Thursday 23 November 2017

I have to show you this.......

What a week this has been, I was determined to get back to posting on my usual day of Wednesday, however, the force that has taken over my life this last couple of months is not through with me yet, and Gypsy took over again.  Thats not what I want to show you though........

First let's get Gypsy out of the way with this weeks blocks for the Gnome Angel sew along.

Square in a Square Bordered, only the five blocks this week after last weeks marathon 35.  I'm not so sure of the one that's top left with the double border but I will see how it looks as I'm putting it together.

That's not what I've been sewing this week though,

This is your sneak peak, section 9 which is actually finished.  You can see the edge of section eight which is not quite complete and section ten is about three quarters finished, but I will show you another day.

If you have been reading here for a while you may remember that I lost my dear mother in law Edna just over a year ago, recently her husband Jack gave me her cookery book.  I had never seen it before, it was given to Edna as a young bride by her mother in law who in turn received it second hand from someone else.

 I think it is about mid 1930's, it's a bit tatty and has what looks like paint on the front, but I will treasure it anyway because of the family history and pass it down to Emily's Mum Tina who is Edna's granddaughter.

It appears to be available second hand if anyone is interested enough to want a copy, they are not expensive, only around five pounds in the UK, mine won't be worth as much as that because there are several pages missing at the beginning, but that doesn't matter to me.

There are lots of recipes inside but today I want to share with you a section at the back.

Oh yes, this book was aimed at the new bride, so you think that's why the new mother in law Sarah gave it to Edna?  I believe their relationship was rather fraught in the early days, Edna was from Kent in the temperate southeast of the UK and came up to the cold north east, no airs and graces here, we call a spade a shovel.  For Edna with her strong southern accent it was a different world, no one could understand her very well and the northeastern dialect was like a foreign language to her.  Still, she never went back to live in Kent and towards the end of Sarah's life it was Edna she lived with and who took care of her.  Edna had no daughters but I believe she was happy with me as her daughter in law, I hope so.

What miners wife Sarah thought of this book I don't know, a salad plate?  Salad went on the same plate as the stew and Sunday dinner, why would you want a plate just for salad?

Hehe!   Oh la di dah, only the gentry had maids, I bet they had a good laugh at this one.  The only bells were at the church and the school, working folk didn't even have a new fangled telephone in those days and who had a drawing room?  One room served as kitchen and living room for most folk, and for those with a big family it was a bedroom too.

I hope you enjoyed this, I haven't even explored the recipes yet, if I find anything good I'll make sure I share.

Yes I know this is supposed to be a quilting blog, and I admit I do tend to go off on a tangent at times, that's just me I'm afraid.  I do have one snippet to add about quilting though, Janice at Color Creating and Quilting has done a review on a new Craftsy class, it's Quilting the Grid by Christina Cameli.  Do pop across and read it, especially if you struggle with quilting or are looking for new ideas, it's a great review and appears to give a great flavour of what the class is about.  I think it sounds great, just what I need to improve my quilting while gaining confidence in my skills.  I do treat myself to a Craftsy class now and again, I have a few, what do you mean you can't tell by my quilting, who said that?  ANYway, this is the one I will be treating myself to at Christmas, I could buy it now but for me a Craftsy class is a treat for myself and it wouldn't be a treat if I just bought them willy nilly on a whim now would it?  Unless  there is a Black Friday offer on of course hehe!  I have to watch the pennies now I have officially 'retired'.

THERE IS I JUST CHECKED!!!  It is SUCH a good price, I don't think I have got one as low as that before.   Yes, I succumbed, oh the shame.   I WON'T be getting one at Christmas now of course, but I am only a month early, there again I could wait until Christmas to watch it, I said COULD, if Gary confiscated my laptop, tablet and phone and locked the door of his office that is.  Sigh..........  no patience.

Just a reminder, I may have included a link to the Craftsy class but I have no affiliates and get no renumeration for anything that I recommend, and neither does Janice which is why I'm happy to mention it.  Just saying.........

Until next time,
With similes from,
Kate x

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Friday 17 November 2017

I made

something nice.  I'll tell you all about it later but first I want to show you

this weeks Gypsy Wife blocks.  Square in a Square Pinwheels, there are two of them using the tiny 2 1/2 inch pinwheels.  I like these blocks.

I have had little time to sew this week, sad :-(  But I did get into my sewing room for a bit yesterday to start

putting together section nine of Gypsy.  No I haven't done the previous eight, I'm starting with nine on the extreme left.  I was going to do one to five first but I need the longest strips and some double length strips at the sides and it just seemed easier to do the left side first.  As you can see I didn't get that much done but I cut the strips I need and sorted the blocks out.  I'm not sure about the small square in a square top left though, it's in one of the strips too so I may just make another one.  I'll decide when I start stitching it together, as you can see I haven't even pressed the strips yet.

These strips are pinned up on my design wall, they are for the right side of Gypsy.  Colourful enough for you?

