Thursday, August 29, 2013

Another Upcycled Merino Boys Top

Yes I have been in my finishing mode again. I cut this jumper out for Jakob about 3 weeks ago. I thought that if I cut it out then I would get it done. But it still languished in my sewing corner.

He had picked the colours about 2 months ago!! He went through my stash of Op Shop Merino jersey's. I then had to sift out which ones would not garner enough material to remake a top. Just like Eli's jersey I used an old Top Kids magazine pattern.

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Showing off the coloured facings

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Belgium Biscuits - the fast and easy way

Our whole family love Belgium biscuits but they take so long to make. Rolling out, cutting, baking, sticking back together ......

So I tackle it a different way and make it in a slice tin. Just as yummy but four times as fast to do.

I use the Edmonds recipe but double it. This will then make a slice in a sponge roll tin. (this has already been doubled)
Belgium Biscuit
First cream the butter and sugar well, then add the eggs one at a time. Sift the dry ingredients into this and mix until the crumbs are sticking together and looking chunky - like this
Press just over half the mixture into a baking paper lined tray (I use an old fashioned sponge roll tin)
Soften the jam in the microwave with a good squirt of lemon juice. This should make it runny enough to just pour on and have it easy to move around the slice. If you don't do that the jam is very hard to spread on the biscuit base. Traditionally the jam is raspberry jam - but we ran out of the homemade stuff months ago. What I do still have in the cupboard is blackcurrant jam and that makes a gorgeous tasting slice. Use what jam you like. Pour the rest of the biscuit crumble onto the jam.
Smooth out the crumble and press gently. You want it setting together but not so hard that the jam oozes up through this layer. Bake at 180C for approx 20-25 minutes. Until slightly golden and looking cooked all over.
Belgium Biscuit
It is important to add a runny icing as soon as you take it out of the oven. I then sprinkle a packet of jelly crystals on top - just because this is how I have always made it. But you could do hundreds and thousands. Or nothing at all. Once cooled but not cold, cut into slices. 
Belgium slice
250G butter
1/2 c brown sugar
2 eggs
4 C plain flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp cinnamon
2tsp ground ginger
2tsp mixed spice

3/4 cup of jam and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Pink icing made how you like to make icing.
Packet of blackberry jelly (optional)

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Zakka Style

 A couple of weeks ago I blogged about a challenge from The Make Cafe in Christchurch. You purchased a 1/2 metre of linen and they added a couple of off cuts and sent them in a package. You were then meant to make an item "Zakka Style". (there are lots of craft books with the Zakka name and it looks like smaller items using bits and pieces you have around. A lot of the use the base of linen)

Now this coincided nicely with two baby showers booked on my calendar. Two of my quilting buddies and good friends, are having babies and I wanted to give something made by me. Both are set up for children as this is not their first so my idea was to make something for the Mum. I will pop a couple of little gifts inside.

In order to fit the Dresden Plate design I made these ended up being very large!!!

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I always link with Crazy Mum Quilts for finish it up friday.
Also posting this with Lil Pip Designs on her Spring has sprung week. I feel new babies certainly give you that spring feeling. I feel the need for some photos of little lambs!!!
Cass can sew and Lil Pip Designs Spring has Sprung

Sunday, August 25, 2013

More Christmas Presents

Well I was inspired by a blogger I follow ____________ (please you NZ bloggers tell me who it is. I have spent the night going through everyone's blogs looking for the right blog to reference) and have done a little ceramic painting.

This blogger had some features of her gorgeous painted mugs in the NZ House and Garden magazine too. So I have been collecting white plates, cups etc and last night before the rugby I started to tackle the project. Mine are a lot more "primitive art" but I am thrilled with them and I know the kids will too when they get a personalised cup and bowl for Xmas.

As instructed I found the pens in Spotlight in NZ. Only $9.95 each. But you do need to shake the packet and make sure you can hear the ball bearing clattering in the pen, if not then that pen has dried up.
The porcelaine pens
A lot of bowls to do
A pile of cups to finish
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Madness of Spring

I am blaming this all on spring. A spring that has sprung about 4 weeks early. All the daffodils are coming out. I picked a bunch of traditional yellow ones and lovely creamy jonquils to add that gorgeous scent. I put them by Aaron's bed as they are his favourite flower (after the poppy - but the sensible poppies realise it is not yet spring and only one is out).

All this madness has extended to my stubborn, obdurate, immovable, mulish (I had to look up synonyms in word to find all these) husband. Or you could put it in a positive frame - persevering, committed and resolute.

Yes we had AGREED - I stress that word - that when our new Canadian Cedar Hot Tub arrived that we would not attempt to put it together but would pay someone. We had the someone lined up. I cam home from soccer this morning to find him very unhappy (and that is putting it mildly) as he had been attempting to erect this hot tub himself!!! Hmmmmmmmmmmm.. It kept falling apart etc. So two hours later with the help of me and the boys the hot tub sides are up.
The half completed hot tub
Now what does this mean? It means that Aaron missed the Opera. Yes this is the New Zealand Opera that came to Christchurch. He has really wanted to go and booked for himself. And he missed it!! Why - because he wanted to get the hot tub up. And he had Really Really wanted to see it.
The bits still left to do.
Well we are going out to dinner tonight. His obstinacy has saved us quite a bit of $$$$ (and we are all pooped.) so we will treat ourselves with a little of that saved cash.

