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children, create, fabric, sew

Reversible hat

July 4, 2015
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For the first time since starting my job 10 months ago, I got my sewing machine out on an evening. I was determined to start and finish a sewing project on a weeknight like I used to do. 

It’s challenging to fit in hobbies these days around work, kids, household demands, exercise and everything else. And exhausting to start sewing at 9pm knowing I’m up at 5am. But a reversible fabric hat is the perfect project.

And Bailey models it beautifully. The predictable pink side and the pretty purple-toned reverse.

If the rest of the summer is anything like the last week, this hat will get a lot of wear this year.

children, create, Garden

Music garden 

May 9, 2015
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I haven’t had the energy to be creative in months, but today I finally made something cool. And one of the coolest things ever I think. A music garden! 

I shopped some charity shops yesterday to get silverware, old metal junk and then this morning found a few old wood scraps to knock this up in an hour. 

Fantastic hubby is spending 5 minutes per item of silverware to drill a hole in the end (hence there are only a few hanging so far). There are about 20 more items to hang in the silverware wind chime section. 

Thanks to Chilled in a Field festival last singer “play the rig” for inspiration and then Pintrest, of course, made the dream materialize. 
I’m loving the kid takeover of the garden. More to come… 

create, fabric, quilt, sew

Christmas tree skirt

October 26, 2014
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Two weeks ago I was granted a crafting weekend away with a good friend. It was incredible to have two nights and two days to sew non-stop. First on the list was to finish a commissioned quilt top (more to come in another post) and quilt it. That was Friday night. Saturday I spent the entire day on a new project– my Christmas tree skirt.
I adore this pattern (2010 Fat Quarterly Special Holiday Addition) and for my birthday in September I requested a stack of gorgeous Christmas fabrics. It was easy to follow and quick moving (even with the distraction of a Friends and Sex And The City marathon– another blissful treat!!).
After finishing the top it was time to quilt. The pattern showed gorgeous pebbling quilting which looked like snow to me so I decided to do the same. I found it hard at first but then far easier than stippling! Completely love this new quilting method. I finished it around 11pm and was thrilled to complete it in a day.
Sunday I made a bag start to finish, which I’ll post about soon too.
I’m hopeful this craft weekend away is an annual event (or maybe twice a year?!). It was a complete dream.

children, create, crochet

Star Stitch Cardigan

August 21, 2014
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This is a perfect example of why it’s bad to have lots of projects on the go.  I finally looked into my crochet/knitting “work in progress” projects and found this gorgeous cardigan almost finished (1 hour crocheting until completion) and it’s sized 12-18 months. I started this before Orla’s first birthday and now she’s 21 months.  I’m a silly mommy!

I quickly finished if off, added a bead button (from my late grandma’s stash) and crossed fingers it would still fit Orla.

The yarn is Rowan Savannah 94% cotton, 6% silk.  It’s a hearty, nutty feel yet still soft for a toddler and I love the natural look it has.  The pattern is from Cute And Easy Crocheted Baby Clothes and has a sweet flowery/starry stitch.  It was one of the more complicated projects I’ve done but the surprisingly forgiving yarn has left it looking wearable-in-public, which is always the test for my homemade clothes.

Unfortunately after the initial excitement to try it on, by the time I got my camera out I could only capture her screaming “off!!!!” while trying to rip the button undone.  This wasn’t the reaction I was hoping for.

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cooking, create

clam linguine

August 20, 2014
enjoying her favorite meal

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It’s been a really long time since I posted a recipe on here and I’m glad I’m finally doing so with such a worthy recipe– Mom’s Clam Linguine (although now that she’s a grandma it’s known as “Lala’s Clam Weeny” by my girls).

This has always  been a Hamlin family favorite and I’m thrilled it’s now a Luckhurst fave– it’s definitely Bailey’s favorite and even managed to beat Spaghetti Bolognese in the favorites list of my four year old.

It’s simple and amazing.  There is a catch though– buying these clams in the UK is tricky!  I used to have to import them from the states or from the American military base food shop in Germany where our friends live (“sorry honey, we can’t have your favorite dinner until we buy more clams from Germany”) but luckily Amazon came to my rescue (they always do!) and they can be purchased online.  They aren’t cheap on Amazon but once you taste this and fall in love, you’ll realize the cost is worth it since it’s as tasty as a restaurant meal!  As you can see in the last photo, it is perfect for a dinner party and goes very well with white wine!

