Friday, 31 May 2013

Bread Making

It's heading towards the end of the holiday so I spent the day running errands (doctor and opticians), finishing the bags I'd started at the beginning of the week (three more to go) and pottering around the kitchen. I started by making some basil pesto this morning. I had bought a pot of basil last week from sainsburys. My DH hates this herb as he says it makes the house smell of cat wee! I have to admit that this morning, he had a point so I pulled all the leaves off, put them in the blender, added some grated cheddar that I found lurking at the back of the fridge, a handful of pine nuts and a few glugs of olive oil. I added some salt and pepper to taste and then put the finished pesto into a glass jar and covered it with olive oil. This should keep us going for a while.

I then decided to make Babka (sweet Shabbat bread) as my DD is returning from scout camp tomorrow and she loves this bread, especially as it includes Nutella. I love bread making when I have a whole day available. Here is the finished product (see the previous post for the recipe).

 This smells delicious fresh from the oven. I'm also making a batch of bagels which are a little bit trickier as they need boiling as well as baking. Come back tomorrow to see how to make these. I hope you're having a lovely day.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Family Time

In between the crafting this week, I've been spending time with my family. DH took the day off work today so that we could spend the day together. We thought about going up to London for the day but instead we spent the morning in Guildford and went tour favourite Italian restaurant for lunch - Da Gennaro. They do a lunch special Monday - Saturday where you can have a starter, main and a drink (including a glass of wine) for £7.50. As far as I'm concerned, that's a real bargain. It's a family run restaurant and the service is fabulous. I highly recommend it. It was definitely a slow paced day today and when I got back to the car (after a long walk as we had parked in the free spaces further out), I found this slow moving snail.

In the time I spent waiting for the boys to arrive back at the car (they decided to do some extra shopping) the snail had hardly moved at all. I hope you are all having a lovely day.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Tote Bag Tutorial

I've been making a number of these bags recently. They all have different applique designs and I can't seem to get enough of them. So, here is a tutorial on how to make them. Firstly, choose your main fabric and the lining fabric. You will need to cut out two pieces, 18 x 20 inches, from each fabric. Next, cut out the material for the handles. Two strips from each fabric, 33 x 3 inches. I always start with handles as these are the least satisfying to sew. Taking a strip of the main material and the lining material, place them right side together and sew them down each side. Then, turn them right side out and iron them flat.

Next, decide on your applique pattern, drawing it onto paper and then cutting out.

Use this to cut out the pattern on a contrasting material of your choice. I've chosen two different patterns - a beach hut and LOVE.

Here they are after they've been sewn on the main fabric. I used a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine.

If you want to add any embellishments, this is the time to do it as it becomes harder once the bag is sewn together. I've added buttons for the door handles, there will be ribbon added below and above the beach huts and the finished LOVE bag has a large button in the middle of the heart.

Next, place the right sides of the outer fabric together and sew around three sides, leaving the top open. Do the same for the inner fabric.

At this point, I made a box bottom. With the right sides together, fold the material so that the side hem is on top of the bottom hem. I promise you that this sounds more complicated than it actually is. I made a 2 inch box bottom, so I measured 2 inches from the top of the seam and then drew a line with tailor's chalk.

Sew along this line, twice, to make sure that this line is reinforced. You then need to be really brave (it took me a couple of tries to believe that I could do it) and cut of the excess, about 1cm above the line you have just sewn.

Now repeat this for the three other corners (on the lining and the outside of the bag). Turn the lining right way out but keep the outside of the bag with the right sides together. Now comes the tricky part as it's time to assemble the bag. Place the handles of the bag inside the outside of the bag and pin in place. I use my trusty ruler at this point to make sure that they are evenly placed. For this bag, I pinned them three inches from each end. Make sure that you pin the same material together - the bag will look quite silly if the lining is pinned to the outer. Once you are happy the handles are in place, put the lining inside and pin into place. This is what it should look like.

Now, it's time to sew the bag together. Start just by one of the handles and sew over it three times to reinforce it, then carry on round, repeating this every time you get to a handle. Finish just pass the last handle so there is enough room to turn the bag right side out. Once you've turned the bag the right way, iron all the creases out and sew the gap together. I do this by sewing round the whole of the opening with a contrasting thread. And here is the finished bag.

