Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The Kitchen Front - Turkish Delight

It just would not be Christmas in our house if there was not hiding somewhere a gooey box of Turkish Delight. This year I decide it was about time I had a go at making my own!

Turkish Delight
    675g Caster Sugar 
    Juice of one lemon 
    100g Corn flour 
    30g Powdered Gelatin 
    25 g Icing Sugar 
    2-3 tsp Rose Water

1. Measure the caster sugar into a stainless steel pan, add 300ml of water and the lemon Juice.

2. Mix 75g of the corn flour with a further 200ml of cold water until smooth and stir into the sugar mixture. Sprinkle the gelatin over and slowly bring it to the boil, over a medium heat simmer briskly for 20 minutes.

Turkish delight Recipe bubbling mixture
20 minutes of  simmering makes the mixture thicken up!
3. Meanwhile, line a deep Baking tin with 2 layers of cling film. Sift the remaining corn flour and icing sugar together and leave to one side.

4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the rosewater and pour into the prepared tin. Leave to cool in a cool dry place (not the fridge) for at least 12 hours.

5. Cut into cubes and roll in the corn flour and icing sugar mix. They will keep in an airtight tin for one month. You could also try coating the finished squares in melted chocolate, for an even more indulgent treat!!!

Tips: Cut the Turkish delight piece by piece as it tends to melt back together if you try to cut too many pieces at one time.

Wendy x

Sunday, 20 December 2009

The Kitchen Front - Blackberry & Apple Jam

We are supposed to be going up to Covent Garden today to enjoy the food market there and soak up the Christmassy atmosphere and also smile in smugness at the frantic shoppers who still have yet to finish their Christmas shopping. But as it's taking ages for the boyfriend to get ready I thought I would post the recipe while I wait.

I made this jam a few weeks ago, with a recipe from one of Marguerite Patten's fabulous Books to use up the blackberries I had stored in the freezer, the fact that they were frozen beforehand meant that they needed a little less cooking down than if fresh, as they were quite soft and mushy already.

~ Apple & Blackberry Jam ~

1lb/450g Blackberries 
1lb/450g Cooking Apples 
2lb/900g Sugar 
2tbsp Water
1. Prepare the jars by washing well in warm soapy water and rinsing thoroughly. Dry the jars in a cool oven (140c/Gas Mark 2). Fill whilst still warm to prevent the jars from cracking when the hot filling is added.

2. Wash the berries in cold water and drain well.

3. Put the apple into the pan and add the water. Simmer the apple for 10 minutes or until the apple has softened.

4. Add the blackberries to the cooked apple and continue to cook until all the fruit has softened.

5. Pour in the sugar and stir over a low heat until it has fully dissolved into the mixture.

6. Bring to the boil and continue to boil for 15 minutes.

7. Remove the pan from the heat. Drop a teaspoonful of jam onto a cold saucer. Allow it to cool  for a few minutes and then gently push your finger through the jam, if it wrinkles then it is ready. If not then return the pan to the heat and boil for a few more minutes return the saucepan to the heat and continue to boil for a few more minutes and then test again. Repeat this process until a set has been reached.

8. Once the setting point has been reached take the pan off of the heat and let the jam cool for about 10 minutes.

9. Pour into sterilised jars add a wax disk and then seal with a lid immediately.

There is nothing nicer than on a cold crisp winter morning, to wake up to a freshly brewed cup of coffee in your favourite mug and a warm slice of toasted bread topped with lashings of homemade Blackberry and Apple Jam

Wendy x

The Kitchen Front - Banana Loaf Recipie

While the snow falls outside I thought I'd treat myself to a warm hug of a cakey treat with my mum's speciality Banana Loaf!! The smell alone of this, slowly baking in the oven with all its cinnamon sweetness is a treat in itself and well worth the 90 min wait!!

Banana Bread ~

10 oz Self Raising Flour 
4 oz Butter or Margarine 
6 oz Soft brown Sugar 
2 Bananas 
3 Eggs 
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon 
3 to 4 Tablespoons of Milk
1. Cream the Butter and Sugar together until fluffy.
2. Mash the banana and add to the sugar and Butter mix.
3. Mix in the eggs with a little of the flour.
4. Add in the milk and the remainder of the flour and the cinnamon
5. Pour into a 2lb loaf tin.
6. Bake in a moderate oven for 1 1/2 hours. - Approx 150c/Gas mark 3/4.
7. Test with a knife or cake skewer if it comes out clean it is ready.
8. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Tip : This can be frozen once cooled and will keep for a month in the freezer.

Traditionally my mum would serve this up with lashings of butter on top, and a warm cuppa on the side but I actually prefer it served plain but still warm from the oven, yum!

Wendy x

Knit It - Winter Wollies & Baby Bunnies

These two Little Fellows are for cousins, Lily and Kiera. They were made from a Debbie Bliss Pattern which my Mum had saved from an early 1990's copy of the 'Woman’s Weekly' - God Bless Hoarding!! I am sure that the pattern must still be available in one of her many books!

Along with these little bunnies, I have also knitted them each a purple and pink Fair Isle hat and mittens.

