Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Squares for SIBOL

These are the squares I have made for the SIBOL project - Sunshine Blankets of Love, you can read all about it here. They are winging their way to the UK.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday tidbits

Here are some more fabrics that I found at the expo in Brisbane.
Same rolls, different angles. I love Kaffe Fassett fabrics but I have no idea what I am going to make with them. I don't normally like yellow, but these yellows with orange, pink and green just look fabulous.

Another photo of Brisbane, can you see the church with two spires in between all those tall modern buildings.  I only had my small digital camera with me, so that is close up as I could get.

Something I was working on yesterday. It is a cushion top, using Martinique from Moda. I have just placed the yo yos in the middle, they are not sewn on yet. I am not sure whether I like it or not.  

A bit of the crochet throw I have been working on since last year, I have sort of lost interest in it, but I have been trying to sew in all the ends, and boy, there are a lot of ends.

Monday, March 29, 2010


The wonderfully, zany (in a good way) Shay over at Quilting in My Pyjamas, has been sharing the love and gave me a Beautiful Blogger award.  How nice, and she hasn't even seen me yet!  It is the first award I have ever received.

The rules are:
1. Thank the giver.
2. Reveal 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass it on to 5 bloggers you admire.
Rules are made to be broken, but today, meh, I am going to stick to the rules.

So here goes....

Thank you Shay.

1.  I fell down the steps at Wynyard Station in Sydney, I was wearing a dress and my heel caught in the hem of the dress.  The dress ended up around my ears, my handbag went flying, and everything fell out of it, and I mean everything.  A kind gentlemen helped me up and helped me put all my stuff back into my bag. I was more embarrassed about the contents of my bag than my dress around my ears.  I looked hot fabulous, slim etc. back then.
I survived, only my pride was hurt.

2. I cannot go anywhere unless my hair is shiny clean.

3. I can't make a decision to save myself, procrastinator is my middle name.

4. I don't like confrontation, I am a wooz (is that how you spell it). Which is fabulous when you have a teenage daughter.

5. I have a mind like a sieve. You can tell me all your secrets as I will never remember them, and I won't be able to tell anyone else.

6. My first career I trained as a primary teacher, loathed every minute of it. Second career, accounts, not so great either, but then went into credit control, loved that as had to talk to people all day long.  If you are nice to people and "bug" them enough, they usually pay.

7. I love making things, I really get a kick out of producing something, especially when I design it myself, and that's why I am having so much fun now, as I have time to make things and show the world 5 people, yippee.

Now for the really really hard part, trying to pick only 5 amazing people:

wish upon a star   Renata, I know in real life, she has a kind heart, and two great kids.  I have known her since we met at our children's school. Renata is a nurse and can resuscitate me if needed -  a good friend to have!!!!!!!!!

dandelion dreamer Moira is lovely, she is so creative and makes beautiful paper fabric, and then does fabulous things with it, including adding fabric, machine embroidery and stamping, I am amazed at her creativity. She also knows a thing or two about sewing machines!

Eternally Distracted is a fabulous writer, very funny daily happenings in a foreign land. She is Scottish as are most of my relatives and her baby Max is Australian, a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo.

Curlypops,  another blogger who is a wizz with the sewing machine. Cam is very talented and creative, she has some great tutorials on her blog with clear instructions, even I can have a go at them. I will certainly be checking out her goodies at the markets when and if I ever get back to Melbourne.

Cynthia from Home Matters 1st, my hat goes off to Cynthia as she home schooled her daughter. I am always amazed how mothers can home school, I would have killed Bitchypoo when she was about 10 if I had home schooled her. Cynthia is also going to Italy in 2012, how good is that!!!!

And I would have put Quilting In My Pyjamas here, as we are twins separated at birth, however as Shay shared the love with me, we might end up in a never ending loop of love if I send it back.

PS  Please don't feel pressured into sending it on to others. Remember rules are made to be broken.

Sunday, March 28, 2010



Botanic Gardens and Brisbane River

I have just come back from a weekend in Brisbane. Bitchypoo and two of her girlfriends went to the Lady Gaga concert.  As it is coming up to her birthday I took them to Brisbane for the weekend, and out to the Entertainment Centre last night to see Lady Gaga.  I thought this was a much better option than having a party, and dealing with gatecrashers, underage drinking and anything else that lovely teenagers can dream up to send me to an early grave.

Staying in Brisbane also meant that I could go to the Craft Expo and not have to drive a zillion miles there and back. I was intending to just have a nice look around as I already have 500 (I don't exaggerate, ever) quilting projects lined up to last me until I am about 75 yrs old, so I didn't need anymore fabric or patterns.  However need and want are two totally different words, aren't they. All those beautiful quilts, metres and metres of fabulous fabrics,  they wooed me.


