Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I love Wednesdays

Market Logo

What's not to love.........on sunny days.....not can meet your friends, sit on the grass or under an umbrella, or sprawl in the Chai Harem and enjoy live music, coffee, tea or a cooling lemon myrtle and ginger drink, maybe an organic handmade filled bagel or a spicy samosa.  If your taste buds prefer something sweet, you can have a scone, split and filled with fresh strawberries and cream, or perhaps you'd prefer a baked cheesecake or a's all here.  And when you're done socialising you can go buy fresh produce, organic seedlings to plant in your garden, or pasture raised meat, add a crusty loaf of sour dough bread, some olives and home made organic goat's cheese and head home for a delicious lunch.

All lovingly grown, raised, baked or prepared right here in our abundant valley.

I LOVE Wednesdays!

The daily view today is a little cloudy.....more storms rumbling through, but the rain is very welcome.

till next time......

Monday, October 26, 2015

A.Whole. Day, an F2F finish and no chocolate

.........A whole day to make two blocks!! yikes!....although in my defence, I did spend a lot of that time looking for just the right blocks to make. But I don't know if I'm particularly slow, or that's about normal....I suppose the main thing is they get done and done well, and I had nothing else I needed to do, so  in the sewing room was a good place to be. The blocks are for Miss October Lynn in the F2F block swap that I've mentioned here  and here, and I was playing with a pretty colour palette similar to this, but with a darker grey for the background.  Lynn wanted just pops of coral, so I wanted to find blocks where just a small amount could be added.

Tuesday Huesday: High Point Market Color Inspiration (

I finally managed to find two more and they're done and will be in the mail today, Lynn.  A relief for once not to be posting on the last day of the month.  I can't show you the blocks yet, but if you go to the F2F gallery, you'll be able to see all the wonderfully creative blocks sent so far.

Sue, who was Miss September, has let me know she's received hers, so I can show you what I sent her.  Sue requested black and white with a hot colour.  Her choices reminded me of Jan Mullen's  Stargazey quilts of the 90s.......crooked wonky blocks in crazy bold mixed up colours, and so I made these blocks in a similar way.  When I told Sue where I got my inspiration from, she said she loved Jan's quilting style and even had one of her books! All of Sue's blocks can be seen here, scroll right to the end of the Gallery.

l to r ....wonky churn dash; quartered log cabin and a scrappy star

And that 'no chocolate in the post title?  Not the eating sort, but the scrappy RSC sort.  I haven't made any blocks this week, but I did find a purple wonky star when I was doing some sorting and packing. I felt sure I'd made one, but as it wasn't where it should've been and I had another ready to sew in different shades, I thought my memory was playing tricks, but no, there it was tossed in with other fabrics. So I only have indigo and green to make now to catch up with my stars, I'll try to do them this week so I'm ready for the colour change this weekend.


My daily view has looked like this for the past week or so, dark clouds hanging low on the mountain, and lots of storms rumbling around.  This is the view across the river with the "legal graffiti" on the levee wall, painted by unemployed youth doing Work for the Dole.(unemployment benefit)...... a great idea to let them do what they love, while brightening up the riverbank.....not everyone's cup of tea though, there's lots of grumbles about the horrible eyesore, but I quite like it.

That's all , my house was listed to sell over the weekend, so time to tidy up and have it looking respectable in case a call comes to say someone is interested in looking......I hope so!

so till next time..............

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Catching up-going backwards and an update

It's spring and daylight savings has just was winter when I last posted, the seasons and days just skip by.......

Rainbow Scrap Challenge ....

Mentally I've still been taking part in this challenge, but in reality, not at all.  So I've spent some time this week getting back into it.  It's been made easier by having the contents of my sewing room all back in the same space, instead of spread out all over the house, while walls were painted and carpets cleaned.  I pulled everything out of my sewing room twice, after the carpet cleaner's bucket leaked dirty water all over the carpet and left a huge nasty stain, which he couldn't remove.  He refunded my money plus extra, and I had the carpet pulled up and the floor painted. I like it, wish I'd done it sooner, so much easier to clean up all the threads, fabric scraps and dropped pins.

