Sunday, 24 October 2010

Random Recipes #1 & 2 Vegetarian Indian Style soup & Rosemary garlic loaf

I just threw this together (as I do with most of my meals) and I love it so much I'm writing it down! It makes a lovely fragrant, tangy and slightly spicy indian tasting soup. You could always add chicken, but the garbanzo beans add protein enough for a veggie meal. I sometimes add kidney beans as they are full of iron as well.
2 cups jasmine rice
3 cubes vegetable stock
6 cups water
4 tbsp basil
8 cardamom pods, crushed
Dash of mild madras curry powder
2 tsp garlic
1/2 chopped white onion
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
1 tsp crushed chili pepper
4 tbsp lemon juice (or to taste)
Frozen peas/corn/cubed carrots
1 can garbanzo beans
Olive oil

Fry the onions in the oil until slightly brown, then add the cayenne and chili and cardamom. Add the water, and bring to a boil. Crush the stock cubes and sprinkle in. Taste. Add salt. Taste again. Add the rice and boil, stirring occassionally for 10 minutes so the rice doesn't stick on the bottom. Add the vegetables, basil, garbanzo beans and simmer for a few minutes more. Add lemon to taste and enjoy!

I made some homemade garlic rosemary wholegrain bread and dipped it in this soup, and it was fantastic. For that you'll need
3 cups whole wheat flour
dash of olive oil
4 tbsp dried rosemary
2 tsp garlic powder
4-8 tsp salt (a little more tends to taste better, but do take a nibble of your dough as you can't take the salt out!)
4 tbsp sugar (to feed the yeast)
1 packet of yeast
warm water
1 tsp baking powder (optional)

Mix all dry ingredients together then slowly pour in the water and oil while kneading until it makes a firm, but moldable and smooth lump of dough. Knead for 6-8 minutes, then place in a lightly oiled baking dish and let rise for 30-35 minutes. Bake in an oven at 350F or 180C for 20-30 minutes, or until crust is crisp and browned and a knife/fork/toothpick in the center comes out clean and dry. Let sit for a few minutes before serving with butter. Yummmmmmmm. For a little more fun, you can make a rosemary/garlic tea, and use that as the water as well, or use diced fresh garlic, or fresh rosemary sprigs. A little more salt also usually tastes better.

New projects!

My awesome, colourful tropical fabric...

I've decided to start using French seams and rolled hems to finish my clothing and costumes, up until now, they only looked pretty on the outside!

A bit hard to see, but this is a dress I've almost finished for myself, made from an awesome shawl, and a beaded tapestry accent pillowcase. By far my absolute favourite!!

I need to get a dressmakers dummy...really, this is an awesome, asymetrical neckline dress with a full skirt (almost a full circle) and a cinched in waist. I made the belt in matching fabric per the pattern instructions, but I think a contrasting colour might go better. I've hemmed the armholes and hem with a cool embroidery stitch in the shape of a tulip with my new (old) machine.
I FINALLY have a sewing machine that works, and works well!!! After a scary little bit of incorrect tension (which I managed to fix on my own!!!) and a lot of perusing the manual, I've figured out how to use it! It's an older model Toyota machine with these cabs (plastic gear thingies) that you have to put in the top of the machine to change the stitches. I'ts got straight, zigzag, overlock, buttonhole, reverse and a lot of decorative stitch functions which I'm super happy about! so I've finally finished a 60's style sundress I started, oh, 2 years ago by hand...and I'm nearly done with another dress I made mostly by hand out of a cotton paisley shawl/scarf and a small accent pillowcase.

Almost finished with a dark maroon stretch velvet ghawazee coat, and a little cream cotton nightdress for Lily as well.....
Happy days...

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Easy-Peasy Fall Papier Mache Candy Bowl Tutorial- Kid's Crafts

So, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do with my nearly two year old daughter one evening, and suddenly remembered doing a papier mache project in school. It was simple enough, it was easy, and best of all it was cheap! She and I had a brilliant time, and she made her very own candy bowl in time for Halloween!

For this craft you will need

A small round balloon, or a small bowl as a mold
Vaseline, if using a bowl
Non toxic Glue-Elmers' works great or you can make your own by mixing flour and hot water thoroughly into a paste. I added glitter to ours.
Construction/Craft paper (the rough kids colouring paper) in your choice of colours. Expect to use at least 10 A4/8.5 x 11'' pieces
Another small bowl full of warm water. A wide shallow one works best
A paintbrush to brush on the glue

Step 1 Blow up your balloon, or grease your bowl with vaseline
Step 2 Rip the paper into shreds- my daughters' favourite part!
Step 3 Soak the paper for a few seconds in the warm water
Step 4 Lay the wet paper on your mold and press or smooth to help it mold to the shape. Remember if you are using a bowl to not curve the paper over the rim as you will find it very difficult to get it off after it's dried!! If you are using a balloon, remember to leave a wide hole at the top for the opening of the bowl
Step 5 Paint the paper with your glue, getting all of it
Step 6 Repeat steps 3-5 until you have a coating of paper about 1-2mm thick at minimum.
Step 7 Leave to dry. If using a balloon, wait about 2-4 hours, or until it is just barely damp, but still moldeable and will hold it's shape, then pop the balloon, soak just the bottom, and flatten the bottom on a hard surface (I used a jar to tamp down the bottom on the inside). Add another coating of glue, and let sit until thoroughly dry and hard
Step 8 Trim off any rough edges around the opening, and smooth the outer surface of the bowl (you can gently use a fine sandpaper for this if you want to do it) and glaze with one final coat of clear glue, or clear spray paint, or glittery spray paint and let dry.

