Saturday, 23 April 2016

BBQ ribs

 Bit hard to make these look attractive being they were on there own when photos were taken an then ate with much speed that all were left were a pile of bones, so you will have to excuse the lack of pictures.  Ribs don't last long in our house as the men in the family love these.  I have done a few version of ribs in the past. Our current favourite is from a masterchef book.  They are so good but take a fair chunk of time so aren't made often for a week day meal.  These however I can have knocked out in under an hour and possibly less with a few short cuts.  

They are fall off the bone, melt in the mouth tender.  And take 2 ingredients. Spare ribs and your favourite BBQ sauce.  You could use any flavour sauce you liked though, sweet chilli sauce might be great. I have an Instant Pot and put the ribs in with a couple of cups of water and set on high pressure for 15 minutes.  Any pressure cooker would work I think.  After 15 minutes are up and pressure has been released I took the ribs and placed them on a lined baking sheet.  Brushed liberally with BBQ sauce and placed in a hot oven until the sauce glazed and started to bubble.  You could also do this stage under a grill but the couple of times I have done this I have had the oven on anyway so they have gone in alongside roasting veg.

One more shot for good luck. Will be trying these out on the BBQ next weekend.

Take care and stay crafty

Jules x 

Bubbles! and St Georges Day

I am always amazed at how a simple thing like a pot of bubbles can turn a houseful of people into a noisy, happy, giggling, crazy bunch. We had the delight of having the granddaughters over for a few hours today. I walked Ever down to the shops and asked what she would like and as well as sweets she asked me very politely if she could have a pot of bubbles.  No problem there as long as she could wait until after we had done other things.  

So skip forward a few hours and we were ready to go out.  Then questions got asked about other bubbles and last years bubble wands were remembered.  We went from a small pot of bubbles with lots of little bubbles to massive bubbles everywhere.  With every bubble more little giggles turned into delighted shrieks. And not just from the girls ;o)

I think Evers face here says a lot

Lots of concentration needed here to blow bubbles

Ruby tried so hard to keep up with the chaos, Just as she got there the bubbles burst and we had more giggles.

She gave up with trying to blow bubbles and ended up sucking a wand like a lollipop! 

And Mr show off delighted in making these massive bubbles. I really wondered who had more fun here.

I think Gary and Luke were still going when the girls were flagging.

So this was how we spent our St Georges day, with lots of smiles, laughter and family at home. 

I did get a few hours work into the jacket of doom this morning :o) And it gave me no problems whatsoever today.  I have finished the outer part and have just started on the lining.  I am hoping another few hours and it will be done. Can't wait to wear it, as really pleased with it so far. Now to find it a better name as I don't think calling it the jacket of doom will quite be understood in certain circles.

Hope your St Georges day brought you much happiness and smiles too

Take care and stay crafty

Jules x 

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Days of doom!

Some days things go wrong, usually when that happens it is best to walk away before your sanity becomes the topic of family conversation and sewing machine gets to take a flight out the window onto the patio below for a smashing time in the sunshine. This butterick pattern for the jacket seemed harmless enough.  I shopped for some faux suede to make it with. 

And this amazing print for the pockets and lining.  Things started well at first, I traced all 11 pieces off the pattern sheets and set about cutting out the pattern pieces from fabric, lining and interfacing. All great so far. Day one of this project done and all ready to sew.

Day 2 however things started to go a little wrong. First I couldn't find my glasses and the automatic needle threader was not quite threading, so changed the needle, much better. Then yay, onto actual sewing. Discovered I was missing a piece, seems one cut out pattern piece was still in living room. That found I settled down to sewing machine with a drink and spotify playing some of my favourite tracks. So I am all relaxed and ready to finally start then things went downhill as I struggled to make 2 pieces to fit together and pattern said to clip to make fit, much clipping later and I realised after both sides were sewn up that one of the pieces were on wrong sides.  So unpicked and redid it.  And bang! done it wrong again. Then got pockets on wrong and undid.  Today the curse has continued and I have named this the Jacket of doom.  I have learnt lots with this project so far and it not even halfway done.  I am not a quitter, and have enough stubbornness to know I will get this done.

I have learnt that

My seam ripper is a good friend.
Never sew without my glasses.
I no longer shout at everyone when things go wrong.
I still do the same thing twice wrong some days.
Trying to press on the serger pedal will not run the sewing machine, even if I press harder.
 Some days no matter how much coffee I drink it won't solve these problems.
Always buy fabric that you love not just what will do because you won't want to finish these trying projects otherwise. 
Playing fallout 4 while avoiding sewing is a great distraction.
I suck at playing Fallout 4.
I am a glutton for punishment, I bought a new sewing pattern online last night and have it printed out ready to stick it together for a dress soon. 

