Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Summer Fair Vendors Announced!

With just over six weeks until our summer fair, it's time for us to announce our lovely group of vendors for this years show. Last month we all gathered for our 'viewing party'- an evening of reviewing applications and eating yummy treats.

We were overjoyed with the number of applications we received, including some from as far away as Montreal and Halifax. The only problem was that they were all so good that it was hard to narrow it down to the number of booths we could fit in our space.

The show will have twenty one amazing vendors, plus a small selection of crafts made by the members of The Beehive. With work ranging from textiles and wood to prints and jewelry, these talented crafters are sure to impress.

Upcycled cashmere under garments from Sartoria.

Aprons and totes by Dear Edna.

Screen printed wood blocks and toys from Fidoodle.

Screen printed bags by Anna Zygowski (left) and tea towels by Bespoke Uprising (right).

Totes, ties, and more from Fieldguided.

Jewelry by Lesley Ashton.

Scarves and bags by Scout & Catalogue.

Cross-stitched jewelry from The Pin Pals.

Prints by Chris Foster (left) and Katie Muth (right).

Hand-dyed yarn by Viola fibers.

There will also be ceramics by Bread and Butter Pottery and jewelry by Melanie Cronyn and Rosalyn Faustino. You will also find textiles by Katie-did, Leikey Designs, and Jenna Rose. As well as Knits by Oak Savannah, pouches and prints by Petra C., and fashion journals by Worn. You can also see the full list of vendors with links to their websites over on our summer fair webpage.

Starting next week we will be featuring some of our vendors here twice a week leading up to the show. So please be sure to check out these features as you are sure to build up as much anticipation and excitement for this event as we have.

Photos courtesy of Hollie and the artists mentioned.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Flour Power

We eat a lot of bread in my house. Two of us will easily go through about four loaves a week.

We'd probably eat less if I didn't make it myself, but once you've had homemade, storebought's a downgrade (burn, Wonderbread)! Who can resist the sweet, salty allure of fresh-baked bread with butter? Not me! Why try?

First off, get your head around the misconception that bread-making is so time-consuming and super-precise, you have to be an iron chef to get it right. There's more room for error than you think (I'm a big fan of the "dash" and it's worked out so far) and you only end up doing 9-11 minutes of actual work. As long as you have a window of time where you're home for three hours, trust me - you can bake bread.

The below recipe is the whole-wheat one I use regularly. It comes from Paul Hollywood's fantastic book 100 Great Breads. The pictures in this book are beautiful, the breads, rolls and sweet treats (like the sour-cherry-and-chocolate bread) are soooo tasty, and some of the measurements are by weight which (if you're a fan of Alton Brown, you already know) is the most accurate way to measure things.

This recipe makes a single loaf, but please save yourself the trouble and double up. An equal amount of work goes into it whether you're making one, two or four loaves so you might as well eat for a week on your efforts.

- Scant* 2 1/2 C whole wheat flour
- 2/3 C white flour
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 oz/30 g yeast
- 1/2 stick (this is 2 oz) of butter
- Scant* 1 1/4 C water

* I've never understood/heeded "scant." It basically overstates the measurement and just means you should measure exactly, which is what measurements are anyway so...?

Since any bread recipe, followed to the letter, is pretty straightforward, this post includes tips and tricks I've picked up/made up over the years. They've consistently worked for me. Hopefully they'll do the same for you!

For starters, I always dissolve about a tablespoon of sugar in a bowl of roughly 1/4 C warm water, then mix in the required amount of traditional bread-making yeast (not quick-rise or bread machine yeast). This is called proofing and it's usually only done if you're not sure how old your yeast is/whether it's still active, but I do it with straight-from-the-store stuff too and find that it acts like steroids for my dough.

Let the sugar/water/yeast sit for a few minutes until it's smooth (like cappucino-flavoured yogurt) and bubbly like this...

Once the yeast has started happily belching itself into activity, mix the flour, salt, yeast and butter in a bowl. A KitchenAid mixer is A-amazing for this, but if you don't have one, by-hand works too.

One other tip - melt the butter. The recipe doesn't call for this, but if your butter is hard at all, it's such a pain to mix evenly. Instead, measure it out and throw it in the microwave for 30 seconds before adding it to the dry ingredients.

After that, add the water slowly and mix until all the flour has been picked up, the bowl is basically clean and the dough is slightly sticky.

Tip it onto a floured surface and knead for five minutes.

This is one area where it can be easy to lose the loaf. Kneading expands the strands of gluten and affects the texture of the finished bread. It also creates little air pockets for the yeast to fill with gas, which is what causes the dough to rise. Try to think of this while you're kneading. Don't just roll and punch the dough - really pull and fold the edges to trap mini-air-caves for the yeast to party in.

