Monday, September 29, 2008

Home is where the heart is

Earlier in the year I discovered Jelly Rolls, and went looking for something to try. I came across the "Heart and Home" pattern, done in Moda Madeira fabric. At the time the Madeira fabric was available, and I was able to replicate the quilt in the pattern. This is mine:

As I was only new to machine quilting, I wanted a quilt that would let me try out lots of different quiting patterns and techniques, and this was it. Each block and border have a different quilting pattern in them, making it something of a sampler quilt. My favourite bit of quilting is in the windmill block.

I've been working away like crazy on the Crabapple quilt, but I've got to a point where my hands can't take anymore, so I decided to start on the Recipe for Friendship baby quilt. I'm using the squares, and an equal number of white squares, to put together 80 half-square-triangle blocks.

I've found that the easiest way to do this is draw a line, corner-to-corner on the back of one block, put it face-down with another block, and stitch 1/4 inch on either side of the line. Then just cut along the line, open out and press....and you have two blocks! (no photo of this yet sorry)

I've also been trying to get a nice picture of Bella to post, but she does like to be difficult. Just as I took this photo, she stuck her tongue out at me! She's all class!

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's been a while....

I can't believe it's been a week since I last posted. I've been so busy at uni that I just haven't had the time to sit down and post about anything. If you're thinking, "hey, didn't she already finish uni?", the answer is yes, technically... I've been going in around three days a week to finish off a few things in the lab, and the rest of the time is spent finishing up some papers for publication. So in all there has been little time for quilting, though the Crabapple/Amitie quilt is coming along well.

I also splashed out and bought the backing kit for the "Catch a falling star" quilt from the Fat Quarter Shop; it was on sale! And to make the most of the postage, I picked up a Recipe For Friendship charm square pack, which is destined for a baby quilt. It's a very cute set of fabrics, and hopefully comes across as gender-neutral.

My other main focus this week as been what I thought was an ankle injury. I rolled my ankle out walking my dogs a couple of weeks ago, but didn't give it a lot of thought until I started having trouble sitting cross-legged (something critical for taking yoga). After a bit of pestering from a few friends, and my mum, I went to see the physio. Turns out that isn't a dodgy ankle, but something in my lower back. Apparently the pain refers into the foot. So I went in expecting to have my foot manipulated, and instead got my lower back pummeled...

Because I don't have any proper quilty photos to post, I will post this photo I took last year. I'm curious to see if anyone can guess what movie this mountain was in :-)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Banana Cake

Today, as the title implies, I made banana cake. Not just any banana cake, but a Food-Processor Banana Cake. What could be easier? Or taste better?

The recipe comes from Donna Hay's Off The Shelf cookbook:

Place 1 cup caster sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 cup mashed banana, 125g melted butter, 3 eggs, 3/4 cup sour cream in a food processor, and process until smooth. Add 1 3/4 cups self-raising flour and process until combined. Spoon into a 25cm fluted ring tin, bake in a preheated 180 degree celsius oven for 40 min or until cooked.

I topped my cake with a simple lemon icing; 1 cup icing sugar, with enough lemon juice to make it the desired consistency, then poured over the cake so it dribbles down the sides.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Quilt Marking

I finally got around to starting the quilting of my Aunt Bec's 9 Patch (Amitie) quilt today; its taken me a while to sort out what pattern I was going to use. I liked the flowers used on the shop quilt, but hadn't been able to find a matching stencil. In the end, I traced the quilting from the picture in the magazine, scanned it, then printed it out in the size I wanted.

I'm curious about the way other quilters go about marking their quilting designs on their quilts. I refuse to go near my quilts with any sort of marking pen, in fear of it not coming off, and I'm also not too keen on washing a quilt unless it absolutely needs it.

So my way of doing it is to trace my pattern onto tracing paper, then using masking tape to stick the paper to the quilt.

Then I just stitch over the top, and tear away the paper. The stitch lines act as perforations, and it tends to tear away very easily. Stubborn bits can be carefully removed using fine scissors or similar.

The final product looks like this (sorry it's a tad blurry)

And, as always, Bella likes to be involved in the process. When I have the quilt spread out on the floor she likes to burrow under it. And when I'm quilting, she usually likes to walk across it. At least today she is politely sitting next to the quilt.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More new fabric!

