Wednesday, 31 December 2014

My Year of No Shopping...Roundup

At the beginning of 2014 I made a few crafty new year resolutions, so it's about time to look back at them....
 
2014
 
Keep making my own clothes, and learning more difficult sewing techniques. - I've kept sewing, even more often as the year went on and tackled more difficult projects.
 
Wear a handmade dress to each of the 2 weddings I'm attending this year! - done..although I haven't shared either with you on here...I will do ! And it ended up being 3 weddings...
 
Learn to crochet so I can make a granny blanket- I have learnt to crochet, but the blanket is only half done currently.
 
Keep blogging regularly - Yes, although I want to keep to one a week.
 
Open a new Etsy shop for my free motion stitching, and get on with making more cushions with various city skylines on! - Yes, although I haven't spent much time on it really, I need to fill it with more items, which is this years plan!
 

At the beginning of the year, I also set myself a challenge. Which I'm sure I had blogged about, but I can't find anywhere, so perhaps not. I decided I would try to go the whole year without buying anything from the high street that I couldn't have a good shot at making myself.
And how has it gone?
Well this year I have bought... one pair of jeans and two basic t-shirt tops. And I got another pair of jeans and a jumper as a presents.

So all in all I think I did pretty well in my challenge. I didn't buy any skirts, tops, dresses but made them all myself. I even made myself a hacking jacket and a shirt. This year I've learnt to do invisible zips, flat felled seams, princess seams and dealt with collars, lapels and yokes. The one item I'm most proud about I think is my jacket.


So now the year is over, will I keep sewing all my own clothes or start shopping again?
Well I'm certainly not going to stop sewing anytime soon, but if I saw an item in a shop I really loved I wouldn't stop myself from buying it either.
What this year has done is made me really appreciate each item in my wardrobe. Gone are the days of buying cheap tat in Primark that I sometimes wouldn't even get around to wearing. When you make the effort to find fabric, cut, press and spend hours sewing together a garment, you wear it, even if its not as perfect as you'd like. It also makes me think about the hours put into making ready-to-wear clothing in factories out in places like Bangladesh, compared to how little we pay for it and I'm proud that I'm not as much a part of the problem as I used to be.

Here's to 2015!

Emily Kate


Saturday, 20 December 2014

Puffy Pouffes

Knitted pouffes seem to be the must have home accessorie for this year. Every interior magazine going has one featured in it's pages, and they can cost up to £100 ($150). Even the cheapest I found online was £40 ($60). So this is the perfect reason to DIY your own one. All you need is some acrylic wool, and basic knitting skills. All you really need to know is a long tail cast-on, basic garter stitch and how to cast off and be able to knit reasonably evenly. No increases, decreases or even purling.
The wool you use doesnt need to be expensive, in fact I think it's better using cheaper acrylic wool as it is put under quite a lot of stress pulling the lines of stitches together at the end. The pattern I used is from the brilliant Norwegian website Pickles, but it's more of a rough guide as you may need to adjust your cast on or how much wool you use, if you use a different wool weight.
 
I used Ice yarns atlas wool which is 100g and 130m long, and bulky weight. The pattern calls for superbulky/chunky yarn so I held 3 strands together and cast on 42 stitches. I made two pouffes for Christmas presents this year and ordered 12 balls of wool in each colour, but I only ended up using 6 so the cost of the wool was about £20, so only £10 per pouffe.
 
I cast on 42 stitches and then knitted in garter stitch until my rectangle was roughly 40inches long and 20inches wide, leaving a very long tail. Then I put the two short ends next to each other and sewed them together using a darning needle.
Using the long tail I put the needle through every 3rd stitch and pulled to bring the stitches together like a drawstring, then I carried on pulling stitches together until there was no hole in the centre. To stuff my pouffes, I bought a brand new double size duvet for each pouffe. Using a new one worked really well as it was already pre-rolled, so I was able to take off the wrapping and slip the knitted cover on like a sock, keeping the round shape. Then I used a new length of yarn to pull every 3rd stitch together like the other end. I did need to put in quite a bit of effort to keep pulling and bring the stitches together so there was no hole.

