A blog for cooking and crafts

Friday, 31 July 2009

Day Five - Bread and Whine

OK Sy, suspense over - we did bake some choc chip muffins last night!

Today I had a wine delivery from Tesco, due to be delivered any time between 7am and 7pm ..... so I got up early (yawn!) and waited... and waited.....

In between, I did quite a lot of baking - I actually used two of my new tins from Lakeland, something of a record for me, usually I buy them, put them away, then discover them again later :-) I made an onion granary loaf, some mini sponge flan bases and some multi grain bread rolls. Also got five more patchwork blocks done - only 147 left to go :-)

The wine man finally arrived at about 4:30, and was a bit put out when I wanted to check the delivery - he wanted me to sign the little electronic gizmo without even seeing any paper work! Oh the paper will be in the box, he said. Hence the 'whine' in the title LOL. I opened the box and checked anyway :-)

Tomorrow is our monthly craft day, this month it's at my house. Sy turned up about an hour ago and she is offering helpful suggestions as I type LOL. Then Sunday will be the crop at Cardinal Colours, so I should have some LOs to post then.

So endeth the 5th and last day of my holiday. Look Sy, finally a baking blitz!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Day Four - shopping!

Today I planned shopping , baking and patchwork. Went off to Eastbourne in the morning, got most of what I wanted (though Next didn't have any socks -boo!) and had a good walk round. Lakeland had a baking tin I wanted, it's a bread tin with a lid, so the loaf is completely enclosed. Might try that out tomorrow...... They also had their new super duper baking range on 3 for 2 offer - so I bought 3 flat trays for biscuits. But when I got them home, they didn't fit my oven!!! Yes I know they say measure your oven first, but I didn't expect any problems with my new, standard size oven - not like I had with my old narrow one - and really, I would not have thought that the depth of the tray would be an issue! They stick out so much at the front of the oven shelf that I can't close the door on them, I am really disappointed. Apart from that, Lakeland was fab as usual, and I will have to take the trays back on Saturday morning before I pick up Karen for craft day.

I was a bit tired to start baking when I got back, so decided to try some patchwork instead. I have an awful lot of books on patchwork & quilting, but have never actually done a project from any of them! My previous attempts have just been sewing squares together, I have never made a proper patchwork block. Until now! I had a box full of DH's old work shirts, all the same sort of fabric, all blue toned, and I have kept them for years meaning to make a patchwork from them. I am now the proud owner of two blocks from these shirts! They are a bit wonky and could do with pressing, but they are my very first proper blocks :-) The project is from "Stashbuster quilts" by Lynne Edwards, for a single quilt I need 154 blocks. Two down......

It's now 8:30pm and I have cleared the kitchen from tea, not really sure I feel like starting any baking now - might see if DS1 wants to give me a hand, if not it will have to be tomorrow. I have to be in all day, not to mention getting up early, as Tesco are delivering some wine (slurp!) at any time between 7am and 7pm.

So endeth the fourth day. Sy, I am keeping you in suspense as to whether I bake or not :-)

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Day Three - How can something so simple take so long?

Today I had the firm intention of finishing off the Venice picture, and baking something. But I started the day with a lie in, then a trip to Tesco .... it was nearly midday before I even started :-) The picture took a lot longer than I thought it would - the backing card is too short for the frame so I cut borders for top and bottom (which I knew I would have to do, just didn't think it would take so long!). Then it was time to stick the photos down, also took a long time as my plan had them lined up quite accurately and it was fiddly to do. Thank heaven for repositionable adhesive, that's all I am going to say......! I am really pleased with the (finally) finished result.

I also got another layout finished (adding journalling, again) and did an awesome dinner of braised beef (in the slowcooker) complete with veg and yorkshire puds - yummy. So the baking fell by the wayside today, but there is always tomorrow!

