Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Some more birdies

My work room looks out onto our garden and I often see birds flitting around.  It can be quite the distraction some days, the one pictured below was hovering near my window and then darted off into the neighbour's bush to sip nectar from the flowers.

New Holland Honey Eater (click here for a video of one feeding)

The bird below is another project that I have been working on recently.  For a small donation I received a piece of hand dyed fabric with the outline of a bird screen printed onto it, you could then embellish, quilt, embroider, or applique  the piece of fabric.  I decided to applique some velvet and silk on my bird,  I also used some variegated thread to machine embroider the body, then I trapuntoed the bird, quilted it some more then quilted the background.  It is going to be part of our Guild display at our Festival of Quilts in November. 

A family of Kookaburras in the neighbour's gum tree (to hear a kookaburra calling click here you might need to turn the volume up a bit).  It was quite noisy that day as there were more kookaburras in the nearby trees and it seemed as if they were having a competition but in reality I think it was a territorial dispute.

Monday, 4 May 2015

There has been little of note happening here in the Rest is not idleness world, I recently joined a Facebook group called OMG quilts (Organic Modern Graphic quilts, a variation within the Modern Quilting Movement) and spent a few hours over the weekend making this little quilt to submit to the group. I found my inspiration for it while I was slicing some brussel sprouts, it is fairly small, just 15" x 20" and is raw edge applique.  I fused some Applifix (similar to Vliesofix) to the back of my fabrics and then used my rotary cutter to cut the shapes I had in my mind, once that was done, I played around with their positions, then fused them to the background and used my Sweet 16 to quilt them down before I started the fun quilting.

I acquired this fabric last week, I have no idea where it will be used although I think it would make a great bag to take along to sit and sews.  Hopefully you will be able to read the words (click on the picture and it will enlarge) and have a laugh or two.

Opal and Earl seem to be quite a funny couple

I wonder if the Mister and I will be like that in 20 years time

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Anzac Day 2015

Anzac Day this year is a special one in Australia and New Zealand. It's 100 years since the Anzac troops went ashore on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915, and a time to remember the many hardships they endured there. 

 Anzac Day occurs on 25 April.  It commemorates all the Australians and New Zealanders killed in war and also honours returned servicemen and women, past and present.  The date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand soldiers - the Anzacs - on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.  The plan was to capture the Dardanelles, which was the gateway to the Bosphorus and the Black Sea.  By the end of the campaign, Gallipoli was still held by its Turkish defenders.  

Thousands lost their lives in the Gallipoli campaign: 87,000 Turks, 44,000 men from France and the British Empire, including 8,500 Australians, among the dead were more than 2,700 New Zealanders.

after the Anzac Day Dawn Service at the
South Australian National War Memorial

The Ode

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

Lawrence Binyon (1869-1943)

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Yesterday was a long day ...

and I am still quite tired, but it was worth it.  I travelled to the Australasian Quilting Convention on Saturday, leaving Adelaide before the sun rose and arriving back after it had set, it was a long day but so enjoyable.  It was a very overcast day when I arrived in Melbourne but the clouds slowly lifted and by the midday the sun was out and the day turned out to be quite pleasant, unlike Adelaide where it rained all day.

See how restrained I was,
2 scrap packets of prints from Maze and Vale,
2 fat quarters, 2 fat 1/8's and some vintage squares

I took a lot of photos on my ipad but they all appear quite misty looking (something to do with the light in the building I think) so I won't publish them,  but I can put up links to some of the quilts.  For instance this quilt  made by Lorena Uriarte was one I particularly liked, it was quilted quite simply with a spiral in each circle and straight line quilting on all the building blocks.  Depending on the angle you viewed the quilt you could see hexagons, or diamonds or building blocks and even stars and of course the circles were superimposed on top.  The blocks were machine pieced and the circles were appliqued by hand.

another BlocLoc ruler, a wee tin (looks like a cassette)
a cloth tape measure, a couple of badges
and a laboclip (magnifying viewing aid) to clip onto my glasses

Another quilt that I liked was the second one in this blog post called Subdivision made by Kathy Thorncraft,  it was made from a combination of two different but simple blocks and quilted quite simply with straight line quilting which started in a curve at one corner and was then echoed out about 1/4" each time.  I think this quilt appealed to me because you could create different patterns with it depending on how you arranged the blocks.  There is a pattern for this quilt in Make Modern digital magazine (issue 3).

Miss Midge blogged about AQC 2015 here ,Vireya wrote a post here and Michele wrote a lovely post about the AQC here.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

I didn't quite spend the whole long weekend sorting scraps in between times, I also made Chicken stock and Pancetta, white bean and Swiss chard pot pies from the Smitten Kitchen blog.  The chicken stock is easy to make as it is all done in the slow cooker, you just pile in chicken wings, chopped onion, salt and garlic, add water, turn the slow cooker on and leave it for 8 hours.

My chicken stock differed slightly from the Smitten Kitchen recipe - I used 2kg (on special - $5 for 2kg) of chicken wings (2kg is about 4 1/2 lbs) and used 3 cloves of garlic instead of one, 3 litres of water  (a little more than 3 quarts) and 1 tsp of salt.  I cooked it on high for about 8 hours which kept it bubbling away gently, then strained it into a big bowl, let it cool for 30 mins, then refrigerated overnight.  In the morning the stock was nicely jellied and I could lift the thin layer of fat off easily before spooning the stock into containers so I could freeze some.

For the pot pies I substituted smoked chicken for the Pancetta which meant I could omit the browning step as the diced chicken was added at the end, it was quite delicious, and there was enough mix to make six pot pies which pleased me immensely as I didn't need to think about "what to cook for dinner" although I think that three days in a row is our limit for eating the same dish.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Best intentions ...

I had originally planned to make improv blocks over the long weekend, but I ended up organising nearly ALL of my scraps and strings.  I had organised my strings a month or so ago so I thought it would just take a day to get everything else tidied up, but the scraps have obviously been breeding, who knew that I had three boxes of scraps (and I know there is yet another box lurking on the top shelf of a cupboard).

Once I had started I couldn't stop, I discovered that flat scraps take up a lot less room than scraps stuffed and crammed into boxes and if scraps are stored flat, they will be ready to use straight away.

There were piles upon piles of scraps, my iron was running hot all weekend, but I now have scraps that are easily accessed and organised by colour.

strings are clipped together with foldback clips 
and hung from hooks in the cupboard.

This afternoon I celebrated the finish of my scrap organisation by making an improv block from scraps,

the block was made from some of my leftover Farmer's Wife scraps, if I make it a wee bit larger then I can turn it into a quilt for Cody to lie on, I'm sure he will appreciate it.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

A bit of improv

I have been playing around with making new fabric from fabric scraps and had made a piece of low volume(ish) blue fabric which has been sitting on my design wall until further inspiration would strike.

Reading Cat & Vee's blog I came across Cat's Bust a kiss blogtorial  and thought "oh yes, I can try that with my made fabric, so I did and ended up with this block.  The making of it made for a pleasant morning sewing and there may be a few more of these blocks appearing sometime.

I also played around with a few of the (many) strips I have lurking in the work room and ended up with this block, it could have been better balanced value wise but I just pulled some strips out and sewed like a maniac.  I really enjoy doing improv piecing although I do tend to make a bit of a mess with all the fabric trimmings when I make these blocks.

Saturday, 28 March 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.

*You may have noticed blog posts appearing and disappearing over the last day or so, I had written several posts in draft and when I scheduled them Blogger somehow changed the dates on them, hopefully I've fixed them.

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.