My Trip To The Handmade Fair

I have been ill for what seems like forever, with a mixture of asthma, an irritating head cold and perhaps the beginnings of a chest infection I’ve been feeling rotten for over a month. With my box of tissues and copious cold and flu meds, I donned my latest make and headed bravely to The Handmade Fair. I had an absolutely wonderful day with the ladies from Crafty Sew & So.

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Sarah and I did a little bit of watercolour painting in the morning. The tutor, Harriet de Winton, was fantastic. I’m so happy with my little floral wreath.  Roses were super hard!

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The temptation to buy was overwhelming! I managed to reign it in and came home with two purchases.  An adorable little unicorn necklace from Jazzy Menagerie and a foxy notebook from Miss Meaney’s.

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So much fun, now to sleep for a day or two.

Thanks for reading  x

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Pride!

I had the most fun at my first ever pride festival! It was the perfect excuse to finally finish my rainbow skirt. I picked up this fabric from the market for the grand total of £1 a metre.  I believe it’s a crepe de chine, there’s a little bit of texture to it and it flows beautifully. However, it’s practically transparent so I improvised an underskirt which I finally completed this morning!

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We got our faces glittered by the fabulous ladies at Glitter Dolls UK, made smoothies by riding an exercise bike, went on terrifying rides, met a charming assistance dog from Recovery and generally had a grand ol’ time.

My Lungs just about made it to mid-afternoon before demanding I give them a break. Asthma’s been a little tricky recently.

It’s been a selfie heavy day. Here I am with my face back to normal and my sink a graveyard of sparkles. I swear I’m going to be finding glitter in all sorts of places for days or even weeks to come.

In other news…I hurt my foot this morning as I was hurriedly finishing the skirt I neglected to put away pins correctly. a thick pin went directly into the sole of my foot!



















 

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A Snuggly Present

It was my nieces second birthday yesterday. She was a bundle of excitement. Each time a new person she knew came through the door she would give a bright surprised smile followed by a delighted squeal. Each present received with a careful and serious ooo (thank you). 

I ordered her a couple of books, though far too late to arrive on time. As it was I ended up whipping together a cute snuggly blanket the night before.

She’d had a visit to the shop (Crafty Sew and So) a couple of days ago and straight away lunged at a gorgeous sparkly princess fabric. 

I cut a rough metre square embroidered her name and backed it with a super soft dimple fleece. Because I didn’t have much time I placed the peices right sides together and speedily stitched them together instead of using bias binding. 

She was delighted and pointed to the princesses, as she’d done in the store. Instead of snuggling up with the blanket she decided it was far more fun to wave it around like a parachute. Everything is a toy when you are two.

Fun With Quilts!

Sooooo…it’s been a little manic for the past, let’s say, month? Hospital trips, holidays, a severe asthma attack, and a hen weekend. You know it’s been a lot. However, in-between the madness, I have been pretty creative.

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I am super proud of this quilt I’ve been making for my little sister. It’s a little different to a normal quilt as it’s going to be weighted. My sister has autism and she really struggles with getting to sleep. However, like me, she will sleep like a baby with a few heavy blankets. The idea is to have it at 10% your body weight plus a couple of pounds.

Craft Nectar has created an amazing tutorial with diagrams and clear instructions. My Quilt is a little different as I used a patchwork top and wadding, most tutorials recommend a single sheet of fabric with fleece backing.

When this quilt is finished I will more than likely start working on one for myself. I’m going to try and keep up with posting so watch this space…

Thanks for reading

x

 

Getting Organised This New Year

It’s been an organising and tidying day today, prompted somewhat by visiting relatives. It feels lovely to have the house all neat and organised. As it’s been that kind of day I thought I’d share my wonderfully useful storage solution for old craft magazines.

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My solution involves an old Buddy Box and strips of card. Trawling through the magazines I pulled out interesting projects, articles and pretty papers.  Putting the pretty paper to one side I set the remaining sections into categories and folded them down to fit. I then wrote up labels on strips of cardboard and separated the pages into sections.

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What took up half bookshelf now fits into a very reasonably sized box. Theo very much appreciated the new raised bed on his favourite chair.

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Sometimes It’s Fine To Give Up

So the Moneta party is coming up! If you’ve not heard about it, It’s an Instagram in which we make the Moneta dress by Colette.

As happens with anything with any form of deadline or pressure (even if it’s imagined) I panicked and messed up.

And then gave up.

Previously I made a small version, it fit fine but I thought I could use a little more give around the waist.

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This time I tried the size up in a Cotton and Viscose Jersey blend. The fabric is gorgeous but unfortunately, I managed to stretch it out beyond any recognizable shape. After yelling at my sewing machine a few times and snapping several pieces of clear elastic, it was time to give up.

Next time I’m going to just stick with the smaller size and use more stable fabric. Any further rescue attempts are not worth my sanity.

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This fetching fabric caught my eye at Crafty Sew & So, I’m somewhat smitten with it. Normally I go for more of muted tone but who can resist the allure of peacock feathers? It’s a Viscose Jersey, and shouldn’t stretch too easily. If I use the Sewing Cafe at Crafty Sew & So  I can make my next Moneta on an overlocker should make things a lot simpler and quicker.

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year?

