Inspired By: Azzedine Alaia Planning

Tuesday, October 14

I need a little favour ladies ( and guys). I am on the hunt for some leopard sweater knit fabric to sew a dress for an upcoming meeting. Those of you who follow me on instagram will know I made a denim dress last month for my high school alumni meeting. I recently joined the Midlands regional branch because we moved to Northampton and they meet every other month. Each meeting has a theme, last meeting was "Denim Dress", and the next meeting in November is "Fur". A couple of months ago it was "Animal print" I think, and they even had "Onesie" a few months back. Needless to say, that meeting was hilarious.

I found this Azzedine Alaia dress on Pinterest, worn by Giovanna Battaglia.

 I have looked for a sweater knit on Ebay and my usual shopping joints, but nothing has caught my eyes yet. So, can you help? Have you seen a similar fabric anywhere? It does not have to be in the UK only. I won't mind shopping from foreign stores. The meeting is at the end of November so I won't mind waiting for the fabric to get to me from distant shores.

I really like this dress, and I am planning on using faux fur for the lovely collar. I have already seen some faux fur on Ebay that is the exact colour of the collar on the actual dress. All that is left now, is the leopard print fabric.

What are you all working on now?

Industrial sewing machine Advice

Saturday, October 11

Does anyone have any experience with industrial machine sewing? I decided my life would be made so much better if I had an industrial sewing machine and I have been looking at the various options out there. My budget is tight, simply because I won't be able to justify another sewing machine purchase to Mr. Dibs not long after I bought my Pfaff Ambition 1. I currently have two Pfaff machines, the Select 4 and the Ambition, and I love them to bits. However, I want another machine. My blog name is Dibs and the Machine after all. I can't help it, I love machines. You know how the uber geeky people go gaga over gadgets? That is how I feel about sewing machines. The only reason my house is not overflowing with machines is because 1) I cannot afford them and 2) Mr. Dibs has threatened divorce and 3) Mr. Dibs is not impressed by my dismal sewing output.

I am a Pfaff girl through and through, but unfortunately, I can't seem to find affordable Pfaff industrial machines, and, if the internet is to be believed, Adler and Juki are the business in the industrial sewing world. Do correct me if I am wrong please.

I cannot afford an Adler, so Juki it is. I know Brothers also make good machines, but I have not really looked at them. I suppose I should since my budget is quite small for this type of machines.

So back to my question. Any word of advice on industrial machines? Do you have one that you love or know about that you think I should take a look at? I am leaning towards the Juki DDL 8700 but I would be grateful for any other suggestions.

Blog Hop!

Friday, October 3

Ah, and so it came to pass that Dibs resurfaced after a long spell away from her blog. My friend Mela over at Pincushion Treats nominated me for a blog hop. Those of you who have been reading my blog for sometime will have seen mention of her round these parts. If I ever visit the US, Mela would be one of the reasons why......oh and the various garment districts. Come to think of it, there are many US bloggers I would love to meet. I am looking at you Ginger, and you Nettie (peeps how cool is this woman?), and not forgetting Carolyn, and oh, I want to be best friends with Renee (even though she already has a sewing bff, but who cares, emperors have been dethroned before)....but I digress.

I am not exactly sure how to answer some of the questions as I think they would require me to actually think about stuff, and most often I don't know why I do somethings. Anyways her goes....

Why do I sew?

I don't know. I suppose I sew because I like sewing. I like learning new things. 

My mom started sewing bed linen and curtains as a hobby, then later started selling them, while maintaining her day job as an accountant. I hated sewing at that time because it involved my aunt and I unpicking thousands of stitches with dressmakers pins. Either my mom did not know that seam rippers existed, or she just plain hated us. I hated it. Then she decided she wanted to sew clothes, enter Burda. That again, was totally unwelcome as I was responsible for tracing off the patterns she wanted. I had a HARD childhood people.

