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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Dreamy Whites Giveaway

Hi again all,

No sewing for me today as am recovering from bizarre emotional drama of visiting the optician for contact lens appointment. It was the first time since I was 3 years old that I tried them and after having some bad experiences with them (I was three, so duh!) I was just way too scared to stick my finger into my eye. The fact that my only good eye was blocked by my rather large finger (or so it seemed) didnt help as I really couldnt see what I was doing. So spent the evening cooking and surfing. Tomorrow the dress will be continued. Only a week late so far... OMG...

But now for the reason of this blog. As I only have three followers, I dont really want to have a giveaway yet because there really is no point yet LOL. BUT Dreamy Whites is having the coolest giveaway! Check it out here : http://dreamywhites.blogspot.com/2010/03/well-dressed-home-and-very-generous.html The prize is a designer duvet worth $253. It's so pretty!
Just follow the instructions and enter :)

Good luck and good night!

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Mombi continued 4

OMG it is nearly April already and the Mombi deadline is fast approaching... So last night I actually continued the dress a bit after work. I worked on of the sides of the dress, having found a phone that shows it quite well and even finding two hidden patches on it! I bought this gold fabric on Saturday for the wrist bits and it was jsut perfect for this large bit also. Now you must realise that everything sewing onto this dress is done by hand, even the large bits as I dont want any mistakes. My biggest worry at the moment is flying cigarettes at the fair as last year someone just flung away his cigarette and burned a hole into my dress. But fingers crossed that wont happen this time...

I wanted to quickly post this picture before heading off to work. Now that one side has been embellished like this, the other side must quickly follow. I will still need to sew sequins onto this side but other than that I think it is pretty much finished. I'm thinking one more patch on the other side and some detailing and then that too will be done. The end of the dress is in sight :) I'm really trying not to think of all the stuff that comes next... LOL. Oh yes, there will be another ribbon along the bottom of the vertical lines which I will add tonight.


Off to work now... really need to be on time for a change ;)

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Mombi continued 3

Another weekend has gone by and more progress has been made with the Mombi dress. My intended deadline for the dress itself was Saturday evening. I had planned to have everything on the dress, the fleece inside bit made as well as the sleeves, and to have started to cloak by Sunday morning. Oops... that sure didnt work out. But a lot of progress has been made anyway and the end is nigh. Of the dress at least. The cloak has yet to be started. I've taken progress pictures starting from where I left off last week. So check it out:

The patches I made while on the plane to Germany and New York:


Wednesday evening status:


Friday evening status:



Saturday evening status:



Sunday evening status:


And a view of the full dress so far:


Now I know it's not perfect yet, but it's getting there. I'm just glad I have so many references (book, movie, trading cards collection) as some of this stuff is really tricky. But next weekend I have 4 days so I'm hoping to finish the dress this week (evenings will be fully taken) and then start the cloak by Thursday night/Friday morning and have it finished by Monday night. The cloak doesnt have sequins, whoohoo! Oh yes, a small detail: the golden sequins are PAINTED. I couldnt find the gold ones in the right shade and still had some left here, so I painted them before sewing them on... yes, I am crazy LOL... Sleepy now though...

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Birthday in New York - part 2

The crafty part of the trip involved many trips to sewing, ribbon and trim places like M&J Trimming (often featured on the Martha Stewart website or in her magazines), Joyce Buttons and Trims (great for rhinestones which I need for the Mombi dress), and.... MOOD! I had to wait until Monday morning to go there as planning wouldnt allow me to go there any other day and they are closed on Sundays.

So many ribbons and items to make hair accessories in M&J Trimming.... :)


Check it out, I went to Mood!!! It was on the 3rd floor so I couldnt get a photo OUTSIDE the store... BUT:

I also bought a bag there (the one they have on Project Runway) but I dont have a photo of it yet. I even left the store saying 'Thank you, Mood' LOL. I just couldnt resist ;)

Then I walked back to the hotel via Fashion Avenue:

In the end it turned out quite crafty after all :)

So now that I have finished blogging everything, it is late and I havent worked on the Mombi dress at all tonight. Only three more patches to sew on and then the ribbons, the extra sequined pieces, and make the inside bit and then at least the dress is done... better get some sleep now then :)

Birthday in New York - part 1


It was my birthday last Sunday and as I am trying to be frugal and not buy stuff I dont need, I didnt want anything materialistic. So my present from the bf was a long weekend in New York! Isnt he the sweetest? It was so cool! I always wanted to go there just to check it out, and now I could finally go! We went from Friday till Monday (landing Tuesday and going straight to work, I was so exhausted!), stayed at a lovely and quaint hotel, and saw the sights of NYC such as the New York Library, Bryant Park, the Flatiron Building, the Empire State Building... the usual really...


