Sunday, 31 January 2016

First Cathedral Window Panel Finished

Well I finished my first cathedral window panel yesterday, it took longer than I thought due to it being hand stitched but I really like the effect and I would imagine that that this style could make even the most dull fabrics look interesting.  I'm not sure what to do with the panel, whether to put a border around it and make it a cushion cover or to turn it into a bag I'm leaning towards a bag as it has the denim shades already in it so it will go well with the denim scraps I have.
My shapes are not perfect I know but I'm very pleased with it as a first attempt.

I had a suit to alter today for my mother in law, as skirt to take in and up by 6 inches (she is only small) and the jacket needed sleeves taking up. Then they came here for lunch along with my mum.

While I was in the mind for sewing I had another look at my sprocket cushion because I felt the cover was a big for the cushion I made. So I took that apart, I made the side panel smaller and also gave it a bigger button at the centre.  It looks much better now and gathers in nicely at the centre, I want to make a few of these for the caravan.
I changed the colour of the button in the centre also, I did like the yellow one but I didn't have one big enough the other other one looked a bit out of place.

Here is the back, it is good to get some daylight photos.

After continuing with a few more crocheted squares today I thought I would share a couple of the patterns I have seen that I might try next. They are from the same library book but I have instructed my mother in law to keep an eye out for any books that come in the charity shop where she works as this one is getting looked over quite a lot.
This one is pretty and a bit different I thought.


After everyone left earlier we went for a rainy walk with the dogs, we called in Tesco on the way just because they always mark stuff down on a Sunday at that time.  We got three veg curries with rice for 50p each and two of those posh soups that we never buy at full price for 20p each not bad.  I took a picture of these bargains but it came out blurred each time.
I also made a soup for my lunch tomorrow using the leftovers from dinner today ( the bargains from the Tesco had chicken in the soup).  I used carrots,fried onion, red lentils, veg stock and tomato paste.

So as January comes to an end I feel I am on track with what I set out for myself, I have learned a few new things and I am enjoying looking at ideas on pinterest for what to try next.
  I often get asked what I did at the weekend and sometimes I feel a bit err.. what to say, because people tend to want to know where you have been, what events you have attended and so on.  I really must stop feeling awkward about this, unless it is the summer and we are taking the caravan places we are not people who go out a lot.  However I am always busy with something and these are the things that I enjoy, learning new skills and creating things, listening to music,  reading, walking and reading blogs by people who share my interests.  All these things take time but they don't all take me out of the house, they are often very low cost too and that is ok.













Saturday, 30 January 2016

Crafty Bits this Week

Following on from my attempt at a sprocket cushion I thought I would have a go this week at a cathedral window. After  seeing a few instructions it appeared to use a lot of fabric so I decided I wouldn't be using my new fabric for this as most of it would be folded in and unseen.
The youtube video I found on this was just using hand stitching so I decided to follow this one, I have made a start with some cut up chambray trousers that I had given to me for the fabric.  There won't be enough base fabric to do all the background in this, as I said it uses quite a lot so I will mix in some other recycled bits along the way.  Here are my first few blocks...
It feels like you are doing origami with the fabric, also reminded me of those little paper fortune teller things I used to make when I was a child.  I can see this is quite a time consuming way to do this but I thought I would get the hang of the style first then maybe later do machine stitched ones. 

Because of the nature of all the folding it is a really good way to turn old shirts into cushion covers and quilts that might otherwise feel a bit thin to make anything substantial with. You can then just save your colourful little bits of best fabric for inside the window piece.

There is also a little growing pile of crocheted squares on my work table, still undecided what I want to do with them, I have noticed that despite being the same kind of wool they grey is much thicker than the pink and green! This has obviously caused a variation in size, I tried changing needle size and tension but it's still obvious. i may have to leave the grey squares out and just do two colours.
Me being me though I am a bit bored with squares now though and want to try other patterns from the library book (which I renewed) I also want to learn to make the little leaves and flowers.

In light of closing the Folksy shop last week I remembered that ages ago I had opened a free store with weebly so I thought I would add that to my blog page.  What a time wasting exercise that was!
 I just wanted to add a photo and a link but the pages are hard to use with it, it wouldn't let view URL for image from there either I had to search through own photos first, then when I finally got it on and sorted I decided to check that the link was working and what happened when I clicked on the link? It took me straight to a flashing full page advertisement for some dodgy product and not my store page. 
 So I checked the link was correct, it was, then I tried again this time up popped a full page add for online gambling!! 

 Unbelievable, that is not something I am interested in promoted or would ever want anyone to get involved in.  Obviously if you set up these free sites and try to link them they want to make money this way, well I don't like it so I have closed that one too.

