Epic baking fail

I’m aware that of late I haven’t written as often as I should be and to be honest I think the blog is suffering in terms of readership, so I’m going to make an effort to write something every few days. This will not always be about craft, like today but I think the ship has sailed with me keeping a blog that sticks to one topic.

Another birthday this week, and lately my go to gifts have been baked goods (or craft goods either/or). I tried Lemon Drops out of the most recent Hummingbird bakery book “Life Is Sweet”.

It appears that I can only bake things well out of their Cake Days and every other book I run into problems. I think this was the first thing I made out of this one. (Was going to make the Chocolate bundt cake but it had a crap load of mayonnaise in it…yes mayonaise.)

So the biscuits were advertised like this

hmm yes they look nice

hmm yes they look nice

But turned out like this…

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WTF happened here??!!!!!

I follow recipes to the T. If it says cream for 5 mins, I’m standing with that bloody hand mixer for 5 minutes. I left them in the oven longer than stated, my oven is crap yes, but I had a temperature gauge in there (also questionable at the moment).

They turned out all soft and cake like and they all stuck together in the box. My 4-year-old gave them the thumbs down..I never get a thumbs down. They taste nice but I would not like to tarnish the baking reputation by giving these sad pathetic cake biscuits as a gift. Hell no.

Desperate I went to my culinary goddess, the one who has never let me down, Nigella Lawson.

Her recipe of the day on her website was Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies.

What can go wrong, chocolate on chocolate action? I can say they turned out ok I’m not 100% happy with them, but they will do. I left the first batch in a bit long and they got slightly burnt on the edge…they did not make it into the gift jar.

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There is SOOOO much chocolate in this they are incredibly rich.She was not joking when she said “these are the chocolatiest cookies you will ever come across.”

If your familiar with Nigella’s cooking most of her food is rich (classic rocky road for example). But this is something else, this knocks it out of the park! So much so I attached a warning to the jar.

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And they are MASSIVE! So much so that half the batch wouldn’t fit into the jar and so that did needed shavig down. These are much more akin to an America cookie than our tidily little UK biscuits. I could only eat half without feeling ill.

..but they would be amazing with ice cream!!!!

http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/totally-chocolate-chocolate-chip-cookies-29

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The Straight and the Narrow

I’m still ignoring the Negroni shirt and  after an overdose of Lego at Legoland (by ways of lack of actual lego), one sick child and no sleep, for  this week there’s more EPP! (yay)

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It’s a big birthday for one of my friends this week and a fancy box of chocolates would definitely not do.

Out came 500 blocks again. I’ve been working quite a bit out of this lately and sometimes when I see a pattern in a book I know instantly who I would make this for. This was the case for the Georgetown carnival cushion.

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I have made similar cushions before,  with each one it gets easier and  quicker.

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One average Bollywood film later and it was all pieced. EPP is a bit like that once you start it’s hard to stop until it’s done. (This normally applies, just not to the ungoing/ongoing  project in my coffee table).

Will say I don’t enjoy cutting out all of the templates that is one hell of a boring task. I use old birthday and Christmas cards which I have worked out pretty well for me, even the cheap ones. Sometimes cutting each one individually can give the result of some slighty smaller pieces (I’m talking millimeters) but you can’t tell once its all together. There are some excellent shape cutters out there like the Fiskar hexagon cutter (cheaper than the Sizzix) which would have saved my hands pain, but once you have the templates you can re-use them over and over..winning eventually.

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EPP is easy to start, It’s what I got my sister started with and what I’ll get my Mum to try. Easy like Sunday morning and requires minimum gear and not at a massive cost . (good for tight areses)

 

MUSIC WISE

Last few weeks have been about Spiritualized and FFS, weirdly both playing Glastonbury over the weekend, lots of iplayer catch up.

I love the Sparks and I love Franz Ferdinand. This collaboration works so well, it amazeballs.

Dont know where the Spiritualized thing came from this week, probably ipod shuffle it’s normally how it works.  Let it come down is beautiful and haunting, the follow up from Ladies and gentlemen were floating in space, it’s the ultimate come down album. (no misleading album title there)

Both of these acts played great sets at Glastonbury over the weekend you can see them on the iplayer for the next month.

 

Office bunting

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This week I was asked to whip up some bunting to decorate a colleagues desk who was finally escaping.

