Thursday, 31 January 2013

Quilting and Baking

Today was a good day.  I needed that.  I spent the day ironing (quilting fabric only, not clothes, oh my!!), and choosing fabric, and then actually doing some machine quilting. Bliss. Good for the soul.  I do love quilting. I love making quilts, and  deciding what fabrics to use,and  looking at other peoples quilts, but most of all,  the feel of quilting...for me it is pure and  simple joy.  I love the texture. The simplest quilt can still be so gorgeous when you can feel and see  all those little bumps and ripples...ahhh. I also feel a quilt is not done until it is washed. That is when it is finished being  born...the texture, both by  touch and visually, comes to life and it is all good...  Anyway,  I can't show you what I quilted today because it has to be a secret for another week or two. 

When I am feeling stressed, there are two ways I know to calm myself. For me,  that would be sewing or baking.  The  storm (my previous post) caused me a lot of stress.  It was a scary weekend, but on Monday, the wind finally went away.
I was still feeling upset that day, but too shaky to sew.  So, I decided to cook. Sewing and cooking are both good therapy for whatever life me on that.

My dear friend De  knows  I make my own bread.  She passed on this link a few weeks back.  It tells how to bake bread in a slow cooker.  Since it is summer and hot and humid, I have no desire to turn the oven on these days, so I decided to try it.  I  made my usual bread recipe, tore off a sheet of baking paper, shaped the dough, gave it a few slashes with the knife.....(because I like how it looks)


I set the baking paper and bread dough in the slow cooker. I set my phone to alarm 45 minutes later.

It was not done yet. Mine took one hour, 15 minutes.  Here it is, wrong side up. The bottom is golden.

Here it is top side up.  There might already be some missing from the right,even though I tried to hide that by the angle.... Who can resist warm, fresh homemade bread??

My thoughts:  The bread is golden on the bottom. It came out moist and perfectly cooked.  The top is light, but the author suggests browning it if you feel the need. I prefer my bread light anyway.  This will be my new best way to bake bread. No hot oven on, no dishes to wash after....Perfect! The spread is hummus....I soaked some chickpeas to make chickpea cookies  and did extra so I could have enough to make hummus too.  Oh yum.  This is good therapy.  debbie

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

I am so thankful...

Ex Tropical Cyclone Oswald stayed all weekend.  The damage is hard to comprehend.  So many people have lost so much.  I do love a good storm, but this one was frightening.  I could hear loud crashes multiple times over the past few days, but it was dark and not safe to go out and have a look.  The wind was relentless but thankfully, we did not get the amount of rain predicted for this area.  The first morning, I woke up to this:

A few hours later, while in the shower, I heard another loud noise.   It was this:

That night,  I heard another loud noise, and it was this:

My poor banana tree had a clipping and whats left is shredded like fringe.  I could see a chain saw would be needed, most especially for the big tree behind the banana tree, so I rang SES to  ask if I was eligible for any assistance. 

SEVEN men came with chain saws.  They filled the back of 3 Utes and another caged trailer.

And this is how they left it.   Thank you SES Volunteers.  You really made my day.
 The winds of this storm were so strong and lasted more than two days.  Lucky me, this is the only damage I had.
My heart is so sad for so many others and all they have lost.  Thankful? Oh yes, very very thankful.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Friday Fun

Hi everyone,

This morning I made a quick trip to the shops so I can settle in for the weekend.  Sounds like it could be eventful here! The local paper predicts the Brisbane area could get up to 300mm of rain by Monday.  I still have to translate to inches to "get it". WOW.  That is nearly 12 inches.  Flooding is not a worry for my home, but I know it will be a rough weekend for plenty of other people.  Here is hoping that the forecast is wrong!!

At last, I signed up for OPAM 2013. I've been watching this for a couple of years, but I didn't have a blog, so I was not able to join in.  I signed up today so now I just have to work out how to post my list.  Thanks to the ladies that give their time to sort all this out. 

Next, I signed up for FNSI.   I only have one focus project at the moment, which is the Initial Heart  Swap.  Still working on it, and still enjoying every moment!  I hope to do more swaps this year now that I have more time at home.

Have you ever used the words "chickpeas" and "cookies" in the same sentence?  Due to all the rain, it might actually be cool enough to turn the oven on this weekend.  I need to soak the chickpeas first, but stay tuned....debbie

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Tuesday Treasures

Hi everyone,

Today I received a lovely parcel in the mail.  It was full of goodies from Melody as part of the Tuesday Treasures gift.  I was her most recent giveaway winner.

Inside the parcel, there was a cute little Rosalie Quinlan pattern called Miss Melly's Sewing Pocket.  She also included some gorgeous Papillion fabric by 3 Sisters, a lovely piece of linen,  some wool batting (I think it's wool?!) and a sweet little doily.  Thank you very much Melody,  it is a lovely gift.
Sorry the picture isn't fantastic, it's rainy today so not much good lighting !

