Jalapeños For Days

Harvest time is upon us. Aggressive six packs covered with diabolically grinning pumpkins crowd out summer’s lighter ales. Fall fashions push summer’s free flowing garb to the sale rack. I fantasize about moving to a place where winter is not coming, and then go back to being in denial that my flannel will need to come out of hibernation sooner rather than later. The denial is all the more easily fueled by the peak of the produce season. The tomatoes have never been juicier or tastier, the corn fields sway on tippy toes reaching as high as they will get, and our jalapeño plant is producing peppers like its going out of style. It’s also taken over my planter box.

 This year I’ve been trending towards jam and other sweet preserves versus the pickling of years past. Preserving is much easier than I thought it would be, but I still like to commit to something until I get comfortable with it. So while I tried bourbon pickled jalepeños two years ago, this year I saved up my peppers until I had enough to make jelly. These combined with my friend Lana’s peppers made for a fun and fruitful evening! Who knows though. The plant is producing so much I will probably be able to pickle myself a pint of peppers!


Jalepeño Jelly with Powdered Pectin

This recipe is from Food by Carrie which also has a nice commentary on the difference between using powdered and liquid pectin.

Ingredients:

  • 8 large or 12 small jalapenos (12 oz)
  • 1 whole bell pepper, seeded (orange or red preferably)
  • 6 C sugar – pre-measured into a bowl (we used a little bit less – 6 cups is an insane amount of sugar)
  • 2C white vinegar, divided
  • 1 box powdered pectin (6 tablespoons from a bulk jar)

Instructions:

  • Remove the tops and most seeds of all peppers. If you like your jam more spicy leave more seeds. If you like it less remove all seeds! Also be very careful about touching the jalepeños! Lana was very sad after she rubbed her eye not knowing that there was still jalapeño oils on her fingers. This is NO JOKE! Use good soap and wash thoroughly after touching the peppers. If you begin to feel a burn douse your hand in vodka.  It really works! (Or just avoid all of this and wear gloves, which are easily found at your local grocery store!)
  • Place all seeded peppers into a food processor or blender with 1 cup of vinegar.  Blend.

  • Add peppers, powdered pectin and remaining vinegar into a sauce pan.
  • Bring to a rolling boil, add sugar all at once, then stir until melted.  Just like Carrie we found it helpful to use a whisk.
  • Bring back to a rolling boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat.
  • Some people add food coloring here. We did not feel the need.
  • Pour into hot jars, adjust lids, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. CONSULT CANNING GUIDES BEFORE CANNING!!!!! This is also no joke. I used Ball Jars and Lana used Weck. It was the first time I had used Weck and they were easy to use but not compatible with my Ball funnel. Yes…there was jelly everywhere! You can also freeze the jelly or eat immediately! I highly recommend it on a sandwich of deli meat and cheese. Or a cheese sandwich. Or even on toast by itself!


Jalepeño-Spiked Bourbon Julep

I snuck two jalapeños away from our jam to make the fantastic simple syrup necessary for this cocktail. The recipe comes from Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee. The book is full of amazing recipes that share the pages with Lee’s story of growing up the child of Korean immigrants in Brooklyn. His love of  Southern cooking and his Korean heritage produces amazing recipes. I highly recommend.

Ingredients (Makes one drink):

  • 4-6 fresh mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
  • 1 oz Jalapeño simple syrup (see below)
  • crushed ice
  • 2.5 oz bourbon (I used Berkshire Mountain Distillery Bourbon)
  • Splash of soda water
  • Jalapeño splice for garnish

My instructions are adapted from the recipe. I made the drink a few times and I think this is the best way to make the drink at home:

Put mint leaves at bottom of julep cup, or highball glass if you don’t have a julep cup. Add
simple syrup and gently muddle. Fill glass 2/3 with crushed ice and add bourbon and soda water. Stir well. Fill rest of the way with ice and garnish.

Jalapeño simple syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, chopped (seeds and all)

In a small saucepan combine water, sugar, and peppers. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Turn off heat and let steep for 20 minutes. According to Lee this will keep in the fridge forever. So far mine has been in there for a few weeks and is doing great.

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Boozy Peaches, Part 1

Living in South Carolina in the summer is full of pluses and minuses, namely fresh peaches and devastating heat and humidity. But, the rational part of my mind knows that you can’t have one without the other and so I soldier on, comforting myself with air conditioning and icy drinks while eating all the peaches in sight. Hence, today’s post with a double dose of peaches and bourbon.

My summer canning priorities consist of peach slices, tomatoes, and pickles of various flavors. Out of those, the peach slices are perhaps the most important because of the joy they bring in the dark, cold days of winter. Each slice is like a slice of sunlight and a warm breeze when your toes are frozen and you’re covered head-to-toe in fleece and wool. I like to get fancy with my peaches and one of my favorite canning recipes is for pickled bourbon peaches. They have a very singular flavor that is great no matter the season, especially if some vanilla ice cream is involved.

Hooch & Home : Boozy Peaches

 

Our next post will have even more peach/hooch goodness, so stay tuned for that!


Pickled Bourbon Peaches

(adapted from Leena Eats)

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs. peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup bourbon (we use Benchmark)
  • Cinnamon stick/jar
  • 1/2 tsp./jar red pepper flake
  • 1/2 tsp./jar mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp./jar black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves per jar
  • Citric acid/lemon juice

Also necessary: canning jars and all other equipment needed to process the jars in a boiling water bath. I like to use pint jars for these. Half pints are just too small for my tastes.

If you are new to canning, check out some of our previous posts or head to your local library/Google for the safe food lowdown. No matter what you do, it is always good to remember: “When doubt, throw it out!”

Procedure:

  • Blanch and peel your peaches. This is my least favorite step by far. If you don’t know, blanching involves: scoring the bottom of each peach with a sharp knife, immersing the fruit in boiling water for 30 seconds or so, then place each peach in an ice water bath to cool down. The peel should come right off!
  • Slice the peaches in half, remove the pit, then cut each half into slices radially.
  • Place the slices in acidulated water to keep them from browning while you work. You can make acidulated water by adding 1/4 tsp. citric acid or a healthy squeeze or two of lemon juice to a bowl of water.