Additionally, you can glue on fall fabric leaves, buttons, or other decorations once the bowl has dried! I am going to be making one of these in all orange, and then cutting out a jack-o-lantern face. I will be using the flour glue method as a glaze, and making a wide hole at the top to reduce the flammability factor.

Photo of finished bowl coming soon!

New and Permanent Etsy Shop is Open, and Costumes are in!

Check out my listings here:

Elizabethan Gown
Baby Elizabethan Gown
Tudor Gown
Italian Renaissance Gown

Monday, 18 October 2010

New Etsy shop will be up soon! The Enchanted Creatrix

My old Etsy shop under the name AnimaInvicta is being made redundant. All the products currently in there will continue to be for sale, however any new products I make will be under the name EnchantedCreatrix on Etsy. I have decided that Sensual Decadence will continue to be the name of this craft/project blog, and will also be the name of my line of essential oil perfumes and massage oils which I will be relaunching in a few short weeks (on my new Etsy shop of course! will soon be the new url for this blog.
The Enchanted Creatrix will be the official business name blanketing all my new creations including the SD line of fragrances, as well as encompassing my potions, wands, costumes, handbags, accessories, jewelry and everything else I make. The reason for this is that not all of my products fit under the name Sensual Decadence. Not all are sensual, like my line of little girl clothes and costumes I'm working on for instance. Not all are exactly decadent, like some of my more shabby chic and country craft themed things (like some decorations I'm working on and some of my natural handmade soaps and bath salts). I'm going for a more natural homemade look for some things. The decadence will still be there in the costumes, clothing and jewelry of course! But the name seemed to fit best the products it was originally designed for, my perfumes.

The Enchanted Creatrix came about as a name ( and are taken, by those annoying search engine sites) due to inability to get the urls I wanted, and also as a sort of description of me, the one who is creating these objects. I've always lead a bit of an enchanted life, not in the fact that I've had all lovely experiences, by far no! But by the fact that I have magical coincidences and lovely things that are unexplainable happen to me frequently. And it fits better with my faerie wear, wands and potions which I'm making! It is also a bit more catchy, and doesn't put some people off like the 'sensual' part of Sensual Decadence which many people assumed was some sort of sexual product reference. Prudes. But oh well. there is my long winded introduction!

I have 2 emails and either one will work to get in touch with me. I am just getting two so I can sort out paypal on one and webmaster and seller help and tutorials on the other.

As for other updates, I will be posting Halloweeny blogposts this week. Several in fact. To make up for lost time. The hubby is away on exercise so there's no help with my toddler, and I've been having issues with Ebay and the bank (which cancelled and closed my account, oddly) so I have been too busy to make anything, furthermore, I'm STILL waiting to receive my sewing machines so my hands are tied. Ugh. It's driving me nuts. I did begin to hand sew a little old fashioned cotton nightie for my daughter, and took a few photos. That should be done by the end of the week so I'll be posting a tutorial on how to do that. I used an old white sheet for the fabric, and leftover lace from a $.99 sale. Brilliant. I also learned why it's better to fuse on satin ribbon than to hand sew it, and that I am not very good at doing buttonholes.

Oh, and while my daughter was at the creche last Tuesday, I met up with a local photographer just for fun, and ran around in the woods in some of the gowns I've made and we took some stunning photos, they're the ones you see on this post. I'm waiting for the CD which will have the rest of them, including ones in different outfits. I'm so excited! To see more of Az's work, check out his site at He does mostly weddings, but can also be found at Really nice guy, very talented, and very creative, it was awesome, I haven't had that much fun at a shoot in years!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Updates on homebrew wine making and other updates

So, I had a tiny taste of my wine the other day and learned something about winemaking.
DO NOT SCRIMP ON MASH! Also known as the fruit and juices which you ferment. I need to go find some oak chips, and some grape juice concentrate now, as my wine, although it smells lovely, tastes like slighty fruity, very fizzy, minutely alcoholic, water. Yes, water. It has only been 3 or so weeks, but it should be darker (it's light pink) and it should taste stronger. to troubleshoot.

I bought 2 sewing machines on ebay, and am waiting for them to arrive. I bought two because after I had bought the first one, I decided to peruse through the sellers feedback, which was 99.6% positive. Unfortunately I discovered that all the negative feedback was from people buying the EXACT SAME SEWING MACHINE as I just had. They had all gotten their money back, so hopefully, I will too, if it doesn't work. I also went online to try and find out how to fix and troubleshoot my own sewing machine, and am kindof regretting selling my old Husqvarna Viking, as I really liked that machine. I hope the guy who bought it takes good care of it, that was my baby! I sold it because I messed up the tension and had no idea what to do. It's a simple and easy fix, but I hadn't a clue. Now I do, and I wish I'd tried to fix it before selling. Oh well. I have two coming in to play with!

