Friday, 26 September 2014

Blackberry Crumble Cake

Well actually it should be Gooseberry Crumble Cake but after seeing the cake over at Gina's at Fan My Flame I decided that a swap of fruit was ok and it turned out great and taste's even better!!
This is a Nigel Slater recipe and referred a lot to a food processor but I do not have one of those so I just got my hand whisk out and kept my fingers crossed.  
The juice of the blackberries, which Sophie and I picked during the summer holidays, made the sponge go a lovely purple and did not make the cake soggy.  
You basically make a sponge mixture, put the blackberries on top then add the crumble topping and bake in the oven.  The sponge goes up and the crumble keeps it all under control.  I smells great and I have had to really restrain myself not to eat it all!
As you can see we have been sampling it in our lunch packs this week.
I may have found another recipe for apples which may well go on to Baking To Do list in the coming weeks.
I am pretty much up to date with work for the day job so tonight I am going to colour plan my Granny square blanket and tomorrow we are off the the Creative Stitches Exhibition in Exeter.
Have a lovely weekend.
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Pocket Lockets - Opam

I have used the book above a lot over the past few years with my Textiles Club.  I have chosen projects out of and so have the students. The project shown here is my latest from this book and we made them a couple of years ago so I have I decided that it was time for another go.
So whilst waiting for my commission to go ahead I made the above and it is called a Pocket Locket using felt and ribbon.
The instructions are really clear and there are quite a few examples to get the ideas flowing.
There are templates at the back of the book and it does not take up very much felt at all.  The colour combinations are endless and the odd unwanted button could also be added to include another skill.
So this is my example to show my group and I intend on the students making a couple of these, one for their locker key and one as a present.
There are so many ideas in this book.  This is where the idea for Hoot and Toot came from.  It is available on Amazon and well worth a look if you have a young crafter in your house.
Take care

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Crochet Project Planning

I made these squares a couple of weeks ago and you can see from the difference in the squares that my finger was still not back to normal but I do think that I wanted possible four colours and then a row of black.  or would a 5th row give a better sized square?
With two squares made I wondered what I could with them.
So I think a couple of new coasters up in my sewing corner would be a useful so as not to mark the surface of my sewing table.  I was going to back them with fabric, but on second thoughts I do not think that it needs it.
I have a commission to finish and my Santa Sack swap to finish, I may need to put this on hold for a week or two.  I also want to see if I can come up with a colour scheme to maximise the colour combinations that I can create.
Anyway, I have just seen the first episode of Downton Abby so Autumn has really started for me and I wish you all a good week.  Another busy one for me again so not sure when I will be back but I do have a few planned posts in the pipeline.
It is my 7th blog anniversary this month but I am not sure if a giveaway is still fashionable.  Would anyone like to take part?
It is nice to have some happy post isn' it?  Let em know what you think

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Crochet Inspiration

I am hoping that by the end of the year I may have my own version of this............
There is many gorgeous examples of granny square blankets all over the Internet and the two other crochet blankets I have made are used a lot and I am sure a third will fit in very well.
helens colourful crochet
Choosing a colour combination was always going to be a problem.
My daughter would love me to make one like this.
However after months of trying to decide I have finally decided that the colours below
that I used for my bag appealed the most.
So I popped over to Attic24 and then ended up clicking on the wool link that she has for wool combinations that Wool Warehouse has devised based on her projects and I bought this.
I have not fully unwrapped it yet as I do not want the wool getting dusty before I have started.
I appreciate that this is not a very styled or elegant picture but with a cat in the house who rather likes wool I think you would agree that the plastic wrapping needs to stay on!
During my Internet trawl I did find other granny blankets which caught my eye.
Espcially this one which was made by Jade and whose web address is no longer sitting by my chair.  I really should stop trying to tidy up.
She made it for her husband and Jade says it has a 1970's feel about it.  I like the black edging a so some black wool was also purchased, but I do think that I shall be needing some more.
So this is my Autumn/Winter project in the evening when I can no longer see the sewing machine for the Santa Sack Swap and will be portable enough to take to my MIL or away at half term.  It is a long term project but seeing as my finger is almost back to normal ( I have another follow up appointment) I am hoping that crochet will give it a bit of low level exercise as well.
I think I shall do 5 colour rounds and then a black round and maybe 15 x 15 squares in size but I shall have to wait and see.
I know need to have a go at a tension/size square just to make sure.
Lovely weather outside so I am going to sit under the umbrella after I have finished keeping an eye on Sophie while she makes some buns and enjoy this lovely September that we having.
Have a lovely weekend and hopefully I shall be back tomorrow.

