Saturday, 31 July 2010

Happiness Wreath ... Part 2

My Granddaughter Made This Today

My lovely grand-daughter (who is only twelve) managed to make this today all alone following my previous tutorial. Do give it a try. It looks beautiful doesn't it? It is for her lovely Mother!

Pak Choi

I get so excited when we grow and eat our own food. I am fairly new to this experience and am enjoying it so much.

Pak Choi

This wonderful vegetable - pak choi, (also called bok choy, chinese or peking cabbage),  is such a fast growing vegetable. It takes only about six weeks from seed to supper table and is a delicious alternative to lettuce when raw, and to cabbage when lightly cooked. It is particularly good in a stir fry. The stalks are very crispy and generally better when cooked but the leaves can be shredded raw in almost any dish. These are growing in the raised vegetable beds at about three weeks old - the leaves can be treated as a 'cut and come again' salad leaf and are very nutritious.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Happiness Wreath

Hey ... I have made my first happiness wreath. These are simple to make, a bit time consuming, but so worthwhile. I am practising for Xmas ... that is right ... Xmas!!! ... when red ones will be the order of the day!!  This wreath took about 150 strips of fabric varying in size from one to three inches in width and six to ten inches in length and also an old wire coat hanger. I cut each piece of fabric with pinking shears and tied them simply to the wire coat hanger, which had been bent into a (rather awkward) circle. See the pics and follow... Took about two hours in total and got rid of quite a lot of my spare stash fabric. Next time will try it with paper flowers if I can find an appropriate tutorial. What do you think?

Strip Of Fabric Sewn To Cover The Hook 2 x 6 inches
Hook Covered With Sheath
First Ties In Place
About Fifty Ties In Place

Almost Complete
Finished Wreath

Original Coat Hanger

My Favourite Kitchen Shop - Kitchen Sync

My Favorite Kitchen Shop

Lovely Staff
Colourful Kitchen Wares
Perfect Pots
My Favourite Pottery
And So Much More!

Kitchen Sync in Teddington, Surrey, UK.,  is my most favourite kitchen-ware shop. The place is colourful and inviting and the staff are all truly lovely. I cannot pass the place with my purse intact ... today it was a mandolin ... I have wanted one for ages but always felt it was an extravagance (what is wrong with a knife?) ... but today could not resist a glossy red one. And this lovely pink beauty ... is on my birthday wish list ...!

This Belongs In My Kitchen!

1930s Fabric Jelly Roll Giveaway

There is some scrumptious 1930s fabric over at PS I Quilt (button link further down the page on the right). I would just love to get my hands on such a perfect patchwork companion. If, like me, you love your fabric do give the competition a try.

PS I Quilt Giveaway
Isn't It Cute?

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Poppy Bouquet Grey by Laura Gunn

Poppy Bouquet Grey by Laura Gunn

Another beautiful fabric by the designer Laura Gunn for Michael Miller. I so love this choice of colours, which is far more muted than her usual designs. Here I am again, just waiting for the postman!

What Do Women Really Want?


An American psychologist, Paco Underhill, founder and Managing Director of  Envirosell Inc, a New York based research consultancy, has been examining the question 

'What Do Women Really Want?' 

This, his third book, comes to surprising conclusions. His top three conclusions, after a life time of study,  are -

Cleanliness, Control, and Safety. 

He believes that these three attributes can be linked to every area of life and not just to shopping psychology, which is his major interest.  It got me to thinking what three things in life were really important to me ... that is,

"What Does This Woman Really Want?" 

Here is my wish list:-

A comfortable, happy home and healthy family.
Kind and thoughtful friends and relations.
The opportunity for us all to realize our dreams - whatever they may be.

None of the above seemed to fit in with the results of Paco Underhill's research - but then he is an unmarried man with no wife or family, so what would he know about women's real desires!

What three things in life are really important to you?

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Fish Chowder

We love fish chowder in my house. Devil Child will even get out of bed for this dinner! Today was a special treat (it is a long laborious process and needs to be a special treat) and this is how I did it. It takes about one hour from start to finish ... but is totally YUMMY!

Olive oil
1 Diced carrot
1 Diced onion
1 Pint water
1 Vegetable stock cube
2 Lemon
Salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Diced tomato
1 Diced red pepper
1lb Cooked and mashed potato and other left over vegetables (carrot, sweet potato, etc)
Small packet frozen sweetcorn
2 Pints milk
1lb diced and boned cod
1lb diced and boned salmon
1lb prawns - mixed sizes
Handful chopped parsley

Dice onion and carrot and brown in a little olive oil
Add 1 pint water, stock cube and juice and skin of one lemon, salt and pepper and Worcestershire sauce
Add diced tomato and chopped pepper
Into the pot put the mashed vegetable mix as a thickener and the frozen sweetcorn
When well blended and warm add the milk
Bring gently to heat - do not boil or it may curdle
Add cod and cook for two minutes
Add salmon and cook for further two minutes
Add prawns and heat through thoroughly for another minute or two - do not overcook or they become rubbery - add this point test and either add more thickener or more thinner (potato mash or lemon juice)
Now stir in the juice of one more lemon (if needed) and top with chopped parsley

Serve with hot french bread and a good white wine. Serves four to six hungry people.

