Sunday, 30 June 2013

Indoor Pursuits

The weather has turned towards the cold now, with rain and days meant for indoor pursuits rather than outdoors. I don't like the rain much, except for gardens, and I stay out of it as much as possible.

I've been at my art desk making some pages up for zines. These are little magazines you make up your self, some sell them, I'm just making them for myself of future 'pages' for this blog. I hand write the pages and use drawings, stamps and print outs to decorate the pages. Then I'll photocopy all the 'pages' and put them together as a little book called a ---zine.

I've also been puttering away at my crazy quilt. Adding some new stitchery, seams and a few places that needed extra fabric patches.

With the turn of weather we've embraced soups, stews and baking. The large crock pot is out for the day, warming up stews.

There's also been baking too. Biscuits, cupcakes, all for a nice cup of tea or coffee.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Winter simplicity

Here, winter has truly arrived. The morns are filled with heavy fog and a real chill in the air. While we don’t have snow, I will admit I like this time of year most next to autumn.

I’m not sure what it is about this season but I do tend to look more and more towards things that are very textured and tactile.

I like the feel of soft, warm bed coverings.

Out in the garden I find I am looking more at crumbling, rustic surfaces. Bare twigs and dried flowers heads. There’s always something to find and enjoy. 
And there is nothing like adding small touches of winter season to home made items to be reminded of the season when it finishes for the year.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Wintery visit

I went for a visit to my aunt’s place. She lives around the corner from us. At her place is a large dining room table and I asked her if I could use the table for the crazy quilt I am doing.  With her permission I walked around to visit her on a chilly, windy, winter day.

We had a nice chat. Then she and I set about preparing supper for her later that night. The smell of chicken soup filled the house as I worked on adding the final foundation piecing to my crazy quilt.

For afternoon lunch we had some left over chicken pieces, French toast, and warming tea. On a cold day it was a welcome small meal.

I took a break from the crazy quilting once I finished the piecing and wandered around her home taking photographs.
My aunt is my mum’s youngest sister. Mum is in the middle of the photo and my aunt who I visited is on the right. The other on the left is also my mum’s sister. There were nine in the family, five girls and four brothers. Both my aunts say I look like my mum. These photographs I took a few years ago, when you had cameras with film and had to take them to the photography shop to be developed! Ah, technology. The other photograph behind them all is my niece when she was little.

After I finished taking some photos around my aunt’s place I went back to adding some seam embellishment  and embroidery to my crazy quilt. It is now starting to look a little like a crazy quilt.

My crazy quilt is still on my aunt’s dining room table. I can walk around tomorrow and add some more stitching and visit my aunt again, if it doesn’t rain.

Lovely Joys

“There is no peace that cannot be found in the present moment.”
-Tasha Tudor.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Youtube tutorials

As I was asked how I had made my stick pins in the previous post, I thought it would be helful to put up a varied link of youtube channels I go to or have used for showing me how to make many of the items I use for scrapbooking and cardmaking. These are links I have found in my youtube searches there are many more and the links below I am not affliated with any in any way.
To begin with I think Follow The Paper Trail channel is very good for showing you how to construct your mini albums. There are many types of ways here and Laura is a very good demonstrator:

The links below send you off to show you how to make a variety of different flowers. I have mostly avoided the ones that uses too many fancy punches or dies. I think most scrapbookers have Tim Holtz tattered florals so I added two links for different flowers that aren't his usual roses.


Prima Camelot flower doop (Duplicate)
And another from Tonya Gibbs:
Kathy Orta: Mini Prima Roses with punches:
More flower lessons than you can poke a stick at. Here’s one example:  
Paper Flowers with out need of any punches just use scissors:
Esther craft:
Tutorial handmade paper flower for scrapbook with and without flower punches:
Paper bag flowers tutorial:

What to do with ready made shop brought silk flowers:

Tim Holtz Tattered florals die:


Gorgeous Prima Heart Desire Doop:

Below the next lot of links show you all about those stick pins:

Stick Pins:
Normal stick pin

Suzie Crafter:
Fancy Floral Bouquet Stick Pin -
This isn't a stick pin but a beaded spray and is just as pretty as stick pins:
More things to do with beads for scrapbooking and any other project-
Prima Candy Gem Doop-
As you can see there's a variety of youtube links to choose from. If you also browse through each of the channels you will find all sorts of other helpful tutorials and very inspiring creations. These are the ones I like and have used over time and I find it a great help.

