Monthly Archives: January 2012

Chocolate Poo

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Make a funny and silly but delicious present by shaping this delicious chocolate truffle mixture into the shape of the poo of the recipient’s favourite animal.  This recipe will make about 150g of chocolate poo!

Chocolate Poo

You will need:

  • 100g of dark chocolate (I would recommend using dark to even the devotees of milk chocolate as dark melts much better than milk and the sugar and crème fraîche does make them sweet and creamy and I reckon they would be very sickly if you were to use milk)
  • 15g of butter
  • 15g of icing sugar
  • 25g of crème fraîche
  • 10g of cocoa powder
  • An image of your chosen animal poo

What to do:

  1. Break up the chocolate.
  2. Heat water in a saucepan, remove from the heat before it comes to the boil.  Place a heat proof bowl over the saucepan and add the chocolate and a tablespoon of water to the bowl.
  3. When the chocolate has melted add the butter and crème fraîche and stir for five minutes.
  4. Sieve the icing sugar to remove any lumps and add to the mixture with a tablespoon of water.
  5. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge until it has set a little (allow about four or five hours).
  6. Using your image as a reference, shape the mixture and roll in cocoa powder.
  7. Keep in the fridge, I expect they keep well for about a week but they’ve never lasted long enough in our house to find out!
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Pyjama Bottoms

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Last week I told you how I turned a worn out pair of pyjamas into a pattern.  Now I’ll show you how I’ve used it to make a new pair of pyjamas out of a pair of curtains I bought in a charity shop.  You will need a little bit of sewing experience but these are really easy!

Pyjama Bottoms

You will need:

  • Enough fabric to cut out two legs (cheap fabric can be found by searching charity shops for duvet covers, curtains or table clothes in a fabric you like)
  • Your pattern
  • Dressmaking pins
  • A pair of dressmaking scissors (or a pair of strong, sharp scissors)
  • Machine thread in a colour which matches your fabric
  • Sewing machine (or a needle, if you are very patient)
  • Enough elastic for the waistband (you may be able to rescue the elastic from the old pair of pyjamas)
  • A safety pin

What to do:

  1. Fold the fabric in half and pin the pattern to the fabric (through both layers).
  2. Carefully cut out the fabric along the edge of the pattern.
  3. Remove the pins, you will now have two pieces of fabric which are a mirror image of each other.
  4. Fold the legs in half so that the right side of the fabric (the side you want to see when you are wearing the pyjamas) is on the inside.  Line up the long straight edges and pin together, this will form the seam which goes down the inside of the legs.
  5. Stitch along the long straight edge leaving a 1.5cm seam allowance (the distance between the edge of the fabric and the stitching).
  6. Press the seam flat and neaten using your favoured technique (here’s a tutorial on finishing seams which offers lots of options ).
  7. When this has been done for both legs, turn one leg so it is now the right-way-out.
  8. Place the leg which is the right-way-out inside the leg which is inside-out, align all the edges and seams.
  9. Pin along the curved edge and stitch, again leaving a 1.5cm seam allowance.
  10. Stitch along this seam for a second time, follow the first line of stitching as closely as possible.  This will ensure that this seam is strong.
  11. Carefully trim off excess fabric from the seam allowance (leave about 0.5cm) and neaten this seam with zig-zag stitch.
  12. Pull one leg out of the other and ensure the pyjamas are inside-out.
  13. Press the top edge (waist band) of the pyjamas down 0.5cm.  Repeat, this time turning the edge down by 3cm and pinning down.
  14. Stitch along the top edge leaving about 2.5-3cm between the edge and the stitching (so that the stitching traps the turned down fabric).  Leave a gap of about 5cm.
  15. Pin the safety pin to one end of the elastic, insert into the hole and use the safety pin to pull the elastic all the way through the channel of fabric.  Ensure the other end of the elastic does not disappear down the channel.
  16. When the safety pin reaches the hole again, remove the safety pin and stitch the ends of elastic together.  If you are unsure that the elastic is the correct length try the pyjamas on before stitching the ends together.
  17. Stitch along the last 5cm to close the hole.
  18. With the pyjamas still inside out, turn up the bottom of the legs by 0.5cm.  Repeat and pin.
  19. Stitch along the bottom of the legs close to the edge.
  20. Ta da!  One brand new pair of pyjamas.

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Pyjama Bottoms Pattern

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Turn a worn out pair of pyjamas into a pattern for a new pair.  I’ve turned a favourite pair of pyjamas which are no longer fit to wear into a new pair of pyjamas.

Pyjama Pattern

You will need:

  • A pair of old pyjamas which do not have seems on the outside of the legs (each leg will only be made of one piece of fabric)
  • A pair of dressmaking scissors (or a pair of strong, sharp scissors)
  • Large sheets of tissue paper
  • Pencil

What to do:

  1. Carefully cut off the waistband and remove the elastic or cord and save.
  2. Cut along the seems, you should now have two pieces of fabric, discard one.
  3. Lay a sheet of tissue paper out flat and then place the leg of the pyjamas over the top.
  4. Trace around the pyjamas.
  5. Add 10cm to the top of the pyjamas for the waist band.
  6. Add a 1.5cm seem allowance around the rest of the pyjamas.

