Friday, 30 November 2012

Planning and plotting the Christmas Sideboard of Cake 2012

 Yes, Gingerbread House and Christmas Sideboard of Cake planning time is upon me. December tomorrow and I must start to get my act together on the cake baking front. Here's a reminder of last year's  cakes and this year I shall give you some -I hope- Handy Hints for making your own. Way cheaper than purchasing, surprisingly easy, and way more fun to be had making and, of course, testing the quality to make sure everything is up to scratch.
 So, how about  joining me for a 'Cake Countdown' over the weeks before Christmas? Every week I shall give you a rundown of what you need to get organised to make particular cakes and when we get to making time, recipes and instructions. The cakes in the photos today are from last year, but you can see how they turn out.
This year the sideboard is going to be an International Sideboard of Cake. I shall be doing a Gingerbread House:

 a Lemon Drizzle Cake:


An extra Chocolately Velvet Cake with  festive spiced buttercream filling:


a Czech Honey and Nut cake ( this is a first for me, so no photos of that yet!),  a Scandinavian Apple and walnut cake- no photo of this one either, we have always eaten it so quickly I've not got round to a photo

 and a Norwegian almond tower. There will also be some occasional muffins and mince pies- so keep your eyes peeled for posts with a 'Cake Countdown' title in the coming weeks.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Funky Tree Runner new Variations

I'm teaching a class on Tuesday next week based on my Funky Runner design, I shall be encouraging the class to play with the design and produce their own interpretation. So they can see examples, I've been making some samples.The Mistletoe version, now with more embroidery- and there will be yet more embroidery and applique happening later today. 


 Second: I've made a Christmas version of my Autumn leaves Block which will act as  top block with the tree below in the same blue/silver glittery fabrics with touches of gold applique, this should be finished after the class, later next week, so watch this space!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Forget the grey

Have fun with colour.
NEWS FLASH! After two days of grey and rain, a glorious sunset...


Sunday, 18 November 2012

It is just around the corner...

...yes, it is getting towards the C time of year. So at Lady Sew and Sew we have been putting up some festive displays and opening the doors for some pre- C.......s fabric purchasing and classes.
On show, amongst other things, are all the 'Funky Tree' runners, table mats and the knee quilt. I'm teaching a class with this design on 27th November, places do seem to be going fast, so book soon!
 The little runner with the houses you can see above the window is a prototype for next year's Christmas designs and will have a matching table runner ( long and short versions), place mat, wall hanging..the design has been a big hit with visitors to the warehouse, so I shall be developing patterns using it for this time next year- so watch this space!

Also the 'civil war' version of the Funky Tree hanging with a companion 'mistletoe' design.

 The kimono case has found a home amongst the Japanese fabrics- due to popular demand (!) another class has been organised for the Kimono case  front/cushion front on Friday February 8th, when I shall be teaching how to make the front panel. You will get instructions for the whole case, so if you feel adventurous you can complete the case, if not so adventurous, stick to making the cushion cover.

And last, but not least, the Calico Lady has had a festive makeover!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

What's cooking today?

A bit of fun, that's what...

Friday, 16 November 2012

Gloomy November

Just couldn't take any more grey mist, broke out the shiny things and added some sparkle to my Autumn leaves, spiders and toadstools hanging on the kitchen branch. Much more cheerful!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Oh the excitement! My Funky Tree Table Runner.

I knew that this project was going to be in the December issue of Popular Patchwork, I knew it would be on the cover- didn't quite realise it would be the BIG cover photo, until just now when I went to their website to have a look I excited? You bet! And yes, I did have to lock the cats out of the kitchen for most of a day so the cover photos wouldn't include them.

 I'm still working on another version of the design, adapted as a wall hanging, progress has slowed as I've been laid low with the lurgy for ten days or so, and it is no use sewing when ill- you just do it wrong, repeatedly! Back on sewing form today. The new version is in very different fabrics ( hello festive sludge) and features more embroidery, using the Coats crochet yarns, which are proving very good indeed for working with as embroidery/quilting threads. I was a bit down in the dumps after over a week of feeling pants, but not any more, the sun is shining and I'm back making things. Hoping to get this finished in time for the Open Days at lady Sew and Sew next week.

If you would like to come to a class to play around with using the Funky Tree and other related designs come along to Lady Sew and Sew on 27th November. 

 I will also be teaching my Kimono cushion/stuff holder there next week on November 13th

 How did we get to mid-November so fast? Scary!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Blanket time

I've had a vile chesty coughing bug this past week, much time has been spent under a blanket with a hot drink and furry friends. Rita has decided that this is just the best way to spend a chilly day and this morning, as I was up and doing instead of languishing in the required manner, she took it upon herself to sort out her own blanket on a sunny window sill.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

First proper frost

The first week in November is the time when the first proper frosts usually happen around these parts and the leaves start to take falling very seriously. Trees have been turning for a while now, slowly and steadily leaves have been drifting down, settling in thick carpets of  startling colour. The grass is still rich green after all the rain we've been having, so the contrast of deep, bright green grass and russet/lemon/red leaves is eye-popping.
November can bring wondrous sunsets and gorgeous moons, this past few days have really delivered- a bright full moon rising in the East, every crisp crater visible and right beside it, a sparkling view of Jupiter.
 This morning the cats were insistent that they would go outside through the front door. The front door faces South and out there this morning was a sky half-full of pearly swathes of clouds, the river valley hiding under a layer of pure white mist. My big Whitebeam was dropping its red leaves as I watched, a sure sign of overnight frost, frost that had already turned to sparkling droplets in the early sunshine. The back garden was a real contrast, the ground white with frost and plants still covered with a rime of ice crystals.

 Proper November weather- should be a wonderful sunset tonight, this morning a fresh coffee in a frosty Wedgwood cup, decorated with Wintry clematis seed heads.