Vegan Lebkuchen Recipe

To celebrate the holiday season I'm going to share with you a vegan lebkuchen recipe that is to die for, and so easy to make!

Lebkuchen is a german baked product similar to gingerbread that is traditionally eaten around the Christmas period. It has a soft texture similar to a dense cake but is baked like a biscuit/cookie.

Makes 24 appx

  • 285g plain flour
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch each of ground cloves , grated nutmeg and black pepper
  • 200ml agave nectar
  • 85g non-dairy margarine
  • Zest of 1 lemon
For the topping:

100g dark chocolate
Up to 50ml agave nectar
Icing sugar to dust

The How To
  • Tip the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Heat the agave nectar and margarine in a pan over a low heat until the margarine melts, then pour into the flour mixture along with the lemon zest. Mix well until the dough is combined and fairly solid. Cover and leave to cool.
  • Heat oven to 180C/fan160C/gas 4. Using your hands, roll dough into balls, each 3cm wide, then flatten each one slightly into a disk. Divide the biscuits between two baking trays lined with baking paper, leaving room for them to expand. Bake for 15 mins, then cool on a wire rack.
  • For the topping, heat some water in a pan and place a heat proof dish over the pan. Put the dark chocolate into the heat proof dish and slowly melt it. Once melted, add up to 50ml of agave nectar to achieve a smooth texture. Top each biscuit with the melted chocolate mixture and then leave to cool. Dust with icing sugar for a particularly festive look.
There is one picture in existence of these lebkuchen but, sadly, I don't have it. Hopefully you can trust me that they are delicious without needing to see them!

Facebook Sell Out to McDonald's

So it seems that Facebook has totally sold out to MacDonald's. Every time I look at my home page on Facebook, I see a McDonald's advert on the right, telling me that Chicken McNuggets rule or McFlurry is the coolest. Any semi-intelligent person, let alone animal rights advocate, knows that this is not the case. The only good thing to ever come out of McDonald's is Ronald, and that's just because he's creepy and makes small children cry.

I have told Facebook (by using the handy little x in the top right of the advert)that I find these adverts offensive and that I think they are sell-outs but they keep appearing. Either the Facebook ad-bot isn't so smart or they don't give a shit whether I like it or not because they're quids in (or rather, dollars in).

If you are getting the same thing (and I suspect you are), you can also make your thoughts known to Facebook by using the magic little x on the advert. If you select 'Other' as a reason, you can even add your own comments.

Happy McBitching!

Wessex Tales Vegan Restaurant

Last night I went out for a meal with some friends to the only 100% vegan restaurant in town, Wessex Tales. Needless to say it was divine! I've been there before, but not as a vegan and so it was certainly an odd experience to be able to eat everything from the menu. It was even a novelty to be able to smother my salad with dressing without having to check the ingredients!

I had tempura veg with rice and salad for my main and a gorgeous chocolate cake with ice cream for desert.

If you are ever in Bournemouth I would suggest you take a visit. Don't forget my invite!

Nick Griffin on Question Time: Some Thoughts

This lunchtime I watched 20 minutes of Nick Griffin on last nights Question Time and 20 minutes was about all I could manage.

Surprisingly, I was not only disgusted with Nick Griffin but also the way he was being treated. I in no way support the BNP or agree with their fundamental values however I found the set up of the programme unfair and uncomfortable.

The show focused on both audience and panel members attacking Nick Griffin's statements and actions throughout his history with the BNP whereas I feel that it would have benefited more from having a more regular format. Nick Griffin has consistently proven himself to be a fascist and a bigot and given the chance to discuss his thoughts more openly last night, rather than defending himself, I think he would have once again showed his true colours. Sadly, I feel those colours were muted last night.

I also feel that those asking the questions came off almost as badly as Griffin did and am worried that some who saw the show may feel so sorry for him that they are compelled to show their political support in future. I understand that the subject of the BNP is an emotional one for many, however instead of everybody jumping up ready to make a fool of Griffin, they may have been better served by letting him do that himself.

As somebody commented on Radio 4 this morning, here's hoping that those who may potentially sympathise with Griffin on a political level are more interested in watching X Factor than Question Time.

