Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cooking for Two - Meatballs and Cherry Relish

This meal was my first foray into the kitchen for quite some time. I cook the odd cake or pikelets but this was a lot of fun.

I got out my herb chopper.

I got out my mortar and pestle.

I refused to get my hands all sticky mixing the meat. It was bad enough rolling the meatballs.

There was just enough for two but DH doesn't like all the spicy bits so I got to put the other half away for the next day.

This recipe was highly adapted from a Kylie Kwong recipe. I didn't have fresh dates or preserved lemons or sour cherries so I used what I had to hand. It was delicious.

Meatballs and Cherry Relish


250g minced beef
100g minced pork
1/2 medium red capsicum chopped
1 small red onion chopped
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp sea salt
1 egg
2 tsp grated lemon rind
3 tbs chopped mint
3 tbs chopped parsley
1 tbs honey
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup extra olive oil

Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the capsicum and onion until soft.
Grind the ginger and sea salt together with a mortar and pestle.
Mix all the ingredients with the mince.
Shape into about 12 small meatballs and roll in some plain flour.
Use the extra oil to shallow fry the meatballs 6 at a time.

Meanwhile make the cherry relish.


2 tbs frozen blueberries, thawed
2 tbs craisins
Spring onion finely sliced
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cherries
2 dates chopped
2 tsp vinegar

Soak the craisins and dates in 1/3 cup of boiling water for 20 mins.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and stir the onion and salt for 2 mins.
Add cherries and stir for another 2 mins
Stir in the blueberries and the soaked fruit and water.
Simmer for 5 mns until slightly reduced.
Stir in the vinegar.

Place the meatballs in a shallow dish. Add the relish and a dollop of plain yoghurt.

Download the PDF

Happy Quilting and Crafting,

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sewing Successes

Sewing dolls clothes is so addictive. I have finished all the skivvy samples and now find myself immersed in underwear. Did you know there are hardly any underwear patterns for 18" dolls. Even the finished article is pretty scarce.
I bought a few metres of batiste fabric. It is lovely to work with. Light and breezy but firm enough to sew easily.

The petticoat and undies.

These I called shortie pyjamas even though the top is just my first attempt at the petticoat. It came out really short!

Here is my latest skivvy.

I am now working on a combination one piece undergarent that has some pin tucks and lace in the front. They take up so much lace for the neck and armholes and pants legs but it looks really nice.

Lots of tropical rain here today so it has been a good day to sit and sew. I get so excited about the doll clothes designs that even though my Go Wild quilt is sitting out on the table I keep passing over it to draw new designs and cut out new samples for the doll. Next week I will work on the quilt.

Happy Quilting and Crafting,

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Living in the Moment

One of my new year resolutions is to spend some time each day enjoying the 'now'. A couple of things I try to do each day is forget everything and savour the first couple of mouthfuls of a meal or become aware of sensations on my skin as I sit and dream for a little while.

I am also trying not to get nostalgic about the past. Sure, everything is fast paced and 24/7 now, but no mobile phone, no internet, no spin dry, no air conditioning! I like the present times.

To celebrate the things I like I have drawn up some kitchen art. I have started stitching it but realised that I needed better glasses to see where I am going.

The small writing is a bit small for stitching so I need to modify it a bit yet for general consumption as a stitchery but it could be just art for now.

Happy Quilting and Crafting,

Friday, January 9, 2015

Some UFO Finds and Finishes. Fabric Box Tutorial

As I continue to look through all my sewing boxes I have discovered some projects from quite a while back.
I had some pot holders and a double glove and two single gloves made with puppy fabric and I used wool fabric as the heat resistant insides. When they got too grubby and were a few years old I picked them apart to get the wool fabric out and started making them over with owl fabric. I finished the pot holders and one glove and nearly finished the double glove. I found the double glove again with the long piece in owl fabric and the two single pieces still with puppy fabric. I decided that out of the box and into the kitchen again was better than thinking about changing out the puppy fabric. It was a done deal when I found a good length of bias strip all ready to go in my little box of binding left overs.

Then I found a cute little scissor holder that I made several years ago. You can get the free pattern from my blog post of Jan 2012.
I used sticky velcro dots to velcro it to my sewing machine. I had to sew the dot on the fabric. Now I can look at it all the time.

Next was two sets of 10" squares ready to make into little boxes. The original boxes turned out very little but I decided to make these two a bit bigger so they would be more useful. I now have a pretty thread catcher and a reel saver (I tend to knock them off or they roll off). I like to have my most used cottons just next to me.

Start with two 10" squares and put interfacing on the back of each.

With right sides together stitch all around except for a gap on one side for turning. Press the seam allowance down along the gap. Trim the corners.

Turn and press.

Fold up and pin the gap side and the other side.

Stitch close to the edge.

Bag the corners. Measure down the seam lines from the corners 2 1/2" and put in a pin. I then ruled a line in pencil.

