Wednesday, 9 July 2014


Good Morning to you,

I think it would be fair to say, that I have been 'bitten by a new bug'..... well maybe not so new, if truth be told, it's quite an 'old bug'.

I have decided, that I am going to re-enter the world of dress making.  Yes, I am going to pick up different sewing needles and different threads to the ones I use for quilting, and I am going to branch out and make my own clothes again......  but I have to tell you it has been quite a while since I did any dress making.

When Natasha and Danielle were small, I made some of their clothes and evening dresses for myself.  To buy long, evening dresses, in those days, was so expensive and of course when the girls were small, there was not a lot of spare change to go around. So I would find a design I liked and replicate it, usually with a little twist of my own. I would visit  the market to buy the material and whip the dress up, usually in three or four evenings.  I always received lots of lovely comments from friends, who thought I had paid a fortune for the dress and when I told them the cost, they could not believe it.

Do you know, I kept one of the dresses, neatly folded in tissue paper for years.  Then when Natasha was looking for a dress to go to her University Ball, I showed her my old dress and she loved it. It just needed a little tweeking to make it fit, but when it was finished she looked gorgeous in it..... her dress was individual as no one else had one like it.

The reason for this re-newed interest is, I have been watching a couple of sewing programmes, firstly 'The Great British Sewing Bee' with May Martin and Patrick Grant..... and secondly a new programme which has caught my eye, 'This Old Thing' with Dawn Porter. 

Now as far as the Sewing Bee is concerned, I like to watch the programme to pick up hints and tips, but I could never enjoy sewing under the pressure which the sewers are put under.  I like to do things at a leisurely pace and not feel harassed and stressed, otherwise what is the point, it takes all the enjoyment out of sewing.

..... and 'This Old Thing' taps into my love of not wasting, and the idea of re-using clothes which I already have in my wardrobe, really appeals to me. 

I have never been an overly fashionable dresser, well apart from when I was a teenager and I followed Twiggy, with my hairstyle, my eye make up, the little bell sleeve dresses, white tights, oh yes and not forgetting white lipstick...... really.... did I think I looked fabulous. Well, yes, of course I did.

Nowadays, I prefer classic styles and while I have a number of outfits which are timeless, I have a few things that could do with a revamp.

So I am very excited to sew my first garment..... not sure where I will find the time, between gardening, quilting, knitting, cooking and not forgetting the housework..... but I know I will.  It is amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it.

So while I am dreaming about the clothes I am going to either make or alter, this is what I am making today,

a Pear and Ginger Upside Down Cake.  It is a lovely tea-time treat with either cream, mascarpone or even a little vanilla ice cream.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to,

is the Ellie Goulding single 'How Long Will I Love You' and I have to tell you, the minute I hear this song, I think of our daughters Natasha and Danielle and this song just fills my heart with so much love for them.

Ellie also sings a lovely version of 'Your Song' and 'Explosions' is another lovely song to listen to.

So whilst Explosions is playing on my Ipod, I will organise my ingredients.


2 x 410g tinned halved pears in natural juice
90g stem ginger in syrup
(approximately 6 pieceds of ginger)
100ml ginger syrup from the jar
250g self raising flour
250g soft brown sugar
250g unsalted butter
4 large eggs
pinch of salt

25cm loose bottomed, deep cake tin

Pre-heat the oven to 180C


Butter and line the base of the
baking tin
parchment paper.

Drain the juice from the

Finely chop the ginger


using half of the ginger,
fill the hollow of each pear
with the chopped ginger.

Place the pear halves,
flat side down,
into the base of the baking tin.

Pour the ginger syrup
over the pears

sprinkle the remaining chopped ginger
in between the pears.

Set aside for the moment.

Sift the flour and the salt
and set aside.

Whisk the butter


the sugar
until pale in colour.

Gently whisk the eggs,
the eggs and flour
to the butter and sugar mixture

whisk until all the ingredients
are incorporated.

Spoon the cake mixture
over the pears
and smooth the top.

Bake for 1 hour or until the cake
is baked and golden in colour.

Leave in the cake tin 
for 10 minutes
then gently remove
the sides of the cake tin.

Place the cake on a baking tray to cool.

When cooled, using a plate,
invert the cake,
so that the sponge base becomes the bottom
of the cake and the pears become
the top of the cake.

Remove the base of the cake tin
and the 
parchment paper.

you will not be able to resist
just a little slice.

You will have noticed that I used tinned pears.  This is the only tin fruit I buy and it is only used for this cake.  I have tried using fresh pears, but they don't seem to work out as well.  A friend of mine told me she used tin pears, so I tried them and I haven't looked back.

Now I have to give you a little word of caution, please don't do the silly thing I did.  

I have made this cake so many times that I should have known better.  I had decided that I would like some little ripples around the side of the cake, so I thought I would use, what I thought was, a deep enough, cake tin.... big mistake!  It was not deep enough. Everything looked as it should when I put it in the oven, then when I checked the cake half an hour later, I noticed there was a large ring of cake, sitting in the base of the oven....  yes you've guessed it, I did not use a cake tin which was deep enough..... my mind was obviously elsewhere.... was I thinking about the dress I was going to be making, who knows, but it really was a silly mistake. Does that ever happen to you?

So never mind 'it's on with the pinnie', it is now, 'on with the rubber gloves' as I am going to have to clean my oven...... oh how I hate that job...... can you hear me grumbling where you live?

Take care and I will see you on Sunday.

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Dear Friends,

It is so wonderful to know you enjoy reading Ivy, Phyllis and Me! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment. I really do appreciate it.

Best wishes to you.


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