Saturday, 24 December 2016

More T-Shirts Simplicity 2291 from Old Adults T-Shirts

I had a little (OK big) clear out of my wardrobe in an attempt to create some storage space for my new makeshift sewing space - but more on that later.  For some unknown reason most of my T-Shirts featured tiny little holes on the bottom front edge.

Hubby's theory is they were catching on my belt.  I've changed my belt and they still appear.  I reckon it's cheap T-Shirts.  So anyways most of them went in the bin, or at least put in a pile to bin but I couldn't bear to waste that much fabric.  At the time I was running short of jersey cotton for baby clothes and here was a pile of it headed for the bin.  So it get sent to the rag bag instead.

I had a root through it one day and cut out a big pile of baby T-Shirts.  I made them up in a couple of batches according to the thread colour I was using.  I got pretty speedy by the end.  I'm pretty darn chuffed with my efforts.

This one was made from a vest top which really didn't have enough fabric in it.  So it got a contrasting neckline.  I think it's actually one of my favourites.  Next time I do a batch of T-Shirts I think I'll include more in mixed colours like this.

Here's the pattern I've used, Simplicity 2291.  I used the vest pattern but cut off the bottom part of the pattern and hemmed it instead to make a T-Shirt even though I don't actually own a T-Shirt pattern.  I have also omitted one of the shoulder fasteners and shortened the neckband to compensate for this.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Recycled Bath Mat Made into a Cushion

I'm a very lucky girl in that I inherited a HUGE fabric stash from my mother and grandmother.  I very rarely have to buy fabric but I've recently come to the realisation that this fabric stash is finite.  

I've recently moved my sewing studio from a very generously sized loft conversion to erm, well, a corner of the master bedroom :(  I have a few IKEA Expedit units to cram all of my fabric into and I need to reduce the bulk so that it will actually fit into the space I have.  

Considering this has made me realise that one day my fabric stash will be reduced . . . panic has set in and I am currently going through a phase of hanging onto to every scrap of fabric for dear life!!  

Logically I realise I don't have room to store it all so I'm endeavouring to put them to use around the house.  Effectively storing that fabric for the future without it taking up space in my fabric stash.  

This is my protest against getting rid of the old bath mat.  There's nothing wrong with it but the mat I had at the office is nicer so that's the one we're keeping.  

I also had a n old pillow which is now surplus to requirements.  It has occurred to me that pillows are filled with stuffing, just the same as I'll eventually need to buy to stuff the army of teddies and rag dolls I hope will be demanded of me.

Putting my old rocking chair in the nursery was my solution to avoid getting rid of it.  Because of course I'd need a nursing chair (lol - no I did not, with hind sight the very concept of sitting in the nursery alone for hours on end is ridiculous, the living room sofa serves far better).

Little Miss is currently enjoying being read to sleep which I love.  But this rocking chair, whilst great for sitting and knitting is not the most comfortable for curling up with a baby and a book.  So a lovely big chunky cushion was in order.

The old bath mat was the right colour and I quite like the texture.

I didn't even cut it, just sewed the two ends together to make a loop then flattened it out and sewed one side closed.  I sewed a little way into the centre of the other side both top and bottom and turned it right side out.  Shoved a pillow in and done.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Thai Fish & Coconut Curry Recipe

Another recipe from I Love My Slow Cooker by Beverly LeBlanc.  This is definitely my current "go to" recipe book, there's a wide variety and the recipes are clear and straightforward - no waffling!

This is the first time I've done fish in the slow cooker, it's added right at the end of the cooking time so that's it's nicely cooked through and not overdone which I was worried it may be.

I happened to have some homemade fish stock that's been languishing in the freezer forever.  The recipe suggests using chicken stock which I'll have to do in future but this seemed a good time to put that fish stock to use.

I also used frozen fish which with hindsight was a mistake. Because the fish is added at the last minute (in slow cooker terms) is made the previously perfect consistency sauce really watery.  Too watery, it leaves that unsightly puddle of liquid at the bottom of the dish.

Here's all the veggies chopped and ready to fry.

Next all the spices.

 And the coconut milk brought to the boil.

Then it's into the slow cooker and that evening it's served with rice.

You can actually see the puddle already forming under the rice.  The sauce itself was absolutely delish and I'll definitely make that again, just not with frozen fish.

It'd probably be fine with fresh fish although to be fair the sauce has quite a strong flavour which to me would overpower the delicate flavour of the fish making it pretty pointless using it.

I almost feel like this recipe has been include in order to "prove" that you can use fish in a slow cooker.

