Sunday, 30 August 2015

Burda Women's Shirt Pattern

This weekend I have been getting on with a couple of jobs that have been sat around a while.  The first was a small rip in a friends dress that needed some invisible stitching ( I say invisible but it was actually a very fine mesh so I did the best I could). There was also a replacement zip and a shirt for me that I have had the fabric for for quite a while.

The reason it has been so long waiting for me to get started is that I knew it wasn't going to be a quick make. It is fitted but very structured and  lot of bits and detail that needed to be spot on.

Here it is...
I really like the middle fabric on the front of the pattern but they didn't have any like that so I got this which is a dusky pink. Not  a colour I would usually go for as I tend to suit bolder colours so I hope I wear this! 

The fit turned out to be very accurate but I did feel the collar was too deep so after I had stitched it all on I thought that it would just bug me, that would probably mean the garment wouldn't get worn.  With that in mind I unpicked the whole collar snipped about a cm off the bottom and put it back in.  It took longer to put back in as everything was not as crisp but it got there.
When making the shirt next time I may also make it shorter as it is quite long.


This has inspired me to try more of the Burda patterns for more detailed stuff, I make lots without but it is good to work from one occasionally, my way of doing things  usually involves trying on repeatedly and tweaking things as I go. Working from a pattern is more like doing a puzzle so it can be a relaxing way to work.  ( Just buy them on offer, make sure you can reuse and adapt)

Here you can see it is long, but that is the style.


Now that I know that this pattern works and is a good fit I may see if I can make it in something heavier for the winter. 






Sunday, 23 August 2015

Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes (frugal and quick desert)

I really wanted some pudding today after my lunch and while everyone else was eating banoffee cheesecake and cream I had to go without.  I did try a bought lemon cheesecake from the supermarket's free from range a couple of weeks ago but it was awful, expensive and everyone complained!  So back to letting them have the regular deserts as why should everyone else suffer.
After about an hour my sweet tooth got the better of me and I decided to make something using what I had in the fridge.

Blueberry Pancakes.

 I didn't measure anything out as it is not necessary with stuff like this I feel, so here is what I did.



I used one egg and cracked it into the jug, added a splash of soya milk and whipped it up a bit.
I added one teaspoon of sugar and about five level desert-spoons of  GF flour (plain). Next I chopped up a handful of blueberries, heated some olive oil in a pan and poured in the batter.  I waited until the bottom had caught a bit then spread out the blueberries, turned after a short while and it was done.
To serve I added some plain Alpro yogurt, a few more blueberries and a drizzle of syrup, it was very nice.



It was a decent size serving so you could use this amount and make four or five small thin ones to have with ice cream if you can eat that (I can't).  There is a really good cheats ice cream though that you make using frozen bananas and peanut butter. You can find it here Dairy free ice cream

Pancakes are quite useful as you can put savoury fillings in them and they are cheap to make and a bonus is they are one of the few GF recipes that taste just like the regular version.


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Frugal Bathroom Blind revamp/makeover

I redid the bathroom blind last year or was it the year before? Using a bit of fabric from Ikea but as we have recently redone our bathroom it no longer went with the colour scheme.  As it was so easy to do on the cheap last time I had no intention of paying out a ridiculous amount of cash to get the look I wanted.  Lets face it a roller blind is just a bit of fabric with a channel in one end for a bit of plastic and it is attached to a mechanism on a cardboard tube!

Here it is...

This is what I did.
As the bathroom is a damp place and my window is right next to the bath I decided that this time I was going to use the coated fabric. You know the kind you use as wipe-able table cloths, so we went and had a look and found this...


It has little pebbles all over it which will go really well with two pictures I have in my bathroom.

This is the lovely orange one I took down, but don't worry that fabric will be washed and pressed and I am sure it will come in useful for something in the future.
It is a great design but it does not go with the current neutral colours.

All I did was remove the old fabric by taking out the staples from the tube, I lay the new fabric over the top to get the right size and then stitched a new channel at the bottom for the plastic to go in (the bit that weights the bottom down).  If you are starting from scratch you could just make this from a bit of dowel.  I didn't even need to hem the sides this time because the fabric being coated it does not fray.  We just made sure it was lined up straight on the tube and stapled it with an electric stapler.  I'm sure strong glue could probably be used for this bit.

I showed my mum the fabric and she said she could do with something like that as things get splashed on her blind and she has a hard time keeping it clean. I told her to have a look for something she likes and we will do her blind up next.








Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Summer and Books

It has been a strange summer, the weather has been pretty good but with the absence of any caravan travel it has not seemed complete somehow. The bathroom was finished, well there is just the blind I need to make but I have the fabric for that and it will be a quick job, just need to find the staple gun out.
Plans for the pond changed as my husband decided he wanted fish again, he made some repairs, built a new filter set up and refilled it.  Then he went out and bought 20 very small koy carp that someone was selling really cheap as they had too many and I have to say they have really grown in a few weeks.
This was a few weeks ago they have grown a lot since but they are so friendly up near the surface when you come to the pond, that I'm a bit worried the heron is going to spot them and steal this lot as well. Hiding caves have been made and there is talk of a pergola to go over it to disrupt the bird from swooping straight down.

It is nice to go out and watch them again and I suppose the idea of a seating area would have only been used occasionally, how many seating areas does one garden need.

The lilies were also relieved to be moved back into the big pond as they gave this gorgeous display.

The time at home has given me lots of opportunity to read while it has been quiet and enjoy being outside.

Reading on the tablet is not so easy in full sun!

We complain about the weather in England but on a good day you can't beat it.

I have read few books while I have been off work, this one The Anchoress I just picked up at the library in a rush and it was so good!  A strange subject matter a young girl being locked in a cell to live her life as a living death to serve God and the village where she is contained. However wow! really gets you thinking ( mainly about why would you do such a thing!) and the characters are so believable.


This week I have been reading Forgive me, Leonard Peacock.



I read this one over a few days after initially thinking after the first few pages it was depressing and I wouldn't continue.  I did continue and I was really glad I did, I wanted good things for Leonard.  This is one to check out and don't be put off by the beginning. ( If you are like me you might think it's too dark at first)

Currently I am making my way through Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner, I have been trying to learn Spanish for years and although I know loads of words and phrases as soon as I hear someone speaking it all goes out the window as my brain can't keep up with trying to make sense of it all!  Spanish speakers appear to talk very fast but then I'm sure that is how English speakers sound to others.  So I bought this book and I'm trying out the tips, but to be honest as I never get the opportunity to try out the actual talking part I'm not fooling myself to think I will have anything more than a knowledge of the language.  I will continue (forever probably) because I can only improve no matter what the pace. I think you really need to live somewhere where the language is spoken daily and you are forced to respond, that is the way to become fluent, but it doesn't hurt to learn as much as we can in our own environment does it?










Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Cupboard revamp/makeover

We have been in the middle of doing up our bathroom, not because we felt like it but rather because we had a leak that meant everything had to be taken out to get at it and repair it.  We sourced everything cheaply and kept what we could such as the sink and toilet and just added new taps  (found in the discount section but very nice) My husband is very skilled at many things so he installed the new bath and did the tiling and flooring.
One thing I did want was a nice cupboard to keep all the cleaning products and toiletries out of sight.  I didn't want to pay too much for it and also what I had in mind probably did not exist.  We looked in some salvage shops and I have to say they charge an awful lot for junk!  We eventually found one the right size in a charity shop, solid wood for £20.  Very pleased with that I bought a small tin of paint, some sand paper, primer and a new handle.  The paint was for the door and other woodwork also so not really included in the price of the makeover.  I also had a small piece of wallpaper sample (free).
Here is the before and after...

I had already taken off the many gold handles as you can see.
Now this is exactly as I saw it in my head so I am pleased and it goes well with the bathroom.

I sanded it all over and wiped off all the dust, then it had a coat of primer.  Then two coats of gloss 24 hours apart.
The wallpaper piece had the effect of panelling so I used a baking paper template to get the size of the insets in the mock drawers.  I then cut out four and stuck them on with paste.  The handle was £3.45.  It just needs the paper sealing with a clear varnish and we have some of that in the garage.
Total cost £30.

When I was looking for this cupboard we went in one shop and it was a vintage shop.  We saw a small cupboard that looked like it needed painting as it was all patchy and flaky looking.  We asked how much, thinking we could get it and do it up, the lady said oh that is £40.
  It was much smaller than mine and my husband said really?  She said oh it cost me loads for the Annie Sloan paint I can easy sell that for £40.  Well I have to say I have seen how much that chalk paint is and it is expensive, if people like it good for them but I like finish of regular paint better, if something is freshly painted I want it to look that way.


Making a Bra

Well the last two afternoons have seen me kept busy trying to make a bra, not a floppy one but a structured one with bones.  Now rather than...