Thursday, May 31, 2012

Recycle / upcycle project - Making gift bags

Last night I started my big tidy up of my craft area. No more new projects, get everything off the floor, organise my stuff etc. Why do I have to do this every three months??
Anyway I had previously cut all the paper out of a wallpaper sampler book ready to make into gift bags. So I sewed and sewed and sewed!!! It took me about 1 hour to get them all done, but now I have all my wrapping for gifts done for the year.
I take the simple approach. Sew two similar sized sample pieces together. Then when the gift is in I punch holes in the top and either thread homespun wool through or a ribbon to tie them off.
I have seen on-line where people get really fancy and make them have proper bottoms etc - yes they look lovely but Oh they take so long!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tips on making the double hourglass quilt

As I have said in some other posts I have a few tips on making the double hourglass quilt, listed by Alison at Cluck Cluck Sew. Refer to her easy to understand instructions but add a few of these tips and you will have a double hourglass quilt of your own, whipped up in a jiffy.
1. It's all about the ironing. 
a.When sewing the initial coloured strips and solid colour together press the seam to the patterned material.

b. Before opening each sewn triangle press the seam in the closed position first. This will set the seam and stop the stretch and buckle happening that can occur when dealing with seams on the bias.

c. When opening the first set of triangles sewn together (after setting the seam in the closed position), press the seam toward the triangle that has the print material.

All of these items will ensure that when you sew blocks together and / or assemble the triangles that the seams will all be in opposite directions so that they butt up closely and form really sharp corners.

2. Use the square rulers you have available
Alison's instructions regarding how to get your quilt triangles the correct size do work well. But I found that I could not cut the material off the template plastic, so had to put my ruler over it to have an edge, then it gets messy.

For using a Jelly roll - 2 1/2" strips I used my 6.5" ruler. The 45deg angle line is aligned to be straight with the bottom of the fabric and then you cut. Just like that.
For a Jolly roll - 1.5" strips I used my 4.5"ruler.
3. Chain piece
It will make the quilt sew a lot faster than getting up and ironing after every small seam.

4. Concentrate on each individual seam as it goes under your presser foot.
Make sure the seam is aligned and butting up. If you have to use pins then put one through each join. If you are confident without them just check each one as it goes through.
Have fun.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Quilting weekend in Hanmer Springs

Sheryl and Kylie working hard
What a fantastic weekend I had. Four friends and one gorgeous baby all having a girls quilting weekend. We made Giraffes (from the Melly and Me pattern), had a walk, had gorgeous food made by us. Lots of sewing, cutting and relaxing. Though I felt shattered by the time I got home.
Paula sorting her split nine patch quilt

Cora had one mother and four aunties this weekend!!!
We hired a holiday home in Hanmer Springs. Great place to stay. Must do this again.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tiny Happy

I have just found a new blog to follow. Tiny Happy - what a fantastic blog and she also has a shop on etsy -
Lovely use of recycled material and inspiring!!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hodgie Podgie Day

Yesterday we had a family Hodgie Podgie Day (a day out where anyone, including the kids, can stop us to look at something or do something).
On the ferry
So it started with the kids calling in - they went to K-Mart and got some new MGP wheels.

Aaron proving that he cannot climb trees

Then we went to Lyttleton and caught the Black Cat Ferry to Diamond Harbour. What a great we ride in gorgeous weather. Poor Morris sat on my knee (well actually tried to crawl inside my skin!) and shook the whole way across. Then we played around at the Godley House Domain. The boys up trees, Aaron decided he could climb too! Not!
Eli was official photographer - us at Freemans
We thought we would try the new cafe at the Diamond Harbour Store - HMm - coffee was great and the icecreams so big that the boys could not finish them. But the food was minimal and did not appeal.
Then off for another short walk along the cliff top, back on the ferry and arrived hungry in Lyttleton.
We thought we would try the revamped cafe / restaurant Freemans as seen on the TV about their restaurant expansion going bung in the earthquake. Fanatastic venue. Great food and really amazingly good prices.
Plus at 3.30pm live music started. Very cruisy Jazz by Carmel Courtney and her three piece band.
Gorgeous Pizza and handcut fries that were fluffy inside.

$12 for bread and dips for 4 people!!

As soon as we arrived and the staff saw we had children they had a pile of drawing materials on the table . The boys really appreciated that. What a fantastic relaxing day out.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Melly and Me patterns

Well six weeks ago I was invited to a baby shower. I came home all enthusiastic and started cutting out my Melly and Me patterns. Had them cut and sewn in a night. Then the next few soccer nights I stuffed them. Then it has taken me 5 weeks to get them finished!!! I kid you not. Why does the sewing up and finishing take me so long. Because I PROCASTINATE. Big time!!
So a frantic finishing session last night and they are all done.

My big hint when doing a Melly and Me pattern is that you trace it with freezer paper and then use that, rather than having to cut out plastic templates.

So I have decided "No more procrastination".
Last night I finished the toys, made the vanilla essence (which the ingredients had been sitting on my kitchen bench for three days). It only took 5 minutes.
Made a huge batch of shortbread (the butter had been "softening" on my bench for two days as well!).
Then to finish the night at 9.45pm I cleaned the toilet. Toilets bug me as they get dirty so easily and yesterday I thought yicky so last night I did it before I had a shower and bed. (It did make getting up this morning easier as all those jobs were not still staring me in the face).