Hooch & Home : Boozy Peaches

  • Prepare your jars, lids, and rings.
  • Prepare the boozy pickle by combining the vinegar, bourbon, water, and sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Add a cinnamon stick and the appropriate spices to the bottom of each jar. The spices can be varied depending on the flavors you prefer, for example, I am not a huge fan of cloves or star anise, but I do like adding allspice berries. The mixture of pickle spices and winter spices keeps the flavors from being either too pickle-y or too Christmas-y. You do you!
  • Pack your jars with peach slices as tightly as possible. Add the boozy pickle to cover, leaving 1/2″ head space.
  • Use a chopstick or other long, pointy implement to release any air bubbles. Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean, damp paper towel. Cover with lids and rings.
  • Process pint jars in a boiling water bath for twenty minutes.
  • Remove from the water bath and place any jars that do not seal into the refrigerator (after cooling, of course!) and eat promptly.

I love giving these pints away as gifts because they are a little more special than your average jar of jam. They tend to get eaten a bit quicker, too!


Peach Basil Smash

I made this drink up after a day of canning peaches, as something to fortify us while we made fresh pasta for some of the best ravioli I’ve had in some time. It was on the sweeter side because the peaches I used were so beautifully ripe, but that sweetness wasn’t a bad thing. There’s a difference between the sweetness you get from sugar and the sweetness you get from fruit.

Serving the drink without straining it makes for quite the cup of vegetation, which is delicious but a little…chewy. Strain it into a martini glass or coupe for something a bit classier or strain it over ice for something a bit more refreshing and julep-y. Either way, it works beautifully!

  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 3-4 slices of fresh, ripe as you can get peach
  • 3 basil leaves
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Muddle the peach slices, basil leaves, and lemon juice together. Add bourbon and bitters, and shake thoroughly with ice. Strain over crushed ice or into a martini glass and garnish with basil. If serving over ice, a splash of club soda is a nice touch.

Hooch & Home : Peach Basil Julep

 

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Clean Home & A Clean Martini

What is a clean home? This complicated, cultural, and even political question.  Does it have a smell? Who cleans it? How much power do the choices we make about cleaning have to change the world around us? Here at H&H we firmly believe that these choices do give you power, and we believe in wielding this power whenever possible; especially if these choices are better for the environment AND keep money in the bank.

For years I have been spending hard earned dollars on products that were either cheap and full of toxins, or all natural and quite pricey. That is, until my friend Danya asked if I wanted to join her in a diy adventure. After picking up the few items we didn’t already have, we set up shop on a recent Saturday in her magazine worthy kitchen. 

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It took no time at all to make the cleaners, and now with the right ingredients on hand, we can refill our bottles in no time when we run out. I got these glass bottles on Amazon. I’m a big fan and can recommend them for their low cost and excellent spray radius!


DIY All Natural Cleaners

The instructions for each spray are the same: using funnel, place all ingredients in bottle. Shake. Use! Shake some more. Use some more!

All Purpose Spray from Wellness Mama – OK to use on granite countertops!

  • 2 cups of distilled or boiled water
  • 1 tsp. Borax
  • 1/2 tsp. washing soda
  • 1 tsp. castille soap (Dr. Bronner’s makes lovely castile soaps)
  • 10 drops of essential oil

Floor Cleaner

  • 2 cups distilled or boiled water
  • splash of white vinegar
  • few drops of castile soap
  • few drops of essential oils

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Glass Cleaner from Whole New Mom:

  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups water

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Danya’s spray next to her candle from the Hooch & Home candle making party!


Cleaning Up The Martini

Like many cocktails, the Martini has a much debated history. After reading up on what various sites have to offer, it seems like everyone can agree that the Martini began as the Martinez. According to Troy Patterson of Slate, the Martinez was basically a gin Manhattan. When ordered dry it would be served with dry French Vermouth instead of Italian Sweet Vermouth. Eventually the Dry Vermouth version got it’s own classification and was simplified down to a drink of stirred gin and dry vermouth. Somewhere along the way, some olive brine was added to create the Dirty Martini. In the words of Danya, this drink can taste “like an armpit” if misproportioned.

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For our clean house we wanted a clean Martini. One could debate the proportions of the classic clean Martini, but it is really a matter of taste. My bartender friend Trey says he pours vermouth over ice, and then drains the ice. He then stirs this ice with gin and serves that with an olive. Others stick to the original 1:1 ratio. I decided to go somewhere in the middle.

  • 2 1/2 oz gin (the consensus seems to be that one should use a dry gin. I used Green Hat which was all I had on hand)
  • 1 oz dry Vermouth

Stir with ice for about 20 seconds. Strain into glass (Although I recently received a beautiful jigger and bar spoon for my birthday, clearly my straining needs an upgrade!). Garnish with olive.

Turns out James Bond was a bit gauche when it came to his Martini. Stir, stir, and then stir some more.  Never shake! What are your favorite Martini proportions? Do you like to add anything extra? Are you a Martini purest?

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Dilly Adventures

Dill has a special place in my heart for several reasons. I’m Lithuanian, so a cucumber tastes lonely without it (and a bunch of sour cream). It’s one of my favorite things to watch grow and it’s like summer in a stem. Now that I live in the South, dill equals pickles and the best dill pickle for home consumption and canning is the pickled green bean. Our CSA supplied us with a hefty share of beans recently, so back we went to the sink and the stove to preserve them for later.

Dilly! Beans

I use a recipe from Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff because it was the first one I tried and I like it so much, I’ve never looked for another. Her book has some wonderful recipes for jams and pickles and I highly recommend it to your perusal. I do have one fairly major issue with it: water is not listed among the ingredients for her pickle brines, but rather only included in the procedure narrative. I tend to read through a recipe a couple of times before I make it, allowing me to skim it during the process. This tendency has proven rather disastrous for me twice and I have a case of extremely vinegary beets to show for it. 😦

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp. Kosher salt/
  • 5 sprigs fresh dill
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 5 or 10 hot chiles
  • 2 1/2 to 5 tbsp. red pepper flake (optional)
  • 2 lbs. fresh green beans, ends trimmed

Makes about five pints.

Brief aside: the flavors in most pickles can be messed around with, as long as you do not mess with the vinegar/water/salt mixture. The level of acidity in the jar is what keeps vegetables (which are not acidic like fruits are) from spoiling. For this batch, we added some mustard seeds and peppercorns, but left out the chiles.