Looking forward to Day 3 to see if the curse continues. Might not be tomorrow though as busy day tomorrow. Meanwhile I have finished the back of the jumper I am knitting and have done the rib of the front. Am wondering if it's safe to start on that tonight.  Easily fixed if that goes a little wrong though. So for tonight I am just going to knit and chill I think

Take care and stay crafty
Jules x

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

New clothes and pattern review

I have been sewing again, not that is a surprise.  Things have gotten a bit more urgent on the sewing clothes for me situation. I had a sort out for clothes to donate for charity.  I then discovered about 70% of my clothes were way to big since I have lost just over 3.5 stone. So I made a list of things I needed to make and had a search through fabric I have and a suitable pattern.  And chose this Butterick B6026 It's hard to see from my photo but it has some lovely radiating fold and stitch details from the neck area, on bottom outside of sleeve and from the waist area. 


This might show them up a bit clearer.  I made mine up in a nice chambray. Only part that really worried me was the collar and collar band.  I just could not for the life of me remember how I used to do these before. I always struggled with the pattern instructions for these years ago.  So I put my trust in the instructions and read them 192 times I think. And they worked, yay!

In fact the only problem I had with the whole thing was my own silliness.  Those pleated lines are actually done by the folding along a line and then sewing a 16th of an inch or 2 mm away from the edge and then opening out the fold again. After you finish one section you baste stitch along the edge.  There are 4 of these areas on the shirt front and every time I basted I forgot to set the stitch length again. I then went and sewed the folds at basting length and had to unpick them all and redo 3 times for the remaining 3 front shirt areas grrr.

Next problem is I didn't realise my face was in this photo so didn't smile, sorry

One more view of the side.  I am so pleased with this and am already planning another one and a sleeveless version to.  It fits so well with no need to adjust it in any way :o)

Other news today was I had my nails done.  I do love this blue colour, it has a very slight glitter to it that isn't obvious but makes them look a little more brighter.

Popped into Fabric Land and picked up the fabric and bits I needed for a jacket I want to make.  Hopefully I will be able to get a start on that soon but probably not until next week. Other than that we are just readjusting with school restarting this week. It was a brilliant Easter break, I am though finding it a little hard to get back into my usual routines.  So for now

Take care and stay crafty 

Jules x 

Friday, 8 April 2016

leftover love

Carrying on from leftover talk yesterday I thought I would share with you my special box. When I have cotton fabric scraps I use them to cut out apple core shapes and put them in this shoe box.

I get them out every now and then and start randomly putting them in pairs

The more random the better,  I am aiming for a large very random quilt.  It could take some time but each block will hold a memory of my sewing journey

I only started a little while ago and the box is slowly but surely growing full of apple core shaped blocks, some of them in pairs for now. So far I have memories of mothers day gifts, wristlets for key rings, microwave pot holders, pencil cases, and boxer shorts 

Going to be interesting to see how far I get in a year or so. 

Take care and stay crafty
Jules x 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

messenger bag

Since I have started sewing again last year I have been accumulating left over fabric. I don't like waste at the best of times.  I have quite a fair collection of odds and ends now. One lot of the blue denim wasn't enough to make this messenger bag, so I used a blue I used last week for my skirt, and a very dark blue denim I had kicking around.

I then found this Iron on dragon motif I had bought so long ago I actually don't remember when I got it.  In fact I did wonder if it would actually work due to how long it has been around the house.  A few bits didn't stick but what did work well

Hard to see but a couple of inside pockets in the lining fabric. Which is a leftover from a summer skirt I made last year. 

The view here is to show you the sides and straps are lighter blue than the front and flap of bag.

And one more for luck.

Now I guess the question is what to do with the leftovers from the leftover project?  

Take care and stay crafty

Day out

Had a brilliant time today at New forest wildlife park. It's not the biggest place but it's big enough to keep a family entertained. Their play areas are great providing it's not raining to much.  Which of course it did when we got to that part of the trip. We all had fun though. I have been before and it was pretty much as I remembered it.  They have a butterfly enclosure. Beautiful place

to spend time in.  Unless you are 4 and don't like the butterflies flying around because the colour black is scary you know! I will let you make up you own mind if some of these are scary or not

Flossy the fox

And some harvest mice

The otters ( or woof woofs according to our nearly 2 year old granddaughter) were entertaining and they have several species of otters here.  The giant ones make some rather strange noises. 

This Bison decided to have a lay down and a sleep I think.  So granddaughter, who is 4, matter of factly and quite calmly but a touch of exasperation declared him dead! Those are jackdaws on top of the bison, they were collecting it's downy under fur as nesting materials I think. 

