Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Summer is here!

I lost so much weight last year and sewed so many lovely clothes then put most of the weight back on. So, as a result when the heat started again I had no summer clothes that fitted. Which meant shock and horror I had to start sewing again! I know, such a hard life right? 

I came across this cotton fabric in a small fabric in Felixstowe in May. It's not my usual style but something about it called out to me and I came home with 2 meters of it and memories of a lovely weekend. As I was pondering on summer wear I thought back to the Gretta top on and decided this would be perfect. These are PDF patterns so I sat down with a pair of scissors and sticky tape and had 80's tunes playing as I put it together one day.  The next I got on with cutting fabric and the actual sewing. This is a sideways picture, don't you love those summer colours?

Another view. I use wonderclips to hold my fabric in half straight when I am lining up my fabric on a cutting surface. 

When I sew I tend to listen to audio books. I am currently listening to the new book in the St Marys Chronicles so I know exactly how long it took to sew up.  This pattern is really easy.  It has facings, but no fastenings apart from the tie up strap details.  Making this a quick sew at 2 hours and 29 minutes according to how long I listened to the audio book app. I didn't rush as the weather made everything to hot. I look so bleached out and tired in this picture but I was a lot happier than I look honest.

Here is a closer view of the tied shoulders. They do as promised tie up and untie to your preference. The length comes down at bottom of the hip at the side with a curved hem at front and back which covers all the bulky areas.  Easy to shorten or lengthen though. 

This fabric has really changed my view o me wearing brighter colours and prints. So has opened my view on what fabric is suitable for me.

If you haven't heard of Seamwork before it is well worth a look into if you like PDF patterns. Seamwork patterns are through the pattern company Colette and costs $6 ( American) for 2 credits once a month.  You can use one credit for any one pattern on the seamwork site or 3 credits for a Colette pattern I think it is. If you do decide to subscribe I have a referral link just below if you would be so kind.  

But for now I am going to try and cool down a little and plain an alien dance costume for my granddaughter that she wants to feature a sparkly purple tutu. Nice fun project to dive into.
Take care

Monday, 13 March 2017

Balsamic beef in an Instant pot

Now and again I will come back to this recipe and tweak it to cook in a different way or tweak the flavours.  Over the years I have cooked it in slow cookers, In the oven and even on the stove top. I have never had anyone eat this and not say good things about it.  Definite family favourite.  All starts with a humble piece of beef brisket.  I stabbed it a few times and inserted lots of cloves of garlic into the beef. Seasoned it well and seared it off in the Instant pot.  Any pressure cooker could be used, or even start it in a pot then cook on low for 8 hours in a slow cooker.

Remove the beef and start to cook a few big onions and a bulb of garlic peeled. Keep stirring and when they start to go brown at the edges pour in 2-4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.  It will sizzle lots and will lift off the brown bits on the bottom of the pot if you keep stirring.  When the vinegar has almost evaporated add in a cup or so of beef stock, how much depends on how much gravy you want.

Put the beef back in and set the pot up to pressure cook for 45 minutes. This piece wasn't quite tender enough on one side after that time so I turned it over and gave it another 15 minutes while I cooked the vegetables. 

Came out so lovely, tender and juicy.  The onions , garlic and stock left in the pot were just blitzed with a hand blender and they create a fantastic gravy.  The amount of onions and garlic are what naturally thicken it.

So it may look very rustic and not to appetising but this is one o my favourite meals of all time.
What's yours?

Take care

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Sticky stuff and me

Popped into our local fabric shop one day last week for bias binding and saw these kits in the window and in the shop.  Something I have been thinking about doing for a while has been covering or recovering lampshades. These kits seemed a fun idea. Everything you need to complete a lampshade once you add your fabric. With a new sewing/craft desk I decided to also replace the football themed lampshade in that room to.

What's in the box? you might wonder, been a theme for the week here that question, Looks pretty basic and instructions are easy to follow. But then I realised there was a great long sheet of sticky backed PVC to be stuck onto the fabric.

This is the fabric I chose. It was this or pale pink with kitty faces on it. But I was eventually drawn to the butterflies.

And back to the sticky stuff.  Sorry for lack of working photos.  It was after 10 pm at night and had no one else to help take a photo or two. Sticky stuff and I don't tend to play together well.  I have a condition referred to as kack handedness according to adults when I was a child,  So when I realised I had to evenly stick a LONG piece of sticky backed PVC lining onto my fabric I almost tossed the box out the window after getting myself, fabric and cat almost permanently welded to this stuff.  Luckily a deep breath was just needed and told myself to pull myself together.  After all what did I expect after reading the box.

Then came the fun of covering the metal rings with double sided tape, more icky stickiness, these went a lot more smoothly luckily.  Then I got to evenly roll the sticky rings onto the prepared PVC backed fabric evenly.  The instructions say another person would be helpful here.  My view is it's the kind of joint activity that could end in divorce if the coordination together didn't go well. However I managed it on my own,  If I can do it I think most people can.

This bit of cardboard amused me, it's not exactly sturdy and I did wonder if it was a random offcut.  Turns out it was a great tool that saved me having to utilise my nails to much. the curved edges are used to help smooth and push the fabric around and under the sticky covered rings.  Took a few minutes to work out the most effective way of doing this but it went well, well kind of.

By this point it's almost 11 pm, In between the stages of making this I have sung to music I got distracted by and chatted and did a few bits online.  Was a lovely project to make. I am proud of my creation and will definitely be shopping to see if i can get some more PVC backing for light shades and renovate a few in our home.   

So for now I need to decide what else I can get up to, Possibilities are endless. 

Take care 
Jules x 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

How to upset your youngest granddaughter

This is my eldest granddaughter Ever, you can tell from the beautiful smile! She is modelling the collared cloak I made with the help from her younger sister Ruby and her Mum Leanne yesterday.

Here is the view from the back. 

Younger granddaughter looks scared doesn't she? Beautiful but scared.

And here you would of thought we had been torturing her.

Story behind these photos starts off a long time ago in the fabric shop.  I found this lovely soft fabric in 2 colours.  They have like a rose swirl design on them.  I was so taken with it I dragged my daughter in to ask what she thought and maybe if something could be made for the girls with it? The girls are in need of dressing up bits so we decided this colour would make a brilliant princess cape for over the princess dresses they have.  At this point Ruby is in love with the fabric, so soft and fluffy.

Fast forward to yesterday, text from Leanne and can we do something together? We decided on a making day. So dragged out the fabric and a pattern and had a lovely time cutting out the pattern pieces, Ruby helped all the way including with the pinning and ribbon choice etc.  Lots of 'I do it's' and 'I help' Absolute delight in the whole process,  And believe me she helped a lot. She was enchanted watching the sewing machine sew. And after a few hours we had this beautiful satin lined cloak.

Then She refused point blank to wear it for a photo for me her Nana. OK fair enough, it went home with her and Leanne said she would try after shower time. Then I think it became all to much for her and there was no way this was going to happen willingly.  Poor child looks like she is being tortured into wearing something she really hates lol. So in the end the beautiful Ever stepped in and modelled it perfectly for Mum so I could have some photos to share.

So that folks is how to upset your granddaughter, simply get her to help make something she really loves and ask her to wear it.

So onto more less dramatic items I think 

Take care