Monday, 31 December 2012

Recipe - Apple Pie

Heyhey all,
The bf wanted the same apple pie as last year, and it came out so well, I just had to blog about it! The original recipe can be found HERE, but just to make it easier, I have copied it here for you:

You will need:
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
  2. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
  3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.

It came out even better than last year!

Excellent lattice top if I say to myself, very proud :)

Taadaa!! Enjoy!!!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmassing - Knitted Baubles

Hello again!
For the final piece of Christmassing this year, I made some knitted baubles. After finding this tutorial a while ago and pinning it for future reference, this was the year that I just HAD to make these :)

I had just given my leftover baubles to charity before deciding I was going to make these, so I had to come up with another plan. Enter the Tiger shop in Hammersmith for selling styrofoam balls for fairly cheap. On second thought, I could have just purchased some more baubles at the Poundstore but clearly my brain was not really functioning, LOL. So since I'm not using pre-made baubles, I thought I'd show you how I made these. 

Start off with styrofoam balls, wool, and some wire (I got these from the florist)

Bend the wire creating a loop on one end

Stick the wire through the styrofoam ball and bend the ends outwards on the other side, securing the wire.

Glue (I used MP but you can also use hot glue if you want) the end of the wool to the bauble and wrap the wool around the bauble as you would when you normally wind wool into a ball. Make sure you cover the bottom and the bits of wire fully but wrap around the loop.

When you have the look you want, cut off your wool and glue the end of it to the bauble to secure.

You can use any colour you want, the result should resemble this.

As these baubles were much larger than the ones made in the original tutorial, I couldn't use toothpicks or cocktail umbrellas for 'knitting needles', but I cut some large bamboo sticks to size. You know, the ones you use on the barbeque... I then had to go through my bead stash to find some beads that would fit the 'needle' and glued them on using MP again. I left them overnight to dry (with hot glue this would have been instantaneous, but I just didn't think about it)

The whole collection looked like this. All that remained was to match the knitting needles with the wool that I liked and add some thread to ensure the baubles can be hung in the tree.

Here are the pink ones, made for a friend who LOVES pink... She promised me some pics of these in her tree so I'll post those once I have them. My tree wasn't up yet, so a green top had to serve as background.

A yellow one...

A blue one with large beads...

A red one with funky beads...

And the multi-coloured one with large green beads. 

As these were all presents, I don't have any in my tree. I'm waiting for pics from the recipients though :) Sadly one of my friends was unable to meet me before Christmas so she won't be able to use hers until next year. But I hope she likes them anyway! :)

If I were to make these again, and they were so much fun I have a feeling I will, I think I'll be using actually baubles instead and stick more to the original tutorial as it looks a lot easier. But it was still a ton of fun and I just love the result!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmassing - New Stockings and Apron

Hi everyone!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with friends, family, lots of food and chocolate :) I know I did! It was just the two of us but it was lovely and relaxing and I am currently enjoying a few days off. 

Even though it was only the two of us, I still had a bit of stress as some of my Christmas projects weren't finished yet and the deadline was Christmas Eve! So I got up early and I got cracking on finishing said projects. 

The first project was a Christmas apron. Surely no one can cook a good Christmas meal without one! I had bought some lovely fabrics at Joann's when I was over there and wanted to make a cute frilly apron with it. There were some difficulties as I did this on a whim (no pattern!) so it's not perfect, and I only bought half a yard so I had to sew two pieces together to get a long piece with the print showing up correctly. But in the end it worked and I'm quite pleased with it :) Curious? This is it!

Originally I wanted to go for a half apron only, but I find that when I stir a sauce or something I can be rather enthusiastic so having the top bit would definitely be beneficial ;)

Side view so you can see the ruffles better. The idea was to get a Mrs Claus apron or similar. 

I find that I never have a pocket when I need one, so I cleverly sewed on a hidden pocket. Check out the picture above this one, would you have seen that it was there? ;)

Testing the apron while making Christmas dinner (goulash!). In the end it didn't turn out like the one in the picture that I was looking at (the supplier of those cute aprons, I just can't find them right now) and I'm not sure how I feel about the top part but it's a frilly Christmas apron so I'm happy :)

Once the apron was done, it was time for some new stockings. For the last 7 years, we've been using some fairy stockings which were very cute and also made by me, but I really wanted something new and more Christmassy. I got some fabrics a while ago (online via My Fabric House in the UK) so that part was taken care of. While looking for pattern I found the best one on FabricWorm. It is amazing, so easy and detailed instructions! The result: 

I LOVE these! The one on the left was supposed to be made out of the top fabric but the FQ somehow was wrong so I would only have enough fabric if the print would be vertical. So I chose this other rather cute fabric and used the black as a border only. The inside is blue, on second thought green might have been better, but it worked really well when I laid it all out. The stocking on the right has sparkles and is therefore clearly mine (think the bf would not be too happy if he would have sparkles LOL) and getting the polka dots to lign up was tricky as it was the last piece I had. For this one I used a light turquoise as a lining.

With both the apron and the stockings finished, it was time to gather near the tree. 

I think the bf liked his stocking, well he must have as it contained nothing but chocolates! :)

I'm extremely pleased that I got some Christmas crafting done, even if it was in the last minute. And I might even change the lining for green, but let's see how I feel about that after. I have one more Christmas project to share so watch this space! 

JANUARY UPDATE: The blue in the stocking annoyed me so much that I actually changed the lining. But instead of adding that to this post, I made a new post about it. Don't really know why, it made sense at the time. Check the update here :) 

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas everyone!
The tree is up, the stockings are finally done (more about that later) and the apron is finished (more about that later too). 

