Some crafty offerings…

…because I’m not even halfway through my halloween costume, and the house needs to be cleaned this weekend in preparation for next week’s flat inspection.

In the meantime, here’s some stuff I like. A lot.

Still Dottie’s gorgeous feather and flower headband — tutorial here // The most amazing paper mache pumpkins — tutorial at Stolloween // Buffalo plaid vest… just yes. It’s almost enough to make me wish it were autumn. Full instructions on how to make it (and a number of other lovely things) are here.

Another birthday present

But this one’s for you, not me.

It’s been a little over a year since I started blogging here. Since I moved a couple of the early posts over from another blog the official birthday is unclear, but hey, close enough is good enough for gifts.

(Before you get too excited, these luggage tags found a happy home with my mother. But you get to make your own! That’s nearly as exciting, right?)

I prototyped them for a workmate who was leaving to travel, but couldn’t actually bring myself to give them to her because, uh, they sucked. Well, what do you expect when you attempt something for the first time ever, with no clear pattern, the night before you want to give them away? (Actually yes, I do expect miracles, but I’ve mostly come to terms with them not often happening.)

The pressing need for a gift having passed, I thought no more about them until mum mentioned she was planning a trip to Vietnam. Little cogs started to whir…

Another couple of attempts later, the useful, pretty and not sucky luggage tags were born.

And so, without further ado I present the very first Craftini tutorial: how to make a fabric lugagge tag. (It’s also over there on the right in the sidebar.)

Ennui update

Despite the occasional downpour, it’s definitely starting to feel as though spring is indeed springing. Daylight Savings helps too — there’s nothing like getting home while it’s still light outside.

So far I’ve not succumbed to the Catslife Press temptations. In fact, I’ve put a self-imposed ban on new scrapbook supplies until next year. I re-organised my stash a couple of weeks ago, and was a little horrified by the amount of stuff I have.

It also means that the wonderful, talented and gorgeous James gave me my birthday present early, and I’m impatiently waiting for ‘Design Your Life‘ to kick off. No more supplies until I’ve completed the course and finally paid attention to the things I actually enjoy using. Note that that’s using, not just looking at. I did have to acquire something resembling kraft cardstock though, which seems to be almost impossibly difficult find. Does anyone have a reliable source for it?

Lastly, I managed to cool my desire to participate in The Scavenger Project. Well, when I say ‘cooled my desire’, I really mean the terms and conditions for the project poured buckets of icy water all over it:

Legal Stuff

By submitting artwork to Art House, LLC, you grant Art House, LLC a perpetual, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, distribute, and otherwise exercise all copyright and publicity rights with respect to that information at its sole discretion, including storing it on http://www.arthousecoop.com servers and incorporating it in other works in any media now known or later developed without limitation.

It doesn’t specifically state that it’s an exclusive license, but since they get to exercise ‘all copyright and publicity rights’, it’s hard to see how it’s not. My art becomes their art? Um, no. Thanks.

Five-minute chocolate cake

Craft: magazine featured a five-minute microwave chocolate cake the other day – now there’s something hard to resist. The comments weren’t entirely favourable though, and the idea of three tablespoons of oil in a one-cup cake seemed… excessive.

A little searching uncovered a slightly modified version which replaces half the oil with yoghurt. Promising, and definitely worth a crack. I added a handful of chocolate chips to the mix because I had them, and extra chocolate is almost never a bad idea.

I used a ‘cup’ a little smaller than a latte bowl – the amount of batter is generous – so I’d recommend using either the biggest cup you own, or a small bowl. True to expectation the cake rose above the rim of the cup while cooking, and sank back to its original state at the end. Since there’s no rising agent in the batter I opted not to keep cooking the daylights out of it, and let it sit for a minute.

Turning it onto a plate and digging a fork in revealed it to be deliciously moist, dense and chocolatey. I mean, it’s no gateux (mine was the teeniest bit chewy), but if you’re craving an immediate chocolate cake fix, it’s hard to go past.

