Wednesday, 27 October 2010

OM NOM NOM

Yesterday and today has been full of bakey-bakey fun. The smilies above were what I did with what was left of the gingerbread mix after I'd finished making as many stars as I wanted to. There are so many tiny little stars! I may take them in to my lecture tomorrow and become the crazy baking girl. But I also had fun making my tiny little goth cakes, as pictured below. They have a yummy vanilla flavour (I panicked for a moment when I accidentally added way more vanilla essence than I meant to the mix, but then the delicious smell of vanilla wafted up, and all was well). The icing looks so yummy when it's still wet, it has such a lovely blood-like shine.
I also made some green ones too. Mainly because weak little me couldn't get the lid off the red food dye this morning. Luckily, a friend came round later and managed to open it.
And here are the little star cookies. I quite like baking tiny litle snacks, I've decided.

I'm rather impressed that they turned out as well as they did (lots of ways I could improve them, I'm sure), considering that my oven is rubbish. It's an old gas oven, no fan, and the only two temperature settings it has are 'low' and 'high'. Also, for the gingerbread recipe I followed one that was written in 'cups' and used another site to convert. I don't know whether the recipe was wrong or whether the conversion was wrong but after following it I ended up with something a lot closer to cake mix that gingerbread dough. I had to add a lot more sugar and flour to get it to turn into something I could actually roll out.

Of course, the best thing was the apple crumble that Domibaar made with the free windfall apples. But we ate all that before I could snap a photo of it.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Another Monday, Another Small Haul


My sixteen year old self would have been absolutely baffled to see how exciting I was over vegetables when I discovered a new Better Food Company shop had opened near me. My sixteen year old self wouldn't even have heard of a patty pan squash let alone wanted to cook with one. Though she may have acknowledge to awesomeness of the fractal Romanesco Broccoli. She would also have been baffled by my complete "Girlishness" in wanting more cake-baking trays and cookie cutters. Though she would perhaps have been slightly relieved to see me buying black cake cups and red food dye to colour the icing. We only walked past the new food shop because we'd gone to a Kitchen shop so I could buy Domibaar a birthday present (the chocolate cookbook and the marble board). And because we went to the Better Food shop instead of going down to Sainsbury's as we'd planned, we walked a different way home, and walked past a house offering free windfall apples. So the plan is for a host of yummy veg for tea, followed by apple crumble. My sixteen year old self is turning in her grave, bless her.
And since I've made enough blog posts already today (I really should try and space them more evenly over the week), I have a final picture. On Wednesday I was helping out with a Guiding centenary event. We spent several hours blowing up 500 balloons with LEDs in them, then fitting out a bunch of lanterns with glow sticks. It was a pretty fun night. I ended up bringing the glowsticks home to find out if they could be recycled rather than just throwing them away, along with a few LEDs from several balloons which inevitably burst, as balloons are wont to do when you throw 500 of them down from a balcony into a room of excited young girls.

Moebius Gloves

I'd had some Rowan Tapestry wool that I'd bought in a sale sitting in my stash for a while. I bought it intending to make Domibaar some gloves, and even had a certain pattern in mind (Pixelated Mushroom's Moebius mitts). But for one reason or another, I just didn't get round to making them. With Domibaar visiting this weekend, I figured I should set myself a goal of finishing them before he goes. So I did, and so I did.

For some reason I cannot fathom, despite being both the same length in terms of stitches, one looks a little smaller than the other. I actually sewed the twist in place when I was done, just so Domibaar would be able to tell which glove went on which hand (not that it seems to have helped). The pattern is simple and incredibly quick and I still have another ball of the tapestry wool left, so I need to think of something to do with that, now.

Hats, Hats, Hats

So, having bought the lovely King Cole DK Mirage wool last week, I had to do something with it straight away. I love hats, because usually, hats love me, so I figured a hat was indeed the way forward. I wanted a slouchy hate, because I've never had one, let alone made one before, so I found this pattern. It came out okay, technically. I added one more row of decreases than the pattern suggested and it still came out a little too big - it stayed on my head fine, but I would have liked it to feel a little more secure.

The main problem was that because of the colour changes in the wool, it started to look like a rasta hat.And the problem with rasta hats is that I just don't like them. I don't want to look like a rasta. So after umming and aahing for a bit, and trying the hat on in various different ways (letting it flop to the side more like a beret, etc), and being reassured by my friends that it looked just fine, I decided that even if it did look just fine, it looked like a just fine rasta hat, and I was never going to wear it, and therefore, it had to go. The good thing here was that being a slouchy hat, it had used more wool that most other hats would, so if I just unravelled it, I'd have enough wool to make most other hats. So unravel it I did.

