Monday, 30 January 2012

Anyone for tea?

I saw these fantastic biscuits here and just had to recreate them as a little thank you present for Kylie who I am going to stay with tomorrow. *excited!* 

 Now nothing ever goes straight forward for me, and these are not exactly like the original but I like them anyway.  I went to two, yes two, supermarkets and they were both out of plain flour!  How odd!  I got wholemeal instead which is why they are darker in colour and this actually makes them taste like chocolate digestives!  Win!
I made little tags with cups of tea and hearts.  (The boyfriend thought I was mad!)  I think they make the tea bags though.  I used this recipe though substituted wholemeal flour.
I did use more chocolate too but I think I can be forgiven for that :p

Sunday, 29 January 2012

I Heart Dorothy Halter Neck

Hope she doesn't mind me modelling it!
This top was hanging around for a while unfinished and is for my very good friend Kylie who I am going to stay with this week!  Yay!  I? will be giving it to her then, so I am hoping she won't read this post before then and spoil the surprise!  I used this New Look 6900 pattern:
...which I have used before and is fab!  I lengthened the top a little as I found it a bit short when I have made it up before but it is simple and easy to go together and I recommend it.  It is also my first Sew Weekly post for the Buttons Challenge as I used a little button to decorate the front...
....and buttons to make an adjustable back.  This was for two reasons, the first I thoguht it would be cute to be able to change the ways you could wear it, halter, cross back and straight straps and two, I couldn't get my friend to try it on so this way it should fit her.
Cross over back (my favourite)

Slightly lumpy buttonholes!

The lovely Kylie loves the Wizard of Oz so I have had this Dorothy inspired idea in my head for a while.  She is a size smaller than me so that is why it looks wrinkled on me wearing it, it should fit her fine fingers crossed! 
I did plan on doing some embroidery where the heart button is but I couldn't decide what I wanted and as I haven't done any before I was worried I would mess it up, then I remembered ?I had a few of these buttons left over and it added that extra something.  I have also got her this pretty necklace she can wear with it from the same etsy store I got my other goodies from.  I hope she likes it all!
Ruby Red Slippers from EvelynMaeCreations
And because I couldn't resist messing around:

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Resolved to Sew 2012

There is a fab giveaway going on over at Very Berry Handmade with 11 amazing prizes!  All you have to do to enter is blog about your sewing resolutions, as I haven't done this yet, I thought it would be a great time to do so.
My newest purchase, I didn't know this pattern existed!  Anyone remember the Wuzzles?

(1)  Sew more and procrastinate less. 
I have an awful habit of picking a pattern, fabric, notions and saving until I can buy them, thinking about my new dress for weeks, then the stuff gets here and suddenly I find something I HAVE to watch on tv, a blog I HAVE to read or a cake I MUST bake and it gets forgotten even though I was so pumped up about this before.  I am not sure why I put off the actual sewing as I love it, maybe it is because once I start something I like to sit and see it through rather than stop then come back to it.

(2)  Complete my 12 in 12 challenge
I didn't quite complete it last month, I skipped one month, but I am trying to sew one garment each month to improve my sewing skills and create a home made wardrobe.

(3)  Take part in The Sew Weekly Challenge
I am not going to do every week but I sew more when it is to a deadline and I love some of the themes that they come up with for people to sew along with.

(4)  Learn a new sewing technique(s)
My main aim with sewing different patterns is to learn new tips, tricks and techniques.  I like to try something different with every project and would like to try pattern drafting, french seams, sewing sheer fabric, hand embroidery etc

(5)  Start a monthly book review section on my blog
I always have a book on the go and I love to read maybe more than I love sewing (eeep can't believe I just said that!) and was thinking about doing some book review posts.  I'm not sure whether to just make them part of my current blog or if I should start another that would deal with them but I tend to read 4 or 5 books a month and people I know often ask me what they should read next.  Plus I like to keep a record of what I have read just for my own pleasure.

So thats it!  Not too specific as I don't think I would keep resolutions that are too difficult or time consuming.  Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Charity Shop Bed Sheets

 This week I popped into a couple of charity shops in town ans I found a couple of double duvets which I think have great potential for dress/skirts/tops.  The first is mainly white with little green flowers and it has a band around the bottom with green, orange and yellow tones.  I think the border could be the bottom of a skirt or waistband on a dress.  

The second is a tea coloured paisley print also with a border.  If anyone has any pattern suggestions for these then I would love to know what you would make.  The duvets were the grand sums of £3.99 each and I think I can get a fair amount of usable fabric out of both of them.  I am hoping these will become Sew Weekly creations but I am not sure what yet.  I won't be making something every week but I though this was a great way to keep my costs down.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Cake Pops!

Cake pops for tea?
I have wanted to try cake pops for a while now and I decided to  take the plunge and try them out.  I got the sticks for 99p for 50 on ebay which I thought was a bargain, plus I can easily wash and re-use them as they are pretty tough plastic.  I did look at a fair few tutorials and recipes online but in the end I just sort of winged it.