I'm really very happy with the final result, they turned out better than I hoped for, given the issues some people seemed to have on ravelry. I can't wait to have room to make a lovely mustard yellow one in my own home. The total cost for each pouffe I mate was just £18 ($27) less than half the amount of the cheapest one I found online.
 
Emily Kate


Saturday, 13 December 2014

Christmas Hamper Treats - Cranberry and Apple Chutney

Something that you find in pretty much every hamper, is a type of jam or chutney. Preserves are great gifts as they last for a long time, and one big batch can make several jars. I particularly like this chutney in a homemade hamper as its something savoury to go with all those sweet things, and its got ingredients that are in season in winter and liked by most. No worrying if you chucked in too much chilli for granny or where you're going to buy figs in December. Giving preserves as gifts is also a great reason to clear out the fridge of all those jam jars with a tablespoon of mouldy jam left in them and use them for something new!


Ingredients
1kg cooking apples, peeled and cut into small pieces
500g eating apples, peeled and cut into large pieces
450g sliced onions
50g fresh root ginger, chopped
1tsp peppercorns
500g sugar
250ml cider vinegar
508g cranberries

Method
Add all the ingredients apart from cranberries to a large saucepan and pit on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely.
Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for around 50mins. Until the apples are tender and no watery juice remains.
Add the cranberries and cook for another 10mins until the cranberries have softened and turned the chutney red, but only a few have burst.
Spoon the chutney into sterilised jam jars and seal. To sterilise the jars, wash them in hot soapy water then put in the oven at 120C/gas mark 1 until completely dry.
Wack a bit of ribbon round the top with a little label, and you're done!

I'm not a big chutney person myself but I always keep a jar back for me to make a few cheese, chutney, ham and salad sandwiches (in that order of course, no one wants chutney making your bread soggy)

Enjoy!

Emily Kate

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Best Fudge You'll Ever Eat

If you're looking for an easy, quick treat to make for your friends and family this Christmas, perhaps to put inside a homemade hamper, this fudge is just the thing.
It's not too crumbly, but melt in the mouth  perfect. You can dress it up in some cellophane, like I've done here, or put it in a cute Christmas tin. Every mother and fathers day I put some in a leftover takeaway tub and post it to my parents, goes down a treat and is super cheap and easy. It's also a lovely food gift for anyone with dairy intolerance/allergy as it's very easy to make with margarine instead of butter and elmea buttermilk rather than cream.
 
Ingredients
450g Sugar
30g Butter/marg
325ml Cream
Few drops of vanilla essence or vanilla pod.
Small handful of white chocolate chips.
Method
Add the sugar, butter, vanilla and cream to a large saucepan and put over a low heat until the sugar dissolves.

Bring to the boil and let it boil, stirring constantly so it doesn't stick on the bottom of the pan. 
 
Keep boiling and stirring for 12-15mins, or until it has turned a golden honey colour and thickened. Check it is at the soft ball stage by dropping a drop of the mixture into a bowl of cold water. If you can roll it into a soft ball with your fingers in the water then it's ready.
 
When it's reached that stage, take it off the heat and whisk the mixture as it cools down. Chuck in the handful of white chocolate chips and whisk them in. When the mixture is getting too thick to whisk, pour into a tin lined with greaseproof paper.Leave to cool completely at room temperature. When cool cut into squares and wrap them in cellophane.
 
The cooking process takes less than half an hour and it's cool and ready to gift within a few hours. You could even make some chocolate fudge, add a tbsp or so of cocoa and of golden syrup at the beginning, and use dark chocolate chips at the end.
 
And there you go, a fail safe recipe for a sweet everyone will love as a gift, and perfect for a christmas hamper.

 
Emily Kate.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

New Word Pillows

Just in time for Christmas, there's a couple of new throw pillows appearing in the shop this week. A lovely purple smile one, and a 'shhh..' in blue. I used an italic font for these two, and I love the effect it creates.





If you'd like one of these to brighten up your living room this winter, then just head over to my Etsy shop. Others colours are quite possible on request if you ask nicely. :)
 
Emily Kate.


