Monday, 28 June 2010

How to dry a shallot

My improvised shallot and garlic drying rack! As devised at 9.45pm when gardening at dusk, the only time cool enough to do anything outside.

Meanwhile, I am dyeing a pop sock in a jam jar:

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Sampler cushion

So I've finally finished it; the thing just wouldn't lay down and die - first the panel was too small for my cushion pad so I needed to extend it - which involved dyeing more fabric - then it was a bit too big, which called for some tricksy sewing....and then I had to finish off the ends of the cords, and couldn't be bothered anymore to make I decided to make organza flowers instead, and spent a frustrating half-hour before breakfast wondering why my embroidery hoop of organza kept jolting, until I realised I still had the feed dogs up - and this is to demonstrate machine embroidery skills to prospective students! Ho!

Here is one of the wretched organza flowers:

and here is some cable stitch writing (and a whippet paw) that only got cut off a little bit...(the writing not the paw):

All shamelessly Pam Watts-esque, as it woz her who taught me to do this stuff...

Monday, 21 June 2010

Displacement activity

I have just discovered dumpr. What fun!

This is my displacement activity, because I should be finishing a panel for a machine embroidery taster sesh that I'm teaching on Wednesday. The idea is to demo the sorts of things you can do with machine embroidery, and I thought I would make a cushion rather than yet another sample book. Unfortunately, I don't seem able to finish it - just when I think I'm there, I realise something else needs doing. Now it is too SMALL for my cushion pad (cheapo salvaged from charity shop cushion, so size non-negotiable). As a result I have a cat litter tray full of wet turquoise, as I didn't have any suitable fabric to extend the sides of the panel without creating some myself. I will then do some cable stitch writing on it, something exciting like "machine embroidery techniques"...oh I'm full of imagination today...

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Bucket Barbeque

Finally got round to using our bucket barbeque to burn some sausages this evening. Someone had the genius idea to do our pudding (drop scones with butter and cinnamon sugar) on the barbeque by balancing the griddle pan on top, instead of standing by the stove being lonely. I may have ruined my non-stick, but it worked!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Quiet spaces

This is the other thing that has been occupying me of late: our summer house, finally lined and insulated a couple of weeks ago. I spent half-term wrestling with cans of expanding foam and tubs of filler and vats of paint, to finally create our quiet space.

We call it "Ti Izel", Breton for "low house" - because it's at the bottom of the garden. It is to be our quiet space - our space away from the house, a space to meditate, a space with

no telephones
no computers
no violins or pianos or radios.

But apparently not

"no whippets"...

Happy Birthday to me!

A rainy day for my 40th birthday. How apt some might say, but I'm feeling philosophical and grown-up. What's happened?

My cake is the ultimate in naughtiness, but it is very good...if a little damp around the bottom. I thought I could do cakes? Maybe that's the first thing to go with old age. Blueberries, anyone?

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Don't try this at home, folks

I have been working. As in out to work, pacing the exam hall and looking fierce yet supportive. It's nice to have a sit down now.

I made myself Significant Birthday Cake no. 1 today. I used a recipe from the internet, tweaked to make it fit in my tins. It involved custard powder for some reason, which intrigued me. My butter was too firm, so I put it in the oven to "soften". Ten minutes later, I had ghee. I couldn't be bothered to wait for it to resolidify, so bunged it all in the food mixer after about half an hour. The cakes rose magnificently, then collapsed into sad heaps with droopy edges as they cooled. I cut into one just to "see" and wished I hadn't. The bin men come tomorrow.

Birthday Cake no. 2 has just emerged from the oven, replete with blueberries and lemonyness, and is looking like an altogether more hopeful start to my fifth decade...