Sourdough and me

Recently I have been doing a major declutter of my house, and been making some tough decisions of what stays and goes. As part of this I got rid of my bread machine and decided I was going to make everything by hand (as soon as I decided this mass panic occurred but I decided to stick by my decision). Conveniently the same day I popped down to 'The Urban Larder' (a lovely local shop) and blow me there was a sourdough making course happening the next week, so I signed up.

So yesterday after work the event occurred I made my first sourdough! This course was run by Peter Voshol from Loaf for Life, who was friendly, nice and extremely insightful.
The class started off with a lovely cup of tea and tasting of breads that Peter had made so that we could understand what different flours produced in density and taste, so we were off to a very good start. Peter had a special bread he was working on for the Cambridge apple festival at the botanics gardens, which personally I could of eaten the whole loaf in one go, it a delicately flavored apple, cranberry and cinnamon bread (i'm salivating just thinking about it). After this we then spoke about the principles of sourdough and the tools needed (I liked how Peter took a cost effective approach to this). Then we got to start our sourdough and it was mucky, but I loved feel the dough and seeing how it works when different ingredients are added.
Here are the ingredients pre mixing

Here is the ingredients proving wearing a lovely shower cap

Whilst the ingredients were proving we tasted lots of starters to understand the qualities they have- I found this really interested as there was significant difference between them, we then learnt how to look after our starter and had a Q&A session. Then the bread went into the oven (the moment of truth was getting ever so close), we had some lovely cake to keep us going and then the big unveil. 

My Bread is on the back row far right

My bread worked I couldn't believe it, and I can tell you this morning it tasted wonderful. Tonight I will be feeding my starter ready for my second loaf this weekend.

Learning Needlefelting.......

Needlefelting it's something I've wanted to add to my skills but the idea of letting myself loose with a barded needle was a little scary. But yesterday I embarked on my journey of needlefelting by taking a beginners course at the fabulous Sheep Shop in Cambridge. the course was run by Cathy Olgivie who was just lovely, and there was lots of laughing and chatting which to me is always a good sign.

We started off by being introduced to the tools of needlefelting, with lots of words of caution around the use of the needle (Cathy brought lots of plasters, and secretly I was hoping for a small injury so that I could have the 'Mr Bump' plaster). After this we then got to choose our lovely wool tops, there was so many beautiful colours on offer but I went for the pinks and reds (no surprises there). Then off we went......
First of all we started off making a hanging heart. This was done using a cookie cutter as a template, and this was a great exercise to start with as it helped to understand the principles of needlefelting, I loved the constant stabbing and especially watching the tops turn into a beautiful felted heart, I even embellished it with budding flowers (get me).

Then we moved on to some free-form work which I was a little nervous about but I loved it and how creative it allows you to be I made a flower brooch, but I will definitely do some more practice on this at home.

I really enjoyed learning to needlefelt, and would thoroughly recommend it, next I shall be doing the 3D needlefelting class.

Back with a Bang!

So after quiet some time of being away from blogging I'm back (yippee)!

Whilst I've been away from blogging I've not been away from my lovely sewing machine and have lots of projects underway - yes more projects that will take forever to finish. But I have finished one project (still suffering from shock of actually finishing a project).

Last weekend I spent it with my Grandparents and the majority of it I spent with my Gran crafting, which I loved. But excitingly I made a dress for my friends wedding/party thing which I completely love.

I used the Vogue Very Easy V8725 pattern - its a pattern I've had in my stash for ages so it was nice to finally get to use it. For the material I used a generic medium weight spotted cotton with a non static lining. It took me about 2 days of solid work (most of the time was spent hand sewing in the lining - that added serious stress lines to me). Here it is......

I love it and am so proud of what I've done. What lovely things have you all been making?