Sunday, January 25, 2009

Australia Day

Tomorow is Australia Day, and although the original inhabitants of this wonderful country are calling for a different date to celebrate Australia Day, as yet it hasn't been changed, so I will be celebrating by going uptown to watch our local street parade. Its always a stirring event and you cannot help but be proud of this great country of ours.

A couple of weeks ago, I took this pic of our flag flying above the tower at the Plaza shopping center in Maroochydore, its a bit out of focus as it was taken from the carpark roof, looking into the sun.

'Noahs Ark' blocks and Applique Learning Curve.

Have finished another 2 blocks and have one in the works, mainly done while sitting in Doctors waiting rooms.
The row x row applique hasn't been going too well, the fabric (Moda Jelly Roll) while beautiful is a little too coarse for needleturn.

So had another attempt at the fusible thread, put the thread on top of the machine, used a large needle and tension at zero, all as recommended.

What I found was that the thread either pulled through the holes ever so slightly or simply melted through when pressed.
As I only have 1 teflon applique sheet, I lay the pieces onto the sheet and ironed the front of the fabric.................big mistake, little brown bits of fusible thread all in a row.

All a bit much really, so while sooking in my sewing room ,decided to check out the new DUQ online mag and came across an article on Kirsten Duncan, her work is amazing and her 'Blessing' quilt border was just what I am attempting to create.

E-mailed Kirsten to ask about a pattern, "not yet" came the answer but she offered to talk me through, which she did!
I am so grateful, with all the wonderful advice and hints I feel renewed confidence at being able to achieve this first row.
To visit Kirsten's website go to http://www.kirstenduncan.com.au/ , where you can also link to her blog, and her other sites.

If you are one of the lucky people with the DUQ free 6 monthly online subscription, go to page 63 to see Blessing' or go to http://www.duquilts.com.au/ to sign up for the freebie, and read about the lovely sharing Kirsty and have a look a 'Blessing'.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Disorganised and Distracted

Lynette Anderson has a free stitchery BOM on her blog in celebration of her first year of blogging.
http://lynetteandersondesigns.typepad.com/
The link is just under "Other Pages" under the pic of Lynette

They are real little cuties, and not too big a project.

Now this isn't the first stitchery that I have done, but it's not the 5th either, so to see some quality work go visit Lynette's blog as she has links to a long list of stitchers doing this project.

There are 10 of the 12 designs up so decided it was getting about time to launch into the project, grabbed the youngest Grandie and off to the thread shop where he got very involved in choosing the threads that were needed, silly me thought I only needed 3 extra colours, but oh no, colours were discussed in great length and I ended up buying a few more.

The thread shop is primarily a bead shop, so much admiring of beads and a request to buy some to make 'mine Mum' a bracelet, or as he put it, 'dangly thing for going all the way round her bottom arm'.

Somehow with all the excitement of threading little beads onto a length of plastic to make the bracelet- this is the distracted bit - I have managed to loose the new threads - the disorganised bit - .
So have started with the existing colours in my floss box, hoping the others will surface sooner rather than later.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My new gadget

Now what on earth could this be.....


....its my new T.V.!
this little gadget allows fee to air t.v. to play on my computer, how cute is that

It even has a split screen facility, tiny but there.

Friday, January 9, 2009

What could it possibly be?


As mentioned in a previous post, the youngest Grandie spent a couple of days visiting, he was sporting the above tattoo, courtesy of Poppie, when I went to collect him.

Here he is proudly showing off his Chrissy pressie from Uncle D & Aunty K just before Grandma popped him into the shower where the tattoo just sort of rinsed off...........well with a bit of rubbing it just rinsed off, much to his disgust.

We then took the remote controlled car for a burn around the lounge, under the couch and over the Shitzu, the Sheltie took one look and disappeared at a trot, those flashing coloured wheels were just too much for a dog to bear.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Beautiful Flowers






While minding the youngest Grandie a couple of days ago, these beautiful flowers arrived for me from my Secret Sister Alicia as a thank you for her Christmas Pressies, it was great fun to choose pressies for someone I had not met. I'm looking forward to contacting Alicia and getting to know her.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Inspired to Cook.

Have been bitten by the cooking bug, Scquilters (online quilting group) has a bit of a free for all on open subjects at this time of the year and one of the members, Bev, started a thread on favourite recipes, there are some beauties out there.

Starting off with Fresh Tomato Sauce.