As we have only a half finished hot tub I am going to go and have a relaxing bath. Whew I feel I deserve it.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

3 Ingredient Chocolate Mousse

Devine Chocolate Mousse
This recipe takes all of 5 minutes to make. It is my favourite chocolate mousse as it is quite creamy and smooth. This is not a dark chocolate flavour.

I have no idea where the recipe came from as I have been making it since I was 17 and have never had a written recipe.

Chocolate Mousse
150g of dark chocolate - I used 70% cocoa solids
200ml whipping cream
3 eggs.

Melt the chocolate (if doing it in the microwave you can put a wee knob of butter in and it will stop the chocolate getting overcooked).

While chocolate is melting use a bowl to whip the egg WHITES to stiff peaks. Once chocolate is melted add the egg YOLKs to the chocolate and stir well. Then add 3 tablespoons of the egg whites and mix to soften the chocolate. Add the rest of the egg whites and carefully fold them in. Use the egg white bowl to put the cream in and whip the cream. Add this to the chocolate mixture and fold carefully.

Put into pretty glasses and refridgerate for four hours or more (will keep in the fridge for up to four days and be lovely).
3 ingredients

enjoy it.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

This is how we roll....

With piles of paint. Anyone who follows my blog will know that when Aaron goes away - I paint. This time though he knew about it as we have had plasterers in all week. - yay for having our EQC claim paid out.
Rolling , rolling, rolling

The plasterers finally finished on Friday at 1pm.

So that was when I started.
2pm Friday - Sand, prep, gap fill etc all the lounge, kitchen and laundry. Paint the undercoat sealer.
Decide that I was just too tired to continue on and start with the colour (as did not finish until 9.30pm)
Saturday morning - start painting the colour. Finish at 2pm Saturday. Whew!!

mmmm chocolate mousse

I amazed myself as in among that I still made a good healthy dinner on Friday where normally I would resort to takeaways when doing painting. Then this morning after the big rugby club finals day, I decided that I was going to paint the hallway too - it too has been plastered but is a big mission as there are 8 doors and door frame in our hall - aaarrrrrgggggghhhhhh - lots of brush work and edges.

To make me feel better I made some chocolate mousse as a reward for when a layer of painting was done.

The hall so far today has taken four hours and all I have done is prep and undercoat. Eli was very keen to help me and so I put him on the end of a roller. Though I was very quickly abandoned as the company of his brother (who was on the Xbox) was apparently far more interesting (and he told me his arms were tired!).

I am not looking forward to continuing on... but it will happen. Because all the other things have to happen too - school lunches, lots of washing, making beds .................
I had to pop this photo in as part of the EQC work we have fixes to do in the bathroom, cracked floor etc. So we were in Mitre 10 looking at new showers etc and Aaron had to try out this bath - When I took a photo I was advised that it was not to be on my blog - but I am not always known to follow advice.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

All my own design

I have been working on this quilt since 2010.

Well to be honest I parked it since May 2011. When I last blogged about it - here.

I started it when I went to an amazing day in CHCH that was with Leanne Beasley and Rosalie Quinlan. The most fabulous day in the world. Leanne taught how to put a quilt together, how to design it, layout etc.

Rosalie taught hand applique - in a method that has not pins and is so easy.
I got inspired when I got home and started this. There is a lot of embroidery all designed by me, heaps of blocks in miniature (finished block size 4.5") and a lot of applique, also designed by me - in fact the entire quilt is a Karen Schulz original.

I parked and did not finish as there were two blocks to stitch. But finally I realised that this needed to be finished and so I decided not to do any stitching but just assemble it. So I sewed it together, put on the border with flying geese just in the bottom left corner. I am loving it. I pinned it out last night and now it is ready to quilt. Hmm there is so many other things going on in this quilt that I think I may just have to be stitch in the ditch. Hopefully I will not park it too long but actually get on with quilting it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It just happened

Another quilt for Hope Homes International

Showing the borders
This is the first time ever that I have been surprised to finish a quilt. A while ago I found the middle blocks at an Op Shop (charity store) for $5. When I took them home to turn them into another quilt for Hope Homes International, I found that I was struggling to get material that would go with the blocks.

While on my quilting retreat, at Living Springs, Hazel passed me some leftover strips from one of her gorgeous quilts she made. As soon as I looked at the material I knew that it would go well. Thanks heaps Hazel.

So yesterday I had an hour before the kids came home from school. I pulled out the ironing board and ironed and sewed some seams. Then I rifled my stash for another material to make it bigger (the big bright outside border) - cut some 5" strips, sewed and realised that the quilt was heaps big enough. Just like that!

All I need to do now is sandwich it and quilt it (and bind it...... oh it will take a bit more time). I felt very productive.

