Sunday 29 June 2014

Curried Apricot Chicken

Wing pieces: Tips removed & disjointed
Can of apricot halves
Can of apricot nectar
French onion soup packet
Curry powder to liking.
Mix together. Pour some mixture in bottom of baking dish. Add chicken pieces in rows. Pour mixture all over. Dot about apricot halves around chicken.
Bake in fan forced oven at 170 -180 until chicken is tender and brown on top. Serve with rice.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening whereever they are.

Friday 27 June 2014

Homestyle cottage

Have you visited A handmade cottage? If not you're missing out on some great ideas and fabulous videos for creating rustic cottage crafts and living.
I followed Jodie's video tutorial on how to make a simple flower arrangement.
I took a wander around the backyard looking for some interesting flowers and plants. I picked up some red ground covered roses from the front yard and out the back there is some calendulas, heliotrope, geraniums, plumbago and a white looking climber flower that's some unknown type to me. I also raided the herb bed for mint, parsley, and parsley going to seed.
Following the instructions on the video I ended up with a simple arrangement that was very easy to do. Not only easy but thrifty as well, with everything from home, I didn't need to buy a florist foam block as I already had one. I did have to cut it down to fit my container. The video instructions are really easy and you'll be glad you watched it to learn to make your own floral arrangement. (Just watch for those pesky spiders ;))
Then after cutting up some skirts which are too small for me I saved some of the fabric from two different skirts for the video tutorial to make a simple rustic bunting. I did use two sides of fabric to mine. The peach floral ribbon is just a $2 roll from Wayne's World. The lacy bows use thrift store brought lace (It's the same lace I used on the dresses for the bonnet gals tea towels. There's a lot of lace from that buy.
(Note: One day I will also scrub the dried paint off the work tabletop.)

So if you're looking to do something this weekend look at A handmade cottage for ideas and crafty help.
I hope everyone is having a good day or evening whereever they are.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Golden Needles

From the Simple Living soap making class swap table on Saturday, I came home with this little jar of Homemade Mandarin Curd.  While I was doing some baking today I thought I would try to make something of it and found a recipe online for: Mandarin Curd Tartlets.

I gave the recipe a try and after a bit of a first failure with the shortcrust pastry, because I didn't know what to do with it... I got it right in the second batch. The first batch were still okay, just a little rustic looking with broken up pastry.
The tartlets don't set, but mum said gelatin will make them set. So that's worth knowing. Also on the baking stint I made some chocolate chip biscuits. 
I finally organized the stash in my room. And have things in a nice orderly state again. I've picked up some crochet dishcloths and have some future projects to do. With the blustery cold winter winds about it's good to stay in doors.

And there's some more doodling in my sketch books too.
I hope everyone is having a good day or evening wherever they are.

Monday 23 June 2014

Artful Soap

On Saturday I attended the Simple Living soapmaking workshop and swap. I took along my swap, Solar candle light boxes (The boxes open up and inside is a small flicker solar candle light which shows through the front 'window'. For the 'window' I embossed baking paper--one of them does use vellum but I didn't have enough for five so I thought why not baking paper? I inked it up, and placed it behind clear acetate so the flickering glow would show through) for the swap table. They're not perfect by any means but I liked the idea of them. 
After a cuppa and the swap it was time to start the workshop.

Our teachers Helen and Mandy of the Old Dairy were excellent with explaining the process and even took away a lot of the 'scary' aspects of cold process of soap making using Caustic Soda/Lye. The first demonstration explained how to use goats milk in soap making and the second was a basic soap recipe.

The overall process was easy and it did help show how simple soap making is if you are careful!

 After the workshop we were all given a lovely sample to take home and cure. I have mine in the cupboard curing. It was a great workshop and swap.

Meanwhile, at home I am cleaning out my stash stuff and general 'nest' fluffing my room. The weather is colder now and we've had some rain too; so this is a good time to get in and clean out the craft stash. I've also been a-doodling in my sketch book working out some ideas for a different approach to what I usually have in my sketch books. I'm thinking embroidery and cross stitch patterns.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever they are.

Monday 16 June 2014

fairy lights

I think I blame the admiration of roses for my current paper phase.

The hot mess on my work desk is inspired by the colours.

Some pretty vintage graphics, some tiny little solar lights, and paper ideas are plenty.

So far the dummy run one worked so I'll play around with the others. I'm thinking pretty rose colors, pinks, yellows, mauves. I don't want to buy anything new and I'll raid through my papery stash to see what I have.

Meanwhile all that hard work and the bit of cold weather is good for pulling out the crockpot to make some stews for lunch and or dinner.

I hope everyone is enjoying their day or evening where ever they are.

Friday 13 June 2014

Winter Yellow

This week was rather busy and I've also spent some time seeing to finishing up some projects on the go and preparing projects for the Simple Living swap table at the next workshop.

Over the week we had some really nice Winter weather and sure enough Winter came with some fog and drizzling rain today.

 I expect this fog and drizzle will likely bring in the Winter we haven't really been having.

