Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Resolutions

I have decided that I need to set myself some goals. I am easily distracted and I do work best to a deadline.
So I need to list out the things I am going to do, must do, want to do.

Things I am going to do

- Fibre Forum in Ballarat where I am going to do a Shibori class. I have everything I need for this except for 3 meters of light weight silk I can get that there from Marion of Beautiful Silk.

- Tasmania Holiday. All booked and just have to pay the deposits. We are definitely doing this.

Things I should/must Do
- Spend less on supplies and use more of what I already have.

Things I want to do
- Finish the doll I sculpted with Susie McMahon, all she needs is the rest of her clothing and shoes.
- I want to finish more than I start. This year I tried to finish one WIP for each new thing I started. That went pretty well most of the year. To Keep track of this I am going to put a column on my blog with things finished and WIP's finished.

Hope you all have a great New Year. E-Talk to you Next Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hot day

I envy you in the Northern Hemisphere with your snow etc. Today it was over 40 C here. I took No 2 son home and had plans to do a little felting experiment to see just how much shrinkage I would get from the kilo of wool tops I have when combined with a piece of silk I want to use. But that was not too be. We have a large walk in cupboard. Before the renovations it was the kitchen pantry. At Christmas I moved a bottle of home made wine and laid it flat in the wine rack. Not a good move. Today it blew. Yes strawberry wine everywhere. So instead of felting I spent this afternoon washing all the winter sheets and blankets and my uniforms that were on the opposite shelves. I took this as a sign from above that it might be time to have a bit of a clean up. So with some help from the Studio assistant(Greg) we threw out a heap of old bottles that we used to use for sauce. Last year we started to make sauce and then I couldn't be bothered with the straining, bottling etc so I reduced it down to chutney. Much easier. So the three dozen or so bottles went into the recycling bin. Also threw out a large basket of the kids odd socks and a really old polyester quilt that hasn't been used in don't know how long. So the line is full of sheets, towels, blankets and my winter uniforms. Greg is washing the shelves as there is not room in there for two. Perhaps tomorrow I shall felt.

Fabulous Embroidery and Felting

I am waiting for No 2 son to get out of bed so I can take him home. I decided that as I wanted to check out the itinerary from the hotel chain we are staying at in Tasmania I would cruise around the web. I found these blogs through looking at photos on Flickr. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Make sure you go and look at their Flickr links through their blogs.
Clasheen and Karen Ruane
Betz White
Enjoy. I am off to the City in the 39 C heat. I have to check the bushfire alerts first to make sure we can get through.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Well the weather here is warming up to more Summer like days. 32 C here today getting up to around 40 C later in the week.
The felting experiment went well. I am playing around with felt flowers and planning a hat. I had to tidy up the studio first and that is a constant work in progress. I got distracted by the TV and had a couple of hours sitting down resting my bad ankle. I went shopping with No 1 daughter yesterday and walked way too much so my ankle is bruised. I forgot to ask my doctor about it last time I went but I will next time. We have a set top box now so we get the extra free to air channels and Channel 7 has a whole afternoon of cooking shows, I love them. I also did something I have been meaning to do for ages and put a photo behind my blog title. This is a section of a photo of an embroidery I did a couple of years ago. It is from a workshop with Alice Gove. We painted cross stitch fabric and stitched on it and on hessian. I used a variety of threads and techniques new and old to make this and I have been going to use my favorite bit of it for my banner and finally it is done.
I am going to stitch the blue felt flower I made together tonight while I watch Stargate Universe. I might even make another felt flower. I am enjoying my holiday and hope you are enjoying yours too.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Get Felted

