Thursday, 29 January 2015

Recipe - Fridge Soup

Hi everyone!
I told you I would be posting a recipe ;) But not to worry, this is a super easy one. I just wanted something fun to share with you which has minor chance of failure or drama, and that is my Fridge Soup. What on earth is fridge soup you may think... well, it's this:

Sure looks nice, doesnt it? And I'm telling you, it tastes even better!

The recipe for this is easy peasy. I usually make this on a Sunday night for my lunch for the following week. What you do is you basically take all the vegetables you have in your fridge, chop them up, put them in a big pot and add stock. And maybe some herbs and spices, and also tomato paste. You can even use meat if you have any left. I had a whole pack of bacon in this case which I quickly fried up and added when the soup was done. 

This particular soup contained leek, carrots, butternut squash, onion, zucchini, celery, potatoes, and bacon. The one I made after I made this one had spinach, zucchini, carrots, onions, potatoes, leek, broccoli, and probably a lot more. So you can add pretty much anything that you want in your soup. I always add tomato paste to the stock for a bit of extra flavour, and the bf had the brilliant idea of adding freshly chopped chilis as well. Just the thing you need in these super cold days, and if you are out of time to use all your vegetable in other dishes before they expire. The chopping takes a bit of time, but other than that there is really nothing to be done :) 

I love making this as no soup is ever the same, and with some freshly baked bread, it's really a gorgeous lunch. I even take the whole lot to the office so I don't have to carry one portion every day and just slowly finish it. And it saves lots of money too :) I hope you like this as well! What do you put in yours?

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Baby Girl Presents - The Presentation (Onesie Cupcake Wrapping)

Now that all the present are finished it's time for the big presentation!

 I found this fantastic tutorial on Pinterest (I used that a lot during the making of all these items, it's just so handy!) The tutorial shows you how to make onesies look like cupcakes, which with the whole cupcake theme I've got going on here really makes sense.

I can also finally show the whole lot together. I'm quite proud of this lot actually, especially since I had a few issues along the way. They came out really great :)

The only thing is that I couldn't find a cupcake box (and I went to so many different stores) so I used individual cupcake boxes which also had a certain charm.

So first I wrapped the onesie into a cupcake using either a shoe or a mitten as the 'cherry'. This took a few tries as you need to roll it so the folded bit is on the bottom. To get the swirly effect you need the bits showing that are 'piled' together so to speak. If you check the tutorial it makes more sense. Then I added a cupcake wrapper for the finish. I didn't use the large decorative ones they have in the tutorial as they're hard to find and really pricey here. This worked just fine.

I had several designs of individual cupcake boxes which was actually nicer than the big box and now my boss got to unwrap lots of things rather than just one.

This is what it looked like from the inside. Clearly some of the onesie-rolling worked better than others ;)

Each box had a little window to see through as well. The one on the bottom right is the best one I think. I only had three onesies, and I used the tag blanket for the last box. Which was kind of the main reason I made it as well as I needed a fourth item.

Once again lined up, this whole project was just so cute! Yes it caused some blood, sweat, and tears, but it was all worth it. :)

Before I had the chance to blog about this, we actually had the baby shower already. Remember how I said I was stressed for time? Well, with good reason! The presents were given and I think my boss was really impressed and she really liked the presents. Maybe I will even get a piccie that she allows me to share. If she does I will post it here of course.

Just one last look at all the presents I made before this project comes to an end.Yes, they are really very cute :)

Honestly, I so need a holiday now... I still have a ton of projects to finish, especially with my new February theme coming up but I just need a tiny break for now. I might post a recipe or so this week instead hihi...

If you want to follow my on Pinterest by the way, just click here. It's where I get a lot of inspiration so I pin quite a bit ;)

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Baby Girl Presents - Fleece Baby Mittens

Hi again everyone!
It's the final present for the upcoming baby girl :) I found an adorable tutorial on Pinterest and really wanted to give it a go. Again, it seems that just like with my boss' pregnancy, this would not go without hiccups.

This is what I actually ended up with... but let me show you what it was supposed to be, it's quite different!

I found this tutorial first, which shows the mittens being made with flanel and cotton lining. First of all, I couldn't find the flanel I wanted to use for this (yellow with butterflies, so cute!) so I had to use a really soft cotton instead. I still had some leftover bedding fabric left which would be perfect for the lining. So I got started, but something was missing from the instructions and I had to resew the same bit about three times. Needless to say that caused some serious sewing frustration. Then, when I finally got it all sewn up correctly, it was crooked. Honestly, I was fuming!

