Monday, 21 July 2008

More treasures!

Look what was waiting for me when I got home this morning! A parcel of treasures from Nadeeka and her boys, Hamish (9) and Nuwan (8). Remember the quilts the boys made while they were visiting me? Well apparently that sewing day was the highlight of their visit to New Zealand. Nadeeka says: "Nuwan wrote a beautiful essay about his trip to nz - it was ALL about how he made the quilt with you :-)" and "..the boys go to after school care every Tuesday. They offer craft activites - but you know, that's not what my boys usually go for. But the first Tuesday after our trip, Hamish ran to me to show what he did at after school care. I tell you what, its just so.. unhamish like. He's done it all himself! He is happy to make it a present to you." And Nadeeka also filled up the parcel with some wonderful speciality chocolates... aren't I lucky?

Hamish's pincushion is very nicely finished and such a pretty colour. Nuwan's essay is actually an extremely well written tutorial on how to do fused, raw edged applique:
Making the Quilts
When I went to New Zealand I went to my grandparent's house and my grandma told me how to make a quilt.
First you choose a large picture and trace carefully around the outside. Following that, you trace every body part separately onto a special piece of paper. Next you cut them out but not on the lines. Cut 1 cm outside the lines. Then iron them on to the back of the fabric of your choice. Afterwards, you cut out each body part along the lines and peel the paper off the fabric. Finally you stick each body part to the background fabric in its place. You choose a piece of fabric for the back of the quilt and and any piece of fabric for the middle of the quilt. Sew the three pieces of fabric together with a sewing machine.
When I finished my quilt and came back from New Zealand I showed my class and my teacher was very impressed.
By Nuwan Whyte
Not bad from an 8 yr old and written 2 weeks after the lesson!

Sunday, 20 July 2008


We had sole charge of our two little grand-daughters for a week so nothing much happened on the blogs or in the sewing room until this weekend when they returned home to Wellington. It was a lovely fun week. Terry and I shared the day-to-day care and entertainment. Both girls were charming!

As you can see, the little A4 size quilt has now grown to twice its size with borders added. And its still not finished. It needs more quilting and I'm interested to see what sort of edge finishing it will have. I'm not sure about the red shadow under the bowl either - I might darken it down with some black paint.

My other project was to freshen up a recycled zipped sweatshirt. It cost me $8.99 at "The Mill" and its 80% cotton, in excellent condition. I appliqued a few foxglove spikes on the front and I think it will become a favourite this spring.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

The Magic of Stitch

Our quilt club meets monthly and in the morning of each meeting day we hold mini tutorials. Each month one member demonstrates a skill or technique that may be new to other members. For instance, drawing up a grid to sew 30 half square triangles all at once, or using a paper foundation to make a mariner's compass.

A few weeks ago I demonstrated how to use your sewing machine to scribble on your work. This piece on the right was my demonstration piece. I had found a piece of clip art (below) which I used as a pattern because it shows where the shading should be on the finished pot. I took a fused, raw edge appliqued picture like the one on the left along to club and I showed the gathered club members how I used coloured pencils to draw my shading on the fabric and then just coloured over my pencil marks with free motion embroidery stitching on the machine, swapping threads as necessary to add life and detail to your fabric picture.

Eventually, the two sample pieces will be finished with borders, quilted and added to my growing collection of A3 sized quilts.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Gluten Free Recipes

The thing I've missed most since I've stopped eating cheese, potato, corn and wheat are savoury treats. I've tried a number of cracker recipes and this adaptation of this recipe is the best I've made. It has a nice nutty flavour and it makes about 70-100 crackers depending on how big you cut them. I think you could increase the LSA meal and use less brown rice flour if you wanted to.

LSA Crackers

1 2/3 cups gluten free flour blend (I use 1 1/3 cup brown rice flour, 1/3 cup tapioca flour)
1/3 cup LSA meal
1 tsp salt (can use herb salt if liked)
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour milk (I use soy milk and lemon juice)
1 large egg

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add milk, oil, and egg and mix thoroughly to make a stiff dough. Roll the dough very thin (it will completely cover two oven trays). You will need lots of flour on your rolling pin as its a sticky dough. Cut into squares. Bake at 200 deg C for 10 min. Remove the lightly browned crackers and bake remainder for further 5-10 min until all lightly browned. Let cool and store in airtight container.

When I made the crackers in the picture I used ground linseed instead of flour on the rolling pin, that's what has given the grainy look to the crackers.

And here are my favourite apple muffins - not too sweet but lovely and moist. An excellent breakfast food.

Apple Muffins

Wet Ingredients - mix together in one bowl:
1/2 large tin apple slices
1/4 cup soy milk with a squeeze of lemon juice
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil

Dry ingredients - mix together in another bowl:
1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup LSA
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp mixed spice
1 cup raisins or chocolate chips or walnuts

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix just enough to combine, do not overmix. This is a very moist mixture. Spoon into 12 large paper cases in a muffin tray and bake 25 min at 175 deg C.

All I need now is a good recipe for brown rice tortillas - anybody know of one?

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Little by Little

I've spent a little time in the sewing room - just enough to put the borders on the Row by Row - and only that because its club day tomorrow and I want to take soemthing for Show and Tell. The first pic is my computer generated idea of the outer borders I would put on the centre rows, the second pic is the actual finished top. Not a finished quilt yet, still to be layered, pinned, quilted and bound.

So what have I been doing if I haven't been in the sewing room? Mostly office work.

Last week we sent out 400 plant list brochures to people who had bought plants or seeds from us in the past two years. I laid out the plant list pages including photographs on my computer and sent it as a pdf file to our friendly local printer. We then folded all 400 and put them in prepaid envelopes and posted them. I also spent a few days putting the plant list on our website here. And there were a couple of advertisements to design for garden publications.

I spent some time researching and found a free desktop publishing programme for Terry to use in his new (reprised) role as bulletin editor for his Rotary Club. He is hoping to encourage other members to take over the job and if we can present them with a free desktop publishing programme and a template for the newsletter already laid up in the programme then it will be easier for them to learn this skill.

I found an free email checker which checks all three of my email addresses (don't ask) and pops up the subject line of anything new. I need this because Terry and I share an inbox. We both need to have access to the business email, and if he has Thunderbird (our email programme) open I can't access it so I don't know if an email I'm waiting for has arrived or not.This way I do.

I've been hanging out washing on my new clothesline! Its fabulous, its in the best place in the garden, down by the cherry tree. It gets lots of wind and sun and its huge! And you can see the washing from the kitchen window so you don't forget its out there and leave it too late until its all cold and damp again.