Saturday, 25 June 2011

Book Review & Giveaway!

Well here's a book which is right on my level! I couldn't believe my luck when I was sent this book to review. I have a ton of clothing hidden away in my wardrobe which I am bored of wearing but no idea of how to revive...and now here is the answer!

Split into four sections, 'Boho', 'Jet Set', 'Retro' and 'Diva', it has an exhaustive 32 different ways of reviving and upcycling those ordinary clothes you have which Jane next door also delights in wearing.

If you want to learn how to stand out from the crowd on a tight budget or if you just want to experiment or learn how to make your own clothes this book is a must for you.

The photos and instructions are very clear to understand and it includes full shots of the clothes in sections before telling you how to make them so you can see how they are worn and with what.

I love this skirt which has been embellished with beads and paint...something I would never imagine you could do to a skirt yourself.

Sometimes when clothes have been upcycled they can look handmade or a bit amateurish no matter what you wear them with. I find this off-putting about crocheted or knitted jumpers and cardigans. This seems like less effort for more of a smart tidy impact.

You can read more about Custom Couture: 32 Ways to Transform Your Wardrobe with Needle and Thread here.

You can buy it here.

The Simplicity Fabric Guide is aimed at the novice shopper or fashion student who needs to know where to start when shopping for fabric. This is also completely exhaustive. By the time you have read this book you will know the exact properties of all the fabric in the world, how to determine what a fabric is by burning it, and exactly which pins to use for what fabric. All you could ever dream of knowing about fabric is in this book.

You can read more about the Simplicity Fabric Guide: The Ultimate Fiber Resource here.

You can buy it here.

Soho Publishing have kindly sent me another copy of each book to giveaway to one of my lucky readers!

I will pick one winner who will receive the two books at 5pm (GMT) on Friday 8th July. To enter please say what your favourite type of fabric is and why. (It could be anything from felt to hemp!)

Please comment under your blogger username or leave your email address and remember to check back in July to see if you have won. You can enter wherever you are in the world but be aware there are serious issues with post from the UK to Canada and the USA at the moment and your books may take a month or more to arrive with you.

Good luck!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Fabric Charm Packs

Wow! Isn't this beautiful? A whole array of cute little squares in a pack. So pretty!

I've been making lots of fabric buttons (yes I have become addicted to them!) lately and wanted to show you my fabric bits and bobs which arrived last week to cheer me up in the cold grey showery June rain...

I know a few crafters who seem to have an obsession with tins : ) This one is the middle tin from a collection of three which I picked up in a sale. It's so fab! Every time I open the tin and all my pretty fabric is there I get such a lovely much fabric and not enough time...

Friday, 10 June 2011

Knitting with tennis

I have been knitting away in front of various tennis tournaments in the last few weeks so I have nearly finished knitting my hot water bottle cover. Isn't it pretty?

I went shopping in town for some ribbon and trimmings to thread through the top when it's finished the other day. I can't wait to show them to you!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Vegan Chocolate Orange Sponge Cake

I made this wonderful vegan chocolate orange sponge cake today after picking up a leaflet from Viva! at a recent vegan fayre.

I didn't have two sponge cake tins so made do with just one (but you could make it with two tins if you have them). I know it's probably not necessary to line tins with greaseproof paper anymore but I get really irritated when cakes stick so I go to great lengths to stick paper on with margarine now...

You'll need a 18cm/7 inch cake tin which has been greased with dairy-free margarine.

For the sponge weigh out 150 grams of white self raising flour and 150 grams of wholemeal flour (I always do 50% white and 50% wholemeal, although if you do this make sure you add 4 teaspoons of extra water at the end). You can do a 300 gram white flour cake if you like.

Add 2 teaspoons of baking powder to the bowl. Add 2 generous tablespoons of cocoa powder. Put the bowl aside.

Mix 180 ml of water with 175 grams of brown sugar and 100 ml sunflower oil in a pan and heat gently. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Leave it to cool then add to the dry ingredients in the bowl, folding the mixture gently. Pour into the tin(s) and bake on 180C/350F/Gas 4/Fan oven 160C for 30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.

For the icing (if you make two cakes instead of one double the amounts here and spread half the mixture in between the cakes, then use the rest for the top) beat 55 grams of dairy free margarine in a bowl until soft, then add 85 grams of icing sugar and 30 grams of cocoa. Grate the zest of a small orange and mix it with its juice. Add a a couple of teaspoons of this orange juice mixture to the icing until it falls off the spoon when you lift it up. It shouldn't be too runny as you want it to be sturdy enough to stay on the cake!

Enjoy with a lovely cup of coffee with soya milk : )
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