Wednesday, 31 October 2012

What did you do?

The following is the end product of many nights without sleep...

What is it?   its a pumpkin bauble...  silk underneath with orange buttons and beads glued into position all over, with green sequin cord as the leaves and vine.

You will no doubt be able to do a great deal better than my own miserable attempt...  In honesty, my thoughts were else where... daughters birthday party being the main host of my worries... so much to live up to and so much to lose!

I look forward to seeing your pumpkin creations soon,

J x 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Where has the time gone?

A small and yet hugely significant event has over taken the Challenge of this month.  Though not a great surprise to me, in fact it was a foregone conclusion that the Challenge would be taking a back seat.  What was it?  What was so Earth shatteringly important that I would not be able to make the item or indeed consider what the item would be?

When I tell you, you will understand, nod your heads, say ah, and indeed empathise totally.  

Our baby girls first ever Birthday party!  She was three on the 28th Oct, she didn't and still doesn't have any real understanding of the word Birthday, there is no comprehension that the party is held in her honour, nor any understanding of the pressure that Mummy (and Daddy) have been placed under.

Why pressure?  Well that comes from other parents, from other members of the family immediate or otherwise, media pressure- and whilst I have vowed to not be swayed by media hype in any way shape or form, on this occasion it got to me.

The cake, I have made her a cake for her Birthday ever since she was born.  The one she had for her first birthday was lovely, it looked great for a first time cake, and we were all eager to eat it up (including the dogs, our youngest male dog managed to get it off the side and ate the lot, I was greeted in the morning by a pile of birthday cake butter icing and dog mess... One was not a happy bunny). We the parents, were in a period of separation at that time, I was pregnant with our youngest, and money was very very tight on my part, so the dogs cake eating really did put some pressure on me to pull one out of the bag with not a lot of money to do it.  One was created but it didn't come up nearly as good as the original.

Last year, the youngest was only 6 months old, and very much a mummies boy. If I were to say he was attached to me at every moment of the day I wouldn't be exaggerating   Creating a cake in this environment is very hard.  Notwithstanding the  obstacle the cake was made. That however was not the only thing to stand in the final items way!.  Ebay was the biggest offender, I bought a lovely silicone cake mould in the shape of a butterfly.  11Inches or something, which would have been sufficient for just us.  Except, when the mould arrived the bag was tiny, I had mis-read the listing, it wasn't in inches - it was in centimetres!  Oh my goodness, that was a panic!  another Ebay buy and the bigger one arrived just in time, as did the pre-made purple butterflies with glitter on.  I made a lovely pink and purple mess on the two butterfly moulds one atop the other.

This year?  

Well I had done a few weeks on a sugar craft course in the early months of the year, so know how to make a rose using ready roll icing, and some flowers using florist icing paste.  Which are great, but not ideal when you want to ice a cake from scratch using ready roll as a cheat but regal icing as the main body of the walls.  I  had also decided to make the cake square, for one huge and sensible reason.  Ready roll comes in rectangular boxes and is therefore a square item isn't it?

I used marmalade heated up as the base glue for the marzipan layer, then I opened the two boxes of ready roll - ready to plant onto the cake   -    The screams could be heard 200 miles from our home.  Ready roll is circular!!!! for the love of god! for the single moment in my life I have chosen to use a square cake and the blinking stuff I bought to make life easier is round! a circle! and in no way shape or form square!!!!

This was an unmitigated disaster!  ok it was going to be ok,, deep breaths, a paper bag or two later, and ok righty here we go!

Slice the tops off to make everything flat and level and much easier to use.  Butter icing in the centre to keep the two moist and together, marmalade on the top to adhere the marzipan to the cakes, righty then the first circle.  I had considered to place the two rounds together and then cut around etc etc, that didn't work. It would be fine, right onto  the cake it went. Admittedly it wasn't too bad.  I just needed to ice the edges, how hard could it be, the Icing was on the packet of Regal icing and if I followed that I shouldn't have any issues.

WRONG!  the Regal Icing wasn't a solid icing, and needs time to set, but the one key problem I had and didn't even think about (and next year I will learn by my previous problems!) - cutting the sides of the cakes to make the sides flat and easier to ice!  Oh I could have spat!  No wonder the icing wouldn't set, I was trying to layer it on up to an inch thick!  It just ran off into a nasty sugary mess on the cake board.

Blue ready roll came to the rescue hours after I admitted failure.

