Vintage Linen is too Good to Part With…

Whilst sorting through our stuff (yes, this process is taking forever) I decided I really should do something about my endless supply of vintage linen. Doilies, place mats, napkins, handkerchiefs, the list goes on and on and I just didn’t think I’d be able to use all of it. I’ve already sold a lot of my lace trims, and I’ve given other stuff away, but what about these larger items? We used a lot of them for our wedding, so I was struggling to part with them. I was laying them out on the table to go through them when it occurred to me that they would make a great patchwork, and as we don’t have a tablecloth, it seemed like the ideal thing to make!

I positioned them all out on the table and pinned them together. I then ran them through the machine, zig zagging them together. This probably wasn’t the correct way to do it, there was a bit of buckling and ruching, but hey! I’m still learning! The result is a little rough around the edges, but I like it that way, and more importantly, I used my linen for something genuinely useful!

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My Japanese Potato Salad recipe

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As you can probably guess, we eat a lot of Japanese food in this house. It’s healthy, easy to cook, and absolutely delicious! One of my favourite things to have in the fridge is Japanese Potato salad. It isn’t necessarily very healthy, but it is incredibly scrummy, and can also be a great way of using up bits and bobs in the fridge! This recipe isn’t strictly the ‘proper’ way of making it, it’s just a simpler way of doing it that works for us! If you don’t have Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise for this recipe, then normal is fine, but there is a recipe here for Kewpie style mayonnaise that tastes pretty much the same!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium potato
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • ham or cooked bacon
  • mayonaise (preferably Japanese if you can get it!)
  • spring onions

Peel and boil the potato whole. It is done when you can easily push a chopstick through it. This takes longer than you think! Mash together the eggs and mayonnaise. Slice the ham or bacon up into tiny rectangles and stir through.  Mash the potato and add the spring onions. You can also cook some cabbage or onion to add  to the spring onions. Mix the egg mixture to the potato until it is a smooth consistency, adding more mayonnaise if you need to. Feel free to add any cooked vegetable that needs using up!

That’s it! It keeeps in the fridge for a couple of days, but chances are, it won’t last that long! You can eat it however you want. I like to eat it from the fridge, with a spoon!

Reducing my stash, kind of…

A bought myself a new gadget. It’s an absolute life saver, quite possibly the most useful gadget I’ve bought besides the kettle. It has improved our quality of life no end, and all for the modest sum of £10 including postage. What did I buy?

A yarn winder!!!

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This amazing machine has reduced all of my knotted and untidy balls of wool into these neat little cakes that can be stacked. Isn’t it wonderful? It also provides hours of family fun. See?

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After two days of winding I reduced my stash from this

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to this!

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Worth every penny!

My DIY skirt

I’ve been glued to the telly for weeks watching the Great British Sewing Bee. If you don’t know what this is, it is a program where amateur sewers make 3 garments every week which are judged on fit, technical skill and creativity. One is voted off every week until eventually one is crowned Britain’s best amateur sewer.  Continue reading

Homemade Coffee syrup

I don’t like shopping at Sainsburys, some of their prices are ridiculous, but it happens to be the closest supermarket to my house, and if I need to pick up a couple of bits and don’t want to walk into town, I grit my teeth and go. I’ve been going more often recently, as they are the only shop that sells the Japanese ingredients I have been using.

On one of my recent trips, I noticed a few bits on the reduced section. They are usually very stingy with their reduced food, and they never reduce fresh food, which is suspicious. I did see that they had some baking goods, in particular cinnamon sugar, reduced from £2.99 to 39p.

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Ordinarily I’d whinge and moan about how I could make cinnamon sugar myself at home, but this time I bought it. I had something in mind. I had recently won a competition on Twitter and been sent a lot of coffee samples. Now, I like coffee, but I have a really sweet tooth, so when I saw this, I decided to make coffee syrup from it.

It was so quick and easy, I just added the sugar to the pan, and then used the pot to measure out the same amount of water, then I heated it on the hob until the sugar had dissolved. I then used this cut glass jug I got from a charity shop to store it in.

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Now I have delicious coffee shop grade drinks at an absolute fraction of the price. The syrup should last for quite a while, and it cost the same price as a shot of syrup at the coffee shop!

Further adventures in jumper upcycling

Well, what did I do with the rest of the jumper? It was really super simple, as the shape of the remaining bit meant there was something very obvious I could use it for.

