Thursday, 30 October 2008
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Sunday, 5 October 2008
Must be autumn, I've turned the oven on. Hopefully I'll have left overs to help me get through Monday and Tuesday lunchtimes. Phew! It's busy being back at work....
I soaked the pasta in hot water for 20 minutes, as instructed on the box. I made the filling from a standard tomato sauce preparation (well, my standard anyway), tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, a bay leaf, and a little thyme and rosemary and a splash of sherry, pinch of sugar. The vegetables are roasted and frozen in bulk for later use. Here onions, courgette, aubergine, red, green and yellow peppers, garlic. The chickpeas too, were pre-prepared, soaked and then cooked in the slow-cooker on Friday.
There are two layers of pasta. The top layer covered in some tomato sauce and then a white sauce made simply from soya milk and nutrional yeast flakes. Baked in the oven at around 180-200º for hmmm, phone went, maybe 40 minutes?
Served with steamed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Very tasty.
Monday, 29 September 2008
The cooler weather is making hand craft much more doable. I've mostly finished the outline, worked in holbein stitch with two strands of floss, over two strands of linen. I've left the lower trunk undone so it doesn't get worn and rubbed in the ring while I stitch the rest of the design.
To pull the sampler together, I've used the same filler stitch for all the leaves (I think this is the same as the original, there is a photo in the book, but no details of which filler stitches are used where). The rest of the strange fruits will all have a different filler stitch each. I'm going to work these with one or two strands, for a little variety in tone.
The rest of my brain is filled with gocco ideas and thoughts of teaching, classes start again on Wednesday.
Saturday, 27 September 2008
Well, I did it and the process is really easy, no problems, after reading maybe all the posts on the gocco group at flickr I was prepared for disaster. I'm used to labour intensive linocutting - this almost feels like cheating, and I'm intrigued by the detail that is possible, looking at the prints and hundreds of wedding invites posted to the flickr group.
Thursday, 25 September 2008
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Thursday, 18 September 2008
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
I've wanted to start this for years. I've completed several different types of samplers in the past, maybe even started one or two more, but never a blackwork sampler.
was really taken with this design, based on a really 1970s looking tree and weird fruit and birds. The original design is from my old Collins Complete Book of Needlecraft (1978,1981). I've changed the shape of the tree just a little and I'll get some technique help from The Complete Book of Needlecrafts introduced by Caroline Ollard (1983,1984).
I'm going to work the design on mulberry coloured Belfast linen (32 counts per inch) in black cotton. The linen is a much brighter colour than I had realised when I saw it on my mac on ebay, but no matter, I think it'll be fine.
This project should keep me busy for quite a while, I don't plan to rush it or work on it exclusively.
Sunday, 14 September 2008
Friday, 12 September 2008
Wey hey, first Burda magazine pattern finished - not bad as I had a Spanish edition and so was trying to follow the instructions in Spanish...
This came together pretty easily. I like the button loops, neck and sleeve binding and the overall style. I traced size 40 and added 2 cm to the back length. I also chose to finish all seams as well as I could either with false French seams, or binding (the armholes) etc instead of zigzagging them and I like this very much. Nuts, I know. Anyway, this will be a smartish blouse for going back to work.
NB The Spanish magazine version has a different cover and name - but the same patterns and pattern numbers as the international magazine. So this is blouse 103 from the August 2008 Nueva Burda or Burda World of Fashion.
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
Friday, 5 September 2008
Thursday, 4 September 2008
So this stabilser thing then. It works - all sewn on cotton knit and no puckers. Great. I used a stabilser called "Avalon" by Madeira, purchased from Jaycotts (www.jaycotts.co.uk) £4 for 5m. It is a transparent fabric that dissolves in water, but isn't ironed on. I chose it mostly because it said it was environmentally friendly and that it was ideal for sewing onto knits and for machine embroidery - exactly what I wanted to use it for. I had wondered if it would work, I thought I might be better off with an iron on stabilser, but it worked really well, the machine didn't seem to object at all, no chewing of fabric or tension problems. I used some medium light cotton for the appliques, shapes made up by me. The "J" because the little boy's name begins with a J ;-) and the bus because his father is a little bit bus crazy. I don't think the inside is rough - I did line the sun with a bit of light knit material as I thought that the gold thread was a bit scratchy, so hopefully this will be fine. I bought the t-shirts, size 18-24 months, from Eroski.
