Sunday, August 3, 2014

A quilt for Graham

I recently helped my dear friend, Cath and her family create this ‘blokey’ quilt for her father-in-law, Graham, who sadly is terminally ill. Cath chose flannels from the ‘Woolies by Bonnie Sullivan and Maywood Studio’ range which were just perfect for this project and combined with the ‘Shaggy’ quilt pattern made a lovely cosy quilt.  We also added in some white flannel, which not only lifted the quilt but gave the family a place to stitch a personal message on a couple of the blocks. 
The quilt was made over a weekend with the whole family including Mum, Dad & all five children (ranging from as young as 4 to 17) contributing to the process.
It was a very special project and I’m pleased to say it was absolutely loved by Graham when they gave it to him. The younger children especially delighted in pointing out which bits they’d had a hand in.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

A special bag for a special little girl

My husband's 2.I.C has a little daughter, Mackenzie, who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes. I wanted to do something special for her and decided on a cute little bag to carry all her essentials like her needles and sugar tester, etc. After a bit of thought and some sneaky and very technical measuring by my husband (almost as big as an A4 sheet of paper by half a fist wide... you get the idea, lol) this is what I came up with.

I used much the same method as for the snap-happy bags I've made in the past (book bags).
I thought the snappy closure would make it quick and easy to get in to, and I included a layer of plastic on the outside of the bag and added handles so that she could carry it over her shoulder easily.

Lastly, I added her (very long) name to the front just to make it special!

Mackenzie was absolutely delighted with it....
and I know it made my husbands day to be able to give her something special.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pork Belly with Caramel Dressing

Another scrumptious recipe I've made recently which came from a Delicious Cookbook....
definitely worth the effort!!

1kg boneless pork belly (skin on)
1/2 firmly packed cup (110g) brown sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) red wine vinegar
2 star anise
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
Juice of 1 lime, plus wedges to serve
1 cup mint leaves
1 cup coriander leaves
1 cup Thai basil leaves (see note)
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 long red chilli, deseeded, thinly sliced

·        Preheat the oven to 220°C.
·        Score the pork belly skin at 1cm intervals. Place the pork on a rack in a roasting pan, skin-side up. Rub 2 tablespoons of salt into the skin, then pour in enough water to fill the pan to just under the rack. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes or until the skin is crispy, then reduce the oven to 180°C and roast for a further 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender, topping up with water as necessary.
·        Meanwhile, place the brown sugar, red wine vinegar and star anise in a saucepan over low heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the chicken stock and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the mixture has reduced by half. Add the lime juice and continue to reduce for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is syrupy. Allow caramel dressing to cool slightly.
·        To serve, transfer the pork belly to a board, carve into bite-sized cubes and arrange on a platter.
·        Drizzle the pork with the caramel dressing, then scatter with the mint, coriander, Thai basil, spring onion and red chilli. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Something else for Cath

Another little bag I also made for my friend Cath's Birthday..... I just love these little shoe bags by Annie Downs and I especially love the colours I chose for this one!

and a couple more in progress..... I wonder who these will be for?


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Upsized Book Bag take 2

You might remember my first attempt at an upsized book bag a few posts back, which ended up being too short to hold most of my friend Cath's larger books? Well, I'm pleased to say that my second attempt was much better and I was able to give it to Cath for her birthday last week. I went to a little extra effort and added some applique to this one as I was pretty confident that this time it would be just right!

I just love the clever use of the old steel tape measure in this pattern to make the snap-close top and plan to use the same closure for some other ideas I have soon too!


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Another Art Folder

Another little art folder made using my tutorial... this time a gift for my friends daughter who has just turned 11.... hope she likes it!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Apple and Custard Tea Cake

Another yummy recipe I've just discovered.... this time from the June issue of Super Food Ideas magazine.... Apple and vanilla custard tea cake!  I

185g butter, softened                                                                    Custard
2/3 cup caster sugar                                                                     2 tbsp custard powder
1 tsp vanilla extract                                                                      ¼ cup caster sugar
3 eggs                                                                                         1 cup milk
1 cup self-raising flour                                                                  1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup plain flour
1/3 cup milk
1 red apple, quartered, cored, thinly sliced
20g butter, melted
1 tbsp raw sugar
Extra ½ tsp raw sugar, to serve

Make Vanilla custard: Combine custard powder and sugar in saucepan over medium heat. Gradually stir in milk until smooth. Cook, Stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Cool.
      Preheat oven to 180oC/160oC Fan-forced. Grease a 7cm deep, 20cm round cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper.  

