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Sunday, 8 December 2013

Rainbow with a twist a.k.a CMYKake

Have you noticed all the rainbow cakes that have been doing the rounds on the interweb? Like this one, this one and this one? Well, I was just looking for an excuse to create one for myself so of course an opportunity had to arise sooner or later.

Earlier this year I did some work with a colleague on our new colour palette at work - a task that nearly put us both off colours for life. But we got there in the end, so I thought it only apt to produce something of a tribute to this for his recent Birthday.

So a full on seven-tiered rainbow cake would have been a bit over the top so I settled for something a bit more geeky: a four-tiered CMYK cake (CMYKake for short). For those of you who don't get the joke, see me after class or consult Wikipedia.

It started harmlessly enough: four tiers, four bowls of sponge mixture:

Oo now this is where the fun started! Chuck  in the colouring and voila:

Sadly the finished sponges were less vibrant, but still:

And here's the finished article:

The cream cheese icing was a little runny, but thankfully it wasn't a complete triumph of style over substance and actually tasted pretty good!
Hm, maybe seven tiers isn't completely out of the question after all.

P.S. I was very smug at having come up with the CMYKake idea all by myself, but sadly some geeky baker had actually already done this - doh! Oh well, I guess there is nothing new under the sun after all..

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Whoopie it's Halloween!

It all started with a fairly innocuous workplace challenge: every team gets a pumpkin, and gets to do with it what they will. Judging takes place at 2pm, this spooky Halloween Thursday.
By Tuesday our pumpkin was still in tact. Something had to be done.

Earlier in the week, someone sent around an email about food waste. This got me thinking. All those Halloween pumpkins are bought, carved and essentially thrown away. How's that for food waste?!

What if you could make something a bit different (and useful) out of pumpkin flesh?

What if you made whoopie pies?

So after Martha Stuart (controversial I know) supplied this recipe, it was really just a matter of using some tricks to turn this pumpkin into a treat.


During (Part 1):

During (Part 2):

After! Complete with clip art mash-up and patronising note about food waste :)

Ok, so we didn't win any of the awards but the pies went down a treat and everyone was most appreciative - which to be honest, was the most important thing anyway!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Let me smoke my (knitted) pipe

I needed something cute, but not overly fussy for my colleague's new baby. Mainly because her other half did not seem kindly disposed to the usual 'novelty' baby-wear.
So...sophisticated but not boring, that would be a challenge. Until I found this pattern. A quick knit AND I had just the buttons to go with it!

The only thing missing is a tiny knitted pipe to go with it.
For anyone who doesn't get the title of this post, it's a song by Mr B, the Gentleman Rhymer who I've had the pleasure of seeing live a couple of times.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Ain't that the toof

One of my favourite blogs of all time has to be My Milk Toof. The adventures of two little tooth-shaped characters named Ickle and Lardee, each scene painstakingly set up and photographed are as original as they are cute.

So having been a devoted follower for many years, I finally decided to treat myself to one of the limited edition books available for a short time directly through the blog. And today it arrived - whoo!
Note the bonus badges and post-cards :)

So good to see how a quirky idea combined with sheer passionate talent can really get the recognition it deserves. Keep up the good work Inhae!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Poundshop flop

Urgh, two months without internet has been painful to say the least. The recent move has also meant that any spare time has mainly been spent playing cardboard box Tetris in the living room or trying not to kill people in IKEA. Thankfully creativity hasn't ground to a complete halt however.

You may have heard of the Poundshop initiative at Selfridges? Well a couple of months ago they were asking for submissions for items to sell, so I scratched my head and considered the possibilities. As the items were going to retail at only £1, it was essential that the product itself cost much less than this to create. Not an easy task when it comes to hand-crafting something that should actually be desirable.

In the end I got some inspiration from the ever productive and Purl Bee and decided to tweak the concept slightly by using leather of contrasting colours rather than felt fabric.
After some faffing and experimentation, I had my prototype made:

So off it went.