I must be getting old coz I actually have heirlooms in our tree now... But it's really cool to have stuff from my mother and my grandmother in here. Makes you wonder in a way...

I even have a Me To You bear :)

This is our tree this year. I quite like it although it does take up most of the living room LOL. Oh well, it's only for a few days and it does look very Christmassy :)

I hope you're all having a great time this Christmas and can spend it with family and friends and lots of good food. I have some catching up to do on my sewing and intend to sew and eat for the next few days :) Absolutely nothing wrong with that hihi! Merry Christmas and big hugz from London!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

1920s Hat

Hi everyone!
I told you I had done some crafting and while it was not major, it really got me interested in sewing again :) Not I wasn't interested before, other things just got in to way. But once I finished this hat, I was so proud of it, I just had to make more and so more projects are on the way, on top of all of those that I am already working on. I really need some instant gratification projects ;)

My work had organised a 1920s Christmas party and everyone was supposed to come in style. Not easy let me tell you! The 1920s style isn't exactly flattering most of the time, and while Boardwalk Empire and Downton Abbey provided plenty of inspiration, as did the Chicago dress as the V&A exhibition which would have been perfect but imposisble to recreate in only a few weeks time. But after a few weeks of searching, I actually found something that was right for me while still having the 1920s style. I discovered that there is a clothing exchange in Notting Hill (around the corner from the book exchange) and I had to be in the area anyway so I thought I'd have a look. I found a lovely dress with frill, sequins, and a lower waistline for only £3! Yes it was pink but it also had a orangy golden shine so for one night I could survive the pink. I just needed some tweaking, and so the crafting started...

This is a part of the dress. The clear sequins were sewn on the lowered waistline, but as my gloves were black I needed to add some blackness to the dress. Luckily I still had some black sequins that I could just add to this :)

Having sorted the dress, the hat was next. This had to be the piece that pulled it all together so here is what I did. I used one of the puffy round thingies that I still had left from the Mombi dress (yes I keep stuff that long LOL) and used it as a base. I chose a brownish colour as my 1920s handbag was brown. I stitched on some cream lace that I leftover from a jacket I took apart, but only covered half of the bat with it. 

I added some leftover boning to the hat to try and create a shape that wasn't flat but more fitted to my head. Ignore the horrible sewing, I had about 4 hours to make all this and I was in a hurry.

During the day I had made these yoyos in peach, pink, orange, brown, and black, and added pearls to them. I did all this in the tube, you should have seen the guy when I shook the container with the pearls a little too hard and a lot of them came out... it was rather silly really hihi... I pinned the yoyos onto the hat until I had the design that I wanted and sewed them on.

Then I used smaller pearls to highlight  some of the lace and sewed them on randomly. All the pearls came from the wedding dress I used for Corpse Bride by the way.

I added a comb to the bottom (I only thought of elastic a few days after the party) and voila, my 1920s hat! I am extremely proud of this :)

By the time I had finished the hat it was midnight and the dress rehearsal was trying everything on my sewing doll. You can't see it properly, but I had a good feeling about it. The price was great too! I spent £3.50 on pearls (3 necklaces and 10 bracelets), £3 on the dress, £3.50 on the bag, and I had the rest. Not bad for a 1920s outfit!

And this is the final result :) The dress is longer on one side than it is on the other, but it had a flapper feel to it which was nice. I just love how the hat pulls everything together. :) Of course my hair is way too long for a decent 1920s look and as the party was straight after work, I didnt have time to spend curling and pinning for ages, so I just pulled it all to one side into a low ponytail (great for pinning the hat in as well) and used one of the bracelets as a pearly elastic to make it look nice. It's a real shame you can't see the handbag very well, it was a goldish brown crocheted/beaded thing and I added a cream lacey flowery brooch to it. It worked I think, considering I had a very limited time to get it all together. What do you think?

And off I went to party the night away at our lovely 1920s venue. Sometimes Christmas parties are great!

Christmassing - Harrods Christmas Display 2012

Good morning everyone!
I told you I would send some updates :) A friend of mine visited from Dublin the other day and when I wanted to show him Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, it was so full that we had to wait for 20 mins and still didnt get in! Just look at this crowd, the tiny blue sign with the light is the entrance, that was miles away! Well, figuratively speaking of course...

So we gave up and I showed him the Harrods Christmas display instead. It was gorgeous as always!

Harrods' display was Disney Magic or something this year, and they had all the princesses shown in their finery... Here is Snow White...

They even had this Magic Mirror which was amazing.. kind of a hologram thingy?

This was Tiana from the Princess and the Frog. The frog was in another window and I did have a picture but it's not great... this dress is lovely though :)

Cinderella's shoe was also shown, this is one of my favourite displays :) A Cinderella dress was nearby but the window was blocked by anti-fur protesters so I couldn't get to it.



The Little Mermaid...

Aladdin... This display was huge and crossed two windows. As it was dark already this was the best I could do with all the reflections going on...

This was just one of the smaller windows but I found it fascinating....

The rose from Beauty and the Beast... Love this!

Belle was shown as well :)

Rapunzel, her hair went all through the display window, it was great!

My absolute favourite display: Sleeping Beauty. Her dress was huge but I just love this picture so I had to share this. You can see the start of the dress here, I'm sure you can imagine the rest ;)

As the Disney display ended, another set of windows showed handbags with balloons. I thought it was very Mary Poppins :)

I loved this year's display :) If you want to see more of it, just click here for a link with more (and probably better) pictures. The article also shows the designs and inspirations and is very interesting. I hope you liked this display as much as I did!! Big hugz from London!
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