Monday 27 April 2020

The Kitchen, the cat and Kaffe.

You'd better grab a cuppa, and a comfy seat, I have lots to show and tell today.
Sunday started in the kitchen, with more red hot chilli peppers.
I chopped them all into rounds as Tony and I decided to try out a new preserving recipe.
It was very quick to make, some chutneys have you boiling away at the stove for 2 or more hours.
We simmered the peppers in a syrup for 5 minutes.
Used a slotted spoon to put the peppers into jars.
Then thickened up the syrup and poured it over.
All done, with jars sealed in less than 45 minutes from weighing the first chilli.
Hmm, no pretty pic of the finished thing...
Bad blogger.
After cleaning up the sticky mess in the kitchen, going for a quick walk and getting some lunch, I decided it was way past time I made a start on my cross stitch angel.
So slow stitching Sunday afternoon commenced.
It was very slow too, with lots of breaks and interruptions as I conversed with a friend or two on messenger.We swapped ideas and advice and even helped with Pinterest research.
But all that aside, I'm happy with my progress.
Oh, and I had an email the other day to say that my threads are on their way. 
I plan to continue stitching on this piece once I'm done here.
In the evening, I made some more wee crochet squares.
This morning I was very tempted to sit right here in this chair and pick up my cross stitch, but I reminded myself that I need a new quilt project, something for my 15 mins before work.
Remember this bag?
I bought this kit back here. Just days before NZ went into lock down.
It got tucked away in the cupboard, for one day.
It didn't get to marinade for long did it? LOL
Some things hide away in cupboards and drawers for years until just the right moment comes along. I blame Covid19. This virus certainly has affected different crafters in different ways. 
Anyway this morning I pulled it out and made a start.
Such pretty fabrics. I've never really been a fan of Kaffe, I think when I see all the bolts of fabric all lined up together, it's over whelming and a huge hit of colours. And usually those big bold prints put me off.  But when I saw a model of this quilt hanging in the shop it began to whisper to me and then the whispers became shouts and about 6 months after first seeing it I eventually bought the kit.
It was originally done as a block a month, but I got the whole thing in that lovely bag.
 After a little pressing to get rid of packaging creases I made a start on cutting, but was interrupted by a break in!
Belle,the smallest and furriest member of this household  does not like closed doors and while she hasn't yet figured out how to deal with the usual handle at human hip height style openings, she is very good at sliding doors. We often wake up at night to the sounds of her trying to get into our walk in wardrobe or ensuite, as they both have sliding doors.
Today I was able to observe and document exactly how it is how it's done. 
1) Try once or twice to swipe your paw at it, the way humans do.
 2) Try from a different angle, upside down might help.
 3) Go back to position one.
 4) Try a different angle.
 5) Ready for it?
 6) somersault and flick!
 7) You're in!
 8) Slink!
 9) Let inspection commence. Why did the human shut me out?
 10) It's boring in there, I'm tired after all that, time for a snooze in this box.
While I dream about tipping that bin all over the floor!
I have to be so sneaky with the phone while trying to get pictures of her! She knows, even when she has her back turned, she seems to know when I'm taking photos. Then she stops whatever she is doing and sits there looking at me, like....
"Secret cat business, nothing for humans to see here"... 
Sew, excitement over, back to my preparations.
 Once all the cutting was done I made up the four patch blocks.
And it was time to make some lunch.
 While I had been busy spying on Belle and playing with pretty fabrics, Tony had made a lovely loaf of bread.
 I made tattie scones for lunch.
Some people say these are an Irish dish, some say it is Scottish.
I'll settle for Gaelic.
I remember my Gran making these when I was a little girl. She used to make a big meal at lunch time. and a much smaller meal in the evening. She would sometimes cook extra potatoes and would take them from the pan, before she set my Granddad to mashing them. She said he was the best at tattie bashing. The few she fished out of the pan were left in the pantry to go cold, then later she would mash them up, without milk or butter, she would add flour and a little baking powder and salt. I remember she would just mix it with her hands and knead it a little on a floured surface, before rolling it out. She would cut triangles and after dusting them with flour on both sides, she would cook them on a hot griddle. (I used my dry frying pan) She never oiled or buttered the griddle.
They would be served with butter or a poached egg. Tony and I had ours with baked beans.
Yummy comfort food for a cold day.
It's my understanding that this is a poor families recipe, a way of making a little stretch just a little bit further. For a make it up on the back of a memory recipe, it was pretty damn good, I'm impressed with myself and willing to share.
Here you go.

Tattie scones.

250g cold boiled potatoes
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tea spoon baking powder
1/2 tea spoon salt.

