creativity vs. ennui

Currently, ennui is winning, but hopefully not for much longer. Seen this past week ~

SCAMPER: 

S-ubstitute, C-ombine, A-dapt, M-odify, P-ut, E-liminate, R-everse

As comic relief to weather, world events, and general January doom & gloom I pulled out some old DVDs of comedy-dramas, this last being New Tricks.

The original starred Alun Armstrong (Brian), James Bolam (Jack), Amanda Redman (Sandra, the boss), and Dennis Waterman (Gerry). The men were all retired London police officers, with Sandra the only serving officer.

The group was called UCOS (Unsolved Crimes and Open Case). For details I refer you to the first episode, which explains many of the on-going and humorous references.

I’m explaining this because an episode in the second year’s series (“Creative Problem Solving”) applies to sewing. In the video, its the framework for how the case gets solved.

✂️       ✂️       ✂️

We sewers don’t have old criminal cases to solve (I hope !), but we do sometimes have old creative problems to (re)solve: those pesky UFOs (unfinished objects) for one.

I’d also include some (many?) of the items hiding at the back of closets, in the bottom of drawers, and stashed away amongst out-of-season clothes.

(Please tell me I’m not the only one doing this!)

Which brings us to the photos below ~

They illustrate how I’ve just spent several weeks frogging (unwinding) an unused (5± years)  3”-wide looong knitted wool scarf, then  crocheted it into a 6″-wide & much shorter fringed scarf.

See all that crinkly stuff in the first photo? That’s how my loosely wrapped & frogged ball of yarn looked as I started crocheting. When it came time to cut the remainder up for fringe I did get a little worried, and hoped I was remembering correctly that it would all straighten out once washed.

Fearlessly I washed everything. All went well.

(I think I owe this explanation to Felicia but I couldn’t for the life of me find her post, so my apologies. And apologies if it was someone else. Edited to add: It was Felicia – see her comment below.)

Am right chuffed to have re-purposed good wool into a more usable object, whilst also enjoying its softness running through my fingers during the reworking.

(He-he! We are tactile creatures, aren’t we? 😉)

Anyone else care to share a creative solution?!

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desperate for a treat?

3-minute microwave treat:
melted choc chips in a dark chocolate cake.
yuuummmmyyy!

Guaranteed to brighten your day is this quick & easy recipe from Corinna Chapman, the Melbourne (Australia) bread baker-cum sleuth of Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman series.

Here’s a direct link to the recipe (see p. 25), and below are her and my versions.

“MICROWAVE CHOCOLATE CAKE

“This is from Peter Russel Clarke, a great pioneer of Australian cooking, though his laugh reminds me far too closely of Kerry O’Keefe’s. Which is not his fault, poor man. This, despite my extreme scepticism, actually works and will produce a hot puddingy cake in 3 minutes cooking. For the midnight munchies. Or the three-in-the-morning horrors.

  • “4 tablespoons self-raising flour
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons light vegetable oil
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk

“Mix all the dry ingredients, stir in the wet. You can add a handful of choc chips or cut up chocolate bar (i.e., a Bounty bar, a Mars Bar) if you like. Or honeycomb. This was supposed to be made in a coffee mug but I used a plastic microwave dish and it rose very well. Cook in the microwave for three minutes on high, or 100 per cent. Leave it sit for a moment. Turn it out while hot. You can then make a chocolate sauce with equal quantities of chocolate and cream in the microwave to decorate it. Yummy. If you keep to the proportions you can make instant fruit cake and all manner of unusual items. Nice if you want to experiment and don’t want to waste too much food. If you leave out the cocoa you need to replace it with 2 or more tablespoons of flour. The mix will bear about half a cup of additions. It does not brown, so ice it. Or just eat it at once.”

right outta the cup

here’s my dark chocolate-lover version:

  • 4 tablespoons self-raising flour
  • 1 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons light vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup 60% dark chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli – the darkest available that I can afford!)

