Sunday, 29 May 2011

Mollie Makes...and so do I

I am a little late with this post, as the blog-sphere has been going crazy for Mollie Makes for a while now. But surely there is space for one more little post about this fabulous magazine?! Mollie Makes is a new magazine published by Future Publishing in Bath and it really is very lovely. It took me some effort to find a copy, but when I did finally get my mitts on one (from WHSmiths in Cardiff), I could see why the crafting world is so happy. It is stylish, cute and full of lovely projects and interesting features on crafters from around the world.

On the front of the magazine was a little packet containing a kit for sewing a smart phone case, which included (almost) all the felt needed and a little wooden button too. With all this provided for me, I felt it would be rude not to sit down and make this pretty little case. So, I spent an evening this week sewing away. I was a little disappointed to find that my kit was missing one piece of felt, but with a little pattern adaptation, I was able to complete the project.

It took me a couple of hours to finish the case, but I appreciated it forcing me to learn new skills that I will be able to use in future projects. I had never done blanket stitch before, but found a video on youtube, which showed me all I needed to know. I'd also never sewed a button on before (ridiculous, I know), but there will be no stopping me now!

Here is a piccie of the final product, which I have been using proudly to keep my iphone warm in this ever-so slightly chilly May weather. Cute, isn't it?

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Taking up trousers

Whilst some of you may think that a post about taking up trousers is a touch boring, I am very excited about being able to post this! Until yesterday, I had always given my trousers to my mum to take up. There have been a few pairs, because I only have little legs, and my mum is probably a touch tired of my inability to do them myself. As I am in training to become a domestic goddess, I thought it was high time that I learnt to do this handy bit of sewing by myself.

So, after a chat with my fabulous mum, last night I armed myself with a long pair of trousers, a needle and thread, and set about sewing. This pair was pretty easy as a starting point, as they only needed to be taken up as much as the existing hem. So, I folded them over, ironed the crease, measured them to be sure the new hem would be straight, and pinned them the whole way around, before putting needle to fabric and getting started.

The top tip my mum gave me to ensure that the stitching can't be seen once finished is that you should take as few threads as possible for each stitch from the side that will be seen. This may seem obvious to the more advanced sewer, but for a newbie like me this was a revelation. You can sew by only taking one or two threads at a time and it will hold.

It took me three whole hours to do both legs, but now that I have done it I will be much quicker on the next pair. Besides, the sense of achievement I felt from doing this seemingly simple task made the three hours totally worth it! Daft, I know...

I guess the proof will be in the pudding - will my stitching hold when I wear and wash the trousers?! Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Perfect Puff Pastry Pizza!

Sometimes a goddess-in-training needs a simple recipe that takes very little time to prepare, yet is super scrumptious. That is exactly what this recipe is. It is perfect for a quick-fix dinner or for a 'something extra' at a summer barbeque. In fact, I first had these Puff Pastry Pizzas as an accompaniment to my wedding barbecue back in the summer of 2009. Good memories!

Here is how it's done:

Ingredients:

1. A sheet of ready-made puff pastry (it's not cheating - I promise!).
2. Half a tin of pasata (I use the Pizza Express one they sell in Sainsburys).
3. 1 ball of mozzerella, sliced.
4. Whatever toppings you fancy (I went for olives, peppers and mushrooms, but you can pick your favourites).

Method:

1. Get the puff pastry out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you plan to cook it, to bring it up to room temperature.
2. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
3. Roll out the puff pastry onto a baking tray.
4. Score a line all the way around the pastry, a couple of centimeters from the edge. This will create a 'crust' for your pizza when it puffs up.
5. Spread the pasata onto the pastry.
6. Place the sliced mozzerella on top.
7. Add your toppings.
8. Bake in the pre-heated oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the pastry has puffed and is golden.
9. Serve with some scrummy salad and a nice glass of wine!

Apart from the recommendation to pair this meal with a glass of wine, this is a great recipe to try with kids. They can get involved in adding the toppings and can watch the pizza puff up before their very eyes. Magic!


PS - I need to work on my photography. One thing at a time...

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Gypsy Caravan in West Wales

Well, a bit of a departure from the normal 'making and baking' theme of this blog: here we have a post about a holiday! But not just any holiday - the most magical holiday I have ever been on...and it was right here in the UK.

My husband and I went to stay in a beautiful Romany Gypsy Caravan in West Wales over the April break, courtesy of Under the Thatch, a fabulous company whose ethos centres on keeping rural economies running by encouraging sustainable tourism. I genuinely have never enjoyed a holiday more. There was plenty of sunshine, frisbee, fish and chips, people-watching, seal spotting, pub food, ice cream, paddling, stone skimming and, above all, relaxing!

As you can see in the pictures, the caravan was magical and I feel so lucky to have been to stay there.





If you are ever stuck for holiday ideas, I would thoroughly recommend you give something like this a try. It is soooo romantic and definitely inspiring for any creative types out there.