Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chocolate doesn't make me sick anymore

That's right - I'm feeling great! I've been cooking and sewing up a storm with the bare minimum amount of cleaning thrown in for good measure. I'm not quite back to normal though. Chocolate doesn't make me sick anymore, but I'm not enjoying it that much yet. So I've been trying a couple of pieces of chocolate each day to make sure that I don't miss a day of my old chocolate self (my husband thinks I'm an absolute nutbag!)

And I've managed to sew up a couple of new quilt designs that I've been dying to try out for a while using this gorgeous pile of fabric. I had forgotton how good it felt to sew until I started again, and then I just couldn't stop. I'm up to the hand quilting stage on one of them. Its only baby size so I should finish before I get sick of all the hand quilting.

As you know I love hand quilting with perle cotton no. 8, its nice and chunky and rustic. This is my new thimble - lovely and comfortable. I still like my old metal one, but this one never falls off. I just realised that this is only my second ever thimble. I used my metal one for over 2 years and never lost it - I don't know how that happened! And the needle I use for quilting is a chenille, size 24 (the brand I use is Scarlet Today).

I always baste my quilts with curved pins, and unlike my thimble I'm constantly losing these. I don't know where they go, but I have often have to top up my supply.

And for those of you who are interested in the bubbalicious, well here it is, busting out.

Princess Mary and I like to be pregnant at the same time, but I'm not impressed that my bump is bigger than hers and she's 5 months along with twins. What's going on there???

Sunday, September 26, 2010


One of my favourite childhood memories is the smell of freshly baked pulla as I wallked in the back door after school. Pulla is a delicious Finnish sweet bread  and the spice that sets it apart from other sweet bread is cardamom.  My dad's Finnish, and mum learnt how to cook it early on, a family tradition I want to continue. I haven't shared a recipe before, but as I was cooking it yesterday I decided I'd like to share, so I snapped a couple of pics...

This recipe is for my sister Rebecca's version of cinnamon scrolls pulla (you can also just leave it plain and plait it if you like) - makes 24

125g Butter
375mls (1 1/2cups) Milk
 1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1tsp Ground Cardamom
2 eggs
1 Tbsp Dried Yeast
4 cups Plain Flour
Brown Sugar
Extra butter
Egg for glazing

Heat milk until hot but not boiling. Add butter. When butter is melted add sugar, salt and cardamom.
Add eggs and mix well (mixture should still be warm at this stage)
Add yeast and 1/2 cup of flour. Mix well and leave for five minutes.
Add rest of flour until dough forms a ball.
Cover and wait in warm place (in winter I put mine on my electric blanket!) until dough has doubled in size (about 1 hour)
Punch down dough. (If there's time, rise again for 30 minutes). Turn out onto floured sidboard and knead (for about 5 minutes)

Divide dough into two portions.
Roll dough into large rectangle, smear with soft butter, sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and dried fruit (I just use sultanas),

roll up and cut into about 12 slices. Repeat with other half of dough.

Place in greased muffin tins and leave in warm place to rise about 20 minutes.

Glaze by brushing with beaten egg
Cook in moderately hot over (190C or 375F) for about 15 - 20 minutes.
Drizzle icing made from 1 1/2cups icing sugar mixed with about 1 1/2 Tbsp water.

P.S. They look a little more yellow than normal because I used our chicken eggs in the recipe and for some reason the yolks in our eggs are really really yellow! But I can assure you they were delicious (as you can see I'm getting my tastebuds back - yay).

Oh, and by the way, my sister Amelia is having her very first giveaway of some really cute fabric over at Stitch 'n' Bits!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stitch 'n' Bits

Isn't that just the cutest name for a blog - Stitch 'n' Bits - I wish I'd thought of it! My sister Amelia has FINALLY started a blog... she probably just got sick of my nagging! Amelia is a really talented quilter and crafter. While I've stuck mainly to quilts she's branched out to all sorts of things such as bags and aprons and toys, which she's generously given away. She's also kindly tested and proof read a number of my patterns and written a tonne of encouraging comments on my blog. Love you Meelie!

