Friday, February 28, 2014

A lot of unpicking but it is done

Well a while back I shared that I was using some Asian Taupe materials to do some hand patching using a stretched hexagon block. I finished the patchwork a long time ago but it took until last night at the girls get together to get on with turning it into my new wallet.

The inside. Hidden zip, lots of pockets for cards etc.
I am really happy with the result. Though my mind took a bit of getting around how I was going to make it and I had to unpick about 5 times, which is not like me at all. But as you can tell from the lack of blogging I have had a pretty full week and I think it caught up on me. I have meant to make this for about two years as my old wallet (also made from asian taupe fabrics) was totally worn.

I link to these places and to Crazy Mum Quilts

Friday, February 21, 2014

Oh the deliciousness...

Drop one in your mouth and the explosion of flavour makes you immediately want another.
I decided to use my big pick of tomatoes in an experiment. I made semi dried tomatoes and they are to die for. Before I could put them in the container Aaron and I had munched our way through a tray full. But that's OK as it is healthy.

How to: Cut piles of tomatoes in half and put them in a tray cut side up (where the juice cannot flow over). grind on black pepper, be really generous with fresh thyme from the garden, grind on salt to taste and sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar per tray.

Put in a normal (preferably not fan) oven at 180 deg C for an hour and half. Turn down to 120 deg C and leave in the oven 3 hours. Turn the oven off and allow to cool inside. Pop into a container and keep in the fridge. These will only keep for about two weeks.

Eat at room temperature. Ooooh yum. Put into a salad roll, eat by themselves with a pre dinner drink. They are so moorish that it is hard to stop eating them.

I made this recipe after looking at HEAPS of different recipes. I did not peel the skin off the tomatoes as that is too much work and low ovens for 8 hours or overnight just drive me mad.

I link to these places

A rather extravagant animal

embroidered pig
Yesterday I finished this dyed wool and velvet pig. I love him. Eli wants him and I have said "I don't think so". He is sitting in pride of place on the top of the fire at the moment. He is made of dyed wool, velvet, sequins, beads and lots of stitching.
another angle of piggy extraordinaire

sequins and stitching

This pattern is designed by Jane van Kuelen - who runs Stash Palace. She comes to Kaiapoi twice a month and anyone who is available can go and peruse her wares and sit and stitch and chat. Loving it.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Treasure Trove

Oh how lucky am I!! On Sunday I felt that I had Aladdin's cave before me. Val who is a crafty friend of mine has moved and downsized considerably. How do you fit three bedroom and four car garaging worth of stuff into a two bed one garage place? You give it to ME!!
 I enjoyed opening the bags to see what was inside. I got a lot of huge pieces of flannel that are now all washed and ready to use as backing for my charity quilts. Enough blocks I think to put together to make another quilt. A huge assortment of material for scrap quilting and more. Beatrix Potter by the metre........ oh the list goes on. Even my boys started oohing and aahing when the dupion silks came out. Waistcoats are requested.

Thank you so much Val. Loved seeing your new place. Eli came home to tell Dad that your garden was just the right size and so lovely to sit in.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Finished - the Orphan Block Quilt

orphan patchwork blocks
I have just had a three hour stint at the machine to finish this. The boys are having their party and they certainly do not need Mum when they are XBoxing. So I got onto the sewing machine. I had thought the quilt was too small so I added another row. Now it is large!!. But it has used up ALL my orphan blocks. 10 years worth. There is not one block left in my bag and as you can see on the top right corner I had to put a piece of material in to finish the row. Yay.

This is the what it looked like last time I did a show and tell.

I even used a leftover binding that I had unpicked a couple of years ago. I used black and white materials to try and give it a cohesive look with such disparate blocks. And it was gifted to me so therefore free. This will now go into the pile of "need to be quilted".

Thrilled to be linking this to these places, and Crazy Mum Quilts.

Junk Food and XBox

Yes turning 11 has made parties easy. All he wants is junk food all day and to play XBox, computer games and watch movies. Well that is easy to cater to!! Food all ready and waiting for the friend to arrive.

I must be organised today as it is Saturday and I am not normally out of bed by now. But I have hung out washing, completed the party prep, picked tomatoes and put them in the oven to "dry" them. Better stop soon as I don't want to be an over achiever!!!