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Chocolate Brioche Pudding

A few years ago, I spent my autumn term of college on an Erasmus placement in the city of Lyon in France. I'm heading back for a visit in just a few weeks so thought it was about time I shared one of my favourite desserts...

Its a beautiful city and I loved the French way of life of buying basically everything fresh, fruit, veg and dairy, at the local market for a bargain price. One of the only things I would buy at the supermarket was brioche, a sweet bread that is sold absolutely everywhere, even in the local corner shop. I could sit and eat an entire loaf, with nothing on it, just for breakfast.
One of my favourite things to cook whilst I lived in France was this chocolate brioche bread and butter pudding, the perfect marriage between a French bread and classic English dessert. I found a recipe online, but its long since been lost. Delia's is the closest recipe I've come across, but I've made a few changes.

Ingredients:

12 slices of brioche bread from a loaf
200g dark chocolate
75g butter or margarine
425ml double cream
110g caster sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
3 large eggs

Method:

  • Cut the crusts off the slices of bread and slice them in half, into triangles. Work out how you will arrange them in a shallow roasting/casserole dish.
  • Put all the other ingredients apart from the eggs into a large saucepan and hear over a very low heat.
  • Stir the mixture over the heat until the chocolate and butter have melted and the sugar has dissolved.
  • When the mixture has properly come together, whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and then pour the chocolate mixture over them.
  • Pour a small amount of the chocolate mix into the dish, then place the bread on top, packing the triangles in neatly.
  • Pour the rest of the chocolate mix on top and push down the bread with a fork. Leave to soak in for two hours on the side, then refrigerate for 24 hours, or as long as you can bare. If you don't the liquid doesn't soak though the bread properly, although it is still tasty..
  • Preheat the oven to 180C and bake for around 30-35 mins, until the top is crusty but its squidgy inside.
 
I can't say it looks too pretty, but it really does taste amazing. The perfect dessert for a cold winter evening. You could even grate a bit of orange in for a terrys chocolate orange style pudding, or add a dash of rum or baileys.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Dogtooth Print Megan Dress

I've been wanting to make something from dogtooth print fabric for quite some time, as I love the pattern, and when I got Tilly's book Love at First Stitch for my birthday, the Megan dress seemed to be the perfect choice. Incidentally check patterns and dogtooth check in particular seem to be all over the high street this winter, although I had already made my dress by the time I noticed this so I like to think its me that's the trendsetter.

I love the simplicity of the shift dress she's designed, but with elegant slight puff sleeves. The simple dress with a check fabric works really well and is a great staple wardrobe item that could be dressed up or down. I made mine from a double jersey dogtooth fabric so its super comfy and warm and perfect for my day job, erring on the right side of smart casual.

The pattern was very straightforward to follow, as all the ones in the book are. I like the fit of the dress generally, but it is a little roomy all over, I think I could have got away with cutting a size down. My measurements align well with Tilly's size 4, but I wonder whether the pattern allows for more ease than I needed, or perhaps using a stretch knit was the issue.

 


I definitely will be making more dresses from this pattern in the future, I love Tilly's suggestion of a colour block dress, like my sunshine white/yellow summer dress. I also would like to try lengthening the sleeves and using the Megan pattern for the top half, and a pleated or circle skirt for the bottom like the Lilou dress.
 
Emily Kate

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Hacking Jacket Pattern Review - Great British Sewing Bee Book

As I decided not to buy any clothes this year, except the odd basics, I have been making a dress for the weddings I've attended. For an autumn wedding I decided since I already had quite a few dresses, I'd wear a summery one I made and make a tailored jacket for my outfit. I used the pattern from the Great British Sewing Bee book that I'd been planning to sew for ages and finally felt able to tackle!

Pattern Description: 
Ladies Hacking Jacket

Pattern Sizing:
 To fit UK sizes 8,10,12,14 and 16.
 
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes it does, even down to the fabric choice.
 
