Friday, 27 March 2015

I scream, you scream, we all scream for icecream ...

A few weeks ago I bought myself an ice cream machine as well as the book in the photo below.  I've had a newspaper clipping of a recipe for Bangkok Peanut ice cream (recipe here) for several years now and it sounded so intriguing that I promised myself I would make it one day.

Well that day came and even though cayenne pepper sounds like a strange ingredient to put in ice cream, the Mister (a chilli hater from way back) and I both enjoyed the ice cream very much. The ice cream reminded me more of a creamy satay sauce. I found the ice cream maker very easy to use, and we had ice cream in about 30 minutes although at that stage it is more like soft serve and needs about 4 hours freezing time.

I've enjoyed reading this book, Jeni's way of making ice cream is slightly different to the traditional method and she explains it very well in her book.  If you are interested in finding out more a link to Jeni's ice cream base can be found here and a little bit more information about Jeni here .

 I made a Baked Apple Sorbet a couple of days ago, and it is scrummy, my apples took about 40 minutes to cook,  instead of forcing the mixture through a sieve I just put it through my mouli and then chilled the mixture overnight in the fridge before churning.

 I also made a *rolled oat crunch to sprinkle over the sorbet for some textural contrast, and served with greek yogurt on the side.  This weekend I think I will try making a Roasted Peach sorbet, I don't have a recipe but I think I can wing it after making the Baked Apple sorbet.

*Rolled oat crunch is simple to make:

Melt 50g butter in a large frying pan, mix 1 and a 1/2 cups of rolled oats, handful of slivered almonds, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup each of brown sugar and white sugar, stir to mix, then toss into the melted butter and stir over a medium heat until the sugar caramelises and the oats and nuts are toasted, about 10 minutes, tip it onto a cold baking tray and leave to cool.  Best stored in an airtight container once cold.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Still tripping

The Trip around the World top is getting bigger.  I'm up to Round 21 and I feel that the end is getting closer.  My current thinking is that I will add another 4 rounds and then decide whether to finish there or add more rounds.  At the moment it measures about 45" (110cm) so nearly big enough for a nice sized lap quilt and not too big to hand quilt which will be nice to do, now that the weather is getting colder.

I'm really enjoying making this quilt, and even though it has been quite a slow process it has been fun choosing the different fabrics which apart from the red spot have all been from my stash.  

Wednesday, 25 March 2015


We've had a few birds dropping in to our back yard lately, I found this baby lorikeet perched on a pot plant near our back door.  We have a nestbox in our yard and I had seen the parent lorikeets trying to encourage their current offspring to leave the box (at least, that is what I assume they were trying to do) so I think it had taken it's first flight and discovered it couldn't fly too well.  The Mister put it back in the nest box but I found it on the ground the next day, this time it flew off when I approached and managed to land in a tree, where the parents soon found it.

It is a rare day when a magpie doesn't visit, we make sure to keep the water bowl full so they can have a drink, some of the smaller birds have a bath but I've yet to see a magpie in there, they seem to prefer to have a shower under the sprinklers.

Yesterday, I spotted this New Holland Honey Eater, I don't usually see them on the ground so it was the perfect opportunity to take a photo.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

A big bag ...

I think this is the last bag I will be making for a while.  I used the same pattern as in this post but I upsized it a bit (maybe a wee bit too much).  I had bought a couple of panels from cat&vee specifically so I could make a larger tote and I didn't really want to cut them up so I adjusted the tote size to make the most of the panels, this was the panel I used on the other side, it has a zip pocket in it the same as the smaller tote.

You can see how much larger the tote is compared to the first one I made.  One thing that I forgot to take into account was the handles, I kept them the same length and of course with the tote being larger, it is much closer to the ground when it is being carried.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Bagging it ...

I've been looking for a bag pattern for some time now and I finally saw one on Pinterest I thought would meet my needs (cross body strap, easy to access from the top, not too deep, and with a pocket or two on the outside).  I tracked the pattern down and found it was from Erin at Dog Under My Desk.  PDF patterns are a wonderful thing, you pay your money and seconds later the link for the pattern lands in your inbox and you are good to go.  (assuming you have everything you need like zips and bag hardware)

I didn't bother with printing the pattern out except for the layout page, I opened it in iBooks on my iPad and read through the instructions a couple of times before I started.  I also looked at a few reviews of the bag to see if there was anything I needed to be aware of before I started, but there were nothing but good reviews for this bag.

front zipper pocket, there is another pocket behind as well

I had the fabric, interfacing and zips for the bag so I started cutting out the pieces, making sure to label them all so I didn't get confused later on.  Once that was done I read through the pattern again and started sewing away.

bag interior,  two more pockets here

I started my bag on Sunday afternoon and worked on it for the rest of the day, (with a few breaks), then continued on and finished it up the next day.  I enjoyed making this bag, the instructions were very comprehensive and accompanied by plenty of photos. I only had to reverse sew once and that was my fault as I didn't read through that part of the instructions properly, my bad!

I'm very, very happy with how this bag turned out, I have always thought that a bag like this would be beyond me, and now I want to make another one, maybe in linen or a slightly heavier weight fabric.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Time has flown, yet again.

