Thursday, 28 August 2014

GBBO Controversy or Baked Alaska Gate

Even if you haven't watched GBBO then you may have heard of the controversy surrounding it. I know, controversay and a baking contest doesn't really sound right does it? Yet it happened. Poor Iain who had been having a good week (for once). Threw his melted Baked Alaska in the bin rather than present what he could of it.

This poor woman is getting the blame and as a result the BBC have had an abundance of complaints. Supposedly she took Iains ice cream out of the freezer because he hadn't used his own freezer. Now, she did comment to Iain that he should use his own freezer but you don't actually see her taking it out. Plus Iain has since said that it was out for less than a minute. Poor woman has had demands that she is kicked off the show and that Iain is reinstated. I think people forget that the entire series finished filming a month or so ago so it would be pretty difficult to do as they wished. The BBC have since announced that Diana left before the next episode due to ill health. While Diana is maybe not my favourite contestant (in terms of her bakes) I do feel a little sorry for her. I also feel sorry for Iain too of course.

What amused me most was that I did force my dad to watch it. It was my birthday after all and I had just come off my last shift. For someone who believes it to be a waste of time he was clearly riveted. Then when the controversy hit he got up in arms over that poor guy and how he shouldn't be penalised. I think I was more entertained by him.

More importantly, why was I not aware of just how yummy Baked Alaska's are? I was convinced I didn't like them. However, they are filled with ice cream, cake and merangue. What's not to like? Although, not enough to want to make one of my own. That all looked far too stressful.

Norman continues to be my favourite. He's the one you just want to look after and you don't want anything bad to happen to him. I will be devastated if they kick him out. Sadly his bakes are far too safe even when he tries to be imaginitive.

All of these images aren't mine and came from the Great British Bake Off facebook page.

Sunday, 24 August 2014


The above image came courtesy of the Great British Bake Off website which I have linked to the image itself. That can only mean one thing! I am going to talk about GBBO. Like last year I am once again addicted. I am even guilty of watching each episode more than once on iPlayer. You might wonder at that but I don't seem to ever get bored of it. Perhaps because my own creativity is limited to the time I can spend on it.

Regardless, I am loving it this year and I think this year is even better than last year. Not just because there has been no site of custard (which was prolific last year or at least it seemed to be). Not just because I would actually like to try my hand at most of this years bakes (so far). But also because there is an abundance of talent. Let's not forget that these are amateur bakers (however are also significantly less amateur) although this years seeem to be slightly more talented than last years. I don't think I could even pick out a winner at this point. Nor do I have a favourite to win.

I couldn't even point out a favourite at this point (although there are a few stars there). I do have a soft spot for Norman and not just cause he is a fellow Scot. However, his refusal to move from safety means that I don't see him winning. I also have a soft spot for Martha who is the youngest contestant so far and has a great deal of talent. I also like Nancy and her attitude to her baking. I have to say poor Jordan was my least favourite and he seemed to have less skill and knowledge than the others. Perhaps, he would have been better after a few more years of practise.

Thanks to my lovely mother I now have the book to go with this years series. Which is a good thing as I want to try my hand at a number of the recipes. I quite fancy having a go at the ciabatta. I am still dying to have a go at making bread in general. I also have an idea for a swiss roll which involves making my own jam. Just as well I am going to have some time off coming up.

I'm not going to review this book as yet. I want to try a couple of the recipes first. As I have another GBBO book I have yet to make anything from though you might be waiting a while. Or maybe not if I get the chance to make that bread.

Monday, 18 August 2014

This Is Happening!

Between finishing university and getting my registration there will be two months where I will be a little bit free. During that time I have promised my sister that I will go to a life drawing club with her. Not a class but a club. Lets face it, my sister hardly needs tutoring but she does enjoy her life drawing and it gives her the chance to work with other forms of media. A club and not a class also means that I won't have the embarrassment of being told what I already know - that I am rubbish! You know that episode of 'How I Met Your Mother' where Lily has her paintbrushes snapped in two for being so crap. That would be me but without the paint brushes. I suppose I could have my pencils snapped in two.