Dilly Beans : Hooch & Home

Procedure:

Prepare your jars, lids, and rings for water bath canning. If you don’t know how to do this or what it entails, there are LOADS of resources available to you! Including this website! I particularly love checking books out of libraries, so that’s what I tend to do, but the internet and county extension agencies are your friend in preservation. Seek them out!

In an appropriately sized pot, combine the vinegar, water, and salt. Heat the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.

While the brine is cooking, prepare your beans by trimming the ends and cutting them to a size that will fit in your jars.

Dilly Beans : Hooch & HomeGather your herbs and spices and, once the jars are clean, place one sprig of dill, one clove of garlic, one or two chiles, and 1/2 to 1 tbsp. of red pepper flake if using in the bottom of each jar. Pack your jars with beans and, once the brine has come up to a boil, ladle it into each jar.

Dilly Beans : Hooch & Home

Use a chopstick to release any air bubbles, wipe the rim of each jar with a clean and damp paper towel, and then put on lids and rings. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.

Put any jars that don’t seal into the refrigerator (the lids will pop up and down if they aren’t sealed) and allow to sit for a few days before consuming so the beans soak up all that pickle goodness and the spices have some time to work their magic. We love eating them straight out of the jar, but these beans work great on a cheese plate, in salad niçoise, or in a Bloody Mary.

 


DIY Aquavit (Further Adventures in Infusing)

Aquavit, friends! Aquavit!

This liquor is yet another wonderful concoction that the blog has thrown my way. I’m sure the rest of the world has known about it for years, but whatever! I can be excited about it if I want to be! Especially since you can do it your dang self!

So, for those not acquainted with aquavit: it is a Scandinavian liquor that is flavored with dill and caraway, among other things. It is one of the stranger things I have ever tasted, but I can see why it would be popular over in Denmark and the like. As a Lithuanian born in Sweden, it is right up my alley. Although it is most popularly imbibed on its own and very cold, it also works very well in cocktails.

DIY Aquavit : Hooch & Home

Ingredients:

Recipe adapted from Marcia Simmons’ version on Serious Eats because she hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 sprig fresh dill
  • 1 two inch strip of lemon zest, without the pith
  • 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1 pod star anise
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom

Combine the vodka, dill, and lemon zest in a sealable container. Allow to steep in the sealed container at room temperature for one day. Discard the dill and lemon zest.

Add the spices to the vodka, reseal the container, and allow to steep for two more days. The mixture may be steeped for up to two weeks, depending on the flavor desired. (I took the anise out after one day and strained it after two days.) When the mixture is adequately flavored, strain the liquid through cheesecloth. Store at room temperature or in the freezer.

For cocktails, might I suggest The Horatio and The Viking. The Viking is essentially a negroni with aquavit in place of the gin, so: 1 oz. aquavit, 1 oz. sweet vermouth, and 1 oz. Campari; stirred, served over ice. Most other aquavit/negroni adaptations use Cynar and sherry, but we don’t have any Cynar. I liked the straight swap pretty well.

Thinking about bitter liqueurs with aquavit made me wonder about an aquavit/Fernet Branca pairing. Luckily Imbibe Magazine has me covered.

The Horatio

  • 2 oz. aquavit
  • 3/4 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 barspoon Fernet Branca
  • Dash orange bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a glass. Imbibe says to garnish with orange zest, but I like my garnish a whole lot better. I was a little disappointed that the dill flavor in our aquavit wasn’t more pronounced, so the fresh dill garnish really helps amp it up (in a good way).

DIY Aquavit : Hooch & Home

 

 

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Planter Box & Planter’s Punch!

What do you think of when you picture a garden? For years the word conjured up memories of my mom’s amazing garden that she kept full of rhubarb, raspberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans and more. It was a big garden with its own compost and eventually a deer fence; the peak of my dad’s romance with DIY. On shimmering hot summer days we could escape to the garden where raspberries became chapeaux for our fingers as mom gathered the remaining inventory for jam.

For a long time I thought of gardens as an overwhelming tangle of plants in need of constant weeding and tending that my mom and her friends wrangled with year after year. Gardens weren’t for city folk. I now know that this couldn’t be farther from the truth! After years of success with potted plants, we finally upgraded to our very first planter box. Turns out you don’t need a big backyard for a garden, just a few square feet!

drink long

Before building your planter box, I recommend taking a look at Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Garden. I got a big kick out of his book, but this helpful PDF gives you the basic concept for free.  He takes the daunting out of the garden and transformed this project into something manageable and attainable for me.


Building a Planter Box

What you will need:

  • Sturdy wood – Mel recommends getting free wood from a construction site. This is not something I was willing to try in Philly, but if you try this please let me know how it goes. We got pressure treated wood from Lowe’s, and had them cut our board into four pieces that would fit into my car. Bring your exact measurements to the store and they can cut the board to your exact specifications. If you can afford it, buy cedar. This will last the longest.
  • Long Screws – the best kind!
  • Circular Saw – only needed if you are going to cut the wood yourself
  • Landscape fabric
  • Mel’s Mix: 1/3 Vermiculite, 1/3 Peat Moss, 1/3 Compost
    • Vermiculite and Peat Moss can be found at any hardware store.
    • Compost – In Philadelphia, you can get FREE compost at the Recycling Center in Fairmount Park. Bring your own container. They provide the shovel. Also bring your id. Do not go on the way to work. You will get dirty! Clearly I found this out the hard way. If you don’t live in Philly, good luck!

Instructions:

You can get fancy and nail your wood into four corner posts. Check Sunset.com’s post if you want to go in that direction.  Ours were as simple as you can get:

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  • Buy wood and get it home – in a small two door hatch back this was the toughest part of the whole project. We bought one very wide and long board for under $30. We had them cut it into four pieces so it would fit in our car
  • Use circular saw to cut wood to correct lengths

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  • Drill pilot holes into the ends of each board where it will attach to another board. For more info on pilot holes see here.
  • pilot holesScrew boards together using extra long screws with the help of a friend, or maybe even your blogging partner if she happens to be in town!!!!

drilling

melandjosh

  • Cut two pieces of landscaping fabric to size
  • Place two layers on the ground, and then place the planter box directly on top.

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  • Fill box with Mel’s mix and mix!

