Monday, 31 August 2009

Science Museum day trip, cupcakes and moebius.

About a week ago today we all went to London for a day at the Science Museum.
I had finished the moebius scarf on the Tuesday after our return from Yorkshire so It's about time I showed it to you: TA DAH!!! It's like a cowl and VERRRRRRY SSSSSSOFFFFFT!!!
And therefore very warm too. No I didn't wear it to the science museum, I DID take 2 new little projects along to do on the train and while waiting , on the tube or in queues and more of this later!
The moebius WIP pictures are within the Yorkshire posts and the pattern is in issue 1 of Inside Crochet magazine, it's called CECILY.

On the way to the museum we stopped by the Hummingbird Bakery on Old Brompton Road to sample some of the infamous cupcakes for ourselves and the kids had been looking forward to this enormously as they have been baking from ''the'' book.
Alas the bakery itself was a dissappointment: it was very small, the staff unhelpful ( to put it mildly) and it stank of a strange disinfectant.....No comfy worn leather sofas to lounge on while sipping a latte and enjoying the delightful cakes...
We chose one cake each and hightailed it to the sunny pleasures of the gardens of the Natural History Museum!
Here are our choices clockwise from top left: red velvet( Miss eldest),chocolate cupcake( ME!),
vanilla cupcake( JJ), black-bottomed cupcake( Miss youngest): mmmmmm can't wait!
Yummy but the dark cake was too bitter for her and she didn't like the frosting much.
Mmmmmmmmmm, yummy- well mummy thought so but again she didn't like the cream cheese frosting...7 out of 10.( mum gave it 9)
All gone. And just to show the amazing redness of the red velvet: Voila.
Then a quick goodbye to the lovely building in which many happy hours have been spent on previous holidays/half terms and onto the Science Museum!
Such lovely brickwork isn't it? And such an abundance of incredible detail!!!I 'd like to stop and draw....oooh mu-uuu-um come on! A quick photo has to suffice for now.

Hours of happy experimenting later and including a rocket show with Newton's laws explained and demonstrated and a ''pringles rocket '' hitting the ceiling we went to the IMAX cinema to watch ''fly me to the moon'' in 3D.

HUGE spectacles were provided and we settled in to wait for our amazing SPACE experiences.
As you can see I'm crocheting while we wait: a trendy triangle mesh scarf for ''going to secondary school'' girl. Having completed project # 1: a neck pouch for her mobile phone on the train journey into London( 1 hour)!
Project details and photos in the next post I promise. We also watched DEEP SEA 3D and I can heartily recommend both, the space one has cartoons that can get a little annoying to adults but keeps the kids happy and the deep sea is absolutely amazing!!! It's like diving without the hassle: I even felt out of breath until I told myself firmly that NO! I WAS NOT ACTUALLY UNDER WATER!!!!
Fish and weeds float and swim all around you.
The cinema screen is 10x that of usual cinemas or the height of 4 double decker buses apparently.
What a lovely day in London: we are so very blessed with our marvellous musea and cultural treasures! My favourite is the V&A but that'll wait for another time....
See you for lots of CROCHET in the next post I promise but for now there's the last moments of madness with the kids before they go back to school in 2 days- and counting.......

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Baking, Hummingbird style and daydreaming in style.

We've been back from Yorkshire one week now and it's been a lovely lazy week, I had this GREAT idea of replacing the dreaded ''b'' word with another b word: BAKING!!!
Sooo BEWARE and be WARNED because a LOT of baking follows here: all done by my kids.
And all from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook as mentioned in a previous post.( re COOKIES)
First was a joint effort( 6 were made by each) on the vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting: they were absolutely DELICIOUS and we had leftover frosting on our sandwiches that day!!!

Next - a day later- was the RASPBERRY CHEESECAKE BROWNIE which is pictured as in the book above. It's quite complicated and involves 3 stages but my eldest coped amazingly and TA DAH : produced THIS!!!This is as just from the baking tin and it's VERY BIG! We cut a portion to resemble the photo:
ABSOLUTELY TOTALLY SCRUMDIDLEY-ISCIOUS!!!! But sooo rich that we could not eat such a portion: about 1'' or 3cm squares were more our ''thing''.
Can't see the 3 layers here as the chocolate rose up the sides in the tin thus ''hiding'' the cheesecake!
TAH DAAAAH! The pink raspberry cream is a little too runny as she'd got up early to whisk it and finish off the production after it had ''set'' in the fridge overnight.... Didn't know how much to whisk it and how firm double cream can become if you persist....
But you can see the 3 layers here! And here! The cream layer is a New York style BAKED cheesecake. I've grown up with the jellified lime/lemon variety and had not had a baked one before: YUMMY!

About this time or the day before we treated ourselves to ( I've ALWAYS wanted one as we had one where I grew up) a swing seat for the garden!!! This was also becuase our ''proper'' swings had to be removed to allow for the ENORMOUS trampoline the kids had been pestering us for for aaaaages. So to compensate: VOILA!
And it's been terrific! Early morning cuddles in our PY's, cups of tea, lying reading a book, or sitting daydreaming( oops sorry ''planning'') for hours and hours. Giggly times with all 4 or 3 of us or even 6 when both dogs join us. Just swaying gently and looking at the garden and it's sooo restful, peaceful and relaxing! Even allowing for some crochet it stays VERY relaxing.

