Monday, November 3, 2014

Liberty Print Bias Binding DIY Tutorial!

Bias binding is so versatile - I use it all the time to finish off straight and curved seams on all sorts of projects (like my Liberty print hot water bottle and Liberty print ballet pump tutorials!). Knowing how to make your own bias binding is a handy skill to have - make it using your main fabric for a neat and discreet edging or using a contrasting fabric for a pretty, contrasting look! Liberty print bias binding is perfect for adding just a touch of floral prettiness to your project and best of all, you only need a 10 by 10 inch square of fabric to make nearly two meters of bias binding!

I learned how to make continuous bias binding using this brilliant tutorial from Coletterie. 

You'll need...

A 10''10'' square of Liberty print fabric
Ruler / tape measure
Water soluble pen or tailors chalk
Thread that blends in with your chosen fabric
Bias tape maker (I've used a 12 mm bias tape maker)
Fabric scissors
Sewing machine

Step 1: Make sure you cut your 10''x10'' square of fabric parallel to the selvedge then cut it in half diagonally along the bias.

Step 2: Arrange the two fabric triangles as below, so that the piece on the left has the right side of the fabric facing you and the piece on the right has the wrong side of the fabric facing you.

Pin and then sew along the bottom edge, as close to the edge of the fabric as you can manage! Open out the two triangles into a rhombus (such a satisfying word to say...) and iron that seam flat.

Step 3: Grab your tape measure or ruler and mark lines one inch apart, horizontally along the wrong side of the fabric.

Step 4: Once you've drawn all your lines, turn the fabric over so the right side is facing you and fold the outside corners towards the middle. The fabric should now be making a square shape but before you pin the two edges together, offset the lines by one at each end like so...

Step 5: Sew a seam close to the edge like before and iron it as flat as you can. Grab your fabric scissors and cut along the lines you drew - before you know it you'll have a gorgeous length of Liberty print ribbon!

Step 8: These bias tape makers look the business but I actually found them a little tricky to use at first.

Start with the wrong side of the fabric facing you and feed it into the wide end of your bias tape maker. Have your iron at the ready! I find it best to pinch the bias tape closed as it comes out the narrow end of the tape maker then press it flat with the iron (it helps if you have asbestos fingers!). Work in small sections and pin as you go.

Winding the bias binder around an old cotton reel helps keep it nice and crisp until you're ready to use it!

Now you can add a Liberty print trim to all your projects - enjoy!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Six Weeks

Wow the first six weeks of motherhood were no joke! The sleeplessness, the feeding, the laundry... it took me a while to realise that when people say 'sleep when the baby sleeps' they do mean it literally - you never know which nap could be your last! Over the last week though things seem to have clicked into place - everything is easier all of a sudden. Probably a combination of Orla being a little bit bigger and Ciaran and I getting the hang of things. Now Orla and I go out every day with the pram - for walks around the village, to the pub to meet our other new Mum friends for lunch and last week I even brought her along to Kirsty Allsopp's Handmade Fair!

Orla is a dream, I love her so much it's unreal! I wish you could see her funny face when she wakes up in the morning and looks around her or the little 'ahhhhhh' sound she makes after she sneezes. She's been really alert from day one (she had her eyes open as soon as she was born!) but now that she recognises my face as well as my voice I get the most amazing smiles and giggles!

She currently weighs a robust 8lb 10 and finally fits into her 'newborn' size clothes. Although it's obviously brilliant that she's gaining weight and getting bigger I can't help feeling a little sad that she's growing up so fast. I try to savour every moment and remember that she won't always fall asleep on my shoulder or curled up on my chest, though at the same time I can't wait for the future - getting to know this amazing little girl. Motherhood is brilliant!

Monday, September 15, 2014

It's that time of year again...

My favourite time. Summer is on it's way out and Autumn is on it's way in!

You've got to make a wish when the chimney sweep's brush pokes out the top of the chimney and shake his hand for good luck.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pom Pom Garland DIY Tutorial

I made this fun pom pom garland a few weeks ago whilst waiting for Orla to arrive! It looks bright and cheerful adorning a wall in her nursery, though you could use it to brighten up a corner in any room! Pom poms are so fun and simple to make too - I recommend investing in a pom pom maker, though you can do it the good old fashioned way and make a cardboard template if you prefer. I love pink and green together - particularly these raspberry and pistachio shades! You can make a pom pom garland too with my super simple tutorial!

