Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Fun with Tartan

Happy New Year!!!!!

I made this red tartan circle skirt for a festival that I went to in the summer. I haven't had had many chances to wear it since the festival but I think Hogmanay in Edinburgh is definitely an occasion for tartan :-) This is a really simple circle skirt made after reading several posts. I have only made one so far but will definitely be making more. 

See for more Bakes n' Makes in the New Year!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Truffle Heaven

I feel like I have just entered a world of chocolatey joy. I didn't realise the potential in all this truffle making madness. I have been surfing around on Pinterest and have found loads of wonderful recipes. 

Here are some of my favorites and where I found inspiration for my attempt -  
My baking addiction Chocolate Truffles
Chambord Truffles
Snowball Truffles
Rum Chocolate Truffles
Raspberry Chocolate Truffles
Cardamom and Orange Truffles

My truffles were based mainly on the snowball recipe as it was the one that had fewest ingredients and seamed really easy. I did however add a little Ginger Wine to the chocolate/cream mix and a little ground ginger to the coco powder coating.

Apart from being incredibly messy to shape in your hands and the fact that they are so intensely chocolatey, they were really simple to make and I will definitely try them again.


Dr Who sew along dress

Monday, 16 December 2013

Christmas Decorating

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

After a couple of very stressful weeks (months) I finally managed to have a reasonably chilled out weekend. Putting the office Christmas party to one side (I don't feel much need to relive that) it all started on Saturday afternoon when the girls from the office, my man and I were volunteering to distribute/sell Christmas trees for the Bethany Trust. Here is a little intro from their website - 

"Buying a Caring Christmas Tree is simple but has a huge impact. When you buy your Caring Christmas Tree, you become part of a growing movement of people who refuse to accept the status quo. Every Caring Christmas Tree has the potential to create a happier today and a brighter tomorrow for the most vulnerable in our communities.
Our premium Nordman firs are freshly cut just for you. We source Scottish trees from local and sustainable growers. You can find out more about our trees under ‘About the trees’ . We are really proud of our trees and we are sure that you will be too. But remember, it’s not just about the trees themselves. The real difference with Caring Christmas Trees is that every tree purchased changes a life for the better."
The afternoon was so much fun (despite the hangover). People streamed in all day to collect the trees that they had ordered online. We got to help people choose their tree depending on their width requirements i.e. thin, fat, totally obese. I have always enjoyed choosing the family tree and this was the first time I have ever had the chance to help other people choose. Having said that there were a couple of the dads and husbands who a clearly bee forced along and just wanted any old tree to they could get out of there as quickly as possible (they were some of the funniest people too). After the tree was chosen we run it through the netting machine and then off it went to its new home. I'm definitely signing up to volunteer next year!
For helping out and an online donation, we got to choose our own tree from the ones left over. I quickly snapped up this beauty, doesn't it look brilliant even with the wonky snowflake! Plus it smells great :-)

I also got a chance earlier in the week to make my wreath. I have been planning this guy for ages. A couple of months ago I was having a walk round Edinburgh Botanic Gardens when I noticed that the cones had already come off the trees. Fortunately, my ever prepared man had a plastic bag with him and I was able to pick up loads. A few weeks after that I went for a day trip with my parents, grand parents and auntie P to Luss where they all helped me pick another half shopping bag full. 

As you can see from the photo I only actually used about 12 of the 60 or so pine cones I actually picked up. I ended up finding some lovely white trimmed holly which I love and I didn't want to cover it all up with cones. I did however really want to put some cinnamon sticks on it but yikes they are really expensive.  

The only things I bought were the rattan wreath, florists wire and dried oranges which were in a 3 for 2 at Hobbycraft. I also got the door hook for 99p at pound stretchers and the gold wire rim ribbon £2 for a roll at Tiger. 

All in all I'm very happy with it and a bit impressed considering I have never made one before. 

I finished my weekend with a big hot choc with marshmallows and cream whilst doing a little bit of last minute Christmas sewing next to my new tree. 

