Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day Thirty one - Macaroni penguin hat

Last week someone asked me to make a 'silly' penguin hat for them. So, my immediate thought was of those shaman headdresses, with the animal pelt down the back and the coyote skull resplendent above the forehead. I really wanted to do a penguin version of that. I'll admit, I spent quite a bit of time imagining what a penguin would look like skinned (as an aside, I can't believe no one makes penguin-skin rugs, not even with fake penguins).

I'm afraid the hat came off less shaman, and more novelty headwear from the gift shop at Penguin World. Have a look at what I mean.

 Looking at the underside of the skinned penguin..

 This is a hat that just screams nonchalence.

A side view, sort of. I did consider doing a panoramic video like with the murloc hat, but wasn't sure the internet would be able to handle more than one dose of such photogenic awesomeness.

 One of the funny things about this hat (unintentionally) is that if a slighter taller person looks at the hat wearer, it can actually look like they have a penguin head. See, here's me and Ronnie demonstrating.

The white 'brim' of the hat has been double felted to make it stiffer, and it just feels like a floppy summer hat, albeit with a penguin on top. I like the brim.  Not sure how it will fare on the larger head of the intended hat receiver though.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day Thirty - Dalek Kan

I'm just going to come out and say it. It simply isn't possible to make a 2 foot tall realistic dalek out of 76 coke cans (and, see picture below, a couple of Adnams).

I always planned for Dalek Kan to be the last day, but seeing as I remembered that there are 31 days in March there will be one more thing tomorrow.

 It is also nigh on impossible to get a good picture of what basically amounts to the shiniest thing in existence.

A close up of the whisk

Looking up the Dalek's skirt (oo er) before the base was added.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day Twenty nine - Milton Brewery cake

Of the many talents my family has, genetics decided not to pass all of them on to me. I can't draw, I can't go to sea without feeling sea sick, and I can't keep an immaculately clean bin in my front parlour.

But what my mum and dad did between them give is the ability to drink alcohol and commemorate the Best Pub in Cambridge with a beer cake.

If you look carefully I was far too impatient with the minotaur himself and actually managed to crack the design, so that messed up a bit. Oops.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day Twenty eight - Tetrahedral kite

Alexander Graham Bell made tetrahedral kites in the early 1900s to disprove the theory that size detrimentally effected a flying machine's ability to get off the ground.
I made one just to use up some of the 224 drinking straws left over from Mother's Day. So, hey, £1.19 worth of straws and half a dozen recycled plastic bags - this is a very cheap project and kinda therapeutic. Probably would be a lovely thing to do if you had children.

I read that this flies well, even from standing. I stood in the garden and threw it in the air, but it didn't take off, so it may need a *bit* more wind.

Also! In your face sugar craft eggs. I totally (finally) nailed the panoramic easter egg. Bear in mind, this was supposed to have a lot more fancy icing on it and a little bunny or something on the inside. But as it is a bonus, you can make do with the little flowers framing the hole and not complain. Needless to say, if I wanted to make an awesome cutesy panoramic egg, I now know I could.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day Twenty seven - A Day in the Life of Poppy

My life in finger puppets. Now with added accessories!

Poppy Trivia: I made James finger kiss Leia finger. Bwa ha ha.

First person I am likely to see is this chap zooming past me on his bike. This is Jon, my next door neighbour and work colleague. His accessory is Jacc, the cat, but to clarify, he usually isn't holding Jacc when he passes me on his bike. Being only 3mm big and made of felt I haven't been able to do them justice, but I should explain that this whole finger is actually a homage to Jon's crazy metal shoes.

This is James, Keeper of the Copyrights emeritus. He is holding an artichoke. Best not to ask. Generally we spend the day arguing on diverse subjects, including but not limited to the following:  whether by multiplying a number by 0 you are slowly eroding away the existence of that number in the abstract; whether Mariah Carey is cleverer than Einstein; whether it is a basic human right for a person to be able to get another person to clean their ears at a moment's notice; whether it is quite proper for cousin Mary to marry Matthew. I hope it is obvious where I came down on most of those discussions.

Sorry to pick on Rob again so soon after forcing cake on him, but of all the barmen I know he is by far the most caricaturable. Yes, he is wearing a NMA tshirt, has his khakis and boots on, and he is holding a guitar. But I think it is the fluffy hair that makes him recognisable.


Say hello to Mike and Steve. It is fair to say that there is a good chance, in an average day I will see them. I'm quite proud of Mike's dreads. I tried to count how many he has in real life to make it as accurate as possible, but he kept moving. Steve is on the wine for a while and is wearing his red cravat under the Barber jacket. I resisted the urge to give him teeth!

Steve's hair is fluffier than I would have liked.

