Monday, 29 April 2013

Football Season

You have no idea how much I am glad that the football season {that is, the season for my boys's teams} is almost over. Albert's team got to the finals yesterday and Fred has one more match to play. When one boy plays on a Saturday morning and the other on a Sunday afternoon, you can see that there isn't a lot of weekend left as a family. 

Mr Jones, who manages Fred's team is welcoming a rest, but Fred is hugely disappointed that he won't play until July/August. I love that they love football so much.

At the beginning, I relished these snatched moments of being alone so that I could sew or blog, but what I really want to do next weekend is go somewhere as a family - maybe mountain biking or swimming.

I really don't find any football interesting, apart from maybe the World Cup, but I have agreed to go to a women's football match in August...

Love Mrs Jones x

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Peter Pan Collar

This morning, I have had a go at making a Peter Pan collar - the collar du jour! I used a template from My Sparkle blog and enlarged the template by 1cm all round. I didn't follow the instructions, as I wanted to sew it up quickly to see whether it would suit me or not, with the aim of making a "proper" one if I did like it.

So, I cut two pieces of fabric and two interfacing (I used sew in for this practice run, but it is probably easier to use fusible). You will also need two of lining if making it properly. I pinned the two together with fabric right side on the inside and then sewed round leaving the short ends unsewn.
I clipped pieces out to reduce some bulk.

Then I turned them right side out, which is always a bit of a faff. Then I cut two pieces of ribbon and inserted them in the short end. I tucked the raw edge inwards and top stitched across. Then with the two collar pieces fabric sides together, I stitched them together at the joining point and added a little button {optional}!

Hey presto! I do like the collar, but I don't have many tops or dresses with a neckline that suits a collar. What do you think? Have you made or worn one of these?

Love Mrs Jones x

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Sewn: Transform a Coat with Bias Binding

I have been working on this little project for a couple of weeks: turning a sad forgotten coat into something I am not embarrassed to wear!
Before and after

Okay, I know it needed ironing! I spent a few pounds in my local fabric store buying 3 metres of bias binding and 9 buttons because as Mr Jones rightly pointed out that I might lose one. At this point I was still under the illusion that this will be a bit of simple machine sewing. What I didn't realise that my poor little machine was never going to get through all those layers, so I did it all by hand.

I love the buttons that I found, and I was lucky to get the size right as I didn't measure the existing ones:
I am sure that slip stitch should have been used in sewing the bias binding, but I just can't get the hang of it, so I used an as neat as possible overstitch. It is one of those never ending jobs and once you think you have got somewhere, you realise that you have to turn it over and do the other side!
Ta dah!
Love Mrs Jones x

PS> Please forgive the strange pose in this photo - my 11 year old was taking a long time in taking this, bless him.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Homemade Flapjack with Berries and Cream Dessert

I whipped up {technically stirred up} a batch of flapjacks on a whim after work on Monday. Then I thought I could turn this humble little slice into a whole dessert! I added some berries from the freezer {they are marked as Forest Fruits or Summer Berries}, warmed these with a little sugar and whipped up some double cream. It made a delicious and not too naughty dessert:
{Apologies for the slight blur, this was the last dessert!}

To make it really easy, you could also buy the flapjacks!

Love Mrs Jones x

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Tulips are my favourite flower, despite the fact that they don't last very long inside. My husband bought me these {no ulterior motive!}, but all my vases are broken {I tend to leave them in the garden, where they have filled with rainwater, subsequently frozen and  broken}. So, I used a Kilner jar instead!

Love Mrs Jones x

Monday, 22 April 2013

Quilt top No. 2 Brick Layout

I am so pleased to have finished this quilt top as I have had a few machine problems along the way as well as a broken needle! It's not perfect, but I think it is fine for a teenager - there are so many patterns going on.
Spot the broken needle  
I had an issue with one piece of fabric being way too small. I think I get a bit scissor happy! This time I have remedied it with a bit of grey ribbon!
I really love the fact  that this date fabric has Albert's year of birth on it.
So, I am all ready for adding the filling and choosing a back. I think I need to go for a plain back, probably grey! For details of my fabric choices see here.

Love Mrs Jones x


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Banaramel Cupcakes

Most Banoffee isn't actually banana and toffee, and these cupcakes are definitely more banana and caramel: a match made in heaven!

I have adapted the Banoffee cupcake recipe from Primrose Bakery. The first thing I would say is that in no way is this for a cupcake tray with bun cases - it is a muffin recipe, despite the title in The Primrose Bakery Book. Now you know this, you won't do what I did and have overflowing cupcake cases!

I am the worst at cake decorating!
The resulting cake is a moist banana cake that isn't too sweet. It is the caramel that gives it the real sweetness.

