Thursday, October 19, 2017

Rainy Day Crafting

This morning began with the loudest clap of thunder waking me from the deepest sleep. I'd been woken like that countless times throughout the night, to thunder accompanied by very bright lightning, the sound of rain and wind and the occasional shake of the house when it was really loud. By early this morning I'd had enough, and decided it would be better to get up and have a cup of tea rather than trying to salvage the night any longer.
The day was very grey and quite cold. With the storm well and truly going on until late mid-morning, I ended up having an unplanned half-day off. When the thunder and lightning are so close by, we leave the computers and internet connection unplugged, to protect them from power surges. It turned out to be just what I needed. I wouldn't have given myself a day off today if I hadn't been forced too, but I was forced to and so, wearing winter clothes and feeling very out of place for an October day, I sat at the table and crafted with wool.

Monday, October 16, 2017

How much time does sourdough baking really take?

My sourdough baking routine is one that ebbs and flows with the seasons. Sourdough isn't a rigorous thing that requires strict baking procedures to work, which is why I find it a practical thing to fit into my daily life.
Making a loaf is actually a very hands-off process for me, which is excellent for the day-to-day. When I want to spend a little more time having fun with my sourdough I usually bake some scrolls or put together an interesting pull-apart.
And just how hands-off is my sourdough baking routine?
When I want to bake, I get my starter out in the morning and feed her, to activate her. By evening she is bubbly, or sometimes sooner if it's summer.
I mix up my loaf of bread in the evening, sometimes before I start cooking dinner and sometimes just before I go to bed, the timing really isn't very important. The bread rises overnight, peaking to its maximum height. In the morning it is a simple case of a quick 5 minute knead before shaping the loaf (less than a minute) and putting it into a banneton or tin to rise. I return in a couple of hours (again depending on the season) and put the loaf in to bake. That's it.
With less than 15 minutes of hands-on time, I have fresh sourdough ready to eat by lunchtime. The bulk overnight rise/ferment means that it's done everything that sourdough is supposed to - predigested the grain, broken up the phytic acid that inhibits nutrient absorption - and it also means that the loaf doesn't take very long to rise back up again before baking.
I do have a few other sourdough routines that I do, depending on when I need the bread to be ready. But this one outlined above is the main one I use for quick, everyday bread.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Here & Now | October 2017 Link Up

October has crept up on me, and I suddenly realised this morning that it is the tenth, which means it's time for the Here & Now link up again. I've not been taking as many photos as I usually do lately, as I'm still getting accustomed to the new camera, so I hope you'll enjoy the handful I have to share today.
As always, I'd love for you to blog your own Here & Now if you want to, the instructions for which are at the end of this post.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Strawberry Tea Shawl | Cast Off

I cast this shawl on at the end of July, and I finished it at the end of September. It was a secret knit, as I was knitting it for a gift, and in between other projects I knitted away on it and enjoyed every stitch. The shawl is knitted from the top-down and starts with just a couple of stitches. You increase the entire way along, at the same time as creating the beautiful little leaves, and in the end, the shawl is a beautiful crescent shape covered in leaves with a pretty border across the straight top.
I know I'll make another one of these shawls, probably for myself. I loved every single minute of it and I found it really hard not being able to share it here as I was knitting it. I spent most of the time knitting it imaging casting it off and laying it out to block because I knew the leaves would definitely benefit from a good block, and they certainly did.
I made it out of organic Australian merino (DK weight) and the result is a deliciously snuggly and warm shawl. The absolute best thing of all is, of course, that it was so well received and is going to be very loved.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Join the Handmade Christmas Ornament Swap!

I'm so excited to be sharing this with you today! I've been planning it for a little while and it's been quite hard not sharing it with you earlier. I am hosting my very first blog swap this year and I hope you'll join in and we'll all have lots of fun together!
I know in lots of ways it's too early to mention Christmas, but when it comes to making things by hand I don't think October is too early at all.

The Christmas Ornament Swap is something I have devised as a way to have fun making a couple of ornaments and sharing your craft with other like-minded souls, without it being a big commitment or ending up taking up too much time. I wanted to provide a way for fellow crafters to have fun, get creating and maybe even make a new friend! The swap is supposed to be fun, relaxed and something that isn't too big to commit to, for time reasons as most of us are already a little bit busy coming up to the end of the year.

Anyway, let's get into the details of the swap, shall we?

© Say Little Hen
Maira Gall