I’ve been missing a month or so…

December is a busy month for most people I hear.  Nothing new there.  For us it was extremely busy and challenging financially.  Our businesses is having a downturn and we’ve had to lay off a staff member and cut the hours for the other, however, the workload is just the same, if not busier.  This has meant we’ve had to put in 7 days a week, juggling the finances, running two farms, three kids on school holidays and probably a thousand other things.  I can’t say it has been fun and still is not fun, I’m just hoping the worst is behind us, but as usual, there are no guarantees.  At times I feel like a mouse in a spinning wheel, just running to stand still.  I had decided 2017 was going to be the new, fresh start, where everything would magically just fall into place.  I. WAS. WRONG.  2017 started with some really sad events that I just can’t go into.  As January 2017 comes to an end, I just hope we can move forward, take a deep breath, remembering this is life. Real life, where some ordinary shit happens and you just have to pick yourself up and march on.

Strangely enough I have managed to do some sewing.  Only very early in the mornings, between 05-07am.  Me, sneaking into my sewing room, still half asleep, with my huge cup of coffee, listening to French music (that I am so addicted to these days) and sewing away. Whist doing that, none of my other problems and sadness can touch me.  I go into another world, one stitch at a time.

I finished a quilt that I started a long time ago.  It was my very first scrap Log Cabin quilt.  I love it so much, as it has so many different fabrics in it, from so many projects.  Looking at them, remembering what I made, who for, etc is a nice little memory quilt which I will keep for myself.

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I also started on another baby quilt.  Midway through I decided I would make it a single bed size as my daughter Mia fancied the fabrics featuring dogs and horses.  I only had half a yard of this old fabric by one of my favourite designers, Heather Ross.  This one was from her old collection Mysterious Bugs and other creatures – Dogs on Yellow.  I became curious if anyone else in the world was still selling this old print and found someone on Etsy selling it for $60 per yard.  Good on them.  I get it.  Some of these old fabrics are like gold to us sewers.  I have set myself a goal that no fabrics of mine are off limit.  What I mean by that is that some fabrics I just love a little too much. So much so that I can’t bring myself to cut them.  I seem to have overcome this and I find I’m loving using these old prints, that are no longer available, that I could sell for a small fortune, but I wont.  They are there to be used by me and just enjoy the process.  I cannot sew with fabrics I don’t like.  It’s just not me.  So here is the quilt I finished last week for Mia.

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3rd of Advent – Let’s make Gingerbreads

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So another week has flown by and yesterday was 3rd of Advent, which means there are only 2 more Sundays left before Christmas.  We went out and did a little bit of Xmas shopping in the afternoon. This year we have left it a bit late.  Like very late.  Actually, we only just started the shopping yesterday.  The shops were not that busy, I find where we live now, it really never gets as crazy as it used to be when we lived on the other side of town at Christmas time.  We only had to queue once which was when we were waiting to have our photo with Santa. The kids are getting older so I am grateful that they still agree to do it, but it has become a tradition for us and I enjoy looking at them and see how much they change each year.

When we got back we decided to make a batch of Gingerbreads.  I had prepared the dough the day before, so it didn’t take long to set up.  We ran out of time to ice them, so we’ll do that today hopefully.

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Snowy Rocky Road

Seriously. Who Can Resist Rocky Road?  I just love it, but only ever make it at Christmas time for some reason.  We like to make both the traditional milk chocolate rocky road as well as using white chocolate, simply because the white looks so snowy and pretty.

This is how I make it (which is pretty much the same as milk chocolate version, but with Desiccated Coconut sprinkled on top)

  • A packet or two of Marshmallows, cut into smaller pieces
  • 2 -3 Bars of Turkish Delight, cut into 1cm cubes
  • Salted Peanuts – as much as you like
  • 2-3 packs of White Chocolate (around 500-700gr in total)
  • Desiccated Coconut

I line a deep tray with baking paper.   Spread out the marshmallows.  Sprinkle over as much Turkish Delight as I think will taste good, I like to have one or two pieces in each serving.  Then I sprinkle over some peanuts, same process, just as I think will taste good. Melt the white chocolate (I always just melt it carefully in a jug in the microwave), pour it over, mix it in with your hands carefully just so it’s completely covers every piece of marshmallow.  Top with coconut to make it look like snow.  Put into fridge for 20 min, then cut into pieces and enjoy!

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Blue, Green & Lemon Baby/Lap Quilt

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I finished this quilt last night.  This quilt can either be for a baby or an adult as a lap quilt, or just hang nicely over a chair.  The colours used are mostly low volume prints, mixed in with a few stronger colours for contrast.  I have used fabrics from some of my all time favourite designers such as Amy Butler, Urban Chics, Lotta Jansdotter, Michael Miller, Heather Bailey and Sandra Henderson.

Finished size is 35.5 x 46″ –  or  – 89cm x 115cm

This quilt has just been listed in my Etsy shop, you can find it here!

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The Build Up to Xmas

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For me, the build up to Christmas, is always nicer than just that one day in December.  I really enjoy the decorations, the smell of the tree, wrapping presents and the baking.  I tend to stagger the baking, not all the things I love at Christmas has to be consumed on Christmas Day, I rather have lots of little treats throughout December.  This weekend I am making Rocky Road, that’s the second batch by the way as the first lot disappeared in less than 24 hours.  I’m also making toffees and gingerbreads.  On the 13th of December it’s St Lucia in Sweden, but it also happens to be my husband’s birthday, so I will make a batch of saffron breads for St Lucia, as well as a baked cheesecake for him.  Some of these goodies may not see it out to Xmas day, but that doesn’t really matter, as long as we’ve had some in the middle of the build up to the big day.

This cake here is a Chocolate Fudge-Cake that I make throughout the year.  I normally make a Chocolate Cream Cheese American Frosting, but I wanted it to look a little more Christmassy so I didn’t add any cocoa.  It looked so sweet, I didn’t want to cut it, but that didn’t stop the rest of the family digging in.

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My Next Sewing Project

img_2007In the middle of the Christmas rush I try to get up early, around 5am, light a candle, turn on some music and do a little bit of sewing.  It’s a nice way to start the day and I find I get a fair bit done in those two hours before the day really starts.  I have selected fabrics for my next quilt, all in blues, greens & lemony yellow.  I hope it will turn out like I imagine it will.  img_2008

 

2nd of Advent

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Last night was the 2nd of Advent, so the countdown continues to Christmas.  Only 3 more Sundays until the big day.  Wow!  That’s not long and I have hardly started buying presents and need to start writing out a big list of everything that I need to organise or else it will get too overwhelming.  This week I’m going to start on some of yummy foods I like to make at Christmas time, such as gingerbreads, toffees, daim, and closer to St Lucia (13th Dec) saffron breads.  I’ll keep you posted!