If you like baking cakes, The Primrose Bakery book is a brilliant book - full of many types of cupcakes, loaf cakes, layer cakes etc.!

Cake Ingredients:
125g butter
250g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
3 ripe bananas

Icing Ingredients:
45g butter
6.5 ml milk
165g demerara sugar
190g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Oven 180C

1. Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric hand whisk until pale and fluffy.

2. Add the eggs separately, mixing after each.

3. Add the vanilla extract.

4. Sift in the flour and the baking powder and mix. 

5. Mash the bananas in turn with a fork until soft and pulpy. Add to the mixture and whisk again.

6. Spoon into your muffin cases and pop in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes.

7. Leave the cakes to cool a little in their tin and then onto a wire rack.

8. While the cakes are cooling, get a heavy based pan {medium to large} and add the butter, milk and brown sugar from the Icing ingredients.

9. Heat on high, stirring all the time until the mixture boils. At this point it is exceptionally hot so do be careful. Let it boil for about a minute, still stirring.

10. Take off the heat and sift in half the icing sugar. Stir in.

11. Then add the remaining icing sugar and the vanilla extract. You will need a bit of elbow in order to make sure there are no lumps.

12. By this time, your cakes should be cool and the icing will be ready to spoon onto the cakes. It will firm up almost as soon as you put on the cake, so you may want to do several applications.

Note: You are likely to have quite a bit of icing left. I suggest that this would be a great addition to an ice cream sundae and any manner of desserts. You can keep the icing in the fridge for a week. You may need to warm it through in the microwave so bear that in mind before you put it in the fridge {ie. store it in something that will microwave}!

Love Mrs Jones x

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

April 1 Hour Make: Fabric Boxes

Are you all Spring cleaning your homes? I am, well, I am slowly doing each room. Maybe this quick make will help you to keep things neat and tidy.
I first came across the tutorial for fabric boxes a long time ago, and it has been sat in my bookmarks of "Projects to try" for over a year now. It originally came from The Sometimes Crafter and here is the tutorial link. I am not going to repeat it here, but add a few pointers where I don't think it is very clear.

This is the ideal project for two fat quarters and some heavy interfacing. I ditched the interfacing and made mine with one fat quarter {Michael Miller Erin Stripe} and some thick cream cotton duck that was gifted to me.  I was hoping that the cotton duck was heavy enough to hold itself without the need for interfacing, but as you can see, it is still a little soft. 

The sizing in the tutorial is 15 inches square, but I thought - what am I going to do with the odd bits left, so I have just squared my fat quarter to 50cm squared {sorry, I don't do inches}. Then for the pieces cut out {4 1/2 inches} I took a 15 cm square out of each corner to end up with the desired plus sign. I hope you're still following me! If not, this is what your fabric should look {a bit} like.
Once you have made one box, the possibilities are endless....

Love Mrs Jones x

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Le Challenge: Geometrics

The inspiration for Le Challenge came from these beautiful shoes: Eley Kishimoto at Clarks shoes. I love the geometric cube design and I wanted to emulate this.

I set out by paper piecing a strip of cubes with no real idea of what I was going to make it into!
Ready for paper piecing
I hadn't done any paper piecing since the 1990s {when I was a teenager} and I had forgotten how laborious it was, so I made far fewer cubes than I had initially intended. I did some top stitching around the entire paper pieced shape so that it would hold as a piece to incorporate into something.

I settled on a cushion cover with the paper piecing in the centre of two pieces of fabric which echo what was already used in the patchwork. 
The final cushion looks like this:
Fabric: solids and a piece from Parson Grey
Love Mrs Jones x

Friday, 12 April 2013

Quilt No 2 Layout

I was so eager for the fabric to arrive for Albert's Quilt, that I began cutting the pieces out the day they arrived! Rather than squares, this time I am doing longer strips in a staggered brickwork pattern. This has worked out well so there is no fabric wastage. Each strip is 11cm wide and 23.5cm long, and is a pleasure to cut out with scissors, as opposed to the laborious cutting of squares! I have also added in some half strips in order to create the staggered look.

The last quilt I made was in a set pattern {each of the same fabric moving one space along each row creating a diagonal pattern}. But I really wanted it to look random, which is harder than you think!
Quilt layout - sewing not yet begun...

I am really hoping that this will be a dream to sew! For details on my fabric choices, please see this link.

Love Mrs Jones x

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Sewing & Quilting Apps for Android

Ever wanted an app for calculating how much binding you will need for a quilt, or what kind of fabric is best for a pair of trousers. Please feel free to recommend any apps that you use and I will add them to the list.

Robert Kaufman Quilting Calculator - FREE
Will calculate binding, borders, the number of pieces from a set piece of fabric etc.