So endeth the third day. Sy, no cooking, as you said dinner doesn't count ...... :-)

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Day two - Have your cake and eat it

I spent most of today wrestling with what I had originally thought was a brilliant idea........ a large (50 x 65 cm) photo montage of Venice. We have some beautiful pictures, which will of course be scrapped - eventually - but I wanted to put some of them on the wall too. First I drew a plan on graph paper of how I wanted the photos arranged and what sizes they needed to be. Then I spent some time choosing 18 pictures from the 3000 or so that we took - most of the time was spent waiting for the dratted things to load onto the screen! Then I resized, printed and laid out on the backing card, to be stuck down tomorrow. It sounds so simple, but it took ages.

In between, I managed to bake a cake and finish another layout. The cake is called hummingbird cake, I have no idea why - no hummingbirds were harmed in the making of this cake - it contains pineapple, coconut and bananas and is a really good lunch box cake. It's from an Australian Woman's weekly cookbook, called "Cafe Cakes". I managed to restrain DS1 from eating them until I had taken a picture!

The layout is another one started at a crop (the month before last, I am ashamed to say!) which needed the title stamped - I hadn't taken along the right stamps - and some journalling done. I added some eyelets on the spur of the moment and really like how they look. My page count is going to be really good this month, if I keep finishing things off like this :-)

So endeth the second day. Look, Sy, cooking!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Week off, Day One - The Layout from Hell

I have a weeks holiday :-) Time to catch up on crafty stuff, cooking stuff, oh and some of that housework (sorry, didn't mean to swear) too. Sy says she expects a progress report on crafting or cooking every day - oh dear!

Well, day one. A lie in, a bit of shopping and a walk round town (exercise is also on my list for this week). Then some crafting interspersed with helping DS1 organise the piles of stuff he brought back from uni. First up was the Layout from Hell - I had done a bit of this on Sunday but was determined to finish it today. It had been started at the last crop, the central block and the photos had been stuck down, but I was stuck on it after that, because it was just too symmetrical - even for me, the queen of straight lines. So yesterday I thought I would knock off the symmetry a bit by adding the title, some journalling and some stamps in a more random way. Well everything that could go wrong, did. I tried a large corner stamp in the bottom left corner, it didn't stamp properly and looked awful. So I dug out some flocked card (Doodlebug, I think) and cut a large corner to cover the mis-stamping, a medium corner for the bottom right side and two small corners for the top. Then I found some Rusty Pickle letter stickers for the sub-titles (Castle Dracula and the King's Palace). So far so good, and that was how I left it on Sunday.
This morning I found that a letter F sticker had dropped off the backing sheet and stuck itself onto a photo. Took the most care possible in removing it, but it still left a nasty smear across the picture. Arrgghh! So I had to print another one, which meant guessing how big I had printed it the first time - I ended up getting it right second try - and putting it over the top. I decided to stamp along the top edges of the pages, this isn't exactly perfect either, but it will do! For the title I used the McGill fancy squares punches, small and large, and punched the squares from the flocked card. Then I wanted to use some gothic-y/medieval-ish letters for the word "Romania" and remembered that I had bought the alpha set a couple of years ago but had never got around to sticking the rubber on to the little wooden blocks. Ok, so 20 minutes later..... stamps are mounted and ready to go. I stamped them on the same cream as the background of the page, punched them into little squares, mounted them onto foam blocks and put them onto the punched flock squares. They didn't really show up, so the title was more or less unreadable. Grrr! So I dug around in my thickers collection to see what letters I had left in the chestnut set, and amazingly, I had all the letters for Romania. So they went on top of the little letter squares on top of the flocked squares. The last thing was the journalling, which I printed onto Safmat (along with a few others I need to add to other pages), put it on a mat and stuck it down. Finished at last..... and actually, I rather like it now!
The second LO was a piece of cake after that, another one started at a crop, but needing some journalling, which I had also printed onto the Safmat. Matted up and stuck down, looks good!

