Wednesday, April 30, 2008


OK, so it's hard to believe I know, but just look at this will you - five, count them, FIVE finished objects. Never mind that 2 of them are so tiny they only took an hour or so to make, they are finished. Which means that my tally for completed objects has doubled in a few days. Getting worried yet Warren?! (To all you casual callers, my friend Warren has pledged to donate £1 to a charity of my choice for every completed object finished before my trip to Ally Pally in October - providing I don't buy any yarn until then. It's tough!)

The yarn from these very gorgeous items is some fantastic cashmere from this place

In other news, knitting has been very slow of late as I've been doing a couple of quilts for Lucy Lockets mini quilt swap. I haven't done any sewing for ages and have really enjoyed this. The house is an even bigger jumble now though as I have sewing stuff out as well as woolly stuff. I thrive in mess. Pity my husband doesn't though!

More cakes are in the oven as I speak so there will be more cakey news later this week and next.

A friend and neighbour is wanting to do some charity knitting - anybody have some good causes? I have been very taken with the idea of Rugz 4 Kidz and am giving serious thought to starting one up over here. Is there already an English version though? And maybe instead of doing this for kids, maybe elderly people? Any ideas would be greatfully received.

And on the subject of blankets (cos that's what these 'rugz' really are) did you see how much the American version of Oliver's Blanket sold for? $960!!!!! The winner from the raffle very kindly donated it back for auction on e-bay. Great news for Oliver.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday pudding

Chocolate Marquise with raspberries and caramelised orange syrup.

All I have to say about this is

YES, YES, YES......
(and sod the diet!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Feeling better - let's party

Thank-you all so much for the very kind thoughts about my birthday, they really helped me feel so much better. I was beginning to think I was being unreasonable. But you made me realise that I was not alone. Perhaps we should start a 'It's my birthday so stop picking on me' club? Anybody else want to join?!

Here's a picture of the necklace that my boys bought for me. I love it so much! I picked it out in a shop in Barmouth and really liked it, but decided it was far too expensive - husband went back the next day in secret and bought it. There are apparently ear-rings to match so guess what I'm asking Father Christmas to bring me! The jewellers where this came from is one of those lovely little ones where you can see the man making everything through a window. I shall definitely be dragging the family there next time we go up that way!

In knitting news, I've started a small project for a friend who's just had a baby - bootees, mittens and a hat. Being so small, they grow so quickly (hey Warren, that's five things in a week!) I'm using Hipknits cashmere - beautiful stuff. Unsure if the new mum will be so pleased when she finds out it's hand-wash only!

The patterns are from this book which I picked up brand new from a church fair - all books were 10p! Bargain!

And thanks for all the help about the pizza toppings. It all got a little crazy trying to work it out, and very hungry work it was too. Strangely none of you mentioned my favourite (Sloppy Guiseppe from Pizza Express) and even more strangely some of you like the most bizarre things on top of your base. Eggs on a pizza? Doesn't do it for me I'm afraid - neither do olives or capers, and spinach? Are you trying to turn into Popeye?

However, the most popular base is thin (many of you preferring the hand tossed variety) with good old pepperoni on top. The meat types were very popular - ham coming in a close second.

All this talk of pizza has made me hungry yet again. How about we have a big pizza party here? I get lots of bases from Sainsburys, lots of dishes with separate toppings in, tonnes of cheese and we all make and bake our own. I've even got some very nice little eggs if anyone's interested...

Say come round in half an hour? Give the wine time to breathe...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

April 20th - nothing special

As you know, today is my birthday. 42. Not a very exciting number, nothing special, but there you go. Twice 21 and half 84. I woke up, expecting (hoping) that at least I'd get a cup of tea in bed today. No such luck. After waiting for ages I decided to go and make one myself.

And you'd think being my birthday someone else would volunteer to empty the dishwasher. No such luck. Did it myself.

And set breakfast up - OK so this didn't take long, but even so...

