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Thursday, 31 January 2013

It's nearly time for the big project!

Hi everyone!
It's the last day of January and do you know what that means? It's nearly time for my big February project! It's going to be creative yet practical. I can tell you this: it's not a costume for a change and has to do with this:


Curious? Come back tomorrow and read all about it!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Recipe - Peasant Bread (link through)

Hi all!
I'm working hard for February's themed month but for some reason this weekend is a bit of a washout and I've been mainly cleaning. So far, I've cleaned the drains, done several loads of laundry, the dishes, AND baked this wonderful peasant bread that I found via Pinterest on this website.

It is amazing!!! I do own a breadmachine, a gift from the bf many years ago, but for some reason the bread is never really yummy, so I wanted to try if I can bake bread without it. I can never get the bread to rise properly and I either over or under knead it. But this bread is a no-knead bread and it is super simple and just so yummy! 

The recipe is for two loaves and uses 1L pyrex bowls for baking. I thought that the two relatively small pyrex bowls I own were way too small, so I used a larger one and also a relatively large glass oven dish. I still divided the dough to make two loaves so no harm done, except that one of the loaves was a lot more flat than it was supposed to be. Oops... oh well, now I know for next time because I will SO make this again very soon!


The flatter bread, so yummy!

And the larger bread, it had more time to rise and the bowl was rounder so it looks better. I haven't cut into it yet, but it smells divine! I'm so proud :)

I was considering posting the original recipe here but have decided against it as the original blog post has very details instructions complete with pictures so best to just head on over there. CLICK HERE for the easiest most amazing bread :) Let me know what you think and if it worked out for you!

UPDATE 01/02/2012:
Hi everyone! I've baked this bread again last night, this time in the right bowls and with enough butter. The bread came out looking exactly like the picture in the original post! :) Using the 1L bowls definitely made a huge difference.

 The bread rose really high this time! I forgot to take a picture of the dough rising, but even that looked like the original post. *huge smile*

I am so proud!
 

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Romantic Trip to Paris

Good morning everyone!
Time is flying at the moment and work and life are both extremely busy. But that does not stop the crafting :) I'm having a huge themed February planned so a lot of stuff will be posted then. Makes me look a tad lazy in January though hihi... This post is actually about our first trip in the new year, can you believe that after a looooong time of hinting, the bf took me on a romantic trip to Paris? It was lovely :) And COLD! When we planned this, the weather was cold but nice. Of course once we got there it got REALLY cold and it even snowed! The Parisians we spoke to ensured us that in Paris the snow never stays. Boy were they wrong... But it was quite magical really, plus I got to visit a few places I never managed to see before:

As you may know, I love movie locations and I always wanted to visit the Louvre, so the first thing on the list was that. It was a weekday still, so not too crowded. Check me out, I saw the two pyramids (Da Vinci Code)! 
 
First stop on the list inside the museum: the Venus di Milo! I've seen this on tv so many times (mostly in Disney's Hercules actually lol) and there it was :) 

It was a little crowded and for some reason there was this moment when no one else was around me so I could have this picture showing only the Monal Lisa and me hihi. It's really small actually but still impressive that I've fnally seen it :) I can't comment on the 'eyes following you around' bit coz it was really quite far... 

The ceiling in one of the rooms, the decoration in there was quite amazing!

The Winged Victory of Samothrace, I LOVE this statue. I took so many pictures! 

There was more to see, but I didn't want to spend the entire day inside the museum and my guidebook had about 7 things they classed as a 'must see', but three were closed to the public due to refurbishment and airco problems, and one I just couldn't find, so we left the museum and went outside into the cold. Of course we had to sneak a piccie in of the outside pyramid as well :)
 
It was the bf's first touristy visit to France so we did a few of the very touristy things (that were indoors coz it was freezing!), and I brought him along to Notre Dame. I love this church (Disney again!), it's really pretty. These are the 'eyes of Notre Dame' as sung by the preacher in the Hunchback of Notre Dame :)

The inside is of course always impressive. 

As we made our way back to the hotel, it started snowing. And not just a little bit!

On the way back we walked past the Museum of Natural History, which had this mammoth outside covered in snow. Makes it look more real in a way ;)

The next morning, this is what Paris looked like. Covered in a thick blanket of snow, with lots of outdoorsy stuff closed. No cemetery visit for us (the Pere Lachaise was closed much to my disappointment) so we just have to go back when it's warmer for that one.

Yes it was this cold... 

Sacre Coeur is always gorgeous, but in the snow it really blended it. We even went inside this time to escape the cold. Although we did take the touristy chairlift to get up the stairs hihi...

