Wednesday, 24 September 2008


I have made this hat for a friend who has just had a little boy. I added the stripes, but apart from that I kept the pattern the same.

The pattern is from Debblie Bliss' Baby Knits for Beginners which is a lovely book, and really well written and easy to follow.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

summer harvest

Yesterday, on one of the last days of summer we finally picked some blackberries on a walk on the South Downs, by Ditchling Beacon. We definitely were at the end of the crop as there were loads of blackberries that had seen better days. So next year, we need to go from the start of August! (I'm sure I say that every year)

Picking from nature has to be one of the nicest, most pleasing things. Last year my father in law picked a load of quinces and crab apples during his lunch hour, and my mother in law made delicious jellies from them. I find it incredible that you can even buy blackberries in the supermarket, surely they are something most people could pick for free?

I do remember picking a load when I was young with my parents and when my mum sorted them she found maggots in them so hey were binned, and I think that put her off picking them again!! Luckily my husband loves the outdoors and going brambling and whatever else he finds. He mentioned he rode past a dead rabbit today, and told me he was tempted to bring it home! We are vegetarian, and even though the rabbit was obviously road kill, I still wouldn't have touched it!

So after giving them a good soaking and getting rid of any nasties that shouldn't have come home with us, I had a request for apple and blackberry pie. I made that today after a lovely morning out with the children. A park about 30 mins walk away has just been redone, with loads of new equipment so we walked there (except it took nearly an hour as my eldest son ad his bike, but was pushing it as it was uphill! - He rode it all the way home, downhill!) We played there for just over an hour, we picked up some massive bramley apples from the greengrocer on the way home - plus a naughty treat of smarties and square crisps to keep us going! On the way home I couldn't keep up with my eldest as he zipped down the hill!

The apple and blackberry pie was well received. I've freezed the blackberries I didn't use, and I hope we can pick some more next weekend!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

tooth fairy

The tooth fairy had to make her first ever visit to our household yesterday. My eldest's son's front lower tooth has fallen out.

Having read The Creative Family, I did like the idea of the pillow, packet of seeds that is in there. Being a bit rubbish I hadn't organised that. But I did make him his very own house shaped pillow, a bit smaller that the first one, and this time it did take an hour to make (May have been even faster, but the husband was watching The Tudors and I had to keep stopping for important speeches in it) We feel that history is being "retouched" in the programme ie Henry VIII is not really so bad, and the wives deserved to lose their heads, but it's still enjoyable.

Keeping with the TV theme, loving Lost in Austen. Fantastic fantasy Austen drama. Last night was the best episode so far. I love my Sky+!!!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

house pillow

After I have seen house pillows all over the place (here and here) I decided to make one for myself.
I also challenged myself to do it in under an hour (failed on that count - sewing machine was jamming alot)
Anyway, it was all done on the hoof, and this is what I did:

Cut out the following: 2 triangles for the roof and 2 rectangles for the house and 4 windows and a door.
I pinned the windows and door onto a rectangle and sewed with a zigzag stitch (I didn't bother hemming, only time will tell if that was a rash mistake).

Then with right sides together I sewed on the roof to the house:

Then I placed both bits of fabric right sides together. I sewed all around the edges, leaving a gap for the stuffing.

Turn the right was round. (Realise door is too small, and make a new door which is taller and sew over old door - you can miss this stage out! and get it right the first time!)

Stuff. (I used toy stuffing)

Sew bottom edge, you could blind hem it, but I was being lazy and ran it through my sewing machine.
Give to youngest child, when eldest child snatches it, goes and gets a normal pillow so they can have a pillow fight!!!

Oh yeah, aren't I meant to be knitting blanket?!!!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

baby bibs

I made some bibs for a friend and neighbour, who is due to have a baby any day now! The pattern was from Bend the Rules Sewing. I used terry towelling for the back, as I couldn't get any flannelette.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

oat snap

A few years ago, one Sunday, I was reading the Observer, and one of the first sections I looked at was the magazine and Nigel Slater's column. That particular week was themed around oats (I think) and I read the ingredients, lept up, went to my kitchen and immediately made the Oat Snaps. Less than 20 minutes later I was getting the biscuits out of the oven. I was quite simply taken over, and HAD to make them there and then.
This out of the ordinary behaviour made me send Nigel a thank you email. And he was so nice, he replied! Anyway, here is the recipe, they are delicious. They do have Golden Syrup in, and I don't believe there is anything else like it in the world! They are v easy to make and very delicious, and almost healthy if it weren't for the butter and golden syrup!.
Oat snaps
Light as a feather, sweet oat cookies, a cross between a brandy snap and an oat biscuit. They will spread and form loose shapes in the oven, and need a gentle hand to get them to the cooling rack. Makes 15.