I'll leave you with this:

Discovering Kale Chips: Recipe

Today I discovered the absolute joy of kale chips. I've heard a lot about them on the grapevine (internet) and, as kale is highly nutritious I've been very keen to get my mouth round some, especially as I'm currently under the weather.

I was not disappointed. This simple recipe took 15 minutes from prep to mouth and is totally divine:

  • 3-5 stalks of kale (depending on size)
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt
  • Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 5 (180 C/ 375 F)
  • Line a baking sheet with baking paper (optional)
  • Tear or cut the leaves from their stalks into large-ish pieces
  • Whisk the oil, cider vinegar and a pinch of sea salt together in a bowl
  • Toss the leaves in the dressing, covering them generously and massaging the curly bits
  • Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Turn them and cook for a further 5-7 minutes. Be careful not to burn their delicate, crisp edges.
The chips are light and unbelievably moreish - I had to stop myself from making another batch just so that I could have some tomorrow! Thank you to Nourish Me for sharing the beautiful and simple recipe.

So, I have Swine Flu. Luckily being vegan doesn't steal your sense of humour and so I can laugh at the irony of contracting a disease that stems from an industry that I haven't supported for 16 years.

I can't however, quite get round the irony that Tamiflu capsules contain gelatine. I've investigated and I am unable to find out the origins of the gelatine (pig/cow) but either way it's madness. Not only does this rule out taking the medication for vegetarians and vegans but it also raises issues for those with particular religious beliefs.

Governments worldwide have blindly ploughed money into buying unprecedented amounts of these capsules in waves of panic and the ethical and religious beliefs of thousands of people have not even been considered. Powder forms of the drug are available which do not contain any animal products, however here in the UK you only get one drug pick up reference and one prescription and so I doubt that it would be possible for me to pick up an alternative.

Luckily, I am slowly but surely recovering without the aid of of the anti-viral and most people will but if you do get sick and want the drug I would recommend speaking to the people on the pandemic flu hotline and asking about alternatives to the capsule.

For all you Stalkers and Hoes

So, it's Vegan Month of Food (or Vegan Mofo to you hipster types) and to celebrate I've stolen a questionnaire from The Great Vegan Conspiracy that will be of no interest to anyone unless they wish to steal it and talk about themselves (let's be honest, who doesn't).

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
So Good Sweetened

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
Kale chips, black forest gateaux and paella

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
I don't often eat popcorn. Scold me now, I don't give a damn.

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
Anytime I consume gin directly after putting something in the oven.

5. Favorite pickled item?
Eggs. No, undoubtedly gherkins. For the record I have never eaten a pickled egg and will happily engage in jovial fisticuffs with anyone who genuinely enjoys them.

6. How do you organize your recipes?
In the blue folder.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
Compost. I <3

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods…what would they be (don’t worry about how you’ll cook them)?
Bran flakes, chickpeas, peanut butter

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
The time I accidentally used the dog food spoon to eat my dinner.

10. Favourite vegan ice cream?
Swedish Glace vanilla (thank you Waitrose).

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
My Joseph Joseph Nest 8 which looks like a psychedelic vagina:

12. Spice/herb you would die without?

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
Vegetarian Flip Book for Cooks

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
Caramelised red onion

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
Mock chicken in Hoi Sin with udon noodles and mini spring rolls if they're lucky

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
Tofu, but only because I have never had the other two.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
Anything Chinese at the moment - my local Asian supermarket is the best for accidentally vegan foods.

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
A mini grabber like the ones you get in arcades but mine is full of (non-vegan) sweets, and some paperwork. And shit.

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Carrot and pearl barley stew.
Mini spring rolls.
Soya mince.

20. What’s on your grocery list?
I don't plan that far ahead.

21. Favorite grocery store?
They all have their perks.

22. Name a recipe you’d love to veganize, but haven’t yet.
Raspberry and white chocolate muffins

23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa’s because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?
I don't have a top one.

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
Plamil ginger chocolate. Total fucking win.

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
Some fancy ginger and orange cordial - it was in offer in Waitrose.

26. Ingredients you are scared to work with?
I'm not afraid... (You will be)

If anyone can spot the super obvious nerd reference I'll send you a free crochet strawberry keyring. It's 100% vegan!

The Hunt for Vegan Yarn

I knit. I am vegan. I'm sure I don't need to highlight the apparent problems this can cause, what with wool being from an animal and all.

