Sunday, 11 November 2012

MADE Cafe, Whitley Bay

Made Cafe, 31 Station Road, Whitley Bay, NE26 2QZ

I booked on 'Embroidery done cool' a half-day class at MADE cafe, Whitley Bay. I wanted to have a go at embroidery, in a safe environment, without having to buy all of the paraphernalia that goes with a new craft/hobby.

The half-day course ran from 10.30-1.30pm in the cafe, led by Jeannie - cafe owner, crafting queen and (after chatting to her) a workaholic too!

The other attendees arrived and we took our seats at the craft-table, towards the back of the cafe and spent the first few minutes taking in the homely craft lovers haven, home made pompoms above the till at the cafe, stencilled walls by the sewing machines, crafted wall-art, upholstered chairs, the cafe furniture was reclaimed and spruced up, an assortment of craft books/magazines gallore, a collection of material scraps. It was my idea of the kind of buisness I'd love to set up and run. I think we all were secretly a little bit jealous of Jeannie's craft-den, we all wanted one in our home.

There were four of us, classes kept small so that Jeannie can devote time to demonstrate and help each attendee.

And then the class began, introducing embroidery as its done today, not twee or old-womanish, this was different - taking templates and inspiration from anywhere and everywhere, made from anything.

Practicing my stitches

The light-bulb moment in the class....

Jeannie encouraged us to believe that there are no rules to embroidery; you can find a template and follow it - but how you follow the template is up to you, you choose the colours, the stitches etc.

It sounded wonderfully liberating, I could see that anything was possible, embroidery on artwork, clothes, cushions, bags. I could do anything, I just needed to let go of the doubt 'what ifs' and my (sometimes) perfectionist-ways...

I was expecting to have special material, special thread, special templates and expensive stuff. But no, it seems that embroidery today can be done on anything, with most things and it really doesn't cost the earth.

The material we used to practice basic stitches was just 'a pillowcase cut into pieces' - oh.

Jeannie talked about finding, creating and using templates - and also that it's fine to freestyle too (if the urge takes you), making it look so easy, and it was.

The perfectionist in me - kicking in

I'm one of those people who likes to make something for a reason, not for the hell of it, if I'm making this a gift then that's why I'm making it. I don't always see the value in creating something as a practice or to experiment because I'll need to find a place for it in my home....and then I'll need to think about 'where' its going to go, and make sure that its the right colour and style and shape....and there goes my OCD.

(I've gone back and re-read Jeannies lightbulb moment to calm myself down)

 Once we'd cracked the basic stitches we then set off on our own projects, a cloth bag and a pillowcase...I took up a piece of patterned fabric and wanted to practice my stitches, so followed some of the shapes and colours on the material to embellish the original image and to practice the stitches I'd learnt during the morning.

Chit chat

I can see why there are groups for crafting, knitting etc, its not just about creating something beautiful by hand, its also about the social side of things. We were five complete strangers when we arrived, but the conversation flowed, chatting about what were were making, asked each other about what colours we'd choose, what stitch to pick and just enjoyed being amongst people who love to create stuff. We talked about other things we'd done, mosaic tiling, candle making, paper-quilling, card-making, brooch making. Between us we were quite a creative bunch. I felt that they had bags more experience than me, and wondered whether my perfectionism and OCD was holding me back?

Coffee (& cake) time

Coffee break

There was mid-class tea/coffee from the cafe delivered to the craft table with home made raspberry and white chocolate
We were all in agreement that we loved what Jeannie and her husband had done with the place.

Home time

The class was due to finish at 1pm, I didn't leave until 1.40pm, neither did the others - we'd just had such a great time we wanted to stay all afternoon, there was no rush for us to leave but we couldn't really stay as Jeannie had another class starting at about 2pm.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Newcastle's FIRST Gingerbread House Competition

It's been 6 months (or more) since Cakebook, and I've decided it's time to do something else food related....I've built The Bridge Hotel (Cakebook 2010), Bamburgh Castle (Cakebook 2011) and St Mary's Axe aka The Gherkin (Cakebook 2012).