Bake as above.   I don’t ice mine.   Its already brown.

sliced in half to show those yummy melted chips

I should try a ginger spice version… but right now I need chocolate.

❤      ❤      ❤

stash busting for extreme weather

some of my swatch collection from The Rain Shed – VERY superior fleece

Whether its heat or cold, look to your stash!

Insulation across windows and doors (to the outside) needs a small air space between the glass or whatever and your temporary fabric curtain. That air space is key to providing more insular effects.

I currently use tension rods for window curtains and generally have a few extras  just in case. If that’s not a possibility for you, there’s always tape & tacks.

Any tightly woven fabric can help, as the tighter the weave the less air (and temperature) can pass through.

Here’s another section I just looked up on Polartec®, which I like to use because of its light weight and wash-ability (and further use as blankets if I’ve extra pieces).

source:   The Rain Shed
“If you have questions regarding a fabric please email or call.”  541-791-8900 or Contact. They ship internationally.

About Polartec®
FAQ
Care
Polartec® Windbloc     “Polartec(R) Windbloc(R) fabrics block 100% of the wind and offer maximum protection from the cold and the elements. A soft hand, stretch and a durable water repellent finish (DWR) make this the highest quality, most comfortable windproof fleece product on the market.”

Polartec® 200 (one of two swatch sets)     “Polartec Series 200 is a mid-weight, non-pilling, double-faced fleece from Malden Mills/Polartec LLC. Made of 100% Dacron Polyester. It’s light, non-absorbent, and wicks moisture, dries quickly and retains body heat even when wet.”
“How does it work? The 100% polyester velour, pebbled, or shear ling surface create air pockets that trap air and retain body heat, providing outstanding warmth without weight. These fabrics off excellent breath ability and dry quickly.”

Polartec® 300     “Polartec(R) Series 300 is a heavy, non-pilling, double-faced fleece from Malden Mills. Made of 100% Dacron polyester. It’s breathable, wicking, dries quickly and retains body heat even when wet.”

I’m not affiliated with The Rain Shed or Malden Mills/Polartec.® I just appreciate their products.

I’ve also written on extreme weather here and here.

p.s. . . . about that b&w print . . .

Caution: Please don’t stare as I don’t want anybody getting woozy!

Thought I’d add a photo to show the actual pattern of that black & white fabric.

It’s a Ponte de Roma (65% poly/30% rayon/5%Lycra) from fabric.com and doesn’t seem to be listed now, but I bought it a year ago so that’s not surprising.

 

 

 

catching up..and Happy New Year!

This didn’t get published last month, so am putting it here.

Happy New Year, all! I spent it tucked up with Hamish Macbeth, a creation of author M.C. Beaton, and due back at the library.

yes, there IS a santa … er, a lot more of this fabric stashed away

Meanwhile, back in Renfrew land . . . .

I found a nice little stash of leftover bamboo fabric and made a new neck band. Ta-dah!

Although now I’m noticing a crossed eye effect if I look at the pattern across the front for very long.

I left the sleeves extra long so I could roll them up easily when doing dishes, etc. Wound up cutting off those wrist bands when I discovered how long was too long.

Might have enough to make a sleeveless version for summer… will have to decide which way I want those lines to go. On second thought, as this isn’t 4-way stretch, better keep them as is.

Which brings me to another Renfrew that’s just gotten fixed. I discovered the bottom band of my very first orange Renfrew wasn’t cut with the maximum stretch going around the body.  (Me conserving fabric. NOT.)

That lack of stretch made taking it off a pain. So it didn’t get worn. And it was just a tad too short, so it really didn’t get worn.

However, I discovered more of that same fabric too, and effected a fix: I cut off the offending band after cutting a wider one using the stretch of the fabric. In the end, no fabric got saved, but I have another wearable Renfrew. And another good lesson learnt.

click to go back to the 2015 version

Oh, the things we gotta remember whilst trying to be smart. 😳