Before becoming vegan I will admit that all of my faves were wool blends and, I am also human and unsaintly enough to admit that though I am vegan, I miss them. Even so, this pitiful pining for wool isn't enough to make me turn my back and I have come to find a whole host of beautiful yarns that, although not exactly the same, offer new and exciting creative opportunities for me.

Initially, I though that cheap acrylics were my only hope but with some perserverance along with some support from my LYS I am discovering I can knit with some equally, if not more beautiful yarns.

Right now I am knitting with Rowan Bamboo Soft and I cannot believe how gorgeously soft it is. I would kick my boyfriend out of bed for it if it knew how to spoon. Though a much slower knit than the Rowan Spray I was obsessed with before, it's softer and appears to be a much higher class of yarn - huzzah!

The project I'm working on is Dazzle, a freaking lush tank top from Rowan Studio Issue 16 and, when finished, will be my first EVER garment.

Look me up on Ravelry
if you're there and you can see how far I have come in my 18 month knitting journey. It's quite a treat.

The Language of Cake is Universal

Lucky for my taste buds (but unfortunate for my hips) baking is something I do regularly.

There are a couple of recipes below (brownies and cupcakes!) as well as a video giving a wealth of egg alternatives for baking. I will also bitch about egg replacer, because in my not so humble opinion, it is shit.

Vegan or not, the language of cake is universal and I'll pretty much find any excuse to bake. It's someone's birthday! Someone's had a baby! I'm awake! By baking delicious vegan cakes for friends, family and colleagues you can open up discussion about how easy it is to be vegan and give everyone's taste buds a party all at the same time.

My current excuse for doing excessive amounts of baking is that I have a promotion and I'm leaving 2 part time roles in the university to take on one full time role. This means I have double the amount of mouths to feed but double the opportunist to impress people with how delicious veganism is.

Yesterday I baked 3 trays of vegan brownies.

Here's the recipe:

  • 170g/6oz self-raising flour
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 170g/6oz caster sugar
  • 5 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 230ml/8fl oz sweetened soya milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder (optional - if you want them a little fluffy rather than stodgy)
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F/Gas 4
  • Grease and flour a 20cm/8in square cake tin with some of the sunflower oil
  • In a bowl sift together the flour, salt, cocoa powder and sugar (and baking powder if using)
  • Add the oil, soya milk and vanilla extract, and mix carefully together until completely mixed
  • Pour into the tin, and bake for about 25 minutes, until the brownies spring back when gently pressed
  • Leave to cool for five minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack
This is the first vegan brownie recipe I've tried and they didn't come out exactly like brownies containing dairy but given how quick they were to make I can't complain. Original recipe can be found here.

Also, a little while ago I made vegan cupcakes for a friends retirement party which I will make again for my leaving do.

Here's the recipe:

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups plain soymilk
  • 2 1/8 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 1/8 cups sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. coconut extract (optional)
  • Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/350º. Spray 22 muffin cups with nonstick spray or line with paper cupcake liners (I like to spray the inside of the muffin papers with nonstick spray to help the cupcakes release). Set aside.
  • Place the apple cider vinegar in the bottom of a liquid measuring cup and fill the cup with soymilk to equal 1 ½ cups. Stir well and set aside (the mixture will curdle).
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another mixing bowl whisk together the soymilk mixture, oil, vanilla, and (optional) coconut extract. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth using a hand-held mixer.
  • Fill each muffin cup with at least ¼ cup of batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
  • Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan and place on a wire rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
Thanks to Shmooed Food for the recipe.

I had tried using egg replacer and a normal sponge recipe prior to this but it was a real failure. They barely rose, came out with strange contours all over the top, were hollow on the underside (where they had failed to rise properly) and looked awful in comparison to the second batch I made using the above recipe:

This wasn't the first time I had used egg replacer and despite trying a couple of different techniques it always failed. I won't use it again and I wouldn't recommend it.

This video gives some good egg alternatives for baking (but it does include egg replacer):

See what works for you and share your successes with me so I have another excuse for CAKE!

Like a Friend to the Slaughter

A couple of days ago I heard whisperings about a lamb raised by a group of school children in Kent. The aim of the project was to teach the children about farming. They named him Marcus.