So I looked for another tutorial which filled in the missing bit and tried again the next day. This tutorial also had an excellent pattern in three sizes. I used the medium size as the small one really did seem tiny. I still had the lining fabric left but the soft cotton was finished, so I tried to make the mittens again with the cupcake fleece. Both pieces were now sewn straight, and I added the elastic. Can you believe that both tutorials didn't have use elastic? They had between 4" and 5" each and that was just way too tight. Usually this is not such a bad thing, but I couldn't get it out anymore to change it. Woops... So another pair for the bin. This was clearly becoming more of a challenge than I'd expected it to.  I mean, I should know how to do this!

On the third search for decent instructions, I found a blog somewhere (I can't find it anymore at the moment, but I will link to it when I find it) that didn't use lining but just used fleece and hemmed it to make the casing for the elastic. After the struggle I've had with these, it sounded perfect! I was now out of the red fleece from all the booties I made so I couldn't use that, I was out of the soft cotton, and the cupcake fleece just didn't seem thick enough to be used without lining. Luckily I still had some purple fleece left which was just enough for a couple of mittens. This one had to be it.

As plain purple felt a little bit boring, I used the decorative stitching on my lovely machine to stitch on some cute pink bows.

Here you can see the results of the battle for the perfect mittens. On the top right there are cotton ones that were crooked, on the top left you can see the fleece ones with the much-too-tight elastic, and on the bottom the purple end result.

The elastic I used here was 6" long for each mitten. Again, I have no point of reference, but it would seem less likely to cut off the baby's circulation than the other options so I think it will fit :)

Now that I have all the presents done, they just need to be wrapped. Luckily, I also found something great on Pinterest for that. I can't wait to show you! Watch this space :)

Friday, 23 January 2015

Baby Girl Presents - Itty Bitty Tag Blanket

I'm baaack!
The whole reason why I wanted to make this particular item was because of the name. I mean, 'itty bitty tag blanket' just sounds so amazingly cute :) I've seen these in blogland for a while but never really knew if this would be a thing and if it would be used. But I've asked around and apparently they're great. With my enormous ribbon stash (I just love buying ribbon), it was the perfect project :) The pattern came from here, it's an excellent tutorial with how-to pictures and everything.

This project was great fun to make, most of all because I didn't have to make it three times like the booties ;)

 I have a rather large collection of ribbon and I finally got a chance to go wild. After all I've read, the more different designs and ribbon widths the better for the baby. I only used grosgrain ribbon as they're much more durable than satin ones. On this side I used light pink with grey polka dots, funny owls, and a plain dark purple.

Another side has blue/green/yellow stripes, yellow with pink polka dots, and plain teal.

The third side has green with bit polka dots, purple with white bunnies, and plain yellow.

The fourth and final side has plain lavender (sadly the ribbon moved slightly here but it was already sewn up really tight so I couldn't ifx this anymore), yellow with owls and flowers, and blue with white stars.

One other tiny mistake that I noticed way too late was that I put the blue ribbon with the white stars the wrong way around so the stars were on the inside. But maybe that will challenge baby, who knows ;)

For the actual cotton side of the blanket, I used this cute colourful print. You may recognise from my ironing board cover I made years ago. It's just so clearly perfect for this project. You might notice (and I hope you will) that each side has one plain ribbon and two with print, I wanted to have a balanced design.

For the fleece backing I used the cupcake fleece again to stay within the cupcake theme. I used this fleece as well to line the booties with so it's recurring :) And yes, this is the same fleece as I used in my Quilted Cupcake Fleece Blanket. I had another huge piece leftover so this is the perfect use for it.

Even with the two tiny mistake, I love this blanket. I really hope the baby will too!

Three presents and counting but not to worry, we are nearly done with the baby thing. Mostly because I'm running out of time! This sure turned into 'Baby Week' LOL. Maybe I should have called it that ;)

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Baby Girl Presents - Goldilocks Booties

Hello again :)
The bf actually came up with this title as these booties were driving me up the wall, I kid you not. I found a pattern on Pinterest. It only had pictures and not the original source so after some digging, I found the original tutorial, which was in Russian. As I don't speak Russian, Google Translate came to the rescue, it's so handy you can just tell it to translate the entire website! Anyway, I got the (somewhat incorrect) English version, and the proper pattern and instructions, and got started. I used red fleece for the outside, and cupcake fleece for the lining.

