Thursday, 17 April 2014

FREE PATTERN - By Hand London Polly Top

So... I have been intending on making the Polly Top from By Hand London for a long time - since it came out in fact, but I have never quite got around to it until now. I printed the pattern out and put it together, then it took me a while to get to the cutting stage, and then again, it took me a while to start putting it together. Things just kept coming up! But I finally did it, and I am so glad I did. It was relatively easy to do and the lovely ladies at By Hand London have put together a video tutorial showing you step by step exactly what to do. I found Elisalex's voice really calming and after watching the video I was really confident I could do it! And I did.

Give it a go - it's a great way of featuring that little bit of fabric that you don't have quite enough of for other projects and a great top for good weather! I used a navy cotton poplin with this daisy fabric I got at last year's Flashback Furnishings warehouse sale. Instead of using the binding prescribed with the pattern, I bound the neck with this cute red trim I bought in Bath from the Sewing stall in Guildhall Market. I think this top is going to get a lot of wear this summer!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Easter Treat Brownies

These brownies are delicious! I love creme eggs, and I love brownies so this was a great combo for me! 

You will need:
2 packs of mini creme eggs (freeze them overnight to stop them melting in the oven!)
250g dark chocolate
300g unsalted butter
350g caster sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
180g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

1. Freeze your eggs for at least 4 hours - ideally over night if you can! When it's time to bake, preheat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180°C / 350°F and line your baking trays with greaseproof paper. 

2. Melt the butter and sugar over a pan of simmering water until it is all melted and smooth then put to one side to cool slightly.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla & sugar together until light and creamy. 

4. Spoon in the chocolate mixture & combine - use a metal spoon to fold it in so you don't knock the air out of it.

5. Sieve in the flour & baking powder, and fold it in gently.

6. Place your eggs in your tray.

7. Spoon the mixture over the top of the eggs try and make sure that they are evenly distributed. Bake for about 20 minutes - keep an eye on them as ovens do vary. You want them to be a little gooey but not to much. Slice into squares and get ready to share!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Hillarys Blinds Country Craft Competition - My Favourites

You may have seen my previous post on my entry for the Hillarys Blinds Country Craft Competition, showing how to make a cute Sweetheart Apron, pictured above.The competition is now closed and the winner is to be announced on Monday, so I thought I'd put together a few of my favourites to win! From what I have seen, it seems like the Teal Peacock fabric was the most popular. There have been so many amazingly creative entries beautifully executed - it is an honour to be competing with such amazing craftspeople.

This gorgeous pair of lampshades from Gina Lillycrop Design

This beautiful upcycled chair from Oh My, I'm Inspired

And for sheer adorableness, this little outfit from Needle and Ted

Good luck to everyone that has entered!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Knitting My First Cardigan: Phase One - getting started!

I have been knitting on and off for years now. The clacking of my Mum and Granny's needles and the seemingly magical metamorphosis of yarn to cardigan, or scarf, or doll fascinated me. I eagerly pored over the patterns for toys in the knitting shop round the corner from my mum's then and put in my requests. On numerous occasions I took it up - first with mini child needles, then again later as a teenager, and again more recently it has become a more regular part of my life. It served as an ice breaker when I first moved to London and brought me into the fold of the Shoreditch Sisters. Sure, knitting & I have had our ups and downs - but I felt it was time to move on from countless scarves, pairs of mittens and even a pair of socks. We were ready for the next step: I vowed to make myself a cardigan.

So I bought some wool. I found a pattern. I bought different wool. I bought a different pattern. I didn't understand it! I felt a bit disheartened. But I resolved to keep at it! So, I grabbed my stack of knitting magazines that I had been hoarding and began to look through for something simple enough that I could understand the pattern, and sure enough in the first one I opened, I found a pattern I liked that was designed for the exact wool I had!

So, I dutifully knitted my tension square. But it was too big! I wasn't sure what to do, so I had to read up online, but I soon found out that I should be knitting on smaller needles. So, I got a hold of smaller needles and started to knit. I have cast on 173 stitches so knitting a row takes ages - it actually takes me about 25 minutes! I purl much faster for some reason.... anyway, now that I have got started hopefully it will just be a case of perseverance!