Friday 28 June 2013

Baking and Card Making

A bowl of peeled and sliced tamarillos, lemon zest and juice for this cake.  Delicious warm from the oven for afternoon tea  yesterday.

The Scout celebrates a birthday today - this is the card I made him.  A special birthday dinner for him is planned, with his favourite foods - crumbed schnitzel, creamy potato gratin and sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce for dessert.

Miss B is tucked up at home today with a cough - hopefully a couple of days in the warm will help.

Plans for the weekend include a little sewing and hand quilting, maybe a long walk and scooter ride with Mr J and Miss B, cos the weather is meant to be nice and fine. A lie in on Sunday if I am lucky, with a good book.

Enjoy whatever you have planned for the weekend.

Thursday 27 June 2013

Zip Zap - A Pouch is Done

Yesterday, using this tutorial from Noodle-head, I made my first zippered pouch.  I haven't sewn a zip in anything since I was about 18. The instruction book and box of sewing machine feet was hauled out, there was a little bit of scooting the chair from the sewing desk to the the computer for each step. 

No shortcuts were taken - I basted the zip in and then pinned it in place before sewing.  It's not quite perfect, but for a first attempt I am really pleased.  I hand stitched instead of machine stitching the top stitch - only because I like the look.
The tutorial is really clear with good photos and instructions - possibly my only advice would be to make a bigger size if this is your first time putting a zip in and doing boxed corners, so you have a bit more room to manoeuvre things around.

This  pouch is destined to be filled with nail polishes and other little treats for one of my nieces as a Christmas gift. Miss B has requested I make her one too

Tuesday 25 June 2013


I am:

reading  and enjoying this book.  You can almost hear Julia Child talking as you read her letters.

thankful I finished  knitting my fingerless gloves before it got too cold - they are ideal to wear when on the computer - I can still type and keep my hands warm.

playing with my newly purchased  zips - watch this space - zippy pouch images to come in the next few weeks.

making birthday cards - one done for my niece, one to go for my brother-in-law, a sister-in-law and The Scout.

very pleased to see that there are buds on my lemon tree - hopefully that will mean lots of lemons for lemon curd, lemon cake and of course my summer G & Ts.

also very pleased that it is not as cold and the rain has stopped.  Now if only the sun would come out and dry the sheets on the clothesline.

What are you reading, making, doing today.

Sunday 23 June 2013



Still very cold and wintery this weekend, so what better than a pile of new crafty books from the library.  I have been waiting a while for my request of  Patchwork, Please to arrive, so was very pleased to get that on Saturday morning.  I have traced the pieces for the pin cushion, now just have to sort through my fabrics.  I also cut into my good fabrics and made my first Kaleidoscope cushion top.  I am really pleased with how it has turned out considering it is my first paper pieced item.

Friday 21 June 2013

Cold Days


A very cold wet blustery day on Thursday and the same again today.  Mr J is home from school with a croupy cough and sore throat.  There were a few Mastermind games in front of the fire. 
A little bit of handquilting on the Ruby quilt  for me, while we snuggled up inside during a good hail storm.  Some sewing and mess making at my sewing table.

An update on the science project - Day 14 - Mr J is very pleased.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday 20 June 2013

Floral Find - Friend or Foe

The last few times I have been walking I have seen this pendulous flower vine clambering over an old tree.  Today I traipsed through the long wet grass and down the bank it grew on to pick some and bring it home to try and identify it. I thought the flower looked a little like a passionfruit flower, and that it could look really nice climbing up a tree on my front lawn. .

Well I was right. The plant is a Banana Passionfruit Vine (Passiflora Mollissma) and it turns out that is is now classified as threat to our native bush in New Zealand, and should not be planted any more.  I guess I won't be buying one of these for my garden.

Check out this link for more information on this and other plants which are a threat to our native plants.

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Challenging my Crafty Self

I need to step outside my crafting comfort zone,  so I have decided to set myself some challenges for the rest of 2013.

One of them is to learn how to paper piece quilt blocks.  I  have seen lots of  fabulous items made by paper piecing when browsing  blogs and flickr. Gosh some people are clever. Eventually I found this cushion and tutorial for a pieced kaleidoscope block, and this free pattern on Craftsy.  A little bit of playing around with some fabric scraps and this is what I have done.  These are my practice blocks , they are not perfect and I need to work out how to consistently get the centre points meeting and avoid the bulk of all the intersecting seams there. So fingers crossed after a few more practice runs, I can cut into the good fabric and have a fabulous cushion to show you by the end of the year.

Other crafty challenges will be zips, sewing triangles and knitting on circular needles.
What are things that challenge you when sewing?

