Thursday, 30 August 2012

Book Review: Simple Sewn Gifts

I have borrowed "Simple Sewn Gifts: Stitch 25 Fast and Easy Gifts" by Helen Philipps, from my local library. Looks like I am the first to borrow this book. At first glance, it is an attractive book with projects ranging from Cafetiere cosies to Christmas stockings.  However, what it doesn't specify on the cover is that every project involves some element of cross stitch. I like sewing but I am not a fan of cross stitch (it hurts my eyes for a start). However, the cross stitch isn't alway integral to the designs featured in the book.

The book is divided into three areas, At Home, Loved Ones and Get Festive. I love the look of this Retro Apron, which incorporates a sweet cross stitch pocket panel. This is definitely something that I would make.
 It is that time of year when I am thinking about Christmas (!), and these decorations look like a quick make, and would look great hanging on the tree or tucked into a hamper.
Beach hut detail on Helen's Bunting
Although there are many projects that I would make in this book, I would dispute that many would qualify as gifts; ie: would you like to receive a Christmas cake band as a gift? 

If you have this book, I would love to know what you thought of it and what you have made.

If you like both cross stitch (and sewing), then yes it is definitely worth buying, because as you can see from the few photos I took, Helen Philipps cross stitch designs are adorable. But, for those who only sew, I would suggest borrowing it from a library or friend for the odd project.

Love Mrs Jones x

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Sew a wash bag

Well I now know why everyone says sewing with pvc is so difficult! I have had my eye on making a triangular bag for a while, after spotting a tutorial here.  Rather than cutting four rectangles as I would for my pencil cases and make up bags, I cut a shape more like a trapezoid. 

I would usually top stitch the outer fabric to the zip, but because the pvc sticks, I had to sew it the other way round! So, who has some tips for sewing with pvc? Leave them in my comments, as I still have a lot of this fabric left and I'm determined to use it!

Love Mrs Jones x

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Voodoo Pincushion

From a hastily scribbled image on my Galaxy Note: making the real thing:
Sometimes the best ideas you have are at the strangest times. I was waiting in the car one day when this idea came into my head, and with the new phone I have comes a very handy stylus, and my phone becomes a notebook. I did think if people didn't like the idea of voodoo, they could become more innocent gingerbread men. 

Love Mrs Jones x

Monday, 27 August 2012

Design your own Converse

If you like Converse and you have five minutes to spare, have a go at designing your own (even if you don't go on to buy them). There are lots of different styles of Converse to do this on. My children love doing this. You can customise every little detail down to the stitching and eyelets.

This is me playing around - I love that colour green!

Love Mrs Jones x

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Goodreads Reading Challenge 2012

I set myself a challenge of reading 40 books in 2012, and am tracking it through Goodreads - you can see my progress through the widget on the right hand side.

Forty books is a bit of a challenge for me - I usually average thirty a year, and I am already four or five behind! The full list of books that I have read is here:

1. War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
2. My Last Duchess by Daisy Goodwin
3. The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles
4. Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks
5. Diamonds are Forever by Ian Fleming
6. Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
7. Are We Nearly There Yet by Ben Hatch
8. Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella
9. Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy
10. Any Human Heart by William Boyd
11. The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier
12. The Children's Hour by Marcia Willett
13. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
14. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
15. The Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
16. After Dark by Haruki Murakami
17. Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving
18. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
19. Ten Thousand Sorrows by Elizabeth Kim
20. Death of a Muderer by Rupert Thomson
21. How to be Good by Nick Hornby

So, I finished How to be Good last night and I'm in a quandry as to what to read next. You can join in the Goodreads challenge at any time - you set your own challenge. I will do an update at the end of the year - will I manage it?

Love Mrs Jones x

Friday, 24 August 2012

The Best of the Folksy Summer Sale

A selection of Folksy recession busting goodies in the summer sale, all under £10 - don't miss out!

