Friday, 28 September 2012

Soft and Light Slippers

After savouring Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross, I was eager to get started on making something. What could be easier than a cute pair of slippers? Well, they're not that easy actually, but I had the weekend on my side. 

Heather's sizing guide is a little strange as the sizes range from 6 - 10 shoe size for women, however I used the smallest size and found that these do fit fine (I am a 5 1/2 - 6). You don't need much fabric - mine came from fat quarters (I am always on the lookout for fat quarter projects).  

I encountered two problems - the sole I cut on the second shoe seemed larger which must have been either my cutting error or the fact that my stiching was tigher. I did manage to rectify this but as you can see in my photo there is some light trimming work to be done on the left slipper. The other problem is that the slipper doesn't come up high enough at the back - which I can fix by inserting another piece of fabric.

I have to say that though it was a little more challenging than I hoped, I really enjoyed making something completely different. 

Love Mrs Jones x

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Fabric Apple - Lightly Stuffed

Recent news tells of a very poor apple crop here in the UK, which has been blamed on the cold and rainy summer and the impact that this has had on bees being able to pollinate the trees. My Dad has an orchard of around 15 trees and at this time of the year he is giving apples away, this year, there are barely any. Ironically, there are plenty of blackberries out there (I will be baking with blackberries in the next couple of weeks).

So, I have been celebrating what should have been the apple harvest in fabric style:
This is a lightly stuffed apple based on a project here. Roughly cut your apple template and sew around the edges wrong sides together, leaving a gap at the top for stuffing. Stuff lightly (too much and it will lose it's shape).

I would love to know what Autumn projects you are all up to.

Love Mrs Jones x

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Felt Autumn Leaves

Everybody does them at some point or another, possibly because they can be as simple or as sophisticated as you wish. But what better way to introduce Autumn into your home by making these felt leaves. I have been making mine for a few weeks, when I had a couple of minutes to spare, and even now I don't have a very large collection.
I thought it was time I did something with them, so I attached thread to each one and have displayed them on a three tier display stand that I have.

I congratulate anyone who will sit and embroider their little autumn leaves by hand. I have a pinterest board of felt leaves, if you want some more inspiration. 

Love Mrs Jones x

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Book Review: Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross

I was really looking forward to getting this book from the library - the delight of 40 projects to browse through. And I wasn't disappointed , this book is full of gorgeous photos and projects. These projects are beyond those domestic items that are usually featured - this is definitely not all about aprons and tablecloths, although it does feature both. I have already begun making a pair of the slippers, and I want to get started on a pair of pyjama bottoms for myself. 
Sweet guest slippers.
There are projects in this book which range in scale from using fat quarters, ie, for the gardening gloves, to metres for example in the Shirt Dress. The book comes complete with two large pattern sheets over which you can trace your required pieces using tracing or freezer paper.

I am very impressed by the range of womens' clothes, and all are clothes that I would attempt to make and wear. I am going to start on something easy such as the pyjama bottoms and progress on to the Yard Sale Skirt. There is also quite a good section on children's clothes, for boys and girls. 

Heather Ross is a fabric designer and sewing teach in America, hence all measurements are in imperial which as a modern woman (!) is something I don't understand. However, I am definitely not letting that put me off.

In short, yes. Even though I will have next to no use for the children's clothes section, the rest of the book, particularly the adult clothes would compel me to buy it.

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

Love Mrs Jones x

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Clutch Bag tutorial

In advance of a wedding I am attending in October, I wanted a clutch bag to fit my navy/red theme. This is a simple bag to make and looks quite chic, but not overly fussy.
Because I wanted the lining to be the same as my outer fabric, I used a whole fat quarter.

What you need:
A fat quarter (or two if you want a different lining) I made mine in quite thin cotton so I can squash it into another bag, but I would advise a medium cotton.

Sew in interfacing

Magnetic clasp


1. Cut and iron your fabric and pin right sides together with the interfacing as the last layer. Sew three sides as shown, leaving a short side unsewn.
2. Cut the top corners off, turn the right way round and press with an iron.

