Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday Finds: Merry Christmas!

You may have noticed that the Morrgan's Creatures shops are now closed. It's time for me to take a break and enjoy Christmas and New Year with family. I'll be taking a break from blogging too (and the internet in general - at most I may tweet occasionally), so enjoy the holiday of your choice and see you again in January!

To get into the mood of things, I'll leave you with a selection of fine items suited for the occasion. Tired of the usual Christmas tree and other decorations? Try one made of felt (owls optional), decorate it with chain ornaments, place it next to a deer sculpture and enjoy the whole scene while writing the last few holiday cards!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Introducing Hannibal the Man-Eating Plant

Introducing Morrgan's Creatures is an ongoing project to introduce all the creatures that gave my shop its name.

A ferocious man-eating plant called Hannibal
Hannibal the Man-Eating Plant

Ack! It's a man-eating plant!

Don't worry though, there's no need to run just yet. This little guy called Hannibal is still a small sapling and doesn't even have real teeth yet. So he'll just look really adorable as he tries to chew on your arm.

A ferocious man-eating plant called Hannibal Hannibal is quite a friendly little guy, despite the ferocious reputation of this particular species of man-eating plant. He'll do very well on ham-and-cheese sandwiches, with the occasional fly thrown in for extra protein - just look at his chubby stem.

Hannibal the Man-Eating Plant is available as a pattern via Ravelry (or click here to buy now - no Ravelry account needed) and from my Etsy shop.

Making Hannibal involves both knitting and little bit of crochet. The knitting is done both flat and in the round, with the stitches knit, purl, lifted increases, knit/purl 2 together and slip stitch over. The crochet stitches are single crochet, chain and slip stitch.

Want to see more creature introductions?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Finds: Winter Sky

Remember me saying how it's currently dark when I go to work and dark when I get home? Well, one nice thing about the office at work is that it has a big window, overlooking a nearby park. I don't see much from where I sit, just the tops of some trees and the sky, but in winter time it gives a chance to enjoy what little sun there is.

The best part? The sky. Now that the proper cold and snow have arrived (yay!), the sky ends up showing these beautiful pastel hues - pale blues and turquoises, occasionally a bit of yellow or purple. These colours are the inspiration for this week's Tuesday Finds.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Introducing Hubert the Grumpy Unicorn

Introducing Morrgan's Creatures is an ongoing project to introduce all the creatures that gave my shop its name.

A knitted pink grumpy unicorn called Hubert
Hubert the Grumpy Unicorn
This is a grumpy little unicorn called Hubert. Why grumpy, I hear you ask? Well first of all, this particular teenage boy unicorn happens to be very pink. Just how is a poor unicorn supposed to impress that cute pegasus girl when he's as pink as can be? AND named Hubert? Seriously, what were his parents thinking?

If only he was a cool steely grey like his uncle Reginald, then things would be different. Or at least had uncle Reginald's name. Now there's a proper noble name for a mighty unicorn, sure to impress any cute pegasus. Not at all silly. Unlike Huuuubert.

But no, that wasn't to be. This little guy is pink Hubert. A very grumpy pink Hubert.

Grumpy Hubert is available as a pattern together with Tony the Lazy Pony via Ravelry (or click here to buy now - no Ravelry account needed) and from my Etsy and ArtFire shops.

Want to see more creature introductions?

Introducing Morrgan's Creatures - a new series of posts

tiny knitted creatures animals dragons ravens owls turtle Most of my creatures end up with a story or a personality. It comes naturally as a part of the process of making them - while my hands are busy there's plenty of time to just think. Often my thoughts are preoccupied with what I'm making at the time and, in the case of creatures, eventually my mind gives them a personality and sometimes a little story. Occasionally it happens that the story comes to me first and I just have to make the creature it's about. (My knitty notebook has pages full of such stories - I hope I'll have time to make all the creatures too!)

a knitted purple triceratops dino and two tiny brown owls It occured to me that it'd be fun to share these stories. Starting today, I'll be presenting my creatures one at a time in the series "Introducing Morrgan's Creatures" and I aim to post a new profile every week. I hope you'll enjoy!

Click here for the creature introductions.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Creative Space

One word to describe the current winter here: dark. Dark when I wake up and look through the window, dark when it's time to head home from the day job. There's no snow to brighten everything up yet.

This explains why the photo I took early this morning of my workspace is so dark.

Morrgan's packing desk
One of the main joys of the new apartment is that I have a desk of my own for packing up orders. Yay! All the packing materials in order in one place, ready to go. Lately my morning routine has been to grab the obligatory big cup of coffee and sit down to check my online shops. If there are orders, I pack them up before I head off to work, having a sip of my coffee now and then, so that I can drop them off at the post office on the way home. This morning there were two orders to take care of.

