Thursday, 13 July 2017

Dancing Aliens birthday

Not sure how it happened but this little dancer is now 6! I got to watch her dancing on Monday with her outfit I had fun creating, I may be biased but I think she looked great.

I was asked to put an alien head on her shirt.  No worries I thought, then realised how small a shirt she wears.  If I had my thinking cap on before hand I would of unpicked the side seams, then sewed the head on the front of the shirt.  Then sewed the side seams back up. Of course I struggled with getting it sewn on until I clicked and was almost completed by then. Always leave it to me to do it all the hard way

The head band is just a simple plain little headband with glittery pipe cleaners twisted on and made into shapes.  Ever helped me with this, and I think added to the effect after it was given to her, and I super-glued two lots of big googly eyes on which I used four so they were double sided eyes.  My proudest moment of this piece was I used superglue and didn't stick myself or anything else to anything that wasn't intended to be stuck together.  I almost felt like a fully fledged adult for almost a nano second.

I didn't go to town to much with the tutu, as she still needed to dance and run around and not feel to hindered by it. Plus we have to show off the aliens silver leggings don't we?

So there we have it, I made an all dancing all singing alien outfit for a dance show, for the cutest alien going. I would do it again in a heartbeat as I had so much fun. Most importantly it was loved. 

I learnt I can use superglue responsibly.  Always check the remnant bin out in the fabric store.  I found the silver fabric for a ridiculous price.  Still have some left, so I expect that will come out to play in another project at some time. 

For now I am going to focus on smaller projects like bags to put Lego in. Similar to what I use for my knitting projects. I got asked to make a few to keep Lego kits in their own bags to save getting them all mixed up, and hopefully away out of the way of bare feet.

Take care

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Aliens in silver

Today I was back working on my Eldest granddaughters Alien dance costume. This so far has consisted of making a purple sparkly tutu.  On Tuesday I said to someone what I need is a piece of silver fabric in the remnant bin in the fabric shop.  And hey presto there was one well over a metre there and although it didn't show up to well it almost has a holographic glitter effect to it.  I would describe this as legging or swimsuit fabric.  I wanted a small piece to cut an alien head out of but with this find I decided to do a pair of silver leggings to go under the tutu. I even found a label to put in to look professional. I bought the label sometime last year on sale in the range.  Fabric was from fabric land

Quick search on pinterest for a free legging pattern for a 6 year old took me to  Got to say with the help of my overlocker/serger. This was a pretty quick and easy make. 

The label didn't even give me and problems.  Just hoping the little alien to be next Monday loves them as much as me and her Mum do.

I am thinking of trying out a few more pinterest crafts etc soon. You can find me here on Pinterest. 
But for now I will say goodnight as it's been a long day, and I am off to dream of 70's disco dancers in sparkly silver trousers 

Take care
Jules xx 

Monday, 3 July 2017

Kapow! Batman we love you

I sewed with many memories in mind.  After the sad news of Adam Wests passing recently I have been thinking of how popular Batman is these days. I have always loved Batman, even owning a toy Batmobile as a child.  I was secretly thrilled when my older son as a young toddler became a Batman and Robin fan.  Way before it was fashionable, way before you could easily buy batman logo anything you can think of, he was a fan.  So the loss of the original Batman was sad to us both. A long while ago I bought half a metre of official Batman fabric and wondered for a long time what to make from it? I wish I had bought more at the time.  How fantastic is this?

I had a bit of a tidy up of my craft and sewing supplies yesterday and came across this insul-bright batting/wadding and my mind started thinking.

Then I was looking through books later that night and came across Half Yard Heaven by Debbie shore and I was away with a plan.

Red bias binding was needed.  After all when I think of the caped crusader I always think of his sidekick Robin. 

Have you guessed what I made yet? Oven gloves of all things. Useful things don't need to be all twee or super cute.

A view before I sewed down my nemesis bias binding all round the outside. Not perfect by a long shot but a lot better than my last big job I did with the stuff at least.

