Monday, 30 January 2012

sunrise ~ sunset 30 January

Today's figures are:

dawn to dusk = 9 hours and 52 minutes (25 minutes more than last week)

sunrise to sunset = 8 hours and 28 minutes (27 minutes more than last week)

Friday, 27 January 2012

sticky gingerbread

I made this on New Year's Day and forgot to blog about it. Needless to say it's long gone. I need to make more because the photos make me want to make it - and eat it - all over again. :o)

sticky gingerbread

12 oz plain flour
2 level tsp ground ginger
2 level tsp ground cinnamon
8 oz butter
8 oz soft brown sugar
4 oz syrup
4 oz treacle
½ pint warm milk (1 min in m/wave)
2 level tsp bicarb of soda
2 eggs - beaten

Heat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/GM3.

1. Grease and line a deep baking tray (eg a roasting tin) measuring approx 8" x 11". Hold the paper to the edges of the tray with mini bulldog clips. (I learnt that from watching Martha Stewart on the telly over the Christmas period. It's a genius idea which works really well. The paper no longer falls into the cake mix!)
2. Sieve flour and spices into a large bowl.
3. Melt the sugar, syrup, butter and treacle in a large saucepan.
4. Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
5. Mix the warm milk with the bicarb and stir into the flour mixture.
6. Stir in the eggs.
As you can see the mixture is very wet. It's meant to be!

7. Pour into the baking tray.

8. Bake for 1 hour until a skewer pushed into the gingerbread comes out clean.

9. Cool. Cut into either big squares or slices.

Eat spread with butter or sprinkled with caster sugar.

It allegedly improves with keeping but mine never gets a chance to improve as it's always eaten really quickly.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

a few finishes to report

I realised that I hadn't shown a few things that I've made recently so this post should bring me up to speed on those things.

First, here's the lil twister mini quilt which I finally finished the binding of the other day.

Next, a couple of pincushions I made for Joanna. One side:

The other side:

Next I got out the various pieces of ribbon which Joanna had given me for Christmas or I had bought and made new watchstraps with them.

Then I was playing around making a dresden plate pattern and this is how the wee bits looked as I was ironing them. They look like mini ties! :oD

Next I put them together into the plate pattern:

Next I put the plate on a piece of denim and made it into a bag.

Inside the bag are a couple of pockets - one for my iPhone and one for the obligatory carrier bag so I can help save the planet. I also covered a piece of hard cardboard with the lining fabric to make the bottom of the bag more rigid. It's in the bag in this photo but not the next photo which is why the turquoise stripes don't look the same in the two pics!

And, I added a wee hanger where I hang my keys. Saves a lot of scrabbling about searching in the bottom of the bag for them.

Needless to say, that photo has the usual stray thread in it that I never see when I take the photos! :oD

And lastly, here's a wee dumpling bag which I made today - free pattern and tutorial here.

I'd made one of these before and was disappointed at how flimsy it was even with the fabric interfaced so, in this one, I used wadding instead of interfacing and it's turned out much better. Here's the inside:

And the ribbons I threaded through the zip end to make it easier to pull.

Okay, that's me up to date again - I think!

Happy Burns Night to all my fellow Scots out there! :o)

Monday, 23 January 2012

sunrise ~ sunset 23 January

Today's figures are:

dawn to dusk = 9 hours and 27 minutes (20 minutes more than last week)

sunrise to sunset = 8 hours and 1 minute (24 minutes more than last week)

Friday, 20 January 2012

gold runner

After a week of not getting much done because of my infernal cough - which is, thankfully, getting better - I managed to get the binding sewn on this new gold runner.

And here it is in situ - on top of the dresser in the dining room. I might be a wee bit biased here, but I have to say I *LOVE* it! :o)

This was all made from scraps out of those plastic drawers I showed in the last post and the backing - not shown - is a piece of 1/8" check yellow gingham which I know I brought down from Inverness when we moved back here in 2000.

See, my Grandad always used to say "if you keep a thing for 7 years you'll always find a use for it.". Well, apparently, it works if you keep something for 12 years as well! :oD

Thursday, 19 January 2012

nosey parker post

Today I'm linking up with Kat's "nosey parker" post here. I apologise before we go any further for the number of photos I'm about to post. But, on the other hand, you can be grateful that I cut it down from the original 47 I took! Woops! :oD

Okay, let's get on with it.

