Friday, 21 July 2017

Fobbles Annual Exhibition 2017

21st and 22nd July 2017

10.00 a.m. until 4.00 p.m.

Quilts, hand embroidery, cross stitch and handmade items all beautifully displayed at Fobbles, Gubbergill, Holmrook.

Sales table of patterns, books, wool and more

Plants including Lavender and a selection of Iris plants.

Raffle - 1st prize is a completed quilt, 2nd prize is a completed quilt, 3rd prize is a handmade doll, 4th prize is Prestat chocolates and the 5th prize is a Fobbles gift voucher.

The shop is open all day for both days.  

Outstanding displays of work by local quilters and embroiderers of all ages.

Hope to see you there.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Disney The Little Mermaid Birthday Cake

Having 25, 22 and 18 year old children I thought I was well passed doing any sort of birthday cake creations, but, alas, no my 22 year old daughter decided three days before her birthday that she wanted a Disney cake.

I couldn't rely on any of the supermarkets for a cake that I wanted so it had to be done at home.  I am a trained chef and have done home cakes before but I would not call myself a master baker however I do know some techniques and You Tube is fab.

Roll forward to 26th February and this is what I achieved.

The impossible can be done.  Four layers of coloured lemon sponge with a buttercream topping.  Ombre layers of aqua blue going from dark to light to make the waves.  Cake decoration mermaid on top and three fish tank ornaments from the local pet shop (boiled, washed, boiled again, ok so I have OCD for clean!!)

Fondant modelling paste, coloured and rolled out flat (good in a pasta machine, but I just used my rolling pin).  I then cut out holes of various sizes using icing nozzles and lay the sheet in different angles over the rolling pin and leave to dry.  

Press embossing tips into mounds of fondant paste for a different coral and also roll and shape tubes of fondant paste for a greater variety.  To make the reeds, just cut long lengths of triangular fondant and twist.  The sand is Unicorn mix from the local cake craft store.

The letters were store bought and I used a little bit of vodka brushed over the top and then dipped in the edible glitter.

Total cost - OMG, just don't ask, it wasn't cheap, the ornaments themselves came in at over twenty pounds along with the cake board and unicorn mix, lettering and fondant modelling paste at more than twenty five.  If you can do the models yourself then you can keep the costs low but I reckoned out at about 85.00 for everything with plenty left over for next time.

What next time I hear myself ask...

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Grimsby Beer Battered Haddock

Beer Batter Recipe

100 grams Plain Flour
Salt and Pepper
300 mls Beer

Vegetable or Sunflower oil for cooking in a high sided pan.

Kitchen paper to place the fish on after cooking.

Extra plain flour for coating the fish, which you can also season if you like.  

Put the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl and gradually add the beer whisking all the time until the consistency is that of double cream.

I had two very large Grimsby Haddock, each of which I cut into three smaller pieces.

Coat each piece with the flour coating mix.  I trimmed the tails of both of them for test pieces to make sure the fat was hot enough.

Heat the oil to 190 C or 370 F if you have a thermometer, if not, use the test piece method.

Dip one of the small pieces in the batter and slowly place in the oil.  Do not drop it in as the oil will splash up.  Also by placing the fish in carefully it starts cooking straight away and doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.  If the fish starts to brown immediately with the fat bubbling, then it is hot enough, if it takes a while to brown turn the heat up and test again with the second piece.

Take each piece, coat with flour, dip into the batter mix making sure you coat all of it and gently place into the hot oil.  Cook for a few minutes until golden brown, turning occasionally if you need to with two metal spatulas, again, being careful not to let the oil splash.  Remove once you are happy with the depth of colour and place on the kitchen paper.

Repeat the process for all the pieces.

Enjoy with homemade chips, peas, bread and butter or be lazy and send someone else to the chip shop for chips and peas while you cook the fish.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Homemade Sewing Weights

A dozen homemade sewing weights, ideal for dressmaking so you don't have to break your back with all the pinning etc.

