Thursday, 22 April 2010

my creative space is all packed up...

see, i am heading happily off on holidays tomorrow, and am so so pleased that crochet is such a travellable craft. i've packed all  my baby squares, spare joining wool, hooks and spare other wool for my ongoing (but not recently touched) crochet project in just the perfect bag

and they just squeeze nicely into the front of my pack. 
so it's going to be a bit quiet 'round here at marjoryjane, as i head off on a four week adventure. but oh, the things i'll see, the things i'll make... i'll tell you all about it when i get back around the end of may. 

bet you wish your creative space packed up so neatly...

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

and the winner is...

so i have finally made a decision. thanks to everyone for you help and suggestions (including thanks to the mum of the baby the blanket is for). 

and the winner is: 

carina's way

i went out and got some more wool on the weekend, so i will have plenty to be able to join it all her way. 

my only concern is that last time i joined things carina's way, i had some significant issues with the corners matching up: 
still, practice makes perfect, right?

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

my creative space is...

...filled with indecision. see i still can't decide how best to join my grannies. (see post below). and it seems that until i do decide, i am stuck in limbo land, with very little creating going on.

so, i will leave you with the creative space of another. 
our friendly backyard spider, who makes a web every night right in the path between the trees on the way to the compost heap. (i have learnt to duck around it). but every day it gets windswept and by the end of the day there are feathers and leaves stuck in it and its full of holes.

and every morning it is made anew.  

and i think there is something kind of special in that. (not that any of that is helping my decide on how i should join my grannies...)

as always, play along with kirsty... 

Saturday, 10 April 2010

turning 70 and joining grannies

how exciting!  i have decided i am have enough squares for my baby blanket (70 is the magic number!).

now for the next step. joining my grannies. i've done some research and there are three different ways i am thinking of doing it:

pip's way: 

carina's way:

attic24's way:

(back view)

so really, there are big decisions to be made. i really like the finish from attic24, but one of the big problems i have is tension (and ply) related: 

and i am just not sure if attic24's way would be able to cope with this. i love carina's way, and i think it would help the tension/size issue, but i can see it would use quite a lot of wool, and extend the size of the blanket too. pip's way is more of a middle ground...

ooh, decisions decisions...

Thursday, 8 April 2010

my creative space is filled with commitment bread (yours can be too!)

i'm joining in with my creative space for the first time this year, and my creative space today is filled with the smell of baking of my favourite kind of bread (i posted a little bit ago about my second favourite bread oaty grainy honey bread):

but my favourite bread is: commitment bread. 

ok, so i know it is weirdly named, but it is based off the fabulous pip's famous pane toscano. see when i first read the recipe, i was a little put off by the fact the bread takes two days to make. it seemed like a bit of a big commitment. but then i realised i was going to be around the house for the weekend, and decided to give it a go. i committed the two days required and made my first batch of what has since become known as commitment bread. 

i now make it often and i have changed and refined the recipe so that it works a bit better for me. the major changes are that i like a bit of wholemeal flour, so i have added that into the mix, and i've also adapted it for my breadmaker (dodgy wrists from rsi mean that kneading dough is out for me).

so i thought i would share: my version of commitment bread (or pane toscano)

on day 1: make starter

1 1/2 cups water
3 cups bread flour (it is so much better to use real bread flour. i get mine from here)
1 teasp yeast. 

put ingredients in bread maker on dough setting. once done, i pop it in a big bowl, cover and leave in the fridge overnight to rise. 

on day 2: make commitment bread

pull the starter out of the fridge and divide into quarters. (i pop 3 of the quarters in the freezer to make bread out of later). using one quarter of the starter, i make two loaves of bread. you also need:

2 cups water
1 1/2 teasp of salt
splash of olive oil
3 3/4 cups white bread flour
1/4 cups wholemeal bread flour
1/2 teasp yeast

put one quarter of the starter in the bread maker with all the other ingredients on the dough setting. once done, divide into two and place on trays sprinkled with semolina (to stop it from sticking). pop straight into a moderately hot oven (it rises in the oven) for about 25 min.

when you pull it out, it is good to let it rest for a little before you cut it. (i don't know why, but it cuts better after a little rest). 

it disappears quickly in our house, so watch out...  

Sunday, 4 April 2010

easter cooking at home

i unexpectedly found myself at home this easter. alone. and sick. which hasn't made for the funnest easter ever. but has resulted in me pottering around the kitchen making things. 

like hot cross buns:

and loaves of bread

and pumpkin soup
 and tomato chutney (this one was with some gratefully received assistance). the chutney is one of stephanie's and i make it every year (well, i have for the last 3, does that mean its a tradition?). 

and tomorrow, i am making pesto, with this lovely fresh basil from a friend's garden. 

not too bad for a girl stuck at home with the almost-flu (i find the term 'cold' seems to under-describe how sick i have been over the last week). 

and with lent over today, i am no longer fasting from tea, and have therefore drinking pots and pots of it. nothing like tea to make you feel better.

hope you have had a lovely easter...
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