I had to make a birthday cake to take into school tomorrow (and because it's me, they have also requested scones with jam and cream).

And then there was the washing up to be done.

So having eaten breakfast, my family needed lunch. Was I taken out for lunch? No. Husband is going to work today (not until 4.30) so we can't possibly go out as he wants to clean the car. So I cook lunch.

And then of course there's loads of washing up, which yet again I do on my own. (I'll spare you that photo, it's not pleasant!)

And this afternoon, the ironing basket had miraculously stayed full up, so I had to iron everything in it. And take it all upstairs. And put it away.

And then I had to decorate the aforementioned cake for school.

It is now nearly 7.30 and I'm going to try and enjoy what's left of my birthday. 'Cos I sure as heck haven't enjoyed it so far.

(I must say that amid all this moaning, I did get 5 minutes to open my pressies. But I'll share those with you another day. I'm far too fed up tonight)

Update. Have just remembered that I have to spend the evening writing out invitations to husband's birthday party (printer's bust). It just gets better and better.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday pudding

Tomorrow it's my birthday, so my mum and dad have come over today for a mini party. So here is today's pudding, courtesy of my mum. Like I've said many time before, I like chocolate!!!

Picperfic's Wedding Cake

So as Marianne and Barry are now Mr and Mrs Picperfic I am officially allowed to show you their cake.

I have loved doing this cake - one of my favourites so far. It caused a few problems (especially Barry's beard - no he doesn't have a dirty face!) but on whole I'm very pleased of this one.

The ever marvellous Kerrie and her ever gorgeous husband Wayne collected me last night and we went over to the wedding celebrations. Like a complete idiot I forgot my camera. But I seemed to be the only person there who did forget one! It was a very happy evening - I can't remember laughing so much in a very long time. Many thanks Kerrie and Wayne for not making me feel like a gooseberry!

And of course, many congratulations to Marianne and Barry, may your life together be filled with as much happiness as you had last night.


Friday, April 18, 2008

I'm back!

Hello again - did you miss me? Sorry I've been away for so long, life has been very busy in the Stashbasket Kitchen. But the cakes are now done for this week, so I'm allowed back on the computer. This cake is for Mike and Mandy - that's them on the side - they chose the design before you ask. Strange methinks, but they are very happy with it. (It's a gluten free chocolate almond cake underneath all that icing).

They didn't want a fussy cake - personally I would have like a few more somethings round the sides and on the top. But as I frequently discover, it's each to their own.

The other cake for this week has been Picperfic's wedding cake. She got married today (and my word was she excited!) I'll post some pictures of that one tomorrow. No, I really will.

And I'll probably be a bit more chatty. But for now I need some sleep. Also need to get ready to go out (I'm now beginning to regret not going on a very strict diet as none of my clothes seem to fit any more).

Oh why is chocolate so flipping good?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Please help

My eldest son has some homework to do and he needs your help. He has to do a survey on pizza - I know, great homework eh?! He needs to know your favourite flavour pizza - toppings and base if possible. Please help him (and truth be told me too) and leave a comment telling us your favourite flavour. If you want to be super helpful, you could even ask the rest of your family, we'd like this to be a bigger survey than just our immediate family.

Many thanks from the Pizza Survey HQ


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saturday Pudding.

Chocolate meringues with Strawberry Mousse

There are 3 left - any takers?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Busy in the kitchen...

Just taking a while off to say hello to you all. I'm not allowed to show you any progress pictures, but the cake is coming on fine. Well, one of them is. The problem with decorating sponge cakes is that you have to do it relatively last minute - a couple of days before hand is ok, much more than that and you start to lose freshness. So I'm very happy that The Cake is at least partly fruit.

Not saying any more though. Will post pictures next weekend when it's all been eaten and Mr and Mrs Picperfic are happily ensconced in the Bridal Suite somewhere or other. (Going on honeymoon M?)