I suppose what really got me into sewing was wanting my university room to look like those in the glossy home magazines. I told my mom I wanted my curtains to match my bedspread, and I also wanted a strip of fabric round my room as my wallpaper. My mom told me to make it myself. I did, but my room looked so cheesy. I did not care. I loved it. 

When I came to the UK, sewing was not at the top of my list, but a couple of years later, I discovered Burdastyle. I started reading some of the blogs attached to the Burdastyle profiles and when I moved back to London after my Masters, my husband bought me a sewing machine. Searching for fabric shops in London led me to Karen's blog, and my first sewing meetup. The rest peeps, is history.

What am I working on?

For now, nothing. 

The last thing I made was a denim dress which I did for my high school alumni meeting in Coventry. Unfortunately, when I was finishing off the neck, my needle broke, and when I tried to take the needle out, it fell into the machine. I need to take it to sewing machine repair shop. 

We recently moved from London to Northampton, and I now work in Birmingham. Which is not good for me as I work in the city center, fabric shops. Not good. I have a sewing room to myself now but I still need to kit it out. I have high plans of enticing Claire out to Northampton to plan it out for me.

How Does My Sewing Process Work?

I just sew as the sewing spirit moves me. I don't like to plan projects. 

When I feel like sewing, I just pick out a pattern, and then match it to a fabric. I get pattern inspiration from other bloggers. I would see a project on someone's blog and decide I want to make the same thing. Buy the pattern, then never make it. I want to change that though, as I now have many patterns that I know I will never, ever sew. I like sewing mostly from the Big 4, but I recently bought 2 By Hand London patterns ( Charlotte skirt and Holly jumpsuit), to make work related outfits. So watch this space.

I will only plan a project if it is for a specific event, like a wedding or a black tie event. Even then I change my mind countless times.

When I start sewing an item, if I don't finish it, within 3 days, I run the risk of NEVER finishing it. I have a toile du jour dress I started last year. It is almost finished, but I somehow can't cross the finishing line.

What keeps me motivated to blog?

I blog because I want to. I don't blog often, and I don't know if I will get back to my pre-baby blogging levels, but I will see. If I feel I have something to say, then I will say it. I mostly blog if I have a sewing project to show. My blogging suffers when I don't sew. No sewing, no blogging. I am hopping to change that though. I have decided I want to bore you all to death with my life. So be prepared for many non-sewing related posts.

So apparently I have to nominate someone. I won't stop at just 1 person. There so many people whose viewpoints I want to get but for today I will settle on three people I admire. Sandra ( she makes sewing wrap dresses seem so easy.), Vicki Kate(  I still have your umbrella dude) and Ana, who is supa dupa talented and who I used to hero worship on Burdastyle back in the days.

Wedding guest outfit

Friday, July 18

My friend is getting married next week, and true to form, I have left sewing my outfit to the last minute. How else does one manifest self love than by piling pressure on ones self?

The bride is a Nigerian and, in keeping with wedding trends within the Nigerian community, her family and close friends have to wear the Aso ebi. I found this definition from the Urban Dictionary, and thought I should share it as I could not have explained the concept of Aso ebi better.
    aso ebi
(Pronounced ASHO EYBEE) 
Nigerian outfits made from matching fabric to be worn by a group of people to a party, wedding, or funeral as a uniform. Wearing a certain aso ebi identifies the group of wearers. For instance, at a wedding, all the bride's friends might wear blue and gold, the bride's family might wear white and gold, and the groom's friends might wear black and pink, and so on. Usually at weddings, the various fabrics for the aso ebi are decided by the bride, and are then announced to all the guests months in advance so they can prepare their outfits. Guests are usually expected to buy the aso ebi from the bride, but close friends and family members and certain prominent individuals may be presented with the aso ebi as a gift. Aso ebi for parties and funerals are generally simple, but aso ebi for weddings may involve many complex changes with entirely different aso ebi for different days of the wedding, and for the reception.
The Aso ebi colours assigned to friends in this case, are yellow and red. Yellow guipure lace, yellow silk fabric and a red gele (head tie).

