Thursday, July 29, 2010

Peruvian Chic

As most of you undoubtedly know, I spent the month of June venturing across Peru and Bolivia cohorting with Llamas and Alpacas as I went. Peru, it must be said, is straight out of any Knitwit's wildest dream. Every single street or market is filled with an array of knitwear made from the softest Alpaca wool. Every single colour under the sun is on show and most importantly for a Crafty Student like myself, the luscious knitwear also comes at a rather lusciously cheap price.

Pavements in both Peru and Bolivia were lined with stallholders selling everything under the sun from torches to sweets. Regardless of what they were selling, they always had one thing in common, all the women would be knitting. They were making beautiful things employing some of the most complicated intarsia I have ever seen. It was fabulous. Unfortunately most of them were quite shy and didn't want their photo taken. But I have a lovely mental picture of it all resting safely under my ginger mop!

Here are photos of me modelling my Peruvian purchases. Unfortunately I was unable to coax anyone else into strutting it for the camera so it is my "wonderful" face that you will have to look at. Not one of the jumpers cost over €9.00 and the hats and hairbands were about €2.00. I'm thrilled with all the jumpers. I know they'll help me to fend off the chilly Irish winter, I'll be safe in a Peruvian snuggle-land! Enjoy:

Have a great day everyone! Enjoy the summer x

Thursday, July 22, 2010

An Adventure in Stallholding, The Bretzel Bakery

I don't doubt that all you loyal readers have noticed my obsession with baked goods over the course of reading posts here at Crafty Students. You will not be surprised therefore to learn that I have recently been working for a bakery. Dublin's institution, the Bretzel Bakery have recently begun selling their bread at The Point Village Market ( and I have been working on the stall.

Walking into the bakery at eight AM the first morning to collect the bread I was wonderfully awoken from my groggy early morning stupor by the thick, warm, comforting smell of hundreds of loaves of freshly baked bread, waiting on rows and rows of racks waiting to be delivered to the kitchen tables of Dublin's bread lovers. Having packed the car with numerous different types of bread including beauties such as the turnover, the Bretzel twist, country store, , whole grain, sourdough, sourdough rye, granary and 100% rye I set off for a day full of interesting people and tasty nibbles of bread samples. The white fluffy turnover won my heart over the other more exotic choices... I'm clearly a traditionalist, ha! listen to me, bread choices reflecting personality, maybe thats going a bit far? I realize that my descriptive choice of calling these loaves "beauties" might seem ridiculous especially to those belonging to the white sliced pan brigade. However, I assure you it is completely fitting to bread that has been carefully baked in a small bakery on a side street of Portobello, using real ingredients (no dodgy stuff whatsoever) and recepes akin to those used traditionally by Dublin bakers since the bakery's inception in 1870.

Blogger's Kindness

The lovely Beth over at Aesthetic Delights has kindly featured us in a post! Click here and check it out: Thanks so much Beth! :-)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A spot of afternoon tea... Hippie style!

It is always nice to find a spot where a knit-wit can find shelter from the tumbling rains of Dublin, kick off her saturated shoes, cuddle up on squishy cushions, peruse through a twenty page long menu of tea, pour from the most beautiful teapots, sip from tiny tea bowls, knit a few rows and play a furious game of scrabble.
That place is undoubtedly the Tea Garden. It's on Ormond Quay and here's their website It's a lovely place to relax and you can stay there for hours upon end without any hassle sipping on cup after cup of fantastic tea. It's amazing to find a place where afternoon tea consists of sitting on the ground with crossed legs surrounded by earthy teapots rather than the traditional prim and proper hotel setting!
I have also heard through the grape vine that there's a knitting club in the Tea Garden so I'm about to do some sleuthing. I couldn't imagine a more perfect place to get my knitting groove on. Watch this space! As soon as I know the details of this elusive club, I shall post.

