Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Recent adventures

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog recently so I thought I'd share some photos of what I've been getting up to in the last couple of weeks. The biggest adventure was a trip to Munich - I have a friend who lives out there and I've been saying I'll go out to see her for a couple of years and I'm really glad I finally did. It's a lovely city, probably helped by fantastic company, lovely sun and the fact that I'm a bit of a fan of Germany in general (it helps when you're a German translator), but I think it would make a good place for a weekend away even if you didn't have those added extras on your side. Here are some snaps...

Rathaus by night

Olympic tower

View from the Olympic tower

Closer to home, I've been appreciating the garden and countryside with the arrival (and now sadly disappearance) of some good weather....

And when it comes to crafty projects, here are some of my latest makes now available at Nightingale & Dolittle...

That's it for now - more projects in the pipeline though so I'll see you again soon!

Monday, 13 May 2013


When I unexpectedly won my WI bake off the other week, in addition to a rather handsome rosette I also won a voucher for the great shop Kitchens in Bristol, and this week I went and spent my winnings. One of the things I bought was a Madeleine pan - I've been wanting one so I could try my hand at Madeleine making for a while, but somehow it always seemed like a slightly frivolous thing and there was always something else I actually needed instead. But having a voucher seemed to be the perfect excuse to get one, so get one I did! And this weekend I put it into action, here are the results...

For a first attempt, I was really pleased with them - they were lovely and moist and were a perfect accompaniment to an afternoon cup of tea. They're Honey and Vanilla Madeleines, I got the recipe from a magazine but it's taken from Patisserie at Home by Will Torrent. If this recipe is anything to go by, the book may have to be added to my ever-growing cookery book wish list!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Making an apron

Recently I was asked to make an apron - not something I've ever done before but seemed like it should be pretty straightforward so I thought I could give it a go. This weekend I thought I'd see if it was as easy as I thought it would be and, thankfully, it turned out that I was right!

I've had a large remnant of a really good quality, thick cotton in a nice cheerful bright check print in my fabric stash for a while now waiting to be put to a good use and I thought that this could be it. Conveniently, I also had a thinner yellow cotton that goes quite nicely with it that I could use to make the neck band and waist ties so that seemed like a sign that it was meant to be.

To make the apron, all I did was to draw around my own apron and add on a couple of extra centimetres on each side to allow for hemming. I did this with my apron folded in half lengthways, and then cut the material out on the fold to make sure that the two sides were the same shape - and it seemed to work quite well.

I also added a patch pocket...

...again just following the shape used on my own apron, with double stitching around the sides to make it nice and secure.

For the main apron, I used a double hem the whole way round and two lines of stitching - one at the edge of the material and one at the edge of the hem....

...to make sure that it's strong and that the ties and neck band are firmly secured. And that's all it took! Here's the finished apron...

Not bad for a first attempt I don't think!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Great British Sewing Bee

Over a week has gone by since the Sewing Bee left our screens and, although I was partly saved by the distraction of the MasterChef finals starting, yesterday evening just didn't seem quite right without it being there to tempt me into buying even more material and haberdashery items - I must remember that I only have a couple of shelves to keep my stash on, not an entire sewing room. Although I suspect I really do NEED a sewing room in my life, in reality I don't think that's going to happen any time soon unless I do actually manage to win the lottery.

Personally, I loved the show - I thought all of the contestants were great and I loved seeing the huge variety of garments that came out of all the challenges. It has definitely inspired me to try my hand at some dressmaking. It's something I've been saying that I'll do for ages but I haven't ever quite got round to doing anything about it yet, but I think seeing the lovely things that were made has convinced me that I need to give it a go. I'm fairly confident at using my sewing machine for simple projects so it's time I stepped out of my comfort zone.

With all this in mind, and to ease the Sewing Bee withdrawal symptoms I went out and treated myself to the book that accompanies the series, which is full of beautiful projects and helpful information so surely with that as my companion I really can't go wrong (she says with fingers very firmly crossed!).

I've decided I'm going to start with a collared blouse, and have got this lovely material....

to make it from. I've got a couple of other things I need to finish before I start this (trying to be good and not have too many things going on at once because then I tend not to do any of them justice!) but I'm really looking forward to seeing how it goes. Wish me luck!