Tomatoes chunked and ready for the oven
Out of the oven and ready to be blended
Blended and strained, some to be frozen, some used over pasta for lunch. Made about 5 cups of sauce from 1kg tomatoes. The recipe is at the end of the post






Helen Evans lemon cake is delicious, if I was making it to take somewhere I would seive the lemon juice as the top of this cake has tiny little bits of lemon pulp over it, looks a bit fuzzy.
The recipe is at the end of the post.





Cathy, from Cowbells Patchwork gave us a brownies however, instead of 1 1/2 cups nuts I used 1 1/2 cups Hazelnut meal. Worked out quite well,.......yes you miss that nice contrast of texture between the fudgy cake and the crispy nuts, and this version is uniform, but all things considered it is a yummy slice. we tried it while still warm. Recipe follows.

Recipes:

Fresh Tomato Sauce.

I have been refining this recipe for years, it is now very similar to Stephanie Alexanders in her book 'the cooks companion'. I guess every chef has his/her fresh tomato sauce recipe and therefor every waiter/kitchen hand has their version as well. If you have her book then check her recipe out for added variations. The support team usually puts fresh chillies in their sauce for a bit of bite, lovely.

Ingredients:

1kg ripe tomatoes, cored and chunked - remove some of the seeds as you go.
1 large onion, halved and sliced
2 large (4) cloves garlic, sliced
1 carrot (optional) chunked
2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
Cracked black pepper and Salt

Method:
Put the tomatoes, onion, garlic and carrot into a roasting pan, drizzle olive oil over and turn the vegetables until coated with the oil.

Crack pepper over and sprinkle with salt.

Cover baking dish tightly with foil and roast at 180 deg for 1 hour, turn oven off and allow tomatoes to cool in oven for 30 mins.

Transfer cooked tomato mix to a blender and liquefy, sieve through conical strainer to remove any pesky seeds or tough bits of skin, press down firmly to remove all the juice.

Sauce freezes well and is great as a pasta sauce with the addition of a bit of grilled proscuitto or bacon and some chopped fresh herbs, my fave is basil.


Moist Lemon Cake
from Helen Evans

Ingredients:
125grms butter, softened
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
1 Cup castor sugar
2 eggs
1 Cup self raising flour
½ Cup plain flour
½ Cup milk

Topping Ingredients:

½ Cup lemon juice
¼ Cup caster sugar

Method:
Pre-heat oven to moderate. Grease and line a deep 20cm round pan.
Beat the butter, rind and sugar in a small bowl to cream stage.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined.
Stir in the sifted flours in two batches with the milk
Spread the mixture into the pan and bake in moderate oven for 45mins approx.

Topping Method:

Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a jug, stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the hot cake, allow cake to stand for 15mins before turning out onto a rack to cool.

Cathy's Chocolate Brownies:-

Ingredients and Method:
Melt 150grms butter (not margarine) then add 250grms dark chocolate bits and stir to melt. Remove from heat.
In separate dish, whisk 4 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add 1/2 cup sour cream and whisk some more.
In yet another bowl (just love washing up!), combine 1 cup plain flour and 1 1/2 cups some sort of chopped nuts, pecans, macadamias, whatever.
Add 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar to the butter choc mix and stir well.
Add choc mix and egg mix to the flour and nuts. Whisk till combined.
Bake in moderate oven 30 mins in slice pan lined with baking paper.

My Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies
Follow Cathy's recipe but substitute 1 1/2 cups of Hazelnut meal for the 1 1/2 cups of chopped nuts.
No pic of the brownies, they got whisked off to the Support Team.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Hexagons and the Row by Row

The hexagons are coming together very nicely, there will only be 3 rows of half hexagons to form a floating flower effect (I hope) but it is just too hot in my sewing room to continue at the machine - its 38 degrees for pity's sake, so have decided to decamp to the air-con and hand applique the flowers onto the background strip at the top of the hexagon row.
O.K., deep breath, I did a workshop years ago with local quilter Dianne Johnson, a very talented lady who also hand dyes fabrics and makes award winning quilts, so did I learn anything? and can I remember what I learnt, well I guess time will answer that little question.
So needing a bit of a refresher I turned to Google (as you do) and found this brilliant tutorial on 'Back Basting for Hand Applique', well never having heard of back basting I followed the tutorial through, it seems that this is going to be the answer to my prayers, just have to remember some of Dianne's little needle turn tricks and maybe with a bit of luck this row just might come together.
The link is to Sentimental Stitches, a site that looks very interesting indeed and definitely worth investigating
which as soon as it cools down I intend to do.
Meanwhile just gotta lug some fabric choices and stuff out to the air-con, ..............and quickly.