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
Monday, 1 September 2008
She tried a big bag, but it was too big, she tried a little bag, and it was too small, but she tried a medium-sized bag and it was just right! Well, ok, that's not how the story goes and I'm not Goldilocks.
I wanted a bag that was big enough that I didn't need to transfer my money into a smaller purse, but still small enough that it didn't look like I was going to work or away for a weekend!
It's based on a free downloadable pattern from Ottobre (http://www.ottobredesign.com/fi/kaavat/pdf/purse_EN_5-07.pdf).
I made a few changes - obviously the fabric. The blue bottom fabric is a thickish cotton from Ikea and the top fabric (also used as the lining fabric) is something I picked up from the market. It looks sort of like blue denim on one side and silky grey on the side I chose as the right-side. I used heavy interfacing, but I'm still not completely happy with this, will definitely try fleece or something next time.
I changed the straps, I made them longer than the pattern so that I could wear them over my shoulder. I also changed the construction. Ottobre tell you to interface them, stitch them right-sides together and then turn right-side out. This sounded like it would be a near impossible task, especially as I had lengthened them. So I folded the seam allowances under and stitched on the right-side, then folded again and stitched again. Not such a smart finish, but I think it looks ok.
I also added an internal zippered pocket, like for Allison's bag (using this tutorial: sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=150). This went slightly better this time, I understood what I was supposed to be doing and the finished result is a little neater. Anyway, this is no reflection on the excellent tutorial - the wonkiness is all my own work. Practise, practise....or pockets without zips..
Instead of velvet ribbon I used some brown hem tape and black ric-rac, this way all the colours I wear are more or less represented on the bag so it should go with everything....
Sunday, 31 August 2008
A little blurry, much like most Sundays...such a strange day, even during the long summer holiday. Bit hot and heavy again too.
I do like a bit of lettuce variation, and despite the iron saga, one good thing to come out of all the visits to Eroski (the supermarket) was finding that they had some oak leaf lettuce whole, not just in those little bags of mixed leaves, good stuff, that's what I say. Sometimes it's a good idea to get happy over little things....
The sausages are based on a recipe by Julie Hasson at Every Day dish (see link on right-hand side). The first time I made up her recipe "Spicy Italian Vegetarian Sausages" I followed it as closely as I could, with what I could find here, using rice flour instead of chick pea flour for instance. And they were great! I like the texture and taste, so much better than anything that I had bought, and I can't easily buy anything pre-prepared and veggie like that here anyway.
I now often add in some breadcrumbs (I did this time), as suggested by Susan at Fat Free Vegan (link on the right-hand side), not so much to change the texture (Susan's reason I think) but to make them a little cheaper - breadcrumbs are a lot cheaper than vital gluten. Not mean, resource conscious...
This time I added: 1 cup of breadcrumbs, and one cup of cooked mashed up chickpeas, one apple (peeled, chopped and microwaved with a little brown sugar to make a puree), I didn't have any chick pea or rice flour, so just left it out, and I added about a generous teaspoon of dried sage.
The sage is the main flavour, unfortunately the apple taste doesn't come through, maybe because I just had a royal gala on hand, which are pretty bland. I'd like to try this using a good cooking apple. Instead of making 8 sausages, like Julie (I usually make 10), I made 16 smallish sausages. A tasty, light variation.
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Thursday, 28 August 2008
Sunday, 24 August 2008
Two more gifts done! I might add a couple of recipes and wooden spoons or something to each apron/potholder.
The cheap (2.50€) fleece blanket from Ikea seems to work well as the padding in these. Easier for me to get hold of than wadding, so must remember this in the future.
Saturday, 23 August 2008
Thursday, 21 August 2008
An idea for a Christmas present: double-sided round coasters with two choices, flip the coaster to decide what to drink (or eat or do etc).
I like the idea, I think it's a bit of fun, and I can imagine the person these have been made for sort of liking them (what do you give friend's husbands for Christmas anyway?!).
