Make for Your Man… How to make a bow tie

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Lots of people don’t believe in Valentines day and the way it has become so commercial, but I think if there is an excuse to tell someone you love them… why not take it!?

Bow Tie

So, just ditch the commercial bit and make something for your man this valentines. Handmade gifts are so thoughtful and he will love it… and look great in it too!

WHAT YOU NEED…

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Fabric – if you use a thicker fabric your bow tie will be more plump! I have used a blue/grey linen for this example and I am really pleased with the results.

I got my linen from Fabworks in Dewsbury and the floral above from B&M Fabrics in Leeds Market.

CUTTING:

Cut pieces of fabric:
1 x Bow Tie: 12.5cm x 37.5cm
1 x Knot: 9cm x 7.5cm
2 x Band = 54cm x 4cm (Cut this piece to a point at one end)

STITCHING:

1. With right sides together fold the Bow Tie piece in half length ways and press.
Stitch with a 1cm seam allowance around the cut edges, leaving a gap to turn through. Repeat with the knot piece.

Stitch and leave a gap

2. Clip your corners and turn through the gap to the right side showing. Hand stitch the gap with a slip stitch. Repeat on the knot piece.

Slip Stitch

3. Fold in half width ways and measure 6cm from the non-folded end. Then stitch together at 6cm.

Stitch Bow Tie

4. Open out the ends to bring the line of stitching to the centre…

Open Bow Tie

5. Lay flat and ‘stitch in the ditch’ to fasten in this position…

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6. Pinch the bow tie to make a pleat in the middle.

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7. Wrap the knot around the bow tie and hand stitch to secure.

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8. To make the band… with right sides together stitch the 2 band pieces together, leaving an opening at the non-pointed end to turn through…

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9. Clip the corners, turn through and press. Then hand stitch the open end, closed…

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10. Thread the bow-tie onto the band and secure with a hand stitch if needed…

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11. Add a popper at the end to fasten…

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Tah Dah… You have made a bow tie! Package up in a pretty box and give to your man. I found it easier to leave the popper off until I had given the bow tie to my hubby so I could get the length of the tie fitting perfectly.

Bow Tie

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How to make a simple drawstring bag…

Drawstring bags are one of my favourite things to make, one: because they are so easy, and two: because the possibilities are endless. A simple homemade drawstring bag can give any gift the personal touch, or make a messy toy room tidy again. You can use up small pieces of left over fabric, or it is great for Fat Quarters you may have stashed away somewhere. I love these drawstring bags and hope you do to. I would love to hear what you will be putting in yours…

Make a Drawstring bag

Just follow the steps…

Step One…

Cut Fabric Size

 

Step Two…

Hem Top Edges

 

Step Three…

Measure Ribbon Holes

 

Step Four…

Stitch your Seams

 

Step Five…

Press Seams and Turn

 

Step Six…

Stitch Top Channel

 

Step Seven…

Turn and Thread Ribbon

 

Now you have made your drawstring bag!… What will you use yours for? I have decided to give mine as a housewarming gift for my friend. My Dad keeps bees and she just loves his honey so I am going to give her some honey in my homemade drawstring bag… I hope she likes it!Gift with Honey

Our New Studio

After we received the news that the venue we hold our Sewing Classes in Leeds had been sold and we could no longer hold them there, we searched high and low for a suitable place. It was a long search and nothing seemed quite right, or was right… but at the wrong price! What I really wanted was my own place, somewhere I wouldn’t have to rely on anyone else, somewhere I didn’t have to travel to… and that is when the idea of the Sewing Studio was born!

Studio Landscape

We recently moved house to a lovely 1930’s semi-detached house on Rock Lane in Leeds, and although there is a lot of work to be done, I just knew it would be the perfect home for us. At the bottom of the sloped garden was a step down, about 22 foot wide and 10 feet deep. This would be the perfect place to have a studio to hold my classes in. Yes, there was a pond and a massive cherry tree to remove… but hey, I have a husband for that!