Didn't have anyone to pose or take pictures of them in action earlier so a quick pocket shot here for now.

I am pretty impressed, nice big pockets and didn't take long to make at all.  Best bit of all is every time they are used they will hopefully raise a smile and bring back some happy memories of a childhood hero that we will always love.

Who was your first childhood super hero? let me know in the comments

Adam West, thanks for the years of entertainment.  May you rest in peace and live on always in our heart

Take care
Jules xxx 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Summer is here!

I lost so much weight last year and sewed so many lovely clothes then put most of the weight back on. So, as a result when the heat started again I had no summer clothes that fitted. Which meant shock and horror I had to start sewing again! I know, such a hard life right? 

I came across this cotton fabric in a small fabric in Felixstowe in May. It's not my usual style but something about it called out to me and I came home with 2 meters of it and memories of a lovely weekend. As I was pondering on summer wear I thought back to the Gretta top on and decided this would be perfect. These are PDF patterns so I sat down with a pair of scissors and sticky tape and had 80's tunes playing as I put it together one day.  The next I got on with cutting fabric and the actual sewing. This is a sideways picture, don't you love those summer colours?

Another view. I use wonderclips to hold my fabric in half straight when I am lining up my fabric on a cutting surface. 

When I sew I tend to listen to audio books. I am currently listening to the new book in the St Marys Chronicles so I know exactly how long it took to sew up.  This pattern is really easy.  It has facings, but no fastenings apart from the tie up strap details.  Making this a quick sew at 2 hours and 29 minutes according to how long I listened to the audio book app. I didn't rush as the weather made everything to hot. I look so bleached out and tired in this picture but I was a lot happier than I look honest.

Here is a closer view of the tied shoulders. They do as promised tie up and untie to your preference. The length comes down at bottom of the hip at the side with a curved hem at front and back which covers all the bulky areas.  Easy to shorten or lengthen though. 

This fabric has really changed my view o me wearing brighter colours and prints. So has opened my view on what fabric is suitable for me.

If you haven't heard of Seamwork before it is well worth a look into if you like PDF patterns. Seamwork patterns are through the pattern company Colette and costs $6 ( American) for 2 credits once a month.  You can use one credit for any one pattern on the seamwork site or 3 credits for a Colette pattern I think it is. If you do decide to subscribe I have a referral link just below if you would be so kind.  

But for now I am going to try and cool down a little and plain an alien dance costume for my granddaughter that she wants to feature a sparkly purple tutu. Nice fun project to dive into.
Take care

Monday, 13 March 2017

Balsamic beef in an Instant pot

Now and again I will come back to this recipe and tweak it to cook in a different way or tweak the flavours.  Over the years I have cooked it in slow cookers, In the oven and even on the stove top. I have never had anyone eat this and not say good things about it.  Definite family favourite.  All starts with a humble piece of beef brisket.  I stabbed it a few times and inserted lots of cloves of garlic into the beef. Seasoned it well and seared it off in the Instant pot.  Any pressure cooker could be used, or even start it in a pot then cook on low for 8 hours in a slow cooker.

Remove the beef and start to cook a few big onions and a bulb of garlic peeled. Keep stirring and when they start to go brown at the edges pour in 2-4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.  It will sizzle lots and will lift off the brown bits on the bottom of the pot if you keep stirring.  When the vinegar has almost evaporated add in a cup or so of beef stock, how much depends on how much gravy you want.

Put the beef back in and set the pot up to pressure cook for 45 minutes. This piece wasn't quite tender enough on one side after that time so I turned it over and gave it another 15 minutes while I cooked the vegetables. 

Came out so lovely, tender and juicy.  The onions , garlic and stock left in the pot were just blitzed with a hand blender and they create a fantastic gravy.  The amount of onions and garlic are what naturally thicken it.

So it may look very rustic and not to appetising but this is one o my favourite meals of all time.
What's yours?