Quick and Easy Quilt Block Tool - £2.49
102 quilt blocks in different sizes which features construction instructions. Future  updates will include more quilt blocks. I think this would be a great app for beginners.

Fabric U £1.28
A comprehensive list and description of different fabrics and helps to identify the correct type of fabric for various clothing etc.

 Quilt Stash Library - £0.63
A catalogue App where you can photograph your fabrics and keep a record of how much of each fabric you have. When you shop for more fabric {my favourite kind of shopping!}, you can check what you have before you buy more!

Etsy - Free
Keep an eye on your Etsy shop or browse all the handmade goodies on offer.

PatternFile Mobile - Free but you have to pay for a subscription!
I love the idea that you can store details of all your sewing patterns on this app, so you don't need to remember things from the back of the envelope when you go shopping. However, at present, this doesn't have great reviews. Might be one to come back to in the future

Love Mrs Jones x

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

April 1 Hour Make: Alice Band Tutorial

I am hoping this might become a regular feature - small projects to make for an hour or less. First in the series is an Alice band for everyone who is between fringes, and for those that like hair accessories!

What you Need:
Some fabric scraps at least 42cm long. You could use contrasting fabric for the bow.
Elastic {6mm braided} or similar
Usual sewing accessories: needle, thread, sewing machine.

How to:

1. Cut out three pieces of fabric as follows.
2. With right sides together, pin the long piece lengthways and sew along the outer seam, leaving a 0.5 cm seam allowance.
 3. Turn the right way round and press with an iron. This may take some time, and you may need a pencil or knitting needle to help you.

4.  To make the bow, fold the 15 x 12cm fabric in half, right sides together {so that it is 7.5 x 6cm}. Sew around two of the raw edges, leaving the last one as it is for turning.

5. Clip the corners where you have sewn, then turn the right way round. Either hand finish or machine sew the last side, by tucking some of the fabric inside and top sewing. At this point I tied the centre of this with a piece of ribbon to make the bow.

6. With the smallest, and final piece of fabric. press in 0.5 cm of fabric from the longest side and then sew - don't worry about the edges being raw.
7. Then with the right sides together, pin the two unsewn edges together and sew across {making a small tube}. Open out the seam and press open. Turn right side round - this should be so much easier than for the long tube! Then either slide it into the centre of the bow or wrap it round {whichever you like best} Secure it by a few hand stitches.

8. Take one end of the headband piece, tuck a little fabric back into the tube, insert the elastic so that at least 1 cm is inside the tube, and then top sew across this end, securing the elastic. I sewed across three times.

9. Do the same for the other end, ensuring that neither the headband or elastic are twisted.

10. Attach the bow as desired - I put mine at a rakish angle on the sides! Secure in place with some hand stitching.

Et Voila
If you are making this for a child, which let's face it - you probably are, you can adjust the length. What you are aiming for is the fabric part reaching at least behind the ears and the elastic to be a little taut when worn. You can also vary the thickness of the fabric and embellish with ribbons, beads or not at all!

Love Mrs Jones x

Monday, 8 April 2013

Greenwich and the Cutty Sark

Hello, I have just returned from a trip to Kent to see our good friends and their 8 year old twins. It's was so nice to catch up after not seeing them for just over a year. Yesterday, we took a trip to Greenwich:

We combined a fair few methods of transport to get from Kent to Greenwich, first by driving to Orpington, train to Lewisham, then by Dockland Light Railway to Greenwich. Later we took a boat trip before taking the train home again! Our first stop was the Cutty Sark.

The Cutty Sark's first role was in transporting tea from China between 1870 and finishing in 1877 when it arrived in China to collect tea, only to find that steam ships were now transporting tea, and was left transporting a range of goods such as coal and jute until it could find a more permanent cargo.This came in the form of Australian wool, but after 12 years, the Cutty Sark was once again usurped by steam ships. In 1895, the Cutty Sark was sold to a Portuguese company. In 1923 she was purchased by a English skipper and she has remained here ever since.

From the deck of the Cutty Sark, there was a brilliant view of the London skyline, including the Shard, and although you can hardly see it in this image, the London Eye is on the far left.

We walked up through Greenwich park to the Royal Observatory to the Meridian Line. After paying £58 for two families to visit the Cutty Sark, we were stunned to find out that we would have to pay more to visit the Meridian line! My husband spoke to an assistant and she let us in free!

The Meridian Line marks the two hemispheres: east and west, and is longitude 0. All time zones are measured in respect to the Prime Meridian.

There is a bright red time ball on the top of Flamsteed House. It begins to rise at 12:55, reach the top at 12:59 and falling at exactly 13:00.
Before leaving London for the day, we took a riverboat from Greenwich Pier to London Bridge City Pier.

Brilliant day out!
Love Mrs Jones x