprinkled with a spoon.

To swirl the center cinnamon layer, insert a butter knife down from above into the batter until the tip of the knife reaches the pan. Slowly drag the knife through the batter in an easy S-shape swirling motion from one end to the other. Repeat a second time.

Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for 60-75 minutes until a butter knife, cake tester or wooden skewer inserted carefully down into the center of the cake from above pulls out clean (crumb is fully formed/no wet batter clinging to it) and the top is puffed and browned. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before carefully lifting or turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Good for 3 days at room temperature.

Enjoy! Bette

Hand-mending and an iced lemon loaf cake

This morning I began a massive mending feat: stitching two large Sashiko-inspired patches on to the knees of my well-loved, worn-nearly-into-the-ground Lucy and Yak organic cotton twill Dungarees.

Sashiko is the traditional Japanese method of decoratively mending or reinforcing textiles with cotton fabric and white or indigo-dyed thread. Sashiko is an expression of the traditional Japanese aesthetic Wabi-sabi, which is characterized by the appreciation of “imperfect beauty” and impermanence.

Faded black cotton pants slung across a coffee table with two large brown patches over the knees tacked down with several metal T-pins

I plan to sew each patch down by hand in a grid pattern of small stitches using linen thread in a few different natural tones that remind me of wildflowers… the resulting mend should reinforce the knees and lower legs for at least another year of abruptly kneeling in dirt to spot cool bugs, and scooting across the living room rug while “playing dogs” with… the dog. Don’t ask, I’m an adult and this is just how I live my life.

I’ve had this same pair of dungarees since the early days of Lucy and Yak, and I have worn them more times than I could possibly count. I envision them 10 years from now, held together entirely by clever little hand-stitches and assorted patches cut from long-since-retired-yester-clothes.

Close up of a freshly baked lemon loaf cake cooling on top of a piece of parchment paper on a wire rack

In current food news ‘round these parts: I baked a lemon loaf cake today using this recipe and it turned out great, really great. My only deviation from Maria’s recipe was that I opted for a quick vanilla bean icing to douse the top instead of the suggested lemon glaze. Smash hit. Well done on the recipe, Maria. 🙂

Close up of the cut end of the lemon loaf cake. The cake is moist and yellow inside with a golden brown edge, encased in a thin layer of vanilla icing

I’ll continue to share the process of mending the knees of my dungarees as I go.

What was the last piece of clothing you brought back to life with a thoughtful mend? I’d love to continue the discussion in the comments below.

All the best ~

Bette

Stitch-meditation: October Untitled

October Untitled, cotton thread on flour sack

A quiet meditation held steadily in my hands and in my mind throughout the month of October.

Hundreds of tiny hand-embroidered knots in a 4″ hoop testify to countless hours spent stitching slowly, silently.

When I gaze upon this finished piece I feel: washed in warm – nestled someplace soft.

Best, Bette

DCOTD (dish cloth of the day): Ricochet Lace

I’ve taken to knitting cotton dish cloths again in a continuing effort to eliminate paper towels from my home, and as a way to grow my toolbox of knitted textures, cables, and stitch motifs.

The pattern is Richochet Lace Dishcloth by Hannah Maier, which features the Baby Fern Lace Stitch and is available as a free download via KnitPicks.

Yarn is good old affordable (US grown, Canadian spun) Lily Sugar’n Cream in the color Tangerine.

Dish cloth? Wash cloth? Face cloth? Cotton scrubby? Trivet? Doily? These decorative, machine washable workhorses go by many names and serve a thousand various functions in my house.

I say “dishcloth of the day” in jest – although they are quick projects and the idea of knitting 365 cotton dishcloths in a year isn’t totally unrealistic for me, I won’t be posting a new hand knit dishcloth daily. Let’s shoot for weekly? we’ll see…

Until next time xx Bette

Dutch oven bread and hand-mended clothing

Two things that have been bringing me joy lately are fresh loaves of bread baked in the Le Creuset Dutch oven Kaleb got me for my birthday this year, and thoughtfully hand-mending my clothing.

For much of my life I prioritized quantity over quality when it came to clothing. I think moving from Arizona to St Thomas, US Virgin Islands, then up to Washington in just under a year forced me to whittle my wardrobe down to versatile basics, pack light each time I moved, and to treat what I have with care – all skills I now consider essential and am grateful for.

This patch is one I ordered from The Far Woods and had been saving for a special occasion. Covering an unfortunate bleach spot on one of my favorite shirts felt like I was finally putting it to good use.

Just listed: Hand knit pima cotton cropped summer t-shirt

This cropped t-shirt sweater is such a great wardrobe addition for all seasons (I would love to see this over a tank dress with colorful tights and knee boots this fall, just sayin’) but is a MUST for summer. Hand knit using 100% ethically sourced pima cotton from Peru.

IMG_3380IMG_3403

Click here for the full listing.

– EK

Just listed: hand knit 100% Peruvian pima cotton camisoles

This camisole is THE elevated wardrobe staple for spring and summer. Hand knit using 100% ethically sourced pima cotton from Peru, which is considered is the Cadillac of cotton fiber. Luxurious, extremely soft and supple, lightweight with excellent drape.

Currently available in Vintage Rose, Dusty Green and Blood Red.

– EK