A few close-ups to keep up my interest for the next phase of the French connection soft furnishings project. . . .
. . . . whilst awaiting squidgy package . . . . 😬
A minor achievement this week: 2 small pillows stuffed, sewn up and completed.
Ta-dah ! ! !
These are the fronts.
Love that hat, but ain’t too keen on the corset. But it’s red, so that’s okay.
A bit of searching round t’internet and I found this panel is actually part of an entire quilting series. Hmmm . . . . . 🤔
A bit more thinking about it, as we know we do with something we really want to enjoy to its’ fullest potential . . . . . 🤨
Taking a deep breath, ignoring my fierce promise-to-self not to buy any more fabric, I decided to acquire just a teeny bit more.
But only so’s the whole rest of the original purchase could be used and enjoyed to the full, instead of always regretting I hadn’t used x or y instead — y’know what I mean? 🙄
Next week a small squidgy package is due . . . . .
There’s more to come, Lovelies! 🤣 😆 🤣
Today may be dark & dank outside, but inside it’s bright and cheerful, with the kettle steaming quietly in the background as friends drop by virtually for a cuppa, a nibble and a natter.
After visiting Su’s glorious tea party yesterday down in New Zealand, it’s nice to share some of that conversation with friends up here, and catch my breath, so to speak. 😉
We seem to have a “normalising” in the whole wheat flour production industry up here, so I’ve splurged a bit and made an extra wholemeal loaf for everyone to enjoy. Also on hand is an apricot spread I pureed as part of an experiment. 🤫
The homemade digestives are in the tin, and there’s also a plate of oatmeal chews for those with a sweet tooth (the recipe is here.)
Visiting with Su (Zimmerbitch) creator of our virtual tea parties, I learnt Americans aren’t the only peeps worried about elections.
The NZ election for their Prime Minister is this Saturday (our Friday, so today), and they’re sounding a great deal like many of us up here.
But we’ve got three more weeks before our official election day. (Although several million of us voted early).
How’m I coping? By almost totally not watching telly. I do check several online newspapers each day (headlines only), local online news (mostly for weather), etc. And for entertainment, I’m leaning more and more on BritBox shows with absolutely no mention of anything political.
For example: Has anyone seen a current program, Shakespeare and Hathaway? If you haven’t you can read about it on Wiki here, and do a bit of watching over here. I like the actor playing Hathaway and that led me to watch the first episode.
Then I became intrigued with the other main cast members, not the least of which is the town (city?) of Stratford. I haven’t seen much architecture from Shakespeare’s time, so I’m watching more than just imaginative costuming. (Why do the British love dressing up so much?!)
On another note, somewhere around late Spring I discovered, from one of my lovely blogging mates whose name I don’t remember (sorry, luv!), Kate from The Last Homely House. Do you know her? She’s a crafty, gardeny, cooking sort of person living up on a Northumberland farm.
I find her YouTube videos calming, humourous. and thoroughly addictive. If you don’t know Kate, sit yourself down, click over to her YT channel, pick out a subject and begin watching. (I’d recommend this one , which is a charming introduction to herself and her videos.)
Thank you for coming round today for our little tea party. Sit yourselves down, have a hot cuppa, we’ll toast you some bread and pass down the digestive tin and the oatmeal chews. They’re virtual, so no calories or allergies, and no worries about indulging yourself at the end of the week.
#virtualteaparty2020 for anyone on Instagram who wants to post images over there.
And so, on with the conversations! Any good programs to suggest? What do you think about the ones I watch? D’you think the chews are too sweet? I shorted the sugar, but don’t trust my un-sweet tooth which thinks they’re still too sweet. (Remember, I drink my cocoa without sugar, so . . . 🙄)
Thank you all for coming and being such delightful guests! Until next month, everyone please be safe, take care, and come back soon! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Hello, Lovely Readers!
An unexpected hardware glitch last Monday took me off-line for the rest of the week. . . and I’m not talking about any “conversion” by WordPress to their new editor, either. Speaking of which . . .
(The Widow BadAss has written an encouraging post all about that.)
Anyhoo, I’m back today with a tardy invitation to our monthly Tea Party this coming Friday, 16th October. EVERY ONE of you wonderful peeps are invited!
I’ve tried keeping in touch visually with as many of you as possible, and IG has been usable. But this is scooping even IG. It will be loverly getting back in touch, dear friends!
I’ve been trying out new recipes, and think you might like this one, from Marion Cunningham’s The Fannie Farmer Baking Book.
Pardon my brevity ~ will try to return later today.
Until then, toddle pip and Cheerio! 💋 💋
PS/ Here’s the recipe:
(In an earlier post’s comments, someone mentioned tea & sewing, which I thought would be a great idea, so I’m combining them. Tea first!)
Kia ora whānau! (Welcome, friends!) He kapu tī māu? (Would you like a cup of tea?)
Visiting New Zealand for originator Su’s virtual tea party earlier in the week, I learnt it was Maori Language Week. So I had a special treat, seeing Su and enjoying her delicious tea whilst learning a bit of Maori.
Su is the originator of these monthly teas, but had been a bit poorly, so some of us brought along contributions for all to enjoy. I brought some of my crispy digestives as Su is a dunker, and I wanted her opinion.
Su’s crispy crackers with cheese were fabulous! (I love crisps & cheese and these were sooo delicious!) I’m not much for sweets, but I know Su’s brownie isn’t too sweet, so had to enjoy a bit of that, too. Rich, dark chocolate & beetroot = a chocky lover’s heaven on earth! 😇
Back on my home turf to welcome my Northern Hemisphere friends, I’d made a coconut cake to go underneath fresh strawberries and blueberries.
