Thursday, 27 November 2008

I don't want a lot for Christmas...

...there are just a few things I need...
So - friends, relatives, mysterious wealthy benefactors (I can dream, can't I?) - if you're reading this, I'd like...

An obi belt from loobyloucrafts - she's right here in Cornwall and you can't get better than handmade AND local now can you?
Pretty much anything from PrinceDesignUK - gorgeous ceramics there
Again, almost anything by the wonderfully talented AnneJulie
Snuggly wuggly armwarmers by Overcast (dark blue maybe?)
Pretty print of a bird and a nest by Geninne - aren't the colours gorgeous?
I love the brooches and tea sets by EstherCoombs - she buys crockery from charity shops and draws onto them with special ink - such a wonderful way of reinvigorating old china!
I've been wanting a kimono wrap from MeandD for soooo long. Charcoal blue sounds especially lovely.
Anything by Rob Ryan. He's my all time hero.
Beautiful legwarmers from adventuresofjr
One of ellembee's pretty t-shirts
A posey ring from KathrynRiechert - I love the hand stamped lettering, though I can't choose the best word... 'dream' maybe or 'create'
A steampunk bee from tinyminds - I love the idea of clockwork insects!
Umbrella earrings by clevergirl - I've been eyeing those for a long time too. Of course there's the small matter of me not having pierced ears anymore...but that can be remedied. Especially considering I'd also love some bird earrings from Tillybloom. I wonder if my shipping coupon from her is still valid...
These applique rabbit maryjanes from Anda at stopsandstarts - if they were only in my size (curses, large feet!)
And this lovely artwork from HidenSeek.

That's the top most items on my etsy wishlist (I could have added more, trust me!) Other things I want for Christmas are boring-to-look-at-on-a-blog non-handmade things (Stardust on DVD, for instance...) and of course I want to see friends and family for Christmas. One friend who I won't get to see over Christmas has just been to stay - so that was like a mini Christmas present in itself :D
This is Paula - banana cake baker and illustrator extraordinaire.

And, since I managed to persuade Paula to take a picture of me, I thought I'd finally bite the bullet and show the world my face...
After many attempts that had unfortunate blinking, strange facial expressions etc, I settled on this one of me in my stylish burnt orange hat (with inevitable seagull flying out of my head, seemingly!)

In other news, I am planning on adding a couple of pendant necklaces to the shop on Friday :)

Monday, 10 November 2008

In the works and in the oven

A few days ago, I started gathering supplies for some new things for the shop. Hopefully coming in the next couple of days will be some lovely navy blue cotton jersey - thicker than the cotton lycra jersey I've been using for scarves and ideal for chillier weather and snow themed scarves. :) Its a new supplier for me so I've hedged my bets and only ordered enough for two scarves - which puts me in a quandry. If this fabric proves to be as ideal as I hope, at first I will only be able to make two of my three designs. Ohhhhhh which to make first?! The blizzard scarf is a definite, since my blizzard cuffs have proven to be popular. But peacock feathers or dusky petals? Hmmm.

In addition to the assorted scarves in the works, I'm developing another exciting new product for the shop that I think will make great gifts...

Pendant necklaces, made in a similar way to my fabric earrings. I'm just waiting on some sterling silver bails, which are the part that connects a pendant to a necklace, and then after I've made some scarves I'll start on the pendants.

I'm adapting my 'fish' design, originally for earrings, into a pendant design and a brooch design. The name has always niggled at me - the idea of adorning yourself with sealife is obviously not too appealing! For my necklace featuring lots of 'fish', I decided on the name Shoal - I like the sound of the word, and it's relevant without sounding too mundane. For the earrings I had felt that 'Shoal' sounded odd, since there weren't so many 'fish'. But I'm veering towards it as a name for all my fish inspired jewellery. If you have time to vote on my poll on the right, I'd love to know what you guys think of the new names I have in mind.

Feeling a little bit like hibernating today, I treated myself to one of my favourite cold weather dinners. Since people liked my apple toddy 'recipe', I thought I'd share the recipe for my Savoury Crumble here. I got the idea from a pub restaurant that I frequent with my parents when they're visiting, and I adapted it for my own storecupboard.

Ingredients to make two generous portions
Filling:
One large sweet potato
Two carrots
Half an onion
One garlic clove
1 pint of stock
A little olive oil or sunflower oil.

Topping:
100g flour
80g butter or margarine
A handful of porridge or rolled oats (optional)
A handful of sunflower seeds (optional)
Herbs (rosemary and coriander are both nice with this)
Ground black pepper

Method:
Set your oven to about 190 degrees celsius.
Chop garlic and onion.
Peel and chop the potato and carrots into cubes. Put them on to boil with the stock.
Put the flour and butter/margarine into a bowl and make into 'breadcrumbs'. You need to use the tips of your fingers to rub the butter into the flour so it forms little breadcrumb-like pieces. Next, add the oats, seeds and seasoning and mix together.
Fry the garlic and onion until soft.
By now, your vegetables should have boiled for about 15 minutes and be almost cooked.
Put the onion, garlic and vegetables into an ovenproof dish. You should have enough stock for the mixture to be quite moist, but not swimming in stock. Then, put your crumble topping onto the vegetables in a thick, even layer.
Bake in the oven for about half an hour to 40 minutes.
Serve as a side dish or as a filling vegetarian main course with broccoli or peas.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Cosiness

Brrrrrrrr it's cold!

You can really feel the nights drawing in for winter here. I went to the post office this afternoon to send a scarf on its way and it was so dark outside, I asked the postmistress if she was closing soon - it felt much later than it was. Luckily she wasn't about to close and the recipient of the first ever Treacle Toffee scarf should have their parcel soon.

I'm going to be adding more scarves soon (likely next week) - another Shoal one methinks, another Tree Rings one definitely...and I think I may have found the perfect dark blue cotton jersey for these...

The 'Dusky Petals' design will be the first thing in my shop in quite a while to feature a colour other than blue, grey, brown or green! It will be layered circles of a gorgeous dusky raspberry linen I got a while ago, along with some nice rose silk. I was going to make the scarf base with a shade of raspberry pink jersey (and I may make a version with that as well at some point) but I think the colours I have would look rather striking against navy blue. What do you think?

Cold weather accessories are definitely going to take priority for a while - scarves for necks and cuffs for wrists (jewellery that helps keep you warm!) I really wanted to make some bags (the initial sketches for which I posted on the other blog many moons ago) but I am going to need to dedicate some time to making the design as good as it can be - hopefully I'll have more on that in early 2009.

Stay cosy, folks!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Results Day

I tend to stick to the rule of never mixing business with either politics or religion - you never know who you might offend.

But, contentious as it may be, Wednesday is a big day. Even Brits like me (and no doubt people of many other nations) are following this election with interest, since it will have an impact of some kind on all of us. On Wednesday, all this waiting and wondering will be over, the results will be in and America will have chosen a new president.

For now, nothing about Wednesday is certain.

Well...one small thing, actually. You can be certain that on Wednesday, Treacle Toffee will have a lovely shop update*. Sure, it's not going to change the world. But maybe it'll change your wardrobe ;-) I hope it puts a smile on your faces, whether you're happy with the vote count or not.

Happy November!

* The size of this update is slightly dependant on my back injury (see other blog) not worsening drastically, but I'm confident I'll have something new for you.