On Monday, the headteacher of the school confirmed that the children, aged 6-11 had voted 13-1 to have Marcus sent to slaughter and the money raised was to be used to buy piglets to help continue the farm project. This plan however, looks like it will be put on hold indefinitely following the media furore surrounding the decision. Children and parents from the school and the general public are outraged and some parents of the school are threatening legal action as their children are apparently deeply traumatised by decision.

What do I think? Although I don't think that the death of one sheep should cause such a stink given the global magnitude of animal agriculture, this could well be one of the single most enlightening experiences of these children's young lives and maybe (hopefully) even their parents.

As a young child, I remember watching television with my parents and seeing a whale being harpooned. I quietly got up, went upstairs and cried; I'd never seen anything like it before and I couldn't understand why. My mother came up to console me but as far as I can remember she couldn't give me any more of an explanation than 'These things happen'. My next experience of violence against animals was seeing a pig being slaughtered on TV at the age of 11 (contrary to how this may seem, I didn't get all my life knowledge from TV as a child, just the gory bits it seems. I loved Robocop though and used to slo-mo the bit where the guy who'd been in the vat of acid gets run over... Go figure). Although distressing this gave me the knowledge to truly understand where my food was coming from and at the age of 11 I stopped eating meat, much to the dismay of my parents who refused to cook for me in an attempt to make me change my mind. Obviously it didn't.

Armed with my childhood experiences I believe that those traumatised children will be just fine. Although I was never involved in making such a tough decision as theirs, I know they are now armed with a real knowledge of what they are biting into when they eat meat and that it once had the potential to be as much of a friend as their beloved cat or dog. They can no longer be mollycoddled by their parents or have the wool pulled over their eyes (pun, groan) and can make informed, independent decisions.

To say I am saddened by Marcus' death would be true, although in the grand scheme of things it is utterly ridiculous to be touched by just this one story. Just because he had a name it doesn't make his life and death and more tragic than those of the millions of animals mistreated and slaughtered daily for the benefit of us humans. The only difference in Marcus' story is that his death has been so high profile that it could very well be the kick up the arse that many have needed to stop eating meat and hopefully, all animals products.

So many people are happy to buy their pre-packaged products and let their taste buds and weak wills call the shots. Maybe Marcus' story will start to make those people think twice.

Vegan Munch: Chickpea, Tofu and Mushroom Pasty

So Chickpea Tuesday is now 4 months in and I'm having to come up with some pretty inventive ideas to keep it fresh.

Chickpea Tuesday happens on the 2nd Tuesday of every month (which was yesterday) and this month I made mashed chickpea, marinated tofu and mushroom pasty (yes, it's vegan!)

Here's the half-assed recipe (I can't remember exactly what I did!).

Serves 2

150g wholemeal flour
65g white vegetable fat
Between 30-45ml cold water
1/4 tsp salt

Add the vegetable fat to the flour & salt and mix/fine out with fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the water spoon by spoon and mix with a knife until a dough is formed. Roll into a ball and cool in fridge until needed.

The key to good pastry is keeping it cool at all times, so make sure it stays away from your palms, that you only add cold water and that you keep in refrigerated until needed.

1 white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 tin chickpeas
Enough water to cover chickpeas
4 medium size mushrooms
1 pack of Cauldron marinated tofu
Seasoning and spices to taste:
Cayenne pepper
Powdered ginger
Salt & Pepper

Mash/blend the chickpeas with the water and leave to one side.

Fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the mushrooms.

Once the mushrooms begin to soften add the tofu and chickpea mix along with your spices (I added mine gradually with the handle of a teaspoon until I was happy with the taste) and leave the mix on a low heat until reaches your desired pasty consistency. Don't forget your salt and pepper!

Roll out your pastry into some sort of rectangle, cut in half and fill both parts with the mix. Cook on Gas Mark 4 for around 20 mins or until the pastry is firm. Eat.

I will admit that this was my first time making pastry and I feel it could have been a little more moist but the filling was really tasty. Thanks to @rhelune for the inspiration.

Enjoy the recipe, remember that cooking is not a science, nor should it be stressful. Enjoy it and go vegan. It really is so easy and delicious, and ethically, it's the best thing you can do for animals.


P.S. Chickpeas are for life, not just for Tuesdays.

