Sunday, 25 August 2013

A vintage skirt

On Friday I popped into town and went to a vintage shop. Whilst browsing, and I was only going to browse, I found some fabric (1.30mx1.35m for £6). Well, that was a bargain I couldn't refuse... so I brought it without having a project in mind. When I got home and saw just how much fabric I had, I decided to make a skirt. I got the basic pattern from Sew Serendipty book (which my lovely parents got me for my birthday) and then used my dress making knowledge to make it.

I lined the skirt, did french seams, hemmed it, made belt loops and put in a zip. Yes, I spent the whole of yesterday creating it (I finally finished it at 11pm), but for just over £9 I think it was worth it. I was actually impressed at how much I remembered from my dress making course, its like making a LEGO model, you have to follow it step by step but eventually you don't need the instructions anymore and it is just done by intuition.

Anyway, here it is...


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

2 years of blogging

I know I havn't been blogging much lately, which is really bad of me! I can't even use the excuse that I have been working hard because I am in the middle of an 8 week school holiday (lucky, lucky me!).

Recently one of my friends has had a baby and so I had the exciting task of creating a baby quilt for her. The best bit was choosing the fabric, how cute is baby fabric these days? I made a raggy quilt which I have never done, and actually didn't like the look of them. But, after making one I am in love with them and wish I had one!


Saturday, 1 June 2013

Yet another Winnie the Pooh embroidery

 I know that I have made three already, but I love doing them. My next one shall be a big picture, so for now here is my latest. This is pretty much the story of my life, I am endlessly getting lost, but I just keep on driving anyway.

Barrington Court

Sadly half term is over, but here are two pictures which I took today which I am quite chuffed by. Today I went to Barrington Court (another national trust property) and spent the day taking photos, my aim is to take a better photo than my dad could ever take, but as he has been published in The Times for his photography I doubt this will ever happen...


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

After six weeks of dressmaking...

After a six week dressmaking course I have finished my dress. The day after the course I went to work in it and was really chuffed when staff and students told me how nice it was and asked me where I got it! The look on the kids faces when I told them I made it was priceless. Unlike most pieces of clothing I make, I think I will actually wear this on a regular basis. So here are the pictures of my new dress on my manikin, one by itself and one styled up.


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Bring me... my glasses.

I need a new glasses case. I made one a few years ago and to be honest it is just a bit too girly for me now. So after watching my Morecambe and Wise boxset I drew inspiration from my comedy heroes (I would put my dad in the comedy hero bracket, but as he stole all his jokes from Morecambe and Wise I don't think I can!). So here is my glasses case:

  1. First embroider your fabric with what you want. I wrote 'glasses' on one side and stitched Morecambe's glasses on the other side.
  2. Now, cut the fabric into your required size, mine ended up being 5"x8". Cut out 2 pieces of inside fabric the same size in a similar colour and some wadding. 
  3. Now it is time to start stitching. Piece the inner fabric and wadding together, right sides facing out and stitch four lines down them to keep the wadding in place. 
  4. With right sides together of the inner fabric, line them up and stitch round three sides leaving one open so you can turn it out.Turn it out. 
  5. Line up the outer fabric and with right sides together again, sew round the same three sides.
  6. Cut away excess fabric (I lost about an inch) and carefully place the inner fabric inside the outer fabric so you have a rough glasses case.
  7. Fold over the top of the outer fabric so you have a clean seam and hand stitch it to the inner fabrics. 
  8. Finally add a popper (or your glasses will fall out)!


Sunday, 12 May 2013

Winnie the Pooh

I love Winnie the Pooh. I grew up a stones throw (or a pooh stick!) away from the Ashdown Forrest - where Winnie the Pooh was set. My childhood was spent on the forest looking for heffalump and woozle tracks, playing Pooh sticks and having picnics near the enchanted place.Anyway, I have decided to create lots of Winnie the Pooh embroidery so I can decorate one wall in my apartment with them. Here is my latest, I especially love it as it also reflects my dyslexia!


Stitching along...

So my dress making course is coming along really well. I have cut out the pattern, stitched the main elements together, made darts, learnt how to make french seams and put my sleeves in. All I have to do now is put in the consealed zip, make the alterations and hem it. So I thought I would put up a picture of my progress up on my blog. It was especially exciting this week (as it was my birthday) I received in the post a dress makers manakin. Here is my dress (pinned into place as the back is still not sewn together).

And here are some pictures of the details:

Only a few more weeks and it will be finished! Now I have a manikin I am onto thinking about what I will make next...