So those RSC blocks.... I decided instead of working from where I left off, way back in March, I'd catch up with October, which is brown, although chocolate sounds better.... and work my way backwards.   I don't have a lot of scrappy pieces, but enough bigger pieces to cut 4" blocks for a wonky star. Brown isn't my favourite colour but Angela encouraged us to give it a try, now that it's made, I really love it.

 September orange is done too.  

Here's all my stars so far, missing a few months there....pinned up under a rainbow bunting I made for a pop-up shop we had in a recent Art Trail Exhibition here in town
And I had pieces cut ready for April and May star blocks, just didn't get to sewing them...I'll need to check Angela's blog and see what June, July and August were.

Check out Angela's blog soscrappy to see what others have done with their chocolate fabrics.


.......and an update on the Foot2Freestyle block swap, organised by Kate and Sue.  Susan from Desert Sky Quilts was the Queen for August, and she requested red and white, blue and white or a mix of all 3 colours.  She's received mine now so I can show what I sent..... a couple of wonky stars and Squares within Squares from Quilter's Cache.

Sue was the recipient for September, but as she's not received hers yet, I can't show you what I made, but she chose a wonderfully vibrant mix of black and white with a pop of whatever hot colour we wanted to use.  Go here to the F2F gallery to see all the awesome, amazing blocks that have been made. There's even a couple there already for Lynn, who is Miss October.  I have her fabrics sitting out, waiting patiently to be transformed.

That's it for now, I have a couple of XXXL fluoro orange sweatshirts to make for a friend for her big son, so better get to it.

'till next time ........

Thursday, August 13, 2015

In the kitchen

...fermenting vegetables 

I've been making saurkraut for a while, but have really been wanting to make a mixed vegetable fermentation, but kept thinking.......oh too hard, don't have the proper jars etc.  I went to a workshop a few months back, where I watched and learned but still didn't take the plunge, just continued with the cabbage on it's own......and then the Farmer's Market at Blue Knob, a hamlet about half an hour south of here, had a Fermentation Festival, where I tasted the most divine mixed vegetable kraut imaginable.  It was made by a local woman who casually chopped and broke up a mix of vegetables, eyeballed the brine mix and stuffed it all in jars, talking and answering questions and telling anecdotes about her failures and successes, all at the same time.

Part of the crowd enjoying the various fermentation talks
This young Vietnamese woman gave a great demonstration of how to make miso paste, a very time intensive process. 
snapshots of Blue Knob Farmer's Market

So I thought...I can do that!  but still didn't quite get around to know how it is, other things to do that take priority, oh and there was that fall I had off the ladder...painful to stand chopping vegetables......until today!  I've done it.
Lovely jewels

It was the local Farmer's Market yesterday, so off I went with my shopping list of veggies I wanted for my kraut, and came home with this bounty. It's all organic except for the cauliflower and cabbage, and they're no-spray.  All are grown within 20 kms of town, picked the afternoon before and brought to the market nice and early. 

I spent this morning washing and chopping, and I took some pics as I went along to show you how I did it, in case anyone else is thinking they just have to make vegetable kraut. Cabbage first, as it needed to be salted and massaged, this softens it, and releases a lot of the water, which is added to the jars later.  Blurry pic, sorry, but cabbage is cabbage.

A mix of vegetables chopped and ready to be loaded into jars and the brine added...........

Here I have cauliflower, which I broke into medium size pieces, carrots, quartered longways and chopped, zucchini, the same, there are beans and broccoli from a friend's garden, including the broccoli stems.  I added 2 large garlic cloves, smashed and a chunk of ginger, chopped roughly......these are both organic from the Farmer's Market..... and a half a home-grown chilli.  I could've added dill, peppercorns, cloves  or other spices of my choosing, but since I didn''t have any, I just used what I had to hand.

For my brine, I used 2 cups of filtered water .....not tap water, you don't want chlorine and other chemicals in your yummy vegetables.....and a tablespoon and half of coarse sea salt.  It must be sea salt, not iodized kitchen salt, as the iodine prevents fermentation and can make your kraut taste pretty awful. You can adjust the amount of salt to your preferred taste, using between 1 and 1 and a half tablespoons of salt...after trial and error with the cabbage I found this suits me...I'll see how it goes with the mixed vegetables and adjust next time if it doesn't suit.....some recipes suggest 2 tablespoons, but I found this too salty for me.

