Monday, 30 September 2013

Oh look, I made something.

You would be forgiven for not realising (or remembering) that this is a bit of a craft blog.  There has been such a big drought of crafty activity of late on here.  However, that is not to say I haven't been making things.  I've made 3 crochet slouch beanies (and sold one).  As mentioned in yesterday's post I've also started to learn about circular knitting and knitted one beanie with another on the way.

I also finally finished putting together this clock that I started over a year ago.  It was originally destined to be an engagement present for my best friend but I ended up finding a quite expensive wedding present that she had oohed and ahhed over quite a bit whenever we went past a certain shop so did a combined wedding and engagement present.  So then it was going to be a Christmas present but I got a bit slack so finally it turned into a birthday present.

I've made one of these clocks before, also using ink and spindle fabric which is just perfect with its classic and not too fussy designs for a bit of embroidery embellishment.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, particularly with just the embroidery down the left side.  I think that adds a nice touch of detail to the overall look.

I toyed around with adding buttons or numbers but my friend isn't a super handmade-y sort of person so I just went for not too much.

I combined a red and a brown floss together to do the brown section of the robin to give it a more feathery appearance.

I had trouble with both clocks in this area, sticking down the fabric when it was highly embroidered.  Lots of bubbling which I couldn't work out how to fix.

Finishing off the clock has made me miss embroidery so I've decided once I've finished this beanie the next project is going to be back to the needle and thread.  Perhaps I might finish off my final sashiko panel?

Also in the things I've made recently category is this cake for my Dad's 60th.  He is a bit Lego fan and collects quite a lot each year.  He is also slightly obsessed with the colour highlighter green.  So with my sister's help we decorated this cake I made with fondant.  Our first attempt at ever using it! I definitely couldn't have done it without her help, for one thing I didn't have the arm strength for rolling it all out as well as she does!  It may not look big but that cake is big enough to serve 40 people! That is a whole lot of eggs, butter, flour, buttermilk and sugar and lots of surface area needing to be covered smoothly by fondant.  MR helped as well, he has a very good eye for measurement and he was in charge of leveling out the cake top.  I used this vanilla buttermilk cake recipe which is now my official birthday cake recipe.  SO so good.  Dense but moist and super high on flavour.  And even better, for those of you who love a bit of raw cake batter (like me) but who also wish to avoid the eating of raw eggs (which I should, but often don't) in this mixture you add the eggs in last of all so there is plenty of yummy cake batter tasting moments to be had and believe me (and my post raw cake batter feast sore tummy), cake batter without egg is just as tasty!

After Emma's beautiful butter icing Lego cake just a few weeks prior, I'd had a chance to get a few tips from her about tricky bits - ie. the Lego 'bumps' on top.  To combat the difficulty of icing rounds of cake, Oreos or marshmallows we simply rolled out some extra fondant and cut out circles with a scone cutter.  Much quicker and easier.

Certainly not perfect but for a first attempt we were pretty pleased with our efforts.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Two sleeps

Just two sleeps til MR and I head off to NZ for 11 days.  It is finally starting to feel real. 

Today I looked up the weather in NZ and it is forecast for between 14-20 maximums.  Good thing we have been out and bought some thermals and nice thick merino jackets. 

I have finished making a beanie for MR to wear and I am about half way through a beanie for myself.  I finally bit the bullet and gave circular knitting a try and it is actually incredibly much easier than it looks.  Both beanies have been/are being circular knitted.  Unfortunately I am not at all very fast at this knitting business and that means I am going to have to work hard to get mine all finished in time.  Of course, I am making myself a slouch beanie which means a bigger area of knitting to be done.  Silly!

We've booked all of our accommodation bar one night where we're going to be on the road and not sure how far we're going to make it.  Our car hire is booked and we've borrowed a tom tom off a friend who has the New Zealand maps downloaded to it, saving us about $100 from if we were to hire one with the car so that's nice.

We haven't booked any activities yet, we'll wait til we're over there and make some decisions there.  I have a big list of things I would like to do/see though.

I've got all our documents photocopied twice to put in the carry on and suitcases.  MR got a case for himself and it just happened that we were in Myer on a day they had 40% off luggage so that was a big score as well!  However, both of our cases are still sitting in the lounge room completely empty.  My next job for today is to start doing some outfit planning now that I have all the washing just about up to date.  I am a terrible packer but I've been reading some tips from Jarrah Jungle and Jacana and I'm determined to make a better go of it this time.  I want to have lots of space for shopping, even though MR thinks shopping is not a necessary thing to schedule in to our holiday!