Sunday, 29 December 2013

my filofax week: december round up





well, this is it, my final "my filofax week" post of 2013!

i hope you all had wonderful christmases; i've just returned back to brighton after an amazing week at home with family to celebrate. it all went far too quickly and i'm feeling pretty melancholy right now, but oh-so thankful and content.

i've loved taking part in angela's "my week" round up posts this year, and it has been so much fun to look over everything i've done.
diary wise things are looking to change next year. i haven't quite figured it all out yet but i'm definitely getting that crafting/stationery itch and i can't wait to spend an afternoon making plans for the new year!

i don't think i'll be continuing with the round up posts, but that could change. after all, who can deny themselves a good dose of stationery goodness every now and then?!

Monday, 23 December 2013

baking with tala: christmas chocolates




just in case you're somehow not feeling the festive cheer yet, here's a super quick and easy way to remedy that.
last week i was sent these christmassy baking goodies from tala - perfect to whip up some last minute treats for family and friends, or just for a well deserved snack for yourself.

i absolutely love the star lolly mould and think that it's going to make many an appearance throughout the year, not just at christmas. the lolly sticks that came with it are re-usable which is great, but i also bought a pack of paper sticks which means i can make a whole bunch of lollies as gifts.
to add a little more sparkle, i bought some edible glitter and sprinkled it into the tips of the stars before i filled them with melted chocolate.

for the gingerbread men and candy canes, i added mini marshmallows to the moulds which turned out super yummy (ignoring j's comment that they looked deformed!).
these were so addictive to make and set surprisingly quickly - i can see them becoming a frequent addition to my snack cupboard!



Friday, 20 December 2013

crafting: quilted christmas stockings




it feels like a christmas miracle to have these finished on time!

whilst feeling under the weather over the last few weekends i managed to get both stockings finished, and (despite some very rushed hand sewing on the front pieces) once i switched to machine sewing they both came together very quickly.



i traced my old stocking to make a pattern piece, and used scrap fabric for the cuff and linings. along with the charity shop red skirt fabric for the back and endless scraps for the front these are some pretty thrifty stockings!

now that they are hung up and filled with presents, i feel like our christmas corner is finally complete. hopefully they will be a part of our lives for years to come, and i can't wait to continue making projects like these in the new year :)

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

diy: sewing machine cover



for my first sewing project with my new sewing machine, a sewing machine cover seemed like the perfect option.
armed with some scrummy |duck&duffel| fabric, and the standard plastic cover that the machine came with, i set to work on making this cover -i think it works pretty well!

the first thing you need to do is cut out your fabric pieces. for this i simply traced the plastic cover which is made up of front and back pieces, and a side gusset piece. i then added 1cm all around for seam allowance and also cut out fabric for two side pockets using the side gusset as a reference.


the next thing to do is make your piping. work out how much you need for the cover main body and the pockets, and add a few inches for security. for this i bought some pre-made bias binding (1) and some piping cord, then simply ironed the bias binding flat, and sandwiched the cord in the middle (2). using a zipper foot, i then encased the cord inside.


next, i attached the pocket piping to the pocket pieces. pinning the piping onto my fabric right side up (3) i stitched the piping into place, then pressed the whole thing flat and zig zag stitched the raw edge on the inside.

with the pockets finished, i moved onto the gusset piece of fabric, and worked out where to make a keyhole opening for the sewing machine handle (4). to do this, i draped the fabric over my machine and stuck pins through on the four corners of the handle, then drew out the rectangle on the wrong side of the fabric and added 1cm.


you can add a rectangular piece of fusible interfacing around the marking for extra stability on the area, and then draw in the lines shown above inside your rectangle (5). then you can create the hole opening by cutting the inside lines only, and folding them in to the wrong side of the fabric (6).


press the opening flat (7), and then topstitch around the hole around 5mm from the edge. that's the keyhole opening finished!

now it's time to attach the piping to the main body fabric pieces.
following the same method as the pockets, pin the piping onto the right side of the fabric pieces and stitch into place (8: note: my bias binding shown here is wider than the seam allowance - i trimmed it down after sewing!).


