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1  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Not a Bugatti Veyron because IDK what the copyrights are for this sort of thing on: July 27, 2008 02:57:16 PM
I saw this car on Top Gear winning a race against a plane (admittedly flown by James May, but still Grin) and wanted one. Unfortunately they're about 800,000 quid and I can't drive yet, so I made a plush one instead. Smiley

It's a bit shorter and fatter than an actual Veyron so I can cuddle it Cheesy

2  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Fish 'n' chips (more northern stodge goes haute-cuisine!) on: April 16, 2008 07:53:15 AM
Thought I'd do another one of these. They're fun to do, but I'll be damned if it wasn't bloody difficult. I don't know why it is but whenever I'm taking pictures of a recipe it always screws up! Tongue

I tried my hand at making fish 'n' chips, one of the most famous Northern foods a bit more upmarket. It didn't turn out nearly as good as the stuff you can get in Bimbi's but it's better than what they call fish 'n' chips in the South. Grin

This is horseradish salmon tempura with potato rosti and steamed peas.

Mise-en-place. Ignore the egg and one of the spuds and imagine a bottle of beer there. I have got to learn to do these properly. Tongue

1 potato
1 fillet of fish (I used salmon, but I'd suggest white fish, it doesn't fall apart so easily)
2oz (56g) flour
3tsps baking powder
125ml beer (preferably Newcastle Brown of course!)
Horseradish sauce
Beef dripping

Peel and grate your spud, and squeeze out all the extra liquid in it.

Shape the grated spud into a disc and shallow-fry it for about 2 minutes on each side in some of the beef dripping. Then take it out of the pan and stick it in the oven on gas mark 6 for about 8-10 minutes.

o noes my rosti has fallen apart!! Shocked

No problem - stuff it into a scone cutter and slide it out onto the plate! Wink

While the rosti's cooking, you can steam the peas (I did them in the microwave, ahahahaha).

While the rosti and the peas are cooking, cut the fish into goujons. Mine flaked a bit (last time I use salmon for that, luckily it was one of a big pack of them we got cheap) but it doesn't really matter too much if it does.

Put the flour and baking powder into a bowl with a pinch of salt and about a teaspoon of horseradish sauce. Stir in enough beer to make a thick batter.

Heat some beef dripping in a deep-fryer or saucepan (enough to cover the fish) until it's hot enough for deep-frying (you can test it by putting a wooden chopstick into the fat and seeing if bubbles form all around it). Coat the fish in the batter and drop it into the pan. Let it cook until it's nice and crispy.
Don't worry about it all falling apart in the pan, mine did and it ruined the presentation but still tasted nice! Grin

Serve with a little balsamic vinegar, more horseradish sauce and whatever the hell you can find in the fridge as a garnish, in this case a tomato cut into a stupid shape. Smiley

Enjoy! Grin

Also if anyone knows any tips to stop rosti going all discoloured, please tell me! Embarrassed
3  COOKING / Dessert / Blaeberry Pie (traditional northern stodge goes haute-cuisine!) on: April 14, 2008 10:22:30 AM
Right, this might need a bit of an explanation... I go to university in the north-east of England, where the locals are really down-to-earth and a lot of the students are really preppy. So, being half-Geordie and a student (and really bored), I thought I'd have a go at making stuff that'd please (or really piss off) everybody.
Basically I took a bunch of traditional Geordie foods and tried to make them as pretentious as possible. Grin
I got the idea when I asked for a bacon roll in the uni' caff and got a bacon, Brie and cranberry panini... Huh

First up is the old favourite, blaeberry pie, or in its new form, blueberry tart with butterscotch sauce.

Mise-en-place Grin (oh wait I left out the brown sugar, bollocks)
For the base:
1.5oz (42g) plain flour
1oz (28g) caster sugar
0.5oz (14g) butter

For the fudgey caramely cakey middle bit:
1oz (28g) butter
1oz (28g) brown sugar
2oz (56g) self-raising flour (or 2oz plain flour and 1/4 tsp baking powder)
1 egg, beaten

For the topping:
1 pack of frozen blueberries
1oz (28g) butter
2oz (56g) brown sugar
Pinch of salt


Put all the ingredients for the base into a bowl. It's a basic shortbread mixture, 1 part butter, 2 parts sugar, 3 parts flour.