I thought that they needed to be round, to emphasise the "flip" bit of the idea, but this was quite fiddly to turn out and finish. At first I tried top stitching in straight stitch, but it looked a little wonky, then in a zig-zag, and eventually I hand stitched a running stitch around the edge with embroidery cotton, which I like the most. The cotton circles and letters are lightly interefaced, and there is a layer of batting in each coaster. These need to be pressed, the colour is off, probably because of the time of day, but there we are.
The lettering also took quite a while to cut out and applique, I did find myself thinking that if I had been making one-sided coasters I could have made four for the same time and effort. I'm tempted to make up some square, one-sided coasters with just the shapes, no lettering. I think they'd make pretty sets of four, though less fun.
I have lots of other ideas for decisions, I like the double-sided/flip idea. Perhaps I could stamp the letters or something to make them less time-consuming to make? Anyway, another Christmas present made...
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Monday, 18 August 2008
I can't take a picture of myself in these!! I don't have a full length mirror or a remote, so I used the timer and dashed in front of the camera. :-) Anyway, they are really comfortable and I am happy with the fit.
They are made with the pattern for the "yoga pants" (makes me think of gym knickers....) from S.E.W. by Diana Rupp. The only problem I have had with the book is the sizing - everything turned out way too big, so I made the small size, which should be too small but fits perfectly, so hopefully that will solve future problems.
These are made of what feels like cotton, from the 1€ a metre stall in the market. They are so comfortable and soft that I have been wearing them despite the colour which is a little brighter than my usual choices. My mother will be thrilled ("Darling, it's not black!"). I plan to make up another pair in some beige linen, when it finally arrives. Hmm almost two weeks, perhaps I should follow that up.
Oh, and hi Leopold Bloom, the title is for you.
Across the road, round the side of the old (not in use) bull-ring, turn left, a quick run in a loop in delight at the feel of grass under your paws and a sniff of the palm trees. Then a walk along the river, phew, fortunately not too smelly today. Meandering from tree to tree, stopping here and there, cool grass and warm sun. Noticing how well Lucky is camouflaged in the speckled light filtered through the leaves above. Amongst all this green being reminded by the sprinklers embedded in the earth and the graffiti sprayed on the walls that we are living in a city, all be it a small one. An urban dog and urban art.
Friday, 15 August 2008
OK, not perfect, but as a first go at making a bag completely from scratch, rather than altering an existing pattern, I'm pretty happy. It has ended up looking like they way I had planned it to look, so that can't be bad.
It's a messenger style bag, made from four basic pieces, the front, back, flap and then the bottom, sides and straps are one continuous strip of fabric. The strap is adjustable as it is tied. Next time I might try using a buckle and d rings, maybe with some webbing. I have some coming via ebay...
On the front, covered by the flap, there are pockets made from one lined and pleated piece. The larger pleated pocket has a snap fastener/tape closure. I made an inner zippered pocket for the first time, a little bit wonky...but hey - it's black and inside.
The outer fabric is red rust corduroy from the market (+ light/medium interfacing, perhaps a bit puckered...but I didn't think my sister would like a floppy bag), the inner fabric is black cotton from Ikea.
Hmm...so lot's of things to work on, I've tried lining bags with brushed cotton (U.S. flannel, recommended in BTRS), but they are a little floppy, not sure about the interfacing either, this is a little puckered, maybe quilting with some wadding (batting) or something? Though maybe just some better interfacing - this stuff looked dodgy.
I've ordered some lovely olive green corduroy to bind the Spring Garden quilt (can you bind a quilt with corduroy? I don't know, it's my first quilt and I just have this idea of having it bound with corduroy...ah, making things up as I go along). I'm hoping that there might be enough fabric left over to make a bag for me. One thing my sister and I have in common, we love corduroy, so there you go. And if Allison is reading this, well, I guess you knew it was going to be a bag, and if Jeannie sees this, yup, you do recognise that fabric. :-)
Wednesday, 13 August 2008
The recipe was slightly adapted from "The Joy of Vegan Baking" by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I couldn't find oat bran so used wheat bran, corn oil instead of canola, and some almonds instead of walnuts. Half filled with strawberry jam, and half with ciruela (plum) jam, but as they are ripe green plums, I think maybe they are what I'd call greengages. Because I don't usually eat jam either, yet have three jars of it in the fridge, I wanted to use some of it up, I like having the splodge of jam in the middle.
