Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Does this match the picture?

I was recently gifted a pile of 'foodie' magazines from a friend of my sister's who has moved to Perth to pursue her career. I have gradually removed them from M-M's house, taking the last pile last Friday night. Whilst I haven't had a chance to really sit down and read them, the Delicious magazine on the top of Friday night's pile from August 2007 caught my eye. I found myself thumbing through it at breakfast on Saturday morning determining that we pretty much had the ingredients for the front cover featured recipe....'Winter pavlova with quince and cinnamon cream'.
Now I know it's not winter here...in fact the last few days have delivered hot 30+ degree days (I'm talking celcius), so we are on the trajectory for a very hot summer....but....I have a beautiful quince tree that's now about 5 years old. As my tree has matured, it's delivered more and more quince bounty. I have found that Stephanie Alexander's poached quinces freeze really well and I happened to still have some in the freezer. I also happened to have some frozen egg whites which also freeze exceptionally well and if treated carefully in the de-frost make spectacular pavlova. Game on.....!
I was making something else on Sunday that required yolks only so I had two fresh whites and a batch* of gradually defrosted whites. *I can never remember how many are in the frozen container so I use them all!
Here's my version of the Quince Pavlova. I didn't have any praline so I used a smashed up 'Cadbury Crunchy' bar! We all thought it was pretty alright.
I'm linking up with A Quilters Table, Tuesday at Table. Deb wants us to share a seasonal recipe. Whilst mine's seasonal....it's kind of a stashed season and the result of a wonderful gifted treasure.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Something for baby....

If I've said it once, I'm sure I've said it ten times. I love making baby quilts and I love giving them away just as much.
But there aren't too many babies in my immediate circle....we're currently the 'parents of teens looking for part time jobs gang'. So you can imagine my absolute delight when I learnt that there was a baby in the family! Whoo hoo!
Joe's nephew has announced their second is on the way and due in March. Well done Matt and Sylvia, you've given me purpose.
Now that side of the family seems to be a bit boy centric...they already have one beautiful boy, his brother has a boy and their girl cousins have all delivered...you guessed it...boys! Not one girl amongst them.
Not that I'm requesting a girl but I wanted to work with some lovely prints I'd purchased recently. (Selfish....I know...) So given that the gender hasn't been announced and the likelihood that it could quite more than probably be a boy...but I'm also a statistician by day....the odds as they say, might be in their favour ....so I've used pink....and some blue, red and green.
Let's not get too hung up on girl or boy for now....I'm seeing brand new baby here!
My inspiration is the very lovely Nana Company, very similar, but different!
And oh my goodness....this is my 300th post. How delightful! Thanks for visiting, reading and commenting.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sharing the Granny love....

A few months back the 'Sew and Sews' girls decided that we would contribute a bunch of 2 1/2" scraps into an exchange pool so we could make granny squares out of different fabric to our existing scrap piles. We all agreed that we were a little jaded by some of the scraps that we'd been recycling (over and over) in our own scrappy quilting endeavors.
We had the best fun diving into the pool and playing the matching/contrasting granny game. It was hard work avoiding what you were comfortable with and trying to dodge fabric that you had actually contributed! Many a "what about this one?" shout out was heard as we begged for ongoing colour combination reviews.
I think after that first night I finished up with enough for 7 blocks. At the time I was regretting not bringing my phone to take photos of the combinations I'd concocted....even more so when my sewing bag fell off the back seat on the way home, spilling the contents over the floor of the car! Sad but true.
After stitching those initial first few blocks the lure of the granny square pulled me right in and I couldn't wait for the next catch up so I delved back into my scrap bin completing my 25.
And here she is....a Granny Square Quilt just for me!
I've made 3 grannies now and I've loved them all. The first I gave away for a fundraiser and the other was a joint gift for a friend so the whole time I had me in mind for this one.
For 'my granny' I've used cornerstones which I incorporated into the block. That worked quite well and was less stressful than matching up blocks using long sashing strips.
The backing fabric is a piece of fabric that I bought in Melbourne when we first went interstate on the first 'Sew and Sews' fabric buying extravaganza! It was in a discount basked at GJ's for about $4m! It's a bit vintagey-nanna looking so it has been kept in storage all this time for just the right project and this was certainly it.
Because of the vibrant back and the mixture of fabrics on the front, I struggled for the perfect binding. In the end I opted to go plain and chose Kona Charcoal. I love it. No....I really love it!
If you want to make a Granny Square quilt of your own head on over to Jolene's blog for her tutorial.
This quilt is 5 x 5 (25 blocks with borders) which finishes up at around 65" square and is free motioned stippled.
And for the last word. I placed my absolute favourite 'exchange' block right in the middle. It's purple...a colour I NEVER use let alone own. Thank you girls for sharing the Granny love...we should do it again!
I've linked up to Crazy Mom's Finish it up Friday!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Stained glass spools.....