I haven't had time to sew anything else this week but I did make

Fork biscuits.  This has to be one of the easiest recipes with the fewest ingredients ever.

8 ounces (250g) butter or margarine, whichever you prefer, at room temperature
4 ounces (125g) caster sugar, thats the fine one for baking, not the one you would use for icing or put in your coffee.
10 ounces (300g) self-raising flour.

Mix the sugar in with the butter with a wooden spoon, no need to cream it like making a cake, just enough to incorporate it will do.
Gradually mix in the flour and any flavourings.  You might need to use your hands to bring the dough together, it should be on the soft side but not sticky.

Take a walnut size piece of dough and roll it into a ball and place on a greased baking tin.  I use those nonstick liners so I don't need to bother.  You will get about 32 biscuits from the full recipe so you will need two trays but you can always just use half of it and make one tray of sixteen.  That's what I used to do but I soon learned it was easier to make the big batch, then I would have some left for the next day.

Dip a fork in cold water and squash them flat leaving fork marks.  It's a great recipe to make with kids.

Bake in the oven at 180degrees Celsius (Gas 4) for 15 - 20 minutes depending on how hot your oven is, until a pale golden colour, but it can be a bit hard to judge when they are chocolate.

I leave them on the tin for a few minutes when I take them out then put them on a cooling tray until cold.

Keep in an airtight tin.  I would tell you how long you can keep them for but they never last more than a day or two.

Add whatever flavourings you like they are so versatile.   I use:

Cinnamon, two teaspoons and I mix a little extra with caster sugar and sprinkle on the top when I take them out of the oven.  About 1-2 teaspoons sugar and a good quarter of cinnamon should do it.  I leave them on the tray for a few minutes and shake off the excess when i put them on the cooling tray.

Chocolate, replace an ounce of the flour with cocoa powder, or even better make it double chocolate and add about four ounces of chocolate chips.

Lemon or orange, add the finely grated zest of a large orange or two small lemons, or just some of each.  Orange with sultanas would be nice too.

How about adding some ginger instead of cinnamon?

What would you add to your biscuit mix?

Well if the thought of the easiest homemade biscuits in the world doesn't make you smile how about

this!  We took our youngest granddaughter out for a walk in the woods at the weekend.  Hubby is trying to get Emily interested in nature and is teaching her the names of trees, flowers and birds.  He asked her if she knew the name of one particular tree,  "Kevin" was the reply.  She has obviously inherited her Grandfathers sense of humour.

And that's all for today, not my usual post but I already told you I haven't been able to sew.  I do hope you will try the biscuits though, they are so easy for children to make and no rolling out or cutting either.  If you try them let me know what you think, and I would love you to let me know what flavourings you think up too.

Until next time,
With smiles from,
Kate x

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Thursday 9 November 2017

I learnt a new trick

Seeing as it is was the beginning of the month I decided to get my bee block commitments made and posted early so I can concentrate on getting my Gypsy top put together.

First up was my block for Paige from Quilted Blooms who is queen for Bee Inspired this month.  Do you know Paige?  When you see her work you will want to, she designed her chosen block, Planted Pines.

This is the mock up of the blocks and,

this is the quilt, isn't it lovely?  Paige sent us all enough fabric so we could make two blocks, I really enjoyed making these.

This is the new trick I learned, to make fast work of all those flying geese.

First I cut all the pieces for the flying geese and marked the centre line with a Hera marker and another line a half inch away to get bonus triangles.

Then I used painters tape to mark a straight line using my needle, forget about a seam this is directly in line with the needle, use your ruler and any markings on your machine to line it up.

Line up the marked line with the painters tape and stitch.  It's so fast, and you get a nice straight seam too.

I chain pieced them quick as a flash.

Then I guided them all through again and lined up the mark for the bonus triangles.

After pressing and trimming off the bonus blocks I fed them through again for the second side.

At this point of course I should show you a pile of flying geese and another of half square triangles but I got carried away with the momentum and I forgot, though I expect you know what a pile of finished flying geese looks like.

And here they are stitched together in the blocks.  I got a bit carried away and made an extra one, then I remembered I didn't have any more ground fabric so I sent it to Paige in two pieces for her to add the ground as well as the bonus half square triangles in case she wants to do a feature on the back of the quilt.  The background on the left is a linen look, a pale sort of creamy coloured fabric and the one in the middle is an Alison Glass fabric, none of them have photographed very well so you will have to take my word they look a lot better in real life.

Now this is where you say you already knew how to do this and how I must be one of the few quilters who don't use this trick.  I was just so impressed at how a piece of painters tape can make the job so fast and easy, and so much better than stitching on a drawn line, my stitching usually ends up wonky when I do that.

If you want to get the block tutorial you can find it on Paige's post.  I'm looking forward to seeing the finished quilt it will be a lovely autumn winter quilt I think.