Next week I’ll show you how I’ve used this pattern to turn an old pair of curtains into some new pyjamas.

Washi Nativity Scene

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I recently made Christmas cards featuring the Wise Men inspired by beautiful Japanese paper dolls, since I have created a whole Naivety scene.

You will need:

  • White, light-weight card
  • A selection of patterned/colourful paper (small scraps can be used)
  • Any embellishments you choose (I used beads, gold and silver pen, felt-tip pen, embroidery thread, coloured wire, sequins)
  • Glue stick or double sided tape
  • Blank card or paper
  • A picture frame

What to do:

    1. Print or trace the body template onto the white card.  Cut out as many as desired.
    2. To make the robe:
      1. Cut paper 4cm x 8.5cm.  Place so it is taller than it is wide.
      2. If desired, fold down the top of the paper a little to make a collar.
      3. Place the paper right side down and then place the body on the centre, so the head is above the top of the paper.
      4. Fold one side down over the shoulders and crease along the edge of the shoulders but no further.
      5. Fold the rest of this edge along the vertical side and ease the paper where the angle changes.  So that the fold is almost horizontal.  Carefully stick to the body.
      6. Repeat on the opposite side.
      7. Add any decorations you choose.
    3. To make a figure kneel:
      1. Before folding the robe, measure 3cm down the straight edge of the template and cut off the excess.
      2. Dress the doll exactly as above.
      3. Turn over and fold up the excess robe.
      4. Fold at an angle of 45° so the excess sticks out at a right angle to the body.  Fold in the opposite direction you wish it to be as this is the back.
    4. To make the headdress:
      1. Cut paper 2.5xm x 5.5cm.  Place so it is taller than it is wide.
      2. If the paper is single-sided, turn so that the white/plain side is showing.
      3. Fold the top edge down about 1.5cm down and turn over.
      4. Fold the top edge down about0.5cm and turn over.
      5. Fold the top corners down to create a angle of about 45°, turn over again.
      6. Carefully stick to the head.
    5. To make the turban:
      1. Cut paper to 7cm x 2.5cm.  Place so it is wider than it is tall.
      2. Fold the long sides in so that they almost meet in the middle.
      3. Fold in half length ways so you have a long thin strip.
      4. Place it behind the head.
      5. Fold one side up over the face at an angle about 45° and repeat with the other side.
      6. Fold the uppermost strip down behind the turban and tuck into the strip at the back of the head and repeat.
      7. Carefully stick to the head and decorate as you please.
    6. To make the obi (optional, it is the sash worn over a kimono and I’ve given Mary one as a nod to the inspiration ):
      1. Cut paper to 3.5cm x 2.5cm.  Place so it is wider than tall.
      2. If the paper is single-sided, turn so that the white/plain side is showing.
      3. Turn the top edge down about 0.5cm, repeat for the bottom edge.
      4. Turn over and fold around Mary with the ends to the back.
    7. To make the manger:
      1. Cut paper to 10cm x 2.8cm.  Place so it is wider than it is tall.
      2. If the paper is single-sided, turn so that the white/plain side is showing.
      3. Draw a horizontal line to mark the centre (1.4cm down) and a horizontal line 0.6cm above and below this line.
      4. Draw a vertical line 4cm in and a vertical line 6cm in.
      5. Fold along the central, horizontal line and then open out again.
      6. Cut along the vertical lines at the top, stopping at the first line to cross it.  Repeat at the bottom.
      7. Fold the top right section along the uppermost horizontal line, leave the middle section and fold the left section.  Repeat for the bottom section.
      8. Trim the edges of the folded in sections so they are no wider than 0.6cm.
      9. Fold in half along the central horizontal line and place with the folded edge to the top.
      10. Fold the ‘arms’ over so the cross in an ex shape.
      11. Turn over and trim any paper that sticks out and trim the ends of the ‘arms’ parallel to the top edge. Turn over.
      12. Cut out a circle of white card about 1cm in diameter and a circle of yellow/gold card or a sequin about 1.5cm in diameter.
      13. Stick the circles behind the manger to create the head and halo of the baby Jesus.
    8. To make the star:
      1.  Cut paper to 2cm x 2cm.
      2. Mark the central point and fold the corners in so they meet in the middle, creating a smaller square.
      3. Pull the corners out again and fold so that the points stick out.
      4. Turn over.
    9. To make a sheep:
      1. Cut paper to 2.2cm x 2.2cm.  Turn to create a diamond shape.
      2. Fold in half to create a triangle.  Turn so the fold is to the top.
      3. Fold the bottom point behind.
      4. Fold the right point down at a shallow angle to create an ear.  Fold a little bit of the ear to the back.  Repeat for the left point.
      5. Decorate as desired.
    10. Add any other decorations you desire.
    11. Arrange on card or paper and frame as desired.

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