The pattern for the hat was taken from the December issue of 'Lets Knit' magazine, I loved the combination of the pink and purple hearts. I had never knitted on four needles before so I simplified the pattern to make it a bit easier, I must say I found the whole thing really tricky but loved the way the hats seemed to grow so quickly and no sewing in loads of loose ends! The mittens are from a vintage pattern which can be found here minus the trimming!

So that is it, C'est Fini! All the gifts are ready for their little recipients, so I now can sit back relax and plot all of the things I will be making next year!!

Wendy x

Friday, 18 December 2009

Sew It - Make A Traditional Teddy Bear

Here is my latest attempt at the 'Classic Teddy' pattern from which I made Honey last year. This is Snowflake. She is a soft creamy white in colour, with caramel coloured felt paws and feet. She is this year’s gift for the lovely Emily, thought I have found it hard to part with her because she is so soft and huggable!

~ Traditional Teddy Bear ~
The pattern is very simple and one that I have been using for years. It is all done by hand though it could easily be done on a sewing machine if you prefer. I think the pattern originally came from my textiles teacher at school, which means I've had it a long time! Enjoy!!

What you will need: 
Medium Pile Fur Fabric 
Strong cotton thread 
Black embroidery silk for eyes and nose 
Sewing Needle + A Long Sharp Needle for sewing eyes and nose 
Free PDF Sewing Pattern Download it Here

Cut all the pattern pieces out following the grain/pile/nap markings on the pattern.

Be sure when you are cutting fur fabric that you only cut the back layer and not the fur itself, this can be quite tricky but if you take your time and use only very sharp scissors this should help, the best way I have found is to give the scissors a little wobble/wiggle to move the fur out of the way before snipping the jersey backing.

Once all the pieces are cut out you can start pinning and then sewing them together.

1. Sew the two back pieces together as marked on the pattern - Upper back.

2. Sew back together lower back the gap between the two sew lines is left open for stuffing later.

3. Sew Tummy pieces together along the marked line.

4. Sew front and back pieces together along marked lines to create a continuous seam - no gaps needed!!

5. Sew two leg pieces together - Repeat on the other leg.

6. Sew upper leg together all the way to the tip of toe leaving a gap for stuffing at the back of the leg. Repeat on other leg.

7. Sew from the Chin to nose on headpieces.

8. Insert Head Gusset - I find it easier to pin the head at the centre of the gusset (the nose) and work my way pinning down each side checking that it all matches up, before stitching.

9. Sew the Arm pieces to each other following the dotted line and leaving a gap for stuffing - Repeat on the other arm.

If you want to make paw pads in the arms: You will need to just cut two pieces of the above arm one right way and one reflected and then use the arm pattern and paw pad pattern on page 3 to make the inside of the arm.
9a. Firstly seam the shorter arm piece and the paw pad together at pink line line, using the same seam allowance as for rest of arm.

9b. Join each inside arm with its corresponding outside arm inside piece leaving a gap where marked for stuffing and your done, on to step 10!
10. Sew the foot pads into each of the legs this is a little fiddly but with patience and enough pins it should not be too taxing.

11. Sew two ear pieces together as shown on the pattern piece. Turn right way out. Repeat for the other ear.

12. Now your bear is ready to be jointed, the best description of using joints on the web is at Soggibottom's Blog or if you prefer you can sew the arms, legs and head directly onto the body.

13. Stuff and then sew up all open seams.

14. Stitch ears on to the head - Pin in place first as the placement of the ears really can change your bear's personality.

15. Sew the eyes by using 4/5 French knots for each and fastening off the thread securely when finished.

16. The last bit is to sew the nose double up the embroidery silk and over sew the tip of the snout to create the nose. Again make sure that this is fastened off securely and you're done!!

Now say Hello to your new friend!!!!

Wendy x

March 2020: It has been brought to my attention via a comment on this post that 'unnamed' feels I have stolen the pattern linked in this post from Soggybottom's blog. I can assure you all that this is not the case, this pattern was given to me by a teacher when I was at school in the 90's and has been a trusted pattern that I have used many times over the years, and scanned in, scaled up (he was much smaller than he is now) and tidied up in illustrator to share, as I though it was a nice thing to do. I have seen her pattern today and yes there are similarities, as it is a teddy bear pattern, but there must surely be thousands out there, that all look rather similar. The first teddy that I made and actually shared on my blog was Honey made for a christmas gift in 2008, a year before SoggyBottom posted her pattern.

I linked to Soggybottoms website as her's was and is the best description of jointing a teddy bear on the internet at the time, and is a much a better description than I could have produced, as was pointed out in the comment my descriptions on making up the bear are not the best, yes 'unkown' is correct they are very, very basic but I was no expert in sewing or writing blogs at the time, so I did my best. 

