Tuesday, 30 October 2012

UFO #7 - the next big fish

I've been busy hunting down mice in my house - silly things that thought that a cat free house would make a good winter home but are finding out that I don't like furry animals in the house at all and I had forgotten to update with my progress made on the embroidery. As you can see a goodly amount of the fish is now visible. You can see about 2/3 of the length of the fish and most of the height. I've still got a fair amount of yellow to do before I can do the misc blues that go between the yellow but first I'm doing the blue lower edge to help have enough framework to the fish.

I have not been working on UFO #8 so have no update for that.

Friday, 26 October 2012

UFO #7: Big fish.. Little fish

The big fish that I hadn't completed due to the lack of the yellow is finally finished now. I thought it was the biggest one but apparently there are two this size with a similar colouring.
The little happy fish is all done - it doesn't look as orangey as it did in the photo in the magazine but it does look bright and cheerful. I finished this last night and am very happy with the result.
The whole embroidery is starting to look really nice - just 3 fish left now - a blue/yellow one, a rainbow one and a pinky/red one. I'm going to do the other large blue/yellow fish now.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

UFO #7 - yellow fish update.

So far it looks anything but yellow but that will change soon. All I need to do now is a little white in the tail and along the back and then I can settle down and do the yellow. I had expected this to not take so long but I hadn't bargained on how much time the student gardener I have here today and yesterday needs from me to get stuff done. He's a good lad and works really hard but he also needs almost constant supervision, however I have discovered how to keep him going for longer: send the kids out with him. *huge evil grin* He just doesn't like working alone.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Macaroni cheese with a difference

I always remember this as the family "Macaroni cheese" though I may have misremembered what we used to call it when I was growing up - either way it's perfect for using up leftover pasta and those bits of veg lurking in the fridge that are not enough for cooking with. Of course you don't have to use leftover pasta - you can also cook it specially for the dish, just make it while you chop the veg and use it while hot.

For 4 people (or 2-3 people with a larger appetites) this is what I used but just adjust to your taste/what you have lurking:
  •  About 400 grams pasta (that's about 250 grams "raw" pasta)
  • 125 grams diced ham or cooked bacon
  • About 250 grams grated Cheese - this can be cheddar or something else that melts nicely. I used mature Gouda as that's what I had in the house
  • 2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
  • 2 medium carrots - diced, 0.75 - 1 cm/1/8 - 1/4 inch
  • 2 tomatoes - diced, about 1 - 2 cm/1/2 - 3/4 inch
  • 1/3 cucumber - diced, about 1 - 2 cm/1/2 - 3/4 inch (I do this by leaving the cucumber I need on the whole cucumber and cutting down the length in a cross hatch and then "slicing" the bits off)
  • 2 spring onions sliced thinly
  • You can also use mushrooms cut into small bits, onions, courgette aubergine, etc. just don't use tinned tomatoes.
You will need a deep oven proof dish for this - I always use the dish for cheese fondue as it's oven proof, deep and large.

 How to make it:

1.  Mentally divide the pasta into 5 use 1/5 to make a layer of pasta in the oven dish.
2.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the ham over the pasta followed by the 1/3 of each of the different kinds of veg you are using.
 3.  Sprinkle 1/5 of the cheese over the top.
4.  Make another 2 layers like this till you have run out of ham/veg.
5.  Spread the last 2/5 of the pasta over the top of the dish.
6.  Cover with the last of the cheese.
7.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top.
 8.  Bake in the oven at 200 C / 390 F for about 35 - 45 minutes.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

UFO #7 - The next fish...

This little fish is the next one I'm doing - he's bright, cheerful and has a nice smiley face - you can see the full length of his body here (well excluding fins) and is right now only a little bigger than the tail of the last fish.

This one only uses 10 colours - I know I said 9 before but I forgot to count the colour I ran out of lol.

For the curious (and especially Kate *wink* ) Here is what the whole embroidery looks like as seen in the magazine I found the pattern in:

The magazine is the Burda special with maritime patterns, E 317 printed in 1995. I'm doing the central area within the green border without the shell border as I really can't cope with all that pink. I'm going to be embroidering the fish that's looking the "wrong" way (middle top row) in mirror image as my inner OCD person doesn't like that one fish is looking the "wrong" way and I do like keeping my inner OCD person happy when it comes to crafts.

Monday, 22 October 2012

UFO #7 extra update

I finished all I can do on the biggest fish of the project - just need to wait for tomorrow when I can go get the yellow I need so I can finish the empty spaces and finish the black back stitching that I can't do till the yellow is completed.

On to the next fish which is tiny compared to this one and "only" has 9 colours, one of which is ironically enough the yellow I need for this fish as well.

UFO #7 Update

This weekend I got a lot of embroidery done in between everything else I did - it seemed like when I was embroidering time did a wobbly and I suddenly got more time because the needle was flying! Everything you see done below that wasn't in the last blog update was done this weekend. I did as much of the body of the fish as I could but I ran out of the pale yellow (3078) 5 minutes before the shop closed for the weekend on Saturday and since I live 15 minutes away there was no chance of getting more till tomorrow as the nearest shop doesn't open on Monday either.

I did as much of the backstitching as I could till the thread ran out near the bit with the missing yellow so that when I have bought the yellow I don't have much left to do of the hated backstitch. Now that this photo is made I'm going to move the hoop to a more useful place so I can go and do the tail, then this fish will go on hold till I've got more of the yellow.

The next fish in this project is a bright happy smiley yellow fish :)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

UFO updates, TUSAL and IHSW October.