Tuesday 18 June 2013


I am currently reading this book, an autobigraphy about Molly Birnbaum, who after an accident lost her sense of smell.  Once you lose your sense of smell you effectively lose your sense of taste - you are able to recognise sweet, sour, salty and bitter, but you can't distinguish what you are eating even though you can see it.

It made me wonder what smells and tastes I would miss most, so here's a  list of some of them:

oranges and lemons - the smell from the zest
freshly baked bread and cakes
wood smoke on a cool winter evening
freshly cut grass on a summers day
rain on hot concrete
the smell of fresh line dried washing
sea air
smell of bacon cooking
freshly brewed coffee
steak on a barbeque

What would you miss most if you lost your sense of smell?

Sunday 16 June 2013


Music lessons on Saturday morning, a trip to the library, and then some time weeding a much neglected corner of my garden.  Time to sit and relax with some garden books and magazines looking for inspiration and ideas to fill in the gaps I made.

Used some lovely freshly picked lemons in a Lemon Poppyseed Cake, which Miss B and I will enjoy.  The same Miss B who told me yesterday that she doesn't really like any of the chocolate chip cookies I make.  Oh well more for the rest of us.

Some almost instant gratification with a  small sewing project - a new pincushion made from chocolate linen, vintage lace and scraps of  Oh Deer fabric. Something for all my lovely new pins.

Lots of rain on Sunday, meant lots of  handquilting.  My Ruby quilt and the sewing machine decided not to co-operate, so this will be a labour of  love,  mainly worked on in the evenings.  Just the white centre squares so far, I am still debating whether to quilt around each nine patch individually or in blocks of four. I am also wondering about trying to machine quilt the borders in 1/2" rows - hopefully my machine would like doing this, cos it shouldn't be so bulky at the edges. Would it look funny with handquilting and dense machine quilting?

Friday 14 June 2013

Fudgy Friday

Some baking for the weekend, which Miss B and I will enjoy.  This time Mr J and The Scout are at a Cub camp.  These biscuits are very yummy, so I'll share the recipe here:

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Cookies

175g butter - melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla esssence
1 egg
2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon each - baking soda and salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 170C/325F

Whisk together cooled melted butter, sugars, egg and vanilla.
Mix in flour, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.
Place large spoonfuls on lined baking tray.
Bake 12-15 minutes.
Cool on trays then transfer to a cooling rack.

Best enjoyed with a glass of milk.

An update on  Mr J's science project - day 6 - we have growth.

Have a fabulous weekend.

Thursday 13 June 2013

The Quilt Sandwich Story

Well, Tuesday's effort at pinning and basting my Ruby quilt was a bit of disaster.  Yes, I taped it to the floor.  Yes, I started in the centre, smoothing it out as I went.  When I unstuck it from the floor - the backing was a wrinkly puffy mess.  I stomped my feet like a three year old, ate a bit of chocolate and had a whinge to my sister in Australia.  Later  that evening I googled "making a quilt sandwich" and looked at a few different tutorials. Eventually I decided to try this one from Oh Fransson.

It meant that yesterday I had to move all the furniture out of my dining room, and I had to wash the floors - I hate doing that.  However this gave me a large hard flat surface to work on.

Did it work? Yes, I am pleased to say it did. I think that the main problem on Tuesday was that I was doing it on carpet and possibly, because the backing fabric is a cotton poplin, it may have been a bit slipperier than quilting cotton.  Lesson learnt.  All going well I can start quilting it this weekend.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Sent & Received

I have recently taken part in a couple of swaps through Flickr.  Yesterday was very exciting, there were two parcels for me in the letterbox. Firstly I received this lovely bright summery fabric basket and goodies from Kelli.  They will definitely brighten up my sewing desk.

 This is what I sent my partner Karri.

The other parcel contained my mug rug - however I was extremely spoiled and received four beautiful mug rugs from Jera.

My partner hasn't received hers as yet - but this is what I made and sent to her.

I have had a lot of fun taking part in these swaps.  It is so nice to receive mail that is a surprise and isn't bills or junk mail.

Tuesday 11 June 2013

A Quilt, A Cake and Pink


Pinning and basting my Ruby nine patch quilt,  while listening to my Adele cd, and Tui's singing in the trees behind my house.

Last night I made an Applesauce Cake.  It makes quite a large moist and flavoursome cake,  full of different spices, that scent the house beautifully while it is cooking.  I often stew and puree apples that I freeze in 500g containers so I have it on hand for this cake.

Some pink from my winter garden - Bergenia, Bromeliad and "Pink Mouse" Cuphea