My boys cake

Recently we attended a bit of a  celebration for the Queens birthday held in the small village my sister lives in.

There were the usual bouncy castle, face painting and games for the kids and there were  a couple of bands playing for the evening.  In true British spirit we all turned out to picnic complete with gazebo, wellies and big umbrellas because of course when you plan an outdoor even in July it will rain!

One of the events on the day was a baking competition judged by the village WI ladies.  I was babysitting for my nieces the night before and at 9pm the eldest decided she had to bake for the competition, we left the decorating to the next day!

The day of the ‘picnic’ my son decided he also had to bake, if his cousin could enter then so could he!  My son is 8 and he wanted to do it himself.  We went to my chuck it all in chocolate cake recipe and went for it.

I assisted with the weighing, he mixed, I baked, we decorated, and we he won!

 

The winning recipe was a basic sponge :

6oz sugar, 6oz butter, 6oz flour and 3 eggs beaten together.  Then the different bit (but how gran did it) mix 4 tbsp hot water to 1 & 1/2 oz cocoa powder and mix that in to the rest.

Bake gas 4

This usually takes about 30 mins but my son chose a ring and for some reason it took 50 mins, so I can only say bake until skewer comes out clean.

A quick drizzle with patriotic icing and he was done, I’m guessing it was the chocolatey, fudgy taste rather than the decoration that got him the prize.

Whatever, he was very proud of himself and he won a box full of baking goodies and we had a good night despite the weather!

 

 

 

 

 

 

New use for old fabric

Do you remember the old 1970’s sun loungers?  The metal one with the legs and the two sides that folded out and if you didn’t get it right when you sat down either a leg collapsed or one end folded in on you.

Well, being a child of the 70’s I loved ours, so much so when I got my own place in the late 90’s it came with me.

Now with the rubber bands perished and the metal rusted I’ve had to say goodbye to it, but being the hoarder I am I kept the fabric cover.

70's Sun lounger fabric!

Iconic 70’s pattern!

 

It’s a bit weak in places, after all it had some use over the years but I managed to salvage some and give it a new life.

With its old life in mind, what else could I do but make a beach bag!

 

Got to love those colours !

I’m off now to recover an old vintage wooden deck chair, I really do hate to throw anything out.  I’ll post photos soon.

 

Cath.  x

 

 

 

I’ve finally learn to crochet..kind of

Well apologies first, I’ve been absent from my little blog for far to long but I’m back and I’ve learnt a new skill.

Wherever I look people seem to be crocheting, from hats to blankets, granny squares to amigurum it seems to be everywhere.  Its something I’ve attempted to teach myself many times but it never quite looked like the pictures, I just couldn’t get the hang of it, so I gave up.

But on one of my many trawls through the online craft tutorial sites I kept seeing claims of a ‘one hour infinity scarf’, well if it only takes an hour to make one how hard can it be!

After looking at several tutorials, some that explained better than others I was finally having a go and although my hook was not the same size or my yarn the same thickness (I worked with what I had to hand) I think my first attempt wasn’t a bad attempt, a bit uneven but definitely a scarf and very colourful.

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It does look better in real life than this picture…honest, its got a bit stretched with wearing.  However they lied, it did not take an hour, or even two but I got there in the end.

But I didn’t stop there, if I could make a scarf, surely I could do a hat, another scarf an ear warmer thingy?

 

These are just mine and my sons, I’m getting neater, not so many holes or wonky bits.

Celebrating my new found ‘talent’my sister received a hat and scarf for Christmas, my friends daughter also got a scarf and I’ve now received requests for two ear warmers from my nieces.

I just need to progress from the two stitches I know and there will be no stopping me, it’s kind of addictive, and I’m getting quicker…

 

Cath

 

 

Chalkboard spray paint

I’ve made a new discovery, well new to me anyway, chalkboard spray paint!  You’re probably thinking that’s been around ages, but to me its new.  My dad used to have a tin of said paint but it always seemed to dry with brush marks, this however is so easy to use.  I masked off anything I didn’t want spraying and then sprayed, seconds later it was dry!

I saw it whilst looking for something else and couldn’t resist getting it although I hadn’t got a plan for using it.

But now…

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I’ve got new plant pots and some stylish up-cycled wine bottles, I even wrapped one with a bit of string something else I’d seen done and liked.

I’ve also purchased some chalk pens so, as with some of the plant pots, I can add little message to the bottles depending what I use them for, table decoration, vases, ornaments, candle holder……etc.

My mason jars may be getting new labels and when I make this years elderflower champagne I can see the bottles having new chalkboard labels. I’m even tempted to spay the door of my sons wardrobe…Oooh the possibilities.

 

Cath

 

 

Repurposed blind

We recently had a change of display at the curtain company I work for and they were taking down some old roman blinds to replace with some new designs, not one to let things go to waste I took the old ones home, not that I had a window they would fit but I knew Id find a use for them.

You may have noticed I have a thing for bags and as its coming up the summer here in England this fabric just screemed beach bag!

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So this one has one large pocket on one side, on the other side I did the same but stitched up the middle to make it 2 pockets.  I used curtain lining for the inside and made another pocket there too.

So there we go a nice light bag with plenty of room for the essentials ready for summer, and another use for fabric that was being thrown out!

Cath

My boy turned 7 and I made a cake

This weekend my son turned 7, I have no idea where the time went!

Knowing I bake, he ordered a cake.  This year he was having an animal party, he has a bit of a thing about reptiles at the moment, so we had a visit from a chameleon, a skink a few snakes a bearded dragon and the cutest pygmy hedgehog to name a few.  So with all these visitors it could have been worse, but the cake he ordered was a snake…..easy I thought!