The other positive side is that this takes place in a pub and so there will be alcohol to numb the pain. As a future healthcare professional I really cannot recommend the use of alcohol to get you through any situation. In this case I think I will need it. Funnily enough it was this fact that my sister used to sell the idea to me. Anyway, my sister has me all prepared. I now have my very own little artist model dude and sketch book. I think that means I have to get some practise in.

In other news my room is slowly being taken over by knitted woodland creatures. Not that I am complaining. My mum has been knitting up these kits which have come free with various magazines. The squirrel even came with it's very own acorn. Don't be worried. There was no favouritism. Sister got her very own camouflage cat.

In my own crafting world my final secret project is going very well. I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I had also started my auction socks. Look how pretty the colours are. Now that you have seen it I am starting again. I feel they should be done in a smaller needle size. The stitch feels a little too loose and it will annoy me if I don't start again.

Lastly, I have yet more yarn bombing for you. It's from the same project as the last one. I just didn't notice until the weekend there that the posts at the train station were wearing hats. I also just noticed that some of the yarn bombing contained little tags with information on the project. It's by a group called Scattercraft and they have their very own blog. Worth having a look.

Oh, and my final piece of news for you. I was successful in my first interview and will be employed (at least part time) in the next two months.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Scottish Baby Shower

I'm not going to steal the thunder of my knitting groups blog. I just thought I would show you a very rare photo with me in it. Being the one usually taking the photo's I have been successful at avoiding the camera. Until now. So here is me presenting the lovely Lisa with her gift.

I can't take credit for the planning of this one. My friend Isabel came up with the idea of a Scottish themed baby shower. So you can see some of our Scottish goodies and our decorated table with irn bru kilts (am sure this isn't an official kilt). I can also tell you that those flags were used by my friend and her family to cheer on the athletes during the Games Road Race. If you want to see all the amazing things people made then head over to the group blog.

Lisa is the lovely lady who has runs For the Love of Yarn that I have been raving about over and over again. It was also her son who raised money for cancer research and I donated a pair of socks to the auction (did I mention that clever boy raised over £800). Well, the lady who had the winning bid likes purples and blues. It just so happened that Lisa had some of her hand dyed yarn in those colours. So I have this scrummy yarn on the pins.

You may have noticed that the Common Wealth Games have been and gone. I had wanted to be one of the volunteers but not really a good idea since it would coincide with my final placement. I also didn't watch much of it. Or any of it really. Even though I was riveted to the Olympics two years ago I found that I was just too tired or busy. So the extent of my excitement was seeing a lot of yarn bombing round near my sister's. A project that was done with school kids in time for the Games. I also have photo's of Clydes and other Games related decoration but they don't really fit in with a crafting blog.

I have nothing else to show you. To be honest I have been too tired to do much of anything on my days off. I have been concentrating on my final few weeks of my degree and that little project of job hunting. I have been reading craft pages and I still find myself on pinterest (although not quite as often). I have also been baking for my fellow nurses but as it's been more banana bread and my famous cookies I didn't think you would want to see yet more images of those.

Oh, which reminds me! Be prepared for some Great British Bake Off related posts. It's back and so far I am impressed with the contestants. Think it's going to be a good one.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Secret Project 2 Revealed.

Baby shower number 2 took place last night so I can finally show off my 2nd of 3 secret projects. You may find this blanket it rather familiar as it is really just the reverse of the blanket I did for the last baby shower. I had planned it that way all along and wasn't a way to use up yarn. In fact this blanket is a bit of a yarn eater. Sadly I forgot to note how many balls of yarn I used. I can tell you that I just had enough of the yellow and have three balls of white left over. That's not really helpful if you are wanting to make this yourself. Helpful to me though as I have a plan for that white.

