Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Day 33: Homemade Daily Challenge.

Herman is baked!

I baked Herman the German friendship cake yesterday, you can read about Herman's humble beginnings here, but just look at him now!

It was worth the effort. Although I think he did get a little singed (not burnt you understand).

I followed a similar recipe last Autumn but I think the quantities were greater so made a larger cake that required longer cooking. As my oven is a bit on the fierce side I think I might possibly stick to my original recipe if I were to bake it again, the original is as follows:

This time I left out the apples and added chocolate chips which take some of the moisture (some would call it sogginess) from the cake. But I know other people who have added nuts, honeycomb or other fruit, I think Herman is a fairly adaptable guy, so if a friend or neighbour ask you if you would like a batch of Herman to make I would really recommend it.

NB: I do also have a pdf and word of the recipe if you would like it. If you aren't lucky enough to be passed a batch of Herman I do also have the starter recipe which I will happily type for you and email if you should need it :)

Day 31: Homemade Daily Challenge

Today I am launching the last product in my new range for January. I've revisited an old favourite technique I enjoyed whilst at college 'patchwork'. I have made some little patchwork bags, made using gorgeous Tilda Scandinavian fabrics in olive green and fuschia, teamed with some love sage and baby pink polka dots. The owl keyring is an optional extra.

This bag is a perfect book bag size for a little girl and completes my new range, it will be available in my shop today, also in the shop you will find matching bunting and keyrings, perfect gifts or just for yourself. I launched the heart bunting last week and already it is becoming a popular choice.

I have got to bake Herman today as he is ready, if you would like some of the mix message me. Also there has been much excitement at the short flurry's of snow this morning in the Watts/Day home (and that was just me!) xx

Monday, 30 January 2012

Day 30: Homemade Daily Challenge

Well it's Monday again, start of a whole new week of posts :) Today I am giving you a little update on a project I was working on last Thursday and have now finished. The project is my first Owl cafetiere cosy and if you read the post you will remember I was having fun choosing the best position for the eyes.

The design was a bespoke order for a local person ordered through facebook (although I didn't know they were a fellow Ketteringer until I started to fill out the address label!) The customer had chosen the main background fabric from a photo of a number of fabrics in their scheme. The selected fabric was the green with the tulips (second from bottom). I then had great fun selecting the other fabrics for the design. I also really enjoyed the embellishments using free machine embroidery.

Here's some snaps of the finished cosy:

I got a message from the customer this morning to say that she loves her new cosy... always a good start to the week :)

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Day 29: Homemade Daily Challenge

On Day 10 of this challenge I blogged about 'How to make a flower corsage' using Suffolk puffs or yo yo's as some people call them.

This flower corsage is a bit more fiddly but gives a slightly different result. It is more suited for using up your scraps as you need long thin pieces of fabric rather than circles so is more frugal.

The thinner your width of fabric, the longer it will need to be for this. For the one above I have also  doubled over to create a neat edge, although you don't need to and frayed egdes can be very pretty. All you need to do is start at one end and on the top edge do two small stitches to secure the thread and do a long running stitch all along the top edge, pulling a little to gather the fabric as you go. Then you join up the 2 ends once all thread is pulled through and nicely gathered, attach a button or bead to the front and a brooch pin or safety pin to the back and there you go, job's a good 'un! I have made loads of these, the possibilities are endless:

You can add several layers, use a mix of yo-yos' and ruffles, play around with the buttons, they are quick and easy to make and also make lovely gifts. Happy sewing :)

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Day 28: Homemade Daily Challenge

I had a minor op yesterday and not feeling too clever today, so this is a quick post.

A few months ago I made some lined clasp frame purses, I followed this comprehensive tutorial for my first attempt I used some lovely Cath Kidston fabrics and have big plans for making more with machine embroidered designs, I just wanted to nail the technique of purse making before I attempted it with something I had spent a long time embroidering in case it went wrong, the glue I use is very very sticky and can be a bit messy too.

Here's my first attempt, I think it was a bit of a fluke:

I have got a head full of ideas for these purses and hope I get the time to follow them up and blog about them too :) have a great weekend.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Day 26: Homemade Daily Challenge

I have been working on some owl designs over the last few weeks and thought I would share a little into my way way of working out how a project comes to fruition.

I'll start with the dimensions and some sketches, all on paper:

Then I'll work out a colour palette and select fabrics to bondaweb and cut out pieces for attachment to the background fabric.