PS. I'm not in Chicago, I bought this mug to celebrate finally being on my way home after I got stuck on Central America thanks to hurricane Issac a couple of years ago.I never actually made it out of the airport.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Secret Cross Stitch

Just a little photo of me working on an ongoing project. I took the opportunity on a visit back to my parents house a couple of weeks ago to make use of my mums crafting lamp. Wow what a difference that thing makes. I was working cream thread on a just off cream linen and frankly it was a damn nightmare. However the lamp made a huge difference and I was soon stitching the night away.

This is just a small cross-stitch which I am making to celebrate something big that will hopefully be happening at the end of next month. If all goes well it will be finished by the start of December and I will be able to take a couple of photos of it on the wall.
Fingers crossed :-)

Doctor Who Sew Along

Doctor Who Sew Along on Fanbloomingtastic.com

Firstly the weaping angels freak me out!! This button has some serous nightmare potential. 
Anyway I love the idea behind this sewalong from Tempest of Fanbloomingtastic. I have lots of ideas for this one but I will just have to see if I have enough time to squeeze in some fun Dr Who sewing. Until next time... :-)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

My First Make

After fixing a strap on a handbag I brought back from holiday, the first thing that I made with my sewing machine was this cover for it. Typical for me I decided that I didn't I didn't just want a dust cover I wanted something that was going to look pretty and not look like a small tent on my table.

My first port of call was of course Google. After a few minutes of searching I found this fantastic sewing machine cover tutorial video from Vanessa of TheCraftGemini on youtube (I have been watching her videos ever since and absolutely love them). The video is so easy to follow! A couple of weeks after getting my sewing machine for my birthday I went to one of my local fabric store and raided the scrap bin until I found this cream and gold colored fully lined curtain  I think it must have been an ex-display item. Realising that it was going to be really boring just being cream I bought another cottons that were on sale.

Never wanting to make things easy for myself I decided to make a strip of little patchwork squares to go over the front and back of the cover. Little did I know how trick it is to get all the squares to line up when they have been roughly cut with a pair of scissors. Some of them don't quite meet the way I would like them to but I think that as the first thing that I ever made it can be forgiven and I am really pleased with the look. Only now do I know that what I was making was the early sages of a quilt. If only I had know, I would probably have quilted it properly and used some nice batting to add a bit of padding and protecting to my machine rather than the two layers of heavy interfacing that I ended up using. Never the less, Vanessa's video is really easy to follow and covers everything you need to know to make our own cover. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Red Dress

I originally made this dress for a Gala dinner at work. I really wanted something that was different to what the rest of the girls were wearing and as it was for work I wanted a dress that wasn't too tight and showed an unacceptable amount of leg or boob. This dress definitely did the trick and I spent the evening feeling confident and proud of my latest make. There was a professional photographer on the evening who was taking photos of the tables but unfortunately the photos have not been released and I just can't keep waiting for them.

Fortunately, I had a great excuse to get dressed up again at the weekend as Vintage Nation was on at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh.

The dress is New Look 6184. As I wasn't too sure about fitting my top half I decided to not break the bank and used some fairly inexpensive polyester fabric that I bought for about £2.99 a meter during a sale. On the whole I stay away from 100% poly as I find it a bit sweaty and uncomfortable. However I think I have been quite lucky with this one and with it being a sleeveless dress I don't over heat in it. 

I thought this pattern was pretty easy and straight forward to follow. I started by making a muslin/toile from some of the material I picked up from my car boot sale trip to East Fortune. After debating over the fit for an evening or two I decided that it was as good as I could get it. From then it took just 2 or 3 evenings to complete. Seeing as I have only ever learnt to put in an invisible zip I decided that I would stick with what I know and put in an invisible zip. It went quite well but I think it could have been neater around the skirt bodice seam. I also added some lovely floral bias binding at the seams. When you wave your arms about you can see a little flash of it but on the whole I am the only person who knows it is there. 
My only problem with this dress is the material. Ahhhh... this stuff does not crease or take an iron well at all! I think I need to read Lauren of LLadybird's post on the importance of pressing again. I am also thinking that some sort of pressing cloth and some more research on ironing polyester might help. Otherwise I am staying well clear of this stuff! It is a lovely colour though :-)

