Welcome to my blog.

Welcome to my world - mostly the fabric world that I escape to whenever I have time. Hope you enjoy it and please feel free to comment.....

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gumuts and Pinwheels

Today the Gumnuts (or the Gummies or Nutters) had our regular meeting and we got stuck into our pin wheel quilt.  I do love this one.  It is so fresh and pretty!  Love it.  It has a really happy feel about it!
Today we got all the pinwheels sewn together and then made the medallion and added it in the middle.  
 Once we had the quilt top together we needed to decide what to do with the border.  Everyone likes the yellow and the thin green...............except me!   So, what do you all think?   Don't worry, we don't take ourselves that seriously that we risk a falling out over the colours or fabrics chosen for borders etc.  But i did laughingly tell the others I would see what you guys think so let's hear it girls!  What do you think?  I think the green is dark enough to need to be balanced with a darker border than the green. 

 And this quilt was made by Jennie for her daughter's wedding present.  Lovely isn't it?  Poor Jennie.  These are not her colours and Andrea and I talked her into the border fabric which we bought at the fabulous Country Pickin's.  I just love it and now I think Jennie does too.
 Mmmm, quite like this pattern - another one on the "got to do that one day" list?

 Irene brought these two tops along.  She has made them for friends who are expecting and they are both so cute!  Two lucky little babies will be snuggling under these! 

 Don't you just love this little picture?  We met at our friend Audrey's house today and she has this gorgeous little painting!  I love it every time I go there so I thought I would share it with you.  Cute huh!
My lovely hubby came home again tonight and he had saved these for me!  Yep, he is a good 'un.  Aren't these floral chocolate gorgeous - ALMOST too pretty to eat..........almost!
Till next time.....................happy stitching!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A finish!!!

Don't you just love a finish!  My up-cycled stars is now completed.  I wish I had a better name for it but I still really like this quilt.  
 I bound it in the same fabric that I used on the back.  I love this fabric and the colours are better for the quilt than the photo shows - trust me!
I quilted it simply  by stitching in the ditch around all the star blocks and then around the black border, all in a cream thread.  You can see a little of the quilting in this picture
 and again in this picture.  Not very exciting I know.
Then I changed thread and 
 stitched a couple of rows around the border on the cream.  Adds a little interest but is still quite subtle so doesn't detract from the stars.
So, yay!  A Finish!

Till next time...................happy stitching!

Monday, February 27, 2012

You gotta love living with teens.............don't you?

Here is a little insight into life with Guitar Hero and Fly Boy!  Last Friday FB asked me if I could  make a birthday cake for someone at school for Monday.  
Apparently the convention is that the kids take it in turns taking in cakes for their peers and then someone else takes in a cake for them when it is their birthday.  Of course I said yes!  That meant I would have to drive him to school as a cake would not survive the bus trip!  PLAN A.

Then Guitar Hero told me he needed to take his amp (the biggest heaviest guitar amp known to man!) to school Monday which would mean I would have to drive him to school - and no, they may be twins, but they do not go to the same school as of this year.  That is another whole story!  According to GH there would not be enough amps for all the guitarists performing in school chapel this morning without his amp.  (Why am I not convinced!)  

So began a period of sometimes heated negotiations in order to work out how to make it all happen as simply as possible.

FB's solution - make GH use one of the school amps! and drive FB!

GH's solution - make FB take the cake on the bus and drive GH - tell him to suck it up - ahhh  lovely!

My solution - drive GH to school, FB can catch the bus and I will drive the cake to school and leave it with Student Services.  No big deal and do able!!!  PLAN B

Then, at 11pm last night GH came to see me (an hour and a half after he was meant to be in bed) to tell me that he had decided not to take his amp to school so I confirmed he didn't need a lift after all!  I guess he must have had a recount of the number of amps at school and miraculously there were actually going to be enough after all!  

Amazing coincidence!  

Of course he decides this for reasons unknown but certainly not to make things easier for me or to fit in with his brother!

So, this morning I told FB I would be driving him to school .....PLAN C ....that is until GH realised that he did need alift after all as he could possibly carry his guitar, folder, school bag and laptop bag on the bus by himself!  So we were back to plan PLAN B!  

But the best part - the absolute HIT of HITS, TOP OF THE POPS, WORLD BEATING reason why you have gotta love living with teens.......is........wait for it!

After dropping GH and guitar and so on at school at 8am this morning I got a call from FB (you know there is a problem if he calls me instead of texting me!) and says - 

oh this is good!

Can you please bring the cake in on Wednesday - I am not due to have it in till then.  

Now you can laugh!