UFO #7 is coming along slowly mostly because I haven't been stitching at my computer the past week. That isn't to say that I'm not stitching but I've not been well and have had to rest a lot which means spending time in bed to avoid me wandering off and doing other stuff instead of resting. Since the pattern for this UFO is scanned and in use on my computer as it's too small to read easily and I'm out of printer ink I couldn't take this upstairs with me to stitch on. Enter UFO #8 the Sagittarius star sign by Lanarte which has a nice easy to read pattern. (I'd link to it but it's not possible to link directly to their page for it)

When I started UFO #8 on Thursday it looked like this ^  and now it looked like this before my last session of embroidery:

The Centaur is completely finished now except for the backstitching on the head and bow/arrow and I've started the single thread (the rest is done with 2 threads) background in a slightly darker shade of blue. What bothers me about this pattern is the gold splodge on both places where technically genitals *could* be.. what were they trying to do with these badly placed gold patches?

TUSAL: my jar is almost completely full this month it was started with the shells snippets and the leftovers from it, my First biscornu, then the 8 colour challenge, the fish UFO and last of all the star sign I mentioned above. If you look carefully you may spot the gold thread at the top and the silver and glow in the dark just under the greens.

IHSW October is this coming weekend - don't miss out and make time to stitch! If all goes I'll be able to find a bit of time to stitch during the weekend.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

UFO #6 and #7 update

UFO #6: I wanted to test how to do a single piece frame around an embroidery as I'd never done it before so I grabbed the shells embroidery and used that - things didn't go exactly to plan so I had to get creative however I'm glad it happened with this instead of the 8 Colour Challenge piece I want to make the frame on as I would have had a panic "attack" (a mental one without the nasty physical side effects) if things had gone wrong on that instead so it was a good idea I tested first.

I hand sewed it all - not really a strength of mine but it's a skill I want to improve so I'm doing it more often.

UFO #7: I've been quietly working away at this in between everything else - it's not been going super fast but speed has picked up since I scanned the pattern and enlarged it on my computer - it was just too small for me to easily read the many symbols on it. I've done about 1/3 of the pattern for this fish so far. I decided that in order to avoid too many miscounted stitches due to not using Aida I'd do one thread of each colour at a time unless there is a larger area I can safely do with more before doing the next colour.

Right now my priorities are:
  1. Finish the 8 colour challenge embroidery so it's a completed item.
  2. Finish the awning I'm supposed to make for the neighbours (but got side tracked from due to ill health)
  3. Make a wall hanging out of the shells embroidery
  4. Finish UFO #7

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Tortilla cake

The other day I made a tortilla "cake" I called this a tortilla cake because I baked it in a cake tin and I did it like that because I wasn't up to making a bunch of burrito's to put in the oven so decided to make my life easy. It's a bit like making lasagne.

  • 1 pack of  tortilla's - I used small tomato flavoured ones because that's what I had in the house.
  • A pound of minced (ground) meat - I used half pork and half beef but you can use what ever you prefer.
  • 1/2 - 1 sachet  of taco spices - or use your own mix of herbs  if you prefer.
  • Chillies (optional)
  • Half a pound of grated cheese
  • Tinned or fresh tomatoes diced (1 tin or about a pound of tomatoes).
  • Tin of tomato purée (optional - Best used if you only add half a pack of taco herbs)
  • 2 finely chopped onions.
First make the sauce - this can be done in advance and left over night (makes for a better taste) if you are short of time on the day.

  1. In a large pan fry the onions in a bit of oil, margarine or butter.
  2. Once softened add the meat and fry till brown using a spatula or wooden spoon to break the mince up into little bits.
  3. If using fresh tomatoes: Once brown add the tomatoes and fry for a bit and a pint of water (about 500 ml )
  4. If using tinned tomatoes then add the tomatoes and about 2 tins of water.
  5. If using the tomato purée add it now.
  6. Add the taco herbs at this stage and mix well.
  7. Bring to the boil and allow to gently simmer for a good 30 minutes this will allow the tomatoes to get nice and soft.
To make the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C / 340 F.
  2. Find a round cake tin (a spring form is easiest) that is about the same size as the tortilla's.
  3. Butter the cake tin.
  4. Set aside half the cheese
  5. Place a tortilla at the bottom - don't worry if some edges stick up a little, tortilla's are not perfectly round - just press against the sides and make sure that every time you add a layer that sticky up bit ends up in another place.
  6. Spread some sauce over it, about 3 - 4 tablespoons
  7. Sprinkle a little cheese over the top of the sauce. 
  8. Place another tortilla on top.
  9. Repeat till you place the last tortilla in the tin.
  10. Put another layer of cause on and use a liberal amount of cheese you set aside earlier on the top.
  11. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes (if you used warm sauce) / 35 minutes if you used fridge cold sauce.
  12. Leave to stand for a few minutes then remove from the cake tin .

I know we did!

Monday, 1 October 2012

8 Colour challenge - Part 9: Completed embroidery

The embroidery is complete now! All it now needs is a border of some sort - I tried several embroidered ones, a heavy chain stitch, cross stitch and something else I can't remember the name of and ended up ripping them all out because it looked "wrong". Another thing I tried and ripped out was mist going behind the ghost and in front of the tree - the idea was good but I couldn't work out how to stitch it and the feather stitch using white pearescant thread I thought might work looked awful. In the end I decided that I'd let the dyed embroidery fabric speak for itself and left it as it was.

I'm a bit undecided on the colour of fabric to use - I have several Halloween type fabrics and some autumn ones as well or I may even use a solid colour - it depends what "speaks" to me when I go rootle in my fabric stash.

Colours finished since the last update:
445 - Light lemon
472 - Ultra light avocado green
727 - Very light topaz
734 - Light olive green
745 - Light pale yellow
E168 - Silver