Sunday, 30 March 2014

Getting on with it.

Well, I had my mind focused on getting on with the owl this weekend but I've been given this book for Mother's Day and it's very tempting to start reading it.

It's written by Liz Trenow and the story revolves around a patchwork quilt.

I've been getting on with this piece of felt. It's going to be part of the group project for my craft group exhibition in May.
This is how it looked at the start.

The theme is 'Under the Water.'  


A week or so ago I was making a small set of wings.
Now I'm getting on with the owl again and I'm making a set of larger wings.
I had this piece of fabric in my stash.
It's like chiffon and it looks a bit feathery.

I cut out the wing pieces from tweed.  Each pair I'm making has a different finish.

For this pair I tacked the chiffon to one side then
I machine embroidered lines down the wing,

then slashed between the rows of stitching and frayed the edges.

For this pair below I machine embroidered then used the embellisher.

I've added some feathers and I'm assembling the wings.
 Not sure yet how I will attach them to the owl's body.

Now I've shortened the owl's legs.

Starting on the feet now ... using the wire that was holding together all my spare rolls of wire.

And I've wired on long legs to go up inside the owl, hoping that will make him more stable.
I don't know yet if these will work, or if the proportions are right.

And I'm holding off on reading my new book until I finish the owl.  It's forcing me to get on with it!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Macaroons or Macarons?

"I saved you two macarons," my friend said when I called round.
"They came from Harrods."
"Ooh, lovely," I said.
"I had to eat them," she said, "You went off to England."
"I saved you the paper though," she said!

So I drooled over the piece of paper and thought about what might have been.

In Paris, the Laduree chain of pastry shops is famous for its macarons.

Then, last week, when I was in Sainsbury's I saw a macaroon kit.  
It got me thinking of the macaroons my mum used to make - they were almond with a cherry on the top - and the most exciting bit was eating the rice paper they were baked on.

I bought the kit.  As well as the kit I used two egg whites, 50gm butter and one tbsp milk.
I beat two egg whites until stiff then folded in the macaroon mix.
There was a paper piping bag supplied. It was all quite easy.
Put them into a cold oven then turn it up to 50C and leave 20 mins, then turn the oven up to 150C  and bake for another 15 mins.

When is a macaroon a macaron, and when did they get posh?
Here they are in the oven after the warming. 

And here they are after the baking.

Then I beat 50gm of butter and one tbsp milk with the icing mix.

                                               Sandwich them together. Then refrigerate .
Well, pleased to say they looked like the picture on the box.

             The macarons I've made are raspberry flavoured but look at the choice from Laduree.

Tonight's dessert.

I think my Sainsbury's kit is a macaron - not a macaroon as labelled.
Whatever!  They were really nice.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Wingin' it.

March already, where did February go?
Another trip to England and my mother in to a Care Home, that's what.
When I went back to craft group last week I was reminded our exhibition is in just a few weeks.

So now I'm winging' it.. hoping to have my owl finished in time.  Before the next trip over to my mum is required.
I'm using my friend Sharon's pattern, but instead of cutting out the whole piece I've divided the wing shape and cut out individual pieces, two layers of fabric for each wing.

I'm  using some furnishing fabric samples from M&S. Remember when they used to be laid out on a table that had little individual compartments?  They don't do that anymore.  I wonder why?!
I was at college then and we would go and almost strip it bare.
As well as the gorgeous furnishing fabrics there were lovely little pieces of leather and velvet.
I've got quite a collection!

I've been couching on some threads and did a rough feather stitch with mohair wool.
I wanted to go over it with my embellisher but found it was too thick, and I broke yet another needle, so I machine embroidered instead.  It's been so long since I used my sewing machine that I'd actually forgotten how to thread it and wind the bobbin.
That's the back of the wing on the left of the photo below.
I think the back needs to look good too as it will be on show.

Then I machine embroidered a few real feathers on, using the zig-zag setting over the spiny bit.


  Just trying to get the colours to match in with the bird as I go along.

Now I'm doing a chain stitch on this tweedy fabric sample.

That's it so far, and on looking at the pattern I think after this set of six there's a larger set to do.
I always give myself work!