Wednesday 30 January 2019

Herman The Enigmatic Bear

I fell in love with Herman about 10 years ago.  I found him on Etsy and bought the pattern before I realised that I didn't actually have the skills back then to make him.  He is knitted in the round - started on double pointed needles and then using the American magic loop technique.
I received a set of multiple sized double pointed needles for Christmas last year and I've done a few in the round projects now so I decided that this was the year to have a go.

And it was still hard - he is so small you don't have much to work with, and I missed a few rows and had to go back and I think one leg might be a bit longer than the other, so he's not perfect.  But for a first go I'm really impressed.
I didn't realise he would be so small, but I love that.  He's the sort of bear that could hide in your pocket and give you love when you need it.  'im outdoors said he's tummy button is too high but I don't care.  He could do with a few more sandwiches too.  But I've learnt tons and I'm looking forward to having another go.

Sunday 27 January 2019

Georgous Cakes - part 17

Pain d'epice
This week I made Red, White and Blue Buns, a Pain d'epice and a Black Forest Victoria.  The buns ended up being just blue buns as I didn't have any red and white rose petals to decorate them with.

Blue buns
The pain d'epice looks quite plain but is actually quite sweet. 
And the black forest victoria was put together at my in-laws as I was worried it wouldn't survive the drive otherwise.  It was for my Mother-in-laws birthday and went down very well.  (There was no suggestion that we might take any back home with us!  :) )

Black Forest Victoria

Red, White and Blue Buns: These are a bit odd.  I love the lemon icing but they've got a bit oily at the bottom.

Pain d'epice:  This is nice and lasted the week well.  'im outdoors said it reminded him of banana bread but without the nasty banana.

Black Forest Victoria:  This was pretty good and went down well with everyone.  Not sure how long it would last but we didn't get the chance to find out.

Sunday 20 January 2019

Georgous Cakes - part 16

This week I made Paradise Slice and a Cherry Crumble Cake.  I've made the paradise slice before a couple of times, so already know that this is a very tasty cake with a biscuit base, raspberry jam centre and a coconut sponge topping.
The cherry cake is a new one.  Pretty easy to make with a lemony sponge covered in cherry's and then a crumble topping.  Have to see how it gets on over the week.

Paradise Slice: Really good, gets better as the week progresses.  Will definitely be making again.

Cherry Crumble Cake: This was quite good, but didn't quite last the week.  Interesting textures.

Wednesday 16 January 2019


My Trello board - full of cards

 Anyone who knows me, knows I like a list.  And I’ve found Microsoft OneNote perfect for most of my organising needs, but there was still one thing that wasn’t quite working for me - my craft project list.
My craft projects fill my head, but remembering how much wool or fabric you need for a particular project, never mind all the other stuff like zips, buttons or thread, is really hard, especially if you haven’t planned a visit to a shop and just find yourself in one.
I’d created lists in OneNote for the four different types of project I tend to work on at the moment - Knitting, Crochet, Sewing and Paper, but I was struggling to keep them up to date - it was really hard to see if something was already there, without reading a list that might already have 50+ items on it.
And even if I knew it was on the list I couldn’t remember if I had the pattern yet or had already bought materials.
Prioritisation was also really hard as I changed my mind about what was important.
I was feeling uninspired and overwhelmed, knowing there were lots of projects I wanted to work on but with little idea of what I should be aiming for next.
I was talking to a colleague about something unrelated and they mentioned they were using Trello to organise their project.  I’ve used Trello before, but I’ve never quite got it working to its full potential. However I had a light bulb moment and it occurred to me that this would be the perfect platform for my projects.
Trello is a free platform that allows you to have different swim-lanes, in this case Knitting, Crochet, Sewing and Paper, and then each project can be a card.  Each card can hold as much detail as you need, for instance a description of the project, amount of wool or fabric needed, an image, the pattern, and labels - to do, in progress, done, etc.

What a card looks like inside
 I’ve also set up some checklists, some are for every project, for instance do I have the pattern, materials and the equipment needed to complete the project?, while some checklists are for individual projects, for instance a knitted bear needs legs x 2, arms x2, head, body and ears x2.
And I can change the priority in a moment by dragging cards up or down the lists depending on what I’m thinking at that moment.  
As I was filling it in I found lots of things that I was interested in but didn’t have to happen any time soon.  Most of these were on open tabs on my iPad and getting in the way. So I created another swim-lane called Ideas for the Future and added cards here with links to the pages of interest.  It means it is really easy to move them across to the working lists if I suddenly want to work on them and I can declutter my iPad.
The other thing I found on my iPad were tutorials or help pages about certain techniques or methods.  Another swim-lane was created titled Tutorials and links added.
I now have a comprehensive list of things I want to work on all in one place.  If I’m in a shop I can easily see how much fabric I need (Trello has an app for my phone) and if I’m wondering what to work on next I can scroll through the list and see images to inspire me, instead of trying to read a massive list.  
I’ve only just started so I’m interested to see how it works going forward, but so far it feels like I’m on the right track and I’m excited to see it grow.

Sunday 13 January 2019

Georgous Cakes - part 15

This week I made a Treacle Star Tart and a Lemon Drizzle Traybake.  Both were pretty easy to put together and both came out well.  The tart required a bit of faffing about - blind baking the pastry, then painting with egg white and cooking again, but it seems it was worth it as even the gluten free pastry, which can be very delicate, kept its shape and integrity even with a very wet filling. 
I look forward to seeing how they last the week.


Treacle Star Tart:  This tasted more like a lemon curd tart than a treacle tart, and was actually better cold than warm.  Tasted ok and lasted the week well.

Lemon Drizzle Traybake:  This was a bit too wet really.  Tasted good but didn't make it to the end of the week.

Sunday 6 January 2019

Georgous Cakes - part 14

This week I baked a Somerset Apple Cake and some Iced Fancies.  The apple cake was very simple to make and although its not the most stable of cakes it tastes really good!
The iced fancies were very involved and took ages to make.  They taste ok, but I'm not sure they are worth all the effort.  We'll see at the end of the week.

Somerset Apple Cake: This was so tasty.  I think it would work really well as a warm pudding with ice cream.  Didn't quite last the week, but still good.
Iced Fancies: Not sure about these.  They didn't last the week and tasted a bit like potato.  Think I'll give them a miss in the future.

Thursday 3 January 2019

Solomon C Gull

Last year I knitted my mum Rowan the Reindeer for Christmas, although he was late due to a hand injury!  So this year when my dad sent me a link to a page of knitted and crochet seagulls I kinda guessed he was asking for one.
However I found it really hard to find a pattern that looked nice.  The first one I liked the look of seemed to have been taken down and I spent ages looking for another.

Finally I found Solomon C Gull on The Little Song Bird.  He looked just like the seagulls I run past in Bournemouth and so with only a couple of weeks till Christmas I bought the pattern and then some wool.
He's made with King Cole Big Value super chunky wool and came out more life sized than I'd realised he would when I bought the pattern!  However I think he looks really good and my dad seems very happy.

He was really easy to make and when I had a question and emailed them, they came back to me very quickly with exactly what I needed.
This was a fun project to work on and expanded my knowledge again.  
I now have so many possible patterns I could make (knitting, crochet and stitching) I think I will have to give up full time work just to keep up with my collection!  Isn't that the dream.