Friday, 12 April 2013

Raspberry Marshmallows

Today I decided to play with my KitchenAid, one of the reasons I brought it was so I could make things like Italian meringues and Marshmallows. Today I made raspberry marshmallows. The only alteration I made to the recipe was to swirl in a bit of red food colouring just before they are put in to the fridge to rest.

I must say that I am really chuffed with the outcome and will be making hot chocolate tonight to pop a few in. I might even make them for my kids as an end of term treat!


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Time to stitch!

So it is now spring (supposedly) and we are rushing into the summer term at school, this one is going to be a busy one! Not only am I going out every Thursday (like I usually do) but I am running a school cookery club and now decided to go to a dress making course on a Tuesday night! No, I am not jumping on the trend of The Great British Sewing Bee, it just occurred to me that I now have some income I can have fun with and I have a beautiful Singer Sewing Machine just waiting to be used. So I am going on a 6 week evening course to make a dress and even though I will miss dinner (or at least eat much later than normal) I am very excited! So check back for updates, hopefully I will soon be in the procession of a beautiful dress and some very handy sewing skills.


Sunday, 7 April 2013

Wibbly, Wobbly, Timey, Wimey… stuff

Well it is that wonderful time of year again when Doctor Who is back on our screens, yes I am a little bit geekish about it. Doctor Who is a British institution like tea and bunting, I grew up listening to my dads stories of The Doctor. He didn't retell stories from the show, his memory will never be good enough for that but he did tell the same story, of how he met The Doctor over and over again. My nan used to work on the rehearsal set serving tea (see how important tea is to our family!) and as a result she not only met the cast, including yeti's, cybermen and the odd daleck, but she was allowed to take home the used scripts as scrap paper. Actually I'm not sure if she was allowed to take them home, or she just decided to. Anyway, my dad being knee-high to a grasshopper at the time was taken along to my nans work every now and then and as a result met the main characters and went inside a daleck and the TARDIS.

Doctor Who is truly in my family, whenever we went on the Underground, my dad would tell the other Doctor Who story he knew, one from the show about Yetis. As I am quite mischievous when I was 16, I actually convinced a friend that Yetis were real and living in the underground, a cruel prank, but funny nevertheless.

So here it is, my Doctor Who geek craft... a stitched picture of the Cybermen in front of St Paul's Cathedral.


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Montacute House

I love Jane Austen, which is good as I live near Bath. I also love Jane Austen film adaptations which is why I often go to Stourhead, but recently I went to Montacute House where Sense and Sensibility was filmed. Here are some of my pictures from the day.

There was a very nice cat which was walking around the house, we made friends. 


Saturday, 16 February 2013

It's been a while...

So I have been really bad at keeping up with this blog since working 5 days a week. Yet this week I had half term, so I spent half of it entertaining my family and the other half trying to relax and the best way to do this is by doing a spot of embroidery. So here are my pictures of what I got up to this week...


Friday, 18 January 2013

A Winter Tarte Tatin

This morning I woke up and  there was snow everywhere! After calling my boss and deciding it was too dangerous to drive I had to decide what to do with my day, and of course baking came to mind. I thought about baking this at christmas, but ran out of time and as it is lovely and snowy I wanted to bake my winter tarte tatin. Yum!

  • 200g of plain flour
  • 200g of butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • a pinch of sugar
  • Ice cold water (I did think of using snow, but there are a few cats around my neighborhood so I quickly ruled it out)
  • 75g of butter
  • 75g of caster sugar
  • 4 apples
  • Cranberries
  • Raisins
  • Cinnamon 
  1. Put the plain flour on a clean surface, make a well in the centre and tip the cold cubed butter and the salt into it.
  2. Now using one hand, scrunch the butter into the flour and keep doing this until most of the butter is Incorporated yet there are still some visible flakes.
  3. Add in the ice cold water (enough to bring the pastry together).
  4. Now roll out the pastry into a long rectangle.
  5. Fold the pastry into three and give it a quarter turn. This is the first turn, now roll it out once again and fold into three. Wrap the pastry in cling film and rest for half an hour.
  6. Now do this again (turn it twice) and let it rest for another half an hour.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 180c.
  8. Meanwhile, peel and slice the apples and cover them with lemon juice so they don't brown.
  9. Melt the butter and sugar in a pan together over a medium heat (do not stir it). This will take about 5-10 minutes until it becomes an amber colour. Take it off the heat.
  10. Now lay the apples, cranberries and raisins over the caramel and sprinkle the cinnamon over the top. 
  11. Roll out the pastry to just over the shape of the pan, lay it on top then tuck the edges round the side to stop the caramel from escaping.
  12. Cook for 25 minutes. 
  13. Once the pastry has cooked get a large plate, turn out the tarte (minding the caramel doesn't burn you).
  14. And serve with cream or ice cream... yummers!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Venison, black pudding and redcurrant casserole with a wild garlic mash.

