Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Giveaway at You Go Girl

Cassie is giving away a very cute pincushion to someone who leaves a comment on her latest post. She is also giving away an extra goodie to the person who refers them. I feel really bad because I read about this at Thimbleanna's blog but didn't mention in my comment that she had sent me - I normally get an error when I try to leave comments on Typepad blogs, so I didn't really expect my comment to go through, so just typed something brief. And it worked! And when I went back to make amends, it no longer let me leave comments! So if someone can leave a comment and tell them Thimbleanna referred them I will feel much better.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Forgot this one!

Here's another little ball I made. This one is covered in fabric with some ribbons and flowers and tassels! (I was searching for something in a big tub full of old craft things and came across lots of interesting and unlikely bits and pieces I had forgotten about - hence the experimental crafts at the moment. Now, what to do with the rest of the polystyrene balls, the wooden pegs, the packet of star anise (which has left the tub smelling wonderful), some bottles, some bells etc etc .....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Some recent projects

I recently made this cute little bag. It is from an Ann Dimmer pattern from an old issue of Handmade. I copied her stitchery but changed the bag to my own pattern.

And just for a bit of fun, I made this little decoration - it is just a painted ball with buttons glued all over!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Winter Solstice Festival at Katoomba

We went for a drive to Katoomba today, for the Winter Solstice Festival - a popular annual street festival on the shortest day of the year.

We left early to beat the rush up the Blue Mountains, stopping first at Glenbrook Markets which are held on the third Saturday of every month. I bought a yummy fresh sourdough loaf and Jeremy bought some cute felted slippers for his neice.

Then on to Katoomba where we browsed all the stalls and antique shops, buying some gourmet puddings to put away for Christmas. The street was packed with visitors (see above).

I didn't take any photos of the street parade because it was so crowded we could barely see it. The locals take the opportunity to dress up in their favourite Celtic gear, or as wizards and warlocks. Even the dogs like to dress up. We met this lovely Boxer Unicorn.

Then we went down the road to Leura for lunch at the Post office cafe. The Country Women's Association had a little shop there too, and I got a stack of US quilting magazines for $1 each and some fabrics, so I was happy! Picklemouse Corner is at Leura too, but I had sore feet by now so we didn't visit.

And then the drive home down the mountain ....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday Stitching

I finished my cushion cover this morning, but don't look too closely because I pricked my finger and didn't realise it, so there are a few interesting red flecks on the bow!

I know it looks like I am either running 6 months behind or 6 months ahead, but I'm playing with Christmassy things at the moment. A friend in my patchwork group has a shop and she needs a crafty Christmas display in a few months, so she has invited the group members to make some ornaments and small gifts.
I'm not sure what I will make for her yet, at the moment I am just playing with a few patterns to see if I can make anything display-worthy. I've been browsing old magazines and have found lots of inspiration. And maybe if I start now, I'll actually make something for my own home in time for Christmas for once too!
I wsn't happy with the look of my stocking, above, so I am in the middle of antique-ing it. I have sprayed it with a Parisian essence mix, and will do another few sprays until I get the right look.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sweet Simplicity

I finished my little stitchery last night. Now I just need to find some cute fabrics in my stash to turn it into a pillow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Back to Work Today - Grrrr

Back to work today after a long weekend, which was rainy and a bit miserable. Apart from dinner with family one night, grocery shopping and housework, we didn't do much at all. But I was so tired today, it doesn't feel like I just had a 3 day weekend at all.

Sugar has been very limpy and sad since her walk on Saturday afternoon. Since her surgery, she has a 4 week course of cartrophen before winter every year to get her through the colder months. She is on her 3rd dose this week, so she should be feeling better, not worse. I have some anti-inflammatories for her but they don't seem to help at all. So for the rest of the weekend we were just content to sit in front of the heater and nap (her) and sew (me), and have the occasional snuggle. I wish I could have stayed home with her today, I felt so awful putting her out this morning, instead of letting her snuggle in bed with me.

So here is a stitchery I started this weekend. It is from a doll pattern by Lorraine Green, the stitchery is meant to be on the doll's dress, but I just like it on its own, so will make it into a cushion instead. I've changed some of the colours and stitches too.

