Sunday, 31 March 2013

Paws for lunch

Happy Easter.

I haven’t had a chance to do much sewing this week. We’re putting my Mam’s house up for sale after Easter so Mr Gertie and myself have been busy clearing out her sewing room.

Even though it was a small room it was full to bursting of stuff. It would have taken hours to go through everything so we just boxed it all up and brought it home.

As my sewing room is also small everything had to be shoehorned into cupboards and bookcases at first. Then I spent several days sorting though both my Mam’s things and mine (I’d become a hoarder too !!!!). The end result was tidy cupboards and bookcases filled with both of our things and several bags for the charity shop and the skip....

As I’ve nothing current to show you this week I thought you might like to see what I made for a friend’s birthday.

Every year Jenny has a party/BBQ (depending on the weather….) to celebrate her birthday.

Jenny is a BIG cat lover. Not only does she have four of her own, some of her neighbours cats like to pop in to say hello. Her house is also full of all things cats – books, pictures, ornaments, soft toys.

I remembered her mentioning that she takes her lunch to work in a battered old supermarket carrier bag. So, I thought I’d make a tote bag to replace the carrier bag and give it to her as a birthday present.

After looking at several cat related fabric I thought this graffiti type cloth would be purr-fect – sorry, couldn’t resist !!!!

I’d already had some lilac lining fabric and thread going spare from a previous sewing project so was ready to get stitching.

As Tote bags are simply two pieces of fabric stitched together I used the measurements and dimensions from one of my PVC Tote bags.

I needed to stitch the quilt ‘sandwich’ together so rather than stitch diagonal or straight lines, I carried on with the cat theme and hand quilted paw prints going up the bag and down the other side of it.

As there was some fabric left I made a purse key ring and attached it to one of the handles.

Jenny was delighted with her birthday present and has used it to take her lunch to work ever since. 

Have a great week.

Gertie xx

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

Sunday, 24 March 2013

A bag of scraps

As promised, the Rev Newton gave my mam a ‘good send off’ at her funeral on Monday.  There were tears but also lots of laughter as he regaled stories about her life.

Now that both my parents are gone (my dad died nine years ago) my sister and I have the horrible task of breaking up the family home. It seems so disrespectful to reduce my mam’s home to ‘keep, charity shop, bin’.

Once Monday was out of the way I got back into my sewing room with a vengeance. I finished off a bag which I started a couple of weeks ago. All the fabric used in the bag came once again from my scrap box. Old blue curtains were used for the main fabric, whilst cream sheeting which I use for making toiles when I’m dressmaking, was the lining fabric. The patchwork fabric was just bits of everything.

Flap A

Flap B

The bag has two different flaps, B was made up of thirty six 2 inch squares stitched together to form a checkerboard pattern. After ‘stitching in the ditch’, a set of three diagonal strips were quilted over the squares.

Flap A was a little more complex – for a quilting novice like me anyway…..  Four 6 inch blocks were sewn together then I quilted diagonal strips and random zigzags on the two ‘four-patch star’ blocks.

Two strips of eight 2 inch squares were stitched to the back and front of the bag – you can just see them on the photos behind the flaps. As I wasn’t interested in having a movable bag strap, I simply made it in one piece.

Have a great week.

Gertie xx

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

Sunday, 17 March 2013

New for old

Thank you so much for the lovely comments about my Mam on last Sunday’s blog.

It’s her funeral tomorrow morning and the Rev Newton, who’s taking the service, has promised he’ll give her a ‘good send-off’ – his words!!!

Last week when we found her unfinished work we discovered a lot of scrap fabric which must have been used to make the charity quilts. I’ve decided once I’ve completed her charity things I’m going to make a memory quilt out of the scraps that are left.

I’ve been given my Mam and Dad’s wedding rings and instead of just keeping them in a jewellery box (I have very thin fingers so they’re way too big) I’m going to see if they can be melted down and refashioned into a ring that I can wear. That way I get to wear something every day that belonged to both of them. Does anyone know what’s the best way to do this?

I haven’t done a great deal of sewing this week – for various reasons.... – but I did finish off a pot holder I’d made entirely from bits of Mr Gertie’s old work shirts.


Have a great week.