      Using an electric mixer, beat butter, caster sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Sift flours over mixture. Fold until just combined. Add milk. Fold until just combined. Spoon half the mixture into prepared pan. Whisk cooled custard until smooth. Leaving a 2cm border around edge, spread custard over cake mixture. Dollop small spoonfuls of remaining cake mixture over custard. Carefully spread to completely cover custard. Smooth surface. Arrange apple slices, slightly overlapping on top of batter. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with raw sugar.
      Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn, top-side up, onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with extra sugar.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Reversible baby dress by Miss 15

This sweet little reversible dress was made by Miss 15 for one of her work friends who had a baby girl not long ago. she used a tutorial that she downloaded and some lovely Amy Butler fabric she had been saving.  She also made some cute little yo-yo flowers to decorate a baby singlet.... such a lovely gift!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

In progress

A couple of progress shots of what I'm working on at them moment....
I just love this cute little watermelon fabric!


Saturday, July 5, 2014

California Girl Table Runner

I was given a lovely charm pack quite some time ago (thanks again Peg) that I'd been saving and decided it would make a lovely table runner after Miss 15 spilt nail polish on my favourite 'skinny verna' runner'.... I think I have a new favourite now.

The fabric was 'California Girl' by Fig Tree Quilts for Moda... and one charm pack is enough to make two of these runners so I can see myself making another one for the sideboard now too.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Upsized Book Bag

I wanted to make another little book bag for a friend of mine who often reads larger format books these days that don't fit in the book bag I made her years ago.... so I upsized the Snap Happy Bag pattern by Stitchin' Sisters that I usually use for my book bags. Unfortunately it still needs to be a bit longer as it doesn't quite close properly over a larger book... so back to the machine!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Slow-Roasted Lamb Shanks with Caramelised Onion

I made this recently while we were at Mum and Dad's and it was a huge hit.... we served it with Mum's best 'Bashed' potato and green beans.... it was seriously good! The recipe is a Women's Weekly one from their 'Food we Love' cookbook.
This is the actual meal I cooked...
not one stolen from the cookbook... looks too good doesn't it??

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 french-trimmed lamb shanks (about 1.2kg)
1 tablespoon sugar
1½ cups (375ml) dry red wine
2 cups (500ml) beef stock
3 cloves garlic, crushed
20g butter
1 small brown onion (80g), chopped finely
1 trimmed celery stalk (100g), chopped finely
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped coarsely

Caramelised onion
40g butter
2 medium red onions (340g), sliced thinly
¼ cup (50g) brown sugar
¼ cup (60ml) raspberry vinegar

Preheat oven to 150°C/130°C fan forced.

Heat oil in large flameproof baking dish; cook shanks over heat until browned all over. Stir in sugar, wine, stock and garlic; bring to the boil. Roast lamb, covered, in oven, about 4 hours, turning twice during cooking.

Meanwhile, make caramelised onion.

Remove lamb from dish; cover to keep warm. Pour pan juices into large heatproof jug. Return dish to heat, melt butter; cook onion and celery, stirring, until celery is just tender. Stir in flour; cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Add reserved pan juices, paste and rosemary; bring to the boil. Simmer, uncovered, stirring until it boils and thickens; strain sauce into large jug.

Serve lamb with sauce and caramelised onion, accompanied with pureed white beans, if desired.

Caramelised onion

Melt butter in medium saucepan; cook onion, stirring, about 15 minutes or until browned and soft. Stir in sugar and vinegar; cook, stirring, about 15 minutes or until onion is caramelised.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Name is Thimbelina and I'm addicted to Cookbooks

I've always liked to cook.... which is probably thanks to my Mum who as far as I can remember has always been a great cook. I do tend to get bored with the same old recipes though and love to make new things. I especially love to cook with my Mum and daughter and we recently did some cooking classes together that we really enjoyed.... since they've finished up we've had a few nice dinners together for birthdays and such where we try all new recipes. We often google something and have found a few nice recipes that way but I do really love a nice glossy cookbook.