Mash the potatoes with a fork. 
Sift over the flour, salt and baking powder.
Mix it in with your hands.
If it's a bit sticky, add a little more flour.
Knead it a little with well floured hands.
Flour your work surface and pat the dough out into a rough circle about 3/4 cm thick
Cut it into 4, 6 or 8 triangles.
Dust both sides of the dough.
Pop the triangles into a hot dry pan and cook for 4-5 mins each side.
Serve with butter or experiment with sweet or savoury toppings. 

This recipe makes two servings. 

If you try it out, let me know what you think.

Sunday 26 April 2020

What's next??

 So yesterday was ANZAC day and as we were not able to hold the usual remembrance service we were encouraged to stand at dawn at our gates. My lovely Tony was one of many who donned a suit or uniform and got not only his own  medals out, but also his grand fathers. 
It was cold and a little eerie standing in the foggy dark at the end of our drive, we were joined by our immediate neighbours and could see shadowy figures here and there up and down the street, once the fog had lifted. Tony had the national radio station playing the service and somewhere in the distance we could hear a piper and a bugle playing. 
After a brief but responsibly distant exchange among those gathered, including a happy birthday to one of the dads, we all agreed it was time to head indoors and warm up.
We decided to get a quick selfie once we were back indoors.
Hot chocolate and pancakes for breakfast, not the usual ANZAC breakfast, but tasty, warm and filling.
We live on a shared drive, there are 6 houses and four of the six were represented in the dark. As well as my own home made poppies, there were some made by the children who live on the drive.
I went back out after the sun rose, to get a picture of our wee montage. 
The little wreath on the left, is made from egg boxes and oh so pretty.
After we had warmed up I took myself into my wee room determined to get Santa finished.
After quite a long interruption for a skype call to a friend back on the Isle of Man. We chatted for over an hour, then it was time to forage for lunch.
Eventually, in the early afternoon I was able to sit down and close the binding on Fractured Santa.
He looks a bit creased here, as he had been scrunched in my lap while I worked on him.
I enjoy the 3D effect given by cutting and inserting tiny strips of fabric. I think I'd like to have another go at this effect. I don't have another panel though...
My shopping / wish list is growing again. LOL
So, what to do next?
I have a few things still lurking and I should be able to order batik fabric to finish my string quilt, so I'll get on to that today. But I have two more whole days to fill, before I go back to work.
I'm off to play.

Friday 24 April 2020

Santa Got the Chop!!

I've had this blue Santa panel tucked away in my stash for a few years now. I acquired him on one of my trips to the International Quilt Festival in Birmingham UK. I don't remember which year, but I'm fairly sure Mum paid for him for me. She was certainly there. Although she wasn't a quilter, she did enjoy admiring all the eye candy.
Any way, I have often looked at Santa and wondered what to do with him. Although I'm getting better at quilting I'm not ready just yet to custom quilt him. I looked at a few ideas over the years for dealing with panels, but nothing that really appealed, plus there was the issue of finding the right shades of fabrics to go with him.
Then I came across a tutorial for a 'Secret Window' quilt.
That looks good!
I took the panel with me back in February when I visited The Quilting Shed. Cathy helped me to select just the right fabrics and a plan was born.
So yesterday, Santa got the chop!
 I auditioned both of the fabrics that I bought from Cathy.
 And decided on gold first.
 I made a start this morning and after work, finished putting poor Santa back together.
That is where I've stopped, for now.
I may go back into my wee room after dinner and do a little more or maybe I'll just pick up my crochet hook.
These pretty small panels were along the bottom of the Santa panel. They will get the chop too, I have a plan to make them into either a bell pull or a table runner, using up any left overs from the Fractured Santa.
And because tomorrow is ANZAC day
Time to share this lovely wee quilt again.
ANZAC day will be a little different this year. We are not allowed to gather together to remember, but the RSA in New Zealand is asking everyone to stand by their front gate, at the end of their drive, or where ever, close to home and socially distant. Be there at 6 am, and remember. The local RSA has offered a prize for the best home made poppy display, as no poppies are available for sale this year. Lots of houses have poppies in their windows, on the garden gate or fence, stuck to the mail box, where ever you could think to stick a poppy, someone has done it. They are made from fabric, cardboard and paper, yarn and metals, even grocery bags! I saw a video on Facebook, (posted by the supermarket that has red reusable bags) using a grocery bag to make poppies. I made some today, as soon as I got home from work. Two for the mail box and three to stick into the grass berm at the end of the drive.
I don't think I'm going to win the prize, but I'm happy with my creations.
Another long weekend here in NZ, as ANZAC day falls on Saturday, we get Monday as a public holiday. More time for sewing.
I'd better go cook dinner, my tummy is grumbling.