I often "relocate" things to another place or put them on my "to do" list. Really it should get done there and then. On the way home from rugby at Oxford today Eli bought 1/2 metre of fabric at the Cust fairy shop and wants shorts/pj pants. I am going to make them tonight before that too sits around for the next four weeks!!!

Lets see what can get achieved with no more procrastination.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Double Hourglass Quilt - Finally finished!!

Well I said about 6 weeks ago that I could not make a quilt in a week and I was right!!. Since then this is all I have worked on. On Mothers Day I did a last ditch clean up of my overflowing craft stuff. Completed all my mending and cut and sewed the last strip on this quilt.
I still felt it was not big enough for the bed (Aaron agreed!!!). But I am over it and it will have to do. It is more of a summer quilt anyway so does not have to cover so much. It is also going to be very hard to quilt as it is soooo big.
Aaron immediately got under it to test try and then we discussed how to quilt it. So that is now the quandry, a good quandry to have.
This quilt and the method came from Cluck Cluck Sew. Though I have quite a few tips re ironing that makes the assembly of the blocks easier. I also tried to make the template occording to her directions but in the end the good old 6.5" square board does the trick.
So with the left overs I am going to make a little quilt for the charity I support, so will take photos and put up my tips later.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Scooter Safari

Our Pastor - Dennis Isaac, who has been going through operations, chemo and other treatments for cancer has joined in the amazing scooter safari. Go to - fundraising for cancer. Short of a miracle occurring Dennis will not be living a long life but it looks like he is going to take every opportunity he can. Pray for his healing and go look at the scooter tour.

Mothers Day

Happy Mothers day to you all.
I have had a lovely day.
Poor old Jakob has been struck down with the horrible cold that Eli and I have got and was very miserable, so has been in his PJ's all day.
Aaron and Eli made me a gorgeous breakfast. Fresh fruit salad with natural yogurt. It had pineapple, apple, pear, kiwifruit and banana and was exactly what I felt like. Aaron taught Jakob and Eli how to make real coffee using the espresso machine. So I had about four shots of espresso before I went to church. Eli was so proud of it all that he said he was a cafe and brought me in a bill for the service. $0.50 for every coffee and $1 for the fruit salad!!!
I then had to go to church by myself as Jakob was too sick to take. I was giving the sermon today as they wanted a woman to talk. The sermon was about healing. I was very amused that my family were home sick!! It all went well.
We have had a relaxed afternoon as the day has been sunny and fantastic. I sat in the sun on the deck and starting stuffing my last giraffe. They made me croissant and jam and more coffee for a lunch in the sun. I am so blessed being a mum.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Change of a name

I have been asking for ages as to what I should be calling my blog. The original fromplot2plate was good but the emphasis slowly changed from the garden and food to more crafty pursuits. Most of the names that everyone else suggested were already taken on blogger. So today I spent HOURS trying to get a name I liked that wasn't taken. Then I started a new blog......... Then my IT husband came over and asked what I was doing.
Oh boy, what took me three hours and setting up new stuff he fixed in 3 minutes. I am not joking... 3 minutes!!! He was right that I did not want to lose my followers etc to date and he swapped the name and the url, just like that.
Aren't husbands fantastic.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fresh Homemade English Muffins

Nothing better on a weekend than lovely, hot off the griddle, English muffins.
I originally got a recipe from an old cookbook that my sister had dated about 1932. Since then I have adapted it for the breadmaker (plus some other modifications). Always works.

Gorgeous to eat with homemade jam and cream, chutney and cheese or whatever you want.

The griddle was bequeathed to me by my Nana when she died. My Auntie was required to give everyone what had been listed and I still remember her telling me that I did not have to keep what Nana had put aside for me. She did not think that they were a very good heirloom. I was given this griddle and two cast iron gem irons. I was so thrilled!!! My Nana certainly knew me well, though my Auntie remained mystified that I did not put them in the Salvation Army box!!!

My Recipe

Into breadmaker put;
250ml tepid trim milk
1T butter
1tsp salt
2tsp sugar
3tsp dried yeast (i don't use the breadmaker yeast just normal - but either works)
1 cup flour
1 egg

put the breadmaker onto dough cycle and let it mix for about 5-7 minutes. Stop the breadmaker and add 2.5 more cups flour. Allow the breadmaker to do a full dough cycle.

Take the mixture out and put onto a floured surface. Flatten it to about 2 - 2.5cm high. Cut out rounds with a cookie cutter. Put the rounds onto a preheated griddle - must have a very thick bottom. This should be hot and even temperature but not frying heat. I put my griddle onto a gas ring at about 1/2 heat - anymore and the bottoms will burn but the dough will not cook.
You could use an electric frying pan.

Once they are cooked on the bottom - It should be brown on the bottom and looking cooked to about 1/2 way up the side of the muffin (takes 5-10 minutes), turn them over till cooked on the other side. The edges of the muffins do NOT get browned. They should be soft to touch but not uncooked.

Use hands only to pull the muffin apart and put your topping on. Yum Yum

A gorgeous break in Rarotonga

Woo hoo, A holiday with no kids for 11 days. Bliss, relaxing and warm! BTW it was an early 20th wedding anniversary present to ourselves....