How to Make a Piped & Appliqued Pillow

applique and piped pillow tutorial

A couple of weeks ago I was very happy to be asked if I would be godmother to a beautiful little baby called Olive. She is such a joyful little girl, I decided I’d make her a little colourful cushion to match her personality. I’ve never piped fabric before so I thought I’d give that a shot. Its easy! I’m piping everything from now on…

Here’s how I made it:

you will need:

  • 2 x 12″ squares of fabric for cushion
  • scraps of fabric for applique
  • bondaweb
  • 40″ of cord & 42″ strip of fabric for piping
  • toy stuffing

1) begin by cutting your front and back pillow fabric. As this cushion is stuffed (rather than made with a pillow form) it can be any size you like. I chose to make mine 10″ so cut two 12″ squares to allow for a 1″ seam.

2) sketch out your design. Here I chose to make a little caravan, sun and some colourful balloons. Cut out the paper design to create your template. Select the fabric for your applique and iron on the bondaweb as per the instructions. cut the fabric shapes using your template.

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3) The fabric shapes can then easily be ironed in place onto your pillow. Bear in mind that this is the point of no return… once its on, its glued fast. To make the caravan, I took some scraps of fabric to go behind the window and door and sewed on some personalised words. For the door, two pieces of fabric were adhered with bondaweb and then blanket stitched.

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4) Once your pieces are in place you can then sew around the edges with blanket stitch, either by hand or machine (if it has the function).

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5) Now to make the piping. Take your cord – this should be the length of your pillow sides added up, so in this instance 40″. Allow a little extra. Cut a strip of cord to this length, 2″ wide. Place the cord in the centre of the strip – ensuring there is excess fabric at each end – fold over and sew along the edge of the cord using a zipper foot if you have one.

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6) Place your front pillow piece flat, face up and pin the piping along the sides, with the rough edge of the piping lined up with the edge of the pillow. When you get to a corner, snip into this rough edge. when you reach the end, take one end of the piping fabric, fold it under and tuck the other end inside – you will probably need to snip it down a bit. Sew in place.

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7) Now place your two pillow pieces right sides together and sew along the line of the piping, feeling it with your finger.  Leave a 3″ gap for turning and stuffing. Then snip the excess fabric away, to reduce bulk.

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8) Turn the pillow the right way out and fill with toy stuffing. Sew the hole shut by hand.

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This isn’t the speediest of projects, it takes time and patience – but once you’ve done one applique you realise you could literally applique any shape. Ooooooh….

Tia x

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Amazing Tomato Ketchup Recipe

tomato ketchup recipe a
As a big fan of Ketchup I once switched from Heinz to another brand of organic tomato sauce, assuming it would be better. Big disappointment. It was basically passata in disguise… not so good on my chips. So I loyally returned to Heinz and I haven’t looked back since. That is until I stumbled upon a Jamie Oliver recipe the other day – I had loads of tomatoes that were going to get souped (its too hot for soup!) – so I thought I’d give it another go. Surely homemade trumps Heinz, especially when its Jamie?

I discovered that this is THE best ketchup on the planet. It’s amazing. I want to put it on everything, I even dolloped it on my salad yesterday. I seriously recommend you make it immediately. Its really easy and keeps for 6 months.  Thank you, Jamie.

Recipe (adapted from this one by Jamie Oliver)


1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
handful of fennel, roughly chopped
1 stick celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
olive oil
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks chopped
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
500g cherry or plum tomatoes
500g tinned plum tomatoes
200 ml red wine vinegar
70 g soft brown sugar

tomato ketchup recipe 1

Place all the vegetables in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with a big splash of olive oil and the ginger, garlic, basil stalks, coriander seeds and cloves. Season with the pepper and a good pinch of salt.

 tomato ketchup recipe 2

Cook gently over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until softened, stirring every so often. Add all the tomatoes and 350ml of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until the sauce reduces by half.

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Add the basil leaves, then whiz the sauce in a food processor or with a hand blender and push it through a sieve twice, to make it smooth and shiny and remove all the skins and other bits.

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Put the sauce into a clean pan and add the vinegar and the sugar. Place the sauce on the heat and simmer until it reduces and thickens to the consistency of tomato ketchup. At this point, correct the seasoning to taste.

Pour the ketchup into sterilized bottles (you can sterilize easily by placing the items in a container with a couple of inches of water, covering with clingfilm and microwaving for 3 minutes), then seal tightly and place in a cool dark place or the fridge until needed – it should keep for six months.

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Tia x

A New Look for a Mid-Pregnancy Mum

new look maternity clothes review

It seems that I am having to dig out my maternity wear a lot sooner this time around as my bump is rapidly expanding. As I didn’t have any summer maternity wear last time around New Look were kind enough to send me some pieces from their current range.

I chose a tea dress, as I wear a lot of them normally, and a pregnancy staple – a pair of over-the-bump jeans. I also chose something I wouldn’t normally wear – a kimono – as it seems everyone but me is wearing one right now!

