Monday, 3 March 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee Challenge - Week Two

So we have had the second episode of "The Great British Sewing Bee" and this week patterned fabric was the focus.  I do love patterned fabric, I have a lot in my stash, but I tend to make far more solid colour items than patterned.  However, this week there was no escaping the problems of pattern.

I opted again to take the "Pattern Challenge" and above is the result. I didn't  time my effort this time, as with one thing or another I didn't have a free 3 hour window of time to dedicate to this project.  There are also several differences between my skirt and those the contestants had to make.  I opted for a yoked waistband, rather than straight, as I find it more comfortable and flattering, but also more time consuming.  There are also double the number of box pleats and that was because of the fabric I had to hand, see below.  This is a table runner I made from the same fabric, and I wanted to tone down the check.  This fabric is actually the remainder of the duvet cover, the other side was stripy and is now three blinds in the dining room. 

The other amendment I made was the addition of a pocket in the right side seam.  I have found that if I don't include pockets in the clothes I make, the I just don't wear them, so a pocket had to be added.
And below is the result of my very first hand picked zip and I have to say I may well be a convert. I didn't think that a hand sewn zip could possible feel as secure as one machine sewn, but even with my less than perfect hand sewing ability, this zips seems really secure and very neat,

So what challenge shall I undertake next week, week three seems to be all about stretch fabric (not my favourite type a fabric).  If I don't like any of next week's challenges then I already have two men's shirt really to be hacked to bits and transformed into something fabulous.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee Challenge

So the Great British Sewing Bee returned to our screens last week, oh how I do love this show.  And it got me wondering, would I be able to do that?  There are eight episodes, whether I can keep up and manage eight challenges we will have to wait and see, but so far so good.

The first challenge they set to the combatants was to make a simple sleeveless top in just two and a half hours.  Now like most people I don't time my sewing, it is just something I do because I enjoy it,  I have sewn many things to a short deadline, but that usually means late nights and as many short-cuts as possible, no stop watches involved.  I did wonder whether or not to even attempt this challenge, not because I thought it would be beyond my capabilities, but because I rarely wear sleeveless tops.  Why make something, if you are not going to wear it?

 Anyway I did decide to go ahead and give this a try, I found a pattern for a simple sleeveless top in my stash, that looked like the one used in the show and I had a remnant of a purple sheet, that was not really big enough for anything else.  Now my lounge probably isn't as high pressured as the Sewing Bee Studio, I just had the company of the lovely Hagrid and an episode of "Poirot" on the DVR, but I did have a stop watch.

Two hours later (not two and a half) I had finished my top.  The only thing I didn't manage to do was the understitiching, it wasn't a step included in my pattern and I didn't realise it had to be done when the neck facing had been sewn, but before the arm facing.  Anyway I notched and pressed a facing and everything else it complete, hem, button, button loop.   And it even fits.

Week One - Challenge One - Complete

I really liked the refashion challenge, but as I don't currently have a woollen maxi skirt to hack to bits, that challenge will have to wait.  I am currently scouring charity shops for the necessary raw materials.

Monday, 16 September 2013


So this is a significant proportion of our harvest this year.  Fluffrick wanted to have a go at growing some potatoes and as we don't have a lot of garden we grew these is a large plastic tub.  Now it's not a huge quantity of potatoes, maybe three meals, but the do taste fantastic, better than any I've bought.

The Blueberry crop has been pitiful, One blueberry bush died in the cold winter weather, so we bought a replacement, but it hasn't cropped at all.  But there were just enough blueberries to have Blueberry Pancakes for Sunday breakfast, which was nice.

The Tomatoes are doing well, better than I've ever had before, but they don't seem to want to ripen.  They also taste good, although the skin is a little thicker than bought tomatoes and I wonder it that is because they are slower growing.

I have a little chilli plant again this year, which is cropping quite well, certainly well enough for my Mum who is not a huge fan of very spicy food, and these chillies are hot.

Fortunately were do not have to survive on this harvest, but each year we are growing a little more.  I might see if Fluffrick want to give Brussel Sprouts a go for our mid winter meals. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

What we're eating this week

I hate writing a blog post without any pictures, but as I haven't cooked any of these things yet I can't take a picture of them.

