Friday 29 July 2016

Cook the Books - July

Week 1
Cooking anything new just didn't happen, with work, hikes, and other activities - luckily the school holidays start next week.

Week 2
The first week of the school holidays, and it was on Friday I finally felt like cooking something new and interesting.
I tried a new muffin recipe from pinterest for a lunch time treat, Tasty Corn Muffins.  I didn't have the chili paste, but chopped up 1 fresh red chili instead and added a smidgen of dried chili powder.

Verdict: They were nice, I felt they needed a little more salt, but possibly if I had used chili paste it may have given them a little more zing.  I think these would be really nice with a bowl of tomato soup.

Week 3
One of my library books, The Caker by Jordan Rondel provided the inspiration for this weeks baking. There were three  recipes I wanted to try, but settled on Nutella Banana Cake, because I had some ripe bananas that needed using up, and Chai Latte Cake with Condensed Milk Icing.

Verdict:  Both yummy  cakes, we especially liked that Nutella was spread over the top as icing. I was disappointed that the Chai Latte cake did not rise very much during cooking, still deliciously spicy, and I think should I ever make it again, I would make two cakes and use the icing in the middle as well. I would also recommend that the Chai Latte Cake was eaten the same day it was made, it seemed to go a little dry very quickly.

Week 4:  I like to serve vegetarian meals  at least once week to my family (The Scout has gotten used to this, but would probably still prefer a meal with meat).  This week it was Chickpea Tikka Masala from the Revive Cafe 5 cookbook - another library book.  This is a really easy curry to make, probably the most time consuming part, was peeling and chopping the kumara and dicing the onion.

Verdict:  A creamy, spicy but not hot tomato sauce filled with chickpeas and kumara,  made this a filling, warming winters meal.  Definitely a make again, and I just have to remember to serve it with poppadoms for Mr J.

Another month without using my Annabel Langbein books!! I must be due to dust them off again for August's recipes.

Tuesday 26 July 2016

With Needle & Thread


Now that my other must finish quilting projects are done and dusted, today I pulled out my Liberty Bloomsbury quilt top and backing and finally basted it.  I always have a problem with the tape not sticking properly to the carpet so today I stuck a few drawing pin into the backing edge and tape and found that that held it nicely in place.

Almost 200 pins later it is basted and the hand quilting has started. I am using Perle 8 from Sue Spargo for the solids and for the Liberty I have a very fine variegated  Egyptian thread from Tutti.

This is going to be a slow stitching for a few months, and infinitely more enjoyable during winter, though I am starting to wonder why I thought I needed to quilt each Dresden blade.

I know when it is all finished it will be worth it

Tuesday 19 July 2016

Rocky Shore to Sky Quilt


Remember that blue quilt top I posted about here.  Well I have finally finished it. The idea came from this quilt, which I thought would be an easy, yet very effective masculine quilt design.  My brother celebrates the  'BIG 40' this year, so what better excuse to make a quilt for him.  Using an assortment of solids from Spotlight ranging from a rocky gray, darkest navy and various blues ending in the softest baby blue, and measuring approximately 66" square, this top was sewn together in no time.  In fact I probably spent more time cutting the fabric and pinning the strips than sewing it.

The backing is predominately a blue/black shot cotton with a strip of solid offcuts echoing the quilt top.

I quilted it in a large grid design using various shades of blue thread and bound it with a chartreuse and blue triangle print, which I thought echoed the blues but framed and livened the quilt up.

This quilt was not made without drama though. Originally I had been going to quilt in a diagonal cross hatch and had drawn lines for this with my Frixion pen.  After changing my mind, and putting heat on the Frixion lines, I was still left with marks. Usually I stitch over the marks and then any residue disappears.  Not this time, obviously no stitching and solid fabrics was not a good combination.  After binding, I  rubbed Sard wonder soap over the marks, and gave it a cold machine wash.  This seems to have gotten rid of them.  I have since discovered that Frixion pens were not designed for fabric use and lines can reappear in extreme cold too,  I am thinking a Hera marker may be a good investment for future quilting, especially for my Liberty Bloomsbury quilt.

