Monday, 15 April 2013


As promised I've checked the blog stats and guess what - you've all excelled
This puts me in an odd position of not being able to fulfil my promise.
As of a few moments ago we've well and truly passed the 3000 mark and are zooming towards
The problem is this;
No one has left a comment so that I can reward them with a  gift as promised
what's a girl to do?

Sunday, 14 April 2013

And now for some quilty things................

I always look forward to Wednesdays.
I take a patchwork group at Somerset Patchwork and Quilting in Mount Waverley;
a great and diverse bunch of ladies with many and varied talents.
No names or pack drill but some lovely photos so that you can see what we get up to!

 a galaxy of three inch lemoyne stars in the making- the background hasn't been chosen as yet
These little flowers will become 3 inch lemoyne stars once the background has been chosen.
Karen Styles of Somerset Patchwork has produced a set of templates for the star
and if you complete a star a day
(excluding Christmas and birthday)
you end up with a beautiful and very special piece of work and hopefully a few less scraps in the stash

tiny hexagons - very nice
This is a paper pieced project - a little quilt for a rocking chair.






Nearly Insane in  Red

A Dear Jane is a work of art in anyone's language

Cabin Carnevale in shades of Mauve

very close to finished
The last photo is of a project started a few years ago at Primarily Patchwork
We've swapped a striped border for a pieced one, using all the elements within the quilt.

I'm very proud of my group. As you can see they are a mixed and creative bunch!
(except that they laugh at me when I suggest that we could learn applique at some stage)

And Beth makes three.........

Beth is the baby of the group. 
She's Bella's best friend. Dog and chook play "chicken"
(hilarious concept)
 and Bella will take her balls and chew toys up to the fence for Beth to play with. 
Maybe it's because of their English "ginger" bond that they get on so well together

Lil .....

Lil has been the surprise of all the birds and not my favourite!
She can be quite mean spirited when she wants to be.
Last year we lost Henny, a Wyandotte Bantum with a beautiful nature.
When Lil realised that they were a chook down she called and called all afternoon. 
I was quite sure that if I didn't find a replacement Lil would continue to fret and die too.
We went for a drive up to Abundant Layers in the hills and came home with Beth, a young Buff Sussex.
The poor thing had every right to be terrified. Apart from being re-homed one of the locals (Lil)
would go into the chicken house and squarely box her ears. 
We all know that's where the term "pecking order" comes from but what really surprised me was that after five minutes or so Lil would think " You know, I didn't do that well enough!" 
and would march back in and do it all over again.

Henny, (in front)Lil (grey one) and Denise; free ranging
She went through her malt about a month ago and she knows very well that she's sporting a 
designer outfit at the moment.
Lil is very insecure but given half a chance she will stick the talons in when she thinks no one is looking.
She will also screech her head off the whole time when we have to catch her where as the others settle quickly.
As I said -not my favourite chook.

On the Cleverness of Chooks

I'm not really sure if you could call chooks clever. 
They do some pretty clever things though and have individual personalities just as humans do.
My three ladies cover the whole spectrum and all have traits that I know that I and my friends have. 
They are very self conscious for a start. Each time one of them malts the pecking order changes and the alpha chook becomes insecure and moody.
Meet Big Denise - she's not so big at the moment and is not looking her best at all.

not a happy girl

It's as if she pressed the self eject button and half of her feathers have gone, overnight. She's holding out on the eggs too.
Usually self assured and the best layer to boot; she's easy going and not troubled by bullies but they also know to keep out of her way.

having a good hair day

Denise's preferred food is freshly picked leaves of this weed that grows in the back yard. 

The leaves are about an inch or bigger at the tip with a jagged edge
. Denise turns the leaf around in her beak so that the stem/ narrow end will go down her throat first.
Very clever, I'd say.

2900-ish and counting

I am very surprised and excited to say that I am quickly approaching
 views on my blog.
I hope that my readers enjoy the little bits and pieces that I impart.
I've never been a "tech" head and so the learning process is often slow, however I am learning.
I would like to award my 3000th reader with a little gift of some sort.
I just need to work out the best way to do it.

I suppose there should be some rules and info.
1. if you are interested in being a part of this please leave a comment.
This way I can contact the lucky winner.
As per the normal courtesies with forums the comments are mediated before publishing so that
nothing unsavoury goes to print.  

2. I will check the stats daily so that I can keep track and publish their progress.
 "Closest to the mark" reader with comment will be the deciding factor.