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Planter’s Punch

This one was obvious and rewarding. According to the Charleston City Paperthe recipe for Planter’s Punch can be traced back as far as the September 1878 edition of the London based magazine Fun. The recipe hails from Jamaica, and oddly enough, its recipe often inspires verse. For example, in 1908 The New York Times ran an edition featuring the following recipe:

Take two of sour (lime let it be)

To one and a half of sweet.

Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,

And add four parts of weak.

The version I made comes from an excellent book called Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh AKA Dr. Cocktail. Haigh gives new life to Jasper’s Jamaican Planter’s Punch. Once kept secret, the recipe for this concoction makes an even tastier beverage if you make Jasper’s secret mix in advance and let the flavors meld before mixing it with rum. Jasper’s mix makes an entire bottle’s worth of liquid. I adapted the recipe for my needs.

Ingredients for one bottle of Jasper’s Secret Mix:

  • Juice of 12 limes
  • 1.5 cups of sugar (or agave nectar if you are anti sugar)
  • 1.25 oz Angostura Bitters
  • 1/2 whole nutmeg, grated

Ingredients for one drink:

  • 1.5-2 oz dark Jamaican Rum depending on how strong you want your drink to be
  • 2 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz agave nectar
  • several hearty shakes of Angostura Bitters
  • dash of nutmeg

Instructions:

  • If making a bottle, mix all ingredients and refrigerate for at least two hours. If making individual drink stir the lime juice, agave nectar, bitters and nutmeg until mixed. Let sit for a few hours if you have the patience or foresight.
  • Fill a highball glass with crushed or cracked ice.
  • If you’ve made a bottle of it, add 1.5 oz of Jasper’s mix to glass. If not, add your individual mix to glass.
  • Add 1.5 oz of rum.
  • Stir and add more ice if necessary to fill glass.
  • Garnish with cocktail cherry, citrus slice, fresh fruit like mango or pineapple, and mint.

drink close up

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DIY Shorts and the French 75

A few months back, I was given a really awesome sewing machine by a coworker. Textiles are big here and were even bigger in the 19th and 20th centuries, so I suppose it makes sense that all that fabric and sewing leads to a general surplus of sewing machines. Regardless, I happily accepted the hand me down and I finally got around to trying it out last weekend. On my way home from the airport after my visit to Julia in May, I stopped at Mary Jo’s (a wonderous fabric store near Charlotte) and the fabric I picked out had been staring me down ever since.

All of my sewing experience amounts to helping my mom and trying to glean what I can on the simple projects we have done together. I’d never done a project on my own before last weekend. So, after some thorough Pinterest browsing to build up my confidence, I decided to make an A-line skirt with an elastic waistband. I learned many things from that skirt. I also neglected to photograph the process, so this post is about the pair of shorts I made from the leftover fabric!


Basic Elastic Waistband Shorts

Materials needed:

  • Fabric of your choice, probably no more than a yard depending on the length you desire
  • Matching thread
  • A pair of shorts to serve as a pattern
  • Elastic: I used 1″
  • The biggest safety pin you have that will fit through a 1″ opening
  • Scissors, pins, iron, and other general sewing accoutrement

Some notes about my procedure: there are easier ways to do this project if you have a full piece of fabric and can fold it in half. Take a look at this tutorial from A Pair & A Spare for a better idea of what I mean. (She also includes info on how to make a pattern, which is very helpful!) Since I was working with remnants and wanted the fabric’s pattern to all face the same direction, I had to cut four separate panels. Also, it would have been wise for me to use a zig-zag stitch because the fabric I used does fray. Like I said, this was quite the learning experience!

Procedure:

  • Iron your fabric and lay it out on your cutting surface in a single layer. See the tutorial linked above if you have enough fabric to fold it and save yourself some cutting and sewing.
  • Fold your pair of template shorts in half vertically and arrange them on the fabric. Make sure to add in a 1/2″ seam allowance and 3″ inches above the waist for the elastic casing.
    • If your template shorts have an elastic waistband, also make sure to pull it taut to see how wide the fabric truly is at that point.

DIY Basic Shorts : Hooch & Home

  • Either pin the shorts to the fabric or place weights (aka giant cans of tomatoes) on the fabric to keep it stead while you cut.

DIY Basic Shorts : Hooch & Home

  • Use the panel you cut from your template shorts as the template for the other three panels.
  • Take care to ensure that you cut two panels where the swoopy part (what will eventually make the seam between your legs) face to the left and two where it faces to the right. I thought I took enough care, but I definitely messed it up and ended up with three and one :/ Measure like twelve times and then cut, especially if you’re short on fabric!

DIY Basic Shorts : Hooch & Home

  • Once you have all your panels cut, take one leg (two panels) and arrange the fabric right sides together. Pin the long straight sides together and sew. You should end up with two panels that look more or less like the picture below. The seam down the middle of the picture will what you sew in this step.

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  • Pin and sew along the curved portion (as seem marked by the yellow pins above), but do not sew the short straight seam below the end of that curve.
  • Open up your shorts so that the side seams are on the outside and the fabric looks like a normal pair of shorts. Pin and carefully sew the remaining portion of the middle seam to create the legs of the shorts. You may want to trim the seam allowance at the mid-point to cut down on bulk. The picture shows the finished product–don’t worry about not having hemmed legs!

DIY Shorts : Hooch & Home

  • At this point in the process, I trimmed any funky seams and then ironed them open (as seen below). This step helps to cut down on bulk at the places where the waistband and hems meet the seams.
  • Now, to create a case for the elastic band: Fold and iron the waistband down 1/2″ and then fold it down another 1 1/2″, iron, and pin in place. This step encloses the raw edge. Sew almost all the way around the waistband, but leave a three inch opening.
  • Using the elastic band, measure around your hips where you want the shorts to sit. Trim the elastic to size.
  • Grab your giant safety pin and pin through one end of your elastic. You may want to also shove a pin through the other end to make sure it doesn’t get sucked into the casing too soon.

DIY Basic Shorts : Hooch & Home

  • Feed the elastic through the casing, taking care to keep it straight and not letting it twist. Once you get all the way around, sew the two tails together with about 1″ overlap. Secure the overlap well–those stitches will get a lot of use! I did a rough box shape with an X through it, just to make sure!
  • Sew up the opening.
  • To hem the legs, put the shorts on to get an idea of how much you need to hem. I did a 1″ hem and that seems pretty good for this kind of short. So, if you have a lot of extra length, trim off enough fabric to be left with about 1 1/2″ length to hem.
  • Follow the same procedure as with the waistband, folding down 1/2″ and then another 1″. Sew the hem and you’re done!

