Monday, June 29, 2009

Weekend Sewing

Had hoped to get these cushions nearly finished this weekend but my sewing machine had other ideas. I was having problems with the bobbins especially when I tried to free motion quilt. I ended up wasting a lot of thread and doing too much unpicking. The only bobbins it will use are the original ones that came with the machine. I had decided to experiment with my machine's decorative stitches on some of them anyway and I'm quite pleased with the results so far. Hopefully I will get more done during the week.

A Dangerous Recipe

A friend sent us the following recipe for a chocolate cake made in a large mug in the microwave. We made one each with our girls and it was a real hit. Very easy for kids to make and very entertaining to watch it cook in the microwave.Why is it dangerous? Because if you have all the ingredients on hand you are only 5 minutes away from a chocolate cake anytime day or night! I think we may have been generous with our measurements as ours overflowed where as when my husband did it with our youngest daughter, Caitlin, theirs was perfect. Still tasted pretty good with a dollop of ice-cream!


4 tablespoon self raising flour
4 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips or (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract and your favourite tipple
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to your LARGEST mug and mix well
Add egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips (if using), vanilla extract and a drop or two of your favourite tipple then mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high)
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed.
Allow to cool a little and tip out onto a plate if desired.
Serves 2.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A little bit of New Zealandness around the world

All my giveaways have reached their destinations and I thought I'd do a little post so you can all look at their lovely blogs. First off is Lesley who is an American living in London. She takes breathtakingly beautiful photos of her surroundings. I think she is due to go back home soon and she tells me that she will then be able to get back into more sewing. Next is Marguerite in the UK. She lives by the sea in Ramsgate and is currently involved in "the Red Barn Quilt-a-long". Her quilt top is finished and looking beautiful with some lovely "Heather Bailey" fabrics. I also sent some goodies to Sandy who lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She does beautiful applique work amongst other things . Lastly is Melissa from America who has a beautiful blog about her very cute little baby boy. Now one of these blogs is going to have a giveaway soon so keep your eye out for that.
As you may have noticed I have been tweaking my blog here and there and one of the things I have added is "My Flicker Photos" which is a great site to find inspiration from other sewers and also has some great tools for enhancing your photos. Just look down my side bar on the left and you will find it.

The photos on this post are of the New Zealand bush taken at a place called "Maungatautari" which is a scenic bush reserve on an extinct volcano. It is 3,400 hectares, fully fenced to keep out predators to protect the native birds and bush. A couple of weeks ago the girls and I went with my parents to do some walks around it . The bush was beautiful with some amazingly huge majestic trees and prolific bird life. They have built a tower to walk up so you can be at the tree top level and look down on the bush. My Grandparents used to live on a farm 5 minutes up the road from this place so we decided to take a drive past their old house to see what it was like now. We were very disappointed to find it completely gone driveway, orchard and all my childhood memories. I particularly remember a large grove of old Oak trees where I used to build playhouses with gardens. In spring this same paddock was a sea of spring bulbs. Never mind I guess I will always have those memories but I was sad that I couldn't visually share those memories with my girls.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sheree's Giveaway

Found out about this giveaway yesterday but haven't had a lot of blogging time lately. Life just gets in the way sometimes. Anyway head on over to Sheree's blog to go in the draw to win some lovely fabric scraps and a great "Amy Butler Pattern". (I Know , how generous is that!) A lovely blog to look at too, another talented lady. Good luck to all you fabric addicts out there.

Another pillow top

Finished this log cabin cushion top a week and half ago. It is destined for my Mothers lounge along with these ones. Now I have to quilt them and make them up into cushions. I have been waiting on a trip to the big city to get some fabric for the backs as we don't have a fabric store in our little town, just a small sewing/craft/knitting shop that's good but doesn't hold a huge fabric selection. So today we ventured over the hills to Auckland (2 hours by car), or we tried to but got turned back at the top (about 35 minutes into the journey) . We had yet another heavy frost here this morning which had left a lot of ice on the roads making it too dangerous to drive on plus a logging truck had skidded and over turned . So we had to go all the way back home and out of town the other way (the long way) all of which made for a long day. Hopefully I'll have some some sewing time soon.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A house or a home?

When I made these floor cushions this is not quite what I had envisioned BUT this is what makes a house a home isn't it. I am pleased they are being used though. My daughter Caitlin has been playing with these "Angelina dolls" and clothes all week. When I saw them all laid out on my cushions with her cat "Shimmer" smack bang in the middle of them I just had to take a photo. I have not been doing much sewing this week, in fact "zilch" would be a better word but I have now got a clean oven, stove, fridge and cupboard doors plus 3 1/2 bottles of apple preserved so still a productive week I guess. Now I can sew with a clear conscience. You know the saying "Tidy house tidy mind" ( I think?).