I then free machine embroider the pieces down, this is my favourite part especially if I can be a bit more free with my style and add designs with the stitching.

I love it when the design starts to take form and you can see how the end result will look for a new product. With this little owl design I had particular fun deciding what sort of personality he should have by using buttons in different places for his eyes.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Day 27: Daily Challenge

If you have been following my posts since 1 st January (you deserve a medal) you will know that my main skill set lies within sewing and pretty much machine sewing at that, although I do like making pies.

To avoid my blog being all about pies and bunting (I do love them) I thought it was time to inject a new craft. Something that I am a novice at so you can see how I progress. I have always fancied being a knitter but having looked through some of my Mums old patterns it appears they are mainly written in double dutch, so I decided crochet might be a bit easier.

I had no idea how to crochet so was delighted when a good friend of mine (Michelle at Button It) said she would show me. We met at a friends house last Summer for a Birthday BBQ and Michelle told me to take my crochet hook, we sat at the party like a pair of grannies in the corner crocheting,  (Michelle was crocheting, I was making a chain which resembled a series of messy knots). But after about half an hour I started to pick it up and could just about manage chain and double stitches (UK) which meant I could crochet lovely little flowers.

I made lost of these little flowers and was asked by friends to make them into little hairslides for stocking fillers at Christmas. So I made a stack of them and displayed them on little cards I made with my punch:


Now I know you don't all have a super talented friend to show you how to crochet and to be patient and not stab you with the crochet hook when you mess it up. But it is easier if you have someone show you, as it's a big help to see how its done a few times before your start (about fifty in my case). If you don't have a friendly granny or a Michelle of your own you could check out some youtube videos, there are loads.

I am going to be tackling Granny Squares next, I'll let you know how it goes.

Herman day 5, have added more ingredients

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Day 25: Homemade Daily Challenge

This is not strictly speaking something I have made, it is the work of my super talented husband, his business is called SquarePear Furniture and he has an online shop with notonthehighstreet.

This is his newest item, it's a mutli purpose platter board made from solid oak and in the style of the classic Nice biscuit.

Although I didn't make it I did do all the photography and styling :)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Day 24: Homemade Daily Challenge

Although the weather outside is a bit grey, there is a spring-like scene on my kitchen window ledge. My Indoor hyacinths have finally flowered. Not only do they look beautiful with pretty blooms of delicate white flowers, they smell lovely too. The aroma has filled the kitchen and almost completely disguised the smell of the bin that need to be emptied yesterday.

They are perfect indoor bulbs for winter and can be grown in any container that is big enough as unlike most other plants they can be grown in containers with no drainage holes. I like to use old teacups, mugs, or tea pots, these would then also make great presents and after the flowers have gone the vessel can be used for the intended purpose again. You can also you special forcing jars:

To grow your own hyacinth bulbs you should buy 'prepared' bulbs online or from the garden centre (or supermarket) these are bred for early flowering. Keep them in the dark for 3-4 months, they need this time to develop strong roots systems, so it you want to give some as Christmas presents start them in early September.

What to do:
  • Place bulbs (pointy end up) in damp all purpose compost in the intended pot, leave only the very top of the bulb showing.
  • Add a stick of charcoal to the soil to prevent stagnating.
  • Put in a dark place (I keep mine at the back of the cupboard under the sink - just don't forget about them). Make sure they don't dry out.
  • When bud is visible, pop on the windowsill, flowers will appear in a few weeks.
  • Or you could buy cheap trays of hyacinths already done for you and just re-pot or rinse the roots carefully if you are using forcing jars.

Herman Day 3 note there are a few bubbles so I haven't killed him.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Day 23: Homemade Daily Challenge

I am a partner with noths.com* and most of my online orders are generated through them this is my Notonthehighstreet store, it was set up last Summer and was a bit of a slow burner to start with but since October last year I have had a steady stream of orders dropping in to my inbox, this weekend was no exception and I took some time last night to reflect on how things were this time last year when I first set up evajeanie when the majority of orders came from friends and family, these orders dried up within a few of months (there is only so much bunting you can convince people they need without losing friendships) and I looked at noths.com*it was quite a big commitment and I was really unsure, but in June I finally took the plunge and I am really happy with how things have gone thus far. They are brilliant at marketing my products and handle all the finance side of the sales I make, leaving me to do the part that I love, designing and making lovely handmade gifts and homewares. I do feel very fortunate to be in this situation, but it hasn't been an easy ride. I am a firm believer that you only get out what you put in and I feel that now I am just about starting to see some return on the sleepless nights and working weekends.