Get your mitts in there and rub the fat into the flour and sugar.
When it's all mixed together, pack it into a 7" tin and prick the top all over with a fork.

Then stick it in the oven on gas mark 3 for about 20 minutes.

Fudgey caramely cakey middle bit:
Cream the butter and sugar together.

Realize that bran is not sugar.  Embarrassed Label your jars properly and start again! Tongue
Mix in the egg and the flour until it's all nice and smooth.

Get the shortbread base out of the oven and pour this mixture all over it. Then put it back in the oven on gas mark 5 for 10-15 minutes.

It should look sort of like this now, but less blurry:

Put the blueberries in a pan with a little white sugar and gently heat them until the juice has thickened into a sort of compote. Pour it on top of the tart base so it looks like this:

(Ignore the missing bit, I got hungry Grin)

Now we're going to make a fudgey butterscotch sauce to go with it. I wasn't sure what to put with this to dress it up a bit, but blueberries and maple syrup do go pretty well together. There aren't any maples round here but there IS the best bloody fudge in Britain, so it's close enough and still traditional!

Heat the butter and sugar and a little milk in a saucepan until all the sugar granules have dissolved and the sauce starts to thicken a bit.
Mine looked like this:

Cut a slice, drizzle some of the sauce over, and serve.

(The colours are a bit weird there, the sauce is a bit more brown than that Tongue)

Enjoy i.e. stuff it down yor fyess 'til yer geet full, like. Wink
4  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / d20 on: June 25, 2006 07:51:28 AM
After making a load of D&D monsters, I realized that there was no point in having the monsters if there was no way of deciding what they were going to do.

So, inspired by this, I made my first machine embroidery project: a d20.


Yay, natural 20! Grin

I used the pattern for a paper die from this site, but instead I used it as a sewing pattern and straight-stitched down the edges where each triangular face joins. Then I just embroidered the numbers on and sewed it together.

I think I'll make some more dice with different numbers of sides. At least that's the hardest one done!
5  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Giles, the last of the monsters on: June 11, 2006 11:47:06 AM
I showed Giles to my sister.

"Look, it's Giles!"
"Oh!! It's Giles! Giles!! I LOVE Giles! ... er... what is Giles?"

Giles is a mimic. They're monsters that can change their shape and make themselves look uncommonly like treasure chests...

...until you stick your hand in them.


If you don't pester Giles by shoving your hand down his throat and feeling about for non-existent gold coins, he's actually quite friendly. He behaves rather like a very friendly, excited dog, really.
He's the last of the D&D/fantasy monsters who are going to be in my display.

Do you know, I think Giles rather likes you. He wants to lick your face!

6  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Cortex, the Illithid (with tute) on: June 01, 2006 04:46:51 PM
Meet Cortex, the illithid. Illithids, or "mind flayers", are strange beings with advanced mental and magical abilities who devour the brains of other sentient creatures.

He burrowed up out of his hideous underground chambers and he's been telling me all about it ever since.
Well, that was until this happened:

And the promised tutorial! He was surprisingly easy to make; that's why my dear knight of steel suggested him. Well, that and I needed something to do with all that purple fabric!

His head is basically a stuffed diamond shape with the top slightly rounded. Then you just sew on two circles of black fabric for his eyes and gather the fabric around the eyes (along the red dotted lines) to give him a horrible, shrivelled face. Grin

Next, make a big tube (just a rectangle folded over sewn up around the edges), stuff it and sew it to the bottom of his head, where his neck would join on.
Then make four thinner tubes for his suckers in the same way and sew them onto his face where his mouth would be.

His body's almost done! Now make four medium-size tubes for his arms and legs and more little tubes for his long fingers. If you like you can put little non-fraying fabric triangles for claws on the end of them.

His body's done now, but we can't have him wandering around the illithid laboratories naked... Grin
Cut out two semicircles of the fabric you're using for the robe; this will be the collar. Sew them right sides together and turn them inside out.
(If it's the sort of fabric that flops too much, you could glue a piece of thin card between the two pieces or use interfacing on it. If it's the sort of fabric that bulges a lot, you could sew a few lines from the centre of the semicircle to the edge.)