once you have attached the piping to both the front and back fabric pieces, it is then time to attach the side gusset to join them all together. first, pin your pockets into place on the side gusset edges. then, working with one main body piece at a time, pin the side gusset to it with the right sides of the fabric together - sandwiching the piping in between the two (9). stitch into place being careful around the corners; i find dropping the needle down into the fabric and lifting the foot to move the fabric works really well and gives you more control.
one of my favourite features of this sewing machine is the speed setting control - perfect for beginners and great when you're feeling more confident too.

once you've attached one side, repeat for the other and then zig zag all raw edges. finally, turn up the bottom hem 1cm and stitch into place.
and ta-dah! turn the whole thing the right way out and you'll find some pretty swish looking piping (10).

and there we have it, a pretty nifty (and very practical) sewing machine cover that is pretty easy on the eyes too :)
if you have any questions or need any help from this tutorial then please let me know - i'd love to see your own creations!


Saturday, 14 December 2013

knitting with toft



beehive hat kit c/o |toft|

i was recently sent this beehive hat kit from toft; a british company who offer eco yarn (spun in the uk) in a huge range of kits.
it's super exciting for me to have the chance to work with such a great company - their ethos and products are so appealing, and i can't recommend them enough, whether you want to learn to knit yourself, or gift a kit to a friend.

the kit itself is great - the wool is some of the best i have ever used, and the pom pom is fluffy-cloud soft. i haven't knit anything using circular needles for a while so i really enjoyed knitting the hat up. the instructions are easy to follow, and i think the beehive design works really well and also makes for a really nice fit.
i also love the drawstring tote it comes in as it meant i could easily take it to work and knit at lunch too!

if you're still stuck for christmas present ideas then definitely check toft out, or just treat yourself to a little something (that's totally allowed!).
if i thought i would be any good at making amigurumi toys, some of |these guys| would definitely be on my list :)


Thursday, 12 December 2013

venice

just a few snapshots from a beautiful city.














all photos by j... apart from the photo of j ;)

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

baking: personalised christmas biscuits



personalised cookie stamp kit c/o |stomp stamps|

here they are, my very own personalised biscuits! this kit from stomp stamps made an appearance a few posts ago, but i wanted to share the awesome results of the kit with you.

i remember seeing kits like these on american websites ages ago, and always thought it was a brilliant idea.
what makes this particular kit even more special though, is that stomp stamps are a local company based in hove. so many beautiful and customisable products - perfect for this time of year.

i absolutely loved working with this kit; i'm planning on making another batch of biscuits to take home for christmas (with a hint of cinnamon!) and hopefully i'll have all sorts of cute messages for my family on them!
i used my |easy peasy biscuits| recipe, which as much as i love it, probably doesn't give the cleanest effect. the ground almonds mean that the dough is quite coarse, but i imagine with a regular flour biscuit mix the letters would be even crisper.

definitely a great way to spend an afternoon getting into the christmas spirit :)




Saturday, 7 December 2013

lush lock-in





last week i was invited by |lyndsay| to spend an evening with fellow brighton bloggers at our local lush store.
we were treated to an awesome evening and i came away feeling like i'd been missing out on lush for far too long. i've dabbled with their products in the past, but as silly as it sounds i was always too overwhelmed whenever i visited a store.

the evening was a great chance to get to know more about the products that lush offer and also find out about the stories and inspiration behind them.
also, after my |eco post| a few months ago, it was awesome to learn about the lengths that lush are going to to provide sustainable products; definitely a huge plus point for me.

the evening was divided up so that we all got to take part in different activities - it was so well organised!
we learnt all about perfume with hills, and i couldn't believe how different one scent could smell on different people. turns out that i pretty much like any scent...but not on me. doh.
then there was a hand and arm massage lesson with emily, which was great despite ending up in shameless hysterics and innuendos with |lauren| and |steph|.
and finally, we got to make our own "the comforter" bath bar which kinda felt like baking, but better. you know, less fattening, plus softer skin. win win.

i had such a fun time made all the better by the amazing girls at lush - they are so well informed about the brand and that really shows - maybe i'll pluck up the courage to try the infamous "big" shampoo on my wild mane soon!
also, a huge thanks to lyndsay for organising the night, i feel super lucky to have such an awesome group of bloggers so close by :)