Is this a sign of crafting to come

Oh, the detritus of former craft projects… I have a whole load of fabric ‘scraps’ from a play mat I’d intended to make for Anne when she was a baby. She is now almost two and would probably rather eat vegetables than use a play mat (one, too much havoc to wreak in too little time; two, she generally doesn’t like vegetables). I had already cut them into strips beforehand, so all I needed to do to turn them into fabric yarn was to do a wee bit more cutting.

Et voilà! Um, here is the start of a crocheted rag rug:

the beginning of a rag rug

I’ve missed crocheting in the round, although using fabric strips and a huge hook is a slightly different undertaking to an amigurumi duck. The inspiration for the rug comes from King Soleil, and if this ‘prototype’ goes well, I might raid a local charity shop or Freegle to get some shirts / sheets to cut up.

Thermal pot ‘baked’ beans

Based on this veg-heavy Aussie recipe, I’ve adapted it to work in the thermal pot.

baked beans
Ingredients
1 tin beans of your choice, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 thick rashers streaky bacon, cut into 1cm strips
1 red pepper, diced
400g can tomatoes
1 bay leaf
Small pinch dried thyme
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and black pepper
Saute garlic, onion, carrot, and bacon in the thermal pot until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the red peppers, mix well. Pour in the tomatoes and the beans, as well as the herbs and spices. Bring to the boil and simmer for five to ten minutes, then transfer it to the vacuum sleeve. Let it cook for at least two hours.

Put the thermal pot back on medium-high heat and stir in the honey, vinegar, and salt and pepper (to taste). Reduce until the sauce is at your desired consistency.

Light-weighing in

Gary Barlow and a host of other famous / influential folk have invested in schemes that have been designed to avoid tax. Cue outrage. Oh please. If we had the money to pay accountants to find these ‘investments’ that take advantage of tax law loopholes, we’d all be doing it.

Save a buck, save my reputation

I think I need an apron. Probably two, since I can be messy as fuck when I cook, and I cook almost every day now. And on the rare occasion that I bake, the kitchen’s a fucking bomb site, man. But if I get an apron I’ll have to admit this domesticated side of me has become more or less a permanent resident.

What to do? Go all Martha Stewart before the jail sentence? Maybe I should just re-fashion one of Neil’s old t-shirts into a sort of apron-type deal. It appears to be a thing. Not only does it cost nothing, I won’t be seen buying an apron. Bonus.

A few adjustments

doll flat
The doll’s house is currently a studio with loft

The downstairs open-plan lounge and kitchen isn’t really working out too well (too tall, walls of cardboard box too thin — it needs strengthening or a re-think), but I want to keep the modular idea. The bedroom can be a studio loft flat on its own, or a bedroom with loft area if part of a larger house.

The back walls are papered (i.e. glued on) with sheets from Vulpine marketing material. I also made a new sofa. This Easter weekend has been productive, if you call messing about with cardboard boxes and box cutters productive.

This is the basic idea behind the sofa, if anyone is also making some cardboard doll’s house furniture:

sofa plan
Not to any known scale or proportion

I have no measurements, it was done purely by eye and extremely lucky guesswork (it’s just to show how many slots and tabs you need). Cut along the solid black lines, cut the solid black bits out (these are the slots). Fold along the dotted lines. Fit all together. If you’re happy with it, it may be worth gluing it together with craft glue (PVA).

Standards

We’ve been viewing houses with the idea of moving to the catchment area of the school we would like Anne to attend. I am absolutely horrified at what is now considered an acceptable size for a three-bedroom house. I shudder to think that what I think are cool space-saving and use-of-the-vertical ideas will have to become a real necessity. Not that we live in a big place now; but when a three-bed house is smaller than a two-bed flat (same developer, ten-year gap), something’s wrong.