Saturday, 26 July 2014

Fabric: September Blue from Dashwood Studios

I was the lucky winner of a fat quarter bundle of the new fabric range from Dashwood Studios - September Blue, designed  by Susan Driscoll. Celtic Fusion Fabrics held the giveaway earlier this month and asked for sewing tips for an entry. 


My parcel of delicious fabric arrived a week ago and although I have been tempted to start using it straight away, I already have a quilt in progress (more soon) and I also wanted to get my Deer & Doe Sureau dress made, which has been ready to sew since Christmas! 



I am looking for some inspiration - I love what Lily's Quilts made - such a beautiful quilt, as always. I am leaning towards going for something with quite large patches because the larger scale prints are going to be lost otherwise, so it won't be another half square triangle quilt! This may be the chance I need to get to grips with the Quiltography app on my ipad. 

What quilt pattern would you choose?

Love Mrs Jones x

Monday, 21 July 2014

Craft: A Beginners Patchwork Pincushion

I love saving my fabric scraps and using them in small projects - even the tiniest amount of fabric will cover a button, or can be used in a little patchwork. But often, I am too keen to start on new fabric rather than revisit the scraps, so I have been trying to redress that with some scrap fabric patchwork. I have a scrappy HST chevron quilt on the go and I have just finished this pincushion. This is a great first project for anyone who fancies dipping their toes into patchwork.


I was given the opportunity to choose and review some ribbon from Fantastic Ribbons, a shop which sells ribbons by the roll. I chose the 6mm centre stitch ribbon (above) and a gorgeous broderie anglaise trim which I am planning to use in my Sureau dress (currently on my sewing table).

To make the pincushion you will need:

  • 2 pieces of scrap fabric measuring 12cm square (or equivalent)
  • Roll of 6mm Ribbon
  • Wadding
  • Button

1. Iron your fabric then measure and cut each piece of fabric into four squares 6cm x 6cm.



2. Arrange your fabric in your desired pattern. Take the first two squares and pin right sides together.



3. Sew down one side with your sewing machine. Repeat for the second two squares.



4. With your iron, press open the seams of the two rectangles you have just sewn.



5. Place the two rectangles right sides together, matching up your centre seams first and pinning. Sew together.

6. Again, press open the seams with your iron.

7. Repeat steps 2 to 6 with the remaining four squares.



8. Measure and cut your ribbon into four lengths, the same length as your completed squares. Pin the first one carefully down the centre seam of your square, covering your seam line.

9. Place your sewing machine needle in the right sided position and carefully sew down one edge. Repeat for the other side.

10. Place and pin your second piece of ribbon, again ensuring it covers your seam line and sew in place. Repeat steps 9 and 10 for your second patchwork square.


11. Pin the two finished squares together (right sides together) on three sides, and with your machine needle back in the centre position, sew, backstitching at the start and finish. 


12. Clip across the corners without cutting into your sewing line. Turn the right way around and stuff with wadding - you will want to pack it into the far corners first.

13. Press under the two raw edges and neatly hand sew shut.



14. To finish, sew a button in the centre.



A little bit of ribbon trim can really give a project its finishing touch! I love having the freedom of a whole roll of ribbon to play with, and not realising that you haven't bought enough from your local haberdasher! Here is a sneak peek of what I did with the broderie anglaise trim - check back on Wednesday for the full lowdown on the Sureau dress:


Love Mrs Jones x

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Launching...Mrs Jones and the Slow Cooker

About six weeks ago, I bought myself a slow cooker to aid my transition from illness to back to work. I had no idea how much it would revolutionise the way I cook for my family, or how much use I would get out of it at a time of year when slow cookers are not renowned for their popularity (they are seen as a Winter thing). I set about learning how to use my slow cooker and have been trawling slow cooker recipes across the web and through a stack of library books, and I am charting my progress over on my new blog: Mrs Jones and the Slow Cooker. 


Already, there are a selection of recipes posted for you to browse, and some of these include ideas on what to do with any leftovers. Do pop over and see what I have been cooking - I would love for you to share your own slow cooker recipes with me.

Love Mrs Jones x

Monday, 14 July 2014

Le Challenge: Small Sashiko Phone Case

This month's Le Challenge theme is Small and I had no trouble deciding on what I was going to make: a Sashiko phone case for my new phone. This was my very first time at trying my hand at Sashiko, so please be kind!! The fabric I used is a linen/viscose blend which I used to make this dress and is a deep purple colour, not quite the intense indigo that is traditionally used.


Sashiko thread should be quite thick - I used two threads of some embroidery floss which I already had in my stash. Cottonpatch have a range of threads, patterns and the unusual thimble in stock.


I sketched my freehand design on my fabric with some fabric chalk.

