Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cool cords

One of my recent fabric purchases - and there have been a few - was this really cute printed corduroy. I was amazed to find it in Spotlight - they never usually have groovy quality fabric like these ones. The cutting lady said the bolts had only arrived that day. So I grabbed some! I love this fabric for pants and jackets for little girls and plan to make a couple of things for Romily. The weather's starting to cool down and soon lightweight cotton outfits just won't be warm enough. As you can see, I already have a couple of issues of Ottobre out, ready to draft off the patterns and cut into this lovely cord.

Of course I have a couple of other projects on the go that should get first dibs under my needles. And then there's the essay that's due next Monday (not yet started, um ah). Study schmuddy this week. Tristan has a cold and is needing lots of cuddles, so not much studying is getting done - nor sewing for that matter. But sewing is somehow finding its way ahead of studying in the priority stakes. I'll get onto the essay soon. It's only 1500w and on a public policy issue I know quite a lot about, so it shouldn't be too difficult. I'm on top of my reading for the weekly e-lectures (mostly), so I'm pretty relaxed about it. And there's always the weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A girl needs candy pants, yes she does

Encouraged to spend, spend, spend by my local fabric store with a $40 voucher should I spend more than $100, I traipsed off to Queanbeyan and did as I was bid! I came away with several metres of cute polka dot poplin, some groovy B&W quilting fabric, as well as a few other bits and pieces.

Over the weekend I broke out the 1/2008 edition of Ottobre and whipped up some 'Candy' pants and a 'Nirunaru' pinnie top for Romily. The pants are fab and sewed up really easily. The Nirunaru top only went up to size 92cm, so I cut a 2cm seam allowance instead of 1cm and made it into a swing top, rather than a pinafore dress.They turned out great and Romily loves them. They're perfect clothes for Playschool - nice and loose and not too heavy. Playschool is pretty high energy, so jeans, etc. aren't ideal.I'm planning on making these pants and tops in a couple of different colourways. Rom will be able to wear t-shirts under the tops and long socks under the pants when the weather starts to cool.

How lovely it is to be able to make such cute outfits for your kids! Especially when they actually still like wearing them!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Winter Blues

Finally! It's finished. "Winter Blues" is all wrapped up and on its way to the US, as part of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap 5 monochromatic challenge. (Click for larger images - for some reason this image looks fuzzy) My swap recipient chose blue or green, and my preference is blue, so I went for that. I chose to set off the blues with white and am quite happy with the finished result.
Because it's quite a simple design with classic fabric motifs, I chose to do simple cross-hatching quilting...well, it would have been simple, except I only did the cross-hatching in the background, which meant many ends to tie in! It took ages, as per my previous post on the issue. Anyway, I finally got them all sewn in, the binding on and the label stitched to the back. Et voila!
I hope my recipient likes it. It's always disappointing when you go to a lot of effort and it's not appreciated. Let's hope this table runner inspires happy thoughts in the cold of winter! (Measures 24.5" x 14")

And one of my boys. They both like the newspaper...although I'm not sure you're supposed to eat it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Coasting along

We slipped up the coast again the weekend before last for three days of fun in the sun, this time heading north to Jervis Bay, renowned for its white sandy beaches. While we didn't have three days of sun, we did have fun. Going to the beach with a three and a half year old is fun whether it's perfect weather or not. We stayed at another cabin park in a little place called Currarong.

Romily just loves staying in these cabins, as they're just like little homes, only at the beach - and she does make herself right at home. Tristan doesn't seem to mind either.While there, we dug in the sand, made tyre tracks with tiny trucks, searched for shells and investigated nooks and crannies.
On the not-so-flash days we went for a drive through the Beecroft Range (which fortunately was not being used by the Navy!), down to the lighthouse at Point Perpendicular...
and to the perfect little beach in the delightfully named Honeymoon Bay.
Not having been down to the beach much over the past few years, I'm really enjoying our sojourns. I'm hoping we can squeeze another weekend at the coast in before the weather turns cold.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bushfire stars

Phew. Have nearly finished my FSQS#5 quilt - just tying in the 1000s of ends (so it seems) from the quilting. I needed a break from all that tying in (lesson learned: Don't use Gutterman SULKY if many ends are to be tied in. It frays - BADLY!), so I got out my scrapbag and some white on white fabric and made up five 12.5" maverick stars for the Bushfire Quilt Project. I would have liked to have made more, but I'm just so short of time these days. Studying is definitely eating into my sewing time!
I also bought some utility thread and some variegated Gutterman sulky thread to go with them. Spotlight was having a sale, so that was incentive enough for me!I also bought some cheap quilting cotton on sale while I was there, as well as some queen-size batting (Warm & Natural cotton). Glad I got that on sale, boy was it exxy!Now to get that table runner finished and on its way to the US. That'll clear my way to finally get started on a very special (and much delayed) project for my dear friend Kate in Hobart.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Quiche Lorraine anyone?