Here's just a couple of things she's made for my family:

Now if this cute little apron doesn't get me in the mood for some cooking and cleaning, nothing will :)

This is by far the cutest back pack I've ever seen! And just look at those perfectly even stitches.

Great fabric for a dragon don't you think?

Amelia and I live in different states so its really exciting to be able to SEE her work now, not just hear a description over the phone. She's got a bit of catching up to do ... and I'm looking forward to seeing all of the projects she's been working on over the last year or so. You can catch her over at Stitch 'n' Bits too.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More of your quilts

As promised, here's some more spectacular quilts using my patterns. I love how they've used the patterns as a guide and improved upon them. You can click on each photo to see more of their work.

First up, Lisa has combined my latest pattern, Sea Views, with Castle Peeps fabric to create this stunner - "Castle Views"! Her curved piecing looks great and I think it shows off the fabric beautifully. Did you notice how she included an unpieced block to feature those cute castles?

Here's another of Lisa's creations. The name she gave for this quilt using my Wonky Donkey pattern just cracks me up. "Wonky donkey with no wonk and no donk" - isn't that fantastic! And isn't her quilt fantastic too? I love that Lisa's really run with this pattern and made it her own. I can't wait to see both of these quilt tops quilted.

Tobey also used Wonky Donkey as the basis for this quilt for her son (who is a musician). The funky jazz fabric and darker colour scheme are finished off with a keyboard binding - just perfect for a guy!

And here's another beauty from Lisa using "There's a Square in There" and Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow fabric. She used luxurious shot cottons for the random solid strips and quilted this with connecting rectangles - must have taken ages. This is one I'd love to see in the flesh!

How cute is Julie's baby quilt ... and those borders are wonderful! Julie told me that she's in the middle of making a king sized version and still loving creating all of those blocks. I think I'd like to make a bed sized version myself (but then send it away to be quilted).

Amber used the same pattern (There's a Square in There) and some much covetted Heather Ross gnomes and buses fabric to create this adorable quilt for the modern baby! The thick dotted border really adds to it, as does the amazing quilting.

You can see a couple more inspiring examples of quilts using "There's a Square in There" here and here.

Thanks again to everyone who allowed me use their pictures! I suppose one day I'll get organised and start a flickr group to make it a bit easier to share...but in the mean time keep sending me those pics.

Original patterns can be found on my Downloadable Patterns page.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Your quilts, my patterns

Recently a few people have contacted me to show me what they've made using my patterns. I have to say it is such a thrill to see my patterns come to life! Thank you so much - I've been really blown away by your beautiful work! Its also so good to know that my patterns make sense and people are enjoying using them. The following people have been kind enough to let me borrow their photos to do a bit of a show and tell. If you click on the photos you can see more of their lovely work.

Sharon used "Dandelion Windows" to create "Dolce Windows". Aren't those fabrics just gorgeous, and I love the solids she's paired with it!

Cardygirl used "Pine for You" to make this really cute Christmas quilt. She combined Fruitcake with some Figgy Pudding for this scruptious result. I can't wait to see it quilted!

Katie created this beauty using "Charm Bracelets". Isn't it gorgeous! The combination of the blue and grey is just perfect.

And Tobey (no website as yet) adapted the pattern beautifully to make a baby sized quilt, perfect for a little boy. Love that straight line quilting!

I was blown away by Jennifer's "Bohemian Forest" quilt, such a fresh take on "Sierra's Forest". Its amazing how different fabric choices can make such a huge difference in the overall look of a quilt. And the quilting she used it really interesting - a wood grain pattern.

If you're interested in seeing the original pattern for any of these quilts, you can find them on my Downloadable Patterns page. If you've tried any of my patterns, please let me know, as I just love seeing pictures!

Coming soon - some quilts using "Wonky Donkey", "There's a Square in There" and "Sea Veiws"!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fairy Hearts magazine correction

Unfortunately I've discovered an error with my "Fairy Hearts" pattern published in Australian Patchwork Quilting Annual 2010 (issue 19/5). The correction has been published on their website HERE.

