Handmade: Napkins

Pinterest is one of my big inspirations, it's such an easy and simple way to find examples of anything you want. One thing I spotted recently was hand embroidered napkins. I've very much been getting back into hand embroidery lately (check out my previous post for constellation embroidery), I find it's so easy to personalise something for your home with this technique and it's no where near as difficult as people think.

Before I made my napkins I did a little research to find out the best fabric for their purpose and settled on a natural coloured cotton linen blend. It's a thick fabric but sewable, and absorbent so hopefully it will wipe up any spills. (Plus I'm going to use the left over to make tea towels!) I got my material from eBay at Dottychic11.

These are really easy to make and you can match them to you colour scheme. Mine is a minty green!

I took my fabric and cut it into 10" by 20" pieces. To do this I used pinking shears all the way round which will stop the fabric from fraying on the raw edges. 

I then hemmed the edges of the fabric folding the corners into a neat point in the way shown in the pictures below. 


 2. Next fold the fabric next to that over on both sides so as to create a sharp point.


Pin this in place, from there fold the edges over by about a centimetre all the way around and pin in place. 
Sew along these edges with a simple stitch on your machine, careful with the corners as your machine might struggle so just take it slow and make sure to feed the fabric through carefully. If your machine can't handle these you can hand sew the corners and machine the rest.

Once your finished hemming you can decide on what you want to embroider on to your napkins.
I chose the word 'Yum' in a mint green embroidery thread, to go with my theme.
I lightly sketched on the word I wanted to embroider in the style I wanted and popped it in the embroidery hoop.

For my stitching I chose a split stitch something which is new to me but I think ended up looking quite good. 
For this you do a normal stitch first then come back up halfway through said stitch like in the picture above. Keep repeating this process as along all of your word. The final product should look something like below.

I am really pleased with the final product. I now have matching napkins that fit in my colour scheme and of course have that handmade look which I love. 

So get sewing! Hand embroidery is so much simpler than people think and looks impressive. Plus isn't it nice when someone asks where they came from and you can say they're all you! 

What do your napkins look like? 


Hand Embroidery: Constellations

Constellations are so pretty and ever since I heard the Jack Johnson song Constellations I've been a little bit in love.
So embroidering constellations seemed like a logical step to include them in my home.

The things you'll need are: 

Your chosen constellations, 
Fabric- I think embroidery is a perfect time to use up the scraps you might have laying around,
Coloured embroidery thread, 
Embroidery hoop, 

First of all look for your chosen constellations. I just did a quick google search and loads of images popped up, draw these down on a scrap of paper so you have them to hand. 

Choose which of your constellations you’re going to embroider, and lightly draw them on to your fabric. It’s easier to draw on the fabric not in your hoop and then pop it in when your ready to sew. 
I've chosen Ursa Major and Ursa Minor: 

Next step pop your fabric in your embroidery hoop. 

Thread wise I use embroidery thread which usually comes in a string made up of around 6 thinner threads, I split these in to two groups of three so I get a thinner line when I sew. But if you want yours thicker or thinner then just change up how many of these threads you use.

Next up thread your needle and tie a knot in the other end as you usually would with hand sewing. 

Start of with a cross, this is to mark each spot where the stars are on your constellation. 

Then connect this to your next marked point with a straight line. 

Do this for all of your constellation until you've connected all of your 'stars'. 

To do the crosses can sometimes get more difficult especially around the corner of shapes, so here's a little step by step: 

Once you've finished connecting all of your 'stars' your embroidery should look like 4 in the step by step above and something like this...

A simple way to finish your embroidery at the back of your fabric is like below:

Firstly slide your needle underneath the nearest strings of thread like in 1. This will make a little loop like you see in 2. slip your needle through the loop and pull tight. Like in 3. you should end up with a tight knot. You might want to repeat this once more to make sure the knot will hold and then snip the end of the thread short. 