A Day in the Life of My Digestive System

I'm obsessed with food. I love it, can't get enough of it and, though petite, have an appetite to rival even the largest of my fellow humans.

Being vegan, I encounter a few people who question what I eat and who think I must have a less-is-more approach to my diet. They may assume that I am happy to live on a diet of salad, fruits, nuts and seeds and don't demand exciting and down right delicious food. They are so very wrong.

This was initially going to be a quick #whatveganseat Tweet with a TwitPic but I decided to blog it instead as 140 characters is just not enough for me to express how much I adore food and to show that it is easy, fun and totally tasty (groans at the alliteration) to eat ethically (groans again).

You may think that being vegan is nothing more than a painful reduction in food options. I have found that it has led to me being more creative in the kitchen and a lot more discerning when it comes to the quality of the food I buy and I know I am not alone.

Enough chatter, nobody likes long blogs. On with the pictures, on with the proof!

For brunch today (it was late about 2pm) I had a Huevos-less Burrito with Rancherous Sauce.

To make up for the lack of breakfast, naturally I had to have a desert. Coconut and sultana rice pudding with toasted brazil nuts.

I am currently digesting my final meal of the day which was pretty much the ultimate in comfort food. Sausage, sheese and basil mash, chilli and garlic roasted brocolli all topped off with onion gravy. Flavour overload. Nom.

Being vegan isn't all salad and seeds. It isn't hard and it isn't boring. I only hope that next time someone asks me what I eat I can think of a more inspiring reply than just 'loads'.
I'll start on a sad note I'm afraid, just to get it out of the way.

The festival I was holding a stall at has been postponed until next year. Several reasons were cited but whatever the reasons I guess it gives me more time to prepare some spectacular crafty goods.

On a more positive note, the fact that I can now be creative for the sake of simply being creative (rather than for an audience/money) has whipped up a frenzy of ideas and last night I got out of bed twice to grab patterns and instructions to fuel my over-active mind.

This probably wasn't helped by the fact that I bought 9 pairs of socks in the supermarket last night (SALE!) with a view to finally make something based on a pattern from Stray Sock Sewing.

And here it is:

He doesn't have a name yet. Feel free to suggest one oh silent reader.

I'm still working on some crochet strawberry keyrings, which I'm quite excited to finished now that the key chains have arrived and tomorrow I am off to my local yarn store first thing to start a secret project. Shhhhhhh!

Also, you may notice to the right that the Monster Makes Etsy store is looking bare. I'm on hiatus; an indefinite leave whilst I focus on creative challenges rather than what I hope might sell.

Until next time.

Chickpea Tuesday Stew

To celebrate the first ever Chickpea Tuesday I devised a rather tasty stew. Here's the recipe, which is vegan friendly, as opposed to vegan hostile. Measurements aren't exact, I kinda made it up and so have done some guess work. My style of cooking is hardly a science and nor should yours be. Enjoy it!

Chickpea Tuesday Stew

Oil of choice (I use walnut. Yummers)
1 large red onion, chopped however you like
1 tsp puréed garlic
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tins of chickpeas (yes, TWO)
1 small tin (140g) of double concentrate tomato purée
big old double-handful of spinach
50ml water
1tsp dried rosemary
1tsp dried tarragon
A couple of pinches of cayenne pepper (too much of this and you'll have more of an explosion rather than a kick)
Salt/pepper to taste

(Served with brown rice)

It makes about 4 portions, ready for freezing which is perfect for singletons like me.

The 'How To' Part:
Heat oil, add onion. Cover and sweat till soft.
Add garlic purée and chickpeas and heat for another couple of minutes
Add tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, water and everything else EXCEPT for your spinach. That goes in last.

Keep on a low heat for 15-20 minutes, or however long it takes your brown rice to cook. When the rice is almost done, add your spinach to the stew and mix through on the heat until it's as limp as...


Viola. Quick, easy, healthy, vegan munch. Win.

Chickpea Tuesday

It's alliteration Jim, but not as we know it!

I'm here, still crafting and doing various stupid things across the internet. The most recent thing is the Chickpea fan page on Facebook, created to prove that people really will become a fan of anything. Just 4 days in, there are 64 fans of Chickpeas, many of whom are not my friends on Facebook.

