Monday, October 25, 2010

Devine cheesecake

What better way to test if you have a dairy sensitivity than homemade cheesecake?! It's been months since I baked up this mouthwatering delight and my DH was on the verge of begging! ;o)
I just had to hunt down a smaller springform tin which was easier said than done.  I had a 9" tin, but lets face it for 2 that is too big..... DH will disagree on that point. Finally I found a 8"/20cm tin and baked this on Saturday for the weekend.  It went down a treat needless to say.
Base: 120g crushed digestives
          48g butter, melted
Filling: 600g cream cheese, room temp, full fat
          120g castor sugar
          21g plain flour
          3 eggs at room temp
          48ml double cream (optional)
          Zest of 1 lemon
          1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
Topping: 144ml creme fraiche (full fat)
               18g castor sugar
               1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F/177C.  Grease the tin around the sides.  Combine melted butter & biscuits, add more biscuits if too wet. Press evenly into tin base and up the sides a little.  Chill.
For filling. Place cream cheese, sugar and flour in a bowl, beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes).  Add eggs one at a time beating well ( about 30 seconds each).  Add cream, zest & vanilla, beat until mixed in. Do Not Overbeat Pour into tin and place in the center of the oven. Bake for 15 mins at 350F/177C. Bake for further 1hr 15mins at 250F/120C until only the middle of the cake looks a little wet & wobbly. Remove from the oven.
Combine the Creme fraiche, sugar and vanilla. spread evenly over the cheesecake and return to the oven for 15 more minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake and prevent cracking when you remove the spring-clip.  Once removed from the tin, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate. Tastes better the next day.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Travel Accessories

Well I recently got my first ever passport... hmm wonder how many years before it gets its first

Anyway I had bought a pink leather cover for it but decided I didn't really like it. I wanted something a bit different. I found a great tutorial on
and had a few trial runs because I wanted straight edges, the ones I wasn't happy with were given away.
I decided that it might be cool to have luggage tags too. The tutorial for these can be downloaded for free at you can't see it on mine but there is a clear plastic sleeve for the info card.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bag Making

Well I've already told you about the car boot load of fabric I got back in February. There was one piece of fabric that I wanted so badly to make into a bag for myself. Only problem was I hadn't a clue how to start.......thank goodness for the internet and the wonderful crafters who share their knowledge!
After a good few hours of scouring the web I eventually stumbled upon Daphnas site Creative Cutie. It had a number of tutorials from designing the pattern to completing the bag, without it I would never have attempt to make a bag.  I have made 3 bags so far and I am still learning, I have one more to make, but am still sourcing the bits for it as there is no shop here that stocks bag making hardware.Above is my first bag designed by me. I really love it. Inside are a velcro closed pocket, mobile phone pocket and pen loops. The inside is red  for contrast.

Bag No.2 was made as a gift. Has a magnetic snap closure with plenty pockets inside with zips for added security. you can see this in the photo on the right. The open zip is a center section and there is another zip pocket on the side you can't see. It was a bit fiddle getting the center pocket right because of the shape of the bag and I didn't want too much excess left inside.

Bag No.3 turned out way bigger than planned but due to the design it can have multi purpose use. I think it will be good when I go clothes shopping or take a day trip. It also makes a good diaper bag...... not that I have any use for it as one!
Again this was made from scratch, the fabric was fantastic and I loved the bold print. For contrast I used yellow  and green inside, to give a bright happy feel to it. I have also made a bucket hat from this 1st time I've had a matching hat & bag ;o) 
So if you'd like to learn how to make a bag then I strongly recommend you visit, there is a link on the left hand side.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Storage Rolls

I suppose everyone is like me and just has a collection of knitting needles and crochet hooks bunched together.  So when the time comes to use them, we have to rummage and hope that nothing is lost or misplaced!!

OK,OK some of you will be organized. The best way to describe me is that I have an organized mess.......LOL........but I know where everything is!
I recently made an organizer for all my stuff (pic on right), it took me a while to figure out how to make it but I got there in the end. I'm tempted to make a more 'ditsy' one.
A colleague asked me to make her a crochet hook case with room for the bigger hooks that she planned to get. I have to admit, I was a bit worried that I might make the pockets too small for all her hooks, so I used the few I had myself to guide me. The fabric came from the stash and I was really pleased with how it turned out, obviously since it was for some-one else I took extra care to get everything aligned ....... something I don't pay enough attention to when making for myself!!  Thankfully she was delighted with it and I could breathe a sigh of relief.
Of course you can apply the principle to other things too. I decided that the spanner set needed a new look, something a bit more practical and easy to find in the boot.  Made from leftover oilcloth and I think I lined it with a bit of thick fabric too, so that it would be more sturdy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chair Re-vamps

I did this transformation back in March. This chair was destined for the skip if nobody rescued it. My other half thought I was insane, however he was impressed by the end result!
I had hoped to do it like it was, but it had other ideas when trying to fix the fabric on as not even staples would stay in. So it got a make over.
I used oilcloth for the seat pad and a 20" cushion to bolster it........ahh comfy! This is definitely the chics I must admit it is my fave chair!

The next one is a Deck chair that was gathering dust in the loft, it was really dirty and the material was nailed on and torn.  Despite all my best efforts to clean the wood, the paint still turned creamy brown. I had to get  some nice outdoor gloss and give it a few coats before I got the white to stay. I had been given a couple of black sacks of fabric in February so had a rummage through, found a bit suitable, did some binding on the edges and stapled to the frame. I'm pleased with the end result.