Overgrown garden Pond etc

The biggest difficulty was digging the trench for the electrics to run from the house to the garden… 2 feet down and thick clay soil with lots of rockery. Mitchell attacked it with a pick-axe and after a run in with the washing line, it was off to A&E… ouch!

Pick Axe

After clearing the jungle that was the garden (the house had been stood empty for a while, after its hoarding owners had vacated!) it was time to lay the base. 2 tons of hardcore wheel-barrowed down the garden and what seemed like a mountain of concrete later and the Studio had somewhere to sit.

Then on the magically day when the studio is delivered and it is to be erected in all its glory… the skies opened, but hey, we’re british!… We don’t let a bit of water get in our way, oh and did I mention, we are due to have classes in here in a week!?

9 Pictures

And whilst the men worked hard… Mum provided lunch and tea-a-plenty!

Once the studio was up it time for the technical bits… electricity and lights. Then… my favourite part of all… making it pretty!

Inside the Studio Photos

I cannot thank my Dad and my Husband enough for all the hard work they put into making my dream come true. We have now held 2 classes in the new studio and it seems people love it. A few more decorations needed to brighten it up, but I guess that comes with time.

Inside the Studio

It just goes to show that if you have a vision, and a Husband and Dad with a bit of muscle, you can achieve your dreams.

the perfect setting

We look forward to sewing with you in our new Studio soon x

(…remember… it’s not a shed!)

Pressing Flowers

If you have received some flowers today and like me love them when they are in bloom but wish they would stay that way forever… pressing flowers is for you. Its a true vintage hobby, with pressed flowers found in antique books… and it can become addictive.

Remember, its only good to press flowers which are in full bloom, but sacrificing a few heads from a bouquet is worth it.

Flower Pressing 2

 

Snip the head off one of your flowers. Open a heavy book and cover the pages with some blotting paper or kitchen roll and place the flower head inside the book. You can add some leaves in too if you like.Flower Pressing 6 Flower Pressing 4Flower Pressing 5

Close the book and rest more heavy books on top. Leave it for about 4 weeks or more and then your flower will be pressed.

All we need to do now is wait 4 weeks to find great ways to use pressed flowers…

Green Fingers… Sowing not Sewing

Now its February this is the time when I start to think about spring coming and getting ready to work towards my dream of growing my own vegetables. Its been about 2 years since I have been interested in growing my own, but they haven’t been 2 years of successful growing… that’s for sure. I tend to always have 1 really successful crop and the rest I either forget about or have sown too late to get good fruit. So this year I am sowing early… although its not really early, its on time for most gardeners but early for me! This year I am determined to be a success…

Green Fingers Title

I have started by sowing Tomato, Sweet Pepper and Chilli…

Empty Tray

 

I have decided to sow more seeds than I require, for the chilli plants I thought that even if I have too many I can always give them to people as gifts.

I have also sown several varieties of tomato, I love the look of a salad with yellow and red tomatoes in, so I have decided to grow both.

Fill with soilWater

 

To get the seeds to germinate I have popped them in the airing cupboard as it can be a bit cold on the window sill, but as soon as they are starting to grow through the soil I will put them on the window sill.

 

Pop on the window sill

 

I have also started chitting my potatoes. I have never grown potatoes before but have read a few blogs and some really good books and they advise chitting for 6 weeks before planting them so here goes…

Chitting PotatoesChitting Potatoes sill

 

Wish me luck with my veggies… and I will let you know how I get on x

Chinese New Year… Invitations

February 9th sees us entering the year of the snake in the Chinese calendar. I have never celebrated Chinese new year but this year I have decided to go all out. I will be inviting friends round for a meal with some festive touches to make it special.

It all starts with an invitation…

Chinese New Year Invitations

Now… I know what you’re thinking… isn’t an origami crane Japanese? Well yes, you are right but they look so cool and unique I couldn’t resist.

I got some origami paper packs on ebay and looked up this tutorial and folded away.

Origami Crane

Using some clear jewellery thread I threaded through the crane’s back, tying a knot at the bottom and top so the crane doesn’t slip down the line.

I used a parcel tag at the bottom as the invitation card and tried my hand at writing ‘New Year’ in Chinese to add a festive touch.

