Thursday, 21 September 2017

Making and baking

The past few months has felt like there weren't enough hours in the day, then I had a brainwave moment of clarity. To much time with a screen and the Internet on around me.  My laptop and phone are usually around me so it was way to easy to just pick one up and start looking up one thing, then check emails, play a quick game, check pinterest etc etc... It is just so easy to fall down the rabbit hole that is the Internet and lose whole chunks of the day. Started to also think what could be done with the time instead.  What did I use to do? And what makes me happiest? Simple answer is being crafty/baking/cooking/sewing/reading/out exploring. Whatever my mood decides really.  Easy solution was limit the Internet activity to an hour a day. And in the time I am saving I can do the things that make me happy.

I baked a loaf of cheese and herb bread for the boys to go with tea tonight and I think they are having the leftover part for toast in the morning for breakfast.  I love to bake bread, it really is something that calms my soul and makes me smile.  These days however I don't eat much bread at all but, it will get eaten and will leave me happy and those that eat it. Here's the before baking shot.

Now the after baking shot is not as picture perfect as it could be. Mainly because I didn't think quickly enough to take a photo before getting someone else to start slicing it. Believe me though all good things were said though.  There was a discussion about it would be better with no herbs next time and just a cheese bread. We shall see how the mood goes though.  This is just a basic white bread mix with 90g of grated strong cheddar cheese, 30 g of grated Parmesan or similar, 2 tsp of powdered mustard and the liquid is luke warm milk. Just add either 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs of choice or 1.5 teaspoons of dried herbs if you want the herbs to.

Also cooked Jamie Oliver's pork and mash gratin I think it's called. The picture looks great right? I figured out the mash here is probably just covering the pan.

Mine looks somewhat a burnt mess compared to the book. Made me laugh.  Tasted a lot better than it looked though and I have been told it's a definite make it again meal.
And this evenings entertainment? I am usually the last to go to bed in this house.  It's not that I go late, it's a case of everyone else goes rather early to bed these days.  This is where I end up trawling the Internet and playing silly games etc. So this is where I decided  could definitely cut down on Internet time and start using the time to make all the things I have plans for. 
I got out one of the many patterns I have lined up to make and found the fabric to go with it and started cutting out and started sewing this tonight. 

I have made this pattern before. I also have a confession, after it was made I realised I had put the skirt on backwards, resulting in the pockets being at the back not the front.  Lining up the notches apparently can work back to front to.  Luckily the fabric works in a way no one has yet noticed. It is such and easy to wear dress that I keep wearing it.  With a cardigan on no one will ever know. Plus it gives me a small giggle and a smile when I wear it. I would take the skirt off and turn it round but I had already created the channel for the elastic and finished that off and overlocked it all.

Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress is a simple and easy dress to make and goes fairly fast to make
I'm using this elephant design viscose. Got as far as I could sewing without having to use the overlocker. As it was almost midnight and the overlocker is a lot noisier than my sewing machine I decided to not wake the boys and possibly the neighbours with it. Hopefully I can get this finished tomorrow after I get home and before I pick up my granddaughters from school

All in all a fairly productive day for once. The Internet is a brilliant resource yes but it is also a big time waster. She says while blogging and using the Internet!! I am going to set myself the challenge of keeping my laptop upstairs during the day and only using it in the evening quickly for blogging and looking up resources I need for only 30 minds in the evening.  Going to aim for a month and see how I get on. Hopefully I won't be found shaking with withdrawal and falling back into bad habits.
For tonight
take care
Jules x

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The one where I get confused a lot

I am left scratching my head yet again. I grabbed what seemed a bargain months ago at The Works, a whole £1. Make your own dreamcatcher. OK it's not wonderful but thought it would be a great way to try out making one to see if I wanted to make another in better materials.  Where could I go wrong right? So tonight or rather this morning, it's 1:36 am as I type this, I thought I would have a go while waiting for 2 am Ripped open the pack and pulled out the instructions.

Seriously? In picture one you are to wind round what looks like a long piece of what I assume is the brown leather looking flat cord.It smells like old fashioned polish, and the picture doesn't tell you how to attach the first piece to the metal ring. Or how to finish this off.  There is also not enough to cover the ring fully. Never mind I stumble through and get through the next stages 2 through to 6 kind of.  At this point I am making things up myself.

And I get to this stage. And remind myself that my hands don't work well together due to nerve damage, so to get this to the stage it is with the instructions I had I am pretty impressed with myself. So what is left? oh yes those leaf looking things in the diagram must be feathers. 

These feathers and beads are left. OK feathers and beads have to dangle from the dreamcatcher with the cords remaining, Simple right?  OK how do I attach the feathers to the cords?

Got a feeling I will be waiting until I get the glue out at some point.

Lesson learnt on this £1 kit, I would happily pay an extra £1 for some comprehensive instructions.  Really would of appreciated for the pack or instructions to have stated what else was needed to complete this project.  Other than that you get what you pay for. Although I didn't pay a pound to be frustrated I should of known better at my age. As the saying goes 'If it seems to good to be true it probably is' and this 'bargain' is to good to be true. 

