Beautiful things for you and your home!

Lots of homely thoughts on sewing, baking, papercrafts, gardening and all the things that go towards making your house a home

Friday, 31 August 2012

New Sewing Machine Advice and Beautiful Old Ones

As some of you know, I've been 'between machines' now for some time, and whilst I'm having a nice time pondering on what I will make as and when I get a new one, I'm also finding that deciding on such a thing can be quite overwhelming. There's so much choice and so many different opinions. Who's right? Or is it all, as with so many things, just subjective?

I did have an interesting time a few weeks ago when I managed to rip the Brand New Dress I'd had on for about three hours! This is what comes of trying to carry too many bags of shopping down steps without lifting up the maxi dress a little.

I have to say, I am one of the clumsiest people I know, and am prone to tripping, banging into, or falling over so this was not really a new turn of events. What was new, (apart from the dress!) was that the fabric of the dress was quite fine which meant instead of me just falling up or down, as normally happens, I heard the most horrible tear. Looking down confirmed my fears.

Once I'd calmed down, I realised that at least this was fixable. The tear was at the bottom of the dress so turning it up an inch or so, should rectify the problem, and comforted myself in the fact that I hadn't put a great big hole in the middle at least! I say the problem was rectifiable. It would be if I had a machine.... Mum!!!

A little trip to my parents and I was soon sat opposite my Mum's machine which she got when she was's now over 50 years old. They certainly don't make them like this anymore. It's pretty just to look at!

Excuse the fact it's not the best quality pic in the world, but it was taken with a phone, in a north facing room. But it's still pretty!
It's the first time I've used a foot pedal in many years as my previous one had a start/stop button, so that took a bit of getting used to but after commandeering one of Dad's (clean!) hankies that was of a similar fine weave, I had a practice and got going. And I now have a wearable dress once again! It made me wonder what people who don't have a machine, or access to one, do when things like this happen. Or are they just not as accident prone as me?
In the meantime, I'm still pondering over what machine to go for. I tried out a Janome a few weeks ago, the TX607, and that was nice - I do love those little snippy scissor buttons! I wasn't so keen on the screen though. I didn't think it was as clear as some others, such as the 5900 (also Janome), although sadly this one doesn't have the thread cutter. I've been leaning towards Janome because I want something that I can get feet for easily if I want to, without having to send off and pay enormous postage, has a good range of fancy stitches as well as the workhorse ones, and basically will handle anything I throw at it - thick or thin.
If anyone has any opinions on the subject, I'm all ears! Thanks so much!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Rampant Tomatoes!

I don't know about anyone else but I'm not having much luck with the chilli, aubergine or pepper plants I got this year.I only have one of each, which I'm now glad of but they've really been disappointing. I did have quite a few chillies but kept finding a single hole munched through each one. After some googling, I found out it was most likely caterpillars who seem to think that a chilli makes a nice sleeping bag!

I know that I'm going to be scraping out the inside as I don't use the seeds but even after washing them, the thought that a caterpillar had taken a kip in the chilli rather put me off eating them, so they got whizzed. I've grown them many times before and never had this problem so I'm not sure what the difference is. If anyone has any ideas, or has also been bothered by them, I'd love to hear. And whilst I know I could spray them, that's not how I garden so it's been a squirt of washing up liquid solution t try and get rid of the blighters.

The tomatoes on the other hand, after a bit of a slow start thanks to the rotten weather we had at the beginning of the season, have now romped away. So much so, in fact, that one has gone a bit rampant and collapsed onto the ground the other day, taking the steel support with it and putting a nice bend in it! It is now scaffolding up a bit - I was going to post a pic of this Heath Robinson solution but Blogger doesn't want to play tonight so I'll have to try again another day.

Suffice to say, I am now just hoping that we have enough warmth and sun to ripen the many fruits that are now on the plants. I had a tonne last year and then they just rotten on the vines. Having always been used to making enough soup and pasta sauce from my own tomatoes to last us through the winter previously, this was not a pleasant turn of events, as you can imagine. So fingers are crossed for this year.

But I have to say, the ones that have been picked so far have been delicious!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Grape and Apricot muffins

Continuing with the 60 Jubilee Bakes project, the latest creation is Grape and Apricot Muffins. Now, I have to admit, I wasn't entirely sure how these would turn out as this was a case of using up fruit that was starting to look a little soft and forlorn. So, I just took a basic muffn recipe, and bunged in the halved grapes and chopped apricot at the end, giving it just a few little turns with the spoon to make sure they were all nice and encompassed.

They turned out really well and went down a treat. I hate any food going to waste - which in this household, it doesn't usually get a chance to, but if things are beginning to look like they are thinking about going a bit squiffy, I will generally either a) make soup out of them if they are vegetables, and b) if it's fruit, then they're generally headed towards a tea loaf or some muffins. Give it a try!

We are actually getting a little rain tonight which is certainly welcome for the garden which is looking a bit parched. I'm hoping we'll get enough to fill the rain barrel up again but I've a feeling we're going to miss the main bulk of it. Still, something is better than nothing!

And for those of you wondering, I am still hoping to get back to adding sewing-type-entries at some point. I'm without a machine at the moment, as I think I've mentioned but that doesn't stop me planning! I've also got a few papercrafting ideas that I'm itching to try out so I'll be back soon with those!

Have fun in whatever crafty way you can!

ps - Go TeamGB!