Friday, 24 April 2009

Moving on

I am such a fickle moo, so I've upped sticks over to Wordpress - you can now find me here


Wednesday, 22 April 2009

hey everybody!

I am still here and crafting, I'm just having some computer related issues! My connection in the flat isn't fast enough to make uploading pictures here practical and the last 2 nights I've tried to do it in work the intarwebz have not been on my side! Hopefully I will get some stuff up soon. I'm kinda frustrated at the moment because I am deeply skint and can't really afford to buy any craft materials but I keep having lots of ideas. Hopefully once I get paid I can remedy this!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Making it by hand and paying it forward

I know various people are aiming for 50 handmade things in 2009 and never one to miss a bandwagon, I'm going to give this a bash too! In a bid to make me try some new things, I'm only going to list the things I've tried for the first time ( some of my baking I can do standing on head so I don't think that's much of a challenge. Some of the things listed have been blogged about here and some others I don't have photos of, so you'll have to trust me a wee bit :)

1 Rachel Allen's Honey Buns
2 Rachel Allen's Butter free sponge
3 Journal jar - this was a present for Vonnie, she can back me up!
4 Blue bead necklace for Mum
5 Heart necklace for Eileen (I do have a pic of this somewhere)
6 Earrings for Step-mere
7 Fifteens
8 Knitted java jacket
9 Lavender bags
10 Rachel Allen's Lemon Cupcakes (there's a pic of those somewhere on the right hand side here)

Not a bad start for April and I'm sure there's other stuff I've forgotten! 

In the meantime, I've also given into the craze that is Pay it Forward - I've signed up on Beaky's blog (more info on PIF here) so 3 people who leave a comment will get something handmade from me - the condition being you need to do a 'Pay it Forward' yourself. I don't know if 3 people actually read this apart from me, but nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Monday, 13 April 2009

Adding a little style to Starbucks

I am very much inspired by the various blogs I've found devoted to all things craft related, though most of the projects make me think 'I could never do that'. However while perusing the lovely site of Meridian Ariel I found her tutorial for a Knitted Java Jacket. Very simple, you can see for yourself here and I decided to decorate it with some fabulous buttons from Incy Wincy Stitches - if you aren't familiar with her, check it out here. I of course now realise that Apryl did exactly the same thing!

The first attempt has been given to a colleague as a thank-you for lending me her sewing machine - I suspect this will give rise to many blog posts as I get to grips with it - while the second is going to my lovely friend Lucy.

Cup 1 - complete with cup button.

Cup 2 - with a little owlish knowledge!

Cheeky owl close up!

A big thank you to Incy Wincy for my buttons and Meridian Ariel for coming up with the idea in the first place - I only hope I can do the same for other bloggers some day!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Coming soon, to a blog near you...

Pictures of what I've been up to recently. However, I'm currently at home and it takes forever to upload photos on my mobile broadband connection here, so I'll be bringing the Mac into work and hi-jacking the connection there.

However I just wanted to say I finally got to go to the Cath Kidston and Emma Bridgewater shops in Edinburgh. EB was pretty snazzy but I was SO happy in CK I didn't want to leave! God help me, it would be very easy to spend a fortune in there! More tomorrow peeps, just checking in with y'all.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

We apologise for this break in service

Hello all! It's been a while since I last spoke to you all - for those of you that don't know me well, I'm a  journalist in Aberdeen, so last week's events understandably got in the way. However I have still been pottering in a crafty fashion, so without further ado.....

Nigella's Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

This was part of my Time for Tea swap and it's a doddle to make! You simply melt down 350g of good dark chocolate (70% ideally) with some butter, add a tin of condensed milk, 100g of bashed up pistachios (get the shelled ones please, I didn't the first time and it took forever!) smooth into a foil roasting tin and chill until set, then cut up into small pieces.

Next, I proudly present Fifteens! These are a Northern Ireland thing as far as I know - certainly one mouthful sends me straight back in time. You need 15 digestive biscuits, 15 marshmallows, 15 glace cherries, a tin of condensed milk and some dessicated coconut. I changed things slightly, swapping cranberries for cherries (which I don't like) and used mini marshmallows as that's what I had in the house. However in the usual run of things you chop up the cherries and marshmallows, add these to the crushed biscuits and use the condensed milk to bind the mixture together. You won't need an entire tin - I really judge by eye once the whole mixture has come together. Then you place it on a clean surface - spread with coconut - and shape it into a log. Wrap it in clingfilm, chill in the fridge and cut into slices when set.

These are not the neatest example - it's been so long since I made them I forgot a few of the steps. Still taste fab though!

I have also been up to another project - using inspiration from two of the blogs I read - and I am incredibly excited as a friend is going to lend me her sewing machine so I can play about with it and see if I want one of my own!!!!

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

More tea vicar?

Well, here we are once again. I'm baking in the heat of Starbucks on a beautiful day in Aberdeen! The disadvantage of starting work at 5am is never knowing what the weather will be like so usually over dressing. This is the case today. However, I have been paid and i am basking in the glow of a successful swap! The lovely Vonnie came up with the Time for Tea swap and paired me with Pennie. My parcels arrived on Friday and Monday so the treat was spread out! We've got Yorkshire Leaf Tea, little silver beads and the most fabulous tea set ever!

A little close up of the cup and saucer.

And then Monday's treasures arrived. Funky origami paper, a tea strainer to use for my leaf tea and Twinings tea bags, which have already been put to their proper use.

If you want to see what Pennie got from me, you'd best head over to her blog. Suffice to say, the e-mail i got entitled woooooohooooooo leads me to believe she's happy with it!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

nice buns, fnarr, fnarr!

