Monday, 8 August 2016

Ironing Board Cover Recycle

A while ago I bought a duvet set from the charity shop and made these pyjamas.  I was wondering what to do with the remainder of the set and my ironing board cover was looking a bit sad, so I thought it could be put to good use there.

I removed the existing cover but kept it as the padded bit underneath is fine, I used that to cut around and stitched the new fabric to the top.
The elastic around the edge has gone a bit too so I added elastic to go across widthways to fit it to the ironing board.
Now it's not perfect but it fits snug and it didn't cost me a penny to replace it today and have a clean cover.  I have seen some fabulous pictures of some that people have made complete with built in pin cushion and tool pockets for sewing equipment.  This was just a quick fix!

We went for a fantastic walk yesterday to Damflask and I forgot to take my camera, my husband had his phone but its not the same to keep asking 'ooh take a photo of that' is it?  We will be going again how often do we miss things that are right on our door step or at least a short drive away.  I have been before with a friend for a run but that was a good few years ago and I don't know why it has taken me so long to return. 

Yorkshire water have lots of ideas for walks around reservoirs so I must use their website more, I'm sure it's the same in other regions with local providers having this information on their websites.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Sundress to Blouse Refashion

During my declutter I have come a cross a few things I had forgotten about. Some of it has been bits from charity shops bought for fabric very cheap and I have to say I have put some of these items back in the bag to go back as I will likely never use them.  However one dress I pulled out and wondered why I had never finished it.  It is a sundress and originally it had gold trim around the bodice and waist about 3cm deep, very bling, very tacky.  I remember carefully unpicking all of it so I could save the dress.

Well I might as well have not bothered as yesterday after staring at it for a while and concluding that I really want to do something different with it I decided on a blouse.  Now I didn't want a button through as the fabric is too busy for that, also it could have resembled a Hawaiian shirt. 

A couple of months ago I made a long sleeved blouse that tied at the front and I have had lots of wear out of that one so far.  I chose to make a short sleeve version and although this fabric is a cotton I still think it works.

I had a little of this lace so I used it on the shoulders as a detail.

I cut around an existing  t-shirt for the basic shape but quite a bit bigger as it had to slide over my head, then I took it in as far as I comfortably could while still being able to pull it over my head without the need for any fastenings.

I had to cut some strips and face all the way around the neck and arms as the lace opens up really easily.  This was a bit of trial and error as I used a thin soft black ribbon at first but that rippled at the shoulder due to difference in stretchiness between the ribbon and the lace.  So I unpicked that folded strips of the cotton and did it that way.
I don't know if you can quite see in the picture above but I also had to add a little diagonal dart at each side of the neckline.  It wasn't quite sitting flat before but that seems to have done the trick.

I'm very happy with it and that is another new from old item saved from the worlds rubbish heap! I didn't have to buy any notions and it is completely pattern free.


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Spicy Chickpea Stew (Vegan, GF)

Well today I was faced with what to have for lunch and as I looked in the fridge I noticed I had half a tin of chickpeas and half a tin of tomatoes that needed using up, well I say tin they had been transferred to plastic containers because you are not supposed to leave them in the tin once opened.

I had a look on my pinterest board and there was a recipe for Spanish chickpea stew but every time I tried to go the page my computer kept freezing.  So the page was called Lazy cat recipes if you want to find the original.  I could remember the ingredients but didn't  have all of them so I had to improvise a bit (which I think you should rather than buying spices you may never use again). 

So I didn't have any onions left instead I used a green peeper chopped and fried, I added the tin tomatoes, cooked for a few minutes then added 2 garlic cloves chopped.
  Once the pepper softened a bit I added the chickpeas along with one tsp mild chilli powder, one tsp oregano, one tbsp tomato puree.

  Then it was looking a little dry so two tbsp. water along with two small fresh tomatoes chopped.
I let that simmer for about five minutes then added two handfuls of chopped spinach, salt and pepper.

Few minutes more and it was done.

I decided to have it in a gluten free wrap, although I'm not a massive fan of these they are ok with something that has a good amount of moisture in it like this.

It didn't take that long, everything I used I had in the fridge, it's vegan, gluten free and healthy. Furthermore my youngest son had some in a wrap with leftover chicken and there is one full portion left which will either be frozen or consumed by oldest son later.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Coat Pocket Repairs (Tutorial)

A bit of repair work was needed today on my raincoat.  I had washed it as after a school trip a couple of weeks ago it was a bit muddy but this must have been one wash too many and whatever was holding the fabric around the zip pockets has started to come away.
Now I know a lot of these coats say dry clean only but this has been washed a number of times and it is only just having issues.  So as going to the dry cleaners is expensive and inconvenient I will continue to wash my coats.

So the best way to tackle this is to go in on the inside by making a hole in the lining seam by unpicking it a bit.

 So the space you make in the side doesn't have to be very big, just big enough to get your hand inside and manipulate the fabric.  I chose to remove the labels at this point also.
Once you have your opening place the pocket to be repaired under
the machine making sure you can feel the gap is stretched open underneath so you are not catching it, I chose to just topstitch down the side that had come away.  When you get so far you will have to lift the zip and move it behind before continuing stitching.
Now when you have finished close the original side seam, I continued in pink cotton but you could change to an exact colour match if it would bother you.
A bit of pink stitching doesn't bother me, also I don't like wasting the thread on the bobbin.
Here it is finished, now I just need to get a can of that spray on waterproof as this jacket lost it's waterproof properties a while ago, it's ok unless it really rains heavy which it has done a few times.

