Sunday 29 June 2014

Coffee and a Catch Up ~ June 2014

Come in, come in. Your timing is perfect. I have an unexpected hour or two to myself, while The Mechanic is visiting his parents with the children. I’m taking advantage of it to get back to my dress, at long last. A bit of hand stitching and an episode of Mad Men on a Sunday afternoon. Bliss.


Do you sew? Perhaps you were put off by Domestic Science (I’m probably showing my age by calling them that!) lessons at school, like me, or did you have a positive experience? Maybe there was somebody in your family who encouraged you or whose example you followed. My Gran was a talented seamstress, which meant my Mum didn’t ever need to sew herself. Gran made me some beautiful dresses when I was a little girl. I must dig out one of the little outfits I made for my girl, to show you another day.


Can I offer you a slice of fridge cake with your cuppa? I’ve been meaning to try Mel’s recipe for ages. When I was sorting out the larder cupboard during the week, I found a box of Maltesers, which had been languishing there since Christmas. Luckily I had everything else needed on hand and I could whip up a batch. Melt, stir and pop in the fridge to set. Super simple. Leave it there as long as you can bear! I left the topping off as we’re not fans of white chocolate around here.

Would you like to see what we made in class last week? I was really happy with how my first attempt at a ‘flip’ card turned out. There are lots of special dies available now, that cut and score in one go, but they are quite expensive and I’m not sure how often I would make this style of card. There’s usually an alternative way to do it. Not quite as straight forward of course, but not that tricky either.


We’ve got a busy week coming up, with my girl starting her work experience and having her bi-annual appointment with the consultant. Two classes in two different towns for me and a follow up appointment for my Mum. My boy has begun phase two of his A Level studies, now that the Year 12 exams are over, and needs to narrow down his choices for further study so that we can visit some universities. A few more weeks of school left for us. How about you? The summer holidays can’t come soon enough for me.

I’m linking up with Abi’s little tea party today and looking forward to catching up with everyone else. I’ve visited a few of you already as you’ve popped up in Feedly. That seems to be behaving itself again at the moment. Are you a fan or do you prefer Bloglovin’? I couldn’t get on with it myself and find Feedly much more user friendly.

Friday 27 June 2014

See it, Pin it, Do it! ~ June Edition

Another month has almost gotten away from me and I haven’t made anything at all from my Pinterest boards during June. Never fear, when I came to write the May edition of SIPIDI! I completely forgot what I was going to talk about. I got all excited about my vintage sheets and told you about them instead. Now, back to the cake.


When it comes to Birthday cake, my girl is very fussy. It must have no sugar based icing, of the buttercream or roll out fondant variety, and definitely no jam anywhere near it. Chocolate is always her first choice for the cakey part. I hesitate to call it sponge because she favours more of a brownie texture.


Over the years, I’ve tried many different recipes in a quest for her perfect chocolate cake. The one we settled upon, about 3 years ago, came from a very old Be-Ro cook book and involved evaporated milk. It was a good cake. Light and moist and very easy to knock up in the food processor. I didn’t use the suggested icing, but topped and filled it with a simple chocolate ganache and it was a winner.


This year I tried something new and apparently it was, “The best Birthday cake ever!”


I particularly enjoyed the slice I had, the day after her Birthday, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Rich and moist *and* easy to make. What’s not to like?

Over to you, lovely readers. What have you been pinning this month? Did something inspire you enough that you had a go yourself? Please share. We’d love to see.

All the SIPIDI! info can be found here and the Pinterest board is here.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday #264

Kitchen table crafting for me yesterday afternoon. Making up my ‘Blue Peter’ bits and pieces ready for class this morning.


The samples have been made for a couple of weeks and I wanted to have a run through of the ‘flip’ card we’re making. I need to refresh my own memory so that I don’t confuse everyone else. Want a sneak peek?


We’re all about the butterflies this week, but I couldn’t resist a bit of Gorgeous Grunge in the mix. With that I’d better fly out the door. I’ll be round to catch up with you all over at Julia’s place with a nice cup of coffee when I get home.

Sunday 22 June 2014

Sunday Stash ~ What is Terracotta?

I’m joining in with a meme, that I just came across this evening, on Mary’s blog. It’s enjoying a temporary home there this week, but is usually hosted by Molli Sparkles.