Friday, February 14, 2014

An Origami Bukuro - Fabric bag

Yesterday I went to the quilt and craft fair in Christchurch. And at a Make area this is what I made.
It is a fabulously simple pattern and quick to make - 45 minutes at the most if you are used to sewing.
It was free making and pattern if you had your own material. As I had purchased material at the Fair I thought that was the way to go. The area had Brother sewing machines for you use and it was really a promo for them. The pattern was given away by Brother. I have to say I loved two things about the machines 1.the way the speed was regulated 2. the automatic threader. Now I have a Bernina and never thought I would change, but I did enjoy sewing on the Brother machines.
For those of you who have not yet gone it is still on tomorrow from 10-4.30. I really enjoyed it. I took quite a different approach this year as the last few quilt shows or fairs I have been too I have been a tad disappointed. This time I focused on any free tutorial or class and anything new that I had not seen before. I had the best time ever!!
The other hands on class that I did was with a pattern making system and I really enjoyed doing that. I came away with a vest pattern that fits me. Now vests are not particularly In at the moment but some can be very funky. So two hours of my 5 hours there was in hands on classes. There was so much more I could have done. I am pleased with my new approach.

I link to these places and especially Finish it up Friday over at Crazy Mum Quilts.

Love in a lunch box

This is the first time I have ever done anything for valentines day. It wasn't the hit I was hoping it would be as Eli told me that I was a mean mum this morning when I wished him happy valentines day. I did laugh. He wanted to watch a Youtube item on his IPod before school - I Don't Think So!!!!

Last night I made cupcakes and buttercream icing to put on the decorations that I made earlier in the week.
Everyone got two each in their lunch boxes. That is one more than I would normally do - but I saw it as a treat.
Their sandwiches were cut into heart shapes with a cookie cutter. I was also going to cut apple like that but there was no room left in the lunch boxes. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lots on the go..

Well I am procrastinating by writing this blog post as I should be writing some Job Descriptions. In spite of that I have been very busy.
Strange photo to put on I know. But this is some beading board that I am undercoating. Yes I am painting again. I feel as though I have been painting for the last 14 months (which I have on and off). It has saved us money on our Earthquake claim (as their cost is definitely lower the actual cost) as intended but it does take time!
I have been making fondant decorations for something edible for Valentines Day. I figured that while I was not working much that I could put a bit of effort into that day. We have never observed Valentines here in our house so it will be a first. 
random patchwork blocks
Over the last three nights I have put more blocks together and made two more borders for the orphan block quilt that I started here.
Angora wool
When I have been too tired to concentrate or have been watching the Winter Olympics then I have been knitting this. I started while camping on the Molesworth Station. This is a rabbit wool and incredibly soft and amazing, but sheds like crazy. I am going to follow the trend and make a cowl. This wool was a jersey that I bought at an Op Shop (Charity Shop) and unpicked, washed and rewound it.

Last night I knitted a bit of this. It has been on the needles for over a year. I am using my stash of homespun wool that has been spun and dyed by my mum. It is a Kaffe Fasset pattern and quite slow to knit. Major concentration is needed as each row is different, so I only knit it occasionally as I can't watch TV or anything else while doing it.

Monday, February 10, 2014

What is in the Trug for dinner tonight.

Carrots, rainbow beet, zucchini, broccoli florets, butter beans, french beans - add a little bit of fresh ginger and some thin thin slices of meat and we will be having a lovely spicy stir fry on rice (mixture of brown and white). I think the tomatoes will just be snacked on.

Is it a new project or finishing an old one?

Hmm I can't decide. I am trying to use all my bags of stuff that have been organised into projects. Now I have three shelves of unfinished or planned projects and yet I also have tons in my head ready to start. This is a bag of orphan block - the photo is not good sorry.
sorting all the blocks on my bed
 Every-time I make a project and have bits left over I put them in this bag. I can see my taste change just through this bag. Last night I decided it was time to get rid of this bag. The main block of green half square triangles (hst) I made about 12 years ago. The square blocks were a quilt I started but from all my scraps about 10 years, but no progress was made and I decided to put them in the orphan block pile. Then lately my scraps have been a lot brighter and more white based from slightly more modern quilting.

quilt for charity
looking coordinated now but maybe not later!!
So last night I sewed some of the blocks together and now it looks all coordinated - that is the end of the blocks from 12-9 years ago. Now I have modern bits and bobs to put around it. I think the quilt could end up looking quite confused but at least it will be another quilt for the charity I support - Hope Homes International.