On a side note check out my hair I love, love, love it!!! The lovely ladies from Miss DixieBell were at the event doing hair, make up and nails. I didn't bother with make up and nails as I am a cheapskate. I love having vintage hairstyles though, and I am totally useless at doing them myself so I don't mind splashing out on having my hair done. The photo on the right makes me giggle, the women sitting down look so amazed. It was so pretty, I was sad when I had to take it out to sleep :-( 

All in all I love this dress and had a fantastic day at Vintage Nation (someone even stopped me and asked for my photo!) More of these dresses to come, I think I will try the lower neckline next time.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Tiny Hats for Bonnie Babies

This is soon to be my first contribution to the Bonnie Babies charity. Bonnie Babies makes and sends tiny premature clothes, blankets and sadly burial outfits to U.K. special baby care units, also to parents who need support. They are a non-profit voluntary organisation, depending entirely on the hard work, kindness and dedication from members and friends without who's support their work would not be possible.

On their website they state that pull on hats are used and requested more than any other type of hat/bonnet, no ties or ribbon, just a pull on hat. Fortunately,  I managed to pick up one of their tiny hat patterns at my local John Lewis. John Lewis are a key promoter of the charity and have a supply of Bonnie Babies patterns and appropriate wool in their stores. Some of their patterns are also available on their website here. These patterns are available only for charity use and not for sale or reproduction.

These little hats are super quick to knit as they are so tiny. The pattern that I have has five different styles in it, so I will be knitting one more hat and then sending these tiny gift away so they can help some new parents needing some assistance. 


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Maybe Next Year Scarf

From start to finish  this scarf has taken forever! Frankly I don't have a good excuse for it taking so long. I started knitting it some time around the start of this year and finished it on Thursday a good 8 or 9 months later. Considering the first leaf and the main body of the scarflet were finished in 2 very lazy evenings this just makes things worse. Unfortunately, I through a bit of a strop at the pattern when I couldn't get the second leaf to decrease whilst keeping the moss stitch in tact. After several attempts and with the weather getting increasingly warmer I finally gave up and stuck it in my knitting drawer. 

Thankfully, after a rather chilly evening last week I came across it in the knitting drawer and with a new sense of determination took up my needles once more and completed it. It took all of an hour to rip it back and do the whole leaf again. I'm fairly certain that it is still not correct but it looks OK to me and at least now I have a wearable scarf.

Apart from my minor falling out with second leaf the pattern is really easy to follow. There is even a handy knit along video Anthropologie inspired scarflet by iKNITS on YouTube which is where I originally found the pattern. The pattern itself is on Ravelry and is free to download. The scarf has a very simple feature of a pocket style loop which you can pull the second leaf through to keep the scarf close around your neck. I also love the shorter style of this scarflet, it means that there is not miles of material to squeeze inside your coat and is also stylish enough to wear around the office without looking like a snow man.

The yarn that I used is Big Wool by Rowan and is a really warm 100% Merino wool. I think the shade is Linen but I don't have the tag on me just now to check. Looking at the selection of colors online I will have to make another couple of these, I particularly like Wild Berry, Lichen, Burnt Orange and Stag.

I hope everyone taking part in FESA is enjoying themselves, I am looking forward to seeing what everyone has made. Although my scarflet  was started a while ago I still think it definitely counts as craft yourself cozy. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

FESA -Bubbles Top

This is my first contribution to the Fall Essentials Sew Along (FESA). This is one of the items I listed in my FESA plan under the Chic Chemises category. This is the second item I have made from Lisette 1879. Earlier this year I made a pair of shorts using view C. They turned out to be a bit of a disaster. As they were one of the first things that I had ever made I had not yet worked out that there is such a difference between ready made sizing and pattern sizing. In the end the shorts were way so small and I had to add extra material to make them wearable. I'm glad to say that this time I had learnt my lesson so I knew which size to cut. The only problem that I had was that the pattern I own only goes to the size below the one I need. As the top is a fairly loose fit I decided that I would be fine to just cut the pattern larger using the smaller sizes as a guide.