I was ill at the beginning of the week and still not fully recovered now but I have managed to get back into practising my guitar this last three days after a bit of a break since Christmas.  I need to get back into the habit of using the Justin guitar lessons  I was progressing well I thought and I started finding songs that I like and having a go at the simple versions of them that I found, but then I didn't stick to the stages.  So I am back working through the lessons because I feel if I don't I will not learn what I am doing properly and therefore not progress beyond pottering about on it.





Saturday, 23 January 2016

Taking in a Thin Cardigan or Sweater (Makeover)

In my wardrobe I had a charity shop cardigan that I bought because I liked the colours. It was £4 from the Bluebell Wood Hospice shop and originally from M&S (Peruna).  It is lovely and soft but  a bit shapeless, I also wasn't keen on the small pearl effect buttons.
So I decided to make it fit properly and change the buttons, here it is to begin with...

I already had a bag of buttons with lots in the right colour, I bought them from the works a while ago and have used some for card making. They are all different so it was just a case of going through the bag to find seven of a similar size.
The ones I chose are a bit more interesting than the existing ones and not bad to say the bag cast £1.99 last year and they keep coming in handy for all sorts.

(There are only six there, I did find number seven)

If you have any sweaters or cardigans that have gone a bit mis-shaped in the wash this is something you could do to extend the life of them.

I tried mine on my mannequin inside out and pinned it down both sides, I wouldn't do it too snug at first as you will want to try it.

Then you need to follow your pins as you sew down the sides, I started mine a little way into the sleeve under the arm and tapered it into the line of pins so that it would blend in.

        When you sew you should have your stitch on small and don't pull at the fabric as you go.
When you have done both sides try it on and check it fits the way you like, if not add more pins and reduce a little more.  Next you need to sew down each side with a small zig zag stitch close to the seam, then trim away the excess.

I think it looks much better now and I know I will wear that with jeans and a long sleeved t shirt under while it is cold.  I also think the odd buttons add a bit of interest.  If you had a cardigan in plain grey or black it might look good to have all your buttons different in bright colours.



We went into the city centre today as I had a gift card for John Lewis. It is not some where we would normally go to as I think it is expensive but the gift card was from Christmas.  I wanted to look at the fabric and lucky for me the ones I was looking at were on sale!
Two of them were reduced from £14 per metre to £3, the other two £7.  My gift card covered that, just as well really as I wouldn't have paid full price, or I would have only got one metre of one pattern then agonised over cutting into it. Does anyone else do that?

It is all very summery I know and I will have to get thinking what to make with it all.









Thursday, 21 January 2016

First Attempts at Crochet

This week I had my first go at crochet, I was up early with the dogs and thought I would get on and have a go but following it from the book didn't seem to make much sense. I must have undone the same piece about 8 times trying to figure out why it didn't look like the picture in the book. Eventually I watched a Youtube video and straight away I could see what I was doing wrong!  So come lunchtime I had a growing piece.

Later I tried a circle and I did create one but now I see that was inaccurate but I know how to do it properly next time, I added a frill as I went around just experimenting it wasn't from the book.

Next I managed a granny square, again the first one went a bit wrong but after watching a video it made sense. I really must watch the videos first without just plodding on and getting it wrong.  My auntie taught me to knit when I was small and you can't beat watching someone else for learning something. (Providing they are doing it right of course.)
So I am sure it will improve and get neater, these are still a bit wobbly.

Another thing I did this week was to take down my Folksy shop.  It has become just an irritant to be honest, it hardly gets any traffic and I feel like every few months I just pay to renew items that no one sees and it doesn't really inspire me to spend time putting up anything new. So I am either going to try a new site or add a buy button here. 

So far I haven't started my next piece of patchwork but I do like the look of the cathedral window effect but it looks like it wastes an awful lot of fabric with all the folding and I do hate waste.  I will have a look if I can create the same effect without quite so much fabric.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Lemon Custard Coconut Tart (Gluten Free)

Yesterday I tried out a new desert, I got the recipe from a book I got from the library called Gluten Free Vegetarian, to be honest however there wasn't much in there that was anything different.  Things like stuffed peppers and salads with different combinations so nothing new.
I did see this one recipe for a coconut lemon custard and as I've not made this before thought I would give it a try.  As  usual a few things had to be changed to make it milk free as well, also I didn't like the idea of just coconut and egg white for the crust so mine has GF flour and Bertolli in it.
As I made it below I think it still needs tweaking, I ate it and enjoyed it as did my younger son but my husband said it was too lemony and older son agreed so less lemon next time.
Here it is...
Now I was pleased that it looked like a custard tart and the pastry held.  I would cook the pastry a little less next time I think it was in about seven minutes next time just five.