"The AP&Q team takes a lot of care to ensure project instructions are correct. Sometimes errors and omissions do occur. We have discovered an error in the quantity of one of the fabrics in the materials list for Fairy Hearts by Kate Conklin. It should be 70cm of Fairy Circles print instead of the 60cm as advised."

I've been doing some recalculations to see if the pattern can work with 60cm of the "Fairy Circles" fabric. This is what I've come up with:
If you cut the 6 binding strips just a little thinner - 2 1/4" instead of 2 1/2" wide you will JUST have enough. I actually prefer slightly thinner bindings on my quilts and now cut my binding 2 1/4" wide on most of my quilts (although I still put 2 1/2" on my patterns as that seems to be the 'accepted' way of doing things). You'll need to cut carefully though as there is no room for error.

Unfortunately, if you've already cut into your "Fairy Circles" fabric, you've probably realised that after cutting the six 2 1/2" binding strips and two 2 1/2" strips for the nine patch, you wont have enough left over for the hearts. So, if you've done this you'll need to purchase another 5" strip for the hearts.

I have a small amount of the Fairy Circles fabric, so if you're really stuck please email me and I may be able to send you some fabric to get you through.

Please note, only the pattern in the magazine contains this error. My Fairy Hearts pattern that can be purchased on this site and a number of other quilting stores contain the correct fabric requirements.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It makes all the difference

The baby's doing great and that's the most important thing - as for me, well, there's the constant feeling of queasiness, tiredness, re-emergence of post viral fatigue, sore throat, sick kids, husband only home on weekends, can't stand chocolate (that's the kicker!)... need I go on? But do you know what?... I'm doing great. I'll tell you what makes all the difference:

A simple email asking how I'm doing and wanting a real answer
Women from church bringing meals when they have busy families of their own
Sisters and sister-in-laws who take the kids for a few hours so I can nap
Having extra time to snuggle my children (I've been doing some Rocking Chair Therapy)
A husband who cleans the whole house and does all the washing on his weekend home
The next door neighbour who brings gingerbread cake and takes out my bins
A tonne of encouraging comments
Knowing so many of you have been here and done it all before (and knowing its all for a good cause)

It makes all the difference in the world. I'm a very lucky girl.

Last week I had to finish a quilt for a magazine (a commitment I made before I found out I was pregnant). To say it was challenging getting it all finished in time is an understatement, but fortunately its done now and I'm really happy with how it turned out. I can't show you the front, but here's the back. Now remember when I said that I really enjoyed straight line quilting (here)... well I've changed my mind :) It takes a bit longer on a larger quilt. This took me about 8 hours to quilt! Does it take you guys that long? 

You can see it pulled a little bit on the back. It didn't pull so much on the front, but I'm still glad I started at a different end each time or it would have really dragged the quilt design.

I'll have to try straight line quilting again when I'm feeling a little more sprightly, because I do like the effect.

Addit: I wasn't sure about the orange when I was first putting the back together, but I really like it now its all finished.

Note: Quilt measures 60" x 60" and I used Kona Cotton Solids and Hope Valley prints by Denyse Schmidt. The straight(ish) lines range from 1/4" to 1" apart.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

HR Bikes with a taste of Mushies - Giveaway!

First of all. Thankyou thankyou thankyou for all your wonderful well wishes and emails. I have felt of your prayers and support and also felt humbled by the stories you have shared with me of facing your own struggles and coming away stronger. The bubba in my belly is doing great as far as I can tell, and I'm certainly "staying green" as one of the comments suggested! Only a couple of weeks to go and hopefully I'll be bursting with energy to bust out some quilts and have a cute little bump to show off instead of just looking a bit fat :)

Anyway, now for the good part. Toni over at "make it perfect" is reviewing my patterns today and hosting a giveaway!! Toni has been an absolute inspiration to me both personally and professionally and I'm delighted to be one of her "Cool Shops" this month!. Head over to make it perfect for a chance to win two of my patterns as well as 1/2 metre of Heather Ross' bikes fabric straight off the bolt! I've also thrown in a small strip (5" x 18") of her mushrooms on white.

You'll want to check back there over the next few days too, as I hear there's some other cool shops and giveaways coming up!