Friday, 23 July 2010


Have been doing some test prints for my new tea towel design, 'Trees'. It's a fun way to spend a chilly Friday.


It's deep winter here in Melbourne and today, when it didn't stop raining all day and was just miserable, I needed a little something to cheer me up. So I had a flick through some of my photos of Bosnia in spring and I felt better right away - so pretty. The buildings, while a little sad looking, are still amazing and buildings like them were everywhere.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Knitting and crochet to warm the heart on a winter's day

Knitted Lemons, by Sharon Russell.

Whew, that's a long title blog post title. But a fitting one, as knitted and crocheted goods really made my day today. Sharon's lemons, above, are so sweet and seeing them in a cafe at lunch today made me smile. And Sandra's mini granny square, below, nearly ended up in the bin as I didn't see it in the package along with my wrist worms. Thanks Sandra!

Mini granny square, by Sandra Juto.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Knitting the night away - Part II

I did end up finishing my knitting the other night and here's a snap of the finished shoes. Almost want some for myself but that would be baby shoes.

The pattern is here for any keen knitters, although do not underestimate how long it takes to make such tiny little things...unless you're a more experienced knitter than I, in which case it might take you no time at all!

Monday, 12 July 2010

London: Clerkenwell Design Week 2010

Another little story from my recent travelling adventure...

At the tail end of our holiday, while back in London, I literally stumbled upon Clerkenwell Design Week (it was three days, actually, on 25-27 May), which in the words of its creators is a "three-day annual festival celebrating design’s creative richness, its social impact and its power for change."

I remembered Clerkenwell as an interesting area that I'd briefly visited years ago, and one that seemed worthy of further investigation. And I felt kind of lucky that I'd randomly chosen the first day of the festival as the day I'd have a look around the area, as I had not heard about the festival before landing amongst it.

The first thing I saw was a small designy-crafty market (below), perfect start! Opposite it, some large and colourfully decorated lamps which looked great against London's blue spring skies.

Not far down the road was what seemed to be the festival hub, the Farmiloe Building, an old Victorian warehouse filled with displays of design objects/furniture/furnishings and more. One of my favourites was an accordian-style chair called the Flexible Love Recycled Paper Chair (below) - it stretches out to an impressive length and supports the weight of 16 people, apparently, even though it's made of just cardboard and wood waste.

And the highlight of the festival for me was a discussion called 'Design Thinking - Thinking Design' featuring four design professionals including Kevin McCloud (from Grand Designs, which I love.) Seeing the man in the flesh, observing his articulate manner and hearing his insightful ideas and his wholistic and ecologically responsible approach to design was refreshing and insightful.

And back to the here and now... The State of Design festival starts on Wednesday and runs through until 25 July. I'm looking forward to it, a taste of design that's Melbourne style.

Knitting the night away

For the last few nights I've been making a little something for my sister's baby...something I would have made before she was born, but being on holiday kind of threw things out of whack. And looking at her wee little feet gave me a good (OK, obvious!) idea.

I've knitted quite a few scarves now, but have never actually made anything from a pattern and thought it was definitely time to branch out a bit. Booties are the perfect starting point, I thought, although I had not idea how many new stitches I'd need to learn to make such tiny little things. But after a bit of swearing and a lot of YouTubing, I'm nearly there. And Lily is going to have some cute little Mary Janes that are only a little bit wonky, yay!

I'm stuck on the couch with a cold today, so am hoping I can muster up the energy to finish them off, but in the meantime you can see what they're supposed to look like here.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Friday chalk

Chalk - so simple yet so fun! Looks like it's school holidays again and the local kids have been playing in the park.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Kanelbullar (Cinnamon Bun) Recipe

The buns, just out of the oven - they're a bit wonky and are without pearl sugar, but taste pretty good.

Well, I've now had two attempts at making Kanelbullar (Cinnamon Buns) and although I'm certainly no expert, I'm getting a bit better at making them. Tweaking is part of the fun of cooking for me and I think by attempt #3, I might just be there. And hopefully by then I'll have found some pearl sugar, which is a vital visual element for these buns but not so easy to come by in Melbourne town.

Rolling out the pastry

My recipe comes from the book "Swedish Culinary Classics" by Carl Jan Granqvist & Lena Katarina Swanberg, released by The Swedish Institute. Here's the spiel that comes with their recipe:

Kanelbullar are a classic at Swedish coffee parties. During the golden age of home baking, such parties turned into orgies of sweet yeast breads, small cookies, cookies with fillings, pastries and cakes. This tradition lives on in Sweden. If you are invited to someone's home for coffee, you always get a cinnamon bun, a cookie or a piece of cake with it. And at cafes, dainty little cookies continue to compete with all those supersized American muffins.

Kanelbullar (Cinnamon Bun) Recipe

Makes 25 buns
35g yeast
100g sugar
300ml milk
1 egg
120g butter
1tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cardamon
750g wheat flour

100g butter
50g sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon

1 egg
2 tbsp water
pearl sugar

Crumble the yeast in a bowl and stir in a few tablespoons of milk. Melt the butter and pour the milk on it. Add the rest of the ingredients and kneed the dough in a dough mixer for 10-15 minutes. Let the dough rise while covered at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough so it is about 3mm thick and 30cm wide. Spread the room temperature buter on top. Make a mixture of sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle it over the dough. Roll the dough the long way and cut the roll into about 25 slices. Place them with the cut edge upwards in paper moulds. Place on a baking sheet and let rise under a towel for about 60 minutes or until the buns have doubled in size.

Beat together the egg and water, brush the mixture carefully on the buns and sprinkle pearl sugar on top. Bake in the oven at 220 degrees celsius for 5-6 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack.

  • I used dry yeast, so I halved the amount listed above. Next time I'm going to try fresh yeast, which you can buy from bakeries.
  • You don't need a bread machine/dough mixer but it makes it a bit easier.
  • I made bigger buns this time so only got about half the number, but they turned out less dry than my first batch of 25. When they rise they get pretty big, but if you pat them down a bit the size is more manageable. If you make them bigger like me, you'll need to adjust the cooking time - up to double the time in the recipe.
  • I also laid them out a bit differently - the swirl wasn't facing up but to the side, just for something different.
If you've got any tips/tricks on making these buns, I'd love to know!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Warms wrists, Swedish style

Look what arrived in the mail yesterday...

Photograph © Sandra Juto

..some lovely Wrist Worms made from a soft charcoal merino wool, all the way from Sweden. To die for! Jed got a grey pair too, so we're almost matching, and are very pleased to have very very warm wrists. Thanks Sandra :)

OK, off the finish cinnamon buns batch #2, I'll let you know how they go.

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