If you are repairing a side seam you can go in exactly the same way but obviously it's easier to open the lining seam closest to the one that is damaged.  Then you would pull the side seam of the outer jacket through the hole and repair on the wrong side, then close the lining seam as above.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Flow, Books, TED Talks and Stretching

That is quite a title for a post I know but I just didn't know where to start. You know how sometimes you find yourself saying that you haven't been up the much when people ask.  Not that you haven't done anything but rather that you feel you haven't been anywhere noteworthy, so people will  not be interested. 

Often when I am asked at work if I've done anything at the weekend I have said no, nothing much, when really I have been out walking with the dogs a number of times, done all the house related stuff, read a book or two, made a new dress, cooked all out meals (sometimes a new recipe) listened to music, sometimes practiced Spanish or guitar and perhaps any list of other things that may vary from week to week.  However because I have not been anywhere I feel compelled to say 'nothing much' I am very happy being around home and I do like to go out too, I think I need to look at my self talk in that area perhaps.

So this week the book I have loved the most is Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  Fantastic and thought provoking I thought and I have the strange feeling I have read some if not all of it before (must be getting old!).
So if you haven't read the book flow is the state you are in when you are completely absorbed in a task and don't notice the passing of time, therefore you are in a state of contentment.  This is a rather simplified description so you will have to read the book to get the full picture, but basically we have all been in that state at some point.  For some it could be washing the dishes but for others making music, art, playing with the children, it doesn't matter the activity as it is different for everyone.  It does state later on in the book that improving activities give the greatest scope for this feeling and that if there is a certain amount of difficulty to overcome the pleasure is greater.

I found it interesting but not surprising that difficulty in an activity is better than say watching T.V, because although we all enjoy T.V sometimes it probably doesn't add to lasting memories or a sense of achievement.  It also relates well to something we have been discussing in school which is the growth mindset.  The book Mindset by Carol Dweck is a good one to read on that if you are interested.

I have also nearly finished A brief history of tractors in Ukranian.  This book I have been  dipping in and out of so more on that later.  I read a post by Nina Sankovitch the other day who vowed to read a book every day for her blog for year, you can find her blog here, go take a look I am inspired to up my game in reading more.

While still on the subject of books, a really good talk I saw on TED was again titled Why I read a book a day by Tai Lopez.  He explains how he got lots of advice as a young man in search of direction from reading the ideas of great people  who had succeeded in various fields, he goes on to state that this information is there for all of us, so we should use it to our advantage.

There have been quite a few TED talks watched this week and not while sitting passively either.  I got it into my head that I am not flexible enough, well it's not just in my head I'm not! So I have set myself a target to do some stretching exercises everyday, I do some when I get up then some later in the day. The ones I do later in the day I have found are an ideal partner to watching a TED talk while I am on the rug trying to hold a position.  I think exercising alone can  be dull so this is the perfect use of my time.

Anyway it is that time of day so I am off to do some of that stretching now.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Best Dhal

Today I tried another recipe from Naturally Sassy and I have to say it is one of the best dishes I have made in ages.  I really love spicy food so I regularly make a korma with any variation of  veg and nuts in it, I have to say though I have generally bought dhal.  I am now thinking why? I know how to cook lentils and I put them in all sorts of things so why has it taken me so long to make a dhal.

I saw this recipe this morning as soon as I went to look on the Naturally Sassy blog and decided to make it today for lunch. It is really colourful, which is always a good sign and smells amazing.  It does state it serves four but I had a second helping however there are two portions left which are now in the fridge.
If you haven't looked at the blog before do so now, this lady is amazing, she is a ballet dancer, cook with her own book not to mention she runs lunch events.  I would love to attend but I am a bit out of the way up here in the North.  It certainly gets you thinking when you see what some people achieve, but mostly I admire her positive attitude towards food.  So as I mentioned before go take a look now, if you follow the link Naturally Sassy it will take you straight to the page with recipe for the dish above.

Something that is very satisfying about cooking more things from scratch is that you don't have that moment where you are reading the ingredients on some container thinking 'now what on earth is that?' I like knowing exactly what is in my food and that it is all there for a purpose and. not just as a filler which is what many ingredients in pre-packed foods are.

I hope at least a few of you take a peek and find something scrummy to make, I'm sure I have probably mentioned the blog before.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Summer Declutter

The decluttering goes on and I am beginning to wonder how we ever get to this point with so many items in our homes and cupboards.  I met my friends the other day for lunch and dropped off two bags at the charity shop on the way, yesterday I  sorted some more and then dropped off a further six bags of clothing!  I am not finished by a long way, there are still more of my sons outgrown clothes to go through, plus games, books etc.

I have read a few articles on this that suggest that it is better for your well being to let go of items however my nature has always swayed towards saving things for projects that may come in handy.  While I will always keep a box with craft items such as papers, card and fabrics in, my days of saving fabric passed on from others are over.  With each bag of unwanted items that leaves the house I feel a little lighter and even though they were out of sight in cupboards, it just goes to show that there is a weight associated with our possessions.

So I will continue by doing a little each day getting rid of the bulk of the outgrown items and then beyond that I will continue to get rid of one thing each day that I,  or we don't need or use.  I read somewhere of someone who did this  while going minimalist. Now I know I won't be taking it that far (I have trouble even travelling light!) but I will try it until it becomes impossible.

It has been amazing weather this week but it has also completely wiped the dogs out so walks have been in the evening. Today was a little cooler so we managed to get out for a walk at teatime.
My other two dogs are with my husband who was taking the photo.

When the weather is this good who needs to travel.

Also I sat outside to eat, you have to make the most of these lovely days.