Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Totoro The Second

Hi, I know it has been a while, I have been working on a secret mission for several weeks.

So, after the success of my first Totoro beanbag, and my sister's demands for one at the time, I decided, and planned secretly through the year, to make one for her Christmas gift, but in my infinite wisdom, I decided that to pimp an already grey beanbag, would be easier, fail.
But after a lot of chapped thumbs, sweat, swearing, and some tears, I managed success, he ended up being more of a pouffee seat, than a beanbag, as I couldn't get him to sit right, but he looks a lot better as he turned out, it was meant to be. I used a cream fleece to make the fluffy tummy, and some offcuts of grey fleece left over from Totoro one. The ears were genius, You know the handle you get on the top of a beanbag? I unpicked it and cut it in half, sewed the ends, and stuffed it.
I used some grey child's jogging bottoms purchased from Asda for his arms, already the right size and shape, I only needed to sew the end, and stuff with pillow stuffing.
The rest of him is filled with beanbag beans, polystyrene balls, which were filled with static annoyingness, they would literally run away from the vacuum cleaner, and even cheekily jumped onto the top of the vacuum cleaner when I was trying to vacuum them up. 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Kerrys Cake


I decided to have a go at something a bit different for my sisters birthday cake this year, after getting inspiration from the ASDA magazine, as pictured, I wanted to make a multicoloured sponge containing sweets. 

It wasn't as technical as I thought it was going to be, although colouring the sponge was really difficult as liquid food colouring is not the same as it was in the 1990s, you need so much more to get the desired colouring, next time I will use the pastes. 

I made the usual amount of cake mixture, which was 12oz, so I used 12oz of everything, I learned a while ago to weigh the eggs, then get everything else to weigh the same. However, if you are using baking powder, reduce the flour a tad to reduce the risk if it being dry. 

I also learned by making this cake that adding loads of food colouring does have an effect on the consistency of the sponge as they were a bit firmer than I would have liked, and heavier. Im guessing that using a paste colouring may solve this problem. 

I spread the mixture into 4 bowls, and coloured each one accordingly, hahaha, as you can see, I have red, yellow, blue and purple (Pink, babypoo yellow, grey and brown). 

I used the same size cake tin, and baked a thin cake each time, around half the height of a regular cake half each time. beware they dont take as long to cook as a full cake would. 

Once the cake was cooled, I used a cookie cutter to cut a circle through three of the layers, leaving the one you want on the top section uncut. 

I made buttercream filling and stacked the three pieces with the circles cut out, I filled it with as many sweets as I could, I used smarties and dolly mixture as they are all bright colours. I then added buttercream again to put the top on. 

By the time it came to doing the outside icing, it was a very hot evening, and I barely had any food colouring left, so I decided to go with a solid colour, so that cutting into the cake would be a surprise seeing the multicoloured effect and the sweets. 

I was pleased at how it turned out and she loved it. Even though it was hard to cut, she was thinking, omg this cake is so hard! haha, it was the sweets. I will have another go at a rainbow cake when I can afford to get the food colouring paste, it is mega expensive. 

Mrs P x

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Really Easy Fruit Lollies

So, we have quite an abundance of our accidental raspberries without using much else in the way of ingredients as there are lots of recipes out there for fruit lollies and I don't usually have much in stock, we didn't plant them, they just grow every year, so we left them. We are picking a bowl full a night at the moment, I'm finding them too sharp to eat as they are, most people would just eat them like this but I have been looking for other ways to use them. I bought some new lolly moulds the other day and thought I would make some lollies with the raspberries and whatever else I could find. 

Last Night's Harvest
I started by mashing the raspberries up, and putting them in a saucepan, heating over a low heat until it was mostly liquid, this only takes a couple of minutes, don't let it boil. I then sieved the mixture, and pushed through the sieve as much as possible with my spoon. The remainder was mostly seeds. 

It did not produce as much juice as I would have hoped from that little bowl the jug pictured had around half the amount shown as raspberry juice, I topped it up a little with water, this would also help to take the edge off the sharpness of the raspberries. 

As you can see, I carefully measured it out equally into the compartments of the Lolly mould, he he. Oh well, it ended up even after I had leveled them out. I topped them up with a little orange juice. 

I put them in the freezer last night and we had one each tonight, they were great :)


Sunday, 22 June 2014


Naked Gromit, he is made of plastic

So here is my latest project, as part of the "Gromit Unleashed" campaign to raise money for Bristol Children's Hospital, I bought a "paint your own" Gromit and have been working on him over the last few days. 

I wanted him to reflect my personality, with a few of my favorite things on him. OK I know that the artwork is a little dodgy in places, but I have had fun so far. I have actually ran out of ideas, but I may still add to it before varnishing within the next few days. 

More cheese Gromit!

Forget-me-nots on his right leg, and you can just about see a camera around his neck. 
So Far so good, he has a tortoiseshell butterfly on his left shoulder, just like me. 
A Sloth, A lego lady and Union Jack with Canadian Flag
Music, a Red Phonebox, and Pheobe and Lillie. I think I have room to also add Roo, Geefer and the Fish. All I need to do then is to varnish him and he is done. 

Friday, 18 April 2014



I have just finished a big project, a huge beanbag.

