Friday, October 24, 2008

Spring and Fabric

All of a sudden it's spring. The garden is still a weedy mess, but there is plenty happening. Bulbs such as species gladiolus are in full bloom, a few daffodils are still around and lilies are in bud. Roses are going crazy and the iris are doing their thing.

I love my garden. I just don't have alot of time for it right now. And I feel guilty about that. Sometimes so guilty I can't even look. But this afternoon, sitting in the sun watching Mr S play in his sandpit, the garden glowed. And I was in love again.

Earlier today I did a trip down memory lane. Mr S loves trains, so we caught a train to Bentleigh. I walked up and down Centre Road. An old stamping ground for me. First time for Mr S. He may have visited Amitie before (flying visit in the car), but it was his first stroll down Centre Road or visit to Benn's Books, one of the book stores from my childhood.

I really want to make a quilt for Mr S. I have bought some bits and pieces for a couple of different quilts, but not enough to finish anything, and no plan. Today I saw a quilt that I loved. Of course they didn't have the fabric anymore, but I bought something similar. It's easy, you just cut up 20cm strips and sew them together, edge them and hand quilt. It's the hand quilting that is really special. Waves, elephants, houses... you use the motifs from the fabrics. I think I can do this quite quickly. Tonight I washed the fabrics.

And I bought fabric for a pajama bag. Mr S saw the fabric. He let out a scream... "PANDA". The blue spotty fabric will be the lining.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Cake

Well together Mr S and I chose a cake.
It was the three layer chocolate cake that is on the cover of Kathryn Kleinman's 'Birthday Cakes' (see post below).
Wow, it's a rich cake. 10oz /375g of butter, 23/4 cups of brown sugar, 11/2 cups of cocoa, 3 eggs... and it tastes wonderful. It's the darkest chocolate cake I have ever made. Almost a devil chocolate cake. The frosting wasn't quite as successful. I don't know what went wrong but I was way too sloppy. And as you might see from the picture, the assembly didn't quite happen as I had imagined. Partly because I was rushing and had to put it together while the cake was still warm, partly because of the frosting and partly because in the rush I broke the middle layer in half when I picked it up - oops!
Still, despite the visual challenge, it was pretty good to eat! I just looked at it and laughed at the slightly askew presentation!
Anyway, birthday cake is about taste and love. Right? There was lots and lots of love that was mixed in to it - so it must have been good.
Oh, and the candles were a hit! The first time Mr S has tried to blow out candles. He was mesmerized.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Party Party Party

I haven't been blogging recently, partly because I'm not in a finishing phase at the moment (I have eight projects going at the moment! Yikes! How did that happen?), and partly 'cause I've just been so amazingly busy.

Work Work Work Toddler Toddler Toddler... doesn't leave much time for me.

I'm not complaining. I enjoy work, and I love my little one dearly. I wouldn't make different choices. But without stretching myself to breaking point, I cannot do everything. So logging on and blogging is just a bridge too far sometimes.

This post isn't about my knitting, it's about my party planning.

Mr S turns two very shortly. Wow! Unbelievable.

I have a party menu... but the big dilemma is the cake! Do I do a novelty cake - maybe a truck or a train, perhaps a panda - or do I just do a really good (read yummy) cake with really good candles??

I'm leaning towards the yummy, rather than the fancy at the moment.

I own a fantastic book "Birthday Cakes - Recipes and Memories from Celebrated Bakers" by Kathryn Kleinman.

It's an absolute pip! So many beautiful pictures, so many yummy recipes.

I'm very tempted to make the chocolate cake on the cover.

But I remembered a really good chocolate cake that I made some time ago - I went back into the archive on this blog and found the post - the cake picture is half way down. It's from Bill Granger's "Simply Bill". The icing was chocolate and sour cream. I put smarties on top. It was delicious.

I also came across another chocolate cake recipe in Tessa Kiros' "Apples for Jam".

It looks pretty good too. The cake uses both chocolate and cocoa. I recently made the cup cake recipe in this book. I can recommend it. I grew up using a Margaret Fulton recipe from the 1968 classic "Margaret Fulton's Cookbook". It's a good recipe, but it requires triple flour sifting! At the moment it falls into the bridge too far category.

I need to make a decision this week. Oh the dilemma! I'll get back to you on what I did...

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