Using the Foundation Cake recipe, I added about half a cup of desiccated coconut. Will do this again, as I think the chewiness of the coconut lifts the combination above a traditional shortcake.
I also have my latest bake of digestives biscuits (cookies). This batch is crunchy, and perfect for dunking. As I have no cookie cutters, these are in a different shape, but I’m sure they taste the same. 😉
Here’s the recipe I use, from King Arthur Flour. King Arthur uses both American and British measurements, so you don’t have to convert.
My variation: I skimp on the sugar. After rolling out the dough to about 3 mm (¼”) I left them to cook a good 6-7 minutes longer. They definitely didn’t burn, just got wonderfully crisp after thorough cooling.
And now to Scraphappy sewing ~
Chiming in rather tardily with Kate’s band of scrap happy peeps, I finally got several large-ish pieces of cotton fabric out of stash and onto hangers this month. Everything can be worn with either fabric to the front, providing versatility.
You might think making tops from different fabrics is totally bonkers, and you’d be well within your rights to do so! However, in this wacko country I’m considering myself in quarantine, so am not out except for very local walk abouts. When I’m out I’m always wearing a duster over whatever top I’m wearing, so nobody sees my back anyway.
The vintage red that I thought would become a bag refused, and has become a top instead. Ditto the blue combination. I’ve worn each over top of my scrap denim shorts.
Good news has been that Hurricane Sally came & went without doing tremendous damage to this little part of the world. My rellies on both coasts are in good shape, but for the horrible air out West.
Still, there’s lots to be thankful for as everyone is safe. Hope all you lovely peeps are in good shape, being well in yourselves, and able to enjoy your weekend safely.
Haere tū atu, hoki tū mai.
(Go safely and return in good health.)
. . . so I’ll put it down the bottom of this.
Lots has been happening over here, but not much sewing. With rellies close to some of the California fires (more & more contained every day now), and others receiving Laura’s heavy rains, it’s been eventful.
I shan’t mention what else’s been going on as there’s already too much repetition. Suffice to say just reading headlines is enough to set one back.
How some ever, Helen (of Helen’s Closet Patterns) just put out a free pattern for joining (or rejoining) her mailing list.
It’s the Luna blouse pattern, and is super fast to whip up.
Depending on the size & fabric width, it can take less than a yard of knit fabric, and looks cool and breezy. Perfect for our hot & humid summers (typically well into October).
Received my first issue of Sewn magazine, a U.S. publication (they ship internationally!), and am thoroughly amazed by all it contained.
The cover story is about a pair of independent Black men who make bespoke unisex hats up in Washington, D.C. I want one soooooooooo bad!!!
Lots still to do so this will be short. Hope everyone is perking up a bit – maybe with cooler weather. Sigh… at least we’ve got lower humidity for of couple days.
. . . . . Top’s a photo taken of a NEW box of ice cream just delivered from a local store. . . No, I didn’t eat any. 😱
Welcome, Everyone! I’m so delighted to see you! The virtual kettle’s on the boil, and the goodies are all ready. Come in outta the heat and, as the Welsh might say, “fill your boots!”
There are lots of summer berries and grapes in our shops just now, so I’ve got selections of a few favourites, plus some new flavours for you to try.
Goodness! Are we really half way through August? It doesn’t seem possible!
There I was yesterday, anticipating greeting you lovely blogdom friends, whilst mixing up my American granny’s Foundation Cake recipe.
I’ve no idea where she got it. It almost reads like an offshoot of the Depression and war-era recipes I’ve served in the past, until you get to the then-expensive or rationed eggs and milk.
Taking time, I measured out everything before getting out the mixer and really doing things thoroughly. The result is a very light cake with a lovely texture. (See top photo)
I added “pumpkin pie” spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice), but no raisins. You might think it would be too much like a Raisin Spice Cake, but to me it’s lighter in flavour.
Ripe berries are now in season, so strawberries and blueberries are on offer for today’s tea, along with the lightly spiced Foundation Cake, and chocolatey Wacky Cake, which I made in a loaf pan this time.
The recipe says you can do that, so I lengthened the cooking time and it turned out beautifully. I did the same with the Foundation Cake, so there were the two loaves to slice and sprinkle with fruit and cream, as desired. (Sorry, I didn’t get a piccie.)
Now let me tell you a bit more about grannie… She never talked much about her childhood, and only came to stay with us when widowed. Even then she shared her time between her two sons, so she wasn’t always with us.
As a child, her family traveled westward from the Ozark Mountains by covered wagon, settling in what’s now Oklahoma. (“Indian Territory” was the government’s designation then.) I learned more recently that the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma was very fluid then, which today’s genealogists find very confusing.
Growing up in the heart of the Depression’s Dust Bowl region made for a hard life, and neither dad nor uncle talked much about their experiences. My uncle said sometimes they would shell pecans for a nickel a bucket. If you’ve ever shelled a pecan, you know how hard that it.
Many of our ancestors have known and survived hardships and deprivations over the years. I hope that remembering them can help bring today’s problems more into perspective.
Meanwhile, go in Peace and Be Safe, Dear Friends. . .
I’m joining in with Su’s Virtual Tea Party. Do go over and try one of her tarts – they look amazing!
It’s been severe storm warnings this afternoon and yesterday, with morning temps into the extreme range.
Am not complaining about the storms, as they do cool us down considerably. Phew!
But one does avoid phones, and most electric appliances… Reading from a real book is definitely safe!
As promised, here’s that recipe for the chocolate cake.
Happy baking, everyone! Be sure to let us know if you try these out!