Showing posts from August, 2012

An apple a day

I haven't blogged, baked, quilted or done anything of note really for the past few days except work. My new job starts next week, and I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed by just how much needs to be done both to tie things up at my old job and get things started at the new one. A tiny bit scary and stressful, but also, admittedly, a little bit fun and exciting, too! Somehow, in the midst of all this work craziness, though, I managed to make a little purchase....

One metre of Kokka 'A is for Apples' fabric for the Japanese Charm Swap I joined a couple of weeks ago. I bought it from the fantastic Celtic Fusions Fabrics after protracted deliberations and increasing anxiety that I might lose out in the fabric purchases stakes. For the uninitiated, the swap involves each person posting a picture of the fabric they've purchased, thereby indicating to everyone else that that particular fabric is now off limits. Some people were very quick off the mark, I'll tell you, so w…

My Nana's Apple Cake

This past Saturday morning, hubby and I hosted a little get together for some of our friends from church, so, naturally, I baked. This is a recipe I remember making with my mother when I was quite small using a much-loved and much-stained index card listing the ingredients and the briefest of brief instructions. It had been handed down to my mom from her mom before her, who, quite possibly, had got it from her own mother. I'm not quite sure why, but it went by the very un-PC term, 'Jewish Apple Cake'. Go figure.

Anyway, it's a really delicious, exceptionally moist cake, perfect for mid-morning or mid-afternoon tea and coffee breaks (and pretty much any time in between!) So good is it, that when I was working for the fantastic Itsabagel cafes in Dublin as a starving postgraduate student, we sold chunks of the cake as 'Tina's Granny's Apple Cake'. It was a rip-roaring success, and, in fact, might still be today! 

In my childhood, this cake made regular feat…

The Disappearing 9 Blocks

Months and months and months ago when I last got to attend a Bee Blessed gathering, I took home with me six odd Disappearing Nine Blocks that hadn't fit in with the other quilts made from the masses of D9Bs we'd collected in the preceding months. These leftover but still lovely D9Bs featured pale yellow, light blue, and aqua fabrics, so I grabbed whatever there was in the Bee Blessed stash, supplementing with a few bits and pieces from my own stash, to make enough matching blocks to finish a quilt top. Following Judith's fantastic tutorial, I made ten more D9Bs, all of which promptly got stacked and stored until they almost disappeared for real! I dug them out a couple of weeks ago, after being reminded that our next Bee Blessed gathering was set for 15 September, more than a little bit embarrassed that I hadn't made more progress! 

I had initially meant to add another row of four D9Bs, but, I'd run out of the plain white fabric required for the blocks and, truth be…

Special Delivery

Yesterday afternoon I was surprised with a delightful parcel from the amazingly talented Shannon containing these lovely ladies. 

A couple of weeks ago, Shannon had blogged about these gorgeous little Russian doll pin toppers that she had made (and, incredibly, not really liked!) They were snapped up in record time from her Etsy shop, and I was oh, so jealous of the lucky purchaser. But, Shannon assured me she'd be making some more, so I undertook a vigilant watch of both blog and Etsy shop to be sure I snagged my Russian dolls this time around. And, when it came down to it, I couldn't decide which colours I liked best, so I opted to get them all! Aren't they the cutest little things? 

xx Tina

Zooming right along

This afternoon I got home from church and went straight to work on my charm square quilt. Hubby was away, so I had the whole house to myself and nothing specific to get done except some sewing. A couple of hours later, and my charm square baby quilt is pretty much ready to go!

I changed the layout a bit, re-arranging the squares so I'd get a diagonal line of each colour - a pattern that seemed to work better than the completely random arrangement I'd tried out earlier. Then, I added a narrow border in red Kona, et voilá, my quilt top was finished. I sandwiched it together with its fleece backing and wadding using spray basting and made all of the leftover bits and pieces of fabric into binding. 