Were the instructions easy to follow?
In all honesty... no. The instructions talk about the large dot and the small dot, when in reality there is no difference in the size of them on the pattern. Also when it came to sewing the upper collar to the facing, it didn't mention that this involves going around a corner on one part, and that it is correct that there should be a couple of inches left over at the edge not sewn to anything.
 
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
 I really like the pattern, the only thing I didn't like was the mistakes in the instructions. I would also make it a little bit longer I think if I made another.
 
Fabric Used:
A cotton and tweed blend in a grey/beige rustic colour, and a peach coloured crepe back satin for the sleeve facings.
 
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I didn't make any alterations or design changes, the only thing I would mention is that I made the toile up in a size 10 and found it a bit tight so cut more like a size 12 for the finished garment.
 
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes I would, and I would recommend the pattern to others, but only experienced sewers able to understand the dodgy instructions and I'd offer to help!
 
Conclusion:
I love the finished project, and am very proud of it, as my first properly tailored item of clothing. I made a toile first and then was very careful doing each step, which meant I made a lot less mistakes than I can often do. No unpicking was necessary! I think I would make it again in a slightly thinner fabric, perhaps in black, and would add a full lining as the tweed fabric is quite itchy and I wear this one with a cardi underneath.
 
The dress I'm wearing in this picture is made from the Lilou pattern in Love at First Stitch by Tilly and the Buttons... a review will follow at some point!
 
 
 
Emily Kate


Friday, 24 October 2014

Homemade Wedding Favours

I think a few years ago before the recession, the average wedding cost was said to be around $25,000 in the US, and £18,000 over here in the UK. Now due to the economic slowdown everyone is looking to cut costs. Coupled with the fact that people are moving away from the world of mass manufacture and wanting something handmade and unique, making bits and bobs for your wedding yourself and with family and friends is becoming very popular.

Now when I eventually get married, I'm intending to make absolutely anything and everything I can for my wedding. Not just to save costs and because Mr Makes is rather stingy, but because that's what I love to do. However I realise that's not everyone's bag. But something like making your own favours can be a really lovely handmade touch, not too time consuming, cheap and unique to you.
So when a family member got married a couple of weeks ago and asked me to help do the favours I was happy to help. The groom is Welsh and they were getting married in Cardiff so we decided to do miniature welsh cakes for the favours.

All you need for making your own favours like this is some cellophane wrap, you can get this online, from florists shops, and they even sell it in the Danish shop Tiger. I like the stuff with polka dots. And you need some ribbon, perhaps to match your colour theme, and maybe some little labels (although these aren't essential) Lastly of course your treat to put inside, you could make your favourite cookie recipe, little rocky roads or brownies, or even some fudge. If you don't fancy making something yourself you could buy it instead, although that would make them a bit more costly.


All you need to do is make a little pile of the treats in the middle of a square of cellophane, bring up the corners to meet in the middle and scrunch together carefully without crushing what's inside. Get someone to hold it while you cut a length of ribbon and wrap it around, tying in a bow and curling the ends. Tie on the labels, and you're done!

 
Emily Kate

Friday, 17 October 2014

Geometric Tapestry Crochet Clutch Bag

In the summer I decided I wanted to learn to crochet, in order to make a granny blanket (still a work in progress!) and then I saw in Mollie Makes a quirky crochet clutch bag. So fast forward a couple of months of a bit of crocheting here and there and I decided I was ready to tackle this tapestry crochet, a technique for creating colourwork patterns in crochet.

I'm not usually a big fan of crochet bags/garments, but I think the geometric pattern and leather flap make this much more stylish than your average crochet bag. It is also big enough to carry books and/or a laptop. Infact its probably best to use it for books and carry under your arm, I find mine is rather floppy and stretches if it doesn't have a book in it to keep the rectangular shape.

The tapestry crochet I found pretty straightforward, although it does require a bit of brainwork to make sure you pick up/put down threads in the right place, and also to make sure you always leave the yarn on the wrong side of your work, I didn't see that mentioned in the magazine article. Your yarn does get in quite a mess, but I found it easier to just sit on the sofa in a mess of yarn all around me and it sorts itself out as you loose balls of yarn. Best to have someone handy to fetch things though....