The birthday cake however is not even a mere picture in my imagination. Nothing inspiring has come forwards. Just don't know what to do.

Then after those cakes, I have my own birthday cake to make, 2 for my husband (he's going to be 50 and wants 2 parties) a christening cake, an anniversary cake and several birthday cakes.

Perhaps if I turn the computer off now I'll manage a few rows of knitting. Haven't so much as picked up the needles all week. Serious business.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A new friend

A new friend has arrived at the Stash Basket. He's nameless at the moment - I quite like Monkee Maker's way of naming things (007, HP1 etc etc) easy, mindless, no thinking involved.

Of course, not that I'm saying you're any of those things oh incredible Monkee Knitting Goddess, just that you're very clever in thinking up such an easy way to name things! (Have you eaten that bunny yet by the way?)

Anyway, this little chap has come via Sarah at Paper and String - a very talented person - he's hanging above my oven and I love him so much!

Blog posting will be sparse for the next couple of weeks. The cake orders have started coming in, so no more knitting for a while, but plenty of icing. And not much sleep either if previous form is anything to go by!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saturday Pudding.

Creme Caramel with fruit salad.

This pudding is for Lucy Locket Pocket - it's lower in fat than all the others Mrs Pocket. It could have done with a bit longer in the oven to cook it, but hey, what were straws invented for anyway?

Hopefully next week I'll do a pudding that hasn't gone wrong.

Any requests from anyone?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A very unusual day

Today has been a very unusual day. One that needs writing down on the calendar.

Today my 2 children played happily together all day. They can normally go for a couple of hours, but today it really has been ALL day. No tears, whinging, arguments, shouting, swearing, fighting... Just happy boys, playing like 2 happy children.

This is them on the trampoline. No, it's not snow. They emptied a whole watering can full of water and half a bottle of washing-up liquid and slid, bounced, made bubbles and for once in their lives, came in the house clean, rather than caked in mud. Miraculous!

This has given me the chance to get a few things done. I have been feeling very lazy of late and just don't seem to be getting much done, so I got up early and set about some jobs. So today I have:-
  1. Washed, dried and changed all the bedding
  2. Did all of the washing (yippee, empty basket now)
  3. Defrosted the freezer
  4. Scrubbed out the inside of 2 wheelie bins
  5. Scrubbed 1 pair of football boots
  6. Scrubbed 1 pair of trainers
  7. Hoovered upstairs and downstairs (even done the stairs)
  8. Made lunch
  9. Dusted (truly a day of miracles!)
  10. Baked, butter-creamed and froze 2 x 12" chocolate almond cakes
  11. Baked a 12" lemon cake ready for attention tomorrow
  12. Cooked tea
  13. Narrowly missed buying something on e-bay
  14. Sold something on e-bay
So that's been my day so far - still got to do something towards this years most important cake before bed time, so I'll love you and you leave you until tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Blanket mania hits again...

This felted jumper thing has well and truly caught hold. I'm spending many minutes (!) scouring the charity shops looking for pure wool jumpers that I can boil up in the washer. And I'm having such fun. So what if we don't have any clean clothes to wear, my pile of shrunk woolly things is looking great!

Here's the latest creation, inspired yet again by the fabulous Betz White. A blanket. Hmm, now I don't have many blankets anymore since I sent the 4 Oliver's Blankets off to their new homes, so felt (no pun intended) that I needed another one. But I'm going to be very strong willed and send this one away as well - now get this everyone, this is my first Christmas Present made!

I know, I know, I hate the thought of sad people like this myself, but having promised myself never again to have another last minute panic buy in December, I will not get caught out this year. No way. This is the year of Organised Me. All presents will be made. Well, most of them will be. Well, one of them will be. This is it.

I'm really pleased with the way it's worked out - it was so quick and easy. Never mind that the edges are a bit wonky, I've got the bug now. I can see more felted blankets being made in the near future. Just need more jumpers. Off to Oxfam now....