Speaking of crochet I have started to design a swing cardigan for Miss Youngest in her favourite colours and have- of course- called it the raspberry cheesecake cardigan!
Here is a bit of the Yoke with a bit of inspiration ( mmmmmmmm, a crocheter needs sustenance!)
We treasured these sunny days and admired the garden view from the swingseat:

Like I said: ALL the family have already enjoyed this soooo much I'm really glad we made such a lovely impulse spontaneous purchase.
Ah: Lucy keeping guard while the master sleeps.
WHO are you staring at?Don't point that at us, he may wake up!
A few days later- when we had finally eaten all the scrummy cheesecake-brownie it was Miss youngest's turn for a solo baking performance.
Not to be outdone she rejected my lemon loaf idea and chose a 2 layered ''lemon bar''which also involved juicing citrus fruit and a lot of ''zesting''.
And here they are: another tastebud tickling moment. Fabulously fruity these are more whicked than they look as you don't want to know the amount of butter that went in!
But ooooh they really are soo VERY GOOD to eat!
I can see these being made for lunchbox treats very soon!!! Or weeknd walk treats, or picnics, or...oooh do I need an excuse?!

Then we had a playdate day and the lovely hot sunshine did a runner and it bucketed cats and dogs! So what did they do? BAKING!!!
This time it's the MARSHMALLOW cupcakes with marshmallow frosting.
These perfect little cupcakes had a core removed and melted marshmallows inserted- what a STICKY job!!!! Still they did it.
Topped with vanilla- oooh the smell was divine!_ frosting with lots of tiny pink and white marshmallows. Sorry the photo does NOT do them justice.

Almost but not quite?
How about this? They didn't hang around very long!1,2,3,: all gone!

Back soon with some more baking and more CROCHET!!! I have finished the moebius- but not yet photograped this and made a mobile phone baglet- see you soon?!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Bye bye Yorkshire, Rievaulx Abbey

Today is the last day and we take a last loving look at the view ....

Windowseats are soooo comfortable: aren't they? Lovely ancient thick stone walls.....
We have so enjoyed sitting on them that I must ensure we'll have them in a future home!
Another window and JJ's beloved blue BMW outside waiting to have it's pod refilled....
Then outside ready to go with a wriggling puppy on my lap.
To break the journey and make it feel like a proper ''holiday'' day we stop of on a slight detour to see Rievaulx Abbey a site I have not visited since the late 70's... It's English Heritage now and the children enjoy the free audio tour enormously!Founded in 1132 this Cistercian monastery was completely self sufficient for hundreds of years: growing it's own food, tanning leather, building the facilities, creating glass for windows and even colouring the glass with mined pigments. Meat was only eaten on feast and Holy days, which were few and far between. At it's peak in 1160 it was home to 650 men and the most famous Abbot was Aelred who travelled extensively and met and gave advice to many religious and secular as well as Royal leading men of the day.( circa 1147-1167)
The remains as well as the setting are stunningly beautiful and there is serenity even allowing for the many visitors.

The dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 due to King Henry VIII saw the end of the religious devotion practiced here, but the legacy remains.
The ruins have inspired many artists and writers and visitors for hundreds of years and me too as it happens: it's a very lovely serene and spiritual place to visit.
My camera battery gave out or I might have taken quite a few more, this is all however, I would highly recommend a visit.
A Holy Trinity of windows.
Awesome as in it's original inception: awe inspiring.
By early evening we were back home in Oxfordshire: where a sunny thriving garden welcomed us with lots of new growth.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Crochet and cake: a pottering day.

A lovely sunny pottering kind-of-a -day with leisurely cups of tea in the garden with my moebius crochet scarf. This was a holiday project chosen in haste from my stash but I'm rather falling in love with it now. The stars are a delight to crochet and I'm just chuffed to bits with the cuddly softness of the angora and the alpaca.
It all started with one ball of ''KIMONO'' angora yarn from Louisa Harding which I had bought years ago, but it breaks very easily and was a 4 ply and I could not decide what to do with it.
It's in Purple/grey/aqua green/sky blue variegated yarn and fine, very soft but has to be handled very VERY gently as it breaks if you tug at it at all.

Added to this is a ball of Artesano alpaca 4 ply in a lovely plain purple, which I's bought ''to try out'' again and had not yet used in anything. Finally the last: NEW ball is an Angora Spun from Jaeger in royal blue which I've had since the early 1980's....YES this IS stashbusting!
This one is 70% angora and 30% lambswool and I have quite a bit more in my ancient stash: in green, black and red also. 20 g of a 4 ply and I now discover it's fabulous to work with.

Added to the above were all ''leftovers'' balls mostly Rowan merino wool in 4 ply or DK in pale / medium shades of lilacs and blues and a pale aqua green Baby Bamboo leftover from a baby cardigan for one of my nieces. Finally some curly boucle type yarn in a variegated purple/black/blues mix that I cannot remember what it was or the brand.

On the stone seat in front of the cottage where I sit happily crocheting with my cup of tea!

Yummy close ups- do you agree? I think they're just lovely!

View from upstairs windowseat: this changed all the time with the light and weather and time of day....This is a hazy one.... Ripple blanket out of the window to show it off!
There can you see? Crocheting upstairs on blanket and down in the garden on the moebius and JJ reads his paper or a book( now gone hiding) but spot the 2 cups of tea ?!!!
The upstairs bedroom windowseat from the inside with ripple blanket- working on a turquoise stripe after a lime green one at the moment and the new yarns from Ilkley to add to the stash / make into scarves for family.

We had a nice walk out and in the eveing I baked another ''appletaart'' as per the recipe a few posts ago. I used a smaller size caketin that I had bought in Leyburn: 8 '' diameter exactly.
JJ had used the egg I had kept aside for scrambling so I glazed this one with apricot jam.
Voila!!! Very Yummy!!!!

Much higher sides due to the tin size and the same quantities of dough as the recipe.