Monday, 28 January 2013

Drawstring bag for marbles

My eldest was given loads of marbles this year and although I am a fan of traditional toys they were a nightmare to start with as they were rolling every where with no decent storage. So I saw a need to get out the sewing machine and this is what I came up with. I used some spare yellow fabric I had lying around in my scrap box, a patch worked handle recycled from another bag I had made ages ago and a crossed stitched label. The perfect solution to not losing my marbles. 
Drawstring bag for marbles

Close up of cross stitch label for the drawstring bag for marbles


Sunday, 27 January 2013

Experiments in tone, depth and colour using machine embroidery

 Just thought I would share a set of resources I made a while go that show the possibilities of creating tone and depth and experimenting with colour when using the sewing machine. I know a lot of people have become away of free machine embroidery but these ideas show how you can push your machine to produce a much wider range of textural qualities.

Using a combination of zig zag and straight machine stitch , the aim was to produce patterns that looked at the relation of spacing. 

Christmas tree cross stitched decoration continued...

Here's the second batch of cross stitch motifs I've made from my library book I borrowed earlier in the week. I'm very pleased with the robin and the Christmas cake but I'm not so sure on the father Christmas. I just cant help thinking that french knots for eyes make everything look at little bit zombiefied and a bit scary. I'll have to find a different stitch to use or experiment with small seed beads instead.

Christmas tree cross stitched decoration

Friday, 25 January 2013

Christmas tree cross stitched decorations

I've just picked up a great book from the library and it had so many lovely motifs for Christmas inside I was inspired to start making the decorations for the new baby's advent calendar  If nothing else you can call me organised. So I started last night and here are the first five motifs I've stitched. I've adapted some of the colours to suit my personal tastes and what embroidery thread I had in my bag! I'll back them with scraps of Christmas fabric I've got in my stash and some red and gold ribbon to hang them from. I'll add more pictures as I sew them. Only another 19 to go!

Christmas tree cross stitched decorations

Christmas tree cross stitched decorations

Christmas tree cross stitched decorations

Christmas tree cross stitched decorations

Christmas tree cross stitched decorations
What do you think?


Thursday, 24 January 2013

Heart book mark

Whilst I was in the mood for looking through my craft books and magazines the other day, I made a sweet bookmark from ultra suede and some left over patch working cotton scraps I had left. It would be perfect gift for someone for valentines day, not to over the top but still romantic. I've photographed it her marking these little mice I am looking to find a reason to make from Martha Stewarts encyclopedia of sewing and fabric crafts.

New baby cross stitch

Welcome baby cross stitch card

new baby sampler cross stitch
Just finished these for my brother in laws baby who is due in July. All I'm waiting for is to find out the sex and  the name of the baby and they'll be finished. The top one is a welcome baby card that just needs name and a ring on the dummy in either blue or pink and the bottom one is larger and will be framed for the nursery once I've added the name and date. I got the patterns from a old cross stitch book my mum bought for me from a charity shop one day, and I must say it's been well worth the £1.25 she spent on it.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Monster face pizza and basic pizza dough recipe

I love to involve the kids in the kitchen, not just when we make sweet things but also preparing the evening meal. Last night we made pizza which is a family favorite and the little one put his creative input into decorating the top - hence a monster faced pizza. 

Basic pizza dough recipe

400g strong white flour
7g sachet of fast action dried yeast
300ml of warm water

  1. Stir the yeast into the flour in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the warm water.
  3. The mixture will look like it's too wet and you may be tempted to add extra flour but that is when you end up with too hard dough. The wetter the better in this case. 
  4. Lightly flour the work surface and knead the dough for around 10 minutes - you will find the dough becomes less sticky as the gluten stretches and activates.
  5. Grease the mixing bowl with some olive oil and roll the ball of dough in it
  6. Cover loosely with cling film and leave to rise somewhere warm.

My favorite place to leave the dough to rise
For a about an hour - or longer if you have the time.
It's now ready to press out and top with whatever you desire on your pizza. 

William's monster face pizza 
Bake at 200c for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden brown and the crust has browned.

Origami book marks

Origami bookmarks 
I was doing one of my favorite activities when I had a spare five minutes, which is to flick through my stack of old magazines. I keep all my craft magazines as I often leave project ideas until I have the right materials or I'm in the right mood. I also like to flick through them when looking for inspiration. On this occasion I came across a little tutorial for origami bookmarks in Issue 9 of Making magazine. I didn't find the instructions very clear, so it was a good job they had plenty of pictures. Anyway the basic principle is very easy and once I made one a knocked out a whole stack of them in no time. Perfect for marking all those projects I want to come back to (and marking my mention in this months Making!)

close up of origami bookmarks 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Cross stitch 1st Birthday card

Cross stitched 1st birthday card
Just made this for my nephew who will be one in about  a week. I had been wanting to use the letters from a nursery sampler I'd had for ages. So I picked out his name to stitch, then finished the card off with some papers I'd had free in a magazine ages ago and some die cut letters. 

Close up of the cross stitch 1st birthday card

Friday, 18 January 2013

Making magazine.

