Saturday, 27 April 2013

Going Underground

It was Sam's birthday last weekend and as we are planning on moving soon he said he just wanted things for the house.  He has a bit of a weakness for cushions (yay!) and the London underground so when I found this fabric it was like a match made in heaven.  Unfortunately it is now out of print so I scoured the web to fnd somewhere that might still stock it.  I came upon Creative Quilting which still had stock and ordered a metre.  I then had a very nice e-mail from the company to say that unluckily it had sold out over the bank holiday weekend and they would have to refund me.  Sad times.  However they would send me the end of the bolt they had left FOR FREE!  Talk about good customer service!  I then did a quick ebay search and found someone selling a similarly sized bolt end for £4, snapped it up and with a bit of creative thinking I had enough fabric to make a lovely pair of cushions!
I see the Jubbly, Bakerpoo and Pickawilly line!  (Yes I am a child!)
I actually think I have ended up with a more interesting cushion than if I had just made a solid fabric one.  The red and blue boarders reminds me of the underground sign itself and I made the backs in one of each.  The red was actually left over from my new girl dress (which I have finished but haven't blogged yet, actually I am wearing it as I type!) and the blue is from my anchors away circle skirt.  Nothing like a bit of reusing off cuts!
King's Cross!

In actual fact these ended up being the cheapest cushions ever by happy accident!  I might add a button to the back as the cushion pads were slightly large for the finished cushion but I love making these envelope style backs, so easy and effective.  Sam really liked them and I think they will go with pretty much whatever colour scheme we choose in the new house!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Cooking up a new resolution

I have a confession.  I can't stop buying cook books.  I love them.  The shelf in my kitchen is currently so full that they keep falling off as I now have 22 books sitting on it!  Perhaps this isn't a bad thing if I actually used them but 60% have never been used and out of the remaining 40% I have only made one thing.  This strikes me as a waste so instead of buying more books, my resolution is to actually use the ones I have.  So here is my resolution me-made-may style!

"I, Sarah of Sorbet Surprise gets sew crafty, swear to use at least one recipe from a cookbook I already own once a week from 15th April to 15th May."

I know this is back dated by a week but I have already started this resolution I have just been unable to detail it due to working a 9 day straight!  (Which involved moving over 92 shelves, yes I counted them!)  Also we may be moving house soon and we don't own are own cooker so I will just go for a months resolution this time.  If it works well though, I may extend it.  So here is a little catch up of what I have made.

Week One - 15th - 21st

Tuna Enchiladas from 'Hamlyn 200 Low Fat Dishes'
I bought this cookbook in an effort to eat healthier as I have been finding that recently I have been living on 'freezer surprise' as we like to call it e.g. frozen chips, nuggets, fishfingers, all those things Jamie Oliver tells you not to eat.

I have a tendency not to stick to the recipe or to substitute things so I have written where I made changes.  Also I do not stick to portion sizes.  I am pretty bad and I know that myself and Sam eat much bigger portions than we are supposed to so I have written what the recipe suggests and how much we actually ate!  Haha!  I wasn't sure about sharing recipes from books online, when I searched it said so long as the original book was credited and it wasn't a direct copy it should be ok.  I am going with that as I don't really think this would stop someone buying the book, in fact if I saw a recipe from a book on a blog I liked, I expect that book would end up on my shelf too!

Recipe - Serves 4 (I made 5 enchiladas which served 2 in reality)
2 tomatoes, chopped (I used 4 vine tomatoes which are smaller)
1 red onion, chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
8 chapattis (I used tortillas and only used 5)
300g tinned tuna
150g low fat cheddar (I used regular, it tastes better!)
Salt and Pepper
Fresh coriander (I didn't have any)
(I added 1 sweet red pepper )

Chop up the tomato, onion (and red pepper) and mix with the lime juice and season.  Spoon the mixture down the centre of each wrap, top with tuna and cheese.  Roll each wrap and place it in a dish (I only had room for 5 in my dish so I made 5 quite fat wraps.)  Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and salsa.  Cook for 15mins at 200*C and garnish with coriander.

Victoria Sandwich from "Merry Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes"
I love this book, it is pretty much my staple for baking as you can't go wrong with Mary Berry and I have 3 books by her.  I have been using her recipes since I was making cupcakes as a child as my Mum always swore by her too.  I am very happy she is getting so much more recognition after the Bake Off.

I made this cake for Sam's birthday as I didn't have much time and I know it is always a winner.  I have used the recipe before so although it is not new to me, it did make me get the book out again.