I found it quite tricky to embroider such a lightweight fabric - I could really have done with an embroidery hoop! There is an art to getting the stitch and gap ratio correct, and I don't even pretend that I managed it! But I did try the technique of putting lots of stitches on my needle and then pushing the fabric through.

Do be sure to check out the other Le Challenge entries this month by clicking here:


Le Challenge

Love Mrs Jones x

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Paper: French Vintage Birthday Card and Button Box


I have had a ball making my own cards recently - it is a fad that I move in and out of. A couple of months ago I was seduced by Papermania's Sew Lovely range which I picked up in a bargain pack with some elements from Madame Payraud's. The kit is still available here. So, this card combines parts of both Sew Lovely: the background, the trim and the sentiment, and Madame Payraud's: the central label.


The button box is made from a cute piece of card from the Sew Lovely range, and I simply traced around an existing flat pack box that I have, scored it and bent it into shape (you can find tons of free printable boxes online). Note the tape measure ribbon that is used to secure it! Wouldn't it make a great sewing gift?

Love Mrs Jones x

Friday, 11 July 2014

Bake: Awesome Chelsea Buns!

You can't beat a Chelsea bun for a lovely comforting treat! I had no idea how easy they were to make either until I tried this recipe from "Good Housekeeping" New Step-by-step Cook Book (Good Housekeeping Cookery Club) (the New referring to 1995 when we received it as a wedding present from my favourite Psychology teacher (I was practically a child bride!)). To demonstrate how easy it was, I actually made the dough in my half hour lunch break when I was working from home one day, left the dough to rise for a few hours and then went onto the next step after I had finished work!



Please don't be put off by the number of steps - it really is an easy recipe!

Ingredients
7g sachet of fast action dried yeast
200ml milk
450g strong white flour
1 tsp salt
125g butter
50g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp ground mixed spice
100g sultanas, or a mix of sultanas and currants
Glaze Ingredients
50g caster sugar
75ml water


Method
  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and add the fast action yeast.
  2. Rub in half the quantity of butter and stir in half of the sugar.
  3. Make a well in the centre and stir the egg into the milk, and then pour into the well. Mix with a knife.
  4. Flour your work surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  5. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and put it on a warm windowsill for 1 to 2 hours until it has doubled in size. I actually left mine for 2 1/2 hours while I finished work and it was fine.
  6. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead gently until smooth. Roll out until you have a rough 30cm square.
  7. Cream the remaining butter with half of the remaining sugar and spread over your square - leaving a border.
  8. Fold the dough in half and roll out into another 30cm square. I have to say that the buttery mixture did go everywhere at this point. 
  9. Sprinkle on your sultanas/currants, the spice (add more if you like it spicy) and sugar, again leaving the edges free.
  10. Roll up like a swiss roll and cut 12 slices. I know you are going to think you will never get 12 out of that, but you will!
  11. Grease a 23 x 28cm baking tin and place each slice (you may need to unsquish them a little) in so that they are nice and snug. Leave covered for 15 minutes to rise again. Use this time to preheat your oven to 200C.
  12. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  13. The sugar glaze is made by boiling up the sugar and water together until the sugar dissolves and the liquid is syrupy (will take 3-4 minutes). Apply liberally to the tops of the buns.
  14. Bun fight!
If you don't think you will manage all 12 in one sitting (!) you can freeze them unglazed, according to Good Housekeeping, however, I like to through caution to the wind and have frozen some with the glaze on!

Love Mrs Jones x

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Sewn: First Aid Pouch

With my new medical needs and a holiday just around the corner, I really needed to get myself organised with a first aid kit that didn't look like it was assembled in the 1990s. You know when you peep in and the bandages still have paper wrappers and anything remotely antiseptic is now just a wizened old tube of gunk! It also needed to be portable, so I made myself a little first aid pouch!


You cannot fail to notice that big red cross which will hold all my essential meds! I loved working with such tiny little squares and using up many of the scraps from this quilt. Scrap busting fills me with frugal joy, ha ha! One day, I would really love to make a larger version of the Plus quilt, I particularly like this one from Diary of a Quilter, which was inspired by one made during World War II. 


Note, I went for the traditional nursing pairing of red, white and blue. 


So, what should you keep in your first aid kit? This is what the NHS recommends.

  • Plasters in a range of sizes. I like to keep a variety of types, such as for blisters, burns etc.
  • Sterile gauze dressings in a couple of sizes
  • Sterile eye bandage
  • Triangular bandage
  • Crepe bandages
  • Safety pins
  • Sterile gloves
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Micropore tape
  • Digital thermometer
  • Insect bite relief
  • Painkillers
  • Antihistamine tablets
I would add in tubigrip in a couple of sizes and some deep heat, for injury prone teenagers! I am beginning to think I might need a bigger pouch!



Love Mrs Jones x