Monday, 18 November 2013

Real food Weekend

There is something about this time of year, long chilly walks and good old comfort food that just go hand in hand.

We've had a very relaxing weekend.  We went out for dinner on Friday night.  Woke up Saturday and took Pippa for a long walk in the local park

Then we came home and made sausage with onion gravy and mashed potato with mustard and creme fraiche!  Real comfort food.  And I made enough so there would be leftovers for Sunday!  Don't you just love it when you have left overs?

Then on Sunday (today) it was pretty much the same thing.  We went for a walk.... this is us in the car on the way to the park...

We bumped into another tri colour in the park.  Well actually 2 other tri colours.  Which was very cute.  Pippa likes to make friends with other cavaliers

After our walk we came home, took a nap on the sofa whilst watching a movie and I decided to make a apple crisp for after our leftovers

It was de-lush but unfortunately we didn't have any vanilla ice cream or cream to go with it! :(  

And I finished off the weekend with a quick blast of sewing.  I'm getting all my charms ready for the falling charm quilt which is my next quilt top project!

Monday, 11 November 2013

First Attempt at freeform quilting

I've been meaning to try this for ages.  I'm a firm 'stitch n the ditch' kinda girl and that's worked for me.... but it's always good to broaden our horizons.  So I bought myself a free form quilting foot, installed it, watched a few videos on youtube, got a scrap square sandwiched up and thought I'd give it a shot.  It took me a while to get the tension right (it had to go high, 9 on my Janome) and then I got going.  

It may look like a mess - but I'm pretty proud of this ol mess!  I can see how one might get into this.  I think I need quite a bit of practising before I do it for real on my quilts.... I chose dark thread on light fabric so I could see all my mistakes.  Not that they're hard to spot here! :)  

We've all got to start somewhere!


I bought these rather lush charm packs and I've found the perfect pattern!

Missouri Star Quilt Company have a tutorial for a pattern called Falling Charms Quilt.

This is definitely my next project.  I'm just waiting for some pretty white fabric to arrive and I'm set!

Sewing room

So my next project is going to be sorting our my sewing room.  It's a bit of a riot.

Nothing coordinates, I don't have enough storage and everything is just lying all over the place in various jars and drawers.  I need some organisation in my sewing!  I want, no!  I need to see my stash.  I want my books and patterns to be easily accessible for when I need inspiration and I don't want to forget about my yarn!

So I'm going to have to trawl the antiques shops soon and invest in some more furniture!

What I've been sewing...

So with Christmas fast approaching, the sewing machine has been super busy.  I finished off my Mother's lap quilt.  I'm pretty happy with how it's turned out.  I wasn't so sure about it when I was in the middle of it, but it looks OK.

And I've managed to make a lap quilt for the boyfriend.  I made it from imported fabrics.  He's a bit of a sic fi geek, so I've used a combination of star wars, star trek, spider man, wonder woman fabrics. I think he's going to be made up with this.

And I've also been finishing off the pin wheel table runners I started last year!

Pippa, as ever, keeping me company

I just love this reindeer fabric.  I wish I'd had it a bit sooner as it's too pretty to be on the back - but I guess at least I will know it is there.

They've turned out pretty good

I have a few more to do.  I figure I'll keep one - I made a mistake on one of the corners, so I'll be keeping that one - and give the other away as presents to our family.

It feels good to have actually started and finished these projects in a fairly timely fashion!

Things I've been eating

Did I tell you about the bread?  We did bread in our class one week and I have never seen so much bread!  Each person made approx 40 dinner rolls then we made sour dough bread, soda bread it was endless.  We had cheese and bread for tea that night and then I had the most ridiculous bread bloat!

Bread, bread, bread

I have to say a lot of it went to the birds as there isn't enough space for me, for bread!

We had some fish mix one night and rather than just make a fish stew (which is always a winner) we decided to make a Goan fish fury.  It was really yummy.  There's something about fresh flavours and fish.... lemongrass, coriander, chilli, coconut milk.... so good.

After the bread the class went up a notch and we made genoese sponge.  This was really difficult.  We had to make the egg mix over a bain marie and the first time I scrambled my mixture... but then it paid off in the end and when others cakes were coming out of the oven as flat as a pancake, my sponge did have a little rise - albeit not what it should be - I managed to make a fairly edible cake in the end.  

And when I came home - the boyfriend had made us pumpkin harvest pies!

With sweet potato fries. You can't get better comfort food that pie and fries!  Carb overload but you gotta indulge yourself every so often!

To balance it out at the weekend we just got a nice n simple seafood mix from M&S and ate it with crackers.  No cooking = no dishes - hurrah!  And this has to be healthier than a saturday night take away

And finally, this little piece of heaven.  I recently tried The Pioneer Woman aka Ree Drummond's Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Icing   Divine, delicious, devilishly good!  Yum.  It was so good.  Ate it warm out of the oven and it was just perfect.  I have to confess, I had slightly more than the 2 slices you see evidence of here.  but again... you've got to indulge yourself every so often right?  Maybe just not every night.

So I think it's nil by mouth til December!!

Friday, 25 October 2013


We managed to get a very long awaited and overdue couple of days away this week.

The boyfriend had a week between jobs and I figured no time is good to take time off so I might as well grab the opportunity when I could.  We got a good spa deal break on 5pm for a 2 night stay on the Isle of Mull.  It was a pretty decent deal, tho I did have huge concerns before we got there as the hotel staff were just so rude to me on the phone!  Sometimes with these deals you get treated like second class citizens, so I rang the central group and spoke to them about it and everything was fine when we got there.  It annoys me slightly as I used to manage front of house for hilton amongst others - years ago - so I know how things should be and when they're not like that, I'm not too happy.  And at the end of the day a hotel only ever has a deal on because they need the business!  

The hotel was a bit dated.  It was like stepping back maybe 15 years, but as I say it was nice enough.  Anyway we went for the peace and quiet and the relaxation and opportunity to spend time together.

Mull is beautiful - much like any part of the highlands and islands really.  We did tonnes of exploring and walking with the dog.  She LOVED it.  The beach is her new favourite place to be.

Here we are at the bottom of the island.  That's Iona in the background.

We came across some magnificent views.  I just love the peace and quiet.

We did some off roading and did a long walk through the woods.....

Which turned into a coastal route and lead out to some cavesWhich was pretty cool

We kept going and around the next corner was a really cool waterfall!  Behind Pippa in this picture.  Note how mucky she is!

On the last day we found this lovely beach at the top of the island.  We had the whole place to ourselves.  I love the cut cottages here - just like the house I grew up in.... I'd love to wake up to this view every morning.  Pippa loves running in the sand - look at her wee happy face!

To be honest we were pretty happy there too

And of course when on Mull you have to pose for the obligatory 'Tobermorey/Balamory' shot.

Feels like weeks ago already!!!

Oh Deer!

I went through my fabric stash the other night there and don't you just love it when you find fabric you forgot you had!  It's like finding a tenner in a coat you've not worn for a while... but better if I'm honest!

I found this gorgeous momo 'oh deer!' charm pack that I had and some plain moda fabrics.... so I thought I'd do something quick n easy.  So I picked out the pink/blue/purple tones (i've saved the oranges/greens/yellows for another project) and laid them all out until I found a pattern I liked.

Then I sewed them up into a 4 patch square

Using a 1/4 inch seam of course!

So my idea was to have two patterned against 2 plain....

Then I had a jelly roll left over from my last quilt figured I could do a quick and easy lattice border!

I just love the deer print!  So into stags right now.  So once I'd sewn all the above pieces together in rows... it's a good idea to square your squares up before sewing them together!
The next step is to join your vertical rows together and to do this you need to make sure you line up your squares.... I mark the edges of the lattice then pin, pin, pin so that it stays in place through the machine.

Then voila!  A quick n easy quilt project!

What do you think?

I wanted to then turn it into a lap quilt... so I ordered another oh deer pack... as I didn't have enough of these tones left in the charm pack.  I'm hoping to finish it off tomorrow and have a quilting Saturday.

I have the quilt for my Mam to finish for Christmas... the christmas table runners and also another top secret project I'm working on!  My wadding arrived tonight.  I'd like to get these done this year so I can actually wrap them and have them under the tree!!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Foodie Stuff

we've been busy in the kitchen of late too.

I made my strawberry and cream cake for the mcmillan coffee morning.  I just love this.  A simple vanilla cake with fresh strawberries and cream. What could be better?

I made fish and chips for tea on Friday night!  So yummy.  Fresh cod, with some flour, spiced up with fresh chilli.... shallow fried, served up with home made oven chips!  mmmmm.  Heaven.  Probably one of my favourite dinners.

We made homemade pizzas for tea on Saturday night.  Here's the boyfriend with his man size pizza!

I love just simple mozzarella, tomato and basil on mine.

And for pure indugence... some chocolate brownies with salted caramel sauce!  yum yum yum!!!


We have been some pretty super walks over the last few weeks.

I just love the autumn sunshine.  The colours, the sun.  I really do love this time of year.

We went for a walk in the woods on Sunday.  Check out these mushrooms.  They were in a bed of clovers - we looked for a 4 leafer but didn't find one.  When I see sites like this I'm convinced fairies live on the forrest bed.

And when I see things like THIS.... I know they do!  Look at this - it's like it came right out of a fairy book

There's still some berries on the branch to be picked!

And to finish off here's an absolute stunner of the dog at Loch Lomond!  This needs to go in a frame!

What's on the Sewing Machine

The sewing machine has been busy recently. 

I've finished the top for the pinwheel quilt I was making.  I was pretty unhappy with it halfway through, but then it came together OK in the end and I'm pretty happy with the way it's turned out.  I figure I'm going to give it to my Mam for Christmas.  I have to quilt it yet but the top's done and that always feels like an achievement.

I've also been finishing off some christmas pinwheel table runners that I started last year!  I'm pretty happy with how these turned out too.  Festive, no?  Again, still to quilt them.

This Santa fabric is super cute!  I think I'd like some cuter designs, but I had the fabric lying around so I figured I'd go use it.

So now I have a bunch of other pretty fabric, mostly charm squares or fat quarters so I need to decide what to make next.  There's one in the layer cake, jelly roll and charm quilts book that I like but I need a triangle ruler - just waiting for it to arrive!