225g butter
225g caster suger
4 large eggs
225g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
(I added 1tsp of orange essence but should have made it 2 as you couldn't really taste it)

Preheat the oven to 180/160*C, grease and line 2 20cm loose-based sandwich tins.  (I just used 1 square tin as I didn't want to make a layer cake as Sam is not too keen on butter icing.  I know, crazy right?)  Cream the butter and sugar together, then add all the other ingredients to the bowl until mixed.  Plop into the tins and make the top smooth with a spatula.  Bake for 25mins until risen (It took me about 35 to have it cook through but I was using a single tin)  Leave to cool in the tin and then use the loose bottom to pop it out.

Once it was cool I juiced 1 lemon and added icing sugar and food colouring to it and decoratively splashed it about over the top.  This is quite a strong lemon tasting icing but Sam loves lemon so I made it that way on purpose.

There we go, week one down and 2 recipes done!  Yay!  If you would like to join in, please feel free, just link back to me and start your month of recipes from today's date.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Red New Girl Dress - Finished!

I finished my dress!  I actually completed it in time to wear it to the meal the day before the wedding I went to at Easter.  I didn't have enough time to make a dress for the wedding itself as I had intended but at least I got this one done.  Once I had put the skirt in I realised the weight of it meant the bodice fit was off.  Luckily I remedied this by pinching out a wedge of fabric at the neck to shoulder seam which pulled all the darts back into position as if by magic!  This did reduce the size of the neckhole though (which I didn't think about at the time) so it is a little snug to get on and off.  

 I am really happy with how it turned out.  I decided to make the capped sleeves in the end and now I am glad I did as I think they balance out the skirt portion.  The skirt itself is a half circle skirt that I drafted using a really useful tutorial on the Snug Bug Blog and she even has a handy dandy circle calculator!  I have lined the skirt too as I thought it would give it a bit of body and I really love the result.  I do need to take the lining hem up a little as it does occasionally peek out but that is no big deal.
Back view
 I had real trouble getting the side zip in this one.  The fabric and lining meant it was so thick that my zipper foot kept slipping off the guideline of the zip and stitching through the teeth.  Not good.  In the end I hand sewed the zip and it turned out much better than when I do them by machine!  I think this might be my new way forward.  I hate zips but love hand sewing so maybe I can combine the two.
You can't really see the bodice sections in these photos, but they do show up better in real life.  I had to adjust the brightness as it has rained ALL DAY today and I couldn't wait any longer to take pictures.  The actually dress I made is quite different than the New Girl one but I think my version is more wearable and the bright red has really cheered me up on such a miserable day.  I can see myself making this pattern up again, I really think it would look great with a contrasting colour fabric in the bodice side sections and with a pencil skirt.  Oh the possibilities!

Spring Catch Up

 March Snow! Nr Durham
Long time no post!  Sorry guys, it has been a while!  Real life has just gotten a little crazy so I thought I had better do a little catch up post for the last 2 months.  Firstly we went to stay with the fianc├ęs sister and now husband near Durham in the run up to their wedding at Easter weekend.  We didn't have any snow in South Wales so turning up to snow like this at the end of March was just a little bit of a shock!

We had a lovely few days making confetti cones, a hat box, running wedding related errands and sledging.  
Sledging fun

Toby, the best sledge Retriever ever!
After a few days staying at their house we checked into the gorgeous wedding venue and hotel at Matfen Hall.  I would completely recommend it as a venue though it is definitely out of my wedding price range, it was a lovely place to stay and Sam and I had the whole weekend there which was really lovely.
Kat & Colin
The ceremony was lovely and everyone had a fantastic time at the wedding.   It has definitely sparked a relapse of wedding fever in me, heehee!
Stunning dress
  The flowers were gorgeous, I loved the colour scheme and they were all put together in situ the day before by a member of Colin's family.  The food was lovely with a to-die-for chocolate pudding that we managed to order in the bar the next day too!  Staying with Katherine and Colin before the wedding really helped me get to know them better and I know they will have a very happy marriage as they compliment each other perfectly.

The week before the wedding we had been viewing houses and had settled on one really liked.  We took the weeks holiday to decide properly then had another viewing with my parents who came to stay for a few days and put in an offer.  Our first was rejected but our second got accepted!  Hooray!  How grown up do I feel buying a house?  Crazy.
Back of the house from garden
So now we are waiting for the boring bits of mortgage and searches to go through, so have everything crossed for us!