Browsing Tag


Steaming Through the Ironing


Steaming Through the Ironing with Housewife Confidential

You know my advice when it comes to ironing is don’t buy clothes which crease. Of course there are going to be times when you simply can’t avoid it so finding an iron which make the experience as easy as possible is the way to go.

You know I love to sew and quilt and I can’t escape busting out the iron to press (so much better when you call it pressing) my fabrics after pre-washing. I have been known to complain of pulling a muscle during a big pressing session so when Phillips asked me if I’d like to try out their new SpeedCare Steam Generator Iron I figured it couldn’t hurt.

Steam generator irons have a tank which is connected to the iron by a pipe which delivers the steam without having to top up the iron frequently. The iron locks onto the base station for easy storage and to keep it safe when you’re not using it.

Steaming Through the Ironing with Housewife Confidential

When it comes to the ironing I had huge amounts of steam and the iron got nice and hot. The temperature adjusted quickly. I tried it our on one of my terminally creased teatowels and it fared better than my regular iron.

The steam did come with water droplets and even though it hadn’t had time to build up limescale I found a white powder on my fabric. It may be that the iron needs to flush through a bit before using for the first time.

As a tool I think this iron is sound – it’s going to enable you to get through the ironing faster and escape to spend the afternoon playing with your family rather than refilling and heating a steam tank.

Improv Quilted Geese over Sunset Pillow by Housewife Confidential

As for me, I pressed in super-fast time and got to work on this improv sunset pillow for my Mother-in-law’s birthday.

What you need to know:

  • The iron was sent to me by Phillips for review and you can buy it here.
  • The fabric used for my pillow and the Best Press spray pictured are both from Simply Solids – my favourite place to buy solid colour fabrics.

5 Reasons Why I Love the Cricut Explore and You Will Too

5 Reasons You'll Love the Cricut Explore from Housewife Confidential-5

The Cricut Explore is a game changer. It’s an unstoppable cutting machine which will transform how you craft. With a long-lasting blade, simple step-by-step processes and the ability to cut, write or score your own designs it works hard for its money.

Here are my top five reasons for falling in love with the Cricut Explore

5 Reasons You'll Love the Cricut Explore from Housewife Confidential-1


1. Freedom to Use Your Own Designs and Fonts

Having used my friend’s Cricut Mini in the past I was keen to get a look at the Explore when it launched in London. With the mini you were limited to a library of Cricut’s designs and fonts, all of which were lovely but I couldn’t see how I would use it regularly.

All this changed with the Explore and with the ability to use your own designs and full font library there are no limits to what you can create. You are still able to use their library of images which you can purchase individually or subscribe to. This is the one big change which has converted me from interested to fan.

5 Reasons You'll Love the Cricut Explore from Housewife Confidential-7

2. Attention to Detail

One of my favourite parts of attending the launch was listening to Cricut CEO Ashish Arora talk passionately about not only how the Cricut Explore works but why. They have obsessively made every part of this machine user friendly and versatile. It says a lot about his dedication to DIY that he puts himself front and centre of the pitches.

A couple of the features I love are the tool storage spaces, your pens, tools and spare blades all have a place within the machine meaning you have them at your fingertips when you need them. All the functions you need to perform from setting the cutting pressure to changing a blade are crazy easy – in the design process they painstakingly reviewed every element and made them simple to use.

5 Reasons You'll Love the Cricut Explore from Housewife Confidential-3

5 Reasons You'll Love the Cricut Explore from Housewife Confidential-4

3. It Cuts a Huge Range of Materials

You know well enough how hopeless I am with a pair of scissors. The very fact that Mr Kat (The Cutter) does all of my fabric cutting tells you all you need to know. The Cricut Explore is changing things on that score.

You will see on the dial it has pre-sets for materials from paper through cardstock to fabric and poster board. It doesn’t stop there though; using the settings in the Cricut Design space you can pick from a long list of other materials or dial in your own pressure settings. Mandi, who I met at the launch, has used her Explore for cutting leather and wood veneer. You’ll need a deep cut blade for some thick materials and you may need to run more than one pass but the accuracy of the machine means it cuts exactly the same path each pass.

Gym Tees Made using the Cricut Explore

A few of my makes – far above, horse bunting made using templates from the Cricut image library.

Above, three gym shirts, one made with a freezer paper stencil and two made with iron on glitter (I freakin know, right?!).

Below, Milla’s birthday invites using the Studio DIY Birthday Confetti Poppers from the Design Space ready to make projects and a pennant written with the Cricut Explore.

Check out my project and downloads for Mollie Makes!