A couple of weeks later, I unfortunately got the note that my item had not been chosen for the Poundshop. A bit disappointing I suppose, but to be honest I was happy just to have been able to think of something vaguely suitable and submit it before the deadline!

PS: Now you're all getting hair accessories for Christmas ;)

Friday, 28 June 2013

Going Japanese

I'm not going to go on and on about how great it was to visit Tokyo. Suffice to say that we had a fabulous time. Although I did spend a ridiculous amount of time drooling over pretty fabrics and craft stuff, I could happily have spent twice as long exploring floor after floor of prettiness.

One particularly memorable morning was spent in Fabric Town. Yes FABRIC TOWN!! In order to have enough energy to make it through Fabric Town in a satisfactory way, I very much recommend starting the day as we did: with a fat stack of pancakes. Oh and a 'healthy' smoothie to balance out all that jam and cream. Yum.

To prove that I'm not making this up, here is a sign for Fabric Street in Fabric Town:

Tomato was recommended in all the craft blogs as THE place to go for fabrics galore. After a couple of stops on the way, we eventually found the main attraction.

Ok, so I think there were about 5 floors of every imaginable fabric type. I have to say that my fave was the top floor, which had a massive section of colour co-ordinated 'fat quarters' for your delectation. I was so overwhelmed that I think I just stopped and stared openmouthed for about a minute. Wow.

It was inevitable that I would leave the store with a silly amount of stuff BUT miraculously it all managed to not break the bank too badly.
This is what I came away with:

A pretty selection of fat quarters:

A 'surprise' pack of fabrics, so cheap that is was impossible to resist even though it was  bit of pot luck what you got (I really like the camera fabric).

A couple of metres of misc. fabrics I liked the look of, especially the flowery one with pandas on :)

I also managed to wangle a trip to the legendary Tokyu Hands which is just lovely. About 7 floors of all things crafts and home. Of course I managed to pick up just a couple more fabric samples..

Below are some assorted pretty tapes I picked up from Tokyo Hands and Itoya.

And some cute bunny stickers I just couldn't resist:

So the point of getting all this stuff is actually to USE it. Behold my first application. Pretty from the front..

..and the back!

I'm currently trying my best to keep up the inspiration and looking up bag patterns from Cut Out and Keep to convert some of those lovely fabrics into something useable. I'm also hoping that our imminent move will mean that there just *might* be more space for crafts in my life!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

White lace and promises

So I decided rather late in the day that I needed a shawl for my wedding. Yup, this pretty much exemplifies my approach to the entire event. As such, I decided to keep it simple and go with a (relatively) easy peasy number - which also happened to go with our beach wedding theme, being called Little Shells.

A dream to knit up in Debbie Bliss pure silk:

And it matched the dress quite nicely if I do say so myself!

The silk ensured that it was nice and light, while also protecting me from being frazzled during the ceremony. Here elegantly draped over a chair at our communal dining table:

All in all rather perfect despite the lack of planning, a bit like the actual wedding itself then :)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Spot of colour

It's the time of year when I start craving a bit of colour in my life. Out come the colourful vests and day-glo nail polish - at least for as long as I can be bothered. Colour makes me happy though, and that's a fact. What I really wanted was a colourful necklace, but was somewhat put off by the neon pink skulls that seemed to be on pretty much all colourful jewellery in the shops. Maybe I'm just getting old.

Anyway, it's also a fact that I had completely forgotten about that 'must make' necklace i saw last year on Cut Out and Keep.. It was time to get cracking, especially as I've not done any jewellery making for simply ages.

After a quick trip to the lovely Beadworks in Covent Garden, I got stringing:

Actually the hardest part was getting a hole in the other end of the piece of metal I was attaching the glass beads to. Thankfully M came to the rescue with steady hands and a slightly-too-big-but-we'll-make-it-work drill.

Ta dah!

And while I was on a roll, why not continue?

