Misericordia

Category: Around the House (page 2 of 7)

I Don’t Even Like Swans

I’ve always tried to be the sort of person who allows herself to be moved by the winds of Fate, but even this gust took me rather by surprise.

Swan Embroidery Charity Shop Find - Misericordia

This crewel embroidery caught my eye a couple of weeks ago in the charity shop closest to our house. At first, I must admit, it made me laugh. The pomposity of the swans, the unapologetic shade of goldenrod, the frankly sinister gazes, it was certainly memorable.

Unpicking a Frame - Misericordia

But it started to intrude upon my walks to and from school and work. I started to wonder if anyone had bought it, or if it might go somewhere in the flat. The swans started to seem dignified rather than ridiculous.

Faded Characters - Misericordia

Eventually, I realised that it was useless to resist any longer. Last Friday, I went in and had a good look at it. I took a photo and showed it to a few friends (shamelessly encouraging) and the Lovely Young Man (non-committal and a touch resigned). I was working on the Saturday, so I left money for Dragon to oversee the purchase and went to work with a slight feeling of trepidation.

Repainting a Frame - Misericordia

All was well, however and they were waiting for me when I got home. It seems that the man at the charity shop had been hoping I would come back for it and had questioned my emissaries closely before concluding the sale.

How to Clean an Embroidery - Misericordia

Cleaning Embroidery with a Vacuum - Misericordia

It took a little sandpaper, paint and a chance to use the conservation technique of hoovering through a fine cloth (I’ve always wanted to do that) but it’s just about ready to take pride of place, as soon as I finally decide where to put it!

Cleaning Vintage Embroidery - Misericordia

And Everything In Its Place

Cookbook shelf - Misericordia

One of the best bits about this making and selling thing is becoming confident in buying from other makers in a small measure of solidarity.

Bookshelf - Misericordia

This gigantic statement of support was the result of a serendipitous craft fair table placement near the lovely guys of Sorell (who also made the ark).

Bookcase - Misericordia

Not only did they put up with our rather haphazard requests (make it pretty! fit the sewing machine in! all the power points ever! irregular shelving!) but they even managed to use up the very last of the bamboo countertops from the kitchen which had been languishing behind the ramshackle bookcase village which had sprung up in the front room.

Bookcase - Misericordia

Bookcase - Misericordia

Now my challenge is to fill it in an attractive and organised manner. I looked on Pinterest for bookcase styling (horrible word) tips, but most of the ideas started with getting rid of all of your books or turning them with their spines to the back of the shelves or similar nonsense, so I’m working out my own system.

Gorey shelf - Misericordia

Apart from finally having shelves deep enough for art books and Very Large Sketchbooks, it’s nice to have a home for all the tchotchkes and ornaments that have been frustrating me elsewhere. (Especially that blue bowl. It was a wedding present from my godmother and we love it, but I almost gave it away because I couldn’t find a home for it.)

Mysterious - Misericordia

Any suggestions, styling tips or cataloguing ideas are most welcome! I’ve been dreaming of a pair of library steps, but what else is new…

 

Bunting Frenzy

I can’t get over how miserable I was this time last year…

Bunting Layout - Misericordia

But here we are, and I’m up to my elbows in a very pleasant project: Little Lion’s Birthday Bunting.

Bunting Layout - Misericordia

It started when The Flat Buddy offered to organise an interactive baby shower for Dragon and we came up with the idea of people making and sending in bunting flags. It was a huge success, and hanging out of the Birthday Bunting marks the beginning of birthday festivities.

Blue and purple bunting - Misericordia

Now that The Flat Buddy is several hundred miles away, I organised Little Lion’s Bunting Appeal (discovering in the process just how much work went into the whole thing) and again was properly overwhelmed at how lovely people are.

Taggy Lion Bunting - Misericordia

Even Dragon got into the act, designing two flags and doing some of the stitching himself.

Dragon's First Embroidery - Misericordia

I’m looking forward to getting it all stitched together in time (I hope) for birthday festivities on the weekend (and more cake, which we missed doing this week).

Shirt Label Bunting - Misericordia

Deeds not Words Bunting - Misericordia

In lieu of cake, here is a photo of the Lovely Young Man posing expertly in his Gentleman’s Relish. Because he is as wise as he is tall, he’s already worn it enough to avoid the Boyfriend Jumper Curse, which we’re all very pleased about.

Gentleman's Relish - Misericordia

Disembarking from the Mary Celeste

March has come in with Little Lion’s first Nursery Plague which rapidly swept through the family.

Hovel in chaos - Misericordia

There is nothing like the zombie-film aura which surrounds you as poorly parents of poorly children. Even the cat joined in after indulging in a sumptuous floor-feast because we couldn’t face tidying up around the high chair.

