Merry Christmas! Guess what! I made a Christmas tree out of books! Hehe! I didn't have a tree but I do have A LOT of books so it made sense really.

And next to our booky tree is Daivd's advent calendar full of super fun things to do every day.

Merry Christmas! xxx


Inspired by my last post about The Printed Square, I've made some hankies of my own. They were super easy to make and a nice use of a small piece of some beautiful fabric (from the sewing cafe as ever).

1) Gather supplies: fabric, ruler, rotary cutter, scissors, contrasting thread.
2) Cut squares the size that you want your hankie to be. I cut a fat quarter into 4.
3) Sew around the edge of the square with a pretty stitch. I chose a scallop.

4) Trim as close to the stitching as you dare!
5) Repeat and admire your lovely new hankies.

They make me smile every time I get one out of my pocket and they're better for the environment too! huzzah!


The printed square

I have to tell you about two things that I'm a bit in love with at the moment:
1) The Printed Square by Nicky Albrechtsen: A book full of pictures of vintage handkerchiefs
2) This "Light Ditsy" print by Caroline Gardener: I seem to want everything I own to be covered in this.

Now, I'm no stranger to books (see my living room):

But it's not very often that I pick up a book in an actual bookshop and can't bear to put it back on the shelf. I'd normally at least wait a bit and see if I can buy it second hand. but I just could. not. put. it. down! It's like someone crawled into my brain and made a book especially for me of something I didn't even know I liked!

Just look how pretty it is! Oh man! And every page is like that! There are a few pages at the beginning about the history of hankies but all the rest are just beautiful picture after beautiful picture. Yay!

Anyway, a bit off topic but you just had to see how awesome this book is! I am super inspired to get doodling/painting/embroidering!


How to make a wedding cake

Alex and Pippa got married! For those of you who don't know them, they are they awesomest, craziest, loveliest, generousest couple in the world. Their wedding suited them absolutely perfectly. It was mental and amazing and so. much. fun. And to top it all off, they let me make their wedding cake! Here's how I did it:

1) I borrowed 3 cake tins: 11", 9" and 7".

2) I filled them with my go to fruit cake mix. 2x, 1.5x and 1x mix respectively. I baked them FOREVER and then had my mum and dad looked after them and fed them with 1tsp brandy every week for the next month.

3) When I came back home a month later it was time to decorate! First I levelled them off to the same height. I made a big cardboard loop which was as high as I wanted the cake to be, then took a knife and levelled them off to that height.

4) I then flipped them and put them onto cake boards. For the small layers, make sure that the board is exactly (or as near as you can get) the same size as the cake so that it doesn't show when you stack them.

5) Coat the cakes with runny, sieved, apricot jam. The sieving part is very important! Otherwise you get lumpy icing! Just put a few tbsp of jam into a little bowl, microwave for a few seconds and pour it through a sieve into another bowl.

6) Now comes the tricky part: covering the cake with marzipan and fondant! eek! I was super scared of doing this bit so I did some research and found this thing called THE MAT. It's basically two massive sheets of plastic that you roll your icing between and makes it easier to pick up and move around. whilst it didn't work perfectly (the icing would often stretch out into a funny shape when I was peeling the back layer off, or it would stick to the mat a bit and ruin the smoothness) it did help a lot! Maybe it just needed some more conditioning? It was the first time I'd ever used it, so maybe that was it? Anyway, I rolled it out, plopped it on, trimmed it and smoothed it x6. It was hard work. My back and abs caned the next day!

7) I gave the icing a chance to harden over night and then piped the decoration on! Alex and Pippa had a crazy hat themed wedding so I doodled crazy hats all over the cake. I then realised that piped writing looked much nicer that hats so I filled in all the gaps with their names. I just used a piping bag and royal icing made up like it says on the box. Defo do a practise run before you pipe onto the cake!!!

8) Then I put plastic dowels into the cake to support the upper layers. Learn how to do that here.

9) Then for the really nerve-wracking part: transporting and assembling! My amazing daddy bought me some proper cake boxes and drove me all the way to Cambridge so that I could sit in the back making sure that they didn't slide anywhere and get crushed. fortunately the cakes are super heavy so it wasn't really a problem. then I just stacked them up! I used a knife to help me get my fingers under the boards- they're very hard to lift otherwise. I made sure that all the good bits were at the front and any mistakes were at the back. Pin some ribbon around the base of each cake and bob's your uncle! I actually made the ribbon myself from some red fabric so that it was exactly the width I wanted it.