Monday, 17 June 2013

From scratch

When you go into any hobby, I don't know about anyone else, but I like the thrill of the 'hunt'. I like to go through the stores hunting for this and that and the thing I should buy because one day I might need it or could use it for the hobby I want to do.
I usually hunt for things I can use with other hobbies. Lace goes well with cards, scrapbooking and crazy quilts. Stamps, stickers and papers, go well with art journalling, scrapbooking, cards and any other mix media project. Beads can be used in crazy quilting, making charms, stick pins and so on...
There's all manner of things I find that eventually end up in one craft project or another. While some items do need quality over quantity and paying less isn't always the best thing to do for some craft items,

There are a few ways to spend less and have more. And if you are a collector like me, you will find eventually all those odd bits can be used in a variety of ways to make more things than say if you went down to the shop to buy them.

If you can't make them your self there are plenty of very talented people on youtube showing you how to make all sorts of things. You'll find them there and will learn to make your own things too!

In the end there is nothing like a day well spent sorting through all those bits and packaging them up for rainy day projects. I've sorted through things to find enough for three cards and probably a scrapbook page. I also made flowers and pins for plenty of other projects too. There is even a butterfly to go with the flowers. So like cooking, crafting can be done from scratch too. The main thing from all of this is to enjoy what you have and make the most of it.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Each day

"What he considered necessary weed the garden, to make a little bridge on the pond, and to plant flowers."
- Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Winter Greens

We've had some interesting weather of late. Just before the big rain came in and at the end of autumn I planted half a row of beans and half a row of peas from seeds. Now I have baby peas and beans!
I'm looking at a lot of ideas for canning and for future canning projects I have been saving jars. But for now I'll admire how far the seeds have come and hope they grow more.

I also planted out winter carrots and these onions. It will be interesting to see how these grow too.

Speaking of things growing, I have been working away on my crazy quilt, piecing the foundation and I have one more row to finish. Then it is onto the equally longer task of stitching all those seams. I am glad I can do this tucked up in bed underneath the multicoloured quilt where I can stitch away on it and be warm at the same time. The book, I found at the thrift store last year, the pictures in it are lovely to look at and the story tells of two elderly sisters who embroider and applique a white cover on their bed.

Handy hints:
To discourage a new baking tin from rusting, rub it inside and out with lard and place it in an oven at moderate heat for forty-five minutes. When cool wipe thoroughly with a paper towel.
To remove rust from tinware, rub with half a raw potato that has been dipped in scouring powder. Rinse and then dry – ideally in an oven.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Homely Treasures

With winter there has been extra baking and cooking. Simple meals are made to warm up for the day.
 And when you’re not feeling well there is nothing as good as home made chicken soup.

I've been sorting through my fabric stash to continue with the slow progress of my full size bed crazy quilt. These colder days are ideal to work on the quilt to help keep warm.

There has also been some scrapbooking and making cards too. This card uses Kaiser Craft paper mostly from the UP UP Away collection. A sticker from Grace Taylor sticker book. Trims from Sam's world, except for the bling trim which came to me in a secret santa swap. The stamp is by Flonz. I also used some rolled roses I had made as well. Finally Iadded an old receipt bill for a touch of vintage.

"With pomp, power and glory the world beckons vainly.
In chase of such vanities why should I roam?
While peace and content bless my little thatched cottage,
and warm my own hearth with the treasures of home."
-Beatrix Potter.

Monday, 10 June 2013


Thymus Vulgaris.
The common thyme is numerous and has many types. Mostly often it is used in cooking. The two main types used for cooking are common thyme and lemon scented thyme – T.X.Citriodorus.

In cooking common thyme is useful herb for all kinds of stuffing’s, meat, fish, stews, casseroles, poultry, marinades, and soups. It goes well with, onions, all marrow types and egg plant.
Lemon thyme is good for fish and poultry. Mix it with fennel with boiled or poached fish. Thyme is also good in custards and creams. Lemon thyme can also be stewed in rhubarb. And may also be used in butter mixes.
To grow:
Both thymes like a dry soil and a warm sunny position. Plants are best renewed after 4 years. They can also be raised from seed very easily and planted out.

Thyme tea:
Take  handful of thyme and remove the leaves from the stems and make a 1tsp full for one cup of tea. Place leaves in tea-ball and steep the leaves in hot water. Drink with out milk and sweeten with a little honey if desired.

The Abbess Hildegard von Bingen stated, "He who drinks a cup of thyme tea instead of coffee in the morning will soon feel the beneficial effect: enlivened spirits, great comfort in the stomach, no coughing in the morning and an overall well-being."