Like I've said before, I love getting things in the mail...and todays delivery was the remaining Cotton Blossoms fabric I need for the two quilts, "Sassafras" and "Wallflower". My postie is very clever, he always hides my packages so they can't be seen from the street, and it's always a nice suprise to open the wire door and have a parcel tumble out.

The second suprise in the mail today was a free kimono I was meant to get about a year ago... it was a freebie with a blanket I was given, but it never arrived. I contacted them earlier in the year....and then again last week, and finally it arrived!

I finished the Chocolat quilt top yesterday, with a minor sacrifice along the way-part of my index finger! I didn't notice it hanging over the edge of the ruler when I was trimming the inner border. Fortunately it's only a (relatively) small chunk, and should heal up ok.... Regardless, the quilt looks pretty nice. Unfortunately I don't have the space to spread the quilt out for a proper photo.

For those that asked, my birthday last week was my 25th, or my quarter century! Bizarre Quilter suggested this was a good excuse to buy fat quarters...but I think I have enough projects in the works! My "to-do" list includes:
  • Amitie Quilt
  • Chocolat Quilt
  • Sassafras
  • Wallflower
  • Catch a falling star (Fat 1/4 shop quilt)
  • Sheep quilt
  • Baby quilt for B
  • Papillion quilt (still dont have all the fabric)
  • Something with the two other jelly rolls...

And, being a bit super-productive yesterday, the remaining strawberries left over from the daquiris were turned into jam:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Success and Recovery

My cocktail party last night went quite successfully, as as my title says, today has been about recovery. To make it a bit more fun for my friends, I set up a cocktail menu, and organised to have my sister and one of her friends as my bartenders. That way, people could "order" whichever drink they wanted...and they all looked fantastic!

Tequila Sunrise and a Fruit Tingle (with my "bar" set up in the background):

Midori Illusion:

Japanese Slipper:

Another Illusion with a Strawberry Daiquiri:

Fortunately, almost all of the food I made was eaten; I was a little worried that I wouldn't have enough, but there were only a few mini pizzas and a couple of spring rolls left, and quite a few cupcakes; I think people were a bit full by then! I also had to cater for one vegetarian, and two pregnant girls, so that made things interesting, and unfortunately my friend C has completely gone off cheese, which of course most finger food is made with!

My cupcake tower:

Today has been mostly about catching up on sleep, and giving my throat a bit of a break; I think I did a bit much talking last night! I also finally got around to assembling the Amitie quilt (properly known as "Aunt Bec's 9 Patch", done in the "Crabapple" colour-scheme), and basting it. I bought some gorgeous metallic pins recently, so I've got to use those for the first time...and being how I am, I arranged all the different coloured pins into rows down the sashing...

The backing is the same fabric range as the sashing (Amy Buttler), just a different pattern:

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I've been up to my elbows in party preparations since yesterday; cooking, cleaning and organising. Yesterday was reasonably successful. I made mini pizzas (both meat and veg versions):
Caramel mud cupcakes:
Spinach and Ricotta Filos, which taste good, but burst open while they were cooking...:
Unfortunately, today's cooking was not so successful.... The chocolate raspberry brownie cakes were a disaster; the recipe was meant to make 8, but there was so much mix, and I was a bit silly and overfilled the cases. The top of my muffin pan ended up with a layer of cake...then to top it off, they sank in the middle... Only one made it out of the pan in one piece:

It doesn't look too bad (and actually tastes fantastic!), but its nothing I'd want to serve my guests. So the remaining cupcakes (about 14 of them) have been tossed into a bag and put in the freezer, and the lovely lady in my local quilt shop suggested that they be used in a trifle; a very good idea I think!

So to make up the shortage of cakes, I made another batch up caramel mud cakes. However, the second disaster soon followed; I wanted to ice half the cakes (leaving the rest dusted with icing sugar), and found a recipe for caramel frosting... what I ended up with was icing sugar with lumps of toffee in into the bin it went. I've given up; icing sugar will have to do!
On a more crafty note, I finally got around to buying the batting for my Amitie quilt; I just need to decide on a quilting pattern!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I celebrated my birthday yesterday, and like most years I like to fit in at much as possible to make the most of it. I spent the morning working on the Chocolat quilt; Ive pieced half the top so far. I need to sew the rest of the rows together, then add the borders and the top will be done!