3. Folding it into a clutch bag is a little like folding a letter to fit into one of those  narrow envlopes.You want the unsewn end  (C) to fold up and the flap of the bag (A) to come at around two thirds of the way down.  Press the folds.

4. Attaching the magnetic clasp is a little fiddly. The first piece (on the underside of the A) needs to be inserted through the interfacing and lining so that it is showing on the lining. You need to work out a place where it will comfortably sit on C. If you have trouble picturing it, find a similar bag and look at that.

5. With the washer mark the two slits which need cutting to push the clasp through. Make sure it is exactly half way across the bag. Cut with a seam ripper, insert the clasp and push the prongs flat.

6. With the other half of the clasp, you can put it through all three pieces of fabric of C, ensuring that when you make your folds, the two halves will match up perfectly.

7. Tuck in the unsewn ends on C and neatly top sew. 

8. Press with an iron, then top sew the two sides of  C to B (left and right). Fold A onto the snap and that is your basic clutch.

9. See this tutorial to see how I made the felt rose, which I then sewed to the front of the clutch. You could attach a brooch if you don't fancy the rose.

If you are unsure about anything, please ask.

Love Mrs Jones x

Monday, 17 September 2012

Thirty Minute Make: Felt rose

I have seen many of these sweet felt roses on blogs, in shops etc and  I wanted to have a go at one. This is how you start - a felt circle with a rough scalloped edge.

Then cut a spiral shape as shown above (but a bit neater!). Then start rolling until all you are left with is the circle flap, which you can then either stitch or glue under as a base for the flower.

Personally, I prefer to cut the circular flap off because I thought it would look better with some green felt sepals. I cut a four point star for the sepals and used fabric glue to stick it on.

I will show you what I did with this little red flower later in the week.

Love Mrs Jones x

PS. Apologies for the quality of my photos - I have been using my phone as I keep forgetting that my camera batteries need recharging!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Somerset Sausage and Cider Casserole

This is a perfect autumn recipe, and one that my family loves. Unfortunately, I can't remember the source of this recipe, I suspect it may be a Good Housekeeping recipe, but if you do know, let me know and I will add the appropriate credit.

A note about the sausages: I use the long skinny chipolatas that you can buy in a twelve pack because for my family that gives them three each, but you can use whatever sausage that you please, but allow at least two per person.

Sausages (as above)
Small onion
3 medium to large carrots
Plain flour
Eating apple
Tbsp each of fresh sage and thyme (if using dried make this a teaspoon)

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Brown the sausages in a large pan. I usually leave them to brown under a lid whilst I chop the veg.

3. Peel and cut carrots into fat wedge shapes (see image) and peel and slice the onion.

4. Put the browned sausages into your ovenproof casserole dish. Meanwhile, fry the onion and carrot in the same pan that you have taken the sausages out. Once they have started to soften, reduce the heat and add a tablespoon of flour. Stir.

5. Add to this a large glug of cider and 200ml of stock. Bring to the boil then add the herbs. Then pour into the casserole dish. 

6. Chop an eating apple and add to the casserole and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.

7. Serve with bread and a cool glass of cider.

Optional: you could also add a topping of mashed potatoes or add new potatoes to the casserole.

Love Mrs Jones x

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Kir Normand - a beautiful Autumnal Drink

I am making Sausage and Cider Casserole now - the smell drifiting from the kitchen is wonderful. And because I used only a little cider in the casserole, I get to drink the rest (waste not, want not!). During our holiday in Normandy this summer we were introduced to Kir Normand which is creme de cassis and cider. You pour a tiny capful in the bottom of the glass and top up with cider. Of course in France it was all made in small co-operatives and the cider was cloudy, but the taste of mine still feels authentic.
Creme de Cassis can be found in most large supermarkets - mine was from Sainsburys.

A beautiful drink for Autumn.

