Saturday, November 27, 2010

a 6 inch heart



The best portion of a good man's life - his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love. ~William Wordsworth




Can you spare the time to make a heart block?
 

You may be aware that New Zealand has suffered a major mining disaster at Pike River mine on the west coast of the South Island, resulting in the deaths of 29 miners.
 

Shirley Goodwin is calling on quilters from anywhere to send her a heart block: she is collecting these blocks and will make quilts to give to the miners' families.

 
Here are the block details if you want to make some:-

Cream background – calico is fine
6 ½” unfinished size (so they will be 6” finished)
Pieced or appliquéd heart or hearts
Any colours or patterns for the hearts. Some of the quilts will be for children, so children’s fabrics are fine too.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Some Yarn Shopping

The hunt for subtle colour tones in 100% wool - preferably coned, continues. I have been lucky to receive some suggestions already and the options so far have been great. It's something I will be looking into when I start my next afghan.

Now that I only have to join my last flowery afghan, I am missing my 'motif a day' spot. Something I have on my crochet To Do list has been a granny square sampler. A blanket full of granny square motifs....bliss! I am planning on 100 different blocks repeated 2 or 3 times ...depending on size. But what colour and what yarn?

For the blocks themselves, I will be looking through my crochet bookshelf and making up whatever catches my eye. It's such a shame to keep those blocks in a book!

Inspired by the quilting fabric Plume (right) I used the colour matching orbs on the selvedge and managed to find all the colours! Unbelieveable! The photo really doesn't do the colours justice, the pinks look reddish here. I can tell you it looks gorgeous in real life! I can't wait to get started.
Unfortunately I went to get my yarn at Spotlight. I'd forgotten how awful shopping there is (its been so long since my last visit). I don't know why I put myself through that disorganised, messy and understaffed torture. Obviously the store is busy unpacking Christmas things and making every effort to punish customers for trying to shop there with boxes strewn in walkways, passage sized trolleys parked in front of shelving rows, ridiculous queues and price check points "missing" from their towers with wires hanging out so that they look like vandalised phone booths. But the fun didn't stop there, once I'd made it to the checkout - the yarn scanned in at the wrong price..... hopefully I wont need to go back for a loooooong time.
This is something I picked up at Spotlight. It's a foam wreath. I have an end of year Festive Project I am making up at the moment that I plan to decorate it with some crochet. The price says it is zero dollars, and it's worth about that much - but it is selling for $6.50 which I think is seriously overpriced...and if I didn't need it to finish my 'idea' I would have left it behind. Oh well....

It's a good size for a door and I still have enough time to get it up before December. I also found a cute pack of bells in red and gold which I might place on the wreath as well. I will keep you posted.

After two hots days and feeling like my plans for Christmas baking were over, and feeling too hot and bothered to do anything constructive....it's cooled down and we've had some rain. Rainy enough for puddles and thoughts of steaming hot coffee and crochet in my tub chair.

It feels very unseasonal at the moment.

My succulents are thriving and seem to be OK despite the sudden changes in temperature.

Look at that pink!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Roses in Bloom

Lately as I go about my life, I have been seeing roses everywhere. On fences, overtaking other plants, creeping onto pavements....it seems that these last few months of extra rain have given roses everywhere a new gust of life after a dry, hot suffocating year of water restrictions.

This delights me as I have missed seeing so many things in bloom. I nearly forgot what I was missing out on.

These are some pictures from my neglected garden.

I have completely ignored them and they have come through blooming for me....wonderful.

You can see where my inspirations for design comes from. When winter comes, I want to be surrounded with these colours and shapes...

It's got me thinking back to my procion dying days. My quest for colour has reached critical point: I have been thinking of hand dying my own yarn for crochet work. It seems that yarn colour is so limited. Why is this???

I have so many ideas I would love to crochet through in subtle and natural shades.

If anyone knows of a supplier of wool who offers a significant colour range....please let me know!

I love this head - it looks as if I have flecked it with a paint brush...no, it's completely natural.
Speaking of crochet, although I have plenty to do already, I have started designing an afghan. Yes! My main trouble is with the colour selections so I am still working on that. I am working through sampling my ideas into blocks at the minute.

I have so much to do before the end of this year that I have created a list (this may not seem like much of a big deal, but it was for me). For one thing, I realised that I have A LOT of things to get done...and well as a LOT of things I want to do....so I had better get stuck in.

On top of that list is doing something about my *stash*
It's still rather big.

I read somewhere that my kind of stash was now referred to as a SABLE.
Stash
Above and
Beyond
Life
Expectancy

That's me!