So here you go, Mom’s/Lala’s Clam Linguine:

4 T. butter
2 bunches thinly sliced green onions
8-12 crushed garlic cloves
1 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped
3-4 cans clams, drained (reserve liquid)
Freshly grated parmesan and Romano cheeses
1lb linguini (maybe little more as well)
Melt butter in large skillet.  Add onions and garlic.  Saute until golden.  Add reserved clam liquid to onion/garlic mixture and simmer for around 10 minutes,  Add  drained clams and heat gently for about 5 minutes.  Add parsley and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, heat pasta pot of water with added salt to boiling.  Add linguini and cook, stirring, until pasta is al dente, about 7 minutes.  Drain; return pasta to large pot.  Add some of the clam liquid to the pasta, stirring, and then toss pasta with some of the mixed cheeses.  Serve pasta on plates, topping with clam sauce.  Finish with additional grated cheese.
Serves 4 amply.
create

makeover

August 14, 2014
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I’ve needed a new look for awhile and I finally decided I needed help from a professional.  So I asked my extremely talented friend (she was a graphic designer in her former life before having three kids) who doesn’t seem to ever sleep, to create a new logo and identity for apples and cheese.

I’m LOVING the outcome!!

With the makeover, I’ve re-launched my blog and you can easily follow my posts by subscribing (use that little “follow” popup in the bottom right of your browser!).

Watch this space…

create, feature, quilt, sew

triangle quilt (qal) finished

July 31, 2014
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I’m so pleased with this quilt.  I started it back in March and finished it quickly with the exception of the binding.  It was with The Sassy Quilter‘s QAL and although it got intense some weeks (having to complete all rows in a week!), I loved the push to finish it within a few weeks.  
I loved trying out the concentric circle quilting.  I’ve been scared to try it on any gift or commissioned quilt so I thought it was a perfect project to experiment with, esepcially with the triangle contrast.  I love the outcome and will definitely do this again in the future. 
Finally  finished the binding this last week and it’s ready for use this weekend camping!
See the progress:
Thanks to Paula for the great guidance and motivation.  If you’re tempted to try it, I definitely recommend her tips/tutorials.
children, create, dress, fabric, sew

mermaid dress

June 30, 2014
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For Bailey’s 4th birthday we had a beach party.  She wanted to be a purple and pink mermaid so I promised her an amazing mermaid dress (silly mommy for setting such expectations!). 
I started with purple sequin fabric and tutu tulle (purple and pink).  The sequin fabric was see-through so I had to line it for it to work as a skirt.  I used a tshirt of hers (which she never wears) for the lining and made a skirt.  Then I alternated colors of tulle and created a “mermaid tail” base.  Initially, I planned to just create the skirt and pair it with a tank top (maybe adding a bit of mermaid “bling” to embellish).  But then I remembered how much she prefers dresses to skirt/top combos so decided to maximize the chances of her wearing it and create a dress.  This caused some issues, because I couldn’t easily just attach a tank top (as I wanted to) since she wouldn’t be able to get into it.  The mermaid base was too tight to fit over her head and she wouldn’t be able to step into a tank top.  So I used the purchased tank top to create a halter top for the dress.  I chopped off the top, creating a tube.  Then flipped it upside down (for a nice finish at the top), sewed it to the skirt, added elastic at the top and then used the cut off peice to create halter straps.  Perfect! 
When I first revealed it to her she cried.  (I did too, but not in front of her luckily).  It was heart breaking.  She is very shy and I think she panicked she’d be too much of a focus if she wore it.  Plus it was definitley different to other “party dresses” she has. So I quickly showed her images of mermaids and she slowly made the connection in her head of the dress looking like a mermaid.  I added a massive tulle bow to the top and she was smiling. 
At this stage I was just hoping she would wear it once, without frowning, for a photo. Surprisingly, on the day she loved it. After an initial issue with a very scratchy bow which was later removed, she happily wore it throughout her party when she wasn’t swimming and paired it nicely with her still-smelling-of-chemicals-from-the-factory-in-China pink heels.  It definitely was helped by a four year old party attendee saying “wow, you look like Ariel [from Disney's Little Mermaid]“.  I could have kissed that child!! 
She was a beautiful mermaid and I am pleased the dress will get future wear as an addition to her dress-up box.

children, create, fabric, sew

hats hats hats

June 30, 2014
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This year’s gift for birthdays has been hats.  I found this fantastic pattern on Etsy for floppy hats and have become a little factory for all birthdays March – June.  Five made so far, but Orla and Bailey still don’t have one, so I think another two will soon follow.  

I, disapointedly, haven’t taken many photos (and it’s hard to take a good photo of a hat without a model!) but luckily I have this adorable one of my nieces.  Not quite matching, but coordinated hats.  They turned 3 in May and they are the most well dressed three year olds ever– check out their skirts and sandals!!

It took a few hats before I realized I could easily adapt the pattern to make them reversible.  I love this pattern!   Maybe I’ll try to sell some…

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