Now one major issue I had with this project were the instructions in the magazine. This is only my second crochet project so really I didn't have a clue what I was doing, but following the instructions for the first 12 lines or so, before the pattern started, I found my bag getting really quite long, quite quickly. After 12 lines my bag was already 6/7" long, and there are 90 lines to the pattern. It does quite clearly say that each line is double crochet, but from looking at the pictures and the colourwork pattern, I deduced that there had been a fairly major boo-boo of the pattern being written in single crochet, and then telling you to double crochet everything. So I unwound the project back to the start, and halved the amount of rows. Each row of the bag corresponded to 2 rows of the colourwork pattern in the magazine. And then it all made a lot more sense and was the right size!

This video, if you can look past the cringe 80's shirt may help with your tapestry crochet...




 

Emily Kate
x


Friday, 10 October 2014

Paris Skyline Pillow

So this is really going to be a post of pictures... After rather a looong time intending to do, and never really getting around to it, I have eventually made another skyline pillow to add to my London, New York and Bristol collection.

I chose the buildings that really make Paris, Paris, at least for me. The Eiffel tower, Sacre Coeur, the Louvre pyramid, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triumph. I also added a little red thread in the metro sign, and a little red heart to dot the I in Paris.



 
So if you're a lover of Paris and want to inject a bit of French style to your home.... why not head over to my Etsy shop and treat yourself or someone you love to a new throw pillow. And here's London and New York!
 
 
 
Emily Kate

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Autumn Apple Caramel Cupcakes

Whilst doing my shopping the other week I discovered that the 14th - 21st september was infact National Cupcake Week. So I thought of a suitably autumnal cupcake theme, apples, of course and then eventually well after the week had ended, I got around to making them.
I had originally intended to make these cider and apple cupcakes, a nod to my home county of Somerset, the home of cider. They ended up being apple caramel for several reasons, partly because Mr Makes doesn't drink alcohol, and largely because going to buy some seemed like a lot of effort.
Anyway...on to the recipe.
 
For the cupcakes:
110g butter/margarine
80g granulated sugar
120g dark brown sugar
2 eggs
175g plain flour
100g of plain yoghurt
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
I tsp ground cinnamon
Two good-sized eating apples, grated.
 
For the icing:
50g dark brown sugar
200g butter/margarine
250g icing sugar
One small apple for decoration.
Large pinch of nutmeg
 
Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  • Cream the two sugars and margarine together until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time, and the vanilla essence.
  • Sift together the flour, spices and baking powder, and add to the mixture along with the yoghurt, alternating a bit of each at a time.
  • Mix in the grated apple and spoon into the prepared cases.
  • Bake for 12-15 mins, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Whilst the cakes are baking, for the icing melt 50g of the butter with the brown sugar over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside until cool.
  • Beat the remaining butter and add the icing sugar. Add the caramel mixture to it and beat until fully combined.
  • Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes with a star shaped nozzle in a spiral from the outside in.
  • For the apple crisps cut thin slices of apple, sprinkle with cinnamon, and bake in the oven for 3-5 mins on a baking tray.
  • Cut each one in half and place on top of the icing swirl. I also used some excess caramel to dribble over the top for decoration.
Now these are pretty sweet, so I wouldn't go crazy, but they make a lovely 3pm tea-time treat.
 
Emily Kate
 
 
 
 


Saturday, 27 September 2014

Clemence Skirt

I did a brief review on Tilly's book 'Love at First Stitch', a while back after I got it for my birthday in July. Writing that down I realise it was less than 3 months ago, but I've already made both the Clemence and Delphine Skirt (which wants to autocorrect to dolphin!) and also the Lilou dress. I've also just bought some fabric to make the Megan dress. Eventually I will get around to reviewing all of these patterns, but surely the fact I've made pretty much everything in the book (and plan to make the others) is testimony to just how great this book is. If you are thinking of taking up sewing, or know someone who is, BUY THIS. If like me, you have been sewing a while and want to fill your wardrobe with great staples BUY THIS. Seriously, you've got to have a pretty good reason not to have this book on your shelf.