Bonus finger!
Remember Salad fingers? He came about because I was going to make Star Wars fingers, but then changed my mind. I planned to make Salad Finger's finger puppets (you smell like soot and poo Hubert Cumberdale) but then I realised I'd positioned his fingers in a pointing pose rather than a talking to fingers one. So, from there I decided I had to make finger puppets for a different day, and unique ones at that. Anyway, here - to come full circle - is the Leia I made. She is pretty rudimentary in comparison.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day Twenty six - an impromptu non-christmas wreath

I was no end of miffed today because I have spent the last two days trying to make a less cutesy version of these but they kept collapsing. So chucked together from spare flowers that I have lying around, a white and silver wreath that is trying very hard not to be christmasy. I think the ribbon should have been pale blue.
Proper one tomorrow, I promise.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day Twenty five - Baby hedgehog pin cushion

I was going to make something else today, but this morning I lost my needle one too many times and decided to make a pin cushion with some offcuts. Shame I didn't make this at the beginning of the month.

You know those pictures of adorable baby hedgehogs all curled up in a ball, like this one? With this you see nothing but a brown ball to put your pins in at first, but when you roll it over there is a snuggled baby hedgehog all curled up inside (the bottom of the cushion is flush - there is a recess in the towelling for his little paws and head, although the ears stick out the bottom a bit!)

He came out a tiny bit bigger than planned, but hey ho, all the more party space for the pins!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day Twenty four - Baked Nebraska

Challenge accepted.

So today I have deconstructed the baked nebraska (and will hopefully not die as a result). The components are:
- Beef from Scotland
- Whipped peppered garlic cream (with blended roasted garlic and lots of green, black and pink peppercorns stirred through).
- Ice cream in a mustard tuile in the middle of the plate (made very slightly sweet with whole grain mustard, chili, garlic and parsley, so basically a sort of chimichurri ice cream. It is hard to see in the picture, but I made a little mustard and parmesan tuile to put the ice cream in.)
- Rhubarb, poached in port, muscavado and bay leaf. Although this is not mentioned in the original recipe, I decided to use it on an impulse, and I am glad I did.

And I have to say - I was a fan of the ice cream and beef together. That was surprisingly nice. Highlights were the popping of the semi frozen wholegrain as you bit into them, and the sudden realisation in each mouthful of the heat coming through the cold chilis merging with the beef.
The cream was odd. Perhaps I should have made it more like a creamy pepper sauce, rather than a flavoured whipped cream dollop.

Poppy Trivia: If I have told you recently that I was too busy to do [x], I was likely churning my own home made chimichurri ice cream at the time. No ice cream machine for me, so this was a weekend of whipping the heck out of my ice cream custard every half hour.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Day Twenty three - A wall hanging heart thingy.

It has been a while since the coke cans have made an appearance.


Ah, tweeness.
I think there should really be three of these dangling in a bunch at different heights, but I couldn't be bothered to make them today. Curling the petals made my fingers a bit sore.Also, I really couldn't get a good picture - the silver flowers are lost against the white frame, be assured though, they are all individual and perfectly curled!

Trivia: Spending more than 5 minutes on the Cath Kidston website makes my eyelid twitch. It is the visual equivalent of trying to breathe in Lush.
Materials: Coke cans, old pillow case, stuffing, beads

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day Twenty-two - Thunder & Consolation cake

Not to be boastful but this was actually harder to do than it looks, you have to outline the design with icing on parchment paper, let it dry, fill it in with a flood icing, let that dry for a week and then Very Carefully peel off and attach to the cake. With the number of white line joins going on in this it was essential to make sure they all joined up perfectly or the red icing would escape.

Trivia: The cake is cocoa-stout flavoured, the buttercream is vanilla and the top design actually tastes of raspberries strangely.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day Twentyone - cuddly Salad Fingers

If you don't know who this little fellow is, thank your lucky stars. This is Salad Fingers and he is the creepiest post-apocalyptic cartoon character on the internet. He likes rusty spoons.

Trivia: this project originally started as Star Wars finger puppets, before I realised they have been done to death. I do have a Leia finger tho.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day Twenty - An equinoxical watermelon

The sad thing was I wasn't able to get one of the massive melons on Mill Road for this, and being rather ball-shaped the detail at the top is lost. The tree bursts into a shower of leaves above the sun and moon. Still, I prefer this angle where you can see the writing better. Had I had a larger medium to work on I would have done things slightly different to make it obvious that it is day and night - sort of yellow hare and green background on the moon side, and yellow sky and green hare/daff on the sun side.

This is my own design by the way - albeit with influences from various equinox drawings

Trivia: Watermelon smoothies are quite nice with a pinch of cayenne.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day Nineteen - A metal gift bow

Because nothing says Merry Christmas I love you, like a razor sharp gift bow. Just joking, it isn't sharp edged really.

Tho I am not sure I can see the benefit of having an indestructible bow - if I reuse it every year, am I really doing my bit for the environment? Is there a massive landfill site somewhere full of one-use gift bows??

