Friday 31 January 2014

Scenes from my Week

From my book pile:
  • a fabulous pile of gardening, crafting, inspirational homes, creative people and their kitchens and studios
From the Auckland Wintergardens
  • beautiful oriental lillies - there would gave been a few more photos, but my camera went flat
From the garden
  • passionfruit slowly starting to ripen
From the kitchen:
  • a cheerful vegetable platter, served with chicken nibbles and peanut dipping sauce.  This was a big hit with my children, the yellow vegetable is actually potato chunks cooked in turmeric and ginger.
From my sewing room:
  • a finished pouch - lined with vintage sheeting that echos the trellis design on the yellow fabric. A little pincushion  for my partner too, cos she likes pansies.  I paper-pieced this log cabin because I always have trouble getting it to look even.  Worked well, the only advice I would give anyone making their own template is not to use a Frixion pen,  when I ironed the seams, my template disappeared.  Luckily it was on graph paper and easy to draw back.
This weekend is the last of the holidays - school starts again on Monday for both Miss B and Mr J.  We also celebrate Mr J's birthday on Sunday.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone.

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Wednesday WIP

A small project this week for a swap, I have joined in.  A simple zippy pouch to be filled with sweet treats for my partner.  She listed favourite colours as pink, yellow and purple. So I figured two out of three is pretty good going.  The yellow zig zag is from Simply Sweet by Lori Whitlock.  The floral was something I received in a swap -  if anyone knows the name of it, please let me know.  A little handstitching  for some extra detail.  All going well this will be finished up tonight, and then it will be onto making fabric stamps for my SWAK Swap partners.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Monday 27 January 2014

Weekending - The Food Edition


It is Auckland Anniversary weekend where I live, so that means a three day weekend.

Friday saw The Scout and I, celebrate 16 years of wedded bliss, so out came the bubbly.  Very nice too.

An abundance of vegetables - especially cucumbers - I sent 7 of those with The Scout to his work, to give away. There are still a few more left to pick, but I think that plant is nearly finished producing.  The beans are going mad again, however my cherry tomatoes aren't looking as plentiful this year.

Cooking with black rice, for the first time.  I love how the coloured vegetables look like little jewels in it.

More beautiful cookbooks to read and savour.  I love the recipes, photos and anecdotes in La Tartine Gourmand, by Beatrice Peltre, author of the same named blog  Great recipes especially for gluten intolerant people.

Beautiful red plums from a friend - turned into this delicious vanilla plum cake.  It makes a large cake or two smaller ones.  I cooked mine in a roasting dish.

The first of my black cherry tomatoes starting to ripen - a lot bigger than normal cherry tomatoes.

What have you been cooking/baking this weekend?

Thursday 23 January 2014

My Sewing Room

What's a girl to do when her husband tells her " clear out your sewing cupboard and the bookshelves, I'm moving things so you have your own sewing room".  Well after a few disbelieving "really - a room just for my mess" and excited smiles, she gets on to it - quick smart. Previously I have had half a room, which I have shared with the family computer desk, and the cupboard my husband stores all his Scouting books and files in.

Now I have a room of my own - we have temporarily put in the trestle table for my ironing/ cutting /project table, until we find another old wooden door to make a matching table to my sewing table.  I have had an old bookshelf moved in to the other end of the room, which does house some old family favourites and children's books, but there is room for my things too.  Please note the large expanses of wall space - I am thinking space for some mini quilts (might need to join some swaps) and perhaps a design wall. 

Oh the possibilities are endless - I need to make an ironing pad for the table, and get a couple more pretty storage boxes for odds and end, so this room will be a work in progress.

What is your favourite feature of your sewing space?

**Updated  07/07/2014 - we have found a door, table number 2 is now work in progress and there are mini quilts on the wall too.**

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Paper-pieced Envelopes

I have recently joined an online swap through Flickr, where we are making paper-pieced envelopes for our partners, in the colour schemes, fabrics types of their choice.  There are twenty of us in the swap, which is spread over 10 months.  Two people per month get  one-two blocks made for them. My month is August, so I should receive between 30-38 envelopes in the mail then.  Above are the envelopes I have made so far.  The very middle envelope is for my month, thought I'd do a test run for me, the top left hand was my practice block with fabric scraps.  All the others are to be posted off in the next couple of months.

