Wednesday, 26 October 2011

I'm just watching Kirsty Allsop on Channel 4 and keep seeing things that make me think I must have a go at that, as if my list of things to do wasn't long enough!
I have been slightly impatiently waiting for a set of coaster blanks to arrive from eBay and have made a start on them.
I love them. I'm just trying to work out the best way to add some colour to them. The designs are from Urban Threads.
I have also done a new run of flower fairy bags, one of which has already been nabbed by Wilbsy. Mental note, if I want to sell things, I must keep them out of the way of small children. Can't say I blame her though, they're a scaled down version of a full sized bag I do and if I was a little girl who loved pink, I'd want one!
Its a hectic time. I now have three separate events booked for the end of November and I'm starting to panic that I won't have enough stock. A couple of weeks ago I was bemoaning the fact that I'd left it too late and all of the craft fairs were booked up. Be careful what you wish for...and if that wasn't enough, Mr B has a selection of grubby vintage saxophones in need of attention. Not only does it take ages to get the silvo out of your fingers, but the springs are sharp! I feel like a pin cushion. :-(

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

I'm Live!

Good Morning. And it is a beautiful day today, the sun is shining even though its a tad on the chilly side. I'm surprised by the number of people complaining about the cold. We've been spoilt this year by unseasonably warm weather, the girls were still in the paddling pool at the beginning of the month. But I can always remember freezing my toes and fingers off at fireworks events. And that's only two weeks away.

Well I wouldn't be British if I didn't have a comment to make about the weather every so often! So, yes..I'm live. My computer based activity (and occasional bad language) has been recently focused on building my on line shop, which actually has been surprisingly easy, not to mention free- and that's never a bad thing. so if you have a moment to spare, why not take a mosey on over?

I love productive business. So often the weeks disappear and I'm left scratching my head at the end of them wondering exactly what I have done with my time. My parents can testify to this, as so often our phone calls run along the lines of  - them- what have you done this week? me- ummmm?
But this week I have been productively busy, website aside. Doing this craft stuff has forced me into an early acceptance that Christmas (say it quietly) is on its way.
So first up, some seasonal bunting.
This is a doddle. I bought a charm pack of fabrics a while ago. August I think it was. Didn't look properly at it. Didn't expect it to be quite so Christmassy. To be fair, I only looked at the first few squares and they were just spots and stripes. The trees and gingerbread men were hidden well below, so I had to shelve the original plans. I dug it out again a couple of weeks ago and have been working on them a little bit at a time.

Firstly I cut the squares in half, then on the diagonal to make four triangles. I then mixed them up and sewed them together to make the flags, pressing the seams open so they lie flat. Then I pinned them right sides down onto a strip of calico and machined down the long sides.
Then cut them out, taking the point off the triangle too, turn the right way round and press.

Take some bias tape and iron it in half, then position your flags where you want them, pin in place and sew a running stitch along the open edge. That's it. Not quite sure why it took me so long to do them.

I haven't done a recipe for a while, so I thought I'd share with you my child friendly curry. Hubby and I love curries, but the girls are not quite so keen on the hot stuff and I imagine they're not alone. I like a bit of spice, but this recipe seems to satisfy the need for a curry without having to cook two separate meals to keep the girls happy too.

1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 inch piece of garlic
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp curry powder
1 400g tin of coconut milk
150ml chicken stock
3 chicken breasts
Handful of frozen peas
100g mushrooms.

Fry your diced onion and garlic for a few minutes until softened, then add the ginger, garam masala and curry powder. You can of course vary this to taste and at this point add some chilli powder or fresh chillies you don't have to cater for a delicate child palette. Fry for a further minute or two, then add in the coconut milk and stock. Bung in the chicken and mushrooms and simmer for 30 mins. Add in the peas and cook for a further five minutes. Serve with rice. And now I feel hungry.

Off to the supermarket, take care

Caroline xx

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Can a girl ever have too many purses?

Or is it just a question of size?
First I had a purse with a five inch frame:
which was great for change, perfect for Avon delivery days, but I had to keep my cards in a separate wallet and remove them every time I wanted to get to said change.
Then for some reason I went really small. Very cute purse to match the Manga bag, 75mm purse frame, useless for holding more than about £1.50 in loose change and yet again separate wallet for credit cards. Much purse swapping ensued..

So now I've gone to the other extreme. 8 inch purse frame (I like my purse frames!) and room inside to store not only my cards, with easy access to my money, but it takes my phone too! Wicked.

