Saturday, 22 February 2014

SIPIDI - See It, Pin It, Do it

I am on a team on the UK Scrappers forums called the Inky Minxes. Our team leader is Fiona, whose blog is Staring at the Sea. She has challenged us all to See It, Pin It, Do It and that means taking an idea that we've pinned on Pinterest and actually do it rather than just collecting ideas. How sensible is that?

I found a lovely idea for making a cake in a mug in the microwave, but have struggled to find a recipe that works for me and DH. So I've been playing with my own recipes. My first attempt was a dried-out, slightly burned, rubbery failure, but today I had another go and tweaked it a little and it was quite yummy. It began as gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free, but then I added chocolate chips and some Stone's ginger wine on a whim, and it promptly stopped being sugar-free and child-friendly!

Here is where I got it from, and these are my tweaks.

3 minute gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free microwave chocolate cake

All measurements are level tablespoonfuls.

3 tbsp rice flour
1 tbsp arrowroot
2 tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened
4 tbsp agave nectar
1 large egg
3 tbsp Stone's ginger wine (or dairy-free milk)
2 tbsp olive oil
a handful of chocolate drops (optional)

Sift all the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl and mix. Add the wet ingredients and mix well together. I used a whisk. Sprinkle the chocolate chips onto the mixture.

Microwave on high for 3 minutes. My microwave is 1000W which is quite a powerful one. Last time I think I overcooked it, so this time I put it in for 2 minutes, then another 30 seconds, then another 30 seconds, and it was just right. Not very pretty at this stage. I let it rest for a couple of minutes to finish cooking.

Turn out and serve.

We had ours with an Alpro vanilla soy dessert which took the place of custard, and it was all quite delicious. Very chocolatey.

I'm looking forward to next month's SIPIDI. I already have an idea. If any of my readers want to join in, just let Fiona know by commenting on her blog, and she will add your blog posts to her SIPIDI Pinterest board. Hopefully she'll get a nice collection of really achievable things, created by normal people rather than Martha Stewart!

Friday, 14 February 2014


Over at Scrap Whispers this week, the challenge is a horizontal band of circles, inspired by Jenn K's beautiful LO where she has put her photos in the circles. My inspiration LO goes in a slightly different direction, and is based on one photo and a sketch from this week's UK Scrappers challenge.

I was in the local church choir before we moved to Singapore, and I still kept in touch with them. After two years, one of our dear basses e-mailed me to say that he, his wife and daughter were stopping over in Singapore on their way to Australia, and could we meet up? We had a lovely day walking around Chinatown and taking a boat trip down the Singapore River, before jet-lag took them over and they had to go back to the hotel and rest.

That was 7 years ago, and I'm back in the choir, and that dear bass now sits right behind me. He still talks about that day, but I think his over-riding recollection is of the exhaustion rather than the country!

Isn't the sketch a lovely one? So versatile - I can see myself using that one again, maybe the other way up. I really like those banners.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Friday, 7 February 2014

British weather

Can I just show you this?

You may have seen on the news that the UK is being lashed by storm system after storm system over this winter. Many parts, including the Somerset Levels near where we live, have been evacuated due to flooding. A section of a coast railway in Dawlish on the south coast has been completely washed away leaving parts of the south west isolated by rail. People have been swept away by enormous waves.

It is not cold. It is mild but soaking wet, with wind speeds of up to 90mph as each storm system comes over - and we're getting them every few days.

I found this website which illustrates in a dramatic way what is going to hit us over the next few days.

This was the storm we had 2 days ago that destroyed the railway:

If you have a few minutes to play, go and check it out. And send up a few prayers for those poor people who are facing evacuation from their homes, and looting to add insult to injury.

Too much sadness

Tuesday 4th February was Cancer Awareness Day. It was also the day that my friend Jen lost her K9 Cop husband to complications from leukaemia.

Phil was diagnosed only last autumn, shortly before Jen lost her mother to Motor Neurone Disease (ALS). He went through one round of chemotherapy but it didn't work, and he had just been admitted for the second treatment. He was doing well, good appetite, positive, cheerful until Sunday when he went downhill very quickly, and passed away early on Tuesday. He leaves three heartbroken girls.

Down the road from us, Rev. John celebrated his 90th birthday last July. He went to be with God this week as well. He used to be in my church choir, so as designated choir card-maker, I made both cards the same.

May God bless their souls and give strength and peace to those they leave behind.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Mini backpack album

Have a look at this!

I created it as inspiration for Challenge #165 at Scrap Whispers, but I wanted to show it off here as well.

I used the tutorial originally featured back in 2010 here. Back then I used it to make this darling little backpack album for Anmarie, and of course it was to give away, but it was so pretty I didn't want to part with it!

And now all this time later, I've got round to making one for myself. I'm entering it into this week's Papertake Weekly challenge which is "anything goes", so I hope they accept it. And Stampin' for the Weekend's challenge this week is "anything but a card" which this fits neatly.

Want to make your own? Go for it! I've linked the tutorial and my other example, and if you enter it into the Scrap Whispers Challenge, you will be in with a chance of winning the prize in the draw at the end of March.