.................these may, or may not have come home with me. Along with some other fabric that may, or may not be waiting to have photos taken.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Paradise today

Taken on my iphone this morning, on our walk.
Beautiful weather, finally.

This is why I live in paradise!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Today I finished the Hearts Quilt. Yippee.

I went to the hairdressers.

I bought this.

I tried to take interesting photos of these,

but kept on getting this,


a lovely cat's butt.

Then I started on the applique on the Japanese indigo quilt.  

I have decided to do needle turn applique. 

It is going to take me a lot longer than I thought.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Op Shop/Thrifting

Today, after a walk along the Noosa River, (I really do need to post some photos of that so you can see how lovely the view is on our walks,) we visited a couple of stores, one a second hand furniture store, the other an Op Shop/Thrift Store.
I found some lovely embroidery pieces, I am not sure what I am going to do with them but I am thinking about using them as centre panels in some quilts or cushions. They were all scrunched up in a basket and are now a little lot more crushed than when I found them as one of the cats decided they would be a nice place to nest.

There is a small mark on the one below, I am not sure how I am going to get it out, it looks permanent.

I also found these beautiful wool embroidery skeins, look at all those lovely colours.

Before we found these beautiful things, we went to a second hand furniture store. This store specialises in buying bulk from holiday rental apartments when they are redecorating, so most of the hideous stuff in there is either floral, cane or a fabulous combination of both from the eighties. We came across this piece which was a BARGAIN total rip off $225.00 It looks ok in the photo, but there was no way I would pay that for it.

Then there was this piece below, it had been painted off white and had gold trim which could have been great if stripped and painted properly, but look at the huge burn mark on the top and they wanted $145....yes.....for that.

This is one of the problems with living in paradise, they think everyone has a trillion dollar income. Well we don't and even if we did we shouldn't have to pay those prices for second hand furniture.

At least we finished on a high note with the embroidery and wool.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I really need to proof read more accurately

Before you read this, you need to read this, as I am referring to my last post.  Go on, scoot back and read that and make sure you read the comments too, then this will all make sense to you. Go on, I will be waiting here till you get back.

Now first , I not only posted a crappy photo,( I think she still looks's probably not the most flattering photo that she would want to have plastered on the net of her), but even worse than that,  I  called her Kylie.  I am now beating myself with a big stick, might even go so far as to wear a horsehair shirt, maybe not, probably couldn't find one even if I looked. I feel very very very very bad. At least I called Kellie, Kellie, when I was talking to her. I have no idea why I typed Kylie, I don't even know any Kylies. It's as bad as calling The Rolling Stones - The Rolling Rocks, or David Cassidy, Don Cassidy.

Now I have a huge big thank you to Renata, for letting me know I typed that, at least I was able to change it, not long after I posted it.

Now secondly, some of you might notice that there is the odd reference or two to alcohol consumption in my posts.  I think it might be pertinent to tell you that I don't drink very often and last night I had a tiny half a glass of champagne. That was it, nada, no more.  Oh and I did have a drink with dinner afterwards, but I do not, I repeat do not drink buckets of alcohol. Sometimes I wish I did because then I could have used that as an excuse for calling Kellie Kylie.

So my heartfelt apologies to Kellie and to anyone who thinks I am a raging alcoholic.

I am just really bad at proofreading.

Ooh ooh ooh guess who I met!

Last night my friend R and I had the pleasure of meeting this wonderful person.

I admit, not a great photo and I think I would be severely pissed if someone posted a photo of me pulling a face as opposed to looking serene and beautiful. However, she still looks gorgeous and she is a wonderfully down to earth person so hopefully I will not be severely punished for posting it. However for the purpose of this post I needed to have a photo without too many clues, to keep you guessing, and this was it. 

Have any idea? Yes, no?
Does this help?


Or maybe this?

Or what about this?


By the way that is my very wrinkly hand in the last photo, oooooh, do they do botox on hands?????? And doesn't my outfit match the cushion, .....noice!!!!!

Yes this is, Kylie Kellie Wolfsohn, an Australian quilting "rockstar" at least in my book, she is. You can find her blog Don't Look Now, here  I like her work so much, yep, I can't even get her name right. Thanks R for that.

Kellie is here this weekend, teaching a class, unfortunately I didn't get to do the class as I was a bit slow and didn't know about it until it was too late and the class was full. Don't you hate that. However I have booked and am weight listed on her next one in September. Woohoo.  Hopefully enough people will fall out beforehand so I should get in.  Fingers, toes and eyes crossed.  Of course it won't have anything to do with me finding names and addresses of all those people already on the list in front of me and then "fixing them up" so to speak. I wouldn't do I wouldn't,........... not really.................