Anyway on to the pattern.....

It's basically an introduction to making your own patterns, as its just a collection of rectangles that need to be adjusted to your measurements. When taking your measurements BE HONEST.... I'm getting to that age where I no longer have the metabolism of a teenager/student, and I'm carrying a few more pounds than i'd like, so I pulled the tape a little tight when I measured my waist, and it is a tad tighter than i'd like it to be. I've heard the best way to find your natural waist is to hold the tape together higher up, under your bust, then wiggle about a bit until the tape slips down to your natural waist.
I used a beautiful medium-weight quilting cotton in an ivory/grey foliage print with yellow birds on it, and had a few issues deciding which way the print should be. I worked it out, only to mess up and do the waistband pattern perpendicular, but I don't think anyone will notice really....

The instructions for the pattern are great, I've done quite a bit of gathering before, but Tilly gives really great advice on how to do it so it is completely even, such as making sure to stitch with the gathers on top which I stupidly haven't done previously. She also explains well how to 'stitch in the ditch' which despite a lot of googling in the past I've never really understood why I had to do it.

I did think the first time I wore my skirt that perhaps with the reasonably thick fabric I should have done a few less gathers, as I usually wear things that sit on my hips, and I felt it was sticking out quite a bit. However after seeing photos of me in it, I think its really quite flattering, and I will definitely be making another, perhaps for next summer. Tilly suggests medium-weight fabrics, but I fancy doing it in a lightweight cotton or viscose, I think it could be really cute, although may need a lining slip.


The background is the beautiful Minnewater lake and park in Bruges, Belgium.

Emily Kate

Sunday, 14 September 2014

One Week One Pattern 2014

After doing Me Made May this year, where you have to wear at least one handmade item/garment each day of the year, I was keen to do another sewing challenge. So when I heard about One Week One Pattern hosted by Handmade Jane this year I decided to give it ago. The idea is to have a few different versions of one pattern, and then wear a differently styled outfit featuring one each day.
I couldnt decide what pattern to use, I had ideas for a couple of different Mimi blouses, from Tilly's Love at First Stitch but hadn't really left enough time to sew a few versions. Then I decided to maybe do another couple of versions of the button-back blouse, even a dress version, but again it was a bit late.
So I decided to use the tunic pattern from the first Great British Sewing Bee book. After my original version, I've already made 3 other versions, 2 tops and my colour block dress hack. I've been hankering after a lace top or dress for a while so thought this was perhaps the perfect opportunity to make a version of the tunic in lace.
I've finally got a phone that's instagram- enabled so I've been taking a photo of my outfit each day to share....so here they all are.
 
Saturday
 
This is one of my favourite dresses nowadays, and Mr Makes too, he calls it my sunshine dress!
 
Sunday
 
I used the scallop hem tutorial on the Collette website for this top, I think the poplin fabric was a touch too stiff though, they can stick out a bit. 
 
Monday
 
This is the first tunic I made, in a beautiful liberty flower print, goes well with my green jeans. 
 
Tuesday
 
 
This one is a shorter version, in a heart print viscose that I accidentally made with the hearts upside down.
 
Wednesday
 
Here it's teamed with my nautical Delphine skirt.
 
Thursday
 
 
The last version is my new lace one. It's just some low-cost eyelash lace fabric from china, and I used a purple/grey viscose for the lining. Instead of facing, I made up a top in each fabric and sewed them together at the neckline and armholes. It took me several tries though and lots of unpicking before I realised how to do it! I used a zigzag stich for the lace then cut away the excess, leaving a not particularly visible seam. I made the lace top layer a little longer than the lining to show off the eyelash scallops at the bottom.  
 
Friday
 

Emily Kate.


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Learning to Crochet.

I've been wanting to learn to crochet for ages, as I've always wanted a granny square throw blanket. I tried a while back, by watching a few youtube videos, but I didn't quite understand which hole I was supposed to be putting the hook through, or how the square was constructed of stitches.