Bithday Invite Poppers with Cricut Explore

4. Design Interface

The design studio is super easy to use. It allows you to select from the image library, ready to make projects or your own designs. Everything is held in layers so you can keep them for different cutting mats or put them all together on one page. You can adjust the size of your project simply by typing it into the edit panel. You can define if something is going to be cut, written or scored and with one click send the project on to be cut.

There is no step of the process which has felt complicated. Once you send your project to cut it takes you through step-by-step and the buttons even flash when it’s time to press them.

Cricut Explore Design Space

Cricut Design Space

5. Wireless

This is possibly one of my favourite features – you can buy a Cricut Explore Bluetooth which lets you control the machine without plugging in. This is definitely on my wishlist as I prefer not to have to take the Cricut to my computer and vice versa. Not only can you use the bluetooth with your computer but with your mobile devices so you could sketch an idea on your iPad, turn it into a PNG, upload it to the Design Space and send it to cut.

Now if that doesn’t complete the package on a design-draw-cut-craft system I don’t know what would.

5 Reasons You'll Love the Cricut Explore from Housewife Confidential-6

For me the Cricut Explore is the first craft machine I’ve got excited about since my first sewing machine. It has the same power to change what I create and free me from the boring parts of crafting.

I love this machine so much I took a chance and pitched it to Mollie Makes, head over to my project page to download the templates and learn how to create your own designs.

Disclosure: I was given a Cricut Explore and accessories as part of their launch and to enable me to review it over time. What can I say? I really do feel lucky :) I have spent two months using the machine to ensure I have a wide experience to draw from. More about this type of post here.

Fruit for Breakfast

I’m becoming a dab hand with the store cupboard and when Princes approached me about their Fruit for Breakfast campaign. They are keen to highlight the five-a-day properties of their canned fruit and fruit juices. Not being one to turn down free food I decided it was worth taking a closer look at Princes fruit.

My first thoughts when it comes to tinned fruit are mandarin oranges in jelly and Home Ec fruit salads. As my parcel included mandarins I will be honouring them with some green jelly at some point. You can get peaches, pears, grapefruit, mixed fruit and pineapple to name a few all in either grape juice or syrup depending on your preference.

While you could quite happily eat them as they are, with some yoghurt or mixed into cereal but I fancied baking something special so I created two new recipes using the products I was sent. Firstly some Cinnamon and Applesauce Flapjacks for the babies and children which have no added sugar. For the grown ups (not that I can get the children to keep their hands off) some Peach and Raspberry Muffins.

To celebrate their promotion Princes are giving away breakfast goody boxes filled with their fruit products and money off coupons along with some other bits and bobs including an alarm clock, children’s bowls and beakers. Their breakfast box will boost your store cupboard and if your children are anything like mine the bubble wrap will amuse them for hours.

To enter the giveaway all you need to do is leave a comment below if you can’t think of anything to say why not tell me what you eat for breakfast (I eat toast thickly spread with marmite).

What ever you do please leave your email address in the email field (it won’t be published) so I know how to get in touch with you if you win.

Technical: It is open to UK entrants only (or at least the prize can only be sent to UK postal addresses). The giveaway will remain open until 9am Friday 28th October 2011 after which a winner will be chosen at random and notified by email. Your details will not be shared with anyone unless you win then I will need to pass your address along for your book to be sent. Prize is on Princes Breakfast Box, contents may vary but will include Princes tinned fruit, fruit juices and money off coupons. There is no cash alternative for this prize. Giveaway closed, thank you to all who entered xoxo

It is not open to Housewife Confidential family members.

My Mama Cooks

There are few nicer things that the internet has brought than the ability to connect with people regardless of location. I love being able to share the snapshots of our life with you. I am inspired by the creative lives being shared through blogs I read. Along the way I have made a few friends. I have watched people find new outlets and careers through opening the virtual doors to their lives.

I think short of having my own book published there is no greater joy than opening a book one of my friends has worked day and night to produce. I recently opened the My Daddy Cooks cook book and beyond the excitement of seeing my friend’s book was the excitement about the contents. It really is filled with gorgeous family recipes which work for delicious everyday meals. If you want convincing, check out my review on Bambino Goodies.

I have long joked with Nick that I would make a spoof video of Monty and I cooking which often ends with Monty losing his sense of humour: “Me mix it Mama, me MIX IT.” “Don’t put it in the oven, I want it RIGHT NOW.”

Last night we were cooking Savoury Brittany Pancakes from the book and on a whim I asked Mr Kat to get the video camera. Monty helped me while Milla was in charge of filming. A very fun end to a tiring day.

Did you spot Monty nicking fillings while my back was turned? If you want the recipe then you’ll need to buy the book or the ebook where you’ll find it alongside 99 other gems.