I've been stitching heaps on my swap project.  I can't show you that though, it's too far gone now to keep the initial a secret anymore!  I normally stitch on the deck in the afternoons because it is cooler out there than inside.  This week I have stayed inside because of this persistent visitor. It is not afraid of me or the broom!  It comes too close to me and frightens me a little, but it has the most beautiful song.  It's been every day this week. It actually lands there and calls out until I head to that end of the house and have a chat with it!!

I have too much time on my hands, so I had a little fun with it ... I recorded it (well over 4 minutes) with my IPOD.  It is a conversation between us actually, me telling it to move on, it replying, me saying that's my stitching spot, it replying, etc, etc.  The next day,  I heard it calling out to me again, so I took the IPOD with me and stood at the back door playing back the recording from the day before.  The bird got all excited, tilting its head every which way, chattering back ever louder. I was laughing so hard I had tears and then I texted De to bring a straightjacket because I've clearly lost the plot.  :)

The bird seems to be perfectly healthy.  There is no food or water there, only my planting supplies.  I would love to know what kind of bird this is, if anyone knows.
Last,  I am trying a new experiment with the hangy bag thingys.  I've had good luck with tomatoes, so I thought I would try something else.  This is zucchini that I planted in the bag about a week ago.

So far, so good.  It is growing super fast and seems to be happy in the bag.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Stitching, Quark,& Grasshoppers

Hi everyone,

Still's meant to be hotter today than yesterday.  I wanted to get a couple things done this am while I can still move around!!  First up, last night's stitching.  I watched a couple DVDs and worked on these:

I've made a start on my Valentine's Initial Heart swap.  It's a pleasure to stitch!

I stitched a little more on Pot Plant Penelope. This is only my first block, but I've wanted to make this quilt for years. I'm hoping having some prep work done on a few blocks will make it easier to pick up and stitch a little here and there.  I originally did needle turn applique on this block but I have since removed it and will change over to blanket stitch.  Now I need to pick out fabric for her clothes again.

One blog I read pretty much every day is Down To Earth .  Rhonda gives so much useful information about gardening, living simply, spending less, and making things at home. What a treasure! I saw this recipe on
her site ages ago, so I've set it up this morning.

I've never heard of quark (it made me think of Mork and Mindy) LOL, but she says it is similar to cream cheese but with a slight tang.  Once ready, it can be dressed up either sweet with fruit and honey, or savoury with chili flakes, herbs, garlic, etc. It can be eaten with toast, crackers, veggies, whatever you like.

Here it is ready to go in the fridge.  A twin pack of small "bricks" of cream cheese was  well over $7 the
last time I looked. This one L tub of Greek Yoghurt was $5.45 at my local shop.  I used half, which looks to be a similar volume to the twin pack of cream cheese.

Last night I went out to water those gorgeous heirloom tomato plants and I saw baby grasshoppers :((
So, I googled how to make pesticide spray at home.   The recipe I chose was simple. I used:

Super hot chili powder, garlic liquid, some dishwashing liquid, and water.  I don't want my plants to soak up whatever is in store bought pesticide spray because I plan to eat those tomatoes!  I'm guessing a bottle of it would be between $5 and $10  anyway.  This was virtually "free" because I had it all here.  So, for about 15-20 minutes prep time,  I saved  over $10 this morning.   I already sprayed the grasshoppers and tomorrow I will have a tasty treat.  (cheese, not grasshoppers!)  Bonus,  I didn't have to go to the shops either.  Hope your day is good :)  debbie

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Dear Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

We get that it is summer and is meant to be hot. Point well taken, over and over.
However, it's getting to be a bit much!   There are fires everywhere and so many brave
souls risking their own safety to try to put them out. It's so smoky, it wakes us up from a
sweaty sleep. We have sore throats and watery eyes.  Those of us that still have our homes
worry but are grateful we are still ok.  It's been smoky for over a week, and those firefighters
must be getting awful tired too.  Please consider sending some rain for relief to people, plants,
and animals.  And please send a few days where the temps start with a "2" so we can have
a break and recover a bit.  Thanks.  My thoughts are with those less fortunate and I am grateful
I am still safe.   debbie

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Butterfly Quilt

I made this quilt back in late 90's, early 2000's maybe...Shame on me for not putting a label on it so I would know for sure. I always label quilts now.
I would love to give credit to the designer, but it's way too hot to search through about a gazillion
magazines to find out, sorry.  I do recall it was from one of the Aussie craft mags.

