Once upon a time, three happy little bears in South London had a shiny little coffee doover that made the best little cups of coffee. That cute item cheered them up immensely in the mornings, to hear the water gurgling and the steam whistling as it escaped, bringing with it a rich scent of ground coffee beans. It really was one of the most pleasant ways to wake up every morning.
Then, one day, the little bear (who was very sleepy indeed that morning) went into the kitchen, as always, to make a cup of coffee, as always. This morning, however, she had unknowingly forgot to add a crucial ingredient before setting the shiny little doover on the stove. The plastic handle melted off after about 5 minutes, and she screamed a dismal 'Oh no!'
She'd forgot to fill the base of the doover with water, and the heat had got too hot to handle!
When the big bear came home, he had a laugh at little bear's silliness, then announced in his big bear voice 'I can fix it in the workshop!' The next morning, he ambled away to his workshop, broken doover in hand...and promptly forgot about it. It got buried under a pile of sawdust and sweat - out of sight, out of mind.
Last Tuesday, middle bear and little bear went to visit big bear in the workshop, and sported the sad little doover -no longer shiny now, but dusty - and excitedly exclaimed 'Oh, let's try and fix that!' So middle bear and little bear both grab little offcuts of wood and started sawing, sanding and hammering. Little bear was contentedly sanding down a little piece of plywood when middle bear told her 'That's not going to work, it's going to take too long!' He them started bashing pieces of wood with a hammer. Little bear ignored him and carried on sanding, patiently.
About 15 minutes later (while middle bear was still bashing innocent pieces of wood), little bear took her nicely sanded piece of wood and held it up to the coffee doover. Lo and behold! It fit! Middle bear gave up hammering, and helped her fit it with a nut and bolt so it would stay.
They took it home, cleaned it up, and had nice fresh coffee the next day!
Ta-da! Action shot!
Little bear would also like to give thanks to the handsome and heroic MacGyver for the inspiration. She is certain that, were she to be trapped on a desert island with only a piece of twine and a toothpick for company, she would be able to construct an airplane to escape. She will attempt to make an explosive device using a week-old avocado tomorrow. Stay tuned for more exciting exploits from the three bears!
Just added two more pieces for the Folksy Upcycle Competition. These necklaces are cut from the same fabrics as the brooches I showed you earlier, and are held up with ribbons, so the length can be adjusted to suit. I had heaps of fun making these, and I'm thinking of making more for sale at my Etsy shop, and maybe offering some when I do markets too. I think they'll also go rather well with the headpieces I currently have in stock.
And of course, if you like anything I've just shown you, go on over here and bid on it. There's lots of other stuff in the auction too, so you may very well find something you absolutely HAVE to have. All proceeds go to charity too, so you can easily justify spending some money buying nice things.
The weather's been fairly, well, London-ish recently, and all I've been wanting to do lately is stay in my PJs or wrap myself up in a blanket constantly. Which is all fine and dandy when I'm at home, but apparently, it's not the done thing when I'm out and about.
So I took matters into my own hands and whipped up a solution. I got one metre each of leopard print faux fur and a red/blue plaid flannel fabric (two of my favourite patterns!) and sewed up a reversible vest, with detachable (and reversible) hood. Can you tell I'm big on reversible items. No 'making-of' pictures, as I wasn't certain it would work. Didn't follow a pattern either, just cut and pinned and held my breath. And here's the end result.
I made the hood slightly bigger than usual, so it would go over my other hoodies or even hats. That way, I'll never need an umbrella. Stupid things are only useful if you want to poke someone's eyes out anyway.
Vest - DIY, black hoodie - some store in Hong Kong, blue flannie - KMart Boys section, t-shirt - hand me down from Hansen, jeans - opshop, beanie - opshop, bowler hat (2nd pic) - eBay
I premiered the vest last night on a supermarket run, and guess what? It's like wearing a blanket and PJs TOGETHER! Best thing ever! Expect to see lots of this little baby in the coming months...
As I mentioned a few weeks back, I'm taking part in Folksy's Upcycle Christmas Challenge. The last few weeks have mainly been spent tearing clothes apart so I could reuse the material, but I've managed to make a couple of items so far.
I've pretty much completely given in to my current yo-yo obsession and based almost all the designs in the competition on yo-yos. The first one is a little brooch, with the base part made from the WAG-ish lilac Karen Millen jacket (I'm not even sure why that jacket makes me think of WAGs, it just does. Could be the colour reminds me of their talon-like acrylic nails?). There's also a little hair-clip made from the giant old man's pyjama set for now.
Besides those two little items, I'm also working on a couple of statement necklaces type items, with yo-yos strung together, and probably held up by ribbons or lace. This one down here's a preview, but I've got another one in the works. And I'm also working on a stupidly long icord loop scarf thingo, I don't even know if that's going to turn out in the way I think it will, but I hope so.
You can have a look at the other items in the competition over here, and if you like anything, make sure you vote for it during the auction in December! All the proceeds will go to Sue Ryder Care.
