Monday, December 28, 2009

Tomatoes - Tomatoes - Tomatoes

The weather this Christmas has been very unseasonable, rain, rain and rain. Christmas Eve was hot and beautifully sunny. The picture below is my little gathering from the garden, but after lunch on Christmas day, the weather changed and it had been very damp ever since.

I only planted three tomatoes plants this year as I don't have much space and didn't want to end up with tons of tomatoes, good plan you may think, but with all the rain we have had this year year, those three plants have gone berserk, swamping all the other plants and tried to escape next door.

With all the rain the last few days, I haven't been able to get out and pick them, and they are now literally bursting out of their skins, so this morning with my trusty brolly and I spent half an hour picking off the best of what I could find in this jungle. There are three variety's here, little golden cherry toms, and red berry tom and a large beef tomato. The golden ones have grown right through the rest and are now heading North to the bottom of the garden. As you can see, not much else is getting much chance to grow!!

Here are the cherry toms ready to be sun dried in the oven, seems bizarre I know, I usually do them in the sun, but have not seen hide nor hair of it for days.

And here are the big fat beefy toms ready to be made into tomato and chilly jam.

A few hours later the jams nearly done and the toms semi dried with a little tyme and rosemary.

Now I have some little bags of sunshine ready for the freezer to go into pasta and breads and what ever else I can think of. The tomato jam has a really intense flavour, I've never made this before but think it's going to be a winner.

Before I go, remember my little painted pieces I showed you in the last post? they have been made into little needles cases and given as presents at our pre christmas afternoon tea. I think the recipients were happy with them .

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Christmas Sewing in November!!

This has got to be a first for me, I'm never an organised person, but this year have entered a swap and a competition both at the Quilting Gallery.

Firstly the swap is for christmas inchies, I've made a couple of these a while ago, actually a long time ago but thought it would be fun to enter a christmas swap. Here are my finished inchies.

I have put my little christmas wall hanging in the Holiday Traditions Quilt Contest, this is the first time I have ever put anything like this in a competition, don't know what came over me LOL. This is decided by public votes, so if you have a minute and would like to vote for me, that would be lovely :)

Here are the links for both the swap and competition. If you haven't been to the Quilting Gallery site before, you may be there a while, lots of good stuff to see.

Christmas Swap – Inchie Ornaments

Holiday Traditions Quilt Contest

Able Mable the Painting Table came out after her long winter rest, I used one of the textures pieces I made on Saturday in my inchies. If your wondering who on earth Able Mable is, go back and read this.
As you can see I've also been doing a bit of clearing up in the back yard.

It was good to get out the modelling paste and paint and have a play. Here are the little pieces I ended up with after spending a pleasant hour or so with paintbrush and lots of coffee, I do love weekends when I can enjoy at least 3 leisurely cups in the morning.

Lastly today here are a couple of pictures of a doll I was working on for the Dungog Quilt Show, also done in Christmas Colours, she will be my new christmas ornament for this year, I try and make something for the house each year. She was much admired at the show, which was great and I have a class all signed up for next year which is terrific. She is a wall hanging doll and I have made moulds for her hands and face so that she can be made in a weekend.

I wonder if by mid December I'm still feeling so organised and on top of the whole Christmas thing - very unlikely :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stashing Up in the Wind

I have finally got around to doing some dyeing for myself :) After watching all the beautiful colours appear in this years workshops, I have been itching to stock up my own stash of fabrics. I have bought some new colours this year too and have been dying to try them. Monday dawned sunny and only a little breezy, so I rang Helen to change our dyeing day as this looked like the only decent day we would get before the winds returned.

The first day I tried a new blue and an old red in this two colour gradation, lovely combinations but still no real purples.

The some purples using two old colours and some new greens, which work very nicely together. I left these in the pots over night as I thought I might continue dyeing the next day.

Just as the weather man predicted, about 9.30, after I had set myself up for another day of mixing and rinsing, the wind came back with a vengeance, but with the roof vibrating and things flapping and banging, I kept going, only ducking back into the house when I thought I might be in mortal danger.
The previous day Helen had dyed up a 21 colour wheel and got some lovely results. I haven't dyed up one of these for a long time and thought it would be a good idea to try out some of the new colours. I then remembered I hadn't dyed up any threads for a long time either, so a hunt out in the back room also found some muslin, scrim / cheesecloth and a nice cotton bamboo thread I had bought ages ago and forgotten all about. All these went into my 21 yogurt pots along with my 1/2 meters. What I really like about this particular colour wheel is that it gives you some tertiary colours too. Here you can see my three primaries, secondaries and tertiaries.