I used a sewing themed fabric.  You can cut any size for your weights that you like as long as it is a rectangle with the long side exactly double the short side.  So ideal sizes are as follows:-

7cm x 14cm - ideal for collar pattern pieces as they are small
8cm x 16cm - ideal for pockets and children's clothing
9cm x 18cm - a good size for most pattern pieces
10cm x 20cm - useful for larger pattern pieces
12cm x 24cm - one of these in the middle of your pattern piece while checking your pattern placement lines

I used dried rice for fillings and Aurifil thread for both machine sewing and handstitching.

Press your fabric pieces, fold them in half right sides together and stitch along one side and bottom on wrong side of fabric leaving one side open. Clip the corners (not too close).  Turn to the right side.  Fold in 1cm on open edge and press.  Fill with the rice, the more you put in the better the weight.  I filled them to the point that you can just pinch the edges together to sew the seam.  When you are ready to close the opening make sure you close the edge opposite to the bottom so that you get the triangle shape.  

Sew the seam together from middle out, then back along to the middle and across again so that it is secure with very small invisible stitches, mine were 1 to 2 mm apart, this reduces the chances of them splitting.

Think about what colours you mostly sew with before making them.  I used light colours as I am working with bridal fabrics and laces.  

Total cost of the project was 1.20 for the bag of rice (budget will do), as I used scraps of fabric I already had and cotton I already had. 

I took about four hours to make the 12 weights, this included pressing time, setting up the sewing machine and the hand stitching.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Gluten Free Creamy Seafood Tagliatelle

Gluten Free Creamy Seafood Tagliatelle



225 grams Doves Gluten Free Bread Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Doves Xanthan Gum
3 eggs

This is enough pasta for four portions so freeze two portions for use on a different recipe.

Seafood Mix:

Serves Two

About 15 Raw King Prawns shelled
1lb Fresh Mussels cooked beforehand and shelled
1 Boneless and skinless Salmon Fillet cut into small pieces
6 mushrooms chopped finely
1/2 onion chopped finely
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1/4 pt fish stock (can be made with Knorr Gluten Free stock cube or your own fish stock)
60 mls double cream
Juice of 1/2 lemon ( I don't slice the lemon in half, just put a small cut into it and squeeze the amount I need )
Salt and Pepper to taste



Mix the flour, xanthan gum and eggs together in a mixer until it starts to bind together and then turn out onto your worktop.

Knead until you feel the pasta change texture.  It will change to a slightly sticky texture but you will still be able to pick it up from the worktop without leaving any on the surface.

Place in a food bag for about an hour to chill.

Set your pasta machine up on level 1 and sprinkle a little flour on the rollers.

Cut the pasta mixture into four pieces.  

Roll out one piece until about 3mm thick and then start putting it through the pasta machine, once you have done this a couple of times, change the setting to two, again after a couple of times change to number three.  I was happy with this setting but some may want it slightly thinner so just go to number 4.

If you find that your mix is still crumbly, knead for a little longer until you are happy with it going through your pasta machine without breaking.

Then place the thinned pasta sheet through your tagliatelle attachment or the linguine depending on your preference.

Repeat the process for the other three pieces.

Each of the pieces is a portion.

Place the pasta into boiling salted water just before you start cooking the seafood and it will be ready at the same time as it takes up to 8 minutes depending on the thickness of your tagliatelle.

Seafood Mix:

Place the onion and mushroom in a heavy based frying pan and saute until the onion is transparent/soft.

Add half of the stock and let it cook down so that the flavour becomes intense.  Add your raw tiger prawns and diced salmon, add a little more stock if required and gently cook through.  Try not to stir too much as you don't want to break the salmon up, add the cooked mussels,  top up the stock if needed.  Add the chopped parsley, lemon juice and season to taste.  Once the salmon is cooked to your liking add the cream and stir through on a low heat.  There is not lots of sauce, if you like more, then use more stock and use a little cream.

