Sewing, stitching, baking, cooking, gardening, shopping and general homemaking.

Saturday, 19 June 2010


I've spent the last couple of days making pincushions, amongst doing other things, like cooking, housework, washing etc.  I wanted something sewing related to do on Thursday afternoon when I have friends round for a crafting session.  Well my mind was blank so I asked the handstitching group I'm in for suggestions and Laurie suggested this pincushion idea

After I'd made this one I thought I would have a go making another one that was slightly different and came up with this

and then I had to make a matching scissor fob.  I really enjoyed making these and my friends did too, so it was a successful afternoon of crafting.
When I'm making anything I have to have lots of breaks for cups of tea and a bit of a search around the blogs.  Yesterday I was searching 'pincushions' and came across a pincushion I thought looked like a bit of fun to make so I had to have a go
Apart from handstitching the gap closed after I'd stuffed it, this is all made on the sewing machine so it's really quick - and a lot of fun to look at!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

A Matter of Taste

I have wondered recently if my sense of taste was disappearing, particularly when I eat vegetables.  On Sunday I managed to collect enough veg from my plot to give us a small portion each.  That's when I realised that it's not my sense of taste, it's the commercially grown vegetables that I eat most of the year.  Carrots usually taste of nothing but I eat them anyway - but - when I tasted my home grown ones the memory of what carrots should taste like came flooding back.  They were delicious, full of flavour.

It's years since I tried to grow carrots, I never had any success with them.  This year, because I now have my raised beds, I decided to try them again.  These carrots are the best I've ever grown, wish I'd sown a few more now.  The mange tout are tender and tasty, the courgettes taste like courgettes and the broccoli has flavour.  Even though I only grow enough veg to use during the summer months it is worth it.  Worth it for the taste and worth it for the enjoyment I get tending my veg plot.

This is a coconut cake that I made today.  So what, you might say.  Well, what makes it unusual for me is that as well as using desiccated coconut it contains coconut cream.  I have only ever used coconut cream in curries before now but the recipe for this cake included coconut cream in the cake and in the icing.  I'm not sure if it makes much difference to the taste but the texture of this cake is very nice.  My recipe book tends to overdo it on the icing so in future I think I'll only make half the quantity, I told myself this before but I must stick to my decision next time.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

June Flowers

After a very wet week we had some beautiful weather yesterday.  I was able to get out into the garden and do a bit of work.  These pictures were taken in the part of our garden nearest to the house, it's all looking very colourful.

This rose is growing in some very poor soil at the side of our garage.  I'd forgotten that it is a miniature climbing rose, it's never done very well but this year it has really put on some growth, I think it liked the cold winter we had.  Next to it is a honeysuckle and that is looking very healthy too.  I've almost removed this honeysuckle several times because it always looked very scrawny, the cold winter suited it too.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Decorated Box Top

A few weeks ago a friend turned up at my house with a pile of lovely boxes.  They are just the right size for using in crafting, the sort of box that originally contained toiletries mostly, the expensive sort.  The friend knew that I'd find good use for them.  This was a bit of luck for me because I'm entering a decorated sewing box challenge we are having at a group I'm in.  After a lot of thought and blog surfing I came up with this using one of the smaller boxes as a trial effort

You may notice that I've used some of the fabrics that Gillie sent me that I showed in my previous post.  The squares of fabric are stuck on to the calico using Bondaweb, then stitched around using blanket stitch.  The covered button and the lace are stuck on using craft glue.  I've used a combination of double sided sticky tape and craft glue to attached the fabric and the fancy top to the box.  I got a lot of inspiration for my box by looking at French stitching blogs, a few links for their blogs are here on the right.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Swaps Received

Last week I received swaps from two different exchanges, there's nothing like receiving a package in the mail to really cheer you up is there. 
First there was the gorgeous pincushion and fabric from Gillie.  I love the design of this one and the fabric she sent carries on the garden theme of the pincushion which Gillie chose because she know how I love my garden.

Then I received what should just have been a pincushion but included tons of other stitching related stuff from Carla.  I think Carla went a bit over the top with what she sent me, not that I minded at all :)  Carla sent me enough cross-stitch patterns to keep me going for a couple of years, I'm a very slow stitcher!

I love the motivation that these swaps give me.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Give-Away Winner

Nic won the give-away - I have your address Nic, so will mail the prize to you this week.  To choose the winner of these things I assign a number to each participant in the order that the comments appear, then I use so that the winner is picked out fairly.  Much easier than writing names on bits of paper then getting Graham to pick out of the hat!

I wanted to put some pictures on here of the fab swaps I've received but I didn't get round to taking the pictures yet.  It has been so hot that my craft room gets unbearable.  Hopefully, things will cool down now that we've had huge thunderstorms and torrential rain.  Spending a lot of time baking yesterday didn't help either, by bedtime the upstairs of my house was like a sauna, hot and humid.  On Friday I made strawberry jam, this time I made it in my bread making machine.  It just made enough for one jar and is delicious, not too sweet.  I'll definitely make it this way in future, one jar at a time is all we need.  What an easy way to make jam!

Today I'm not going to be doing much, it's been a busy time lately, with one thing and another, so Graham, me and the dog are all taking it easy today.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Project Bag Tutorial

Over the years I've acquired quite a few vintage table cloths and runners, some from my mother's aunt, some from my DH's grandmother and some from fairs I've attended.  Usually they just lie in a drawer, occasionally I use them.  What will happen to them when I go - they probably will get thrown away.  So I decided to make something useful out of some of them and ended up using one for a project bag.

Cut out the piece of cloth you want to use in your project, I cut a piece of card the size I wanted and then drew around it with a water soluble pen. 

Mine measured 8 ¼ inches wide x 6 inches long.

Cut out a piece of coordinating fabric the same width as the embroidered piece and approximately 7 inches long but you can decide how long you want this piece. Sew these two pieces together using a quarter inch seam.  

Cut out three pieces of fabric the same size as the embroidered/patterned piece.
I used calico/muslin.

 Sew together as shown.

With the two lengths right sides together and starting at the plain end (this will be the lining), sew around the whole piece leaving a gap for turning.

Turn right side out and sew the gap closed.

Tuck the piece that has the plain fabric inside the piece that has the embroidered/patterned front and plain back.

On the inside of the back, stitch a loop and on the inside of the front, stitch a flat loop, the back loop will pass through the flat loop as the hanger. You can use ribbon or a strip of the fabric for these loops.

Any problems understanding my instructions let me know and I'll help.

Once you've made one of these you'll realise how quick and easy they are and how many decorative ideas you could use.  I've made them in Christmas themed fabric and used them as gift bags.