Leanne Wood Designs Silverspiral Marice’s World Adien Crafts Linen and Roses Cassia Beck 
Just click on the image to go to the relevant shop!
1. Pale Pink Bunting from Leanne Wood Designs £4.00
2. Citrine and Peridot Sterling Silver earrings from Silverspiral £7.00
3. Mine Me Lilly Shopper from Marice's World, was £12 now £8.00
4. Teal Pearl Bracelet from Adien Crafts, was £14.95 now £7.50
5. Pretty Hanging Embroidery from Linen and Roses, was £9.00 now £7.00
6. Leading the Way print by Cassia Beck, usually £12, now £5.00
Love Mrs Jones x

Thursday, 23 August 2012

London Coaster set

You would think that these coasters would be the easiest thing in the world to make, but I have had a few pitfalls along the way. The first coaster I made was using a really thick batting - so thick that to turn the coaster right side out was a nightmare. Somehow on the second coaster the upper thread tension had been moved and I developed a lot of looping on the underside. 

Finally, a set of coasters!
I used a hard coaster that I already had to cut out four squares in the London fabric, the red polkadot fabric on the underside and the wadding. They aren't very thick, but sufficient to prevent a mark from a hot mug of something.

Love Mrs Jones x

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

National Trust Kids Go Free

Finding things to do with your children in the last couple of weeks of the summer holidays can be difficult. I thought I would share something that was advertised at my workplace: National Trust Kids Go Free in August (apart from the bank holiday weekend). Any child between 5 and 16 can enter free with an accompanying adult. Please check the link to see which properties are participating in this.

They also have Fifty Things to do before you are 11 3/4 - ideal for bored children. I am definitely going to utilise this before September. 

Some of the best child friendly places in my area are: Arlington Court which has pony and trap rides and a live bat cam; Killerton House which has a Bear Hut and an Ice Cave - all good places to explore. I haven't been to a National Trust property for a while, but I will leave you with an image from my last trip to Barrington Court, Somerset.

Love Mrs Jones x

This is not a sponsored post!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Summer Pudding

First of all, apologies for the photo which looks more like a massacre than a summer pudding. I knew I should have photographed the pudding in its entirety rather than a slice. But it was delicious! The idea of bread in a pudding put me off trying it for years, but it is my husband's favourite pudding, and I have come to like it too.
Fred helped me make this, and he thought that he had to mash the fruit in the pan, hence the unidentifyable fruit goo! 

Summer fruit - either 3 - 4 punnets of fruit (not strawberries) or use a frozen summer fruit mix. I used half frozen and half fresh.
220g sugar
White bread with the crusts off
You also need a pudding basin

1. Prepare any fresh fruit to remove any extra such as stalks or leaves.

2. Tip all your fruit into a heavy based pan and add the sugar. At this point it looks as though someone had been shot in the snow, but keep stirring and the juice of the fruit will come out. Let it bubble for a little until the sugar has dissolved and is a syrupy texture. Let it cool.

3. Meanwhile, cut a piece of bread to cover the base of the basin. Cut wide strips of bread and place around the side of the dish. Don't worry if there is a gap as they will swell a little anyway.

4. Pour the cooled fruit mixture into the breaded basin. Add more bread to the top.

5. Get a plate or saucer to put on top of the basin with something heavy to weigh it down, and place in the fridge for 4-5 hours or overnight.

6. When you serve, run a knife around the edge. Tip the bowl upside down over a plate, tap it and it should come out.

7. Serve with cream.

Love Mrs Jones x

Monday, 20 August 2012

Growing up

In one of those moments when I was really busy (I was working from home) I hurriedly ushered my children out to play. Later one of them decides to go off swimming with their friends and they tell me they won't be back until six. This is the moment you realise that they are indeed growing up and moving on. This is my ten old who is out all day, the first summer we have deemed him responsible enough. 

It is a heart wrenching moment when they stop wanting to do things with you but prefer spending time with their friends. This photo was only taken in 2007, but it seems a world away now with a soon to be 15 year old and a 10 year old.
Love Mrs Jones x