Origami Invitation with Tag

The perfect invitation people can hang in their window and get excited about the  party to come.

Final

Make Fruit Candles

If you’ve never heard of Alfresco Dining then you are in for a treat! Imagine a beautiful woodland, beach or lakeside area transformed for a few hours to host a private dinner party…

this is what we created when we were asked to get involved with Margaurita Photography and Our Munch for an Alfresco Dining photoshoot.

With Natasha from Margaurita Photography on her holidays at the moment we are guest blogging for her whilst she laps up the sun in San Francisco… Jealous?… Definitely!

And well… you wouldn’t know we were involved without a touch of DIY to add the finishing touches…

Here’s how we made candles from Oranges…

1. Cut your oranges or (any fruit you wish to use) in half and scoop out all the flesh from the inside.
2. tie a small piece of string (for a wick) to a stick and rest so the string hangs down
3. Pour melted wax into the fruit halves and leave to set
You can get wax beads from any good craft centre, I just poured the wax into an old pan over a low heat.
You can use any fruit you like, and it gives a great scent to the room… We think this would look great on a Christmas or Thanks Giving table too.
Keep an eye on Margaurita Photography’s Blog for the full pictures from the shoot.

 

Make Your Own Ingredients… Pesto

This is Pesto Our Munch style so of course it has a bit of a twist… They call it Semi-Dried Tomato Pesto… and don’t think you are buying your dried tomatoes, no… you will make your own ingredients of course!

It all starts with a tray of tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and icing sugar and salt to bring the moisture out. Sprinkle them with some fresh thyme or rosemary and stick them in the oven.

and voila… Semi Dried Tomatoes! The longer you leave them the drier they are. We put ours in a 90 degree oven for 6 hours. You can put them in an oil filled jar and keep them until later

For the Pesto…

  • 6 tomatoes – oven dried
  • 50g walnuts
  • 100g parmesan
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • Few basil leaves
  • Olive oil – the best you can afford
  • Salt & Pepper

Smash the walnuts in a pestle & mortar, chop the tomatoes, grate the parmesan and mix with all the other ingredients.

Add oil until you get a consistency you like. Use sugar, salt, pepper and lemon juice as seasoning and taste over and over. Too sharp? Add sugar. Too rounded? add lemon juice. Too bland? Add salt.

Mix it all together and add some chopped basil if you like. We mixed the old fashioned way… with a spoon cos we like the crunchy textures.

Eat with Gnocci, Pasta, Chicken… or even give as a gift!

Make a Button Peg…

The perfect accessory for your padded noteboard and great way to peg your notes to your board with a pretty twist…

Step 1. Drill a hole in a peg. If you don’t have a drill then bore a hole with a sharp point.  Step 2. Cover a button with your chosen fabric.  Step 3. Paint your peg and push the button stem through the hole in the peg.  Add some glue if needed.  Step four. Admire your pretty peg x

Make your own ingredients… Gnocci

Billy and Mitchell from Our Munch have been cooking in our kitchen… and the result is some great recipes for you to make in your kitchen. So what are you waiting for? lets get cooking…

Ingredients…

  • 5 medium size white potatoes (peeled, boiled and mashed)
  • 350g Plain Flour  (plus more for kneading)
  • 150g Spinach
  • 1 egg
  • 50g parmesan (grate fresh)
  • Salt & Pepper for seasoning

Steam the spinach and squeeze out all the water… the less water the better. Boil and mash the potato too.

mix with all the other ingredients and knead into a dough, add flour as you go… You will need a very floury surface, make a mess and get your hands in! Once its a formed dough, if you have time, pop it in the fridge for half an hour.

now its time to roll out your dough. Split the large piece of dough into 5 or 6. Take each section and roll it out into a long sausage. Do this with each section of dough…

Cut each sausage into small gnocci pieces, make them all the same size so they will cook in the same time.

Top Tip: Substitute the spinach for any fresh herb to add a new twist.

To cook just drop into a large pan of salted, boiling water for about 3 minutes. We then mixed ours with homemade pesto and creme fraiche.

Enjoy Our Munch… Billy & Mitchell

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