(the above is an extremely NY picture I think LOL)

So it was really a weekend of much walking, visiting, and looking around. Extremely little shopping actually :) With the exchange rate it really wasnt worth it anyway...

On Sunday, my actual birthday, we went to Moma to visit the Tim Burton exhibition that I found on several blogs (I actually commented on one of them but forgot which one it was sorry). It being Sunday, it was extremely busy and we needed timed tickets so the whole day had to be rescheduled somewhat but it was well worth it :)

UPDATE 6 FEB 2014: Thanx to Getty Images' non-commercial blogger sharing images ability, I can now show you what the exhibition looked like inside, it was so amazing! Check out these pictures:


The entrance:

Oyster Boy:

Sleepy Hollow Pumpkinhead:

 
Charlie & The Chocolate Factory dolls

 
Victor from Corpse Bride (sadly there was no image of Emily)

The funny skeleton from Corpse Bride

END UPDATE!
 
Then we also had a birthday dinner at QM which was very good steak house and the food is to die for! I can highly recommend this place. A little pricey, but very very good steak :)So now I am older yet again... but at least I went out in style LOL. I'll blog more about the crafty side of the trip because of course there was one!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Shopping in Germany

It's been a while but I have been super busy and also on the go a lot. A few days before the New York trip, I had to go on a business trip to Stuttgart to our office there. So three days of no sewing, lots of travelling without a chance to prepare for NY, but also the chance to buy some Easter goodies in Germany which is always a treat :) Met my colleagues again which was also nice (the girls are big Twilight fans I noted, I took a photo but not sure if they agree re the publishing), and had great German food.

Why am I blogging this? Because I just have to share this picture that I made after I did all my food shopping:


A lot of Easter stuff and many many sauces as they were on offer and they dont sell these in the UK outside of the German shop which is way far from my house.

I also spent lots of time on the plane sewing my patches for my dress, much to the amazement of the person next to me :) I didnt take a photo of that though, but have also prepared many patches for the flight to NY so when they're all done, I will post a photo then :)

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Mombi continued 2

I am sooo sleepy!! Spent all weekend sewing the Mombi dress again and have made some good progress, although didnt reach this weekend's deadline unfortunately. That could have to do with the fact that I had to take care of the usual things like groceries, banking, and more fabric shopping before actually starting this weekend's endeavours.

I did notice a few things though. On this website http://www.waltdisneysreturntooz.com/Props_Mombi.htm it is said that this is THE Mombi dress. However, after watching the movie several times, and referring to the book and the trading cards that all contain images of Mombi and the dress, I noticed that some of the patches on the dress are not the same. So now I'm wondering, did they have more than one dress? Is the dress on the website one of many or maybe a really good recreation? Either way, I have decided to use this picture as my main reference anyway as it shows the dress from all the right angles.

So now I guess you want to see my progress of this weekend? Well, I figured I should start with the dress as I still have to work out how the cloak was cut in the front exactly as it does not have sleeves really but some sort of opening. So I started with the dress and the large pink bit on it. I then realised I didnt have the pink fabric I had planned to use for it, but didnt want to leave the house again for more shopping. But I found a good replacement bit. The gold pieces were already decided on, but then I also noticed I had forgotten to buy golden sequins! Still not leaving the house, I found some clear ones that I had taken off the leaf dress when it was in its original form, so I painted those. I actually turned out even better I think as it didnt give the cheesy sparkle.

BUT the mishaps arent over yet... I am sewing all the patches on by hand as I'm too worried that I will mess something up with the machine and then spend even more hours repairing it... The pink bit just wouldnt stay on where I wanted it to go and by the time I had finished sewing it on, it was in a completely different place. It took my three times (and a good 7 hours) to finish sewing this on. This includes painting sequins etc though. Yes yes, now the pictures.

The pink bit. I tried to stick to the real design as closely as possible (I think I added one extra sequin). I'm actually rather proud of this already :)


When this was FINALLY on, it was already very late and I didnt want to start anything too challenging so I made some of the patches already. I really wanted to get them puffy like on the real dress and the easiest way for me to do this was to add batting (or wadding) to them. I made six for the dress and one for the cloak already, two more would follow the next day.


This is how they should be placed on the dress:


The next morning, time for the big challenge. The ribbons!! I cheated a bit and didnt actually sew all of these on as that would have taken waaay too long and already I'm doubting I will manage to finish on time... Once again, I tried to stick to the original as much as possible. The original is a little wider than mine though which made it a little tricky. The patches are on just to give an idea of where they should be.


