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Cupcake Day for the SPCA

This coming Monday is Cupcake Day for the SPCA.  What’s that you ask?  It’s one of their major fundraisers, where home cooks around the country bake cupcakes, and cupcake connoisseurs give a donation to the SPCA in order to get one to eat.

My lovely neighbour is a true animal lover (I’ve lost count of how many gorgeous pets she has, everything from fish to Samoyeds).  She also works for the local Pet Centre, and each year they join in with Cupcake Day – including roping in friends and family to bake!  This year they are holding their Cupcake Day on Saturday 24 August. So can you guess yet what my Friday Night Make was this week?

Yep. Cupcakes!

A batch of cooling cupcakes
Vegan-friendly even

As they’re for the SPCA, I’ve made them free of animal products.  The secret ingredient in these babies is tahini, which makes them wonderfully moist, and they have a hint of nuttiness to them too.  Delish!

I have no idea how much they’ll be asking for them, but these are getting picked up from my kitchen at around 8 tomorrow morning, and will be available from The Pet Centre in Lower Hutt. Why not head on down and buy one.  It’s for the animals, after all!

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You light up my life…

Just a quick post to show you what I’ve been working on over the last few days.

A selection of lampshades
New! Lampshades!

 

When my mother was visiting in May we took a class in Lampshade making together at Made Marion. Since then I’ve been perfecting my technique, and I am now offering lampshade for sale.  The selection above will be heading in to my shop, Made It later this week (but if you want one of them, get in contact with me soon – the pink foxes is definitely a one off, and I have limited qualities of the other fabrics).

The great news with these is that I’ve confirmed the lampshade making supplies I’m using are NZ made too – and yes, I am building them from scratch, so I can also offer a custom-made service to your dimensions.

I’ve set up a gallery with more detailed shots of each of the lampshades, in case you want a closer look.

 

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Cheesecake for the win!

So I promised you pictures of the cheesecake, and here it is in all its, um, glory?

My inspired cheesecake, looking rather like a giant meat pie
My inspired cheesecake, looking rather like a giant meat pie

I did have wonderful things planned for the presentation of the cake, but due to a miscommunication about the cream that I’d reserved for it, a frantic search for my piping set, with thoughts that I could buy cream on the way, and eventually getting to the dinner party just as everyone else finished their mains… well, my cheesecake remained undecorated.  However, somehow that didn’t seem to lessen its appeal.  Even as I was walking through to the kitchen with it covered in the enormous cake carrier, a call went around the party “is that cheesecake?”, “Did someone say cheesecake?”, “I heard there was cheesecake!”. Continue reading Cheesecake for the win!

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There’s no gingernut tastes quite the same…

When my lovely friend Sadie from Ever So Scrumptious invited me to be part of her unofficial Wellington on a Plate event, Cheapskate on a Plate, I knew immediately what I was going to make, and that I wanted to make it from as locally-sourced ingredients as possible.

Gingernuts, eggs (white, brown, and blue), 3 pottles of cream cheese, sour cream and cream.
Ingredients for my dish – yes, that egg is blue.

Part of the deal, is of course, coming up with the best name and description, so I give you:

 

There’s no Gingernut tastes quite the same baked cheesecake

For generations, Griffins Gingernuts were baked in the factory at the foot at the Wainuiomata Hill. Sadly, that factory is no longer baking, but the Gingernuts packed into the base of this cheesecake made the pilgrimage back to the closest dairy to the former site.  Topped with creamy organic delights from Zany Zeus in Morea, blended with Alicetown backyard free range eggs from a frizzle (brown eggs), a blue leghorn (white egg), and an araucana* (blue egg), and for a touch of the exotic, ginger from Thailand.

*Yes, you can see the actual chicken that laid the blue egg if you click the link.  Her name is Quasimodo.

 

Pictures of the finished cake to come…

 

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Quick advice needed – Friday night make!

So tomorrow night I’m going on an outing with the Wellington Sewing Bloggers’ Network to the opening of the Dowse’s Home Sewn Exhibition.  I’m pretty excited about this, because I love sewing, and I love celebrating the things that people make for themselves and their loved ones.

However, I’ve had a rather jammed packed life lately.  Dinner and/or movie dates on Friday nights have put paid to my selfish sewing time (in a most enjoyable manner), and I’ve also just spent a week down south visiting family.  Which means that tonight is the night to get my dress started… and finished!

I made the toile last night, and it fits pretty well, so I’ll be go go go tonight – as soon as I can decide which fabric to make up!

Which of these two fabrics should I choose?
Which of these two fabrics should I choose?

There are two choices:

a) Teal/blue diagonal striped wool/silk blend.

b) Hot pink and black tiny houndstooth – I have no idea what it is off the top of my head, but it didn’t burn, and it didn’t melt…

Both fabrics are a little brighter than the image suggests. I’m working on my hubby’s laptop tonight, so I don’t have my normal correction software – nor a lot of time to figure out his.

Which should I make up? You have until I finish my dinner to help me make up my mind!

