Friday, 26 March 2010

Making a Scrappy Quilt

I went to Cumbria Patchworkers in Penrith on Wed nesday with loads of cut up squares to make a Mystery Quilt. Well in the end 3 of us had not read the instructions fully. (Last minute rush the night before in my case.) So it became obvious during the day that my mystery quilt was not going to be the one intended......erm what could I do?  Well nothing ventured and also I realised it was no good getting precious about it....So home I came and took another look at those half finished triangles which were supposed to be flying geese! Well of course if you place 4 geese together you get a square; and I am much more comfortable with those anyway. So the quilt is now well underway and the mystery will be revealed soon. I am thinking it will make a throw for my occasional naps on my sofa, or even Bella's much more frequent naps on my sofa every day....

Thursday, 18 March 2010

At last one of the recipes

I actually managed to make some fresh Lemon Curd today as he ran out a couple of days ago and breakfast was not quite the same. So I found time whilst cooking the dinner to make some more.

4 large lemons or 5 smaller ones (if they are waxed wash them first in very hot water)
4 oz unsalted butter
8 oz caster sugar
3 large free range eggs or 4 medium ones

I like my lemon curd to be rather tart so add more sugar if you have a sweet tooth.
Into a large bowl, which fits inside a saucepan with an inch of water in the bottom, place your lemon zest. I have a tool which I scrape down each lemon and the strips of zest come off easily. Next cut each lemon in half and  squeeze out the juice and add it to the zest. Cut up the butter into half inch pieces and place into the lemon.
Heat the saucepan and stir to melt the butter. When it is melted add the caster sugar and stir again. Beat the eggs together in a jug and add these to the mix last. Now you must stand over this pan and keep stirring until the curd begins to thicken, it can take about 10 minutes or be quite fast depending on your type of bowl. I use a hand made pottery one which seems to heat up fast and retain the heat quite well, so it usually takes about 5 minutes.
Have ready some clean, strerilised, warm jars and when the mixture is thick, spoon it into the jars, wipe them clean if there are any spills and screw down the covers whilst still hot. This should result in a proper seal. To test the seal press the knob in the top of the jar, if it goes down and stays down all is well, if it pops back up then you don't have a proper seal and the curd will not keep as long. Usually I keep my lemon curd for up to 6 weeks in a cupboard, but once opened it must go in the fridge. Lemon curd does not keep as long as jam so try to make small batches about every 2 months or so. You can mix oranges and lemons too but I usually make sure the lemons predominate. Well that is how I make mine but I am sure there must be many wise cooks out there who do it all differently. Variety is the spice of life.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

UK Mothers Day?

We don't do Mother's Day in our house, never did even when she was small and over here. So I thought it might be fun to turn the tables around and give something to her today. I know she likes fabric and is still on a huge learning curve with the sewing machine I bought her for Christmas, (thanks to Sears a wonderful shop in the US whose customer service rep Mia was patient and kind when I rang and said I'm in the UK and trying to buy a sewing machine for my DD in America.)

This is the best new addition to my blog list in a long time and its all about fabric. So this is it - check out this amazing site:-

Meanwhile, I have not had time to post up the recipes I promised but I have not forgotton, I just need to clear up a few jobs and then I can make some Lemon curd and Marmalade again, and I need it as it keeps being loaded onto toast every morning by a certain person....

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Busy is not the word

Don't know what happened to the 'things to do list' last week, but I know not many were ticked off. I have been struggling a bit with digitising a design for my jacket. As some of you know my other blog is about my job as a Keswick Rambles Mountain Leader.  Well I put my big foot in it when I offered to make a badge for us to wear for publicity purposes. I must say that I don't use Embird enough (embroidery machine software) I  bought it about 5 years ago when I bought my Janome 300e and although at the time I enjoyed it, have found lately that I have been having more fun with quilting and freehand machine embroidery. So the Janome has been on the back boiler and so has Embird digitising software. Well this week it was in at the deep end. I ended up doing 4 designs before one of them looked as if it would do. I am still sure I can do better, but hey with the guided walks starting on 28th March and the programme still to desktop publish and print, I am rather beyond caring.

So I thought I would let you see the struggle I had, as I bet you love to see things going wrong as well as right, am I right? Top left was my abysmal first effort, no good was my verdict. Too fiddly trying to put the boot prints on the top of the lettering too. Bottom right was better but still the lettering did not jump out. So Top right was my 3rd attempt, better I thought and the colour is coming on ok but some of the letters could be improved upon. So Bottom left was my 4th go, not bad but hardly professional.  However, as I said, once on the jacket it probably won't look too bad and I will at least have some sort of an advert on me. So I am going to cut this one out and attach it to my old black jacket, now reduced to gardening coat and see if it will pass muster.

I might do some more and make them larger, I wonder if Bella fancies a couple of badges attached to her coat?

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Preserves and purse

We had a weekend away and I gave our hosts some home made items as I know they like that sort of thing.
I made some Whisky, Seville Marmalade last month and put some in a presentation jar as I knew it would be going with us. Then nearer the time I made some orange and lemon curd which I popped into another jar the same. It really is worth collecting odd decorative jars when you have eaten the contents and then decorating them with circles of pretty fabric. These two jars had originally contained mixed olives with lemon, from Greece. I gave them to the one with the sweet tooth.

Next up is the other home made which was a new silk purse of course! I just happen to be in production mode for them at the moment so I made one especially for my friend. She was very pleased.

Well this is all for now as I need to do some chores, with the days lengthening, the greenhouse has been much warmer and the auto vents have started to open in the Spring sunshine; the garden is starting to look more inviting too but it means that I have plenty to do so I had better go.