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Using some upholstery fabric I had kicking around and some spare bamboo handles I made a

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A new knitting bag, which means I have more space to store my knitting projects. Huzzah!

How to make your own Bento Picks

I have been sucked in to the cutesy world of the Bento accessory. Though not at all necessary, I can’t help wistfully staring at Japanese imported Panda shaped rice ball makers, nori punches and tiny little sauce bottles. After putting a picture of one of Amelia’s bentos on Facebook, a friend of mine said she had a lot of accessories left over from when she used to make them for her daughter, and that I could have them. The set contained an impressive amount of stuff, egg molds, onigiri rice molds, sauce bottles, decorative grass, a nori punch and some animal picks. I also bought her some training chop sticks, so she doesn’t keep trying to steal mine!

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Even with this haul, I still found myself wanting more picks, they really make a cute bento, they’re the difference between it looking like food and it looking really fun! I was trying to find some for a relatively reasonable price when I came across a tip, make your own using a comb and some buttons. I found this tutorial on Oh! Bento, A wonderful blog that features bentos that I aspire to making, with lots of tutorial and wonderful example bentos, including this tutorial http://ohbentouk.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/diy-bento-pickscupcake-toppers/ All you need to do is cut each prong off a comb, then hot glue a button, brad or badge to the top. What a genius idea! I had a rifle through the button and bead boxes and put together all of these. It literally took minutes, and they were all free!

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Not only that, but the toddler helped me choose which buttons and beads we used, so she now says that she made them, it makes it all a little bit more special.

Galaxy Play doh and Space fun – how to

The toddler loves Play doh, she just can’t get enough of cutting and squishing and rolling it. It is, however, ridiculously expensive. The first kind she had was Crayola 1+ which was gluten free and couldn’t be nibbled on, though not encouraged. This stuff was so hard, and it cost a whopping £1.99 a pot! She couldn’t really play with it on her own because it was so tough, and it broke some of her cutters.

We put up with it until last Christmas when one set of grandparents got her some proper Play doh, and the other got her a Disney Princess Play doh castle thing. This stuff is much easier for her to play with, but I have a real issue with her mixing up the colours, because I don’t want to have to buy more! So, with this is mind, I took to Pinterest (as if I need an excuse!) in search of Play doh recipes. I saw an amazing pin of galaxy play doh, but, as so often happens on Pinterest, there was no link to the original poster and no recipe, so I tried to recreate it. I used a standard Play doh recipe

  1. 2 cups of plain flour
  2. 2 cups of water with food colouring
  3. 1 Tbsp. of cooking oil
  4. 1 Tbsp. cream of tartar
  5. 1 cup of salt
Mix liquid ingredients together in a large pan.  Begin to heat liquids. I added one bottle of blue food colouring, and one bottle of black.  I also added a pot of edible shimmer and glitter as the original picture I saw was really glittery. In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients, and then add these to the heating liquids.   Stir until the play doh comes together and thickens.  Cook until it gets that sheen to it.  Let it cool slightly and then knead to bring proper consistency.  Store in plastic container. Ta dah, you got play doh! 
 
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Once it had cooled down I added some star sprinkle things that had been kicking around in the toddler’s craft box for a while, and we made a galaxy, complete with stars and planets. We used some of her sparkly beads as the planets.
 
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Then we used star cutters, and gave them they’re own planet, and added more glitter too.
 
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We had loads of fun, and I don’t have to worry about her mixing this up , and she only needs one colour. Also, as we had all the ingredients, I made two tuppaware tubs of Play Doh for free! 
 
 
 

Teeny tiny knitting

Just a quick one! I got free bamboo knitting pins with my copy of Simply Knitting. These are supposed to be pins that hold the knitting together as you sew it. Being someone who always likes to give things a new lease of life, I turned them into this

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A teeny tiny knitting brooch. All I did was case on twenty stitches with a little bit of wool, and garter stitched. I glued the stitches on the back to keep them on the pins, glued the pins together to secure them, and then attached a brooch back. Used up some yarn AND made myself a bit of knitting jewellery. I’m pretty pleased with that! Got a necklace I’m working on too…

Easy I-cord Necklace DIY

I am still looking for ways to use up my yarn, and I recently made this necklace from a pattern in Molly Makes

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It was a little tight for me, so I think I went a little bit wrong somewhere, but I liked the effect of using knitted i-cords. I decided to make my own pattern up. Continue reading