Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Preparing for Advent and plans

Every year I do something a bit different for Advent.  I really begrudge buying an Advent calendar with diddy cheap nasty chocolate in and that is about all.  So we do things slightly different here.  We have a calendar that rarely contains chocolate, although I did add some this year, and focus more of things to do to enjoy the season in little ways while also helping getting ready for Christmas day.  This year I couldn't find something I needed that was vital so had to change my plans.  So boxes it is with chocolate coins and paper chains.

I filled each box with a coin and a paper chain with the days instructions written on, and another  paperchain so they can be put together and added on to the other days each day.

And all ready for the morning.

Then I have a personal challenge.  I have these 2 jelly rolls I picked up from Fabric Land a while ago.  I am going to use these to make a quilt top.  I figure I can use these to make up a quilt block each day.  After the Advent season I am aiming to put them together by the new year. Should be an interesting experience.

Here are the range of colours in these rolls.

And as I finish up for the night I realise there is one spare chocolate coin left over.  I think I will have this with my coffee in the morning.  Being paid in chocolate is never a bad thing,

Take care
Jules xx

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

hilarious hindrance

Yesterday I decided to try and cut out the fabric to a skirt I want to make.  These innocent looking kittens are only innocent because they are worn out by helping me.  Can you hear the sarcasm in the words I just typed. After about an hour of doing something that should of taken me 15 minutes tops I finally got there and this pair were worn out from the fun.

See the cat tunnel toy that is on my fabric that I was trying to lay out flat? It wasn't anywhere near a few seconds before this photo. Soon as I started a cat tunnel complete with cat rolled over to say hello.

Now this is a big problem I have, The kittens are obsessed with pins!  They will pull them out of pin cushions, patterns or fabric, and merrily run off to play with them.  Being as dangerous for them as us and small children I literally have to keep all pins and needles under  strict lock and key. So I spent most my times saying things like "off" "leave my pins alone" and "come back here with that"  Then not to mention they are fascinated with the actually fabric being cut and will often jump in middle of it all to try and help/bat at the scissors as I cut with them.  My productive time may of increased by my production rate has severely plummeted thanks to these beauties.  Good job we love them.

Looks as if she is about to pounce on something doesn't she?

Hopefully today I might actually get to sew this skirt.  Depends if anyone is going to help me actually sew too.Time will tell.

Take care
Jules x 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Bandana bibs

We have all been ill, one after each other and at same times at times.  Then last week I got hit by Vertigo. Believe me I was really getting withdrawal from cooking and crafting.  Last night I said enough was enough.  I had in my mind for a while the idea of making a few bandana bibs. Who with babies doesn't need bibs? These are my first goes. I used a lovely bright cotton lion print for the front.
The inner side is a soft elephant flannel/brushed cotton.  To be honest you can use whichever side you please.  I have used poppers as a fastening but think velcro may be a better option if I make more.

And here's a view of both together but showing one side each.  A lovely little project that after a bit of tinkering I did a while back with drawing up a pattern I am pretty pleased with the outcome.

Hoping to get a few more bits done today for gifts so cannot really post those on here in case they get seen and surprise spoiled for the people receiving them. For now 

Take care 
Jules x

Sunday, 6 November 2016

crayon rolls for Christmas eek!

It's a day past Bonfire night her in the UK, we still had fireworks erupting everywhere this evening outside.  But today I decided to start on Christmas sewing OOOOoooo! These are not for anyone who will read the blog so I am not to worried about putting them up.  I need to do a few more of these.  They are crayon rolls.  Just need some crayons to put in them now.

Here they are rolled up and showing the button and elastic closure

Maybe hard to see the slots but here is the inside, minus crayons but ready to go.

And a view of the end. I saw these all over pinterest a while back and scribbled some sizes down on a piece of paper and made one for my granddaughter.  I think it's here on the blog somewhere.  But I found the paper the other day and remembered I offered to make 3 for someone to give to someone else for Christmas. So I am making progress in being organised and not waiting until the very last moment possible.  New idea for me

And just to show you the crayon slots are there and work here is an action shot. Ta dah!! 

Very simple makes and the past week have all been simple little things.  Just what I have needed to fall in love with sewing again.  I hadn't fallen out of love with sewing, but I think I had forgotten that it doesn't all have to be items of clothes and big projects.  Now I am raring to go and get to the sewing machine and see what creations I can come up with this month.  I even am planning on making my own Christmas cards this year. 

For now take care
Jules x 

Thursday, 3 November 2016

China the cookbook book review

A new cookbook? who me? surely not? Insert a giggle or two here.  Not that I need any more cook books but this one grabbed my attention.  I have the Italian Silver spoon book and the French and Spanish equivalents, and find I get more out of them than trendy specialist smaller books so when I saw this one I did try my very hardest not to want it.  Obviously I failed but, I am only human with a cooking addiction that overrides most other interests at the end of the day. The book arrived in the post a few days ago. After a short flick through it was obvious this was a book that would get used a lot when the need for Chinese food rears it head.