PS What's with the photos, they wouldn't centre, maybe that's my punishment for posting the first photo.

PPS She is going to the States in May so if you are going to the quilting thingy, hey its Sunday morning early, I can't remember, but it's a quilting show, maybe trade show, she will be there and you HAVE to meet her.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

View from my window and a recipe

This is the view from my sewing machine, it is currently sitting next to the dining table, as I have nowhere else to put it.  At least I have a fabulous view to look out to when I look up. What looks like a couple of grotty patches on the window on the top photo to the left of the hill is actually bunches of leaves on the eucalyptus tree. The hammock is tempting sometimes!!

I made Gnocchi Florentine Bake for my girlfriend J for lunch last week. I found the recipe on, it is here. I have a zillion cookbooks, and as I have so many I can't be bothered to search through them to find a recipe...go figure!!! I always end up looking on Taste.

I modified it a bit, as a number of people had commented that the yoghurt was too strong in it. I also halved the recipe which would have served 3 light eaters for lunch. So here is my version.

Gnocchi Florentine Bake       serves 8..........................  I think it would serve 6 

1 tblspn oil
1 large red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed, ( I have taken to using Gourmet Garden garlic in a tube, as I am sick of getting crappy imported garlic from the supermarket, or the Russian garlic from the farmers market This seems to be pretty good to use when you are cooking as it doesn't have that yucky vinegary flavour that a lot of processed garlic has, and it's made locally here.)
200g (7oz) prosciutto, chopped
1 bunch spinach, (I used frozen and it was fine but normally I would use fresh)
1kg  (2.2lbs) potato gnocchi
1 1/2 cups greek yoghurt
1 1/2 cups smooth ricotta
125g  (4.5oz)  cheese ( it is supposed to have bocconcini but I didn't have any, either way it would be great)
50g (2oz) parmesan cheese, finely grated

Preheat oven to 220C (430F)
Heat oil in large non stick pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 mins or until tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add prosciutto and cook for 3 mins. Remove from heat.

Place spinach in a freezer bag and twist top to seal, microwave on high for 1 to 2 mins or until just wilted, add to the prosciutto and onion mixture.  Or you could just chop finely and add to the pan after you have cooked the onion and prosciutto, and cook until wilted.  Combine yoghurt and ricotta in bowl.

Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 3 minutes or until gnocchi floats to the surface. Drain. Spoon half the gnocchi into an 8 cup capacity baking dish. Top with half the spinach mixture and half the yoghurt and ricotta mixture. Repeat layers. Top with combined cheeses or bocconcini and then parmesan. Bake uncovered for 15 to 20 mins or until golden.  Serve with a salad.

Note: I had some left over and tried it the next day, the gnocchi had hardened and were like bullets, so I don't recommend saving it for later.

I made it again tonight.

I do have a life

On Saturday night I travelled to Brisbane for the Comedy Festival.  I went with a girlfriend who had free tickets to see Peter Helliar.  I must admit I wasn't too enthused before hand, as I didn't think he was particularly funny on the TV programme Rove, however we were very pleasantly surprised, he is very funny and much better live.  We had a great night, except for the hour and a half drive back home in the rain, grrrr. I was really miffed that we had missed Adam Hills,  a very funny comedian who has performed all over the world, who had been here the week before. Maybe we will get to see him next year. We were also planning to have dinner in Brisbane, but there was hardly any parking left so we grabbed it as soon as we found the venue and then it was too far to walk to any of the fantastic New Farm restaurants, another grrrrrr.  There is a restaurant at the venue but it was closed for a private function, gggrrrrr again, so we made do with a gin and tonic and a shared bowl of chips with much for my diet.

Monday night I went to see Remember Me with another girlfriend. (I am so lucky that I have all these girlfriends I can go out to the movies etc. Especially as the calibre of men around here is not so good, they are either too old, gay or married. Not that I am looking or anything, just wanted to point that out in case you were wondering.)  I digress, back to the movie....... I had not seen any reviews of Remember Me, and had no idea what it was about.  I am not a huge fan of Robert Pattinson, he is too dark and broody for me.  However it was a really thought provoking movie and had a twist at the end. I can't decide whether to recommend it or not, as I was harrumphing during the movie and getting annoyed with some of the acting etc, but then the ending was mind blowing and made up for all the bad bits.  You can see I am a fabulous movie reviewer, can't you, maybe I should try that instead, don't spit out your coffee in amazement.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Almost finished and waiting for a cyclone

Apparently Cyclone Ului is on it's way to the Queensland coast, fingers crossed it does not cross land here, it shouldn't but then cyclones never do what they are supposed to do.   We are now set for another week or two of rain, yes we really need more rain.  Since the beginning of March we have had 484 mm (19 inches) of rain. It is so wet the grass is starting to rot and die, and I live on the side of a hill so it is not like I am in a swamp. At least the sun was out for part of the day, today.   