DIY Basic Shorts : Hooch & Home

They aren’t perfect and the cut edges frayed a ton when I washed them, but they aren’t meant to be worn to an audience with the Queen, so I think I’m safe. This kind of project is a great way to practice a few basic skills with not that much fabric (or time) and produce something completely wearable. Whether or not you wear them outside the house, however, is completely up to you!


French 75

I’ve picked another bubbly cocktail for this project, but it’s summer and South Carolina is like a sauna, so it’s a welcome ingredient! The French 75 was born after the Second World War and is a delightfully refreshing, if rather strong, drink. The website Birth, Movies, Death has a great discussion of the cocktail and it’s history.

The fabric I used for the shorts makes me think of lightning bugs, so I wanted something summery and yellow for a cocktail. I think it fits the bill quite nicely.

French 75 : Hooch & Home

Ingredients:

2 oz. London Dry Gin
1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 tsp. sugar or ½ oz. simple syrup
Champagne, well chilled

Combine the lemon juice and sugar or simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. If using sugar, stir thoroughly to dissolve. Add the gin and ice and shake until cold. Strain into an ice filled Collins glass and top with champagne.

Find a porch and quaff your thirst. Maybe take a few glamour shots. So much glamour.

DIY Shorts : Hooch & Home

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Paving the Way

One of the best responses we’ve gotten about this here adventure we call Hooch & Home was from a close friend in Philly. She had us over for dinner when Melissa was visiting, and while preparing dinner she shared with us how reading the blog has taken the mystery out of doing more at home yourself. Even something as simple as cold brew coffee can seem daunting. It just seems simpler to buy it at Whole Foods. There are many reasons to take a crack at trying things out at home. At the end of the day though, if the joy of making things yourself doesn’t do it for you, the budgetary advantages should.

This was, after all, the inspiration for the blog. While waiting for our house to be finished, I whiled away hours I should have been studying looking at Young House Love, Little Green Notebook, and Design Sponge; dreaming of the day I could start to invest my time and energy into my living space. However, those blogs are all written by people who seemed more capable than me.  I wanted to start a blog where people with no experience could be inspired to do projects that would save them money and improve their home. Having something to toast with afterwards seemed just as important. We are here to prove that good cocktails and DIY projects are in fact attainable! If we can do it, anyone can do it.

And so, without further ado, I bring you a project that may sound daunting, but the most daunting part was getting the materials home in my two-door hatch back. Our backyard is small. Very small. About 7.5 ft deep and 15 ft wide to be exact. A little less than half of the backyard is covered in poured concrete. The rest was a dirt pile full of interesting artifacts. Here is a panoramic version of our backyard after we had dug out a layer of dirt full of legos, pencils, tiles, and other weird bits of plastic from over the decades so that it was a few inches below the concrete:

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Laying Pavers

What we needed:

  • Tape Measure
  • Gloves
  • Shovel for digging dirt outstamper
  • Trash bags for dirt and debris
  • Rake for evening out dirt and raking through debris
  • Sand
  • Pavers – we bought these red pavers from Lowe’s for $1.67 each
  • Bricks – we bought these red bricks for 48 cents each
  • Level
  • Muscles
  • Patience

The amount of each material you will need depends on the size of your patio, and you will need to blow the cobwebs out of the corner of your brain where you store things like how to find the cubic feet of an area. For example, you need at least an inch of paver sand. To figure out how much sand you need you must multiply the depth of your sand by the length and width of the area you are paving. We used about seven bags of paver sand for our tiny patio. These bags are heavy and messy.We probably should have used more but this was all we could manage to get home. Also, this is not a solo project unless you have lots of muscles.

One final note: If you have access to a stamper, or feel like investing in one, this is a very useful tool for leveling dirt and sand. We did not feel like investing $30 on one, so we didn’t.


How To Pave Your Patio

Note: There are more comprehensive ways to do this. Our version is for those of you on a budget who can’t necessarily get all the needed materials home. Our patio turned out great, but isn’t perfect. Nothing I make ever is! See Home Depot’s site for some video’s and tips before starting.

Here is what we did:

  • Measure area and do some math while at the store to see how many pavers you need to buy. I recommend drawing a diagram. Get materials home.
  • After digging up all the dirt needed, we used a rake and a level to make our area as flat as possible. We also stomped around with our feet pretending we had the stamper. Here is where you use the stamper if you have one.
  • Dump out bags of sand on ground.

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  • Use hands or pole to flatten sand making sure the sand is at least an inch thick. We used hands.  A pole probably would have been easier.

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  • Lay pavers on sand.

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  • Make sure pavers are level with a level. We ran into some issues here and had to pick up some pavers to level the sand more before replacing them. You do not want your tiles to wobble. Also, we wanted our patio to slope down a bit to direct water away from the house. We were mildly successful at this.
  • Place more sand on top of pavers and use a broom to sweep sand over pavers so that it fills the cracks between pavers.

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  • As the sand settles you may need to repeat the last step to fill in the cracks between the pavers more. This is to prevent weeds and to keep things stable.

Here is another weird panorama taken after we completed this project. The photo following is a more recent one that includes a most welcome addition to this little oasis: a cafe table! Now if only the giant tree that leans over our house would stop dropping things all over the place all day every day. 

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A Whiskey Cobbler

Cobblers were one of the first cocktails I came across when we began Hooch & Home. Back in the day, drinks had categories. According to Oh Gosh! a Cobbler is a cocktail that mixes a base spirit, sugar, and fresh fruit. I once read that the drink gets it’s name from the cobble-shaped ice used to cool the drink, but I can no longer find that reference. GONOLA backs me up though. This drink gets historical credit for proliferating the use of the straw. Because of how sugary it was, it was served with a straw to protect people’s teeth. I also have read that it lead to what we now call soda. But I hate soda (except root beer of course) and while a Sherry Cobbler is the most famous of the Cobblers, on National Bourbon Day I’d rather drink a Whiskey Cobbler. Here is how Oh Gosh! does theirs:

paver and cocktail

Ingredients

  • 4 oz of Bourbon (that’s crazy, I used less – about 2 shot glasses worth)
  • 1 bar spoon of maraschino cherry liquid (don’t skimp, go with Jack Rudy)
  • 1 bar spoon of sugar (I used I good squeeze of Agave Syrup so it wouldn’t settle at the bottom)
  • 1 slice of orange (I used a grapefruit because that’s what I had)

Fill tumbler with crushed ice. Add ice, bourbon, maraschino and sugar to Boston Shaker and shake. Pour into tumbler and garnish with orange and cherry.