1. How long have you been sewing? Are you a first generation sewer or was the knowledge handed down to you? Basically tell us about your journey...

I've been sewing for as long as I can remember - and at 56 years old, that's a l-o-n-g time. My mum sewed and I remember my Granny had an old treadle sewing machine in one of her bedrooms so she must have sewn as well.

I remember the sewing classes at primary school and I know that, somewhere, I still have the workbag I made way back then. I didn't get to do "domestic science" at High School because I did Latin and, apparently, if you were clever enough to do Latin, you didn't need to learn to sew/cook etc etc. Stupid idea, in my humble opinion!

I got my first sewing machine for my 21st birthday and it and all the subsequent machines I've had have been well used for sewing of all kinds.

2. Where do you sew?

I have a sewing room which is actually the 3rd bedroom of our house. It's smaller than I'd like to have but at least I don't have to tidy everything away at the end of a sewing session these days. BTDT

3. What does your sewing room/area look like today in its real state. Take a picture of it if possible and show it to us real :)

This is how it looked yesterday - and it's no tidier today!

This is me taking the photo from the sewing room door.

There are 2 huge noticeboards on the wall on the right covered in ideas and inspirations from magazines or the internet. In between the 2 boards, are my rulers. Straight ahead is the desk I use as a sewing table which holds my sewing machine and overlocker.

Next, inside the desk there are sewing threads:

Threads for the overlocker:

And the various bits and bobs that are needed for sewing - feet, bobbins etc:

Tucked around the back of the desk are rolls of paper for pattern making, rolls of sticky felt, pelmet stiffener and pieces of cardboard for the bottoms of bags.

Next to that is a plastic box full of more rulers - they're more mathematical rulers rather than patchwork rulers but they get used fairly often. On top of the ruler box are my knitting needles, my Maths set (did you know I used to be a Maths teacher?) and a notebook full of plans/ideas.

Round a wee bit and you can see my Go! cutter - love that thing!! - and a bag of stuffing thrown there after making a couple of pincushions yesterday.

Behind the Go! and the stuffing are crates where I keep my felt, fur fabric, velvet pieces, interfacing, wadding, jeans to make bags with, muslin pieces and a WIP crate where I have some pinnies cut out and ready to sew.

Up on high shelves above the crates I've got shelves holding my buttons. And books. Lots of books. In fact, the shelves stretch the length of the room and, apart from the buttons, they're full of fiction books.

Here's my work table - remarkably clear when I took the photo! Above it is another huge noticeboard covered in inspiring things.

Below the table are boxes full of my sewing patterns. They only have the inners of the patterns - the pieces and the instructions sheets. The outsides are kept in folders which you'll see in a minute.

Around the corner are the shelves where my fabric is kept. On top of them are plastic drawers holding beads and earring findings and the like.

The patchwork fabric needs to be tidied but I always seem to want the piece on the bottom which, when I pull it out, topples the rest of the pile. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!! :oD

The dressmaking and furnishing fabric piles are even worse! Woops! :oD

Then, between the table and the shelves, I have a couple of crates. One has plain coloured fabrics and the other has general odd bits of anything.

These are my plastic drawers full of scraps of fabric - all sorted by colour. I keep using the scraps but the drawers never seem to get any emptier.

The lower drawers hold more scraps, ribbons and bits for making bags - handles, magnetic clasps and such.

Here's my chest of drawer unit inside of which are zips, lace, gadgets, fancy threads, 505 glue and all manner of other things. I did take photos of every drawer but those were some of the 25 photos I cut from this post. Be glad! LOL

On top are the folders containing the outsides of the dress-making patterns. They're all sorted into categories so I can easily find a skirt pattern or trouser pattern or whatever I'm looking for. Then I go to the boxes under the table and dig out the inners and I'm good to sew.

This is a box containing all my Go! cutter dies. Santa was *very* good to me! :o)

And, lastly, this is not my sewing room but I use the iron every time I sew and Diana the dummy every time I dress-make so they deserve a mention. They live in the spare room.

