dream the impossible dream

 

dream the impossible dream

 

and so, with crochet as my foe, even though my arms were weary, i tried to reach the unreachable. and you know what? its a piece of piss! I CAN CROCHET. here’s the proof. ok so this is a little weak, but it’s my very first attempt at ‘teach yourself to crochet at home by just making it up as you go along’.

dream the impossible dream

Jo, from the stirchley branch of the crafty muthahood, has been ‘struggling’, shall we say, to master the intricacies of crochet (though who needs crochet when you can make your own irish cream liqueur!) and has resorted to a children’s book for guidance. i was trying to grapple with her dainty workmanship at a recent crafty night (it was something as basic as pulling a hook through a loop i think) when it suddenly clicked. a light went on. the mist fell from my eyes. blah blah blah, as my youngest would say. i went home determined to try and beat this crochet thing. my second attempt was even prettier.

dream the impossible dream

 

then i made myself a cuff/bracelet because frankly its freezing and warm things around my pulse points are very appealing. i even managed this tiered effect by holding the work the wrong way round i think!

dream the impossible dream

and then i decided to really go for it and make a dinosaur for young sonny’s t-shirt. and this is what i love about crochet. you can just make it up. freestyle wherever you want to go. its just looping wool! that’s all! this isn’t the actual dinosaur i’m going to put on the t-shirt, i think i have a better one in me. i’m not even sure how to attach it, but you know what? who cares? i can make chains. i can double crochet. half treble, treble treble, heck i can even quindoodle (i made that up) but armed with wool, one little hook and no recognisable technique at all i can make stuff that pleases me. and that is why my friends, in a weird andy williams and yazz mash up style, having reached the unreachable star, for me, the only way is up.

do not go gentle into that snowy night…..

well despite the worst the weather could throw at us, Thursday’s inaugural Bearwood Tapestry went really rather well!

Five to 8 saw the 5 of us sitting together round a small table in the middle of the function room above the Bear looking increasingly anxiously at each other as we each received text after text along the lines of “really sorry girls, but I’m not going to make it tonight now due to the snow”…..

And then they came!  First the youngest at 11 weeks, and some die-hard crafty ladies, and some newbies, and even two strangers who didn’t know anyone else and had heard about it on the Bearwood Blog (www.bearwoodblog.wordpress.com)!

Around 20 or so of us chatted, drank, ate cake, listened to some tunes courtesy of Jez’s collection and did some craftiness in some good company.  Tidy.

Bring on next month when those who were prevented from coming due to the freaky snowstorm come along in their droves! 

rainbow cake!

last week, my daughter eleanor turned 3 years old. we don’t really get her loads of gifts for her birthday… but one thing that is for certain is this: i bake her a cake. every kid should have a cake on their birthday.

this year i was inspired by the internet to try out a rainbow cake. that photo looks so amazing, but i knew straight off the bat i could never make it look that good. look at the icing… there’s some serious skills and tools to make it look that smooth. i’ve embraced the fact that everything i make will have a rustic feel to it.

after borrowing a couple of cake tins from jennie and making sure i had 6 different colours of food dye, i set to work. it took me a whole day. by the end of it, i was feeling pretty tired and not sure how it was going to turn out. i won’t lie… i was wishing i’d just bought a box of betty crocker cake mix. the food dye was natural, so the colours didn’t seem as strong, and i wished the icing i’d made was thicker… but…

the next day, after singing happy birthday, blowing out the candles, and cutting into the cake… this was the result:

totally and completely worth it. it tasted good too, if i do say so myself!

alright, i didn’t use the recipe on the blog post i linked to above. i used the recipe here: http://www.joyofbaking.com/WhiteCake.html (without the jam filling.)
i made two batches, divided each batch into 3, added food colouring, and the rest you can figure out, i’m sure.

happy birthday, ellie!

my latest makes

Well i haven’t been on for ages and posted my most recent makes, so like Ceri there are quite a few.

  Firstly the lovely Ellie’s scarf and card for her birthday, i really enjoyed making the scarf as it was my first attempt at Moss Stitch, and with the bargain wool Ceri grabbed for me in the sales, which knitted up beautifully, I was i have to say, pleased as punch.  The card i did with my now growing collection of buttons…seriously i think i am developing a bit of a problem with buttons…can you get addicted?  do they have a button lovers anonymous???

  Then the cake, i first tried this cake from the Hummingbird Bakery book again at Ceri’s (god you’re good), and was having some special friends round for afternoon tea…when did my life get so quaint??? anyhoo, knocked this bad boy up, and thankfully it turned out a treat, it is so nice…too nice, i actually felt my waist growing with every bite.

  Then onto my little hearts which started out as little brooches, and then I decided to put some on cards for Valentines day, i have sold some to friends at work which is nice.