I just finished off the scarf I'm knitting in the photo below. I bought the wool at the Knitting and Stitching show in the RDS a couple of years ago. It was a dream to knit. Thick wool and big needles meant that a ball of wool became a scarf in a mere two days. Fabulous!
Thanks a million to Yasmin Ahmed for taking the photos. She has quite the talent for making my not so wonderful camera work some magic! I think we definitely have a budding photographer.

Here's the picture that Sarah did for me as her part of the craft swap in my earlier post:
I absolutely love it! I asked her to do it as a present for Mi Madre who adored it. She gave it pride of place in the kitchen which is the centre of our house and is delighted to show it off to anyone who comes in! Thank you Sarah, you are far too talented for words :)

I hope all you Dublin-dwellers survive the rain! Enjoy the weekend.

Love Bríd x

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dessert Delight!

Spring has rolled into summer causing college exams to fade away and law books to be placed at the back of a dusty cupboard not to be opened until September arrives bringing with it the challenge of finals. Oh joy! Most people choose to enjoy the summer, relax, recuperate and maybe do a little bit of work. Unfortunately I happen to be a lady with her mind on the money. Delightfully capitalistic I am! To feed my desire for cash, I'm currently working three jobs. By day I'm working in a solicitor's office, by night I'm a waitress and by weekend I'm working in Past Times. It's a hectic lifestyle for someone as small as I!

Naturally I have absolutely no free time so when I have to bake I need something quick that will also offer a high level of nom nom. In my world, the quality of a baked good is based on the scale of nom nom. The more times you nom when eating it, the better it is :) Mars Bar squares have proved themselves worthy of my love, admiration and nomming. Fabulously delicious and fat-filled. They are rocking my world at the moment. I baked them twice in one week for Sarah's present and to bring to our friend Rachel's bbq. They're quick, easy and delectable. They have the Bríd seal of approval and are befitting of a baker with no time on her little hands.

Here's the recipe:


6 x 65g Mars Bars
200g Butter
200g Rice Crispies
250g Milk Chocolate

  • Cut the butter and Mars Bars into small chunks and place in a saucepan. Put over a low heat and stir with a balloon whisk until melted.
  • Add the Mars Bars/butter mixture to the Rice Crispies in a large bowl. Stir well until all ingredients are combined.
  • Put into a lined tin 30cmx20cmx5cm and press down with the palm of your hand until firm.
  • Melt the chocolate either in a microwave on low for one to two minutes, or over a saucepan of simmering water.
  • Pour over the biscuits, spread evenly with a palate knife and leave to set.
  • When set turn out on a board and cut into squares.
  • Et c'est fini!

Most importantly, the answer to the question is ALWAYS to nom!


Love Bríd x x

Monday, July 5, 2010

Stay Up And Make Something

Today I am a sleepy mess as I stayed up for hours last night working on my newest headpiece. The headpiece is a commission so my perfectionism was having a wild old time while my weary body shuddered in the knowledge of the long drawn out night ahead. During the night good old Brid linked me to the picture below. Very apt indeed and cute too so I thought I'd post it. Pictures of the headpiece to follow on completion... if that ever happens! *shudder*

I do feel though that this image should be intrinsically linked in cyber space with this one below. If you do burn the midnight oil remember...

Natalie :-)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

An Assortment of Crafty Gifts for a Crafty Lady!

The following crafty combinations are a result of two recent events in the life of Sarah! Firstly Sarah and I engaged in another of our much loved craft swaps. Then it was her birthday so a collection of little gifts was most certainly in order.

I was totally inspired by Nat's compilation of bows as seen in an earlier post: Shopping for ribbons was such a sumptuous experience. So many different textures, widths, colours and styles to choose from. Sarah has the most amazing long dark hair which definitely helped to incite my newfound bow fetish. Nat kindly inducted me into the world of bows by sitting down and giving me a little lesson about looping, tying, sewing and sticking the swathes of organza, transforming them from vertical lines to an adorable little bow.

Sarah is an avid fan of L'Occitane's rose scented range so I had to get her another item to add to her fast-expanding collection! All I'm going to say is that I bow to L'Occitane's wrapping skills. Wow, just wow. They certainly know how to wrap a present!

