Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Finishing the Binding on Your Quilt

I have struggled for ages to finish the bindings on my quilts so that you can't see where I've started or ended, but today a fellow quilter mentioned a video of how to do this. AND it's the best instruction ever. So look here:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Collaborative Art Journal - Phase 4

Rhonda's journal colour is green, unfortunately this reminded me of my school uniform until I thought about the greens that surround me in spring, and my Mother-in-Law (Phyllis) who had a green thumb!
Rhonda had included pages of lutradur for us to use. This was a new one for me, but I've had fun painting, using the soldering iron and the heat gun. This is my 1st page:

I dried the Kowhai leaves and attached it to the lutradur by ironing a document protector over it (same with the butterfly). I did try using the heat gun (hence the holes) but the iron was much more successful.

The second page is Phyllis, she had a real green thumb and no matter where we were, there would always be a snip of a plant in her handbag.

Next is a lovely selection of green ribbons - a reminder of a collection that was always used to decorate my hair as a child - and the sequin waste is pure fantasy, perhaps harking back to making our Christmas decorations.

The following page is a small quilt for spring which is always full of surprises - check inside the box!

Ta-daaa! A bird's nest made from needle-felted wool with some cloisonne bead 'eggs'.
The last page has a store of seeds for the garden and seed beads for crafts. Plus some jandals to wear when getting out to explore the garden with the warmer weather.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

We Remember Them

Tomorrow is ANZAC Day here in New Zealand. This is a day we take time out - with Dawn Services and Parades - to remember fallen soldiers from the past, to honour those that fought in many wars far from our shores, and to give thanks for those that still serve in places all around the world. They may not be fighting a war as we understand it, but are there to help rebuild communities in so many ways.
New Zealand Post has issued a beautiful set of stamps to commemorate ANZAC Day this year.
These are the stamps:
This site has an explanation about them.

During WW1 the New Zealand and Australian women folk would make these biscuits (well a recipe similar)to send to the troops. I have included the recipe I used which is from the April 08 Skywatch magazine - just in case you wanted to make them and don't get the magazine!
ANZAC Biscuits by Steve Liebmann
125g (4oz) flour
150g (6oz) sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup coconut
100g (3.5 oz) butter
1.5 tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons hot water

1. Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, coconut and rolled oats) in a large bowl.

2. Melt the butter and golden syrup in a medium sized saucepan.

3. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water in a small jug and then add to the butter/golden syrup mix (watch the caramel volcano!)

4. Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and add the wet mix. Stir well.

5. Place in spoonfuls (I used a good sized teaspoon) on a greased tray and bake for 15-20 minutes at 180C (350F).

6. When cooked, slide off onto kitchen paper towel (this drains excess grease and turns biscuits crunchy as they cool).

7. Enjoy!

8. Store in airtight container.

This is the best ANZAC biscuit recipe I have ever tried.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

You Wouldn't Believe the Luck!

All I needed was a reel of thread, so I popped into the local craft store, you know the one; huge, stock falling off the shelves, staff not up to scratch with the customer service, but an inventory to die for! I made the mistake of having a look around the craft fabrics and they had a selection at 50c/metre!

So here it is: 12 metres of 100% cotton for $6.00 (1c more than the thread!).
I can see that there will be more scrap quilts being planned soon - pity I have some Works In Progress (WIPs) to finish first.

I also managed to get some Tomato Chutney made - just enough jars for us, but I think that it will only be me eating it - mmmmm!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Finally It's Finished!

Here it is! Not exactly a masterpiece, but I am pleased with the overall result. This is a lap quilt (measuring 50 inches square, or 1280mm) for my sister's 50th birthday, which is today, and Sarah will be visiting this weekend so she will take it to Lianne for me.
I really wanted to use fabric in my stash for this and simple blocks, so all I had to buy was the wool batting. Initially I chose other colours to use but after making the blocks, they just didn't work, and this is the end result.
Also I quilted with a variegated thread, which I thought would look great - well in the audition it did! - but after doing the quilting I didn't like it. What to do? Unpicking was NOT an option! So I quilted heaps more with a cream thread. This was the first time I have been able to quilt the feathers without having to draw them on or use paper and then tear it away. Yippee!! I have arrived! Confidence is mounting!

Feathers quilted in the borders.

Feathers in the central block.

For some reason I have managed to get puckering, both front and back, which is disappointing, but I think the plainer green fabric had some polyester content which allowed for some stretching.
Don't get me wrong, I'm 90% happy with the end result and hope that the recipient likes it too.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Nature's Bounty

Daylight Saving finished this last weekend, and already the weather is letting us know that autumn is here, the temperatures have dropped several degrees during the day. At least it's still warm enough to work outside in the garden and the grass is so much greener after a few days of drizzly rain.

This morning I picked a small container full of field mushrooms. I'll have them for lunch cooked in butter with garlic and the rosemary - mmm! divine!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Why So Quiet? What Have I Been Doing?

All will be revealed next week - it has to be finished by then!! I've been mucking around with colours and patterns to make a stash busting quilt for my sister's 50th birthday - this is just a lap quilt, mind you, but I had used too many colours and it wasn't going right. Now I've finished the top and have just enough backing fabric to make it work. I will need to buy some batting, though.
Today I'm off to Wellington to help Sarah move into a new flat. I'm not going to be able to do much carrying stuff up and down stairs, but at least I can drive the ute around Wellington streets and 'guard' the goods while they are on the ute!