My very cherished American and Other Drinks has a whole section on Cobblers. It calls for 2 wine glasses of whiskey. A wine glass used to be a common unit of measure which is about equal to about 4 oz. Apparently people were getting super drunk back in the day. I am currently writing this post halfway through my two shot cobbler and…let’s just say its more than enough for this lady.

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square cobbler

 

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Bags, Pipes, and Cocktails

The need for a downstairs laundry bag has been apparent for quite some time. Our laundry room is located in our downstairs half bath, and I got in the bad habit of piling up smelly, dirty, damp kitchen towels on the floor. Then one day, I picked up the pile to find that a massive crew of ants had made themselves at home. I could put this project off no longer. Another post on dealing with ant infestations without buying expensive and poisonous products is soon to follow.

cutting fabric

The bulk of the cost for this product came from the beautiful fabric that I bought for it while visiting Melissa. It made me think of France for some reason and I couldn’t wait to turn it into something useful. For hardware we bought black piping at Lowes for next to nothing. The whole project took about 4.5 hours.  Most of that was spent sewing. The project time would be cut to about half an hour if you used an already constructed bag. Any cloth tote would work. You could just cut the straps to be ties or add ties to it. I, of course, decided to go on a sewing adventure. Here is what happened:

materials

DIY Hanging Laundry Bag

What you will need:

  • Two metal floor flanges (make sure that all piping matches – we went with 1/2 in piping)
  • Two pieces of pipe for the left and right sides, and one piece for the front (your pipes will attach to the wall so you only need three sides)
  • two elbow connecting pipes (see photo above for visual – all of the metal pieces can be found in the plumbing section of Lowes in black or silver color for a few bucks)
  • Fabric (1.5 or 2 yards should do depending on your bag size)
  • pins
  • sewing machine
  • needle and thread
  • metal screws
  • plastic screws
  • power drill
  • soap and water

holder

Instructions:

  • Use soap and water to wash metal pipes. This is key. Mine were filthy.
  • Connect piping by screwing pieces into each other as seen above and take exact measurements of your hardware. The sides of your laundry bag should be about as long as the sides of your piping.
  • Sewing your laundry bag
    • I winged this. See the Make It Love It blog for really clear instructions for how to make a reversible laundry bag. Her instructions could easily be simplified to do a non-reversible bag.
    • First I cut out my pieces (notice I forgot the bottom at first!)

cut out fabric

  • I then sewed all four sides together making sure I lined up my tops to be even.

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  • Next I added the bottom sewing along one edge and then the other. This was tricky as it was my first time ever sewing corners. It would have been much easier if I had found Make It Love It first. My corners weren’t great but not bad for a first time.

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corner

  • Next I sewed the ties by cutting out eight pieces of 2in by 6 in, folding them in thirds hot dog style and then sewing them down the center with my sewing machine. This sadly proved to be the end of my sewing machine’s needle after it hit a pin, but luckily this occurred on the last tie!

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  • Next I sewed two ties onto each corner by hand.

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  • The last bit was simple. I held up the piping with my magnetic level attached to the front bar to make sure it was straight, and drew circles where my plastic screws needed to go. If you are trying to put fewer holes in your wall, attach the piping to a small piece of wood and then attach the wood to your wall with only two screws. Finding and using a stud for this could be helpful.


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  • I then drilled holes into said circles, slipped in the plastic screws, held the metal piece back up, and drilled it into the wall using metal screws that matched the plastic screws. Lastly, I tied my laundry bag to the metal bar and my downstairs laundry bag was ready to go!

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Remember how I said that fabric felt French to me? That was before I knew that there was already a drink called a French Laundry! I found the recipe at the Cocktail Virgin Slut where the authors proudly drink and tell. There was only one problem. I didn’t have St. Germain or Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur. Ok, there were two problems. Purchasing either of those was not in my budget this month. Luckily, I knew that my friend Brian had some St. Germain, so we headed off to dinner at his house in hope of making something similar. Upon arrival however, we discovered that he not only didn’t have Luxardo, but he also didn’t have gin! Luckily, Melissa was visiting, and she brilliantly adapted the recipe using Rye and Pernod to create a Sazerac-esque drink inspired by the French Laundry. Melissa’s last bit of brilliance was to think up the perfect name:

A French New Orleans Laundry

  • 1 1/2 oz Citadelle Gin Rye (we used Bulleit)
  • 3/4 oz St. Germain
  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice
  • 1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur Splash of Pernod
  • 3 dashes Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters

Rinse glasses with Pernot (pour a splash in, swirl it around and then pour remaining liquid into the next glass – repeat with all glasses). Add remaining ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake vigorously until shaker becomes cold. Strain into coupe glasses. Enjoy!

NO laundry 2

The drink was a major success. To quote our good friend Dan, “It’s the perfect way to dip your toes into Absinthe.” The lime brought a summery flavor to this drink with wintery potential.

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Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

My household is filled with different contraptions to make coffee. Moka pot (x2), drip machine, Aeropress, Turkish cezve, French press. Rob and I met at the coffee shop where he worked for a few years, right after I got back from Italy where my love affair with espresso began. So coffee is one of those things that is important to us, although not entirely for the caffeine.

Although espresso is my forever jam, for the summer, we tend to switch over from hot brewed coffee to cold brewed coffee. What’s the difference, you ask? Well, rather than brewing coffee with heated water and then icing it down or leaving in the refrigerator to cool off, cold brew coffee is prepared by letting coffee grounds sit in cold water in the refrigerator for an extended amount of time. Because water temperature has such a huge effect on how flavor compounds are extracted from the coffee grounds, switching the brew temperature from near boiling to tap cold (and extending the brew time) tends to result in a coffee that is less acidic and smoother. Because cold brew has this result, we also save some dollars by cold brewing with coffee that isn’t exactly of the highest quality. As long as it’s 100% Arabica, we’re all set. Another huge benefit for those of us pressed for time in the morning is that, because cold brew is done in a large batch and kept in the refrigerator to be dosed out, you can shave a few minutes off your morning routine and still be adequately caffeinated.

