Wednesday, October 31, 2012

CraftLee Recipe - How to make Jam.

Hi There!
Its a dull and dark rainy day here in Cork City so I've brightened up my morning with some great nespresso coffee,  warm buttery toast and sunny home made apricot jam for breakfast. I made this jam during the summer holidays and when the winter starts to close in I open a pot of fruity goodness it brings me straight back to those long sunny fruitful days.

Have you ever made your own jam ? You can adapt this recipe and make jam with any type of fruit.
Its really simple ! Just follow these easy steps below!

How to Make Apricot Breakfast Jam - 

You are going to need the following :

Your chosen FRUIT 
- the jam I've made here is Apricot (with some lemon & lime added as I don't like my jam to be too sweet!)
Jam Sugar - sugar with pectin added in (this helps the jam to set)
Weighing Scales
Decent sized pan
- it doesn't have to be a jam making pan any large heavy based saucepan or pot will do.
Second large pan - for sterilising equipment
Jam Jars ( you can use old jam jars or pasta sauce jars)
Lids (you can use metal lids or cellophane tops with elastic bands available from any cook shop)
Ladle & large wooden or plastic spoon
Spatula - I love the rubber kind
Labels - buy them or make your own but you need to label your jam to remember when you made it
(& obviously let the world know about your status as a Domestic Goddess!!)

& not essential but it does make life a lot easier -
A Jam Funnel (a fairly handy piece of kit to get the jam actually IN to the jars!)
A Pre-set Timer - either on your phone or oven, its easier to use one than to watch the jam and the clock at the same time !

That does seem like a pretty long list but once you've everything gathered in one place it is easy! - promise!

The beautiful apricots for my jam were delivered to my door by a very generous neighbour who owns the apricot tree that I can see from my kitchen window - how lucky am I ?!

First Things First - weigh your fruit and your jam sugar. You want approximately the same amount of jam and sugar (or maybe a little less sugar depending on how sweet your fruit is). So I've used 1 kilo of apricots & 900 gm's of jam sugar here.

Now wash and prepare your utensils and jam jars (& metal lids if using) by washing and scrubbing them in very hot soapy water.

Pop the lids and utensils into your large pan, cover with boiling water and simmer on the hob whilst you are preparing the jam - this will ensure they are sterile.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bag Making Blitz

Just back from some gorgeous coffee and fruit scones in the Flying Enterprise,  followed by  a long leisurely (mainly liquid) lunch, in the fabulous Market lane with one old friend and one new.

These days everyone has the same question for me....'What are you doing?'
& this week the answer is easy ....... 'I'm making bags! LOTS of bags!'
Have a look .....
Sadly we are suffering from a lack of sunshine in cork this week so please  forgive the dark pics !

Made from IKEA fabric & remnants

Handbag in some warm Autumn colours

Each of these bags is made with love stitched in!

Oh! How I love this little bag made with an upholstery fabric in beautiful green floral motif

As well as the 4 bags above, I have another 4 bags cut out & ready to sew.....
I've been thinking about selling some of these bags (to make room for MORE!!!)
as well as opening an ETSY shop soon.
I am also hoping that I may secure a stall at the Le Chat Noir Vintage Fair in the Flying Enterprise at Corks South Gate Bridge on the 2nd of December.

Lets hope I can keep up the momentum !

Thanks for visiting & please do come back soon !

Love  Siubhan x x x 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Free Flower Brooch Tutorial

Here we go! A step by step guide to making these lovely flower brooches !
they are so cute & versatile and super quick to make !

Lets get crafting!
This is what you'll need :
An old cereal box (or some cardboard of that weight)
some clothes pegs (not essential but handy)
A tin can (full or empty!)
An egg cup
Fabric glue
A fabric marker
some nice buttons 

You'll also need - 
your chosen fabric (or fabrics) about a fat quarters worth.
a scrap of felt
Rotary Cutters OR a craft knife (I found the craft knife easier to work with)
A cutting board
& a brooch pin (forgot to include it in the photograph!)

Step 1 - Draw a circle the size of your eggcup on the cardboard and on the felt scrap

Step 2 - Using your scissors cut them both out

  Step 3 - 
next lay your brooch pin on the remaining felt scrap 
and mark the felt about 1/8 inch inside the hinges. 

