Thursday, 3 June 2010

Cupcakes minus Anna :(

I knew the time would come when I would be forced to make cupcakes without my belove-ed Anna and I had saved up a stupidly silly and sickly idea that I'd never dare suggest to a cupcake genius like herself. Super chocolate cupcakes with pink strawberry buttercream. They turned out pretty good. I fell in love with the sickly pink icing as soon as I'd made it and Jess plastered the cakes in it as I scoffed chocolate chips, a few of which managed to make it to the cakes.

I think I've got my cupcake recipe pretty much sorted after a few months of tweaking. It's all pretty easy to remember - I call it the 6,5,4,3,2 recipe. So here goes:

6 oz self raising flour
5 oz caster sugar
4 oz butter or marg. or something butter-esk
3 table spoons of cocoa mixed with boiling water to make a paste (this helps the flavour come out more apparently?)
2 eggs

Basically mix everything together. I tend to do butter plus sugar, then flour, eggs and cocoa but that's just me. You want to get as much air as possible into the mixture, either with a magic whizzer or just with a spoon.

Then the buttercream is just the normal recipe. Butter/marg and icing sugar mixed to taste - make sure it's lots more sugar than butter. (Don't make the mistake of asking other people to taste - you end up with none left!) Then I added a teeeny bit of cochineal or pink food colouring. This tends to be quite strong so make sure it's only a little bit of you want baby pink rather than dark red. I also added 3 or 4 drops of strawberry flavourings but I've read that strawberry jam works quite well.

Then they're topped of with a few chocolate chips. Think they looks pretty pretty. What do you think? I used the new cases from the magic sewing and baking shop in Fal and I think they look good but they seem to be peeling away from the cakes quite a lot. Not sure why. Does make them look ready to eat right now though...


Been on a bit of a shopping spree recently. I saw this dress on asos a while ago but I couldn't justify paying £20 for a dress. But yesterday I suddenly felt in need of a bit of money spending so I went ahead and bought it. I'll be interested in seeing it when it arrives (hopefully some time today - pictures to follow) because the photos don't show much online. Hopefully it'll be nice enough to wear to my university's end of term garden party. Should be a pretty awesome night. Otherwise, I'm about to start another dress project. I'll let you know how it goes.

The other item I bought was this little leather satchel from ebay. I've been looking at similar bags for a while. All my favourite fashion bloggers have been wearing them but they usually go for more money than I'm willing to spend on ebay and I'm yet to find the right one in charity shops. I bid on the one in the top picture assuming it would carry on rising as all the previous ones had but to my surprise I won it! I hadn't looked at it very well before bidding but it says in the description that it is 10" by 7" which makes it a pretty good size. Not too big but not tiny. As with the dress, I'll let you know when it arrives!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Patchwork pillows and muffins, anything to avoid revision

I started of the day with good intentions. Then one thing lead to another and I had started and finished a whole patchwork and turned it into a pillow. I've never tried patchwork before but rosie and I went a little mad on ebay and ended up buying a set of squares of kath kidston-esk fabric. I wouldn't usually use fabric for anything except dressmaking but there's not many items of clothing you can make out of 16 10x10cm squares!

For a few tips on simple patchwork go here or here.
And I like this idea for making a patchwork stuffed animal.

Then I was sure I'd be able to settle down and read a bit for my exam tomorrow. But Anna decided it was a day for cupcakes. Normally we'd make proper sickly ones and plaster them in buttercream but disaster struck as we realised we didn't have any icing sugar! So we tried some apple and cinnamon muffins with a crumble-like topping.

The recipe will appear on anna's blog sooooon.

Right. Revision. Goodbye for now...

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The checked pillowcase skirt

top - H&M, handband - dorethy perkins, skirt - handmade, red band - devon county show!