The next part of the present is the shopper bag. This bag comprises my first attempts at both using a sewing machine and at cross-stitching. A little while ago I was bored and eager to embark on new adventures in craft-land so I decided to dabble in some cross-stitching. To be completely honest, I wouldn't see myself as a cross-stitch convert. I found it a little dull and repetitive but I must admit that I do love the end result. The neat little lines appeal to the OCD in me! In short, I'm not a fan of the process but I do like the finished product. My jury is still out on cross-stitching. The Machiavellian question remains... Does the end justify the means? Hmmm!

Then my crafting guru, Nat, once again imparted her wisdom onto me and introduced me to the wonder that is the sewing machine. Oh wow. I cannot believe I have lived my entire life to date not knowing how to use one of these babies. After about twenty scraps of material filled with wonky lines and appalling tension later I was sewing straight lines. It was a beautiful moment. All I can say is that Nat has the patience of every saint in the bible combined! Then we moved onto the material for the bag and I was managing grand and sewing away like a proper little seamstress until we reached the framing for the ladybird. Then things got ugly. I won't go into it. Craft stress ensued. All of you crafters will understand the horror that is craft stress. There's nothing quite as terrible as that feeling of frustration, stress and anger when crafting isn't going your way! But with Nat's fine-tuned skills and patient instruction, I managed to give my little ladybird a frame to live in. Must say that I'm very pleased with how he turned out and I was almost tempted to keep him for my own use but I knew Sarah's shopping needed some ladybird lovin' and so I parted with it!
I have to admit that my seamstress within is itching for release once again and because the weather in Dublin is currently sort of sunny I'm thinking I need to make a little sun dress to celebrate the rare lack of rain!

I felt that a craft present from Bríd wouldn't be quite right without one of my trademark roses. Sarah is quite the fan of pink so I knitted the flower in pink and then did the leaves in wool with an Eastern vibe running through which complemented the pink perfectly. Then I sewed it onto a brooch pin and thus a brooch was born! Thanks to Rosa for being my model.

Here's a picture of Sarah with her pile of Bríd craft:

Now I shall continue to ponder my next venture with my NBF (New Best Friend) the sewing machine. I think I'm also about to Zzzzzzz...

Night Night my dears!

Bríd x x

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

These brownies were made for the adorable Rachel Mac Cann who threw an epic summer BBQ last Friday.

And for your own personal enjoyment, here's the recipe. Get baking!


200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
200g unsalted butter
250g caster sugar
4 eggs
110g plain flour

Melt the chocolate and allow to cool a little.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Continue to whisk adding eggs and flour gradually. Stir in the melted, partially cooled chocolate. Spread the mixture into the bottom of a 22 x 22 x 8cm tin. Be sure to grease it first. 


400g cream cheese
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 drop of vanilla essence
120g raspberries

Whisk cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla together. Spread ontop of brownie mixture. Sprinkle raspberries over the top. 

Cook @ gas mark 2, 150C for 45 mins.


The suggested amount of raspberries delivers only one or ocassionally two raspberries per slice. I reccomend using half again as much.

It is vital not to get frustrated with the low heat and resultant long cooking time required. 45 minutes as suggested was not sufficient for the brownies to cook through. Whatever you do DO NOT up the heat in quest of a quick result as this will undoubtedly result in a burnt cheescake layer and a soggy uncooked brownie one. Be patient! Don't forget to preheat your oven try cooking just the brownie layer for ten minutes before you add the topping in order to give it a little head start and prevent a soggy base to your little gems.

Instead of 100g 70% solids chocolate I used 50g 70% and 50g dairy milk. The recipie is a rich one, a brownie recipe calling for four eggs and no rising agent is unquestionably going to be dense, no point making it too rich also or it would be unenjoyable. 

There is no way one drop of vanilla essence is enough, the taste would be utterly overcome by that of the cream cheese. Use one teaspoon instead. 


First two photos courtesy of Mr Ross McSherry, check some of his stuff out here: