Sunday 28 August 2016

Cook the Books - August

Week One:
Something a little different this week, Turmeric and Ginger Latte from Annabel Langbein's Winter Annual #4.  This actually makes about 2 cups of chai base, which you then add to hot frothy milk when required. Miss B and I sampled this one day when she was home, sick from school.

Verdict:  A warming drink full of anti oxidants, makes a change from tea and hot chocolates.  The remaining chai base gets kept in a jar in the fridge ( up to two weeks) and used when needed.

Week Two:
Finally the Chelsea Winter book Homemade Happiness arrived for me at the library.  So many lovely recipes in this, that I have succumbed and redeemed some Flybuys points for my own copy.  I thought I'd try the Golden Oat Cookies for school lunches.

Verdict:  I made mine a wee bit smaller than the golf ball size she suggests so got 36 instead of 20. Crunchy and tasty and all from ingredients readily available in my pantry. I am thinking that maybe the rest of this month's Cook the Books recipes will come from this book.

Week Three:
I am still thoroughly enamoured with my new Chelsea Winter cookbook, so this weekend I tried out two recipes.
  • Best ever Chocolate Chip Cookies 
  • Way better Devilled sausages
Verdict: Again I made my biscuits smaller than her recommendation, but next time I would definitely double the mixture, They are crisp and chewy and caramelly - everything a chocolate chip biscuit should be.  The devilled sausages were fabulous, subtly spiced, a rich flavoursome sauce -definitely a make again dish, though it does take a little time to prepare and cook.

Week Four: Another Chelsea Winter recipe - this time Sesame Chicken, served with rice and steamed greens.

Verdict:  Everyone loved this, though Mr J and the Scout thought it would have been better served without the steamed greens.

Week 5:
Back to my Annabel Langbein Winter Annual #4 - this time for Baked Spanish Chicken.  I served mine with a paella inspired rice from the book My Underground Kitchen.

Verdict:  A big hit, though The Scout and Mr J need to develop a taste for olives.  Luckily they didn't notice the chopped capers.  Yes the cooking dish gets a little messy, but it cleans up easily enough and is worth it for the delicious crispy spicy chicken.

Luckily Chelsea Winter's new book isn't out till the end of September, so I have a month to cook from some of my other still unused books.

Thursday 25 August 2016

Scenes from my Week

From the sofa
  • the hand quilting continues on my Liberty Bloomsbury quilt, this is only worked on in the evenings, but I am surprised with how much I have done so far.   I am  lovinge how the back looks too.
From the sewing room
  • some more blocks for the sea glass sampler quilt.  I came across this sea shell block the other day and  have decided to make it too - I couldn't really not for this quilt.
  • the first 9 blocks for my City Sampler - surprisingly they don't look too bad together.
From the garden
  • remember that bare garden here that I had to plant - well finally the weather has been fine and warm, so the first plants are in and mulched. Only the lime tree and manuka plants were new, all the rest have been transplanted or broken up from other areas of my garden.  Now they need to grow and then I can plant some smaller flowering plants for more colour.

One more day till the weekend. I want to do some yummy baking and a few more City Sampler blocks, what have you got planned for yours?

Sunday 21 August 2016

Weekending - #100Days100Blocks

I need a new WIP, like I need a hole in the head, yet I have decided to try and complete the #100Days100Blocks quilt along currently being hosted by GnomeAngel and friends.  Using the Tula Pink City Sampler book, which I have had for about three years, we make one block a day until we have completed the 100 blocks.  It started on 17 August and will finish on 24 November. Of  course I have had to catch up on blocks 1-5, so there has been a mammoth sewing effort this weekend. As I have not officially registered on the Instagram based quilt along, I will be updating my blocks here and on my Flickr page.

I think the hardest thing is picking the fabrics/colour palette for each block.  As I do not have a huge stash of Tula Pink fabrics, I have decicded to go with the Freespirit Designers as my starting point, most of their designers that I like - Amy Butler, Tula Pink, Anna Maria Horner, Denyse Schmidt and Joel Dewberry have colour palettes that work beautifully together.    So hopefully my quilt blocks will have some sort of cohesion to them when I have finished.  Very hard to see at this point.  I am trying to use fabrics /scraps already in my stash.

4 down, 96 to go.  I suspect that there may be a sewing binge every few of days to catch up.

Wednesday 10 August 2016

Here & Now

Loving // The two sunny but cold days we have had - more rain due tonight though,

Eating //  Homemade fudge - a special, just because I felt like making it treat.

Drinking // Rose and French Vanilla tea

Feeling //  Cold - but thankful we don't get snow where I live.

Making // More blocks for my Sea Glass Sampler Quilt

Thinking // What a great idea this washi tape is as a stitch guide for my hand quilting, of course now that I have started using it, I am wondering if I need to redo the areas I didn't use it on ......

Dreaming //  Of new quilt projects and summer clothes sewing

Linking up to Here & Now at Say Little Hen

Saturday 6 August 2016


  • fungi on firewood - I love how it looks like tree rings
  • these Bergenia, are a little weather beaten, but are still flowering bravely and adding some much needed colour to my somewhat sad and sodden winter garden.
  • Liberty and hand quilting - perfect for snuggling under and working on this cold weekend.
  • I joined a photographic group on Flickr, called Macro Monday.  Each Monday they give a new theme to photograph, this week it is black and white flowers. Between showers, I bundled up and went for a walk around my neighbourhood to see what I could find to experiment with. It is quite amazing how different the flowers look in each option, and what colour brings to a picture.
Linking up to Wandering Camera at Whims & Fancies

Monday 1 August 2016

Sea Glass Beach Sampler Quilt Progress

Thought I'd show some progress shots of my Sea Glass Beach sampler quilt that I am doing with my sewing friends.

Last sewing day it was my turn to choose a block , I picked a block called 'Another Star" - tutorial from here.

Recently I came across this sampler quilt sew along and have decided to amalgamate some of the blocks into my quilt. I already had the Raspberry Kiss blocks, just not as many as they have made, and I thought for my first block I would try the feathered star.  I love how this has turned out.  I used a Cotton and Steel print for the middle and endpoints, and the various co-ordinating solids.  The pattern is paper pieced and available from here.  Some Spinning Pyramid blocks have been made too - I made two of block 1 and one of block 4, using fabrics for Anna Maria Horner and V & Co.  I would like to attempt the Scandi Windmill block they are doing too   - however picking fabrics and sewing those curves is some what off putting.  There are some great blocks being made by other sewers participating in the sew along.

To make it a little more interesting to we have decided to make each each member of the group a block in their colour palette also.

On the whole I think I am keeping to my colour palette, definitely a bit of summer sky blue creeping in now.