Thursday, 24 December 2015

The Way to Bake (A Delicious Cake)

This is just a post to share a couple of unrelated photos - seemingly unconnected apart from the song title -
Starting with one of this cake ....
made by my friend Gina - one time machine embroiderer, and textile artist and tutor, NOW magnificent professional baker, under the name 'Apricot and Fig'. 
I'm slightly disappointed that she dismissed my suggestion for her business name - "Bake Well Tart" on the basis that it may attract the wrong kind of customer. (I just know that if I was cooking, I'd have to try anything to get people to buy MY cakes.)
Anyway, we had two cakes, one with icing, and one with just fruit and nuts, which we've just tried.
Firstly, can I say that she hasn't paid me to endorse her products, or given it to me as a bribe, or even said that she won't be my friend if I'm not nice about it, so this is my unbiased opinion - it was the loveliest fruit cake I've ever had, very moist and even the fruit had fruit, if you know what I mean.  My Dad - who is a fruit cake connoisseur - said he has never tasted better.  You can't say fairer than that, so thanks Gina.
And how could I NOT share these next photos .. 

Our very own Snow White.  
She's SO going to hate these pictures when she sixteen.

Happy Christmas everyone xx

The Way To Bake (a Delicious Cake) - by Snow White

Friday, 18 December 2015

China in Your Hand

Last week we had our Creative Sanctuary 'works Christmas outing'!
Angela kept it a secret about where we were going, and all we knew was that it was going to be a creative evening.  Anyway, it turned out that she had arranged for us to go to Elly Wall, a local potter with a studio in her garden,  to make Christmas decorations.  It was a great evening - first of all Elly explained that we needed to roll out the clay as if it was pastry (like I've ever made pastry - but I think I must have seen it done sometime, because I soon got the idea), and then we pressed different textures into the clay, and used cutters and letter blocks, before glazing the final pieces.  We all agreed that it had been a fun thing to do and we'd really enjoyed ourselves.
I'm afraid there are no photographs of the event as my hands were too mucky, but I got a text today to say that the pieces had been fired and were ready to collect from the shop - so here's mine
I'm really pleased with them, and I plan to book some classes next year, to see if I can manage to make a pot or a mug.  Maybe I'll apply to the Great British Throw Down - although I'd get fed with with that bloke bursting into tears all the time.

China in Your Hand - T'Pau

Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Hostess with the Mostest

Wow - missed November altogether in a frenzy of stitching and knitting - and lolling about, if I'm honest.
Anyway, I'm here now to show you my Holiday Hostess frock - fab Michael Miller fabric with Doris Day lookalikes in festive poses.
I used my tried an tested Emery dress pattern

I don't have much of a waist (obviously, I don't mean it's tiny, I mean it doesn't seem to go in much) so I made the front waist darts a bit smaller, and did away with the back waist darts altogether.  I also wanted the skirt as 'puffy' as possible so I didn't bother with the skirt pattern pieces and used the whole width of the fabric - just in case it didn't look quite ridiculous enough as it is.
I'm not sure how much wear I'll get from such a season-specific frock, but so far I have got four occasions this year when I intend to wear it - fortunately with a different 'audience' each time, so that'll do me.
Anyway, it had it's first outing yesterday when I wore it to the Christmas lunch of the North Herts and Beds branch of the Embroiderers Guild.  Sounds very grand and boring, but actually its a bunch of about 70 women who like to paint/dye/bead/burn/stick/print/stencil/hand and machine stitch - in fact all things textile-y.  Some people even embroider! If you're reading this and fancy finding out more about the Guild, email me - we are always looking to attract new members, and, if you are not local,  there are branches all over the country.
Our speaker at yesterday's lunch was the most famous male cross-stitcher in the UK today - Jamie Chalmers aka Mr X Stitch - a really entertaining speaker who talked us through some incredibly inspirational works by textile artists.  
Anyway, that's me and my totally age-inappropriate frock.
Better 'mutton dressed as lamb', than 'mutton dressed as mutton' I say.

The Hostess With The Mostest - Frank Black