Wednesday 22 April 2020


There are changes afoot.
New Zealand will be lowering the alert level from 4 to 3, next Tuesday. So many stores will be able to open for telephone ordering or online shopping with contactless delivery, or contactless click and collect available in some places. So many of the sites serviced by the company I work for will be looking to us for services again. Things are getting busier at work, I actually have to go in tomorrow!!
Can we stay at level 4 for a little while longer? Please? I was enjoying that! LOL
Seriously, I am cautious but happy for things to get moving again. My shopping list is growing and seeing what everyone else has been doing has made my wish list go into an exponential growth spurt! LOL
So, on with the fun stuff while I have time.
Remember I made yet another batik mini, using left overs from an earlier project?
I sat outside in the sunshine on Tuesday and closed the binding. It was lovely and warm out there.
But a little too bright for a great photo. LOL
 Still on the subject of batiks.
Strings this time.
I think I have enough blocks now for a cute and colourful wee cot quilt.
I had a look through my wee stash hoping to find something suitable.
 I dismissed the off white right away. Too wishy washy.
Black? Wow! That pops, but for a baby?
Maybe green?
But it's not a batik.
I want a batik.....
My favorite shop will be open for mail order soon. I can have green soon.
I'll ask what she has to bind it with while I'm messaging her! 
I do have more than enough strings left, just in case I decide I want to make it a little bigger.
Last picture for today....
Ever get the feeling you are being watched?
While I was sat here window shopping the other day I peeped over the top of the laptop screen and saw someone peeping back at me. LOL
She was fast asleep in there, all curled up on a blanket, last I'd looked.
So, with yet another project on hold, awaiting the ability to shop online once more, I had to go looking for something else to do....
Yes, I've been hooking a few wee squares each evening and  finished preparing my next cross stitch, but I also need something to do in one of my sewing rooms.
I pulled out a panel and some fabrics I recently (Before lock down) purchased to go with it. I spent a while before work this morning pressing them. I was planning to cut them tomorrow, but don't want to be rushing that before work in the morning. If I get a chance I may do it this evening, failing that, it will be a job for the weekend. And my 15 minutes before work will be a crochet square.
Yes, I'm still doing my 15 mins before work. I was enjoying that before lock down, and plan to continue.
Thank you to those who offered to look for DMC threads for me. 
As I mentioned earlier in the post, things are loosening up here so I should be able to get them locally very soon. Thank you for your offer, I do appreciate your thoughtful offers. 
The end of the month is drawing close, which means that very soon we will have the new colour for RSC and I'll be receiving my I stitch email from Gail Pan. Lots to keep me busy, which is always nice.
Are there changes afoot where you are too?
What are you looking forward to?

Monday 20 April 2020

A Busy Weekend.

After making a few more Scrappy Batik blocks and blogging on Saturday, I decided it was time for a change of direction.  So I went into the kitchen and created. 
I made a lovely chocolaty slice, that will forever be known as Lifeboat cake to my family, as the recipe came from my Mums lifeboat recipe book.
I can't really say I baked, as all I did was smash biscuits and melt a bunch of stuff.
But YUMM!!
Later I sat down to cross stitch this wee Tikki man.
I got him all finished up well before bed time.
So Sunday mornings job was to find his friend the kiwi, whom I stitched way back in the new year.
And then both of then were give a tidy up before I made backs for them.
 Staying with the kiwi theme of course.
 I'm sure you all recognise Kiwi fruit.
But how many of you know the Pohutukawa, or New Zealand Christmas tree?
So called because of the beautiful red flowers that appear in huge numbers over the Christmas period.
 And here is the evidence, that I did all of the work myself.
Using a hot glue gun!!
I do still have one more tiny Kiwiana cross stitch to complete and will get to it soon.
As you know, I have two new grand babies due later this year. So another guardian is needed.
I opted to stitch another of the Lavender and Lace/ Told in a Garden freebies.
I'm missing one or two colours and struggling to find an open to mail order store who stocks DMC threads. (Any NZ or Aus suggestions gratefully accepted) But I can make a start and hope that the restrictions ease soon.
I keep promising to show pictures of my new yarn project.
I know for sure that one of my new grand babies will be a girl, and Mummy assures me that the other is a boy, though she has not yet had that confirmed!
I've opted to go blue anyway.
 And have started to make a bunch of these cute wee granny squares. Just three rounds each.
I'll join them all together with a neutral colour to produce my own take on the Battenburg blanket.
 If it turns out that I'm getting two girls.....
I'll just add more colours and make it unisex! LOL
Oh! And I finally put my grey sweater together.
I wish I had made it a little longer. It is very cosy though.
I recently was challenged on Facebook to show an image of my younger self.
I thought it might be fun to share it here too. This was taken circa 1973-74
 I remember wearing that green top.
It was not my favorite, I think I didn't like the way the sleeves gripped my arms. I still don't like tight sleeves. LOL
Time to go for a walk, in the sunshine.
Take care all.
Stay home and be well.