Of all the items, the Navy Broderie Panel Tea Dress (pictured above) was my favourite. The fabric is very soft and the cut of the dress sits nicely on my curves – it managed to feel floaty and light, without making me feel like I was wearing a tent. The dress costs £22.99 and is also available in white.

new look maternity range review

The jeans were comfy and had good stretch for the bump but – like many pairs of jeans I’ve had before – they tended to lose a little of their shape between washes. They were still the best ones I have tried though. New Look do a variety of different styles and types of denim and their range is well worth a look. The faded jeans I chose cost £22.99.
The kimono offered me a welcome break from simply slinging on a cardigan, and definitely made me feel a lot more chic – even when I teamed it with jeans, ballet pumps and a plain top. You don’t necessarily need a maternity version, but I found that having a bit of extra room works well with this style of cover-up. It also made me feel a tiny bit fashionable, something which has previously escaped me in pregnancy! It is currently in the sale, priced at £16.09.
~ Laura xx ~





Nap Time Crafts: Sun Print Notebook


sunprint card tutorial

Before the summer is out I wanted to try making something with sunography paper. This is paper that is bleached in the sun and leaves a print of what you placed on top. I decided to rope my Little Button and her Grandpa in for this craft project and turn the results into a ‘back to school’-style notebook that would remind me of summer.

sun printing tutorial

My Little Button and her Grandpa went on a nature walk around his garden looking for suitable flowers and leaves to place on the paper to make the print.

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Once they had collected the flowers we flattened them in between two books and then carefully arranged them onto the paper.

sun printing tutorial

We left the paper in direct sunlight for 10 minutes.  We then removed the leaves and rinsed the paper under a cold tap until the water ran clear, then left it to dry.

Here’s what I learnt from this type of printing:

  • Once you’ve picked your flowers/leaves, flatten them between two books. This will give a much clearer and more defined print on the sun paper.
  • Any trace of wind in the air will move the leaves and disrupt the printing process. I learnt this the hard way after leaving it alone and coming back to discover the leaves on the floor!
  • The longer you leave the print paper in the sun the stronger the image will be. The brand I used recommended 10 minutes.
  • Direct sunlight worked best, not shade.

To make a notebook

You will need:

  • Your sun print
  • Thick card for front cover
  • Neon embroidery thread
  • Paper for pages

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1. Begin by cutting out your sun print panel. Fold your front cover card in half and position the panel on the front. Attach using a small amount of glue in the centre.

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2. Stitch round the sun print panel in neon thread using a sewing machine.

sun print notebook diy

3. Arrange your paper for the pages and fold in half. Straighten up the edges with a craft knife and cut so the papers are 1cm smaller than the front cover on all sides.

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4. To bind the pages and front cover together, make three holes equal distance apart on the middle pages  through to the spine of the cover with a needle. Then start your thread from the middle hole on the middle pages and thread up to the top hole on the spine. Then thread back down to the middle hole on the inside and down to the lower hole on the outside. Keep repeating this process of sewing from the middle out to the spine and going up and down the spine. This will securely attach the spine to the pages. End with the thread on the inside and tie a knot in the thread.

 sun print notebook diy

sun print notebook diy

Fingers crossed for a sunny September!
~ Laura xx ~

Coffee & Walnut Whip Cake

coffee walnut whip cake recipe

It was my lovely mother in-laws birthday recently so I wanted to make her a cake for the celebration. In true Great British Bake-Off style I went for a classic cake and a little twist – coffee and walnut whip cake. I used my favourite recipe for this cake by Lorraine Pascale from her book, Fast, Fresh and Easy Food.

To make the cake you will need:

For the sponge:

  • 175g soft butter
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee
  • 100g walnut halves
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 50g wholemeal flour
  • 200g soft light brown sugar
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

Coffee Syrup:

  • 1 tp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar


  • 400g icing sugar
  • 200g soft butter
  • 2tbsp instant coffee

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Boil the kettle and grease the baking tins.

coffee and walnut whip cake recipe

2. To make the sponge, put the coffee powder into a mug and add 2 tablespoons of hot water to the coffee. Mix until smooth. Chop the walnuts.

coffee and walnut whip cake recipe

3. Put the flours into a bowl along with the sugar and baking powder and mix. Next, add the butter, eggs, vanilla extract, prepared coffee and chopped walnuts. Beat until smooth and combined. Divide the mixture between two tins and pop in the oven for 25 minutes or until cooked.

4. To make the syrup, begin by boiling the kettle. Spoon the coffee powder and sugar into a mug and add two tablespoons and boiled water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

coffee and walnut whip cake recipe

5. Once the cakes are cooked, remove from the oven and brush the coffee sugar over the sponge. Leave the cakes to cool for a few minutes then transfer onto a wire rack.

coffee and walnut whip cake recipe

6. Whilst the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the butter to it. Beat until light and fluffy. Blend the coffee powder in a mug with 1 tablespoon of hot water and stir into the butter cream.

coffee and walnut whip cake

7. Sandwich you cakes together with a generous amount of buttercream and spread the rest on top. Add walnut whips to the centre and sprinkle a few crush walnut on top to finish.

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You only need a small slice at a time with a cup of tea.

~ Laura xx ~

Deliciously Cute Ice Cream Purses

icecream purse tutorial

Our latest Hobbycraft project is now on their website, and we think its pretty…erm… cool! With the summer in full swing we wanted to make a little purse to keep our ice cream change in, and to remind us of those summer nights once the sun has long gone. For the full tutorial of how to make your own, pop on over to Hobbycraft.

ice cream purse tutorial ice cream purse tutorial

~ Laura & Tia xx ~