So endeth Day One. Sorry Sy, no cooking today.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Scrapbooking progress update

I scrap chronologically - an family album or two for every year, with side projects such as our friends' daughter's yearly scrapbook and albums dedicated to one holiday. At the moment I am working on the second Little Girl album and our family albums for 2008. The first half of 2008 is nearly finished, just a couple of pages to finish off and some journalling to put in.
The second half of the year is coming along nicely and I was up to one of the most important pages - DH's birthday! Only one of the photos was any good, so at least I didn't have to worry about fitting lots of pictures on the page :-) Having printed out the photo, I then lost inspiration completely and the picture sat on my desk for a few days. Then I got an email newsletter from Scrapshed - with a July challenge sketch. The sketch had a portrait photo, while mine was landscape, but I thought I could make it work by flipping the sketch 90 degrees ...........
The background paper is Foof-a-la from Autumn Leaves and the patterned paper blocks are made from a Daisy D's paper, Boho Paisley. Cardstock is Bazzill 'Travertine'. The blocks are raised up with foam squares for a little dimension and I even used a new stamp within days of buying it - the vertical border is a Melissa Frances clear stamp. I had to crop the photo in the end as it was too big, and departed from the sketch even further by putting the central square at an angle instead of straight!
The title was a little tricky, I wanted to put something about scoring a half century for Yorkshire... but DH wasn't keen on that one! So "Yorkshire born & bred" it is.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

UFOs (UnFinished Objects)

I have several UFOs stashed away in various places, many of them stitching projects, but there are other things too :-) One of them, a decorated box, has been lying around for months, taking up space on my craft table and just generally getting in the way - it wasn't worth putting away because I "was going to finish it soon". Finally, after a good shove by Sy ("do it NOW!"), I put the final touch to it, which consisted of two coats of varnish. Yes, that's all it was awaiting, for all that time. Procrastination is my middle name.........

Anyway, the box itself is a wooden one, painted and decoupaged. I wanted to use some Christmas images which I had bought as a pack a couple or three years ago and not really made use of. First step was an acrylic primer, then two coats of cream emulsion. Then I chose my images and overlapped them on top of the box, sticking them down with PVA glue. When dry, and when I had made sure all the edges were firmly stuck down with no air bubbles under the image, I started to varnish. It would have taken fewer coats had I not overlapped them, but I did like the effect, so six or seven coats later....... the top was done. Because I had used a polyurethane varnish, the box had a yellowed tint to it, a really nice effect, but it did mean that the bottom half of the box looked noticeably different from the top even after 4 coats. That's when the project ground to a halt, as I kept putting off doing those final two coats! But now it is finally done, and I have plans to do some more decoupage, I had forgotten how much I like the effect.

Now all I have to is think what I am going to put in the box, come next Christmas......

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Forbidden Planet

A bit late in posting this one, but my excuse is that we have visitors and had 12 people over for home made pizza on Saturday and I had a crop on Sunday........

Anyway, last Friday was DS2's 18th birthday, and he wanted to have a day out and go to the Forbidden Planet store in London. So off we went on the train and met our London guide (aka Sy!) at London Bridge. After a convoluted tube journey we arrived at the store. I was amazed - I had thought it was just comics and action figures, but they had all sorts of stuff, including a fantastic book section. Most bookshops have fewer SF books than we do on our own shelves, so to see such a selection was a great treat. DS2 was in heaven and got the books he wanted, plus some Star Trek goodies including a starship model that he had been after for ages. We then went off to the Cinema shop, where he found a Star Trek T-shirt (did I mention he is a trekkie?!), stopping off in a new age / crystal / tarot type shop on the way as they had some really lovely gemstones, which both I and DS2 collect.

Sy took us to lunch in Pizza Hut, then we made our way back to the tube station, stopping off at Blade Rubber Stamps - I was very restrained, just one stamp and two pens...... Dozed off on the train journey home while DS2 read his new book, well it had been a long day!

In the evening, after a much-needed resting of feet, we took DS2 out for a meal, he chose a Chinese restaurant and had his favourite lemon chicken. When asked if he had had a good day he said that it had been fun! Thank goodness for that..... :-)