Now if you can eat cream use double cream, I used single soya cream and my custard was soft and not as firm as it would be using double cream but I can't eat that. I may try another for the rest of the family made in the proper way.  I ate mine with soya cream and raspberries.

Lemon Custard Coconut Tart

I used 21cm tin
1oz dessicated coconut
2oz GF plain flour
1 egg white
3 egg yokes
2oz Bertolli (or Margarine)
zest and juice of half a lemon
100ml soya cream (double dairy cream if possible)
2tbsp of sugar

Heat oven to 180c and line and grease tin, combine coconut, flour, egg white and bertolli in a bowl, rub in and bring together in a ball.  Roll out gently and press into tin.  Cook for 5 minutes (no longer)
Beat together egg yokes, cream, sugar, lemon and zest.  (The soya cream cannot be whipped!) Pour over tart and cook for another 13-15 minutes. 

I will use a little less lemon juice next time and I may try other flavours, I will also keep a closer eye on the pastry as mine was a little over cooked.   I still enjoyed it though as I only tend to get pudding when I make it! 





Saturday, 9 January 2016

Charity Finds and Trying Something New

Yesterday the rain finally let up a little so I could actually get outside without getting drenched. In fact the sun actually came out for a bit I hope that was the case where you are too.
It made such a difference to my mood, after I had walked the dogs I brought them back and then walked down to the shops on my own.

First off I visited the library, I was pleased to discover two of the books I had ordered had arrived and while I was there  I also picked up a beginner book on crochet. Now this is something I have fancied having a go at for a while and I look at quite a few blogs that have some fabulous projects featured using this skill.
So I have had a look though (with a cup of tea and leftover chocolate coins) made a few notes and ordered some hooks off ebay, I just need to source some inexpensive wool to practise on.  (The hooks were only £2)  

One of the blogs I like that features lots of crochet is Attic 24 and if you follow that link it will take you straight to the gorgeous winter wreath she made last year which I can't stop admiring.  Now I am not thinking I will be able to create anything like that but it just goes to show what the accomplished are creating.

After the library I had a look in a couple of charity shops hoping to find a cheap hook and wool. Unfortunately they had no hooks but lots of needles (if you are a knitter get to the charity shops they had all sizes for 25p!) also the wool was £1. 90 a ball for 100g and I'm sure I can do better than that and really I would like smaller balls in  different colours, maybe part used for making the squares.

However while in the charity shop I saw this winter jacket at half price making it £3!
It is really well made and was too good to pass up so it came home with me.

Back home I got on with making a few more cards, I have found looking on pinterest useful for ideas I don't make them exactly the same but you can pick up a few things and switch them around.  The two below were inspired from there.
  As ever I didn't buy any bits but used left over papers, the pink papers are from the inserts from an old greeting card, the gold and brown is re-used wrapping paper, and the ribbon on the dress is the shoulder hanger ribbon from a top. I always cut these off as they are annoying but they are handy bits of ribbon.

I know lots of people buy expensive papers and the cutting and embossing machines for card making but I wanted to keep this a re-cycling activity.  I also made the envelopes to go with them from some gift wrap I had  around.
There is the re-used pink paper again to make little labels.






Sunday, 3 January 2016

A New Year Patchwork Challenge

In addition to making clothes this year I wanted to do something a bit different, I have done a bit of patchwork before but aside from a quilt I made years ago (that I no longer have and really wish I'd kept) I don't usually work to any set design.
having looked at some of the gorgeous stuff others are doing in this area I thought I would set myself the task of trying at least one new item of patchwork a month and try out some of the many designs out there.
If I have more time or the items are quick I may do more but I thought one was a realistic starting point in addition to the clothes making and alterations I do.

I have completed my first item today and I copied this from this blog cluck cluck sew and here they are referred to as sprocket pillows. I love her fabric choices and the ones there look much neater than mine but hey first attempt so I am pleased with mine.  I can see it needs a bit of tweaking my home made cushion is a bit small in the case so the side needs to be made narrower I think.

As you can see it is a bit loose in the case I also think the button needs to be bigger and be pulled more tightly through the other side but I did not have the tool to do it properly. My husband made me something when I re-upholstered the old caravan but I don't know where that has gone!

The cushion inside I made from my old bathrobe and some toy filling that I had left from ages ago so I don't know how this will hold up under constant use, we will see.

I also didn't use the instructions from the website above I just made a circle then divided it up using old newspaper and added a seam allowance when I cut out the fabric.


I found this quite a relaxing make and you can use up lots of odd bits this way so I think I will be making more of these.  I did two pieces of each fabric but you could just do one and do more or less triangles.


Last night while watching the T.V I got a few more cards done, I'm going to store them in a box so I have a good supply for the coming year.


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...