thoughtful thursday

 

If you are able to laugh at yourself, you will never cease to be amused.

 

Try it and see what happens 🙂

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all set for the big day

If you saw my last post you will know that I have been preparing for a family wedding taking place this weekend and I have been scurrying around trying to find a wedding outfit.

Apart from cleaning the oven, shopping for clothes ranks among my least favourite activities, so shopping for ‘dressy’ clothes is akin to sticking pins in my eyes. After much rummaging through clothes rails, I managed to get kitted out for the big day (yay!) …. except for a clutch bag. Rather than subject myself to any more retail therapy torture, I decided to make my own and I found a great little tutorial for the perfect little purse over at Elm Street Life.

It is surprising what you can do with a fabric bow and a wee bit of bling  😉

Clutch bag4

Clutch bag1

There is plenty of room for the essentials – make up, lipstick, phone, money.  Just need to get the confetti and I’m all set 🙂

clutch bag

We will be having people stay with us this weekend too and I have been doing a lot of pillow plumping and house cleaning in preparation for their arrival.  I took a break from all that today in order to make some gifts for my female guests. The girls are big Cath Kidston fans, so I got them each a set of Cath Kidston hand creams and I made them a wee tissue holder each as well.   I hope they like them.

Tissue holder4

Tissue holder3

Tissue holder2

Tissue holder1

I baked some of Aunt Annie’s fruitcake yesterday, as well as a whole bunch of lemon drizzle cake, so we will have plenty of yummy treats on hand. I love making lemon drizzle – it’s one of my favourite’s!  I use Mary Berry’s method to make it. It’s super easy; just put everything in the bowl together and mix – never fails, yum! Here’s a link to the recipe.

With all the preparations done, I just couldn’t help it ….. I had to try out the lemon drizzle to make sure it was gonna taste good, right?

… And. It. Does.

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Have a wonderful weekend folks ♥

wedding fever, a swap and a new pattern

The Very Berry Handmade Textile ATC swap has come to an end and, a little over a week ago, I posted my wee card off to my swap partner with a little note. 

ATC envelope

The recipient is an American lady, so my little offering has flown all the way across the pond to New York! I do hope she likes it.

In the meantime, I have received this delicate blossom tree from Kathie who blogs over at Dipity-do-dah.  Those sweet little blossoms are really, really tiny and are not embroidered on, but cut from fabric!! Wow! Thank you Kathie – I love it!

ATC received May 2013

You can see a lot more amazing designs over on the flickr group – such a diverse mix of ideas and interpretations!  It was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to the next Very Berry Handmade ATC swap later on in the year.

Alas, no sewing for me today I’m afraid.  Instead, I’m off out shopping for a wedding outfit – the wedding is next Saturday, so I’m cutting it fine, yikes!    (Note to self: don’t kid yourself that you will find wedding attire in John Lewis haberdashery department … resist going in there. … resist … 😉 ).

We will be having some house guests stay with us from my husband’s side of the family, so I can feel a bit of spring cleaning coming on and some cake baking too! It won’t all be cushion plumping and kettle polishing though – I will be making sure that I set aside a little sewing time before the wedding to do some hand quilting on my Mile-a-Minute scrappy quilt (which hasn’t been ‘mile-a-minute’ at all, by the way – but that’s a whole other story for another day :))

MAM quilt5

MAM quilt4

MAM quilt3

And finally, I am super excited (and a wee bit nervous?) to tell you that I will soon be launching a pattern shop from my facebook page.  It isn’t up and running yet and I am working hard behind the scenes to get my first pattern on there for sale as a PDF download.  I have lots of ideas for stitcheries, wall hangings, dolls and more!  Here is a sneaky peek at the first pattern that I hope will be available soon ….

When it rains detail

This will be one of a series of fun stitcheries featuring Harriet, a little girl who never ventures far without her Teddy.  Each stitchery will depict a day in Harriet’s life, or reveal a little bit about her character. I’ll reveal the message behind this little scene, once I’ve finished stitching it 🙂

Now, it’s time I hit the shops – that wedding outfit ain’t gonna buy itself!  Happy stitching folks!

a wonderful wednesday

Today has been dreamy.  I’ve been pottering in the garden and baking fruitcake.

The sun has made a rare appearance and I have even allowed myself to believe that summer might actually be here at last.

