Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween..........

Well, it may not have been sewing, but I have been quite creative in other ways today.

We got in to the spirit of Halloween, and carved two pumpkins

This one was from the shop, but we did have one slightly smaller one that I grew myself.

Then we decided we should do some things to entertain the trick or treaters that came to our house.

We hung a huge garland of Autumn leaves in the doorway (forgot to get a pic of those - whoops), and made these fantastic fingers and oranges full of jelly brains to spook people out!

I made bags of homemade popcorn (which I was anxious no kids would choose, preferring the Haribo, and then I would be left munching them all this evening - but Hoorah for the Harris kids who grabbed them with glee)

Anyway, 8 groups of trick or treaters later, plus one quick nip round to the neighbours (didn't want to encourage the notion of knocking on people's doors and demanding chocolate too much!!) I had to decide what to do to use up all the pumpkin we had carved........

So, on to tonight's recipes.

I have made a huge pan of pumpkin and spagetti soup

I'm not going to give you the recipe for this one, which although it was OK,  it didn't quite go according to plan, being rather too 'thin' - I like my soups chunky and with good substance!

But the second batch was a New Covent Garden recipe for Roast Pumpkin and Bramley Apple soup.

You will need:-
1 large pumpkin
2 tablespoons olive oil
25g butter
1 small onion
670ml stock
1 small Bramley apple, peeled and finely diced.

Preheat oven to 230 oC

Cut the pumpkin into quarters, scoop out and discard the seeds.  
Brush the flesh with olive oil, then roast in oven for 35 minutes or until soft.  Allow to cool, then scoop flesh out of the skin
Melt butter in pan, add onion, cover and cook for 10 mins, without browning
Add stock and pumpkin flesh, cover and simmer for 15 mins
Add apple, cover and simmer for further 5 mins.
Blend a third of the soup, return to the pan, season and enjoy.

So, there you have it.  Simply delicious Pumpkin and Apple Soup.

What a great Halloween.................

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The 'to make before Christmas' list

FairyFace Designs

Thanks to FairyFace designs, and also to Lynz I have decided to put my list of things to make up here.

Fingers crossed I will look back at Christmas at how well I have done getting so much done, rather than being mad with myself that so much is left on the list for next year!!

- Maisie's toy dinosaur
- Ben's toy dinosaur
- Harry's toy dinosaur
- Dad's oven gloves (shhh don't tell him Mum!)
- Bag for Alice
- Height wall hanging for Eden
- Secret items for Mum
- Three tote bags
- fabric flowers
- Bag for Rachel
- Mermaid for Hope

Also, I want to try and find a simple swap to join in (if not too late already)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

I actually made something!

What a busy week..... and I have been itching to get sewing.

Hoorah - I have actually found time this week to finish some of my sewing, and make something!!

First though, there was the obligatory cake making for friends who have popped in each day this week

Needless to say, these have gone now!

But, in between the busy times, I have found a few gaps to make my first messenger bag.

The fabrics half way through looked like this.

The green fabric is from an old curtain I made years ago when I lived in a very cold and very damp ground floor flat that needed a curtain at the kitchen door for privacy.   If I'm honest I never much liked the fabric then, and I'm not totally sure I do now.  But the lining fabric I am quite fond of with random flowers.

Before I go any further I must let you know that the tutorial I followed for this bag was brilliant.  It's from mmmcrafts and for the first time I did squaring corners.  I made pockets and everything!  Really I was making this bag as a practice run before I use up the last of my sparkly denim fabric to make another one for my neice (couldn't waste that fabric in case I messed it up!)

The finished article looks like this.........

And I am quite pleased with it, but now, the biggest dilemma is whether this is actually good enough to give to my friend Lizi for her birthday - I am scared she will think she is wearing a bag that looks like a pair of curtains (although true, this is not a good look!), or kind of worse still that she will not appreciate the effort that went into it and may never use it at all. 

So, I wondered if any of you out there get anxious about giving your homemade gifts, and what (if anything) you do to get over this.

I think I will fill the bag with a funky spiral notebook, a lovely pen and bar of chocolate......... and I guess I won't know if she never uses it.........


Thursday, 13 October 2011

Simple beginnings, or "what can't you do without"?

As much as anything, this post is for me to look back on in years to come, and see 'the way things were'!!

The 'what can't you do without' part of it, is to ask you which piece of sewing equipment you use time and time again, and would never be without - then I can decide if these are things I also need!

Firstly, I am going to introduce you to my current sewing equipment.

My sewing machine is almost as old as me - not a delightful vintage Singer, but a Frister and Rossman.  It belonged to my nana, and came to me when she died when I was 11.  It is the only sewing machine I have ever used, and I wonder if I would be able to learn to use another sort.

Also another inheritance (from my Granny) was her sewing box..... full of her sewing things, alsorts of bits and pieces that I have no idea what to do with i.e. poppers and weeny scissors and old buttons and lace and a variety of bobbins and cottons.  The thing I love the most about it is the memories it contains.