These are really easy to do and you can do them in which ever constellation you like.
I've also done the Aries constellation (Me) and the Scorpius constellation (G) underlined with our dates of birth.

Embroidery is much simpler than everyone thinks, you can embroider anything you like, I'm in the process of doing a geometric pattern in a selection of bright colours. Keep your eyes pealed for a how to. 

I'd love to hear about anyone else's embroidery and techniques!?


Blueberry and Apples:

I never eat breakfast unless I have hours to spare and make pancakes. But once in a while if I have the time and put a little effort I make blueberry compote or stewed apples. They're my favourite especially in the winter to set me up for a cold day.

As I was ordering my weekly shop I spotted blueberries and instantly decided that I needed to make some compote to pile with my yogurt in the morning.
So here's my how to on my blueberry compote for a fast and yummy breakfast:

What you'll need:

400g Blueberries,
1 Orange,
2 Teaspoons of sugar,
3 Tablespoons of water,

How to:

Add the water into a pan and then pour in the blueberries and pop the pan on the hob on a medium heat.

Slowly simmer the blueberries and water, I like to just squash a few of the blueberries to start breaking them down. 

Once the blueberries start breaking down add the sugar and the juice of the orange. 

Finally lower the heat a little and leave the blueberries to stew slightly until they're at a consistency that you like. I like a nice mix of soft blueberries, some that have boiled down and then plenty of syrupy juice. 

Once you've got the compote that you like leave to cool for 10 minutes. 
Then either enjoy the compote straight away or pop it in a bowl and store it in the fridge until you're ready to eat.

This is delicious piled on top of greek yogurt or even with french toast for a treat! 

My other favourite is stewed apples and is just as simple as the blueberries..

What you'll need: 
4-5 Apples, 
3 Teaspoons of sugar, 
3 Teaspoons of water, 
Cinnamon and Ginger to your taste, 

How to:

Peel and chop your apple into small chunks, 

Add ground cinnamon and ginger to your taste, I like quite a bit so it's got that nice spiced apple taste, 

Again add your water to the pan and then add your apples. As your apples get hotter keep mixing them to make sure they don't stick to the pan or burn. 

Pop the lid on your apples and leave to stew until they reach a soft consistency but still hold their shape and have a little bite. If you want yours softer cook them a little longer and the opposite if you want them to have more bite, cook them a little less. 
These are perfect eaten hot or again you can pop them in the fridge.

For both of these they should last a few days in the fridge, not that they ever last that long in our house! 

I could eat both of these for every meal, but especially for breakfast. I loved eating these this morning  and I'll probably end up having them again tonight! 
I hope you'll love these easy peasy recipes and they'll improve your breakfast or like me encourage you to actually eat breakfast. 

It's the most important meal of the day you know!


Map of Love

So I've been waiting ages to share this one with you all! I'm like a boy scout, my motto is 'Be prepared' and I've been saving this little Valentines lovely for over a month now.

Last year my Gran gifted me some little things she had laying about and one of them was a very old A-Z map of Newcastle, I couldn't bare to throw this away knowing I could make something out of  it some day.

So I decided to transform the map into something I could give to G for Valentines, since we met in Newcastle and live here the map had both of the addresses we've lived in together since we met. I've seen plenty of these lovely little map picture frames about but they all seemed to come without the personal touch I wanted and with a hefty price tag.

So I scoured the shops and ended up in my favourite place TK Maxx where I spotted a bargain in this picture frame and then I started making...

To get started you're gonna need: 
A picture frame of your choice of size, 
Cutting board, 
Paper (to make the heart template), 
Cutting knife or tool, 
Brown paper (or a colour of your choice),

First of all take the back of the picture frame and decide how big you wanted the map section to be. Measured this into a square piece of paper and then cut a heart shape out of this so you have the exact shape you need.

Then got a hold of your brown paper, cut it to the same size as the backing of the picture frame and positioned the heart shape where you want the map section to be. Then cut the heart shape out of the brown paper and get your chosen map ready for the final steps.