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Still trying to get my stash levels down some of these fabrics I’ve had for a couple of years, so these projects are helping. Few hours later all done. I could make these things with my eyes closed.

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Maybe I should do one for my desk, the slogans I could put on it are endless , though probably not approved by management.

Mojo only back temporarily, I spent 2 hours sewing in a shirt sleeve, upside down. Another hour in front of the t.v unpicking it all. I don’t even want to look at it for the time being.

And I just wasnt in the mood for trying to put more blocks together after getting about 4 done half heartedly in a few hours. I gave up and started watching Chennai Express (Bollywood films are always done in about 4 viewings).

In ride news

On an up note, finally got some tickets to see Ride at Brixton academy. Which I prefer as when I was a teen I had bought the video Ride live in Brixton in 1992, which I must have watched a hundred times (despite disliking live videos of any sort, I still find them boring). So when I first came to the UK I went to watch Stone Temple pilots at Brixton it was a big deal just being there.

So you can still get tickets now, which I’m not surprised about now that all of that insane over inflated 6 music hype is all gone.

Vanishing quilting mojo

Its true I have put aside quilting for the last few months aside from making a few blocks here and there. Today I thought I should get a move on some of my unfinished works , but it appears I have lost some of my quilting mojo somewhere. It’s been a slow, crooked sewing start and I’m making more mistakes than I would like.

Tula Pink's City Sampler Quilts: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks

I’ve been working out of Tula Pinks 100 modern quilt blocks . How much do I love Tula? Love her fabric ‘s ,which I’ve been hoarding for that special project (probably something like the La Passacaglia quilt which is so hot right now in EPP world http://www.lovepatchworkandquilting.com/downloads/la-passacaglia-quilt  I’ll start in about 2020 knowing me.

Modern blocks is a great book for beginners, it has bold and beautiful blocks but there’s no a lot of complexity here, the odd square or arrow. I feel like I’m not putting in much effort which makes me feel a bit guilty. With the right contrasting  fabric s theses blocks really come alive.

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Sorry I realised I may have published these blocks before. What are the chances!

500 Quilt Blocks: The Only Quilt Block Compendium You'll Ever NeedThe other book I’ve been using is 500 blocks written by quilting rock stars Lynne Goldsworthy and Kerry Green. This book requires much more of your undivided attenion, even the easier ones. Not that should scare you, when they work out and I’ve not been slack they have turned out beautiful. Even if I am now sick of making HST (half square triangles).

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But then how the fudge this one ended up wrong and half the size I don’t know.

Looks alright, okay a bit off in bits...

Looks alright, okay a bit off in bits..

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Errm, no.

The other problem was It (the book) asked to cut 2 but only needed to use one. Why? I’ve got all these 2.5cm squares everywhere.

wpid-20150614_225827.jpgWhat’s a bit scary is the lay out.

I understand that you need to stick  500 blocks and a whole heap of great projects in it, maybe that’s why I’ve got extra cuts. I can’t follow instructions at the best of times and I tend to make up things as I go along. I read the instructions, read them again and if there is any kind of decoding needed then I just glaze over a bit.Thankfully with blocks you can just generally work out the lay out and the construction of it.

Some of them are still wonky and they are all supposed to be a finished size of 15.2 cm, err yeah that hasn’t happened.

42 down , 22 still to go…

To end heres a nice picture of glorious nature in the backyard. Even if the pollen is messing with me big time.

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Re-found sounds

I’ve been so busy with something top secretish that I’ve still no craft/makes news at all to share. I did pop over to Goldhawk road last week while in Shepherd’s Bush but wasn’t overly impressed with the range of fabric there. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood and was conscious of the 4 year I was dragging around. Anyway I bought a meter of beautiful Liberty fabric for £13 a meter. I didn’t barter (I’m crap at that kind of thing).Were they were expecting me too or not I don’t know. It was only for a meter.

I digress….

This week I have revisited some old favourite albums and one of them not so old to me. All classics and the first two especially deserve more attention.

Redd Kross- thrid eye 1990

 

There I was a 16-year-old girl and  listening exclusively to grunge, garage, shoegazer, indie and the beginnings of  riot grrrl music. Then I found Redd Kross.