Cake pops, well the candy melts weren't quite as liquid as the online tutorial had suggested they would be. Luckily I have some Trex in the fridge, that used and made the melts lovely and runny, and the cake dough, once dried out a little with some more cake (I would again do this differently, more cake and less butter icing), they were ready to be covered.  Though again, I (through trial and error) used one colour to adhere the pop to the cake ball at the bottom, then another colour to adhere the top of the ball together and so that the stick wouldn't pop right out of the top of the ball... then the sides. All three layers were covered with their own pretties..  And they did look very pretty, if a little stodgy in the inside ;-)   I loved them though 

On the morning, she was up and in a daze, didn't know why everyone had got up with her... then bouncing up and down in the living room pretending to be riding a horse whilst waiting for Daddy to get up so that she could open her presents (caught on film).  Once the presents were opened and done, she didn't know why the excitement had finished!  As you can understand, she didn't have any idea what a 'birthday' meant, and still doesn't really.  Her behaviour dropped right down to grotty then.  Just before the party, we got her dress on, shoes on (instantly kicked off because they didn't fit)  she was so tired, we decided that instead of her stay with our eldest at home whilst I get the food sorted... little one was to, instead come in the car doing the back and forth journey so she could sleep.... 

That didn't happen either, so she arrived with a red blotchy face at her own party.

The disco people came, face paints at the ready, balloons being squeezed into shapes left right and centre, me sorting food and drinks frantically.  Before the guests arrived. One affermative RSVP and three negagives.  Surely more would come than just that one?  After all I had given out almost 40 invites!

No that One little boy came!  To say that I was gob smacked and totally and utterly disgusted with the parents of children that go to child care institutions that my children attend is an understatement.  I am in half a mind to say something at the play school gate when I go to drop her off on Weds.

But there we are, the birthday to take over all other possible events that may or may not be happening. Came, and went - and we are still eating sausage rolls now...  days after...

what to do for the challenge?  I'm still mulling that one over... as I do,

see you all soon,

J x

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Hen night sashes

A friend of a friend is getting married for the second time, her hen night the organiser wanted something to make a more original and classy feel...

Hence the sashes, what to do? How big to make them?

One of the ladies is a size 32, I didn't know that clothes came that big!, let alone know how big to make the sash!

AFter a while of umming and arrging, and trying on the sashes with Ange, we come to the right size, and here they are.

8 Hen's and one Bride!

Happy crafting x J x

Slashes of Sashes..

A friend's wedding will soon occur, I got the job of making sashes for the 'hen night',

Thank god the coup is fairly empty, otherwise I would be up to my eyeballs in satin, heatnbond, and bits of shiney stuff!

Finally I am now up to the Bridal Sash, photographs will be posted as soon as they are all finished, (I don't want to jinx this one!)

They were relatively easy to put together, but one thing that I have to remind myself to do if I ever agree to do them again, make certain that the ends of the sashes are straight before I hem them, otherwise you get miss matched hems, not so funny when you have taken the time to decorate them too!

As for my pumpkin?
I have a plan, all I need is acrylic paint and some artistic flair to zap me :-)

in the mean time, it is way past sleepy time for me,
Night night all
J x

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Busy bee's and October Giveaway

Follow this link to see how you can help

As you know I decided to allow last month's gifts to follow to this month as there was little response.  All agreed that this was the best course of action (Thank you all very much)

So this month's Challenge, what will it be, can you guess?

It is obvious really isn't it?

You are to create a pumpkin... 

in your chosen style, be it a patchwork pumpkin cushion, or a pumpkin pie, or even a pumpkin painting? That is your own choice and no one elses... Now what is up for grabs this time about?

Well obviously all that was on offer last month...

Spray adhesive, Two fat quarters, a cup cake picture frame, Jazzy Jeans' HB book, Covered with love book (kids quilts and more), Hand made Cards book, a Water colour painting - Lady in red by a local artist and Jessie pattern from Creative Quilter!

This quantity of items won't be hit again so be sure to enter with time to spare.

All entries must be in before Midnight All Hallow's Eve (in what ever country you live in) - I will work by the latest minute of Halloween for the planet... I do the maths not you ;-)

I don't think it would be right to host a giveaway that was open to the world to view if I didn't allow people across the world to enter!  So anyone can enter... no matter of geographical location.

However, there are a few 'rules' that need to be adhered to -

The work must be your own original handy work.  It must be ok for others to recreate if they so wished to do so (but not to resell as their own), it must be legal, AND it must be hand crafted (where possible upcycled or recycled items to keep us from dumping into the landfills of the earth)

If you have any queries then please let me know, I am approachable and can change my single tracked mind occassionally ;-)

Good luck and take care 
J x 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Lunch bag Tutorial... I hope this works!

Here is the pattern, you can try to right click and then fiddle about at your end with printing it out onto two A4 sheets, OR just wait until hubby dear puts it into a zip for me... 

 This may not work at all... though I did try very hard if it doesn't....

  The above is the original sandwich bag that I took my pattern from. Behind it you can see the shopping bag, that I have cut up and utilized as our youngest boy's sandwich bag.  It is a plastic weave fabric (if fabric is the right word!), which is fairly robust, so a large needle, denim would be sufficient, on your machine is most definitely called for, as is a thick cotton thread.

 Here you can see the cut out parts of the bag. Whilst it doesn't look that clear from here, once you have your bits you'll understand what this jumble is.