Then cut a long rectangle, as wide as you need to go around his body (leave a bit of allowance for a big, flowing robe) and as long as it needs to be to come down to his feet. Cut two armholes in it.
(This is easier if you wrap the fabric around him and mark on it where the arms will go.)

Cut out two long rectangles for sleeves (as long as his arms - longer, if you like - and as wide as the armholes you've cut with a little extra left over) and sew each one around each armhole, right sides together as per usual.
You should now have a very stylish little coat, but it's missing a collar; put the straight side of the semicircle you made against the top of the robe and sew along it. The just flip up the collar so it stands up.

Put the robe on your illithid and secure it in whatever way you like. You could use buttons, lacing or a little sash, like I did.
And there you go; your own illithid! Just make sure you're wearing a hat when you give him a hug...
7  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Sirenia, the Selkie on: June 01, 2006 04:04:43 PM
Sirenia is a selkie: a seal that can turn into a person, or the other way around. Grin
She's just wandered in from the shore, wrapped up in her sealskin. She has to be very careful with it; if she loses her skin, she can't become a seal again until she finds it!


Face and frizzy hair (it's the sea air that does that. Well, that and trying to curl stick-straight synthetic hair with a pencil and an iron).


And the rest of her. Her seal tail is like a sock with a slit in the side; she can fit both her legs in it when she wants to be a seal again.


Here she is with her sealskin hood up, ready to go back to the sea for a little while. The pic's a bit blurry, but she's got little eyes made from balls of fabric and whiskers (thread sewn through the nose several times and tied).

I expect she'll come back soon! Grin

8  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / δύο the Hydra on: May 28, 2006 10:47:40 PM
Meet δύο (pronounced "thee-oh", with a soft "th" as in "this", so I pretty much call him Theo). He's a hydra from the Greek myths (with much fewer heads, hehe).

Here he is sniffing with his tongue to his right:

And to his left:

And here he is deciding which way to go (I don't know why he's not speaking Greek either Grin):

9  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Gormagaidh, the Celtic Warrior on: May 25, 2006 04:15:32 AM
I made this little chap as part of my fantasy monsters/figures entry for the local needlework show. Of course, the Celts were real, but they created a lot of mythology and they're pretty much legends in their own right... at least, I hope they'll accept him on those grounds... Tongue
Actually, he looks more like a Pict than a Celt, but never mind! Grin

Meet Gormagaidh:

Close-up of his "woad"(fabric pen)-painted face:

His salt clay belt buckle (it's just shaped like a ring with a bar through it, with a strip of suede thong laced through it. I made it with black salt clay, using food colouring, then sprayed it silver and rubbed the paint off in bits with a sponge to age it a bit):

His talisman with a very basic triskele drawn in it (made the same way as his buckle), and his very hairy chest, which was probably the hardest bit... I sewed in each clump of hair, tied a knot in it to keep it secure, then backbrushed it and ironed it like crazy:

10  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Jester jeans on: May 25, 2006 02:59:49 AM
I don't know about you, but I bloody hate buying jeans. Every shop has about forty different styles, they each cost between about 30 and 80, they all look the same and there's nothing that I like.

So I got a cheap Tesco Value pair of jeans for 3 and some bleach we had lying around and did them up myself.

I drew out the design in chalk (well, soap) on the jeans first, then put paper inside the legs to make sure the bleach didn't soak through to the other side, then "painted" the bleach on with the cheapest, crappiest paintbrush I could find. I had to use several brushes; the bristles kept turning platinum blonde and breaking off! Grin But then, I was using undiluted bleach on it... even really strong solutions had absolutely no effect on the colour. Can't think why. Huh

Once they had changed colour enough, I just sloshed vinegar over them to deactivate the bleach (yay for Craftster - I wouldn't have known to do that if I hadn't read other people's bleaching projects! Embarrassed) and gave them a rinse in the washing machine.

Finally (now that the chlorine smell's gone) I have, well, what jesters would have worn had denim been popular in mediaeval times:

I was going to sew little bells around the ankles, but never got round to it... hehe...
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