Towards The End Of Cooking
On The Table
Freshly Baked French Bread
Cannot show you the wine - I drank it all!    ZZZZZZZZZZZ

Dame (Alice) Ellen Terry 1847 - 1928

My Favourite Painting

Dame Ellen Terry by G.F. Watts

This beautiful painting is in The National Portrait Gallery in London. It is of the actress Dame Ellen Terry and was painted in 1863 when she was at the tender age of seventeen by George Frederick Watts who later became her husband although thirty years her senior. She gave up her acting career to marry him the year following the sitting and when the marriage crumbled barely one year later returned to the stage. There are several equally as stunning pictures of her in the Gallery. She was just so beautiful ... this caught my imagination because of the colours and has inspired me to buy some equally dark fabric to team with some luscious russet and orange silks to make a prezzie.

Dinner & Dinner.

Tuesday Dinner - Steak, Peppers & Wilted Greens
Monday Dinner - Pork Burger & Vegetables

I seem to spend my whole time in the kitchen. I have found it quite interesting photographing some of  the food as I prepare it ... Mr Whizz Kid and family want to just get on and eat it! These were simple and fast meals - tonight something special - more later!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


I came across the word 'scherenschnitte' recently in a book I was reading (The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards) and had never heard of it before. When I looked it up I found to my delight a whole new craft that I did not know existed.

Sweet Dreams By MySerenityWay - Etsy

This craft is basically a paper cutting art using very small, sharp scissors. It appears originally to have been started by the Chinese in 200BC, then is later seen throughout Asia until the seventeenth century and much later adopted by the Dutch Pennsylvania Ancestors as a cheap and cheerful way of providing art for their homes. Nowadays the craft is kept alive by the Amish who use this as a simple way to decorate their homes and also as a method of sending love letters - or beautifully cut love knots - to their loved ones.

What a lovely and simple craft idea!

Quilt As You Go Progress

Quilt As You Go progress on my quilt has been very slow due to family and home commitments (Mr Whizz Kid, The Devil Child, and the Little Fairy People - plus all the rest!). Each square is around nine inches and will be trimmed and sewn at eight inches. There is no need to be too precise with this method of log cabin quilt as you go. The main thing is to be accurate with the joins when piecing the quilt together. Firstly make your individual squares and quilt directly onto a wadding - no measuring required if using jelly rolls or jelly babies, and then join into a row and lastly join the rows together. A 'stitch in the ditch' will then join the backing fabric to the design and lastly the binding will hold it all in place. I am aiming for a bright and colourful modern design using this lovely Pop Garden designed by Heather Bailey and available from Gone To Earth. There is a tutorial for this method in an earlier post. The following is my pictorial step-by-step for one square ...

Step By Step Quilt As You Go

I still have lots of squares to make - I need thirty six for a fifty inch square lap quilt (to include the binding), and at this present time only have around half the quantity required ... may end up a cot quilt after all. He he.

Fine Cell Work

I recently came across this amazing charity for prisoners - Fine Cell Work. All the members of the group are serving prisoners who like to create. They do the most exquisite embroidery, make quilts, cushions and also do some card making. Their work is of such a high quality that much has been recently showcased at the V & A and many designers are commissioning their work. Lots of beautiful items can be bought through their on-line shop and prisoners can also be sponsored to design and make a piece especially for you.

Ottoman Flowers Cushion Detail

The prices for the items are fairly high but the idea behind the charity is to teach prisoners new skills before they leave prison and also to give them some hope of having the chance of a reasonably paid profession upon their release. The dual purpose of independence and rehabilitation is a great one to support.

Polly Design Cushion

I particularly liked this cushion which has some expert embroidery and retails at £75

Monday, 26 July 2010

Makes Me Happy Monday

What Make Me Happy Monday?

Scenes From My Garden
What Makes You Happy Monday?

Heather Bailey Fabric Competition

Joanne over at 'Today We Made' has a fantastic giveaway this week to celebrate her 300th blogging birthday. The prize is some lovely fabric and a great creative craft book called Made At Home by Lisa Stickley. Do take a look as Heather Bailey fabric and this wonderful book are really worth having for anyone who likes to create things.