Have you ever been to a Nigerian wedding? If yes, it's possible you might have already seen the Aso ebi in action. Though people start with the same piece of fabric, the finished items are anything but identical. No one wants to be outdone, so women come prepared. Dressed to the nines, fish tail skirts and all. A simple google search should be enough to show you how serious women take the Aso ebi.

Now to the matter of what I will make out of my lace. I spent the last 2 weeks trying to find inspiration, and thankfully, Lizzy pointed me to a lovely dress, aptly called the Majestic Dress, which I absolutely fell in love with. She posted a picture on instagram of her modelling the dress, and I was sold. Hopefully I will look half as stunning as she looked when I am done with mine.

I have never sewn with guipure lace before, so any piece of advice would be much appreciated. I scoured the internet for tips, and came across Carolyn's posts about sewing with guipure lace. I also read a 2006 Threads article by Susan Khalje on sewing different types of lace, which is all well and good, but I still am not sure how to proceed, and I still do not understand the descriptions on how to do the zip area. Dense much?

Copying Carolyn, I intend to work with four layers of fabric. The lace, silk organza, stretch crepe, and silk habotai as lining. 

I did not have the lace with me when I bought the silk organza so I was not certain of the colour to go for. There was a deeper shade of yellow that matched the lace, but I thought a paler yellow would be better. How wrong I was. It kind of ruins the look for me, so I either have to go back to Goldhawk road for the correct shade of yellow, or, sew the lace directly to the main backing fabric, or, horror of horrors, applique the lace to the finished dress, one rose at a time. What do you think?

For the pattern, I am still trying to decide between Vogue 82880, view A, with cap sleeves......
......and New Look 6123, view C but with the sleeves of view A. This pattern actually represents my best chance to recreate the Majestic dress, but I really love the sexy neckline of the Vogue 8280. Which would you go for? 

I have 24 hours to decide before I cut into my muslin later today, so I am going to bed now, to hopefully dream up a choice.

Simplicity 2444 maxi dress featuring John Kaldor

Sunday, May 25

Don't you just love summer? I love summer, a lot. When summer comes around, everyone seems genuinely happy. People smile at you on the road, you get to eat ice cream without worrying about getting a cold, the sun is still out at 9pm, and more specifically, I get to wear maxi dresses without heavy coats for protection.

Last week I had a situation regarding an overlocker I bought, which left me really upset, so on Friday I found myself at Goldhawk road, where I spent more money than I wanted to, and got even more upset. In the evening I decided to sew something, to take my mind off unhappy thoughts. I have been craving maxi dresses lately, especially as Summer is just round the corner, and decided to use the bodice of Simplicity 2444.

This pattern does not need any introduction I think, as there have been so many versions on so many blogs. I made this dress about 2 years ago when I just had Noah, and even though I wanted to make more versions, I never got round to it. 

I used a John Kaldor fabric I bought from Abakhan in Manchester when I spent a week there in February. I bought it on sale for about £2.50 or £3. I bought 3 metres, and I always knew I wanted to make a maxi dress from it. I have been slowly collecting John Kaldor fabric, and I really love the quality of their fabrics. 

Since I had sewn this pattern before, there were not any nasty surprises in store for me. It was a pretty easy make. Stress free, which was exactly what I wanted. I did not make any changes to the pattern, but for the skirt, I just used two rectangles, each 40" long, with the width the full width of the fabric. Not very original I know, but I did not want to complicate my sewing.

The weather was really nice today, and we had my younger brother and a few friends round ours and I just had to wear my new dress. 

I can assure you I was not drunk in this picture. My friend, who is an expert at mixing cocktails, made some using Plymouth Gin, which I had never had, but which I now like....a lot.

