Thursday, June 30, 2011

Applique t shirt

My girls have had lots of clothes from Boden some purchased by myself and many hand me down's (oh how I love a hand me down). One thing they do very well is applique. With this in mind I decided to make a top for a friends little boy's first birthday. They live the Good Life in Spain so I opted for a donkey design (they have 3 now, I think).
I followed the instructions from this blog and the instructions on the back of the iron on adhesive.
After drawing out the donkey design on tracing paper (although I couldn't see why it needed to be on tracing paper?) I copied it on to the adhesive then ironed it onto the fabric to be appliqued & cut out the donkey shape. Lastly peeled off the backing and pressed it to the T shirt.
Next came the tricky bit, well it was tricky for me.  I set my machine to a zig zag stitch and shortened the length.  This was the result.....
Pretty rubbish isn't it? Even allowing for the "Good Life" factor (rough round the edges) I think the little man wouldn't cut the mustard down on the farm. So I unpicked this and went for the easier Plan B.
Not quite the same finish but still a T shirt with a donkey on - my original plan! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Life is sweet......enough without High Fructose Corn Syrup

After endless supermarket trips scrutinising the ingredients list of cereals I have concluded that American food manufacturers favourite high fructose corn syrup pops up more often than not in breakfast cereals.  Whether you believe the bad press about HFCS or not, it is still a lot of unnecessary sugar in your morning bowl.  

We did have bitesize Shredded Wheat for a month or so (which has no added sugar) but it really does feel and taste like sucking on soggy cardboard.

I took matters into my own hands and decided to make granola.  I had made some before so delved from the back of my memory (and an old cook book)what was required & had a quick peruse of recipes on line came up with the recipe below.

5 cups of large rolled oats
2 cups of almond slivers (with skin on)
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup of pumpkin seeds
3 tsp of ground cinammon 
2 tsp of ground ginger
pinch salt
1/2 cup of soft dark brown sugar
3/4 cup apple sauce (unsweetened apple puree)
1/4 cup honey
3 tbs vegetable oil

Oven at 300F (150oC)
Mix dry ingredients. Warm the puree, oil, honey & sugar.
Mix wet and dry ingredients together in a large bowl making sure all the oats etc are coated. 
Spread out onto a lined baking tray and pat down.  This quantity usually fits onto 2 baking trays.

Bake for about 45mins or until golden. Leave to cool in the tray then break up into chunks and store in an air tight container.

The mini makers have their's with milk; I like it over yoghurt and fruit. A great start to the day!

The observant of you will have noticed that this recipe does in fact have sugar in it and that the first half of this post is me moaning about sugar in cereal. I am aware of the hypocrisy. If its sugar I've added myself I kinda think its OK?! Isn't it?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer is here

It has been in the low 30's (that is Celsius) this week and set to hit 36oC next week, it really is hotting up here in SoCal. Night times are cooler but poor little daughter number one has been getting pretty sweaty in her regular  pj's so I thought I would make her a nightie.
I got a yard of appealing linen/cotton blend from Joann's, which with the 40% preferred customer discount worked out to be less than 10 bucks. I briefly toyed with the idea of following a pattern, but as they were the same price as the fabric (and I am scared of them) decided to "freestyle".

I used an existing dress and vest top to cut out the shape of the nightie.

Hemmed the bottom of the two sides (front & back of the nightie), used a fagoting stitch to secure the curved hems of the arm holes & neck (and because it looked pretty) on the front & back pieces, whizzed up the side seams to make the nightie and finished them with overcasting stitch. 
Last but not least joined the shoulder seams and double hemmed (is that a used sewing term?!) them so they sat flat on her shoulder.
It is not amazingly neat or well finished but I am happy in the knowledge she will be cooler at night and that she loves the fact Mummy made her nightie!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Blueberry & flaxseed muffins

Friends from the UK are coming to stay this weekend - yay! I have got my menu's planned - BBQ tonight & Mexican the next.  I think that covers the American cuisine.  These breakfast (or brunch) muffins are easy to knock up, healthy and tasty. Hopefully they will soak up any hangover we may have...
The recipe is mildly adapted from the Bill's book. Those Aussies really do know how to do a good breakfast.

