How to Reuse Coffee Sacks and make a coffee sack bag

coffee sack bagIt’s been quite a while since I last posted a tutorial and with the summer holidays in full swing that (hopefully) means extra time on your hands for getting crafty. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to reuse coffee sacks and make a coffee sack bag!

I love old coffee sacks with their rustic charm but finding a use for them can be harder than you think. They’re made for strength which means the material can be quite rough with a largish weave. They’d make great looking cushions but you might not enjoy leaning against them but their hardwearing nature makes them perfect for a shopping bag tote!

What You’ll Need

1 Coffee Sack

Colourful/patterned fabric to use as lining

Fabric to make bag handles (needs to be reasonably strong, not a lightweight cotton)

coffeesack1Step 1

Give the sacks a good wash, it’s easiest to do this in a rubber tub outside if you can, then peg up on a washing line to drip dry.

coffeesack2Step 2

Once dry cut out two large rectangles from the sack, both the same size as each other. The actual size you cut will depend on the design printed on your sack and how large a bag you want to make. As long as both rectangles are the same size it doesn’t really matter.

Step 3

Using your lining fabric cut another two rectangles the same size as those made from the coffee sack.

coffeesack3Step 4

Now take the fabric you have chosen for the bag handles and cut two identical long rectangles of fabric (length is dependent on how long you want you handles). Fold each long rectangle in half and iron to make a centre crease. Unfold the rectangle, fold each of the cut edges into the centre meeting the ironed crease, iron into place and then refold in half. This should enclose the cut edges. Sew along the open side.

coffeesack4Step 5

The handles can now be sewn onto the right side of each coffee sack rectangle along the top short edge.

coffeesack5Step 6

Next sew the top edges of the lining fabric rectangles to the top edges of the coffee sack rectangles (right sides together). The handles will hang between these two layers.

coffeesack6Step 7

You can now sew the whole bag together. Unfold the lining and coffee sack piece that you sewed together in the last step. Lay with the right side up onto a table, then lay the other coffee sack/lining piece on top so that the right sides of the fabric are together. It will make one large rectangle which you sew all the way around leaving a gap at the bottom of the lining.

coffeesack7Step 8

Before turning the right way we’re going to give the base of the bag some structure. To do this you need to squash each of the four corners to make a triangle and then sew straight across (see pic), do this to each of the corners. If you’re unfamiliar with this technique then check out this tutorial on the sewing directory.  Trim off the excess fabric.

coffeesack8Now turn the entire piece the right way out through the gap left in the lining. Sew closed the gap in the lining and push inside the bag.

Optional Step: Once the bag is complete you can top stitch around the top edge of the bag to give a good finish and extra rigidity.

The Best Gooseberry Crumble Recipe!

the best gooseberry crumble recipeGooseberries bring back fond memories of my childhood, playing with my best friend in her Grandma’s garden while rushing to pick all the fruit so she could make us a yummy dessert. Unfortunately I never managed to find space to grow a Gooseberry bush at our old house and this year was the first time our new bush produced a useful quantity of fruit. It wasn’t a huge amount but it was definitely enough for one dessert heaped in comforting memories. So today I’m sharing what is in my opinion the best Gooseberry Crumble recipe, it’s super quick and easy plus it has a mega quantity of crumble topping. Incidentally if you think my Gooseberries look odd that’s because they’re pink Gooseberries!

gooseberriesWhat You’ll Need

450g / 16 oz Gooseberries

100g / 4oz Soft Brown Sugar

2 Tbsp Water

350g / 12oz Plain Flour

180g / 6oz Butter

180g / 6oz Soft Brown Sugar

1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

 

Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F or Gas Mark 4

Step 1

After washing cut the top and tail from all the gooseberries. Tip. If you don’t want to get bored it helps to have another pair of hands to help with all the topping and tailing! Place the fruit into the bottom of your pudding dish.

Sprinkle over the brown sugar, then add the water and give the gooseberries a gentle stir to coat.

Step 2

Rub together the flour and butter with your fingertips until it resembles rough breadcrumbs in texture. Next add in the sugar and ground cinnamon and stir together gently.

Tip. If unlike me you prefer a leaner topping on your crumble then the quantities can easily be halved.

gooseberrycrumbleStep 3

Sprinkle the crumble evenly on top of the fruit and bake in the centre of the oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden.

Serve warm with oodles of cream, custard or ice cream.

 

 

Where has Summer Gone?

My children have recently been showing an uncharacteristic interest in the weather forecast and quizzing me almost daily. ‘Where has Summer gone Mummy?’ ‘But why do I need to take my raincoat?’ ‘But I’m wearing shorts!’ Note. Shorts apparently mean no raincoats required, must make a note to relay that to Mother Nature. Although in the kids defence the weather has been decidedly batty of late, rain in the morning, blistering sunshine for lunch followed by extreme winds at dinner, it just can’t decide which season it fancies being in. So as I sit here pondering whether (nice pun there) I dare put the washing out on the line I decided to look through my own curated version of the summer thus far (pictures can tell wondrous lies if you only take them when the sun comes out!)

IMG_6421This pic was taken at one of my favourite hideaways in the Peak District, hardly anyone else seems to go there and I always feel like I’ve stepped straight into Lord of the Rings as I leap about from stone to stone.
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Apple tree blossom flowering in the sun.

IMG_6862Isn’t this Wisteria beautiful! I’d love some at home but it blooms for such a short space of time I only ever remember I want it when I see it out and about.

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Rhododendron colour explosion! We have one mini dwarf rhododendron in our back garden which we keep in a pot but how I wish we had space for one of these giant beauties.

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A happy dog enjoying the great outdoors, he’s never very keen to venture out when it’s rainy either.

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When you’re a forest Pirate taking a rest on an obliging tree stump while checking your compass.
IMG_3072Finally a picture of this mega strawberry! I bought this just a few days ago and like to think that’s its growth (and flavour – super sweet) were encouraged by all this rain and sun combining and if that isn’t a reason to be semi thankful for all the bizarre changeable weather then I don’t know what is.