I don't want to toot my own horn but I have to say that this is probably the best casserole recipe I have ever created. It is full of deep flavor and is very seasonal (the wild garlic mash is not seasonal... but I made wild garlic butter last spring and froze it). So here is my smashing version casserole.

Ingredients (casserole):
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of smoked garlic
  • Butter
  • 500g of version 
  • Chantenay carrots
  • Fresh rosemary and thyme, chopped
  • a large glass of red wine
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon 
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • 1 pint of beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon of beef bisto
  • 1 tablespoon of redcurrant jelly
  • a good glug of Worcester sauce
  • 30g of dried cranberries
  • 60g of fresh redcurrants
  • Bacon lardons
  • Black pudding
  • Button mushrooms
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170c. 
  2. Dice the onion and crush the clove of garlic. Soften on a low heat, in butter, in a heavy base saucepan. Add in the chopped fresh herbs. 
  3. Flour the venison (and season it), then remove the onion from the pan and seal the venison. 
  4. Now add the onions back in and pour in the wine. Let the alcohol cook off. 
  5. Mix the mustard powder, cinnamon, tomato puree, redcurrant jelly, and Worcester sauce into the stock then add it to the pan. Sprinkle a tablespoon of beef bisto into the pan. 
  6. Take the storks off the redcurrants and add them into the pot with half of the cranberries.
  7. Pop a lid on the casserole and cook in the oven for 2 hours. Stir occasionally, and for the last hour add in the button mushrooms, bacon lardons and black pudding.
  8. Serve with mash potato (I just added the wild garlic butter to the potato) and green veggies.


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Slow Cooked Meatball Ragù With Homemade Pasta

 This recipe came to me when I was having a creative day just sitting over Christmas and thinking of recipes. It was my first time making pasta, and I think it was a learning experience. The most important thing I learnt was to flour the pasta when putting it through the machine so it doesn't stick. Anyway the ragu and meatballs were lovely, even if the pasta needs a little work!

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 400g of lean minced beef
  • 2 cloves of smoked garlic
  • 1 slice of sliced bread, chopped into breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Cinnamon 
  • Herbs de Provance
  • Worcester Sauce
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • salt 
  • sugar
  • 500g of passata
  • Fresh basil
  • 300g of '00' flour
  • 3 eggs
  • a big glug of balsamic vinegar
  • Parmesan to garnish
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160c. 
  2. Use a quarter of the onion and chop it finer as this will be added to the meatballs. Break up the beef and mince in a bowl and season. 
  3. Add in the herbs de provance (enough to your liking), one clove of diced garlic, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a glug of Worcester sauce, 1 egg beaten and the breadcrumbs then scrunch all the ingredients together with your hands. Make into balls then pop into a frying pan on a medium-high heat just to seal them. Remove them from the pan and allow them to cool until needed. 
  4. In a saucepan, soften the onion and garlic. Once soft, add in the diced tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. 
  5. Add in a glass of red wine, a pinch of salt and sugar and a good glug of Worcester sauce. Allow the alcohol to cook off. 
  6. Now add in the passata a handful of fresh basil. Bring to the boil then transfer it to a heavy bottomed ceramic dish, pop in the meatballs, put a lid on and cook for 1 hour 30-45 minutes. 
  7. Now make the pasta. In a large bowl put the flour and make a well in the center. 
  8. Break the eggs and using a fork bring the flour into the egg mixture very slowly. Continue doing this until all the flour is included and a dough is being formed (finish it off with your hands). 
  9. Knead it until smooth then pop it in the fridge in cling film for 30 minutes. 
  10. Occasionally stir the meatball ragu. 
  11. Once the pasta dough has rested divide into three then tackle each 3rd at a time. Put the dough through the fattest setting on your machine and then fold it over and put through again. Do this 8 times. 
  12. Now work your way down the settings until it is the thickness desired. Pop it through the linguine section and then lay it out on a tea towel until ready to use.
  13. Put the pasta in boiling water with a little olive oil and cook for 2 minutes. 
  14. Remove the ragu from the oven and mix in a good glug of balsamic vinegar. 
  15. Mix in some of the ragu to the drained pasta and then lay the meatballs on top. Dust with grated Parmesan.