Sunday, 24 June 2012

Penguin teacosies

I had a request for a penguin themed teacosy, from someone who liked my owls.. but wanted a penguin cosy.  I wracked my brains over this for a week or 2.  I think the main feature with my owls is the bright un-owlish colours and use of patterned fabrics.. but I couldn't see this working for a PENGUIN!  

I got to work on it this week.. coming up with a couple of designs to try; first of all I made a baby penguin:

I like him.. but I REALLY liked the idea of the other design I came up with, so next day I made this one:

2 penguins on each side.. and each penguin is a little different from the others :)
The white in between the penguins has white silk caps stretched over.. the sheen represents sun on ice and snow.  The yellow/orange of the throats is tussah silk.

3 layers of white English wool inside, followed by 3 layers of merino then the design...
 this is lovely and thick, it should keep a teapot very cosy
As I usually do with pictures I started the final layer by laying down silk chiffon, then worked the design on top of the chiffon.  The chiffon seems to reduce the amount of blurring caused by fibres from the back migrating through, and allows me to really work the felt without losing all the detail.

I 'drew' the design on with thin strips of black merino dipped in soapy water
Then filled in the colours
I must admit it took a long time to lay out!  Longer than I expected considering how few colours are there.. but I had to be very careful to keep the black and white areas as clean edged as possible.  

Blanket stitching round the bottom with back embroidery silk finished it off a treat :)

Next time:  A pictorial teacosy inspired by new felting book.. and mini review of said book :)

Monday, 4 June 2012

Jubilee Weekend

This weekend is an extra long Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK to celebrate the Queens diamond jubilee..

Treated myself to this lovely hand hooked heart from WoollyLakes
made with all upcycled materials

There are Union Jack flags, bunting and red, white and blue everywhere.. its quite lovely actually.  LOTS of people arranged street parties and garden parties - and in light of our recent change in the weather (it had been BEAutiful for the past two week) it looked like it would be fine for them.. in true British weather style though it turned!  We have had rain and winds for the last couple of days.. 'sods law'!  

This is my 3rd jubilee.. I remember the silver jubilee when I was 3 years old.. wearing a red, white and blue dress and waving my little flag as the Queen passed by in her golden carriage, I thought she was just like a queen in a fairy tale :) I can remember being very excited.  For the golden jubilee we went to a BBQ at a friends house.. but what to do this time?  

We planned a modest celebration.. and indoors luckily!  Yesterday my lovely nan came for dinner; free range beef & Yorkshire pudding.. very traditional fare.  Followed by jubilee cake :)  So the day of preparation and cooking was pleasantly passed in between watching the pageantry on TV, the Queen and a flotilla of more than 1000 boats travelling down the Thames in procession. Followed by an absolutely lovely evening :)  Nan says she remembers the weather on coronation day being much the same.

She'll tell me off for posting a photo with a napkin tucked in her top :)

Today is a chill out day.. and tomorrow we have Gary's family coming for an Italian meal (with a choice of either tiramisu or Eaton Mess for pudding - got to have something Brit in a jubilee celebration!)

Orange drizzle cake with fresh cream, strawberries and blueberries
I got this recipe from Tesco's free magazine..

175g baking fat
175g self raising flour
175g caster sugar
3 medium eggs (I think you could poss. get away with 2 eggs)
1 level tsp baking powder
2tbsp milk
zest of 2 citrus fruits (I just used 1 big orange)

115g caster sugar
Juice of citrus fruit you used

300ml double or whipping cream
fresh berries

prep time 30 min
cooking time 45 min

1. Mix together; cooking fat, flour, eggs, sugar, milk, zest and baking powder.

2. Grease and line a 20cm square baking tin - pour in mixture.

3. Bake in preheated oven at 180'C / gas mark 4 for 45 minutes until cooked.

4. For the syrup.  Dissolve sugar in juice over a low heat.

5. While cake is still warm, drizzle over the top.

6. When cooled, halve the cake and sandwich together with half the cream.

7. Decorate with remaining cream and fresh berries.

This was a not-too-sweet cake with a subtle orangey flavour (poss 'cos I only used one orange?!)  

For anybody here in the UK still to have a street party - hope it stays dry for you!