Monday, 22 December 2014

I'm Ready

Shopping's done, cake's iced - a bought cake, obviously - I've just finished the last of my knitted gifts, everything's wrapped and delivered AND I've finished my Christmas frock.
It's another Laurel - I wanted something easy to make, and that I knew would fit, now that I've made one or two adjustments. I had intended to make the version with plain sleeves, but I showed the partially-finished dress and the pattern to my friend Lynne who said "Oh I love the frills on the sleeves" so although I wasn't at all sure, I decided to add them, and now I've really glad I did. Definitely makes it into a proper Christmas frock.
I'm really pleased with it, to such an extent that it's actually a "Christmas decoration" at the moment. (I don't know about anyone else, but whenever I've made something that I'm really pleased with,  I tend to leave it hanging somewhere that I'll keep seeing it.  And it makes me smile.  
If I don't get to say it later, hope you all have a lovely Christmas xx

I'm Ready - Paul Rodgers

Friday, 12 December 2014

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

I don't usually go overboard with Christmas makes, but I was inspired after seeing this pattern for a fabric deer head from Bustle and Sew

I downloaded the pattern, although I wasn't convinced I'd actually make it, but then on Tuesday I found the pattern under a pile of magazines - something that happens a lot here, despite my decluttering, so I decided to give it a go. 
And today having rummaged through my button stash for eyes,  I finished it -

His head is made from a charity shop scarf, the antlers are from some fabric 'decluttered' by my friend Pam, supported by some wire I found in the greenhouse, (the antlers that is, not Pam.  She is still self-supporting at present)
The red and white spotted fabric is leftover from this dress, 
So, all made without requiring any new purchases!  I deliberately didn't make it too Christmassy, just in case I can't bear to put it away in the New Year, but he does have a red nose.

Coincidentally, I was in the shop on Wednesday when a customer said she needed to make antlers and a red nose to transform her horse into Rudolf for a Christmas event at local stables, but she wasn't sure how to go about it.  I don't think she believed me when I said "You've come to just the right place, I happened to make a pair of antlers only yesterday."  
Not something you hear everyday.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - The Crystals

Sunday, 7 December 2014


Is it just me, or does anyone else get a bit fed up with the constant bombardment of adverts for 'Christmas fare', recipes for the finest ever Christmas pudding (yuck), the absolute best method of cooking a Christmas turkey, etc, etc, - as if we don't eat the rest of the year.  
I thought I'd seen everything in the culinary festive overload, but then yesterday in a little local magazine I saw something unbelievable - a recipe that called for eleven ingredients, including a dozen chicken wings, carrots, onions, celery, streaky bacon, etc etc.  And do you know what the recipe was for? Gravy! Gravy!?!?!?!?  
It must be me, I suppose.  On the rare occasion I ever consider cooking anything, a recipe is automatically dismissed if it calls for more than half a dozen ingredients.  Or egg whites (life's too short to separate eggs) or yeast, or anything else that  I haven't heard of. 

My Christmas food could be summed up in two words - Chocolate Log. You can keep your mince pies, Christmas pudding, Turkey dinner - although I'd still like a turkey sandwich please, if that's ok. But deny me a shop bought chocolate swiss roll, coated with with more homemade chocolate buttercream than is really necessary - and you'll be sorry.

I'm afraid I never understand why anyone would want to be cooking when they can be playing around with bits of fabric and thread and paint.  And in case you too want to make something Christmassy that won't give you indigestion, let me show you my lovely crackers, if you'll pardon the expression.
I didn't design them myself - I followed the tutorial from Gina.  You can see hers here - and although her version is probably slightly more perfect than mine, obviously, I still think mine look pretty damn good. And that's all thanks to her tutorial - I know she's my friend and I would say that, but she really is an excellent teacher, for two reasons - she designs and makes beautiful things, and secondly, being an ex maths teacher (no-one's perfect) she is able to explain the method in a very clear and understandable way that's easy to follow.  Anyway, if you're tempted, pop along to her etsy shop and buy yourself a very reasonably priced tutorial.  If nothing else, the crackers call for fewer ingredients than bloody gravy.

Yesterday I made something slightly more practical, but equally enjoyable - I went here -
 (photo blatantly nicked from their website)
Sew Over It's new shop in Islington, for a workshop to make  a pair of 'Ultimate trousers'.  
I've wanted to go on one of these classes for a while, but previously the only shop was in Clapham, and while I am sure it is equally lovely, it was just a bit too far for me to trek.  But Islington? Now you're talking.  
It was a brilliant day, the shop is gorgeous - even the loo was pretty - and the workshop was excellent.  I've been dressmaking for about 40 years, so I don't REALLY need to go on a course to make trousers, but getting the fit right on your own is the tricky bit.  Thanks to Dominique, our experienced and knowledgeable tutor who studied textiles, fashion design and pattern cutting in both in Chelsea and in France, everyone in the class went home with a great fitting pair of trousers.  There were tartan trews, velvet trousers, polka dot and floral version.  Mine, boringly I suppose, were plain black - but having worked on the fit and transferred the alterations to the pattern (again with Dom's assistance) I shall be more adventurous with my next pair.  
Why no photograph?  Well, as I said - they are plain black trousers, so it wouldn't be very exciting, would it?  Added to which, although they are the Ultimate Trousers, and they fit really well, I'm afraid I don't have the Ultimate Body.  When I do, you'll be the first to know.

Cracker - Biffy Clyro