A little while ago, a scrapbooking friend of mine challenged herself to create 30 page layouts before she bought any more paper crafting stash. I thought this was a great idea and pledged not to buy any more Fat Quarters until I had *actually* finished a quilt top. I have stuck to my promise… far!


Today I spent some time going through my stash, looking for fabrics to fit the July brief for the Friendship Quilt project. Jacky’s colour scheme is terracotta/rust and green. For some reason I find terracotta quite a difficult colour to interpret. The two fat quarters above seemed to fit the bill, although on screen they look quite orangey and having searched online just now to find the name of the fabric line, I see the colour of the feathery print is tangerine. They are both from the Moda Flora collection by Lauren and Jessi Jung, for those of you who like to know such things.


The next two are half yards that came, in a bargain bundle, from The Eternal Maker. According to the selvedge the patterned fabric is “Texture Stripe” by Laura Gunn for Michael Miller. The other fabric has a lovely silky texture and a shot appearance. I’m thinking perhaps this is Oakshott fabric. I’ve never seen any before, but have read about it on Kerry’s blog and it seems to fit her description. I wish I had more of it as it would be perfect for dressmaking.


So that’s some quilting fabric that I’ve had around for quite a while now. This next one is some gorgeous fabric I spotted in a basket, outside a local charity shop, while I was doing a post office run this week. I have no idea what the fibre content is. It is quite heavy and has a wonderful drape to it. A silky feel, but a matt finish and although it’s not cotton, it doesn’t have a man made polyester feel about it either. Any suggestions? I got a the whole 5 metre length for just £6. Bargain!


They also had this 3 metre length of crisp printed cotton for £4.50, which will be perfect for a fifties style sun dress I have in mind. I’ve not worn white since having my first born almost 17 years ago. Time to live dangerously.

I hope I’ll be forgiven for sneaking in some dress making fabrics, along with the patchwork stash. They were too good not to share. Have you added anything new to your fabric stash this week, or dug out some old favourites for a new project? Perhaps you might like to join in with Sunday Stash too. There *may* be prizes!

Wednesday 18 June 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday? #263

My desk looks just the same as last week so I won’t bore you with it, nor the details that led to the complete lack of crafting (or blogging) over the last few days.


However, I do have one or two lovely things to share with you. Another quilt square arrived on Saturday morning, accompanied by some of my favourite chocolate. Deb cleverly took her inspiration from my blog name/header.


Then, yesterday, this little beauty arrived. It has caused Deb a bit of anxiety on its travels as it took longer than expected to get here. Well worth the wait and it came on just the day I needed a little cheer in the mail.


At lunchtime I had an unexpected delivery of some goodies from By Hand London. You might remember me sharing a link to their Kickstarter project a few months ago. This was a reward for pledging. I just love the Anna dress in the illustration. It’s on my “To Sew” list….one of these days. Probably without the thigh high split!

So, that’s me, for today. Hop on over to Julia’s place for more lovely deskers.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday? #262

Pretty much the same rubble as last week, with a few additions.


The purple lidded box, that I take to class, was dumped on the desk when I got home and has remained there ever since. While I was unloading the boot, I noticed the MDF Christmas tree, top right, that I won in the WOYWW crop raffle. I have plans for that, but I really can’t think about ‘seasonal’ projects when we are just getting some sun.

My clutch containing hexie sewing bits and bobs, that I took to the South West Stitchers meet up on Saturday. Always a great day out, with good company, delicious cake and free flowing coffee and tea. Oh, and some sewing!


The little scrap of blue and white spotty fabric was tying up a bundle of loveliness that arrived last week from Sian. The very first square for my very own Friendship Quilt. I may have been a little bit excited and unexpectedly a little teary. I can’t wait to see what else my month brings.

The pattern came with issue 2 of Love Sewing, along with a free tape measure. How many of these does anyone need? I’d rather have a slightly cheaper cover price, or extra magazine content personally. How about you?

The washing machine is bleating at me so I’d better make the most of the sunshine and get the next load on the line. Looking forward to catching up with you all, over at Julia’s, once it’s coffee time. ETA: There’s no linky today as Julia is poorly. I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing her a speedy recovery.

Only one more exam left, Physics for my girl tomorrow, then we’re done. Thanks to everyone who has left good wishes for her.

PS If there’s anyone, among my readers today, that fancies taking part in the “Ever Expanding Blog Hop” that I was part of yesterday, please leave a comment to that effect and I’ll tag you in.

Monday 9 June 2014

The Ever Expanding Blog Hop….