Now it is all wrapped and ready to gift to him, along with a lint roller for the inevitable cat hair which will unfortunately show up on the dark colours.

Sunday 17 July 2016


  • The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati.  This is a continuation of her Wilderness series, set about 70 years after the last book in that series. However  you don't have to have read them first for the story to make sense.  Set in New York in the late 1800's, it was a really interesting and engrossing read,  with real life historical events in the background (building of the Brooklyn Bridge).  Hopefully her next book will tie up some unfinished threads in this novel.
  • A new blog find
  • This beautiful pile of cookbooks - nearly all middle eastern recipes. I saw a lot of these at a lovely bookshop when I traveled to the city last week.  I always get books from the library first, to see if I really want to buy them, there are a couple here that are very inspiring.  
  • I have finally finished Mum's birthday quilt top - unfortunately I can't show pictures of it yet. It is now packaged up, ready for Mum to take to Brisbane for my sister to finish.
  • Liberty hexis - I have no idea what I am going to use them for, but I like a slow sewing project especially in the evenings. 
  • Between squally showers, I managed to make a start on the planting in this very bare space.  I am going to plant a mix of natives - flowering manuka, sub tropical looking plants - cannas, bergenias, some grasses - mondo, dietes and liriope, and maybe a lime tree in the corner. Of course there will be flowering annuals popped in for colour to over summer. Also plans for some rustic recycled garden art to be made.  At this point it is a somewhat daunting project, and I am despairing of the lawn ever being lush and green again.
Hoping you have all had a lovely weekend too.

Tuesday 12 July 2016

He(art) of the City

Sun burst', Sara Hughes, 2016. 

East Meets West', Flox, 2015 

Limbo by Judith Darragh

Catching the train into Auckland City with Miss B and Mr J, is always a fun holiday trip.  I had plans to do a photographic scavenger hunt and had made a list accordingly.  We started off well, finding sculptures, heart murals, and birds, but derailed somewhat as we discovered the glitzy eyecatching installation in the foyer of the Auckland Art Gallery, and then Unity Books, the Auckland Library and Real Groovy.  Wandering back down Queen Street via Aotea Square, we came across the polar bears and penguins.

We may not have completed our list, but have certainly discovered some interesting new places and art works.

Sunday 10 July 2016

Here & Now

The WIP table

Deb's beautiful AMH pillow

Rachel showing off her beautiful meadow quilt

Savoury brioche and Raspberry White Chocolate Shortcake

Loving //sewing days with my friends - this is the show and tell part of it - books, projects, finished quilts
Eating //All the yummy food we bring to sew day (this is only a couple of the dishes)
Drinking // hot chocolate
Wearing //brightly coloured scarves to keep my neck warm
Feeling //
rather happy cos it is school holidays for two weeks.  That means no homework, lots of lie ins, and lazy days.
Making //apple, raspberry and rhubarb crumble for a dessert
Thinking //about new sewing projects, bags, clothes and another quilt
Dreaming //of summer

Linking up to Here & Now at Say Little Hen

Friday 8 July 2016

Winter Flora

There will probably not be a lot of sewing related photos from me for a wee while.  A week ago when Auckland experienced some exceptionally heavy rain in a very short period of time, our garage and the attached sewing and computer rooms flooded.  Luckily they are separate from our house, and it appears to be only the carpets and some storage cupboards that have been damaged (my fabrics were all safe) . However we had to clear everything out of these rooms, so subsequently my house currently looks like we should be on one of those hoarders tv shows.  Unfortunately my fabrics were first out, and that means I cannot reach them for the time being.

Every time it rains I stress, so today I took myself out for a walk (and got rained on) and found some prettiness around my neighbourhood to cheer me up.

Linking up to The Wandering Camera at Whims and Fancies.