So then I spooned all the vegetables into jars that I'd washed and sterilised in the oven, and to one, I added some pieces of chopped turmeric, fresh from a friend's garden, just to see if I like it.  I know turmeric's good for us, but it doesn't mean it's going to make my kraut taste good.  I pushed the vegetables down to get rid of air bubbles, then poured the brine over, leaving a couple of inches space at the top for expansion.  Pushing it all down again, I put a cabbage leaf on top, pushing again, so the vegetables stayed under the brine.  The leaf acts as a weight to keep the vegetables under the brine.

I did a bit of research before making my kraut, just to see what sort of vegetables fermented well, and what to leave alone and some of the sites and blogs I looked at suggested using kraut-crocks...fancy ceramic pots with special weights to hold the vegetables down.....I priced these and at $70 + each, plus postage, I decided to give them a miss, and instead bought these 3 wide mouth jars at the cheap shop for $2.99 each, and the taller one I'd bought kraut in the previous week at the Whole Foods Store, so cleaned it up, and reused it. Costwise, that tall jar cost me $14 ..... the produce from the Farmer's Market was $18, but not all of that went into the kraut, as I bought eggplant, potatoes and avocados as well, and don't have a breakdown of individual items, but still excellent value I think.....the small jars filled weigh 1100gms and the tall recycled one holds just under that. Without being too precise, 4 jars for around the price of one.....not bad, since I eat this with every meal.  I haven't talked about the health benefits, but it's enough for me to know it's good for me, but there's lots of information out there if you'd like to know more, just google fermented food.  Here's a couple of my favourite places to get you started -

I'll now leave the jars on the kitchen bench, out of direct sunlight, and in a couple of days, will "burp" them, to let excess gases escape.  Then by day 4 or 5 I can have a taste and if it's to my liking, it can go in the fridge and I can start eating it, but if I want a stronger flavour, I'll leave it out longer, tasting daily until it's just right.  I can't wait!

And all those trimmings off the vegetables...the chooks enjoyed those.

till next time.........

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Extreme Sports Quilt and needle holes in my fingers

...... a finish

It's been a lovely week, bright early mornings with golden pink sunrises, followed by warm sunny days that quickly burn off the frosts, then crisp, cold nights.  It's been a week of stitching and friends and then back to the much so, I have needle holes in my finger tips. I had to finish the Extreme Sports quilt by today, it had to be ready to go to Adelaide with the granny of the 4 yr old birthday boy. And I did it...a few late nights and oh yes, those needle holes from stitching down the binding .....yes, I know about thimbles but find them awkward to use.

There's a back story to the Extreme Sports fabric.  I bought it to make my grandson a quilt, back when I'd never made a quilt before.  Probably why it never got made, I really had no idea what to do with all those different coloured squares. That grandson is now a 21 year old and a dad to his own little one....a wee girl, and when offered, he politely refused an Extreme Sport quilt for his little princess, and thought he was too grown up now for a kid's quilt...fair enough.

So when I came across that 20 year old fabric in a tidy-up, I knew it was time, and had just the recipient....a friend's grandson with a birthday coming up, and as she was travelling south for it, no postage required. And I had more of an idea what to do with those odd squares now, or more confident anyway about "trying something/anything".

As red and blue were most predominant in each square, I used both these colours to frame and sash - first a small border in solid blue, then the rows sashed in a subtle red check, with cornerstones for interest.  The finished quilt measured 46 x 66, is backed with a lovely soft thrifted cotton sheet in blue checks, and I chose a  black and white check to bind it, echoing the iconic chequered flag of motor racing. With it's bamboo/ cotton mix batting, and  minimal grid quilting, it's a soft and cuddly, snuggle -in -to - watch - tv, kid friendly quilt.  I think Lucas will like it, yes definitely.

Now that Extreme Sports is done and gone, next on my to-do list is to catch up with the rainbow scrap challenge at  I remember organising my green scraps for June I think, and that was as far as I got.  So scrappy blocks and  finishing my August  F2F blocks for Susan is on the agenda for tomorrow, along with some time in the garden.

so till next time....

