Happy Valentines Day everyone! I'm getting into the spirit this year, may Valentine and I (my house-mate and I) are going for dinner then to the pub for a bit or a dance.
I made my first Etsy treasury and it's Valentines themed of course! Check it out.
I got my sewing machine out again! These are pretty quick to make but they look very cute and make great presents. Start by crocheting to granny squares in the pattern of your choice (these are from The Harmony Guides: Crochet Stitch Motifs book). They are currently in my Etsy shop or you can make some yourself!
Cut two squares half an inch bigger on each side than the crochet squares. Sew to the size of the squares leaving a gap.
Turn insid out so that the right side is facing and fill with the stuffing of your choice. Stitch the gap back together.
Sew the squares together around the pin cushion. You can even crochet a fancy edge like this one below...
A glorious novel that pulls together all her remarkable storytelling talents into a rapturous, symphonic whole and reminds the reader of the immersive, stay-up-all-night pleasures of reading (Michiko Kakutani New York Times) - via amazon.co.uk
The Goldfinch is an epic book, it comes in at 800 pages and spans about 15 years. I'd previously read Secret History and was blown away by her writing. This one is even better.
It follows a boy who comes into possession of a famous painting, The Goldfinch, just as his world starts to fall apart and his journey with it. I would normally find the narrator's situation and choices hard to identify with but his story is told so well you get sucked along with him.
I have a confession - I didn't realise that the painting was a real one until I was half way through the book. I came across an article in the Guardian about the increase in popularity of the painting since the book. When you read it you'll see why. Her descriptions of it and…
I've started to work from home some Wednesdays, which, as well as meaning I can get more work done, leaves more time for baking!
This is adapted from The Guardians recipe
Makes 16 300g unsalted butter, plus extra to grease90g light muscovado sugar450g whole rolled oats 120g golden syrup 1 drop vanilla essence 2 drops orange essence 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 table spoon caster sugar Handful dried cranberries
1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan oven (190C / 375F / gas 5). Line a 30 x 20cm baking tin with baking parchment, cutting slits in each corner so it fits more neatly.
2. Melt the butter in a small pan with the brown sugar and syrup. Stir well to combine.
3.Take off the heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
4. Press evenly into the tin and bake for 25 minutes for chewy, 30 minutes for crunchy, until set and golden.
5. Allow to cool completely in the tin, but cut into squares a few minutes after they come out of the oven, before they harden.
Last night we had a work night out to Bounce - The home of ping pong! Apparently it is where ping pong was created and the rules set out.
If you want to play you can pay to book a table for an hour (we had two) and they go around picking the lost balls off the floor and topping up your stash, taking drinks orders. It's fantastic fun and we're all thinking if going back. It's in a basement and a lot bigger than you expect it to be!
The food's pretty good too - I had the goats cheese, caramelised onion and rosemary pizza which was yummy (not quite Pizza Pilgrims good but still great!).
I finally finished the bunting I started at Ve's hen do back in May last year! Its a quick easy project (cut triangles, sew in a V fronts facing, turn inside out so fronts face then iron and sew bias binding along the tops) but with no sewing machine I was a bit stuck. Luckily my parents got me one for Christmas!!
I've been a bit scared of using it - I haven't used one properly since my GCSE textiles - but now I'm back in the swing of it I'm excited to start making more things. Now I just need to find the time...