Rabbit Rattle

Crochet Rabbit Rattle for my friend's new baby.

Gardening Apron

Gardening Apron for a friend's house warming present.

No Junk for Us!

Handmade "no junk mail please" sign in Finnish.

Meet Cyril!

Cyril is an amigurumi pig, made for my nephew.

Boxy Matryoshka Pouch

Boxy pouch made with very kawaii Japanese fabric.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Celery and Cashew Soup

Having a bit of an excess of celery in the fridge, I decided to make some soup. Celery and Cashew might sound a bit odd, but it is very tasty. Of course, if you don't like celery (like my husband), you won't like this, but you don't need to love the stuff to enjoy the soup. I now have three lovely portions in the freezer ready for future lunches. All in all, a nice creative couple of hours while VV was asleep.

Sorry there's no photo, but the soup wasn't very photogenic and I missed the ever decreasing window of daylight here in Finland.

I can't reproduce the recipe for the soup here, since it's from a book, but I can tell you the book - New Covent Garden Book of Soups: New, Old and Odd Recipes. I've made a few of the recipes in the past and they've all been very tasty (I highly recommend the Pistou).

EDIT: I read up on copyright law and I *think* I can publish the recipe, so here it is:

Celery and Cashew Nut Soup

  • 75g (3oz) butter
  • 2 heads of celery, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 150g (5oz) unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1.5 litres (2.5 pints) vegetable stock
  • To garnish: 50g (2oz) unsalted cashew nuts, chopped, and celery leaves
  1. Melt the butter and cook the celery and garlic gently for 20 minutes in a covered saucepan, without colouring.
  2. Grind the nuts finely in a food processor and add to the pan along with the stock.
  3. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Cool a little, then puree in a liquidiser.
  5. Pass the soup through a sieve into a clean saucepan.
  6. For the garnish, put the cashew nuts into a frying pan over a high heat. Shake frequently until the nuts brown. Cool.
  7. Reheat the soup gently and serve garnished with toasted chopped cashew nuts and chopped celery leaves.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

My First Beanie

And it turns out that the title is more accurate that it first seems. How so? All will be revealed in good time!

I decided it was about time I tried my hand at a hat and thought I would make one for my brother, who has recently started up his own business doing flat roofs. Not quite sure what that involves, but I think hot black sticky stuff features somewhere along the line.

So, out came my trusty Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker. Flicking to page 125, I started in earnest on the Boy Beanie by Laura Killoran (check out her own site here - I rather like the look of her Applejack Cap, as it happens).

Merrily I crocheted away, sitting on the sofa drinking tea, as is my custom. And I was pretty pleased with the result. That is until I tried it on. It's like wearing some kind of mediaeval torture device! Luckily there is one small-headed person in my family and it fits him just perfectly - six-month-old VV. And here it is - both mine and his first beanie:

I suspect it was my yarn choice - leftovers from the Rabbit Slippers from the same book, plus some random orange wool - that was the culprit, helped in part by my super-tight stitches. Oh well, it was about time I crocheted something for my son. The hat was a doddle though, so with the right yarn in hand, I'll try again sometime...

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Book Review: Sew Everything Workshop

Although I am not a total novice when it comes to machine sewing, I am self-taught and have a tendancy to bodge things when I don't know how to do them properly. With this in mind, I decided it was about time I got myself a how-to book and S.E.W. Sew Everything Workshop by Diana Rupp, came to the rescue.

And it's great! It's fun to read - I read the whole thing in one sitting, it's so engaging - and very easy to understand. The book also comes with 25 projects to do (and these are ones you will want to make, from clothing, to accessories and gifts), along with 10 paper patterns in a folder at the front. The whole book is ring-bound, which should make it hard-wearing.

The only downside to this book is that it inspired me to upgrade to an electronic sewing machine, which was a bit of a shock to my purse moths. The machine is a Singer 9940, discontinued now so I got a good deal on it. And it does practically everything except make tea!

But back to the book - I have already recommended it to my non-sewing best friend, who rushed out and bought it and is now hoping for her first sewing machine at Christmas. I'm planning to make some projects from it too, which I'll post here.

I had hoped that the author, Diana Rupp, had a blog, but it has the dreaded "under construction" message at the moment...

EDIT: I did find the SEW Flickr group, so you can check out some of the projects people have made from the group:


Monday, 27 October 2008

Crochet Baby Crocs

Not the animal, but the shoe. I spotted these, or rather the pattern, on Etsy and just had to get it and make some. This is my first attempt, which is why it's in boring old white - I've got a huge bargain ball of it. There's only one in the photos because I had a "doh!" moment in the shop and only bought two buttons, instead of four.