I decided to only buy fabric for specific projects that I will use ASAP - but as you have already guessed -it doesn't work like that,. You see a fabric, you love it, you know you could use it in that as yet undesigned quilt...you think of your groaning stash mountain and have second thoughts...and then you remember how whenever you don't purchase what you love right there on the spot - it sells out!

What's a quilter to do?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

a Hex to Share


Christmas is just over a month away...(how did that happen so quickly??), so now was not a great time to find a new project to fall in love with. But it's happened and here it is: a little HEX

This is little hex is addictive, and once you get the hang of it, you can whip it out almost anywhere and get it done whilst talking with friends or over coffee or in front of the TV or anytime really. I think it would be a great scrappy but also have visions of seeing it in all cream as a light throw. The beauty is that whilst you are folding, you are also creating the front and back at the same time.

I am thinking of adding some pre-cut batting into the centre of the hex to really make it puff, but it has plenty of 'effect' already. I am also going to see if turning in the seams will create a neat centre without need for a button to cover up the raw edges. In a word, it's charming. And you can put it away and carry on with it whenever you feel like.

It's not mine. It's been doing the blog rounds lately and I just had to give it a go and you can see my results below. Of course, you could also make singles for decorations: cards and buntings- but I still see a quilt out of this. The YouTube link below is courtesy of Ane Matos (if you haven't seen it before I suggest watching with the sound on mute).

I think I have seen this hex before though (perhaps in a book??) if anyone knows...could you please let me know as I would love to purchase the book I think this design originally came from.

Thanks to Ane for posting this on YouTube, it's always helpful to see it made before trying it yourself. Now my only problem is...WHEN will I find the time to fit in another WIP????????????


Friday, November 12, 2010

Peaches

I first posted this recipe in 2008, it's one of those recipes that's just always been in the family, always impresses and is a real treasure to share. There are a few versions around, but they all end up at the same place: an almost too cute to eat peach.

Perfect with tea and delightful in the afternoon....or anytime. It's fun to make with children and a wonderful classic to introduce into your 'what to bring?' repertoire.

With December fast upon us, if you haven't made a peach before...why not try one now?


 
Peaches
Preparation:
150ml veg oil
200 grams of caster sugar
Mix and leave aside for at least 2 hours

After 2 hours have passed:
In a bowl, mix 600 grams plain flour, 2 level teaspoon baking powder, 2 large eggs and 50ml buttermilk
Add oil and sugar. Mix all together.

You want smooth biscuit balls. If, after a few minutes of mixing by hand, your mix is crumbly and not coming together, add more buttermilk, a little at a time, until the right consistency is reached.

Roll into small balls formed from a teaspoon (to be exact the best peaches are between 18-24 grams each if you want to weigh the dough before rolling.)
Place the balls on baking paper / grease proof sheet on biscuit trays
Bake for approx 15 minutes at 385F, peaches should still be white and just tinged around the edges, do not over bake.

Take trays out of the oven to stop biscuits browning and whilst still warm, scoop out the middle of each ball. This is tricky (and you will suffer some losses the first time you try) but you will get the hang of it. I usually hold a paper towel in my palm so I can handle them as warm as possible.

Some people use melon scoops, I use a very small sharp knife - whatever is easier for you.
Keep the scooped out crumbs for the filling.


For the filling,
Mix biscuit crumbs with approx.100gms ground walnuts, 5 tablespoons apricot jam and a table spoon of lemon juice until smooth and thick. The filling is made to taste, so add more or less of the jam or nut meal as you prefer.

When the scooped biscuits are cool, fill both sides with the filling (don't over fill) and press lightly together to create a peach.

There are many filling options:
You can also add 1small tin condensed milk to the nut meal and warm over a double boiler until sticky. Allow to cool and insert.

OR

replace the 5 tablespoons of apricot jam with Nutella (children especially love this)

OR
add a tablespoon of RUM to the original filling instead of the lemon juice.


For the dip colouring:
Prepare 2 bowls
1 x 100ml milk, 2 tablespoons sugar and yellow food colouring
1 x 100ml milk, 2 tablespoons sugar and red food colouring
Mix until sugar is dissolved.
Food colouring amounts: depends on what brand you use, add 1 teaspoon and then keep adding until the colour is a rich hue.

In the yellow bowl add 1 teaspoon almond essence
In the red bowl add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

I used naturally extracted food colouring however you can use any brand you prefer.

Dip each peach into yellow bowl first, gently shake off any excess and then dip into the red bowl. Immediately blot with clean paper towelling. Do this quickly. Then roll in crystal white sugar.

Voila! you have made a peach!

