See that sleeping rabbit?
Sleeping till noon
Shall we wake him up with a merry tune?
Sorry, I couldn’t resist, ‘Sleeping Rabbit’ is a favourite song of mine and the kids, anyway may I not so proudly present my first ever machine sewn cushion, which didn’t turn out that machine sewn as I had to reinforce half the seams by hand sewing. However I am more happy with my (hand) embroidery, the pattern is from Doodle stitching by Aimee Ray from her ‘Sweet Dreams Baby Pillow’. My pillow was smaller, planned smaller I should add and then got even smaller due to my bad hemming (I really need to invest in some better rulers and fabric markers, that’d help), I had to free hand some of the design as I had trouble transferring the pattern, I changed materials to an old flannel sheet of the kids, which I think gives it a soft, vintage, falling apart at the seams (literally) feel to it, I also switched colours by mistake when I was doing the plants in the design. In case you can’t tell what the design is from the photo, it’s a sleeping rabbit in the moon, the moon and star light radiating over the ground below. Some of the plants were meant to have seed heads, but I had trouble doing those and Girl Lacer (the intended recipient of the cushion, I suspect she’ll use it for her teddy to fall asleep on) thinks that the seed head part of the design are insects and she says they’re her favourite bit, so fair enough. So overall it’s a nice design, I think it’d work quite well on a plain pyjama case.
There are a few other good looking designs in the book, it will be used again and so will my sewing machine, hopefully better next time. I think with my machine sewing I need practice, practice, practice, unfortunately I don’t have that much time for projects and a queue is developing; next up is finishing my half completed treeling toy, which is hand sewn (thank god, I think with all of it’s curves I’d have made a pig’s ear out of it), then is my Sublime Stitching Sugar Candy skull badge, then another attempt at an embroidered cushion, this time for Boy Lacer, featuring Sublime Stitching’s Rocket design, so that will see me dusting off my machine again, then possibly it’s a tote bag with Sublime Stitching’s Space Girls on (guess who’s just had a Sublime Stitching delivery?).
After last Friday’s cupcake disaster, which put a bit of a dent in my baker’s pride (in summary I made cupcakes and they flopped as soon as they came out of the oven – they had risen in the oven) I was determined to try again. The last lot of cupcakes were a Nigella recipe from How to Be a Domestic Goddess and I was tempted to try it again, although this time not using her recommended food processor method as I think that’s where it went wrong last time, I half remember a letter in a cookery magazine problem page about a similar problem and the reply had suggested it was because their food processor was overbeating (or something) the cake mixture. I’m never really a big fan of baking with food processors, there’s a certain fun in stirring the bowl yourself (although that would change if I had a trendy red Kitchen Aid) although I can see they’re useful for making meringues etc. I’d only used Nigella’s food processor method as she had written if you wanted to use the traditional method to follow the method for Victoria Sponge which was on a page about 25 pages away and I had no desire to flick between the two.
This time, with a little more time I was prepared to flick between the pages but her Victoria sponge method did not seem very straight forward, so I abandoned Nigella and picked a book likely to have a cupcake recipe (most of my cookbooks probably would) at random, it happened to be Annabel Karmel’s Favourite Family Recipes, which is exactly what it says on the cover, if I need to make lasagna, macaroni the way Mr. Lacer likes it or oat and raisin biscuits, this is the book I consult. The kids love just looking at this book and are desperate for me to make the teddy bear cupcakes in there, which I would although I can’t figure out how to make it completely cow milk protein free at the moment (the decoration involves smarties and I have yet to figure a replacement). Anyway there are actually two cupcake recipes in there, the teddy bear ones, which involves separating eggs and whipping up the egg whites (!?!) which sounds too much like hard work for me and funny face cupcakes, which was more similar to Nigella’s recipe but lacking the milk that was in the former, it was also a simpler recipe, involving pretty much mixing everything together in a bowl at once and then sticking in the paper cases.
So with a little trepidation I gave it a go and hey presto
non-sinking cupcakes! And they tasted delicious to; me and Mr. Lacer ate most of them and we kept them un-iced, we’re both of the school of thought that cake should be about the cake, not what’s on top of it. As far as I’m concerned icing is a drag to make (and sssh, I’m not that good at it), it’s too sweet, it detracts from the taste of the actual cake and at the end of the day it’s extra calories you don’t really need. Biting into these babies you could really taste the eggy, buttery goodness! (Ok I know they still don’t count as health food!)
My kids were difficult to put to bed tonight, okay I know a lot of it was to do with daylight savings, as far as they were concerned it was 6pm, not 7 but a little friendly assistance from Iggle Piggle (above) would have helped. For as probably as long as they can remember, In the Night Garden has been just before the bedtime story in the CBeebies bedtime hour and as a show with some very cute characters and an emphasis on basically going to sleep it was perfect, but now they’ve gone and replaced it was 64 Zoo Lane which is as old as the hills and well (although this is probably a good thing) my kids will wonder off and play instead. Ok, I know they couldn’t have had In the Night Garden in that slot forever but removing it just as the clocks are about to change, that is asking for trouble. I predict a lot of rebellious pre-schoolers in their beds tonight.
I didn’t think I’d be finishing this book today, first of all I’d lost it, turns out my eldest had ‘tidied’ it up for me, then I had a lot of lesson preparation to do (I’m a private tutor) which I had to do first thing and once I’d done that I went out for a run, once I’d eventually found my trainers but as my planned 40 minute run morphed into a 10 minute run (my arm I had hurt two weeks ago, slipping on the train became painful again – if any runners are reading this, what do you do about running with an arm injury? I know obviously if I’d hurt my leg I wouldn’t be running, but you don’t immediately think you need your arms, but my injury which normally is in the slightly achey league turned into sharp pains). So the aborted run, the found book and the finished work but I had a chance to finally finish Marshmallows for Breakfast.
I wrote my initial impressions about Marshmallows for Breakfast by Dorothy Koomson last week, I don’t normally read chick-lit but this was a birthday present from my youngest, chosen by my eldest on the merit of it’s cover and the fact that it had “lots of words”. So for someone who is not a fan of chick-lit this book was a surprise, I still maintain in had a certain style that I didn’t think was a particularly good example of literature but it certainly wasn’t the “oh if I just go and buy the perfect pair of green shoes from Selfridges, my oh so handsome boss from the office will almost certainly notice me and fall head over heel in love with me and we’ll live happily ever after in a little thatched cottage with 2.4 children and a dog”, in reality this book actually dealt with multiple very gritty issues, in a way that was sometimes quite scary. I also liked how the characters’ pasts were only hinted at and you’d make these assumptions and then get proven totally wrong.
When I finish a book by an author who’s got more than one book published, I’ll often decide whether I want to add their other books to my mental to be read pile (as opposed to my real, already purchased to be read pile). So far this year Irene Nemirovsky, C.J. Sansom, Katherine McMahon, R.J. Ellory, Khaled Hosseini, Stephen King have all made it to my mental to be read pile, as has (and I’m surprised) Dorothy Koomson , there have been other more ‘literary’ writers I’ve read this year who have not made me desperate to read the rest of their work. So Koomson will grace my bedside table again but not for a while, too much chick-lit I think would be like overdosing on chocolate Easter eggs.