I shall now go back to my new found cold and carry on with my new KAL (Knit A Long) project I think.  Less stressful and full instructions.
Until then
Take Care
Jules x 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Sunday catch up

This week kind of flew by with school starting up again. I have finished a few things, started new things, decided the weather hates me and am embracing the cold, wet weather today.

Last night was cold, so crocheting this while wearing it was a joy. Trying to get a picture that did it justice afterwards wasn't, the light has been awful since so I gave up for now.  It is however a warm, bright and snuggly blanket. This project is one I have done while watching Netflix mostly. Last nights viewing was the very early Peter Capaldi in Doctor Who series 8. It's also been worked one watching, Orphan Black, Salem, Travellers, Finding Monday ( I think it's called?) 

Today has been a trial of sorts at times.  All I can say is I am thankful I can at least message people who understand the need to say what on earth is happening and I need chocolate.  I got told I can have chocolate on Fridays night out so that helped. Other thing to help was cooking. Although this is more a shove it in the pot and simmer meal but the house smells amazing at the moment.

Decided with things falling out the freezer and me needing to put stuff in the freezer I had better reorganise the freezer.  Oh boy! Silly thing to do. I think apart from bread, milk, veg and cat food we will be saving on the food bills for quite a few weeks.  I am now going to challenge myself to use all these odds and ends to save money and more importantly use what we have and being less wasteful.

Today I found in foil the remains of a leg of lamb.  Can't remember last time I cooked a leg of roast lamb but there was a fair amount of meat still on the bones. So all I really added to this was some veg we had in the fridge, pearl barley and lentils, parsley stalks chopped finely brought to a boil and simmering away nicely. Really is the meal for this wet, cold and windy day.

My sunshine Dresden cushion isn't quite finished, not a lot left to do but I got floored by a headache so I left it not quite finished.
To catch you up on progress all that has been done is sewing the front to the back right sides together using my sewing machine foot for the seam allowance, leaving one section open to turn it right sides out.

Trimmed of the excess backing leaving a pretty shape.

And turned it right side out making sure the curves were pushed out fully from inside. All simple so far. It's about halfway stuffed with pillow stuffing now and will hopefully finish doing that tomorrow if I am lucky. Then All that will be left is to sew the gap up.  I am not sure about whether it will have a centre button on front and back to give it a dimpled middle if you understand what I mean? What do you think should I do that? Could always try and see what it looks like maybe? After all buttons are easy to remove if it looks silly.

Other than that it's all been a little quiet.  As I said I am hopefully going to finish the cushion tomorrow then I have a new project to start knitting wise and strangely have a summer dress that needs making up for someone that I promised to do way to long ago.
Back soon to catch up again

Take Care
Jules x

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Fat Quarter sunshine AKA adventures in sewing Part 1

OK, maybe not sunshine as such but that's what these Dresden blades pieced together remind me of. Almost like a child has drawn a sun. I remembered earlier I had bought a Dresden blade quilt ruler a while ago. I knew I wanted to sew today but didn't want anything to difficult or big to do, but something new to.  Like any sewer I have a very interesting little collection of Fat Quarters. I am still hooked on these from my quilting days almost 16 years ago. Such prettiness to admire and dream of using one day in the perfect project. Does that perfect project ever arrive I wonder?

I chose just 2 Fat Quarters for the front of the cushion and cut out 10 blades of red and 10 of blue. It's hard to see in this light but they have little bits of glitter in this fabric. Glitter that doesn't spill everywhere like the half sequins I am still finding everywhere!

Very simply I sewed one of each colour together in pairs, with a 1/4 inch seam allowance then pressed the seams towards the blue side as it was darker..

Then sewed each pair to another pair, pressing in the same way. I carried on until I had all 2o forming a ring with a hole in the middle.

To cover the hole I cut out 2 pieces of material bigger that the hole in circles and sewed them right sides together.

Carefully making sure I had only one side of the circle I cut a slit.Turned the circle right sides out and pressed.

And I even impressed myself it still looks like a circle. Simply needed to pin the circle over the hole and chose a buttonhole type stitch on my machine and machine appliqued carefully around the edge of the circle attaching the circle over the hole. It took a bit of concentration and slow going in places but it did go on in the end.  Thankfully without the need of a stitch ripper.

As you can see I used red thread to highlight it a bit.

Not having another 2 of these FQ I struggled to find a contrasting 2 that I liked, so after auditioning a lot of fabric I decided to back the cushion in black needle cord fabric, logic was it probably is going to get a fair bit of use with children sitting on it on the floor or even in the garden so may as well have one hard wearing side.

How it has been left is smoothed out and pinned right sides together ready for my next hour I can sneak in to finish it, and while I consider the best way to finish this. Will update you in next day or two on how I finish the cushion off.

So until I can sneak off and sew again
Take care
Jules x