Sunday, October 30, 2011

Twit Too Woo

My fascination with Pinterest hasn't waned, probably because it still is a great source of inspiration (or place to steal ideas from depending on how you look at it).  The idea for the girls Halloween costumes came from a pin which lead me to this website.  
I got 4 mens shirts from Goodwill (totalling 5 bucks, love that place), leggings from Goodwill & two long sleeve black T shirts from Walmart for 4 bucks each & glasses from Party City.
I made a template for the feathers and set to cutting up the shirts.
I got into the zone and cut up all of each shirt which in fact gave me far too many "feathers".  I'm sure I'll find another use for them one day...
Then sewed them in rows onto the T shirts from the bottom up.

I covered the front & the back, but not the arms - why not? don't know.  I bodged feathers to the glasses & attached a felt beak using tape and a lot of glue.  The same felt was used for the feet, held on with pipe cleaners.
I think both outfits cost a total of $15, which is a steal. 
Happy Halloween

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thai Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkins are in season & available in a variety of weird and wonderful shapes. My favourite to cook with is butternut squash. Although they  are all interchangeable in most recipes.
This recipe is from a Waitrose recipe card from October 2004! Over the years its been adapted and tweaked to today's version given below.

1kg (approx) Butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cut into even sized chunks
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion chopped
thumb sized piece of ginger chopped
splodge of Thai red curry paste. 
400ml of coconut milk
400ml stock or water

Preheat oven to 180C. Put pumpkin chunks in a non stick tray, season and toss with a little oil.  Roast for approx 30 mins or until tender. Don't worry if some bits char, it adds flavour.
Heat oil and sweat onion & ginger with the lid on for 10mins. Stir in the curry paste (if using, it still tastes good without) and cook for a minute or so.
Add in pumpkin, coconut milk and stock or water.  Cover pan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 mins.
Puree the soup in batches and return to the pan to reheat for serving. It usually comes up quite thick so I add extra water at this stage.
Its a great Autumn Fall soup for all the family. Just leave out the Thai paste if you don't like it spicy or add in more if you do!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tooth Fairy pillow

My nephew has lost his first tooth, congratulations Thomas! He had been furiously wobbling the tooth for months and then finally it happened whilst eating a pear at school.  Unfortunately the tooth went the way of the pear never to be seen again.
As you can imagine there was much debate and discussion; how would the Tooth Fairy know to come if there was no tooth to take?  My sister suggested writing the Tooth Fairy a letter explaining the ill-fated events which Thomas did.  His suggestion was to sleep with his mouth open so the Tooth Fairy could see the missing tooth, which he also did.  The two pronged approach was successful and he found a pound coin under his pillow the next morning.
To save such dramas next time I made a little Tooth pillow.  It can be left out for Tooth Fairy, with or without a tooth inside.

There are many different versions of similar things out there in the blogworld. Some quite cutesy, like this one and some are a bit more simple, like this one. My version was super easy and quick.  That's the kind of make I like!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cashmere baby blanket

Is it just me or can making be stressful as well as enjoyable?!  I think in a perverse sort of way I thrive on the stress of my projects. This particular "make" had its fair share of said stressful situations, from start to finish. So bare with me, it could be a long & rambling post.....

I wanted to make a something for a friends baby and as its number 3 thought I should try something different.  I saw this baby blanket and this one made from recycled cashmere jumpers and decided this was the project.  My Mum has an impressive collection of cashmere jumpers, several of which she has had since I was young so I can confirm the durability of cashmere. And I have always loved and appreciated the kitten softness of the yarn.

I picked up 3 cashmere beauties from my local Goodwill, all moth free (do you get moths in California?) and a not too small, for a bargainly sum of 17 bucks. I know! How good is that?!!  I washed them in the machine at home & laid them to dry flat.

So came the first stress of the project.  Should I felt them? Will they all unravel when I cut them up? How should I cut them? Can I really cut up precious cashmere jumpers?! After much googling, which seemed to suggest that I DID need to felt them I decided not to. I wanted to preserve the integrity of the wool to optimise the cuddliness of the blanket.  So here is my first piece of advice - you do not need to felt woollen jumpers if you want to cut them up. They do not unravel!

I cut the jumpers into 4 - 2 arms, a front & back. Then into strips of even width.

Onto stress no.2 - how to sew knitted pieces together.....A consultation with my talented crafty friend Nicola at a pip and a peach concluded that a zig zag stitch was not necessary, a shorter stitch length of a regular stitch would do the job.  After laying out the design I machine sewed the pieces together to form one large blanket sized rectangle

After ironing the seams did sit flat (unlike in the picture!).  I attached the backing fabric, Heather Ross 'Far Far Away', by pinning good sides together and sewing 3/4 of the edges then turning right side out. By now it was starting to resemble a finished blanket.
Simple job of sewing on the bias binding and one finished blanket, right? Oh no! Mega stress time! Let's just say bias binding is a skill I need to work on....I followed this youtube clip which got me through it but I'm not sure its the best method to use.

To join the two sides of the blanket I discreetly stitched the inside woollen seems to the orange long john's.  Hooray! One finished blanket. Its not a perfect but I am sure its new owner will be happy to dribble all over it.

Sewing, stressful, never...

Sunday, October 9, 2011


The jury is still out for me on the wreath-on-door-thing.  Back in the UK we always had one at Christmas time, a few springs of holy tied together with a festive ribbon, the rest of the year the front door remained naked.
Stateside wreaths are BIG and in particular this time of year and the run up to Christmas. After seeing many pretty ones on Pinterest I decided to jump on board, for this year anyway!

I copied this design from Six Sisters' Stuff blog as it seemed a good use for some of my left over wool.  I used a 12" foam wreath from Joann's which used a ball of wool.  I made the felt strips slightly narrower than suggested as the wreath was smaller.
I stitch the ruffle around the wreath as I plan to swop out the orange for red for Christmas. 

So what's the verdict? Wreath or not to wreath?