I am not going to review the pattern again. You can read about my thoughts on it from the post I did on the first one. I will say that after two blankets I still wasn't bored of it. It was quite a nice one to work on and looks far more complicated than it actually is (that's a shout out to a few of my crafty friends who mistakenly believe they wouldn't be able to do it).

Once again, what I did not enjoy was all the ends. I was working on so many shifts and had essays and job applications to write that I did bits of this blanket whenever I had the time. That meant I wasn't going to waste it with the boring job of sewing in ends as I went. I wonder if I was expecting the pixies to do it.

Instead I had the lovely task of sewing them all in at the end. I guess I had about 100 on each side to sew in. I stopped counting when I got to 40 and wasn't even halfway up one side.

I still don't think this pattern looks like hearts. It's still pretty though. I also edged it the same way I did with the last one. Just a border of single crochet stitches in white and then in yellow. If anything it just makes it neater.

The baby shower itself was a success but I will tell you more on that next time. I am also still working on secret project 3 (not a baby shower gift) but I'm also going to be starting on something not so secret.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Pins I Love - Crafts for the Garden

Before I start, my absence was not planned. The truth is I have been mainly reading in between working on secret projects. The books are not crafty in nature and so I couldn't really talk about them here. I also took the huff with my last planned pinterest post (everything on there should have a decent link - new rule). All is now forgiven and this post is actually a spur of the moment choice.

To be honest my mum is the gardener of the family. Even when we had a flat my mum had plants everywhere. She is famous for never being bored of gardening shows. Her dream was always to have her own garden and now that she does it's very pretty. She takes great pride in it and every year she tries out new plants and colours. Me, I just admire. Doing this post made me think that maybe I am hitting middle age a little early. Then I remembered that my sister and I used to create our own garden designs using pens and paper. However, these are more crafty items for the garden rather than the gardening itself.

This first idea is actually quite a good way of cheaply brightening up the garden. Just paint some old terracotta pots to fit in with your garden. It's a good way of adding splashes of colour which won't detract from the flowers. Personally I would paint the post just one colour rather than adding stripes into the mix. The tutorial is by Sand and Sisal which seems to be a homes and garden online magazine. As always just click on the images to go straight to the tutorials.

 There are a few of these vertical planters about pinterest. Some of which seem to defy gravity. This one seems fairly simple and I am sure many a gardener could do this no problem. This tutorial is by Sweet Bella Roos. A blog worth visiting if you also love your recipes. Back to the piled planters though. How fab would this look if you coordinate the colours on each level of the planter? I am thinking rainbows people!

 This is another tutorial and a simple one at that. I honestly think I could do that. Again you could paint your pots to add splashes of colour to you garden. It's also a fantastic idea if space is a premium in your garden. You'll find this tutorial on a blog called Happiness Is.

A little different from you usual markers. Instead of just writing your herbs onto pieces of card paint a stone. This person has obviously went for the match the stone to the herb idea. Me, I would go for decorative as well as useful. Some bold colours with the herb name printed on them. You could even have them match the terracotta plant pots you have just painted. This tutorial is from a blog called garden therapy which seems to have a whole host of ideas and recipes.

Did you know that pallet gardens is a thing? Neither did I. To me pallets were always the nuisance things you deliveries arrived in on (back in the day when I worked with books). They made a mess of your floor, they wouldn't always fit in your pallet jack and you got rid of them as soon as you could. At least that was always my experience. There are umpteen images of pallet gardens floating around pinterest. Some of them are kept natural like this one and others are painted up (matching your other painted items maybe). I quite like the natural look and you could have a whole spray of colour at each level thanks to you plants. Most people it would seem use them for herbs and have each level labelled (but then where would your stones go). Anyway, this tutorial on Bright Nest gives step by step instructions on how to create your own.

I will be back later in the week. Not in two weeks, I promise. Baby shower number 2 is up this week which means I will be able to reveal another secret project.