I bought a cheapo chocolate cake mix for under a pound that you just added eggs and water to for the the main cake as I didn't really want to spend lots on ingredients as this was a dry run for a Guide activity and I want to make them cheap and easy.  Plus I would be sad about blending up a perfectly good cake.  So after baking the cake mix I whizzed it in the food processor then made a batch of buttercream icing and mixed it all in.  Then I spent some time making very uneven balls and then using a little bit of chocolate to secure the sticks in the cake balls then I refridgerated.
One cake mix made around 40 pops
I wasn't sure how many I would make out of one batch but I had 39 so that would be plenty for my guide group when I do it with them.  I did leave them overnight as I didn't have much time so I was doing a little bit each day and they did go pretty solid.  This turned out to be a good thing though as it set the chocolate really quickly being cold and it stopped the crumbs falling off.  I won't have long to set them when I make them with guides so I am just hoping that they will be set enough.
Lollipop, no, cake pop!
I used chocolate to coat them as my local supermarket only had 2 types of candy melts and they were quite expensive.  The chocolate wasn't as smooth as I would like, I expect melts are a lot smoother as they contain more oils but they are fine for a trial.  I found citrus sprinkles which I thought would be great with the chocolate and you can taste them but they are still subtle. 
I ran out of milk chocolate just over half way through so had to use white for the rest.  The white didn't cover the chocolate sponge as well, you can still see it through the chocolate, and sugar butterflies.  The white actually tastes really good with the sponge though.  Maybe 2 layers would work best but I didn't have time for that.  I worked out that if you used 100g of chocolate per 10 pops I would have plenty.  Especially as the girls are quite likely to pile it on and make a mess everywhere!  I have tested them out on my boyfriend and co-workers and they went down really well, they are very rich and the icing keeps the cake very moist.  I am definatley going to make more!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

First Etsy Purchases

ooo shiny!
I have browsed Etsy for a long time but this Christmas was the first time I have bought anything.  I bought from the US and the delivery was slowed up with Christmas and bank holidays, but that didn't matter as I wasn't seeing the recipients until after Christmas anyway.  I bought this faux opal ring for myself as there was no way I could afford a real one and I thought, hey I was paying for shipping I might as well do a bulk order, no?  Ok so it doesn't take much to make me buy things.  Also this was my attempt at a tape manicure, I should have waited and done the gold lines with tape too but I free handed it so they are wobbly!

Itty Bitty Owls picture by EvelynMaeCreations
I also bought these really tiny earrings for my friend who is a Brownie leader called Fluffy Owl.  She loved them luckily!  I also bought a necklace but I haven't seen my other friend to give that to her yet, though it may feature in another post soon.......

I am really happy with my purchases from EvelynMaeCreations and would buy from her again.  They have so many different charms it really is hard to choose!  Everything came in little boxes and bags too and I even got a lolly!  My first Etsy purchase was a success!

*All products purchased with my own money, I have no links to EvelynMaeCreations except as a customer*

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Wedding Party Dress - Prep

I am going to a wedding reception at the beginning of February of two of my university friends and I thought I should make myself a dress.  After my Christmas dress success it is nice to make another more formal outfit and I used my Christmas money to slightly nicer fabric than I would be able to afford normally. 

I bought this great pattern after seeing it on the Make This Look section of Sew Weekly.
 I am planning on making the sleeveless dress from teal taffeta I got from Abakhan with a contrasting coloured bow. 

I have also just joined The Sew Weekly as a contributor which I am really excited about!  This year they have opened it up to people who want to contribute but not make something every week.  Personally I would find this very difficult, both on the time I have to make something and the amount of money fabric and notions would cost.  I have already set myself the one garment a month target and I am hoping Sew Weekly will help me to reach this as working to a deadline is such a help to me.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Burda Style January 2012

After the fabulous December issue this January one is a little disappointing.  There were a lot less things I liked in it, the first section of the New Look dresses just looks a bit shapeless and not flattering to me but maybe I am just not in fashion and prefer the vintage new look heehee!
Bustier 124, Pants 127
However the next section is the yearly underwear chapter.  Hooray!  I love this bit.  I'm not sure why but the underwear and PJ issues are among my favourites. 
Bolero 157
Such a sweet little ruffle bolero!  I am not sure about leaving the serged edges raw but I do really like it and you could make one in every colour to match every outfit!
Jacket 106
I really love this jacket!  It looks so cosy and warm and the ruffles are really pretty.  It says it is made from mohair fleece, and the picture is quite a loose weave fabric.  I had a look online but mohair fleece doesn't bring up a lot of results.  The main thing that came up was mohair fur for making teddy bears.  If anyone could point me in the right direction for this type of fabric I would be grateful.  I expect it will be expensive too!
Blouse 116 C
I have a bit of a thing about star print so it is hardly surprising that I like this.  The sheer fabric is really pretty too and a wrap top is always flattering.
Blouse 116 B, Skirt 105
This is a great combination, it looks like a dress but is actually a skirt and the blouse from above but in black.  I really like the idea of layering the sheer black over the black satin skirt, I might have to try that, I have been looking for a more dressy skirt to go with going out tops.
Top 112, Skirt 115
I cannot help my love the romantic fantasy style of the Fashion Poetry section even if the patterns themselves are not very inspiring, the settings, photography and hairstyles really are.  This floaty top and skirt look great on the back of a horse, not sure they would in real life but I love them here.
Jacket 107
Here is that jacket again in a cream fabric and longer length.  Argh I want it!  I fear the fabric will cost an arm and a leg but I need it in my life.  Again, any help finding this would be appreciated. 

