Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Take 5

1) It's 'Bake Off' night on TV again, and I haven't even watched the first one from last week yet, so no idea whether or not I'm going to be hooked! TV just doesn't seem to mix well with 4 children, Summer holidays, a smattering of sewing and making, and trying to keep up with a blog. But we're recording tonight's episode too and we've also been doing lots of baking again this week so we stay in the mood. Including more blackberry baking. I think this year is going to be an amazing year for blackberries, we're getting loads around the garden now. First up was meringues with cream and blackberries...

And then Theo made a recipe for Blackberry Crisp from the book Nigella Express:

It was so easy and delicious (as I find quite a lot of recipes from that book are) that we thought I'd really better share the recipe with you.

Blackberry Crisp

125g butter, melted
60g jumbo porridge oats
40g flaked almonds
30g sunflower seeds
70g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
75g soft light brown sugar
500g blackberries
2 tsp cornflour
50g vanilla sugar or caster sugar

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/Gas Mark 6

Tip the blackberries into a wide, shallow baking dish, sprinkle the cornflour and vanilla/caster sugar over them and tumble them about to mix.

Combine the oats, almonds, seeds, flour, cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then spoon the mixture over the blackberries to partially, but not completely, cover them.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Obviously you don't need to just stick to blackberries as your fruit. And the topping is easy to fiddle around with according to taste too - I think Theo added some pumpkin seeds and went easy on the cinnamon.

Sam is currently in the process of making Blackberry Icecream (with all the egg yolks left over from the meringues!) and our sights are next set on these Blackberry Pie Bars. We'll let you know how they turn out.

2) Some more gnome making has been going on as a present for someone. And this time Maria suggested painting one of them Rainbow colours. Not sure how we've never thought of this before!

I think some rainbow gnomes may now be required for our house!

3) I've bought my first proper Christmas present to stash away until December! I know it seems a long way off, but you might remember that my one and only New Year's Resolution this year was to be more organised for Christmas in 2014. I could really do with thinking a bit more about any Christmas making that might be going to happen, but at least this is a start. This is the present I've bought - for Theo (none of the children ever read the blog so I'm safe!):

It's in kit form, to be assembled, glued and then painted if desired. You might be able to see that there's a mechanism on the side that you turn to make the couple 'kiss'. I spotted the kit locally but I've now discovered that you can find them here on Amazon  - which is where the photo came from! There are lots of other moving Timber Kits there too. Spotting it locally felt like quite a coincidence since I'd only fairly recently come across, and loved, the work of Jane Ryan OPI on Facebook. She makes her own beautiful versions of this kind of thing and I was wondering how many subtle hints I could drop about wanting one of her models for myself for Christmas. So really, although I'm saying it's a present for Theo, it's actually probably more a present for me that I'm hoping Theo might make! Perhaps I'll get him one of the other models instead, maybe the dragon.

4) I haven't shared any thrifted finds with you recently. There haven't actually been all that many but here are the last few:

An old full length, flannelette nightgown. This was obviously lovingly home made by someone and I do always feel slightly bad chopping into something like this, but as you can see, I got over this and one of the arms came off almost immediately - Venetia is making something with it for me. She loved this fabric and wants to make a dress for herself out of it. It is quite pretty, but hard to do justice to it in a photo.

Next one is a wool jumper, in a lovely fresh green, I don't have a whole lot of green wool so this was great.

And then quite an unusual wool find - a really huge, bargain remnant.

It's as big as a blanket, but the kind of quality you'd use for making a suit. No idea what I'll do with this. Obviously using it bit by bit in patchwork is an option; making a suit with it is most definitely not an option! Anybody got any good ideas out there? Maybe some kind of stuffed toy could work well?

5) Slightly slow progress on the Elephant Quilt. Just a couple more blocks completed.

It feels like I should be getting them done more quickly, but then there's a lot of thread being sewn into these blocks for the quilting. No more, though, than so many quilters would routinely sew into their finished quilts, in fact probably less than some, and most would be having to manoeuvre a great, enormous quilt through their machines as they do it. It really makes me appreciate the time, effort and skill it must take them.



  1. Oh I can't wait for the blackberries to ripen here, hopefully next week. There are a ton of them on the bushes.

    I have been thinking Christmas too, and made my list the other night. We don't have a big list of people, and mostly everything gets made. Which means I need to get making very soon :) Love the gift you already picked up. He is going to love it.

    Love the rainbow gnome.

    Hope you get to watch the bake off soon.

  2. You have some most amazing thrift shops in your part of the world - ours never have anything that exciting in them! And I love the look of blackberry meringues, time to go and hunt some blackberries I think!

  3. Something like these out of the material

  4. Damn those meringues look good!
    I love Nigella recipes, not the healthiest but always so tasty!
    So jealous of that suit fabric remnant - its awesome - how about winter shorts to go over tights for the girls? Or short pantsuits? (ok yeah i'm in a weird shorts over tights/pantsuit loving place at the moment, must be 80's nostalgia!)

  5. Oh, your blackberry meringues looks delicious!!!! Looking forward to blackberries here soon.
    The elephant quilt is darling! I love the fabrics...they look vintage, and your thrify finds are great. What a score to find the huge wool remnent!

  6. Love the baking, thrifting, quilting going on at your house!

  7. So many projects! I love it. Excited to see what Venetia made out of the nightgown.

  8. Wool coats for fall would be cosy. Great finds.

  9. That blueberry crisp sounds amazing! And all the creations... the gnomes are darling and once again, your quilting. I love it. I know I say it every time, but there is such a freedom in your art. It's beautiful!

  10. What a wonderful idea for a Christmas present. I'd like something like that, as well. Great finds at the thrift shop, especially the wool. I'll be waiting to see where they appear in your work.


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