Today I spent all day trying to finish the quilt.  I am so slow.  Apart from having to do some slight alterations on the go and unpicking a whole heap of hand sewing as I placed the squares in the wrong spot, I managed to finish quilting, and cut out the binding and sew it on, now all I need to do is hand sew the binding to the back and it is finished. I had my trusty helper hold it up for me when she arrived home after school.

I used a variegated thread on the back and taupe on the front to quilt it. It is quilted in the ditch and around the hearts. The 3 squares on the back were hand sewn on after quilting. I originally wanted to do a strip of squares across the back but as the quilt was to be quilted as you go, I thought it would be way too hard for me to match up the squares on the front and the back.  Anyway when I was unpicking one of my beautifully crappily - is that a word- sewn quilting lines, I put the unpicker thingy right through the fabric on the back of the quilt. I have never ever ever done that before in my entire life, you can imagine the swear words as it happened.  That is why there are now 3 squares on the back, they are straight even though it doesn't look like it in the photo, they are there to cover my nice little slit in the fabric. So shhhhh don't tell anyone, it's a secret!  I am hoping it looks like a great design idea!!!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

My helper

At the end of last week I started putting together the wadding and backing of my quilt, as I was trying to straighten it out and make sure it was perfect, I had a little "helper".  She kept on jumping on to the table walking across the quilt and would then curl up on it.  After nicely putting her on the floor or the chair a few hundred times, she became a bit miffed and went and sat in this. She doesn't look very impressed.

Today I whipped up these.  I found it hard to find the right greens in my stash of wool, once I decided I had to make them. Green is definitely not my favourite colour but I think these are pretty cute.

I think next time I would use greens with a bit more contrast, so you can see the peas in the pod a little better.

The pattern for the peas is in 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet by  Lesley Stanfield, I purchased it from Amazon. It is fabulous and has patterns for flowers, leaves, fruit and vegetables.

Friday, March 12, 2010

More of the granny square throw

I have been working on this in the evenings, or when I have been waiting in the car for my angel. I have to have the car running with the aircon on, as it is sooo hot and humid still here. Consequently most of it is done at night.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Zucchini (Courgette) Chocolate Cake

Another crappy weather day in paradise.

I had some zucchini sitting in the fridge and I remembered a cake I used to make years ago. After searching through my cookbooks I found the recipe. I know you are all thinking eeeeeew that sounds pretty revolting, but if you think how yummy carrot cake is, this is just as good.  Yes, you can see the odd bit of green in amongst the chocolate cake, but you definitely can't taste it, so I'm not sure whether discerning children would eat it when they see the flecks of green, unless you can come up with a really good explanation of why it has green bits in it.  It is unusual, but a very moist and flavourful cake.

There are no decent photos of the cake, see the big hollow in the middle. I have been trying baking cakes using White Wings gluten free flour.  White Wings says that you can substitute this flour for normal flour in baking, sauces etc.  You can, but each time I have substituted it has changed the cake, and this time it was beautifully moist, tasted fabulous, but it sunk in the middle and fell apart when I tried to put it on a serving plate. I gave up trying to make the ganache look good, when the cake was disintegrating under it. See below, and this is after I had salvaged it.

I do recommend this recipe, but make it with normal wheat flour and it won't look like this when it is out of the oven.

I don't know why the cake looks a different colour in the above photo, I didn't notice it until I loaded it onto the post, and I am way too lazy too get out the camera again, take a photo, load it onto the computer etc.

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

125g butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup yoghurt
1/4 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice ( I didn't use this as I didn't have any)
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups grated zucchini (approx 350g - 12 oz)

Prepare a 25 cm square pan (10") by lining it with 2 cross wise strips of baking paper. Beat the butter with the sugars until light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, with a spoonful of the measured flour to prevent the mixture curdling. Add the vanilla and yoghurt and mix well. (It curdled at this stage anyway!!!!)

Sift dry ingredients together. Stir in with the grated zucchini. Turn into prepared pan. Cook at 170C (340F) for 45 mins or until centre feels firm and a skewer comes out clean.

You can put 1/2 to 1 cup of chocolate pieces in the batter before cooking, if you want to up the chocolate, I didn't have enough as I wanted to use it for the icing, but I must admit it is fabulous with the extra chocolate. However, without the extra chocolate it is still very very nice.  I iced it with a dark chocolate ganache.

The recipe is from a New Zealand cookbook -  The Best of Home Cooking by Alison Holst.