This is the first piece of furniture I have made, and quite possibly the biggest project I have worked on to date. I had a wonderful new Janome sewing machine for my birthday, which has made my fabric crafting so much easier.

I love Studio Ghibli movies, and My Neighbour Totoro is my favourite, he is such a lovely snuggly character, so I decided to make a Totoro beanbag. 

Being a novice sewer, I decided that the best idea would be to not use a pattern, at all. So did it completely by guesswork and adjusting him as I went through. I wanted him to be completely a beanbag, but as the costs went up in excess of £30 just for the beans, I decided to make a hybrid cushion/beanbag. I used recycled pillows for the base, this also helped with keeping the shape, as well as bulking up a bit to reduce the volume of beans needed. 

I started with two cheap fleeces from a local home store, they were £6 each, I have lots left over so plan to make some miniature totoro stuffies or something, whenever. 

I knew the shape I wanted him to be, roughly the shape of a beanbag seat so he needed a round base with fattish L shapes so that he is the right shape. The big bag of beans purchased online came in a stretchy bag which I topped up, I used this as the liner to keep the beans in, so that we don't leave little beanbag ball farts all over the house. I also used some had to plain fabric to line his tummy for strength.

I worked inside out and ended up with roughly the shape I had in mind with his head being quite flat and nose just slightly pointing forwards. 

Working with beans is very hard!! Omg they wafted everywhere, I was so careful filling him up, but five minutes before Mr P was due home, I realised that my careful pouring had in fact.....missed and there was an avalanche, then I noticed how big Liliies eyes were, before she decided that rolling on the balls was a good idea. 

I hand sewed his face and head to make sure I had the right shape, this fleece material is really easy to sew, which bodes well for me, as the stitches don't show at all!

I used black shoe laces for his whiskers, buttons for eyes, and part of an already sacrificed skirt for a previous make, for his nose and claws on hands and feet. Some White felt for the whites of his eyes.

I was delighted with the end result, although I did make him way bigger than anticipated, I still love him though. I am so pleased that he actually looks like Totoro, and I have managed to get his facial expression spot on. His arms are separate pieces sewn on, as are his ears, stuffed really full to get them to stand up. I used the edges of the fleece to make the detail on his tummy, this was also easier to sew as they were already sealed on one side. 

Total project cost, approximately £30 plus bits and pieces from home, and time. 

Hope you like him :)

Saturday, 22 March 2014

I made a giraffe


On a grossly under spending trip to Hobbycraft last weekend, I bought some animal print felt, wondering what to make, it was a no brainer to make a giraffe. Courtesy of your friend and mine....Pinterest, I used a downloadable pattern to cut round to make the giraffe. I also used my new sewing machine, which, I have to add, is awesome, quiet and so far, no tangles or other issues. Hope you like it x 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Minion Hat

Time to complete: around 2 hours
Cost: Hat cost £3, materials approximately £2. 


I am fortunate to live in the town, that is home of the biggest carnival in the world, Bridgwater Carnival. 

Every year, for the last few years, my sister and I have made our own tradition of wearing random hats. This year there are four of us partaking in this tradition. 

I decided that it would be funny if we all went as minions, from Despicable Me. I made my own hat, instructions are as below. 


Yellow Hat:
I found a yellow beanie on ebay, it already had a grey band around the base, which adds to the effect but it is not essential. 

White, Black and Light Brown- I used some of the black as the black strip around the head for the glasses, but in hindsight, thick black elastic would have been better. 

To make the eye, I drew around a large tin lid, which coincidentally is the same size as the base of a regular sized mug. 

I also used a large tea light for the inner eye, and a metal eggcup for the pupil. It's trial and error to get the right size, but it didn't take me long to find things in the house that were the right size. 

Grey Socks:
I used the tops of some grey socks as the glasses, the top of the socks are ribbed and worked really well for this purpose. 

Something for Hair: 
The minions have a mixture of hair on the movies, some have a few strands sticking up, you could use pipe cleaners for this, or even some thick rope. I was lucky to find a strange hair band, which worked quite well, as it has black ruffles, that looks like a little crop of black hair. 

My fuel of choice was chocolate milkshake, and the purple chocolate with popping candy and jelly pieces in. 


1) I started off by drawing round the circles, to create the eyes. I used a tiny dab of fabric glue to hold them in place to make it easier for sewing later. 

2) I cut strips from the black felt for the strap around the back, you need to be mindful that the hat stretches when worn, so the strap will need to stretch too, my hat needed three sections for the strips. To make sure this fit, the only way to do it is to carefully tack it in places when you are wearing the hat, in front of the mirror... to make sure that it sits right.

3) I placed the eyes onto the hat, with a dab of glue, and also dabbed a little glue either side to hold the black strips in place before sewing. 

4) To make the glasses, I cut the top off the sock, as mentioned before, if you cut again, you can unfold it, which creates a bigger piece of fabric. I had two pieces of this to make the round of the glasses frame. I folded it in half, bringing a piece from the top and the bottom, to sew it along the middle. I then folded it in half again, to create a rope like long length, before sewing the ends together to form a ring. 

5)I then sewed round the eye, securing each element to the hat, and carefully sewed the black band, mostly by adding a stitch or two while it was on my head, trying hard not to sew it to myself. 

6) The final touches are to sew the glasses piece on, and add the hair.