Soap pockets

Simple flannel pockets: sewn to use up the soaps we seem to have accumulated.

Each pocket uses half a flannel, could have squeezed it down to a third of a flannel with hindsight. A simple sew, making an envelope with a loop of ribbon stitched in to a side seam …

Made in the shade(s)

A cheapo basic shade from B&Q has been poshed up with monochrome stamping. I used a stamp set that came with a craft magazine rediscovered when I organised my supplies. Distress ink may not last as long as stazon but it works for now.

Inspired to continue I then used fabric pens on a discoloured old shade using the embossing on the fabric as the guide for my drawing.

Pillow to cushions – simple upcycle

Time to replace those tired pillows? It is a good excuse to use the old filling to create smart new dress cushions.

Just cut the (washed) old pillow in half and sew the open edges closed. I used my machine but hand sewing won’t take long.

I covered one with ticking style denim to match the recovered seat pad and the other with off cuts from an IKEA net curtain (which I decorated with fabric pens outlining the fabric weave design).

No buttons or zips for me just a simple envelope cover in both fabrics and job done.

Leftover baking

I needed to make some space in the fridge so wanted to empty some jars. Leftover cookies were created using the remains of a jar of mincemeat and some liqueur chocolates that had been lurking since Christmas. Recipe varied from one on BBC good food site

150g dark brown soft or caster sugar,125g butter, ½ heaped tsp salt, 1 medium egg, 4 tbsp mincemeat and a handful of liqueur chocolates, 220g plain flour,½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

Mix ingredients, spoon into balls and make for 12 minutes in oven at 160C. I put half in silicone Yorkshire mould to make giant cookies. All were squidgy when first out of the oven but firmed up as they cooled. Yum.

Valentine bakes

So who are these cookies for?

Doggy cookies made for a little Valentine treat to brighten up a lockdown Sunday.

Recipe found as a Christmas offering but easily translates with the right cutter.

Mix: 100g plain flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons olive oil. form a dough then roll out and stamp shapes – about 12. Bake on silicone sheet in 180C oven for about 20 minutes.

Box made pizza box style with decorations from standard shapes on the scan and cut.

Quick chair recovering

Before, fabric worn at front of seat
After, refreshed.

After my first reupholstering 9 years ago, these charity shops chairs needed refreshing.

Quick and simple upholstering involves removing the staples from underneath, using the old fabric as a pattern to cut new and then restapling.

I find the staple gun a bit fierce but if the fabric is pulled tightly and you work from opposite sides to avoid wrinkles this is an easy project.

Crackers aren’t just for Christmas…

Cover cardboard tubes with fabric instead of paper to make reusable crackers.

I used up some Christmas fabric found while tidying but this would work for any seasonal table gift.

Use cardboard tubes of different diameters so that one slides tightly inside the other. I used loo roll and kitchen towel inner. Cut the larger tube to half the length of the other. My loo roll inner was 10 cm tall so I cut 5 cm from the larger kitchen roll.

Make snug fitting fabric coverings by sewing long rectangles (width being circumference of cardboard plus 1cm, length being height of tube plus 10cm) of fabric into tubes then folding in half and sliding the fabric inside.

I finished my raw edges with pinking shears and zig zag stitch. I then stuck bling tape around the edge of the larger roll so when assembled the bling tape masked the join.

No bang when pulled -although you could put snaps inside – but a bit of fun to make.

Die cutting felt

Time to use some felt scraps. decided to make some badges to brighten winter coats to stuck the layered flowers on felt circles and then stuck on badge pins sandwiched with felt rectangles for stability.

This is a very frugal activity using up old badges and taking miniscule scraps of felt. So while I have supplies out I am going to make embellishments for lavender bags etc. And happily nearly all dies designed for paper seem to work on felt – including the bee and butterfly – although the stamens die does create very flimsy results.

While I used hot glue for these, a more refined approach would be embroidery to fix flowers to the backing. I have used a few French knots here but really enjoy how quickly these come together.

Now to go through my dies to see what other little felt shapes I can cut…

Port wine sauce

What to do with Christmas port?
  • 1 oz. butter
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • ¾ cup Port
  • teaspoon onion powder
  • Teaspoon cornflour
  • Zest of a small orange
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme

After meat is cooked and while it is resting deglaze the pan with the butter and soften the onions then add other ingredients and reduce. Whole process should take about 4 minutes

We had ours over pigeon. But would work with venison, sausages or pork. The orange gives it a lovely lift.