After about five minutes, you should have a dough that's smooth and uniform-looking. It shouldn't feel dried out, but it shouldn't stick to everything it touches either.

At this point, many recipes will tell you to put the dough in a bowl and set it in the oven with the light on, but the heat off.

Ignore that and do what I learned in my 10th grade foods hospitality class.

Put a little olive oil in the bottom of the bowl and roll the dough so it's got a thin layer of oil all over. I would normally cover the dough with a clean towel and set it to rise near a heating vent or in a sunny window. However, I have a dog who loves to eat dough. If you do as well, turn your oven on to 115 degrees F, cover the dough with tinfoil and slide it in.

Spend the next hour patting yourself on the back, running errands, working, napping, etc. then come back and uncover your dough.

Unless it has uncovered itself by bursting from the bowl!

Take it out and shape it to the pans you have at your disposal. No extra kneading or punching here. Just form it to the pans. I stand like craaaaazy behind the red silicone ones you see here. They're cheap at Canadian Tire.

Cover with foil and put the pans back in the oven (or towel them and set them near your heat source) for another hour.

After that, remove the foil, crank the oven to 450 F and bake for 35 minutes.

Bam. Your days of shelling out dough (pun intended) for Dempster's are over. You'll save money, you'll feel like a pioneer, you'll enjoy toast in a whole new way, your house will smell amazing and you'll feel confident enough to advance to things like pizza...


And my fave - the oatmeal molasses bread recipe in Earth to Table.

What's your main squeeze bread recipe? Share it in the comments!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Knit Night on the Brain

The Beehive has been working on something big and by big we mean huge. So big, in fact, that we need your help.

We are creating a large installation piece for SUPERCRAWL! The piece will be a replica of the fa├žade of the Brain, home to Knit Night, that will be suspended over the front of the building. We will be recreating the brick work and structural elements of the building while also adding a few touches of our own.

The majority of the piece, all the brick work, will be made up of knit scarves. Once SUPERCRAWL is over the piece will be dismantled and the scarves donated to Mission Services Opportunity Centre where they will be distributed to those in need of something warm to guard them against the cold.

This is where your help comes in. Although many of us in the Beehive are avid knitters we will simply not have enough time to get all the scarves completed while working on the rest of the piece. Also, we think it would be awesome for the entire craft community in Hamilton to get together on this one!

We have created a pattern of the scarf we will be using to recreate the brick work. The pattern is available for you to download here. The yarn you will need to make the scarf is Lion Brand Wool Ease - Thick and Quick. We have also created a list of yarn colours to use to keep the whole piece uniform. The brick colours: Hazelnut #640-125, Pumpkin #640-133, Spice #640-135, Apricot #640-136, Butterscotch #640-189 and Wood: #640-404.

And the mortar colours: Linen: #640-098, Wheat #640-402, Oatmeal: #640-123 and Barley #640-124

Lion Brand Yarn has graciously supplied us with yarn for creation of this piece. If you would like to contribute a scarf to the project you can pick up yarn at Knit Night at the Brain every Wednesday from 7 to 10pm. If would like to support the project but are unable to come to Knit Night you can head over to your local yarn shop to purchase any of the Lion Brand colours listed above.

Completed scarves must be submitted by 5pm on August 13 at The Beehive Summer Craft Fair. They can also be dropped off up until that deadline at Knit Night

If you have any questions about the project or the pattern either stop by Knit Night or send us an email. We are happy to help you with any of your questions, and could even teach you how to make one.

Photos courtesy of Hollie and Courtney

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


Dearest readers,

Today's post comes to you via both Elizabeth and Kate of The Beehive. The two of us are so very excited to share some plans that we've had in the works since the Beehive first formed back in January. Introducing our new and upcoming venture: Needlework!

Our concept for Needlework is to provide Hamilton and its crafty, DIY community with its first ever sewing lounge; a sew by the hour, creative workspace. We envision Needlework as a space where you'll be inspired to learn new skills, finish old projects, and make something new; all while being surrounded by a thoughtfully curated selection of fabric, fibre and notions.

We are still very much in the beginning stages of this venture, and thus we would like to ask for your help. We would love to get a sense what you want and need in a fabric/yarn/notions store/workspace, so we have created a survey to gather some of that information. If you could take the time to fill it out, and pass it on to friends and family living in the Hamilton area and beyond, we would be ever so grateful. By participating in our survey, you also have a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to either White Elephant, or Mixed Media. Fun!

A big thank you to our friends and family, and of course The Beehive, for being so supportive, helpful, and encouraging in our endeavours thus far. We love you all, and couldn't be making this big step in our lives without you! Thank you!

Much love,

Elizabeth and Kate

p.s. If you would like to get in touch with us, or be added to our mailing list for future Needlework updates, please feel free to email us at needleworkhamilton@gmail.com.