I'll be doing a repeat of this one with chicken added at the beginning of the cooking time so it has chance to soak up all those scrummy flavours in the sauce.  .

Monday, 12 December 2016

Christmas Wreaths

I love the look of natural Christmas decorations, lots of evergreens accented with bits of ribbon and pine cones.  And best of all they're cheap as chips to make!

First of all I must apologise for the terrible photos, I did this in an evening with really poor lighting.  

A trip to my Dad's house for starters to borrow his clippers and nab a few bags of his evergreens.  A trip to the garden centre for florists wire and some mistletoe.

After getting everything together I started on the outside wrapping a little florists wire round a sprig of conifer.  I kept adding more and more comfier working my way around the inner ring.  

Then for the outer ring, just the same working round wrapping the sprigs of conifer.

Then time for the holly.  I've actually wrapped the wire right around both the inner and outer rings. You can't see it at all.   

And here's my finished wreath done and dusted in an evening.  I think next year I'll get more conifer, this took about half a carrier bag full.  And I'll invest in some stout gloves, my hands are still scratched from the holly!


Sunday, 11 December 2016

Advent Calendar Stuffing

I want some serious wife points for this idea!!  It's a great idea for a young child's advent calendar which of course serves really well for my child of a husband.

I have this old card re-usable advent calendar from my childhood.  My mum used to stuff it with all sorts of little gifts for me, hankies, hair slides, bobbles, underwear, miniature stationery, costume jewellery as well as the usual sweets.

We've ended up with three of these, two from my childhood - this one has seen better days so my parents replaced it but I couldn't part with the original.  I bought our Little Miss a wooden one last year.  So that's one for me, one for him and one for the little one.

I racked my brains of what to put in hubbys and I think I came up with a genius idea.

He's got his usual sweets of course.  He's fond of Haribo and these mini bags are great.

I got him a small lego kit and opened it up.  I put all the pieces in the order they are added to the model and packed them into the calendar in that order, with the instructions on the last day!

He gets the little lego figure on the first day to give him a clue of what the vehicle is.  Then the pieces slowly build up.  It's kept him out of mischief every breakfast time!!

I can't wait to do this with Little Miss when she's old enough for real Lego instead of Duplo.  I think I'll give her the instructions first, just to start with,

I love the fact that they end up with a decent toy they'll appreciate instead of a big pile of little insignificant things that take ages to think up.

You could also do this with a little jigsaw puzzle or what about a craft kit.  Imagine a cross stitch pattern on the first day with fabric on the second and each day a new skein of cotton.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

New Goodies from Minerva Crafts!!

I might have been shopping . . .

Little Miss is on her last size of baby clothes so it's time for some new patterns in toddler sizes.  Minerva Crafts are doing a half price sale on Burda patterns at the moment so how could I resist.

Here's my little haul that's just arrived today.

I'm a thrifty thing so even at 50% off I still spent about 2 days (worth of free time) choosing my patterns.

I love, love, love dressing my little one in denim dungarees and jeans.  She looks so adorably cute!  Although I do think it has more to do with the fact that I wear denim an awful lot myself, it's hard wearing, hides the dirt and it's comfy.  So I picked out this dungarees pattern which includes a cute little dress too.  I'm picturing these in denim, corduroy or lightweight cotton quilting fabrics for summer.

I did consider getting this one instead because it also includes a pair of jeans, but I'd fallen in love with that cute little pinafore style dress.  In the end I opted to get both, as they're both the same brand there probably won't be much difference between the two dungarees patterns but I've told myself it's worth it for the pinafore dress as well as the jeans and the hooded jacket and sweater won't go amiss.  I've a little fleece kicking round and a huge pile of old jeans.  

Speaking of which I've discovered that it's only possible to get a baby pair of jeans from an old adults pair if the pattern is in four main pieces (front and back for each leg) as a pose to two (one for each leg).  Thanks tot he image of the back of the pattern pack I could see this one is a four piece - perfect!  

Now onto tops and I was torn again.  I've a big pile of old worn out baby grows (my little one is teeny tiny so she wears clothes long enough to actually wear them out - how's that for born thrifty!?!).  Most of them them feature some very fetching food stains so aren't fit for the charity shop, but the backs are fine for the most part.  I'm hoping there's enough fabric in them to make some new t-shirts,  Seen as they'll be made from several different babygrows it seems to me that a raglan style T-shirt will make the best use of my stash.  Plus I love a raglan.  So how could I not get this raglan T-short pattern.  A pair of joggers too, happy days.  But no long sleeved version.  I'm sure I could make a sleeve pattern using the hoodie pattern that's included.  

