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January 2016

December 2015

Xmas Biscuit Making

Oh I am glad I cooked a batch of biscuits in advance and that I changed the recipe so that the kids would like it. 

I made a basic biscuit recipe.

125g butter

1/2 cup Caster sugar - butter and sugar were creamed by beating with a hand held mixer

1 egg - added to mixture and beaten well

2 cups Self Raising Flour + 1/2 teaspoon each of Cinnamon, Mixed Spice & ground Ginger sifted together and then added to the other ingredients until the dough is stiff.

(We used extra flour on the board, rolling pin and cutters.)

The girls said the texture was just like play dough so they were able to knead and roll it without any problems.  Also the biscuits were not overpowering in taste.  In fact just right to eat.  The traditional ginger bread recipe is sticky and hard to handle even for an adult.

We started by making the icing.  1 egg white, beaten to stiff peaks and then add 1 cup of sifted icing sugar.  Seeing the egg white go from clear to thick white produced lots of OH's.  I then divided it into 3 dishes for light pink, dark pink and green.  Making the green from blue and yellow was very exciting as was getting red dye all over their fingers.  We then decorated the cooked biscuits while the oven heated up.


Biscuit 4

Biscuit 2



We then started rolling and cutting the biscuit mixture.  We started small and then ended with big biscuits with their initials and some for Mummy and Daddy.


As the girls are only 3 and 4 years of age I was surprised that they didn't lose interest.  We were making and decorating biscuits for a good 3 hours.


It was a busy but wonderful way to spend the day with the girls.  Of course quite a few of the biscuits were eaten straight away and I'm not sure if the last batch will be decorated .



A bit of progress this week.  I finished the centre of the tile and then defined each one with back stitch.  Taking into account the restitching,  there were over 1,000 back stitches in this small area.


I may not get back to this till after Xmas.  All my efforts are on finishing the Mermaid quilt.  There have been a few doubters so I have been sewing in the gloom with the result that block No 9 is wrong.  I have sewn her head on upside down.  Time to stop and leave it till the morning.


I received a good idea for my Greek embroidery today.  That was to use a water soluble fabric stabaliser on the back of my stitching. Because the fabric has been woven by hand the weave is loose making stitching difficult.  I'm going to give that a try.

The stops are out..

Monique's birthday is on the 28th of December and I have just now been able to buy a copy of the Aloha Mermaid quilt from Red Brolly.

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It has taken so long for me to get a copy that I am cutting it very fine to get it finished in time, only 2 weeks to the deadline.  I would love to make her the doll as well but luckily (unluckily) I can't find a pattern.

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I took a full day to cut out all my pieces and now it is full steam ahead with the sewing. My tiny sewing space is a bit of a problem, but I can kind of make it work.

Mermaid 2

I have the pattern stuck up on the walI

Mermaid 1

and I am up to block 6 with 3 more to go.  I still have the embroidery of the faces and the applique of the star fish to go and the borders backing and quilting.  Not that much!!

Mermaid 3

I  have bought another present just in case I can't finish it in time but I'm sure going to try and make the deadline.

Xmas Preparations

I kind of fell into a hole after I posted my interstate and overseas presents.  But Xmas isn't here yet and I have a lot to get ready.  Our Xmas tree is in storage so I bought a small one and some decorations from Ikea.  (Thank God for Ikea).


Today I am off to bake gingerbread biscuits with my grand daughters but I thought I had better have a run through first.  I haven't used this oven for baking biscuits or cakes before so am not sure how it will work and I only have this little bench to work on.


Still, if the baking doesn't work today I will be able to say "I prepared these in advance". They are all going to be iced and decorated so  where they browned unevenly will be covered.


I think the girls will like this girl cutter.  It comes with 6 designs for the impression and then all packs up and stores in a small space.   (When you have as many biscuit cutters as me that is important.)


I wasn't as impressed with the cutters I bought at Ikea.  Just a bit too big for kids to manage.


