Wednesday, November 30, 2011

in the Christmas kitchen

WARNING: This post contains a lot of christmassy stuff and even more images edited in Picnik! Two of my current obsessions combined! :-D

Christmas kitchen collage

Last year, I made some gifts from the kitchen following Nigella Lawson's instructions. The recipients really liked them, so this year I wanted to make something else from Nigella Christmas. I decided on the Christmas Chutney and the Chili Jam, because I thought they sounded yummy and relatively simple to make.

making Christmas Chutney

The preparation of the chutney really was quite straightforward, but it took some time to make, since it has to simmer on the stove for about an hour. Our place smelled like vinegar for a day, but I somehow quite liked that. I put the chutney in nice jars and wrapped them in paper with some red and white twine and a label.

Christmas Chutney

Pretty! The Chili Jam was even easier to make and I got three and a half big jars out of the amount. If I feel like it, I'll make a second batch using smaller jars which might be more practical.

chili jam

Of course the half-jar had to be tasted right away. The jam is really good with blue cheese and on a sandwich with ham, as my tests have yielded so far.

erster Advent

Since Sunday was the first of advent, we are now again slowly unpacking our Christmas decorations. This year, I made this candle "arrangement", using some bottles I made useless for storing liquids in by melting the caps in the oven while trying to sterilize them. Clever me! Ahem ... I love that there's a J with a little heart on that runner. I know it probably stands for "Jul", meaning Christmas in Swedish, but I like to think otherwise. :-)

Amaryllis

What about you? Are you in the mood for Christmas, yet? Have you started decorating?

Christmas Inspiration

Have a good week!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Makeup Roll

makeup roll

Finally, I finished this Stitched In Color Makeup Roll for a friend of mine! (You can buy the pattern here.) I had the pieces cut for some time now, but just now got around to assemble it. Thanks to the clear instructions, this actually came together much more easily than I thought! I'll definitely make some more, including one for myself. (By the way, it's so gloomy here at the moment, that the only place where I can get a half-decent picture is on the windowsill ...)

makeup roll detail

It was really fun to choose the fabrics for this project. I tried to find something in my stash that my friend would like and I hope I'm right. On the other hand, that big floral Loulouthi print is so gorgeous, I can't imagine anybody NOT liking it ... The stripey fabric is Loulouthi as well and the dot fabric is from Beach Mod by Monaluna for Birch Fabrics.

makeup roll, closed

I crammed the roll full with some of my own makeup for the pictures. Also, it was recommended in the pattern to determine the placing of the button when the roll is filled. I really think this is such a cute project. It's really satisfying to make something as well thought out as this and when it was finished, I thought that this is like a little quilt for your makeup. :-D

makeup roll, button detail

I think I'll get some small surprise to put into this and then send it on it's way to it's recipient!

I wish you all a great weekend! :-)

Monday, November 14, 2011

fall colour pillow

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So, after some more trial and error, I finished the pillow I was working on last week. I am actually quite happy with my free motion skills now, although there is some room for improvement. I will definitely use this technique again in the future!

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After quilting the leaf shapes, I quilted some straight lines with my walking foot, following the orientation of the fabric pieces.

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I shadow-quilted the yellow border, but then decided to stop there and leave the outer border as it is. I wanted it to complement the "bounciness" of the leaves and I think it works well like this.

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I used the Hydrangea print for the back and added a zipper to the bottom of the pillow.

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This is actually the first pillow cover I made I'm happy with in terms of fit to pillow form. I used a 50x50cm pillow form from Ikea and I cut the squares 48x48cm, including 1cm seam allowance throughout, so it's 46x46cm finished size. I think the batting also adds some nice bounciness.

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The back is actually really pretty in itself and if the recipients don't like the front, they always can turn it around, I guess. But I actually like the pillow now as it is. So much, actually, that I decided to enter it into the cool Celebrate Color contest over at Stitched in Color.

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The contest is all about celebrating fall colour and using inspiration from nature in sewing and other crafts. I usually prefer cooler colours, but I love autumn and the sight of leaves turning all kinds of beautiful shades from golden to burgundy. Autumn means long walks, apple pie and cozy evenings at home for me, so I think the pillow really fits in well with the theme. I made a little collage to show you what I mean:




I hope you have a beautiful autumnal week and maybe you'll be inspired to make something as well by the things you see around you. :-)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

just trying something ...

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During the last week, I didn't have much time for sewing and the sewing I did get done was very much trial and even more error ... I wanted to make a pillow cover as a present and had the idea of free-motion quilting the front. Since I'm really new to that technique, that idea probably wasn't that smart. Of course, I haven't finished the pillow, yet, but I'll show you what I did.

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Above you can see the layout of the pillow front and also the areas where things went very wrong. Also, I'm not so sure about that border. Everything seems quite "blah" to me, although I really love those fabrics together. (That's fabric from Cut out and Keep by Heather Moore for Cloud9 and the mustard fabric is from Laura Gunn's Magnolia.)

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So, this is where I started with the quilting and then realized two things: a) I should have practised on some scraps first and b) using your regular sewing machine foot for free motion quilting is just not working ...

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Here I exchanged the foot for the appropriate machine embroidery one, but since I'm stubborn didn't move on to scraps but kept trying on the cushion cover. I was attempting to quilt the centre squares in this pattern that I saw on the Oh, Fransson! blog. This second attempt is actually not all that bad, considering, but still not making me happy ...

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And this is the 3rd attempt that yielded the best result and also the one where I ran out of time ... I think I'll rip out the first two and quilt them anew, and then I'll quilt in straight lines around the centre squares with the walking foot ... I hope that once the quilting is finished and the back added, I'll like that pillow a bit better!

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Here it's really autumnal and actually quite pretty and warm for this time of year! I hope all of you have a nice day!