Monday, March 27, 2017

Autumn harvest begins


Meyer lemons are such lovely, fragrant heavy orbs of succulent flavour! They are hanging low on the tree, even throwing themselves to the ground just to emphasise that they are ready to harvest. These tend to come all at once -unlike the Eureka which always has one or two to pick, and others getting ready.

Meyer lemons are a bit sweeter than the Eureka, which makes them great in deserts and cakes and spreads. They are wonderful to add to the cavity of a roasted chicken too.

There are too many ripe limes on the tree, so I made some lime cordial today. I am reusing bottles which I got second hand. The rubber tops had perished, so I was glad to finally find a brewing supplier who had silicone ones. I cut back the citric acid and tartaric acid in the recipe from Stephanie Alexander, as I find it adds a bit of an aftertaste. I know they act as a preservative, but I will keep these in the fridge and they will be fine. We add a splash to water when we have been working in the garden.

The pink grapefruit are getting an early blush, but I hope they hold off for a month or so.


This autumn is early by Perth standards. We had an 8 degree Celsius minimum temperature this morning, which is pretty rare when we haven't even finished March yet. March is often very hot indeed.


I have set up the seed raising trolley again, and planted these seeds in 'flats'. The packet says I could have put some straight in the ground, but I thought it was worth experimenting. I planted hollyhock seeds too.  I took a gamble on it being 'really autumn" and put in some garlic a week or so ago, which is doing OK. I have also planted some new rainbow chard. Vietnamese mint cuttings are on the seed trolley - I am hoping to give some plants away to people I know who like cooking Asian food. Jerry from Gardening Australia demonstrated making coleus cuttings by putting them in pots on a tray of water, and I thought that Vietnamese Mint might like the same treatment.

I would guess that our herbs and green leafy things are the best things we grow in the garden, because they add such a wonderful addition to flavour in our food.

Apart from the garden, there was a bit more sewing on the yellow quilt. I am working on the border but there is not enough progress to brag about. I did get some 'stash enhancement" though when DD brought home this lovely batik piece from her op shop.  There are two metres here.  This is the best way to add to my stash, with op shop pieces that bring variety and challenge to my quilting. I am not sure how this will appear in the future!



That is all for today, thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Thanks to those who recently left comments -you are most encouraging!



Saturday, March 18, 2017

So much to show and tell this week!


This morning I was back in the garden, after too many weeks when it didn't happen. The weather here is unusually mild for March -which is often very hot. We have had rain and cool temperatures so it feels like autumn already. The roses are certainly having an autumn flush.


I have added a new page to my blog: "From my kitchen". It is a place for me to record my culinary adventures. The harvest this morning was one sweet potato and two tomatoes, along with a tiny cucumber and some lemons. I used the sweet potato and tomatoes in a soup -and it was so good I don't want to forget how to make it. The new page will be a place to record my inventions in the cooking area!


QUILT SHOW

I also want to show you the wonderful quilts I saw at the WA Quilter's Guild show this week. 


It was held in the foyer at Central Park in Perth. DH very nicely came with me to enjoy these beautiful quilts -and we then had a lovely lunch. I just want to say that these quilts were the ones which spoke to me -but there were many others equally amazing. 



21 Jumpers by Liz Humphries was a very poignant tribute to her relative who was persuaded to put her infant son up for adoption when she was 16. There were 21 handknitted jumpers incorporated into the quilt, which also had the words "She looked in every pram". 


This one was so simple but the addition of the coloured thread to the quilting was a wonderful touch. 


The quilter said on the label "but it does have to be red!" 


You can see how amazing the work on this one was. As a Fair Trade supporter I really liked this one.



You can see what beautiful weather we have been having. DH and I have switched our walk back to the paved path at Hillarys for the winter. The Mullaloo beach walk gets harder as the winter storms come in and change the shape of the beach, so this is our subsitute. 



Well, I understand that it is "Quilting weekend" so I will now get back to sewing my 2.5 inch squares together as a border for the 'cheer up' yellow quilt.
Onwards and upwards!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Stash enhancement



We went for a drive today to visit an old friend. As we arrived a little early for lunch, we stopped off at a local op shop. The shop was having a half price sale. 
As usual, I checked the haberdashery section. I found a plastic bag with the price of $2.25 on it. It contained 16 'fat eighths" of solid quilting fabric, which I scored for $1.12! 

(DH also bought 5 shirts for $20 total). 

Now, I love quilting with solid coloured fabric. They are incredibly versatile, and the quality is excellent. 

We also stopped at the local quilting exhibition, run by community quilters. So much inspiration! I noticed that there were two quilts which made me exclaim -and that the colour was what I noticed. They were a mixture of navy blue, coffee, dark green and a magenta kind of dark purple, with perhaps teal or orange. I have been studying my colour wheel as a result and wondering about the next quilt! 

Hmm-where is my Gwen Marsden book? 