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fabric Scrap Cushions

Finished some cushions this weekend! A wet weekend gave me bonus sewing time. I had a lot of scraps leftover from Caitlin's quilt and had always intended to make some cushions to match her quilt. I also had lots of ideas leftover that didn't quite make it to the quilt that I wanted to try out. In the large cushion I used up lots of really tiny scraps to make up the centres of the log cabins. The idea for the middle sized cushion came when I had leftover strips of fabrics from the fabric wreath I made Caitlin.
The main fabric for the backs was leftover from the back of Caitlins quilt and I stripped pieced all the spotty fabrics together for added interest. The coloured buttons were also a great find in the scrapbooking section of a bargain shop. They came in a packet of 20 in all different sizes and some are really cute with flowers or butterflies on them.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pin Cushions Squared

originally uploaded by catherine's attic.

I found the pattern for these lovely little pin cushions on Heather Bailey's blog under her free patterns .They are very easy to make, in fact so easy that I ended up making 5 (gave one away before I took this photo). When I went through my fabric stash I couldn't decide which fabric combinations I liked best so I thought.... why not let's just make 5. I am now down to 2 as two more went to my giveaway winners. Guess I'll just have to make some more.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fabric giveaway contest

Just to pass on the word about a great giveaway contest going on at this blog. You get to choose up to 12 fabrics that must fit a theme of your choice. Sounds like fun to me. Give it a go! They have some lovely fabrics to choose from at this etsy shop.

Another handbag?

A girl can never have too many handbags , don't you agree? These little beauties are all Amy Butler patterns. I made the one on the left for my eldest daughter Amelia from a "Heather Bailey" fabric she chose herself. We found a beautiful fabric store called Material Girl in Grand Island, Nebraska and Amelia came in with me to help me choose. ( I'm so glad she did as there was a lot to choose from!) The first lot of fabric we saw was Heather Bailey's "Pop Garden and Bijoux" which I had been drooling over for a couple of months but had only seen it on her blog. This shop was the largest fabric store I had ever been into and had an amazing variety of fabrics, patterns and embellishments plus some beautiful antique furniture used to display fabrics around the store.

The other large bag is made from a Sandi Hendersen fabric and the smaller one from Amy Butler's "Daisy Chain".

I found Amy's patterns very easy to follow and I'm very pleased with how they turned out. This beautiful flower comes with the pattern. I put a brooch pin on the back so I can move it around. The flowers on the other bags I designed myself.

Sewn giveaway winners

Once again I would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who dropped by and left some lovely comments and great feedback. I hope you all keep looking in to see what I'm up to. Now winners of the SEWN giveaway are; "Sandy of Buenos Aires" who wins 4 fat quarters of batiks and a flower brooch AND "Melissa" who wins 4 fat quarters and a pin cushion. Congratulations! Please contact me via email with your address's.

Now unfortunately the winner of my Mayday Giveaway did not reply to my email so I had to draw another winner who is "Rafael's Mum".

I hope you all enjoy the batik fabric and look forward to seeing what you produce.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

They don't make them like this anymore!

This is my first sewing machine which I inherited from my Grandmother on my Dad's side. It is a "Unity" brand and was sold exclusively I think, through The Farmers Trading Company. It is a treadle sewing machine but has an electric motor at the back. You can see the bobbin winder on the right-hand side in front of the stitch length indicator. I thought it appropriate to blog about this as Sew-Mama-Sew is having a sewing machine month. My first sewing endeavours were all for my barbie and her 'friend ' Ken. They had quite a wardrobe. It doesn't do any fancy stitchs but does do a beautiful straight stitch.

This is the beautiful accessories tin with various sized feet for hemming etc..

This is the electric foot peddle. I don't use it now as the plug is a bit dodgy!

And this is what it looks like all closed up in my lounge as a lovely piece of furniture but one that means alot to me.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

May giveaway winners!!

Finally I have a winner! I just want to say a big THANK YOU to all of you who left such lovely comments and gave such great feedback about my blog. I've taken it all on board and there will be a few tweaks here and there plus I will work on a couple of tutorials for you all who requested those. I have already added a followers button to make it easier to follow my blog.

OK, the winner of the 8 fat quarters plus the pin cushion and brooch is "kestch" from Ireland. I have sent an email tonight to confirm. I have another 2 fat quarters and brooch that goes to "Kyle and Leslie" who I would like to here from as I don't have their email.
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