Friday, February 29, 2008

I Went Thrifting and ...

Yes, they are the days of the week and they are all there. I think there might be a quilt in there somewhere. I would like to thank the stunt tree, and the lovely lady at the church sale who passed me the rest of the days of the week (there were only 2 left when I saw them).

I just couldn't resist these when I saw them last week. I mean, who hasn't felt like this on a Saturday?

After and Before

While cleaning up I found this stack looking photogenic and couldn't resist. The plates are a collection of Johnson Brothers and Crown Lynn. The crumbs are a new chocolate brownie recipe that I have stumbled across and am quite impressed with. Only 3 eggs, as opposed to Nigella's 6, don't need to melt the chocolate and cheap chocolate works well. Trust me I have tried it.

Double Chocolate Mocha Brownie (thanks to an old NZ H&G magazine)

125g butter (melted)
60g cocoa powder
250g caster sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1T coffee liqueur (or 1 t instant coffee in 1 T hot water)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
50g flour (no, this is not a typo)
½ t baking powder
125g chocolate chips

Heat oven to 150 Celsius.

Grease and line 20 cm x 30 cm slice tin.

Mix butter and cocoa.

Stir in caster sugar, vanilla and liqueur.

Add eggs and mix.

Sift over flour and baking powder.

Fold into mixture with chocolate chips.

Pour into tin and bake for approx 40 minutes (check at about 30 min).

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Seven Things About Me - In Case You Wanted to Know

I have been tagged by Twenty Cent Mixture for the Seven Things Meme. It took me a while to think up seven things about myself so here goes:

1, My favourite Cream Egg flavour is Caramello.
I wasn't too keen on Caramello until one sunny afternoon when it was the only junk food left in the work snack box. I have been a convert ever since.

2, My car is purple.
It's not a subtle purple either. Think a bar of Cadbury chocolate with trade mark swirl and purple wrapper (must not think of aforementioned cream eggs).

3, I tried to teach myself to crochet and it didn't work.
I was only 9 and have since been told that it is something you have to be shown. Still, the one failure may have scared me off.

4, My favourite piece of music as a child was “Music Box Dancer” by Richard Clademan.
It was a matter of putting that record on (more specifically asking Mum to) and I was off spinning until I fell down dizzy or hit some furniture. Some time this would take more than one playing and there was certainly no technique to the spinning.

5, I have a love hate relationship with housework.
I love having it finished, but am rubbish at getting it done. I would like to be thought of as a tidy and orderly person. I would also like to achieve world peace.

6, I am can follow instructions, but often choose not to, or consult them only when lost.

7, Seven is my favourite number. For numerous reasons. The number seems to occur everywhere and more specifically is the day and month of my birthday.

This meme came with some rules so I had better include them.

Rules for tagging:
1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Back to number 6, I feel a bit shy about tagging people I haven't met. I could even go so far as to say I am not worthy of tagging the blogs I read. Some of them are listed to the side of this. I find them such an inspiration and love going off on tangents following the connections to see where things end up. Instead of tagging I will ignore the strict letter of instructions 3 & 4 and leave you with a list of seven blogs I am humbled by:

This Vintage Chica - She's so busy

Bella Dia – The advent countdown of Christmas books kept me guessing and introduced new treasures.

Heart Felt – Bringing new life to beloved jerseys and I've met her now.

Mama Urchin – She sews, she quilts, she home schools. Where does she find the time?

Sew Mama Sew – So many reasons, but the current Quilting Month sealed the deal.

Eat Your Words – Adventures to be had for a Salsa dancing, velo rider New Zealander in Paris.

And of course, Twenty Cent Mixture – Cool name, cool crafts. Need I say more?

In Which a UFO Becomes a Wisp

I find New Years resolutions inspiring but often unachievable. Before Christmas this year, I had to tidy up my sewing space to make some room. As I gradually stacked up the projects that I had started, but still had to finish, it was looking a little hopeless. I resolved there and then to make a good go at reducing the stack.