Begin by unpicking the seams on your shopping bag and then cut them out in accordance with the pattern.
PLEASE check that your cutting board is free from 'debris' - this will avoid any slicing accidents which happened in my haste to get the bag finished for the next day (I will start on another cushion for my mother just as soon as I've mopped up the tears!)

The main body, two sides added together makes one large rectangle.
 Sew together the main body parts, using a 1/4" seam. Fold and then sew this seam flat, this will ensure water tight integrity.

small side rectangle attached to the main body

Fold the side panels in half length ways to find the middle line. Attach the panels wrong sides together with the main panel, ensuring the middle line marries the central seam along the bottom of the main panel.
Other side panel ready to be sewn.

Top rectangle and zip.

Using the zip foot, sew along the edge of the zip. Right side to right side.

Another angle for the same bit above.
 Sew the top rectangles to the zip (or zip's if you don't have one long enough 13", then use two meeting in the middle.)  Fold the seam flat, then sew into place if you wish.

Second zip side

Both sides sewn into place, 

Folded into position and out flat to neaten edges.

Sew the sides (the ones attached to the bottom of the main panels) to the main panel, I chose not to pin much on this make as accuracy wasn't a great necessity for me at this time.. if I were to be making for another though I would chose pins.

Fold the zip panel in half to find the middle point, do the same with the bag.  Match together the mid points on both the main panel and the zip panel, holding wrong sides together. Sew along a 1.4" seam across the top. Do the same with the opposing side....

Now the tricky bit....

Sew the zip panel down the side edges - On all four edges

Remember to keep an overlap where the zip panels meet the side panels.

Sew along these last few bits - wrong sides together and a patient hand.

I would have taken photo's at this stage but, my other half not realising that the bag wasn't finished sent it off with our son to the child minder!.... No binding, or handles... nothing! 

The final bag....  We have now created the zip file for your pattern to print out... all I need now is somewhere to store it, so I can link this to that... all in good time, lets not run before we can walk x 

J x

Bag design tutorial Pattern

Click on the above link to get the tutorial in zip format, you will then be able to print it out onto A4 sheets and tape them together. Good luck x


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Too busy for comfort!

I can't say that I have been busy making Christmas items to sell at the big fayre I am going to take part in, nor can I say that I have been overrun making items for the family for Christmas either...

So what has taken my days up?  

Gall stones, yup thats right, I have a few gall stones hanging about inside me preventing me from eating fatty foods.  Why is that an issue?

I am not a big person, not super skinny, but not big and not enough fat on me to sustain a harsh winter.  So the food's I do eat, do contain quite a natural high fat content and this keeps me warm, awake, and 'going'

Now I can't eat them, for fear of unimaginable labour like pains in the diaphragm area.

What will happen to my weight then? it will go down, and I will need new clothes.. no thats not the issue really, its the weight loss.  I don't need to, yup not many people are heard to say that, but I don't.  I can hardly keep myself awake as it is, today I managed to stay awake for 3 hours for the craft sale, then when we got home I went back to bed, 3 hours later I was woken up.... because it was nearly time to put the babies to bed.

and now, some 4 hours later I am falling asleep at the PC!  I fell asleep sat upright two nights ago, I can't hear the youngest wake up in the morning and dance about in his cot (which is right next to me!), but I do hear him in the night when he wakes for his comfort feeds (18 months old and I still feed him 3/4 times a night!)

There are many mitigating factors keeping my wakeful hours limited, but that still does nothing for my wakeful and productive hours.  

That said, I did finish the baby boy's quilt, and I love it.
Unfinished Quilt (backing is baby blue fleece)
all in all and whilst I think I've not been productive... I think actually that I have...

see for yourselves

In the next blog the October Giveaway challenge will be annouced, now I wonder what the theme will be? ;-)

Friday, 5 October 2012

New Project!!!

If I could marry a quilt pattern I would happily sign that contract with this!

Follow the link to the designer, they also design and sell the templates that go along with the quilt pattern, however if you are a little strapped money wize, just buy the Gem Thirty cause this has the template of the Gem Ten on the paperwork inside.  Allowing you to complete the quilt without the hassle of working out the angles etc yourself.

Also, when you buy the pattern you also get a free complementing pattern that shows how to turn it into a square, thus creating a quilt rather than wall hanging!   Does it get better?  Well actually yes, they are based in the US, but don't let that put you off.  The exchange rate is quite favourable at the moment and this means that you will be buying a fantastic item for a very cheap price (I thought so as you can't buy it or ought like it here in the UK yet!)

Am I starting on it right away?  

Erm no, I have to make 7 Hen sashes and One Bride one... for ladies of large bossoms.   Luckily I do have a large stash of silks in to make them for them, and all in the right colours. ;-)

Happy Quilting,

Come back on Sunday, I will be announcing the October Challenge and prizes, which include the ones rolled over from the Sept challenge.  Come on and have a go, you have nothing to lose and friends to gain!