I hope this inspires you to transform rather that throw out!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Winter Woolies

Well it's that time of year again, where the days are getting shorter. This time it seemed to me that it came all of a sudden.
I've been making some knitted bits n pieces to keep warm this winter, as I nearly froze during the last deep none of us are used to long cold spells.  I'm trying to be a little better prepared, just in case it happens again.
So far I've crocheted up a hat, scarf and mittens with leftover wool I was given. the hat pattern can be found on and Ravelry. The scarf and mittens I made up as I went along, I got some fab buttons from so added them to the scarf. 
I've just finished the second pair of socks for himself, lol.... despite the groovy colour, he has put in an order for more but will have to wait until our monthly trip into town. In the meantime I will be getting to grips with an Aran cardigan for him.
I managed to get a pair of socks done for myself in between it all, out of scraps leftover from other projects and wool that was given to me....... for some reason I suffer from what I call cold feet & hand syndrome, I'm sure there is a medical term for it too!  These were knitted from the toe up which was a totally new experience for me. The pattern is from the book called "Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson". I found this a really good book for sock knitting, nice designs and easy to follow.

I started this Babydoll crochet top using some of the chenille I got recently, however it has had to take a back seat for the time being. Well let's face it I'm not likely to wear it in the winter and I had to do a few modifications to get it to fit. But it is such a gorgeous design. The pattern was in Interweave Crochet Spring 2008, or the book Crochet Me: Designs to Fuel the Crochet Revolution by Kim Werker. 
If you decide to tackle it, my advice is to work the bodice in one piece, unless you are a genius at seamless joining........not me that's for sure!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Eat it Don't Eat it

Two months ago I started on a diet. Well I had put on a lot of weight recently and was suffering from fluid retention. To be honest I was starting to feel like a walrus :o(

I happened to stumble across a book called "The Waterfall Diet", I've been on diets in the past and even been to the dietitian but still couldn't really shift any more than 8lbs, now that was depressing!  So I have to say I didn't get my hopes up for this one either. You have to read most of the book to get a basic understanding of food and how it might be affecting you. Then you have to prepare yourself and your food cupboards for the diet - this took me 2 weeks to do. There are 3 phases to the diet and I have just entered Phase 2.
Phase 1 you have to cut out coffee, salt, sugar, fat, white flour, wheat, dairy, eggs, yeast, red meat, drink and food additives, which takes a whole chunk out of what you were used to eating. I thought geez what can I eat, what's left? Plenty! fish, chicken, vegetables, fruit, brown rice etc and the key is drink lots of water to flush out your system.
I usually have porridge with fruit,(made with water) or a fresh fruit salad for breakfast.  Lunch can vary but it is usually a salad or sandwich with homemade spelt flat-breads, dinner can be anything from fish with tatties & veg to chicken stir-fry with rice .I drink water and snack on redskin peanuts. I have tea with rice milk, because soya has gone onto my no-go list.
Phase 2 (just started this) you re-introduce potential allergens, wheat, yeast, dairy and eggs.  I've just done wheat and started to bloat after day 3 so stopped it. I knew that pasta was something I had to avoid anyway. I can get away with eating it on the odd occasion, like when out for dinner for example or if I make soup using a stock cube.

Phase 3 of the diet you will follow permanently.

In the first phase I lost 9lbs in the first week and gradually lost more, slowly week by week. 2 months later I am 20lbs lighter.  I'm not going to the gym. I take the occasional walk and maybe cycle once a week weather permitting :o) so if you're feeling bloated and have swollen hands and legs this may be for you too. It's tough to start with but you have to stick with it and portion your meals properly.

Friday, October 8, 2010

What do you do with tins?

Ok so most of them go to the recycle bin...... well they should anyway and if you're not doing it....... Start!! Mother earth will not forgive you.

Here is a few things I reused them for
  • the desk tidy, yes we've all done this at some point in our lives..... why stop when you get older! This one to the left is covered with a fabric scrap.

  • A light shade....... yes that's what I said a shade,  sometimes a regular shade is just too big, and in my case, I would have head butted it every time I went up or down the stairs :o/ it's bad enough the upstairs ceiling is only a few inches above my head and I keep walking into the bedroom shade.......... I have tried to train myself not so haven't done this in a few weeks. Again covered in fabric with a hole cut out big enough to fit the light fitting.

  • Next up in the condensed milk tin, you know the kind you get with the ring pull that leaves a slot. Makes a perfect money tin for kids and grown-ups alike. Best thing is you can't help yourself unless you get the tin opener out!!! Good for the spare €1 or €2 coins when it's full you can get a nice treat for yourself.

  • Being a crafter you can never have enough pin cushions...... so I've been told. To be honest I'm starting to believe it now ;o) so an old tuna tin weighted down with a pebble or two with a stuffed cap is perfect.

  • I almost forgot the last one. A mobile phone chair, It's a bit of a fiddly job and I still need to add some pizazz to it but you'll get the jist.. It's just handy because you always know where the phone is!!! Lol that is of course if you put it there in the first place ;o)

    First Steps

    Just starting out on the Blog scene, I have to admit although I have read quite a few, it is a little bit weird actually doing it myself.......... but hey we all have to start somewhere right! I guess I just wanted to keep track of all the things I made/recycled and thought it would be good to have it all in one spot.   Of course there will be random life comments too I guess we'll just see what happens  LOL!