This recipe yields approx 30 peaches at 2 inches in size (60 biscuit balls)
These peaches taste better on the 2nd and 3rd day when all the flavours have merged.
Keep in an airtight container.






video



Troubleshooting!

Mixture too dry
Add a little buttermilk, tablespoon at a time, until mixture is of right consistency

Colour does not take
The biscuits are 'browned' and browned biscuits will not hold colour. The biscuits should be baked and taken our whilst still white. Keep an eye on your trays as they approach the 12minute mark

Colour is crazy
Too much food dye makes the biscuit hyper coloured and bright. Experiment until you find a hue that you like. Add less dye or dilute with more milk

Biscuit is too wet / fell apart / soggy / doesn't hold its shape
Ok, this is important. When you scoop out the biscuit - hollow out a section of the middle, but do not hollow out the whole biscuit so that only a fine layer of shell remains. You are scooping out a centre, not hollowing out the biscuit.

And, keep the crumbs from the scooped out centres and use these crumbs in the filling mixture.

And, when dipping into the dye - you really only need to colour the cheeks very quickly. Then you immediately blot them dry them with paper toweling. The biscuit must still be firm and somewhat dry to touch. Do not hold the biscuit in the milk - do not dunk the biscuit. A quick dip - that's all you are doing.
Biscuits should be regular biscuit consistency...not falling apart.

This is a biscuit which improves each time you make it and soon you will be making trays of perfect peaches in no time, just take the time to pay attention to the little details that make it trouble free.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Quilt for Sue....completed



Liz has finished the Quilt for Sue. I know from emails that some of you sent in blocks and were as eager as I was to see the finished product. Well, prepare to be delighted. I am amazed at how well organised and how quickly Liz got this together. Lizzie you are an inspiration.

To see more all the pics, please drop by Lizzie' blog here   where you can admire the quilt and read up about this wonderful quilt project.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A pleasure shared is double the pleasure


Recognise this quilt? Anyone? It's Red Delicious!

Today was shaping up to be just another Tuesday...until I received news via a happy mail from Bronwen Sayers- her Red Delicious Quilt, titled: My Pink Lady took out an impressive award.


SA's Festival of Quilts 2010
My Pink Lady by Bronwen Sayers
was awarded 2nd Place in
Predominantly Applique - Professional


This news just made my day! I love hearing about Red Delicious quilts out there in the world making their mark in show after show. This is an impressive award in an accomplished category and I congratulate Bronwen for doing such a great job!

Once again, another quilter has made Red Delicious all her own. This quilt is full of personality - I just love it!

Also, when I was making Red Delicious, I had ideas about how it would look in prints, in monochromes, in batiks and... in pinks with just the right shades of yellow... -Bronwen you read my mind!....and I love these pinks. They work so well. Bronwen you have a great eye for applique. Fabric can make all the difference and your selection is superb.

Thanks to all the talented ladies who share their work in Yahoo Bom Group, I have been lucky enough to 'see' Red Delicious made up in all those 'ideas' of possibility as well as plenty more. Each quilt has so much of the makers 'hand' in its look that I love browsing through the albums.

I am so lucky that so many of you have generously shared your creative work back with me so I can enjoy it too. Thank you to everyone who has shared their process with me personally and via the group.

I love this cherry basket..the purple tones just sing.



Thank you for sharing this pleasure with me...

Monday, November 8, 2010

WOW!

Congratulations to Robyne Melia (blog over here: http://robynefmelia.blogspot.com/) who has sold her Crazy Quilt for $70,000

I think that's note worthy. Congrats Robyne, it gives all us patchworkers hope that someday our quilts will have a real sales value.

It's so nice to hear that someone has sold a real quilt for this price... do drop by her blog and congratulate her yourself, this is quite a (historic?) achievement!

Hooking is addictive


This is what 94 crochet hex motifs look like...

When I realised I was only 8 short for the afghan, I got stuck in. I wasn't prepared to wait another week to finish my nightly tally.

Now I wish I had been joining them as I went along -facing the hours stitching them together is already a little bit boring and I am only 1 row down (9 to go). Oh well, at least I will have this project finished before summer. Another project avoids the WIP shelf!

The problem with crochet is that you can sit down to join a single row and before you know what happened, 3 hours have passed and you don't know what to cook for lunch!




Also on my mind this past weekend: the 12 Days of Christmas

Up on my wall, I felt it was missing something but could not decide what. It's already quite busy, so although I thought another border would be a good idea...I didnt want to overdo it either.

Then I found some red bits in my red scrap box that I started earlier on in the year and never finished, and I think it works...what do you think?




Sunday, November 7, 2010

What's a Pinmoor?