When I first started quilting I was diligent about finishing one project before starting the next. I think this lasted until I decided that I was going to hand quilt a top. Needless to say, that top is still in the process of being hand quilted 4 years later. As I talked to fellow quilters I was introduced to the term UFO, Un-Finished Object. It was spoken of in hushed terms and often referred to something hidden in the bottom of a cupboard somewhere. Some people announce with pride that they have no UFOs and others look on in envy.

Earlier this year I was introduced to the term WISP – Work In Slow Progress. It's a term that conjures up a slow thoughtful process from which you are allowed to take a break while you look for inspiration in other things. No project becomes a millstone that must be thrown off in order to progress, but rather an item waiting patiently for the right moment. In January of this year my UFO pile was rechristened as WISPs. The projects are sitting patiently.

Taking one project a month for the first 2 months has seen the Frocks progress from 3 blocks to a completed top in January. The backing is going to be a summery cotton with a soft flannel lining. Something I wouldn't have thought of a year ago but very fitting for a quilt of summer dresses. I had something lined up to tackle in February, but the Four Patches nudged in. It was their time.

The Four Patches began as a swap with the quilting group I belong to, Stitching Sisters. Each fortnight we would make 10 Four Patches, take them along and leave with a mixture of 10 different ones. Some of us started out with an idea as to what we were going to do with them others like me waited to see if inspiration hit. Sharon keeps us organised, so it is only fitting that she started on this with a plan. She required 260 patches which had us swapping for a year, from July 2006 to July 2007. In January this year, the gauntlet was thrown down. We will be showing the 10 + finished works at the April meeting of the Quilting Guild.

I have been putting the pieces together in a type of Jacobs Ladder. The top last saw work in November last year when I was trying to decide between the two layouts below:

It has been a busy week for me. Upon hearing about the deadline, I booked the top in to be quilted, while it was unfinished, and thought nothing more until last week. Amid a flurry I managed to get the outer blocks all sewn together and the top complete. On Saturday the top was delivered to Quilter's Lane, backs, patterns and threads chosen in a bit of a flurry. After that I could relax.

While having a celebratory Hot Cross Bun at 10 o'clock Cookie Company I spotted an awesome jersey that looked like one I had seen before. I was initially unsure if I should say hello, admitting hat I had been reading the Heart Felt blog but not yet posted a comment. The kid in the jersey was playing Little e's favourite game, Boo, over the back of the couch which solved the dilemma. It was a pleasure to be able to meet Janelle.

I will be taking a short break from the WISPs while the Four Patches are being quilted. I am thinking of getting some smaller projects started so that I can approach the next WISP refreshed.

Monday, February 4, 2008

All the Fun of the Fair

I had been planning it for weeks and on Saturday Little e and I were off to the Martinborough fair. The event has always been an annual tradition for my family, from Mum helping out at the Plunket Stall and trying to make my $2 last all morning to this year – with baby in tow.

The bustling crowds were going to be a bit of a challenge with a buggy, so the baby pack was ready and I really needed as new bag for the occasion.


I really like the idea of reusable shopping bags but find that:
a) I don't always have one on me
b) I have to reach to the bottom of the bag to get things
c) The top isn't always secure

I had big plans and was going to post photos before our outing, but Friday night saw me up, cutting and sewing to turn this little one out at the last minute.

It folds – small enough to be in my handbag

It holds – pocket for wallet at mid height for easy access

and it keeps – strap to the top to stop copious purchases from falling out.

After a count up, the next day, it was revealed that we already have 9 reusable bags it's just that they are never in the right place, in my hand bag, when I need them. This in mind, one more certainly can't hurt.

We had a great time with Little e comfy in the Kozy Carrier and looking out for all that was going on. The weather for the fair was a little overcast, keeping some of the crowd away to the point that we could have taken the buggy. The shopping was wonderful and I have so much to look out for next month when the fair returns.

Note: I have been tagged for the seven random things meme so watch this space..