Wednesday, 11 January 2017

New Start

Hello I hope everyone has made a good start to the year in a positive frame of mind, that is tricky I know with all these  viruses still floating around.  I didn't get much making done over the Christmas period other than a set of napkins for my Christmas table.  I was really pleased with them though as all they cost me in fabric was a pair of pillow slips from the charity shop for £1.50.

 I quickly whipped those up on Christmas Eve, I also saw this name place idea on pinterest so just copied the image free hand and coloured them...
So that was that sorted I don't spend a lot on dressing the table just a few candles, a table cloth and some tinsel etc and it will do.  I have a real annoyance with crackers as well, I used to buy them when the children were little but they are such a waste of paper and money so now I don't bother.

I also made  some 3D paper snow flakes to hang from the light fitting above the dining table and I have left those up as I have decided that is a winter themed decoration not a Christmas one.
So much you can do with  simple piece of paper, this is something I want to explore a bit more this coming year I think. Paper crafts have such low costs if you stick to recycled materials and stay clear of all the fancy tools and machines.

I still haven't made up the red and black check fabric I bought in December so no fabric purchases for me until that is complete, but I do have a couple of sewing magazines that I will share another day.  They are not something I usually buy but my husband bought them for me for Christmas and there are  a few nice ideas.   I had thought about a subscription to one but I am still undecided on that, I think I mainly like the idea of the magazine coming in the post once a month as a little treat.  If I tell myself I can just go and buy one anytime I never will.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Random Bits

I had a really good few weeks of posting regularly then I had this insane amount of traffic that was clearly spam or whatever you call it, coming from certain countries I know it wasn't genuine as I researched it a bit a while ago.  The thing is you are not supposed to click on any of the links in your traffic stats as that is where you then get diverted to unsavoury sites and hacked or something. How very sad that all is, anyway it sort of puts me off posting anything.  It is still happening a bit now as I can tell with the odd names of where hits are coming from so unfortunately if there are any interesting new views with blogs I would like I will probably not know as I daren't look!

We finished work for Christmas on Friday so it is nice and relaxed around here.  I have a big pile of shirts to alter for someone, a dress to make and a shirt for me. 
Earlier I made these gf vegan mince pies from the Naturally Sassy blog they are really nice and the home made fruit mince smells lovely while cooking I have a lot left so will be making more to freeze tomorrow.
I didn't have a cutter I don't know where they have got to, so I used a wine glass as recommended by Saskia, and I have seen such pretty mince pies where the tops have been cut with a fancy cutter.  I don't do much pastry since becoming gluten free as it is so hit and miss and very difficult to handle.  These were tricky while rolling but now they are cooked they hold up well.

I read Gone Girl this last few weeks as it was recommended by a couple of friends, quite a twist in that one so worth a look if you haven't already. I have a few to read over the next few weeks a box set of non fiction by C. S Lewis and a few others which I will share later.   I have started a little journal for myself with what I read each month in it and a short review, as I often forget over time and it can come in handy when you are thinking about whether to revisit a certain author.

On the television I have recently finished watching the Swedish drama 30° in February on Sky Arts, this has been a fabulous series if you want to watch it you will have to go back and watch from series 1 to get the whole story.  I am a little sad it's finished, however I have started watching another Swedish drama called Modus and that one is good too.  A lot of people I know won't watch any TV with subtitles but they are missing so many good dramas.

Friday, 2 December 2016

This Week a Trip to the Ballet

This has been a nice week, starting to recover from the nagging cough and finally getting some energy back has helped. Earlier this week we went to see Snow White by the Vienna Festival Ballet I really enjoyed that, we don't go out much but we have seen this company five times now over the last three years and it is something I look forward to.   I have already got my tickets for the next one...

It is a small theatre so it is nice, a relaxing few hours in a busy week.

A bit of wonderful news is that my oldest son has secured himself a trainee I.T position, quite amusing was that he wasted no time in handing in his notice at his part time job, but it will be good to see him doing something he enjoys.  He also came home with these lovely flowers for me. Feeling very proud.

It has been a lovely feeling around school with all the children rehearsing for the play and getting excited about advent calendars.  Sometimes you just need to be around children to see everything in a better light I think. The grown ups I hear talking about stress and how they are not ready and are never going to be.  The children just want a bit of sparkle and fun, I don't think it has to cost a fortune to give them that, that meal we will all eat on the 25th doesn't have to be perfect, and to the grown ups out there do you all need to buy so much? Smile everyone and relax.

Speaking of buying I bought a piece of fabric last week for £4, it is red and black so that will be my Christmas day dress, or winter dress just when I decide what to do.  I am thinking usual skater style that I like to make but I want to add some detail somewhere.  That is my personal contribution to the consumer madness. Ha!
I have this in a blue that I made last year and it sews up really  nice.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Ebay Bargains

I recently bought two blouses from Ebay for 99p each as the winning bid, of course there was a couple of pounds postage on each so they cost £2.99 each in total but they were exactly what I was looking for.  I had spotted some fabric with little deer on it but it was too expensive and while I enjoy making clothes I do not enjoy over paying for fabric.

The good thing I find sometimes is that if I want something very specific I can put in a style and colour and there is usually somebody somewhere selling something similar. Here are the two blouses I bought, both from next, in pristine condition and my size.


This one has just been washed and needs a press but I was eager to photograph in natural daylight.  I know not everyone will wear items that have been previously owned but after a good wash I don't see any problem.  You are saving something that would have been discarded and saving money too.