I have had a "Me" day. Slept in until 10 am which is not a common thing for me these days. Had a lazy breakfast on the lounge in the sunroom with toast, coffee and a book. I had vague thoughts of doing something constructive which turned into me getting out the bag of old wool jumpers and throwing them into the washing machine and felting them. One which is labelled hand wash pure wool that I paid a lot of money for and the moths have had a little chew on didn't shrink at all and I am wondering about it. The others shrank nicely. I am going to do something with them. While I was looking around the studio for something or other just what I can't remember I found the silk and wool lily felting kit I bought at the last Craft and Quilt show from Wendy Bailye so I made them. You can't see it but I used green wool for the stems. There is a photo of Wendy's on her page. I think tomorrow I will make a hat . I have been going to make myself a felted hat for a while and have the books to prove it. So tomorrow is the day, maybe.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Well here it is another Christmas come and gone. The granddaughters were so overtired and over stimulated by the time they got to us I thought there was going to be a huge temper tantrum but my daughter (Mother of the beautiful ones)calmed down and there were no tears. I think my daughter was the most over tired of the whole lot. She works nights and has the girls through the day so she needs a good sleep in. We have enough leftovers for another two Christmas dinners. Troy is staying until Wednesday so he'll help clean up the leftovers and Daughter ,SIL and kids are coming back for tea tomorrow night so they'll help finish the leftovers too.
My wonderful husband bought me something I've wanted for a while my own electric drill with lots of attachments. He also bought me the MasterChef cookbook. Daughter and SIL and girls bought me a lovely laptop bag and No 2 Son bought me a resin casting kit and some armature wire. No 1 son and DIL gave us some framed wedding photos and big bottles of our favorite chocolates. I gave Greg a wood carving thingy that attaches to one of his electrical tools. I am not sure what it is and going to the hardware shop and asking for a plastic thingy to go on some electrical thing was really frustrating for everyone involved. In the end I made Greg come with me much easier. I also bought him a new bag for the big holiday. It is also the perfect size for carry on luggage so I can borrow it if need be. It has wheels but it also has a little strap attachment that means I can hook it over the handle of my big wheeled bag. I resistd buying one the same purple as my large bag and bought him a plain green one.
Troy is watching TV, Greg is in bed and I am here every one else has gone home. We have had a lovely day. I hope all of you have too. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

As you can see I have added a background to my blog I got it for free on the Background Fairy site which I found through the Graphics Fairy Blog. Well worth a look

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Free Downloads

Here's a web site with free downloads enjoy tentwo studios.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mixed Media and Fiber Arts Ring

Yesterday I was feeling like sitting at the computer and I did say yesterday that I would give you some of the recipes that my family love for dessert. I still will but today I am feeling a bit more active. I have been tidying my studio and other places of the house where textile things have started to spread. I have textile related objects in every room of the house and sometimes this gets a bit much for Greg so I have to tidy. I was looking for a felting kit I bought at the last Craft show and I know it is in my studio somewhere. Then I was distracted though by the computer and while cruising around looking at some of my groups I stumbled on this group Fiber Arts/Mixed Media Group - Be Creative. I have applied to join and can't wait to get at the photos and tutorials. So tomorrow the recipes will continue.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Roast Ham or Bacon.

Well here it is the Week before Christmas. I am cooking another fruit cake because the first one is all gone. Every year our SIL gets a big ham from his boss and it takes up residence in our refrigerator. Greg then cuts it up and it gets distributed to SIL's family and ours. I was planning to buy a piece of pork for Christmas Day dinner when all the family will be here but I am going to Roast a piece of the ham instead. I often do a whole piece of bacon and I am going to do the ham in a similar way.
1 piece of ham or bacon about two kilos. This is enough for eight generous serves.
Remove the rind but leave the fat you can score the fat into diamonds or squares. The butcher will usually do this for you.
Put it into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. While it is cooking
For the bacon slice up cabbage, apples, and onions. Put into the bottom of a well buttered baking dish top with whole peeled cloves of garlic and a few more knobs of butter, sprinkle with a little pepper.
For the ham if you want to substitute baby leeks or halved bigger ones for the cabbage and chunks of fresh pineapple for the apple.
Put the ham or bacon on the top.
For the bacon Pour over 1 cup of apple juice.
For the ham mix juice and rind of 1 orange with 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1/4 cup of maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon of mixed spice and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and pour over 1/2.
cover with foil and cook for 1 hour. Uncover. Lift out the meat and put a piece of Bake or Silicone paper or a piece of greaseproof and a piece of foil loosley over the vegetables if they are overcooking and then put the meat bake on top.
For the ham pour over the rest of the orange juice mixture.
Cook for about another 45 -60 minutes. Let it rest covered for about 15 minutes.

We have the bacon with mashed potatoes and the ham with roasted vegetables.
Greg is a vegetarian so for him I cook a Nut Loaf

Almond Nut Loaf

1 large onion diced finely
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup dried apricots chopped small
1 cup fresh parsley finely chopped
1 teaspoon mixed herbs

1/2 cup ground almonds
1 cup almond slivers
4 cups of three or four day old wholegrain breadcrumbs.
3 eggs beaten

Sweat (Fry gently without coloring with a lid on until cooked) the onions, carrot and celery in the butter. Add the herbs and apricots and leave covered to cool for at least 30 minutes or longer.
Beat the eggs and add the rest of the ingredients and the cooked vegetables.
Line a loaf tin with bake paper or grease it well with butter and lay a piece of bake paper along the bottom (Makes it easier to get out of the tin)
Fill the loaf tin with the mixture and press down well. Bake in 180 degree oven for 1 hour and then let it stand for ten minutes.