I've been slowly cutting and piecing this little quilt top over the past couple of weeks.
It features some now very old Moda fabric called Snippets by American Jane. In my book, Sandy Klop is the queen of red, blue, green, yellow, orange and pink combinations in traditional, 1930sh, feed-sacky (another of my made up words!) type prints. I have always loved this line, hence keeping it all these years. This was the first ever jelly roll I purchased way back in May 2009 when the girls and I whisked off to Melbourne for a weekend on our very first 'Sew and Sews' fabric buying excursion.
But I'm on a 'use it' mission these days, so after a bit of fondling I began the hunt for a jelly roll friendly pattern. I eventually settled on a Camille Roskelley, Thimble Blossoms pattern called Spools which I've already talked about here. The pattern is pretty simple with a tonne of cutting of little bits and thin strips. I was a bit apprehensive about all the skinny sashing strips but mine has come together pretty well. Needless to say, Camille's patterns are very easy to follow.
Now the debate with myself about how to back it!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Anatomy of an occasional chair (part 1)....

I found a little occasional chair on the footpath a week or so ago.
In its found state it was pretty ugly, dusty and smelly but I've been looking for a chair like this for ages so I wasn't going to pass it up. This one has great bones. The bottom strapping needs a bit of tightening but the springs are still really good and the padding only needs a bit of plumping with new materials.
After lugging around the corner (....Joe drove off in disgust and laughed as I struggled through the front gate) it sat on my front verandah for a week, dodging a bit of stormy weather we've just encountered. But this position allowed me to contemplate it each time I walked out the front door and ensured that the research required was top of mind. If I'd stored the chair somewhere else guaranteed the whole thing would have been forgotten! (My usual trick and then I chuck it!)
I spent the week researching re-upholstery via YouTube. What a fabulous resource. I found this great series of DIY upholstery (diyupholstery.com) which has taught me the fundamentals of pulling the chair apart and removing the old fabric, staples and tacks. Essentially, it's a reverse process. What goes on last, comes off first. No brainer!
So in the sunshine yesterday afternoon, I propped my project on a makeshift trestle table and set about removing the 'unwanteds'.
I've kept the fabric cover just in case I need to make a template or two.
By late afternoon I was in good shape to strip the old polish from the external wooden arms. I actually studied french polishing many years ago, in fact before I even met Joe! So I dug the trusty stripper and steel wool out of the shed, reclaimed a tin can, donned my rubber gloves and set to with an old brush. The polish came off so easily. I'm sure its because this chair looks like it's spent most of its recent times outside...the spider webs, twigs and seed pods also attested to that fact!
I let the stripper chemicals diffuse in the night air and this morning I got stuck into vacuuming what dust I could get out of the pared back padding, wadding and strapping.
Whilst delving through my old french polishing box I also found a jar of linseed oil and pure turps. I love this combination of minerals as a wood revival, particularly after stripping. Secretly, I also love the smell! With clean cotton rag in rubber gloved hand, I smeared this concoction over the wooden arms. They've come up a treat and the oak is looking rather Danish.
And that's where I've left my chair for the moment. I'm still debating whether I'll pursue actual french polish or waxing. Decisions, decisions....but at least I have a week or so before my fabric arrives. (to be continued). 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

From Swoon scrap....

...to active Spools component!
I can't stand throwing away fabric and when you work on some quilts you end up with little off-cuts that are just too precious to throw away.
We pay so much for fabric in Australia, regardless of the fact that the fabric might have been ordered online from overseas and with our current exchange rate. It might be cheaper by the metre or yard but there's still the postage to consider. So in my book, it still costs and anything that's cut off is just too, too hard to part with, particularly when a design calls for lots of trimming.
To ease my 'fabric guilt' I have zip-lock bags a-go-go, each full of bits of this and bits of that. I divide them into solids and prints and by size and they're born along the way, out of what I make.
Constructing Swoon, by Camille Roskelly was no exception. Each of those flying geese had lots of trimming and lots of discard. I have already used the coloured off-cuts in a little quilt and I popped the plain background triangles in a baggy...."for Ron". (A.K.A. 'later on'.)
Ironically (actually, tell me if it's not irony...), I'm working on another Thimble Blossoms pattern by Camille called Spools. It calls for these tiny little squares of 1 1/4" to be placed on the corners of the tops and bottoms of the 2" cotton spool strips. These squares are then trimmed to form tiny little triangles. Quite clever really.
As I was driving home the other day, I recalled that I had a bag of triangles in Kona Snow, the same fabric that I used for the background of  this quilt and the same that I'm using now. Surely I could re-use these triangles for the squares to make the triangle corners required for this pattern.
Now I realise that we're ultimately talking about 6" or so worth of width of fabric to cut down each of these 140 little squares. But width of fabric is precious. That fabric could be the make or break of a border strip. So I delved into the stash to find the zip lock with the Swoon triangle off-cuts in Snow, turned them out and cut them down to sort of 1 1/4" squares. As it happened, there was a little corner nicked off of each square. But seeing as one corner of the triangle gets cut off anyway, I didn't see this as a major problem.
It worked like a charm. I actually got my 140 x 1 1/4" squares out of 140 off-cut scrappy triangles and created my triangle corners for each of my strips.
I might have had to cut twice as many times to get my 'square' but as I said before, I've left yardage in good shape and the end result is just as grand! I didn't keep what I cut off....that would be just too thrifty....or perhaps I haven't yet devised a plan to use tiny teeny triangles....hummmm the mind boggles!
I can't wait to see this quilt. I'm using a jelly roll of Snippets by American Jane for Moda that I bought  oh so long ago (see my first post) ...and forgot that I owned. I'm loving the colours and I'm loving the thrift!