Bunting ingredients - Misericordia

Eclipse Bunting - Misericordia

When we emerged, I discovered that I had 10 days to make Little Lion’s birthday bunting, a jumper which has been haunting me for two years was complete and I’d read War and Peace.

Gentleman's Relish - Misericordia

Readjusting to life on land has been unexpectedly tricky. I’m still looking for my concentration, I’ve lost the ability to tell time and if anyone wants to do my invoices for February, I’d pay you in plum tart!

Plum Tart - Misericordia

(Not shown – Welsh cakes and brownies.)

“Whatever you do, it’s never enough”

I was sitting on the (very crumb-covered) kitchen floor (because it’s better than sitting in a chair), trying to document the 25 minutes (using my new productivity app*) I’ve spent this week on the Ark Project, when the radio intruded on my internal monologue and presented me with the title of the post.

Sketchbooks and ginger cat - Misericordia

I have a few sketchbook pages of notes and a little swatch of stiffened silk which really represents me coming to realise that I’m going to be cutting hundreds of leaves out of silk very shortly, and I don’t really want to hem them. I also have to get a handle on properly 3D rouleaux which use the minimum of silk, more on that when I get it to work.

Fabric glue test - Misericordia

*I’m using the Pomodoro Technique which times you working for 25 minute blocks. It’s been quite helpful for taming my distractible nature, even though the free app I have keeps demoting me to Unrepentant Slacker!

And now it’s time for …Cake of the Week, iced buns!

Iced Bun - Misericordia

I’m very pleased with these, they’re hitting the not-too-sweet spot nicely. (I didn’t fill them because the first iced bun I ever ate didn’t have filling so I have grown to love them as oddly sweet bread rolls.) I can only show you the elegant pale yellow icing. After the first four were iced the colour scheme descended rapidly into the lurid and sludgy spectrum. I’m thinking about making half-sized ones for Little Lion’s upcoming first birthday celebrations (which is a bewildered post for another day).

Seeping Through the Cracks

It’s half term, and we’ve reached maximum entropy.

Loom Band Entropy - Misericordia

I have very little to show for myself since last week apart from a small but significant gusset for LYM’s jumper, some rather decadent cake and a half-written blog post about flapjacks.

Knitted underarm gusset - Misericordia

We are a broad-shouldered family, so I suspect that the adding of gussets will become a useful skill for me. I have a small pile of bought clothes which could do with the addition of a little more room in the oxter department, so this will be the first of many. I used this TECHknitting tutorial, which was quite helpful and also provided a chance to learn a few more decreasing and i cord-making skills.

Knitted underarm gusset - Misericordia

Have you noticed that all of my cake photography is half-eaten?

Chocolate and salted caramel tart - Misericordia

This was one of those dinner party desserts that look desperately complicated but really aren’t. Blind bake a shortcrust case (I added a little sugar to Delia’s recipe), when cool pour over some salted caramel sauce. (I had a jar of caramel sauce left over from Shrove Tuesday, but it had the same ingredients as most of the recipes I’ve seen online). Allow to cool and make ganache. Allow to cool and pour over while still just runny. I had some leakage where my pastry case wasn’t quite chocolate-tight, but no one seemed to mind!

Sprinkle with a little more sea salt if desired and serve in very small slivers with blood oranges.

If you’re crawling to the end of half-term, I wish you the best of luck.

 

 

Broken Is Beautiful

Ah progress, could we not agree to a more linear approach to our adventures?

Jumping in with both feet - Misericordia

Having decided to jump in with both feet and aggressively line the bimah cloth, I’m now picking out the lining and starting again. I haven’t exactly decided how, which is a touch awkward, but at the speed I’m going with it, there’s plenty of time to work things out.

Wrinkled linen - Misericordia

The cake of the week (quite apt, really) is Broken Biscuit Cake (or Tiffin, or Fudge Cake). It’s a rather glorious cupboard-cleaning exercise, and this particular one isn’t quite as lavish in terms of chocolate as many recipes (but still tastes like it).

Broken Biscuit cake with recipe - Misericordia

Marie’s Grandma’s Tiffen (or Ailene’s Fudge Cake)

4 oz butter

4 oz sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons drinking chocolate

1 1/2 tablespoons milk

1 cup fruit and nuts (or other lumpy things you’d fancy)

1/2 pound digestive biscuits, crushed in varying sizes

Grease and line a 9 inch square tin or traybake pan.

Melt butter and sugar in a pan, add drinking chocolate and milk (and fruit if using). Simmer for three minutes. Gradually add remaining ingredients and mix well. Press into the pan and cover with melted chocolate (add a half slice of toast’s worth of butter to the chocolate before you start to melt it so the chocolate doesn’t crack). Cool.