150g butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
100g rolled oats
115g plain flour
85g caster sugar
a level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp boiling water
Set the oven at 165C/Gas 3.
Cut the butter into chunks and melt with the golden syrup in a small saucepan.
In a mixing bowl, stir the oats, flour and caster sugar together.
Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the boiling water and stir it into the butter and syrup. It will froth a little. Now stir it into the flour and oats and mix thoroughly.
Using a dessertspoon, place mounds of the mixture on to a baking sheet, several centimetres apart. Flatten them slightly, then bake for 8 minutes, until the biscuits have spread, and are deep gold around the edges, slightly lighter at the centre. Remove them from the oven and let them cool a little before you move them to a cooling rack.
They will keep for a few days in a baking tin, but are best eaten the same day.
The whole lot was gone and I had to snatch a photo of the last one, hence it beig out of focus!! It's now eaten!

Friday, 5 September 2008

Tissue Holder Tutorial

Last night I decided to make a tissue holder to match the bag I made the other day for my sister.

I read 4 or 5 tutorials but decided to make one like this, which seemed the least complicated way to go ahead.

This is for Kleenex Handy Size Pocket Tissues (as sold in UK). Different brands come in different sizes, adjust accordingly.

6" x 8" outer fabric
6" x 8" lining fabric

Seam Allowance of 1/4" used.

I used 2 pieces of lightweight cotton fabric

1.Place the fabrics right sides together and pin in place.

2. Sew round, close to the edge approx 1/4". Leave a 2.5" gap at the bottom (on longest side). Trim corners.

3. Turn inside out (so right sides are facing), make sure you poke the corners out, so it is nice and square.
4. Have the outer fabric face up. Now you need to fold the longest side edges into the middle and pin in place. Line up the edges so they touch but do not overlap. Now you should be seeing the lining fabric (the outer fabric is on the inside of the pouch)

5. Sew along the 2 sides where the fabrics are pinned down.
6. Turn inside out - press if necessary. Fill with tissues!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Project #2 - Pincushion Loveliness!

This is the gorgeous pincushion design in the book.

I have added a covered button to one side. Yet again, the pattern was well written and easy to follow. The patterns are very wordy in the book, and at first glance can look daunting, but just follow them, step by step, and you will end up with a beautiful item.

I now wish that I own a fabric store so I can "help" myself to different fabrics to make these things!!!

I think I will make one with more contrasting colours next time. This pincushion is very pink!

The covered button, I made by cutting out the material larger than the button, then I sewed a running stitch all the way round, pulled the thread, and gathered the material in. I then popped the button into that, pulled the material tight down, and pushed on the "lid" bit. That makes it sound easy and simple, but it was fiddly and faffy!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Project #1 - Pencil Roll is finished!

The book is so beautiful, that I have already made the pencil roll.

The instructions were very clear, so I had no problems at all. The only mistake I made was, in my giddiness to assemble it all, I put the bottom pocket on the wrong side, so I would have had the blacks on the left and yellows on the right, but I unpicked it as I wanted the yellows on the left!!!

My son was very impressed that you could match the pencil colours to the fabric.

He told me he wants one as well.

I think it looks pretty all rolled up!

It is in the 2 - 4 hr time slot, and it took me between 3-4 hours, but I did make a mistake, so if I do make another one, I'm sure I would be a bit quicker. Of course, you could make one with less patchwork, or no patchwork, for real speed! Just a fantastic fabric!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

It came!!

It only took Amazon 3 months to deliver this book. But the wait was worthwhile! Project 1 starts tonight!!!

Sunny Bag for a Rainy Day

I made another simple tote in this cheery fabric I bought a while ago.

This time I made it 13" x 15" and the longest strap 18" rather than 16" so it fits on my shoulder more comfortably.

You can see the size difference above and my youngest child's hands

Gocco Fabulous! A Big Thank You

Finally can I just say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone in my gocco swap group. I loved the diversity and orginiality in all the designs. They will all be treasured and only sent out to my closest friends!

Clockwise from top left: Gena Perdue, Viking ships and Fish by Julie Broberg, Cat uner Mushroom Umbrella (one of my faves) by Susan Estelle Kwas.
The next set of cards are by Sarah Parrot. All beautiful, taken from lovely pencil drawings.

The plants are by Cloth Paper String (and gocco swap organiser) Sarah Hannigan.
The 50s children and 70s family by Jennifer Noland

Write Back (love it!) is by Kirsten Cantrell.
The antique sewing machine, shell and paisley prints were sent to me in a gorgeous fabric bag by Jeanne Boyle. Love them as well!

These beautiful birds came from Modern Thread (I think Maura D'Amore)
They are all fantastic, and have introduced me to the work of even more talented people.
Check out the Flickr Group for better photos and more inspiration!