Blueberry & flaxseed muffins
30g butter
3/4 cup honey &/or agave
1/2 milk
1/2 vegetable oil
3 eggs
3 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
2 mashed bananas
1 grated apple
250g blueberries
halved strawberries & brown sugar to top

Heat oven to 180C(350F). Melt butter & agave (or honey).
Whisk together milk, oil & eggs in a seperate bowl.
Mix together flour, baking powder, flaxseed meal & generous dose of cinnamon in other bowl.
Stir in grated apple, mashed banana & blueberries to flour mixture. Add in the milk mixture and combine.  Lastly mix in agave & butter mixture. Bill says to fold it in, but I always have to give a good beat to prevent lumps of flour remaining.

Fill muffin cases to 3/4 and top with half a strawberry & sprinkle of brown sugar.
Bake for 30/40mins until skewer comes out clean.  They don't seem to brown too much (although the sugar helps).
Cool slightly in tin before putting onto wire rack.  Makes 15.

A cheats blind

Southern Californian sun is pretty damn hot, even at 7 in the morning. As much as I like to feel connected to the outside we needed a shield for our kitchen window; nobody likes to break into a sweat making their morning cup of tea.

I ordered some yellow gingham from and set to work.  I hemmed the bottom and top and then made a wider pocket at the top to thread over the existing rail. Luckily I liked the raw selvedge edges at the sides so didn't bother hemming them.

As I said its a cheats blind - speed was of the essence & I couldn't be bothered to do a proper roman blind; its a hang by ribbons blind.   

I stole some red ribbon for mini Maker no.1's craft kit and added 2 pairs of loops roughly the same spacing up the side of the rectangle of fabric.

I love the red & yellow don't you?

This is the "blind" hanging.  

I attached two cheapey plastic hooks to the side of the top rail and to draw it hook over your ribbon loops.

So there you have it! I think it fits with the 50s american kitchen..

Friday, June 3, 2011

Nifty Thrifty find

I like to think I am becoming pretty good at trawling our local thrift stores.  You need a system to cover the ground, they are the size of small aircraft hangers, and my window of opportunity is often small.  I work the rails with the "look and feel approach".  Looking for eye catching prints/patterns and feeling for natural fibres. 

I spotted this lovely little (large) skirt last week and couldn't resist the spots.

I pinned myself in on the opposite side to the zip then chopped off the excess and happily added it to my scraps pile.  Whizzed up the seam and tidied the edge with overcasting stitch.  All a breeze on my super doop new sewing machine
I then unpicked the pocket (Isn't unpicking enjoyable when its not your own work?) and added it on to the finished skirt in approximately the right spot (!).

So technically not a make, but a redo.  The Week  stated that a poll of 2000 British women said the mini skirt was a no-no after 35. The source of said poll, Daily Mail. What more can I say?! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

First Post

Hello. Thank you for visiting my blog. As you may, or may not, have gathered I am a Brit who's life and love has brought me to glorious Southern California.  My husband (Mr Maker, sometimes) got a job here so we upped sticks from the UK and set up camp here with our 2 little girls aged 4 & 2.

We have been in the US for just over 6 months and a lot of making has gone on in this house already.  Can I back post?!  There have been many things to settle us into our new home; curtains & blinds in our bedrooms to keep that SoCal sun out, strawberry jam, fairy wings for my little fat fairy, cushions for inside & outside, a crocheted blanket for our dearest friends baby (due any day now), an alphabet wall to name but a few. And that doesn't even touch on Mr Maker's triumph's!

I am lucky to have a very wonderful husband who is also a Maker.  He rigged up my yard sale lampshade ($4) which has put yellow up there as a favourite colour of the moment, built us a truely beautiful table & made us too many bread products to mention.  We are currently enjoying his sourdough wholemeal rolls......yum

I want this blog to capture & share "my makes" and chart my journey as I tackle more adventurous projects. I'm cultivating the thought of making a quilt for my eldest daughter's bed...There I've said it out loud I shall have to do it!

Thanks for reading,