I made another bee block too, my last block for Stash Bee 2017.  The tutorial was for a circle of geese block, wonderful, but it's paper pieced and very intricate, and I'm not what you could call a paper piecer, it would have taken me days to make and no guarantee i would have made a very good job, and I hate the thought of sending off a block which isn't made to a good standard.  Fortunately there was a link at the bottom for an alternative block as strictly speaking the circle of geese broke the rules, blocks are supposed to be doable in 1 1/2 hours.  I followed the link and found

This wonderful block, it's called Zig Zag Path at Piece N Quilt.  If you follow the link it takes you to the tutorial which has an illustration of two different quilts made from the block, one looks like it has an optical illusion.  I love this block, straightforward to make and very effective, the perfect bee block in my opinion.

Oh I haven't shown you my Gypsy blocks for this week,

Here they are, square in a square.  Yes it is a lot and no it's not all of them, there are sixteen here, Gypsy contains 35 and yes I have made them all.  They are mostly in two sizes with just a couple in odd sizes so I chain pieced them.   I cut centre squares and outer triangles from lots of different fabrics and just mixed them up.   I didn't follow the piecing instructions in the pattern I used the Bloc Loc chart instead, it gives cutting instructions so the block turns out with a bigger seam allowance which can be trimmed down to the exact fit, but as you can see I haven't trimmed mine yet.  You can find the free cutting chart here and you don't need to use a Bloc Loc ruler to use it either.

That's all I have to share with you this week, I'm having my kitchen painted next week so I don't know how much time I will get to sew, I will be camped out in the sitting room with my overactive girls Ella and Indi and I won't be able to leave them for a minute to nip to my sewing room, the last time Indi chewed a hole in one of my favourite cushions and no I still haven't got around to repairing it yet.  Still, last time the decorator was here I ended up camped out in my bedroom, so at least it's an improvement.

Until next time,
With smiles from,
Kate x

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Friday 3 November 2017

It's been........

one of those weeks where I feel as if I haven't done much but I have lots to show.  This is a change from the weeks I feel like I have accomplished so much but DON'T have much to show for it.  Do you ever feel like this?

Any how, I have been making Dog Gone Cute blocks for Karen at KAHolly who is making quilts for hurricane victims.  Karen is one of the nicest quilters I have ever met, and it is lovely to do something to help her so I made

this block.  If you haven't seen the blocks before they are designed by Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts as part of a free quilt along.  There are six different dogs in all in two different sizes and you can find them on the introductory post.  If you are familiar with the blocks you may notice that this block, no 5, is slightly different.  Jennifer from Inquiring Quilter changed the ears on this dog when using it as a bee block, Lorna loved it and shared it on her blog last week and as I have two springer spaniels I just had to make it too.  Jennifer posted the details on how she made spaniel ears on this post if you are interested.

The second block isn't quite finished yet, I have a head cold, the first one in years, and have a touch of cantbebothereditis, but I should get it finished and in the post in the next couple of days.  This one is Ella, and the previous one is Indi, after my two.

Oh I haven't shown you this weeks Gypsy blocks have I?

An easy week this week, three hourglass blocks, and as I forgot to take a pic before I went on to the next stage you get to see them in all their glory, with one and two borders and bordered with square in a square.

Last week I forgot to show you pics of two snowman cushions Elspeth is making,

 Elspeth hasn't quite finished them yet but tells me how much she is enjoying making them by hand.  They are bonded appliqué as in the pattern but Elspeth did all the buttonhole stitches herself whereas I just used the sewing machine.  I must say the stitching is beautiful, so even.  The templates and tutorial is available free HERE if you missed it.

One thing my sewing room lacks is drawers, but after seeing a pic on Instagram from Anja at Anja Quilts I paid a visit to Ikea.  I ended up buying a similar one,

What do you think?  I meant for it to go under my sewing table but it's a little taller than I thought, or it could be that my table is a little lower, but anyway I love it, perfect for all the bits and pieces I use all the time and have to hunt for.  I could do with one or two containers to keep it tidier and I've just thrown everything in as you can see, but I can see where everything is at a glance and I love it.  So thank you Anja for the inspiration.

Finally, I got such a lovely surprise in the post from Helen at Midget Gem Quilts,

a lovely pouch with some goodies thrown in too.  You know the feeling of surprise and happiness when someone gives you something and it is totally unexpected?  Well it arrived today, just when I was feeling sorry for myself with this cold and it's cheered me right up.  I love the fabric Helen used for the pouch and the bright blue zip is perfect, I love it.  Thank you so much Helen, it is so very kind of you.

So, that's all for this week, although I haven't shown you the fabric I forgot to show you last week, hmmmmmm, I will show you next week, promise.  AND, if I remember that is, I will tell you about the book I was given which belonged to my mother in law Edna given to her by her mother in law Sarah, I couldn't believe what I was reading.

Until then,
With smiles from,
Kate x

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