Wednesday, 27 June 2012

clutching at.........

When i look around clothes shops which is not as often as I would like, or when i peek in the boutique windows on the way to yoga in Berkhamsted my eyes immediately seek out handbags. They did this even before i started making them, but my mindset has gone from - oo I'd really like that blimey how much? - to - I wonder how they make that then.

The latter thought had been going through my head a lot when I kept seeing the solid small clutches that were pinging up everywhere. Then lo and behold the wonderful Lisa started stocking the frames for such clutches. The frames themselves are not particularly cheap but the bags do not need much fabric at all and are such good fun to make. Obviously I ordered some and have sold a couple which is marvellous.

rings to add c . hain to which can then be kept inside.

Back in my roller derby playing days I met a fellow skater who designs and makes fabulous vintage inspired dresses, skirts and tops. Utterly gorgeous stuff and her facebook site is here. Anyway she has now got a unit in the unique Fleetville Vintage Emporium which is a must visit if you are ever in the St Albans area. Not only does it have unbelievable stuff to look at and buy plus a sweet tea rooms it is opposite a supermarket that houses a sushi bar. I LOVE sushi. However I digress, as from today alongside her beautiful dresses now sits two of my clutch bags. Cool huh?

can you see them?

All the clothes are designed by Nicky and are made in the most wonderful fabrics so really worth checking her site out if this is your thang.

In other news plans are afoot for the website and so the next few weeks will be spent making yoga bags and designing different styles of them.

Project sewing room is still a work in progress but getting there..............................

Next post I promise to give you the cake recipe i mentioned last time. It is practically a health food.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Post craft fair Procrastination

SO, after reasonable success at the craft fair on Saturday, and surviving a cake making 6 year old birthday party, this week I am meant to be sorting out my spare room into a proper sewing studio. This is so  I don't have to clear the kitchen table each evening so that we can sit down as a family to eat. But, I really don't want to start this mammoth task because quite frankly I don't know where to start. Hence the term procrastination in the title of this post. I am not an organised person although i yearn to be one.

So I will firstly reply to a point raised in my last blog and a comment received by the lovely Indigo Blue. As I  mentioned before I have had to go cold turkey where caffeine is concerned and cannot even tolerate decaffeinated coffee. HOWEVER, I have found that Yorkshire decaf teabags are just as tasty as the normal ones. Believe me it actually takes like a real cup of tea without the kick. They are my new addiction! Obviously though you have to go through the real pain of caffeine withdrawal. I think it may have been more painful for my husband and children.

Trying to set myself up in a reasonably successful business is obviously stressful. The main stress has been controlling my creative brain and focusing on one or two things that will work rather than thinking, Oh i could make that and oh look that doesn't seem too tricky. I adore making yoga bags and yoga is a huge part of my life so this is really where I want to focus my creative skills (such as they are).

SO this week WILL see me sort my spare room out into a studio and i WILL sort out my fabric and notions into reasonable piles. Honestly! I find the process of a yoga bag, incredibly calming and I am not entirely sure why. It could be because it is my pattern and design so I am not constantly attempting things I cannot do. Maybe it is because I know they look good and are different and funkier to the ones out on the market.

house set up for the party

Another reason why i can focus on my yoga bags and excitingly getting a website set up (whoop whoop) is that the party I threw for 12 six year old girls to celebrate my daughters sixth birthday is done. We held a cake making party at home and it was a lot of fun, if incredibly loud. Instead of the usual party bags, I made each girl an apron with their name embroidered on. They also got to take the three cakes that they had baked and decorated home in a cake box. Obviously the idea of embroidering 12 aprons after cutting them out and sewing them seems okay a couple of months before the big day. However the week before, whilst completing other bag orders, I sat till 11.30 each night completing everything. They did seem to go down well though. This one is Martha's.

Maybe I will give myself more time to complete everything. Right off to tackle the room.
 Next time I will be sharing a recipe for a ridiculously easy fruit loaf with a difference.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Quick and Easy

Since suffering with bladder problems, something which became really bad at the end of March, I have now cut quite a few things out of my diet. The saying "we are what we eat" is of course incredibly true. The first place to look when suffering with many things is the diet and although mine is and was healthy, it was also full of caffeine, sweeteners (because I always went for the low fat version) and white flour. So I have had to cut caffeine out. This is me, I have a proper inbuilt coffee machine in my kitchen. I LOVE coffee and was previously unable to talk until I had had at least one cup of strong coffee. However anything is possible. So I have managed to cut out of my diet:
white flour
and anything that says low fat. For example I will buy full fat Greek Yoghurt and just have less of it.

It sounds like I am a saint and believe me I am not and do slip up from time to time - like today whilst making a cake for my daughter who is 6 today. A fair amount of cake mixture has been consumed!

For me it is all about keeping my body in an alkaline state and coffee for example is one of the most acidic things you can have. Even decaffeinated is highly acidic. I still miss coffee, 8 weeks down the line. I did give in but paid the price, in a few days of pain so it wasn't worth it in the end.

So, for my bread fix I make home made soda bread. Believe me it is so simple. As it does not contain yeast, there is no need to let it prove. Whoop. No need for kneading either. Double whoop. It has a gorgeous dense texture and is bliss covered in humus. So here is the recipe. From mixture to your plate in 40 minutes. Mine is cooking now. :-)

450g strong bread flour - i use wholemeal. ( I also sometimes use 400g flour, 50g oats)
teaspoon of bicarb of soda
300ml of buttermilk. (or 150 each of natural yoghurt and milk)
6 tablespoons of tepid water.

Literally mix together into a soft dough. Form into a round measuring approx 18cms in diameter and cut a cross in the top with a knife. Place on an oiled baking sheet and pop in the oven at 200'C (180 fan) for 30 minutes. Then take out, turn upside down and put back for another 10 minutes.

Eat warm and enjoy the gorgeousness of your homemade bread. Yum
The recipe has been taken from Mary Berry's The Baking Bible which i have mentioned before is just brilliant.

I have been sewing like a mad thing and will have lots of news re that coming up.
Enjoy the sunshine,

Monday, 11 June 2012

Blimey that's a big wash bag you've got there

I hope you all had a jolly jubilee even if it was slightly soggy. I managed to knock out some jubilee/Olympic themed goodies before the long weekend.

hair band

shopping tote
But I was actually lucky enough to go away for the weekend with just my husband as a 40th birthday treat. It meant that we missed the big parade that my children were in but in fact they loved going with my mum. Andrew and I went up to the Lake District to a hotel that we have stayed in twice before, in the years prior to children when we could just pop away for the weekend without a worry. Do you remember those days?

As I get older one of the many things that i have noticed, is that the amounts of creams and potions that i have to just twice daily gets bigger and bigger. My little wash bag is just not big enough and I can never find one that is. So, as I was packing, I looked through my fabrics and found some Cath Kidston oil cloth that I bought years ago in Bicester. Not only that but i had a matching zip in my stash. So less than twenty minutes later I had a new wash bag. Marvellous. AS it is just for me I didn't line it and as it is oil cloth I knew that really the lining is only for aesthetic purposes. Do you know what, it isn't brilliant on the design front but it blooming well does the trick and it is huge.

just a few of the bits i need to take

nice flat bottom to give depth

The few things that I have pictured above, only really touch the surface of what I packed but as you can see from the next picture there was still a lot of space left.

I have two craft fairs coming up over the next couple of weeks so I am going to be busy busy and I definitely think I will be putting a few of these on my stand. They will have more care attention paid to their design though and of course will be lined. However I am thrilled and it proves the point that simple is the best.

How was your Jubilee?