Monday, 27 July 2009

Urban Village Fete

I've been busy over the last fortnight making up heaps of items that will go on sale at the Urban Village Fete this Saturday. It's happening in Peckham (see flyer above for details) and will start from 2pm onwards.

This is going to be the first time I'm doing a stall this year, so I'm pretty excited about it! So excited, in fact, that I've got a huge box filled with stuff ready to go!

I've made up heart buntings, lots of cute little notecards and greeting cards (blank on the inside so you can fill in your own messages), quite a few tardigrade brooches, and I'm spending today making up lots of brooches using scrap yarn and some of my vintage buttons.

If you're in the area this Saturday, do stop by and say 'hi'.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Club Tropicana

Just finished these two pairs of gloves last week - one for my Mummy and one for my younger sister Tiffany. I thought I'd show them off because these are the first gloves I've knit up, and I'm pretty damned pleased with the result.

The pattern came from an old Patons booklet that I found in one of the op-shops down on Walworth Road. They asked for fingerless gloves, so I adapted the pattern by doing only four rows of k1p1 ribbing on the fingers, then casting off.

Ladies back in the day must've had tiny hands, though. I didn't have the right size needles (the pattern asked for size 14 needles - 2mm) so I used a pair of size 12s instead (2.75mm), and they still came out pretty tight. It's not like I have huge hands anyway, mine are ridiculously child-sized! I can't imagine how tiny these would've turned if I'd used the right sized needles. It's a good thing they both have small hands as well, or I'd have to frog them and knit them up again.

This one's just called 'Lace Design' in the booklet, it's basically a meshy, all-over lace design with quite a bit of stretch.

And this is the 'Diamond Lace' pattern, with 4 lace diamonds spread over the front.

I used King Cole Zig Zag sock yarn for them, and I've got about half a skein left, which I guess means I'll be able to knit up another 2 pairs of gloves?

I bought a 100gm ball of King Cole Zig Zag sock yarn and only used about half the ball for both pairs of gloves. So I guess that means I'll be able to make myself another 2 pairs of gloves from the leftovers? I really like the feel of this yarn, it's soft and springy and not too heavy at all, which is great for gloves. I might get more in another colourway, as I'm really itching to try out Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts pattern. We'll see...

In the meantime, more photos of the gloves can be found on my Flickr.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Birthday Baking, Brownies and Buntings

The Mancreature turned 30 last Friday, and I made him some goodies to celebrate.

Chocolate and cherry cupcakes from a Nigella recipe.

And a giant brownie.

In case you're wondering, yes, it does say 'Happy Irthday'.

The Mancreature had received a cake from some clients on Wednesday, and brought it home to share with me. When we opened the box, he's promptly popped the 'B' candle into his mouth and chewed on it, thinking it was icing. Silly!

So anyway, I thought it'd be funny to recycle the candles and have them say 'Happy Irthday'.

I also put up a string of heart buntings on our door to decorate, and I like them so much I've left them up permanently.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Tutorial - Security Pattern Scrap Paper Notebook

When I wrote about the security-patterned paper notebook I made, I also said that I would have a tutorial up 'in a couple of weeks'. And that was only, oh, I dunno, about a month and a half ago.

But I've finally got my arse into gear and taken some photos of the steps required, so you can make your own little notebooks out of scrap paper too! Of course, you can make them any size you like, I make mine A6 as they fit into pockets easily. You don't really need any bookbinding equipment, but it probably makes things much easier if you do. I don't.

1) Gather your scrap paper, and cut them into size if they're not the size you want. I use a range of papers from magazine pages and envelopes. You'll also need a piece of cardboard - cut into the same size as the paper you're using - for the cover. For this tute, I'll be using an old postcard for the cover, but you can cut up old cereal boxes or other suitable items too.

2) You'll also need some tools - if you're professional, you'll have an awl (for punching holes), a bone folder (for scoring paper and cardboard), a metal ruler, upholstery thread and maybe an upholstery needle. Oh, and a Stanley knife.

If you're like me, you'll use a thick canvas needle (for punching holes), your fingers (for folding), crochet cotton and a darning needle. I do, however, have a metal ruler and a Stanley knife named Stanley! Wahey! I've actually got an excellent metal ruler that has an indentation running all the way down the middle so you can place your fingers in it and slice away without worrying about your fingers. I bought it coz I was seduced by its good looks, then realised that it was also cheaper than the standard flat ruler, so, double score!

3) Decide on the number of pages you want in your notebook. Remember: each piece of paper gives you 4 pages when folded in half. I wanted 32 A6 pages in my notebook, so I picked out 8 A5 pieces of paper and folded them all in half.

You'll get a nicer fold with a bone folder, but I don't have one, so...I used my fingers.