Hopefully my overlocker situation resolves itself this week and I can sew more stuff. I used French seams on this dress, but that takes a lot of time and having the overlocker will speed things up for me. I have a major event to attend on Saturday 31st, and I wanted to use my overlocker to sew my dress. I now have to find a backup pattern, to use if my overlocker does not get fixed in time.

On the house front, we have seen a house we REALLY like, so fingers crossed they accept  our offer.

What summer sewing have you been/plan on doing?I know maxis are the way forward for me this summer ( as always).

Beauty: Makeup books

Friday, May 23

I bought some make-up books guys. Those of you who follow me on instagram (@dibsandthemachine), would know how make-up obsessed I have become. I am not really a make-up girl, but I am learning, and so far I am having fun. Mr.Dibs calls it my war paint, and sometimes I agree. I rarely wear make-up to work. I would say in a month, I might wear it once to work. I am starting to make more and more of an effort with my appearance, after some of my friends staged an intervention.

I have spent countless hours on youtube, learning make-up application. What many of the self proclaimed make-up gurus on youtube don't tell you are the reasons they do what they do. So I am turning to the experts to tell me why I have to use a crease brush and a base brush. Are you a make up addict?.

Until this week, I never even knew there were so many books on make-up by make-up artists. I was looking for information on Kevin Aucoin, and realised he had written a number of books. Searching for those books online led me to other books by well known make-up artists and in true Dibs style, I ordered a couple, two of which arrived a few days ago. Just in time for the Bank holiday weekend. Make-up brushes at the ready!!

Its funny how I am only getting into make-up and the whole beauty thing in my mid thirties. I'm sure my mom will do a victory dance when she comes visiting this summer. She has been vocally disappointed in my lack of interest in all things make-up and beauty regiments. My mom is so beautiful, and I am nothing like her. I do like look abit like her, but not as much as my younger brother, who is her carbon copy, or as much as she would have wanted me to. She used to blame my dad for me not being breathtakingly beautiful. I have my dad's lips though, which I consider my best features. Take that, Mother!

Before you all rush to assure me that I am beautiful,  and that my mom is mean, please know that my mom loves me very much, and I am quite confident in my skin. I might not be as beautiful as my mom, who to be honest, judging from her old pictures, was quite the stunner, but I am not ugly either. And by the way, who has the right to call someone ugly? Everyone has something special in them that makes them beautiful to a certain number of people. I am the most beautiful woman in the world to Mr.Dibs(even though I think he only says that for the sake of peace and an happy life), and that is enough for me.

If you like make-up, what make brands do you use?

Joel and Son Fabrics

Wednesday, May 21

Thank you all so much for the positive words and support you sent my way after my last post. Since then, we have put our flat back on the market, and we have had multiple offers above our asking price, so I am quite happy about that. We are off to Northampton to view properties this weekend so I am really looking forward to the weekend. I am however cognisant of the fact that things could go wrong so I have decided not to get emotionally involved in the process this time round. Que sera sera.

Now on to the reason for today's post. Joel and Son fabrics. Have you ever been there? I have never gone there. Alison tells me it is near Edgware Road, which is technically not very far from my house. Joel and Son are suppliers to her Majesty the Queen, a fact which they are very proud of, as I am sure I would be if by some stroke of luck my macarons made their way to her Maj's dinner table.
I have been to their website countless times, but because their prices are quite extraordinary, I never bought anything from them. They have the most exquisite fabrics which are, unfortunately, reflected in their not so exquisite prices.

I never thought I would ever buy anything from them, until a couple of weeks ago when I went to my usual spot on their website, the bargain section. I saw this amazing looking cotton faille fabric going for £10/metre. I kept praying the fabric would still be there when I got paid and thankfully it was. So I ordered 3 metres. Two weeks passed and I still had not received my parcel. I called them yesterday to inform them. The lady I spoke to was quite helpful, and she gave me the number of their delivery company, as well as my reference number. A quick call to the delivery company, and my parcel was delivered today. AMAZING!!

