Creativity has continued, but slowed since those first weeks. Parenting, exercising and working have taken a front seat more often than not. Still, we’ve been busy, individually and collectively.
Baking has definitely continued to be a major part of life, both pragmatically and for culinary delight. Bread a couple of times a week means some form of cinnamon roll, or pesto roll or pizza alongside the bread. Various cakes for birthdays and just because…
No knitting or crochet, though the yarn keeps peeking at me, especially when we rearranged all the furniture the other day which involved unpacking and reorganising all the fabric and yarn stash…
Lots of ‘art’ with chalks and stamps and paints. We’ve even lured the Tall one into our creativity…sometimes protesting gently that he’ll just sit and watch, but almost always unable to resist the temptation to get involved. Just today we’ve tried out making some white clay to imprint flowers.
Sewing though, little bits here and there and a pair of cobbled together dungarees – no printer = no pattern. They work though, and I know what I’ll change for next time. There’ll be a next time!
All links to any recipes or instructions or patterns at the end of the post.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten something along the way, but if I have the spirit of it is here in this collection. I’m loving that Small one talks about ‘doing craft’ and that she wants to do her own sewing and knitting. Our favoured quiet time activity is watching the Sewing Bee or Bake-Off. She just doesn’t understand why someone always has to go home…
Things are changing up again, within the next two weeks we will, perhaps, know how soon we will both be back to work and pre-Covid life…mixed feelings about this as I for one have finally settled into a happy groove of working, family adventuring and creating. Just being…
These are indeed strange times we are all living through just now. I’m sure there are more eloquent voices than mine chronicling our collective and individual journeys through this, however, it felt like the ideal time to revive my blog, as isolation has brought with it time to create. Creativity as necessity – food and grocery shopping being a challenging experience, but also as stress relief for me and active engagement for an vivacious pre-schooler.
To start this is just a collection point for all the things we’ve done so far, in no particular order. Going forward I have an idea to try to post every few days, we’ll see.
Baking has been our primary occupation I think. Comforting body to comfort mind. Also, Jamie Oliver has put out there so many straight forward and inspirational ideas, it seems rude to ignore him! Around Christmas time I was asked to bake a Camembert Christmas tree (yes, Jamie’s influence on my cheese obsessed husband!) so tried to get to grips with making yeasted bread, something I’ve not baked in over a decade…it did not go well, but laid the foundations of a desire to get it right. Queue plenty of time at home, a pre-schooler to occupy and Jamie on the telly box showing just how easy it could be. Bread abounds in our house – with the new favourite being a cinnamon roll created from my own imagination. Just too yummy. Too yummy when you’re still hitting up the slimming world group via Zoom every Friday 😜 Bread has also been baked in the form of flatbreads to go with soup at lunchtimes and turned into lunchtime pizza.
I’ve made several other new to me recipes in the past four weeks, curry veg fill pie (thanks BBC Good Food for the inspiration), what turned out to be epic quantities of Jamie’s (yes, him again, sorry) baked beans from the Veg book, a deep pan ‘pizza’ from his ‘Keep Cooking and Carry On’ series (soooooo good, especially with added mushrooms) and tonight getting thrown in the oven will be spicy roasted chickpeas as a snack. This new situation having driven me to finally get to grips with how to cook beams successfully from scratch. Note to self – slightly less time than the BBC Good Food site says for chick peas next time.
Then there’s the cake and flapjack baking. To be fair, flapjacks happen whatever the situation but they still deserve a mention. we had to bake a cake in honour of Grandad as we couldn’t see him personally for his birthday, doesn’t stop us having cake for him! Small girl required both strawberry and rhubarb jam to be added to the middle of the Swiss roll. I mean, why not? It certainly tasted good… finally yesterday a rather good all-in-one chocolate beetroot cake recipe. Definitely counts as one of your five-a-day, even in cake, yes? It’s also completely delicious. Thank you once more BBC Good Food.
There’s also been non-food related crafting. The trend for creating rainbows to show our thanks for keyworkers we’ve embraced. Creative coloured paper and sticking, we have no paint at home; followed by a crochet rainbow from me. That one’s just waiting for some wire to help it be a little more rigid for hanging.
The crochet rainbow came about after making a bunch of Easter eggs for our own little garden hunt. A lovely little pattern which was so simple and only involved around 14 rows. I’d also made some small felt ones (not shown here) out of bright green felt and bright blue thread. Some were delivered to neighbours but most were used for the hunt. This year that really came alive for our small peep, she really got into it. She also enjoyed delivering the egg gifts to the neighbours in her ostrich chick suit.
Knitting has had a look in too – I made a pair of mittens late last year to keep little hands warm, one was lost on Christmas Day. It’s taken isolation for me to find the motivation to finally make a replacement.
One morning of inspiration while the small peep ate breakfast – and 20 minutes later a pair of ‘binoculars’, she’s been almost inseparable from them since. They come on every dog walk and most scooting exercise outings. She regularly pauses, lifts them up and takes a look to see what she can see.
