Tuesday, 22 December 2009


Lots of "Elf-work" for me over the last couple of weeks. Santa has kept me busy most evenings sewing things up for the stockings. Papaya and Povey don't read this blog so I can show you a glimpse of what I made for them; the Comedian will have to wait ;)

First is a rag doll each. Clothkits (again) with two outfits each including one for Povey's doll that matches his dungarees :)

Povey also gets a train track play rug/blanket with squidgy cushion houses that velcro to it.

Other than that there is of course the various gift bags to complete my whole year of not using wrapping paper.

That's all I can show you without giving too much away! I'll be back in the New Year to show you the rest once the surprise is past.

Merry Xmas everyone!!!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Back in the saddle

Last night I finally found the box with the sewing machine in! Hurrah!

After the kids went to bed at 8.00pm I wasted no time in finding the huge pile of sewing I need to get done before Xmas and setting to work. First up I did all the little bits of mending and darning that were needed on various items of clothing.

Then I started up on some new stuff. I sewed 12 napkins (old BA first class ones... don't ask) together to make a tablecloth to match the 8 remaining ones. It's pretty rough and ready as I just zigzagged them all together but will be fine as an under tablecloth. I actually dyed these napkins from dark blue to black, but they look blue again in these photos! Weird, they are definitely black in real life. Difficult to take photos of a dark tablecloth really.

Next up were two little Clothkits items I've had waiting. These are the final little bits of sewing I need to get done before I can start the sewing I'm doing to help Santa ;)

The first is a simple doorstop for our bedroom. Our old house had doors that just wedged in place but in this nice brand new house the doors swing freely. It was a very easy pattern to sew together and I'm hoping to copy the design top make doorstops for other rooms too. It is filled with some black-eyed beans that the previous residents here left behind.

The last bit of sewing I managed last night before my eyes started going funny was a little Clothkits skirt for Papaya. A Jane Foster design again, I just love her stuff! I'd fill our whole house and wardrobes with them if could. This is called an "Easy Peasy Skirt" and it really is. I did take the slightly more difficult option though of a drawstring waist for my snake-hipped girl.

Here's the girl herself modelling it she says it's very comfy and was particularly enamoured by the flowers on the bottom!

Note the further pile of boxes to be unpacked in the background... maybe the phone is in there?! I have no photo editing software on this computer yet so photos are having to go up as is.

It was wonderful to finally get some sewing under my belt. Felt like I was back in the saddle with it all. Such a relief as well to finally make a dent in the huge pile that has been building up!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Lemon Risotto

I know you can't believe it... a post on this blog!

Big shock huh after nearly four months! Sorry for the hiatus, it was all due to moving house, and losing the camera, and then just life taking over! I was preparing dinner tonight though and suddenly felt inspired to put the recipe up on here. It's another of our regular favourites and to be honest I'm surprised it's not on here already as it is the Comedian's most frequent request. Don't panic too much about the time involved in cooking risotto. Yes you do have to keep checking it and stirring it, but I've found I've got quite good at adding a ladle-full of stock and then running and doing a quick job or check on the kids before getting back to stir and add another ladle-full. It doesn't necessarily mean standing and stirring non-stop for an hour! Here's my recipe.....

Lemon Risotto

1 Red onion
1 Shallot
2 or 3 garlic cloves
Tablespoon olive oil
Knob of butter
250g Risotto rice
1 Litre Chicken stock
1/2 glass white wine
Juice of two lemons
Lemon rind (I've put this separately as you don't really want the rind of both lemons! Just some)
1 Egg yolk
Parmesan cheese
Black pepper


1. Grate the red onion, shallot and garlic. This will kill your eyes by the way, but is definitely worth it to produce a smooth and creamy risotto without big hard lumps of onion.

Put two large pans onto the hob; in one heat the chicken stock, in the other melt the butter and olive oil together and add the grated oniony mixture. Cook until softened.

3. Add the risotto rice and stir until coated with the oniony oily mixture.

4. Now comes the important part. Take a ladle-full of the stock and add it to the risotto pan, stir until it has absorbed. Repeat this process until the risotto is creamy but not too soft and puddingy. This may take 20 minutes or may take an hour. You may not use all the stock or you may use it all and need to top up with boiling water. It seems to be different every time I make it. About halfway through I substitute one of the ladles of stock for half a glass of white wine... just because I reckon all food tastes better with alcohol in it ;) Don't worry the alcohol cooks away, it just gives a lovely flavour.