So, the cake that I made last night and got up early to ice this morning is sitting uneaten by my two teenagers so it looks like I will give it away tomorrow.   Freeze it you say?  Thought of that - but there just isn't enough room in the freezer!  Tomorrow night I will be making another one.  And guess what - it appears one of the boys in his group gluten intolerant so I need to make a gluten free cake - thank goodness for google - I found a recipe.  

Some times you just got to have a sense of humour! (and a little chocolate never hurt either!)

Help!  Can someone please tell me why I keep getting Composition Editor popping up on my screen all the time in blogger!   It is so annoying and it usually over text i am trying to read.  It seems to pop up every time I move the cursor!

I also made chocolate chip muffins today thinking that my boys would enjoy them for afternoon tea - one is like a stomach on legs which i actually like, but did he want the muffins?  No!  Just about everything else but no muffins!  Guess those can be frozen for lunch boxes thank goodness!
Nearly forgot - the recipe for the muffins came from here.  They look yummy, they smell yummy, but I haven't tasted any yet so hopefully they taste yummy too!

Till next time..........happy stitching!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

One down - thirty nine to go....

Not much time for sewing today.  I had to do some shopping this morning followed by family stuff.  I had to do some baking - a banana honeycomb cake!  This is basically a banana walnut cake but with crushed chocolate coated honeycomb replacing the walnuts.  Tomorrow morning it will get chocolate icing and then I am driving Fly Boy and cake to school.  His small group at school has a routine where everyone takes it in turns bringing in a birthday cake for someone else - you never bring in your own cake - you bring in for someone else.  I like that but I would like it more if I knew who the cake was for and boy or girl so I could have decorated it more appropriately!  Oh well chocolate icing will have to do!

125g butter
¾ cup caster sugar
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas
1 teasp vanilla
½ cup  chopped walnuts
¾ cup SR flour
¾ cup plain flour
1 teasp bicarb soda

Mash bananas finely with fork – you need ¾ cup.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add bananas and vanilla, beat on low speed until well combined.  Stir in walnuts, then sifted flours and soda in two lots.  Mix well.  Spread mixture into well-greased 20cm ring tin.  Bake in a moderate oven 40 minutes or until cooked when tested.  Stand a few minutes and then turn out onto wire rack.

I also managed to write a tutorial on how to bind a quilt for Aussie Heroes but as far as sewing for Cherry Red goes, this is all I managed - one lonely potholder!  

Still one is better than none - now just 39 to go plus a quilt and some Christmas decorations all for this year's Irish Charity Bazaar.  I will do everything in the order I mentioned  and hope to get lots of the decorations made.

Tomorrow night I hope to start quilting the star quilt.  There have just been too many night with interruptions but tomorrow night is looking good!  Wish me luck!

Till next time.................happy stitching!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I love presents! and the second sneak peak revealed!

Just one of the reasons I love my hubby is that he brings me chocolates.  Handsome fellow travels most weeks, usually Monday to Friday for work.  Whenever he stays in a hotel where they provide the turn down chocolate he puts it aside and brings it home for me - yum!    I am not sure I would be that good!
I have been showing you some sneak peaks of the sewing I have been doing but I couldn't show you much or tell you much because sometimes this lady reads my blog!  It is Tarja's birthday next Saturday but tonight's dinner was a welcome home for Brooke who spent five months in America recently.  We realised though that we might not be able to get together for Tarja's birthday next Saturday so we gave her birthday presents to her tonight.  I made her three aprons as she has just started wearing them regularly.  

First, one for every day!
Then one for Easter
 and finally one for Christmas time.
And then, just because she likes babushkas......
 And no, I didn't give her the hat.  It had been in the boot of the car to go to St Vinnies and it was brought in for a joke and I just managed to snap her wearing it!
 And here we all are - one of the rare group shots.  My son, Guitar Hero, took the picture.  He and Fly Boy refuse to socialize with my friends and only come out for the meal so I was just thankful that he agreed to take the picture for us.
 And now I am well and truly ready for bed.  Hopefully I will get some sewing done tomorrow.

Till next time.......happy stitching!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A little swap

My bloggie friend, Celia, and I do a monthly swap.  She sends me 5 five inch log cabin blocks and 
 a dozen civil war 6inch tumblers.
 And I send her 5 five inch stars and a bunch of 2 1/2inch squares.  
Not much else to show you tonight.  I managed to get the binding on on one Aussie Hero Quilt today and another one is ready for hand sewing but tonight all I have done is cut the backing and binding for three pairs of pot holders.  It has been a long week of early mornings and late nights.  I think I am going to have an early night.  Guitar Hero is jamming it up on his guitar - loudly!  Thank goodness he can play well - he is practicing Johny Be Good!  Wish I could record him for you!   Fly Boy has flown the coop to the movies with friends - unfortunately he can't fly home - I have to leave to collect him in 20 minutes.  Handsome hubby is hopefully on his way home from the airport, arriving home from his business trip.  I am thinking I am going to collect FB and then hit the sack pretty soon after I get home.  Tomorrow night the sisterhood are coming for dinner - we are saying Welcome Home to Brooke who actually got home a month ago but with school starting and people working and horse shows (not me - another family) this is the first chance we have had to get together!  I made a pav today and tomorrow I have more preparation to do but not too much as everyone brings something and we always eat too well!