Friday, 12 September 2014

More Loom Band training...

Last weekend Sophie and I decided to spent some Mummy/daughter time together which means that Sophie gets to choose what we will do.
Well, the latest  craze for Sophie is Loom Banding.  In fact it is a craze that has actually lasted for many weeks now so I think it is here to stay for quite a while.
So, I had my second lesson in loom banding............
When we went to Plymouth last week I decided that if I can beat this loom banding I may as well join them so I bought the above loom at a Toy shop.  The hook is actually one of my crochet hook.  They were selling proper metal crochet hooks on the nearby stand just for Loom banding, I bet there has been a huge surge in the sale of these little tools!
Sophie thought that a couple of simple bracelets would make a good lesson so I ended up using this teeny weeny loom instead.
I found it quite fiddly and clearly my little finger is still not fully back to normal, it didn't like the small size of this loom.  However, I kept at it and I eventually ended up with a bracelet with a stitch that looked very similar to a single knit or crochet chain.
We then tackled a much harder bracelet called the Fish Tail and I thought it would like great in multi-coloured loom bands.  Looks quite tropical I thought.
The one I really liked and might actually use was the little flower at the top of the picture.  Very quick to do but you do need to get your colours the right way round as this was meant to be a daisy!
I enjoyed this session even if I did not really know what I was doing half the time and the fun that Sophie had in showing Mummy how to loom band was worth the state of confusion.  
Since last weekend Sophie has designed and made a Union flag using grid paper and her loom band skills.  it is brilliant!!
Sophie has also made other flower shapes which I hope she will show me this weekend.
I have bought some of these little loops for my Textiles club to use and see what we end up with.
I have only had three sign up so far but if I remember rightly this happened last year and I ended up with 15, so I shall keep my fingers crossed.
have a good weekend all

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Mystery Post! Art Journaling Inspiration.

The same day that my Raydori arrived so did the above hand painted envelope.  I help get some inspiration for my sketchbook and art journalling in general I decided to visit Jennibellies Est web shop and purchase one of her mystery packs.
The envelop is fascinating and all hand painted.
Some of the stamps were of interest because I have just finished my three ATC cards for the September Blissfull Art Group and the theme was Postage Stamps.
Inside there was a hand wrapped package in printed paper.

Insider was a selection of items all of which had been printed on high quality paper from original art work.
Advertising for a Ning page group that I am actually a member.  Link in my side bar.
Some inspiration postcards.
 A letter from Jenniebellie and a print of a hand made Zine, which is a little folded book.  
I have made similar versions with my students at school, in which they  have added objectives ob how to deal with social situations.  Is version is highly coloured and has lots of drawing and even as word search!
I would like to make some more of these and I wonder if they would work with fabric?

There are quotes and hand painted stickers which have been printed on lovely paper.
Quite a range of items to inspire my own  Art Journaling.  Due to laptop problems (again!) this weekend my poor Raydori has not yet been started but this little pack is ready as well as the lovely bits and pieces sent via my ATC swap partner.
There was one link between the two envelopes and that was the fact they both  contained images of butterflies, so perhaps that might be my starting point.  I shall let you know when and how I use the Happpy Post in my new sketchbook.

If you like Art journaling and mat need a little inspiration then pop over to Jenniebellie's Etsy shop which is called Paperclayjunkie.  There is lots more to see.
Best wishes
Have a good week.

Friday, 5 September 2014

My New Raydori- What colour is it?