The Prize
They are particularly appropriate for a new crafter and a new blogger!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Borough Market

Borough Market in London is one of my most favourite places. For anyone who is a foodie it is perfection itself with oodles and oodles of great things to eat. This morning I took lots of pics of my favourite stalls ... see them and drool!

Thai  Seafood Curry
There is also lots of hot food prepared to either eat there (as many do) or take away. This particular stall has three huge hot dishes always on the go and many fat men standing around it eating.

Chicken Tikka And  Rice

Mushroom And Tomato Curry

I quite fancied some of it myself yet as it was only 10am I decided to give it a miss today. The mushroom and tomato curry looked amazing to me especially and I was sorely tempted (still only 10.02am though!).

Wonderful Seafoods
Mouthwatering Turkish Delights
Astonishing Array Of Mushrooms
Wheatgrass Cocktails
Different Types Of Beer!
OK ... Are you all hungry now ... see you all there next Saturday!

Zipadee Zoo Pink

Another lovely fabric to drool over. This time I think it very suitable for little girls (would be wonderful for quilting) ... so any little girls out there want some of this? I do ...

Zipadee Zoo Pink
The Lyndhurst Studio

I also thought this would be brilliant for the 'Wiggly Bags' mentioned in an earlier post. Think I might give it a try. Just realized that I have a theme going here ... pink and lime green again!

Rosemary Flatbread

 Quick Rosemary Flatbread 
And Cheese

I just love hot bread but it takes so very long to make. This flatbread can be made in just five minutes and takes only another ten minutes to cook. It is perfect for a quick snack along with some of our delicious English cheeses. If rosemary is not to your taste then substitute other herbs instead. Go on ... give it a try.

1 Cup flour
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1/3 Cup olive oil
1/3 Cup water
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary

Few sprigs rosemary for decoration
Sea salt for decoration
Drizzle olive oil for decoration

Put baking tray in hot oven
Mix all ingredients in a bowl
Knead together for a minute or two
Roll out to around half an inch thickness
Decorate with salt, rosemary and a drizzle of olive oil
Put onto baking paper, then onto hot baking tray and into hot oven

Bake for around ten minutes until lightly browned in patches

Delicious eaten warm with a hunk of cheese

Now Eat Me

Me Too!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Michael Miller Fabrics

Yippee!! Finished.

Enough pillowcases for now. I just love these fabrics and want more, more, more...

Pretty Peony by Michael Miller
Poppy Lime Bouquet by Laura Gunn for Michael Miller

Wiggly Bags

Wiggly Bags are used in hospitals for children who are suffering from cancer. The 'wiggly bag' hangs on a tape around the child's neck and holds the central line, which is used to inject blood or drugs into the body. These children often wear a line for a year or more and so the bag becomes very precious to them. They need to be washed frequently and therefore must be made of cotton for convenience, and the tape must be of a soft variety and not a ribbon, which could be itchy . Without the bag the child would be confined to bed (and a line) so they also provide much needed freedom at a difficult time in a child's life.

The Liberty Rose Trust is appealing for more of these bags suitable for all children. One in three hundred children develop cancer in childhood so fabrics suitable for both sexes and all ages are appreciated. Colourful fabrics, in particular, are much sought after.

I have discovered that a 'fat quarter' makes six of these bags. A piece of fabric 11" x 6" is all that is needed for a bag (although slightly larger is also suitable - but not too big). The finished bag size minimum should be around 5" square. They take around ten minutes to make and would be so appreciated. A tutorial can be found here:

 A Fat Quarter With Fairies

 Finished Bags

I am now looking for some pink tape to finish them off. The finished bags should be posted to:

The Liberty Rose Trust, Percival House, School Lane, Hopwas, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B78 3AD, United Kingdom.  

The Christ Child By Mike Chapman

I just love this sculpture!

The Christ Child

This beautiful sculpture lies in the heart of London. It is called 'The Christ Child' and was commissioned to celebrate the Millennium by commemorating the birth of Christ.  It is by the talented sculptor Mike Chapman and is positioned beneath the portico of St Martin In The Fields, just off Trafalgar Square.

I love the way that the child is portrayed, attached to its umbilical cord on a huge and rough Portland Stone. For me it seems to suggest a beautiful child at the moment of birth arriving into an imperfect and harsh world. What does it say to you?

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Michael Miller Fabrics

Michael Miller Fabrics

I was so excited when my fabric arrived early this morning. It is beautiful! It is definitely a sewing day here in London - it is raining as usual. So ... I have spent the afternoon working with it and already turned out one item ...

I have tried a different tutorial (less cutting) but the overall effect is not as good as to my way of thinking the pillow is not as neat from the front as it is from the back. I think perhaps this is unimportant when the design is reversible - perhaps I should have read the instructions more carefully!

Poppy Bouquet Lime by Laura Gunn for Michael Miller

Pretty Peony by Laura Gunn for Micheal Miller