In case you haven't seen it. My toy sack that I made for William is featured in the making views section of this months making magazine.

Easy chocolate cake recipe

Easy chocolate cake recipe.
Given to me by a friend at school after she made it for cake club. Fantastic chocolate cake with store cupboard ingredients, no need to go out and buy chocolate bars to make it.

Recipe for baked egg custard

Baked egg custard with mixed berry compote

Recipe for Almond biscuits

Recipe for Almond biscuits
A good recipe if, like me you are left with a half opened bag of ground almonds after Christmas. They never keep, so a light crisp biscuit recipe is a great way to use them up.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Getting organised - storage solutions for jewellery

After all the decorations come down, I often feel in the new year a desire not necessarily to spring clean but to organize. This year I decided to tackle my jewellery and hair accessories as over the past few years them have become more and more un organized and when your busy in the morning there is nothing worse than spending ten minutes looking for the matching earring or a set of kerby grips. These are my solutions:
Take one nice Christmas card, preferably a sturdy one and slide all the kerby grips onto it. Store in the side of a drawer and no more hunting for them.
How to keep kerby grips in one place 
I also have lots of long stranded jewellery and it often gets knotted so to keep them separated I made a pocket organizer with small pockets that I hang in the wardrobe.

pocket storage for small jewellery 
Finally I think this is a work of genius and wondered why I'd never done this before. Take two off cuts of felt and push through all stud earrings attach with their backing and they all stay in pairs. The only downside to this genius plan is as my husband pointed out 'you'll have to remember to put them back in, rather than leave them all over the side at night' but I'm sure I'll manage.
Organizing stud earrings 

Friday, 11 January 2013

Greek stuffed peppers with oregano saute potatoes

Greek stuffed peppers with oregano saute potatoes
This was my Greek inspired dinner from last night. I don't know about anyone else but sometimes I just get fed up cooking the same things. So I wanted to make something different. I stuffed the peppers with rice, red pepper pesto, feta, peas, cherry tomatoes and sweetcorn. Then I baked them in the oven. I par boiled some potatoes and then sliced them coated them with olive oil and oregano and sauted them. I know it's rather a carbohydrate loaded meal but they serve it like this in Greece, so I don't care.

Recipe for Victoria scones

recipe for Victoria scones
A traditional English recipe and perfect for a beginner cook, or if you are like me baking with children.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Tissue paper blossom

Tissue paper blossom
New flowers have started to bloom in my kitchen. The little one made me a beautiful new addition to the sideboard today. With a twig from the eucalyptus and a few bits of scrunched up blue tissue paper. I think it looks beautiful and makes me look forward to spring.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Paper back heart garland

 This morning I was sat in the playroom watching the little one playing trains and wondered what I could do whilst sat there. This is what I came up with a paper heart garland made with the help of one trashy book and my sizzix die cutting machine. 
Paper back heart garland

Paper back heart garland

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Ice cream cone cakes

Ice cream cone cakes
Is it too soon to be thinking about going on holiday? I for one am longing for a bit on sun on my body and William's current destination whenever we are playing (airplanes, car journeys, bus driver) is Spain. So there is a definite mood for summer in our household at the moment. Now that the decorations have come down and the house looks that little bit emptier and sadder, it was definitely time for a summer evoking make, even if the weather is less obliging. So here it is, cakes designed to look like ice creams. It was my technician at work that first suggested this idea, and at first I had my doubts about how well the the cones would stand up to being baked but overall they are very successful. The only down sides to these cakes are they take much more cake mixture than you would think. Six cones uses up at normal 2 egg sponge mix. The other down side is you need a lot of icing to convincing cover the top to make them look cornetty enough. (You may not think this a downside). However kids of all ages love these, I know William does and my form who are 15 and 16 also loved them. They are easily adapted with food coloring and you can go crazy with icing and sprinkles  Summer in cake form, what could be better?

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Lemon meringue pie recipe

Lemon meringue pie
Who doesn't love the combination of buttery pastry, tangy lemon curd filling and crisp fluffy meringue. Not me anyway, this is a firm favorite in our household and a recipe that I come back to again and again.

new years day puddings - lemon meringue and mincemeat tart.

Had the family around for a big feed on New Years Day. A good way to use up all the Christmas leftovers and combat any hangovers. The result - lovely pastry puddings, mincemeat tart and lemon meringue pie.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Christmas pudding cupcakes

Handmade gift wrapping - folded paper boxes

Handmade Christmas gift - cross stitch rainbow bookmark

As you will probably know if you have stopped by before. I absolutely love rainbow colored things, and when sewing my Christmas gifts this year I made now exception. This bookmark was for my Stepdad and I love the colors. I used a space between each one to highlight their beauty and then I back stitched it onto felt for durability. Sorry about the rubbish picture but the winter light has been terrible for photographing things. 

handmade Christmas gift - embroidered bird decoration

handmade gift wrapping - folded box and reverse able bag

Handmade Christmas gifts - heart decorations

Felted Christmas tree decorations


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