Five-minute chocolate cake

4 Tbs plain flour
4 Tbs caster sugar
2 Tbs cocoa
1 egg
3 Tbs milk
2 Tbs vanilla yogurt
1.5 Tbs vegetable oil
handful of chocolate chips

Mix dry ingredients together in a large cup (something about the size of a latte bowl seems to work well), then add wet ingredients and stir until mixed.

Microwave uncovered on High for 3 minutes, then let stand for a minute. The cake will rise a little above the rim of the cup, but sink again at the end of cooking.

Turn out onto a plate, add a scoop of ice-cream, a drizzle of cream or a spoonful of yoghurt and eat!

Rockstar magic

You know how sometimes your job title just doesn’t do justice to how awesome your job actually is? When you’d rather be a ‘Director of First Impressions’ than a receptionist, or a ‘Nerd-Rustler’ instead of an IT recruitment specialist? Or, as James and his workmates debated, something much, much cooler-sounding than a ‘digital modeller’.

I think they’ve got proper fancy titles hidden away somewhere, but what they really wanted was something that said, ‘Yes! I make magic! With pixels! But not ordinary magic. Rockstar magic! Rockstar pixel magic! Yes! You heard me! Magic!’. But ‘Rockstar Pixel Magician’ kinda says Siegfried and Roy — not the Penn and Teller they were hoping for.

Then inspiration struck.

And I stitched it onto a pencil tin for posterity.

[Caution: contains adult language. Viewer discretion advised.]

Continue Reading »

There’s an excellent post over at VeganYumYum on food photography.

(And if you ever need to impress someone with vegan food, you can’t go wrong with Comtessa‘s vegan chocolate raspberry cake from Moore Wilson on Tory Street.)

Craft round-up

Despite being generally un-enthused about most things recently, I’ve still been producing the odd crafty item.

That stash of embroidery floss I bought from the stitcher’s closet was carefully selected to cover most of the patterns in Beatrix Potter Counts, and one of my very favourite patterns was the tailor of Gloucester. Plus, he’s apt for a needlebook, which is what he’ll be turning into.

The comfort shawl is coming along quicker than I expected, although I may have been  hasty in starting the eyelet rows. I’m kind of hoping it’ll grow when blocked. I know blocking isn’t mandatory for it, but I’m thinking that I’ll really need it to grow. Either that or I’ll just have a lot of eyelet rows.

I’ve just finished a truly inexpert toadstool baby rattle – I created, dropped and split stitches all over the place. Pictures to come when the light is decent. I read a few reviews that commented on how big they turn out, but seriously, this thing is about the size of Hannah’s head! I may try another at half-size.

I also finished off a pencil tin just for James, but that one will get a post of its own because, well, it contains adult language…

On wheeee!

I seem to be suffering end-of-winter blues, which is not, as you might think, a sadness that winter has ended. While I love a warm fire and rainy days with no guilt about staying inside reading/crafting/gaming, I’m heartily sick of layers, being cold, and being deprived of sun. I need something to bring me out of this wintery ennui.

I did get pretty excited to see the new Knitty up this morning — I only wish I had the patience to finish Camden, but I can’t see it happening any time soon. I’m also quite fond of Abrazo.

Other stuff I’ve been eyeing up…

Right, must be about time for dinner. Perhaps that will sort out my funk!

Back again…

I could get used to this skiing, eating, sleeping, chasing keas thing.

[Photo by the gorgeous and talented James.]

A brief interlude

I’m heading south for a week or so, to soak up the freezing cold and get snow in my pants (my ability to stay upright on skis leaves something to be desired), none of which will affect my blogging schedule in the least — mostly because I just don’t post often enough for you to notice if I take a week off.

I’m taking Aunt Phebe’s Comfort Shawl to work on — it’s easy knitting, even if it’ll still probably take me years to finish — but I’ve also been entranced by Leafcutter Designs’ conceptual knitting ideas. I thought about making a sky scarf while I was away, but I’ve got no money for yarn and I don’t actually want a stripy scarf. I do love the idea though, so perhaps I’ll take a notebook and mark down a variety of things (skifields, half day/full day/none, sky colour, rain, snow), then turn them into something when I get back.

[via: Whip Up]