You can probably see why we are calling these the Goldilocks booties now ;)

As you may have guessed, the pattern was way too small. Not having any kids myself, I have no idea how small a baby's foot it and I really thought they were ok until they were completely done. The soles of these booties were about 5cm long. I actually had to Google the size of a baby's foot which is around 7cm so this would never fit!

Second try, a little bigger. The pattern actually said that seam allowance was not included so I had to do it again. I added about 5mm to the pattern and redid it. New sole size: 6cm. Argh! Again too small...

I only had enough fabric left for one pair so I added extra sizing to the pattern to make sure that were not too small, possibly even too big. The above was the result. New sole size: 7cm. Score!

I used different ribbons on all the booties to be able to keep them apart (like the sizing wouldn't help!) and I noticed that in the last and finally correctly sized booties I used a ribbon which only had print on one side and one of the booties had it the wrong way around! But by that time I had made 3 pairs of booties so it was just going to have to do.

Now, of course, it's completely obvious that the first pair was that tiny!

So when the bf said 'oh no, this pair is too small, this pair is too big, this pair is just right' I just knew these would be the Goldilocks booties. Even though there is technically no 'too big' pair, I thought it was really funny.

The large ones were added to the pile of presents, here you can even see a sneak peek of the other things I made. 

After getting some additional grey hairs about these booties, I quickly had to move on the next item in the present pile as time was running out. The idea was to do this over Christmas and for some reason I just didn't manage so now I had to really hurry up!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Baby Girl Presents - Very Girly Onesies

Hi everyone!
It's been a while since I made any baby things actually. I didn't realise until I just looked at my 'creations' folder LOL. My boss is 8 months pregnant with a baby girl, and of course I had to make her some cute items for her baby shower. It turned out I made quite a few things so you'll be seeing a few posts on this ;) First up: onesies! I just love making onesies, I buy some in the colour I need (pink in this case) and sew on appliques. I went onto our good friend Pinterest to find some designs and I did find some lovely ones :)

Check out the great results!

For the last few months, though, my sewing machine has been really annoying with the tension settings. They were just on and off, and no matter what I did I couldn't get the bottom tension to work right. When making the onesies, the above was the result. Do you see the thread clearly running through the stitching? Cut that and the whole thing comes apart. So, I once again read through the threading instructions and it said 'thread here until you hear a click'. Click? What click? Honestly, total user error... so I re-threaded everything yet again (with click this time) and presto! All is working again :) So I unpicked everything, and resewed it properly. It was after all a gift, and gifts need to be done properly.

It looks so much better now! I got this pattern here, templates are provided and the result is just too cute :) I added the button as I just thought that something was missing, I really think it works.

I found the heart applique idea here. Since I was on the cupcake trail, I thought I'd make it into a theme. I just cut out little hearts out of some purple cupcake fabric and sewed them on. I purposefully put the one with the pink cupcake liner in the middle and the ones with the pink icing on the sides.

This one is my favourite! I am actually thinking of making this into a t-shirt for myself, yes that is how cool I think it is :) I found the design here, it doesn't have templates but the instructions are really easy to follow. As the onesies were pink, the colour scheme was a little tricky, but I think the burgundy ribbon really works.

 So part one of the present was done, the onesies. I'm really pleased with how everything came out :) 

I made some other things as well but more on that later. This turned into a rather large project, hihi. So watch this space!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Disney's Frozen Running Skirt Tutorial

Hello again!
As promised, here is my tutorial for the running skirt. As it's quite difficult to find these sparkly skirts I see being used in all the Disney runs here in the UK, I just have to make my own. And sometimes people even ask me where I got mine so that is definitely a compliment in my book *happy smile*. Clearly your skirt doesn't have to be for the Frozen costume, it just happened to be the one I was working on.

I really love this skirt. As I normally hardly ever wear anything sparkly, this is a real treat and I went all out :)

You will need all of the above items. I always buy 1m of the sparkly fabric as it gives me a nice square piece to work with. The sizes of the fabrics and elastic depend on your size of course. With the Cinderella skirt and the Santa skirt, I chose white lining. The fabric is quite see-through between the dots, and I needed the lining to show and to be white. Using white lining here dimished the icy-ness of the fabric a bit so I chose the blue lining to make the colour pop more.

Clearly I am incapable of proper pattern drawing so this was my pattern when I made the red version of this and it still works for everything. The fabric is 112cm wide, that is from selvage edge to selvage edge so not from where the shop cuts it. For me that is perfect as I use 1x the width for the waistband and 2x the width for the skirt. Now onto the sizes of the separate pieces. The waistband is around 10cm wide (or long however you want to call it), this varies depending on how much seam allowance I give but it's always at least 10cm. The skirt part is 24cm wide + seam allowance.
NOTE: cut the lining skirt part about 10cm wider, so 34cm + seam allowance.

