July 31, 2009

To mix, or not to mix, that is the question...!

Sorry I disappeared for a while there, didn't I?!, We've been away for a few days visiting family in the Lake District.  I don't like to blog about going away until afterwards, otherwise, it feels like shouting 'Hey, our house is empty, come..., break in and steal stuff!'.

The school holidays are plodding along, and today I have been left asking the question, 'Why oh why have I never made home made play dough before?!'  It's so easy.  There are lots of recipes out there to choose from, I can't remember exactly where this version came but this is what we did...,

You will need  ::  2 cups of plain flour, 1 cup of salt, 2 cups of cold water, 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and 4 teaspoons of cream of tarter, food colouring (I used red, yellow, blue and green), a large saucepan, wooden spoon, whisk, airtight containers or zip lock bags to store it in and a stove.

Plonk all the ingredients (apart from the food colouring!) in a saucepan on the stove top, and stir.  Now, mine went lumpy at this point so I gave it a quick go with a whisk.  Then turn on the heat, a low heat is all that's needed, and keep stirring with a wooden spoon.  The mixture will gradually thicken, don't worry if more lumps appear at this stage, it will even out when it comes out the pan.  After a couple of minutes, the spoon will become harder and harder to move as it turns into a dough.  At this point, turn off the heat, and turn the dough out onto a work surface and allow to cool.  Then give it a quick kneed, and there you go, that's the cooking part done, now for the messy bit!

This recipe gives a fairly large quantity of playdough, so we split ours into 6, placed each on a glass chopping board, made a well in the centre then added a teaspoon of food colouring (the liquid kind), and kneeded and kneeded until the colour was evenly dispersed, adding more food colouring along the way if the colour was too pale.  We also mixed our colours to get orange and purple.

Luke's favorite is green!

Now the big question amongst us Mums.  Do you let your children mix up their playdough colours??, we have a difference of opinion in our house, I don't mind if they get mixed up to make a yukky brown, which is why all our colours are just chucked into a zip lock bag together.  My theory being by the time all the colours are mashed up, it's drying out and needs replacing anyway.  My husband disagrees, he hates seeing it all mixed up, it really grates on him!  

So, to mix or not to mix, that is the question?!

PS, Thank you for all the foxy feedback, fox number 2 is the out and out winner by far!  I shall be asking opinions on softie patterns more often, that was huge success!

July 20, 2009

Fox softie dilemma...,

I'd been meaning to re-visit the Fox softie pattern I started a while ago, and after a trip to the local charity shop resulted in an ideal coloured woollen jumper to felt, there was no excuse!  The original pattern got tweaked slightly, but while I was sewing, another idea kind of popped up.  When I begin a new pattern, the first decision I make is whether it's going to be a side on profile or front on profile.  Usually, it's an obvious choice as to which will work best, but in this case, I'm not quite so sure...!

So, here we have them both,

FOX 1,

and FOX 2,

(Fox 2 from a different angle)  

So, I need your help on this one, which do you prefer?

FOX 1 or FOX 2?

July 13, 2009

News 'n' other stuff...,

There have been a few unexpected surprises over the last week, cheques turning up through the post for magazine projects I'd all but forgotten about, a mention in a new sewing magazine (thank you Claire!),  and this...,

2010 Sewing Calendar, from Andrews McMeel Publishing, now available for pre-order on Amazon.  There are instructions to make 100 projects, including a few from me, look, thats my toadstool on the front!

I've also just had word of some new projects being selected for a collaborative pattern book too, more on that soon though!

ps, I think my computer chair may be broken, while I've been typing this it's gradually gone down, I'm now almost sat on the floor!

July 9, 2009

Embroidery threads,

I've never really been one to pay much attention to brand names, but have to admit to having always favoured Anchor embroidery threads, mainly because I worked for Coats as a Designer for nearly twelve years, and as a result, have quite a supply to hand.

But, a while ago, I was sent some threads by DMC.  Now, from my experience of the UK needlecraft industry, there has always (and probably still is!) a bit of rivalry between Coats and DMC.  In my fledgling days as a designer, myself and a colleague were sent to spy on the DMC stand at a trade fair in Germany, only to be recognised and asked to leave.  I am certain the DMC design team will have been simultaneously spying on the Coats stand too!  

So, I guess, now I work for myself, I am free to choose.  I've not used the DMC pearl cotton before, but today my needle is threaded and I'm giving them a go.

Which do you use?