As I have had a lot of orders to make over the weekend (I make most of my items to order unless they are a one-off pieces) I thought I should take this opportunity to tell you about one the products I have been making for an order. My handmade 'I Love Tea' tea cosy it is available to order only and is made from a mix of vintage and modern fabrics with either a blue or a cream background, no two are exactly the same so each one is unique.


 Following on from yesterday here's Herman day 2 (doesn't look much I know, but he's going to grow!)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Day 22: Homemade Daily Challenge

Back in November 2011 a neighbour of mine invited me over for a coffee and told me she had something for me, it sounded rather ominous so I went over with trepidation (thinking she was probably going to give me some curtains to take up). But when I arrived I was presented with a bowl of what she called 'Gloop' I was rather excited with the 'gloop' as I thought we were maybe going to be making a collage or some kind of craft activity. But then she told me it was a cake, I was a little disappointed at the lack of crafting and even more disappointed to find that yes indeed it was a cake but that I had to make it and bake it myself and it wouldn't be ready for 10 days!!! I started to think, I had misjudged the relationship and clearly she wasn't a friend at all.

So I came home with the bowl of gloop with the intentions of slinging it in the bin, but this neighbour lives very close by and would definitely be visiting at some point within the 10 days and would know that there was a lack of gloop in my kitchen. So I decided to try it for a couple of days at least then I could say I had tried and failed. So opened the instructions and found that the gloop actually had a name, it was Herman, this made the thought of slinging him out a little harder :( he was a cake with a name.

Herman today: Day 1
But as I read on the instructions where pretty simple and actually all you do for the first few days is give Herman a stir. The recipes vary slightly but as the days pass you just need to stir and add a few simple ingredients on the last day you split the ingredients and share it amongst some friends (the numbers vary depending on your recipe). I managed to keep Herman alive and palm 3 portions of gloop off onto other friends and even baked the final cake which was absolutely delicious and very simple to do. So when a friend of mine (Michelle from Button it) was asking for new takers for a new Herman cake I practically bit her hand off! I went to pick him up today and alongside my Crafty daily blog I will be giving you a Herman update and then on day 9 I will be looking for friends to share him with so you can make your own.

When I get to the baking day I will post the recipe.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Day 21: Homemade Daily Challenge

A very quick blog update from me today I have got a birthday party to go to this morning at the lovely and very talented Quirky Boots house, Eva and I are both excited, she's at that age now where she understands parties, which is lovely to see, but thinking I might take my ear defenders!

Today's craft is an update on my patchwork quilt:

 It's an appliqued love heart attached with a blanket stitch (done by hand) using vintage fabrics. I hope I can keep up the enthusiasm for this blanket, handstitching is not really my bag. So we'll see :)

Have a super weekend whatever you are doing x

Friday, 20 January 2012

Day 20: Homemade Daily Challenge

Good morning to you all on this rather grim Friday morning.

A slightly different post from me today, I wanted to share a strange experience that I had this week, it kind of spooked me a bit but did make me laugh too.

As I have a creative brain which doesn't really like order and form very much I have got stacks of notebooks and sketchbooks to keep myself kind of organised. I am always writing down little notes for myself (that I usually can't decipher) sometimes I'll sit and sketch for hours, especially if I have been somewhere particularly inspiring, like Cornwall or Devon, I always seem to come home from these holidays brimming with ideas and just 'have' to get them all down on paper before they fade or seem less important.

It must have been in one of these sketching frenzies that I drew these little guys:

I have no idea when this sketch took place, I found it last week when revisiting last years sketch books, I was just looking for ideas to expand upon (and to crack some aforementioned codes). This my not seem all that remarkable, but it may when I show you these little fellas that I made in September 2011:

I made these cute little cats as a companion for my larger Percy Cats (he's the dude in the middle). The really odd thing is I have a pretty strict methodical way of working. As I can be a bit of a scatterbrain I always make a pattern and select all the fabrics and trims in advance (this stops me getting stressed out/sidetracked). With the little Pickles Cats I didn't follow these procedures at all.  I simply made them from scratch cutting the fabric by following lines I had drawn freehand. I can never usually work in this way but just felt very confident that it would all work out, I think it must have been because subconsciously I had already done all the working out in my head and knew exactly how I wanted the end designs to look.  I was really happy with results and they sold within a few weeks.
I'm not sure if I'll make any more, if I do I'll probably make a pattern first!