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Putting my foot in it

.... this  block swap party, that is

I mentioned in my last post here about working on my blocks for F2F block swap, the brain-child of  Kate and Sue.  It works like this - there are 12 of us worldwide participating, and each month we make 3 blocks for The Chosen One....Kate had already drawn our names and assigned us a month.....the blocks have to be 12x12 foot square and any design we like - the Freestyle part.  We all chose our colour schemes....everyone has chosen wonderful colours.... and each month someone receives 33 exciting squishy parcels in the mail.  We  make 3 for ourselves, and end up with 36 big blocks....instant quilt!  I have to wait until March next year for mine, but in the meantime, it's been exciting deciding on what blocks to make... lots of hanging out on Pinterest....and seeing everyone else's marvellous creations.

Esther from was June's chosen one, and her colours were minty jadeite-blue-green/coral and mustard with a white, cream or light grey background. These are the blocks I made her.

and onto July....I was late sending these, so my apologies to Annett, July was an awfully busy month, throw in a few sick days, and the schedule went right out the window. *Spoiler Alert * for Annett, if you're reading, if you want to be surprised when your parcel arrives, you might want to look away now.  

Annett blogs at  and was July's Chosen One.  Her colour choices were shades of orange/green/blue and a white background.  Here's the blocks I made...

I sent this extra block to Annett, it turned out too small and I thought since it's her colours, she might be able to use it with a border around, or as a cushion.  It's a disappearing 9 patch, a block I particularly like, and I actually made it twice !  I thought the first time I'd made a mistake with the cutting, but when the second one turned out the same, and I knew I'd been extra careful with my measuring, I turned to Mr Google for answers. Seems this block can't be made 12 inches, something to do with it being too difficult to cut the fractions of inches needed to make the original 9 - patch. So it was abandoned and I learnt something.

Up for August is Sue at and her colour choices are any combination of red, white and blue, and I've already made a start on these, don't want to be late again! If you'd like to see everyone else's blocks, go here to Kate's F2F page, and scroll down to the impressive array of blocks and all amazingly different.

I have this " extreme sports" quilt on the pinning table, it's for a little boy's birthday that's looming closer, so I'd better get back to it.....

.....till next time

Thursday, July 30, 2015


stitched and dyed wonders..........

A while back, India Flint sent out an invitation to................... "make a triangular flag or pennon [meaning a personal ensign, derived from the Latin penna meaning a wing or a feather] preferably using a piece of pre-loved cloth.
Stitch on it a word or a phrase or a sentence that might act as a wish for peace or an acknowledgement of beauty, imply a sense of stillness or simply something that  gives you solace. It can be as brief or as long as you like. A haiku, a snatch of song, a word that takes you where you want to be."
You can read what else she said here.

 So here's mine....... I read about the project  with only days to spare before the cut-off date.....India wanted them all ready to be hung for the Winter Solstice, and because they were going to very remote Andamooka in the South Australian desert, with irregular postal deliveries, I needed to allow almost a week for it to get there. It was a very quick whip together, with little time for slow stitching or embellishment, but as they say, it's the thought that counts.


I used the last of a thrifted linen napkin (serviette) that I'd used for very early plant dyeing experiments and added a favorite Mary Oliver poem. I love this poem for the solace it gives that every day is new, a new beginning and another opportunity for things to be different, another chance to be kind and happy. After I added the back, a scrap of silk from an old shirt this time, with a small dyed heart and the words " kindness" and "love", I did some kantha stitch in a spiral, and then a few rows across the top to hold the layers together.  A big wooden button and ties made with hemp string completed the flag.

And away to Andamooka it went.............and this came back............

On the back, India has written.... "solace - a collective impromptu poem recorded on cloth to sing in the winds"
........a postcard from India, one to each of the contributors, of our flags dressing up the desert, singing in the winds.  India had planned to dip them all in an indigo vat, but a shortage of water prevented this.  I'm pleased she left them in their original state, they glow beautifully in the desert light.

Go here to read India's post about all the flags she received, see the wonderful collage of them, and her response to them, and here to Christi's blog where you'll find links to some of those who contributed and the stories behind their flag, stories that are joyful and inspiring, incorporating wonderful memories on and about scraps of cloth that hold meaning, wishes and blessings.  It's worth making a cuppa and spending a little time browsing these blogs.

so till next time........