Bridgehotel complete2
The Bridge Hotel Bamburgh Castle The Gherkin

And now I want to get everyone building Gingerbread Houses....

Yes - I'm that bloody woman tweeting and retweeting about The Gingerbread House Challenge

Open to EVERYONE, it's a chance to build and decorate a house made of Gingerbread (which could be a castle, a cottage, a tent a bungalow or even a shed!!)

There is an entry fee, and profits from the event will be donated to The Sick Children's Trust

And there is a limited cakeboard size so it won't get as big as cakebook - but it should be good fun to take part in and see...

Gingerbread Houses will be brought together to Newcastle City Library on Sunday 2nd December, 2.30-5pm where they will be judged and prizes awarded to the best looking house on the street!

More information is available on the website
Or follow @GingerbreadHC on twitter or find out more on Gingerbread House Challenge on facebook

I hope my fellow cakebook builders will support the event, I know a few regular cakebookers have already signed up.

To take part - gingerbread house builders need to book their space on Gingerbread Street (in advance of the event) - more information on the website

We still need people to help on the day, donate prizes and book their plots on the street!

Any questions about the event or the competition - please contact Lisa Vincent:
Twitter @GingerbreadHC

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Last night I dreamt I was on flight to Miami

The flight was to Mexico, I was only going to Miami, somewhere I've never been to in real life. And I've never been to Mexico either.

Anyway, I was on this flight and realised that the flight attendant was Lyns, a lass we knew, she was flying with her fiance Phil & her little boy Matthew. They were going for a little bit for a holiday. And out of nowhere, I found a toy for the kid to play with, a telephone on wheels (see pic).

Then it turned out that rock band Muse were also on the same flight, in the same section of the plane as me. At some point in the flight I ended up crimping card  (a crafting technique that I've never done before) with Chris from Muse. I don't know if he was into card crimping, but he seemed to know what he was doing.

Then later in the dream, probably another dream, my friend Lynne was getting an outdoor kitchen installed, I think she was being ripped off, cos it looked just like a shed. And I told her that her shelves would be full of spiders. The other thing I should mention is that Lynne isn't really into her cooking, which made the outdoor kitchen installation all the more silly.

And then I woke up.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Alternate Day Fasting: Falling OFF the bandwagon

I tried it for 3 weeks and decided that it wasn't for me.
That was all I wanted to do 'try it' to see if I could sustain that style of eating.

Why it didn't work for me

  • Week one was 'novelty week' - understanding what 500 calories a day looked like (& tasted like), I was suprised how little there was.
  • Week two felt like a constant search for recipes (using ingredients I would normally buy), sure scallops are low calorie foods, but who can afford to eat scallops twice a week for the rest of your life
  • At the end of week two I was making the most of the normal eating days, and when I mean 'making the most of' I actually mean overeating to compensate
  • I felt like I was constantly thinking about food, I felt down and my morale low
  • Week three I had lost weight, but I wasn't motivated to continue
  •  I decided that porridge for dinner was unacceptable and not sustainable (long term)
I've dieted on and off over the years, and found that when I'm not dieting I'm so much more content because I don't think about food.  When I'm on a diet I'm constantly looking at the list of 'forbidden' foods and that's all I can think of. I become obsessive, depressed and I'm not a happy bunny.

So I've decided, Alternate Day Fasting is not for me.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Last Night I Dreamt I was on the toilet

Last night I dreamt that I was sat on the toilet having a wee that lasted for ages.

My sister was in the bathroom at the same time and we were having a chat.  But then she got impatient, I think she needed to go too.

But it was one of those wees that started, flowed, stopped, but then after another squeeze I got another 30seconds of flow.  I must have started and stopped about 5 times.

Note: when I woke up, I had NOT wet the bed (just in case you were wondering)