The rest of the day was mainly spent putting the patches properly on the dress with the rims etc. That was no easy task, let me tell you. Not only did I have to paint more sequins, but sew those onto the ribbon first, and then sewing the whole lot onto the dress, gathering the ribbon around the patch and creating the bobbly bit also. By 5pm tonight, I had finished 2 out of 8... and you wonder why I'm a little stressed?


By 6pm, I had finished one more patch with rims.


And by 8pm I had finished all remaining 6 patches as those all had extra detail on the patch itself (only two shown here). I still need to sew those on though.


So thats it... this is my progress of this weekend... I'm quite pleased with the result. I'm planning on making a lot of patches in the coming evenings so that I can just sew those onto the cloak once that's cut properly, and hopefully it wont take too long. Then I still have to make the collar, make the shoes (this will be a 'Mombi beat Dorothy and the Nome King (I checked the spelling for this and it's actually Nome instead of Gnome, how bizarre) and now owns the ruby slippers), and fix the wig. Oh yes and also create a bag... But no stress... breathe in... breathe out...

Monday, 8 March 2010

Plum Tarts and Potato Chowder

I skipped the sewing today and went for the cooking instead. Sainsbury's had plums on sale, so there I was, stuck with two punnets of plums and I dont even like them that much! Cue for plum tart recipe that I kept for unknown reasons. They were AMAZING! So this is what you need:
  • 200gr (7 oz) plain flour
  • 100gr (3 1/2 oz)unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • 8 ripe plums
  • 50 gr (2 oz) chopped nuts
  • the zest of half an orange or lemon
  • 1 egg white
  1. Pre-heat the oven to Gas 7, 220C, fan 200C.
  2. Place the flour in a bowl, add butter, and rub it into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs.
  3. Stir in one tablespoon of the sugar and the cinnamon.
  4. Then add 3 tablespoons of cold water and mix to a soft dough.
  5. Turn out onto a well-floured work surface and shape into a ball.
  6. Cut into 6 equal parts. Roll out each piece into a circle with a 14cm (ca 6") diameter.
  7. Cut the plums in half, remove the stones, and cut each half into 3 slices.
  8. Place in a bowl and toss with the remaining sugar, nuts, and zest.
  9. Divide filling between each pastry circle, piling it into the centre.
  10. Gather 1.5cm (3/4") of the pastry edge up over the plum filling, pinching it around to make a rim.
  11. Brush the pastry edge with with egg white. Sprinkle with sugar.
  12. Bake for 15 mins until golden brown and crisp.
(originally found in Tesco Magazine)

And this is the result:



I also made lunch for tomorrow: potato chowder. It's sooo yummy! I got the recipe from
Allrecipes and it can be found here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Potato-Chowder/Detail.aspx. It came out really nice :)


Now I have to watch the latest episode of House :)

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Mombi continued

I made it! I finished my planned work ahead of the deadline. Well, the deadline was a little vague as it was 'Sunday evening'. It is now nearly 10pm and I have just finished tidying the remains of the fabric explosion in my apartment. The dress is looking good. At the moment it is still very simple and some people would probably not see the difference between this and any store bought dress. Well, the difference being, I made it! LOL. It is also not 100% perfect but it's a costume and all areas with tiny (really really tiny) mistakes that no one sees anyway really will be covered by either the cloak or the patches so in the end it will all work out. But I finished the basics and now I can spend the rest of the next 4 weeks to handsew all the patches on it.

The dress is completely double stitched, for lack of an overlocker (really, one day when I have £400 spare I will buy one. Also when I am finally sure enough that I can just sew and cut at the same time and not think 'oops I needed that piece') and I have even hemmed it already! I hate hemming but this dress was quite well cut and the hemming was quite easy :) The collar hasnt been done yet, but thats because I decided to make a little fleece top for the inside as this taffeta is totally thin and I will be freezing outside in the cold otherwise.

So, this is the dress, what do you think?


So I didnt get to paint anything, but I checked for ribbons and am so far out of luck. I was thinking I could do start with the patches first and do the ribbons later. I still have some pink for the big patch in the front which I will sew on soon I think. All in all, not bad progress for a weekend :)

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Mombi sewing has started!