Thankfully this pattern actually fits first time. I loved the way this sewed together. When I make something I like to try it on to check the fit, style and progress at every single stage. However, as this has raglan sleeves there is just no point in trying it on until it is basically finished as you cant tell how it is going to sit until the sleeves are sewn in place. It sort of keeps you in suspense in a way.

Fit wise it is ok. I think it is perhaps a bit baggy for my personal style but I can work with that and maybe use a thin belt in a contrasting color. I do however think that the sleeves are really wide particularly at the shoulders. It might be something that I will get used to or I might try to alter them a little. Having said that it actually look fine in the photo so it might just be in my head.

I have started sewing these little labels into the garments that I make. They are just cut out of a bit of ribbon that I bought as a craft fair last year but I think they work sewn in like a little label. Ideally I would love to have some personalised labels like these from Wovenlabelsuk or perhaps I should just make my own like Lauren from Lladybird. Also, I am calling this my bubbles top because that is what the fabric print reminds me of.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Borders Scraps Store - Musselburgh

I have officially fallen in love with the Aladdin's cave that is Borders Scraps Store!! 
I had a couple of days off work at the end of August and per chance whilst walking past Lush on Princes Street I noticed a strangely wonderful amount of fabric and trims among the typical bath bombs and smelly soap cakes. Obviously further investigation was required and I hastily did an about turn on the street and headed in to the shop. There amongst a sea of tweed and shampoo I met a couple of lovely ladies how informed me all about this fantastic place called Borders Scraps Store in Musselburgh.

I mentioned a few thing that I picked up on my visit to the store in my Fall Essentials Sew Along plans post but I thought that my little collection of goodies deserved a post of its own.

So, going clockwise this is what I bought -
Peacock Blue light weight knit fabric
Khaki green lining
Red polyester with big blue and purple flowers
Blue (unidentified type)
Green 100% wool 
Grey spot/bubble cotton
Neospun jersey beige skirt kit
plus 4 random zips (10p each!)
All for a little over £15!

This is a strange fabric. I don’t have a clue what it is but it’s quite light weight and cosy and has a nice movement to it. Frankly, I bought it because of the price tag and for 75p I am sure I can make something lovely. Currently I am thinking of some sort of loose fit jumper such as DixieDIY's Cocoa Sweater (free pattern). 

One of my favourite finds was this Courtelle Neospun Jersey “make your own skirt” kit complete with thick jersey fabric, matching zip and a label with all of the washing instructions. It was the most expensive item that I bought from the store but it was still a bargain and is going to make a great skirt. I’m not entirely sure what I am going to do with it yet but I am thinking it will involve some pleats and perhaps some chocolate brown ribbon to break up all that beige.

The only downside of this store is that it is only open during the week and therefore is very difficult to get to unless they are having an open day or you take a holiday :-(. As it is a registered charity the store must be run by volunteers and understandably they can’t staff it all of the time. They also ask for you to sign up to an annual membership to the store. At £7 a year it is not a huge amount but, considering how difficult it is to get to the shop when you work full time it seems a bit of a shame you have to pay for an annual membership. From what I understand the shop opens anytime the community centre (which it is based in) has an open day or is involved in a car boot sale. Personally, I hope for more car boot sales and will be checking facebook for any change in opening times so I can enjoy this treasure trove some more.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Fall Essentials Sew Along

I was just in the middle of putting a to do list together when I came across the Fall (Autumn) Essentials Sew Along from Sarah of Rhinestones and Telephones. There has been a very noticeable change in the temperature in the past week or so and the need for a more cozy wardrobe is becoming apparent. Also, over the past few months I have found myself starting to hoard a lot of wool, fabric and notions. The other day I undertook somewhat of a stock check in order to work out what on earth I was going to do with it all. In the end I established that I have enough patterns and fabric to tick off almost all of the categories for the FESA. Now I know that I have the patterns and fabric to make all of these lovely things, I just need to find some more time in the day and buy some matching thread. 

Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather
My ever favorite Edinburgh Fabrics (EF) scraps bin was to blame for me collecting the fabric on the left here. This is a lovey 100% wool gray pinstripe with a pink stripe running through it. My aim is to turn this into a pink lined skirt for work using view D.
On the right is a green gaberdine that I picked up in the Borders Scraps Store (BSS) in Musselburgh , this place is like an Aladdin's cave of second hand haberdashery, well worth a visit. I am planning to make this in to the midi version of this 70's wrap skirt. I'm just struggling to make a decision on which buttons (all charity shop finds) to use. At the moment I am leaning towards the gold basket weave ones but I'll probably wait until the skirt is underway before deciding. 

                                   New Look 6035                                                                         Simplicity 6789

Chic Chemises for Cool Climates
A have a few potentials for the top half. The two in the right are cottons which I feel reasonably confident working with. The top is a light grey with random white dots from BSS and will be the loose square neck top from this pattern. The bottom is from a navy with little pink flowers from a fabric store in Glasgow and will be the peplum top in view B. I have also purchased a lace collar to replace the one in the pattern as I think it will look more me.
On the left had side are two knits. I have never worked with knit before and really don't know much about them. My plan of attack is to make the red spot (EF) t-shirt first as I don't have to deal with fitting any sleeves in that one. If that is a success I will move on to the more complex view D with the peacock (ESS) fabric. Wish me luck!  

New Look 6078                            Lisette 1879

 Simplicity 1916                        Simplicity 1699

Fabulous Frocks
This is an interesting category as despite having many wonderful dress patterns I don't have much fabric assigned to dresses. However, I did purchase a couple of meters of this lovely chocolate brown silky material with big pink abstract roses in a in a huge Mandors sale a while ago. Again, this is another unfamiliar and potentially quite slippery material. I do think it would look great as one of the shorter versions of this dress though and if I could have it finished in time for the office Christmas night out that would be even better.

Underneath It All
So basically everyone needs at least a few pairs of nice knickers. I think these would have me in fits of giggles if I could actually make them. Not sure about fabric but I'm sure I could pull something together.

amerson Amerson: Technical Details + Pattern

Tender Tootsies
My mum taught me to knit ages ago when I was maybe 10 or 12 however I never really took to it, I think I was was a bit to young and couldn't see the potential in it. Last year on a holiday to Skye my mum and I visited a fantastic wool shop called Shilasdair. I bought a kit to make a triangular shawl when we were there and in the evening my very patient mum taught me to knit again. This time is stuck and now I thoroughly enjoy knitting up cosy accessories. These slippers from Purl Bee have been on the to do list for a very long time. The i-cord around the edges scares me a little but I'm sure there will be more than a couple of tutorials and youtube vids out there than will teach me how to do it.


Those Cozy Nights
My boyfriend caught me looking at these lovely PJ bottoms the other day, after much hilarity I told him that I would make him a wonderful pair for December. So it would appears that this element of FESA may have turned into a his and hers. At the moment I don't have any plans for the his side of this but I am hoping it will involve some amount of reindeer or snowman novelty fabric. Myself on the other hand, I have some large blue gingham fabric that I discovered after planning to make one of Tilly's Picnic Blanket Skirts, I never made the skirt as sadly I just don't think I would wear it but, on the plus side I would definitely wear it as PJ bottoms. 

Baby It's Cold Outside
I would love to make an Anise from Colette but I just don't think I will have the time this side of new year. Plus it would also need some nice warm, quality probably wool fabric that I just don't have in my pile at the moment  and with quite a few upcoming financial commitments I don't see myself forking out for it.  

So in case of Anise failure I am thinking of knitting up my fourth version of iKNITS Kim K Beanie hat  I have made 2 for myself and 1 for my aunt previously and I just love the pattern. I have one in turquoise and one in mustard so now I am feeling a red, fuchsia or plum version in the pipeline.
I also have a load of purple and black fleece left over from some hat that I made for a ski trip at the start of the year. I'm hoping to have enough time to squeeze in a couple of fleecy neck tubes too. 

So, there you have it a huge list with not nearly enough time. I think I will be working my way through these project until summer next year but I'm sure I will have fun along the way. I am also sure that I will probably scrap a couple of items and add a few random things along the way but so what its just a list of ideas.

Wish me luck, and happy sewing to everyone else taking part in the sew-along.