I also made some other cakes (above) as did other people (below) nyom nyom nyom.

All in all a very cakey day! (btw, all of this cake was gone in about ten minutes of bringing knives out to cut it with!)


p.s. sorry about the terrible photos, I took them all with my phone not my massive camera.
p.p.s. It looks like my mum is growing out of the cake in one of the pictures! hehe!


Hey! look- I did a painting! It's a night time version of a painting that my daddy did for me 7 years ago. I've always loved it so I thought I'd try to make another. I'm not very good with colour though so I did it in black and white. This gave it a very spacey- marsy feel so I thought I'd throw some stars in for good measure!

The mountains are textbook Bob Ross but that's ok because he's awesome.


I made a dress!!

It's super exciting! So basically I've made a few things from patterns so far and it hasn't gone so well... I made a skirt which was lovely, but looked terrible on, a shirt-dress that doesn't fit properly, a couple of really simple, weirdly stiff dresses. Anyway, I figured the things that I'm bad at is making a pattern fit me properly so I decided to take something that does fit properly and make a pattern from that! And it totally worked!

I made a pattern from a dress that I love by getting some plain lining paper, lying my dress on top of it then using a pin to trace out the pieces. then I added seam allowance and voila!

I made sure that it was a pretty simple pattern to copy and it was super speedy to make. Also, how pretty is the fabric? From the sewing cafe of course!

The fabric I used was cotton lawn which is much more lightweight than I normally sew with. It took a bit of getting used to as it's so slippy. In the end I used an overlock stitch as this caused the least bunching. I also hand stitched a blind hem on the skirt- it was tres easy and fun! This is the back:

Vac sign

Here's something fun! You know I went to the maker faire the other week? Well I got to play with a vacuum forming machine! It was super fun, although I did feel a teensy bit silly queuing up with all the kiddy winks. 

It was tres easy to use. Find the letters to spell out your sign and place them on top of the machine, making sure that there's enough space between them for the plastic to mould around.

Place a sheet of plastic on top, shut the lid and flip the switch! This melts the plastic. Then I flipped another switch which created a vacuum and pulled the plastic around the letters. Allow to cool and there's your sign! 

bitmap knitting

I went to the maker faire the other day and it was awesome! One of my favourite things there was this machine knitting stand run my Sally Kentfield from Creative Machine Knitting . They even let me have a go!!!
First I drew a picture of what I wanted to knit and we scanned it in. The program did its clever thing and converted my picture to stitches.

Then I had to drag the handle from side to side making sure it went all the way across the knitting area.

This is what it looks like from the back

Sally unhooked it from the machine and this I what we made!!! It's awesome and I love it! I've ironed on some interfacing to hold it flat and now it's waiting to be used in another project!

Camera pod

I got a shiny new (second hand) dslr! Whoo! I've wanted one for years! Naturally I wanted to make my own case for it, and this is what I came up with. Instead of making a bag, I've made a pod that will fit into my normal bag. I hate carrying two.

As for how I made it:

1) Gather supplies! Wadding, outer fabric, lining fabric, ruler and pen. As ever, my fabric comes from the beautiful sewing cafe.
2) Put your camera on a piece of paper and decide how big you need to make your pod and thus each side.
3) Stack up the wadding until its thick enough for you (mine was 5 layers) and cut it to the right size. Sew the layers together.

4) Make a net for the cube and cut out the pieces for the outside.
5) Place right sides together and sew! Turn inside out and place the wadding inside. I made another bit of wadding covering half of the bottom to prop the lens of my camera up.6) Measure the inside of the pod and cut the pieces for the lining. Sew these together too, remembering to leave enough on to to go over the wadding and attach to the outer layer.
7) Now insert the zip! Take the outer and inner fabric for the lid, place right sides together and pin the zip around 3 edges for the fabric (teeth facing in). You'll need to snip the zip close to the corners so that it will go round the corners nicely. Sew it all together, flip it inside out and put the wadding in. Sew the lid onto the outer fabric of the base.8) Pin the bottom half of the zip into the base obviously making sure that it lines up with the lid when it's shut! This might take a while....9) Sew together and you're done!