Thursday, 26 March 2009

Something good to hold on to

Book cover, originally uploaded by soja.

This is covering a plain old A5 spiral bound notebook that I use for lesson notes at school. I use it all day, everyday and wanted something peaceful to look at at work.

I made this from linen and a scrap of printed cotton from Ikea following a tutorial kindly provided by Bloom at:

I had to fold over a little more of the cover to get it to fit, and I added a tab of fabric to the inside back cover to attach a pen to.

Now I want to cover all my notebooks books like this!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Monday morning, after a long weekend

Beautiful, originally uploaded by soja.

Lucky yesterday. He seemed to find getting up and me going back to work after a four day weekend harder than I did. He's definitely not a morning dog. I have to admit, I really wish I could have climbed back in to bed and cuddled up.

Sunday, 22 March 2009


Last report finished.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Bend the Rules Swap Bag - done!

Finished! All I have to do is get some crafty stuff to go with it, and I know where I'm going to get that tomorrow.

I made a couple of changes to the original instructions. I used a layer of fleece, instead of brushed cotton, to give the bag a bit more shape. I added pockets to the interior and made the handle casings like patch pockets as my lining fabric was quite thin.

I elongated the handles by a few inches and made them up as tubes, rather than topstitched strips. I then cut and stretched a piece of fleece to make it roll up and threaded it through the handles to stuff them. I gathered the handle tubes up a bit over the fleece to make them wrinkly.

Instead of adding a ribbon around the bag iIappliqued and embroidered the front with some flowers and added buttons. I machine embroidered some wavy green lines across the back of the bag.

I added a ribbon tie to help keep the bag closed and made a matching zipper pouch to go with it. I hope my partner likes it! I should get it sent off early this week.... then just got to get 140+ school reports written in Spanish - eek!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Handles and umbrellas

Handles and umbrellas, originally uploaded by soja.

So, I couldn't resist using some of the umbrella print on this. I had sort of wanted a new knitting bag for a while, but had a perfectly adequate one already, I just didn't like the colour and decoration... Then Lucky 'helped' by deciding to chew off the I needed a new bag. I had originally intended to use a beige or olive green bias trim, zip and lining....but couldn't get hold of anything that matched locally, so went with the blue. I'm mid knitting project at the moment so didn't want to hang about.
The design is a copy of the old bag, I rescued the wooden dowels (only slightly chewed at one end) to use again as the handles. Not the most funky of designs, but I like it as it can stand up unsupported and I can leave the yarn in the bag while I knit - keeping it safer from Lucky and Jaffa. To help it be sturdyish I interfaced the outer layer (and as I knew from past experience it also frayed like crazy) and used a layer of fleece too on the front back and bottom.

I also wanted a 'warm up' project before making a 'charming bag' for my BTRS Swap partner (from Amy Karol's book 'Bend the Rules Sewing'). With all the layers in this I thought that it would be challenging and help me work out how to manage that on my machine. I'm a little nervous about the Swap. I'm not too (too) worried about the sewing, I've made a few of these bags as gifts and they have turned out fine and been happily received, just worried about making something that my partner will like... the only guideline I have so far is 'not brown'. I'm sure this means that she is really easy-going and perhaps she'd like a surprise, but I'd hate to make something that was a disappointment for the recipient. I'm not sure what swap protocol is, perhaps I can contact her and find out a bit more about the things she likes? She makes lots of re-useable material shopping bags for an environmental organisation to persuade people to stop using plastic bags, so perhaps something that relates to the environment and nature. (I have looked, but there is no info on her flickr profile or 'favourites' that I can see, and she doesn't seem to have a blog). Oh well, I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed!

Monday, 2 March 2009

Coffee and Cake

German Apple Cake, originally uploaded by soja.

I decided to make this cake to use up the three Granny Smith apples I thought I had in the fridge....It seems I'd eaten two of them, so I used one biggish Granny Smith and two smaller fuji apples for the top, as the recipe said three apples (wish a rough weight required was given). This seemed to be more than enough, I think two medium/big Granny Smiths would be fine. The recipe also called for unsweetened apple sauce, I didn't have any so "baked" another small fuji apple in the microwave and scraped out the cooked apple and used that. I had no sugar left to sprinkle over the top, so used the ground ginger and cinnamon as in recipe, and then glazed with some thinned out lemon and lime marmalade. Yum.

The recipe is from "The Joy of Vegan Baking" by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I was, hmm, disappointed with this book when I first got it, many of the recipes just seemed to substitute Ener-G Egg Replacer for eggs in standard recipes. Which is fine, but I had already done that with some old recipes over the last 10 years or so, I can't find egg replace here in Spain, and in the UK I remember it was quite expensive, so I was hoping for other solutions. 

Anyway, looking again at the book, there are a good many recipes that don't rely on egg replacer, and general suggestions for other possibilities, plus many of the recipes are illustrated, which makes it appealing, and this cake was good. I had a weekend of apple cake, coffee and tea and lots of knitting, not bad at all.