Tuesday, 23 April 2013

A Knitted Clarinet..

This little guy is the second of my little knitted musicians. I am hoping... eventually, to do one of each instrument, although I have to admit the idea of a knitted french horn terrifies me somewhat.

As before I used the basic pattern for a body from the Stitch London book, and then personalised it. It is supposed to be my friend Elliott, the clarinettist in my ensemble (www.waldegrave-ensemble.com if you're interested!), and I think it's not too bad a likeness.

There's a round piece of cardboard in the bottom of the body to keep it flat and able to stand up. I deliberated for ages on how to do the hair, and ended up doing long stitches into the stuffing of the head, out through the crown and back in around where the hairline would be.

The clarinet was knitted i-cord, which makes a 3d kind of line of knitting, and I added silver thread for the details and wire threaded through to keep it rigid.

Stay tuned for the next mini musician! Any helpful ideas on how to go about knitting other instruments would be gratefully received..

Emily Kate

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Best Ever Chocolate Brownies

Now I know it's a pretty bold claim to make... but these really are the best brownies I've tasted. If baked just right, they're soft and slightly gooey on the inside, but firm and crumbly on the outside. They're also completely nut free, which is rare for brownies, as I'm hardly ever able to eat them out. I'm not sure where the original recipe came from, I think perhaps from delicious magazine about 6 years ago and long since lost.

Nut free chocolate brownies
200g dark chocolate (the better quality, the better the brownies will taste, although I use cheap chocolate and it does just fine!)
150g butter
175g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
3 large eggs
75g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
100 milk chocolate chips
100g white chocolate chips

Makes around 16 brownies.

  • Set the oven to 180C and line a brownie, or deep roasting tin with greaseproof paper. Scrunching it up first helps it to mould to the shape of the tin better. 
  • Break up the dark chocolate in to a microwaveable bowl, and add the butter. Melt in the microwave for short bursts of 20-30 secs at a time, stirring between. 
  • When the chocolate is melted, add the caster sugar and vanilla essence and mix in. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well in-between. 
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder. Mix the milk and white chocolate chips with a little flour, to stop them sinking to bottom of the brownies during cooking, add to the mixture. 
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, and bake at 180C for around 40 mins, until the top is set firm but a skewer inserted still comes out with a slightly gooey mixture in the middle.
  • Wait for the brownies to cool, then cut into squares and dust with a little cocoa powder.
....and enjoy! I dare you to be able to eat just one...

Nut free chocolate brownie

Emily Kate 

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Tile Coasters Tutorial

tile coasters

I eventually got round yesterday to making something I've meant to do for ages... some nice coasters. The ones we had previously were flimsy bits of weird plastic recovered from one of my dad's flats, when the tenant upped and left. (we just can't turn free stuff down!)
I love the idea of having things around that no one else will have, and that cost little to make. By using an old London map they also create a talking point in the home too. Now I know there are probably hundreds of tutorials for this type of thing, but hey, why not one more, which doesn't include the use of 'Mod Podge'!

Tile Coasters tutorial
 So above is all the supplies you need to make these coasters. I chose to use an old map I found at a flea  market in Somerset, but you could use any piece of paper material you like. I'm thinking of doing some more from an old newspaper, or some old sheet music (although as a musician that does seem kinda like sacrilege).

  • First cut out squares from the paper your using that are slightly smaller than the tiles themselves. I used a stanley knife against a ruler to get a really clean straight edge and ironed them flat. 
  • On some newspaper, paint on a layer of standard PVA glue to the tiles and carefully place the paper squares on top. Wait for the glue to dry completely before the next step. 
  • Mix some PVA glue in a cup with water to a roughly 1:1 ratio. You may see on other tutorials people talking about Mod Podge, or other decoupage glue. I looked at getting some but it doesn't seem easy to get in the UK and having googled it a bit more, it seems to be PVA based anyway. So I stuck to plain old PVA. Spread a thin layer across the tiles and wait until it dries completely. Repeat this several times(I did around 6) until the surface is shiny and the paper is completely stuck to the tile.
  • When the last layer of PVA has dried, flip the tiles and stick some cork, or felt pads on the bottom.
If you're giving them as a gift, stack and tie some ribbon around them or if not, put the kettle on for their very first use!

Tile Coasters London Map

Emily Kate