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Saturday, 29 November 2014

MARGOT PAJAMA SHORTS



I have a confession to make: I am awful at giving birthday presents on time. I also often like to make the present rather than buy, and far too often this ends up taking longer than what I had planned. Making things takes time. And when you're in a full time job, making gifts for people sometimes requires a relatively high level of planning and organizing to utilize the free time you have. And if the person you're making something for doesn't even live in the same country as you, even more planning and organizing is required. I've tried time and time again to organize myself better to stop it from happening, but I'm still awful at it. I tend to make really detailed and overly ambitious plans, completely forgetting that I don't actually have a gazillion hours in a day. And this tendency to make overly ambitious plans is one of the reasons my friend Eb got these pyjama shorts over two months after her actual birthday. Although having said that, I think two months late for a birthday present might actually be an improvement. One bonus with giving them to her so late though, was that I was able to give them to her in person last weekend when I met up with her in Manchester.


To make these, I used Tilly Walnes' pattern for Margot pyjamas from her book Love at First Stitch (a book I'm slightly obsessed with these days!), and shortened the legs to make shorts. I had a good bit of leftover fabric from my button down skirt (another Tilly pattern!), and thought it would be perfect for some PJs, as it's super soft like flannel. I used black satin ribbon for the waistband, and black bias binding on the inside seams and on the back pocket. Adding pockets to an item of clothing instantly improves it in my opinion (now she won't have to hold on to things while she sleeps! haha). The shorts were based on measurements she gave me, though they looked a little bit when I finished so I added a bar of chocolate to the present. That way she can fatten herself up a bit so that the pyjamas fit better, as I'm not quite at the level of doing alterations yet.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

DIY GUITAR PEDAL BOARD

Graeme has a lot of guitar pedals. It used to drive me nuts when we lived in our flat 3/6 in Glasgow, as he kept them in our living room and they seemed to have a complete life of their own. All those wires and cords would have a tendency to completely take over the living room floor, and I don't even know how many times I tripped over them. And accidentally stepping on a guitar pedal is almost up there with stepping on legos.

So when I saw on pintrest that someone had made a guitar pedal board out of IKEA Gorm shelves, I highly encouraged Graeme to make one too. And not only did it turn out looking really awesome, it did an excellent job at keeping those guitar pedals in check. However, this first pedal board was left in Glasgow when Graeme moved over to Norway, so obviously he had to make another one, and this is the improved version. While the first one worked great, this one looks even neater as it has a plank at each end hiding the cords pretty much completely. This is how he did it:


Step 1: Gather your supplies. You will need a saw, hammer, screwdriver and screws, velcro tape, floor protectors, and of a set of GORM shelves from IKEA. This set should come with two shelves, and you'll be using one and parts of the other. If you're planning on painting or staining the pedal board, you'll also need paint and a paintbrush (duh). Graeme used a nice black stain.

Step 2: Take apart one of the shelves. You'll be using two of the top planks: one as is and the other cut in two. So for the second plank, draw a line down the middle and saw so that you have two thinner planks (see image below).


Step 3: Saw away part of the end bits as below. Graeme just used a regular saw to do this, but it was a little fiddly. This step is technically optional, but it means your end planks will fit in neatly and won't stick out (as much), and you'll end up with a neater finish.



Step 4: Screw the full plank to the back of the board, and the half plank to the front. If you cut away part of the end bits in step 3, these should slide in quite nicely.



Step 5: Paint or stain. Leave to dry before going to the next step.

Step 6: Attach the velcro tape to the board pedals, and remove the rubber feet from the pedals if they have any. If you're keeping it on floors you don't want to mark, it's a good idea to also add floor protectors. Your guitar pedals will fit neatly on top of the board, while the cords and wires will be hidden inside. Now grab your guitar and start making some noise!




Sunday, 16 November 2014

ÅSOM SEWING: SKIRT

Just thought I'd update you on what we've been making in my Åsom sewing class! For our second project, we made skirts. Everyone learnt how to make a pattern for a half-circle skirt in the class I missed, but I picked up a similar skirt pattern from Stoff & Stil. It wasn't quite a half-circle skirt, but I got a quick catch-up on how to make the patterns from scratch, so that'll be another sewing project for the future!



