Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas cake 2010

I had no clue what to do  on my cake this year and then it came to me as I was trudging through snow and ice the other day.  I always make the cake myself and give it a good drinkie of brandy (to preserve it of course) and then spend hours agonising over what to do for the decoration.
After a few hours of faffing, this is the result - pics aren't very clear though, sorry.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Not sure where November went!

It really doesn't seem long since I posted but the time has flown by and we're into December already.  Other than working, I've been doing a bit of playing here and there - mostly crochet and playing with my new 200 recipe cookie book :-)

I did go to visit my friend Liz in Hastings though, and look what I came home laden down with!  Liz managed to be in the right place at the right time when a wool shop had some stock ruined by a flood - all salvageable but not to be sold.  She rootled around in a skip apparently (I'm very proud of her for that, but glad I was in Portugal or I'd have had to be in there with her) and spent ages carefully washing her treasures.  Bless her, she showed me her finds and gave me, yes gave me all these beautiful yarns.  Aren't I the lucky one - thanks Lizzie.

Anyway, after a cuppa, much scoffing of biccies I'd taken with me and a lot of oohing and aahing at yarns and the beautiful things she creates up in her eyrie, she decided that sitting around nattering just wasn't allowed and I was going to do some papercrafting (at which I'm really rubbish, and try to avoid  like the plague).  I can't take any credit for the pleated star as she'd already done that bit, but I spent a very happy couple of hours cutting, gluing, sticking and colouring-in.  Not bad for a novice, but then I had a good teacher, lol.

It was a good job I went over to Hastings when I did because the weather turned foul after that and it was bitterly cold, even down here on the south coast.  I should've known better than to say we had no snow, nothing, zip, nada.  This was taken at about 9pm and I thought that'd probably be it

This was the result the next morning - 7 inches of snow which did not budge at all for the next 3 days.  Luckily for us, it rained heavily last night and it's all gone - our council isn't exactly what you'd call good at gritting/salting roads and pavements and the trudge to and from work the past week has been pretty horrendous.

Still, a girl has to cheer herself up when it's horrible outside and I had a recipe for Bailey's and white chocolate fudge which had been niggling at me for a few days.  I haven't made fudge for at least 30 years and I'd forgotten just how easy it is.

In went the cream, sugar and Baileys - melted and stirred slowly over a low heat until the sugar dissolved

Brought to a rolling boil with great big unruly bubbles and then turned down slightly

Stirred occasionally until the bubbles were smaller and more even and a small amount dropped into a glass of cold water formed a ball which could be scooped out without dissolving

Stirred in chopped up chocolate (I'd probably chop it even finer or even melt it next time).  It reduced to a lovely thick gooey, gorgeous-smelling concoction..

Finally - into the tin, smooth the top and wait patiently (not) to cut into chunks and then scoff delicately at every opportunity :o)

I took some into work this week and was told it was the best fudge they'd ever tasted.  The texture was really good and it sort of melts on your tongue, but for me there wasn't enough of the Bailey's flavour and I think I'd prefer a mix of milk & plain choc as the white choc was way too sweet for my taste.
The recipe I used can be found here.  Enjoy!

So, now the snow has disappeared, hopefully our supermarkets will start getting supplies again and I can trundle off in the next week or so to buy more ingredients to play with.  Life's a swine sometimes isn't it, lol.

Well, I've done the housework and it's raining/sleeting hard so I think it's time for playing hooky making crochet snowflakes for my friend's shop display, a nice cuppa and maybe the odd piece of fudge.
Have a lovely weekend x

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 13, 2010

18th birthday cake

Today is my beautiful niece's 18th birthday (doesn't seem possible!) and I was asked to make the cake.
After a bit of a major disaster (had to make a second cake late last night as the first one sank, and not blowing my own trumpet, but my cakes don't normally do that!) I was up at 7am this morning trying to work out what to do for decoration.

A bit bleary-eyed about 4 hours later, this was the final result - a rich chocolate cake with ganache covering, topped with sugar paste flowers and white chocolate shavings. I made 2 smaller "cakes" for the sides to hold the candles - the "E" candle was a sparkler one and I didn't want the sparky bits going all over the chocolate.

I managed to get it to the restaurant in one piece thanks to a lovely cab driver who drove very carefully after I pointed out he may not want to work the rest of the day covered in a pink/white/brown gooey mess, lol.
Stuffed as we all were after a lovely meal, everybody managed a sliver (or 2) so it seemed to go down very well.

Next week it's going to have to be Christmas cake weekend or it won't have time to absorb all the brandy I'll treat it to in the run up to the big day :-)

Off to slump on the sofa now to wait for the effects of the wine and choc cake to wear off :o)
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Playing hooky

Well, finally Picasa and Blogger are working together on my computer, so here we go!

Now then, a girl just has to take some yarns and crochet hooks with her when she goes away. This is the result and I'm a little bit chuffed with the way the colours and the pattern have worked together. Yippee! something I quite like at last, lol.
I made the whole thing in one week (and then ignored it for a bit because of all the ends to sew in) but I actually finished it.
Thanks again to Solveig for the inspiration :-)

I played around with the African flower pattern and made myself a little bookmark

Stand by - here come the doilies (and there are more lurking unironed in my suitcase which I've yet to unpack)

I'm a bit cross with my lack of photography skills on the next one - it was a lot prettier in real life

And finally, here they are - what you've all been waiting for - this year's Diabolicals.  Heehee.