Stitch straight across the corners level with the pin.

Stitch along the edges at each corner.

Stitch along the bottom edges and this holds the bagged corner pieces flat.

I am thinking a strip of rick rack braid sewn around the top edge will look nice as well as make the top edge a bit firmer. I will do that when I find my rick rack braid. I found the ribbons but now I can't remember where the rick rack is. I am starting up a big box for ribbons and braids and laces. Soon they will all be in one place. Yay!

When I was looking for the carrot scissor holder pattern I realised that I have quite a few free patterns from over the years. Have a look through. Here is the link to all my posts with the label 'free pattern'.

Happy Quilting and Crafting,

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Some Domestic Sewing - Knitting Needle Organiser

As my sorting out goes on I have taken time out to tidy up my knitting needles. I didn't want anything too fancy that would take me too long to create. I looked around at what I could lay my hands on and decided on the stiff bag interfacing as a background then rather than make pockets I settled on elastic because I have lots of that sitting in jars on my window sill.
I used pins to make a 1" slot to make sure the needles would slip in easily. I increased the slot size to 1 1/4" for the second half since the needles get bigger.

This is how it turned out.

They slip up and down so I have stitched up a draw string bag to hold them rolled up. I had to use the purple ribbon because that was the only ribbon I could find. I have a big zip lock bag of ribbons in a box somewhere. I only had them out last week and now I have no idea what box I popped them into to stop them getting in the way. I will find them soon as I go through the boxes a final time.

I have a pile of the bigger needles to sort out tomorrow.

The crochet hooks and the double pointed needles are another problem for another time. I will just store them in the same box with the knitting needles for now.

I printed out the first stitchery for the vintage kitchen free bom. Next I have to find some nice fabric to use.
I have also been busy trying to get my new doll design pattern ready for release. I have a little clear passage to roll my chair from the sewing machine to the computer so the sorting and packing continues each day too.
I made my first main meal from one of my cook books yesterday. It turned out so good. I have photos and I will share the recipe cut down for 2 soon. It has been years since I have done any serious cooking. It was such fun using some of my many kitchen utensils.

Happy Quilting and Crafting (and now Cooking),

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Some Domestic Sewing - Market Bags

This morning I stood at door to my sewing room and sighed. I don't even feel comfortable showing you a picture of it. I am determined to look at everything before it is put away so setting up my sewing room is quite a task.
There is no rush though and I am quite enjoying finding 'lost' projects or fabrics that were bought for a particular project that was never started. I have a lot of little projects that need attention as I go through the boxes.

Yesterday it was a tiny triangle thread catcher that was fabric triangles with wadding. I stitched it up and still have to put two more buttons on it. When I finish it it will go on my bedside table to hold my earring studs when I take them off before bed. I don't always wear earrings but I hate it when they roll of the table before I get to put them back in the jewellery case.

Now for a market bag.

Today I came across the curtain fabric samples that I bought cheap from a curtain shop. I made one market bag from them years ago. Now, instead of putting them in a box, I am making more bags. I have finished one and the second one is ready to be sewn. There is more that I haven't cut off, hanging in the wardrobe but I think that can wait until my sewing room is tidy.

I used a green bag to get an approximate size. I was able to cut off a 4" strip for the handles. My rectangles for each side of the bag are 59cm wide by 41cm down. I used two pieces wrong sides together for each side to make it really strong.

I pressed each short handle piece in half, opened it out, then pressed the edges into the centre and folded it down the centre again. I opened it out then stitched each strip together to make one long strip. I then folded it as I stitched the open edge then the folded edge. I used 233 cm of handle strip. This is a standard way to make handles.

I stitched the bottom seam with two rows. I then turned down 2.5cm across each top edge and stitched it down 14cm in from each side. The side sections will get turned down after I do the side seams.

I layed out the handle strip so it went all the way around and joined up under the bottom of the bag. Between the outside edges of the handles measured 21cm and the length of the handle sticking over the top of the bag was 38cm so I could get two handle sets out of my strip.
(There is not much table space in my room at the moment!)

I stitched from the top of the bag, stitching a square before starting down one side of the handle. I stitched a square at the other end and stitched up the other side of the handle. I then finished the other handle section the same.

I then stitched the side seams and finished the top facing.

I decided to bag it to make a 4" base. I zig zagged over the first row of stitching just to make the corners a bit stronger. I also left the corner untrimmed so if the stitching does give way there isn't a hole in the bag.

To give it some nice definition I stitched each fold at the corners and I also stitched along the bottom folds.

Strong enough to hold a watermelon. It is on the bench here but I did test it out.

I need to make one for the doll too :)

This market bag is part of my year of gentle domesticity. I thought Jenny over at Jenny of Elefantz had a great idea to focus on the home this year.

Happy Quilting and Crafting,
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