3. I intend the "prize" to be a little textile related something
(haven't decided what it will be yet)

4. If you are an international reader this is OK. Aus. Post delivers to just about anywhere.

the stats say that I'm at 2964 so I guess this little comp. will conclude by the end of the week.
This afternoon I will post the "Prize"
Stay tuned

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

FYI - "Dear Jane" girls

Hi all; I've just found this site on Pinterest that has some amazing Jane Stickle quilty photos -
worth a look
Enjoy LB

Trying hard

OK, so you have now gathered that I can bake. I'll let you into a little secret -
I have a reputation for not cooking well at all.
You see, baking is precise, there's one thing going on at a time and there is less chance of me walking away from the kitchen to do something else while I'm waiting. You don't have to worry about getting your timing right with "other elements to the dish"
The sad but true reality is that I can't put a meal together well at all.
I'm the original
"raw meat and burnt/soggy veggies" girl
I don't enjoy doing meals much. They're a necessity and that's about it.
I suppose I feel the pressure of being a good cook a bit - I married into a family of excellent cooks;
people who can stand back, throw anything into the pot and come up with a three course meal. 
One day we had gone to Nan's for dinner - an exceptional spread- roast cooked to perfection with all the trimmings and a self saucing chocolate pudding to die for.
The lad commented " Nan, you're a terrific cook" and then realised that there were others in the room that he should perhaps compliment as well.
And so he continued -
"Dad, you're great, too."
(by this stage he realised that he had made a tactical error and had not mentioned me)
The next comment was"And Mum, you try really hard."
From the mouths of babes!

Cake No.2 - Carrot and Macadamia

Carrot and Macadamia Cake
Line a large square tin - 25 cm, with baking paper and pre heat oven to 170 C - 180 C
3 eggs                                                 2 cups sugar 
1 1/2 cups sunflower oil                       2 tsp vanilla
450g crushed pineapple                       2 cups grated carrot
30g crystallised ginger, chopped           1/4 tsp lemon rind
125g macadamia nuts, chopped           3 cups plain flour
1 tsp bi carb soda                                1 tsp baking powder  
1 tsp cinnamon                                     1 tsp nutmeg
Cream eggs, sugar and oil together. Add vanilla,pineapple (with juice) and grated carrot. Mix through and then add ginger and lemon rind. Sift flour, soda, baking powder and spices together. Fold into the batter andthen add the macadamias (use a fork and take your time- makes a lighter cake)
Pour into prepared tin and bake for approx 1 hour or do the skewer test when you think it's ready
Ice with cream cheese icing when cool.
Cream Cheese icing:
Combine 125 g softened cream cheese, 250 g icing sugar,1 tsp vanilla and zest of a lemon. Beat together until smooth. Make sure cake is cooled fully before icing.
Notes: fresh eggs are always best - you don't realise the difference between the ones on the supermarket shelf that promise "farm fresh" and the real thing until you've sourced your own.
A very fresh egg yolk will sit high in the whites and the whites are not watery
I like to use a fork for folding. It cuts through the mixure and doesn't knock the air out.  

I forgot to add the yield - you will be able to get 24 very healthy sized slices

The power of good food

There's nothing like a bit of baking to feed the soul and bring people together.
It can make a person feel loved and comforted as well as giving a taste experience that they may not often encounter.
(I think that food, no matter how simple always tastes better if someone else has prepared it)
It's also nice to have a slice of something a bit naughty and know that the rest of it will not provide temptation
I've baked two cakes in the last 2 weeks for some very special people in my life.
I am relieved to say that I didn't leave ingredients out, add salt instead of sugar, burn,
or otherwise muck up my projects.
Both recipes have come from very old news paper clippings that I've inherited from my mum's collection of "Stuff from the bottom drawer"
They might have been from the local CWA or similar so to the anonymous authors of these recipes a huge Thank you
Both cakes keep well but it won't be something that you need to worry about. They won't last that long.

The first : Sticky Date Cake
200 gr. chopped dates                      1 cup water
1/4 cup golden syrup                        1 tsp bi carb soda
60 gr butter                                      2/3 cup castor sugar
2 eggs                                              1 cup self raising flour (sifted)
1 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup brown sugar            2/3 cup thickened cream
80 gr butter
Pre heat oven to 170 C- 190 C. Grease a 20 cm square cake tin and line with baking paper.
Bring water, chopped dates and golden syrup to the boil. Reduce heat and cook for 1 minute or so.
remove from heat and puree until smooth. Stir in bi carb and set aside to cool.
Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat eggs together and add to the creamed butter/sugar slowly, mixing well so that it doesn't separate. Fold in flour, walnuts and date mixture.
Pour into cake tin and bake for approximately 40 -50 minutes or test with a skewer - should come out clean. Allow to cool.
For the sauce: heat ingredients until melted and dissolved.
Serve slices of cake, warm with the sauce and some good quality cream or ice cream.

Recipe yields 16 serves -

I do not like it when the photo thingy won't co-operate!!

Hello to all of you very, very patient blog readers.
I know that I've been absent and was planning to rectify that with some amazing blogging and great pics.
I've taken stacks of photos of interesting and inspiring things
(my Wednesday girls are AMAZING)
Unfortunately I've been let down by my technical knowledge and the camera
will not relinquish the photos to my computer
I'm not too pleased about it!
I will share a recipe or two with you and hope that the gizmos make friends in the meantime! 
Stay tuned