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Rustic homemade

The new season is showing all the signs of starting. With cold crisp mornings, the smell of wood smoke from chimneys of near by houses, and the sun beginning to set sooner means winter is well on the way of settling in.
Over the weekend I attended the Simple Living Toowoomba morning tea group.

In the kitchen we were shown how to bake a traditional cultural cuisine from Finland and given a sampling of a Finnish drink called Sima which is made from lemons, yeast, sugar and beer. The drink would be very suitable for summer.

The baked goods called Cardamon/Cinnamon rolls were very sugary and sweet.
To make: you will need to warm 2 cups of milk in a small saucepan and remove from heat. Let it stand until lukewarm. Take the yeast and dissolve it in warm water then stir in the lukewarm milk, mixing in  1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1tsp cardamom, 3 eggs and enough plain flour ( about 9 cups) to make a batter. Beat the mixture until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Using 3 cups of flour beat into the mixture well until the dough looks gloss. Stir in 1/2 cup of melted butter well and beat again until the dough looks glossy. Add in remaining flour to make a stiff dough.
Let it rest for 15 minutes.
Knead the dough until smooth.  Turn the dough into a mixing bowl and cover with a clean dishtowel let it rise in a warm place until double in bulk (over night is best). Turn it out of the mixing bowl onto flour surface when it has rose and punch down. Return it to the mixing bowl and let it rise again until almost double in size.
Turn out again on floured surface. Roll out into rectangle shape, brush on melted butter, then sprinkle with sugar mixture of ground cardamom and cinnamon. Roll up the rectangle shape and cut. Let the cut rolled shapes rise on a flat pan lined with baking paper and brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake in a hot oven for 25 to 30 min.

Mostly everyone had a go at rolling up the sticky goodness into small rolls ready for baking.

When the rolls were done baking, they were a treat. These are the type of goodness which should be eaten warm, fresh, straight from the oven. 

The group also does a swap on the same day too. For the swap I made some potholders from my stash of items. If I were to do the potholders again I would be careful about where I place the hangers and try not to over iron which flattened the wadding too much. The potholders were  easy to make and I finally found a home for some little cross stitch motifs I had in my stash for ever. These were simple ones I designed myself and stitched. Originally the motifs were for a quilt that never was finished, so I pulled it apart and I re-used the same fabric squares to make four patch for the potholders. I then cut the cross stitch squares into heart shapes and finally added some rustic buttonhole stitch to the hearts.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Winter Reds

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” - Edith Sitwell.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Date Crumble

 On a particularly cold winter day, mum and I set about doing a baking day. She wanted to try some recipes with dates and had one in mind that her aunts used to make. With the help of a google search we found the date crumble slice she wanted.

The recipe is as follows for Date Crumble Slice:
Combine 2 cups of chopped pitted dates in 1 cup of water and ¼ cup of caster sugar in saucepan on medium heat. Cook, stirring for 10 minutes or until dates have absorbed liquid. Set aside to cool. Mix cream butter ( 185 g butter chopped) and brown sugar (1 cup) until light and fluffy. 11/3 cups of sifted plain flour and ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda over butter mixture. Stir well until combined. Add your 1 cup oats and mix well. Press mixture into base of a pan and spread date mixture over the top. Crumble remaining oat mixture over date mixture until completely covered pressing on with your fingertips. Bake in oven at 180 degreesC for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden.

Once we had cooked our slice we let it cool then prepared to cut it into slices.
She also made a date cake loaf which turned out as nice.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Lovely Lavender

I made do with some items on hand to make a sweet smelling lavender sachet. I used a crochet dishcloth that didn't quite turn out right, and some calico for the lining. The burlap rose was from my attempts to follow the rolled roses in this post I made. I then added a ribbon from my stash.  It smells sweet from lavender I gathered and dried.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Road Trip


I went with my parents on a small impromptu road trip. We travelled along the main highway to get to our destination.
As we travelled, we past many farm land properties. The way we went led us by farm properties with fields of cotton. Much of which had been already harvested, so the fields lay bare.

Along the ditches you could see some cotton that had blown off the fields. I wished I could have stopped to get some, but I enjoyed the scenery instead. As we past fields there were also plenty of sorghum to be seen; some in the ditches from seeds that had spread.

Then it was time to come home. A nice place to return to after all the hustle and bustle of travelling.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Tea time

"I figured if I was going to make the world a better place, I’d do it with cookies."
Ana Pascal.