I think R is looking at the deer here. Antisocial ones at that if you ask my daughter.  She tried to touch one as they are just roaming round where they like and as she got there it just calmly walked off a bit sniffishly it seemed. They had no problem being stroked at feeding time later though.  She should of taken a carrot with her maybe?

A special Uncle and Niece moment here while looking at the wild boar

Lots of things to climb and sit on around the park 

 Albino wallaby, nearly walked past this one as was in quite dense shrubbery.  Yay for a decent camera zoom

 E and R  looking entranced. These 2 like their mum are big animal lovers. I swear if a T rex walked close enough at least one of the girls would try to hug it. 

Not as many photos as I took as didn't want to overload the page with to many.  Despite the wet weather and slow walking toddler we had a morning that left us all with good memories and tired children. Roll on our next adventure together

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Unicorn coin purse

Sometimes I get good ideas, well they seem like it at the time anyway. And yesterdays idea ended up on this wonderful unicorn coin purse. Got to admit it was worth the hour or so, muttering under my breath, sewing the purse to the metal fastening top.

It even has polka dot lining :o) Makes up for ironing interfacing to wrong side of fabric to start with.  Things did not go as smoothly as I intended but did I mention it has unicorns?

Pink and white unicorns.  I'm a bit biased I think. 

My idea started in the shop the works. We were in there yesterday looking at colouring books, And I spotted this for just £2.  Knowing the metal fastening bit can be more than this on their own I grabbed 2 of them.  I didn't realise until we got home it also contained precut felt ready to show together and an applique dove to sew on.  And some felt tassells and jump rings to attach them.

So I used the red felt as a pattern to cut out outer and inner fabrics and interfacing/ When it came to sewing it all to the clasp I nearly ended up hurling it out the window.  I tried to be clever and use invisible thread.  Which is like thin fishing line/  It didn't want to stay on the needle.  Even when knotted it still slid though the fabric with no resistance at all.

But I got there in the end.  I will do another one when my special fabric arrives as I think it will use up the leftovers from another product.  But until then I will not be thinking of invisible thread just how pretty unicorns are.

Take care and stay crafty 
Jules x 

Monday, 4 April 2016

Long weekend

Hello, I have had a busy and good weekend.  The great thunder and lightening mini episode yesterday broke my feeling strange spell and I was able to get on with more today.  We have been to Hobby craft and stocked up on a few things today. A glue gun was purchased ready for me to get on with a few new projects :o)

Saturday I went to hang out some washing and happened to look up towards the starling noise from the nest in next door neighbours guttering and happened to see this beautiful starling up on a telephone line.  I slowly backed in to grab my camera.  Was convinced it would be gone when I got back but no it stayed put and got some really good photos. Love the blue green shimmer of this beauty.

Not feeling 100% after a few jobs I settled down to a spot of colouring.  Amazing how it calms you and becomes impossible to put down until your picture is finished.  Makes me remember being as engrossed as a child.

Yesterday I decided to try out a tutorial to make bias binding.  It really irks me that it's almost impossible to get bias binding to match your project unless you make your own.  Back then it was a case of cutting endless strips on a 45 degree angle and sewing all those ends together until you get the desired length. But a couple of weeks ago Babs Rudlin on youtube share this tutorial making over 5 metres of bias binding from 1 fat quarter of fabric.  So I started with this......

........ And ended up with this. All done with 2 seams to sew and 2 cuts into the fabric.  Genius idea whoever thought of this.  My only moan is it involves lots of ironing, and I hate ironing.  But, it was well worth it for all the binding that it achieved.

Which I wanted for binding the edge of......

......this apron. Made from a recycled pair of jeans, this in one leg and one back pocket. I am pretty impressed with how easy it went.  And I think the man himself is pleased with it by the proud posing he is doing. This fabric is just his style and given the choice he would have a shirt made in it I bet.

And finally I got back to my knitting. It refuses to have it's colour photograph well, next time I will take it outside to show you.  It's the back of a jumper for my son. It's a jumper from the book Charmed knits, Projects for fans of Harry Potter by Alison Hansel. A book I have had many years ans have already knitted a red one that has been outgrown and have promised him a new blue one so here is the start of the back of it.

I know the cables look a bit uneven but it is more angles than the cables themselves I think. I will crack on and try to get the back finished soon I have been so slow working on this.  It got put down about 2 months ago ad just remembered it last week.

Bit of a variety of things been going on here.  We are in the last week of the Easter break and hoping to get out and about more this week. Not sure how much crafting I am going to get done, but I am going to have a good go at getting some in somewhere :o) 

Take care and stay crafty
Jules x