Actually it's a Smoked Ham and Vintage Cheddar Quiche, but you get the drift.I cooked up this lovely quiche during the week and it was delicious - far nicer than a store-bought quiche. Go on, give it a try. You know you want to.

You'll need:
200g smoked ham (splurge and go for the fresh off the bone stuff - none of that nasty pre-packaged pseudo-ham), chopped
1/2 cup of medium grated vintage cheddar cheese
300g cream (you can use the 'lite, thickened' variety here if it makes you feel better)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4-5 eggs (depending on weight per egg. For small eggs use 5, for big use 4)
1 sheet frozen or fresh shortcrust pastry (or you could be really fancy and make your own)

You'll do:
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Fit pastry to a fluted quiche baking dish (approx 26cm across). Fill with blind baking bits (ceramic beads, rice, whatever you use) and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove beans and bake for a further five minutes until pastry starts to turn a bit golden.

Reduce oven to 160 degrees c.

Sprinkle ham and then cheese over base.

Whisk eggs, cream and parsley together in a small mixing bowl. Pour over ham and cheese.

Carefully place in middle shelf of oven and cook for approx 40 minutes or until quiche is mostly set. Remove from oven and allow to stand for at least 5 minutes.

Serve hot, warm or cold (great for picnics) with a simple garden salad and some crusty bread if desired. Serves 5-6. Leftovers should be re-heated gently in a microwave or oven and make an excellent alternative to a sandwich lunch!

Bon appetit!

Friday, March 06, 2009

FSQS5 sneak peek

I've been beavering away on the table runner/topper I'm making for the Four Seasons swap. My swap recipient asked for a winter theme and selected blue or green as her preference for colour. I chose blue because I love it. My recipient prefers traditional style quilting in quite muted colours, whereas I prefer fresh and modern in bright colours, so, I designed something that I think we will both like! Here's a sneak peek.
Anyway, it has quite a bit of embroidery (definitely not my strong suit, I've decided seeing my efforts!), which I finally finished last night, after unpicking several letters several times. It's not perfect, but hopefully the slight wonkiness will add to the quilt's charms! The top measures about 15" x 25", so I'm on track for it to be just the right size. That was a real effort, as my table runners are usually quite a bit longer than that!

I was hoping to get it quilted and posted by today, but that didn't happen. Next week it will have to be. We're heading away up the coast for the long weekend and I just know that no sewing will get done there. So now I'm aiming for next Friday to have it all wrapped up.

And here's a pic of my blue-eyed boy. Just because :)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Baby bunting

Tristan has just about outgrown all his size 00 clothes, including his baby sleeping bags (also known as bunting in some parts of the universe). I hit the shops to buy a couple of new ones in the next size up, but I couldn't find any lightweight, sleeveless bags anywhere. All the stores have their winter stock on the shelves, but it's still way too hot for them - that and the fact that current guidelines say you shouldn't put babies in bags with sleeves - they're likely to overheat. So I decided to make a couple.

Only one has made it out the other side of my machine so far, as I've been busy with other projects, looking after two kiddliewinks and just way too tired from lack of sleep. I used an old McCalls pattern I've had kicking around since 2005, but made a couple of changes, as I wanted to use snaps instead of a zipper and wanted to finish off the armholes a bit more neatly than the pattern provided for.

Of course, being a novice sewer, I managed to do not such a great job on either! First, I have discovered the shortcomings of plastic snaps...I'm now kicking myself for not spending the little bit extra to buy the die set for metal snaps...and, second, I stupidly used non-stretch binding on the armholes. Derr. They don't stretch now!

I do, however, love the fabric! Many thanks to Sarah from QFD, who, quite some time ago, sent me a parcel satchel stuffed with dressmaking fabric she was disappearing from her stash. I was very happy I finally found the perfect use for this particular stretch knit :)

I've bought some more stretch fabric for version #2 and will this time use a zip and leave the armholes stretchy! The things we learn through doing :)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Hot tamale - Four Seasons quilt received!

Thanks must go to Floribunda, who made me a lovely, warm, red, red, red table topper as part of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap #5. I received her parcel late last week and wasn't going to open it until I'd finished mine...a gal needs a reward you know...but Margaret, our fabulous swap mama, convinced me I should open it straight away!

Thanks Floribunda, it's very lovely.

And check out the gorgeous fabric she used for the backing! I fuzzed up the label so surnames, etc. weren't blasted out there into cyberspace.

Mine is making progress. I have finished piecing the top, but need to get some floss in the right colour and do some embroidery before I can sandwich and quilt it. We're heading away this weekend and after that uni is calling, so I'm aiming to have it all finished and posted by Friday.