4. What is the first thing that you made which you were really proud of? Show us pics of your favourite project.

I don't have photos of the first thing I made - and can't really remember what that was - but I still have the teddy bear that I made for my Brownie toymaker badge. Isn't he great? :o)

The only thing my mum helped me with was getting the needle through at the joints of the arms and the legs. Everything else I did myself.

5. Do you always stick to the "rules" when you sew, or are you more improvisationally minded?

You know, one of the things that *really* bugs me is when I read "you MUST use cotton fabrics" or "you MUST use cotton threads" when doing patchwork/quilting. What rot! Patchwork was a way to use up pieces of cloth that were left from old clothes or leftover from other crafts like dress-making. In other words, you used what you had. I use Gütermann polyester threads in my patchwork because that's what I have. I've used polycottons and polyester fabrics in quilts alongside cottons and, if the colours work, I'll continue to do it. There's no such thing as "the patchwork police" so using what you have or what you like is absolutely okay and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. :oP

So, no, I don't stick by the "rules". Get me, I am a rebel! :oD

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

upper respiratory tract infection

I was at the doctor's surgery yesterday to see if I could find out how to cure this infernal cough. The nurse listened to my chest and pronounced my lungs "perfectly clear" so no chest infection or bronchitis in there. Yay!!

What she said I had was an "upper respiratory tract infection" and that the only "cure" for it was time. No antibiotics or pills to pop, no cough medicines to glug or any other way of speeding up the process. I would just have to wait until the cough was ready to let go its hold on me. Great!

Anyway, I feel a bit better today, thankfully, but I do still cough and splutter at the most inopportune moments - good thing we have the rewind facility on the telly! :oD

Okay, enough of that. I was looking through some of the albums in my Photobucket account and found the photos of our holiday in Paris in August 2008. There's a full post with tons of photos here but, if you can't be bothered looking at that, here's what has to be my favouritest photo of the whole trip. I like to call it "size matters"! tee hee

Monday, 16 January 2012

sunrise ~ sunset 16 January

Today's figures are:

dawn to dusk = 9 hours and 7 minutes (16 minutes more than last week)

sunrise to sunset = 7 hours and 37 minutes (18 minutes more than last week)

Just as an aside - I've not been around much because I'm suffering from the most annoying cough. I'm off to the doc today to see if I can get something to help. My ribs hurt so much because of all the exercise they're getting!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

new pinnies

I made myself some new pinnies today - well, I started them yesterday but finished them off today. (No idea why the first 2 photos are fuzzy and the third one isn't! I might have to start wearing my spex to take photos so I can tell as soon as I've taken them that they need to be taken again!!)

In case anyone's interested, the pattern is the one I wrote here.

Monday, 9 January 2012

sunrise ~ sunset 9 January

Today's figures are:

dawn to dusk = 8 hours and 51 minutes (11 minutes more than last week)

sunrise to sunset = 7 hours and 19 minutes (13 minutes more than last week)

I know it's light by 5pm by the time we get to Douglas's birthday (6 Feb) but I must admit I was surprised to see how much the length of the day had stretched in just a week. I'm fascinated to see if it stays at this rate or if it stretches even more. Time will tell! ;o)

Sunday, 8 January 2012

teeny, tiny coin purses

I don't know what it's like where you live but, around here, we need a £1 coin to use a supermarket trolley. Or, if it fits, a trolley coin which is basically the size and shape of a £1 coin but you can't spend it. (We get the coins back when we put the trolleys back so it doesn't actually cost us £1 to use the trolley!)

Up to now, I've been carrying my £1 coin and a trolley coin in a (free) plastic coin holder but last week it started dropping the £1 coin out - not good. I decided I wanted to have something that would hold the 2 coins safely but would be small enough to hang on my keyring.

I used the tutorial for the ear bud holder from here. I made my circles 3" instead of the bigger size needed for ear buds and here's what my teeny tiny purses look like.

I made one for myself and then, when it worked, one for Jo as, most Sundays she has to ask me for a £1 coin as she never seems to have one. Now she won't have to ask as she can attach her teeny, tiny purse to her keyring too! Very cool! :o)