After a long walk, a quick trip by Moulin Rouge to take the obligatory picture, we somehow ended up in Parc Monceau, which was actually open and completely white. It was lovely :)

One last thing on my list to visit was Versailles. I have seen so many movies with this and never managed to make it here, so this was my chance. The lady at the train station told us it was closed due to the snow, but we called them and the palace was open but everything else was closed. Shame really but with the gardens snowed under there wasn't a lot to see in them anyway. The palace, however, was very impressive. I'm so glad we went! And yes, I love this picture LOL

The first thing you see is the chapel. This is a BIG chapel...

I took a ton of pictures, but this room is the Room of the King. Not very cozy but quite impressive.

The Hall of Mirrors! There is a French movie called Le Roi Danse and there is a big scene filmed here. I was so happy to finally see it!

This the Room of the Queen, allegedly where Marie Antoinette gave birth to her children. Still not very cozy really, I can understand why she had the little hamlet built in the gardens!

After a lovely dinner in a tiny restaurant with a fireplace, we went back to the hotel to leave the next day. The Eurostar was cancelling quite a few trains but we managed to get back ok before it got worse. And 3 hours on the train meant much progress on the cross stitch! But most of all, it was a lovely and romantic weekend :)

Monday, 14 January 2013

New Craft - All Done!

Hi all!
I've been so busy making stuff that I actually ran out of time to blog about it too... Lots of stuff to share for next month's project, but first I need to share that I have finished my new craft for the year! I actually finished it last week, but taking a decent picture of myself all wrapped up and comfy turned out to be quite difficult. So I had to wait for someone else to be around outside of work to take pics. 

This is it! Doesn't it look comfy? I am so in love with this, it's my first ever knitted creation (other than a badge I made a few years back). I'm so proud of myself about this :)

Remember how it got started? With this lovely ball of pompom yarn I bought for a fiver at the Olympia Stitch & Craft Show, and FINALLY started this year as my new craft for the year. 

A few days later I was here. It was getting there :) I then started knitting like mad, I had to have it done by that Saturday, and as it turned out casting off was a LOT more tricky than I'd anticipated so after several hours and with the help of various Youtube videos, I managed to finish the casting off late that Saturday evening. More than a week ago now actually...

And this is it! Taadaa!! It's all finished, and got lots of compliments at my outing last weekend. 

It's so comfy! One ball of yarn (200gr) was perfect for one scarf. 

Plus it REALLY matches my coat :) Which was kind of the point really hihi...

One last picture of the full scarf. I took this after I had just finished it, still so proud :) Thinking of buying a few more of these and making scarves for my whole family for Christmas. These are so quick and easy! But I'm keeping this one, the colour is just too fabulous :)

So far this year is going well, lots of crafting being done, whoohoo! Maybe a sweater next? I have the wool already (it's acrylic but who cares for a first sweater, right?) so maybe soon I will give it a try. Until then some more quick things to make so keep checking this blog, I'm on a roll!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Recipe - Healthy Banana Cookies

Hi again everyone!
I am so busy at the moment and it is feeling great :) Lots of projects are not yet done or done but not yet uploaded here, but I really wanted to do some baking this week and as we had lots of bananas left I really needed to use them. Enter the recipe for healthy banana cookies. These are amazing! Just to clarify, it's not my recipe, I found them on Allrecipes here a long time ago and they are just so good that I just had to share these with you. They contain only bananas, oats, raisins, and vanilla. I added some nuts as well but you can easily make these without those. Ready? Here we go:

You need:
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of raisins (the recipe called for dates but I didn't have any)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • handful of nuts (optional)
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Stir in oats, dates, oil, and vanilla. Mix well, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly brown.
Your finished cookies should look something like this.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. And they turn out wonderfully, slight crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy in the centre. I kept them in a cookie tin today which made them go not-crunchy-anymore but they're still delish. My advice: eat them all, muahahaha! But seriously, these are great if you actually want to have a cookie without lots of sugar, and butter and the likes. And for the calorie counters among us: they're only 56 calories per cookie. Or so it says on the website... Have fun making these and let me know if you like them too!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Christmassing - Amended Christmas Stocking

Hi all,
I just had the BEST weekend of the year! I did so much! I have this huge pile of stuff to mend/change/adjust/finally finish/use for other stuff, and I've been trying to get through it all of 2012 but sadly without success. 2013 is the year of action and so I started on 1 January and I have to admit I'm getting there. I'm waiting to have enough done to have another mending week so I can keep it all together. At this rate it may need to be a mending month ;) I also just realised that I already mention this with picture even in one of my last blog posts. Sorry! Just so pleased on how much I got done!

When you read the title of this blog post, you may have thought 'Christmassing in January? That's early!' Well, there is a reason for it really. Do you remember the new Christmas stockings I made for the bf and me? I loved mine (it has sparkles! Although normally I'm not a fan, but this fabric was just perfect), but the bf's one was really annoying me. This is what I mean:


The one on the left I made for the bf (it has black in it!), and I used blue as a lining. Before I put it all together it looked fine, but once it was sewn up I just really hated the blue. I kid you not, I dreamed about changing the fabric! So this weekend I got cracking. I'd found some cream fabric in my stash which was just perfect for the inside and would pull the whole look more together than the blue. Because the blue was all I could focus on for some reason. So I took it out and replaced it with cream. 2.5 hours later (!) it was finally done and the stocking was finally to my liking.