So many emails...so here it is (off YouTube).
This video shows you what pinmoor is.

I havent actually used it yet, so I can't add my own review. It looks promising though and I will definitely share my experience when it happens.

You can visit the official website here: http://www.pinmoor.com/

Friday, November 5, 2010

Meandering into the weekend

I am meandering into the weekend ... I went to bed full of ideas of things to get done today...but woke up and decided to take it easy.

I have been sitting outside this morning, enjoying too much post birthday cake, listening to the birds with my back turned on my messy studio, relaxing in a spot of warm sun.

I had a wonderful birthday yesterday with my family. I have some pics of the cake here - what a stunning cake eh? I love how beautifully my name has been scrolled...the whole thing just looks so magical...and it tasted great too! I have had a few happy easters in my life, so it's nice to check and find out that it's really my birthday when the cake arrives!

 Look at those flowers with blueberry centres....do you need an excuse to eat them??
The picket fence around the cake is actually meringue. Amazing.

Yes, regular readers of my blog would be aware that I am very keen on homemade cakes ...and usually my daughters and I bake amongst ourselves for birthdays and holidays...this year has been a change from the norm as we have all been so busy (it's just been one of those years).
It was doubly nice that yesterday I had some rulers I had ordered delivered. These rulers are Leaves Galore by Sue Pelland Designs http://www.suepellanddesigns.com/

I have so many ideas in store for this ruler. But I have left it shrink wrapped and have decided not to open it before I get some EQ7 work done first. I really have to structure my day or I will spend all day 'playing' with nothing to show for it.

I 'found' my pinmoors a few moments ago (I knew they were on the table somewhere)...they arrived last week. Like a lot of quilters, before I had any, I wondered if I could use the cut off tips of flexible rubber as an alternative...but seeing these in real life, I think store bought might be best. This really looks like the basting help I have been looking for. I havent done any work with them yet, but when I do I will definitely share my opinion on their usefulness rating with you.

Like many of you, I have reached the point where I dont want any extra things unless they are useful and save time. I have plenty of 'gadgets' and want to get back to useful basics. 


The weather has been cooler than usual for this time of year and there's been more rain than usual as well. This has been great for the birds and gardens...but on a selfish note, it's been great for my crochet as I usually stop by November because it is too warm. The cold snaps have seen me working double time...and now I only have 8 motifs to finish my hex's for the afghan. Then I will spread them out, decide on a setting and join them up. I think I will have to pull through and get it done this weekend because I am beginning to get tired of it...it feels so s-l-o-w and I just want to see it done.

I always forget how slowly afghans get on...

My postman was busy yesterday- also to arrive on my birthday was a prize generously given away by Bobbie Ashley from http://www.blissfullystitching.blogspot.com/


Thank you Bobbie Ashley!

I was the Flower Garden Winner

I received these super sweet hex flowers and precut hex's and a hex stamp

The whole set is so nice. I have been arranging and re-arranging ideas to use them up.


Maybe a table runner....hmmm, my DD has been inspired by the stamp (and my stash) and has been talking of a hex scrappy quilt top. That would be so nice too, and is actually on my 'list of quilts I want to make'

So we'll see....



12 days of Christmas:
I am thinking about maybe adding a border. Mine looks like it needs it. I don't know if I will yet or not, but I think I might...
How is your's coming along?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Part 6, the last installment

It's the last week
There's lots of finishing up to do...but I know you'll (patiently?) work your way through it.


Time has just flown by (well it feels that way) but I find I'm always saying that, aren't I?
The back of your baubles will look like this

and your fronts will be gently puffed

I've been very busy this week. At this time of year I am generally picking up my pace to finish lingering projects... I know that the next 4 weeks is really my last window of time to get things done before I wind down for the year and for Christmas. I am speeding up my afghan as I really want to get it done...it's the kind of project that, if I put it down for too long, it will collect dust for another year...so I am trying to keep my motivation up. I think my next blanket will have to be colourful grannies so that I won't get bored so easily.

It's also my birthday on thursday so I know that I will most likely not get much practical work done this week. I have started tidying things up so that I can get stuck right back in after the weekend for a good week of WIPs before December arrives.

This year when I bring in the box of Christmas decorations, I'll have a new wallhanging to put up - and so will you!

Monday, November 1, 2010

AQC 2011 Tutor


Next year is only 8 weeks away (what?!) so it's not too early to announce that I am delighted to be a tutor at the AQC in Carlton, Melbourne for 2011.

My workshop on bindings has sold out, however there are still many great classes available. You can check them out here: http://www.aqc.com.au/

These are some of my quilt bindings. I'm looking forward to sharing what I know about this important technique with my class.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...