Wednesday, 23 July 2014

None More Black Bustier Top

Hello, remember me? I fell off the blogging map for a bit. My excuse? The computer imploded, and despite being married to an IT genius, I had to survive on an ancient Mac laptop that was basically help together with several reels of sticky tape for the next few months. My hands have been far from idle during this period - this bustier is one of a number of items I've sewn up but haven't had time to blog about yet. 

I intended this to be a wearable toile, before cutting into my fancy fabrics. The material came from two old skirts - a corduroy one that had seen better days, and a velvet skirt that had already been partly incorporated into a pencil skirt. It was also lined with some scraps of double-knit jersey from my stash, to prevent any potential chafing situations. 

The bustier was based on Burdastyle 01/2012 #127 - it comes with a pattern for highwaisted pants which I will attempt sometime soon (in Spandex perhaps?). It's a relatively simple pattern, with three pattern pieces - centre front, sides and back. I also added some thick straps to it, which were traced from New Look 6675. The straps help prevent any embarrassing clothing malfunctions, and also stop me from having to hoik up the bustier every 10 seconds or so. The bustier was lengthened by about 1.5 inches, by attaching the waistband of the corduroy skirt to the bottom of the bustier. I felt that this gave it a more finished look, turning it from lingerie-style top to a proper 'outside' top.

The double-layer of thick fabric was perfect for April, which was when the bustier was finished and when these photos were taken. It was perfect over a high-waisted skirt or trousers, and under a light jacket or cardigan. However, the temperature has risen considerably since than, which means that I end up with a rather unglamourous line of sweat between my boobs. It's a very comfortable top for these warmer temperatures though, so I will be working on one of two more versions in the near future, made with much thinner fabric. 

Friday, 25 April 2014


Hand-cut collage, approx. 4" x 6"

Thursday, 24 April 2014


Hand-cut collage on card, approx 4" x 6". 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Mocha Choca Madeleines

Having chanced upon some madeleine tins while in Calais in November last year, I returned to London with all the best intentions of churning out try after tray of the tiny delicacies. I would be making madeleines every weekend, my kitchen would be filled with edible seashell shapes in all colours of the rainbow, all with different flavours. Best-laid schemes of mice and (wo)men, and all that...and so the tins languished in my kitchen cupboard for the next few months. 

Anyway, Ari sent me a link to that John Whaite off the GBBO's* recipe for madeleines flavoured with chocolate and coffee. They sounded tasty, and not too complicated. So I gave them a go. He also includes a recipe for a cocoa-flavoured dipping sauce, but I left that out and simply dusted with icing sugar instead.

*That's Great British Bake-Off for those of you not au fait with today's yoof slang. 
Mocha Choca Madeleines (adapted from John Whaite's recipe for the Telegraph)

100g salted butter
2 eggs
100g caster sugar
1 tsp coffee extract (I used this)
85gms plain flour
15g cocoa powder

- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

- Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then set aside.

- Put the eggs, sugar and coffee extract into a mixing bowl, and beat with an electric whisk until light and fluffy, and tripled in volume. This should take about 12 -15 mins.

- Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the egg mixture, then pour in the butter. Gently fold these into the egg mixture until smooth and silky.

- Fill the madeleine moulds about 2/3 full, then bake for 8 - 10 mins or until the madeleines look slightly browned around the ages. Turn them out of the tin as soon as they are baked or they will stick. Lightly dust with icing sugar or cocoa powder (optional). 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

First Aid

If you find yourself with a cut, a scrape, a bruise, or a wound of any sort...please do not seek me out. My stall at the Tea Rooms may have a rather impressive collection of First Aid kits, bandages, and various lotions and potions, but they're all rather, erm, old. Strictly for display, or to frighten off some squeamish friends. 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Stranger In My Camera

I found a Diana F+ at a car boot sale several months ago. I'm usually not too keen on cameras from Lomography, but the lady selling it enticed me with the offer of a free, unused roll of 120 film. There was already a roll in the camera, so I took it with me to Belgium to test it out. The shots above were taken by the lady's daughter (I assume), and the only ones of her photos that turned out.