Envelope pattern from this book.   We are also making fabric stamps to send with the envelopes, from this tutorial.

I am enjoying the chance to sew with colours and fabrics outside my comfort zone, there has been a little stash enhancement withe the purchase of some Heather Ross and Echino fabrics.  Can't wait to see what I get back for my month.

Sunday 19 January 2014


 A relaxing weekend at home, spending time doing things I enjoy:  There was
  • some card making
  • harvesting my first baby beets and then using them in this delicious Russian potato salad. This recipe has been on my "try one day" list for a while.  Well worth making, it was devoured by my family.
  • using up some of my surplus cucumber and making  my favourite Bread and Butter pickles.  I doubled the recipe cos I had so many cucumbers.
  • lots of paper pieced sewing - envelopes for the SWAK swap group on Flickr.  These are very easy to do.  The pattern is from this book
What did you create/cook this weekend?

Friday 17 January 2014


Made using my favourite recipe.  Using zucchini, beans and herbs from my garden, very cheap eggplants and capsicum from the local fruit shop.  A summer dish scented with bay leaves, fresh parsley and basil.  Eaten by everyone, though Mr J commented it was not how they made it in the movie of the same name. Served with our favourite fresh homemade bread.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Wednesday WIP


Jacobs Ladder Quilt - twelve blocks down - only four to go.  I just have to make the last 16 HST first - that's where the procrastination starts.  So far I am really liking how this is looking, Mr J has fun rearranging the blocks and creating  new designs for the layout too.   No doubt there will be a lot of indecisiveness about the final layout.  There is a very good chance, that this quilt may not end up looking like the quilt that inspired me. I still have borders to do yet, so imagine this project will keep me busy till at least the end of the year.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday 13 January 2014


Enjoying the fresh vegetables from my garden
  • mini Lebanese cucumbers - I think I have another five to pick later this week
  • the first of my sweet 100 cherry tomatoes
  • zucchini - another couple to pick later in the week also
  • the never ending supply of green beans
My corn is just about ready to start to pick and I have beetroot that will need to be turned into chutney and chocolate beetroot cake soon.

What do you do with surplus vegetables?

Sunday 12 January 2014





  • making healthy ice cream from frozen bananas and strawberries - recipe from this book
  • watching my Crinum Lily flower, this is only the second year it has flowered, it has a lovely scent in the evening too
  • finally I stopped procrastinating and cut the grey and charcoal squares required for my quilt - the blocks actually go together quite quickly. Six down, ten to go.  Each block is 12.5" square.
  • a trip to the movies today with Miss B, to see the new Hunger Games movie -I haven't read the book, but she said it was pretty close to the story.
What did you do this weekend?

Thursday 9 January 2014

Holiday Reading


A trip to the library is always  rewarding and  this pile should keep me occupied for a little while, over the summer holidays.

I have been looking forward to reading Adriana Trigiani's latest for a while - hopefully it doesn't disappoint.  Some royal historical fiction from the tumultuous Tudor times, and of course cookbooks feature heavily in my pile.  I had a quick flick through The Jewelled Kitchen last night before I went to bed.  I think my family may be culinary guinea pigs over the next couple of weeks. Eatery also looks interesting, however it weighs a ton so won't be bed-time reading.

What are you reading at present.

Tuesday 7 January 2014

Lazy Days of Summer


Enjoying the lazy days of summer.
  • a little sewing of strips of 4" squares in the cool of my sewing room
  • pottering in my garden - loving my Eucomis (pineapple lily) flowers
  • cherry tomatoes ripening in the sun
  • a little hand-stitching, some reading - the new Miss Fisher mystery, and snacks outside under my sun umbrella - the perfect way to spend an afternoon.