Monday, December 29, 2008

White space

Inspired by this lovely tasteful silk scarf my brother gave me for Christmas (thanks Ross!), I decided to do some shibori seeing as the children have now gone and I am on holiday.

I consulted my expensive-but-worth-it Shibori book and decided the pattern of square dots on the scarf was only going to work if you have the proper equipment, which I don't. So I took four fat quarters and did different things to them. Here they are in their bundled state. I decide to work with a certain range of colours - tangerine, butterscotch, bright orange, chino, mocha, chocolate brown and warm black.

One didn't come out very well (not enough colour). This one was folded in from each corner then bundled into a spiral.

This is the one that was sewn with sweeping curves and the threads pulled up a bit - it's not actually easy to do the thread-tightening thing, and they are a complete pain to remove. You can just see the tracks of some of the stitching. Interesting but I wouldn't do this again the same way.

This one is much more exciting. I pleated and tied one end, then pleated again reversing where the folds went. This is easier to say than do. I then pleated and stitched the other end horizontally. This is the long one in the "before" picture.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Recipes with pictures

Summer Pudding couldn't be easier. Cut the crusts off enough day-old white bread to line a bowl, overlapping the slices and pressing them together to seal.

Heat around 2 cups of berries and enough castor sugar to sweeten for about 5 minutes until the juices starts flowing.

Pour into bread mould and fold pieces over the top, adding more pieces to entirely cover the berries. Cover with a plate or saucer. You're mean to weigh it down but I find the juice soaks through it just fine. Chill over night. Turn out onto a plate and serve with cream and ice cream. Delicious!

Strawberry ice cream (using an ice cream maker).

Chill the bowl as per instructions. I do mine overnight.

Mix 1 1/2 cups of milk with 1 cup cream in a saucepan and heat. Remove from heat before it boils. Beat 3 egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt until mixed, then add a cup of the milk mixture. Blend, then add back to remaining milk mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens slightly. Place in a jug or bowl and chill.

When ready, mash or puree (I prefer fruit lumps so just mash mine) 2 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries (or other fruit) and add to milk/egg mixture.

Pour into ice cream maker and process for 15-20 minutes, then put into container and freeze. This makes about 1 litre of lovely fruit ice cream that tastes nothing like commercial ones.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Boxing day chez Goodwin

As Sophie was spending Christmas day evening with her new boyfriend Mark and his family, we celebrated our Christmas the following day. Sophie wanted to eat outside, this being summer, so we moved the table and chairs to the least windy part of the yard. Being not-too-concerned about tradition, and allowing for Cass now being mainly a fish-eating vegetarian, I made bagels which we had with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

It looked so tasty the poodles wanted some too.

Afterwards, we had Summer Pudding (with boysenberries and strawberries) and home-made strawberry ice cream. Yum.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Leisure time - isn't it wonderful?

Yes, it's just a shot of my kitchen - but it's a clean, tidy, uncluttered kitchen. Just to remind me that it can look this way - because it usually doesn't. Who knows - maybe I'll even get the stock room and the studio sorted over the holidays?

Season's greetings (or whatever is appropriate for your beliefs)

While I am not religious, I view Christmas as a time for being with family, reconnecting with people you don't see much, reflecting on the past year and thinking about the year to come.

Living in the southern hemisphere, I have never know a "white" Christmas. As a child, we would sometimes take a picnic lunch and go to the beach on Christmas Day. Many people are away camping at this time of year, and while I'll be at home with my children, we'll sit outside on the deck if the weather is favourable. We favour salads, cold meats and cold desserts over roasts and hot vegetables and cooked puddings.

I'd like to wish all my blog readers, wherever you are, a safe and happy Christmas. If you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope you'll be safe and happy anyway. I am amazed that people from 97 countries have read my blog, including places like Moldova and the Faroe islands, where just ONE person has visited. Truly, technology is a wonderful thing.

Bless you all.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Something old, something new....