(As a little related factoid, my "desk" (or actually a chiffonier according to Wikipedia) is a special piece of furniture to me, as when I turned 18 it was handmade for me by my uncle, on the request of my grandmother.)

Want to see the creative spaces of others too? Head on over to kootoyoo's blog!

Friday, December 04, 2009

The only thing better than carrot muffins is carrot muffins smothered in cream cheese icing

So, I've been baking again. We got some neat silicone muffin moulds recently and I wanted to test them out. Then when grocery shopping I spotted a picture of a carrot cake with cream cheese icing on the cover of a magazine and thus it was decided what kind of muffin to bake.

This test taught me two things.

1. Silicone moulds are all kinds of cool. The muffins didn't stick and they were easy to kind of fold out of the moulds. Plus to an easily amused person, a floppy mould is way funnier than a metal tin.

2. I really dislike grating carrots. Like, seriously dislike. Broken nails, scratched fingers... Ugh. (Yeah, so it kinda sounds like I'm doing it wrong. Next time I'll delegate that task to Mr Morrgan in any case.)

Carrot Muffins Smothered in Cream Cheese Icing (makes 12)

The more carrots you put in, the juicier they are. The less you mix the batter, the better they'll be.

3 1/2 dl (~1 1/3 cup) flour
3 dl (~1 1/4 cups) sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs
5 dl (~2 cups) grated carrots (or 2 1/2 HUGE carrots - more than I intended to put in at first, but the muffins came out oh so juicy!)
1 dl (~1/2 cup) vegetable cooking oil (like Canola, I believe it's called?) or melted butter

Cream Cheese Icing
100 g (3 1/2 oz) cream cheese
50 g (1 3/4 oz) butter
1-2 dl icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar

Mix the dry ingredients together. Whisk the eggs, then add grated carrots and oil or melted and somewhat cooled butter. Fold the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Divide the batter into 12 muffin cups and bake for about 25 minutes at 175°C (~350°F).

Let them cool down completely before attempting to apply icing. Whip together all the icing ingredients, then spread liberally onto the muffins. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tuesday Finds: My EST Secret Santa

The European Street Team on Etsy is playing a fun game for Christmas called Secret Santa, organized by the lovely ArtMind. Each participant is the Secret Santa for someone else and make a gift for them, and also receive a gift from their own Secret Santa. It's all very hushush and exciting. ;) I really enjoyed making a special present for someone (who it is is still a secret!) and it was fun waiting for a surprise to appear in the mail. And a few days ago, it did! And what a sweet little box it came in. :)

I was too impatient to wait for Christmas, of course (naughty, naughty me), so I opened the box and found this! A delightful ring, made with a mysterious-looking red jade. Santa sure knew what I like. ;) And who was my Secret Santa? Pinar, a.k.a. Toosis from Istanbul, Turkey! Thank you, Not-So-Secret-Anymore Santa! ;)

I want to use this week's Tuesday Finds to show off some more of the beautiful jewelry Pinar makes. Take a look below for a small selection and be sure to check out her shop for more!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Some obligatory Christmas-time whine. But also good times, sharks and chompy hearts!

It's Advent Sunday, but the Christmas frenzy in the shops seems to have been in full force for two weeks or more. It really seems like shops start with the holiday decorations and music earlier and earlier every year, so that by this time of the year I get an allergic reaction whenever I see a plastic Christmas tree full of shiny stuff or hear another "cheerful" song about Santa's reindeers. *shudder*

There are a few Christmas traditions I enjoy though. One of them is the Advent Concert by the Florakören and Brahe Djäknar choirs and the Academy Orchestra. We went to hear them yesterday and it was just beautiful - this year was even more enjoyable than usual. Also, my brother joined the Brahe Djäknar choir this year, so that made it extra special.

knitting in progress magnet shark Today I've been trying to keep the faint holiday enjoyment going by making what I think are suitable decorations for the season: hearts gone wild! The sharks may be in the forefront of the photo, but it's mostly the hearts I've been working on today. Those red and white pieces in the background have become four wild, chompy hearts (and the orange ones are now a couple of foxes). Not a bad way to spend a Sunday, all in all.

Another fun Christmas-related event I've taken part in this year is the European Street Team's Secret Santa game - I'll post more about that next!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy 500th to Morrgan's Creatures!