I had been listening to a lot of jangly guitar acts at the same time such as The Clouds, The Hummingbirds and the like, but Redd Kross were different, they were like power pop mixed with Kiss. My impressionable young self saw them at  in store performance at the old Virgin Megastore in Melbourne and I was hooked. It was ok to like pop music again and to hell with what anyone thought. (I have it all filmed on super 8, I should get my sister to dig it out of the “archives”- code word for my fathers cupboard of expired technology should be next to the Betamax).

This was during the release of Phaseshifter and that is another brilliant album, but it was Third Eye that came up on my iPod a couple of days ago. It’s a bit of heavy rock here (Annie’s Gone), a super charge of pop there (Bubblegum Factory, Faith Healer), some psychedelia (Love is not Love) and some lighthearted country pop rock on the side (I don’t know how to be your friend). Imagine Partridge Family meets Black Sabbath.

It all works so well together, the eclectic mix stops it from ever being boring.

Highlight tracks Annie’s Gone and the magnificent I don’t know how to be your friend.

 

PISCES, AQUARIUS,CAPRICORN & JONES LTD. 1967

 

I came to the Monkees in my early 20’s. I think they have been cast off as a novel cheap fake American version of the Beatles. Which is really unfair. If I had been writing this blog 10 years ago I would have been waxing lyrical about the genius of  Michael Nesmith’s country albums. Which are still brilliant having spent an hour listening again to them last night.

By the time Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones came out it was 1967 the Monkees were rebelling. Music was changing around them and they wanted to be taken seriously. They wanted to play their own instruments ( only one (Nesmith) of them was originally a musician the others were actors although Davy Jones had also released an album). They were teen sensations and this was  breakout , even today for any manufactured boy band which they were.

The songs are of the time, big 60’s compositions with layers of instrumental pieces, you can hear the Beatles and Beach Boy influences. They are classic pop songs, beautifully constructed and an LP I love putting on in the afternoon and forget the world is outside.

This album was along with the Doors Strange Days one of the first to use a Moog synthesizer on their recording. Use that in your next pub quiz!

Highlights of this gem Words, What am I doing hanging round and Don’t call on me.

I’ve been watching their tv show on You Tube (love the 60’s kitsch of it) and in the first episode Davy Jones who must have been 21 and is dating a 15-year-old girl. Bit creepy. No one thinks this is weird…(oh it was ok back then)

The Monkees…well half of The Monkees (Mickey Dolenz & Peter Tork) are playing at the Hammersmith Apollo on September 4th if anyone wanted to know.

 

MOODY BLUES- DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED 1967

 

Local record fairs are pretty shit round here and I hardly pick up anything much when I go now. But I did get this for about £1.00. I loved the cover , it had Nights in white satin on it and I really like Justin Hayward’s album 1975’s Bluejays. It was worth my shiny gold coin and I’m so freaking glad.

The Moody Blues were asked by their record label in September 1967 to record an adaptation of Antonín Dvořák‘s Symphony No. 9 as a stereo demonstration record. Instead, the band chose to record an orchestral song cycle about a typical working day (thanks wiki)…This may or may not be true but it gives a bit of background anyway.

In the end we have a concept album about a day in the life of the common man, a classical psychedelic masterpiece.

Opening notes sound like the start of a Star Trek soundtrack. goes into an instrumental version of the magnificent “Nights in white satin”. Whereas “Lunch break” sounds exactly like it should be in a Billy Wilder film accompanied bright fast shots of people around New York in the 60’s in Technicolor. I suppose that’s the whole point. The track “Afternoon” next to Nights is probably the other highlight on this album (which is hard to pick out in a concept album that flows so easily as this one does.) at a whopping 8.24 minutes long  it has so many different elements to it.

I used to hear Nights  on the radio all time on the oldies station growing up so it’s one of those songs I took for granted because it was always there. Because of this I never really listened to it . When you forget what you know, stick headphones on it is a thing of great beauty.

Lots of this reminds me of Matt Berry’s musical work, I wonder how much influence they have had on him. In fact this is most likely the beginning of prog rock right here (but don’t let that put you off).

The Moody Blues are still playing live too.

While I have been writing this, I’ve been distracted and just sitting on the sofa listening to songs I havent heard for years and years (like an old person). I can’t remember the last time I was had headphones on and no sewing in my hand just absorbed in the music. I don’t know why I ‘ve left it so long.

I’m starting to wonder should I possbly have two seperate blogs? I will get back around to the sewing stuff when I get the chance..or some more up to date music …so little time, so little time.