Tuesday, 17 September 2013

No Sew Tank Top

Hey kids, 

Satch here. This top has been aaaaaaaaages in the making so I'm really excited to finally share it with you all (especially considering the fact it turned out much easier to do than I realised!) But first, WE HAVE TWITTER! It's very exciting so do follow us @SatchandSalt. Plus, we're taking suggestions for the bestie bucket list 2014, so give us some great ideas! We'll do crazy stupid things and put them on the internet for your enjoyment, what could be better?

Business over, back to pure crafty pleasure. About a year ago, our friend Glenky left this AWESOME tee at my house to show me, and I instantly fell in love with it: 
This isn't Glenky, it's just a pic of the original tee I leafed off the internet!

It combines all the best things in life - science fiction and famous authors from history - so obviously I proceeded to sneak the tee up to uni with me and hold it hostage until Glenky said I could keep it, what a Gent! 

The problem I then faced was that as Glenky, a regular-sized man, had bought the tee to fit himself and not me, a tiny-sized lady, and so a little customising was in order to make it wearable in public. At the time, I cut off the sleeves and sewed them up, but it was just the wrong side of 80s for me, and so back into the sewing basket it went.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why there's a random grey bit at the bottom of this photo!
Cut to two years later and I've finally discovered a way to make a man's tee into a girl's tank! Hallelujah! 

I've combined ideas from a couple of blogs here, as there are a few ways of doing it. However, to do it my way (which is totally the best) you will need: 

One man's t-shirt (This was a medium, so if you're not a tiny person, you may require a bigger size. 

- that's it! 

Start with the chalk and mark your tee where you're going to cut it. You're going to need a dip at the neckline (both front and back), as well as cutting off the sleeves and hem. I tried on my tee while I marked it. It may be a good idea to make conservative estimates with the markings, because you can always cut more off but you can't undo it very easily!  

Cut along your chalk markings, but don't throw away the hem you've just cut off! You'll need it later :) Try your tee on again and pinch the back straps together, to get an idea of what it will look like. If it's pulling in too tightly, you may need to cut deeper arm holes and more of a dip at the back - the bottom of these two holes should be in line with each other. Keep adjusting and trying it on until it looks right. 

Once you've got it cut to the size and shape you want, it's time to tie up the back. Try on your tee and pinch the straps together where you want them to join. Then, safety pin the straps in place so you know where to start with your knotting. Take the scrap of hem you saved and thread it under the straps so that there's an even length of material either side of the safety pin. Tie a knot in the hem fabric, and keep knotting downwards until you can no longer knot! (Don't forget to take out the safety pin when you're done.)
Sorry about my foot, folks!

And here it is!

I'm absolutely in love with it (and a little bit in love with Glenky for letting me keep and mutilate his T shirt!) I saw a version of this where they tied a ribbon round the back instead of the same material, which I might try. It takes a little time to get the proportions right, but it's so easy to do that I'm going to proceed to raid the mens' section of charity shops from now on! 

Until next time, 
Satch x

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Bestie Bucket List Update

Alright gang?
Salt here - it's been a while! Sorry about that, but it seems Satch has been keeping you entertained!

Just wanted to blog a reeeeaaallly speedy update on the Bestie Bucket List!

I crossed off a big'un recently by running a half-marathon!
Unfortunately due to health issues, Satch wasn't able to partake in this, so I took one for the team.

It was my first half marathon, and I finished in 2 hours and 32 minutes, which I was really pleased with for a first try, and raised £590 for an incredible charity - The Hannah Chamberlain Foundation.

Here's some photographic evidence to prove we managed it:

We're taking suggestions for the 2014 Bucket List already, so if you have anything you want to see us try, get in touch. We're on twitter @SatchandSalt or you can email us satchelfullofsalt@gmail.com

Friday, 13 September 2013

Piano Cake

Hey Kids, 

Satch here. On friday, it was Mummy Satch's birthday and I was in charge of the organising/food etc. (I would say Daddy Satch was also in charge, but as he spent the majority of Friday afternoon in the pub, I'm gonna go ahead and say Cobb and I take full credit!) 

Obviously, a birthday is a fantastic reason to get creative with cake, and as my Mum is a pianist, I gave myself a bit of a structural challenge and decided to make a piano cake.
Apologies for the camerawork, I'm taking photos on my phone until I can get a nice new camera!
It's a little smaller than I would have liked - I think if I used 4 eggs and 8oz of everything it would have stood up on its own without the box, so you may want to change the quantities of ingredients. However, I'm not sure about this, so I'll write it how I made it. 

To make this cake you will need:

6oz Caster Sugar 
6oz Butter (I used dairy-free) 
3 Eggs 
1-2oz Cocoa Powder
4-5oz Self-Raising Flower (With these last two ingredients you need to make it up to 6oz, so it depends how chocolatey you want it. I think I just did 1oz cocoa and the rest flour). 
A Lined Square Cake Tin 

To decorate:
Icing Sugar
Cocoa Powder 
Dark Chocolate
Chocolate Fingers
Possibly a cardboard box covered in greaseproof paper to stand it against!

It's your basic chocolate sponge recipe so I won't go into too fine a detail. Cream together the butter and sugar, mix in the eggs (I don't bother whisking them first) and add in the flour and cocoa powder. Then, pour your mixutre into your cake tin and place it in a 180 degree oven for 18-20 minutes. 

When your cake is done, leave it to cool on a wire rack while you make your chocolate buttercream. I don't really have a recipe for this, I just mix together butter, cocoa powder and icing sugar and keep adding different components in until it tastes good! Also, I used dairy free butter which is why the icing looks a bit speckled, as soya butter doesn't mix in as thoroughly. Meh, it still tastes the same! 

You basically want to divide your cake into thirds, and trim a little off the top of one of them so that it's thinner than the other two (Hence the random extra bit of cake in the photo) This section will form the bit with the keys on, so you don't want it so thick that it makes the cake topple over. 

Cover your sections with the icing, making sure to cover the sections where the cake will connect. On the keys section, you're obviously going to need keys so add a line of marshmallows along the bottom edge. To make the black keys I melted dark chocolate and piped it on using a really thin nozzle, and I also piped "Squire Ealing" on the top section, as this is what it says on my Mum's piano.

Then it's time to assemble your piano! You may need an extra pair of hands for this (Cobb came in very handy at this moment!) Stand the bottom section against the back of your box (or on its own if you're feeling confident!) and stick four toothpicks into the top, spread out evenly. I tried to do this without toothpicks and it all just fell over, so don't try to be a hero. 

Then, pick up your middle section - the one with the keys - and push it down so the back joins on at the toothpicks. Here's where you need a second pair of hands: while someone holds the middle section in place, slide two chocolate fingers underneath either end of the keys, to make the piano legs. I found that the fingers were slightly too high, so I chopped the ends off. 

With the other person still holding the middle section, slide two toothpicks up underneath the middle of the piano, making sure they cross at the centre. This stops the cake from collapsing in the middle. Then, insert four toothpicks along the back of this section - in a slightly different place to where the bottom toothpicks are - and slide on the top part. 
Here it is close up.

It's a little messy when you examine it closely, but it's so delicate I didn't want to touch it once it was together! Plus, this isn't the Great British Bake Off or anything, so I'll take that. I chose buttercream because it tastes better, and makes it look more like my mum's piano, but using fondant icing might give you a better finish, especially if you did a grand piano version. Just remember to warn everyone about the toothpicks before they eat it! 

Until next time, 
Satch x