Pick the section of map you want to display and line up your heart so you have everything you want in that section. Next you're going to want to cut around that heart so that you have maybe an inch around the edges, (I chose to just cut out a square and just made sure I knew my heart shaped section which I wanted to show.) 
Last but not least take your brown paper and line your map in the place you want it, then carefully tape around the back of you brown paper to secure your map in place. 

The final thing you want to do is mark your special places and locations, I just used a red sharpie to draw little heart shapes (Valentines!) around the places significant to us and popped the whole thing back into it's frame. 

G loved this present and of course I bought/made him some more little Valentines treats including the Ladybug sugar cookies and a heart shaped Victoria sponge (his very favourite flavour!) from last week. 
I hope you liked this new creation and someone in your life might just receive one of these as a present soon! Please do share your own versions of this frame if you make one. 

Katy x

Hope you all had an absolutely lovely Valentines day. I was treated by my lovely G to a vintage mint green milk glass cake stand, keep an eye out for it in my posts very soon! 

Sunday Adventures: Corbridge

I visited Corbridge last year with my mum as it's between my hometown, Carlisle and Newcastle where I live now. Mum had read about a little shop which sold vintage and repurposed things, I wasn't sure what to expect sometimes these shops can be not as good as the hype.
Well let me tell you RE in Corbridge tucked neatly away between The Angel pub and a garage was better than I would have ever guessed!

I've been waiting to go back for a while now to show G and have lunch at The Angel, so this Sunday we hopped on the train (well we ran) and took the short ride to Corbridge.

Corbridge is such a pretty little town, the train station is only a five minute walk to the town centre, which is good because the wind was crazy!
The town has several pubs a wonderful trait of small northern towns, tiny independent shops and numerous quaint cafes for tea, cake and more tea again.

We started the day with RE! I was excited to get back here and shop, it's full to brimming with so many things that I could have got but I restricted myself to just a few little things. 

The shop opened in 2003 and their mail order catalogue was created in 2004, the have everything stuffed into their space and I'll challenge you to not walk out with something you love.

G's excited! I'm more excited though, he got my Valentines present there! You'll see a peak of it later.

G found the biggest tea mug he's ever seen so I got him that to add to his V-day present, he knows so I'm not giving anything away don't worry. 

I spotted these striped strings and grabbed one in green and one in navy I think I'll be able to use these for everything, scrapbooking and cards, pretty much anything crafty. 

These are actually vintage printing press letter blocks,  I think, and I decided to use them as stamps. This is printed in my soon to be Valentines 2014 page of my scrapbook. I'll use them to make cards too!

These rustic tin letters caught my eye, I saw something like these last year but for a much higher price, whereas these were just £2.50 a pop! They also had bigger sizes all the way up to really quite big ones I like once we have a house of our own.

Last purchase wasn't actually mine but G's present to me for Valentines. I am more than a little excited about this, I've been coveting this gorgeous milk glass cake stand since I first visited RE. I'm such a crazy lucky girl to have found such a perfect guy.
I'm looking forward to Friday when I can whip up a cake to stick on top.

Then we headed next door for Sunday lunch, we were both starving so we really couldn't wait.
It's decorated in that quaint but not too quirky way with duck egg blue wood panelled walls and solid wood tables.
The Angel is such a lovely pub and the menu was to die for, every kind of roast dinner you could ever want for but being the traditionalists we are we chose chicken.

Lunch was Amazing, yes with a capital A. I could eat this roast every Sunday for the rest of my life and I think I might try to replicate it very soon!

Last but most definitely not least on our Sunday adventure was Grants bakery, we grabbed a chocolatey sponge and a huge strawberry meringue! I'm dying to eat the meringue and I've decided I need to make some soon!

Corbridge is definitely worth a trip, even just for a browse in RE if your passing through but if you have a spare day a roast dinner is extremely worth it and so is following it up with a cake or two!
If you've visited I would love to know what else you love in Corbridge for our next trip?