Trivia: This is another idea from the aluminart book of which I spoke previously.
Materials: one coke can.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 18 - Mother's Day Card

This one is for my awesome mum.  This card is an in-joke that if you knew the story behind you would find hilarious, I am sure. Let us just say, it involves a 5year old Poppy, a man with a mustache and a straw-making factory

Trivia: It turns out it is nigh on impossible to buy a green straw in Cambridge. Don't even think about asking at PartyMania - they will look at you as though you are an idiot.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day Seventeen - Eggs in Purgatory

Today is St Patrick's day, and you know how people say that Christmas has lost its meaning and all that? I think this day is much worse in that regard. When did it start being about wearing silly hats and getting drunk? More importantly when did it stop being about snakes? Come on, let's reflect awhile on that cave into Purgatory that Patrick found!
Saying which, I found a recipe called Uove en Purgatorio, which is basically eggs poached in tomatoes. I made that and was going to make that today's thing. But it wasn't that photogenic and I have been wanting to make this for a while so... I tricked you - it isn't eggs in purgatory at all! 

Apparently there is an Irish cocktail called a carbomb - baileys and whiskey dropped in guinness. It is said that if you can drink it before it curdles, it is lovely. Here it is as a cupcake. The cake is not at all sweet, flavoured with cocoa and stout. It has a dark chocolate and whiskey fondant filling and the buttercream icing on top is liberally dosed with Baileys. Hic.

Trivia: Darby O'Gill And The Little People may well be one of the funniest films ever. Watch this clip and try to contradict me. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Day Sixteen - Cheese platter and macaroni cheese.

Today is a bit of a rest day. The pictures below are from a cheese platter I did a few weeks ago. The butter was homemade, as was the bread. Accompanying the cheese was caramelised red onion and port chutney and coleslaw (both also homemade, of course!) With - obviously - a little mouse garnish

The cheeses were applewood, gouda, emmantal, brie, stilton and a strong cheddar. The leftovers, of which there was a lot were frozen (don't freeze your cheese unless you don't mind losing the texture) and I made a lovely macaroni cheese for today. With a buttery garlic bread (the bread was bought, but the garlic filling wasn't). I used Heston's cheese sauce recipe, if anyone is interested, which uses wine and stock for the base and cornflour for the thickener. It is nice.

So, this one isn't so photogenic or make-y and was more for my benefit than yours but, hey, I'm not your dancing monkey to perform on command.

Trivia: homemade butter is right fun to make!

Check out this cute little fella, he has his own little wedge of cheese.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day Fifteen - A Tardis Card

To celebrate getting half way through the month, a poorly executed stroke of genius - a card that has more rooms on the inside than it should.

An important point. The concept of the card having lots of rooms is not my idea, but something a lot of people have done on the internet, such as here. But, as far as I can see no one has actually put Doctor Who pictures in them, just coloured the rooms different colours. Secondly, I said before that I can't draw and I really can't - only copy. So, the doctors in this are copied from caricatures I got from the internet. At the moment, I can't find the sources, but when I do, I will link to them. I know that is a bit naughty, but I am sure they won't mind considering the small audience I have.
What *is* mine, is the drawing of the tardis in the final room (wish I could have had all the doctors in there shouting surprise! but that is beyond me) the marrying of the two ideas, and the text that goes with the pictures. So, a video to prove all rooms are in one tardis and then close ups of each of the rooms.

Poppy Trivia: I clearly don't understand the concept of colouring. Someone with some artistic ability should run with this idea.

 Door slightly ajar, as though welcoming you in (or badly cut)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day fourteen - Sierpinski Fractal Cakes

Because who *doesn't* celebrate Sierpinski's birthday?!  The cakes aren't actually fractal, and  they melted/expanded a bit, but they were still yummy!

Trivia: Sierpinski was born today. Also it is American pi day and save a spider day. Celebrate in whichever way you choose.

This one melted into a big cookie pizza...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day Thirteen - Greek Woven Football

One for the boys. Beer and football. Football made from beer!

The holes match the pentagons on a football, tho you can't really see that here. In fact, yep, this is pretty crap. Look, go back and look at yesterday's, yesterday was cool. I've spent most of the day with my mind on something else, I'm tired.

Poppy Trivia: I drank the beer.
Materials: Beer.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day Twelve - AT-AT herb planter

First thing I must say is that the concept for this is not mine. It was originally from Bonnie Burton's Star Wars craft book Not owning the book I don't know exactly how this is made, but internet scuttlebutt is that the legs are pringles tins just stuck onto a herb planter with a fast food container as a head, all duct taped up. I like to think mine is better as I added the AT-AT shape to the body/herb planter and the legs are square.

Poppy trivia: the cardboard used in this (all duct taped up obviously for waterproofability) was from that big ol' box I got - remember this picture?
Materials: cans, cardboard, a skewer and 24.5 metres of duct tape.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day Eleven - Mood Monitor Man/ Emotion Totem

I've been thinking for a whileabout a little coke can man with which you can show your mood by turning his facial expressions around. This gawky little fella is the prototype. I know he doesn't work, I think it would be better if he was square and had an open top head. Also I probably should invest in some eye stickers, it is hard to draw on cans. Once he is perfected I think he'd be cute on your desk. I was considering trying the above modifications today, but every surface in the house is sticky after yesterday, the guinea pigs feel neglected and I have to work out how to cook brisket, for dinner tonight. (As well as tidy my cupboards in an attempt to locate my yorkshire pudden tin.)

Glad I have tomorrow booked off from work!

Trivia: those are his shoes at the bottom, not boobs. He just has a very short body..
Materials: 2 coke cans