After rushing about to see to personal matters, it was nice to come home and cosy into some homely projects. I've some crochet dishcloths finished for a bright, cheery, kitchen set for Winter days.

I also sat an entire weekend last weekend at the sewing maching determined to get some orphan/ufo crazy quilt blocks into a quilt. I've had all these blocks for some time ( if you go through the archives in this blog you'll see these blocks in progess: here for example. ). I thought I should stop making the project more difficult than it was. It was time to just get in and do it.  As a learner on the sewing maching there's a few mishaps where I didn't quite catch a seam, but I can sew it in by hand and some corners don't quite fit, but a pretty fabric or doiley over that will hide the errors of my ways.
The owls are from a old vintage linen tea towel my grandma ( my Dad's mum), who is now passed, gave to me because she knew I like owls. They are centre of the quilt. This is the theme of this quilt many of the fabrics were given to me, or I found in thrift store srcaps. I also include lots of old cross stitch, needlepoint, fabric paintings and little stitch motifs I did over the years. So this is a real frugal thrift quilt!

The quilt is sewn using a foundation backing, the quilt blocks are 12 inches and I sewed 5 rows across and 6 rows down. I feel I should add one more row to make it 7 and then it will fit nicely over a single bed or just across a double bed. The top is sewn, now onto embellishing all those seams. I've some done which helps!
I hope everyone has a good day or evening where ever they are.

Friday 6 June 2014

Cinnamon roll

Yesterday I eventually got round to trying out baking some Cinnamon rolls.

The recipe was very straight forward with no fanciness to it at all.

Lots of brown sugar melted with butter and a good sprinkling of cinnamon was added...

It was sticky cutting up the rolls. Next time I will cut smaller pieces now that I know how big the dough rises. Lessons learnt and all.

No one though seemed to mind the big size as the Cinnamon rolls are all gone now.
It's a good thing there can be some time wandering around the garden after all that sweetness.

And back inside there's some finishes to embroidery projects on the go...almost finishes...
Some more embroidery and I can put this together.

Cinnamon Roll Recipe:
4 cups of plain flour (Maybe five depending)
2 tablespoons of yeast
1 cup of milk

¾ cup of water
½ cup of oil
3 tablespoons of Honey
1 teaspoon of salt
Brown sugar and butter. Melt to make enough to spread on rolled out dough.
Mix 2 cups of flour with 2 tablespoons of yeast. Heat the water, oil, milk, honey and salt until very warm. Pour into flour mixture and beat well. Add the rest of the flour until dough is soft. Knead for bit then let rest for 10 minutes.
Roll dough out flat and brush on brown sugar melted butter mixture. Sprinkle on cinnamon, roll up the dough in a long sausage shape and cut ( a piece of string is the best way to cut this). Let rise for half an hour then bake for 12 -15 minutes in a hot oven.
I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever they are.

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Scrap life

When I first started colleting bits and pieces from thrift stores for embroidery and such, I came across Crazy Quilting and I thought...that's right up my tree. The book I first saw was from the library and it was one of Judith Baker Montano's first crazy quilt books. I hooked up into some yahoo groups way back then and did a lot of swaps. Funny enough I still haven't a crazy quilt to actually speak of...just small pieces.
When I saw Judith Baker Montano crazy quilts I knew the first thing I wanted to collect was Cigarette silks. At the time I didn't have ebay and I ask my parents when they were on ebay to pick out some silks for me....
This was at the time when they were a dime a dozen. I had no idea what they were buying as thenI was living elsewhere in my own house. So when dad and mum said they were snapping up these collections for next to nothing I thought they meant only a few! (Look at the postage all the way from USA way back then... 90cents!)
Well, this is just some of what they brought all that time ago. The silks still have that cigar smell and some are large while the ones like above are small.  But the colours are still all amazing.
I still keep my collection in the envelopes they came in with the ebay information too. Maybe one day I'll do that big crazy quilt and add a few of the silk doubles I recieved in the wins to that crazy quilt. (This is actually in progress ;))
For me scrapbooking and crazy quilting are the same thing. Almost. So it's no wonder I also dabble in that too. The autumn long mini cover is progressing and I have to decorate the pages too.
I also think this is the same reason why I love junk journals/ journalling too. I'm a bit of a magpie hoarder of bits and pieces. It keeps me happy at least.
Hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever they are.

Sunday 1 June 2014

Hello Winter

With Autumn over and Winter upon us, I've started on some Winter projects. The first of which uses the cross stitch house blessing I stitched a bit back. I've included it in a crazy quilt project.
The little embroidery in progress might give a hint as to the nature of the crazy quilt project.
While I work on this, I'm almost finished the Autumn long mini album too.
With the talk around blogs of roses fading for the season I thought I'd share what I do with rose petals...
I dry them. They take a couple of weeks and I turn them once every day in the baskets they are drying in to make sure they are drying properly. 

When they dry I add them to decorative sachets to place in cupboards and drawers of linen. There's not much petals once they dry, but the scent always holds nicely. If you don't have any Orris root powder as a fixative to hold in the scent for your potpourri you can use cornstarch as a substitute.
I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever they are.