I sold a soap! YAY! So, it is just one, but hey, it's one! They picked my coconut one. It's lovely, with coconut milk powder and coconut oil, and pearly white mica powder to make is shimmer just a bit. It smells good enough to eat!

I've also spent the morning doing JW Waterhouse/Pre-Raphaelite style photographs (as in, based off those paintings) in my gowns. They are decadent, scrumptious, divine! But, I only have 2 polaroids to last me a week as the photographer edits them and sends me the disk. Grr. More waiting. It seems like I have to wait for everything this month...

Projects in the works (and waiting for a machine...) are
A light green medieval gown, made without a pattern. Scary. But it's looking like it'll turn out ok.
The ghawazee coats (also waiting for trims)
A dark brown flannel medieval gown (this one should be lovely and warm! And I will be using a pattern...)
Turkish vests
Fringe belts
Satin harem pants
My elven/pirate velvet coat.

And, best of all, I found my camera! So I can now take photos of the projects as I go along for photo diaries of them! Now I just need to round up two working AA batteries...

I'm also working on cleaning the entire house, which is taking me, well, a while. So, I've been busy. But, soon, I will have more tutorials up here! In the next couple days I'll have several potion tutorials, perfect for use in rituals and spells, or as decorations around the house for Halloween/Samhain, and in the next week or so a wand-making tutorial, some cute fall decoration ideas that you and the kids can do, and some recipes for teas/cookies etc. with a fall theme. I'm not going to fall in the Christmas pit that so many do. Christmas prep for me starts the end of November. I like fall too much to cut mine short!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Overlocker Update

Sewland overlockers are crap. Don't buy one. I'm now grumpily going to go to the post office tomorrow, and pay for shipping back, which is obnoxious, I'll lose about £8 that we really can't afford. I'm now looking for a sewing machine that does an overlock stitch.

On a good note, here's the bra I just finished! the coins have been mussed a bit, but they do cover the entire bra no gaps!

WHOOHOO!!! It's here!!

My overlocker that is, now I have to figure out how to use the darned thing....I have a Husqvarna overlocker that I'm still figuring out how to use, and it cuts the fabric as it sews. While this may be a great thing, I don't always use that function. Supposedly my new overlocker has a decorative flatstitch that won't chop the fabric so I may be able to add trims that way...but the manual is like, 5 pages long, so there is't a lot of detail. It is a reltively simple looking machine, it's the Sewland Ultra Compact Overlocker, and I got it for £33 including shipping, on ebay, so, not bad, let's just hope it's value for money....either way, later on tonight, after I've finished the laundry, dishes, and cleaned off my old sewing machine I've just sold for the buyer, I will begin to experiment....mwahahahahahaa. I could possibly getmy ghazee coats done, well, some anyways, I'm still waiting on trims and clasps...

So, before I completely screw everything up, does ANYONE know anything about overlockers??? Cause I don't. I sold my amazingly awesome Husqvarna Viking sewing macine because I messed up the tension and I don't know how to adjust it. Very simple supposedly, but I don't have a clue. Despite taking macine sewing lessons as a girl, I've done the majority of my sewing by hand.

Monday, 4 October 2010

New products listed on Ebay and Etsy, a temporary website and bellydance wear projects in production

So I own But I have to wait until Nov 18th to transfer it to another registrar so that I can point my domain to (the site builder I'm using) because the only one supported by the registrar scheme I've got is Google sites, which I would not reccomend to anyone as it's a pain in the arse! So....I guess I'll just have to keep myself busy making pretty things until November...that's when I've tentatively scheduled my first photoshoot anyways, so hopefully... at the moment my temporary site is at

On a more positive note, I have new stuff added to ebay & etsy!

Also, last night, I got a dark blue crushed stretch velvet sleeved ghawazee coat in a size 6-8 ready for embellishment and fastenings, a black stretch velvet sleeveless one in a size 10-12 and a burgundy crushed stretch velvet one in a size 12-14 ready as well. The dark blue one will be finished with light blue and gold braided trim and antique gold buttons, the black one will have possibly gold & red or red & fuschia trimmings and gold fastenings, and the burgundy one will be trimmed in roses, mauves and antique golds. I also have a green bra size 34B I'm working on, trimmed in cowrie shells, possibly copper/gold coins, gold braided trim, pearls and some green gemstone beads!

When I'm finished with those, I'll be working on a gold/ivory brocade Turkish vest, and I might be making it reversible, with red jaqquard on the inside. If this interests you, I can make it custom to your size and even add trims of your choice.

I also have a lightweight (read, danceable!) cobalt blue and scarlet red crushed velvet ready for making ghawazee coats if anyone has any custom requests, or would like more info, please ask!

Also, deep plum purple and light moss green satin is sitting on standby to be made into pantaloons....

Photos to come soon!

Oh, and I got my overlocker! I just need to get a sewing machine now....