It’s funny, I’ve started calling Wednesdays ‘wonderful Wednesdays’ at work, because it’s my day off :).  And it has indeed been wonderful today – planting up tubs in the garden with the birds’ sweet song for company.

plants

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With the tubs planted up and watered in, I had time to bake a fruitcake to take along to my sewing group tonight and I wanted to share the method with you.   The recipe comes from my Great Aunt Annie who used to make these fruit loaves for all the family.  I remember visiting her as a child and we would always leave with one of her famous boiled fruit cakes wrapped up in a plastic bag.  Aunt Annie also made great potato farls and Irish soda bread!

cake3

This is such an easy recipe and not too heavy or stodgy.   It also freezes beautifully.

Ingredients

  • 4oz margarine
  • 2 cups dried mixed fruit
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
  • 1 tsp of ground, mixed spice (or to taste)
  • Handful of glace cherries (cut in half)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1-2 tbsp demerara sugar (for the topping)
  1. Place the margarine, sugar, fruit and water in a saucepan and heat until the margarine has melted.  Bring to the boil and boil for a few minutes.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool.  There is no need to cool the mixture completely, just enough, so that when you add the egg, it won’t scramble! About 20 minutes or so is usually sufficient.
  2. When cool, stir in the cherries followed by the beaten egg.
  3. Sprinkle over the baking soda. Mix it in until it all fizzes up and becomes a bit foamy.
  4. Sieve in the flour and ground mixed spice and stir well with a wooden spoon to combine.
  5. Pour into a well greased 2lb loaf tin (lined on the bottom with baking parchment) and sprinkle over the demerara sugar.
  6. Cook in the oven at 160ْ  (fan oven) for about 1 hour.  The cake is done when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

cake

The demerara sugar gives the top a lovely crunchy texture. Yum!

So, that’s been my day up to now.  I’m just going to make a bite to eat for the boys and then I’m off out to my sewing group, laden with this yummy cake.  The perfect end to a perfect day ♥

cake4

Wherever you are in the world, and whatever you’ve been doing, I hope you’ve had a ‘wonderful Wednesday’ too!

good fortune for ‘Lola’

I say ‘good fortune’ because, if it had not been for the fact that I have a soft spot for ‘Lola’, she would not be sitting pretty right now, rather she would be sitting in the dustbin!

Lola23

As soon as I saw the latest edition of Molly Makes, I just knew that Lisa Lam’s little fortune cookie purse on the cover would be perfect for Lola, so  I ordered the frame straightaway from U-Handbag and got to work making up the body of the purse.

Lola16

I have never made a framed purse before, but  the pattern was straight forward enough and I was surprised at how quickly and easily it all came together. 

So, this little purse-y version of Lola sat proudly on my work table with a pin holding it closed, patiently awaiting the finishing touch – that lovely antique brass frame! As I gazed lovingly at the little bulbous pouch, I was beginning to think that I could even run up a few more and give them as gifts. But I was getting ahead of myself …

A few days later the purse frame arrived.  Now, I knew I would have to glue the frame to the fabric and, if I’m honest, a few wee pangs of anxiety were already beginning to creep in – it was the ‘glue’ that was making me nervous. Give me a needle and thread any day, but glue? Mmm … nah!

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I mean, get a grip, how hard could it be to glue the frame on?

To say I swore a couple of times would be a lie… more like a dozen times or more!  The air was blue, I can tell you – even my husband put a concerned head around the door at one point to see what all the huffin’ and puffin’ was about. The problem was that the purse was just the teeniest, tiniest bit too small for the frame and, try as I might (and I tried mighty hard!), there was no way that I could get that little bugger to fit in the frame! Poop!

To cut a long story short, I ended up having to insert a tiny little triangle of fabric each side of the gusset to make it fit.  And even then it took a good bit of jiggery pokery to get the pesky thing just right. Talk about a bad frame day! Tsk!

Anyhow, as the saying goes ‘all’s well that ends well’ and perhaps I will love that wee Lola purse even more for all the trouble it caused me 🙂

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I thought at first that I would use the purse for make-up …

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But then I changed my mind.

I think ‘Lola’ deserves pretty ribbon and lace …..don’t you?

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Because she’s worth it 😉

Happy stitching folks!