I can bake and do a mean sponge but decorating…and in fondant, is not my strong point, however I’m quite pleased with the result, even though it does look rather ‘homemade’, the kids loved it.

Snake Cake!

Snake Cake!

So technically its a short snake but I realised that I hadn’t got a long board and no time to make one (I only got around to decorating it 2hrs before the party)

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I started off with 2 ring cakes, a vanilla and a chocolate, to try and please everyone, I chopped them up a bit, tried to fashion a tail and the head was kind of made up of the leftovers.  I then ‘glued’ it all together with butter-cream, again I made chocolate and vanilla and covered each cake with them.

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I used one of those bags you get fruit in and put it over the fondant when I rolled it out to get a snakeskin look to it, a little tip I picked up on Pinterest.  Now the hard bit… getting the fondant on the cake.

I did the head first and then layered a large piece over the rest and kind of tucked it in.  I had to blend the edges together, apparently the way to do this is with vodka, the theory being water makes it soggy but vodka evaporates.  Now I know this is a kids cake but I’m told its perfectly safe, any how it worked lovely I didn’t use to much (I saved most of it, after all I was about to host a party for 16 7 year olds, I may have needed it later!)

And there it was a snake cake that my boy was very pleased with.

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We had a great time and after all my effort the cake disappeared in minutes, the kids had a ball and I enjoyed it too, I didn’t even need the rest of that vodka to aid my recovery after it all.

Cath. x

Useful jeans

When I do a craft fair I have one of those portable clothes rails that conveniently comes apart for ease of moving, the only problem with that is I usually end up losing a pole or dropping them when trying to carry them.

So why after struggling with it had I not thought of a solution?

The answer was so obvious,

A Bag!

A Bag!

and this bag couldn’t have been easier, I chopped the leg off a pair of jeans (luckily I’m 6 ft tall so my jeans have long legs!) and I added a strap….Voila problem solved.

I didn’t realise how much I needed a bag like this, I’ve carried several rolls of wrapping paper, my sons scooter, my clothes rail, and I’m sure I will find more uses when out and about with my son this summer, spades for the beach, his cricket set……

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chop

Add a strap

Add a strap

Sew

Sew

box corner

box corner

strap at bottom

strap at bottom

strap at top

strap at top



I’m still here….and learning.

Firstly apologies for those that read my pages, and to those that have browsed through recently, I have not been keeping things up to date!

The reason for this is that work has taken a bit of a new direction, I entered into the world of sewing and crafts as a result of being made redundant.  This turned out to be a fortunate change of events, as they say when one door closes….

I am now self-employed and am able to work my days around the school run, school holidays and events (of which there seem to be many!).  I have recently started to do freelance work as well as working at home and while still in the area of sewing, it is a learning curve.

I only have a small sewing area at home, like so many I would love to have a dedicated sewing studio but instead I make do with a converted loft room, which doesn’t have heating I might add!  This being the case I don’t make curtains as I do not have the space.  My freelance work however has taken me to a sewing room that make hand stitched curtains in a big airy room with huge tables, (unfortunately still no heating though).

My time in the last few months has been taken up with new skills of pleats, pinch pleats, goblets, roman blinds, and pattern matching.  It’s a different set up to my own (obviously) and I have found a new love for an old industrial overlocker, such fun whizzing along the edges of meters of material.

While I’m used to mending and altering other people’s clothes and cutting up fabric for upcycling projects, there’s something about making that first cut into meters of expensive fabric, but we do measure twice and cut once!

I’m now adjusting to my busier schedule and I have successfully navigated my first tax return (aren’t they fun) so now its time to get back on track.  I intend to continue with my little blog and maybe bring you a few more tutorials on clothing alterations and upcycling and I may now include a few details of curtain making!

be back soon

Cath

 

 

Little girls birthday totes

A useful gift.

My son is at infants school and at this age it seems the done thing is to invite quite a few class mates to your birthday party, which is great, but there seems to be a lot of present buying to do!  Don’t get me wrong I like that he gets invites, I think I might worry if no one wanted him at their party, but I’m never sure what to buy, as I have a boy all his friends get what he likes Lego and cars but the girls hmmm….

So this year I realised that I make things for a living..doh and every little girl likes a bag….don’t they?

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So here’s a few of them nice little tote bags, easy to make and lots of uses from carrying those essentials on a day out to storing bits and bobs in their bedrooms and these are just the right size for little ones to carry books.

Just to add to the excitement I also add note books, pens, hair bobbles or other little bits and bobs that all girls love.

I think next I need some more boy like designs maybe some drawstring bags ?

Cath

Felt flowers by Em age 8

Today I’m looking after my niece who is a girly girl and loves her accessories, after a root through some of my things she decided she wanted to learn how to make felt roses. A nice easy project to teach her.

    felt flowers (6)     

After choosing her colours she cut out a (kind of) circle, then cut a spiral in the circle. 

felt flowers (1) felt flowers (2) felt flowers (4)

Beginning at the outside she rolled up the felt until only the middle circle was left,

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felt flowers (12)

Using my favourite craft toy, my hot glue gun, we glued the circle to the bottom of the flower to secure the swirl, then we glued a hairband to it before securing with another scrap of felt.

 

felt flowers (13)felt flowers (14)Once I had shown her she went on to make a few as they really are simple to do.

felt flowers (16) Nicely worn as a bracelet together and the other she will use as hairbands.

 

Cath