Cut the fabric according to your size, here you see the piece on the left 112cm width of the fabric and 12cm for the size, and two pieces of 112cmx24cm. I never use a rotary cutter for this as the dots line up nicely and you're much more likely to get a straight line when following the natural lines in the fabric than by using a rotary cutter. NOTE: I always cut and sew between the dots.

Sew the wider pieces together to create one long piece of 224cm and then sew them into a tube. Sew the 112cm piece also into a tube.

Gather the skirt on one end and sew it onto the waist band.

Follow all the above steps with the lining. 
NOTE: I normally want the lining skirt part to be about 10cm longer than the actual skirt so I can give it a big folded hem and create a bit of puffiness. As you'll be added the ribbon to the skirt it will be much longer than the lining. I completely forgot that here so the lining skirt was actually too short.

I forgot to take a couple of pictures here, woops! Sew the skirt and the lining together on the top part of the waistband with the right sides together. Then turn them over so you see this.

Sew a casing for your elastic band, leaving a small opening to insert the elastic. The size of your elastic is entirely up to you. I use 1/4" elastic and the length always varies. The Santa skirt was a little too wide so I made sure I tightened this one a little. It should not cut off your circulation but it should also not fall down during your run so make sure it's comfortable but tight enough.

After inserting the elastic and closing the casing, the most difficult part of your skirt is done.

Now it's time to sew on the bottom ribbon. Depending on your theme/character/colour scheme, this can be any colour or design. Usually I use about a 1" wide ribbon, but because I found this fantastic blue snowflake sparkly ribbon in the card shop which is wider than that, I chose a 2" wide satin ribbon to make the snowflakes come out more. I would advise against using grosgrain as it's not going to be pulled anywhere and the satin just looks much better.
As the sparkly fabric doesnt fray, just topstitch the ribbon (or ribbonS in this case) onto the top layer of your skirt, about one dot from the edge. I try not to sew over the dots as that makes the needle all sticky from the glue. I sew the ends of the ribbon together last, otherwise I always have either too much or not enough.

There is another picture missing there, but you still have to hem your lining. Unless you have chosen a lining which doesn't fray (and if you have please tell me what it is!). Turn the bottom of the lining part of the skirt up to the required length. As mentioned earlier, the top skirt is now longer than the bottom one, so if you've considered this when cutting your lining (as I clearly missed in this case), turn it up so that it matches roughly with the top layer. If you want some of the lining to show, turn it up less. Make sure you turn it up so that the hem will be facing the top layer, otherwise it is going to get caught on your clothing all the time. You want the part that is against your skin/running trousers to be smooth. I could have unpicked my lining and overlocked it in place but I felt it wasn't worth it for the sake of maybe 1/2". Because the sparkly ribbon was a wired one, it kind of stands out anyway so the lining wasn't too much of an issue. With both the Cinderella skirt and the Santa skirt, I would have had to remake the lining as there I was counting on the additional volume the lining hem would give the skirt.

Taadaa! Once you've hemmed the lining, your finished result should look something like this. The great part about these is that you can make them as elaborate and as simple as you want. And yes, you can see the lining error a tiny bit but as I'll be wearing blue running trousers it won't matter too much.

I hope you liked this tutorial and that it all made sense to you. I must say that I actually prefer the sparkly skirts over the tutus while running. They look nicer in movement, are not as cumbersome to carry, and are so comfortable! I'll be posting pics of the run as soon as I have them so fingers crossed I can actually run part of it. But at least I'll look great in my Frozen Outfit :)

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Disney's Frozen Running Outfit

Hi everyone and (better late than never) Happy New Year!
I hope you all had a great and end of 2014 and a spectacular beginning of 2015 :) Mine didn't start with a bang but it's slowly improving. The first projects are done and I'm very excited about what they are. I waited so long to post anything on here, because my first blog entry this year just had to be my new running outfit (yes another one!) for the Winter Run on 1 February. I nearly forgot to make this actually because I made this so many times in my head, and a couple of weeks ago I realised that I only had less than a month left so I'd better get started!

The Winter Run is a new 10K race organised by the Cancer Research charity and their main colour is blue. Mmmm, a race in blue and in the cold? What better running outfit to make than Elsa?! It was kind of a no-brainer really. So after tons of research and practicality checks, I came up with this outfit. It's basically the same running skirt as I've used as Cinderella for the Race for Life in July and all the Christmas runs, and I will actually post a tutorial about this soon :) I'm really excited about this, so even if I'm injured at the moment (yes, again...) I will participate even if I have to walk it.

