Category Archives: photos

October’s Virtual Tea Party

Nothing beats a hot cuppa & a bickie on a rainy morning!

Tautimai! (Welcome!)

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. 😉

Toast & apricot puree ~ yummy, if I say it meself. 🤣

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.)

Yummy, chewy, with almost a caramel flavour.

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

(not so) Silent Sunday

It’s been one of those weeks.
Again…

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!

Yummy, chewy, with almost a caramel flavour.

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:

A Scraphappy Virtual Tea Party

(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.)

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

 

 

macro Monday

You’ll never guess what this is . . .

. . . 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.

Got it glued together and cut out. The pattern, that is. Still debating the fabric . . . but the cutting table got cleared off so it can proceed!

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.

my SEWN magazine – LOVE these hats!

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. 😱

August’s Virtual Tea Party

From the top: Spiced Foundation Cake, grapes, and Aldi’s scrummy Garlic & Chive Pita Crackers with Swiss cheese and tomato.

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!

See top photo for slices of Spiced Foundation Cake

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.

Blueberries & cream over chocolate cake!

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.

The only thing better than strawberries & cream is adding chocolate cake!

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!

silly saturday

Isn’t this wacky fabric? From auntyacid.com, have had it stashed for about 4 years. Am making a mask for a friend.

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.

Converted this to a JPG file for uploading. You should be able to download & print it.

The raisin spice cake recipe can be found here. And there’s a Wiki article here.

The original Wacky Cake recipe is here, and it’s Wiki article is here.

Happy baking, everyone! Be sure to let us know if you try these out!

You’re invited to tea!

Always have a raisin spice cake on hand, and somewhere there’s a bowl of whipped cream, if anyone would like to sample what we call Heavy Cream up here.

Hope to see some new faces coming for tea this month!

Su has gone out of town for a richly deserved change of scenery, so I’ve invited everyone from her New Zealand tea up here.

She always has such wonderfully exotic creations for her teas and we shall miss them this month. Hopefully some of my efforts will fill in.

Thought I’d put a bit of chocolate icing on the chocolate cake. 😉 If it’s too rich add a dollop of cream!

I’ve got a question for everyone, to start the ball rolling:

When making traditional cheese & pickle sandwiches, describe the pickle. And do you use mustard on the bread?

I’ve used diced small sweet gherkins, which Americans call sweet pickle relish and use on hamburgers. The mustard (on the white/whole meal ones) is called Spicy, but that’s a relative term.

The cheese is a thick-sliced Swiss. Probably not neeearly as good as a British cheese, but easier to get over here.

Now please don’t stand on ceremony! If inclined to speak your mind on something, then do.

Above all, a HUGE welcome to my little patch and thank you so much for coming. Virtual hugs to all!

 

PS/ If you’re on Instagram, see #virtualteaparty2020

Updated ~

macro monday (updated)

Borrowing from 2019 & a restaurant’s freshly watered planter

Hope all you lovelies are surviving our current life’s little adventure, as I’m choosing to call our current state.

As several of you have written, we’re learning a lot of things about ourselves, some good and some perhaps just needed.

Here in our little blogging world, we’re focused on positives and creativity… possibly because most all of us are.

Edited:  Right is the one I meant to post.   I’m blaming it on the heat. 🥵

Late for Textile Tuesday 🙈

My piece of DeGama ceedee pumpkin Shewshwe ~ Thank You, Anne!

First off, my apologies to Sandra (Wild Daffodil) for not getting this up Tuesday.

Her Textile Tuesday is the first Tuesday of the month, and all are welcome to join in.

How are you?? I hope you’re all safe and well and bearing up under our worldwide extremities. There’s so much good going on I try to focus on that. It helps put the other junk into perspective.

This is a little long, so you might want to collect your favourite brew and settle in for a bit. Hope you enjoy. 😉

June included Sewing Weekender 2020, online for the first time this year, and available to sewers across the globe.

Close to 2,000 people bought tickets, and over £26,500 (UK) was contributed to charities.

There were numerous videos for us to watch, and a Zoom chat session at the end of both days (Saturday and Sunday).

All-in-all, it was a wonderful experience that is still benefiting many of us!

For my part, I didn’t get much sewing done, and I understand that’s not unusual.  It can be a time for making new friends, learning new techniques, listening to favourite designers or meeting new ones ~ all things sewing!

This is the heavier or the two pieces.

There was also a HUGE virtual goodie bag. How they managed to pull it all  together in such a short time I’ll never know. Mind-boggling. Seriously.

Word is the online version may continue next year, so if you’re interested keep checking English Girl at Home and The Fold Line.

Also in June I finally ordered fabric I’d been wanting since 2018, and am now the proud possessor of two additional pieces of Ankara fabric.

About the weight of quilting cotton fabric.

Yes, I ordered two pieces from AKN Fabrics in New York, each are 6 yards. That’s a lotta fabric!

Both are 100% cotton, with the orange (above)  slightly less weighty than my Shweshwe (top photo), and the red (on left) about the weight of quilting cotton.

Both have almost no differentiation between  right and wrong sides. I decided to wash each (separately) in cold water in my machine, and they came out beautifully.

The Shweshwe that Anne (Compulsive Seamstress) sent me (top photo) is in daily use as a stole when I’m sitting at the computer under an air con vent. It just doesn’t seem to want to be anything else at the moment, so I’m not arguing.

Given all the happenings here in the U.S., I’ve been doing my research to find out more about what’s appropriate usage for this fabric, and what’s not.

In case this gorgeous fabric has also caught your eye, but you’ve not had time to get your questions answered, I’ve made a little list… 😉

Here’s the very instructive video Juliet’s done —

Phew! Still with me?  I’m gonna continue with books I’ve read/am reading and current sewing projects in another post.

Thank you sooo much for sticking with me. I do hope you’ll take another look at Ankara fabrics for your wardrobe, and put some sunshine into your closet!

😘     😘     😘

 

P.S./ Yes, you can also use it for quilts!