Friday, 2 December 2016

Blooming Lovely



Dianthus or Pinks

Feijoa flowers

Star Jasmine

Linda's Calla Lily

Mango Calla Lily

African Marigold

Some of the lovely flowers in my garden at present.

The Cosmos are thriving, my Feijoa trees have flowers, so fingers crossed they turn into fruit this autumn.  My Star Jasmine (of which I have a lot) is a mass of blooms and scents the evening air so beautifully, if only it was warm enough in the evenings to sit outside and enjoy it.

My lovely Calla lillies have just started to flower.  At the beginning of 2015, Linda  and I swapped some bulbs, ( her lemon callas for my mango callas) hoping for flowers last summer.  Nothing happened, but this year they have started to bloom, the colour is actually a beautiful clear lemony shade not the lime shade it appears in the photos.

The ever faithful African marigold - I plant these in my vegetable garden as part of my companion planting scheme.

What's flowering in your garden at present?
Happy Weekend to you all.

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
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