Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A rainbow cake of sorts....

Ever since I saw this cake on pinterest I have wanted to make it and thought it would be the perfect birthday cake for Caitlin this year. Unfortunately on the morning of her birthday I was fast running out of time. Going to bed late the previous night didn't help as I slept in a little :) So inspired again by this cake I made a quicker version of a  rainbow cake. 
 We still had 6 different colours and yes six different bowls to wash. I used a Victorian Sponge recipe and just divided it into 6 to mix in the colours. The girls loved helping me out with this stage of making it and thought it looked a bit like the coloured playdough I used to make for them when they were younger. I was a little concerned the extra mixing would spoil the lightness of the cake but I'm pleaed to say it turned out beautifully.

As you can see it was so nice it was half gone on Sunday afternoon and it is now sadly all gone. The yummy butter icing also added to it's deliciousness! You can find more Rainbow cake inspiration here.

Amelia also helped out by making these yummy chocolate cupcakes with chocolate fudge frosting. She has made quite a few cupcakes recently but these have got to be her best yet. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

The humble square

Even though I have 3 projects on the go at the moment last week I pulled out some fabrics for yet another project. With my youngest daughters 12th birthday fast approaching I realised I'd better get going on the things I wanted to make her. Why I leave things till the last minute I do not know but all of a sudden I realise I have a mere 3 days left to get the ideas out of my head and made. I'm sure I'm not the only busy mother who does this. Anyway I had decided to make her a memo board for her new study/play area that used to be her sisters bedroom. I knew what colours she liked from her helping me out with the layout of the crochet rug, which were aqua, purple and red and had also decided to make her board the same way I made my memo board here. I really love how just a simple patchwork pattern of squares really shows off the fabrics I chose. I think sometimes in an effort to be original or different we can over complicate things. These squares reminded me that a simple shape is all that is needed to let those favourite fabrics shine. 

 I did however go to town on the machine embroidery which meant getting to play with all the decorative stitches on my new Janome. I started off just using ordinary thread then switched to some nice shiny specialised machine embroidery thread which really made those stitches stand out.
As you can see I actually made 2 memo boards because one big one wouldn't fit in the space I had in mind. I chose purple buttons and a mauve ribbon for one board and aqua buttons and ribbon for the other. I even sewed these squares in front of her without her knowing what they were for. I guess I do so much sewing that she doesn't take too much notice until I finish something.

Here's a close-up of some of those pretty, decorative machine stitches I used. I think these 2 are my favourites. These boards are really easy to make but just take a little time especially sewing on all those buttons! (16 on each!!) And just to prove how last minute I am I was up until 1am Saturday night finishing these boards off and wrapping her presents for her birthday on Sunday.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Simple pleasures that make me smile.....

Signs of spring in my garden...

Clear sunny breezy days for getting the washing dry and finding sweet smelling spring flowers to pick to enjoy inside....
Discovering this magazine "Good" which is full of informative articles and helpful hints for saving money and making do....

Out cats snuggling on my new crochet rug......
Sunrises like this one and being up early enough to see them.

What's making you smile today?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Yo-yo's and yet more yo-yo's

Making yo-yo's
I've finally started making some yo-yo's for Penny's 'Yo-yo along'. After finishing up my crochet blanket I needed something to keep my fingers busy at night in front of the TV as I just hate to sit and do nothing so making these yo-yo's is the perfect activity that keeps me busy but still lets me watch my favourite programmes. I've decided to do one colour group at a time so it doesn't seem such a daunting task although having a yo-yo maker certainly makes it quicker and easier. I'm up to 24 as of last night. Penny's making 1008!

Bliss yo-yo wreath
And in keeping with the yo-yo theme this is a wreath I made with some of my leftover Bliss fabrics and a few yo-yo's. What do you think?

Bliss yo-yo wreath
I really enjoy adding little details to my projects so I embellished the yo-yo's with a selection of buttons and sewed them on with some sparkly beads.
Bliss yo-yo wreath
I also wrapped some white ric-rac around the wreath and did a simple running stitch with some pale pink perle cotton to keep it in place and a ric-rac loop for hanging embellished with some simple french knots. Pretty don't you think and its for sale in my shop here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Henny Penny and her six chicks

Henny Penny and six chicks
This is the cute gift I whipped up for my friends baby shower on Sunday although when I say 'whipped up' it actually took me a day to make plus the stuffing and hand sewing at night. As I mentioned before it is from the book 'Handmade Beginnings' by Anna Maria Horner and with her great instructions it was pretty easy and fun to put together.

Henny Penny and six chicks
All the fabrics are scraps from my stash and I had the yellow velcro left over from a previous project a few years ago. French knots and not buttons for eyes as they are too dangerous for young babies even though they would look nice.

Henny Penny and six chicks
I went with reddy/orangey colours as the parents have six hens themselves in similar colourings. I hope it gets lots of playtime from its soon to arrive owner.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Last minute gift sewing...

Just quickly popping in to show you what I'm working on today. These are going to be some little chicks that I'm making from a pattern in Anna Maria Horner's book 'Handmade Beginnings'  I bought this book because I know of 2 little babies due to be born during the next couple of months and I thought that was a good enough reason :-) I have Anna's first book and love the way she writes and of course the patterns are great too.
These little chicks are too cute and are a baby shower gift to which we are going to on Sunday. 
Hoping to finish them up tonight with some hand sewing in front of the TV. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A very satisfying finish this week!

My crochet blanket is finished!
Yes I finished my crochet blanket last night!! I've been working on it at every spare moment and I got a lot done this last Sunday afternoon when it decided to rain heavily and not stop just as we were thinking of going out for walk on the beach for some fresh air. So the girls happily played on their Wii while I was happily ensconced on the couch keeping warm under my growing blanket and listening to some favourite music through headphones.

My crochet blanket is finished!
I don't know why but I'm surprised at how heavy it is. I guess it is a pure wool blanket and also I'm used to using our mohair blankets to snuggle under which are really light. I still have to weave all the ends through on the underside which is quite a job with all those colours. To think that just over a year ago I was a complete novice at crochet! I can thoroughly recommend  this project as a good beginner, maybe long term crochet project. It's a great project to take anywhere as you are just doing  it square by square although it was a little like a jigsaw puzzle to put altogether ;) 
Now I think I might like to tackle some crochet cushions to scatter around the house starting with this one and then maybe this one and I'd also quite like a scarf like this  pretty one.

My crochet blanket is finished!
And look who's given it the royal seal of approval!! She's been on it since mid-afternoon and is still there!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Starting new projects!

With my crochet blanket coming to an end I've been itching to pull out some fabrics for a new project or 2. Firstly I've decided to join the Amy Butler sew along over on Sara's blog Sew Sweetness. I love both Amy Butler's fabric designs and patterns so this was an easy decision for me to make and of course there's the added incentive of some prizes involved :) I've already have 2 Amy Butler bags but they are both in blues so I think I need a pink one for this coming spring/summer season. The pattern I've decided on is the Blossom bag which is a free pattern that can be found here

I'm also looking forward to finally starting on my yo-yo project for Penny's sew along that I signed up for a while back. I'm not sure how big I'm going to make this quilt yet but I have decided to use the above collection of fabrics because they are mostly small scale prints which I think would be nice made up in yo-yo's. I've had a lot of these fabrics for absolutely way too long just waiting for the perfect project. Some are vintage given to me from an Auntie, some were brought by my husband on a business trip to Portugal and some are Liberty prints and of course some I just bought on whim as you do when you like fabric :)
So looking forward to starting both these projects!

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