Monday 28 November 2016

Sew Together Bag in Liberty

My EPP Liberty Sew Together Bag is finished, ready to be filled with all the bits and pieces I need for more EPP projects.  The lining and pockets are from various Art Gallery fabric collections, and I have attached a lovely piece of hand dyed wool felt for a needle rest.   I had Liberty binding left over from the binding I used on my Bloomsbury Quilt (yes I have finished binding it, just more quilting required) so opted to use that on the bag, rather than faffing around making up more.

This bag was not without it's making dramas. The zips were unpicked a few times, due to not reading the instructions about lining/pocket placement.  I was tempted to give up at one point, but am now quite pleased with how this has turned out and am now dreaming up a new EPP project  for the summer holidays.

Saturday 26 November 2016

Cook the Books - November

Week One:
After discovering I enjoyed Chelsea Winter's newer cookbooks, I checked out from the library one of her earlier ones - Everyday Delicious.  Needing to do some baking for school lunches, I made
Banana Bran muffins, which used up all the old frozen bananas I had in the freezer.

Verdict:  A nice moist muffin, not overly sweet, delicious warm with butter.

Week Two:
Birthdays always require a cake or two.  Again Chelsea's books came to the rescue:
  • Coconut Lemon and Passionfruit Cake - from Everyday Delicious - this looked as though it was going to make an enormous cake, so I divided the recipe and made two  good sized cakes.  One for work and one for the kid's lunchboxes.
  • Crazy Italian Chocolate Cake  - from Scrumptious, an utterly decadent treat, this cake is dairy and egg free,  Very moist and dark and the chocolate icing/ganache was sublime.  
Verdict:  Of course they will both be made again.  I may try using a different oil instead of olive in the chocolate cake, and I know now not to leave the chocolate icing in the fridge too long to cool it down for spreading.

Week Three:
Something savoury for a change.  Butter Chicken Rice Pie - this was another of those recipes ripped from a cooking magazine and stuck into that giant note book I have.  I did manage to find the recipe online though - so if you are interested in making it - here it is.  I don't have saffron, so add about 1/2 teaspoon dried turmeric powder in the water as I am cooking the rice to get that lovely golden colour.

Verdict:  This recipe was well worth finding, and will definitely be made again for the family.  A little spicy from the chilli powder, but really delicious, with subtle hints of cinnamon.

Week Four:
Yes another Chelsea Winter recipe from Everyday Delicious - Oaty Apricot Slice.  I was concerned at how the apricot topping would set, but it does firm up in the fridge.

Verdict: Not really suitable as a slice for the school lunchboxes, I think the apricot topping would be a bit of a disastrous mess after a couple of hours sitting in there.  However it made  nice dessert, not overly rich or sweet.

December means the beginning of summer and lots of Christmas cooking and busyness, Here's hoping I try some new recipes and not just the good old tried and true, never fail options.

Sunday 20 November 2016


  • Could there be anything more beautiful to bind a quilt with than Liberty binding.  When I visited the Auckland Festival of Quilts a couple of weeks ago, Florence and Mary had a lovely selection of Liberty fabrics available.  I found a design and colourway,  I thought would be perfect for using on my Liberty Bloomsbury quilt and subsequently ordered some yardage. Called Pereira A, I couldn't be more pleased with how it is looking on my quilt.  And no, I haven't finished hand quilting it yet, it was just starting to fray a lot, and I had reached a point where I could bind it successfully, still a lot left to hand sew down - this is a big quilt.
  • My bedside table reading pile has had a little boost this week. Les Parisiennes has been started and has to be finished cos about 300 people are waiting on it after me, so I won't be able to renew this one.
  • I have been requesting a lot of Kaffe Fassett books from the Auckland Libraries too, nothing like a little colour therapy and inspiration to brighten one's day.
  • This warmer humid weather means my garden finally has flowers ready to pick for small posies - I am enjoying having these through the house.
Wishing you all a fabulous week ahead.

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Sew Small

I have temporarily packed away the Magic Stars quilt for a little while, in the hope that I come back to it with fresh eyes and ideas.  In the meantime I am working on a couple of smaller projects:
  • those Liberty hexis, I was beginning to join a couple of weeks ago are now all finally stitched together, and have been quilted too, they will be turned into the exterior of a sew together bag for my EPP projects.  Fabrics for the lining and pockets are from the stash too.
  • a little more hand sewing on some felt Christmas ornaments for a friend.
Roll on the weekend - I have lots of sewing planned.

Friday 11 November 2016

No Magic Here

It appears the magic is disappearing from my Magic Stars Quilt .  I have made a few blocks up now, however when put together, they blur into a bit of a hot mess with no defined pattern.  Some of my blocks lack the contrast I had hoped for and I think I have also been too matchy matchy with my colours rather than aiming for a strong contrast.

I sent a couple of photos off to bloggy friends for advice.  Susan sent me back a black and white photo of my work so I could see where the colour values were too similar and I was losing the design.
I think for this quilt to work, I will not be able to make it totally out of my Anna Maria Horner fabrics, the designs are too large, the colour values to similar - so they get lost in each other.   I  need to introduce some smaller prints/florals, and perhaps more neutrals, (I'm trying to avoid  solids) to give it the contrast it needs so my stars can be seen.