I am trying not to apologise for not posting in some time. I can only post when I feel mentally well enough to do so, recently I have not.

 The madness of Christmas has passed, after four days of intense socialising and festive fun I collapsed under the weight of a migraine. It passed after a couple of days but I can still feel the heaviness lingering at the edge of my temples, ready to strike at the slightest provocation.

As anyone with mental health issues knows, the Christmas season is an intensely difficult time of year. The pressure builds steadily through late November and December culminating in one day in which it is of the highest imperative to be merry. Heaven forfend if you don’t see every family member on this holiest of sacred days.

There is an extra pressure when issues around food arise. Anyone who has been reading this blog for any amount of time knows I suffer from an eating disorder. in the past few years, I have gained two stone and am now at a healthy weight. Although I am physically well the psychological issues around eating have not vanished. I have a sneaking suspicion they never will.    There is a strange association with emotions and eating around Christmas. I find people using languages which I associate with having an ED. They ‘allow’ themselves to eat certain foods. An indulgence often followed by a promise to diet, even from people of a healthy weight. This isn’t helped by societal and commercial norms. Christmas is for bingeing. The new year is for restricting. When I worked at Waterstones the new year was the most loathsome time of year. Books insisting fasting is a healthy lifestyle choice littered a table with the heading ‘New Year New You.’

There is nothing wrong with the old you!

 I did not intend this post to be a rant,  In truth, I wasn’t going to write much at all. All my frustrations came all too easily.

On to happier things. This Morning my eagerly awaited delivery from Fatface arrived. On boxing day I took full advantage of the sale and spent the majority of my Christmas money on a fine array of clothes. I’m wearing as many as I physically can in one go right now.

There’s only a skirt and coat which is set to one side…for now.

Sewing my own clothes has made a huge difference to my shopping habits. I’m finding myself looking at the composition of fabrics and avoiding certain shops, knowing I could do a better job of making the clothes. However, Fatface clothes are impeccably made with good fabrics and sturdy finishes. I’ve found this to also be the case with Cath Kidston, Joules, Seasalt and others with a high price tag to match. Thank goodness for sales.

I hope everyone survived Christmas, it’s over now. There’s a whole year to go before the next one.

Thanks for reading

x

Sweet Bread Is The Best Bread

So I wasn’t particularly inspired by this week’s bread on Bake Off. For a while now I’ve been wanting to make a second attempt at brioche. I fell in love with brioche around three years ago when my husband and I went to Switzerland on our honeymoon. There were so many lovely patisseries. A brioche bun was a perfect snack for wandering the medieval streets.

My last attempt to make brioche actually turned out pretty well, however I got in a terrible mess, the mixture was so sticky i had to get my husband to release me from a doughy finger trap. This time, I’m hoping to utilise my mixer and dough hook.

Looking at paul Hollywood’s recipe it takes 10-11 hours of prep! I just don’t have the patience. Onto Ruby Tandoh’s cookbook and a recipe for Basic Sweet Dough Buns. Apron on and Netflix at the ready .

Ruby doesn’t use a mixer for her dough, so I’m somewhat merging the two recipes i have and using Hollywood’s techniques for mixing with the basic sweet dough, brioche has a lot if butter so it requires around half an hour of mixing, I’m going for roughly fifteen minutes.

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I did not get into a doughy mess! The mixer did its work. Ruby  offers some really great tips on shaping buns (at this point I’m imaging so many puns from Mel and sue). Now for a second prove and then into the oven.

After the obligatory taste test, I decided to make them iced buns. Adding just a little vanilla extract I made the icing nice and thick. Here’s the finished result:

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Biscuits Week

Episode two  of The Great British Bake Off inspired me to make biscuits! It was my plan to recreate the technical challenge, Viennese Whirls. However, I was sadly lacking in cornflour.   So, onto iced biscuits. I’d forgotten how outrageously simple biscuits were to make.  Following a recipe from The Primrose Bakery Book ,  I created scrummy iced biscuits. If you’re following the recipe here, the ingredients call for vanilla essence but it’s omitted from the recipe.   I added it with the egg.

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It was a little tricky to tell when they were done, I used muscovado sugar instead of golden caster so they were already pretty dark.

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As there wasn’t anything particularly technical about the biscuits I tried my hand at icing. I iced a circle with a thicker consistency, waited for it to set, then filled it in with thinner icing.

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Next time I’ll ice the biscuits right to the edge, as I think it gives them a nicer finish. I need to get myself a circle cutter, a glass just doesn’t work all that well.

Looking forward to bread week tonight!

This Cake is Damn Good

My last post was about taking inspiration from Great British Bake Off.This week’s inspiration came in the form of Earl Grey and lemon drizzle loaf cake, originally it was going to be lady grey because I prefer the flavour but  it turns out I don’t have any so I went for the good old Earl instead. I essentially followed Urvashi Roe’s recipe, but used a normal loaf tin, instead of mini loaf cases. Unbeknownst to me she was in series two of GBBO.

My first stumbling block was not actually reading the recipe properly. I managed to get a nasty skin on top of the milk. After a mild anxiety attack,  I threw away the first lot, read the recipe and started again!

The mixture was exceptionally light and fluffy with  only a small amount of tea-infused milk.

A lovely cup of tea is the perfect accompaniment.