In here are needle threaders, and pins that I use over and over again and could not do without.  What do you have in your sewing box/basket that you can't do without?

So..... on to my fabric stash (I read about other people's drawers and drawers of fabrics.... well I have a small old pine box with the random bits of fabric I have collected.....)

And now my carboot and thrift sale finds................

A huge tub of cottons for 2 quid.

And fabrics

These are all clothes with prints that I loved, and so now I need some small projects to make with them.  Maybe the tissue pouches that Judith (Rags to Bags) has demonstrated??

If you were asking for one piece of sewing equipment for your birthday present what would it be??

Saturday, 8 October 2011


My latest project was inspired by an abundance of small children's size coat hangers!!!  I seemed to have hundreds of them, all over the place, becoming annoying, and not being useful.  So, I decided to give them a second chance and turn them into something useful and fun.  Hey presto, peg bags!!

The material is a wonderful sparkly denim which my Mum found in a box and donated to me.  The lining is old bed sheets! And all the mini clothes on the lines are made from old baby clothes.

So far, I have made about 6 peg bags - and they have made their way to various clothes lines of various friends.  Here are an example of todays creations (one for my friend Kirsty who has her birthday tomorrow)

Anyone got any other tutorials or recommendations for some different styles of peg bags I could make?

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Hoping to Grow...........

I like growing things (Plants, vegetables, children! ha ha), but right now I am hoping to ‘grow my blog’ .  So I am posting a link about The small blog meet at Lilly’s quilts.

Small Blog Meet

This seems to be a way of meeting other people who have less than 50 followers of their blog – I currently have just 4, and so have set myself the target of finding 2 more followers by this time next week!
I am going to do as she suggests.... "go and visit and get to know at least four other linked blogs - starting with the two above you in the linkys and the two below you. Visit those blogs, leave a comment, click to follow and visit that blog regularly over the next few weeks. Visit more if you have the time.  And also visit back any new bloggers who come to visit you and get to know them and their blogs".
While we are on the subject of growing, rather than sewing...  I wanted to tell people about the wonderful St Ann’s allotments in Nottingham.  We went there for an open heritage day, and they were spectacular.  I would never have imagined that behind some of the most deprived parts of our city, there was the most vast space to grow things.  Not only fruit and veg, there were little straw and clay barns to meet others, and we went to an impromptu gig in one of these.  We made popcorn over a bonfire.

We also made ‘seed bombs’ for guerrilla gardening (you put seeds into a mixture of soil and clay, dry them, and then drop them into random places that you feel would benefit from some flowers next season, and  hope that this spreads some happiness).  We have yet to decide where to put ours.

My next blog will be about sewing (promise).... in fact I am working on a peg bag for my friend's birthday. 

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Sewing lessons

A chance find yesterday of a library book with 'princess bags' in it suddenly led to a joint project between me and Hope to make her a very simple princess bag of her own.  This was her very first sewing project, and although she needed some help along the way, she was patient and keen and did a fair amount herself.

She chose the fabric from my box - an old dressing gown, some flowery print for the crown and her favourite white ribbon from the jar..... and hey presto

So, that was yesterdays project!!

I have cooked up a lovely Jamie Oliver recipe of spicy butternut squash soup, using up four of my mini squashes for tea, so I am off to enjoy that now.......

Monday, 3 October 2011

Autumn inspiration

This weekend we picked all the butternut squash we have grown this year - 12 mini squashes of cute little shapes and sizes.

Did you spot the fabric??  I found this in the fabric bucket outside the charity shop this morning.  I need suggestions for what to make with it. I also need suggestions for squash recipes!

We also have lots of apples that came from my Mums tree.

Again - the apples match the fabric.  (which is an old duvet cover).  This has been used to make a knitting bag (can't show a picture it's going to be a birthday present for someone)

On the theme of bags, I have made my first tote bag this weekend....  with random scraps that needed using up, and the main material is a piece of old curtain that someone had thrown away - how great that rather than being resigned to landfill this now has the second chance as a happy bag!!  I must thank tatertots and jello for their guest project - which I used as a tutorial for how to make this bag.

Right, I am off to make the most of this unseasonably warm weather.

Here it is

Well here is my blog - I am not imagining this will be read by many people, but hello to you if you are reading this!

I have called it 'second chance', as due to lack of finances nearly everything I make, do or buy is second hand.  I make use of cast offs.  I hunt for treasure that people are throwing away at car boots sales and charity shops.  I recycle, and I try and give things a new lease of life.

So, fabrics and makes will be random - and one month I may be cooking if I have been given a bag of apples, and another month I may be sewing if I found some fabric.

I am new to blogging, so bear with me.

But I have been inspired by some beautiful blogs I have discovered, particularly one of a friend from my school days, and the links she has - so I will do my best to keep up a reasonable standard.

My first blog - how exciting!