I used pretzels because LYM can’t eat nuts and I’m still undecided about putting fruit in chocolate. This one turned out a little crumbly because I didn’t measure any of the crispy bits, but if I’d stirred in a little of the melted chocolate I think it would have been perfect.

Certainly, it’s soothing my picking-out angst!

Holding Up A Mirror

If anyone out there is undecided about having children, allow me to recommend it wholeheartedly (but not necessarily for the reasons you might expect).

Little Hand - Misericordia

Children are absolutely the quickest path to self-knowledge. Why waste time on introspection and self-help books when you could learn just as much by watching the flesh of your flesh stand for 10 minutes naked and wailing about how cold he is rather than getting some sodding clothes on? The latter will neatly demonstrate to you your own proclivity towards speaking about, rather than doing, the things that trouble you.

Bimah cloth process - Misericordia

As a result of my newly-found understanding of my faults, here’s the start of the Ark Project’s bimah cover. I’ve been pondering various methods of edge finishing for far too long, but I’ve decided to bag line it (with large gaps at both sides so I can applique and embroider on the wrong side of the top only) and move on with my life.

Chocolate Chip Muffin - Misericordia

In cake news, it’s chocolate chip muffins this week. The funny thing is that with all of this cake about, I’m finding a lot of recipes too sweet. Any favourite not-too-sweet cake recipes (maybe vintage recipes aren’t as sweet?) would be much appreciated!

Stitch by Crumb

What a week!

Kipling - Misericordia

We’ve all been struggling with various forms of P1 and Nursery Plague since before Christmas, and it’s all come to a head with various children home in various stages of pathetically poorly or irritatingly not quite well enough to return to school but full of energy.

Despite these challenges, I’ve been steaming ahead with various projects. It turns out that concentrating on finishing just one thing makes it much easier to finish a lot of other things (or at least start to finish them).

Children's Badge Banner - Misericordia

First, there was the badge banner, which was the simplest possible project that took us about three months from purchase of the felt to application to the wall. It looks a little bare at the moment, but I have high hopes for the pair of them, and there’s a whole second knitting needle that can be put to use if they prove particularly keen on badge-based achievements.

Hand embroidered silk banner - Misericordia

I’ve been getting on with the banner for the Ark Project tablecloth, it’s very slow going but it was infinitely eased by a friend’s Profane Embroidery Night (I like to think I provided the sacred counterpoint). Somehow my opportunities to work safely with white silk are a little limited at the moment!

Cast iron bracket - Misericordia

A few house-y things are coming together too, so there’s rather a pleasant sense of momentum going into February.

Cinnamon Cake with Brown Sugar Icing - Misericordia

Oh, and on the cake front we’ve made a cinnamon cake with brown sugar icing and a batch each of brownies and flapjacks.

Flapjacks and Brownies - Misericordia

I’ll write you a post about the flapjacks because I’m a bit proud of an alteration I’ve made to the recipe to assuage a little of my inevitable sugar-guilt.

2016 – A Year of Cake and Completions

Happy New Year!

I don’t know about you, but I’m slowly emerging from under the warm duvet of festivity into the chilly resolve of 2016.

While I wait for my blood double cream levels to reach equilibrium, here’s a quick overview of my (very) vague goals for this year.

Address the phone addiction

I’m suffering through an extended inability to pick up handwork and do it, which (I posit) is due to a rather alarming attachment to my phone. I’m planning on treating it like a desktop and moving towards it rather than keeping it with me around the house. Any hints and tips would be appreciated.

Finishing rather than starting

There are quite a lot of partially finished projects that are making me unhappy in their semi-finished state, so apart from two new things for Little Lion (birthday bunting to be put together before the end of March and her Hebrew name done before she moves out of our bedroom), I’m sticking to things that I’ve already started.

Hand quilted hamsa - Misericordia

Conveniently, this allows me to join Scrapiana in her hexie adventures, so that should jolly me along a little.

Paper pieced hexagons - Misericordia

Sit on the floor

My life as a Pilates teacher and my life as a hand embroiderer frequently come into difficulties. My movement brain knows I shouldn’t be sitting on the sofa hunched over my needle quite so much, so I’m trying to encourage more natural movement in the style of Katy Bowman (go read her, you’ll thank me) by sitting on the floor and wiggling my toes with abandon.

Writing on the floor - Misericordia

Get back to dancing

I need some challenging movement in my life, and if it’s set to music, so much the better.

Bake instead of buy

Extended searches for palm oil-free biscuits have led to the realisation that since we like baking and can control the ingredients we use, we should probably do more of it. Plus, if we do our mixing without mechanical assistance, we’ve practically used up a biscuit’s worth of energy before they’re even out of the oven.

3D gingerbread dinosaurs - Misericordia

So those are my goals for this year, have you got any? If not, can we persuade you to join us in making more cake?

Olderposts Newerposts

Copyright © 2020 Misericordia

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