Saturday, 27 August 2011

Panda Attack

As PvP fans will be aware, a Panda Attack can be a dangeous thing - mostly not due to the lethal-ness of pandas, but purely down to the unexpectyed nature of the onslaught. That's where Jack here has the advantage - he'a cute and looks ever so cuddly - then BAMM! - he smacks you up with the pool ball he keeps in his head. 
It may take up all the space where his brain should be, and it may mean he is so top heavy he can't sit up, but on the plus side he will kick your ass.
''There is no charge for awesomeness... or attractiveness''

Showered in Elephant Snot

Elephants are totally the best animal. fact.
I got covered by water from inside one whilst in Goa last year*, and so commemorated that with a spot of reverse applique on the front of the photo album I made. 
Actually, most of the photos are of the elephants as well. Boy and I both hate having pictures taken. I don't know what his objection is, if I were that attractive I'd be more than happy to show it off. Unfortunately when I smile I look like a chipmunk - all fat cheeks and english teeth. I'm pretty certain (or falsely optimistic) that I don't look like that in everyday life, but there's something about a camera lens that really brings out the rodent in me.
Oh well. Photos of elephants it is then.
 The album is made from two layers of sari fabric and one of gold silk, with gold embroidery thread and parchment paper. It was a pretty simple make really, my first attempt at book binding, and I'm quite pleased with the results.
Noods x

                  * yes, really. See;

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

That's Amore

Moray eels are not known for being friendly. They have 2 jaws, 2 sets of teeth, and a very strong bite that cannot be released even in death. Yet still tourist think it would be lovely to go and hand feed them - the word 'hand' here having a double meaning - you feed them by hand, and if you're very lucky you'll get to feed them your hand too. The fingers of idiots are their favourite snack. Brighton Sealife centre (pretty awesome - Nautilus themed decor, lesbian sea turtles) encourages this by selling cuddly Moray eel toys in their gift shop, much to the amusement of The Boy on a recent visit.
So, I took a leaf out of Wayne Lo's book and went on a quick killing spree before settling down to embroider some photographs.  Having recently fallen back in love with chain stitch (we have one of those on-again-off-again relationships) I mostly used that, then mounted the lot onto backing card. Voila, Birthday Greeting transportation device complete.
PS. Wayne's needlecraft site is worth checking out. I'm actually kinda jealous - if I had all that prison-time to sit around sewing in, I might actually get around to finishing my big cross stitch project...
Seriously though, he is doing something positive and  seems to be genuinely trying to find a way to make amends. There's a really interesting piece/interview with him here. Fair play to the guy, I hope he is allowed to continue. 

Monday, 15 August 2011

Lump the Sugar

Being Diabetic sucks, in a fairly major way. I hadn't realised how much until I met The Boy. He's really good at looking after himself, but jabbing yourself with needles a few times a day is never gonna be fun. So, with this in mind I decided to make him a sugar-free birthday cake. I could have just made a normal one, and he could have done a bit more insulin to cover the extra intake, but I felt that a birthday present that requires him to inject himself with poison is somewhat a double edged sword, and I should at least have a bash at a more pancreas friendly version. 
Turns out, when making Victoria Sponge (Boy's favourite), sugar is a pretty important ingredient.  Who'd thunk? Replacing it with sweetener makes the cake much heavier and dryer. So, I had a  few practice runs and made my colleagues eat some frankly brick-cakes, before I came up with this, which makes a reasonable Diabetic Sponge Cake; 

Put oven on gas mark 4 to pre-heat. Check cat is not sleeping in oven.
Grease cake tins - I used two little 5'' ones. Prevent cat from licking the grease out of cake tins.
Cream together 225g butter, 22.5g Splenda (that's about 16 level tablespoons), 100g skimmed milk powder and 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence.
Separate 4 eggs, stir in the yolks. Add 225g self raising flour and 3 level teaspoons bicarbonate of soda. Whisk egg whites til stiff, then add to cake mixture. Add milk until mixture is a good dropping consistency (ie, gloops off a spoon after about 2 seconds). Mix thoroughly - seriously thoroughly, loads more than for a normal cake. Avoid stepping on cat through out, despite the fact that she is trying to sit on your feet.
Put into cake tins, bake for about 20 mins. A couple of minutes before they are done, glaze with milk 'cause the lack of sugar means they won't go brown. Whilst baking, play with cat.
Once cooked and cool, remove from cake tins. Decide with one is the least malformed, put to one side. Slice the top off of the ugly one to give a flat surface for the filling. Spread on extra thick cream, don't be skimpy. Slice some strawberries (yes, they contain sugar, but much less than jam - even the no added sugar stuff. Cherries are also good - low sugar content - if you can be arsed de-stoning them) and arrange a layer. on the cream. Put the top cake on top and decorate with another slice of strawberry. Try to stop cat from eating left over cream.
Pirate Birthday!
 Arrange amidst presents, add candles. Do not sing, because we like the boy and do not want to hurt his ears. 

My sponge was still a little dry for my taste (more milk next time), but boy and boy's mum seemed to enjoy it. Thank you all WarGoose Level Seven-ers for being my test crash dummies and providing constructive feedback :) 

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Unchained Melody

This hound-dog is Elvis. Making Elvis, I discovered something about myself; the only Elvis (Presley) music I own is one track on a mix-CD a friend made for me. How's that for profound introspection?
I have to admit, I have atrocious taste in music. Or rather, I don't really have taste in music because I don't really listen to much - I craft to audio books*, and my iPod is mostly full of podcasts**. But what little I do listen to is heinously embarrassing. 
I like musicals (Sondheim, modern Broadway, 90s Disney) so I can sing along, loudly and as out of tune as possible. Inside my head, I always sound beautifully in tune and filled with a good amount of whatever appropriate over-emotion the song calls for, but I am assured by everyone around me that, whilst I occasionally fluke a correct note, it is not too frequent an occurrence. Still, doesn't tend to stop me because  I fucking love to sing. I also like people being angry in witty way (Ani Di Franco, The Smiths) because I can vent my teenage-stylee righteous indignation. Anything with good lyrics gets my vote, I'm all about the narrative, and if you could persuade those people in the background to play their instruments somewhere else I'd appreciate it.
I have a few stock 'non-shit' bands I used to name when asked (no one ever believes you if you say have eclectic taste, they keep asking until you pin yourself down to one genre - kinda like when you were 9 and were only allowed one best friend) - some of whom (Alter Bridge) I genuinely like, and some of whom (The Stranglers) I just know are generally considered 'good' - cool enough to be ok, not cool enough that people want to go any further into discussing. Though, to be honest, these days I'm most likely to say Tim Minchin and use that as a segway into talking about comedy...

So, did you hear the one about the drummer, the mexican and the girl who should have been asleep an hour ago?

*Anything read by Flo Gibson is a winner; Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter can be curled up into like a duvet; and Bob Inglis can be relied upon to do all the voices, sing all the songs, and not mispronounce the Sindarin too badly.