Friday, March 10, 2017

A finish! It was worth it!

I have finished the Mountains of Mordor quilt! I can't tell you what a lovely feeling that is, given the problems I had with the blocks.I have a great sense of achievement: I was not defeated!

The lovely thing is that now it is finished, all that is forgotten in the lovely subtle colours and the gorgeous sheer squidgyness of the final product.

After tumble drying it, it has emerged the softest and crinkliest quilt I have ever made! It is the kind of quilt you want to pet, to stroke, to bury your face into, to wrap around you on a cool evening as you sit reading a book with a glass of wine.


The back is made from an op shop Ikea sheet set. The paisley blacks blues  and browns set off the quilt front perfectly.  The front was made from op shop shirts. The wadding I had to buy, and is bamboo which I have discovered is a very lovely thing to work with. I guess the fabric was about $28 worth, and the wadding about $20. That makes it a pretty cheap quilt to make by quilting fabric standards. 


Look at that lovely crinkle! 


It is not a Quilt Show quilt, but it is a lovely thing, not perfect but very nice indeed.

After feeling a bit off this week, this is a lovely way to go into the weekend. 

Heart happy! 



Sunday, March 5, 2017

Plugging away on the Mountains of Mordor quilt


I don't know how I have missed posting for so long! 
The last post was nearly three weeks ago! 
In  that time I have pinned and done a lot of quilting on the "Mountains of Mordor" quilt.


I am glad that I kept going, despite the problems. Sure, it is a bit wonky in parts, but by the time it has been washed you will hardly know where! ( I hope, anyway).


One interesting problem I encountered last weekend was that my beloved Singer 306 had a foot pedal problem. The plastic hinge pin had broken. I asked the very helpful group on Facebook which supports vintage sewing machine enthusiasts what to do and got expert help. I was able to buy  for $3 a new hinge pin from a local Janome dealer (!) and fix it myself.



It wasn't fixed till Monday, so I used my other vintage machine, the Singer 326 to keep going. This is also a lovely machine, but a bit noisier and does not have such a high 'harp' for quilting. Still, she came out to play for a while, which was nice.

On Ash Wednesday we had a magnificent electrical storm. This picture does not do justice to the amazing clouds we saw just before it broke. It has been an  odd summer.

Nevertheless all is well here. The garden is good despite the heat and the humidity.

So, my DH has just announced he has made me my customary G & T for a summer Sunday evening, so I am off. Say HI in the comments if you would like to!


Monday, February 20, 2017

I was inspired


I was inspired by a picture of a quilt in the facebook group "Quiltville Open studio" and I have reinterpreted what I saw. I wasn't going to start something else until the mountains quilt was done, but I thought I would tidy up my solid scraps and started cutting! Here is what happened. It is up on the design wall and is called "Cheer up!". I am thinking of yellow and black 9 patches as a border. It is making me happy just looking at it. 




In other quilty news, I have pinned my mountains quilt. Dora took quite a shine to it! 




Just a posy of hydrangeas from the garden in a op shopped vase.
Because I can!

Oh, and finally -I am thinking about putting another page in the blog, to store my favourite thrifty recipes. I made a wonderful Sri Lankan pumpkin curry the other night that included making curry powder from scratch. It was fragrant and wonderful! Will see how I go, but it would be a way to keep them in one place and share them at the same time.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Back from the Mountains of Mordor

Do you  name your quilts? I find that my quilt often gets a nickname as I sew. This one has been the "mountains of Mordor" from the Lord of the Rings novel, in which the hobbits travel away from safety in their valley to the dark mountains where all kinds of nastyness dwells.

As you will read from here  I had some problems with these blocks which are made from op shopped shirts. In fact,  I nearly threw them in the bin! After all, this is my hobby, and if it doesn't bring me joy, well I have the right to stop!

After a while I thought I would see if I could resurrect them with a setting which would give them some wriggle room. Creativity emerges out of difficulty, I find!



I added a scrappy border and am quite pleased with the result.

There are mountains with the light behind them, and mountains lit up with dark skies, and low-contrast blocks like misty mountains. 

I have found a lovely fabric for the backing, which was a doona cover I found in an op shop. It is 100% cotton and made by IKEA. In fact, they are still on sale for $30! I paid $9.25 for the cover and 4 pillowcases.



So that is what I have been doing, whilst keeping out of the unseasonable and torrential rain we have been having. The poor farmers have been flooded out in the wheat belt, and the Swan Valley low lying vineyards have had some of their shiraz wiped out! 

The rain caused our grapes to start splitting, so I harvested them yesterday. 


Quite pleased with this first crop from our vines.

My brother has also given us some more plants from his garden which is soon to be demolished: we now have 2 blueberry bushes, as well as some lovely ornamentals. When the weather decides if it is still going to be summer, or if we are in autumn already, I will decide whether to plant them out or leave them under shade for a bit longer.