A mighty big granny

Thursday, May 26, 2016
black and white granny square crochet blanket

Finally! A big crochet project is underway. It's been too long since I crocheted something. This project was brought to you by the incredibly cheap acrylic that Aldi was selling a few weeks ago. It is not the best feeling stuff around, but I have held off for such a long time I just went a little berserk when I saw all the balls of yarn and threw all the black and white ones into the trolley before common sense returned.

I'm making this one for my eldest son. Anyone who has known me for long enough might remember another blanket I made for him, and wonder where that is. I'll tell you where it is, it is hidden in the storeroom where the kids can't touch it because I spent too much money on very nice cotton and I'm terrified of something bad happening to it. Which is all rather silly, so this time I decided the yarn would not be precious!

Something else that worried me about the last one was that I'm not altogether sure I finished my ends securely enough. I feel kind of like a bad person saying this! It's all my fault! I admit it! This time I decided to brush up on the basics before tearing into the project, downloading Shelley Husband's great little book Granny Square Crochet for Beginners.

Granny Square Crochet For Beginners

Shelley is a mine of useful info if you are learning, trying to remember after a long hiatus, or looking to move beyond the basics. Of course I'm biased because I've known her in the crafty community for years and I am her graphic designer.

I had two options in mind, based on two pins on my crochet board on Pinterest, one big granny and the second lots of little grannies. This is as close as I get to following a pattern or making a plan. After reviewing the basics - especially the 'finishing ends' bit, I decided I'd be doing one big granny instead of many little grannies and joining them. I am not feeling patient with this project, I want it done!

And I shall finish it with pom poms on the corners.

Steak and Chips for dessert

Thursday, May 19, 2016
One of the many things I haven't written about here yet is that, I am part of a Dinner Party Club (yep that firmly identifies me as middle class). 
A few years ago, one of my friends decided that she, since having kids, was entertaining less and that she really missed it. She still entertained, kids birthdays, family orientated bar-be-ques, afternoon get togethers that finish at 6pm, so everybody can take the kids home before they get feral. Those things were, and are, fun but they were debauched affairs of our pre-kid days with plated up food, adult only time macerated in red wine (the guests not the food). So she started the club and then roped people in. Mr Doh and I were caught in that lasso and, funnily enough, didn't struggle much.

The dinner party club is comprised of five couples, every couple of months a dinner party is held at one of the groups house. 

In the first round of parties, the host couple had to do everything from setting the theme to preparing their house for the event (this usually means scrambling around, woefully crying WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH MATCHING PLATES! Baffled husbands calmly suggesting that we could use mismatching plates and then the stressed out wife pointing out that, "we don't have enough mismatching plates, 8 will match 2 will not match making it look like we only had a set of 8 plates". Bewildered husband then wanders off muttering that we do only have 8 matching plates.... my Mum did fix this by finding a couple of plates that were similar enough to the original set, she is a super star) Anyway, as you can imagine, that was incredibly stressful for the hosts. 

We are now into Round Two of the parties and we decided to do it a little differently this time around. First, we all pulled a theme out of a hat and that would be the party that you hosted at your house. Then we created a roster for who brings what course. Having already hosted one of the parties in this format, I can assure you that it is far less stressful than the original scheme (especially as I now have enough plates). 

The most recent theme was Surf and Turf and I had scored Dessert on the roster. 

I goggled and was reliably informed that a Key Lime Pie was an acceptable Dessert for Surf and Turf but that wasn't what I wanted to do. I wanted something which epitomised the theme. I thought about making a mousse using Blue Curaco to represent the sea and then a Heston style 'dirt' make out of chocolate crumbs, perhaps I could make a green thing to go in there too. 

And then I did what I always do when I need inspiration and need to be nudged in the right direction, I asked Michelle (yes, the other author of this blog). I love Michelle's brain, it's very creative and runs at tangent, in a very good way, to my own 

and that was it, I had a basis for an idea. 

I wanted to create this for dessert. 

We decided, after talking about dying coconut shreds, that the salad would be too hard but Michelle suggested: shortbread for chips, brownie shaped steak and caramel mousse for the sauce. Portion size was to be fancy restaurant style. The prawns we weren't sure about but fondant was discussed. 

In theory, I was supposed to practice each of the components prior to making the dish.......so, the day of the dinner party arrived and the prawns still weren't fully figured out. However, I had found these wee beasties in the supermarket, pink banana flavoured lollies

First, I painted them with either white or orange coloured icing sugar and then detailed in the other colour 

Here they are drying on greaseproof paper.

And here is my full dessert.

The caramel mousse became a caramel sauce.

Finally, here are some other food porn pics from the evening 

Sometimes we go to the library

Tuesday, May 10, 2016
It's true, we do. Sometimes we go to the library! As a book hoarder this isn't an easy thing for me, I don't much like giving the books back.

Last time we were there I picked up Broken Homes, by Ben Aaronovitch. I almost didn't because I could see it was one of a series, and I was pretty sure it wasn't the first. Normally I'd go and ask if they had the first in the series, or could find one for me, or I'd just wait and buy it on Kindle, but it looked good and I didn't want to forget about it. Small country libraries can take some time to get books in.

It ended up being the fourth book. Really fantastically good, and surprisingly not my usual fluff. It can be a little dark, I think the slightly off beat nature eases that though, so it's something I can handle reading without having nightmares or getting too upset! I'm such a wimp.

Well I rushed ahead and just bought the rest of the series on my Kindle, which I am kicking myself over really. I loved reading them, it would have been good to have them on the shelf. But I was too impatient! Maybe I'll find them in second hand bookshops. There is a sixth one coming out soon, which I can't wait for. I even bought my mum the first in the series for Mother's Day. I hope she likes it.

I know this is quite a departure from stuff I've been making, but I was pretty much just reading these books for about two weeks in all my spare time! Have you already read them???
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