Dance like no one is watching.
Blog like no one is reading.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

If any further evidence is needed to prove that I should have been a Fifties housewife I believe the above photograph would be 'Exhibit A'.

They are a bit Fanny Cradock with their odd shape and kitsch icing technique.  I love the colouring but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.  I had enormous difficulty trying to get the sugarpaste icing to smoothly cover the cakes without any overlaps, creases or bumps.  Took me a whole school day - my apologies to my family for the state of the house at hometime!

I keep telling myself that I taught myself to sew.  I've never attended a class on quilting or dressmaking and I am convinced I can do the same with cake decorating.  Trial and error and a few good books should see me right... and there's always YouTube....

So I will continue on my self taught quest for the perfectly iced cake until one burst piping bag too many drives me to an evening class.  The good news?  I can always eat my mistakes!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Yellow Peril

Like most quilters I have quite a lot of scrap fabric hanging about.  After I've finished making something the teeny tiny pieces tend to get shoved into a plastic bag.  It's a very good feeling thinking that you're not wasting anything but, of course, it's only a saving if you actually use the pieces in the end!

My scrap bags have been building up a bit and I thought it was high time I used them.  An obvious choice is the good old log cabin block. Now it's not my favourite patchwork block.  No offence to the log cabin but it never really appeals to me.  However it is great for offcuts of fabric as you can just cut the pieces into strips and hopefully even the smallest strips can get used at the start of the block. 

I've tried to unify the blocks somewhat by using the same material for the central square and also using yellow and oranges every time for the outer square.  I was interested to see how the dreaded yellow, which is said to easily overpower a quilt, would look used in such abundance.  I actually think it's probably easier to splash it all over the quilt top so your eye isn't drawn to that sole yellow block trying to hide nonchalantly in a corner somewhere.

It is quite worrying how many blocks I've managed to make from offcuts I found on my shelves downstairs when my 'proper' fabric stash is all put away upstairs.  Fabric addict?  Me?  Surely not!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Peony Dress

After finishing my version of the Peony dress I had a bit of a dilemma.  It was half term and I was therefore in charge of two children.  How was I to find the time to needlessly put on make up and pose for photos with said poor, confused children looking on.

I'll tell you how I did it.   In Wales we are rather fond of an Eisteddfod.  It's an opportunity for the folks of Wales to show their skills in everything from arts and crafts to reciting, dancing and, of course, singing!  There is a youth version as well and, as my children are members of the youth group known as the Urdd, they are entitled to enter.

I know this isn't explaining why a forty year old woman is blowing bubbles but bear with me...

The theme for craft entries for this year at the Urdd Eisteddfod is 'celebration'.  Before my daughter had time to protest she had her mother stood in front of her in her new dress blowing up balloons.  So, the photo shoot is entirely choreographed and shot by my daughter.  I'm very impressed with how they've turned out and these aren't even the best ones - those have been saved to enter into the photography category of the show.

I'm loving the neckline of the dress.  The darts in the back worked beautifully but as you can see from the first photograph I'm not sure the bust darts were in quite the right place - there's quite a bit of bunching of fabric in the bodice when trying to blow bubbles - something which of course I do with alarming regularity!

I lengthened the skirt by a couple of inches.  It means the dress finishes at a very dignified knee level - well, I obviously think it's important to act my age! :)

Saturday, 11 February 2012

I was lucky enough to have quite a few cake related presents for my birthday so I thought I would return the favour with a few cupcake thank you cards.

They cost me pennies to make as I cut the cupcake templates out of the envelopes I received my birthday cards in.  They were such lovely pink envelopes I couldn't face throwing them away!  I already had the cupcake template, the ink stamps and ink and the card blanks with envelopes came to 10 pence each.   With a personal note inside each one I hope the recipients aren't too bothered about the lack of expense!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Flower Skirt

The birthday girl has opened her presents so I can now reveal what I was working on last week.

This is a skirt made for my daughter's friend.  I've seen similar ones on sale for quite a bit of money so thought I would have a bash at making my own.  The skirt pattern is a very basic one from my BurdaStyle magazine and the applique design is from a book from the talented Piece 'O Cake ladies. 

Luckily the maths wasn't too hard on this one!  A four inch pattern repeat fitted exactly around the bottom of the skirt so it was easy, with the help of a light box, to accurately place the design.

I'm afraid I didn't get a very good quality picture of the skirt in it's entirety.  I just managed to finish it before the party and I only had time to take some quick photos before it went out the door in a gift bag!

I love Piece 'O Cake designs.  Don't think I've ever seen a quilt of theirs I didn't like...

The material is from Ray Stitch and ordered online.  The ladies there were most helpful and colour matched the thread for me.  I think I pretty much just got lucky with such an accurate colour match for the lining!  I am often in for a bit of a surprise when fabrics come through the post.  Colours can look totally different on the screen.

Overall I am very pleased with the skirt.  It did take a long time to do but it was time very enjoyably spent.  Just feel a tad guilty about the lack of housework last week!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

I am such a lucky birthday bunny.  There is nothing better than a homemade present and I was lucky enough to receive two such lovely gorgeous things.

The flower brooch was from my talented friend Lisa who knows me very well as she has made it in one of my favourite colours.  The shawl is hand knitted by my sister.  I can't remember how many lace items I have started and not completed and so to knit an entire shawl is a feat that I can only dream of.  She has the patience of a saint!  (Well, she may have developed that having grown up with me!) :)