Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Bargain Gypsy Top Finished

Well I have to say I am really pleased with how this turned out considering I had no idea what to do with the fabric until last week.  My husband very kindly took the photographs but I always feel such a fool posing in items I have made but I do understand that people want to see the garments being worn and not just always hanging on a mannequin.

I rescued the frill that had been put on upside down  and hemmed the side vents, it took a few tries to get the straps in just the right place so they don't show the bra straps but that is always the case, am I right ladies?
I thought I would stand somewhere pretty then saw the cobwebs in the garage window! Oops.

The level is about the same front and back on the neckline.

Happy that the straps stayed covered though.

That side vent lets it hang a bit more freely.

The fabric was quite nice to work with some sort of cotton mix. I didn't use my overlocker for tidying inside seams just a zig zag stitch, sometimes I really can't be doing with the thread hungry nature of overlockers.

I have some more fabric big enough  for a top just waiting to be transformed I will have to get to work on that.  The only thing is I have used it twice before, once in a patchwork cushion and once in the runner  here on the drawers in my hallway.  Is it ok to match your soft furnishings? I am not sure but maybe I will give it a go. The fabric is very bright and I think that is probably why I haven't used it in a garment yet.  Probably a simple top with no fussy fastenings will be best.

Today I have added a few new pictures to Pinterest from something I have been working on, I had them all saved then got around to adding them today.  It is based around faith art, not for everyone I understand, that is why I haven't shared on here but I feel that sort of creativity could be used in connection with poetry or other inspirational works so maybe I will post on it another day in a non-biased way.
  In relation to this I have treated myself to some new coloured pencils, Inktense  they are called, very rich colours.  I am considering this an end of School year gift to myself.  The good thing is I ordered them then got a message saying they were going to give me a £6 refund!  They must have gone on sale as they were £12.95 when I bought them, very good of them to honour it as I didn't know.  They were from Amazon.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Gluten Free Vegan Pizza with Homemade Cashew Cheese

Since I had to cut out wheat from my diet I have found that I miss pizza, bread had been the big one but I have mastered that one now so I thought pizza is just the same surely just a different shape.   Now there are probably master pizza chefs thinking absolutely not, it is different altogether but I just want to eat a pizza so here we are...
Easy Gluten Free Vegan Pizza
Now I really like a thin base so that is what I aimed for, if you want it thicker you will have to adjust the quantities. I just used my bread recipe that I have been tweaking and just used less of  it, I also left out the potato starch in this one. It was really tasty and I will definitely be making this on a regular basis.

30g brown rice flour
40g Quinoa flour
30g SR GF flour
2g of dry yeast (about a third of a 7g packet)
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
5ml oil
100g tepid water
pinch of salt

Put dry ingredients in a bowl and mix except for salt, add water and oil and mix gently then add salt when all ingredients combined. 

Line a pizza tray with greaseproof paper and oil lightly, spread mixture on paper thinly, just pour it in and spread don't over handle.

Cover and let it rise for about 10-15 minutes it will only be a little rise, then cook for 10 minutes at 200c.  While this was cooking I added peppers and onion to a roasting tin to cook a little.

Cashew Cheese
40g cashews
1 desert spoon nutritional yeast
juice of 1/4 lemon
pinch of garlic granules

Blitz nuts in a food processor keep going until they are as fine as they will go, add nutritional yeast, garlic granules, lemon juice and a little water.  Blitz again and only add more water if needed to make a thick paste.  This is so nice you can eat it as it is.
I know it doesn't look much but it is really tasty.

Cover your pizza with whatever toppings you like, I put tomato puree, the roasted pepper and onion, some tomatoes and the cashew cheese.  Pop back in the oven for 8-10 minutes until hot.  The good thing is the pizza just slides straight off the paper onto the plate and is nice and crisp around the edge.


Monday, 24 July 2017

£2 Gypsy Top with Straps

I have had this little piece of fabric sat in a drawer now for a couple of months, I bought it because it was a remnant and only £2 but I wasn't sure what to make with it.  As it was only £2 it was too good to pass up and I knew inspiration would strike at some point.