….otherwise known as the epic fail, on my part. I’ll admit, up front, that I had completely forgotten about this little idea. Gemma tagged me last week. I began to roughly draft a post and then it went right out of my head. It wasn’t until this morning, when another lovely blog friend asked me to be her tag-ee, that I remembered I was already part of it and had to decline. Later it dawned on me that the day for my post was…! Eek! Better get on and write something then.

The idea is to answer the four questions and then nominate three other people to carry the torch onward and outward into the blogging universe.


1. What are you currently working on?

I have several projects on the go right now, as is usually the case around here. A slew of dressmaking patterns, fabric cut out, in various stages of putting together. For more specific details on those, see my previous post on Works in Progress.

On the patchwork front, I’m making a Giant Vintage Star Quilt. That requires use of the kitchen table and sewing machine and when that isn’t possible I have a hand sewing project of Grandmother’s Flower Garden blocks. And of course there is the year long Friendship Quilt swap. Such a special thing to be part of, for so many reasons.

Designing for my classes is on going from week to week.

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

The short answer here is that it doesn’t, not really. I make clothes from patterns that many others have used. Thank goodness for that. Sewing bloggers are very generous with their time and knowledge and post plenty of helpful information, when they have made a garment. I follow ideas I have seen online for patchwork quilts and take inspiration from very many places for both my own personal card making and the projects I teach in class.


3. Why do you write/create what you do?

Quite a few reasons, but the main one, that applies to all three areas I’ve mentioned so far, is that I love making things and always have.

For dressmaking specifically, I would say a desire to have clothes in my wardrobe, that I want to wear and are a good fit. I’m working on that! My longer term goal is to be able to make clothes for my daughter that don’t look home made. At 15, she is a tiny 4’ 8” and I don’t want her to be restricted to the children’s department when she is an adult.

For patchwork: I would like to be able to gift both my children a hand made quilt when they leave home. I also want to improve my hand sewing skills and the Flower Garden blocks are good for that.

For paper crafting: I love to give hand made cards, for the personal touch and I so enjoy teaching my classes. It is wonderful to see the proud look on a new card maker’s face when they see that they really can produce professional looking cards themselves.

4. How does your writing/creating process work?

Again, this differs depending on the area of creativity. Dressmaking projects arise in a variety of ways. It could be because I want/need a new item of clothing, because I want to learn a particular set of skills, or simply because I’ve seen a dress on a sewing blog and think I need it too!

In other areas of sewing, including patchwork, it’s usually what I have seen while meandering around the internet from one blog to another. You know how that goes.


With paper crafting I either have a person in mind that I need to make a card for, or projects to design for an upcoming class. For the latter I tend to go with a theme eg wedding, birthdays, Christmas, or I pick one stamp set and try to come up with three different ways to use it. Sometimes I’ll adapt an idea I’ve seen on Pinterest and filed away for inspiration. Other times I’ll just sit down with the chosen stamp set, pick a couple of colours and go with the flow.

So….I answered the questions, but here’s the tricky part. This hop has been going on for a while now and I imagine most of you reading today, will have come across it on at least one other blog during the last couple of weeks. I left it too late to ask anyone if they minded me tagging them. Instead I am going to throw open an invitation to you all. If you haven’t yet been asked to take part and would like to, just leave a comment here. Your post would need to go live next Monday, the 16th. I’ll add up to three names to the end of this post on Wednesday.

Wednesday 4 June 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday? #261

Is it really a whole week since I last blogged? Darn you exam season, for sucking the life out of me right now! Nearly there and then we can all breathe again.


Oh look, it’s my *actual* desk. Now you can see why I’ve been showing you the kitchen table of late. This has become a dumping ground, for whatever I’ve just finished with. Class planning, card and box samples and ATC making.*


Here’s one of today’s class offerings. Everyone is always pleased to see a masculine card among the samples. Is there anyone who doesn’t struggle with these? I love these tiny stamps with their vintage feel.


A prettier version, made for my eldest niece, to wish her well on a year long adventure in Australia. We made this as an easel card in class and changed it up a bit to include a Happy Birthday sentiment. Why are easel cards so tricky to get a good shot of? I gave up and shared this one instead!


And finally, a little matching gift box. The sun was out, for about five minutes, so I took my chance with the camera. That’s it from me. My girl will be home any minute. Pop over to Julia’s to see what the rest of the deskers have been up to. I’ll be round to visit this evening.