To celebrate the success of the fan page I have created the event, Chickpea Tuesday. This coming Tuesday, 9th June 2009, cook yourself a delightful recipe containing the wondrous chickpeas and share the thoughts and pictures. Get involved!

I'll leave you with some images of recent creations

Kurt Russell Inspired Amigurumi

I'm getting to grips with amigurumi, a Japanese form of crochet. Here is my first little orange crochet creation - Kurt - named after the rather awesome Kurt Russell, who was on TV when I first got the hang of crocheting on Monday night (just two nights ago). Thanks Kurt!

Etsy Treasury

Still being a bit of a noob to Etsy I wasn't aware of the Treasury until recently, or more to the point until somebody chose an item of mine for their Treasury.

In a nut shell, it's a user chosen gallery of 12 items, usually themed, that the user deems to be awesome. They're pretty difficult to create as Etsy limits the amount of Treasuries that are active at any one time.

I give thanks to the lovely ArtistrybyRamona for not only choosing my item, but for telling me that she had (which is quite rare apparently). Check out her shop, the question mark necklace is fab and definitely on my want list!

Biddies Hit the Tiles!

Remember my ramblings about Julia Roberts being too old to star in a movie about knitting, as it doesn't capture the true face of what is really happening on the knit scene? Well, I completely contradicted myself and did a huge injustice to youthful knitters across the world this weekend.

I went out dressed as an old lady and knitted in bars. Meet Virginia (and her husband Roy).

Soft Toy Wrongness

So I called Rule 34 on soft toys a couple of blogs ago and searched the interwebs myself to no avail. Tonight, I was shown the next best thing (thank you Nicki).

This will be 30 seconds of your life well spent.

Inspirational Ideas

Some people out there have pretty marvellous brains and, in short, I am in awe of them. Two things I have recently stumbled across in the land of knitting have left me thinking, 'shit, I wish I'd thought of that'.

First off we have The Knit Kit.

It's a fabulous little oval-shaped doo-dah (actual technical term) that has a crochet hook, stitch counter and thread cutter around the outside and scissors, stitch markers and point protectors inside. What's more is it slips handily into your bag and is safe to carry on planes. It's awesome. Sadly the only thing it doesn't have (which would probably make it less safe for air travel) is a darning needle. I'm sure there are plenty of knitting and crocheting terrorists out there that would love nothing more than to hold up a plane with an unusually large needle. In the eye, I say, in the eye.

The second thing I discovered today is not a doo-dah but a marketing idea so brilliant that I would probably sell my Nan in order to go back in time and steal it for my own. Though time travel is apparently impossible (pffft, tell that to Doc Brown) the idea of selling my Nan is even more impossible - she's The Evil Genius™ and would certainly see it coming a mile off. I digress. The site I am talking about is Net Granny.

Net Granny allows you to have a pair of socks custom knit for you and you choose the biddy to make them! It's all kinds of aces and I wish it was my frigging idea. This is my personal biddy choice; she clearly has excellent fashion choice and looks like she has done her fair share of partying. Yeah, she earned her perma-gurn.

On a final note, to those of you (ok, so that one of you) who have been checking my blog a little too often, I have your IP address, I know who you are and I think it's weird.

Sayonara stalkers!

Weird 70's Toys

I get donated crafty type things on a regular basis and quite a while ago I was given a book called Creative Soft Toy Making (first published 1974). I've looked at it but never in much depth until this weekend when it's fabulousness hit me in the face. It contains your regular and slightly dull cuddly bear and rabbit designs however the author also created soft toy patterns for 'The Scholars' - Socrates, Aristotle (and pupils), Copernicus, Hippocrates and Plato. She has even included mini bios about each.

I'm swooning! All my philosophical and creative buttons being pushed at once?! Why oh why cannot I not magic the book into a male to shackle and keep forever?

On a slightly related note, do you think soft toy porn actually exists?

Rule 34. Go!

Knitting in Your Face (or cinema)

I've heard a little rumour about that the novel The Friday Night Knitting Club is being made into a movie starring Julia Roberts. I like Julia Roberts but moreso Julia Roberts 20 years ago. I think it's awesome that knitting is becoming so popular in mainstream culture and though I've never read the book, I feel that a younger, cooler model might have been a more appropriate casting (yeah I'm ageist). Maybe Miley Cyrus?