The skirt I made was in many ways very similar to this one I made earlier, though there were also some key differences. While the one I made earlier was based on rectangles, the pieces this pattern used were a bit curved, which I think made doing the gathering easier, as there wasn't as much fabric to deal with. The waistband was also a simpler version, as I only cut one piece of fabric and folded it over (with interfacing), rather than cutting two pieces and sewing them together. My sewing instructor commented that this was the lazy version of a waistband, but I'm still pretty happy with how it turned out. I also learnt how to attach a zipper and how to use bias binding, so my skirt even looks neat on the inside. I haven't really bothered with this in previous projects, but definitely will in the future!

Friday, 7 November 2014

CARDAMOM AND ORANGE CRUSTLESS CHEESECAKE

Oh, how I love cheesecake! It's my go-to when I'm ordering dessert at a restaurant. While I was a student in Glasgow, six of us shared a flat right around the corner from a Peckham's that sold the most delicious cheesecake. During this time, a couple of my flatmates and I went through a bit of a phase where we perhaps visited that Peckham's a little too often, and ended up eating a little too much cheesecake. Though, there is no such thing as too much cheesecake, is there?

I've never really made much cheesecake myself though. I've made a couple of gelatin-based ones, but my heart lies with baked cheesecakes for sure. I was convinced they were really difficult to make though, until I stumbled upon this recipe for baked cheesecake in apples. I tried it out on a couple of apples, but ended up with a bit of leftover cheesecake mix which I poured into a ramekin and threw it in the oven with the rest of the apples. And while the cheesecake in the apples didn't seem to set properly (maybe my apples were too juicy?), the cheesecake in the ramekin turned out delicious. I've since tweaked the recipe a bit and added some flavors, and now it seems it's my go-to when I'm making dessert at home as well. No such thing as too much cheesecake though, right?

Ingredients:
200 g cream cheese
60 g powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cardamom
zest of half an orange
1 egg
digestive biscuits (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Add the cream cheese to a small bowl, and mix in the powdered sugar. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Divide the mix into two greased ramekins, I use two 12 cm terracotta dishes. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Once baked, take it out and place in the fridge for 1 to 3 hours to cool. Serve with a crumbled digestive biscuit on top.


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

PHOTO BOOK: PHOTO ADVENTURES VOLUME II




Yay! I made another photo book! I made a short to-do list of 11 items this fall, and this was one of them (which leaves me with 5 items left on this list, eek!). Photo Adventures Volume II, is as you may have guessed, the sequel to this photo book (and you can see others I've made here and here), and contains photos Graeme and I have taken with our analog cameras. One thing I love about these books is how they're divided up. The first volume contains photos from all our photo adventures up until Graeme proposed. In fact, the last photo of that book is a photo I took of him with my Diana mini, seconds before he popped the questionI love that photo! This second volume contains the photos we've taken while we were engaged, most of which time we were living in separate countries, so there's a lot of photos both from Scotland and Norway. I've already started on Volume III, which starts with an iPhone photo (I'm including digitals in this one!) of my super excited face as Graeme surprised me by showing up on my doorstep a week earlier than he was supposed to when he moved to Norway this summer.



Making a photo book is a really time-consuming task for me though, so I'm way behind on the list of photo books I want to make. First I gather all the photos (which usually requires a bit of digging as they're all in different folders organized by camera, then year, then occasion--that's how it goes when you have about 15 cameras and organizing geek tendencies). Then I spend ages deciding which ones to include, before deciding on the order and then eventually the layout and placement on each page. And I have tons of little rules I follow, like how the colors of a page have to go together, and how I can't have two pictures of the same person next to each other, unless there's other people in that shot or unless it for some reason just works really well. I've also started editing some of the photos in photoshop first, though so far only to add titles as I'm not a massive fan of the title page options and fonts the blurb software comes with. It's a very time-consuming process, but I also really enjoy it, and these days I'm making more of an effort to dedicate some time to actually sit down and do it. However, my dad recently asked me if I could make one for him using his pictures, as he'd gotten a flyer in the post for a special offer on Cewe photo books and because I help him with all things computer-related. I laughed in his face.