Wait a minute I've had an idea...

Home grown Blueberries
My somewhat small Blueberry crop, that I have plans for this weekend.

So here is our menu for the coming week:

Courgette Polpette with Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti

Veggie Burgers with Chips, Coleslaw and Tomato Salad

Salmon with Green Beans, Carrot and Potatoes

Cauliflower Pilau with Sweet Potato Curry - thank you Jamie Oliver, or maybe I should reserve the thanks until after I've made it.

Moussaka - made with Turkey mince

Kale and Mushroom Lasagne

Creole Prawn - I have been making with for about 20 years and I can not remember where I got the recipe, but this will be the first time I have made it with raw prawns.

I'm also going to make some Cauliflower Soup to have for my lunch and some Beetroot and Chocolate Brownies.  The meagre crop of Blueberries will end up in Blueberry Pancakes on Sunday Morning. 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Thursday is Veg Box Day

I've now been getting a organic veg box delivered for about 5 years from Wild Star Food and I think they do a really great job. It may not be a most economical way I could be buying my veg these days, but I'm happy because I'm supporting a local company and what I have delivered changes every week.

Here's what I got this week, Green Beans, Green Pepper, Aubergine, Celery, Romanesque Cauliflower, Curly Kale and Beetroot.  

Last week I got, Carrots, Romanesque Cauliflower, Kohlrabi, Yellow Courgettes, Pointed Cabbage, Beetroot and a mass of Potatoes (so much so that we decided not to harvest Fluffrick's Potatoes last weekend).

So there were a couple of things the same, but most things were different and variety is one of the most important things to me.  Before I got the veg box, I would buy broccoli and carrots pretty much every week, boring, boring, boring. Don't get me wrong i really do like broccoli and carrots, but every week was horrendously unadventurous, I like to think I'm a bit more adventurous now.

So now I've got my veg, I've got to sort out what I'm going to cook from it...I'll be back later with what I'm going to inflict on my family this coming week.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Super Soup September - Kohlrabi Soup

So normal service is resumed - in other word intermittent and spotty.  There are times when I just don't have anything to say (my Mum would not agree this that statement), so I just won't say anything.  But for the moment I'm back and would like to share a new recipe.

Kohlrabi Soup

This is adapted from Janella Purcell's Wholefood Kitchen.

Ingredients - Serves 4

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Onion
1 Kohlrabi
500ml Vegetable Stock
1 Bay Leaf
500ml Milk (the original recipe used soy or almond milk)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pan, dice the onion and to the oil and gently cook for a couple of minutes, but do not brown.

Peel and dice the kohlrabi, then add to the onion.

Add the stock and the bay leaf and simmer for 25-30 minutes until the Kohlrabi is tender. Remove the bay leaf, season and add the milk.  Simmer gently for a couple of minutes, then blend until smooth(ish).

I sprinkled my with a little smoked paprika, to add colour more than flavour and served it with Lidl's best Ryvita knock-offs.

Kohlrabi is a strange vegetable, but we get it on a semi regular basis in our weekly veg box, so it was nice to find a recipe for it.  Kohlrabi can be a wee bit fibrous, so push the blended soup through a sieve, may be required.  It have a very mild flavour and so did the resulting soup, I think this recipe would also work it cauliflower or broccoli were substituted for the kohlrabi (which may not be readily available.  

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Me Made May '13

So I've been absent from this blog for far too long, but I've finally got the kick up the backside that I needed - Me Made May'13.

'I, Katrina of Rollingeyeballs, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade item each day for the duration of May 2013.  I also pledge that my lovely husband Fluffrick will wear as many handmade items as possible during May'

As I've now been making things for Fluffrick for over ten years now, he should have enough things to make a good showing.  

Being part of this challenge always reveals holes in my handmade wardrobe.  I really need some hard wearing casual trousers, something I can just throw on to talk Hagrid, but as yet I have been unable to find any suitable fabric.  Hopefully sometime during the month I will find what I am looking for and new trousers will be mine.
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