Take care

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Sticky stuff and me

Popped into our local fabric shop one day last week for bias binding and saw these kits in the window and in the shop.  Something I have been thinking about doing for a while has been covering or recovering lampshades. These kits seemed a fun idea. Everything you need to complete a lampshade once you add your fabric. With a new sewing/craft desk I decided to also replace the football themed lampshade in that room to.

What's in the box? you might wonder, been a theme for the week here that question, Looks pretty basic and instructions are easy to follow. But then I realised there was a great long sheet of sticky backed PVC to be stuck onto the fabric.

This is the fabric I chose. It was this or pale pink with kitty faces on it. But I was eventually drawn to the butterflies.

And back to the sticky stuff.  Sorry for lack of working photos.  It was after 10 pm at night and had no one else to help take a photo or two. Sticky stuff and I don't tend to play together well.  I have a condition referred to as kack handedness according to adults when I was a child,  So when I realised I had to evenly stick a LONG piece of sticky backed PVC lining onto my fabric I almost tossed the box out the window after getting myself, fabric and cat almost permanently welded to this stuff.  Luckily a deep breath was just needed and told myself to pull myself together.  After all what did I expect after reading the box.

Then came the fun of covering the metal rings with double sided tape, more icky stickiness, these went a lot more smoothly luckily.  Then I got to evenly roll the sticky rings onto the prepared PVC backed fabric evenly.  The instructions say another person would be helpful here.  My view is it's the kind of joint activity that could end in divorce if the coordination together didn't go well. However I managed it on my own,  If I can do it I think most people can.

This bit of cardboard amused me, it's not exactly sturdy and I did wonder if it was a random offcut.  Turns out it was a great tool that saved me having to utilise my nails to much. the curved edges are used to help smooth and push the fabric around and under the sticky covered rings.  Took a few minutes to work out the most effective way of doing this but it went well, well kind of.

By this point it's almost 11 pm, In between the stages of making this I have sung to music I got distracted by and chatted and did a few bits online.  Was a lovely project to make. I am proud of my creation and will definitely be shopping to see if i can get some more PVC backing for light shades and renovate a few in our home.   

So for now I need to decide what else I can get up to, Possibilities are endless. 

Take care 
Jules x 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

How to upset your youngest granddaughter

This is my eldest granddaughter Ever, you can tell from the beautiful smile! She is modelling the collared cloak I made with the help from her younger sister Ruby and her Mum Leanne yesterday.

Here is the view from the back. 

Younger granddaughter looks scared doesn't she? Beautiful but scared.

And here you would of thought we had been torturing her.

Story behind these photos starts off a long time ago in the fabric shop.  I found this lovely soft fabric in 2 colours.  They have like a rose swirl design on them.  I was so taken with it I dragged my daughter in to ask what she thought and maybe if something could be made for the girls with it? The girls are in need of dressing up bits so we decided this colour would make a brilliant princess cape for over the princess dresses they have.  At this point Ruby is in love with the fabric, so soft and fluffy.

Fast forward to yesterday, text from Leanne and can we do something together? We decided on a making day. So dragged out the fabric and a pattern and had a lovely time cutting out the pattern pieces, Ruby helped all the way including with the pinning and ribbon choice etc.  Lots of 'I do it's' and 'I help' Absolute delight in the whole process,  And believe me she helped a lot. She was enchanted watching the sewing machine sew. And after a few hours we had this beautiful satin lined cloak.

Then She refused point blank to wear it for a photo for me her Nana. OK fair enough, it went home with her and Leanne said she would try after shower time. Then I think it became all to much for her and there was no way this was going to happen willingly.  Poor child looks like she is being tortured into wearing something she really hates lol. So in the end the beautiful Ever stepped in and modelled it perfectly for Mum so I could have some photos to share.

So that folks is how to upset your granddaughter, simply get her to help make something she really loves and ask her to wear it.

