Sunday, 24 February 2013

Squares before my eyes


When I bought my new sewing machine in 2011 it came with a pretty boring white PVC cover.

A couple of years ago my Mam had embroidered me a lovely cover for my overlocker, and as they are both next to each other, my sewing machine looked a little sorry for itself.

Armed with my trusty lefthanded tape measure I took the sewing machines vital statistics, then with a rotary cutter, cut out loads of 2 inch squares from my stash of spare fabric.

The construction was pretty easy. I stitched together the squares to make strips long enough to wrap over the machine then after pressing the seams, stitched the strips together.

When I sandwiches the strips and the wadding together, instead of using fabric as the foundation layer, I used tissue paper. After I had finished stitching the diagonals lines the tissue paper was simply torn away. Finally the sides and top were stitched together.

The lining, from old cream sheets, was cut to size and the sides and top were stitched together. The bottom edges of both the main fabric and the lining were lined up, then leaving a gap of about six inches, I machine stitched them together.

Once the seams were pressed and the cover had been turned right side out, I hand stitched the gap.

Gertie xx

PS pop over to Handmade Monday to see what other fellow craft bloggers have been up to.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Log cabin mat

When I got my quilting cutting boards I knew they needed to keep them flat. The smaller size wouldn’t be a problem as it could just stay on the bench in my work room. Keeping the larger one flat, however, was going to be problem.

Other than the floor (not practical….) the only other place to keep the boards flat would be on top of my wall units.

I wanted to keep all the boards and rulers together so asked Mr Gertie if he had any spare cardboard in his workroom that could be used to make a folder to keep them secure.

Half an hour later Mr Gertie had made me a folder. Don’t get me wrong. It was just what I wanted, however it was rather boring. What it needed was a cover to put over it.

I could have made the cover out of strips, which would have been ok, but I wanted something a little more challenging.  I’ve always liked log cabin patterns but never made them. Why not now….

I didn’t want the blocks to be too big so settled on a small log cabin design using five colours.

The light colours were from old shirts whilst the rest came from left over cocktail/ evening dresses fabric.  

I only wanted to cover the outside of the folder so added a large border to the top of the work using the same dark green fabric as the longest strip.  As the edge was only going to be stapled to the cardboard, I overlocked it to prevent fraying.

Confession time: my overlocker was already set up with cream thread but instead of replacing them with either dark green or black thread I left things as they were and overlocked the edge using the cream. Only I was going to know, however, but  the cardboard wasn’t straight……

Gertie xx

PS pop over to Handmade Monday to see what other fellow craft bloggers have been up to

Friday, 8 February 2013

I've caught the bug

When we went on our cruise in 2011 my Mam made me a lovely small quilted tote bag to keep my needlework and reading glasses in. 

I was looking for another bag project to do after catching the patchwork bug from my first bag.

“See what you think of this book”, said my Mam, handing me Lisa Bergene’s ‘Patchwork with Pizazz’ book, “I used it to make your tote bag”.

Inside were 60 quilts and bags to make. Although the quilts were lovely, it was the bags that I was interested in. There were loads of different bags of all shapes and sizes, ranging from simple to difficult to make. As I was just starting quilting I chose a simply ‘make up’ bag.

Looking through my scrap box I found some fabric that had come from a camisole top which I thought would be perfect.

If I’m honest the fabric wasn’t the best choice as it had quite a bit of stretch in it.

The finished quilting block was anything but straight….. However as the bag isn't going to be on show I'm not bothered.

It was meant to fasten with a zip but I didn’t have one small enough so just used press studs instead.

The bag has now found a use by becoming my sewing bag. It’s perfect for looking after the small items I use regularly when I’m sewing - needles, seam ripper, tape measure, plasters… 

Gertie xx

Saturday, 2 February 2013

February's bake of the month

The first Saturday (holidays permitting.....) of every month I'll be posting a 'bake of the month'. This month's bake is chocolate chip cookies. Enjoy.

I’ve recently rekindled my love of cookies. 

It’s entirely ‘Subway’ the sandwich shop’s fault. We’ve started to go there as an occasional treat, and while Mr Gertie will have the foot long sandwich, I’ll have a six inch one plus some cookies. Mr Gertie doesn’t like cookies so I have to eat them all myself. Tragic!!!!!

I thought I’d try my hand at making some cookies as it was years since I made any, and my baking has come on a long way since then…..

These are best eaten within a day or two of making as they do go a little soft if left any longer. As there were too many for me to eat (not strictly true but I didn’t want to end up like a house end) Mr Gertie took most of them to work for his colleagues. 

I used my Kitchen Aid mixer (other mixers are available…..) as I’m lazy but you could make it by hand. 

This recipe is adapted from my old and battered Be-Ro cook book. Like Delia or Mary Berry, I found they won’t let you down. I got 14 decent sized cookies out of the mix but you could make them smaller. 

Chocolate chip cookies 
  • 4oz/100g margarine (or butter but you prefer)
  • 3oz/75g soft brown sugar (I only had dark but you could use light)
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 6oz/150g self-raising flour, sieved
  • 4oz/100g chocolate chips (I used both milk and dark but any will do)
  • 2tsp milk

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180º c/Gas Mk 4. Fan oven 160ºc.
  • Grease or line two baking trays (I used Lakeland non-stick liners but greaseproof paper/ baking parchment would be fine).
  • Beat the margarine until soft then add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy.Stir in rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  • Place spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto the baking trays – I used an ice-cream scoop as I’m hopeless at getting things the same size. 
  • Flatten the cookies slightly with your fingers, and make sure the cookies are not too close together otherwise you’ll end up with one giant cookie.
  • Bake for 8 -10 minutes then leave them on the tray for one minute to firm up slightly before lifting them onto a wire rack. I found they were too soft to move otherwise.
  • Leave on wire rack to cool. Resist if you dare!!!!!

Gertie xx