Cold Brew Coffee : Hooch & Home

There are about a million different ways you can prepare your cold brew, but I think our way is pretty good. What you are left with after about twelve hours of steeping is a smooth concentrate that we then dilute with milk, water, and ice. I think it is well worth the effort to have coffee at the ready whenever you want it.


Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

Ingredients and materials needed:

  • Ground coffee of your choice
  • Water
  • Something to stir the sludge with
  • A brewing container, with lid or with plastic wrap (we use the pitcher seen above)
  • A storage container that is easy to pour from and has a lid (we use quart Mason jars)
  • Some way to filter. We use a fine mesh sieve/coffee filter combo. I’ve seen muslin bags, nylon knee highs, and cheesecloth as possible tools. You do you.
  • A funnel

Procedure:

  • Combine your coffee and water in a 1:3 ratio. So if you have two cups of coffee, use six cups of water. This ratio is one of many variables you can play with as you make each batch. This will make a pretty solid concentrate, which can then be diluted to your liking.
  • Stir the sludge well to make sure there are no isolated pockets of dry coffee grounds.
  • Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. This step is another than can be futzed with to your heart’s content. Brew longer, at room temp, etc.
  • Strain your concentrate. Pouring through a fine mesh sieve into a paper coffee filter is our set up, but it does take some time. The result, however, is pretty great.Cold Brew Coffee : Hooch & Home
  • Once adequately strained, the cold brew concentrate will keep in the refrigerator for at least two weeks…if it lasts that long.
  • To prepare a cup of iced goodness: combine coffee, dairy/non-dairy of your choice, and water in a 1:1:1 ratio. Top with ice.

Preparation of a cup of iced cold brew is another world with room for great experimentation. A batch of simple syrup comes in handy for sweetening this cold concoction, but you can make the syrup fancy by adding vanilla or orgeat. One fun trick is to take your concentrate and freeze some in an ice cube tray. Use your coffee cubes to ice your cup for an extra strong (or, rather, less dilute) mixture. You can also add a stick of cinnamon to the grinds for flavor, or wrap your grounds in cheese cloth while they steep for less mess. The options are truly endless, but if you follow the directions above, I can guarantee a fine cup of iced coffee. Whether or not you like it is up to you!


Java Good Night

Now, the next obvious question is: what cocktail should I make with this wonderful cold brew concentrate? I wanted a cocktail that specifically uses cold brew and has some great complementary flavors. I found what I was looking for in the Java Good Night from Serious Eats. It’s a take on Thai iced coffee, which is made extra creamy with evaporated milk and sweetened with sweetened condensed milk. A dash of orange bitters and muddled mint help take this rum drink to the next level. I highly recommend it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 mint leaves
  • 2 oz. cold brewed coffee
  • 1 1/2 oz. rum
  • 1/2 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 oz. evaporated milk
  • Dash orange bitters
  • Mint garnish

Muddle the mint leaves at the bottom of a mixing glass or Boston shaker. Add all of the other ingredients (except for the garnish) and stir with several ice cubes until very cold.

Strain into a new glass with ice, crushed or whole. Garnish with mint.

Cold Brew Coffee : Hooch & Home

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Tufted Cushion with a French Mattress Seam

Now, doesn’t this project sound very fancy? In my experience fancy=complicated, but I am happy to report that no matter how fancy it sounds, this project was not all that complicated. That’s not to suggest that it was a breeze start to finish, but it was relatively straightforward!

In the winter it seems that the best afternoon light can be found in just the same spot that my cedar chest sits. I kept finding myself sitting there, perhaps in an unconscious effort to keep any vestiges of Seasonal Affective Disorder at bay. After enough time sitting on a wooden chest, one’s mind logically turns to cushion options. I relayed these thoughts to my mother, who then kept her eyes peeled for and eventually snagged a good coupon/sale star alignment to get the needed foam and batting at a steal. Then, Julia’s visit necessitated a trip to Mary Jo’s. More stars aligned, I found my fabric, and was ready to go.

The fabric I chose is part of their Civil War collection and I’m pretty certain it is a reproduction from the Winterthur Museum made by Andover Fabrics, but I can’t seem to confirm that anywhere on the internet. I love the color and the simplicity of the pattern. Plus, it makes me think of Batman. In a hoop skirt. POW!

Tufted cushion with French mattress seam : Hooch & HomeI was planning on painting the chest another color, but I actually like the yellow/maroon combination a lot.

So, a few notes with regard to making your own tufted, mattress-seamed cushion:

  • Foam can be really expensive, so be patient (if possible) and wait for a sale or really good coupon or both! For this cushion, we went with a 2″ piece that was long enough to cover the chest. We had to cut it down to width ourselves. For cutting the foam, we found that a sharp bread knife worked better than an electric carving knife.
  • Tufting can be really hard on the fabric you use. This fabric is not upholstery fabric, which is fine, it just meant that we had to use a button with four holes to distribute the pulling force. We tried to use a covered button, but the fabric couldn’t handle the pressure and broke when we tried to pull it taut. Also, it really helps to have two people to do the tufting.
  • Mattress seams tend to be shown with some of the foam actually sewn into the seam, like in this project. We decided that wasn’t worth the trouble and I like the way it turned out better for this particular cushion. As seen above, the result is a finished seam that is on the outside, rather than the inside.

DIY Tufted Cushion with French Mattress Seam

Materials needed:

  • Enough material to cover your foam. My cushion is 43″ x 17″ and I bought 2 1/2 yards. Very little was leftover.
  • Foam. We used 2″.
  • Batting to cover the entire cushion top and bottom. More batting isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We wrapped the foam at least twice all the way around…maybe 3 times. Just adds more cushion.
  • Thread to match the fabric
  • Buttons enough for the tufting you desire
  • A really long embroidery needle. I think the one we used was 6″.
  • Strong thread in your desired color
  • Needles, scissors, sewing machine, ruler, iron, pins, math skills, and other assorted sewing project stuff.