Yes, it took that long! I was shocked too... sewing the lining and taking the old one out only took maybe 30 mins in total, but getting the new lining to fit into the stocking correctly was for some reason an absolute disaster. And I don't know why as the old one fit just fine, so I knew it couldn't have been the size or anything. Although maybe taking it in a tad might have helped in the end. The result?

From the front, it all still looks the same... 

But look at the top, it's it pretty now? Much more in line with the rest of the fabric and less 5-yr old also. Am sure the bf will appreciate it too (though he did ask for black lining, LOL). 

Technically this could have been a 'mending' project as well, but it's still close enough to Christmas to post this now, otherwise I would have had to wait nearly a whole year and I'm just way too impatient for that! ;)

Friday, 4 January 2013

New Craft - Really Nearly Done

Hi everyone,
Yes I am blogging and crafting again, and enjoying every minute of it! Well, maybe not the last 10 mins when I painstakingly had to undo two rows of knitting because I dropped a stitch, but otherwise yes :) Good thing it was only 12 stitches long! 

I am so close to finishing my shiny new (purple of course) scarf, but as I seem to be dropping stitches, I figured it's better to give it a rest and finish tomorrow. I was going to have it done by the time I meet some of the sewing girls for a fabric shopping trip (I'm now on a budget so will only have a look and maybe buy some polycotton to line some projects) and show it off, but I'm not sure that is going to happen. On the other hand, it's 12 degrees here at the moment during the day so not really much need for a lovely warm scarf. 12 degrees (that's Celsius), that's the same as we had in August! It's crazy... 

Anyway, I took some piccies just to show you my progress. This will be the first ever knitted project that I have actually completed so I'm pretty impressed by that :)

This is how far I was on Wednesday after a few hours at the sewing meet. Not bad so far... but that ball of yarn is still rather large... 

This is how far I got tonight. That ball of yarn is looking mighty small now :) Here you can also see the colour better, it is really a bad colour to photograph. But it doesn't really show you the length yet. Hang on..

This is how far I got so far! Check this out, the end of the scarf is miles away from the ball of yarn :) Well, maybe not miles but you know what I mean ;) 

Fingers crossed I can have it done by tomorrow morning or at least by Tuesday when I have to show it off at the next sewing meet :)

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year, New Craft

Hi everyone!
Oh boy the first day back at work was tricky. I really needed a snooze about halfway through so it was good that I had packed a piece of yummy apple pie to have with my afternoon tea :)

After work we had the very first craft meet of 2013 where we all started a new project. Perfect time for me to finally use up the pompom wool I bought back in March. It wasn't easy and after many youtube videos I still didnt understand the casting on bit, but luckily one lovely lady from the group came to the rescue and after three hours I was well on the way to having a shiny new purple scarf. 


Isn't it just wonderful? The colour is actually much more purple than it shows on the photo. Must be one of those colours that is really hard to photograph. But I couldn't stop touching this gorgeous wool :) OK, gorgeous microfiber polyester but you know what I mean. ;) It is straight at the bottom, it was just hanging off the table as I took this picture.

I have to finish it before Saturday ideally so I'll be carrying this around with me on the tube for the next few days. So far, 2013 is an excellent crafting year!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

May Your 2013 Be Crafty

Happy New Year everyone!
I hope you all had a wonderful evening and a great start of the new year. I actually managed to sleep until about 1pm and the most constructive thing I have done today is to take down the Christmas tree. Let's hope that's not the standard of the new year hihi!

For a change I actually have a ton of resolutions for this year and even more projects planned. Some of my rather long-term projects are to be finished this year. In the mean time I am also hoping to finish some instant-gratification creations as spending months on a project is fun but the result takes forever... It is a little demotivating sometimes really. 

Except for the quilt (latest pictures will follow this weekend I hope), I have two projects that I MUST finish this year. One of them is of course my Halloween cross stitch. I'm getting quite far with it actually, have nearly managed one part of the never-ending tree... 

I still have a lot to do of course, but it's getting there :)

Another project is my mending bag. It's a bag I have standing around containing clothes that need mending of some sorts. I have some lovely things in there and for some reason I never get around to it. I'll be posting a mending week soon to actually show you some of the cool items I have in here just waiting to be worked on!

Tomorrow I'm meeting my sewing group for our first 2013 meeting and we actually have a theme this time: learn a new craft for 2013. In my case it will be a new project (another one!), I am going to knit a bobble scarf with this gorgeous purple bobble wool I bought last March. As my knitting still needs improving I think it will count as a new craft :) I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Have a great year, lots of craftiness above all, and looking forward to a great blogging year!
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