The beautifully sunny Cornish weather and everyone's pretty summery dresses have been inspiring me lots recently. But I've been pretty busy with the county show, house sitting and exams. After a reasonably good exam I though I'd celebrate with a new skirt. I wore my old blue and white striped skirt this morning which I made a while ago now from a tesco value pillowcase. I love wearing it (except for the transparency... but I can just wear a petticoat) so I had a rummage and found a spare pillowcase that actually came with my current bedset from Ikea with 3 others. Being a poor student I don't have 4 pillows on my bed so I let myself cut it up.
The pattern's pretty magic (even if I do say so myself) because it uses basically all the pillowcase. But this does mean you have to start by unpicking all the seams. Then you're left with a long rectangle that's more than twice as long as the original case was. I then cut two rectangles (half waist x waist band width + a bit of seam allowance), one from either end of the material. If you leave the original hems at either end they can become the hem at the top of the waist band.

(click to see fullsize)

Next I hem all the way along one of the long sides of the remaining material. Then I sew two parallel lines near the other side using a long stitch and gather along them. Don't be tempted to cheat and only sew one line. For some reason that I don't understand it always works better with two - you end up with a more even gather. Plus if one breaks its not the end of the world.
Sew the two waist band pieces together at one side, using right sides together and all that. The skirt piece should be gathered to the same length.
Then it's a case of pinning and sewing the two pieces together, right sides together. Then I sewed the sides together and put in a zip. I tend to just fluff it but if you want to know how to sew in a zip proper-like then there are loads of help on youtube (threadbanger tends to be good).

That's about it for now. Let me know what you think of the skirt and this post. I'm gonna try and blog a little more properly but we'll see what happens!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Afternoon tea top

Just finished making this afternoon tea top from the pattern from burdastyle. Anyone that's ever sewn with me knows I don't do patterns. It's was a battle but luckily it didn't come with lots of instructions and I just ignored the pattern pieces that I couldn't work out so it seems to come out ok. I even managed darts! Altogether it was a very un-bunni make but I'm pleased how it came out. So pleased in fact that I didn't wait til I'd actually finished it til I took photos (spot the un-hemmed edge) so I'm actually still hand sewing the zip in a bit tighter at the moment.

I used my £3.99 a meter dirty baby blue spotted fabric from truro fabric shop and put a piece of lace in the seam. That actually happened by accident... I meant it to be on the top edge but because it's made from a pattern, I didn't know which was the top edge til I'd realised I'd already done it wrong. This is the problem with patterns. If I'd just made it from my head, I'd know which was the top edge! I guess I could manage them if I was just a little more organised and methodical.

This is actually my first day off in a while. With boardmasters and all the sunny days, I've been needed at work pretty much all the time. But when it starts raining again which must be soon now I'll start blogging more regularly again.

Let me know what you think as usual with a comment below.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Dresses dresses and more dresses (and two skirts...)

I'm spending this gloriously sunny english summer (bitter sarcasism) working in a beach car park down in cornwall. It's a pretty awesome job really - the people are great and the views are still stunning everday but I 'm not really needed on wet days and seeing as there are quite so many this year, I've been filling my time with sewingg. This post is just going to be a quick look through most of the pieces I've made so far. If anyone's interested in exactly how I made anything in particular, leave a nice comment below and I might just write a tutorial for you. If I'm feeling nice.

This first one I just altered to fit me. I kept seeing this dress in tescos but it was just too expensive (£18) so I kept putting off buying it. Then they put the last few on sale but obviously there were only very large sizes left so I bought a size 16 (UK) and took it in. All I did was sew further in on the seams. It actually fits me pretty exactly seeing as I didn't alter the chest at all really. I love the dress itself. It's the whole grecian mamma mia thing. Though it is possibly a little long so I might take the skirt up at the waistband. Would have been perfect for a sunny summer. Grr

Sorry for the terrible terrible photo. Not quite sure what happened there btu I'm too lazy to take another. It's supposed to show my garden skirt which is a basic high waisted skirt with a thick band. I planned to gather the skirt to the band but in the end I did tiny little pleats which look ok but I think I'll either gather it or pleat it properly next time. I actually had the skirt practically finished for ages but I finally finished it just now because a certain flik ran off my the zip that I bought for it. She did post it back with a lovely message in red crayon though so I'll forgive her. Just this once.
Anyway, back to the skirt. Not sure if I should leave it as it is or possibly put in a slight bubble hem. It's a little so straight lined for me - makes my bum look big :P Let me know what you think. COMMMENTT

This is a little bubble dress that was a long time in coming. The idea came from this dorethy perkins dress and I bought the fabric agess ago from the amazing truro fabric shop. I finally decided to make it the other day. It's not my favourite dress actually now. I guess I've spent too long making it and now I'm kinda bored of it. It's just basically a grey jersey top with the skirt attached and then with elastic in the bottom of the skirt.