5. At this point you have your basic risotto and can remove from the heat to add whatever flavour you fancy. For the lemon risotto I mix together the lemon juice, lemon rind, egg yolk, a generous helping of parmesan cheese and black pepper, and stir the whole lot in. Today I also added some peas and some leftover chicken I got off the bones before I turned them into the stock. You can add anything though, mushrooms also work well, or bacon.

6. Serve with a green salad on the side and lots more parmesan on top.

Risotto is such lovely comforting food, perfect for this chilly, rainy weather. The Comedian is rather addicted to the lemon version, but maybe over this season I can get him to let me branch out a little.

There we are, I've broken the blogging break. We're about to hit the season of Yuletide sewing so hopefully I'll be on here much more over the next month... once I work out which box the sewing machine is in!

I'd better run as Friday night is date night, so I've just run away from the table above, abandoning my husband, to quickly post this. By the way; the Midwinter Graphic ceramics above were discovered by my mum and I in a charity shop in Guildford. Just £15 for 16 plates, two casserole dishes and a sauce jug... bargain!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Kitschy Coo

Quick everyone, there are bargains to be had of Kitschy Coo's fabulous retro and funky baby and chldren's clothing!

Click here to grab a bargain!

Wish there was some in my size too ;)

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Lion Dungarees

You knew I'd be back with more Clothkits stuff didn't you? In my defence I was not just satisfying my own kit needs, I was making sure I was being equal with the kids. I have this inbuilt sense of fairness about my two, and if I do or make something for one of my children I have to equalise it with the other. I think it's because my mum did that with my brother and I. That meant that I had to force myself (haha) to choose an outfit to make for my boy. I loved the dungarees so went for a pair of them but was deliberating between the funky car ones and the lion ones.

I decided to go for the super retro orange and red lions because he loves lions...and because I can only get away with dressing Povey in this kind of thing while he's still small ;) I'm guessing that they must have been based on some of the original Clothkits designs, if this classic catalogue shot is anything to go by!

The kit was as super kitty as I could want and again I made them in one evening but to be honest that was because I COULD NOT STOP! I finally completed them (save trying them on my boy to do the hems) at 2.00am!

I was in such a hurry to make them I forgot to take a photo of the whole thing before I cut them out but managed to find this photo online. All other photos here were taken by me or Clothkits.

Considering they were a pair of dungarees I was surprised by how easy they were to put together. The most fiddly bit was sewing around the elastic at the back. They did come up rather small I felt. I made them in the largest size, which is meant to be suitable on a 4 year old, and they only just fit Povey at 3! Then again he isn't a small lad.

Povey himself loves them but was rather reluctant to be photographed! I finally managed to convince him to let me near him with the camera on day two of wearing them and these three shots are all I could get! His expression in the first one is priceless but doesn't reflect his opinion of the dungarees honest (I think the fact this was day two of wearing after he made me wash them overnight shows he likes them!) it was more in objection to being made to sit still!

Back soon (hopefully) with some more (non-Clothkits!) sewing projects!

Sunday, 7 June 2009


I have long coveted a Clothkits pattern to make up. Unlike many it's not something I remember from my childhood, (mother sewed a lot for us but as this was in the mid-80s she missed Clothkits's heyday by a few years) it was last year when they had their major relaunch that they first came to my attention. For one their prints are just so gorgeous! Bright colours and retro styles, right up my street! The other thing that appealed was the whole "kit" idea. Now anyone who knows me well knows that I love a kit... of any kind; fajita dinner kits, pamper you kits, nail kits, craft kits, kit kits just any kind of kit! I even like the meals you get on planes because they're like a little kit. Clothkits's kits just looked perfect but until now I had resisted as they just seemed rather expensive and we are poor as church mice! A nudge from a lovely friend and a well-timed sale meant I finally submitted and ordered their Stop! Traffic Lights Frock Kit for Papaya.

