Usually I can just reflect quietly for a day or so, take a deep breathe and, with a good tug on the bootstraps, move off in some direction...but not so lately.
I really do need to fill my days as I can get very introspective and bored so very quickly..having something to do with my hands is usually the answer, so today I decided to play around with some mixed mediums to make a couple of cards in order to get me out of the doldrums.
I am often reluctant to make cards with these more textured processes as I really do not like cards which do not fold nicely and stay flat...often these cards are ever so slightly buckled and can be a tad warped...I find this also with cards I have added craft foam to. I cannot work out if it is the adhesive type or quantity, using double sided tape or just what it is that causes the warping as the results vary each time I make one.
I was pondering on this just yesterday when picking up one of Chris' birthday cards which had blown off the bench in a draught...as I opened it to stand it back up, I noticed that this good quality commercial card was warped more badly than any I make, but I also knew that it didn't make any difference to the card per se...so why am I so critical of my own, I wondered.
Strangely, it seemed that this tiny little light bulb moment gave me enough insight to realise that my own cards do not, can not ever, be perfect..just get on with it, I thought! Stop being so precious...it is not as if anyone else would notice and in the scheme of things it is one of those infinitesimal blockers that can sometimes appear, like a grain of sand through a microscope, mountainous.
So, I had a couple of pieces of water coloured paper on my work bench that simply hadn't worked for the purpose I intended them (something else that seems to happen far more frequently when I am bored), so I got in and made a start...
The card front is adhered onto a silver mirror card mat, and a turquoise mat to match the sentiment, and all added to a Neenah SW card base. I am not totally pleased with this one, but don't hate it enough to bin it...
We are meant to be meeting Sarah and Karina at one of their favourite eating places in Salamanca Square tonight, not for a meal, just birthday catch up, which will be nice if we get there...Tim found out (to his embarrassment) at the chemist checkout that his card was not able to be accessed and on rushing home to check with our branch office he learned that our Credit Union (in which we have all our accounts) has had a major server crash in Sydney and there is no possibility at the moment of accessing any of our funds. That will put rather a damper on the celebration...hopefully it will be fixed sooner rather than later but as it has already been some hours, I am not too optimistic.
"Silky's" was the first factory in Australia to weave coloured sheets, thought you might like to know that little snippet of useless information ;)
When the factory closed, they left behind quite a legacy of fabric stashes in many peoples sewing cupboards, of which I have been given a small share, thanks to Sarah.
The bed linen off-cuts that they sold so cheaply though a factory outlet were very often the long strips removed from the sides of doona cover and sheet printings. They are excellent for making shopping bags or anything that needs a good strong washable fabric. They were also great for making cot sheets and pillow slips, too, as I can attest from the days when the littles were small and I did a lot of sewing.
I have now made as many shopping bags as we are likely to ever need in an effort to remove plastic bags from our life, and was considering placing the remaining fabric bundles into our next Salvo's drop-off, but seeing the video on these rag rugs has made me reconsider, for a time anyway until I get this new enthusiasm out of my system.
The one pictured above is my first attempt and I quite enjoyed learning the process, but after watching a couple of other excellent videos by Whitehouse Whimsies And Rugs, a woman who seems to be filling a gap in the market in this old-fashioned craft, I learned how I could be doing it better and I am now trying to get my skills a bit more honed. I realised I had simply been wrapping, couching, the fabric instead of knotting it and also that I should try to make the rug on a table top, not on my knee while watching an old film...good tips for getting the finished item more even and flat.
I think that these little rugs would be excellent for popping in the car when taking a dog who enjoys the water to the beach, or for catching the worst of muddy paws or smalls' gum boot prints at the back door on wet days, or using beneath hand basins etc.
I really like the smooth and colourful look of these rugs made in interlock cotton, but my purpose is simply to recycle my stash, not to buy new fabric, so I will persevere with the fabric I have on hand and see what evolves...
One of those set aside for trial was not so much a recipe from Gordon Ramsay as an idea as he does not give quantities for ingredients, (not surprisingly I think he would prefer one to purchase his books)...for caramel popcorn...I almost discarded my jotted notes, who on earth needs a recipe for this...they are easy enough to make with a recipe, after all, but I am glad I tried it as this one is a stayer! We all enjoyed the outcome, very crunchy and as the caramel is quite dark before coating the plain popped corn, not overly sweet.
I have made toffee all my life (mum made wonderful toffee apples), and so reproducing this was simple...the only thing different in Gordon' process to other ways I have caramelised popcorn in the past was the addition of a knob of butter and a small amount of bicarbonate of soda to the caramel which had the effect of cooling the dark toffee at the end and preventing it from over darkening and becoming bitter, and foaming up to facilitate an even light coating of the corn. Nice!
I also found a simple fruit energy ball recipe which has been tucked away in the back of my loose recipe folder for ages...it's time had come and this also is a keeper...much fresher and simpler than my usual recipe, which requires cooking.
As normal, I made the batch up strictly according to the recipe for the first time. Only after that do I make any changes that I think might enhance the outcome for my own taste. This recipe called for dried apricots, sunflower kernels, coconut, honey and a little ground ginger.
They were so quick to make I made a second batch using prunes, apricots, sunflower kernels, coconut and honey while I had the processor out and fruity. For this second batch I increased the amount of fruit I added considerably to the original amounts given. No point in making fruit balls that are not overly fruity and I have to say, with all modesty of course, that the extra fruit adds a lot more zing...I made this second batch for Chris as he is not very partial to ginger...it wasn't until after I finished them that I realised he is not mad keen on prunes, either ;) Poor Chris!
I have added crystallised ginger to the shopping list, for added zing. The dried ground ginger I added to the first batch was nice, but the tiny ginger chunks of the crystallised or naked ginger would make these sing...you do definitely need a processor to make these though...
Well, I think I have gone on for long enough,
Catch you soon,