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Linen project with the Make Cafe

This is the lovely bundle from the Make Cafe for the Linen Project
Well over at The Make Cafe the challenge went out to make a Zakka style something with a wee pack they made up. This was to celebrate them stocking a new linen range. So I popped over to their website (Sew Pretty) and purchased a pack. For only $12 I got half a metre of linen plus three little pop fabrics.

I have added three of my own and a bit of other decoration. I am actually going to make two of the same thing as I have two baby showers to attend in the next wee while. So the plan tonight is to get it all cut out and sorted as there is a bit of hand stitching to do.

I love the Make Cafe and the awesome prices at Sew Pretty (this post is NOT a sponsored post)

The bits that I have added

DIY in my DNA

NOT!!! But today I have been trying out my DIY again. I am pretty happy with the result. I cut, measured, sawed, sledge hammered and nail hammered. As a result I have a pretty square netting support. It is in an L shape along the fence.

 This will have bird netting over it in the summer to protect the red, black and white currents nestling under it. No more pegs and cloth getting caught up in the bushes.

This is my best DIY yet. Another job which I have procrastinated for about 5 months but really only took an hour.

I am pleased but the whole time I had Aaron telling me, that is not right, don't use the hammer that way..... aye aye aye....I told him to go away as I do believe that I have done as good a job as he would have!

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Black and White Quilt done.

Last night I worked on quilting and binding another quilt for Hope Homes International. The quilt was made from a pile of blocks given to me and other black and white material. Thanks heaps Julie.

I was a bit worried that it looked quite adult so I fished through all the donated material and found the soft cuddly flannelette. A dramatic contrast to the quilt top but it makes it a lot more child friendly.

The quilted verse
On the blue borders I quilted "Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path", a favourite verse of ours.

The bright backing
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and finish it up friday with Amanda- Jean

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Shirt Apron - How to

A while ago I posted the beginning of my Xmas present making and it was for a shirt Apron. This is a apron made from a recycled business man's shirt. I now am the proud owner of a Pierre Cardin apron!!

When I made it a lot of people were looking for a tutorial. So two weeks ago when I was on my quilting retreat with the Material Girls, I made the last four shirt apron's. I took some photos and what follows is my tutorial for how I make them.

First start with the shirts you want to turn into Aprons. I only use 100% cotton as I know how it reacts and it is easy to clean. Find some bindings or ribbon that you can use for ties and to bind two seams. Also get any other decoration etc you may want.

Cut the side seams from the bottom of the shirt to the armhole. Cut along the stitching on the edge that is the back of the shirt. You want the stitched and neatened seam to remain along the side of the apron so that you do not have to do anything more to finish that area.

Cut from the bottom of the armhole to the seam on the shoulder. Draw and cut a straight line to the collar.

Once cut it should look like this. Do the other armhole.

Cut the shirt back and yolk off the collar from one side to the other. Again cutting just under all the seaming for the collar so that you do not need to do anything more to finish this area.

Your shirt should now look like this. If it had an amazing label like Pierre Cardin etc then I remove that from the collar or shirt yolk and restitch it somewhere obvious on the front. 

Use the sleeve of the shirt to make a pocket. This is the shape I tend to use. If it is a short sleeved shirt you can use the cuff of the sleeve for the top of the pocket. If not then cut your shape and turn the top down and stitch in place. Add any trims you want and stitch them in place. Fold under the sides and bottom and iron down flat.

Put the pocket onto the left front of the apron and pin in place. Stitch the pocket on - I tend to do a double row as it secures it well and looks smart.

Bind the edge of the shirt where the sleeve was removed. Bind from the collar down to the side seam. You can use Bias binding, or fold under and use ribbon or make some binding from the back of the shirt.

Add ribbon or binding or whatever you have to the side as ties. Make sure they are a good long length for tying around.

Shirt Apron
et Voila - you posh finished shirt Apron (you can see on this one that I also put ric rac on the breast pocket. But the world is your oyster when it come to embellishing.

Do let me know if you make any. I link to these places.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sorting all the notices

Now a lovely organised wall
Oh my goodness. How many notices do children get? Some for sports team, some for swimming, some for activities and school trips, some for special sports days, some for activities occurring during the term, some for reading suggestions and on it goes.......

This was held on by blue tack

This was sitting on the floor!
I have notices in a big muddle, stick them to the bottom of the calendar, put some on a very wonky clip and piles on the fridge door. But not any longer!!

I covered three clipboards with scrapbooking paper and then used 3M picture hangers to put them on the wall. Labelled - Family, Jakob, Eli.

Before I did that I used decal paper that is blackboard to cover the section of the wall for notes and shopping. I really want to blackboard paint it but Aaron was not keen. So the decal paper works well but is removable if Aaron really does not like it. If it gets his seal of approval then I can blackboard paint this at a later stage.

All this is happening as I want a tidy kitchen area. I have things all over the show as EQC finally paid us out and I have plastering happening in the kitchen, lounge, laundry, hall and bedroom. Soon I will be very busy painting!!!!

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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....