I then met up with a couple of friends for afternoon tea at Max Brenners where I ate way too much chocolate, but the Tutti Frutti Waffles are devine! So good infact, that I forgot to take photos, sorry... but you can always go try it out for yourself!

Then I met my mum for dinner, before heading to see Wicked! It was fantastic, and really worth going to see if you get the chance. We managed to get seats right down near the front which was great.

And as an extra suprise, my friends at uni burried my entire desk in balloons!
I'm doing a bit of a cocktail party for my birthday on Saturday, so I've been at the markets buying lots of yummy food this morning, and the next couple of days will involve a fair bit of cooking, and probably a bit of cleaning too... I'll do my best to get pictures of the food as I make it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I have been tagged by Bec of Oh Sew Busy

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person who “tagged” you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

Six random things about me;
1. I've just finished my PhD, and spent the last 3 1/2 years working on barnacles.
2. I have a "collector" personality; first it was things like tazos, then trading cards, now fabric.
3. I crave apples the same way I crave chocolate; I can't get enough of either of them.
4. I consider myself a bit of a wimp, but I did a canyon swing in New Zealand last year.
5. I turn 25 tomorrow.
6. I have a bit of a celebrity crush on Orlando Bloom.

Six people I have tagged.
1. Wendy
4. This is where I run into trouble, as I've only been reading a few blogs....

Monday, September 8, 2008


I really want to thank all the lovely people who have left comments on my blog so far; there are so many fantastic quilting blogs around, so I really appreciate that people take the time to visit mine.

I got an early birthday pressie in the mail today (from myself!); two Cotton Blossoms jelly rolls!

I also wanted to post a photo of my most recent finished quilt, "Wish Upon A Star". Not the original name from the pattern, but I like it. I don't have the space to take a photo of the whole quilt, so this will have to do while the weather is still a bit damp outside.

I still need to make time to go and buy the batting for my Amitie quilt, so in the meantime I'm piecing a quilt for my mum. She is always asking "who is that quilt for?", to which I usually reply "me!" (mostly in reference to the star quilt above). I told her to find something she liked, and I would make it for her. So at the recent quilt and craft fair, we found a kit that we both like; a simple charm square quilt (set on point) using Moda's Chocolat range which I really like (as you can probably tell from the above photo; that quilt is backed in Chocolat too). That should keep me busy for a few days...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Babies Galore!

Two weeks ago, I found out the my supervisor B is expecting her second baby. All very exciting, and I immediately started to think about baby quilt possibilities (of course). Then today, I found out that my best friend C is expecting her very first baby. I'm pretty much as excited as I would be if it were my own. The first thing she said to me was "now you can make me the sheep quilt". She was referring to a cute quilt I made earlier in the year from an issue of Homespun; she fell in love with it, and I promised I would make one for her when she got pregnant. It looks like this:

What I really like about this quilt is that the sheep are done in chenille, so it provides something tactile for the baby/child.

Luckily I've got about 6 months till both bubs are born, so I'll be able to whip up a couple of quilts quite easily (theoretically). The sheep quilt ("Counting Sheep") only took a week or two to put together, so it shouldn't be too difficult.

Friday, September 5, 2008



Both are patterns from Melly & Me; Phoebe should be a little larger, but I reduced the pattern to make a slightly smaller version.
I've also just finished a quit recently, but I'll get pictures of that loaded up in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Spring has Sprung!

3 days into spring, and it's certainly noticeable! All around the garden, there are little signs that the weather is warming up, and summer is approaching. It's nice to finally have some colour in the yard!

First, the ranunculus (I think...):

The nectarine tree I planted two winters ago; the quince is sprouting also, as are the peach and apricot:

Even my potatoes!

The cyclamens in their shady spot (notice the weeds!):

And some general garden colour:

Unfortunately, along with all the lovely flowers comes the increase in sneezing and general snuffiliness (is that even a word?)...

While I had the camera plugged in, I thought I'd better post a proper picture of the quilt that I gave my supervisor last week. This is the final product:

The quilt was made with two packs of Shangri-La charm packs, using the disappearing 9 patch method, which I initially discovered here. All I did was add a border to finish it off a little.