This book itself it a beautiful blue/green pale colour and the pages are edged in gold.  It is indeed a beautiful looking book.

Last night was a bit of a nightmare.  I was dealing with beginning of a migraine and the other adult in the house had a doctors appointment at the time dinner needed to be cooked.  Having been able to do most the prep for this earlier, which was a little chopping, this wasn't to strenuous to cook. I chose to make the Chicken with cashew nuts recipe.  Served it with plain steamed rice. This is ow it looked in the book.

And this is how it looked just before I served it up.  Only thing I did differently was add some mushrooms. May not look as wonderful but it was a great tasting dish.  The flavours weren't to complex, but was still really tasty.  The textures were all great, chicken was tender and the pepper and shallots crisp and sweet. What we loved was although there wasn't lots of sauce like from a restaurant or take away, there was still lots of flavours, and nothing masked all the individual flavours. Really looking into exploring this book more.  In the times of needing to save money and still eat well this book could be a real life saver for those evenings the family get a craving for Chinese take away food.  Best of it was only thing I had to buy on the day was a few shallots and cashew nuts.  Everything else was something we usually have to hand. For less than £2 expense we could make a meal that served for easily as a main course and no one complained about.  Other bonus was because I did most of the prep earlier in the day it took me as long as it took to cook the rice (25 minutes start to dishing up) and the actual dish only took around 7 or 8 minutes from heating the small amount of oil to putting the meal on the table. Less time than ringing up and waiting for food to be delivered or going to collect it.  I am very impressed 

Take care
Jules x 

stags head hot water bottle cover

My edition of Simply Sewing magazine arrived the other day and I dived into one project straight away. Isn't this stags head so majestic? After my hand stitching not that long ago I blanket stitched around the stags head by hand.  I quite like it. 

The binding didn't quite go to plan mainly because it wasn't wide enough.  That was my fault for grabbing the first binding I had to hand instead of making some to the recommended measurements. So it is a bit wavy in places.  To be honest this was a practice run at whether I wanted to do another one properly.  Not that I didn't do this one properly. I am rambling sorry. I just decided to use what I had to hand to see if I enjoyed the process of making this.  I did, so I will be finding some fabric that I have enough of to make the correct width binding to match the stags head. 

The back has a handy envelope opening like some cushion covers for putting your hot water bottle in.  Does this mean I actually ought to buy a hot water bottle now then? Might come in handy I guess!

Bad photo but here was the original example in this months Simply Sewing magazine. Grabbed my attention and I am hoping to make a better version of one of these soon. 

I did try to post this yesterday but the app on my phone was playing silly games with me and kept shutting down. Gave up and decided sleep seemed a better option. Looking forward to diving into more of the projects in this edition. 

Take care
Jules x 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Large tote bag tutorial by Sewspire

On my trip around youtube last week I saw a lovely tutorial for a large project tote bag.  On the Sewspire channel I thought at the time oo I have the perfect fabric to make one of these with the most adorable accent fabric.  Then I decided to take beds apart and start rearranging bedrooms and moving craft tools and fabrics around.  In short I put a lot of stuff where it wasn't available and made a mess.  OK No worries I then realised I had what I call my deck chair fabric that I bought from IKEA earlier in the year. So colourful and cheerful I thought.  

Andrea over on sewspire on YouTube is on a mission to teach 10,000 people how to sew I think the number was.  Yes I know i 'can' sew but strangely I still don't always know some of the basics and some of the little touches or standard ways of doing things are not how I would do them.  Andrea has a knack of making things very clear and seem very easy to achieve.  

This project bag didn't take me long.  I didn't think about doing step by step photos sorry I just wanted to get the tote bag sewn so I had a summer holiday bright beach themed deck chair tote bag. 

The above photo has the accent stripe down one side.  It is sewn on so over time the edges will fray and give it an extra design element.

To take these photos I had to stuff the bag with a large cushion as I had no one else to help me model it.

The fully lined tote features a different set of coloured stripes 

Not a fantastic photo below of my box corners, but I think these are the most even effective box corners I have ever sewn.

And then I started more hand sewing.  I won't tell you what this stag head is for but it is not for Christmas even if it could well be used for Christmas.  I am not to impressed about how uneven my blanket stitches are looking but I am getting there slowly and almost finished sewing the stag head down.  I might even get to start on the actual project tomorrow. 

Happy start to November I think, hope it is all good with you and you are recovering from Halloween fun.

Take care