The intervals between my blog posts seem to be stretching, it has been almost a month since I last blogged.  I almost feel as if I should be making my confession  :)

I have been making things - like the little thread catcher (pictured above) made using this tutorial from Fabric Therapy blog, and another Sew Together bag, this one I personalised a little bit with some foundation pieced blocks (they finish at 3" although I chopped them a little bit to as I didn't like the spacing of the letters)

 I can fit most of the things I need for hand stitching into it, and the thread catcher fits nicely as well.

I've also slowly (very slowly) been adding to my Brigittte Giblin's Trip Around the World (BGTATW) quilt, just two sides left on Row 19, I think I'll be continuing on to Row 27 and finish off with half square triangles and then hand quilt it.  I will have to decide on fabrics for the next couple of rows soon, and looking at the photo I don't think my initial pull is going to work :(

Some links that I want to share - Quilt Con 2015 and The Modern Quilt Guild - some of these quilts I really like, some not so much.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Border crossing

When I bought my Sweet 16 last year from the Adelaide Sewing Centre, I was invited to attend the monthly Handiquilter Group which they hold for the people who have purchased a Handiquilter machine from their store.  It is a demonstration based group,  Heather usually runs through basic maintenance (oiling, de-fluffing etc) for our machines and then demonstrates a quilting technique, we also have show and tell, and sometimes there is homework which is optional, but is a great way to learn a technique on a fairly small project.

Last year one of the techniques that Heather demonstrated was Borders and the homework was to make a border quilt using measurements that were supplied but the choice of fabrics was left up to the individual.  I decided that I would make a 15" X and + block as my centre, I also decided that I wouldn't buy any fabric (apart from backing fabric) and straightaway I had a problem as I didn't have quite enough fabric for the second border so I decided to put small X and + blocks in each corner, which solved my fabric problem nicely.

I had enough fabrics for the other borders but decided to put a small + block in the fourth border and a larger X and + block in the final border.  Once the quilt top was finished it was time to start quilting and I found out that fabric choice is quite important if you want your quilting to show up on the quilt.  It would have been much better to use solid coloured fabrics, live and learn I say :)   I'm still quilting this and hopefully will finish it off in a week or two.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Red and white quilt

I learned a few things in the making and quilting of my red and white quilt last year.  I've never really bothered with trimming threads from the back of the quilt but as you can see from the photos below untrimmed threads can stand out.

The threads showing through is only really a factor if you are using a light fabric.  The other niggle I noticed was that there was some shadowing of the red through the white fabric (I don't have a photo to illustrate this) this was caused by not trimming the red fabric back adequately when I paper pieced some of the blocks.

With this quilt I decided to attach the hanging sleeve using this tutorial which was quite successful although the line from the blind hem machine stitching was visible.  In the large photo you can clearly see the line across the top of the quilt. 

I wasn't going to wash the quilt as I didn't want to risk any of the reds running (even though I had washed most of them previously).  The other thing I noticed with this quilt was that in some places you could see the shadow of the backing fabric (a red and white toile).  In the scheme of things none of this really matters because I think it is still a very a nice quilt and I'm happy with how it turned out.

If I were to make another quilt like this then I would consider using two layers of batting as this would  make the quilting stand out really well and there would be no shadowing from the backing fabric.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Of bags and other things ...

Before Christmas I caught up with Amanda's Chocolate Marshmallow sampler blocks, and put the flying geese sashing on all the Threads of Memory blocks so they would be ready for a quick finish in the New Year, alas I forgot about the flying geese that I needed for two of the sides so there was no quick finish for me.

After receiving this lovely Boxy Pouch (the one on the right) from Sheila I thought I would have a go at making one too.  The tutorial is here, I also looked at this tutorial here as well.  It took me about 2 1/2 hours to make once I had decided on my fabric, I used a Parlon iron-on batting and used grosgrain ribbon for my tabs at each end as I couldn't be bothered making them the way the pattern showed, I also made mine an inch longer.  For some reason my bag ended up slightly larger than the one Sheila gave me.

While the bag making mood was in full swing I also decided to attempt the Sew Together Bag (a digital pattern available from Craftsy.  In addition to following the pattern instructions I followed the Quilt Barn sewalong and I also put tab ends on the pocket zippers as shown here.  I didn't time how long the bag took to make as I spread it out over 3 days, I cut the fabric and interfacing one day, constructed most of the bag the next day and finished it off today, probably at least 8 hours all up.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed making both bags, it was a bit of a change from machine piecing and I think another couple of bags are on the sewing horizon.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas to all

 This is a poem that was shared on a Facebook group I am a member of, it made me smile when I got to the end :)

 Twas the night before Christmas, I'm glued to the tree.
I'm wondering what Santa brought just for me.
Could it be fabric or patterns or more?
Or a new set of rulers, That I would adore!
And that's when I heard him,
"Hi Santa" I said.
"you know.... good little girls
Should be in their beds"

"I know I should Santa and now I've been caught.
But I was just so excited to see what you brought."
"Well let's take a look
in this room where you work"

He shook his head quickly and left with a jerk.
I heard him exclaim as he put it in gear.
"You've got enough crap
I'll see you next year

May Christmas be the day you need it to be, perhaps that is filled with people and festivity, but if you need a quick, quiet, or restful day I hope that is what it brings for you. May you have all good things including good health in the year to come.