Just look at this beautiful fabric. If you are not drooling now, I think you need to see a Doctor. There either is something wrong with your eyes, or the part of your brain that curates your emotions is malfunctioning.

Now, not only was the customer service really good, the packaging had me quivering with excitement. Alison was visiting and she could not help laughing at me. We decided to learn more about cotton faile, as neither of us had worked with it before. So out came the Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide.

Now this is not a shop I will regularly buy from. Don't get me wrong. It is not that they don't sell good fabric. They do. They sell Very good fabric. From Italy and other places. They have all sorts of designer fabrics. And therein lies the rub. Designer fabrics are not cheap. Alison and I even played a guessing game. She read out a discounted fabric description, and asked me to guess the price. I said £100. It turns out I was almost £900 short of the price. The actual price was £989/metre, down from £1,472. Yes I know, I had the same reaction as you are probably having now. If I was ever looking for a reason for Mr.Dibs to ask for a divorce, I think buying even 0.00001 metres of this fabric would be good enough. In case you were wondering if this fabric was made of gold, here it is. Feast thy eyes!

If there is anyone of you out there who buys from Joel and Son regularly, I hate you, and I never EVER want to meet you because my inability to suppress my jealousy and envy would inevitably lead to murder, and I really, really want to see Noah grow. I won't be able to turn him into the professional sportsman he is destined to be from Belmarsh prison. To those of you, like me, who can only dream of making a purchase from the bargain section, rejoice. They always have some sort of offer. The offers are still expensive for the likes of us, but for that special occasion, or reward or treat, a remnant piece of 2metres at £40-£50 is achievable.

An added surprise for me, was the packaging. The fabric came wrapped in tissue paper, in a branded plastic bag, with the royal charter proudly incorporated....of course.

A postcard was included, which I thought was a nice touch, as well as a tape measure. Wasn't that sweet of them? I'm sure I shall buy from them again, if only to see what little free gift wends its way towards me.

I love my cheap fabrics. I am a Goldhawk road girl to the core, but once in a while, a very rare while, I like to indulge myself. This purchase does not really qualify as a splurge because the fabric was heavily discounted, and I have bought more expensive fabric than this, but the whole experience of buying from Joel and Son to me, was a treat. Have you ever bought from them?

Blogging and Life

Monday, May 12

The new year always starts with so much promise. This year I was quite hopeful about my blog. I was going to be sewing and posting every week, not simple sewing mind you, no, not good enough for moi. I was going to be making well crafted pieces, boning and all. Ha! Here we are, going into the middle of the year, and I have nothing to show for it.  Where did all the days go? More importantly, why have I not been sewing, or blogging?

The truth of the matter is, unless blogging is your full time job, you need to dig deep down to find motivation to blog regularly. I am not saying it cannot be done, we all know there are fabulous bloggers out there who have demanding jobs, but still blog regularly like it was easier than making a cup of tea. To those bloggers, I raise my cap. I, on the other hand, really struggle. Ever since Noah came on the scene, things have gone pear shaped sewing wise (no pun intended). Again, I am not saying you can't blog successfully when/if you have kids, as there are mega bloggers out there with more kids than I can count on my two hands. How do they do it? How do you do it? Any tips for a struggling sister?

I struggle with finding time to sew, or blog. Somehow, sewing and blogging have been relegated to the bottom of my to do list. I just don't have the time, and I realise I need to make more of an effort but it is just so hard. There are a couple of things which are responsible for this inactivity, which I will briefly  touch on.

Since August 2013, we have been trying to sell our matchbox flat. Our little family is growing, and we no longer have space to breathe in our flat. We had multiple offers for our flat the first day of viewings, and found a lovely new house for ourselves. Unfortunately, our buyer was a first time buyer, and unbeknownst  to us, had not even secured a mortgage. A couple of months later, the chain broke, so we were back to square one. In January we put our house once more on the market, and sold for 5k above our asking price on the first day of viewings. We decided to move to Milton Keynes, and found a lovely house which I could not stop dreaming about. Turns out it was not meant to be. Our house sale fell through again because of the damp in our house. The heartbreak this time was even more painful because I had already strong armed Mr.Dibs into letting me convert one of the rooms into a sewing room. Needless to say, I did not want to see my sewing machine because it reminded me of things that were not to be. We have since fixed the damp, and thousands of pounds later, our house is going back on the market today. I am trying work some excitement into the process but to be honest, I am struggling with that as well. I don't think I will be able to handle another disappointment.

