A new beginning

So, I think it’s fairly obvious that I’ve not been keeping up to date with this blog. Work commitments, amongst other things, meant that I just didn’t have the time to do much crafting or cooking, let alone blog about it! However, I have news – I’m intending to start blogging again, but it seemed best to begin anew. So farewell to the old, and come on over to my new space at http://landofbreadandhoney.wordpress.com/!

Matcha cupcakes

Matcha is a type of green tea, and I can now confirm that it tastes great with chocolate…

A Confession

It’s time that I admitted my addiction. As these things go, it’s a fairly harmless one, but it has been taking up an increasingly substantial proportion of my time, and it’s only fair that I acknowledge it.

You see, I LOVE baking. I’m especially addicted to making bread, of every kind, from the fluffy white milk loaf to the rustic sourdough. There’s something so magical about the transformation of a few simple, uninspiring ingredients – flour, water, yeast, salt – into a supple, silky ball of dough, and then into a loaf of warm crusty bread. Yes, it can be frustrating, especially with sourdough bread, when your much-loved, doted-on starter suddenly lets you down and presents you with a leaden brick, but such failures only spur a true addict on to the next loaf.

It’s hard to decide what my favourite part of the whole process is – I thoroughly enjoy the kneading and shaping of the dough, something that many people dislike – but on balance I have to say that I take particular delight in The Crust. And yes, it deserves those capitals! A good crust is a thing of beauty to look at, especially on a gloomy winter’s day…

Fairytale update: Craftster Best of 2011!

A perfectly timed update to yesterday’s post: my fairytale papercutting has been chosen as one of Craftster’s best papercrafts of the last year. Very exciting, thanks Craftster!

Never too old for fairytales.

Back in the summer, I sat down and made a papercutting on the spur of the moment – the best kind of art! I drew and cut the dragon, castle, unicorn and wolf in about two hours, while watching a film, and then sat and looked at the bottom of the design for a ridiculous amount of time. I couldn’t work out what I needed to fill that space, and anything I tried just didn’t work.Finally, I realised exactly what that space was calling out for, and after a painstaking eternity cutting out letters I was finally satisfied.

The cutting fitted into a frame I had lying around already, and it sat in that on my mantelpiece for a week or so. Meanwhile, I had posted about it on Craftster, where it received a volume of complimentary messages that I hadn’t anticipated, and also a request for me to sell it to another member for her partner’s birthday. While I have made items to sell in the past, and intend to do so on a more regular basis in the future, it was flattering to be asked about this spur of the moment design! Which is how a tiny papercutting of mine has come to be hanging on a wall in LA, a lovely thought for me as I sit in wintry Yorkshire…

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea…

My mum’s birthday was at the end of September, and I knew that I wanted to make her a special papercut. For once, I even knew what the subject would be. When I was little (as in, as soon as I could speak) we used to recite Edward Lear poems together, particularly ‘The Jumblies’ and ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’. I knew how much Mum would love to have a piece of art that recalled those memories.

Most of the design came together very quickly; the Owl, Cat, tree and writing in particular. Strangely, it took longer to work out how to fit in as many elements of the story as possible, and so the quince and the runcible spoon (if you are looking confused, I recommend reading the poem!) were the very last elements to fit together. I was happy with the design overall, although in an ideal world I would have altered the shape of the boat, but more importantly Mum loved it!

I imagine that I’ll go back to The Owl and the Pussycat for inspiration again, since it holds such a special meaning for me. And after all, it’s a fantastic poem – why not?

 

An unexpected absence…

Oh dear, oh dear…it’s been a long time. I’m not quite sure what happened, except that like everything else in life blogs become more difficult to return to the longer you leave them! I genuinely didn’t realise how long it had been since I last posted. In fact, my absence wasn’t for lack of anything to say; I’ve been working at various craft and cooking projects over the past few months, a good number of which I’ve been extremely satisfied with. I’ve even sold one of my papercut pieces – without really intending to, I might add, although I was extremely flattered and pleased to have been asked to sell.

I’ve clearly also missed blogging about the build-up to Christmas; as usual, I made a number of presents this year, including more chutneys as well as some sloe, hawthorne and rowan jelly, but was prevented from making more than I did by my ridiculous procrastination with one particular present, for my sister. Isn’t it frustrating how something that would usually come to you so easily turns into a gruelling slog as soon as you decide to make it for a specific reason?

Hopefully I’ll be able to catchup with some highlights of what I did up until the end of 2011, but overall I’m going to pretend that the unfortunate blip of the last couple (well, maybe more like ‘few’) months didn’t happen, and just keep writing. Although weirdly, according to the traffic report, I’ve actually been receiving a steady flow of visitors every day right through my little hiatus – more, in fact, than I had been receiving previously. Hmm… Well, a warm welcome to all my new readers, and I hope the presence of an actual author here doesn’t put you off!

Finally, a picture from warmer months, to keep you going in these grey and gloomy times. Happy New Year to all.