An abortive attempt to make egg bunting for Easter – not pictured here but eggs of varying sizes on various patterned paper. They didn’t quite look right in the hanging so will get put away for recreation next year. There’s been gardening too, and doing our faces as Harry Potter for a virtual birthday party and singing and dancing and Cosmic Kids Yoga. Making silly faces on video calling with family and friends. All these things I count as creative. We’re creating the most healthy environment we can, both for us as adults and for our small peep who is missing her friends so much.
On Twitter, Instagram and Facebook I’ve been using #covidbaking #covidcraft #covidcreative by all means jump on in.
A day of baking to celebrate niece no. 4’s birthday … We also made paper chains and honeycomb decorations. A little play at the playground and miniature musical statues, she was happy 🙂 I baked scones for the first time, and if I do say so myself, they were pretty good!
Swirled a little blackberry into the plain sponge middle layer. Then converted the rest to chocolate, adding some blackberry to that too.
Two kinds of buttercream, blackberry then white chocolate and cream cheese, sandwiched and finished off around the sides.
Birthday message biscuits, which look pretty good in the afternoon light, despite me slightly over baking them! Bit of chocolate Philadelphia soon fixed that! There’s the heart shaped scones on the cake stand in the background too!
Sunshine filled the day, I parcelled up the thank you napkins, then wrote a note to my Mum to thank her for organising our holiday. Then I gathered the makings of a buttermilk blackberry sponge from the GBBO book, and oh my gosh it’s tasty! I feel I may need to gather some more brambles, and make another batch 🙂
Card writing to go with the new small bod gift for the other hemisphere…
Then a little baking – final meeting with my SLT link tomorrow – and we’ve been separated for next year! It’ll be nice to have a little treat whilst we discuss all the things that … who am I kidding? We’re unlikely to discuss anything of any work consequence tomorrow! I should point out – it tastes better than it looks – based on this Merchant Gourmet recipe for chestnut chocolate brownie…
Finally I’ve completed my top…sometimes letting the idea just sit for a while makes all the difference. First off I scooped out the front and back necklines into a shallow curve, then joined the shoulders together – slipped it on, and gosh – all the difference!
Then I looked at it a moment more and realised what was missing to bring the neckline in a little bit and have it hanging less from the shoulders – a few pleats in the front and a single deep pleat in the back of the neckline…it may well be my new favourite top!
Unintentionally I’ve managed to have it echo my collarbone – can’t wait to pop it on tomorrow!
Taking care of the nieces is a splendid way to spend a day or three, even when we’ve to vacate the premises for an hour at 8:15am! The playground twice today, and yes, I had a go on the zip wire and slid down the slide….twice! The sister-in-law had a birthday over the weekend, but no cake! The girls enjoy some baking, so together we created what we like to think of as a masterpiece 🙂 We designed the cake in conversation to and for the park, a layer of plain, a layer of chocolate. Plain buttercream on top, chocolate in the middle and on the sides. Fudge pieces to write the Happy Birthday and white choc chunks to outline the edges…. the surprise in the middle being that we used a scone cutter to cut the centre out of each layer and swap them over, I can confirm it tastes yummy!
In other news I’ve finished a mini facecloth (face requires cleaning!) and almost completed a hanging bird as a gift for a newborn, arrived last week!
Mum asked for cake. Well, I say ‘asked’ …we went out for lunch yesterday for Dad’s birthday, Eccles cakes were one of the desserts, Mum and Dad both liked the idea, but also liked other desserts. We brought two home. Chef made them specially and we were dispatched with instructions on how to bake them. Now my Mum hates putting the oven on ‘without good reason’ so 10 minutes just for a couple of Eccles cakes she couldn’t have borne, so, the solution, bake something else at the same time – lemon drizzle cake!
Strange baking in someone else’s kitchen…and in the meanwhile this afternoon the cold which has been threatening her health has arrived with a vengeance, so she really does deserve cake! With the someone else’s kitchen comes someone else’s oven, slightly overdone edges – fixed with a trim and taste test from me 🙂
A day of cake! The one on the left is the remains of last evening’s offering – enough icing left to make lemon fairy cakes for a bake sale at work this week, unintentional organisation!Another fudgy raspberry cake ready for that birthday tomorrow I’ve been mentioning 🙂
I’d planned to brave the breeze tomorrow and cycle to work…not sure this plan will work 😉
So the trial last evening had to come apart as I’d made an error – but I’ve made a complete set today, I like them! Think I may have to make something similar for myself in a different colour. I think the friend they are intended for will really like them as they marry modernist monochrome with ‘old-fashioned’ craft.
Once I got going they were really quick, well about 30 minutes a piece – I reckon that’s quick 🙂 They’re just four rounds each in variations of trebles. I’m mostly impressed that they are the same size. If I make them for me I think I might use a magic loop for the centre so that it can be pulled tight – there would be no hole. Worth experimenting with anyway.
I’ve also been baking this evening – a lemon cake with lemon drizzle topping and grated white chocolate! Friends are coming around the dinner, so we need dessert!!! There will be more baking tomorrow – that will be my creative time. A birthday cake for the recipient of the coaster and I’ve promised some cupcakes for sale at work – ah the things we promise 🙂
acknowledging the importance of creativity in my daily life