The kit arrived the very next day and was suitably pleasing in it's kitness. Inside the tissue paper was not only the printed fabric but also the buttons, thread and lables I would need to make it up.... oh and the all important instructions!

Clothkits designs come all ready printed onto the fabric. Every piece was there, even the lining. You then just cut it all out (you don't even have to leave selvage around, it's all been worked out for you!) and sew it up. Easy peasy!

It really was easy peasy too! I can only ever sew in the evening once the children are in bed and then I have to do it on the dining table so must clear away before morning. I was therefore very grateful that the dress just took the one evening to complete, bar the hem which I needed Papaya to model it for!
It was so super simple, no matching of notches, the pieces just fit together. It makes you wonder why we ever bother with patterns and all that nonsense!

The only sticky point I had was with the back of the dress where the halves of two cars had to be matched. The instructions didn't tell you to do it, so it wasn't until I turned the dress right way out that I noticed the problem. It looked okay mismatched but I couldn't bear it! At that point I couldn't unstitch the whole thing so I had to try and restitch from the inside to even it up. I did my best and if you don't look too closely it's pretty good.

I decided to forgo the buttons that came with the kit and instead used some poppers (matching the yellow colour to the road lining) for ease of dressing.... and because I'm not much good at buttonholes ;) Here is my Papaya modelling it, I reckon the poppers work well with the modern print on the dress.

I am now properly addicted and have my eye on more of the range, including maybe a skirt for me. I still reckon they're pretty expensive so had better start saving up!

Friday, 22 May 2009


Two months since I wrote anything here! That's shocking! I have been crafting but have been too busy to pick up a camera and photograph it, let alone write about it! I've finally got a moment now so I wanted to show you two bits of sewing with a purple theme!

The first was for a baby shower. I wanted to make the present specific to the mother rather than the child (I'll do something for the baby once he's here!) so rather than baby blue or pastel pink I went for a rich purple. The fabric is some nice thick Indian linen with a waffle texture. I used it to make a bag with some silver ribbon for the drawstring and to make a flower brooch attached to the bag. Inside the bag are pregnancy toiletries.

You can't see the brooch particularly well unfortunately as it blends into the bag. I made it using strips of the fabric, with the edges left unfinished. In the centre is a fabric covered button from the huge button collection I inherited off my Grandmother.

The second little purple collection was put together for my friend's birthday. She is a real fashionista and as my budget didn't stretch to her usual labels I decided to make her something more personal. I found this beautifully soft vest in her favourite purple colour and thought I could make a little brooch for it. In the end I went a bit brooch crazy!

Four little brooches, each handmade. I could have kept going but didn't want to overpower the delicate little vest. My friend doesn't have to wear any of them with the vest, she could take them off and put them elsewhere or maybe just choose them one at a time. I think my favourite is the two button brooch, although I'm quite fond of the simple little bow too.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Sugar Skull Badges for Sale!!!

Finally I have something up for sale in my Folksy shop!

I have had so many positive comments on the little Sugar Skull badges I made for my SIL and myself. My brother really liked them too and asked me to make some for him to sell on his table at the UK Web and Mini Comix Thing 2009!

I decided to make up some extras to sell on Folksy....

Click here if you'd like to buy one :D

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Honey mustard sausages

As requested by Tat ;)

This recipe is super easy and super yummy! It doesn't make for the prettiest photographs I'm afraid but here goes.....

Honey Mustard Sausages

1 pack sausages (any type but this time I used some delicious 75% meat ones)
2 tablespoons mustard (the mustard above is the best imo)
2 tablespoons honey


1. Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees Celsius (gas mark 3).

2. Place sausages into a casserole dish, and place in oven.

3. Bake until cooked but not too brown... around half an hour.

4. Meanwhile mix the mustard and honey together in a bowl.

5. Remove sausages from oven and brush with the mustard honey mixture.

6. Return the sausages to the oven and continue cooking until brown and sticky. Baste occasionally with the remaining honey mustard mixture.

7. Serve however you like. Today we had them with cheese filled pancakes as it's pancake day!

That's it... easy peasy! You can adjust the amounts as you like and can even sprinkle the sausages with sesame seeds. It works well with cocktail sausages too for a party!

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