Monday, 28 February 2011

Half term busybees

We’ve been busy over half-term.

Busy being fed very well by Mamgu (ex-nutritionist, but excellent producer of lasagne/steak pie/welsh cakes/apple tart etc etc) and well-watered too (at around 5.30pm Mamgu wonders out loud if it’s G&T o’clock yet).
I did some sketches, hooray for using my sketchbook even though it’s scary:

Then, because coming home seemed a bit of a let down after all those calories, we made a lemon drizzle cake and ate it with blueberries and custard:

(pre-custard shot, before others sat down to tea - they think I'm mad photographing food).

I weighed the eggs (two of them) and used the same weight of sugar and SR flour, ¾ the weight in light vegetable oil, zest of the best of two manky lemons found at the bottom of the fridge (equivalent to one good one), whizzed it all up in the usual cake-making fashion then baked it in a lined 2lb tin for 35 minutes or so at 160°C (fan oven) – until a skewer came out clean. Kept it in the tin, poked loadsa holes all over the top and drizzled over lemon juice mixed with 3 dessert spoons of caster sugar. Yuhuhum and easypeasylemonsqueezy.

And today was an INSET day so the Girl tried her hand at free machining and found that she was quite good at it:

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Not so stuck part 2

Not content with going from completely and utterly stuckerooni to actually finishing something (see previous post) I've been on a workshop and actually finished the two days with a completed embroidery!

It's more than a little bit in the style of the tutor, Carol Naylor, but I don't care.  I am deeply chuffed.

Not so stuck part 1

I think I've hit on something.

I took some of my collage fabric paper stuff and used an idea from Cloth Paper Scissors to make some circles, but with the intention of using more stitch.

 But which way to arrange them?

I finally settled on this arrangement. I quite like it.

I could have added a lot more stitch, and I need to expand my repertoire of hand-stitches, but I’m very happy with the result.

It has given me an idea, which I’m going to work on during my half-term hols in Wales.

Definitely not so stuck anymore.  Hoobloominray!

Friday, 11 February 2011


I had a free morning.
I ordered a veg box, planned the meals for the coming week and ordered the groceries.
I baked some bread (and didn't follow my own directions, opting to try the hot baking sheet method - nice bread, shame about the teatowel).
I Googled no knead bread, trying to find a way to stop the dough sticking to the teatowel.  Flour and more flour is the answer.
Then what.  Do some embroidery...something for me....
I finished a beaded cord to wrap around my chicken wire chimney.  Wasn't sure I liked it. 
Someone phoned to talk to me about the Art Trail in July.  I think I'm signed up.  Better do something then.... what?
So I emptied a box file and found all these things.  And hadn't got a clue what to do next.

I quite like these, made on holiday last year:

and I don't suppose they need anything else doing to them.
I'm not sure what I can do with these pieces of muslin/collage/tissue but I like them:

The pink bit along the bottom is left over from a bookcover I made from the same stuff. I painted the collage with acrylic wax then stitched all over it with free machining and fancy pants automatic stitches. Shame it was over year ago.

At least there's an obvious colour theme, and it all looks quite nice on my table.

But now what?
I honestly haven't a clue.

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Thursday, 10 February 2011

Naked whippet


Naked whippet running with treasure (found dead tennis ball).
This was not the weather today.
Today we had coated whippet running in the rain with treasure (freshly killed rabbit...)

In other news:

Regime Change
Breakfast at 7.30 failed on the third day due to slack parenting.
However, using a timer for music practice has stuck, and is working exceedingly well.
Mission accomplished.
Think I've cracked this one now.
450g or 3 cups flour, ¼ tsp yeast, 1 heaped tsp salt in a bowl. Use a knife to mix the flour with 360ml or 1½ cups water to make a shaggy dough. Leave at room temperature for 12 plus hours - yes, twelve, or even more. Scrape the dough onto a floured worksurface and flip it about a few times to make a parcel - you will need well-floured hands, and the dough will be floppy but beautiful. Flip the parcel into a large loaf tin (I am currently using a Silverwood 2lb tin from diverse collection of loaf tins- it is bigger than a standard 2lb tin).
Cover and leave for 2 hours room temp.
After 2 hours, put tin in cold oven and turn on to MAX and set timer for 30 minutes.
Then turn oven down to 200C and bake for another 25 minutes.
Probably not as wonderful as the first ever loaf, but a darn sight easier than flopping it all about in teatowels and trying to get it to land on a scorching hot baking tray and not the floor.
And this is now our bread of choice.
Other foodstuffs
Thanks to Good Food magazine and Nigel Slater we have conquered pastry and made a lot of tarts.
We also know what to do next time there's a pound of cavelo nero or bunch of chard lurking in the fridge.

(half a tart, precariously balanced)

and finally,

I've been officially graded as "good"!! I'm not "outstanding", but neither am I merely "satisfactory". I think to be outstanding I have to show the students stuff on the overhead computer projector, and use role-play as a teaching technique...
Nevertheless, they all got the hang of whip stitch in a jiffy yesterday.
Breathe a sigh of relief, I was more nervous than them.
And one lady is still refusing to change her bobbin tension, but I'll beat her into submission by half-term.