N.B. Recipe made 12 not especially big muffins, not 16 as stated in book.
Cooler today, 32º, well I guess it's all relative after 40º yesterday it seems cooler, and the wind is fresher, so our walks today have been much more pleasant, and it wasn't too bad having the oven on to bake these. Now, I had better eat up that split muffin with a cup of strong black coffee....
Monday, 11 August 2008
Sunday, 10 August 2008
Gosh, stainless steel shiny things are hard to photograph.
I thought I'd enter the contest at "The Vegan Lunch Box". I really enjoyed looking at all the different lunches she was making when her son was at school and thought it would be good to join in.
I'm going to try to write down my "recipes", all a bit vague, as I just do it as I go along, anyway, the easiest first...
Red cabbage and carrot coleslaw
1 cup finely sliced/shredded red cabbage (though it's purple...)
1 cup shredded/grated at a pinch carrot
1/2 finely sliced very small red onion
2 tbspn peanut butter (I used crunchy as it's what I had)
1 tbspn apple cider vinegar
dash (1 tspn?) olive oil
Black pepper, freshly ground
Whisk together and use to coat coleslaw.
Three-bean red pepper hummus
N.B. I soaked and cooked all three beans together, which means the pale coloured beans end up an unappetising greyish colour because of the black beans. This is no problem here because they are mixed with the red pepper. However, for a pepper free version it would be best to leave the black beans out, or if you are using pepper but are soaking a big batch of beans and want to use some of the beans for something else, just soak/cook them separately.
1/2 to 3/4 cup each of dried chickpeas, haricot beans and black beans, or any other combination, soaked and cooked (I cook in a slow cooker, fuss free). Or canned/jarred beans rinsed.
1/3 cup roasted red peppers (I used tinned peppers that also contain a little onion)
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 to 1 lime
2 tbspn tahini
2 - 3 tbspn water
Black pepper, freshly ground.
Mashed up with an immersion blender.
Good as a dip too, being hummus and all.
Saturday, 9 August 2008
Thursday, 7 August 2008
How come when I'm stitching bags with multiple layers of fabric my poor little machine can't cope.....yet when I use more layers of fabric, and interfacing, to make a cover for her she sews through it all as easy as pie? And how come my machine has acquired a gender? (My inanimate objects are usually male, if anything, must be because lots of other sewers seem to have "she" machines, must have rubbed off.) And how come I'm thinking about a machine knowing what it is sewing and that's it for her/it. I must be going crazy. But I'm pleased with the cover.
Wednesday, 6 August 2008
And here are the birds from Joelle Hoverson's "Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts". They came out a little wonky, my fault, where I was having problems with the tension and having to unpick and resew the material got a little chewed and the filling was a bit lumpy, (filling taken from a cushion...). They are still pretty cute.
Tuesday, 5 August 2008
What else to do when it's too hot to sleep and you end up deciding it's better just to get out of bed, make some coffee, start the day, watch the dawn and have a siesta later? Well, cutting fabric is quiet, bibs and rectangular pouches are easy to cut out, and by the time things are pinned together, the toast has been eaten and the coffee drunk, it's not too early to start the sewing machine. The patterns for both are from Amy Karol's beautiful and inspiring book, "Bend the Rules Sewing". Hey, and notice the use of the handmade bias tape. ;-) These would have been quicker to make if my machine hadn't had tension problems, maybe because of the variety of thicknesses of the fabrics, from thin printed cotton (the white and pink fabrics) and the much thicker, almost furnishing thickness fabrics (everything else). And I decided making things in bulk was the way to go for gratification, less changing of thread colours, and I could do things in batches, all the pressing together, all the turning right-side out, all the zips... I also made some matching little birds from Joelle Hoverson's very different but equally beautiful "Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts". I just need to stuff and hand stitch the openings on them. Course this all happened yesterday, which meant that I really over slept today, making up for a nights lost sleep. Well, I suppose it all balances out in the end. Much like many things in life. And balance is a good thing. Though maybe that depends what's being balanced.