Hello gentle reader, I do hope you are well! Despite my predictions of gloom and disaster in my last post, Ireland did the business and we are now the grand slam champions. Sadly the days since then have NOT been spent in a cider soaked stupor, but you can't have it all! By way of distraction in the run up to the game (I don't do well during sporting events) I made these honey buns from Rachel Allen's 'Bake'. I wasn't completely thrilled, though I don't really like honey so it was a slightly stupid choice! iIreally made them for one of the guys at work and he seemed happy enough!

It's a fairly standard bun recipe - with honey replacing most of the caster sugar. The honey is warmed with butter, then added to the sugar and egg mixture, then flour and baking powder added to that. The icing again uses mostly honey and it took forever to set - it was still gooey 24hrs later! I found the buns pretty stodgy too. This is a common problem for me - I do ok with cakes as a rule but buns just aren't as light as I would like! I wonder if over mixing is the problem? Or am I under mixing?

Anyway, enough of such baking related concerns - I have been a busy bee recently and getting into jewellery making - specifically beading. This all came about when I found a bead store in Aberdeen and signed up for a beginnners course. I really enjoyed myself, so bought the basics and then looked at them on the other side of the living room for about a week. However, I finally got my act together and made something. No pictures just now as it's a gift and I don't want to spoil the surprise. Very nervous about it though - I do hope it goes down well! However I can show you the necklace I made for my mum during the class.

The pic isn't the best I'm afraid - the joy of the camera phone! It's a pretty simple design, with nice chunky blue beads that I know she'll like. For personal preference I like my necklaces a bit longer than this but it's right for mum. Here's a close up of the fastening. I had a small disaster with this when I managed to pull apart the jump rings I used initially but these have now been fixed.

I had thought about giving this as a Mothers' day gift but I wasn't organised enough. I shall give it to her the next time I'm home.

In the meantime I need to press on with Pennie's swap for Vonnie's 'time for tea' swap. Bit nervous about this too - hopefully I've put together a nice package.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

bloody vonnie*

doing all these swaps and making it sound so simple!

i must shamefully confess very little of mine is ready to go. however, having paid a quick trip over to my swapee's blog, she's in the same boat - phew!

a very nice (i hope) bolognese is puttering away on the hob just now and i'm off to make rachel allen's honey buns in a few minutes - anything to distract me from the impending rugby and my feelings of doom regarding said game . i'm convinced we're going to be classic ireland and throw it all away.

*i jest obviously my love - and not just because you're carrying a big weight advantage in any fist fight just now :)

Thursday, 19 March 2009

lovely lavender!

these lavender bags are terribly simple to make as there is no sewing involved. i made them with my brownie group on monday night as a mothers day gift and they were a great success.

i chose this lace because i thought it was pretty and i was on a budget since i was spending brownie cash rather than my own. i used a saucer to trace a template on paper, which i then pinned to the fabric and cut out my shapes. the lace was easy to trim and i had to make 18, so i folded over the lace to speed things up. in the pic above there's about a dessertspoon of dried lavender.

you gather up the bag and secure it with an elastic band - as above!

to make things a little prettier, add some ribbon et voila! alright, it's not the finest thing in the world but i like them and hopefully around a dozen mums in aberdeen will too!

photos as promised!

right, better connection today, so here is rachel allen's butter free sponge - recipe can be found in her latest book 'bake'. really simple to make and definitely one i will be trying again.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

the pen is mightier than

this is a roundabout way of saying there are no pictures with this entry, as it takes forever to upload them on the mobile broadband connection at home. actually, so far i've found blogger a bit slow to load pics - is it me?

anyway, there was indeed cakey goodness yesterday. as it was st patrick's day, nigella's chocolate guiness cake would have been ethnically appropriate, but i didn't have everything i needed and money is on the sparse side just now. so it was rachel allen's butter free sponge instead. this recipe appealed to me because i struggle with getting butter soft enough for creaming in cake recipes. this is down to living in flats without central heating and not just the frozen north east. egg yolks are mixed with caster sugar then water to create a batter with the consistency of mousse. flour is added to this, then egg whites. the result is a very light sponge which i sandwiched with whipped cream and lemon curd. i took it into work today and within 2 hours the plate was cleared - i am taking this as a thumbs up! hopefully tomorrow i will get to a more reliable connection and post some pictures. you can also look forward to lavender bags and possibly even lentil soup if i'm feeling REALLY generous!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

just wanna be your teddy bear!

this handsome chap is my lifelong friend and companion Coochie. I should point he/she (i've never really decided) was named when there was a popular kids toy called Poochie and I only became aware of the *ahem* other connotations when i was much older. Anyway! He's featuring today as the model of a hat I knitted, just to prove that I can actually do it! It was originally intended for the baby of one of the DJs i used to work with, but I got bored very quickly ( this will be a recurring feature) so the bear got it instead. 

I was taught how to knit a primary school and really enjoyed it but totally lost the skill. I restarted a couple of years ago but I don't think i've got a terribly good technique. I tend to find my stitches are very tight, I don't think I'm holding the needles properly and the whole thing tends to end in disaster and frustration. Maybe I should someone to show me! I would like to get better at it as I have a real hankering for a long, stripey scarf a la Tom Baker in Dr Who. I'd also like to learn crochet - it's classic me - 14 different things I would like to do and no ability to stick with any of it. Anyway, I'm hoping to bake this afternoon, so will hopefully return soon with some cakey goodness!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

getting to know you....and me!

after some encouragement from my friend yvonne and never one to miss jumping on a bandwagon, i have started a crafty blog.  i will hopefully post here once a week or so and i try to get into various crafting endeavours. i like card making, origami, jewellery making, i can knit a little bit and i'd like to learn crochet. i also adore baking - especially the works of the legendary nigella, but also a big fan of rachel allen's new book.

however, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so......HAI!