There were quite a few things I didn't like in this issue but for giggles I had to share one of the dressing up ideas.  Most are pretty standard but imagine if you tried to dress your kid in this!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Burda Style December 2011

 I don't think I am exaggerating in saying that I think this is my favourite issue of Burda Style this year.  It even beats the June issue which was my favourite for vintage style dresses so far but December is bursting with gorgeousness. 
Dress 107
The first magazine section is called Time to Shine and this pastel pink dress is on the first page and I really love it.  The pin tucked bodice detail and the fluttery sleeves are really pretty and I actually love the colour even though it is not something I would choose on my own.  
Dress 102
There is a lot of clashing red and pink in this section but it actually works really well on this dress which is a simple tunic style but made luxurious with the fabrics used.  It works really well in crepe satin here but it could also be made in a cotton print for spring too.  
Coat 104
An extremely impractical white coat but it is just so chic.  If you only wore it for special occasions then it would keep its icy whiteness.  I totally love the humongous pockets on it too. 
Blouse 106 A
The blouse version of the first pastel dress with a contrasting waist band and puffy voluminous sleeves is really gorgeous in crepe de chine.  I fancy making this in a peach chiffon fabric as I have wanted a blouse in that colour for a while now after seeing them in the shops.  I do not like how they have paired it with the long skirt here though, it would work with a pencil skirt but the weird mid shin length just looks off.  
Skirt 155
I skipped the faux fur section, just not me, but I actually like this DIY idea for a skirt with a pearl belt and the satin strip bandeaux dress.  These are not fully made from a pattern but usually an alteration you can make to a shop bought item.
Dress 154
Cute for Christmas parties no?  Love the little bit of lace at the hemline.
Dress 123
That heading simply sums up this dress in my opinion.  This has to be Burda Styles version of Keira Knightly's green Atonement dress and I adore it.  If I had a reason to wear a full length ballgown this would be the one I would choose.
Similar to this stunning Atonement creation
Dress 120
There is also this stunning green creation with sleeves that would work for a winter party and a stunning cross over tie in the centre that really adds something to the dress as well as giving it a really flattering fit on the bust.  
Dress 129
I am also swooning over this minty green number.  I am a great fan of tulle at the moment and it looks great twisted up to make an interesting strap on this one.  I also love how the little train puddles on the floor behind her, it doesn't show this in the illustration but on the model it is fab.  Again I wouldn't normally pick this colour but I think it looks gorgeous.  
Skirt 124
This skirt from Like Tintin & Snowy looks suspiciously like the red woolen one from last months issue, but I love the pleats anyway though I am not sure I will be making one in leather like the picture.

Dress 132 B
I couldn't really find anything I didn't like that much in this magazine but I do think this plus dress would do very little for a lady of a fuller figure.  I don't understand why magazines repeatedly suggest drapy sack-like outfits for someone who is over a size 12 as they tend to just not be flattering at all.  I say empire line all the way to hide my tummy heehee!  Anyway, I loved this issue and I woudl recommend getting it if you like party dresses and glamour. 

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Christmas Presents

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and new year!  I had a really good Christmas with my boyfriends parents and got to see my family briefly too.

I wanted to share my crafty and sewing presents but I didn't actually get that much this year.  I did however get money which I have spent on my next projects.  My sister got me a book I had wanted for a while called Twisted Stitches which is an alternative cross stitch book filled with funky patterns of skulls, zombies and evil santas. 
The book is available on Amazon which is I think where mine is from.  Phil Davison is also involved with Urban Threads so if you like their stuff you will know what to expect from this book.  I was actually lucky enough to help with some of the sample sewing for this book, but as I didn't meet the deadline I didn't think my piece would be used.  Imagine how surprised I was when I opened the book to find it had been!
Burlesque Zombie Portrait

With some creative photography they managed to use it which makes me really happy.  I put A LOT of hours in to this over a three week period I worked on it non-stop whilst I was not working and for a whole week when I was on holiday.  I have to say that the housework and pretty much everything else but I am really glad it did get to appear in the book.  I really underestimated the time it takes to complete a cross stitch of this scale.  I have done larger ones before but never measured the time it took me to complete.  For that I apologise to Phil but I also want to congratulate him on his amazing book.

Work in Progress
A few days before sending it off to be photographed
My name in print!
The two sugar skulls in the book are going to be my first project from this book as my sister has requested them (the main reason for her buying me the book I suspect! :p)  They look really fun to stitch up too as I love anything with bright colours.