The cot quilt which has been dominating my blog recently is finally finished and ready to go to its new home. I have only quilted around the outside of the blocks, and in the borders.
Here are a couple more of my earlier works, featuring (naturally!) hand dyed fabric. This is "Out of Africa". My daughter Sophie and her then boyfriend, who was born in South Africa, went there for a holiday about 5 years ago. I asked her to bring me back some fabric as my Christmas present. When I opened the parcel, I found polycotton large scale animal prints which were clearly curtaining fabrics, and not what I was expecting.

I pondered for a while about what I could do with them so as to not hurt her feelings. Then one day I had an idea - I pulled out a number of "earthy" hand dyes from my stash (I had not long since bought my dye business, which included fabric) and made this simple desgin which I think works well.
This quilt, "Home is where the heart is", was chosen by an Australian magazine (can't remember which one though) to be published as a pattern. They called it "Oamaru Cottage" (I lived in one at the time), and I had to send it to the publishers in Sydney to be photographed. It's reversible, with the seams on the right side. Now this is not an unusual style for flannels, but this quilt is made with plain cottons and cotton batting. It's very warm and snuggly.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Drat those little chicken feet

And here's the completed top. The shapes have all been sewn around, so when I assemble the quilt, I'll just do some minimal sewing around the blocks to hold it all together. Apologies for the blurry photo.

This week, I'm still in limbo. I'm doing a bit of work for my existing (and one potential)customers - this is for my "day job" that earns me my living - but there's not a lot happening at this time of year. Plus I've had a bug for over 2 weeks now and I'm still not 100%. The doctor thinks it's viral so nothing much I can do except wait for my throat and ear to return to normal.

Whatever that is.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More chickens

Here are the other 6 blocks. I've used the same designs but in reverse. In response to the questions - these are fused applique, and will be stitched down once i put it all together as a cot quilt/play mat has to withstand plenty of washing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Making chickens

Having 2 friends expecting babies, I have been inspired to make a cot quilt or 2. I decided to make chickens first - I have done a chicken cot quilt before, which looked great but I no longer have the pattern. So I drew the chickens myself. Here are the first 6 blocks - there will be 12 altogether. I'll put a plain inner border, then I have some actual chicken fabric to be the outer border.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Unfinished symphonies

Yesterday, I gave talk to a local patchwork and quilting group here in Rangiora. They seemed to be a very nice bunch of women, so I'll probably go back again next year as a member. I took along quite a bit of my work, much of which hasn't been seen on the blog for a while so I thought I'd show some of it. First up are 3 unfinished pieces (there are many more, I assure you, but not all will BE finished). The above piece, called Radiance, was made when I was incapacitated with my broken ankle and working only with paints. It's a positive/negative style using fused cutouts.
As is this piece. These are both just tops at this stage. I can't remember if I've named this one.
I'm sure I would have named this as well - I usually do - but can't think of it at present. This is quilted and only needs binding. It's from my "convergence" period. The quilting is large hibiscus flowers and was fun to do.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tiptoe through the garden (the tulips have finished)

The Shirley poopies weren't out last time but this morning, they are.
The colours are so lovely - many are bi colours.
This epiphyllum (orchid cactus) has been with me for years. It lives outdoors all year round, even in the frost. This year it has 4 buds, so the snow hasn't bothered it either.
These day lilies have settled in well - they were only planted a year ago.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Frolicking in the summer garden

Trailing lobelia in a hanging basket above the raised vegetable gardens.....
...lovely roses. This is Aotearoa. I don't usually grow hybrid teas, but this rose has an exquisite scent and I plant it wherever I go...
...and this is Yellow Charles Austin.
I love the campanulas that have naturalised in the pots of hostas - in the back pot is a little dark-leaved violet...
..and here is a hybrid clematis that I've just planted.
These iceland poppies have been flowering for a couple of months now. I also have Shirley poppies (of course!) but they are in between blooms tonight. Shirley poppies come in whites, soft pinks and reds and are often bicolors. They naturalise easily but grow into much taller plants than the wee Iceland ones.