Step 4 - 
carefully make 2 little slits in the felt with your craft knife or scissors 
and thread through your brooch pin as shown below

Step 5 - 
glue your felt and pin to the cardboard circle you cut out in step 1
Dont be skimpy with the glue especially around the pin!

 Step 6 - 
turn the piece over and cut out the fabric in a circle around the cardboard.
no need to be too exact but give yourself about !/2 an inch all around.

 Step 7 - 
Still using the scissors snip some V's from your fabric

Step 8 - 
glue around the outside of the circle and fold the little tabs in towards the centre.

 Step 9 - 
When the felt is all glued down set aside to dry. 
This is how I dry mine below  - positioned between two CD cases 
with the eggcup on top to hold the felt in place

Step 10 -
 Whilst the glue is drying on your brooch back start cutting out your fabric. Use the food can as a guide and cut around it with your craft knife or rotary cutters on a cutting mat. If you don't have a sharp knife or rotary cutters you could also draw around the circle and cut out with scissors but be sure to cut inside your lines as they will be very obvious in your finished flower.

 Step 11 - 
you'll need eight circles - they can be all different fabrics or all the same - its up to you!
Next take your felt circle from step 1 and fold it in half and then fold again. mark the tip of the quarter folded circle with your fabric marker - this is the centre of your flower base and helps you line up the petals when you are assembling the brooch.

Step 12 -
take one of your petals - add a sot of glue in the centre then fold in half,
dot of glue - fold in half again , another dot of glue and fold in half again.

Your 'petal' is now one eighth the size of a full fabric circle.

Step 13 -
This is where the clothes pegs come in ! 
Clamp your petals in the clothes pegs and let them dry

While the petals are drying you can empty out your button collection 
and have a look at what buttons you might like to use in the centre!

Step 14 - Assembly - 
When they are completely dry lay your petals down on the felt base. 
Decide how you want to combine your fabrics (if using more than one type)
and  if you want all the folds lying the same way 
or if you want t so what I did here and face every other fold together.

Lay your petals around the outside of the base when you are ready to start glueing 
so you don't forget your earlier decisions !

 Glue the fabrics to the base centred on our centre mark we made earlier. 

When the flower is assembled let it dry
- sew or glue on your button centres and then glue the flower to your base we completed in step 9.

You can pin these flowers on your coat, your bag, your hat or a scarf , you can also leave the pin out & simply glue them onto things too like picture frames or garlands - they make great hair-clips too!
they dont have to be made from patterned fabrics they look great in plain fabrics too !
Here's a plain one I made to attach to a bag earlier (I just used the same fabric as the handles) ...

If you have any questions about any of the steps in the tutorial above then please do leave a comment
and I'll get back to you  a soon as I can !

Thank you for visiting & come back soon !

This post is also linked to

Siubhan x x x 

CraftLee Cucumber Pickle

Autumn is the time for preserving, pickling and jam making in the CraftLee house.

Here's our recipe for Cucumber Pickle
- if you've never tried pickling its a super easy one to start with!
It's much easier than you might think ! (I promise!) Why not give it a go?
The quantity below makes about 8 jam jars worth of pickle .

CraftLee Cucumber Pickle

4 large cucumbers
2 large yellow onions
2 large red onions (or you may also just use 4 yellow onions)
2 green peppers (or a yellow and a green pepper)
All of the above thinly sliced
1/2 cup of salt &
Ice cubes

Prepare all of the above
(a food processor with a slicing attachment comes in super handy here ! )
& place in a large bowl or basin - scatter over salt & mix in
cover with ice cubes , cover and allow to stand for approx 3 hours, mixing occasionally.

While that's standing you can gather your ingredients for the second step....
About 2 pints of white wine or cider vinegar
1 lb 14oz (900g) granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons of yellow mustard seeds
1 & 1/2 Teaspoons of Turmeric
1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or any other colour pepper you may like!)
1/2 Teaspoon paprika (optional)

Sterilizing -
Wash and scrub your jars and lids.
I like to sterilize mine by washing everything then scalding everything
with a kettle of boiling water.
I then place the jars on a baking tray, put tray in oven & turn on to medium heat (about 150degrees)
When oven has reached this temperature set your timer for 15 minutes
Turn off the oven when the time is up but leave jars in the oven until you need them.
Place lids & utensils in a pot of boiling water & boil for 10 minutes.