I'm off to the theatre tonight as I've managed to bag some more free tickets and I might take my new creation with me for an outing. A perfect size for bottles of water and boxes of chocolate. I hope you all have a lovely day.

Lunchtime Treats

I've been toying with the idea of making falafel burgers for a while but haven't quite found the opportunity to try them out. We decided to spend the day at home yesterday sorting out the house and garden so I had time to potter around the kitchen. I found a recipe on the good food website and I added a little extra myself to produce these .....

This was a really simple recipe - store cupboard ingredients that resulted in a tasty lunch. It's even easier with a food processor. Put the following ingredients into the food processor - 2 cloves of garlic, 1 onion, cut into quarters, 2 green chillies, 1 tsp of ground cumin and 1 tsp of ground coriander, 2 tbsp plain flour and a pinch of salt. Whiz all the ingredients up then add one drained tin of chick peas. Form into 4 or 5 burgers, place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and cook at 200 degrees centigrade for 10-15 minutes, making sure you turn them once. The recipe said to fry them but they worked really well in the oven. This was such an easy recipe that it's likely to be used again and again.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

I Love Brighton

Brighton is ne of my favourite seaside resorts in the UK. I love its inclusiveness, I love the shops, I love the sea and I love the restaurants. Today we spent the day in Brighton. We parked along the promenade and walked in. The sea looked beautiful. The sun was glinting off the water, the beach was thronged with people and everyone was just happy to see the sun. We spent some time in the shops, collected pebble memories from the beach (my DS found a stone with quartz in it so it was glistening in the sun) and went to my favourite vegetarian restaurant - terre a terre. The food here is amazing and it's one of the reasons we drive down to Brighton. My DH first took me to this restaurant for my 40th birthday and we've been there a number of times since. I can highly recommend the Better Batter with Yemony Relish. It's the vegetarian take on fish and chips and it's delicious. This is definitely a restaurant for a special occasion - this time for our anniversary. As well as the wonderful food (even for carnivores), the waiting staff are great and they attend to your every need. Here are some of the views we saw today and our dessert (which we shared between the three of us). I hope you get the opportunity to visit.

Blowing the Cobwebs Away

After a morning spent cutting out the outside of some new tote bags (tutorial to follow) DH and I had a lovely afternoon out in the countryside. First, we popped up to our local garden centre as they had a craft fair on as it was bank holiday weekend. There wasn't anything particularly special there but we did spend some time discussing a summer house which we would turn into my crafting palace in the garden. Exciting times. We then went for a walk in the North Downs which took in amazing views and there was even live music at a hill top church. The wild flowers looked amazing - pink, purple, blue and yellow were popping up everywhere. Here is a flavour of our walk

I had a deep moment as we were walking through the ancient woodlands - how many people had walked through here before us. When were they here, what they do, did they walk these paths for enjoyment or was it just to get from one place to another (the latter I suspect). If trees could talk, they would have many stories to tell us. As you can see, a walk really gets you thinking. I hope you had a lovely day.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Link Parties

I've been joining a number of link parties over the past couple of weeks and rather than blog about each one I decided to put them all in one place - here. So, here are the different link parties I've been sharing my ideas at. I'll be updating this as I join more parties. Please visit and comment on all the wonderful projects. Have a wonderful day.


Sweet Sharing Monday Link Party
Sumo's Sweet Stuff
Monday2 Make the Scene Monday #77Handmade Harbour
newmarvelousmondays button

get your craft on 

Our DelightfulHome

Not JUST A Housewife 
Sugar Bee Crafts 


Southern Lovely{wow me} wednesday #105circle_header


The Inspiration Gallery Link PartySew Much Crafting

buttonWhat's cooking, love?livelaughlinky 250x250

Catch a Glimpse Button

Easy Living Mom 



Chic on a Shoestring DecoratingThe Shabby Nest
friday link partysimplycreate

One Artsy Mama


Say G'day Linky Party

It's Overflowing


DIY blog Classy Clutter