I also roast a chicken and a small rolled shoulder of lamb.
No Matter how hot it is we always have a real Christmas Dinner even if I have to run the air conditioning all day. so plenty of gravy, lots of roast potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots and Peas or beans.
Then we have dessert.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mice Pies - Mince Pies

Yes definitely Mice. In my last post I didn't edit it very well it really should be MINCE. It is so busy here. I am on holidays from Sunday and will have a few days at home and then into the Christmas mayhem with a vengeance I am sure.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Marvelous Mice Pies

I am in a Christmas Mood. The fruit cake is made. I should tell you that 15 minutes of heating the fruit might not be enough. For some reason mine took a bit longer than that today. I simmer the fruit mixture until the liquid has just about disappeared.
My favorite mince pies are mince pies with a twist. Here is the recipe.
Marvelous Mince Pies.
3 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour
2 teaspoon baking powder
300 grams butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice (Optional)
Rub the butter into the combined flours. Add sugar and baking powder. Mix in beaten eggs and lemon juice. You might have to add a bit of water to get it together. chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Roll out and line greased and floured patty cake tins.
1 cup sultanas
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup chopped dried apple
1/2 cup currants
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup orange juice.
Grated rind of 1 orange
Mix all these filling ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Stir regularly.
the next day stir in
300 mls sour cream full fat not the skim kind. If you must use the skim then add an extra egg.
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar.
Mix well and spoon into the pastry cases and bake for 30-40 minutes.
This makes a lot about 5 dozen.
Alternatively just mix 2 1/2 cups of fruit mince with the 300 mls sour cream, a splash of brandy, 2 eggs and 1 cup brown sugar.
Enjoy with a nice glass of port.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jaffa Fruit Cake

This is the recipe for our favorite fruit cake. I am making it tomorrow. The work Christmas Party is this week and I am working so I will not be going. Because 6 of us are missing out on the party I am taking in dessert for all of us. Mince Pies, fruit cake, brandy custard and shortbread. Fruit for the mince pies is made and I will make the shortbread and the fruit cake tomorrow and the custard on the day.

Peta’s Easy Amazing Incredible Jaffa Fruit Cake
This is my own recipe. Please read all the instructions before starting too cook this cake. This is a moist dense fruity cake that is incredibly more-ish. It is great with custard. It is really better if made with the fruit I have indicated rather than pre-packaged mixed fruit

2 Oranges or 1 orange and 1 lemon
100 mls brandy or cointreau
Grated rind from the citrus fruit.
100 grams dried apricots - chopped
100 grams dried apple - chopped
100 grams dried peaches - chopped
200 grams sultanas
100 grams currants
200 grams dates chopped
100 grams raisins chopped
100 grams dried figs or glace fruit (cherries if you like them)chopped
Or substitute 1 kg mixed fruit
1 cup walnuts or pecans chopped
½ cup brown sugar (Optional – but better with than without)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
100 grams dark cooking chocolate broken into chunks.
3 cups (450 g) plain flour
2 eggs beaten

Grease and line a lamington tin 12” x 9” or a 12” square tin with baking paper.
Puree the oranges in a food process until finely chopped.
Strain off and save the liquid in a measuring jug.
Add the brandy to the juice and then make up to 600 mls with water or more juice.
Place the pulp and juice into a large pot. Add dried fruit, grated rind, spices and nuts. Gently bring to a simmer and stir regularly for 15 mins. Remove from heat. Add the nuts, chocolate and sugar and stir into hot fruit until melted. Cover and cool. When cool or nearly cool add the flour and eggs and stir well. Place into tin and bake in a 160 °C oven for 1 to 1 ½ hours. Until cooked You may need to place a piece of foil loosely over the tin after 45 – 60 minutes to prevent top drying out.
You can decorate the top with glace fruits and almonds if you want to. If the top gets to dry warm ¼ cup of apricot jam and add 2 tablespoons of brandy. Mix well and then brush this across the top of the hot cake. Cover and cool

Friday, December 11, 2009


Matthew and Kristen came for lunch today. Lovely to see the newly weds. We are slowly clearing out things we have not used for ages. The coffee maker went to Bronwyn last week. It was something I had wanted for ages and Bronwyn bought it for me for Mothers Day a few years ago. Greg hates it when I use it because it makes the whole house smell like coffee. He does not like coffee. Today we gave Matt and Kristen the big esky we haven't used that for years and also a rug that used to collect threads in my studio and I decided that it was easier to have the wooden floor and the high chair. Jessica is too big for it now and it was taking up space. We had thought that it could go to Matthew's church but they decided to keep it. They have friends over a lot so it will be useful to them.
I have been cooking. My favorite coffee shop at Murray Bridge makes a lovely almond coconut and lemon cake that they will not share the recipe for so I decide to experiment and try and make it. The result was not like theirs but still very edible. I also made another two dozen Mince pies for the Embroiderers Guild Christmas Party tomorrow. I made up a big batch of fruit mince a couple of weeks ago and it has been in the refrigerator since. I don't make it until December as I use butter rather than suet. It is lovely. I made 6 dozen pies for the Doll Club Christmas party last weekend. Most went and the rest I shared with Matt and Kristen and took some to work. They were a hit. I haven't made my fruit cake yet. the one I took to the Doll Club Christmas was a light one not the Jaffa one I usually make. I have to make it soon.