But then I saw this . . . I love how adorably cute this style of T-shirt is, a short sleeved shirt over a long sleeve.  I'm not actually sure how it's done.  The pattern also suggest making the shirt in different colours of fabric so this should also be a good style for stash busting that pile of baby grows.  So again I bought both - they're half price right so i might as well . . . . 

This is a terrible trend . . . I did the same thing with a dress pattern.  A nice, simple casual dress.  Something I can make in a heavy fabric for winter or a lighter cotton for summer.  This one comes with a part of pants too which will come in handy.  I'm happy with just jeans and joggers but a light pair of cotton pants will be a nice addition for summer.

But how could I resist this one too!!??  I think peter pan collars look so adorable!!  And every little girl needs a party dress.  It's ridiculously frivolous because my mother in law buys my daughter an endless supply of pretty party dresses which for the most part languish in her wardrobe unworn.  To me they seem cumbersome on a pre-walker and I want my daughter to have fun exploring the world without me worrying about her ruining a nice outfit.  But it's so cute!!  Wow, I actually spent money on something that's impractical and unnecessary purely because I think it's cute, what is the world coming to?

This was the one pattern I bought in just one version of what I was looking for.  I did consider buying both a babygrow style pyjama pattern and these more grown up pyjamas.  I think it was probably the fact that my favourites of both were Kwik Sew patterns which are on sale but they are also much more expensive than the Burda patterns.  By much more expensive I do mean and extra £1.60!!  But still it was enough to force me to choose between them.  So I went with the more grown up style of pyjamas.  I'm not a fan of shorts and short sleeves for sleep wear on myself but little 'un takes after her dad in this respect and would be happy sleeping in a freezer so the summer version will probably get more use.

So there we go, what I'm hoping will be a complete toddler wardrobe to take us from 12 months size through to about 4 years.  Given my little 'un is currently 16 months and just grown into 9-12 month clothes these patterns should do her until she's halfway through primary school!

I'll be having a closer look at each pattern after I've finished making the last of the baby clothes we need.

I'm going to try and resist buying any more patterns until she can choose her own . . . I do not expect to be successful in this . . . not one bit . . .

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Baby Joggers Simplicity 1564 from an Old Pair of Yoga Pants

My old velour jogging suits had seen better days.  Saggy and worn with straggly bits on the leg cuffs where I've neglected to turn them up.  But it's a lovely stretch fabric so I cut up the bottoms and made a new pair of jogging pants for Little Miss.

Here's the pattern I used from Simplicity 1564:

I always feel the need to top stitch the cuffs when using this pattern.  I really need to remember that it really doesn't improve the look of the pants.

This pair is made up in the large size so it'll be a little while before I can add a picture of them being worn.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Slow Cooker Italian Pork Stew with Summer Herbs

I fancied something nice and easy this week, hearty and flavoursome for these chilly evenings.  I flicked through hubby's copy of I Love My Slow Cooker and came across this one.

Here's my ingredients gathered together.  I appear to be completely out of dried mint, I'm not sure how that happened.  So I'm going to butcher my rather pathetic little mint plant.  The fact that my mint plant is struggling should be telling me something about my lack of gardening skills, but no doubt I'll continue to persevere with it.

As always I'm skipping the salt to keep this baby and high blood pressure suffering hubby friendly.  I'm using half a bag of carrots and half a bag of onions as I have plans for the other halves.

No browning of the meat with this recipe - lovely jubbly.

Lots of veggies to chop and fry though.

I added an extra couple of tins of tomatoes because they're cheap and tasty.

A good mix and this is good to sit there for the day.

And here's the finished article served with mustard mash.

The pork was deliciously tender.  It made a pleasant meal which was nice and simple to make.  I'll definitely make it again but I don't think it'll become one of our regular meals.  

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Noel Light Up Letters from Papermania

A quick little Christmas project for today.  I have a couple of these Papermania Craft Your Own Light Up Letters sets so i thought I'd make one up as a Christmas present for some family I'll be seeing shortly.

I started by coating the front of the letters with Martha Stewart Multi Surface.

Then each letter was stuck to the back of a sheet of patterned paper, Papermania First Noel.

Cut round each letter with sharp scissors.

Rub round all the edges and corners with a bone folder or something similar.

Pierce the paper over each LED light and round the edges with the end of a paint brush or something similar.

Ink the edges of each letter with a gold ink pad.

Paint the exposed kraft edges with white acrylic paint.

And Voila, the finished article.  

It only took me about an hour to complete and it looked very posh when popped back in it's box ready for wrapping.