... because life's too short to do anything ALL the time . Creativity and positivity are my "hiraeth"

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Cooking on Gas (Unfortunately)

Next time I have to buy an oven (soon, the way this piece of crap is going) I am SO buying a fan oven.

I've had multiple failed bakes in the thing as it deems itself to be on too low so switches itself off. Lovely. I need to invest in an oven thermometer - I'm not convinced it's running at the right temperature.

But, two duff batches of sour dough starter (that turned out to not be dead and I have since learned how to give it the kiss of life) and one successful one later, then two duff loaves (I accidentally bought the wrong flour - but the dogs love it!) I have a loaf of sour dough bread and guess what? IT'S LUSH.

But when I did actually buy the correct flour it had a dead easy bread recipe on the side, so I thought I'd give that a go too. So, crack of sparrows fart, I was up AGAIN kneading. Result? Also lush.

I've been on a baking mission of late, for "secret reasons" and am building up a freezer full. Yesterday I did scones and date (left over from Christmas) and walnut cake, two of the badgers.

Oh, and I started making some PILLOW ROLLERS last night, a quilt and some pants. All of which above averagely successful. I can't seem to settle on anything at the moment - I want to be doing it ALLLLLL!

Anyway, must dash, got some left over fabric, could do with a frock for Friday and it's 20:45 on Wednesday. Eek.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Jaded Images

I promised you better dress photos.... look at these bad boys! Thanks to Jaded Images for allowing me to show you these shots. I think they're just lovely.

Model's not bad either :-D


Saturday, 21 January 2012

Yeast, Mischief and Frocks

This week I have been mostly battling with yeast.

I got given one of these German friendship cakes by my friend Helen a few weeks ago and it was such good fun and without doubt the loveliest cake ever that I wanted to make another.

So I did some research, lots of research, as I'd long harboured a desire to make sour dough bread a la Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall or whatever his name is. He was harping on about it a while back and aside from it looking well tasty it looked like a really lovely process.

I've very nearly thrown the stuff out of the window in the last couple of days, and, as usual it's all my own fault.

I naively thought that given that my yeast was hermetically sealed and un opened, the fact that it was six years out of date shouldn't make a difference. I'm not one to believe in "sell by dates", but on this, I have had to concede defeat. Six years out of date is a bit much. Who'd have thought it, eh!?

SO I think I'm onto a winner now. I've got a bowl of cake starter bubbling away nicely, and a bowl of bread starter also bubbling away nicely.

I very nearly did myself a mischief this week re upholstering a chair. Just for the record, I did not enjoy doing it one bit. I don't know why (perhaps I'm just not in the very best of frames of mind at the minute - I'm having a day off today, normal service should be resumed soon) and after paying a bloody good Chiropractor called Simon (see me for details - he really is marvelous) perched on the edge of the sofa upholstering, I very nearly undid all of his good work, and had to go and have a lie down.

I am sooooooooooo looking forward to my next appointment. Nothing like it in the world. 

Looks alright though.

Aaaaaaannnnnnnndddddddddd I finally got Meg's 50's inspired frock finished. Now don't look at her miserable face on this, just look at the frock! I had accosted her in the middle of the night when she just wanted to crawl into her scratcher and made her put it on. I'm sure uber-photographer Mark Coxon will come up with something much nicer he might let me use - seeing as it's being featured in a photo shoot today (and I can't be arsed with photography any more :) 

Today, if you want me, I will be mostly on my sofa, covered in Labradors and Spaniels, a vintage lilac gingham wool blanket, and my tea pot print cushion. Good luck getting me vertical.


Friday, 13 January 2012

Niffs, Whiffs, Woofs and Wind

Today I discovered that hormones and power tools do not mix.

Especially when it involves the misplacing of the chuck key. As any DIYer knows, a power drill ain't much use without one. This is the first time I've properly lost it since I assumed responsibility for all the household tasks, therefore I cannot blame my man - he has played no part in it's loss.

It's those bloody lady boy plate cake stands. That was the last time I had it was when I was making them. I reckon I must have been so physically and mentally exhausted from the ordeal that I put it away somewhere safe as a result of the delirium. 

My friends think it's hilarious that I've started to take personal offence at the high winds we've had over the last few months.

This puts me in mind of a question I heard on Never Mind the Buzzcocks. It was a "which of these three ridiculous statements are true?" question and it turned out to be that in the 1980's while on tour Elton John demanded that "something be done about the wind" that was keeping him awake. Oh lord, does that mean I have to start wearing bad wigs and mental glasses now? (Sounds alright actually....)