Here is progress so far. One of the frills is coming off as it is upside down! But you get the idea.

Last week when I went for something to eat with a friend  she was wearing a lovely top, I mentioned this fabric and said I thought it would be just the thing for something like the one she was wearing.  Now I had the image of her top in mind so it may not be the same but the style is along the same lines.  There was a t-shirt already hanging in my wardrobe that was a similar shape so I used it as a starting point.

This t-shirt is very baggy so as you can see I folded it in a bit.

I cut two long strips and gathered them to make the frills for front and back.

It is now on the mannequin with the side seams sewn and the straps pinned in place, I'm going to do a vent either side at the bottom.

This didn't take that long but I had to start cooking, go off and do my pilates and now I am being reminded that Game of Thrones is on in a bit so I guess it will wait until tomorrow.
This little label that was stapled to the bottom of the remnant made me smile, how often can you make a garment for that price these days?

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Sun Top Quick Make

Another week passed and summer is here for those of us who work in Schools, judging by the weather forecast though it is just in time for the worst of the weather.  Not to be put off by this I made up this sun top today using the fabric from the bottom of the charity shop dress I bought some weeks ago.  I have already worn the dress which has been taken in and up (by quite a lot!) the top should come in handy for wearing under things  on cooler days or on it's own when the sun returns.

Quick to make up and I didn't even need to hem the bottom as I used the one that was already there from the  maxi dress hem.

The only pieces needed were a front, back, two facing pieces for the top and two long rectangles for straps.  I just cut around an existing strappy top.  While I was making this it reminded  me of the quick little things I used to make as a teenager when I first got my sewing machine and also a book I have just read called Micromastery.  While I was reading this book I was nodding along thinking yes! That's me, that is how I learn.

The whole theme of this book was to keep on learning and not to be put off by thinking you have to be an expert at everything that interests you or that you have to specialise. It also suggest that you find achievable things you can do in any topic that interests you so that you have a skill in that area that you can show or use.  I agree with this completely, how many people do we know who go off and do college courses on things or night classes and learn all the theory but can't actually do anything useful. 

I'm sure it is wonderful to learn all you can  about your passion but surely things need to be transferable to life for them to be fun and to  maintain our interest for a longer period?  That is just what this book is about and it even gives you a selection of little skills you can learn (with instructions) if you so wish.

When I first got my machine when I was sixteen I bought fabric immediately, laid out a top and cut around it, I remember it was a big piece of cheap fabric and I had to cut the back again as it was a bit tight.  It was a wonderful feeling to have succeeded at something within a short time and spurred me on to do more.  I think if I had enrolled on a course, grappled with patterns, or sat figuring out what stitches the machine could do I wouldn't have had that same feeling and I'm sure it has to be the same with most things.  I will certainly be using some of the tips from this book in future.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Broccoli, Potato and Cashew Bake and Feeling Good

Just this past week I have been feeling a lot more energised, not as tired in the evening and generally better about things.  I had made a decision a couple of weeks ago to have a break from consuming any alcohol at all, not that I have a lot but I do buy a bottle of wine at the weekend.  There are also times my husband comes home with a few bottles of lager and I will have one of those, again not a lot but it doesn't help when I am easily prone to a sensitive stomach.  So I decided I would have a break (no particular fixed time) and see how things went. 

Well you wouldn't think this would bother anyone else would you? However when my mum and mother in law plus her husband came for lunch last weekend you would have thought it affected them. I didn't bring it up but when the wine came out they said why are you not drinking, I replied I didn't want one, oh why not? I stated I was giving my body a little rest, oh that's just silly! Have one , just one, why not?   So strange as this was I declined and stuck to it but I can't get over how bothered they were by it.