So onto more less dramatic items I think 

Take care

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Slow day

After I blogged  yesterday I managed to do a lot of damage to my shoulder lining, don't ask me now how it happened because I never know what causes it.  Today had therefor been full of slow steady movements and gentle activities.  Even lifting a cup of coffee can be painful.  Luckily I am well versed in how to deal with this reoccurring pain. 

Managed to finish my Nancy dress yesterday apart from the hook and eye at the back neck opening, simple right? Well no it took me longer to reason between an hook and eye or a popper.  Finally decided on the popper so I can get dressed and undressed without help.  

Not to happy with how the dress fits, mainly because I am big anyway and the dress just makes me look bigger.  So will have a think on shaping more or maybe making a belt for it.  Trouble is the dress goes on over your head with no zips etc so to much shaping and I won't be able to get it on or off. Definitely more thinking than I am capable of this evening anyway.

We had a meeting this evening, am impressed at how smoothly that went considering. But when we got home and realised there was no plan for dinner things nearly went a little skew whiff ( love that expression) No way do the 2 dishes exactly go together but they were tasty and used up the veg in fridge, some vine cherry tomatoes and a can of kidney beans, sauteed and braised a little and seasoned with garlic, parsley, smoked paprika and lemon

This was served up along side this really terrible looking risotto.  It was started as a pretty basic mushroom risotto, and finished off with a fresh dressed crab we got at a fish stall yesterday.  The parsley is not showing up at all, and we served this with lemon wedges. Tasted great. 

So that pretty much is the excitement for the day.  I cannot pose for dress photos until I can easily put the dress on and off without trying to not make loud pained noises and try not to swear as I do something silly like move my shoulder.

Hoping I can play a little with something crafty soon as really starting to get bored of this whole relaxing lark. 

Also looking at things to do in the half term coming up soon. If anyone has any good recommendations then let me know, I am based in Hampshire UK

For now Take care
Jules x

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

February already wow

I know I know I haven't posted in an age. And January just slid by in a mass of what the heck is happening here and illness.  I didn't make any resolutions exactly but vowed to simplify  life a lot more.  Easier said than done.  I think I kind of got there but, it took time. 

Sewing wise I am slowly getting back into some sort of routine.  Cooking wise, I needed to make lots of changes and realised why I was losing my cooking mojo since I started Slimming world.  It all seemed rather negative in my mind life wise in January. By the end of January I think I know what I need to change and how to change it so a good start. 

Today we needed to head into Winchester for a visit to the hospital.  I didn't personally go to the hospital so I walked around the town centre for a while. The photos are out of order.  I am still kicking myself about not taking my camera and only having my phone on me.  First photo is a view of the town hall from the bus stop as we were waiting for the park and ride bus. I love this building and am not sure why.  I have never been inside and may have to explore a little next time we are in town. 

This is the cheese man stall.  His selection is amazing. Very helpful chap.  I had visited him last year when a friend was visiting.  I walked by today and the smell was heavenly to me. I am a person who would rather have a small slither of a decent cheese once a month, than a supermarket plastic wedge of cheddar everyday. So a few pieces were bought. Definitely will be returning if only to shop here occasionally.

It's been a smelly kind of day.  This mans history with onion selling goes back to his grandfather at least.  I didn't buy onions or shallots it was the smoked garlic that caught my attention so we came home with a braid of 12 gorgeous smelling smoked garlic.

Popped into C&H fabrics and saw this tile on a wall going up the stairs in a display with lots of others.  Made me smile. We spend so much time sometimes worrying how others see us we forget our opinion is the one that actually counts not someone else.

And here is Eevee once again in a sink.  To be fair it is usually her sister Bobbie who is to be found in sinks most of the time.

Busy ish night this evening as the cats have a check up appointment and I have a slimming world weigh in to go to.Tomorrow I am hoping to finish a dress I started sewing the other day.  The Nancy Dress, pattern from over at Sew Over It  

Managed to complete 3 sewing projects in January which impressed me being I am totally feeling like I hadn't sewn at all. 

Anyway I will leave you for now and pop in again soon I hope to let you know what else I am up to :o)

Take care 
Jules x