The pattern, available from The Hooker in Me, comes in two sizes, 0-3 months and 3-6 months. The largest size comes out at about 4 and a quarter inches long, when crocheted loosely with a big hook. You might be able to make them bigger than me though, since I crochet really tightly (I now have a really bad joke about skinflint hookers in my mind, but I won't share).

I had hoped to make these for VV, but sady he's got kipper feet like his mother and at six months is way too big for these. Not to worry though, I've got plenty of newborns to make for in the next few months. I think I'll make a pair for each one and add a couple of other gifts too. They only take about an hour each to make, so they're perfect for running up in front of the TV of a cold wintery evening.

Friday, 17 October 2008

RSS Reader Must Reads

Since I've neglected this blog for a couple of weeks, here are a few highlights from my RSS reader that I would have shared. Hope you enjoy them.

Crochet Eyeball Doorknob cover by bella_domanie on Craftster. She generously shares the pattern too, so you can make your own (via Cthulhu Crochet and Cousins):

Ann Wood's cardboard castle diorama caught my eye - it's cardboard box modelling for adults (via CRAFT Magazine):

I love the idea behind Fallen Fruit, a website that maps the location of fruit trees in public spaces so that people can pick and eat it. I'm all for a bit of foraging (this blog should probably be called the crafty and somewhat hippy cactus lover) ; it's a real shame that perfectly good food goes to waste. Fallen Fruit is a global site, but there's not much mapped yet - add your local trees and help kick-start it. I found out about it from 365 Days Of Trash.

I can envision these shadow decorations at an upmarket Halloween party. Create your own by following the tutorial over on Folding Trees:

The anatomist in me loves this wine carafe from Etienne Meneau (via sub-studio design blog):

I'm working on several projects of my own right now, so I'll post some WIP pics soon. I also made a major purchase yesterday which I must share...

I'm back!

I didn't actually go anywhere, just got in a bit of a "what is the point of this blog if no-one is reading it" frame of mind. But someone commented this morning and that was the cure (thanks kawaii crafter!).

However, just as I started to ramp up my enthusiasm, VV made a grab for my tea (lukewarm, so no danger) and threw it all over the laptop. I mopped up quick-sharp, but after a few minutes the laptop went into a coma. Whether it's forever or just a recuperative rest to dry out, I don't know. Luckily we're a nerd family with multiple computers, so I can still get my netfix.

And boy, am I glad I imported my Firefox bookmarks into iGoogle the other day. It was a random urge at the time, but perhaps it was fate...

Friday, 3 October 2008

How to tell someone you are batty about them

How? With a knitted bat of course!

Get your pattern from Mochimochi. I love the way their wings wrap around. I just wish I could knit: perhaps it's time to learn.

Via CRAFT Magazine.

Halloween Bento

In the same vein as my Food Craft post about kids' bento boxes, here's a fun Halloween one made by Zakka Life:

Gotta love the poison soy sauce bottle! VV is at least now eating food at six months, though it's still a long time before I can make him a bento box of his own...

Via Crafty Crafty.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Spiderville Balloons

"Spiderville" is what I once called the loft space in my old house and in our family, it's now used to denote any spider-inhabited domain. And here's a helium filled one, which gives me the shivers just looking at it:

If you must make such horrible items for your Halloween party (and even I'll admit they'd look extremely cool), you can find the tutorial over on Crafty Crafty.

Masking Tape vs Net Curtains

I know what I'll be using in the future:

It might be a bit of a faff for something that may not last that long, but for a rented place it's perfect. And since we are planning to rent for a good while yet, I can see it coming soon to a window near me!

This idea and the image above is from a book called Patterns in Design, Art and Architecture and were created by textile artist Claudia Caviezel.

Via My Weblog, via Apartment Therapy.

Slimeless Snails

My brother and I used to race snails in our garden when we were small - now we can recreate the fun indoors without bothering any actual snails with Ric Rac's Racing Snail Tutorial.

Made from felted jumpers, the snails seem pretty easy to make and the one in the tute has a really endearing expression:

If you want to go the whole hog, there's a racetrack to make as well (see below). I reckon the whole thing would make a great Chrimbo pressie (I'm mentally preparing a list of things to make already).

Via CRAFT Magazine.

Wonderful Woodland Fabric

There's something about this fabric - by Danielle of Of Paper and Thread - I love the colour and the stylised trees. I have a fantasy of designing my own fabric and printing it through Spoonflower, but since I have never tried that sort of thing before it's very much a back-burner fantasy. One day, one day...

You can buy Woodland through Danielle's Etsy shop.

Via True Up.

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