Something for Christmas

I belong to Cloth Doll Artistry, a cloth doll net work. they have a Christmas Challenge on so I thought I'd finish a merry little fellow for the challenge. He's been hanging around for quite a while now waiting for his big day. His name is Snooze and he is a Suzette Rugolo pattern. I smocked the ornament for him to hold and he is going to sit under the tree Looking up to see if anymore balls are going to fall into his lap.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Blogs and wireless

I have added another two blogs to my list of those I follow. Am I mad probably, most people would say mostly but not always.

Shibori Girl
and Adventures in Thread are two new blogs I am going to follow.
I have also gone to a wireless modem partly for the great adventure in Tasmania next year and partly cause they gave me a deal.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lady Dances with Dragonflies.

Well my 100 post passed without me even noticing. I had been keeping track and then didn't keep track anyway whatever.
I have finished the challenge doll for my "No Limits" group or as my friend says "No Instructions". We each took in a fabric which was cut into I think 14 or so and then we all got a piece of each fabric back. I have had the fabrics for quite some time and I have done several plans of what I could do. They all got tossed out the window and I decided to do a doll. I have had Ray Slater's book "Cloth Dolls for Textile Artists" for quite a while and I did make one of the wire dolls for the pincushion challenge at the beginning of the year. I don't like the face on pincushion girl and I have made a new one.
Well actually I made a head for the challenge doll and it was too big for the body so I made another head. Serendipitously the big head is the right size for the pincushion doll. Anyway back to Ray Slater's book. I used the stump doll pattern straight from the book. It is supposed to be enlarged to 115% but I didn't worry about that. I didn't use her head pattern as I wanted to have another go at the head technique from Barbara Willis's book "Cloth Doll Artistry".
I really like this way of doing a head. You start with an oval of stretch fabric, stuff it, stitch it while manipulating the stuffing with your needle to make the features and then stitch it some more then color it. You'll have to ge the book for more details than that. It looks quite hard but trust me it isn't. I made my first one in a class with Barbara which may have given me an edge but I think I could have done it from the book.
The other photo is of some of the fabrics we had to use. I forgot to take a photo before I started. I also set myself the challenge that I would not buy anything for the doll.
The body and arms of the doll is a flour bag that I had in my stash. A friend gave it too me.
The head is white two way stretch lycra also from the body fabric drawer in my studio. After the sculpting I painted it with flesh coloured So-Soft fabric paint from the fabric paint bin in my studio.
One of the challenge fabric you can see in the photo above is a piece of cross stitch fabric. I painted it gold with Lumiere paint. I used that for her crown.
Her hair is the multicolored blue/pink/purple fabric. I unravelled it and then stitched it all over. Linda Misa did that with wool in the last Dolls, Bears and Collectables.
Her sleeves and the gold areas on the bottom of her skirt are gold lame that was in the fabrics I received.
The patterned fabric at the bottom of her dress is the whole piece that I got. I painted it and the crinkle muslins and the feathery piece with blue fabric paint. The feathery piece was orange and white. It is on the back of her dress. I vliesofixed it to a piece of the green with white leaves. The brown piece of fabric I used on the back of the dolls head and you can't see it at all.
I used a little strip of the red dragon fabric to make the red dragon fly. I had great plans to use the blue lineny fabric for part of the skirt but changed my mind. The color wasn't right and I couldn't be bothered painting it. So I used some of the threads I had pulled off the fringe to make the blue dragon fly. I cut a thin strip of fabric off the white and made the white dragon fly. I couldn't get a good photo of them. They are just over 4 cm's long and my camera doesn't want to cooperate. The wings are made of the left over white ruffled fabric I used for the cuffs and collar on the doll. It was another of the challenge fabrics. So I have used all the fabrics. The rules of the challenge were that they had to be used not how much. The Studio Assistant(Husband Greg) cut me a piece of wood to use in the base. I added this on later because I couldn't get her to stand up. I should have put a sand bag in the bottom. I am taking her to Adelaide on Thursday our No LImits group is doing the display in the Studio at the Embroiderers Guild This month and she'll probably be back on show there for the fringe festival. Now I jsut have to finish my bit on the group project and I am up to date. I also have to make a small hand made gift for Doll Club on Sunday.