I think that's it for now - I'm having a trial run of a yummy chocolate ganache cake which I've been asked to make for my niece's 18th in a couple of weeks' time.  It was my Mum & Dad's anniversary this week so it's a perfect excuse to try out a cake don't you think?  Pics to follow (if it works, lol).
See you soon!

Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Stash-busting hooky and a bit of baking

Inspired by this pattern and blog (thanks for sharing the pattern Solveig) I was a bit bored yesterday afternoon so I whipped this up.  It will be a cushion cover, honest - the sides are already joined together and ready to go, but my camera has just died.  The optical illusion you get from this pattern is amazing - edge it in a light colour and you get a star effect, edge it in a dark one and you get a pinwheel.  Very clever.  I will adapt the pattern slightly though so that the edges aren't quite so wonky.

So, with that pattern in mind, I trotted off to the wool shop on Friday, to stock up on a few yarns to make a blanket in Portugal.  All of this cost me less than £10, and even though it's acrylic, it's really soft and doesn't squeak when you work with it :-)  I've been a VERY good girl and haven't touched it, even though my fingers have been beside themselves to get going.

And finally, this week's baking - more oaty bakes, this week made with whizzed up blueberries and peaches.  Not quite as yummy as last week's but I'll soldier on.

And on that note, I'm off to Portugal for a little holiday.  Ahh, happy hooky, beady and reading time all to myself.  Bliss.
See you soon. Jo :-)

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bakey, hooky, croapy and beady stuff

It's been a while since I blogged, but I've been busy doing other stuff.....

I'll start with some yummy Sunday baking - a tray of oaty bakes made with coconut, dried apricots and some white-fleshed necatrines which I whizzed up in my new gadget.  They smell gorgeous and I've had to sample 2 bits just to make sure they taste ok.  They're a bit squidgy in the middle but I'm not complaining :o)

Right, down to business.  This was a little lap blanket I made for my Mum.  I forgot to take a pic when it was finished, but you can get the general idea.  I edged it in dark brown with one narrow row of the other colours.  Mum loves it - now just got to make another for the other room.  Oh, and one for my sister, etc etc!

Then there's the slight flower scarf addiction I seem to have developed lately (Emily, I know you're with me on that one!).  The annoying thing is that ALL of these yarns claim to be "double knitting" thickness - look how different they all are!

Then there's a stash-buster lap blanket I thought I'd do for my niece who has splashes of bright pink in her bedroom.  Yet another WIP....

Oh, and there's a shrugelero thingy, just another WIP...... all those wonky squares have got to be sewn together and made into a curvy edging. 

Then, there's this luscious stuff lurking in my stash.  When my sis asked me what I'd like for my birthday as we happened to be sitting in a coffee shop next door to the yarn shop...well, I didn't physically drag her to the display, but you get my drift :o)

That's all the hooky stuff for now. There is a shawly wrap thing lurking too, but there are far too many of those offending loose ends to sew in yet.

And so, after almost a year, I finally croaped.  Oh yes, my croap crown is safe, and I am indeed the Croap Queen.  I so want to be a decent soapmaker when I grow up.  They NEVER turn out like the image I have in my head.  Quite why I get such bad ash on the tops is beyond me too. 
The blue one is scented with "Blue Amberwood" which is a lovely spicy unisex scent, but for some reason the FO misbehaved and has left brown traces in the soap.  It's also going through the curing stage still so I expect that yellowish colour to change again.
The purple one is scented with Geranium & Lavender.  It's a new FO from Jo, and it behaved beautifully in CP soap, and is holding the scent well so far.
Neither soap has palm oil in, but is loaded with shea butter and other goodies.

This is the purple one before it went through the gel process.  Quite interesting how the colour changed afterwards.  Those "peaks" didn't last too well, but never mind.

And finally, how's a girl ever supposed to get anything done when they keep issuing mags like this, and she keeps getting reminders from people that they're waiting for the jewellery they were promised.  I'll have to have a beadfest when my poorly neck gets sorted out.  Yipppppppppeeeeeeee.

Well, I think that's me for now.  No doubt I've forgotten something and will get told off by Lizzie.  
Think I'll go and sit in the sunshine with a cuppa and a smallish chunk of oaty bake while my horrid neighbours are out and it's nice and quiet.

Hope you're all having a lovely Sunday.  TTFN.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yummy yarn and some AFOs!

When I visited Lizzie a couple of weeks ago, she took me to a lovely little yarn shop she'd discovered.
Lurking in the bargain bin was this yummy yarn. It's not silk or cotton but it's got a beautiful feel to it (splits like mad but you can get past that bit if you try). Any guesses what it's made from?

Anyway, being the patient soul I am, I ditched all other WIPs and UFOs immediately to dive in and have a go. I have a huge dislike of sewing in ends etc so I found a join-as-you-go pattern (yay!) which I adapted to make a wide wrap. My aunty saw it half-finished and snaffled it! I made her a floppy flower brooch to hold it together, and here's my lovely little Mum modelling for me :-) Now all I have to do is make another one for little ol' me.

Here's where the AFOs come in - yes, blogland, I have some Actual Finished Objects. Oh, I'm so proud of myself, lol.

While the camera's out, my aunty asked me to make her a couple of flower brooches, so I had a play and came up with these 2.

Right, off to mess about with the 3 scarves, doilie and almost-done wrap I've made this past week while I've been off work with a horrid virus :-)
Posted by Picasa


Blog Widget by LinkWithin