Friday, 9 January 2015

Amigurumi and more

So I promised to show more of my crafty skills, and here they are. Though first I should explain a little. It was my birthday just before Christmas, and for the day my mum gave me an amazing time. In the morning I got an hour long one-to-one crochet lesson, then the four of us went out to this beautiful place from our childhood and got to fly kites (something we always used to do as kids at this place) then we played board games and finished up watching a fantastic film called Joe's palace (directed by the amazing Steven Poliakoff)

Flying kites up on the hills.

So anyway, onto the crafting. I've been knitting for a while now, but for the longest time I couldn't get to grips with crochet. I could do the basic steps, and managed to make a scarf or two, but nothing remotely complicated. After my lesson though, I can now say I can crochet amigurumi :) 

What is amigurumi you ask? Well from what I have learned, it is a Japanese word which literally means knitted toy :) and you can make some damned cute stuff:

Amigurumi Bird and Snail
Teeny mice and my beautiful fish
Bird pattern:
Snail pattern:
Mouse pattern: (Youtube tutorial:
Fish pattern:

None of the patterns for these creations are mine - you'll find all the true artists at the links above. However, they allowed me to make these guys and I full on LOVE them. If you want to give it a go, I reccomend Sharon Ojala. She is the one who made the mouse, and has also done Totoro and stuff. You can also find her on Facebook, and she is lovely and commented on my first ever mouse.

Amigurumi is so much fun to make, and surprisingly easy. I want to make more, but I haven't decided what is next. I have too much work to do for now anyway. If anyone has any suggestions/requests please shout.

As a quick note on my work, I've started my next and new lab this week. I'm already excited as its back into the field of Neuroscience. Its a bit more focused on genetics than I'm used to, but its already interesting. So far I have a bunch of reading to do and some software to learn, but come Monday I start my research.
See ya next time

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Crafty edible goodness

These winter holidays I discovered something. I discovered I can do crafty things. And no, I'm not an evil villain from a movie being crafty. I mean I can make things from other things that look cool. Here, let me show you.

So something I've always admired is cake decoration, though I've never been able to do it myself. This year, like every year, my mum made her amazing Christmas cake like always. Proper home made 3 months in advance with all sorts of yummy stuff in it. Even the marzipan was home made. I helped her put on the marzipan and the icing, and then she gave me the rest along with some food dye.

The first thing I did was play with the marzipan, and this is what happened:

Marzipan fruit
I made marzipan fruit! For reference, we have kiwi, oranges, banannas, apples and pears. They were so much fun to make (if rather messy). And rather delicious.
Then I got given icing and the honour of decorating the christmas cake. And well, I might have gotten a little bit carried away...

Our most wonderful xmas cake
All of the icing started out white, and much food colouring was used (and covered my hands) to make this.

Robin, tree, snowman
I'm especially proud of these guys. They all have a centre of marzipan (even the snowman's hat) and are covered by coloured icing.
tree, robins, present, snowman, holly, star
All of these toppings are icing alone and took forever! All of it took forever tbh, though I have to say it is a darn good way of spending an xmas eve.

I also did more crafty stuff over the holidays, but that will have to wait until next time. I have 5 huge review papers and a long set of notes to read through, on top of learning some new software to get done before Monday. So, lunch break over.
Until next time!