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Archive for the ‘Home sweet home’ Category

Two years ago, I got a sewing machine for my birthday. It was great!! I used it 3 times to make 3 cushions, and then I got engaged (not because of the cushions… or was it?!!?) and forgot about it for a while.

Fast forward a year or so and catastrophe strikes! A horrible accident involving a pot of olives with a leaky lid, and a trust oil cloth tote bag, means I am now without tote, and anyone who knows me KNOWS this isn’t good news. I’m a girl who’s always cold and can’t travel light. I need  tote. So… you know what I did? I decided to make one.

A quick glance online told me that it wouldn’t be that hard, so I bought some polka dot cloth (I might have outgrown the colour pink, but I’m still a fan of dots…) and started sewing.

John Lewis, Cath Kidston, Sewing, Home Made tote bag

Dotty fabric, and a twee measuring tape. Sewing Threesmallapples-style(!).

To add some strength and to make it less flimsy, I lined the bag using some heavy white linen fabric, which were the handy off cuts from some IKEA curtains.

John Lewis, Cath Kidston, Sewing, Home Made tote bag

“Measure twice, cut once” that’s the phrase, isn’t it? (I might be a bit of a nerd).

John Lewis, Cath Kidston, Sewing, Home Made tote bag

John Lewis, Cath Kidston, Sewing, Home Made tote bag

To make the body of the bag, I sewed the two pieces of fabric back to back, before turning the material inside out, so the seam was now on the inside.

John Lewis, Cath Kidston, Sewing, Home Made tote bag

John Lewis, Cath Kidston, Sewing, Home Made tote bag

For the straps, take a piece of fabric 4 inches thick, fold it in half to create a crease in the middle. Then fold each half of the fabric into the middle crease, before folding the crease closed. This way, all of the edges are ‘inside’ the strap, meaning the strap is stronger and has no loose edge to fray.  Pin the strap to hold it together, before sewing along the open edge to hold it closed.

John Lewis, Home Made, tote bag, sewing tutorial, polka dot

I attached the straps to the body of the bag before sewing the side edges of the bag together.  I still need to figure out a neat way to attach the straps… A bit more practise needed, I think.

John Lewis, Home Made, tote bag, sewing tutorial, polka dot

Almost there…

John Lewis, Home Made, tote bag, sewing tutorial, polka dot

The old “sewing on the inside” trick again…

John Lewis, Home Made, tote bag, sewing tutorial, polka dot

Once it was all sewn firmly together, all there is left to do is turn it the right way out…

John Lewis, Home Made, tote bag, sewing tutorial, polka dot

And “Ta-da!!”, the finished article. I was so (sew?) pleased that I’ve actually already made another one as a gift and after 2 weeks of daily use, carrying a lunch box and a hard back, it hasn’t fallen apart yet. As you can imagine, I’m as pleased as punch.

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There must be something I can do with this old Tord Boontje Garland light shade from Habitat?

 

Admittedly, being made of spindly, bendable, floral shaped metal, it wasn’t actually much of a *light shade* but it was pretty, all the same.

 

But after 2 years stored in a box, under the stairs, it might be time for it to admit defeat…!  I’m sure I used to be a hoarder? I’m not quite sure what’s happened to me.

 

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Homely comforts…

Or not.

Having a few renovations done at Threesmallapples HQ so please excuse me if I disappear for the next couple of weeks. I’m trying to fight a cloud of dust and cope with the fact that everything I own is currently squeezed into the bedroom.

Also, packing takes a little longer when you’ve got (laser) cats…

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In a not completely un-granny-ish move, I appear to have developed a fondness for tea. Not herbal tea, which fills my cupboard and makes ‘”do you want a cup of tea?” a question that needs a few serious moment’s contemplation before I can answer. Or Matcha tea, which might initially taste a bit ‘pond-y’ but is a brilliant green colour and a bit addictive. But normal tea. Builder’s tea. With milk. And one sugar.

Tea drinking isn’t something that I do very quickly. One of the reasons I drink herbal tea so much is that it’s still drinkable when it’s cold. No cloudy milk skin floating around grossing everyone out.  Drinking Builder’s tea means drinking from a small cup, and brewing a small cup of tea, with a normal sized tea bag feels a bit stupid.

So, with that in mind, it was time to find a teapot…! I had to discount the obvious floral numbers, because Mr Threesmallapples refused to let them in the house, so was feeling full of teapot-induced gloom, when a bike ride and a trip to the Tate uncovered this little beauty!

The Stump teapot by Forlife, available in 9 colours, and holds 3 cups of tea. Perfect for a bit of lazy Sunday tea drinking. Now all I need to find is a milk jug.

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Last week’s civilised dinner party turned into a rather drunken affair, with 6 bottles of wine being consumed by 6 diners… Not quite sure how I felt so clear-headed the next day… it might have been down to Olly’s slow cooked rabbit with cream and tarragon (not a very helpful menu choice when I’m trying to be a bit more veggie, but very tasty!), or perhaps my slightly crumpled looking pear Tarte Tatin?

Unfortunately, no pictures exist of either dish (damn wine!) but luckily my roses, a gift for the hostess, lasted a bit longer than the food.

They definitely made the washing up much less painful!

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Two Cake Sunday

For some unknown reason, I had an urge to make a plum and almond loaf cake. I don’t even really like plums, but I liked the idea of it.  Ignoring the cookbooks (not actually true, I flicked though a few of them and couldn’t find what I wanted), I did a bit of googling and found a blog recipe that seemed simple and idiot proof.

Unfortunately, it was a total disaster. I followed the bloody recipe step for step, but the result was a flat layer of slightly mushy, pink sponge. It tasted alright but it looked like something from a cakey nightmare.  I have to admit that I wasn’t totally surprised when it came out of the oven looking like a cake crash, as the quantities of ingredients used were a bit odd. How could a cake have 8 plums but only 35g of flour?!  And I couldn’t  actually fit all 8 plums in the loaf tin, so I probably only used 5. Pah! That blog can consider itself blacklisted.

Not to be deterred (actually, I was totally deterred but I still had about 3 plums worth of plum pieces left) I decided to try again, and this time I improvised:

150g butter

150g caster sugar

2 eggs

70g plain flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

100g powdered almonds

A squirt of almond essence

a handful of flaked almonds

3(ish) sliced plums)

Topping:

25g butter

40g light brown sugar

I mixed the butter and sugar together till it was pale and a bit frothy, chucked in 2 eggs and once that was all mixed together, I folded in the flour, baking powder, almonds and almond essence.

While that’s all going on, melt the butter for the topping in a sauce pan, add the sugar and mix it over the heat for a couple of minutes.

Put the topping in the bottom of the loaf tin, place the sliced plums over it, and then add the cake mix on top.

Bake the whole thing on 180 degrees for about 45 minutes, and ta-da! Some kind of Plum and Almond Upside Down cake.

I was so pleased with the result, that I’ve eaten about a quarter of the thing already!

And like all cakes, it goes very well with tea.

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A rainy Saturday is made that bit better with a cup of tea and Rose and Lychee marshmallows from Zukr Boutique.

Being served on the side of my favourite V&A tea cup, not only looks pretty, but stops me from eating more than 2 in one go… (ok, that’s a lie. But they do look pretty..).

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