Thursday, 31 May 2012

Button Up


I have a bit of a thing about buttons.  Memories of childhood and rooting through my Gran's button tin.

Sadly I've now used most of the vintage ones that belonged to my mother and grandmother - but the fascination still remains.

So I thought today I'd have a button day, and share some of the latest lovely makes I've discovered.
 


by Amanda Meadon on Folksy
How charming is this little picture?  Simple, colourful and quite pretty


by Saphire Moon on Crafster
 Not sure what these are... cuffs?  Loving the way the colours blend

Buttons, buttons, buttons...

What a fabulous necklace.  The colours!  And some of those buttons are amazing.  Found this on Pinterest, but sadly there is no link.


by Mike Smith on Folksy
 A fabulous piece of button art.  What a fantastic idea

buttons buttons buttons
from Homedit.com  
A little bit in love with this lampshade - and so easy too!



Another pretty piece of button art.  So effective.
Yet another Pinterest find that has no working link attached.  (Drives me mad)

That's it for today folks - I really must button down and do some housework.


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Blog Train Button

I wanted to put a button on my blog for Blog Train, but wasn't very keen on the proper one.
After a bit of fiddling in Paint, using a free to use clipart image - I've got one of my own, that looks a whole lot more in keeping.


The size of the image is 250 pixels square to fit the template of my blog.  If anyone else would like to use it, please feel free to copy and paste.

If you need to resize, open Paint, paste image and resize using pixel option.  If you are unsure how wide it needs to be, right click on an image the right size on your blog, and check out the properties - where you will see the pixel dimensions.

If you want to recolour - use the fill option in the colour of your choice.  The green and yellow bits showing through are from the original colouring, as it would be nigh on impossible to get rid of them.

To add to blog, choose the add a photo option, and include your personal link code.  Voila - anyone clicking on the image will go straight to the Blog Train site.

Think Pink


A trifle miffed that the sun has decided to hide this morning.  The sky is back to it's normal leaden look.

So lets jolly things up with a selection of pastel pinks - never fail to cheer.

I shall start shamelessly with one of my own creations - the Sugar and Spice pillow.  I love the way the fabrics go together.  Currently sitting on my bed.  I do enjoy foundation piecing - and have another one in the pipeline featuring beach huts.  (Better get cracking or summer will be over).

Isn't this wigwam delightful?  It screams summer.  I want a grown up sized one.  This is so utterly charming.  Created by Hickity-pickity who makes the most delightful things (if you have a little girl - get over there right this minute - you'll love her designs), using fabric designs by Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom  I am in the throes of a long distance love affair with all things Sis Boom.  If you like bright, fresh and zingy fabrics - you may start a long term affair yourself.

I came across this breezy little number on Pinterest.  I detest net curtains, but who could fail to be charmed by this?  So, so pretty - it would look wonderful in a rosy themed bedroom.  I've tracked the source down - and they're for sale, in several guises in a Dawanda online store.  Don't be put off if you haven't heard of this store before - it's an Etsy/Folksy type site based in Europe.  There's some fab stuff on there, and when I ordered something a while back, it arrived super quick and I was delighted.


I'm loving this cheeky little chappy.  So simple, yet so effective.  For sale on Etsy  It's a pillow, but I think it would make a great door stop.  Super fabric combo too.


You've got to Love a pretty pillow - and this is one I made recently to sit on the spare bed.  Very quick and easy to do.


What a sweet little mousie this is.  You can find the tutorial for it on the All about You site.
Here it is a pincushion, but reckon my cat would be keen on one with a bit of catnip pushed inside.

http://www.countryhome.com/images/img_starringstripeslg_5.jpg

This pillow is a proper little star.  I think this particular one looks so good as the fabric has been cut so cleverly.  The chances of my stripes lining up like that are slim.  Beautiful.  And..... I've found the tutorial for it on the Country Homes site.

 spool quilt by croskelley, via Flickr

I shall end today's post with this wonderful quilt by Camille Roskelley 

Can you guess it's called Spools?  Love it to bits.  The fabrics look stunning, and it looks fairly simple to put together.  And there's a pattern!  Check out the link, it takes you straight to Camille's Simplify site.