And here with the extra bits of muslin and scrim.

Here's the whole lot with the threads. Amazing to think all that came out of 21 yogurt pots.

Here's a close up of the bamboo, cotton thread, the colours are more vibrant than shown here, I'm a hopeless photographer!!

Wednesday morning and the wind was still howling, but I wanted to try some multi coloured pieces using black and two primaries and in the new colour ways to go with those above.

Here is just a piece from each fabric, I love ironing these up as each one is so unique and contains little pictures, some tell a whole story :)

So three days of dyeing and my stash is well and truly re-stocked along with some other fabrics and threads. I have work right up until christmas and the school holidays are often too hot to dye so this was my last chance to get some good dyeing days in, the wind was a bit of a pain in the rear, but great for drying, took at least 4 minutes!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Before and After and a Bit of Wind

The school holidays are flying by and I haven't done a thing on my very long TO DO  list.
I took some photo's of my workspace a few days ago to try and shame myself into tidying up. What with the quilt show, workshops and work, it had become a dumping ground, nothing unusual there, just a bigger dump than usual. I started on Wednesday morning, then went out for a very long and relaxing lunch, and of course, couldn't face it again when I got home -  but this morning finally got it finished. I even dragged the vacum cleaner out there so I could see my hideously ugly green carpet in all it's glory.  Here are some before and after pictures, it never look tidy and the back - back room is storage more than anything as the lighting is none existent so impossible to work in. One day I'll have a nice organised space with lots of posh storage and not a mishmash of old bits I've acquired from here there and everywhere. I bet everyone dreams of their ideal studio, workspace - one day - maybe :)

The weather has been absolutely horrible all holidays, I was supposed to have a day dyeing with one of the ladies that couldn't make our last weekend, but, not a chance, when it's not pouring with rain, it's blowing an absolute gale. Here is a pic looking out of the dinning room window yesterday, I really thought I might loose some serious roofing, but only a few bits of the sun room disappeared.

It was so cold too, more like winter, so I decided to put on the oven and have a good baking session. Here's some biscuits, in last years christmas tin and some cheese and fresh basil scrolls and some rather brown tea cakes, I knew I should have kept the oven at 180 and not 200 as the book said, always go with your gut :)

Earlier in the week I made my first lemon meringue pie from scratch. In the uk they have these nifty little packets that are so easy, but never seen them here. Must admit it was rather delicious. I also harvested all the spinach out of the garden and made some cannelloni with half and froze the other half. I also made Steve's favourite cabbage pie with one from the garden, my brother calls it windy pie, but still wants the recipe, maybe for a bit of revenge LOL.

That's all for now, think I'll go and have a coffee and a biscuit.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Colourful Weekend.

We had a wonderful weekend up at Main Creek, although the weather continued to be a bit difficult as the wind blew all weekend, as you can see it kicked up another nice dust storm and drove us inside to dye.

With dust masks in place, everyone got their dye stocks mixed up ready to begin.

Then we had a break for morning tea. You will notice that I never get any pictures of the fabulous food Marion makes as I am too busy stuffing my face, next time I promise.  After indulging in scones,  vanilla slice and biscuits, all lovingly hand made, the dye pots come out and all that white fabric is transformed into a myriad of colour.

Here's the white fabric being ripped ready for the dye pots.


OK I did get a quick picture of the table set for lunch, but as soon as the food arrived, the camera was forgotten.

After lunch, the rinsing began, we found a relatively sheltered spot and set up the rinsing table. Even the buckets and gloves added to the brightness of the weekend.

And then the fabrics were hung to dry, which took all of about 4 minutes. Amazingly, none came loose to disappear over the paddock, although a few buckets and pots did make an escape and had to be run down.

A few found a nice sunny spot and enjoyed an afternoon champagne,
just to keep the energy levels up you understand.

Day two, and although the wind continued to blow, the dust had gone, leaving a beautiful sunny day.

On the second day, the stamps and shibori poles etc. come out and the fun continues making multi coloured fabrics and over dyeing some of the previous days. As you can see, you can never have enough pots and jugs and general paraphernalia when dyeing.

Here we are at the end of the weekend, very well fed, and with that weary but contented feeling that a lot has been achieved for all your hard work. You can see the piles of fabric stacked ready to take home for their final washing and then to be made into unique and treasured quilts, bags and goodness knows what else.