The last of my pumpkin dishes from Saturday - and the whole raison d'etre for even getting a humongo pumpkin in the first place - was a pumpkin cheesecake. Which sort of became a pumpkin-flavoured cream cheese soup But it was still tasty anyway (thanks to the addition of a WHOLE tin of condensed milk) which is really all that counts.
I may have mentioned earlier this week that I'd steamed the pumpkin for about half an hour, to ensure the flesh got soft enough for mashing. The problem with steaming, though, is that the pumpkin flesh gets a little too watery. And since I was soooooo eager for cheesecake (piggy!) I didn't bother trying to spend ages squeezing all the liquid out of the streamed pumpkin - which resulted in a sloppy yellow-tinged mush that never set. We're eating it with a spoon anyway, it's still yummy.
Anyway, if you're interested, here's the incredibly easy recipe for no-bake pumpkin cheesecake.
1/2 pack of plain HobNobs (or similar digestive biscuits)
1/2 pack of dark chocolate Hobnobs (or similar)
100gms of butter
600gms cream cheese
1/2 large pumpkin (steamed, mashed and DRAINED)
400gms sweetened condensed milk
Crush the plain HobNobs into fine crumbs (you may find it easier to do this with a food processor, but I just used my hands. My strong, powerful hands.) You can leave the dark chocolate HobNobs as bigger, rougher crumbs so you get more chocolatey bits to bite into. Place the biscuit crumbs into a springform cake tin.
Melt the butter and mix it through the biscuit crumbs to bind them together. Use more butter if the crumbs don't stick together properly. Now's not the time to be worrying about your expanding waistline. Use the bottom of a spoon to press the mixture down into the tin.
Mix the cream cheese, pumpkin mash and condensed milk together (either with a spoon, or a food processor). Pour the deliciousness into the springform tin, on top of the biscuit mixture. Pop into the fridge and let it set for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
The humongous pumpkin I purchased on Saturday was more than enough for the cheesecake I'd planned on making. So, after cutting up and steaming the pumpkin, I separated the cooked, yellowy-orange flesh into two portions - one for the cheesecake, and one for something else. I wondered about freezing steamed pumpkin for later, but my sweet tooth overruled me and I decided on pumpkin biscuits!
You're probably already aware that I'm a fan of the fast and furious, throw-everything-together-and-stir method of baking. So, I came up with a lazy easy recipe for chewy pumpkin biscuits while roasting the pumpkin seeds. The amount of ingredients are fairly approximate, as usual.
1/3 large pumpkin (steamed, then mashed)
300gm caster sugar
150gm plain flour
150gm self-raising flour
cinnamon (to taste)
nutmeg (to taste)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Cream butter and sugar together.
Add both kinds of flour to butter/sugar mixture, and as much (or as little) of the cinnamon and nutmeg as you like. Give it a slight stir to make sure the spices are fairly evenly distributed throughout.
If your steamed pumpkin flesh is quite watery (as mine was), then try to drain as much of the liquid out as possible, otherwise, your batter may end up far too liquidy. When that's done, add the pumpkin to the dry mixture, and stir everything together.
Once all the parts are mixed together (like brown mush), grab your baking tray (either greased or with baking paper on it) and drop dollops of the batter on it. Use a tablespoon to help you.
Pop it into the baking try and bake for 15-20 minutes, let them cool, then destroy them with your mouth! They're really good dunked into a nice mug of hot chocolate.
While I didn't go to a Halloween party this year, I did try to acknowledge the day by buying a pumpkin. The idea was to make a pumpkin cheesecake (more on that later) but after butchering the pumpkin so I could steam its flesh, I also ended up with quite a few pumpkin seeds. And since I'm loathe to let things go to waste, I decided to roast the seeds instead of chucking them. It's really simple to do, and the seeds make a tasty beer snack.
Once you've scooped all the seeds out of the pumpkin, try and get rid of as much of the stringy pulp as you can. I did this by placing the seeds into a bowl full of water, and picking out the pulp by hand. It doesn't take much time. After you've cleaned the seeds up, place them on a tray or plate to dry for at least half an hour.
When the seeds are fairly dry, start preheating the oven on a low heat - I set mine to 120 degrees Celsius. Place the pumpkin seeds on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Melt a knob of unsalted butter and pour it over the seeds, coating them evenly. (And if you're microwaving the butter to melt it, please make sure you keep an eye on it or cover it with sometime, or else it explodes all over your microwave and you end up having to clean the greasy bits up. I got my poppet to help me with melting the butter, so he wouldn't feel left out, and that's exactly what happened. Thrice. Because he never learns from his mistakes.)
Add about a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of dried garlic flakes to the buttery seeds, then pop them into the oven to roast for about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don't get burnt, and remove them when they get golden-brown. Once they get cool enough to handle, they're ready to be eaten!
Although I used salt and garlic (you can use fresh minced garlic too, by the way, I just didn't have any), you can adapt the recipe to make a sweet version too. Just be sure to use unsalted butter, and substitute the savoury flavourings for something sweet, like cinnamon and some honey, maybe?
I also made some pumpkin biscuits and a pumpkin cheesecake that night, so check back here soon for the other recipes!