Don't you just love it? I'm so pleased with how it came out! Let me show you some of the details.

The skirt was the main part. Once I had that, the rest was easy. I have already taken the photos for the tutorial but an interesting difference between this one and the other two is that I used two ribbons on the bottom. I found this blue glitter snowflake wired ribbon in the card shop for only 99p for 3 meters, bargain! Combined with a super wide ribbon I still had in my stash, it just looks perfectly icy!

Another big challenge was Elsa's cloak. I had just the right amount of white shimmery organza fabric in my stash. BUT I also had the right amount of blue organza fabric in my stash. A lot of research later (watched youtube videos, the movie, Disney merchandise, you name it) I discovered that there is no 100% clear answer. I mean, if even Disney sells dolls with either blue or white cloaks, what to do? So I checked on Facebook and asked all my friends with kids. OMG even the kids had different opinions! One of the people in a costume group on FB just suggested to take whatever worked best. Good advice! So I tried both and of course (duh!) white organza over blue looks like light blue so we had a winner. And the fact that the white had the shimmer to it just really left the blue one just miles behind.

I got the iron-on snowflakes for Christmas. The prices varied enormously, but the bf managed to find a good deal. I spent hours trying to glue rhinestones on the top so these iron-ons were a breath of fresh air, and so easy! Plus I just love the result.

I hemmed the organza with a normal zigzag stitch, nothing fancy. I was considering using light blue thread instead of white, but I don't think it would have mattered too much. I thought I had some sequined ribbon left in ice blue but sadly not so this will just have to do. 

And this is the back with the cloak. The light was really bad when I took this, but you kind of get the idea. I just hope I wont look like Superman when I run, but then again it doesn't look like I'll be going very fast ;)

The hat was also on my wishlist for Christmas and the bf kindly obliged. I really don't like blue but this project really made me appreciate it more. I used some of the iron-on rhinestones to iron the snowflakes onto the hat, and added a ribbon as it was slightly too long. In hindsight, the smaller snowflakes would have worked better on the hat, but done is done and in daylight it will hopefully look all shiny and sparkly. 

 I bought a tanktop from Primark for £1.80 and glued lots of rhinestones on that. I didn't glue them all over the front as I'll be wearing a running number anyway, so I stopped at about half way to leave room for that. The rhinestones were given to me by someone who didn't want them anymore so I'm glad they got a good use. You know how all the websites say not to use superglue when gluing on rhinestones? Well, don't be stubborn and trust the websites! I didn't have time to go to the craft shop and buy E6000 or something and I used an all purpose heavy duty glue which I thought would work and I'm trailing rhinestones now. As long as it holds for at least one picture at the event I'm happy!

I could take so many more pictures but this shows you the main part separately. I used a normal white longsleeved top that I still had in my closet as the base and added the tanktop over it. I got some legwarmers on ebay for around £1.50 and added more rhinestones. And then the skirt of course. I also bought some blue running pants from Sports Direct for £7, sales are great and at least now it all matches. Also not in the picture are a set of blue/grey gloves from the 99p Store. I know Elsa doesn't have a hat or gloves, but it is London and it will be cold so some heat will be much needed.

And that is it! My lovely first officially posted creation of 2015: The Frozen Running outfit. I'm so pleased with it and am really looking forward to the run (or possibly walk). I'll keep you posted on how I did!
On second thought, I could have just named it the Elsa running outfit but that may have been confusing as I've seen lots of those that had her pre-transformation dress. So even though we don't have a Disney Run in Europe, and I really hope that one day we will, I actually made a Frozen dress to run in *squeel!*

For the photos I used the bf's big camera. I'm at work during the day and it's still winter so daylight pics needs to be well planned and for some reason I just didn't manage! So I took the pics with the big camera, then emailed them to myself and opened them on my phone with Picstitch and applied a colour filter (Dean) to make the blue pop more. That way I could get the right colour that normal daylight would show as well rather than the yellowy blue that I got from using normal lamps.

As always, I do have to push my Justgiving page, mostly because so far I have raised exactly ZERO money. But then again, I just wanted to do this and any donations I get are a bonus. But it never hurts to share the link again, right? ;) I hope you love this outfit as much I do! Let it go.... Let it goooo!!!

UPDATE: The tutorial for the skirt is now live. Just click here.
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