Hence, my cookbook addiction .... it all started with culling my cookbook collection and getting rid of all the cookbooks that I owned and had never used or had used but wasn't pleased with the results so wouldn't use again. I delivered a great big bag of them to the local St Vincent de Paul centre which made a good bit of room on my shelf. I have since filled what space I made and now have a large stack of them elsewhere as well. I've been choosie with the new books I've purchased and stuck with familiar authors whose recipes I've used before with success.

These are a couple of my new favourites.... and I'm pleased to say that I've used them all with great results.

I'm intending to share a few of my new favourite recipes over the next little while and would welcome hearing about any of your favourites or any suggestions you may have... they don't have to be fancy as I love a good everyday go-to recipe just as much (maybe more).


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sewing Day

Miss 15 had a sewing day recently with one of her very good friends... they usually get together and do some cooking but this time decided that they would make aprons together instead.

They both turned out great and Miss Ruby was delighted with hers

I just love the fabrics they both chose.... especially this cute mustache fabric!


Saturday, June 14, 2014


I've been working on this cute rainbow bunting for quite some time.... I got all the pieces cut out in just a couple of hours but I procrastinated when it came to stitching around all the triangles. I finally got motivated when Miss 15 hinted that she would like to use it for her market stall she was having (the next day)... suddenly it didn't take me long at all!

It gave me an excuse to finally use my new binding maker machine that I've had for some time but hadn't yet tried..... It made the whole process so easy.

Miss 15's table looked great with the bunting and all her lovely little bits and pieces on display

Some new additions to Miss 15's range of goodies... I just love the little ties!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

For Tom

I made this little drawstring bag for my friend's little boy who just turned seven..... I thought it would be just the thing for carting some of his growing Lego collection in when away from home.... he just loves his Lego!

I used the Peek-a-boo toy sack tutorial from Make it Perfect which was really easy to follow - the little window is such a great idea.

I just had to applique his name on the front too.... 
kids love stuff with their name on it!

Look who's hiding inside.... naughty bunnies!
And I'm pleased to say that Tom just loves it too!


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter

Well it seems it's true what they say about rabbits and how well they breed...... these little guys have been no exception!  I found this Rosalie Quinlan pattern for Quick Easter Bunnies at a recent craft show and I just couldn't stop at the six I wanted to give as gifts.

It all started with this little guy....

 But he was soon joined by a few more

And then more....

And more....

Till there was quite a large bunny family all waiting for new homes...

Some of them I made using scraps from the quilts I made for my nieces and nephew....... I'm sure you'll agree, they're all super cute!!

Hope you're all having a lovely Easter.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Art Folder

I'm pleased to say that after not making one of these little art folders for ages..... I printed out my instructions to follow and they still made sense!! So impressed :)

This folder was actually for a custom order..... I've been wanting to do one with an appliqued name on the front for some time now so this was a good excuse to try it out. I hope Imogen loves it!

 You can find my Art folder tutorial here if you'd like to make one yourself.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Baby Quilt 2 is finished

Well I'm pleased to say that Baby Quilt no.2 is now finished (we wont talk about baby quilt no.1).... not much else happening in the sewing department of late.... things have just been crazy busy!

I love how this quilt turned out -
although it's not a patch on my gorgeous new nephew, Reid... isn't he just adorable?

And then there's his big sister too.... cute as!!!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Baby Quilt 2

The second quilt in the bunch of Charm square baby quilts I'm making is for my new Nephew, Reid who arrived a little earlier than expected....

I've used 'Pure' by Sweetwater for this one which I've had in my stash for a while.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Also for Marlie

I was about to post off the little dress I made for my niece when I thought she should also have an apron... since I've made one for everyone else I know... and it must be over a couple of weeks since you had an apron post, lol.

Just a simple little one .... I cut a pattern off one that Miss 14 had when she was small and added a cute love heart shaped pocket.