While I had the oven on I also baked some pies,


and a zucchini slice.  I made this using fresh zucchini from my friend Angela's garden in Toowoomba.  It is delicious.


So now I am headed for the biscuit making with my girls.  Actually I'm quite excited about it.



Mr Kooka

We have kookaburras painted on the glass in our front door and I often see them flying to and fro.

Kooka 4

There is one fellow who keeps coming and sitting on the front patio and looking in the window.  I think he is one of those bandits who looks cute and tries to get people to feed him.

Kooka 3

Today I took out some meat from the roast I'm cooking and sure enough he will eat out of my hand.

Kooka 1

He is a mature bird and actually sits there and talks to you.  Not afraid at all and his feathers are all a bit red like the soil on the island.

Kooka 2

Meanwhile, in the back yard I have a couple of magpies who are putting the pressure on to be fed.  So many pushy birds!


Not much to report this week, just lots of mistakes.  I knew that stitching this piece on 40 count linen would be a challenge.  My eye sight isn't too good and I have worn glasses since I was a kid.  I started using a magnifying glass in my mid 20's.  But that is only part of the problem.  What I see isn't necessarily what my brain sees.  I have to make sure that I come back a number of times to make sure I get it right.  I didn't get it right here.  Lots of re-doing this week.


Odds & Ends

I had a great day up at Toowoomba, which I will write about later.  First I had a few odds and ends that I have been meaning to write about.

No 1 The Sasher collection by Pauline Rogers of Pauline's Quilters World. 

A really great set of tools.  Works wonders with 1/4" bias strips right through to that extra wide width.  I like this even better than the clover bias makers.  It is a lot easier to use and the side of the plastic tool is shaped to fit the side of your iron.  Works really well.


No 2 My cottage groups Xmas party - As usual there were lots of great ideas.

I liked all these Suffolk puffs that you could use as a garland and then after Xmas use them in a quilt.

May 3

May 2

The design on this bag is really cute.  I can use this for the kids classes.

May 1


No 3 My birthday. 

The ladies wanted to buy me a gift and asked what I would like?  I choose "an applique thimble".  The member, Barbara, who received the email mis-read Applique for Antique and only discovered her mistake after she had bought the thimble.  So I have a lovely antique silver thimble for my collections.  Lucky me!!

Mble 1

No 4 My grand daughter 'graduated' from Kindergarten.  So Cute, she turns 5 y.o. later this month.  We will have to keep this to put with her University graduation photo.

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Getting started for April '16

As I said in a previous post, I must start preparations for 2016 Childrens Classes.  So, with this in mind I have begun stitching the trial designs for the needle book/ key cover project.  Maybe it is living near the sea but the first one is some seagulls. 

Birds 1

Then I had to trial the stitches, taking into account the age and skill levels of the kids, who will range in age from 5 to 15 years.  With this in mind I trialed 3 different stitches.  Chain stitch, for the advanced level.  It is amazing how long it takes to fill in a little bird with this stitch.  Long Stem stitch for my intermediate stitchers.  This stitch is fairly quick and doesn't require the same level of skill as the chain stitch.  Finally, Chain outline and a running stitch filling for the little ones or perhaps they could just stitch the outline and forget about the filling?

Birds 2

I'm off for a day in Toowoomba today.  A long drive there and back but great to be able to visit my friend Angela and talk about travel, textiles quilting, grandchildren.  I am really looking forward to it.



It always creeps up on me, every year.  I have got my presents in the mail but just where are those decorations?  I think my daughter took them.  I know my son took all our lights.  His house looks like a National Lampoon Xmas.

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One thing I always look for is the 'Drops Designs' Advent Calendar.   I love opening each day and they won't let you rush ahead.  That page doesn't become live until the actual date, which is a day behind for us her in the Southern Hemisphere.

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If I can't find the wreath for the front door I will have to crochet this one but it is blowing a gale out there at the moment so it might have to go on the window.  All that heat and now a gale.  What is happening to the weather?