Saturday, 29 October 2011

Refuge Comfort Blanket

Well, what a odd collection of colours and yarn! This is half the squares (15) needed for a child's comfort blanket for the Refuge/Simply Knitting fundraising campaign.

I think pretty much every colour in the rainbow is going to be in my blanket. I have used up every last bit of my stash. All the odds and ends from other projects have been randomly crocheted in in no particular order or pattern. I hope the fact that is completely odd will help when I sew it together and it looks like a complete mish mash of colours and textures!

I used the blanket as an excuse to buy some yarn yesterday. We have had a new shop open in Taunton which sells a wide selection of colours in acrylic so I bought six bright florescent colours (Stylecraft DK 'Special') for under a tenner.

Let me know if you have crocheted/knitted a blanket for Refuge.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Vegan Carob Cupcakes

I got the ache to bake this afternoon. I haven't made any cakes in the oven for a while, preferring to make a little cake just for one serving in the microwave in an attempt to cut down my intake of...well, cake.

I found this recipe online for vegan cupcakes as, strangely, I haven't baked a batch of vegan cakes in the 18 months I've been vegan.

I halved the recipe and found that in our fan-assisted oven on 150C they were done in 12 minutes. Also I found the mixture to be a little on the salty side what with the baking soda *and* salt. I very rarely add salt to anything and can always taste it when told to add. So next time I will leave the salt out. Also, I'm growing a little tired of carob cake as this is what I make for myself as a dessert. So next time I will try orange cakes (the WikiHow recipe tells you how to make the cakes with fruit puree) with orange icing just for a change.

If you aren't vegan I would recommend trying this recipe. You wouldn't need anything particularly 'vegan' as such, just soya milk and it would give you the chance to try it in your tea.


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Book Review: Pattern Magic 2

I do not make clothes. I will freely admit this. I'm not afraid to make this admission publicly to the world. However I enthusiastically accepted a book on clothes-making from Laurence King Publishing as I am a) curious and b) wish I was more inclined to use my sewing machine and sew my own clothes.

I must also admit that I was a little intimidated as a novice to see the unusual but highly impressive creations on display in this book, 'Pattern Magic 2' by Tomoko Nakamichi. Originally published in Japan but translated into English, this book is amazing. It's origami for clothes.

This 'disappearing tie' is fantastic and would completely solve the problem of ties leaping up to whack men in the face in the wind, thus defeating the object of a tie, which is of course to look smart and tidy. Or, it would just look cool on a woman. The book has lots of easy-to-understand instructions and a basic pattern which needs enlarging at the back of the book. You use the same pattern to adapt for all the projects in the book.

This is a ball-shaped accordion (a jabara). What a fantastic shape for a sleeve!

This project is comprised of knotting fabric. The author says 'By bringing together several knots that resemble tiny bells I have created a unique garment that evokes the sound of bells ringing'. How poetic!

Overall this is a hugely inspirational book to look at if you are a beginner with clothes making from patterns. If you have been making clothes for a few years I would say definitely buy this book if you haven't got it already!

You can buy it here on Amazon.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

A trip to Bath

Yesterday I made a trip to Bath to relax before my new job begins on Monday.

I made my way to the Fashion Museum eagerly after it was highly recommended by someone I follow on twitter. I wasn't disappointed. What a treasure trove of dresses and history!

There are all sorts of dresses and fashion on show, from the 18th century to the present day. The text by the dresses used literature to illustrate the era. Fanny Price from Mansfield Park by Jane Austen was called upon to show how a dress-shaped jacket was seen as the must-have fashion accessory of its day and Fanny was cast out of her class due to not owning one!

My eyes came to rest on an Alexander McQueen dress in the wedding dress section. Queen Victoria's dress was very black and well worn as one would have expected.

This was my second favourite display after the wedding dress section! It was focused on the 1940's and I loved each and every dress in it. My only complaint was that there wasn't more in each section. It reaffirmed my feelings that I'm glad I didn't grow up in the sixties with all the mini skirts and fluorescent colours! It was certainly based on the idea of a very very skinny girl!

Afterwards we had a wander round the city centre and looked around the Victoria Art Gallery. I stood before the large Gainsborough paintings in awe.

Sadly my enjoyment of Bath was (only slightly) hindered by not having much spending money. Last time I went there I certainly splashed the cash, but then that should change in the near future! If you find yourself in Bath I would definitely recommend the Fashion Museum!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Lavender Sachets

It's been a long day today. After an interview this morning I have finally made it back into full-time employment!

So I took some time this afternoon to chill and use some of my 'Tilda' charm pack up by making some lavender sachets.

I have a huge bag of lavender lurking away after a former colleague kindly donated some a few years back. I never got round to making any lavender sachets with it as I got distracted by felt! I'm going to have another practice session with the sewing machine on some scrap material to see if I can go round corners and curves.

The sachets will have a 'patchwork' feel as the fronts will be different from the backs. I love the smell of lavender and may keep a couple for myself/presents.

Very traditional like bunting and so easy to make : )

Monday, 3 October 2011

Book Review: Print & Pattern

This is such a wonderful book. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was when I unpacked the bundle of review copies from Laurence King Publishing. My excited fingers opened the book and unleashed a feast for my eyes.

'Print and Pattern 2', released on Monday 10th October, is absorbing and relaxing to delve into. A sensory romp through an encyclopedia of print. Divine.

Marie Perkins started the 'Print and Pattern' blog when she was a textile designer compiling mood boards. It's a fantastic blog which you should check out and read along with buying this book.

The above pattern is a design by Lotta Glave, a Swedish designer, who is inspired by folk art and her children. These patterns were used on cards, trays, napkins and dishcloths.

This fantastic design bursting with a rainbow of colour is by Alys Paterson, a Bristol-based artist in the UK. Her clients have included Waterstones, Habitat and John Lewis. The designs were all used as greetings cards.

Another couple of pages bursting with a rainbow, these are designs by Belly Button Designs, a card designer. This time they're based in Manchester with their own retail shop.

Becky Carr is the talented lady behind the company 'Owaboo'. Inspired by Japanese designs and retro patterns her designs have been used as greetings cards. She is an 'old school' designer who draws out her patterns then scans them into photoshop.

Rebecca Elfast is another Swedish designer who has studied architecture. She is inspired by nature and would like to see her designs on fabric as well as paper.

Rob Ryan may be better know to readers as 'MisterRob' on etsy. Based in London, he is known for screenprinting and paper-based craft. Rob's clients include Liberty and Urban Outfitters.

Silvia Dekker is a Dutch freelance illustrator with a very cute portfolio! Her work has been featured on tableware, bedding and a range of fabric.

Cosmo Cricket are an American couple who design sheets for scrapbooking.

There are well over 60 designers in this pleasingly-heavy book. They are all available for commissions and they're websites are often heavenly to look at too. I was delighted and thrilled with this book. I know you will be too.

**I was sent this book to review by Laurence King Publishers.
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