Love Mrs Jones x

PS. Look out for the sausage and cider recipe tomorrow.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Autumn Colours 2012

Honey Gold French Roast Ultramarine Green  Olympian Blue 
I love these Autumn colours on Pantone's autumn trend report. I have omitted the pinks and oranges as they are not my palette and I would happily wear any of these colours. I also love the deep maroon/purple  wine colour that is more traditionally an autumn colour. Moreover, what I love about this selection is that any two of these would go really well together.

Love Mrs Jones x

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

An Interesting way to give money

It's Albert's 15th birthday today, and all he wanted for his birthday was money so that he can buy himself a PS Vita. But how boring is it to receive an envelope stuffed with cash? I have been searching for unusual ways to give money, and so we decided on this idea:

We rolled up each note tightly like a straw and inserted them into balloons which we tied up. The balloons were green so weren't too transparent and it wasn't obvious there was money in them. I put a big safety pin in one of my jewellery gift boxes and tied it with a ribbon. 

This morning, the first thing he does is picks up a balloon and starts batting it around, until he saw that there was something inside. But we made him open the box with the safety pin in last of all and he had to pop all the balloons to get his cash!

More ideas of innovative ways to give money, may be found here.
Love Mrs Jones x

Friday, 7 September 2012

Domestic Goddess: Folksy Finds

Rosie Ann Vintage Table Paper Pantry ahclarke By Sima 3 R Design 
Having spent a lot of time making cakes and cleaning my home this week, what is more fitting than a domestic goddess post. These items are all for sale on Folksy - just click on the image.
1. Apron from Rosie Ann
2. Cake stand from Vintage Table
3. Floral cake toppers from Paper Pantry
4. Cups and saucers from AHClarke
5. Table linen from By Sima
6. French storage box from 3 R Design
Love Mrs Jones x 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

September Flowers

I have been taking some time to pick some of what is left of the garden. It is quite an interesting time with the late summer, early autumn selection. I still have roses, although they are too tattered, and my honeysuckle is half in flower, half in fruit. 

My pickings include some beautful purple lavender, acid yellow winter jasmine foliage, the last of the summer gaura. One day, I might like to learn how to arrange flowers properly, but for now I'll just have my informal arrangements.

Love Mrs Jones x

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Space Invader Card

I came across this tutorial on a while ago and immediately added it to my bookmark "Projects to Try". It is stuffed with tutorials from making pumpkin bread to a fabric basket. As it is Albert's 15th birthday next week, I thought it was time I had a go at making the Space Invader card (you can download a template for making this card and others by clicking on the link (left)).

I am  much too embarrassed to show you my first attempt - all I can say is that I think the card was too thick. The image above is my second attempt, and there are some imperfections but not enough for a 15 year old to notice! I stuck my pop up onto white card as a contrast to the dark green.

Mini-eco has loads of fab makes, but remember they are for personal, non-commercial use only.

Love Mrs Jones x

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Back to School

This is what happens when you leave a bobbin out and the cat discovers it! 

Back to school for my youngest today (Fred) who is going into Year 6. He says he isn't looking forward to it, but I think once he is there and back with his friends he will be fine. Also, he will feel the benefit of privileges given to the Year 6 group. 

Albert is going into Year 10, but doesn't start until tomorrow.Where is the time going!

Mrs Jones x

Monday, 3 September 2012

London 2012 Paralympics

We have been very fortunate in getting tickets for the Paralympics which we saw today. We spent the morning in the staduim watching track and field events - as illustrated:

Me and my boys at the Olympic Park. I hate wearing glasses but I like to be able to see where I'm going on the underground!
Under the eaves of the stadium were hundreds of flags
5000m Wheelchair heat
Silver medal winner of the long jump

Gold winner of Discus
The Orbit
The Royal Barge ? correct me if I'm wrong
Olympic skyline

We had a fantastic day, despite the crowds and would recommend it to anyone (if you can get tickets!).

Love Mrs Jones x