Gertie xx

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

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Unfinished business

I wasn’t sure whether to blog this week (the reason will become apparent shortly) but as it’s Mother’s Day, I thought I should.

My Mam died on Thursday. She’d just recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer and although the end came quicker than expected, she went peacefully and was in no pain.

She had a passion for sewing and needlework and made some beautiful things. Very few though were for her, they went to charity instead.   

On looking through her sewing room my sister and I came across several unfinished things for charity that she’d either been in the middle of making, or was about to start:

Little teddy bears to bring comfort to traumatised and distressed children. 

Adult, boys and girls quilts for families made homeless due to domestic violence or fire.

I gathered together all her work and brought them home. My Mam may not be able to finish them but I could.

Although I’m not as good as she was, I hope she would have been pleased with them when they’re finished.


Saturday, 9 March 2013

March's bake of the month

Slightly later than planned here’s March’s ‘bake of the month’.

I never used to like doughnuts. I don’t know why, I just didn’t like them.

A few years ago we were in London (I think it was around the Piccadilly area) and were desperate for a sit down. The only place we could find though was a Doughnut Shop. 

We weren’t really hungry when we entered the shop, but the smell of the doughnuts suddenly made our stomachs rumble like earthquakes. Mr Gertie was happy as he loves doughnuts. Me, on the other hand didn’t. As they served nothing but doughnuts (not even a cookie or biscuit was to be had), it was either that or do without. 

I ordered myself a simple jam doughnut. If I couldn’t finish it, I knew Mr Gertie would. Then a revelation happened. I loved it!!!!!

I’ve never made doughnuts before as I won’t make anything that requires the heating of large amounts of oil. I’m terrified in case it catches fire. I know I could buy a deep fat fryer but it seems a lot of money just for a couple of doughnuts.

Unlike traditional doughnuts these are baked in the oven. When Mr Gertie took some into work and explained that they were a cross between a doughnut and a muffin, his colleagues decided to call them ‘duffins’.... 

They’re yummy eaten warm or cold.  It’s best though to eat them on the day of bake, as like a normal doughnut, they do go a bit dry if left. Now there’s a perfect excuse for eating more than one!!!!!

 Jam 'Duffin's' 
  • 5oz/125g caster sugar, plus 7oz/200g extra for dusting
  • 7oz/200g plain flour, sieved
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 fl oz/100ml natural yoghurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 5oz/125g margarine (or butter if you prefer), melted, plus extra for greasing
  • 12 tsp jam (strawberry/raspberry or any kind you like)

  • Pre-heat the oven 190º c/Gas Mk 5. Fan oven 170ºc.
  • Lightly grease a 12 hole muffin tin or silicone pan. Don’t use paper cases as you want a smooth edge.
  • Put the 5oz/125g of sugar, flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and mix to combine.
  • In a jug whisk together the yoghurt and eggs. Pour the yoghurt liquid and melted margarine into the dry ingredients and gently mix until just combined. Don’t be tempted to give it one more stir as over mixing will make them tough.
  • Divide two-thirds of the batter between the muffin tin/pan holes. Add 1 tsp jam to the centre of each ‘duffin’ then carefully cover with the remaining batter.
  • Bake for 16 – 18 minutes until golden and springy when touched.
  • Allow them to cool for 5 minutes before gently lifting them out of the tin/pan. Roll the ‘duffins’ in the extra sugar. They are quite fragile at this stage so handle very carefully.
  • Put onto a wire rack to cool slightly, by which time they will have firmed up.
Gertie xx

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Second time lucky

After the (sort of) success of my blue bag I thought I’d have another go at making one – and hopefully this time do it properly...

I had a five sun tops that were no longer wearable (long story that involved a faulty batch of sunscreen but I did get £50 compensation to buy some replacement fabric) so, along with scrap fabric that I had left from making some skirts, I cut out 46 five inch squares. 

Once the squares had been stitched together I quilted the bag, this time, using diagonal lines. 

The lining was made completely from a sun top. I simply cut the top into two then cut and pieced the fabric to fit the bag. 

The top edge was binded using the same fabric as the handles and the flap.

As the bag is quite large and only has a press-stud on the flap to keep it fastened, I added ties at the ends of the bag. To neaten the tie ends I made little ‘bells’. 

Have a great week.

Gertie xx  

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