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Friday Night Makes

I’ve been working on building my business for a few years now. I’m pretty good at getting on bursts of sewing when there is a deadline – especially if there’s a market looming, but I was starting to get to the point where I was feeling overwhelmed with making things for others, and never making anything for myself. This was enhanced by the fact that I was working in the shop every Saturday, and so never really felt like I’d had a proper weekend.

Tamarillo Daquiri
Tamarillo Daiquiri – Lampshade from Zamm Lights

So for the last 6 weeks or so, I’ve been dedicating my Friday nights to making something for myself.  Continue reading Friday Night Makes

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Blogistics

It’s that time of year when I suddenly realise that another year has whistled past, and I do a mental stocktake of what I’ve been doing, and whether I’m making best use of my years.

Kaka on the Roof
Image used with permission.

One of the things that has been on my mind recently is whether I’m really doing the best I can be with letting my readers know what I do.  In some ways I’m inherently quite a private person, and yet I still manage to feel like I’m rather verbose (I’ve tweeted over 8,000 times.  Have I really had 8,000 interesting things to say in 140 characters or fewer?).  I’m pretty sure I’ve had my blog longer than I’ve been on twitter, and yet there are only 43 posts.  I’ve just counted back, and I did actually manage to blog 10 times in the last year, which is probably some sort of record for me, especially seeing as most of those posts were in the last 6 months…

I’ve been wondering though, is the content that I’m creating actually interesting? Is it engaging? Do people want to see more of it, or should I hang up my blogging hat and concentrate my efforts somewhere else?  If I do continue, should I stay focused on the business side of things (the things I make to sell, and where you can buy them), or should I bring in a more diverse range of content? Prompting this line of thinking is the thought that I’ve tried to keep personal makes and professional ones somewhat separate, and ended up not really blogging very often at all.  A few years ago I tried to found a group wardrobe makeover blog called handmakemeover (I still love the name!). I had 3 other interested writers, but somehow it all just fizzled out.  I’ve made a few posts on it, but I’m wondering if it’s just plain silly to try and maintain 2 separate blogs (3, if you count the one for Made It, which we’ll be relaunching soon).

Seatoun beach
Wearing clothes I’ve made myself makes me happy. Image used with permission.

So tell me, Dear Reader, would you be interested in reading about my personal sewing too? And maybe the odd adventure in cooking (including teaching my 22-year-old neice who lives on the other side of the world to cook via the internet)?  I have a slew of personal projects that I’ve stitched up and not gotten around to blogging about on handmakemeover, although I have been live-tweeting my Friday Night Makes recently.

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(It is probably fair to say that my husband takes much better pictures than I do!)

Oh, and one final question. Should I post more pictures of my cat?

My name is Hobbes and I approve this chair.
Hobbes reclaiming his chair after I reupholstered it.
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Winter is for snuggling down

Super quick post tonight – Just to let you know that I’ll be at the knack market at Berhampore this weekend. Well, I’ll at the knack evening market tomorrow, and you’ll be able to find my work there at the winter knack market on Saturday too.  I myself will be at Made It, and Melina will be looking after my stall and hers at the knack.

I’ve been working on a few new things to take with me, including these hottie covers, who are totally snuggle-worthy!

Hot water bottle covers
Snuggle up!

And now I’m off to bed. Night all!

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Happy Dance!

I got the all clear today on my wrist!

Happy little blue penguins!
Happy little blue penguins!

 

While I’ve known for a few weeks that it wasn’t broken (phew!), they were concerned about tendon damage, so I’ve had to be very careful, and using scissors was absolutely out.  But now I’m allowed to start cutting again!  So I made these wee fellows to celebrate.

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New ways of performing existing skills

I thought I would see how I go with making a wallet tonight (let’s not start with the easy stuff…). I only got the interfacing and outer cut, and that took longer than it would normally take me to totally finish one. *sigh* This is going to be slow.  No pics tonight because I haven’t done enough to be interesting yet, and it’s also not really that easy to take photos at the moment.

 
On the upside, I get my follow-up x-ray tomorrow. I’m being treated for a suspected scaphoid fracture, which is a common injury if you’re silly enough to stick your hand out to break your fall.  The scaphoid is a very small bone, apparently so fine that fractures don’t necessarily show up on x-ray straight away, but can be seen after 10-14 days once it starts to heal. Tomorrow is almost 3 weeks, but it was the first free appointment with the wrist specialist at the fracture clinic. So there is a chance that it’s not actually broken (and I’m praying that is the case).  At the very least I’m hoping I will get this cast off and a new, lighter one instead, and that will allow me to manoeuvre my right arm more freely.

X-ray Image from Wikipedia
Image from Wikipedia, not my wrist

To start with, doing anything required a huge mental effort.  I found that working out how to do everything left-handed was about on par with going and living in France. For the first couple of weeks it was a case of knowing what was going on, knowing what I wanted to do, but having to go through a mental process of how to achieve that which would normally come easily – whether that be ensuring I spoke in French that was correct enough to be understood, or making myself a snack with one hand.  I needed so many naps in the last few weeks! Continue reading New ways of performing existing skills