I am no thief and feel very upset to think that such accusations have been thrown my way. What I would have stood to gain from sharing someone else's work and not crediting them, when I have linked to them in my post anyway, I really don't know, I am just sorry that nearly 11 years later it is felt that I have. I still think her blog is great and her bears beautiful. Wendy x 

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Knit It - Toddlers Time for Tea

For my Best friend's Daughter Willow, I have bought this lovely Metal Tea Set from Amazon as her Christmas present, I love its vintage style and though it is a little on the expensive side it really looks well made and I am sure it will give hours of fun.
To go with it I have made some knitted cakes and sandwiches that I found on the net
The Patterns were found on the Jean Greenhowe Website Tea Party Treats Part 1 - Appetisers

I made the sandwiches and scotch eggs from these patterns. They were so much fun to make and are quite addictive due to being so quick to make up!!

Take Care 
Wendy x
9 days to go....Two down Three to go!!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Sew It - Tradional Teddy Bear

Meet Honey, he is the second in my recap of last year's Christmas goodies that I made for all the little ones I know.

Traditional Teddy Bear free pattern

Honey was given to my God Daughter Willow for her first Christmas along with a pair of very pink sparkly little wellies from Asda which he was looking after for her until she was big enough to wear them herself.

Honey is made from Honey coloured Fur fabric (hence the name though he may well have a new one now!!) and has also got fur paw pads and feet as I didn't have enough felt to do the job, but it does make him a little more hard wearing.

Traditional Teddy Bear  wearing pink wellingtons Full View

I will be making another bear from this pattern this year so I will post the pattern along with the new photos of my latest attempt!

Wendy x

Monday, 9 November 2009

Sew It - Felty Dinosaur

Before I start this years mad Christmas gift making, I thought I would share with you some of the patterns I used for last Christmas's gifts! First up is the Alfie-saurs, I made this very cute felted T-rex for my friend Fran's little boy, Alfie.  As he is the only little boy in an increasing number of little girls so it is nice to make something not pink and fluffy for a change!!
Felt Dinosaur Toy close up of head and teeth

~  Felty Dinosaur The T-Rex ~

This pattern is taken from 'Toys to Sew' by Claire Garland which is a lovely book with some interesting retro feel patterns which are sure to please the little ones! I found the free pattern on a Crafty book review site Potter House News.

Felt Dinosaur Toy Full View free pattern
My dinosaur has a few small changes to the original pattern. I made the arms a little bigger than the original and I also cut out four and stuffed them rather than leaving them as two floppy bits of felt as the original pattern suggests this was to make them a bit more durable. 

The next change was much more of a mistake than a deliberate change! I sewed the legs together before sewing them onto the body this made my Dino a little bandier than the original but no less adorable! Also as my hand stitching is not as neat as I would like so I decided to use a strong cotton instead of embroidery silk in a similar shade to the felt so as not to draw too much attention to my wobbly work!!

Felt dinosaurs from Claire Garlands Book toys to sew

So this year I decided to make two more little monsters for Alfie, again they are taken from 'Toys to Sew' by Claire Garland and were very easy and a lot of fun to make!!!

Felt dinosaurs from Claire Garlands Book toys to sew

I am hoping Alfie likes them just as much!
So that's one down just four to go!!

Wendy x

Friday, 6 November 2009

Christmas is coming....

I've done it again! I have yet again taken on the ridiculous challenge of making all my presents for all the children in and around my life this Christmas.

Now last year this was a challenge, but this year the number has increased and now I have five children to make gifts for - yes I know have only myself to blame and yes I know that I don't have to make gift, I could just head down to the shops like most people, but there is something special about receiving a gift that is unique and has been made especially for you.!

So in no particular order:

Willow: My best friend Diane's little girl and my God daughter who is 16 months old, a massive Peppa Pig fan and totally cute - Tea set with knitted cakes and sandwiches and a fair-isle hat.

Alfie: Fran's oldest Dino/Spiderman obsessed little boy of 4 - The last Two felt dino's from 'Toys to Sew' by Claire Garland.

Emily: Fran's oldest little girl lively 2 (three in Jan) year old who loves Tinkerbell - Teddy bear and a fair-isle hat.

Lily: One of the newest 
arrivals and one of the happiest babies ever- Floppy eared knitted bunny and fair-isle hat.

Kiera: Christine’s First and most unexpected arrival a very tiny 5 months old - Floppy eared knitted bunny and a fair-isle hat and mittens.

I hope to have all this finished by the 21st of Dec as I will be traveling to my parents after this. So the countdown begins...

Friday, 5 June 2009


Oh, I'm a little scared. I have suddenly become lost for words!! I have wanted to start this blog for over a year now but kept putting it off as I was nervous that I wasn't as interesting or as eloquent as all the beautiful blogger’s I so admire! But then I thought what the hell you don't know until you try so here I go...

Well hello I am Wendy I live in Walthamstow, London and I have decided to create this blog so that I can share my love of crafts, photography, knitting and sewing. This incorporates my love of everything vintage particularly in the clothes and fashions of the 30s and 40s I must confess I am a little obsessed especially with vintage knitting patterns I love the idea of recreating classic designs in slightly more contemporary wools and fabrics.

I also wanted to use this blog as a record of all the things I make - which as they are usually not for me I tend to lose track of. My main aim is to share the trials and tribulations of the makeup and also the patterns themselves so that you can all have a go too!

So for now that's it, I'll be back soon with
Wendy x