The worst offending blocks have been removed from the selection, unfortunately because of the way the blocks are constructed, I can't just unpick them and insert more highly contrasting fabrics, so these will be destined for the scrap pile (not thrown out though, my fabric is too precious for that).

 I will persevere with a few more blocks and see if I am liking the result, however this may end up being another Hospice quilt in the making.  So disheartening after starting this with such enthusiam.

Thursday 10 November 2016

Here & Now

Loving //That my Poor Knight's Lily finally has it's first flower spike after almost 6 years of non flowering, and that my garden is bursting into life for summer.
Eating //Strawberries, new season asparagus and avocados
Drinking //Bubbly - cos I celebrated a birthday recently
Feeling //A little worried about the United States election results and what it may mean for friends and family over there.
Making //Felt Christmas decorations
Thinking //Dubious thoughts about my current quilting project
Dreaming //Of coming home one day and finding that the housework and dinner fairies have visited.

Linking up to Here & Now at Say Little Hen

Tuesday 8 November 2016

A Change of Plans

The other day I went to cut up my fabric for my AMH Irish  Chain Quilt, and I couldn't.
 I had my plan ready, measurements and quantities required, and then just froze. Subconsciously my mind just wouldn't let me do it.  Figuring I'd do it another day, I packed my lovely pile of fabrics away.

Over the weekend I was randomly browsing Instagram when I came across this quilt, and my first thought was how much I liked it, my second was I want to do this with my AMH fabrics.  The pattern was duly purchased, thank goodness for instant PDF downloads.  That afternoon the cutting and sub cutting of my precious AMH stash started - no qualms, straight into it.  I am loving the look so far of the first couple of blocks I have made, however I am also wondering if I keep it solely as an AMH quilt or add some of my favourites by Julianna Horner, Tula Pink, Alison Glass, Amy Butler and Lizzy House to make it that little more eclectically colourful and bohemian.

When I have a few more blocks made up, I'll share some photos. Fingers crossed it works!!

Saturday 5 November 2016

A Hexi Garden Quilt

While I was at the Festival of Quilts yesterday, Linda and I came across an elderly lady called Muriel Dick, who was spreading out her Hexi WIP to display to a friend.  Of course it immediately attracted a lot of attention and questions.  She has been working on this since 2003.  It appears to use approximately 1" hexis,  the templates have been hand cut, none of these modern pre cut ones I use. She is still working out how to finish it off, but it sounds as though though it will involve more hexis. I love the little insects she has fussy cut and placed sporadically among the flowers.  Destined to be a family heirloom for sure.

Friday 4 November 2016

Auckland Festival of Quilts

 Today I took myself to the Auckland Festival of Quilts.  There was lots of inspiration with so many beautiful quilts to be looked at, photographed and discussed.  I met up with Linda from Koka Quilts, which was lovely after at least two years of commenting on each others blogs.  Below are a selection (read lots) of some which caught my eye.

Plus Size by Robyn Croft
I think this was my absolute favourite quilt, so much colour and movement

Flower Power by Christ Behersing
Flower were originally made to cover moth holes in a woolen blanket, then she kept adding them

My Anna Maria by Eileen Hoyle
How could I not love this one.  

Dinner Party by Mary Metcalf
The coloured quilting on this was particularly stunning .

Hexies by Moonlight by Mary Metcalfe

A Wing and a Prayer by Mary Cathie
Pattern from the book 'Quilting from Little Things' by Sarah Fielke

Dance Floor by Cheryl Houston

Almost Neopolitan by Maureen Stroud
All blocks from Tula Pink's City Sampler book, this quilt was huge and featured fabulous fussy cutting.

Kete: Congraduation by Louise Saunders
Maker's own design, inspired by a traditional Kete.

No Idle Moments by Carolyn Van Wonderen

Cream of Heart by Jill Young.
Each block was made up of 1000's of french knots - awe inspiring, 

A Kaleidoscope of Liberty Fabrics by Val Troost

Iridescent Bali by Vimla Govinder
Pattern from Quilt Worx

Mediterranean Hexagons by Margaret Read
From Quilts in Morrocco by Kaffe Fasset.  I was particularly intrigued by the use of brown civil war prints as the contrast in this quilt.

Axminster Carpet by Cheryl Houston
Inspired by carpet in her hallway.

Colour is Everything by Ngaire Fleming
Pattern from 'Savour Each Stitch" by Carolyn Friedlander

Curtain Fabric Samples by Debbie Jones
All linen, which showed up the different quilting patterns beautifully.
Southern Stars by Mary Hawke
This quilt was amazing, 369 hand pieced stars, some fussy cut and over 730 different fabrics were used.

And of course a day out at such an even always requires a little retail therapy, so here is the "look what I've  treated myself" to photo:

Well worth a visit if you are after some crafty quilty inspiration this weekend.

Linking up to Wandering Camera at Whims and Fancies.