I decided, slouch hats being out for this wool, that I would try instead a pattern I tried a few months ago and just couldn't get right - Kristy Ashmore's Diamond Ridges Hat. This time I found it a lot easier. Probably just because I took a little bit more time to read the pattern before diving in. So if you're trying this pattern, reading the instructions carefully is definitely something I'd recommend. But I finally have a hat I can wear! And enough wool left over to make some matching gloves (one completed, one to go).


Monday, 18 October 2010

Shiny new things! YAY!

So this morning I took a trek along Gloucester Road, to go to the bead shop, wool shop, and general craft shop. In the bead shop I picked up a single bead for use in a bookmark I have to make for a bookmark exchange over on Elftown, a set of three pliers so I can venture into the rather cool world of chain mail, and some jump rings for the same purpose. In the wool shop I picked up some double pointed needles, two sets of circular needles and four balls of wool. Two of them, at least (the black and purple aran balls) I had plans for - the project for which I was also buying the needles. The other two (the yellow-orange-purple-red angora and the funky purple-green DK) I just fell in love with and therefore had to buy. Project plans can come later. Talking to a crochet friend later today, I discovered she'd done exactly the same thing with the same two wools. Great minds think alike? (Or fools run in the same track?). In the craft shop I ogled their thread display, but restrained myself to buying two sheets of card stock, again for the book mark mini-project.

By the time I got home, I'd already thought of a hat I wanted to make with the Dk wool (it's from King Cole's Mirage range), but I pretty much had to dump my stuff and dash off to lectures. Yay for 4-6 PM lectures. Can you hear the enthusiasm?

After that I got back, grabbed some tea and headed of to the UoB Knitting Soc meeting. This session was for beginners who don't know how to knit, but since I can't make the normal sessions and they were offering a free ball of wool and needles, I went along. I took the Mirage wool and the pattern I'd fished out for it along with me, intending to just sit back and crochet whilst the rest learnt to knit. But when I got there the few people who did know how to knit were vastly overwhelmed by the newcomers who didn't, so I spent the entire evening teaching people how to knit. Which was fun, but rather scary. I don't think I'm a very good teacher. At least not for knitting. I'm sure lots of them won't come again, but hopefully a few will. By the end of the evening the group I'd been helping had all learned to cast on, knit, and purl, albeit still rather unevenly. I've ended up walking roughly about 7.5 miles today and I haven't just rubbed up blisters on both ankles, I've popped them too. Taking the socks off was rather painful, but I guess it's worth if for. I'm determined to cosy up by the fire and start this hat before I go to bed, though. I'd hoped to start playing around with the chain mail stuff too, but I guess that can wait 'till tomorrow.


Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Rabbit Leaps, The Turtle Swims



*creeps shame-facedly back in* I didn't die over the summer, but it wasn't anywhere near as productive as I'd hoped, either. I spent most of it trying to catch up with the reading goal I'd set myself for this year (100 books. It's still not going to happen, but at least I finally finished War and Peace) I did, however, produce rather a lot of art (for me, that is, it was only 4 pieces). The above being one of them, and a highly unusual piece for me in that I just started doodling and adding stuff with no real plan. You can see more of the art here.

I did also start crocheting some gloves for the winter with some Rowan tapestry wool. Such lovely colours. So frustrating to use! I usually have a problem with gloves in that, having tiny wrists, the gloves are always really loose and baggy around my wrists. 'One size fits all' evening gloves do NOT fit all sizes. On me, they gather and clump in a stupid way around my wrists. Obviously, these aren't evening gloves, but still. I like a snug wrist fit. So that's what I aimed for when I started making up these gloves. Because they're going to be so snug around my wrist, I couldn't just work round and round - if I did that, I wouldn't be able to get my hand through the wrist part without stretching it out of shape, so: buttons. Button up gloves. Classy.



In retrospect, tapestry wool wasn't the best wool to choose to just make the pattern up as I went along in. Lots of undoing. Lots of knotting. Lots of frustration. Which, I guess, is why I took a break from them for a long while after finishing the first glove. Hopefully, with winter just around the corner I'll have the incetive to pick them up again. The one I've made is still not perfect. it fits around the wrist, but it's a ittle loose around the thumb. *sigh*