Thursday, 24 May 2012

Sewing My New Found Love!!!!

All the best laid plans and all that, I had intended to crack on and get my Japanese flower scarf finished off and blocked by now but no, my mind started to skit about to other projects that I could do, so off I went into the local market town and into Bibelot to buy some fat quarters from their lovely haberdashery department.

Whilst I was in there I took a quick snap shot of some of my things that they have displayed for sale, don't they just look splendid!

As I have mentioned previously I was the lucky recipient of a beautiful sewing machine and I again I have said before sewing is really just not my thing but I am desperate to learn. So I thought a good first project would be to make some bunting, not a lot just a few flags to test out my skills.

Material, check!, pinking shears, check!, bias binding, check!, tape measure, check! nerves, check!
and we're off!

Ta-dah!!!!!!! hanging on some of my railings don't they look soooo cute and how they match the pots, they will look even better when the Geraniums are in full flower. I was so pleased with myself.

After discovering that the sewing machine wasn't quite the dreaded beast I had at first thought I decided that I would now tackle a little bag project that I had in my Cath Kidston 'Sew' book. Now this book came with all the pieces already cut out and ready to sew! I did however think that the instructions that come with the book are a little vague, especially for someone who's only project unto now has been bunting!

The picture below is me getting a little more confident and deciding to do a lining for the bag, which wasn't in the book, so I got out a piece of greaseproof paper, copied the pattern for the bag and made it slightly smaller at the top so I could hem it in, ohhhh listen at me :)

Part way finished and looking good, not a wobbly hem anywhere to be seen, this sewing machine is a dream! there are so many little markings on it to follow that it is really easy to sew a straight line and even round corners, which I had to do when making the handle.

Here it is all finished, and please please take note of the button holes!!! yes it was a challenge to set up the buttonhole foot on the machine but I did it.
 I cannot tell you how proud of myself I am at making this devine little bag. I has been photographed and I have stood in front of the mirror holding it and swinging it about and I love it!!!!!

I took it to the school when I collected my little boy and straight away someone said how nice it was and where had I bought it from!!!!! They actually didn't believe me when I said I had made it myself.

I have purchased a couple of books from Amazon and the Free and Easy Stitch Style is going to be one of my next projects. I just love the work of Poppy Treffry and I have already got a new darning foot and some linen to try my hand at a little freestyle machine embroidery. I am hoping that it is as fun as Kirstie Allsopp described it to be in her TV program 'Kirsties Homemade Homes' she said it was the cocaine of the crafting world! well we shall see.

One of the other things I have on the go, along with my scarf is a little embroidery that I saw and loved on Etsy. It is designed by a lady called Charlotte Lyons and I really delight at looking at her work it is such fun, if you fancy taking a look here is the link 

Other things this week to mention are the weather, what has happened it feels like we have up sticks and moved country!

The flowers have all started to blossom in the baskets

It is so hot and still that even my flag has stopped having a little flap around, my that blue sky is so good to see

everything in the garden is starting to look beautiful. I just love this little gate to my front courtyard!

and of course a summers hot day wouldn't be the same without a cold pint in the pub!

and ice creams with the children :)

My cake of the week this week is an almond and apricot cake which is full of calories but stays moist and stays fresh for a good time.

250g of butter
300g golden caster sugar
a few drops of almond essence
3 large eggs
50g ground almonds
200g self raising flour
a handful of flaked almonds
1/4tsp of salt

Set your oven to 180c/160c for a fan oven
line a 20x30 tin

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and allow to cool for 5 minutes, add the sugar and eggs along with the almond essence into the saucepan and beat until smooth with a wooden spoon.
Stir in the flour, ground almonds and salt and then tip it all into the prepared tin, give it a smooth over and then arrange on top the apricots. I used 6 fresh apricots which I cut into quarters but I am sure that tinned ones would be just as good. In fact if you substituted the almond essence for vanilla it would be good with any fruit on the top.
Sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for 1 hour 10 mins but cover with a piece of foil after 40 minutes to stop it burning. Test with a skewer, the middle should be slightly squiggly but this firms up when it is cold. Leave in the tin for a few minutes to cool slightly and then cut up into squares.
This is a lovely cake to have just with coffee or as a desert.

On a final note, take a look at these little tea towels I got from Aldi, they are made from a thick cotton duck and I have plans to make myself a new shopping bag, so watch this space.

Have a lovely week and enjoy the fine weather

Claire xx

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