Tufted cushion : Hooch & HomeI always like drawing out what needs measuring before I do any cutting. The cushion basically consists of a top and a bottom piece with narrower pieces that wrap around the sides and connect the top and bottom. Because of the width and length of the fabric I chose, we were able to cut the top and bottom pieces, but there was not enough length to provide two long and two short pieces for the sides. In the end, we decided that one very long, narrow side piece could wrap around the front and meet two shorter pieces on the sides of the cushion. As a result, there are three seams on the side (one on each side and one in the back) instead of four (one at each corner).

Procedure:

  • In your measurements allow for a 1/2″ seam allowance on all sides. The seam allowance will, in effect, form the mattress seam once everything is sewn up. The picture below was a quick test version my mom whipped up. The fabric is hemmed and then sewn (wrong sides) together along the hem stitch to create the mattress seam.Tufted cushion with French Mattress Seam : Hooch & Home
  • Once everything is cut, pressed, and the 1/2″ seam allowance pinned on all sides of all pieces, sew all the hems. The only seams that will not be exposed in the final product are those that connect the narrow side panels.
  • Press everything once you are finished sewing the initial hems.
  • Sew the narrow side panels together.
  • Press the inside seams open/flat so that they don’t bunch up when you sew the top and bottom panels on.
  • Pin the top or bottom panel to the side panels, wrong sides together. For all you sewing masters out there: DON’T SEW RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER! You will not be turning this inside out at the end! 😀
  • Sew along the same thread that makes up the hem. This will give you a 1/2″ mattress seam.Tufted cushion with French mattress seam : Hooch & home
  • Do the same with the other large panel, but make sure to leave an opening for the foam. We left one short side open.
  • Once the fabric is all sewn together (except the opening for stuffing), prepare your foam by cutting it to size and wrapping it with batting. I just learned that we use batting to prevent slippage and give the cushion a clean look. Who knew?
  • To secure the batting to the foam, wrap the foam like a present.
  • Trim any excess batting so that it is even all around and the edges meet nicely.
  • Sew the edges together with a loose running stitch. It doesn’t have to be pretty or terribly strong.
  • Tufted cushion with French mattress seam : Hooch & HomeOn the ends, trim any excess and sew the edges together in much the same way.
  • Tufted cushion with French mattress seam : Hooch & HomeNow comes the moment of truth: stuff the foam/batting combination into your prepared fabric covering. Do your best to line up the seams of the fabric with the edges of the cushion. There was a lot of futzing to make sure the cushion edges and corners all lined up with the fabric edges and corners. This is the only time to do it, so don’t rush!
  • As long as everything looks good, pin and sew the opening by hand. Since this is a mattress edge, you don’t have to bother with trying to sew the seam from the inside. Hooray! Just take care to use small stitches and follow the hem line and you should be all set.

IMG_1461Once you’ve finished stuffing and sewing everything, take a break before you tackle the tufting! Or, if you’re an expert break taker, here’s an excellent stopping point!

And now we tuft:

  • The first step in tufting is to decide how many spots you want to do. Initially, I wanted to do ten spots, but then the button issues came up and I realigned my goals with the reality that four-hole buttons was what had to be used. Three tufts it would be. Because the cushion is long and narrow, it works really well. One good bit of design knowledge to keep in mind is that odds look better than evens. So, three or five is better than four. Just trust me.
  • Once you decide on your number of tufts and make sure you have enough buttons, use straight pins to mark where the buttons will go on each side of the cushion. (Brief aside: tufting can be done with thread alone, no buttons needed.) The other great thing about using odd-numbered amounts is that it makes measuring very simple. One button will go in the dead center of the cushion (if you’re only doing one row, that is) and the other two will go in the middle of the space between the center button and the edge of the cushion.
  • If you like the way the straight pins look, prepare your giant needle with embroidery or other very strong thread. Due to the four-hole button necessity, we first sewed up, then down through the button and then through the cushion so that the knot in the thread is hidden under the button.

DIY Tufted Cushion : Hooch & Home

  • Stand the cushion up on your work surface and do your best to poke the needle through the fabric at the same spot as your straight pin marker.
  • Once you’ve got your button affixed on the other side of the cushion, go back through, taking care to line everything up nicely. Do this a bunch more times until you are satisfied with your tuft’s security.
  • On the last pass through, decide how taut you want the thread to be (and how extreme the tuft) and secure the thread with lots of fun knots. The knots need to be very secure because they will be under constant stress. Deciding just how extreme a tuft we wanted was less an exact science than it was, “Eh, that looks pretty good.”

Follow the same steps for the other buttons, making sure to try and match the amount of tuft so that one isn’t crazy tight or loose and will grate at your perfectionist nerves for the lifetime of the cushion.

DIY Tufted Cushion with French Mattress Seam : Hooch & Home

Now, doesn’t that look nice and comfy?


Champagne Punch, No. 3

For this project, I wanted to find a Civil War cocktail to go with my Civil War fabric. Although cocktails from that time certainly differ from what the word cocktail brings to mind today, many of the old school punches and alcoholic concoctions are perfectly adaptable to a one or two glass serving. I found this punch recipe published in The Bon-Vivant’s Companion from 1862 amidst a list of several options and thought it perfect for this Civil War fabric/French cushion situation. I did my best to scale it down to a single serving size. So, while this makes for two sparkly cocktails in a row on H&H, I think it’s worth it! Although we used prosecco in place of champagne, I imagined it was the real deal and didn’t really care in the end.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. strawberry syrup
  • A hearty squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Champagne or prosecco to fill the glass
  • Garnish of a pineapple slice, strawberry, and orange slice (optional, but recommended)

To make the strawberry syrup you have a couple of options. We had just gotten a beautiful gallon of strawberries from the farmer’s market, so we just trimmed the tops and quartered them and then added some sugar. Not too much, maybe 1/2 a cup for the whole gallon. We let that sit for about an hour at room temperature and some delicious strawberry juice was the result. If you want something a bit more syrupy, you’ll want to basically make a simple syrup and add strawberries, cooking until they are mushy like in this recipe. I prefer the uncooked, less syrupy, less sweet version, but you do you!

Add the syrup, lemon juice, and wine to the glass. Garnish liberally. Drink while perched comfortably on your new cushion.

Champagne Punch : Hooch & Home

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