You will need...

Approx. 85 meters of yarn in your main colour (I used Rowan Handknit Cotton in Raspberry)
Approx. 55 meters of yarn in a contrasting colour (I used Rowan Handknit Cotton in Celery)
35mm pom pom maker (get 'em here!)
Crochet hook (I used a 3.5 mm size hook but you can pick your size depending on what yarn you're using)
Tapestry needle

Step 1:

Make a sliding knot as follows...

Hold out two fingers and loop the yarn round twice clockwise. Bring the loose end of the yarn over towards the left hand side of your loops then tuck it behind and bring a new loop under the two original strands...just like in picture number 4!

Insert the crochet hook into the loop then pull it tight like a little noose. You now have a super handy sliding knot!

Work in chain stitch until your garland is the desired length - I made mine just over 1.5 meters!

Step 2: 

To make a pom pom, first take your pom pom maker and open up the coloured 'arms'. Start wrapping your yarn around the arms, first one side and then the other. For a really fluffy, plush pom pom try and cram as much yarn on there as possible whilst still allowing the arms to pretty much fold back into their original position.

Once you've filled both sets of arms with yarn and folded them in, take a small pair of scissors and snip the yarn right the way round.

Take a small length of yarn and wrap it round the pom pom maker, pulling it tight and securing with a double knot. It's important for the yarn to be tight so it holds your pom pom together nicely!

Carefully pull apart the pom pom maker to release your pom pom then fluff it up a bit with your fingers!

You might notice that your pom pom looks a little bit wonky at this point and is shaped more like a hamburger than a little plump sphere. All you need to do is take a pair of scissors and give it a little trim! Like giving Barbie a haircut, you might feel nervous and a little tentative at first but as you snip away you'll get more and more confident as the true shape of the pom pom is revealed!

I made six green pom poms and five pink pom poms.

Step 3: 

Thread your tapestry needle with a short length of yarn and thread each pom pom onto your chain stitch garland. Secure each pom pom with a double knot and trim the ends of the thread. I found it helpful to spread the garland out on the floor first to figure out how to space out the pom poms evenly before attaching them to the garland.

Your pom pom garland is now ready to hang!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Orla Anne Mullaney

She's here! Our baby girl bounced into the world at 12.21am on Saturday 9th August weighing a petite 5.5lb. We spent a few days in hospital so the midwives could keep an eye on her weight but she's doing absolutely brilliantly and we're at home now, getting settled into life as a family of four (fur babies still count right?). I'm absolutely in love and could stare for hours at that cheeky little face which is changing before my eyes every day. I can't believe she's almost a week old already! When my Dad visited us in hospital he said that having a newborn baby is like watching a Polaroid photograph develop and he's right! I want to take a hundred photos of her every day and savour every single second with her. Welcome Orla, we're so happy you're here!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lavender fields and a bumpdate...

On Saturday morning Ciaran and I decided to walk in my cakes footsteps and visit the beautiful Mayfield Lavender Farm in Surrey! It was so lovely to be amongst the fields of pretty purple flowers and breath in their lovely, calming fragrance.

39 weeks today you guys! Remember how I said I was going to be really busy and productive during my maternity leave and was going to get loads of stuff done? Yeah... turns out it's too hot to sleep and although my bump is pretty compact, the (now fairly frequent) Braxston Hicks contractions make walking anywhere pretty uncomfortable so I've decided to shift my goals more towards putting my feet up, sleeping in and sitting in the garden reading fun and cheesy novels (I'm currently reading this and it's brilliant). I hope you're having a sweet Summer so far!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Prima Makes Magazine

Have you picked up your copy of the latest Prima Makes magazine yet? Issue 3 features an excerpt from Selina Lake's fabulous new book 'Outdoor Living' - Selina commissioned me to make the cupcakes, wedding cake and layer cake for this gorgeous photoshoot set in Mayfield Lavender Farm in Surrey! I love the way the white vanilla buttercream contrasts with the beautiful purple flowers. The lavender at Mayfield Lavender Farm is in full bloom right now - I'm hoping to squeeze in a visit before baby arrives!