Til next time................happy stitching!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Just because..

Warning - super short post!

Check out this gorgeous bowtie quilt - made by a family member - how lucky!  No chance of any heirlooms like this is my family!

Happy stitching!

Not licorice allsorts

Stitching all sorts!

I was catching up on blogs that I follow and I came across this post.  I was so glad to see that I am not the only one struggling and intensely disliking the new two word verification system! I was just commenting on some blogs and one of the words that popped up was in arabic (or similar) script - REALLY?   VILE is absolutely the correct word.  I too have turned mine off.  Hope this makes it easier and more enjoyable for you to comment in the future!

Now I am going to tell you about a book I have just finished.  I wanted to read it because it is about a craftswoman in Afghanistan, a country I know little about but which I am more interested in now that I have started Aussie Heroes.  I don't normally do a post on books I have read but I just had to share this one as it speaks to the value of women in the community doing what they can to help their families and others.  I loved it!  I think some, if not all of you, will love it too.
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
I found this to be so inspirational - how  Kamila Sidiqi found a way to support her family and help the community around her, like a pebble dropped in the lake from which ever increasing rings emanate was so inspiring!  It made me appreciate what I have - my freedoms, comforts and rights.   I hope you will give it a go and if you do, I hope you enjoy it!  This will tell you a bit more about it.

And following on from yesterday's tip about using a mini ice cream scoop to scoop cookie mix - a normal size ice cream scoop work really well for muffins too!

My friend, Del, came over today to help with lots of Aussie Heroes sewing and she brought this quilt to show us - it is made using a jelly roll.  The pattern is from a Jelly Roll book.  I don't know which one but I can find out if anyone really wants to know.  I just love it!
As far as my own sewing is concerned there is nothing much to report - another couple of sneak peaks but I promise all will be revealed soon............
 Bet you are dying to know what I am up to............
But you will just have to wait!     

Till next time..............happy stitching!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

One gift revealed!

Back here I told you that I couldn't share much of what I was doing on Sunday as I was making a gift that had to go into the mail the next day and I knew the recipient might read my blog and I didn't want to spoil the surprise.  What I should have said was that I spent most of the morning baking!

I thought I would introduce you to my best cookie making hint.  You may have heard it before but if not it will save you so much time and mess.   I learned this from my clever Canadian friend, Irene.  

Once I have mixed up my cookies I scoop the mix into a wide shallow bowl.  This works really well for just about any cookie mix, even those ones that you are supposed to put in the fridge till they set so that you can roll them out.  If you want to roll them out then go ahead but I don't like to do that any more as it hurt my arthritic hands so I use this method!  I have an ice-cream scoop - a small one- the bowl of it is about and inch and a quarter across.  The hardest thing about this will be finding the scoop but good kitchenware shops should have them or should be able to tell you where to get one from.
This mix is for Confetti Cookies that I first saw here.  With the recipe you are supposed to wrap the mix in glad wrap in a log shape - can't do that as it hurts my hands - and then stick it in the fridge.  Instead I scrape the mix into my nice flattish bowl and use my scoop to drop delicious dollops onto my baking tray.
You can leave them like that of it you want prettier looking cookies you can gently roll them into balls at this stage.   Easy!
And this is the end result!  So, now I can show you the result of my morning's cooking.  I made five different sorts of cookies as they had to appeal to a mixed audience - Mum and Dad and 4 gorgeous children  So, first up - the above-mentioned Confetti Cookies.  Click the link to the post where I first saw these if you want the recipe.
Then the old favourite - Chocolate Chip Cookies but with Easter coloured M&Ms instead of Chocolate Chips.  The recipe is here.
This is a military family so of course I had to make ANZAC Biscuits!- recipe here
And Dad has spent time in Afghanistan as part of his service so I just had to make AFGHANS. These are one of my favourite biscuits.  I just love the texture the cereal gives them.  Of course, neither of my boys will eat them!  Must be the addition of the healthy cereal and I didn't even tell them it was there!  The recipe calls for the biscuits to be iced with chocolate icing and topped with nuts but that is not very school lunch box friendly so I topped them with a giant smartie (like a giant M&M only better of course!) which only serves to make them more kid friendly!


