Saturday, 12 November 2016

Winter Projects

Hi there!

I have some WIPs to show you today. Jennifer over at Thistlebear is throwing a link party every month this winter for peeps to show off what they are working on and to encourage and motivate each other to finish their projects. What a great idea! I'm joining in this month. I encourage you to go and check it out if you haven't already. There are some very lovely and inspirational projects being shared over there.

On to my WIPs

I'm taking part in an ATC swap over at Very Berry Handmade. For those that haven't heard of an ATC before, it stands for artist trading card and is a small piece of art, about the size of a business card, that is given away as a mini showcase of an artists work. Ali of very berry handmade organises a swap twice a year for textile ATC's. It's a lot of fun. I'll have more to share on that soon.
I've designed my ATC already but have only got as far as pulling the fabric and gathering the supplies I want to use. I'm going to try something a bit different this time. I'm going to have a go at layering with felt to embroider a landscape and -this is the biggest leap for me- use beads amongst the embroidery. I know that a lot of you would have done this a hundred times but using beads in an embroidery project is totally new to me. We'll see how it goes...

I'm also playing with ideas for new things to add to my shop (link in side bar). Firstly, I'm designing some arm warmers in a 4ply yarn that will give an extra layer under a winter coat but that will look nice to wear indoors too. This will be a long term project. Secondly, I've got some super chunky wool that is a pleasure to crochet with. It works up so quickly and the chunkiness is satisfyingly thick and bulky. I'm working on making some chunky necklaces. I like to have something warm to wear around my neck indoors but don't want to wear a scarf all day and I thought there are probably people out there who feel the same so I'm making one or two for my shop. Hopefully these will look chic enough for the office and will still keep the chill off. We'll see how that goes too... :)

Just for fun, I'm making a rhino softie. I really enjoy sewing sofies and soft sculptures and when I saw this online I had to make one. Unfortunately the pattern doesn't seem to be available anymore, in that the blog I found it on seems to have gone offline so I can't share it. This is going to be another long term project that I will work on bit by bit. So far, I've cut most of the pieces out, now I need to start sewing it up.

They're my winter projects. I have enough here to last me until spring. :) What are you working on this winter? Are you making something cosy to snuggle in when the nights draw in? Or are you a late night crafter with a sewing project you can rest on your lap while you work and watch telly at the same time?


Linking up with Winter Project link party at Thistlebear

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Cherry Berry and Chocolate Cookies

I love baking. Sweet things are my favourite of course, but I like to bake savoury too. My favourite part of baking is seeing my family and friends enjoy the things I've made. In my past life as a healthy person I would bake bread at least once a week, and sweet treats 2 or 3 times a week and I would make ice cream all summer. Technically making ice cream isn't baking... in fact freezing something is the complete opposite of 'baking', isn't it? Oh well, you get what I mean.

Nowadays I can't bake as it's just too painful and tiring, but every now and then my husband has some free time and that free time coincides with me having an 'I wish I could bake...' thought at the same time as me having the strength to sit on a dining chair. It's a perfect storm but when that happens, *sometimes* he allows me to live vicariously through him. I tell him what to do and what ingredients and measurements to use and he makes and bakes. This has many benefits: we get to spend some time together, I get the satisfaction of seeing something baked and he gets the pleasure of eating baked goods. Of course it isn't the same as baking myself and I do miss being able to measure and mix everything but it's a close second.

Last week we had the 'perfect storm'. He took some time off work and I had some dried cherry berry mix in the kitchen and a hankering to make cookies. Here's the recipe:

100g Butter
50g Soft Brown Sugar
1/2tsp Vanilla essence
about 1/2 cup or a small handful of Dried Fruit (I used cherry berry fruit mix)
1tbsp Golden Syrup
100g Plain Flour
1/4tsp Bicarbonate of soda
Chocolate to decorate

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and light. 
Add vanilla essence and syrup and mix in with the dried fruit. Then sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into the mixture and stir to combine.
Next, lightly grease a baking tray and using two teaspoons, spoon the mixture into little mounds on the tray, spaced well apart. We got 16 cookies from this mixture. 
Bake at 180*C/350*F in a fan oven or gas mark 4 for about 10 minutes but check after 8. 
When the cookies are cool melt the chocolate (I used white chocolate) and use to decorate the biscuits. 
Dipping the bottoms into the chocolate and leaving to set on some baking paper creates a nice effect, but for my cookies, I drizzled some chocolate in a zigzag pattern on the tops.

I hope you make some of these delicious cookies yourself. They're quite easy and totally scrummy.


Linking up with Link Your Stuff