Today I finally started on the Mombi dressed. Having barred myself in my apartment, my fabric stash at the ready, I got started. It is now nearly midnight and I have been creating since 8am. When you see the results (pics below), it might not look like much but just remember that I am not a professional seamstress and I ALWAYS make stupid mistakes... This morning I actually realised that I didnt have an exact pattern for the cloak, even though it's a basic pattern that I got from this really cool website a few years ago (http://www.amtgard-wl.com/library/howtos/how2clok.pdf) so I had to measure everything first. Then I was smart enough to cut 3 the same pieces instead of 2 and 2 (I needed 4 so this actually makes sense in a minute). Luckily I noticed after cutting the 3rd piece (it would have been better after the 2nd of course LOL) so I could still fix the 3rd piece and cut the 4th without any problems. Yes, for a change I bought pretty exact fabric and not the usual double-in-case-of-mess-up. So technically this would mean I was paying attention and the same mistake would happen again right? WRONG. Next part, cut the cloak lining. I MADE THE SAME MISTAKE! Unfortunately, I only noticed after I cut all four pieces so that didnt help. Fortunately, this fabric was nearly the same on both sides so you cant really tell and it's going to be partially painted as well so in the end I think it will be alright. So finally the cloak basics were sewn together.

Onto the dress... The dress consists of 6 pieces and after having spent much time on the phone providing technical support to my sister while ironing 10 meters of purple taffeta, I got to the cutting. So far so good. I actually paid attention this time (yes, when the fabric actually does look the same on both sides I pay attention) and all went well. I pinned it, tried it on, it fit like a glove, and it was only 10pm. I then decided to make it look all pretty on the inside too since I'm not planning on lining it as it would get too heavy for the petticoat. So instead of just pinning it and sewing it together, I thought I'd fold the edges and re-pin. I tried it on again (such luck) and the whole thing was way too tight! All my previous pinning has gone completely out the window! So I have just re-pinned the dress for the third time but as there are 7 seams and I was only on the third, I've given up for the day and will do the rest tomorrow. Basically my deadline for the basics is tomorrow night, but I would have preferred to have everything sewn up tonight. Oh well, too bad. Not bad progress for a day's work.

You're probably wondering why it has taken my 16 hours to make only this? Well, as well as making a few mistakes which took up a lot of time to fix, ironing the blue and purple fabrics, I also had a LOTR extended edition marathon, watched Return to Oz for inspiration and details of the dress, and am now on my 3rd episode of the Gilmore Girls. Plus my apartment looks like a fabric store blew up in it. I think it might be best to get some sleep now... LOL

So, today's creations are the below. The outer cloak, which will be embellished with many appliques, sparkly and shiny bits:


The lining of the cloak. This should have been a black/blue irridescent fabric but this shade was the darkest I could find. It's going to look amazing anyway though. It will be painted as well.


OK, def off to bed now... zzzzz....

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Quiche Lorraine

Ok, you might have guessed it, I still havent started on the Mombi dress... Even with all my good intentions and the fact that it looks so easy and not at all time consuming, I'm sure this is going to bite me in the end with all the hand sewing and the spikes I still have to make. And so I am betting everything on this weekend and am planning to have both the dress and the cloak sewn together at the very least so that I can spend normal weekdays handsewing all the deco on it.

Today I had to work late, yet again you might think, but yes we're always busy around this time of the month and the quarter end is coming near so I really have to put the energy and time in. So by the time I got home, did the dishes of the last four days *shame*, cooked dinner and had actually eaten it, it was past 9pm so by then my sewing motivation had nearly completely vanished. I would love to start something now but sadly I have to get up early tomorrow morning so I just dont have the time.

Anyway, back to happier thoughts: my quiche. Last week I had a lot of eggs, milk, and cheese left so what to make? And so I checked my favourite recipe website, and got recipes for pie pastry and quiche lorraine. It was the first time I tried it, and I ended with up with more pastry then egg mixture as my oven dish was too low for this but it tasted quite nice:


What do you think? I made the tiny ones because I had so much pastry left but didnt manage to eat them in the end. The bf doesnt really like quiche so he didnt want any. This is where I shamefully have to admit that I actually managed to eat all this by myself... LOL

If you agree that this does look rather tasty, the recipes can be found here:

Easy non-roll pie pastry: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Never-Fail-Pie-Crust-II/Detail.aspx
Quiche Lorraine: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Quiche-Lorraine-I-2/Detail.aspx


Butter Cookie Recipe

Remember the Valentine Cookies? I brought those and many similar ones before to work and ever since then people have been asking me about the recipe. So I finally took a minute to write it all down. :) They're very easy to make and can be used for all occasions. So here we go:

You need:
  • 1 pack vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 75 grams of sugar
  • 270 grams of plain flour
  • 140 grams of cold butter
  • 2 eggs
  • decoration materials
Whisk one egg.
Mix with sugar, vanilla, flower, and butter to a smooth dough.
Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a thickness of roughly 3 mm.
Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes from the dough.
Whisk the second egg in a separate bowl.
Place the cookies on a baking tray and brush them with the egg.
Bake the cookies in a pre-heated oven on 180C/350F for about 20-30 mins or until golden brown.
Decorate and enjoy!


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