more insulation & bake off rewards


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Found another reference to another type of insulation we can use in sewing, then located 2 sites, here and here, that offer both insulations, and a list of what each one allows. Who sez home sewers can’t keep up with RTW!

Weather here continues to be rotten, so I’ve continued with more baking than sewing. Why?, you may ask. Because the kitchen gets warmer than anywhere else, particularly when the oven’s cranked up to 400℉.

Today I decided to bake something I’ve wanted to try for donkey’s years: crackers (crisps?). With my brand new food scale, I chose a recipe from Titli’s site here.

They turned out quite well, if I say it meself. I took my time with them, this being a first-time bake, and managed to make a fairly enjoyable process out of it (considering I generally don’t like fiddly processes).

Having just watched the first-ever season of Great British Bake Off shown on this side of the pond, the U.K.’s 6th season, I think I’ve picked up a tip that helped the rolling out process: using cling film to keep sticky dough off the rolling pin. Really worked a treat!

That, plus not using a shaped cutter, cut the prep time. I don’t have any cookie/biscuit cutters right now either, so I just used a knife to cut free-form rectangles. Had to  sit my cooling rack over half the small sink.

Using parchment paper, as Titli suggests, also worked a treat. I rolled out, cut & pricked, then cooled – all on the parchment. Really made clean-up a breeze.

Not much sewing, but I stayed warm this afternoon, and now my cracker/crisps tin is heavy with wholemeal goodies!

But what I’d love to know, from the Bake Off, is this: Does every oven/cooker in the U.K. have a door that slides under & out of the way as those did? Over here, the doors come down smack in front, so you have to reach over them to get anything in or out. Quite inconvenient, particularly in small spaces.


Another post for the rewards photo challenge.

reward: authentic rock buns!

very cakey before the scale

very cakey before the scale

Yes, that scale arrived in the kitchen last night, and I just couldn’t resist trying it out today.

Success! Now I know what went wrong with my previous 3 versions: A bit too much flour, and not nearly enough marg.

Moral: Get thee a scale, and weigh out those ingredients instead of converting a recipe. (Or get a better method of converting than I did!)

(click any photo below to go to slide show, in proper order!)

The original, authentic British rock bun recipe from Simon’s 2010 blog.

original wordpress post

3rd time’s the charm

pattern, fabric, seam rippers, directions!

pattern, fabric, seam rippers, directions!

Planning to get these pj bottoms done the second time round, rather than a third. And considering the white stitching a hidden design feature, rather than dwelling on the “real” reason: not wanting to change the serger/overlocker thread.  :-)

You know how it goes. I felt I knew how to put the legs together properly, having done a shorty pair only 6 months ago. Sewed up the four seams, then slipped one leg inside the other for the final seam, and… not right. Would have been stitching front-to-back instead of front-to-front.

Rats. Definitely NOT a design feature. Had to dig out the directions after all, and unpick all four side seams. Am waiting for a really clear head to put them together again.

Hopefully, not a third time.

lightly browned

lightly browned & in the bickie tin

However, considering this third batch of rock cakes… Made Friday, but not destined to last a fortnight, they’re definitely edible, but me thinks far too cakey for real rock buns.

Converting recipes from weight to measurements doesn’t seem to be working in this case. I had to add almost 1/2 cup of milk to get a dough instead of flour.  Next step is to check out scales.

A friend across the pond is eager to surprise a visitor with real American cooking, so have advised they get a set of American measures. Am definitely thinking I need to do the opposite to really get British recipes right.

And being rather eager to try out a few from this site, the sooner that scale gets acquired, the better. 3rd batch rock cakes

bell, book, and ca… crochet


Spent last night finishing a little blue rayon scarf, and beginning, again, a silk/wool yarn I’d unraveled from a shawl I’d (not) been knitting for several years, while watching Bell, Book, and Candle with Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novac, and a slew of colourful characters, including that ever-delightful cat whose name I cannot spell. Is it Py, Pi…

I digress. But that’s similar to my day thus far. Do any of you ever have the same feeling?

An extra day off isn’t going to be wasted by playing in a (very cold) snow drift! A glance to be certain the electricity’s still working, then up and cooking brunch whilst planning what else to cook.

Two large potatoes are sitting out to be microwaved (now done and cooling), and only two small apples left from my pile of apples & oranges. But ~ there are packets of dried apricots and prunes. What about stewing them briefly in the microwave, with some ginger!

Apricots also now cooling. Will await a taste before doing any prunes. (Later~ Decided to add more water and ginger, and cook again for more thick juice. Even later – still not enough ginger.)

You see? Lots of little things to do, such as washing up dishes, and putting a small load of clothes in the washer. All needing 2-to-3 minutes attention, but nothing to be continually watched. Am I the only one that does this

Phew! Sitting again, in front of the computer, able to type a bit, and enjoy a rock cake with a fresh cuppa. Last week’s batch turned out quite differently from the previous, quite solid batch.

After re-reading directions on how to make self-rising flour from all purpose flour, I realized I needed to include some leavening, but wrote Tablespoons instead of teaspoons. Realized the error after the batch was baked, but they’re still quite edible. Seems there’s a surprise each time I mix up this recipe, but they continue to tste excellent, and so I’ll continue trying to get that recipe right.

Am now thinking I should put up the dosh to purchase a scale to weigh ingredients. Then I wouldn’t have to tie up brain power with conversions, and could simply bake.

Bake. That reminds me of my new favourite weekend import. (Thank you, BBC, for refusing to allow anyone to mess with your already-proven recipe. Now please do the same with your sewing programme so I can  stop feeling guilty whilst watching youtube copies.)

There’s the clothes ready for the dryer, so I’m off again. Hope you’re comfy, everyone!

have a bickie & a cuppa!

have a bickie & a cuppa!

more details & scale for valentine’s day


click any photo to go to slide show

Wanted to sneak this hankie in before we’ve another topic to consider.

In my humble opinion, its an example of some details not quite to scale: it was ages before I realized all those flowers were words.

What do you think?


Other posties on details to-scale here & here.

there’s ordinary fleece, and there’s …


all samples purchased from the rain shed, and i can easily feel & see the differences!




For years, the difference has been clear to me. Every time I pull on my RTW faux suede winter coat I remember and appreciate the difference, doubly when I throw it in the washer.

In my experience, the place to really be spoilt for choice is The Rain Shed, in Oregon. As I’ve been exploring more and more on their site, I’ve ordered several samples of Lycra fleece, wondering if making my own leggings might be more comfortable (warmer) than RTW. Which I don’t wear because by the time it’s warm enough, I don’t need them. If that makes sense.

Drat. My wrist is still bothering me, so that’s all my typing for today.

Go check them out for more weights of fleece than you can possibly imagine! (And really nice customer service people, too.)

details & scale for valentine’s day


click any photo to go to slide show

One of the things I love to collect when I find them are handkerchiefs. They’re small, and often quite inexpensive.

Here are two that I pulled out yesterday, in keeping with next week’s Valentine’s Day.

Hope you enjoy seeing the details, and how appropriately their small size hasn’t negated colours and stitches in their to-scale details.

(Also hope you don’t mind my combining both photo challenges in 1 post.)

There’s another posty on details to-scale over here.