This is more of a recon than a proper handmade dress. The skirt is cut from an old primark prom dress that I wore to a school dance a long long time ago. The top was very fitted with boning and miles too small so I cute it off and saved the boning and the skirt. Not sure if I'll get around to use the boning but its nice to have. To make this dress, I just attached the skirt to a jersey top made from the same as the one above. It bought it from one of the amazing charity shops in helston for £2 for a good meter and a half. It's actually a bit wooly and really soft to the touch so probably isn't actually jersey but I don't know exactly.

This is another made from a helston charity shop find. It was a big rectangle of fabric with this amazing batik style border on the bottom so I made a nice shirred summer dress. I think it's all these summer dresses that I've made that's jinxed the weather.... If you want a tutorial how to shirr and make a similar dress, watch this threadbanger video.

This is by far my favourite dress. It's made from a navy primark t-shirt (cos I'm lazy and jersey is expensive) and a striped tesco value duvet cover. I think its just the ruffling that makes me love it so much. Other than that, it's very very similar to my other dresses. I'm quite tempted to make a few of these for people. Let me know what you think.
This is the other skirt which is made from a man's shirt bought in a charity shop on the scilly iles. I loved the fabric and it took me ages to pluck up the courage to cut it but I'm really pleased with the result. The bias pockets were done on a whim but I think they work well. It really needs another button at the bottom because it's slightly indecent at the moment but I think I might get around to changing all of the buttons. Plus it's not warm enought to go out without leggings at the moment anyway.
And that's it for my marathon post. Let me know which is your favourite with a comment below. What do you think I should make next? I found some brilliant vintagy floral fabrics in a charity shop this morning and got the lot for £1.50. There's 2 dresses and 2 skirt's worth I think which is pretty good. I'll show you pictures in my next post along with the introductions for my stuffed animals and monsters that I've been making when I'm bored of clothes.
So yes. Comment now!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Pretty Postcards

I had some time to kill is Helston the other day (because a certain Flik turned up an hour late to go to truro for fabric - something I'll blog about another time) so I went into the "market" which consists of a tiny hall in the center of town selling a few plants, a few cakes, some amazing handmade lace which I really really wanted but couldn't justify spending £10 on and boxes of postcards. Lots were new ones but I found an old leather case full of older ones. The few that had dates were of the 20s. They were 50p each though so not a total bargin when you really just want to buy them all. I managed to limit myself to 5, mostly pictures of people. I love the two above. The first is dated May 1924 and the second is a photograph with the postcard layout printed on the back which seems a little high-tech for those days. I liked the first for it's prettyness as a photograph but the second I had to have for the brilliant outfits the 3 girls are wearing. I guess the photo was taken on a beach holiday along a strand.

This one just makes me laugh! The picture is so posed and the little girl looks quite grumpy about the whole thing. It's actually a birthday postcard with a sickly sweet little poem in the bottom right corner. It was from the birthday girl's "hubby". I really love the little hat and dress and the way the umbrella and flowers are so neatly positioned.

This was the only one I bought that wasn't a portrait. I used to visit Weymouth a lot for family holidays when I was younger. One of the first memories I have is of a donkey ride along that beach. I'm not sure how much it's changed now but I miss having that few cars on the road and those buses! (though on my recent trip to the scillies, all the local buses on st marys did look quite like that.)

And finally, this is the last one. It's not my favourite but I liked the way it was sort of in colour but not quite and the girl's hair is amazing. I spend too much time wishing I had curly hair Though if I did, I'd probably give my soul for it to be straight - the grass is always greener on the other side.

These are the backs of a few. I love the old writing and the stamps! You can click the image to see it bigger I think... If I've got it to work right.

I think that'll do for a post. Once I got the scanner working here, I couldn't help but scan everything in sight so I've got a few from the latest vogue that happened to be lying around here but I'll pop them in the next one.

Let me know with a comment below if you're reading this blog (to spur me to carry on). Maybe let me know which card was your favourite? Thanks x