Friday, 24 August 2018

Blackberry Cakes

The blackberries in our garden are never-ending this year! I'm presuming the combination of snow and sun and the fact that the hedgerow hasn't had a decent cut in ten years has all worked really well together. We've frozen lots and made blackberry and apple crumble, blackberry country cake, blackberry maderia cake with blackberry buttercream icing, blackberry and strawberry crumbles. Running out of ideas I had a look on Pinterest 

These sound delicious!! 

Within my skill range (not the icing part though!!)



Blueberries not blackberries but you could substitute! 




I've certainly got some inspiration and am going to try a lavender and blackberry mix
Happy Blackberry picking and if you have any recipe ideas do let me know!
Maria 

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Upcycled Dresses

I've always been a huge fan of up cycling fabrics. When I was a teenager there was a second hand store in Rathmines, upstairs beside the Stella Cinema. I would go in with any clothes I didn't want and the lady would take note of each item in a little notebook and attribute a value to everything. You had the option of taking the cash amount or of exchanging for items in store! By the time she'd finished checking through my bag of old clothes I'd have already scanned though the rails picking out what I'd love to have! And so the deal would be done and I'd head back down the little stairway with a few new to me items for my wardrobe.


Photo credit AMC Photography Cork

During the summer holidays from college, I worked in the Cerebral Palsy Shop on Camden Street Dublin. At the time the government was running a work placement scheme for college students in volunteer organisations. For working five days I would get 90 Irish pounds. I absolutely loved the store and working there and was lucky enough to do two summers there. On a Friday I'd get paid and at this stage I'd already have a nice little collection of clothes and bric a brac amassed. Sometimes I would just clean the clothes up and other times I'd make slight alterations. I also learnt the value of a good steamer in there! No items were ever put on the floor without being checked thoroughly and receiving a decent steam to ensure they were presented as best as possible before they arrived on the shop floor.
Photo credit Rory Moore Photography

Fast forward to now and I decided at the start of the year to do what I could to make my business more sustainable. The fashion industry is notorious for crimes to the environment! As a small business I think its important to whatever I can to be environmentally responsible even in the smallest ways possible. In my everyday running I try to keep fabric waste to a very minimum and will use every inch of fabric possible. As a maker I'm always looking at fabrics wherever I am, be it on someones cushions or clothes in a shop window. When I spotted the floral curtains in a local charity shop I thought they would make perfect little girls dresses. Of course the worry being that no-one except me would think this was a good idea!!
Curtains! Photo credit Rory Moore


Photo Credit Rory Moore

With a leap of faith that there is an interest out there for up cycled clothes I've pledge to make at least ten items for each new collection out of old fabrics. These can be vintage fabrics, old curtains, maybe a ladies dress from a high street shop that was just never worn, many different sources. First thing is to wash and dry the item before setting to work. I'm delighted to say the first ten pieces are all sold already and I add a few pieces as I find the fabrics. Each tag will detail the provenance of the fabric so there's a little piece of history to the item.
Photo Credit AMC Photography


Photo Credit AMC Photography
Frill dress made from curtains. I added a scrap of polka dot fabric from my stash to make the frill and made bias tape from the floral for the under arm. Photo Credit Rory Moore Photography.

Looking forward to making some new ones for the Autumn! Thank you for reading
Maria