Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Best Ever Rocky Road

I've seen a lot of people make this 'best ever' claim, but I stand by this rocky road. It's amazing! I got the recipe from my sister, Kelly, a few years ago, and now I make it every year at Christmas time. Its a great gift for the preschool teachers and neighbours. (Tip: Its worth using good quality cooking chocolate for this recipe)

2 180g white chocolate
1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
250g packet raspberry and vanilla marshmallows, cut in half
3 55g bars turkish delight, chopped
2/3 glace cherries, chopped
1/3 cup shredded coconut
2 200g dark chocolate

Grease rectangular (19cm x 29cm) slice pan and line with baking paper.
Melt white chocolate and combine with half of everything else (except dark chocolate).
Spread over base of pan.
Melt dark chocolate and combine with the other half of the ingredients
Spread over the top.

Cool it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Cut with a hot knife.

The only hard thing about this recipe is not eating it all before you give it away!

PS. I did have a bit of a disaster with my last batch when I accidently put some of the chocolate alfoil wrapper in the microwave with the chocolate - not a good idea. It was smoking when I took it out and had a horrible smell - whoops! I had to whip down to the shops for some more chocolate, and it turned out perfectly.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And the winner is...

number 240 - Brigette Joy who said "I like the nursery fabric. Names I like, Lily, Pheobe, Rose, Daisy, Gloria, Celeste, and Fern. I just really like girls names."
Congratulations! I'll be in touch.

Thanks everyone, for all of the wonderful baby name suggestions. It opened my eyes to a few names that are beautiful that I hadn't considered before. I wont decide on a name before the she is born, but I'll have a few lovely ones up my sleeve. I thought Dane was going to be Nate, but when he arrived we knew he was Dane. I suppose I should think of some boy names too just in case the ultrasound was wrong (I have a couple of close friends that that happened to!)

Thank you too for all of your kind words about my quilts. The new pattern will be available some time in January after all of the family celebrations wind up and I have a moment to sit down at the computer.

On another note, I finally got around to finishing a few little baby blankets and sent them off to the Neonatal Nursery at John Hunter Hospital. I'm grateful to all of the women and young women at church who made  these 23 soft little blankets.  It was a project that became very real indeed with the passing of baby Chase. I'm not sure whether these blankets will make a difference in such tragic circumstances, but what I do know is that they were made with much love.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fussy Framed quilt and Giveaway Day!

I've been really bad at posting progress on my Fussy Framed blocks, but I'm so pleased to show you the finished quilt top. I'm thinking of calling it "Fussy Framed Fairytales" - is that too much of a tongue twister? Maybe just "Framed Fairytales" or "Fussy Fairytales" would be better.

Anyway, I tried something new - floating squares - for the border and fortunately I love how its turned out, phew! With a combination of strip piecing and chain piecing it came together surprisingly quickly. I decided not to fussy cut the little squares in the border (that would have taken a lot longer) and I'm loving how some of the squares look like solid fabric. Aren't Heather Ross' fabrics just beautiful!

You can find my free tutorial for the Fussy Framed blocks here. I've also decided to write up the pattern for the whole quilt including instructions for the border, a list of the coordinating solids I used, and fabric amounts needed to make the entire quilt. Maybe some of you will find that useful. I'll let you know when its listed in my shop.

Enough about that... what about the giveaway?? You know I love choices, so how about these?

You might like 1/2 yard of Heather Ross' lightening bugs bike fabric straight off the bolt...

or 4 fat quarters of Cloud9's new "My Happy Nursery" organic fabric (it feels heavenly) in either the blue or pink colourway...

as well as any two of my patterns from my downloadable patterns page (including the pattern for the quilt shown above).

To enter just leave a comment, and if you want to be extra helpful you could suggest a baby girl's name. I find it hard enough coming up with names for my quilts, let alone baby names! With 3 months to go, I had better get cracking... This giveaway is open internationally and I'll randomly choose a winner on Friday 17th Dec. Make sure you leave me a way to contact you if you win. Thanks - comments now closed.