So do I classify this as finishing something or starting something? As you can see, I am good at starting and not so good at finishing.

I link to these places and especially WIP Wednesday and Anne at Domesblissity.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Scrappy triangles are now all used.

Yes I made another cushion / pillow cover. I have been trying to change layouts and try different things. It is only by trying that you see what works. This is 22 inches square and I have decided to use it on the European pillows we have on our beds. They are feather and old and getting a bit saggy and the thicker quilted cover has made the pillow look new again. I made it slightly smaller than the feather inner in an aim to plump the cushion up again.
patchwork scraps

scrappy trianglesWhen I first patched the triangles with the borders in-between I did not like it at all - somehow the triangles got lost. I still think I would have preferred it if the material was black with white dots but I had run out and I am trying to only use my stash. But once the quilting in black thread went on the triangle look came back. Not the best job and not my favourite but it is a finish!!! I still have sitting in my quilting stuff some of the remainder triangles which I had sewn for another cushion may unpick and use on my new project. That is the end of this stash of triangles!!! yay.

As it is going to be used on the bed I just made a basic envelope opening for the back of the cover.  

I will be linking to several parties - their buttons are over here.

February Finishes

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Molesworth Station

A few photos from our night camping on the Molesworth Station. The weather was not as hot as hoped so only Aaron did lots of swimming. View are spectacular. Then on the way home we did the Superbowl and hydroslide at Hanmer Springs for Jakobs 11th birthday.
The boys loved mucking around in the tent

Amazing scenery

Two tents as it is not a place to tow a caravan!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My fabulous Op Shop finds

Today we had a bit of a merry go round. Had to get the car checked at two different places, pick up one boy and take him to the emergency dentist, go to aquacise, do afterschool swimming but in amongst all that I managed to dash into the local Save the Children charity shop. Oh I was pleased I did.
A brooch that I see potential in. A bracelet that is gorgeous as is but I might pull apart and use in an embroidery, but think I will wear it in the meantime. $6
A gorgeous English pottery jug. Could not resist the shape and colour $4 
Some tupperware containers for Jakob this year as he is doing cooking at school. A coffee plunger that I will use for loose tea in the caravan.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

No matter what you call it - it's scrumptious

Chocolate Fondant
Chocolate Pots, Chocolate Volcano, Chocolate fondants... no matter the name it is a delicious dessert. Until this weekend I had always made Rachel Khoo from the Little Paris Kitchen recipe. Hers had a caramel in the middle. But on the weekend our friends made Nigella Lawson's recipe. This is simple and straightforward. I do have to admit that I have made it a bit more simple and straightforward than she has it. BUT... Made in 5 minutes and cooked in 10. Lip smackingly good.

Nigella Chocolate Pots - Karen's Method
4 1/2 oz bittersweet choc (I used 70% cocoa solid)
4 oz butter
3 large eggs ( I used 4 as I only just now realised I read the recipe wrong)
3/4 Cup white sugar
1/4 Cup normal flour

Nigella says this makes four but it is very rich and my friends made it go around 8 - I made it today as 5, only because I had 5 dishes.

Turn oven on to get it up to heat - this is important - 400oF, 200oC (I used my fan function)

Prepare your ramekins 4-6 , by buttering and flouring them so the mixture does not stick.

In a microwave bowl put the chocolate and butter. Microwave on 60% power for 1.5 minutes until melted.
Out of the oven looking like this
In another bowl whisk together eggs, sugar and flour until just blended (again I did not read that and gave it a good beat). Gradually add the chocolate mixture to the eggs - I did it in two lots.

Pour into the greased ramekins and put on a tray and place in the oven for 10-13 minutes. It is ready when the tops are firm and cracking slightly around the edges.

Turn onto individual dishes and serve with runny cream. Eat while warm, do not delay!!!

I link to these places.

The last week of the holidays

I am rather late posting this but here is a wee set of photographs to show our wonderful last week of the school holidays.
Hair cutting in the bush. Getting ready for school

Underwater Aaron


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....