Tea and home ATC

I got my lovely ATC in the post the other day. I have been waiting in excitement for the post every day for at least a week, and I was definitely not disappointed when it came. I never have been – my cards are all so different and beautiful in their own little way. atc collectionThis is how my card came wrapped up and also the little note to explain the the background to the card. I’ve got a little collection of the notes that have come with my cards, I like having a bit of background to the inspiration behind the project.ATC wrapped upAnd now for the card. I LOVE this card because it is so “me.” The tower is slightly Oxford (where I went to university) and dreaming spires, and the tea ribbon is brilliant. I actually have a small piece left in my stash 🙂 I drink lots of tea, to the extent that my work colleagues now just don’t even ask me when they do a round, I just get a cup as standard. So all in all, it is a triumph and it is now safely nestled with my growing collection.

tea and home atcMy partner has a facebook page called Polka Dots and Cocker Spaniels and an Etsy page to sell vintage goodies, why not go have a look?

I’m not sure when the next ATC swap is planned, it probably won’t be for a while, so keep your eyes pealed on the Very Berry Handmade website.

Pincushion tutorial

This is just a quick and easy idea for a pincushion more than a tutorial. It is a great scrapbuster though (I like a good scrapbuster!)
square pincushionI made this pincushion for my mum, who is just getting into sewing. I already seem to have lots of pincushions, including a crochet cupcake and my slightly tacky wooden one, which is the perfect size for sitting on my sewing machine while I sew.

You need two squares of fabric in the same size, and four rectangles. My squares were around 14cm by 14cm to start with, and the rectangles were 14cm +2cm seam allowance (1cm each end) by 6cm.

Sew the rectangles together in a long strip, being mindful of the seam allowance. Each seam of the rectangle strip should line up with the corners of your squares. Then right sides together and working one edge at a time, pin one of your squares and the rectangle and sew. 
sewing pincushionYou should end with a box which looks a bit like this.

pin cushion sewing projectThe next stage is to sew the second square onto the rectangles, making a lid. Make sure you leave a gap to turn it all the right way.

pin cushion turning holeTurn it all right way round, and stuff it with toy stuffing. Make sure it it pretty solid, to accommodate your pins and needles. Sew up the hole using ladder stitch, which is the tidiest way to blend in the seam.LADDER-STITCH-1

Recipe for Jaffa cake inspired sponge cake

I had the urge to bake on Sunday. I really fancied making a Victoria sponge, but came up with some additions which have made it AMAZING! A little bit of marmalade and dark chocolate make it very Jaffa cake-like.keep calm and eat jaffa cakesIngredients

For the cake

  • Weigh 3 eggs – use this weight to measure out equivalent amounts of the following
  • Self raising flour
  • Margarine
  • Caster sugar
  • Vanilla extract

For the topping

  • Orange marmalade
  • One bar of good dark chocolate


  1. Cream margarine and caster sugar.
  2. Add in the beaten eggs slowly (one tablespoon at a time) and mix.
  3. Add in half a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  4. Sieve in the flour and stir in gently using the “round the world and down the middle” method to make it nice and fluffy.
  5. Add your mix to a lined round tin and bake at around 180 deg c for 18 mins and then keen an eye on it until a skewer comes out clean. My original recipe for this cake says 18 minutes, but it took way more than that this time round, so keep an eye on it.
  6. Take the cake out of the tin and while still warm, use about 2 tablespoons of marmalade to completely cover the top of the cake.
  7. Once cooled, melt the dark chocolate and drizzle all over. If you’re patient, wait until it’s cool to eat!

Draw string bag tutorials

I went home to visit my family last weekend, and while I was there I had a bit of a sewing session with my mum. She’s meant to be doing a sewing workshop soon, and felt she needed some prep before she went. We used this old Singer machine, which used to belong to her mum, but she passed it on as she no longer uses it. We had it serviced, and it runs really nicely now.old singer sewing machineMy mum decided she wanted to make a little bag to put the pedal and wires in. So we raided her as yet quite small sewing stash, and used one of the fat quarters I bought her for Christmas! For maximum practice, we also sewed on a pocket decorated with an appliquĂ© owl, and a long hidden pocket inside for scissors. sewing on pocketHere’s the finished item, complete with Bryn the dog. I’ve also found some links to some different types of draw string bags on Pinterest. They all have great instructions, enjoy!completed draw string bagDraw sting bag tutorials

My mum sent me a picture this morning of another bag she’s made, this time with cat appliquĂ©s. I think she may be addicted!