Drain the pasta and place the seafood mix on top of the pasta in warmed bowls.

Enjoy with some homemade gluten free crusty bread or on it's own.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Gluten free leek and mushroom soup


3 large flat mushrooms (mine were very large) sliced
1 large leek chopped
1 large onion chopped
2 small potatoes diced
handful of basil, rosemary and thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Knorr vegetable stock cubes x 2 to make 1 pt stock


Saute the onions in olive oil and add the the chopped leeks.  Put the lid on and let them soften over a low light.

Add the mushrooms, stirring as you put them in, add the chopped potatoes and herbs/seasoning, stir again and then add the stock.

Cook on a low light for about fifteen minutes.  Add cream or creme fraiche but don't overheat.

Blitz with a stick blender or blend in a liquidiser.

This soup is quite dark in colour, if you don't like that, add less mushroom, more vegetables or add more cream etc to lighten.

Season to taste.

Serving ideas:

As gluten free goes you could use the bread for croutons however I decided to use broken gluten free crackerbread pieces as croutons.

Fry some slices of chestnut mushrooms and place on top of soup before serving.

Add some shredded beef or chicken to make a chunkier soup.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Embroidery Thread Storage Ideas

There are absolutely loads of ideas for storing your embroidery threads, in boxes, on hangers, in drawers, on reels, I could go on.  I have used various ways myself but I just don't like having threads in more than one place, you end up spending more time sorting than sewing 

I have been looking at the DMC wooden thread chest but it only ever comes with the threads at a cost of 375.00.  I already have all the threads, lucky me (thanks to my generous hubby over the last 30 years) so consequently I have not bought it.  

I have however managed to find a very good alternative in the Songmics Jewellery Tower.  At a cost of 42.99 on Amazon including prime delivery I decided to give it a go.

It is ten drawers set within an MDF box and each drawer has it's own shelf.  There are seven drawers that are just lined with fabric and then three drawers with inserts. 

The first four drawers hold my DMC embroidery floss collection.  

I have a full collection of DMC threads on cards which are used first and this is my second and thirds in the DMC colours as I do use alot of them

The threads lay flat and you can sit three rows in each drawer, particulary good for multiples of colours.  As you can see they also fit the DMC thread bars.

The drawers easily pull out and remove completely and they are sturdy.

The fifth drawer has my DMC Perle threads in, this looks very neat because I am using quite of a few of them in a project at the moment.  I love these threads.  To use them you just cut the bottom part of the threads and you can then just pull out one length at a time measuring approximately 12" which is just right for stitching with.

The sixth drawer holds my Weeks Dye Works, Crescent Colours and Gentle Arts floss.  I don't tend to have a huge collection of these as the kits I buy have the right threads in and I have completed the ones I have.  They fit in the drawers lengthways.

The seventh drawer has my Weeks Dye Works, Crescent Colours and Gentle Arts Perle threads.  These fit in lengthways and you can layer them up so you can see the numbers and colours on the cards.  I do have quite a few but they are out in a project bag for a Shepherd's Bush Stocking pattern but they do all fit in the drawer.

The eighth drawer had a ring insertion in which I removed and put my own cover in for the base and this is empty at the moment.

The ninth drawer has fifteen sections and these fit the Guterman threads in as above and the Kreinik threads three per section.  I like this section as these threads are very delicate so this is ideal to keep them in good condition and from unwinding.  They are also easy to view.

The bottom and tenth drawer was a watch storage drawer with cushions to put the watches on in each of the ten sections.  I removed and binned them as I couldn't think of any uses other than pincushions and I am not short of them.  The sections in this drawer are lovely and deep enough to hold Mill Hill Seed Beed, packets as well as other Mill Hill products (I have doubled mine in the storage so I can fit 14 in each section, these are all for the Mirabilia Cross Stitch Charts like the Queens, Sleeping Beauty etc.)  I also have my Au Ver a Soie collection of threads on wooden thread holders in two sections and the other two sections hold my needlepoint thread which I use for doing delicate embroidered flowers on smocked dresses, pincushions and purses.