Enjoy your day folks.



Tuesday, 29 May 2012

It can only mean one thing..... CAKE

How lovely to reach 100 followers!

I have no idea who the 100th was (obviously shy).

Never mind...... a celebration can only mean one thing.........



CAKE!!!

There may just be enough for a morsel each - it's certainly rich enough.  This is my favourite cake to bake at the moment.  Chocolate Guiness Cake.  Super quick and simple to make, and wonderfully dense, moist and indulgent.  It is my favouritest (I know that isn't a proper word) chocolate cake of all time.  Even the children, who think Guiness is revolting, love this.  Fancy making one yourself?  It's dead easy - I'll share the recipe with you:-

Recipe sourced at Nigella.com

FOR THE CAKE

  • 250ml Guinness
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 75g cocoa
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 1 x 142ml pot sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
  • 275g plain flour
  • 2 1/2teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

FOR THE TOPPING

  • 300g Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 125ml double or whipping cream

 

Method

Serves: Makes about 12 slices
  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C, and butter and line a 23cm spring form tin.
  2. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter - in spoons or slices - and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
  4. When the cake's cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsifted icing sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.
  5. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.

Notes  

Mine is a fan oven, and after 45 minutes, the cake looked cooked on top, but was still gooey inside after testing with a skewer.  I turned the oven down to 160C and left it in for a further 15 minutes.  Looks pretty darn good to me.  Rather than a spring form cake tin, I've baked it in a large silicone "tin".  Here's hoping it turns out OK once cool.

It looks well risen, which I was a bit worried about, as I only used a hand balloon whisk to whizz everything together.  It was only after I'd started, that I wondered if I should have used my electric hand whisk.  It certainly doesn't look as though it needed it.


Oh hurry up and cool - I can hardly wait to cut into you - you gorgeous thing

For the topping, I didn't add any cream to the mixture.  I was going to add a spoonful of creme-fraiche, but it was already so rich and creamy it simply didn't need it.

Verdict

 This has turned out quite beautifully.  Tops marks to Nigella for a deliciously simple recipe.  I couldn't resist scraping a little shamrock into the top of the icing.  This is a superb chocolate cake, and so quick and easy to do it will be frequently repeated.

Straight after baking, I wasn't sure if this was exactly what I was hoping to achieve.  I thought the texture was a bit too spongy.  However, after storing in an airtight container overnight, the resulting cake is perfect.  Dense, moist and divine.  My idea of chocolate heaven.

This cake keeps remarkably well.  After returning home after nearly a fortnight away, the cake was still moist in it's airtight container.  Had to chuck it though, as the cheesy topping had gone a bit furry.  Would be perfect to keep with a simple chocolate topping instead.

Enjoy!

And once again - a big thank you to all my followers.

Mwah x

Could you be my 100th Follower?



A year after beginning this blog - I am now only 1 little follower away from making it to triple figures.

Is it you?

If so, please introduce yourself.

100 followers may not seem like much to many in the Blogging community - but it means a heck of a lot to me, and I never thought this day would come.  Woohoo.

May I take the opportunity of thanking everyone who follows my blog.  I so appreciate it, and delight in the comments received.  I'm sorry if I don't often reply.  Wish there was an easy way.  If there is - can someone let me know!

I shall of course continue in much the same ilk.

PS - My followers have increased greatly today, due to the help of the newly introduced Blog-Train.
It's quick, simple and free to join.  A superb way of getting your blog noticed, though you will find yourself immersed in all the other lovely blogs you find.  Here's the link...


.....skips merrilly off to switch the kettle on.  We know how to celebrate in this house!

Summer Daze Bag

I can hardly believe a whole month has passed since my last creative post.

Doesn't time fly!  

I haven't been sat on my backside doing nothing (the whole time).  Aside from moving house, and getting hubby settled into his new work-away apartment - I have done a little bit of sewing.