So then I tried again a week ago and found this great video by Jayda. She takes it really slow, and really explains how the square is constructed with double crochet stitches.

I decided for my blanket to do lots of small 3 round squares in coordinating colours, like this beautiful blanket.



I wanted the same kind of random colour effect, but decided to choose just a few colours that go together pretty well. I'm not sure Mr Makes would be a huge fan of a really colourful one either...

So here are all the colours I chose:

 
The blues are a bit lighter than they look, and I've decided to do extra ivory squares, so the blanket doesn't look too dark. The wool is all acrylic and double knit and I'm using a 4mm hook. And here's how I'm getting on.... this is really only after a couple of hours work, I think it should grow actually pretty quick.
 
 

 
Rather than stitch all the squares together later, I've used the join as you go technique, which is so much easier and means you can decide on the order of the colours as you go too.
I have to admit that I've never been a huge fan of crochet, I prefer the look of lines of knitting rather than crochet, and there is often quite a lot a naff crocheted stuff out there. However since I've started I've found lots of things I can't wait to make, including an oversized clutch from Mollie Makes I'm going to attempt soon!
 
Emily Kate
 
 


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Perfect Lemony Cheesecake

Before I left home to go to music university, I couldn't really cook at all. I knew how to make a cake and could do pasta and jacket potatoes, but that was pretty much it. However when I had to cook, I realised I really enjoyed it and baking in particular. Mr Makes would come to visit every other weekend and I'd make a big effort to bake a new dessert each time. This was the first cheesecake I ever made, just a simple recipe from a student cookbook but it was a big winner and quickly became one of his favourites! Its super quick and easy to make, just needs to be made in advance of any dinner plans so it can set properly. Its also very light due to the jelly, so its pretty easy to consume a whole one between a couple of people in a short space of time.... I'm assuming of course...I'd never do such a thing.


Ingredients
For the base:
200g of digestive biscuits
85g of melted butter or margarine
1tbsp of brown sugar

For the filling:
A pack of lemon jelly
200g of cream cheese such as Philadelphia
4tbsps of caster sugar
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 300ml carton of double cream
Pinch of cinnamon

Method
  • Grease a loose bottomed flan/tart tin.
  • Break up the lemon jelly into a mug and fill up the mug with boiling water. Tip into a jug and add another 1/4 of a mug of boiling water. Stir until the jelly is dissolved and set aside to cool.
  • Crush the digestives and mix with the brown sugar. Add the melted butter and pack into the bottom of the tart tin. Chill in the fridge.
  • Whisk together the caster sugar, lemon juice and zest and cream cheese.
  • Whisk up the cream in a separate bowl then mix into the cheese mixture. Add the cooled jelly mix gradually until it's fully incorporated.
  • Pour into the tin and put in the fridge to set for at least 5-6 hours.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon and add a lemon slice for decoration before serving.




























Emily Kate.


Friday, 15 August 2014

Tote Bag from Great British Sewing Bee Book

I've been sewing like a fiend this summer (although not blogging like one!) as I bought lots of fabric with birthday money and have loads of new patterns to try out with my two new books. However I realised if I carried on at the rate I was going my little flat was going to end up full of clothes and maybe it was about time I sewed something other than dresses and skirts. The bag featured in the first GBSB has been on my list for ages so I decided to get around to it. You can always do with another tote bag, especially as its the perfect size for books or in my case, music.

 
After rather a long time looking at all the exciting upholstery fabric in Fabric Galore, I settled on a oldly world map print, which suits me pretty well being a bit of a geography geek.
The pattern was relatively easy to follow, even if the wording was confusing in places. Although I realised it only told you to stitch the tabs on to the front of the hag, with no mention of the back. Luckily I realised, but again mistakes that could be easily rectified with a good proof reading GBSB!
It was also my first go at sewing leather, or in my case pleather, which I found a bit tricky. Tip: practice on scraps first to get the stitch length/tension correct!

 
 
 
Anyhoo, overall I'm happy with my bag and intend to make it again. I think I would add a zip or popper though for securities sake, maybe even a pocket or two for the oyster card...

Emily Kate.