On a more positive note, one other thing that has been fighting for my time, is my obsession with macarons. I wrote a post about them earlier this year, and my love for them has only increased. So much so that I have decided to start selling them. I have been doing alot of research on how I want to proceed with my macaron business, and what brand image I want, packaging, distribution and the usual suspects. It is fun, and scary at the same time. I am going to Paris in June to study this course at Ferrandi, a French culinary school. My friend is getting married in June, and she wants me to make a macaron tower for her, so exciting times ahead. Plus, I will need your help sometime soon, I plan on hosting a macaron tasting party so we can all decide on the flavours I will be selling. If you think you could help with that please drop me a note in the comments box.

I also decided to loose some weight. I joined the gym, and so I go some days after work, which means I don't have enough time after work to sew. I currently work in Maidenhead, so by the time I get back to London, all I want to do is eat and pass out. I have good days and bad days, and I have had a cold twice in 30 days, which has broken my motivation to go to the gym. I am hoping to get back on track this month. I have lost a bit of weight though, as you can see from the picture below.

So there you have it. My gazillion reasons for not keeping in touch. I don't even know when I will get back to sewing as my weekends are already fully booked till the end of June. I am on the lookout for a Babylock overlocker though, so if/when I do buy it, the excitement of a new machine might translate into me actually sewing something.

I have been buying fabric though. That is the one constant in my life. My fabric obsession. I am so looking forward to summer because of all the maxi wearing opportunities I will have.

Oh, one more thing, how do you manage the demands on your time and life, with sewing and blogging?

Zlata Skirt

Tuesday, February 25

I finally made something people. After months of inactivity I finally made something. Since my last sewing project, so many things have happened, bad things, good things, and so so things, but more on that later.

I made a skirt. Do you like it? I certainly do. Sometime ago, Ana of Stepalica patterns, was looking for testers for her new pattern, and I signed up for it. Ana's patterns are not your usual patterns. She is self taught, but you will not know by the quality patterns she puts out. Last year I wrote about her first pattern, the Nougat dress. I am still to make that, but this year shall not go by without me making it. Touchwood.

So yeah, the Zlata skirt. It is a lined pleated skirt with a twist. I told you Ana does not do the usual. You can read all about the skirt here, and see different versions of the Zlata skirt made by some of the testers here

It has three variations, and I made view C. I was not sure about my size, so I cut size 42. In hindsight I should have cut the 44 because the 42 is a teeny weeny bit too tight. Which brings me to another thing, I have put on alot of weight. I recently discovered I am a comfort eater, and the past couple of months of have been really hard on. Lots of stuff, which I hope to never go through again, happened. Anyways, my issues translated into midnight trips into the kitchen for some ice cream and chocolate cake, followed by macarons and coca-cola.I now weigh 92kg, which is the heaviest I have ever been. I currently have an incovenient pain in my knee, which Mr.Dibs and a friend of mine have attributed to my weight gain. Sad stuff people, sad stuff.

Anyway, back to my skirt. I love it. It is so different to what I normally make. I rarely sew solids. I definitely should incorporate solids into my wardrobe. The fabric is a cotton/linen blend I bought from Abakhan fabrics in Manchester. It was a dream to sew and I now wish I had bought more of it.

In terms of difficulty, I would say the skirt is a medium. You have to line it, so if you have never made a lined skirt before, this is a good project to start with.