200g butter
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup plain flour
¼ cup cocoa
2 cups Corn Flakes
½ cup crushed Weetbix
¼ cup chopped hazelnuts

Beat butter and sugar until smooth.  Stir in flour, cocoa, Corn Flakes and Weetbix.  Mix well.  Drop rounded teaspoons of mixture about 5cm (2”) apart on a greased tray.  Flatten with a fork.  Bake in a moderately slow oven about 15 minutes or until browned.  Cool on trays.  Spread biscuits with frosting and top with nuts.

Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting
60g packaged cream cheese
60g butter
2 tabsp  Nutella
1 cup icing sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter and nutella until light and fluffy.  Slowly beat in icing sugar.

And finally I made Butter Biscuits which are supposed to have vanilla flavouring but as the Confetti Cookies have vanilla flavouring I wanted these to be different so omitted the vanilla and added the rind of two oranges (expertly grated by my lovely hubby to save my hands) and topped each one with a Jaffa.  That is a candy covered choc/orange candy for the un-initiated.  You just can't beat the smell of freshly cooked orange cookies!  And I also happen o know that one of the recipients enjoyed some Jaffas recently.


150g butter or margarine
¾ cup caster or brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ teasp vanilla essence
1 ¾ cups plain flour
¼ cup custard powder

Using an electric mixer beat butter and sugar together until creamy.  Add egg and vanilla and beat well.  Fold in flour and custard powder until well combined.  Use clean hands to forma dough and knead on lightly floured surface and shape into a log about 5cm in diameter.  Wrap in plastic wrap either place in the fridge for 30 minutes or freeze until required.

When ready to use, preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan forced.  Line baking sheet with paper.  If frozen leave biscuit dough at room temperature for 15 minutes.  Slice into 5mm portions and arrange on tray.  Press topping of choice into each biscuit.  Alternatively pinch off a teaspoonful of mix and roll in 100s and 1000s.  bake for 10 – 15 minutes until golden.  Cool on trays 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

This is what I ended up with - all the varieties bar the ANZACs are in here.  As there was a little extra space in the rectangular box I put the tin in I wrapped the ANZACs in bubble wrap and added them in beside the tin.  

I was off to the post office first thing so I could send them Express Post and I am pleased to say that they arrived at their destination safe and sound this morning!  

Till next time.............happy stitching (or baking if the mood takes you!)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pinning me down!

I managed to get this layered and pinned today.  
I am really looking forward to quilting it but I don't think I am going to get much time for that for a couple of days as I have a lot to do for Aussie Heroes and tomorrow night I am out for an hour and a half or so with Guitar Hero.  I also have to finish the tomato present and a few other things to go with it.

Till next time................happy stitching!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Just a couple of hints!

There is not much that I can show you tonight.  I spent most of the morning making a gift that I am posting off first thing tomorrow morning but I can't say any more because the person it is going to reads my blog!  I promise to share in a couple of days when the parcel has been received.  

I can't tell you too much about this gift either.  I can only show you a couple of sneak peaks because if the recipient reads this she/he probably won't work out it is for them   - hee hee!  Love this fabric - so bright and cheery - have also cut out some potholders from the scraps too.  I reckon this will make great pot holders.
I can show you my label which I have almost pieced into the backing for my Up-Cycled Stars.  I really need to come up with a better name for that quilt.  It is going to a family who lost most of their things in the recent floods in Mitchell, QLD.  One of the lovely ladies who has sent me donations for Aussie Heroes knows them personally so I am hoping to get the quilt finished this week and get it in the mail.  
 I really like this quilt but I am really looking forward to sending it on its way.  I can't imagine the thought of losing everything!  Just awful.  

Till next time...........happy stitching!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Gumnuts latest project

The Gumnuts had our regular meeting this week.  This quilt was finished and is ready to go off to the organizers of the local Relay for Life.    Unfortunately the sunlight is really fading out the colours - it really isn't this pale!
And we moved on with our next project.  This quilt will be handed over to raise funds at a Celebrity Mother's Day Luncheon being held in the city later this year.  Last meeting we cut all our pinwheels and everyone went home with some to do.  We all managed to complete them and then
this week they were trimmed
which resulted in this
which we thought was pretty enough for this.
By the way, check out the lovely tablecloth!
All the blocks were laid out around the green fabric which we are going to use for a medallion.  You might just be able to see the two fabrics we are going to use to border the medallion.
We rearranged a few - I think this is the most hillarious stage of quilt design with us!
And then we enjoyed our lunch and topped it off with these - gorgeous maraschino cherry cup cakes - the hostess, Irene, is a bit of a baker!!!!! 
After lunch we numbered each and every block in a determined effort to ensure that it is sewn together in the same order as it was arranged on the design floor!   Well, we can try!  We all like the colours so much that I think we might make a second quilt to raffle among us!  Next meeting we will start sewing the blocks together!

Till next time.........happy stitching!