A few weeks ago, Morrgan's Creatures on Etsy reached 500 sales!

birds raven owl cake balloon confetti 500th celebration
For me, this is a significant milestone. The little shop I started just to see if I could do this selling-on-the-internet thing has become a successful one, something that gives me pride and joy. A big happy thank you to each and every one of my customers for making this possible!

A big happy thank you goes to Mr Morrgan too, who made the most excellent picture of Freddie and Oliver above and took me out to dinner to a Nepalese restaurant to celebrate this event. Morrgan's Creatures would not be what it is today without his help and support. <3

(By the way, in this restaurant I had pistachio and cashew nut sorbet. It may sound like a crazy idea, but it is a thing of genius. Delicious, delicious genius.)

So, what's next? Well, another 500 I hope! Design-wise, I've got all sorts of neat plans and ideas for Morrgan's Creatures. Hopefully I'll find the time to realise them all!

Oh, and while we're talking about the shop, note that the holiday shipping deadlines are up. There's still a few weeks left to do some shopping before Morrgan's Creatures goes on a Christmas/New Year's break!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thar be sharks about!

knitted shark magnet A few days ago, shark pups were born in an unusual way at Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World in Auckland, New Zealand. A grumpy shark took a bite out of another, which ended up being a Caesarean delivery of eight baby sharks. Quite a surprise, as noone knew the attacked mommy shark was pregnant, and lucky since both mom and the sharklets survived the incident. The little ones were moved to a "nursery", the mother has been stitched up and as far as I know, both are doing well. Quite incredible.

This story inspired me to finally get around to making a tiny shark magnet, as I'd been planning to do for a while. This little guy was made with a combination of knitting and crochet and I'm very happy with how he turned out!

The Magnetic Knitted Shark
Considering the voracious appetite of the common knitted shark, it was no wonder that a magnetized form would appear, making it easier for these sharks to stay close to the fridge and its delicious contents.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday Finds: Green

Tuesday Finds, remember them? I used to do them some time back, but stopped due to lack of time and whatnot. I liked them though, so I thought I'd try to bring them back in a slightly abbreviated form - I'll just show off a few items that have caught my eye the past week. No babbling, only photos and links. I'm hoping that this way I'll be able to do it even when my time has been sucked away into some black hole of work and such. No promises, but hopefully you'll see them more regularly from now on.

I'll still choose a theme each time and this week it'll be the colour green. Autumn may be my favourite season, but I do miss the green stuff. The greener the better!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Where have I been? No, seriously.

Oh man, where did the last week or two go? I try to think back and I can honestly not remember what I did on Wednesday, for example. I'd like to think that this was due to me being abducted by aliens and going on wacky adventures in faraway galaxies, only to have my memory erased when I was brought back to protect mankind from knowing too much, but that seems unlikely, alas. It's more probable that a combination of too much work, too little sleep and not enough guilt-free fun is the culprit. The recent days have been so mind-numbingly dull that they've all blended together into one long, boring afternoon of tapping on a keyboard at work in my mind. *sigh*


I've decided to fix that this weekend by sleeping a lot, starting some neat knitting projects that I've had in mind for a while and watching silly funny stuff (such as half a dozen episodes of Arrested Development). Gaming, fine crusted port and icecream may also be involved. But mostly, I'll just be sleeping. Brain. So. Tired.

knitted red viking or celtic inspired knotwork headband However, as my brain is currently buzzing with too much caffeine to sleep, I figured I'd get things started by making a knotwork headband. I'll be making a few more soon too. This is a style I've done before, as I figured it'd be smart to start with something familiar. I've really missed knitting something intricate like this, few things are more satisfying to do.

So, here's hoping for a relaxing weekend!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Happy Birthday Cake

My brother turned one year older and it was only right and just that he have a cake. As we now live in the same city, I decided that the job of making him a cake was mine.

A cake was indeed created and happily, dear brother approved of it:

Want to know how you too can make a brother-approved cake? Read on!

First, a basic cake was made:

1. About 75 g (about 2 1/2 oz) butter was melted and left to cool.

2. Then 3 eggs and 3 dl (1 1/4 cup) sugar were beaten together until white and fluffy-ish.

3. The dry ingredients (4 1/2 (a little under 2 cups) dl flour, 3 tsp baking powder and 2 tsp vanilla sugar) were mixed together, then added to the beaten eggs & sugar.

4. Finally, about 1 dl (a little under 1/2 cup) water and the melted & cooled butter were mixed into the batter.

5. The batter was poured into a greased and floured cake tin (24 cm or 9 1/2 inches in diameter) and baked in 175°C (347°F) for about 45 mins.