So here's how...

First thing to do is make your pattern. I've done this before but until I spend the time to  properly archive my blog, I appreciate that finding the tutorial be a little tricky. Purse frames come in a myriad of shapes and sizes so unless you manage to get your mitts on the same one this patterns won't be much help to you, but it'll give you the general idea as to how to go about making a pattern. I can't claim credit for this one. Once again its u-handbag that's led me down the right path, and it hasn't gone wrong yet. You want the laundry day purse if you're checking it out yourself.
Draw around the top of your purse frame from the bottom of one hinge to the other. Then draw another line following the first, plus 1/2 inch. That's your seam allowance. After that its kind of up to you what shape you want you to purse to take. I seem to always follow this route, mainly because I know it works. Well if it ain't broke..

Measurements are in inches but the way folks.
Next, do your cutting. two pieces of main fabric, two of interfacing, two for lining and I also cut two of the top half of the pattern from fleece as it bulks out what you're trying to cram into the purse frame and alleviates the need for paper string.
Stitch your outer fabric together along the three straight edges, then box the corners, cutting off any excess.

Now turn your attention to the lining and what you want it to do. I wanted one side to store my cards and the other to take my phone.
Card side first. I folded my material in half first then cut a shape the size of the bottom half (the opposite half to the fleece pieces), then I did the same with a slightly narrower piece:
Top stitch both pieces, then base the bigger piece to the lining. Then get your card and lay it on top. As it stands, the pocket is way too deep for cards, You'll just lose them. So stitch a line across to act as the bottom.
Then lay your other pocket over the top and baste this on too. All  that's left to do is machine vertically to make your card divisions. Mine are a tad tight. Give yourself a little room.

Now the other side. Measure your phone, front and sides, then add an inch (2 x 1/2" seam allowance).Cut two rectangles and sew them together right sides facing along the top edge. Flip over and iron. Then grab your elastic and sew a channel just wider than it is. Poke it through the channel (stick a safety pin through it and thread it through), then machine it in place at one side, before pulling it as tight as you want and machining in place on the other side. then zigzag stitch around the sides and bottom, fold under and sew in place on the other side of your lining:
All that's left to do with your lining pieces now is to sew them together along the three straight edges, leaving that couple of inch gap at the bottom for turning. Be a little generous with this. There's a lot to get through the hole.
Now to the assembly. You want your outer bag with the right side facing inwards, the lining with the pocketed side facing outwards then the fleecy bit pinned on top of the lining. Then just sew around the edge. Easy. Turn it the right way out and press.

All that's left to do now is to glue it into the purse frame..(I say all!)
Put plenty of fabric glue into your frame and leave it to go off for a few minutes. Then poke your purse into the frame. It is longer than the frame so you'll need to gather it. I just get a (clean) screwdriver and poke it into place. Take your time on this and be careful of getting the glue onto your fabric, doesn't matter so much about the frame as that'll just pick off later.

Now you just leave it overnight and come the morning you can put all of your stuff into your brand spanking new purse! Lovely.
I'm done with fighting ladies now....

Right, time to go off and immerse myself in lots of dirty flutes. But there's money in them dirty flutes.

Take care. xx

Saturday, 1 October 2011

So, mummy, I can't draw on the table..

But you can burn into your desk?
Hell, yes!

It would seem I have reverted back to my teenage years. Not only am I constantly turned into 96 Rock or Radio One, I have started making my mark on things I own. I was always the girl at school with the army utility bag covered with the names of bands I was into, the art folder covered in similar. Now my work bench is getting the same treatment. Perhaps its because once you have children you become less yourself and someones mum. I'm pretty sure that the ladies at Wilbsy's pre school have no idea what my name is, I'm just Willow's mum. I imagine that a lot of mothers out there know exactly where I'm coming from. So maybe this is a, albeit a very small, shout for my independence. The other day I went out in a skirt that I made, a top I'd customised, a bracelet I'd made and with one of my bags and I don't think I looked too horrendous! It felt good, I felt like me. That's important. It's a slight way down the list of important things in my life, but it matters all the same.

So, once I've got my backside in gear, I've got a tutorial to write up on a purse I made, because I decided that size does matter.
And maybe a bit of a book review on a quirky little number called Everything Alice. I've made a few of the ideas in the book now and I'll post the results.

I'll be back soon. Running out of things to burn on anyway!

Take care. xx