All prepped:

Finished result:

Oh, and both came in at under what one of those hideous pink neon skull and spike necklaces would cost. I'll be wearing these with smugness.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Swift hat

This was a bit of an impulse project really. I saw it, liked it, bought the pattern and knitted it up over Easter. Quick, satisfying and super soft result using more of my leftover possum yarn.

Absurdly, wearing it makes me feel somewhat like a Taylor Swift wannabe - those cool kids with their slouchy hats, worn far back on the head and hair all over the place.

I think that the parody version of Swift's '22' suits me better than the original though! Oh yes, 32..

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

One present, two gifts

Wow, I wish it was like this all the time! I recently made the lovely A a beanie for her Birthday, a Cataleya hat in fact - a pattern by the talented H. A very beautiful pattern in a rather zingy shade of Wollmeise I might add. Just the thing to perk up the seemingly endless winter that appears to be upon us in the UK.

Only a couple of days later I was in for a treat from T, who gave me a beautiful cowl which is wonderfully snug and warm:

And only a few days after that M's mother gave me some very squishy and pretty hand knit socks as an Easter gift!

Wonderful to have so many people in my life who love the art of knitting :)

Monday, 11 March 2013


The other day I realised I hadn't made biscuits in ages. This happily co-incided with M stating that he really fancied some 'sand cookies', which it turns out, are happily much like the sort of biscuits I used to make with my mum when I was little. And it was Mother's Day in the UK, so everything was aligned to create the perfect biscuit-making opportunity.

I ended up using this recipe, mainly because there were no eggs in the fridge. Anyhow, the dough began as lumpy worms:

Which later became lumpy, clingfilm-wrapped worm clusters chilling in the fridge:

From there on it was easy peasy chopping them into 1/2 cm slices and toasting them in the oven for 10mins.

Ah, I had forgotten the 1st Law of Biscuits: volumes can be overwhelming:

Oh well. Anyone fancy a cup of tea and a biccy or 10? In any case they went down well both at home and at work.

In more knitting related news, I had been looking for a decent knitted ear-warmer/headband to make for a friend's Birthday for ages when I stumbled across this one. 
It was pretty straightforward, but just a touch more challenging than it appeared. Enough to keep it interesting for sure. 

My NZ possum yarn rose to the occasion:

I think this will look better on the recipient, but obviously I had to try it just in case:


There's also neon pink lacy beret in the pipeline for another of the March Birthday kids. More of that next time.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Monkey 2.0

There's a new monkey in the household! Yes, I had to relent and make another one.
Here he is:

Here hanging out with his big bro:

And getting up to no good of course.

It's funny, although it's exactly the same pattern he still came out a little smaller than the first. But then again, he is the little brother after all.

That's enough monkeys for the foreseeable future, those loooong limbs have taken their toll..

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Menagerie a trois

Once upon a time, there was a duck-billed platypus, a blue-footed booby and a monkey.. sound good  so far? That's the story that's currently being played out in my flat as a result of my feverish pre and post Christmas knitting.

You may remember the platypus hot water bottle cover knitted the previous Christmas? Well, I decided that our household needed on of it's own. This time in more natural colours:

He's already had one test-run and it's now proven that nothing makes you feel better quicker than a hot platypus on your tummy.

 After spotting this pattern, how could I resist making this for a friend's Christmas present? This is Bob the blue-footed booby:

Booby moon walk:

 He will be handed over to his new home shortly.

And then there's the monkey. His looong limbs make it impossible not to want to bend him into comedy poses:

Hm, can I bear to part with him? Well, we will see. In the meantime, here's the gang hanging out:

Oh, and I did decide to make a little something for myself also. I was lucky enough to receive a Kindle for Christmas, so of course I couldn't leave it exposed to the elements. Thanks to this handy patten, it now resides in it's own little 'flame-lace' (Kindle, flame - get it??) cosy.

Well, that's it for now but I can exclusively reveal that I have another project on the way which could be very exciting (for me at least) indeed. Will keep you posted..