Tuesday, 26 March 2013

What's a bassoon?

When people ask me what I do for a living... I say, I'm a musician. Then of course the next question is always, what do you play?
When I answer 'the bassoon', 9 times out of 10 this is met with a blank stare, or 'is that like a violin/saxophone/trumpet?'. 'Er..not really. At all. No.'

knitted instrument

So... I decided to knit one. Well... a mini me, holding a mini bassoon.

 To knit the basic head and body of my mini me, I used the pattern for 'little londoners' from the Stitch London book. This is really lovely book full of random quirky little things to knit, all london related, and more useful gifts too, like mug huggers and book covers.

So after knitting my basic little person, I embroidered on some eyes and a mouth, a sort of knot for the nose, and sewed on strands of wool to the scalp area for hair.

 To give the arms some structure I pushed a length of thin beading wire through each one so I could move them to the position I wanted. I did the same thing for the bassoon itself, to keep it straight, and added detail with silver thread and more wire. To attach the bassoon to the arms, I pushed a piece of wire through both pieces and back out in a U shape.

knitted instrument

So now whenever someone asks me 'What's a bassoon?' I can whip this out of my handbag. There may also be other little musicians on the way so watch this space...

This post has somehow become one of my most popular. (I never realised how many people were googling 'What's a bassoon', or 'knitted bassoon', apparently quite a few!) Thank you for the appreciative comments, and I'm pleased to say, if you'd like one of these, in your choice of colour, hair style instrument etc, they are now available at http://www.etsy.com/shop/Littleknitbits.

Emily Kate.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Hot Cross Muffins

So easter is a-coming...and my most favourite thing to eat at this time of year (or pretty much all year round) is hot cross buns. Now last year I made a few batches from scratch, using a recipe from my favourite baking book, Peyton and Byrne's British Baking. They were really scrummy, but as it is a bread recipe, with all the rising time it takes several hours to complete. This year I've got a bit less time on my hands, so I decided to make something with the flavours of a hot cross bun, but much less of the hassle. This recipe is adapted from one from taste.com, but I was surprised to find very few recipes for a similar thing online, so I decided to share mine. 

100g currants                                                                 
100g mixed peel
2tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2tsp nutmeg
200g caster sugar
375g self raising flour
2 eggs
165ml sunflower oil, or melted margarine
100ml yoghurt
150ml milk

2tbsp sugar, 2tbsp water for bun wash
100g icing sugar with a little water for piping

  • Preheat the oven to 200C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cases. 
  • Sift together the flour, bicarb and spices into large mixing bowl and add the sugar. 
  • Add the dried fruit to the bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, yoghurt, milk and oil until combined.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix just enough to combine.
  • Divide the mixture between the muffin cases and bake for 20 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. 
  • Put the water and sugar for the glaze in a saucepan and simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved. Brush the glaze over the cooled muffins. 
  • Mix the icing sugar with a little water at a time until it is thick but still able to be piped. Use a piping bag to pipe crosses on the top of the muffins. 

Enjoy :)

Emily Kate

Monday, 11 March 2013

Embroidered Glasses Case

So my latest little sewing project is a present I made for my Mum's birthday last week. She recently started wearing reading glasses she buys for £1, and then can never find when she needs them.

negative embroidery
handmade embroidered glasses case
 I decided to make a glasses case quite a while ago but I couldn't decide what style to do, a plain fabric one or to incorporate some sort of embroidery, as it is my latest fad.

Then I remembered something I saw a while back - negative space embroidery. I decided to just go for the obvious word - glasses, for a glasses case. I like the idea that you know exactly what it is.
For my fabric I chose a cute pink and white polka dot cotton for the lining, and a wool felt for the outside. I used some polyester wadding for extra protection.

So for the embroidery, I first typed the letters out in Microsoft Word, and found a font that I liked. I put it inside a box the same size as I planned for my glasses case, and then printed the template out and used a craft knife to cut out the letters. I then traced around the inside of the letters with my fabric pencil.

Next I started sewing.. first going around all of the letters in a backstitch so I had a clear boundary for where there would be no stitches.
I then started to do lots of stitches close together in different directions from the outline of the letters to about half a centimetre around. I think the wool felt works really nicely for embroidery, and it is a lovely soft fabric to work with.

I really love how the letters stand out, and have now have lots of ideas for other projects using this method!

Emily Kate.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Mum's Crunchy Oaty Biscuits.

When I was growing up these were my absolute favourite thing to find upon the kitchen counter. They are oaty, crumbly and soft in the inside and oh-so-easy to make. They're also egg-free and dairy-free (minus the chocolate) and so great for people with allergies, vegans, or if you're anything like me just want to make something sweet and realise you have no eggs.

So here's the recipe...

6oz margarine
1tsp golden syrup
4oz sugar
5oz self raising flour
4oz oats
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tbsp boiling water

  • Grease and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to 160C.
  • Melt the margarine and syrup together in a saucepan over a low heat. 
  • Stir in the sugar, flour and oats.
  • Mix together the bicarb and boiling water in a bowl and stir into the mixture. 
  • Place tablespoons of the mixture on to the baking tray, well spaced apart. You should only fit around 6 spoonfuls on a baking tray because otherwise the biscuits will morph into one massive biscuit. (although then you won't have to share it ;) )
  • Bake at 160C for around 15mins, until lightly browned, but still soft. They will harden as they cool down. 
  • When they are cool, melt some chocolate of your choosing and drizzle carefully over the biscuits. 
You could also try adding some dried cranberries, cherries, cinnamon or anything you fancy. I'm particularly keen to try adding stem ginger and dipping them in dark chocolate.

Be warned, it is very difficult to 'just have one or two' of these biscuits. It's such a simple recipe to make but so scrummy. Do you have a favourite treat that reminds you of your childhood? 

Emily Kate.