 I found that my bum raised the back of the skirt, so I need to address that in my future projects.
 Ana gives you a few suggestions on how to add more details to your skirt, one of which is pipping. I added some pipping to the pockets, and waistband.

I might make view B next. 
Stepalica: Zlata skirt Pattern #1401

My next two projects are a toile du jouy dress, and a simplicity 2053 dress.  I actually started these two projects last year, but with the issues I had, I could not complete them.

You might also have noticed that I have not been posting Minerva Blogger projects. I left the network. I am very happy I was asked to join. I had fun while part of the network, BUT, I was not in a good place, and I just did not have the energy to do the projects justice. I still love seeing what everyone else has been making, and I just know it will only get better.

Macaron Sunday

Sunday, January 19

Happy New Year people. Have you already broken your new year's resolutions yet? Yes? Ah, see, that is why I do not set new year's resolutions. I never keep them.

What I did decide on though, was to enter the kitchen more. Before getting married to Mr.Dibs, I lived with him for a couple of months, and I was such an exemplary house guest that he decided to put a ring on it. I suspect the marriage proposal was a result of the delicious food I cooked everyday. Unfortunately for Mr.Dibs, my forays into the kitchen was part of my plan to get a marriage proposal from him. I stopped cooking regularly as soon as we came back from the honeymoon. I am not even joking. Mr.Dibs has been trying to get me to turn back into the domestic goddess I was pre wedding ring, but I have been steadfast in refusal to revert. Every so often I would be moved by the need to do some good for the universe, and I would cook him something special.

Which led me to my new toy.

Last year, when my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I was not sure what to ask for. I wanted two things, a Coverstitch machine, and a Kenwood chef. Both of these things are not cheap. So I could only choose one. I weighed the pros and cons. Which of them would get the least resistance from Mr.Dibs? Hmm, Mr.Dibs has never benefited from my sewing. I am that selfish. I'm sure there will come a time when I would make something for him, but that time is not now. Food on the other hand, is something the whole family could enjoy. So I chose the Kenwood. And his exact words were " About time I benefited from one of your hobbies". Now, saying cooking is one of my hobbies is a very long stretch, but what the heck, Mr.Dibs can say anything just as long as I get what I want.

So, last year, This bad boy made its way to my house.

Since having it, I have improved somewhat in the kitchen department. I am not quite up to Nigella Lawson standards yet, but I will get there eventually...I hope.

I have used it mostly for baking. I love baking. I have used it to bake cakes and cupcakes, but what I have loved making the most, are macarons.

I am quite pleased with myself. I first had macarons from Pauls. They are not cheap though, so I reserved consumption for special occasions. Then , when I was pregnant with Noah, Mela came visiting with some chocolate macarons she had made for me. Junior Mr.Dibs still remembers that day fondly. When I think of baking, I thnk of my two gals, Mela and Rachel. Those girls are mean in the kitchen. So when I got the Kenwood, I started looking online for receipes and inspiration. The general consensus was that they were very finicky to make, and you had to be very precise with your measuring. The macarons in this post are my fourth attempt at macarons, and they are my best so far.

Traditional french macarons are made using almond flour, icing sugar, caster sugar, and egg whites. So you make a meringue, and mix with the almond flour and icing sugar, and a colouring of your choice.  You can make macarons using three different meringues. The french, swiss or italian meringue. I used the Italian method. I will go more into the details in another post.

Noah has been very excited about these macarons. He would not even let me do a successful photoshoot.

I had to enlist Mr.Dibs to restrain Noah.

I love making macarons. I find them really easy to make, if you follow the instructions that is, and carefully weigh all your ingredients, and pipe them well, and bla bla bla. What I am trying to say is, they get easy with practice, and once you get the hang of making them, they suddenly seem like the easiest things to do.

So what about you? Have you made macarons before, any interesting flavours you think I should try? I'd like to know. I would also like to make more use of my kenwood chef, so if you have one of these, or a normal food processor or a Kitchen aid, what do you use them for? Care to share any recipes?