Whipping up a Yoga Tote.

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I have recently started going to a local yoga class and I’m am absolutely loving it. However I’m not loving carrying my yoga mat around. I’m sure to drop it every time I leave the house. So I figured it’s time to make a tote.

I had seen many patters around for long tube like bags but I wanted something that I could also put water and keys etc, into. I came across this pattern from sew 4 home which happily fit the bill,  it holds everything and is easy to carry around.

The awesome map print fabric comes from David Nichols Upholstery they often have sales on and have loads of remnants to route through. I would recommend a stronger fabric for this pattern or interfacing just to give it a little more structure and stability. The pattern was really easy to make however it is hard to manoeuvre large amounts of fabric in my tiny craft room.

I’m pleased with the finished product and I got some lovely comments from the ladies at the yoga class.

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Going Veggie

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I recently made the decision to go full veggie. I say full veggie as I have never really eaten a lot of meat and given the choice I normally go for a vegetarian option. The ethical reasons didn’t really come onto my decision,  it is more about my enjoyment of food, I get more excited about a colourful plate of veggies than a big steak.

I have been trying to make the change as easy as possible as my partner is a carnivore,  so I have been prepping a selection of healthy vegetarian freezer meals and thought I would share some of my favourite recipies:

A Pinch of Yum – Veggie Bowl
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Buddha bowl, Dragon bowl, veggie bowl or rainbow bowl. Whatever you call it this is one of my favorites. It isn’t one of my freezer meals but I do love a plate full of vibrant colours.

Julia’s Album -Easy Chickpea Curry
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I am a total curry fiend and this is a lush recipie with coconut milk which gives it a lovely mild thai taste. I make a big batch and freeze it in individual portions and It’s a meal I look forward to. I cook the quinoa in my rice cooker as it makes it a lot easier.

One Ingredient Chef – Sweet Potato and Lentil Shepherds Pie
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When I was looking for meals I could freeze I had to remind myself that I couldn’t shouldn’t have curry every night. I am so glad I found this recipe, it’s hearty and filling with lovely flavour.

Damn Delicious – Garlic Mushroom Quinoa
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This tastes like a mushroom risotto but without all the carbs. This is another meal that I prep and freeze and with a generous dose of hard cheese it is quite indulgent.

I have been loving the benefits of my new diet. My IBS symptoms have improved due to the vast increase in vegetable consumption and as I’m also reducing my carb intake I have lost about 13 lbs.

It’s pretty awesome being in team veggie.

Happy New Year!

2014 has been pretty awesome, we’ve had holidays, big anniversaries,  big birthdays and an engagement.  I’m not sure how 2015 can top it but we will just have to wait and see.

One of my unofficial new years resolutions is to de – clutter the house a bit. We are 3 bin bags down and still going. I’m giving myself a job each weekend to get done. This weekend was the craft room.

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It was an ungodly mess and had become a bit of a dumping ground during the chaos of Christmas and New Year but I’m so glad I got it cleared out.

The craft room cupboard has been tidied and I have made room for my brewing station complete with wine rack. Note: must get Merlot started soon!

I did have to evict some naughty mice who made the cupboard their home thanks to a supply of wheat filled hand warmers that they chewed their way through. Little buggers!

I am now filled with anticipation and excitement for the many projects I plan to start, first being some remote caddies to go over the sofa arms. I am also enjoying running into the craft room revelling in the amount of space I have and no pins in my feet.

So hopefully this year will bring lots to make and lots blog about.

Dabbling in wine making

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I am very passionate about wine and recently started making my own. I was surprised at how cheap it is to get started. I use kits from Wilkinson which are around £8.50 and the side of the kit tells you what you need. I borrowed a 5 liter demi john from a friend but you can pick them up quite cheap at car boot sales and charity shops. You will also need brewing sugar, a bung and air lock (very cheap at wilko) and a syphon, the rest is all in the kit.

I can’t say enough about how easy it. Just follow the instructions and in 20 days you have wine. It does benefit from being left in the bottle a little longer after the 20 days as it’s quite tart when it comes out of the demi john.

I have so far tried 3 kits and have a fourth currently brewing.  The first was the elderflower wine (pictured above).
The wine was delicate and very tasty. The kit made just under 6 bottles. I don’t think I’ll make this one again as I couldn’t really taste the elderflower and the flowers float in the demi john making it hard to bottle without getting flowers up the syphon.

