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
  • 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.
This is one of my favourite dresses nowadays, and Mr Makes too, he calls it my sunshine dress!
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. 
This is the first tunic I made, in a beautiful liberty flower print, goes well with my green jeans. 
This one is a shorter version, in a heart print viscose that I accidentally made with the hearts upside down.
Here it's teamed with my nautical Delphine skirt.
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.  

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