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Friday, 29 January 2016

baking Friday

I know, this is the time of year we should think "healthy eating" to get over all that Christmas food.
But this weather doesn't inspire, my body is screaming "comfort food"!
And I find baking so comforting, just the process of it;
the kitchen is such a great place on a cold and windy day.

This is a slightly healthier alternative
 (if there is a such thing as a healthy cake!), 
banana and cinnamon 
using maple syrup instead of  sugar.

It is delicious!

And it is never around for long!

© 2016

from my bookshelf - applique

For those who like applique, but are not quite sure how to go about it, or just want to learn some tips - this is a very nice book, easy to follow, with clear instructive pictures.

The authors show you how, using and mixing 9 simple blocks, you can achieve quite impressive results and how to tackle curves and those tricky points on the way.

This is a beautiful book, I love it.

Taking an inspiration from Turkish tiles,
Tamsin Harvey creates some beautiful 
I love the designs, I love the colours,
I want to make it all!

© 2016

Thursday, 28 January 2016

2001 blocks - Quiltmania has done it again

All you patchworkers out there - this one is for you, specially if you like applique. 
Yes, really - 2001 blocks; you never need to run out of ideas for that wonderful stash you have.

Published by Quiltmania; they are currently running Mystery Quilt 2016 - "The Tuesday with Flowers";
each month using 2 blocks from Chuck Nohara's book.
There is a free tutorial and video on their website.

To find out more, click here .

© 2016

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

marmalade Tuesday

It is that time of year again, when, for a brief period, Seville oranges appear in our shops.
I find the making of jams from any fruit very satisfying, but orange marmalade is rather special, although it is more time consuming
to make. 

I use the whole fruit method - boiling whole oranges first and processing them after. 
I haven't got large enough saucepan, so I have to start with 2.

When they are completely soft, they need to be left to cool down, and then comes the fiddly job of separating the flesh from the peel, getting rid off the pips and slicing the peel.
I know I could make this quicker if I wiz it in the food processor, but I like to see the thinly sliced oranges in my jars of marmalade.

Now the whole lot, plus sugar, goes back into the pan for fast boil, and when the setting point is reached and some cooling down, it is time to "jar" up.

This method makes a thick marmalade, 
(not like the shop bought, which very often resembles an orange coloured jelly), 
with a very strong, sharp orange taste, and a lot less sweet than a commercially produced orange marmalade.  

© 2016

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

It is cold, cold...
It was -5C before 8 am this morning, when I was driving to work. 
I know this is not so cold by some standards, but it is COLD for us in our part of the world.
Less than 2 hours later the electricity substation near the office caught fire - so no computers, no lights, no heat - we were sent home.
 It could be days before all is back to normal.

So, home early - time for a winter warm up! 
This time of year what I really like is a good, wholesome soup.
This spicy vegetable one has anything I could find at home - root vegetables, winter greens, mushrooms, lentils, herbs & spices .........

Ideal for a day like today.

© 2016

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Yoko Saito's Mystery Quilt - it's on the wall!

Yes, it is hanging up!
Three and half years in making, 
Yoko Saito's Mystery BOM quilt, 
originally designed for Quiltmania magazine.

My first project finished this year.
All hand stitched - applique, embroidery and quilting.
I used the machine only for joining of the blocks and attaching the binding.

© 2016

Monday, 11 January 2016

garden in the winter

Winter flowering clematis  - Clematis urophylla "Winter Beauty",
yes, it is supposed to flower in the winter.

Blogger change

I copied this message from Suziqu's Threadworks blog
Has anyone else seen it?

Blogger has made some big changes to
 how we follow blogs
so read on to see
if these new rules will affect you!

We announced the retirement of Google Friend Connect for all non-Blogger sites. We made an exception for Blogger to give readers an easy way to follow blogs using a variety of accounts. Yet over time, we’ve seen that most people sign into Friend Connect with a Google Account. So, in an effort to streamline, in the next few weeks we’ll be making some changes that will eventually require readers to have a Google Account to sign into Friend Connect and follow blogs.

As part of the plan starting the week of Jan.11th, 2016 we’ll remove the ability for people with Twitter, Yahoo, Orkut or other OpenId providers to sign in to Google Friend Connect and follow blogs. At the same time, we’ll remove non-Google Account profiles so you may see a decrease in your blog follower count.

We encourage you to tell affected readers (perhaps via a blog post), that if they use a non-Google account to follow your blog, they need to sign up for a Google Account, and re-follow your blog. With a Google Account, they’ll get blogs added to their Reading List, making it easier for them to see the latest posts and activity of the blogs they follow.

We know how important followers are to all bloggers, but we believe this change will improve the experience for both you and your readers.

Friday, 8 January 2016

January at Stourhead

First week of January has gone, is it possible?
Following the warmest December on record at last we are having temperatures close to normal, with a heavy frost last night.
A trip to the optician took us close to Stourhead, so we decided on a walk around the lake.
Most of the property is "asleep", the house closed for the winter. 

There were not many people around, and we enjoyed a peaceful walk; the few ducks and coots having the place to themselves.

First snowdrops,

 and even some winter colour

This time of year you also see clearly interesting shapes of the trees, in the summer hidden by the leaves.

This chaos in my room is a start of something new.....

A new year should see a start of new project (or two) ; well, that's my excuse :-) Something small.... 

A small box, a pattern from one of Yoko Saito's book.
Yoko's design is for an applique, but when I started, I realised how tiny the applique pieces  are and given up on that idea. 
Instead I decided to make the same box, but embellished by embroidery.

In the post today new threads - I have never used Cosmo threads before and I look forward to trying them out.

But I haven't neglected my old projects, in fact I hope this one will be the first finished project this year - I am now hand quilting borders of my "houses" quilt.

I can't wait to see it hanging up!

I wish you all a pleasant stitching weekend.

© 2016

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