Finally -
When the cucumber mix is ready - (lots of water will have drained out of them ! )
Bring the vinegar and other ingredients into a very large pan and bring to the boil.
Boil for 10 minutes.
During this time pour the cucumber mix into a colander and allow to drain.(there's no need to rinse)
After 10 mins boiling add the cucumber mix to the pan and bring back to the boil.
Boil for 3 minutes and turn off the heat - its ready to pack into your jars !
Pack well into jars - you'll be leaving lots of the pickling liquid in the pan so don't worry that your not using it all up.
Ensure the rims of the jars are kept clean and then get the lids onto the jars as soon as you can.
Tighten them as much as you can.
Label & date your jars - you can eat the pickle straight away but it's best left for 3 weeks
( if you can wait that long !)

It's a bit of a mix'n'match recipe & no two batches are never the same but its always yummy !
Cucumber Pickles - The one on the left was made using white wine vinegar and only yellow onions - the one on the right is a bit deeper in colour because I used cider vinegar, red onions & smoked paprika.
You can gift your pickles or save them all for yourself but either way they look great with some cute fabric tops to set them off ......
Well done you  & Enjoy !!!!
I've also linked this post to 

Siubhan x x x 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dressmaking Class Tonight!

OK so I figured out how to thread the needle and sew a straight seam by myself but if I'm to get better at this sewing lark then I think I'm going to need some expert advice!
Tonight I'm off out for night 2 of my 10 week dressmaking class.. I can't wait !

Last week we learned how to
thread the sewing machine (always handy to know!)
and how to sew a straight line (check!),
make a buttonhole with the buttonhole function on the machine (check!).
My machine at home has no such magical function, :( so I gave it a go WITHOUT using the special buttonhole twiddly bits...... Um ! that ones going to take a bit of practice!)

Anyway , a new week and some new challenges!
We are going to be cutting out our patterns tonight.
We were sent off to pick a (simple) pattern and some fabric.
Never one to do things by half, I've picked two !!!

One simple skirt -
Here's the skirt - New Look pattern no 6035
& no matter what it turns out like No! My legs wont end up looking that good !

The fabric for the skirt is man-made & a little bit slippery a bit more challenging than the cottons I usually sew with.
I love the colours for the skirt and think it'll go well with the crochet cardigan that I started in Sherkin and  I've just got to get those sleeves done !

And one (sort of) simple dress -
Simplicity Pattern 1808 - the fabric is a lovely geometric pattern in autumn shades (&Yup! same deal again with the legs!)

This dress pulls on over your head so it needs to be made from jersey fabric
- this will be a challenge to work with no doubt!
All in all the fabric and patterns cost me about 45 Euros so if i do make something even remotely wearable it'll have been a bit of a bargain & may start a trend for homemade fashions in the CraftLee house!

Thanks for visiting & please do come back soon !


Siubhan x x x

Friday, October 5, 2012

My Purse Week Entry 2012

I had great plans to design and construct a Fab-u-lous 1950's inspired clutch bag for Purse Week 2012 but 'where? oh! where?' do the days go ? I'll keep those plans up my sleeve till next year but for now
I've decided to just bite the bullet and enter (before the competition is actually over) a lovely bag I made in August.
Here are some pictures of the bag.....

Its based on a pattern for a 'Foldable shopper' from the book 'Sew Serendipity Bags' by Kay Whitt - I made a few modifications including adjusting the size slightly, changing the lining, modifying the front pocket & adding the interior pocket and clasp.

I couldn't resist making a felt flower complete with vintage French button to finish it off! - if you want to make a flower like this you'll find the tutorial HERE

The exterior fabric was a remnant of furnishing fabric I found in Hickeys in Cork. The Exterior pocket is daisy chain print from Amy Butler and the green fabric for the handles & pocket detail came from a remnant basket also !

The interior is fully lined & includes a cute dotty lined pocket also (you can just about see it in the picture!) - the top has a band of Lovely Amy Butler Daisychain print and the main interior fabric is from IKEA. Its got a snap fastening & can hold LOADS of important stuff (as you can see!) The width of the bag is 20in, height 14in and its 7in deep. It'd be a great bag for a family day out, night away or even just a trip to the library!

So I'm off now to get to grips with flickr and upload my pics to the Purse Week Flickr Pool -
If you like bags & purses, totes & clutches then why not pop over and have a look at some of the other entries ! Good luck to everyone who enters !!

Thanks for visiting & come back soon !


Siubhan x x x 

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