Well, my poor out houses. My poor summerhouse has had some of her felt blown off the roof, and my poor shed's door has been blown off three times (a lot of blowing off goes on around here) so, armed with a few t-hinges, and bolts, I set out to repair said door.

But I couldn't find the chuck, then I couldn't glue the splintered bit back on, then some timber I had cut up to improvise with wouldn't glue either because it was too wet ... at this point, the dogs are all hiding under the patio set as I flail around hormonally harrummphing and slamming stuff. Steve then starts whistling which has two effects, firstly makes me want to fly into an unprovoked violent rage and obliterate up everything I see with a lump hammer, and secondly, indicates to me that there's only one outcome ... a great big PMT sulk.

The fact that a whole bag of charcoal proceeded to cascade from the unsecured bottom of it's dwelling bag aaaaaallllllll over the boxes of beautifully catalogued, washed and wrapped crockery for secret uses, filled me with joy and love for the universe and all my fellow beings. The fact that every now and again another bit falls out of my boot and crunches tauntingly under my foot and creating one more little job for me, just makes me want to kiss babies.

I once heard that women's driving is altered by hormones. They affect hand eye co-ordination, distance perception that kind of thing. It's bloody true. Well it was today. Two left hands, much cursing.

Speaking of wind (keep up) oh my days have we had a treat in this house over the last couple of days. As you know we have a Cocker Spaniel, a Springer Spaniel and a Chocolate Labrador. We're convinced that brown labradors are not called "chocolate" because of their brownness, it's to do with their obsession with any kind of food, substances edible if not digestible or ingest-able. 

I went up the farm shop the other day I bought them a lovely roasted bone each. They'd been dead good. Despite my thinking better of it.

They stink in the car, they stink in the house, they make doggie woof woofs like you wouldn't believe, but they're so good at teeth cleaning it just has to be done. Making their tea, I remembered that I'd accidentally left out a load of Stilton and Broccoli soup. Well I'm not going to waste it even though I knew I'd pay a whiffy price for it.

3am and there's doggies dancing with their legs crossed and a very grumpy Betty. So, I let them out to "attend to their ablutions", and I think to myself "may as well leave the back door open or I'll have to get back up again in a couple of hours".

Labrador's a little down in the mouth when we get up. Panting, dry nose, looking sorry for himself. I try to  give him a cuddle to make up for it but I just can't bear it. The stench is permeating through his pores. And his paws (fnar fnar - see what I did there?!). It's only when I'm going about my daily business that I discover that the big brown get (he does actually answer to that name) has only gone and broken into my pantry shed and eaten his bodyweight in dry dog food by knawing a snout sized hole in the bag.

Airwick will do well off us this week, the big brown get.

Monday, 9 January 2012

You Clever, Clever ...

My Sister's dead clever too. It ain't just me.

Look at these she's made for me.

Pretty, aren't they? They make great presents too.

She'll make them for you too for a very reasonable price. Drop me a line if you'd like to place an order and I'll put you in touch with her.

Being this brilliant is more of a burden, than a gift for us :)

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Christmas Fire Party - I think it's going to become a regular occurrence it was so much fun!

Just add booze, coats, hot lamb cawl and chunks of wholemeal bread and a fire. Entertainment, and enjoyment guaranteed!
Lovely festive candle arrangement made by our friend Jon
So there we were, watching Gardner's Christmas World, and they lit a bonfire and were scoffing mince pies, quaffing mulled wine - all outside. I looked at him, he looked at me, and we thought "why not!"

It was Saturday the next day, the forecast was decent, so we broke out the fire logs, dried the wood in the oven, and set about making fire.

Don't be deceived - this is not tea! It's lovely, lovely mulled wine!

Baby Pinks

This is Meg's FAVOURITE Christmas present this year. After being repeatedly messed about by a thick bloke who doesn't know he's born, she asked me (jokingly) to make her a "full size boyfriend shaped cushion so I don't have to bother with men". So I did. And his name is Fogarty, given that he's stuffed with 4 bed pillows, thus named by the Mumatron.

Decs are down, house is clean and on with the planning for this year.

All I have to do really now (other than repair the damage the bloomin' wind has created AGAIN) is clean out my craft den.

I got a lovely dressmakers dummy for Christmas and when I got her up tp the den I realised that there is SOOOOOOO much mess up there that I had nowhere to stand her!

She's not got a name yet either ...

I'm going to be using her shortly too - I made Meg a gorgeous 50's style black and red spotty frock that needs finishing quite urgently as she needs it for a photo shoot.

But I met a new person yesterday to make clothes and lovely things for. I defy you to not make cooing noises over her deliciousness!