I would call this a generous lap size. I never follow patterns exactly, so I might have changed the size
along the way.   I made this as a Christmas present for my mom.  I remember taking it with me everywhere,
trying to finish it in time.

The butterflies are all needleturn applique with some backstitch embroidery added. 

The binding is a tiny baby purple  gingham cut on the bias. LOVE!  This quilt is entirely hand quilted
on the go.  No frames or hoops used.   My mom has since passed away, so I have this quilt
back here in Australia with me now.  The colours are much prettier than my little camera shows but
it is oh so special to me to have it here in my home.

See those plant pots in the background? L-R, they are  heirloom tomato, spring onion, heirloom tomato, and capsicum.  Did you ever wonder what would happen if you plant the root part that you cut off when you buy spring onions from the store?  That is what is growing in the second  pot.  The plant is about 15" tall today and growing quickly in this heat. Research is telling me that one can cut off the green bits and more will keep growing!!   Mother Nature is amazing.  I've also had cucumber and zucchini seeds that I only planted 4 days ago that have already sprouted. According to a bit of web searching, both should also do well in the upside down hangy thingys.  Apparently the main point to watch for is to aim for smaller fruits, such as cherry tomato instead of beefsteak, or mini eggplant instead of full size.  I've had bumper crops of cherry tomatoes from the bags so I will be trying some new things soon!   Trying this  will be on my list of things to do next.  It sure is hot here the past few days!!  debbie

Sunday, 6 January 2013

FNWF Pictures at last

I have downloaded another browser so hopefully all will be well now.
Here are my round thing and square things mentioned earlier LOL.
First up, a steering wheel cover for me.  It will be put to good use this week!

Here it is yesterday. I've made a few items in the past with fringe borders and decided to do that here too. Today I washed the cover to fluff up the fringe and quilting.  I also made two more coasters (the two on the left are the newest).  I finished them with a fringe too, not yet cut on the two new ones in this pic.

Here they are  after washing and fluffing.

I've been barely able to put this book down all weekend.  It's from my local library and I love a good suspense story!

That's all for now.  debbie


I've tried a few times today to do a new post with pictures from FNWF.
I even completely shut down broadband and computer and started over.
I still can't post any photos, so for your imagination here is what I made:
One round thing and two square things. I used some cute fabric with ice
cream cones and sprinkles.  Maybe someday you can see them  too. 

Saturday, 5 January 2013

FNWF/Blogger Trouble

I did get a few things done and have been trying to post pictures but Blogger isn't cooperating.
I am not getting the "browse" box that I normally use to choose pictures.
I read the troubleshooter on this topic. I cleared history and cookies, added blogger to pop ups, and also restarted computer with still no luck. I have not changed anything since I posted pics I think only two days ago.  I give up for now, so maybe tomorrow my little "browse box" will come back.

Friday, 4 January 2013

FNWF,snack, the plan

I just signed up for Friday night with friends.  You can join in the fun too, just pop over to  Cheryl's
to sign up.  Snack tonight...hmmm...made some spinach and feta puff pastry thingys last night, still have some left over, and  maybe some sliced tomato on the side.  Chocolate to wash them down, of course.  Confession: one of the produce drawers in my fridge is actually my choccie drawer.  Phew.  Glad I don't have to keep THAT secret anymore!!!

I will probably work a little of each  between two or  three current projects.  My choices are:  a steering wheel cover for me to keep,  making more fabric boxes, and a bit more of  An Angels Story by Anni Downs.  De and I have been planning to make this quilt  since early 2005 (I hear you giggling).
I have all my blocks cut out and some stitching done on my first block. I originally did needle turn applique but have since removed that and will start over with new fabric and blanket stitch. I'm so slow at blanket stitching, I try to avoid it, but this quilt just doesn't suit needle turn.  De already has three blocks done and part of another, so I am way behind her progress.   Have fun stitching tonight!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

She's a Sweetie

De and I exchanged our Christmas dollies last week.  I just love the dolly De made for me!  She has a sweet face with a wise expression, like an old soul.  Here she is:

Thank you so much, De.  I really like her a lot!
Here is the dolly I made for De.  She is from an old pattern I've had for ages.  Her hair is made from buttons with fabric strips tied around them. 

I also finished this present last week for a nice guy that helps me now and then around the house.  He recently bought his first new car and he is right into buying accessories too!  He came over yesterday and I gave him this:

I  was a bit surprised that he worked out what it was on his first guess.   He kept going on about the fabric and how much he LOVES raccoons!  Who knew?!?!  I sure didn't. LOL.  He took it right
out to his new car and put it on straight away:

It fits perfectly.  Thank you to De for giving me the idea and directions.  It was a pleasure to make and to give.     Today I finally got my Christmas package from USA, so I will be eating some special treats over the next few days. Yum :)    Have a great day.  debbie