Sunday, 23 August 2015

Sewn: Ipad Mini Case

I made a case for my ipad about 18 months ago, but with daily use it had got really grubby. Unfortunately as my original case had cardboard inserts it wasn't suitable for washing and there were some other things that were annoying me on it too, such as the elastic being too loose and the top flap refused to lie flat.

So, in this model, I ditched the cardboard in favour of craft foam and dispensed with the batting altogether because that is what made it buckle and not sit flat. 

And inside, I have added some more secure corner supports at the base (the previous model was all elastic). This makes it so much more comfortable to hold.

I have a little bit of a gather going on inside, where my sewing foot kept catching on the foam (grr...)

The fabric is by Makower and I have also seen it in pink and blue colourways.

Love Mrs Jones x

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Pickled Onions and Biscotti

An odd combination! I have had some kitchen successes and failures this week: the pickled onions were a success, but alas the biscotti were not!

The pickled onions were originally spring onions that I left in my veg patch a little too long and had become salad onions. I can't see why they wouldn't work in place of the button onions/shallots that you would usually put in pickled onions.

The recipe I used was based on this BBC one, but I substituted about 1/5 of the malt vinegar with balsamic vinegar (I love honey and balsamic vinegar in a salad dressing so thought it would also translate well in this recipe). I halved the recipe as I only had a small amount of onions - just enough for one jar.

Given a shake now and again, they will be perfect with some cold meats and cheese at Christmas!

What didn't go so well were the Chocolate and Hazelnut Biscotti. Again, inspired by Great British Bake Off, I thought I would have a go at some biscotti - I loved some that an Italian friend had made once.

Contrary to how GBBO portrayed it, they were ridiculously easy to make, and look fairly good too, but sadly they just taste so disappointing - there is not enough flavour at all. It hasn't put me off making some more but I would go for a recipe that has some kind of spice or a much richer flavour.

Love Mrs Jones x

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Patchwork: Hello Bear Cot Quilt

Finally a quilt finish to report on with this cot quilt/play mat, which I have made for my step-sister's new baby girl. I really have no excuse for it taking me so long, because a cot quilt is one of the smallest things to make, but you know how it is - life just gets in the way of sewing sometimes! 

The fabric is from the timber colourway of the Hello Bear range by Bonnie Christine. I love the fact that it is both modern and cute - perfect for a baby! 

Each block is comprised of a square and two rectangles - from memory (the gift is on its way), the finished blocks were 25cm. I did write the measurements down at one stage, but that has since been lost!

The quilting was kept very simple with stitching in the ditch around each block. I followed the format of my first couple of quilts by quilting the top and batting together before adding the back and thus skipping the binding. The reason is that I think it will hold up to more frequent and vigorous washing this way.

My one regret with this quilt, is that I didn't fussy cut the main animal fabric, but it was so difficult to keep it in line with my chosen pattern.

Love Mrs Jones x

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Bake: Black Forest Gateau

Who doesn't love the return of the Great British Bake Off? It has been such a long time since I baked (unless you count the breadmaker bread I make four times a week), so I was inspired to have a go at a Black forest gateau. One of the few phrases that I remember from learning German is "Schwartzwalderkirschtorte mit sahne, bitte" - an everyday essential!!

The recipe I followed was this one from The Hairy Bikers, although if you read the recipe through, the linked photo doesn't resemble the description at all!

As usual, I meddled with the recipe! Firstly, I left it as a two layer cake - my sponges were pretty thin and I didn't think they would stand up to being split into two. I didn't have any Kirsch or cherry brandy so used Creme de Cassis instead - just one dessertspoon drizzled over one of the sponges before spreading it with sour cherry jam, and I did not included the dried cherries either.

I learned a valuable lesson about rescuing overwhipped cream too, as my son was in charge of the whipping (see how granular it looks in the centre). Just add a little more cream and whisk by hand until it is incorporated - it will loosen up to the desired consistency.

If you are inspired to bake, here is the link to the recipes from Week One.

Love Mrs Jones x

Saturday, 18 July 2015

In my Garden: July

Vebena Bonariensis
I created a new border in my garden this year to make use of the space which was previously given over to the trampoline. It isn't actually finished yet - I still have to put the edging on and it will need a mulch of something like bark chippings in the Autumn. But, I have been lucky that some of my plants have flowered this year - never really sure what they are going to do when you plant them so late in the season.

I have harvested a small amount of blueberries - they are slightly tarter than the ones you buy in punnets from the supermarket, but I quite like that about them. This was a new plant this year, so again I am pleased to have got something from it, and there are lots more berries that aren't quite ripe yet.

I can't resist roses - this one is called Burgundy Ice and I love the richness of the colour. Its so nice to be able to get out and enjoy the garden!

Love Mrs Jones x

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Catching up

Behind the scenes, I have been busy juggling work and family life with not quite so much time for sewing and some of the other things I love doing. However, I have almost finished a cot quilt with some gorgeous Hello Bear fabric by Bonnie Christine for my step-sister's imminent arrival.

I am hoping that the colours are suitably unisex! I will post in more detail when I have finished it, which I anticipate will be in the next week or so.

I have also started growing my own vegetables and fruit this year, starting small with a metre square raised bed. So far this year, we have had lettuce and peas, and I am currently harvesting the spring onions and courgettes. My blueberry plant has lots of berries in the making:

Finally, my gorgeous Maine Coon, Atticus has been enjoying all this fantastic weather that we have been having in Somerset.

Mrs Jones x

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Venice in Spring 2015

I feel very lucky to have spent the bank holiday weekend in Venice with my Mum and younger sister - it was a really lovely weekend of getting lost, shopping, sights and drinking Prosecco! This was my first time in Italy (not including a day trip I took from Austria in the 1980s) and I fell in love with it.

From Marco Polo airport, we took the scenic route on the Linea Arancio, weaving through the Grand Canal to our hotel, alighting at Giglio and navigating via St. Mark's Square to our hotel near Arsenale.

Grand Canal

My sister pre-booked tickets for the Basilica, which saved us from the long queue snaking down one side of St. Mark's Square (entry is free, but if you reserve it is €2). It is well worth paying to go upstairs via the steep narrow staircase for a fantastic view over the square.
San Marco Basilica
View from San Marco Basilica
View over to Giudecca from our hotel

My favourite time was hopping off a vaporetto and getting lost trying to find the Rialto Mercado - although it isn't possible to get really lost! At the Rialto bridge, there was a huge crush of people, and I was glad to get out into the quieter streets again.

A trip to Murano was our planned itinerary for the afternoon and it was very warm for early May. Again, it is a popular tourist destination and the world and his wife seemed to want to get on our vaporetto at the same time. If you are planning on visiting Murano or any of the other islands, my advice is to visit early and return early to avoid the crowds. A day's vaporettto pass which will include the fare to Murano, Burano and Torcello costs €20.

Our final day was spent at the Doge's Palace (€18) and the famous Bridge of Sighs.

Venice is such a beautiful place, and one which I can see myself returning to again and again - I already have a wish list of things that I want to do on my next visit.

Love Mrs Jones x

We stayed at Ca' Formenta - which I would highly recommend.