Another bag!  (Like I need one).  I just enjoy making them, and I love the style of this one.

If you've been following my blog for a while, you may recognise the shape.  It's yet another version of my Sophie bag (for which I have been meaning to produce the pattern - like - forever).  It's such a nice bag to carry around.  Light, roomy and comfortable, in a slightly squishy, holds it's shape well sort of way.

It was supposed to be a quick, run it up in an evening make.  Ha ha ha.

I can cut out all the pieces from memory, so that didn't take long.  Putting the fabrics together however, took ages - for the simple reason I have far too much to choose from.   A while back I happened across a brief tweet from Rachel Pettitt offering some Michael Miller fabric.  I replied and a short while later received a wonderful package containing quite a few very useful pieces of lovely fabrics.  Bless you Rachel, it was so kind of you - and I'm still stunned.  There are some really lovely people in the world.  (and this one wouldn't even let me pay the postage).

I've used one of these pieces for the main body and handles of the bag.  It's hard to see from the picture (too bright a day - not that I'm complaining), but it's a heavy weave linen in duck egg blue with off white spots.  For the top panel, I used a piece of Moda (no idea which variety) which had been lurking in my stash for ages).  I bought it intending to make a skirt, and that's as far as I got with that project.


After cutting out the panels, I thought I would add a bit of interest to the body of the bag by cutting out a few applique shapes.  I didn't bother with bondaweb - just a quick spray of temporary adhesive, and a whizz around with the machine.  That was going to be it........ until I got a bit carried away.

It's turned into a doodle!

  • A bit of machining about
  • A whole lot of simple embroidery
  • Buttons
  • Ric Rac
  • Even a guest appearance of my JML Gem Styler (yes!  I bet there's not many people that can say that.... actually amazed that it works!  Would never have bought one, but hubby found it at a car boot sale for £2.  Now need to track down more "gems", as I think it will be used again).



Eventually I had to force myself to stop, otherwise this could have become the longest-to-make bag in history.  Before I could get waylaid again, I quickly added a contrasting lining.  I've included a large pocket - it's just the right size to slip my i-Pad into. 

 

The back of the bag is a lot plainer.  I decided on one flower...... then wanted to play around and add a few gems, and that led onto a few buttons. :)

Hmm.  Not entirely sure what I shall be doing next.  I'm going to my MIL's sewing class on Friday, so need to have something ready to do.  Will have a ponder.  Maybe a Kindle case to match?  We'll see.

I'll leave you today with snaps of the last two Sophie bags I made for myself and a friend, which shows what a difference different fabrics can make. Time to put my winter version into temporary retirement I think.


In wool suit weight tartan, with cerise corduroy lining.


In lightweight quilting cottons - taken from the same range of fabrics.  To ring the changes, I added an elasticated pocket to the front of this bag.





Lacy Loveliness

I've just spied this fabulous chair makeover on Pinterest and I adore it.


According to the source - the rather wonderfully named RoadKillRescue blog (haven't delved further than this post - a bit afraid of what I might find), the person responsible for this makeover doesn't have her own blog yet.

Now.....  if I thought for one minute that my attempt at this would come out okay, I would be grabbing my dining chairs immediately.  However, my history with paint effects is dodgy at best, and downright appalling at worst - so perhaps I will have to sigh with admiration and wait for the magic fairy to do her stuff.

There are instructions for how to do this on the blog, so if anyone does have a go and succeeds - please (and I'm begging you here) will you hotfoot it over to my place and work your transformation magic on me.  My only request is that the pattern be vaguely paisley like.

I know if I did do my own version, I would have to make things awkward for myself and do a base coat first, rather than let the wood show through.  I'm thinking white underneath, with a deep duck-egg blue on top.  Sigh.....

Eek - tapping away at this post, I realise it's a whole month since the last one!
Where did that time go?

I do have another make all ready to show you....  just have to figure out how to photograph it, after wandering around the house for a suitable hanging point - and failing dismally.

Next post on the blog.....    Summer Daze bag - It's a Doodle!