I'm off to see if I can snag some Giveaway Day goodies. Thanks Sew Mama Sew for hosting such a fun event!

Addit: I'm loving all of the baby name suggestions! They're really making me smile ... thankyou.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

1/2 yd Echino, 1 evening, 3 tutorials

 A little something for my husband who tells me that one day he'll fly helicopters.

In the mean time he'll have to make do with a helicopter sunglasses case (tutorial here)...

... zippered pouch (tutorial here)...

... and shoe bag (tutorial here) for when he travels.

He just laughed. I assume that means he likes them :)

Lucky I didn't have more of that fabric, or he would have had a passport holder, luggage tags, placemats, bean bag, libary bag etc... don't you just love all the online tutorials!

P.S. I used a linen/cotton fabric for the linings. Each project took under an hour. His main birthday present was a part for his jet ski - boring, but it will be fun once he gets it working!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Warm Fuzzies

Every Christmas we set up a beautiful white ceramic nativity set on top of the piano but the children are not allowed to play with it. This year I decided to buy a wooden nativity set that they could play with and they love to act out the nativity story with these cute little figures.

I still get a little stressed about losing baby Jesus when they play with it as he's a bit little, but we've had it over a week now and its still all there so we're off to a good start. There's something lovely about wooden toys. I bought mine from mywoodentoys.com.au in Perth, along with some other little pressies that I've hidden away in the top of the cupboard (check out this lock box - I'm planning on using it as a reward when they do something great - I'll put a little treat in it and they have to open one of the doors to get it out).

A family tradition that we started last year and is working really well is the "Warm Fuzzies" jar. Each time someone in the family does something nice they can add a warm fuzzy (cotton ball) to the jar. Sarah just loves to add them and goes out of her way to do and say kind things (lots of bed making and hugs!). Then on Christmas eve we put the jar under the Christmas tree as our present to Jesus. Throughout December we talk about how our best present to the Saviour is to do and say kind things to others. Even though our children are very young they seem to really understand this concept, and its so so simple. The whole warm fuzzies idea started with this talk.

Life gets so busy and stressful at this time of the year (I've organised hardly any presents and I'm starting to get a little panicky with all that needs to be done before the 25th but I have a feeling I'm not alone). I'd love to hear your suggestions of how to keep Christmas meaningful.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Manly quilt

I love it when I see a quilt that is great for a guy as there doesn't seem to be many manly quilts around. I find it hard to find fabric that I would describe as masculine, but a while ago at Material Obsession I found some fantastic hand printed linen/cotton fabric by Cloth.  I loved it's bold geometric prints on more rugged fabric, but I wasn't sure what I would do with it and because of the more expensive price tag I let it slide. I couldn't get it out of my head however, and overnight I found inspiration for it in my hotel room - the wooden shutters/blinds on the window (you can see pictures of the fabric and shutters on this post). The next day I was back and the lovely staff at Material Obsession helped me buy what I needed to make this...

The simplicity of it reminds me a little of some of Victoria's work quilts from The Silly BooDilly (I'm in love with her work - including her magnificent hand quilting). I'm so happy with how the brown sashing frames the blocks, and the touches of orange gives it a lift. The orange strips are pieced and the round splotches are added using raw edge applique.

Then I added a bit of a wild border. At first I wasn't sure about it as it's certainly different from what I've done before, but thanks to a little encouragement from Victoria I've decided to go with it and see how it comes together with the quilting.

I've already started on a mixture of hand and  machine quilting and I'm really enjoying stepping outside my comfort zone and working with these beautiful fabrics.

By the way, thanks for all the lovely comments on my Fussy Framed tutorial. It's good to know that it makes sense. I've been beavering away and have finished 20 blocks so I'll upload them to flickr soon. And thanks to everyone who added a quilt to my new flickr group - they look fantastic!