Once the cake had cooled down, the fun part started! I cut it in half and moistened the bottom layer by spreading a bit of fruit juice (including orange, pineapple, apple and passionfruit) evenly over it with a tablespoon. Then I spread on a layer of apricot marmelade and finally covered it with vanilla custard. The top layer went on and was moistened in the same way.

The cake went into the fridge for about 8 hours to set and let the juice spread evenly throughout the layers. It probably would have been better to have it in there overnight, but oh well. Will do that another time.

Just before serving, it was time for the final touches. Vanilla-flavoured whipped cream was liberally applied to the whole cake and decorated with mandarin orange slices. Voilà!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A random moment of happy

On the way home from work yesterday I decided to go along the route that had the most pretty colourful autumn leaves. This was the best idea I've had so far this week. (Which isn't saying much, considering my crappy start for the week, but anyway.)

The sun was shining, the trees were beautiful in the sunlight and the piles of colourful leaves on the ground made me want to jump around in them. I walked through parks and streets lined with huge maples and other trees, going from one gorgeous scene to another.

It was a good walk. It made me happy.

PS: Alas, no camera was present at the time. Not that I could have captured it all anyway. It's a thing to experience, not show. To keep with the theme though, here's a picture of an autumny tree in the yard.

PPS: I keep skipping through and jumping around in piles of leaves on the way to work. I may look silly, but it's fun. I'm pretty sure that when I stop doing this, I will have grown old.

PPPS: Autumn is brilliant.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Fishy Project at 3 months

Well, it's been about 3 months since I got the big fish tank. Time to do an update, don't you think?

Behold the great dwelling of fishies as it is today. It's come along quite nicely since the last photos on the blog, I think! A bit more moss, a bit more growth by the plants in the background and I will be a happy girl indeed.

I thought I'd show off a few of my older fish, who moved into this big one from my other aquariums. Here's a horseface loach hanging out in front of a couple of Sterba's cories. There's a nice horde of cories in here, almost 30 of them, which also includes emerald green and bronze cories. Between them and the Synodontis catfish, it gets pretty lively during feeding times!

Here's another "oldie": Igor, the starlight bristlenose. She may look all pretty and dainty, but you don't want to get between her and her food. Trust me. Even the bigger fish are wary of her.

Fishmeat, the gorgeous but temperamental janitor of the tank. Fishmeat's not the same as the red-finned shark in the previous update, sadly Redeyes Jr jumped out of the tank the night after that post was made. :( The aquarium needed a red-finned cleaner though, so Fishmeat arrived.

(I carefully picked Fishmeat out from about two dozen individuals as the one who was the most interested in cleaning and the least interested in chasing others. I'm sure the girl selling him was reeeeal happy with me, having her catch a specific one among dozens of nearly identical-looking fish. She got the right one though (very nice service) and Fishmeat has proven to be a very good choice. As you can see, he won't stay still even long enough to have his picture taken and instead continues to clean the plants.)

The tetras don't much care for staying still either, so here's the best photo I got of them. I've had the glowlight tetras for a few years, but the rummy-nose tetras (guess which they are, ha) are a new acquaintance that has been on my wishlist for years. The photo shows about a third of the tetras - no way could I get them all in the same shot.

(Also shown: a swordplant leaf chomped on by Igor. She protests visibly if she feels it's been too long since her last zucchini or other veggie delight.)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

An autumn look for the balcony

Yup, it's definitely autumn here. One of my favourite seasons normally, only so far there's been a little too much rain and not enough colourful leaves for my taste. Oh well.

As it's been getting colder, it was time to bring in the ivies before it turned freezing at night. I figured I may as well do a big autumn overhaul at the same time and planted a few pretty things.

This is the balcony's autumn look. The summer flowers were getting pretty sad-looking, so their box was replaced with one full of heather (Calluna to be more exact). I like!

The plants closer to the wall are still doing surprisingly well, seen here in the corner on the right. The vine (apparently woodbine or thicket creeper in English) has yet to get its red autumn colour and the petunia and dahlia on that side of the balcony are still flowering. Even the thyme in the tiny basket is still hanging on.

Now here's something I'm pretty excited about. On the left are what I hope to see early next spring rising from the big basket on the right: crocuses, daffodils and tulips in pretty colours. The tulips and daffodils are planted in the middle with the crocuses around them. Once it gets a little bit warmer next spring they'll sprout and ta-daa, a spot of colour before the summer flowers!

I put the basket in a cardboard box filled with styrofoam, hopefully that will keep them from getting too cold. Eventually, when the weather turns freezing, I'll cover the basket with... something. Yeah, I'm not too sure of how to do all this correctly, I'm just experimenting really. Wish me luck and let me know if you have any tips!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...