4) You'll then need to collate your folded pieces of paper. Just put them all together in the order you want them.

5) Fold your piece of cardboard/ postcard in half too. If you have a bone folder, score the cardboard down the middle before you fold it for a sharp, professional look. I'm jsut using my stubby little fingies.

6) This is where having an awl comes in handy. If you haven't got one, get hold of a thick needle. In my case, I'm using a thick canvas needle. Piece 3 holes in the spine of your notebook. Hold all the pages together, then make a hole in the middle of the spine, then one each nearer the edges. If you want to be neat, you can measure out where you want the holes to be and mark them with a pencil before piercing, but I just guess where I want them and poke. Just like life.

7) Do the same to your cover. The easiest way to get all the holes aligned is to put the pages into the cover, hold them all tight, and put your needle through the holes you've already pierced, then push it all the way through the cardboard cover.

8) Next thread your darning needle. Or a proper bookbinding-type needle if you have one. The professionals use waxed linen upholstery thread (I think?) but I'm using some nifty red crochet cotton instead. Coz it's what I have. Oh, and don't knot your thread at the end.

9) Then open your notebook to the centre page, and put your needle and thread through the middle hole, leaving a tail about 2 inches long. You'll need this tail later.

10) Put your needle back through the top hole...

11) ...and bring it back out through the bottom hole.

12) Then bring the needle back into the middle hole, and made a knot with the 2-inch tail that was left there. Trim the tails so you don't have too much of a bulge when you close the notebook.

13) We're almost there! You'll notice that the pages tend to stick out, so you can choose to leave them as they are, or trim them. At times, you'll be trimming mere slivers of paper, which can get fiddly, so you can always them like that and say you were going for the 'shabby chic' look.

14) Because this is a tute, I'm gonna to show you how to trim them. This is where a metal ruler and Mr. Stanley Knife come in handy. Make sure your blade is sharp too, or you'll end up with gross rumpled edges (shabby chic, again?). A metal ruler works much better than a plastic or wooden one in this case because the blade doesn't cut into the metal, so you'll be almost certain that you're cutting a straight line.

I say 'almost', because sometimes my fingers go crazy and don't listen to me and I end up with wavy cuts anyway.

So, place yourmetal ruler against the edge of the cover, and make light but firm cuts till you've trimmed all the protruding edges way. Don't rush this, as the blade might drag on the paper and tear bits off.

And it's done! I've put up some examples of different ones that I've made, so you get an idea of the kinds of covers you can use. Of course, you can use any type of paper inside, or make a little storybook out of it too.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Monday, 6 July 2009

Rustlers Flame Grilled BBQ Rib

Remember this? Well, I didn't die from it, and what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

It clearly also makes you a lot dumber, because when the Mancreature and I saw this Rustlers Flame Grilled BBQ Rib on sale at the Sainsbury's for 92p last week, we reached out and put one in our basket.

And it sat in the darkened confines of the fridge for a week, til we came back from Manchester yesterday morn with nary a bite to eat. So we reached for the old microwave burger.

Picture of the burger on the packaging - with lettuce

It says 'Use by 18 Jul' on the box but I'm pretty sure that's only a recommendation, not a rule. Notice the succulent green lettuce nestling under the juicy pork patty in the picture?

Actual burger, out of its box - no lettuce :(

This is what it actually looked like, out of it's plastic preservation chamber. No shiny meatwedge, no crisp lettuce.

BBQ Sauce

But hey, that's all fine, because there's a packet of BBQ sauce nestled under the bun! The uncooked burger was fridge-cold and had a sort of grey colour to it, which the makers had probably tried to disguise by giving it black 'grill marks'.

Unnuked burger

Suspicious black spots on the bun

Oh, and there were also these strange black bits all over the inside of the bun, I know not what they were. 'Grill marks' again, perhaps?

Nuked burger, with shiny sauce

The Mancreature put his manly talents to good use by chucking the whole shebang into the microwave and nuking it...2 minutes or so. I think that's what the instructions say. He then ripped apart the bag o' BBQ sauce with his strong arms and slathered it all over the processed pork wedge, before slicing the whole thing into half.

Sharing is caring, indeed.

Open your mouth for the choo-choo meat train!


And then I ate it. I ate it good. I showed it who's boss and destroyed the thing like I hadn't eaten for about 20 hours! Which I hadn't.

Bleeding innards

And the verdict? You know how, sometimes, when you're really hungry, the first thing you get to eat will taste really really good, because you've been so hungry that you've nearly forgotten what food tasted like? Well, it wasn't like that with this burger. I felt quite ashamed of myself, like I was back in churchie school and had done something bad. During chapel time. I wanted to go wash myself after eating this burger. I had a biscuit instead.