Sunday, 18 May 2014

Banana and Oatmeal Weekend Muffins

My favourite weekend food is breakfast. Evidenced here by pancakes. Here by cinnamon rolls. And now here with my weekend muffins. Only on the weekend can I get up late have time to mix up a batch of something delicious. I made these with my little brother and we enjoyed eating them together with the family... the relaxed way to start off the sunny weekend proceedings.

Today I chose muffins because they are simply so good, and easy, and we had bananas to use. I can't justify letting my favourite fruit go to waste! The recipe had the nice addition of oatmeal, which is probably what makes them so soft and light. My little brother liked stirring everything together and squeezing the banana through the potato ricer, which is a good way of making a smooth banana mush without spending all that time with a fork.

As for comments on the finished products, I'm leaving that up to three budding young testers, aged six, nine, and eleven.

"I liked making them. They were nice because they were hot. I wouldn't like them cold but they were nice hot."

"They were very yummy and a good size."

"These cute little muffins were light in texture and the banana gave a lovely mellow sweetness which served with melting butter made a delicious weekend treat."

Banana and Oatmeal Muffins
250g self-raising flour
125g oatmeal*
180g caster sugar
60g butter, melted
250ml milk
2 eggs
2-3 bananas, mashed
*To make oatmeal yourself, grind up 125g porridge oats and then pass through a sieve to remove any remaining whole oats.

   Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF and butter a 12-hole muffin tin. Mix together the flour, oatmeal and sugar in a large bowl. Make a large hole in the centre. 
   In another bowl break up the eggs yolks and whisk in the milk with a fork. Add the mashed banana and melted butter and roughly combine. Pour into the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon. The batter should still be fairly lumpy, take care not to over-beat.
   Divide mixture between the holes of the muffin tin. Bake for 15 minutes and eat warm with butter. 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Gifts for a 3 year-old

This weekend my little sister turned 3 years old, and I've had fun buying and making birthday gifts for her. She is really easy and fun to buy for! Whenever she opened a present she would shout 'hooray' and 'thank you.' I wonder how long the sweetness will last...
I made a little list of things that would be good in a gift for her. Flowers, hearts, bows, pink, or other bright pretty colours are her favourite! I also wanted something she can use, wear, eat or something that makes her feel grown up. These do seem all quite stereotypical of little girls, but she does just really love pretty things!

This little skirt was very easy to sew: no pattern required! I've had this cute printed cotton for a while, it was fairly lightweight which is good for a little girl's skirt. Trying to take photos with a 3 year-old was fun, but she stands still for only a second before asking to see the picture!

To make the skirt, all you need is a rectangle of cotton fabric (measuring as long as you want the skirt and double as wide, plus on 1" extra on each edge) and a waist length of medium elastic. Fold the fabric in half and french seam the folded side and the side opposite it. Then hem the bottom of the fabric all around. Sew a deep hem along the top, leaving a 1" gap in the centre, through which you thread the elastic on a safety pin. Sew the ends of the elastic together, then pop it inside and sew up the gap. Arrange the fabric so that it is gathered evenly on the elastic. Ta-da... you've completed a cute little skirt!

I also brought this beautiful jewellery box in an online sale at Christmas. They don't sell it at the particular shop any more, but if you google 'Gingham Rose Jewellery Box' it is available elsewhere.

I hope your weekend was as fun as hers... if it really is possible to be as squealing-happyily-exited as a 3 year old on her birthday!)

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Recent Artworks

For the last week I've been doing a lot of blog-worthy things, but I haven't put anything up on the blog. I have about six half-finished drafts because I haven't properly finished any of them before I go onto something else! So before I get back to photographing, sewing and recipe testing, today I thought I'd share some of the art work that I've been doing recently.

I am blessed to have a really good art teacher, and at the moment we are doing a mini project on drawing. In our lesson I tried doing a still life with books and a model boat using sketching pencils, and I was pleased with the way it turned out. (The writing in the corner were my notes from the lesson: Pencil drawing 1. Measure, 2. Outline → shapes → form, 3. Details → lines → shade.)

For my first time using drawing pens for an observational drawing, I chose to sketch the books from the first picture. I was quite nervous at first, but as I gained confidence I got better. I'm exited to try some more pen drawings now!

Our homework was just to practice drawing, so every morning before I start work I sketch something, either from a photo, still life, or an idea in my head. This is my favourite so far.

Faith, my teacher, has a website: If you are thinking of art lessons, check the website out. She is a really good teacher, very patient and encouraging. She teaches the principles of art and introduces new techniques and helps you to think critically about artworks. Look out for some of my pictures in the gallery!