So that said I'm not suggesting that my increased energy is just down to cutting out a few glasses of wine but I have been more proactive at sticking to other things I like do and that make me feel good.
Everyday for the past fifteen days I have done a pilates routine with Robin Long , often two as these ones are short.  I have done these before but sometimes in the past I have missed days telling myself I was tired or I had been busy that day, no more of that, they take no time at all but you can really feel it the next day so I know they are effective.  Some of the routines you feel more than others.
I have made time to read every day and also practice my guitar and learn a few new songs, this always makes me feel relaxed.

The cook books have had a rest and I have made up quite a few new recipes this week,  further more I have enjoyed everything I have had to eat, there have been lots of fruit salads as all the lovely fruit is in season.  In addition to the fruit salads if I felt a bit peckish later in the day I have had a thin slice of my homemade bread toasted, this has kept me off the crisps, another bad habit I had fell into.  So while I do have a healthy diet being vegan there were still a few slips with the salty crisps and the beer and wine, if I can try to keep these things out it gives my body an easier time processing everything.  It's not for everyone I know, I'm just going with what works for me.

So one of the things I made this week was a Broccoli, Potato and Cashew Bake.  Now this is what I did and there are no precise amounts as I was just popping things in as I went.

Two good sized potatoes were peeled and finely sliced, then I put them in the microwave for seven minutes. I set that aside and fried a red onion and a couple of cloves of garlic, at the same time steam the broccoli.
Then I mixed vegan cheese sauce powder with a little water and poured that into the frying pan, along with one heaped tbsp. of nutritional yeast flakes plus salt and pepper.
Next I added a little more water then some alpro soya cream.  In the blender I added a handful of cashew nuts and blasted those, then I put half in the cheese sauce mixture.
Lay the broccoli in an oven proof dish, place the potatoes over the top pouring over the sauce, then more potatoes more sauce and finally the last of the nuts on top.  I gave the top a little drizzle of olive oil too.  Bake for about twenty minutes.
I enjoyed it and it was well balanced nutritionally, the good thing is there was enough left for work the next day too.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Quinoa Bread and Other Food

After my success last week with the gluten free bread mix I went to Aldi to try and get some more. However they had put the price up well either that or it was on offer when I bought it, so it had gone from 75p  to £1.79.  I didn't really want to spend that much as making it myself was supposed to be money saving. 

I decided to get some more flour so I could do my own mix but I have noticed that a lot of recipes use a mixture of GF flours.  While we were out I went in Holland and Barrett and they had Quinoa flour reduced from £8 to £2 so I bought that. (I would never pay £8)

Yesterday I thought I would just have an experiment at mixing a few flours and see what happened, this is the recipe I came up with...

Quinoa Bread

100g Quinoa flour
50g brown rice flour
50g potato starch
100g gf plain flour
300ml tepid water
15ml olive oil
7gm dry yeast
1/2 tsp xanthan gum

Put the flour, yeast, water, xanthan gum and oil in a bowl and mix gently until all combined, pour into a 1lb loaf tin and cover.  Leave to rise, mine did take about 20 minutes but keep an eye on it.
Bake in the oven on 200c for 30 minutes.

This loaf didn't look as pretty as last weeks creation but it is actually lighter, it also toasts really well.
It has more air bubbles I think and I wouldn't have cooked it any longer as it is just right.

After that came out so well I  made a banana and pecan loaf as I was on a cooking roll, I find on days when things go wrong I get grumpy with the whole being in the kitchen thing and lose motivation.  Not so on this day so I carried on and did more baking. 

The only worry I have now is that when Holland and Barrett run out of the reduced price quinoa flour I will have to go back the drawing board!  I also found some amazing snack olives and pea crisps all reduced, the pea crisps can be bought from Aldi as well I have noticed.

For the rest of the afternoon we had family round for lunch but I did manage to take off the bottom from the charity shop dress I bought and there is just enough fabric  left over for a sun top.

So the piece that I have placed beside it here, was then cut out into these pieces below.
I'm going to utilise the original hem that is on the bottom.

I will share later in the week when I get around to sitting at the machine.  It will be useful for the summer or wearing under items later in the year.

Another Shift Dress

The dress I made today is from the free New Look pattern I got with Sew magazine last month. It is very similar to the scuba dress I made bu...