I have been looking for an alternative to carrying various sketchbooks.  Having had a Malden filofax for 18 months, and use it every day for work, I decided to head off to Philofaxy to get some ideas and then You tube and various websites.
I found myself visiting My Life All in One PLace and found the posts about the Midori travellers notebook, this then led me to  look at You tube to see how they were being used. I then thought that this style of notebook was ideal, being able to add notebooks and archive them when they were finished.  The price did put me off, not really knowing whether I would like it and then the colours did not really do it for me.  
I then discovered that Ray Blake could make them and I got in contact.Several emails later the above arrived.
Wrapped carefully in tissue paper.
A surprise pencil with a clear lid.  Love that!
Oh , sticker upside down, sorry so impressed with the new pencil you see.
Some scraps of leather which I had asked if I could have if possible and I shall do a future post on this.
I asked for a deep purple.....and I was not disappointed.  It is lovely and my picture does not really do the colour justice.  I have a purple Malden, well two actually but we shall say no more on that and yes they are both in full use.  
There is matching purple elastic to keep all of the book closed, two slim bookmarks and two black inside elastics
I also took the option of having my initials added to the front. The leather is the softest I have ever seen and the colour ....well!  I could have made one of these but I could not find the leather and you do need to get the positioning of the holes etc just right, and I basically did not trust myself.
Plus a plain papered notebook inside with a blue cover.
The paper isIdeal for painting and printing in plus gluing in images and adding creative ideas.
I just kept looking at it and then I was really good and wrapped it back up again.
Well I had lots of work to do for the day job and if I allowed myself to be distracted then I would never get it done.
But it is now the weekend and guess what I shall be doing?
I shall be setting it up and deciding how I am going to organise this book and it is going to be my on-the-go sketchbook and will be used for many areas of Art and textiles that I do.
I have bought some inserts which I want to decorate and I shall come back and show you how and what I have done.
I dare say that one day I shall buy a full blown Midori but not just yet.  I managed to sell my Brown Zippered Collins personal size filofax so that has paid for this, therefore I am sort of guilt free.
I shall have hours of fun with this and I thought I would start with adding to the blue notebook cover with some white paint, not sure what design just yet.
So, thank you very much Ray, it is gorgeous and I shall really enjoy using it, looking at it and treasuring it.
Do you use your Midori Travellers Notebook as a sketchbook, journal or scrapbook?  How did you make that first move to actually draw or paint in it?
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Crochet Dish Scrubbie Tutorial

 I have been wanting to have a go at making some of these for some time seeing as my dishcloths have proven to be so useful.  I looked at many examples on the internet and in the end I just made it up as I went along.
Tutorial - The Indigo Bluw way:
Hook: 5mm
!00% Cotton yarn suitable for Dishcloths and Crochet.
A nylon body wash cloth or ruffle sponge.
Large wool needle.
To make the two circles I used the tutorial  Flat Circle over at Attic 24 using Double crochet stitch ( I like to look of this stitch) and crocheted 4 rounds and that seemed a good size to hold.
I then took the body scrub cloth (which was part of a present but I found it much too harsh on my skin) and cut it up into 1cm strips.  I had to knot them together to get one long length of "yarn".
I then made another flat circle, as best as I could as this stuff is not easy to handle, with a few knots showing through.
I stopped when it was just a bit smaller than the white cotton circles.
I then sandwiched the nylon circles inbetween the cotton circles and pinned through all of the layers.
I was going to hand stitch then together but then I thought that crochng the edges would add a better edge.
I did use a slightly different stitch to Attis 24 as I wanted the holes to be bigger allowing the soap to flow round more easily and I used the same stitch to go through the top loops of both circles and join them together.
I then hand stitched in the ends of the yarn to finish off .  I also popped a couple of stitches through all of the layers in the centre just to stop the layers from moving arund too much.
A new addition to the dishcloth family.
I have enough to make another one.
This little exercise gave my hand the excercise it needed and used up a bit more of my yarn.
Hope this makes sense to you.
Take care.

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