I was recently in our nearest shopping mall getting PE trainers for my son, I was quickly in and out but the amount of money that was being spent was crazy, people loaded down with bags.  I wonder how many of those people will be struggling with debt for the coming months but would never dream of buying used?

Friday, 18 November 2016

Soup on Friday, Pepper and Lentil Soup

Making a soup for lunch on a Friday is becoming a bit of a habit now.  Today I used what I had in again, no need to buy anything extra as all kinds of leftover veg can go in.
So I roasted two peppers one red, one yellow and  a red onion, boiled 150g of split red lentils then put them all in the blender with one veg stock cube, one tbsp. tomato puree, one tsp basil and topped it up with a little water.

Roast the veg on medium so they don't burn.

I had mine with a GF sweet potato wrap, I wouldn't recommend putting it in the oven as it turns like cardboard! I have had some success before popping them in a lightly oiled pan for a  few minutes though.

My oldest son ate a large bowl full so I always take that as a good sign as he is so fussy.  I do have to remind myself now when I almost pick up the tins in the supermarket as it is so easy to do, but such a waste when soup is so easy to make and you know it is not full of nasties if you make it yourself.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Books, Cookies and This week

There have been a couple of books finished off this week, one of them being Madam Bovary which I bought the other weekend when we went away.  I cannot make up my mind on this, yes of course it is good writing but the very idea that women were arguing at the time because they believed this character was based on them makes me so sad.  That such a dreadful, pitiful woman should spark such familiarity.  As you can tell I had no sympathy for the character at all, in such times there were many women and girls who had despicable lives. The day to day life of Emma to many would have been one of comfort, if lacking in opportunity and yet from beginning to end she simpered and complained.

I'm sure there will be many that disagree but for me while I had to read on to the end, it was more for the resolution of the story rather  than for Emma.

The next book I finished was no regrets on Sunday.  This was an improving book, some good tips some overdeveloped ones also.  I didn't do the activities as there were so many of them and they are so in depth! I only picked it up in passing and read it quickly,  in all it was a bit gimmicky, with the odd bit of wisdom but then I suppose these kinds of books all have a different voice and feel so as to appeal to us all.  So we are probably going to clash with some of them.

I am Malala is the one I just started, I have been wanting to read this one but felt it would be hard and upsetting while inspirational.  As an educational campaigner Malala was targeted and shot by the Taliban and later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  What an amazing young lady.

Whatever the awful germs are that are circling  at the moment I steel feel a bit like a zombie, tight in the chest, wiped out at the end of the working day and it seems so do lots of other people. Bring back the sunshine.   This evening I needed a bit of energy so I made these almond and dark chocolate cookies with Gf Flour and ground almonds.  I will post the recipe another day as all I did today was throw it all in the blender, shape and bake for 12 minutes.

They taste good enough, I may add a little soya milk next time to the mix.

Now that it is cold and dark I like to be home and to shut the cold outside, there doesn't seem to be a great deal on the T.V at the moment.  It seems a lot of the  dramas I was following have now ended. although I have been enjoying 'The Missing' harrowing though it is at times.  Even the BBC 4 subtitled dramas I like appear to have dried up as well.  Feel free to let me know if there are any good dramas I have missed, I will get them on catch up.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Grey Wool Skirt Finished and Sewing a Zip Pocket

Today I got on with the job of finishing my skirt and while I was doing so I thought I would include  few photographs of how I do a zip pocket.  They are not as difficult as you might think and as  with anything just practice on some scraps first if you have not done one before.
Here is the finished skirt, then I will go through what I did.

First of all in assembling the skirt I sewed the little pleat on the front and back pieces.
  I had pins in to keep it even and I repeated the process front and back.

I sewed it to a little v, then removed the pins.

Next I sewed the darts into the yoke panels, I had marked with a notch where I wanted them to go and then deciding how far down was easy as I used the lines in the fabric to keep the end points even.
I have also started adding a pin to the right sides of fabric especially now that it is darker as it can be sometimes difficult to tell the right side from the wrong side.

Next I notched the centre yoke, put right sides together with the bottom piece, stitched them together then top stitched.

For the pocket I decided on the angle and pinned a rectangle of fabric in place, I marked where the top and bottom of the zip would go and then sewed a thin rectangle just wider than the zipper teeth.

Next I cut along it making a little snip into each corner.
Fold it through the hole then straighten it all up, I used pins to keep it all straight.  You don't always need to do that but this wool will not hold the fold, a cotton fabric would.
Next sew your pocket fabric to the zip, I used the wool on one side and lining on the other to save on bulk.
Place it behind your pocket opening again you can pin it if it helps. Don't worry about the shape you will be trimming it neat once it is in place.

Sew on the inside close to the original stitch line.
The wool is pointing upwards when laid flat and the lining downwards.  Now fold the wool downwards so it lays behind the lining piece.
Then stitch around it, now trim away any excess and neaten.

Now I stich front and back together and add the waistband lining and zip.
I hand stitch the waistband on the inside catching in the lining as I go.
I also hand stitch the hem.

A little press and it's finished, sadly dark by the time we had finished our meal and I had chance to photograph it.

A side zip and a small button.
I am very happy with it, all in with the remnant, lining and side zip it cost me £4.50,  the chunky zip in the side pocket I already had in my sewing box.