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Next up was the strawberry wine. Again just under 6 bottles and can’t say it was particularly strawberry flavoured but it was a sweet and fruity rose. I drank a bottle one evening and could definitely feel the effects, apparently it should be around 12% but I am yet to obtain a hydrometer to confirm this. This was so tasty that it didn’t actually last very long. Yum yum.

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Last is the black cherry wine. This was a fun brew. I think I got to much air in the mixture when I shook the ingredients together (stir next time) and with the heating coming on in the house the brew exploded leaving red wine stains on the back of the cupboard door. I discovered this is called vigorous fermentation.  Thankfully in the end I had a light a fruity red wine, so light it almost tastes like a rose. I think because the kit didn’t have any tannin to add it didn’t have that signature red wine feel. This kit made a full 6 bottles, 3 of which I still have left.

The point of me home brewing was to try and build a stock pile of Christmas.  However me being the aforementioned passionate wine drinker I manage to clear the stash before the next batch is finished.  In the new year I will be ramping up the wine making with a 25 liter kit which will make 30 bottles. I have no idea where I’m going to put it all. I’ll be gifting a fair bit of it I think.

I’ll do another post soon with the results of the chardonnay kit and my lessons learnt through trial and error.

Making Hot Sauce

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I ticked off another item on my list of things to do before I’m 30. Make my own hot sauce. I am very pleased with the results.

I am a bit of a hot sauce addict and when I saw some recipes on pinterest I had to give it a go. I have adjusted the recipe slightly and I thought I would share it with you.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs of chillies (jalapeños,  fresnos or serrano)
6 cloves of garlic
4 table spoons of light brown sugar
2 table spoon of salt
1/2 cup of white vinegar

Blend these ingredients together and store in a jar for one week stirring daily. Keep the jar open but with a cloth over the top. I used a piece of muslin and an elastic band.

After one week of fermenting push the mush through a sieve or through the muslin into a sauce pan. Allow to simmer until you have the desired consistency. At this point you might want to taste to see if you need to add anything else. I added a little tomato puree and smoked paprika.

A few friends have tasted it so far and they love it. I would have had 4 jars but I dropped one as the lid wasn’t on properly 😦 .

I am still trying to think of a name for the sauce. So far I have:
Maggie’s hot stuff
Or
Maggie’s awesome sauce

I should also have some home made wine being bottled on Sunday. Yay for making stuff!

Tiny Ring Tray Tutorial

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I decided to make a ring tray to keep my new engagement ring safe when I’m doing dishes etc. It’s an easy and quick little sew.

You will need:
2 x 5 inch squares of fabric
Heavy interfacing

I first made a template so I can make it again but you can skip this if you want and put the measurements directly on to the fabric

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Cut a 5 inch square from card then cut a 1 and a quarter inch square from each corner.

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Mark the template on two pieces of fabric and cut out. Iron on interfacing to one of the pieces.

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Sew up the corners on both pieces of fabric.  I trimmed the excess here.

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Put the lining inside the outer, right sides together, and pin in place.
Sew around the top with a quarter inch seam leaving a gap on one side to turn it inside out.

Turn out and top stitch to close the gap in the seam and tada!

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A lovely tiny ring tray.

This tutorial is handy if you were thinking about making fabric storage bins and wanted a little practice on a smaller scale. Just change the dimensions around to get different shapes.

Gadget Crafting and Alpaca Petting

My apologies for my short absence from the blog but I have been a very busy lady recently. My last four weekends have been busy celebrating various birthdays but last weekend I did get some time to my self to do some crafting. If you know me then you will know that any gadget that enters my home will end up being crafted around and I finally got around to making a sleeve for the new laptop/tablet .

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I used some fabric from my stash that I forgot I had. I really wanted to do something different from the many other gadget cases I had made so I decided to add some piping to the edge and I am pretty pleased with the way it turned out.
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In other news, after finishing the gadget sleeve me and the beloved went to Totnes Rare Breeds Farm to tick off one of the things on the list of stuff to do before I’m 30. I got to pet (and feed) an Alpaca!

wpid-picsart_1406226309151.jpgI was so pleased. I love alpacas and their wool. These guys had just been shaved but they were still very soft.  The farm was a great place to visit, we also saw many types of goat,  red and black squirrels, lots of beautiful owls and tiny little field mice. I would highly recommend a visit.

So I have been saving the big news for last. Two weeks ago my beloved proposed.

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Yes, had to get the ring re-sized.

I am so happy I am lost for words. We are hoping to get married in 2016 so there may be some wedding crafts coming up soon.

Thanks for reading 🙂