  Off now to make my little boy’s lost boy outfit for school on Friday and finish some more hearts….goodnight y’all. x

i-cord i happy

as you may have gathered from ceri’s post about the crochet workshop some of us (me) don’t respond well to being taught. i left school at fifteen with some o levels but since then have pretty much picked up everything i know on my own. i like to find my own way, which is usually not the right way, but it’s how i like it. i’m just too old to change my ways now. i will return to crochet one day i’m sure, if i ever regain the use of my left hand, but feeling a bit of a failure after that session i decided to try i-cording instead. i just read the instructions on about .com (http://knitting.about.com/od/knittingskills/qt/icord.htm) way easier and useful too. so this little jean pocket bag which i made for ellie’s birthday combines both the abandoned crochet rings and an i-cord.

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what really pleased my simple mind was that when you turn the bag upside down you can pretend its a little house for your little people. that’s what i’d do if i was three anyway!

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now i want to share another fantastic recipe in response to ceri’s post about her failed lemon curd. this is not delia’s lemon curd. i’d normally turn to delia for the classics but this is unlike any other lemon curd recipe. easy and extremely lemony. i doubled it for christmas and still only got a few jars worth but this is so simple you could make it every week. i’m not going to write it all out – here’s the link. www.finecooking.com/recipes/lemon_curd.aspx you start off almost like making a cake which seems really weird but you end up with smooth un-curdled lusciousness perfect for filling cakes and mixing into yoghurt or ice-cream or just spreading on your toast. and if anyone reading this is coming to ‘the bearwood tapestry’ event on 18th feb you can sample some because i’m making a lemon curd drizzle cake.

Pastedgraphic

we’re going on a (creative) Bear(wood) hunt

calling all the creative people of Bearwood and beyond! Come and join us for an evening of cake, craftiness, chatting and connecting in the room above the Bear from 8pm on Thursday 18th February.

“the Bearwood Tapestry” will meet monthly on the third Thursdays – bring anything you like – projects you are doing, books/images that inspire you, you can even bring your friends and family!

Grab a beer from the bar as you pass through on your way upstairs and let your creative juices flow!

Do you take photos, write, bake or sculpt? it’s not all knitting, crochet and felt you know (but if that’s your thang then that’s cool too)….

fruits of my labours

hell, this has been a productive few days!

First off I managed to make a dinky pair of mittens on string in time for Miss Ellie’s 3rd birthday (can’t wait til Erin posts a pic of that CAKE on here! nuff respect!), which I was quite pleased with, but hope they fit! The colourway certainly fits with the cake!

Then I made a couple of corsages while watching Children of Men on Saturday night with my hubby – one for a friend’s birthday the next day, and the other to match a friend’s coat and hat.  Handed them over today and they were both thrilled, which is a nice feeling.

Sunday Lili was off being a domestic goddess with CM Rachel, decorating cakes and gingerbread men, and making truffles, and L & Lula went swimming, so I spent two hours working creatively on my job appeal (almost took photos but never want to see it again, so didn’t!), with papers spread over the entire dining table to “organise” my thoughts….

Then I began the cooking spree – I made plum jam, veg soup (sweet potato, red onion, leek and carrot), tomato and pepper sauce and my first attempt at lemon curd.  I think I need to practice that as I ended up with bits of scrambled egg in it….. picking out the bits of white meant I only ended up with two jars….  What did I do wrong Jen?!  Should I have beaten them a bit more before adding them, or was my pan too close to the water?  Haven’t tasted it yet, but the plum jam was delish on porridge and I am having the soup for lunch all this week!  I do love how good the jars all looked together on the window sill, but you get the idea how long it all took as the sky is dark outside!!

At midnight, I made some birthday cards for birthdays this week and next.  I love this birdie stamp, it’s by www.heroarts.com.  Recycled a gorgeous box I had received a present in from my lovely friend Kate for my birthday to package the jam and corsage gift, as the box was particularly apt for the recipient.

Now just have to decide what to make myself with the delectable wool that came for me in that box!  Oooh decisions!

Finally, as a catch up here are some pressies I hadn’t finished or photographed before!  Clare’s tartan corsage looking fabbifun on her grey lapel, and Nini’s intricate angora scarf – thank God it’s still threatening to snow….! And then there’s the little hanging heart I made for nini’s pink micro Xmas tree. Phew!

 

 

creative cows

well we had our first crafty muthas’ training day a few weeks ago, courtesy of the lovely ladies over at creative open workshops (www.creativeopenworkshops.com) at the custard factory.

none of us really knew how to crochet (well, it turned out some of us knew better than we’d thought, and others really couldn’t be taught…!) so we opted for a crochet ring necklace session, which was a right laff and ended up with three of us leaving wearing our creations!

the photos give a flavour of the night (yum, hazelnut cakes!).  Thanks to Denise and Francine, and I cannot believe you caught that train, Denise!