All in all, I think this is a great purchase for thread storage and I am seriously thinking about getting a second one for my machine thread storage.  

Enjoy your shopping and sorting :)

Monday, 2 January 2017

Review of 2016

I thought my last year needed a review as I was a little side-tracked from doing my blog posts.

Quilted Christmas Tree.
I saw these being made on You Tube by Jim Chapman from an Aunties Pattern.

It is one of three that I made over Christmas whilst I have been suffering from an horrendous cold and having to stay in bed.

Happy 27th Anniversary to me and hubby.

I received an amazing bouquet of flowers, yellow roses, orchids, lillies, white roses, cream roses, gerberas and lots more.  They were absolutely stunning and lasted for weeks.

I started on my Bluebirds and Berries appliqued quilt and was really pleased with the results.

I made a toddlers quilt in blues, creams and browns.  It went together really well with squares of 5" and sashing in chocolate brown with a blue border.

Westport Serviced Apartments in Dundee.

We moved our son to Dundee for his four year university course and he has made a brilliant start.  We found these beautiful apartments right in the middle of Dundee and decided to have a stay in the lap of luxury.  They are amazing apartments, some over one floor and others over two floors, like the one we stayed in.  We felt extremely pampered and will shortly be going back for our third stopover there when we deliver sunshine back to University.  

The view from our two floor apartment looks right across Dundee, to the shops, across the Tay, up to the University and you can also view the progress on the new V&A museum being built.  

The apartment includes two en suite bedrooms, superking size beds, dining rooms, living area, kitchen with all mod cons, office area and loads more

Drew, Carla and the rest of the Westport Team are incredible at their jobs, they don't miss anything out for your stay and you even get discount cards for eating in the local area.  Breakfasts are especially nice at the West House Restaurant and very reasonable.

In the evenings I suggest a visit to the local Chinese Restaurant, The Mandarin Garden where the food was to die for.  The crispy duck is one of the best I have tasted.

The Royal School of Needlework

I am now more than half way through my Jacobean Crewelwork Certificate course and Tracy Franklin is a brilliant tutor, I don't regret starting this and can't wait to move onto the next stage.

As always I shared my year of crafting with my great friends, Bev, Cath, Jen, Janet and Helen and look forward to another year this year with courses by Philippa Naylor being held at Fobbles ( as well as stitching weekends and the annual exhibition in July.

All the best for 2017 

Sunday, 1 January 2017


All the best to all my crafty friends out there, hope you get lots of projects in mind for 2017 and get them finished. xx

Friday, 26 August 2016

The Royal School of Needlework Certificate Course

I finally took the plunge and signed up for the RSN Certificate Course.  I am going to study at Durham under the very talented Tracy A Franklin, an RSN Tutor and embroiderer.

I start in September on Jacobean Crewel work and have an extensive list of books, which, fortunately for me I had quite a lot of.  There was about four or five that I needed and they started arriving this morning.

This is quite a book Betty Barnden The Embroidery Stitch Bible and it really does have all the stitches you will ever need.  It was listed under quite a few of the subjects so I bought a new copy as it will get well used.

This book, Crewel Embroidery by Erica Wilson. I managed to find this second hand on Amazon for the grand price of 0.38p plus 2.80 postage.  What was even more incredible was inside was the original receipt for the book from 1970.  I would love to know the story behind the purchase, making it across the water to the UK from Seattle.

I wouldn't normally put someone's personal information on the web however it is from 1970 so I hope it will be ok and someone might be able to tell me how it ended up here.

I will keep you updated on my RSN journey and hope you will share it with me over the next few years.