I also started making this simple nine patch quilt. The photo is awful - it is so dark and dreary here - so I will take a better one when I finish it. I have just been buggaring up everything I touch lately - I just can't seem to sew or cut a straight line. So I decided to do something simple that even I couldn't mess up too much. The fabrics are lovely - they are called Perennial Spice - very rich and autumny. I bought a fat quarter pack a while back, but just didn't know what to use them on because 10 of the FQs are quite dark and there were only 2 light ones (which I haven't used at all here). But I matched them with a spotted tan for the sashings and middle patch, so they are much brighter looking now. They look much darker and murkier than they are in the below photo.

It is currently 5 rows of 4 blocks with sashings in between. I think I will add another row and then it will be pretty much single size. I won't have enough fabric left over for a border, so will have to find something else that sort of matches.

And finally, my friend Lyle (aka Pandaman) has started his own Blog so do pop over and give him some encouragement. I can't wait for him to post some of his photos. (Oh, I just looked, and the first photo he has posted is the quilt I made for him - I feel very special!) He is not a quilter, but a collector of Asian inspired furnishings and knick knacks. Almost everything in his amazing Asian-themed house was sourced at bargain prices from local markets too. So he should have some tips for creating an amazing decor on next to nothing too!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Pea Soup with Cheesy Potato Damper

Oh look, I am getting artistic with my photos!

You will need:

1 onion, chopped
2 or 3 carrots, chopped
500g split green peas
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 litre vegetable stock (approx)
Juice from one lemon
Handful of mint leaves
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil

Rinse the split peas under cold running water and remove any discoloured ones.

Heat about two tablespoons of good olive oil in a big pot and add the onion and carrot. Fry, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft. Add the garlic and fry a minute longer. Add the stock and split peas and bring to the boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the peas are soft and mushy (about an hour). Keep an eye on it and add more stock/water as needed.

Puree with a stick blender. Add lemon juice, mint leaves and plenty of salt and pepper. Give it another quick mix with the blender. And it's ready to serve with crusty bread.

Cheesy Potato Damper

This recipe isn't my own, it is from Basics to Brilliance: Potato Recipes by Murdoch Books.

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
30g melted butter
1 cup mashed potato
1/2 - 3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to moderate 180 degrees. Grease a 2ocm sandwich pan with melted butter and line with greaseproof paper. Sift flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Add butter, mashed potato, egg, milk and cheese and mix until well combined into a firm dough.

Place dough in pan and score wedge shapes into the top of the damper. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until hollow sounding when gently tapped. Turn out onto a wire rack. Serve warm with butter.

Potato and Pea Curry (Aloo Matar)

I haven't posted any recipes for a while and I'm in a bit of a cooking frenzy today so I thought I'd share some tasty dishes. I have the day off work, and my back is a bit sore to do much sewing (or housework!), so I thought I'd cook up a few dishes to reheat over the next week for dinners.

So, on to Aloo Matar ....

You will need:

3 large potatoes, diced
1 large onion, chopped
Small can peas
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground chilli
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon salt
Good squeeze of lemon juice
Handful of roughly chopped fresh coriander
Vegetable Oil

Steam or microwave the chopped potatoes until just tender (about 6 mins in my microwave).

In a small bowl, mix the tomato paste, ground coriander, ground chilli, garam masala, garlic, tumeric, salt and lemon juice.

Heat enough oil in a large frying pan to be a couple milimetres deep, then fry the potatoes quickly to give them golden edges. Remove potatoes from pan.

If necessary, drain off a little oil to just leave a spoonful or so in the pan. Add the onions and cook until starting to brown. Add the tomato paste mixture and fry for a few minutes, stirring, to release the flavours. Add the peas and potatoes and heat through for a few minutes.

Stir through the fresh coriander and serve with rice.

Challenge Quilt

Finally finished my challenge quilt. I am not really happy with it, but am glad to be finished it. I just kind of lost inspiration half way through for some reason, so rushed through the last bits and didn't do a very good job. Oh, well, on the bright side, I can move on to something else now!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Rail Fence

I have been working on this Rail Fence quilt this week and finished piecing the top today. It is a big single size one (64" x 92"). The drizzle stopped long enough for me to get a quick photo outside.

Sugar has been having a nap on Daddy's lap while he watches car shows on TV. It is that sort of day.