The only thing left to be done on this quilt is the actual quilting. I think this might be the time to have a go at Free Machine Quilting, but I'm feeling anxious at the very idea! Still, it's quite a small quilt, so it shouldn't be too much of an ordeal, right?! Any tips or …

A first

I've joined my first fabric swap! Soooo exciting! It's organized by the lovely Sarah, and the rules seem pretty straightforward: each of the 28 individuals involved purchases one metre of Japanese import fabric, posts a picture of it on flickr to ensure no repeats, and then cuts and mails to Sarah 56 x 5" charms by the end of September. Everyone then receives an amazing package in the mail with 56 assorted charm squares in all kinds of cool Japanese prints. Bring it on!!

We're not technically supposed to start shopping until 26 August, but I've already spent a couple (several!?) hours rooting around online. There's just so much to choose from, I'm not quite sure how I'll pick! These are a few I like (out of many, many, many more!) ....

Any suggestions for online shops to look in and/or particular fabrics to look for?

xx Tina

Lovely Charm Squares

This week has been a bit of a whirlwind, mainly because things are crazy at work. I'm in the process of changing positions at the moment, so my days seem to pass in a haze of phone calls to various HR individuals, countless emails dealing with logistics, and a panicked flurry to tie up loose ends at the old job before moving on to the new. Just as well I had some fantastic blogging/patchworking events to look forward to this week! Monday morning I was invited along to my first blogging event ever, and boy was I delighted! The lovely Judith organized it all, and Fiona kindly hosted us (despite just having had surgery!) There were only five of us altogether (including one non-blogging daughter), as several other Northern Ireland based bloggers couldn't make it, but it was lovely to meet a few of the bloggers I've been following and put faces to names. As ever these days, I had my hexies to hand, so I worked away on those while we chatted about ourselves and our projects, ate…

Back in Belfast

After an uneventful flight from Boston and an exhausting day spent sorting immigration/visa stuff in Dublin - the joys of being an American, cross-border worker! - I'm back in Belfast now, immensely enjoying the terrific weather... obviously, I brought it back with me from New Hampshire! I'm also battling a tiny bit of jetlag and homesickness, alleviated in large part yesterday by this fantastic delivery sent to me by friends to welcome me back.

The unexpected arrival of this beautiful arrangement totally lifted my spirits just when I was feeling a little bit blue and missing my family and friends back home. So, too, did a little baking project I undertook this morning. Hubby's garden has produced a couple of lovely (if very odd-looking!) courgettes.

Not exactly a bumper crop, but these two courgettes immediately made me think of zucchini bread (it doesn't sound right if I call it courgette bread!) This is something we used to make when I was a kid to use up all the extr…

I've hit the mother lode!

I spent this morning in a quilter's paradise! Remember that friend I mentioned, for whose son and daughter-in-law I made the Double Irish Chains quilt? Well, she (Mrs. L.), my mom, and I whiled away a couple of blissful hours in The Quilt Patch, an amazing little shop that looks deceptively small from outside but which actually houses an amazing selection of brightly coloured cottons, baby fleeces, quilt kits, charm squares, jelly rolls, and pretty much any quilting tool you can imagine. Mrs. L. is currently working on a wedding present for a young lady getting married in October with a Halloween-themed wedding! The quilt Mrs. L. is planning is, appropriately, black and white, and we found some amazing spider-web print black cotton for the backing as well as a couple of lovely ash grey and marbled black fabrics for borders. For my part, I picked up a few fat quarters in colours to match my earlier purchases, another few in white to add to my hexie quilt, and a lovely, soft print f…

Hexie Progress

Well, I've been away in Montreal for the past week or so with work, sweltering in the record-breaking heat and humidity! Despite my enthusiasm about all such weather here in North America, even I found myself a tad bit cranky, especially after four nights in un-airconditioned student accommodation in the atmospheric but suffocating Grey Nuns Residence at Concordia University. I don't know how the nuns ever survived summer in this place, but, if their name is anything to go by (the term 'les soeurs grises' in French means both 'grey nuns' and 'drunken nuns'), alcohol might have played a key role. Then again, as one Montrealer informed me, this is the hottest, most humid summer they've experienced in 800 years!

Anyway, as you might imagine, I was delighted to get back to New Hampshire and my parents' air-conditioned house for a last couple of days of family time before heading back to Ireland. That's where, on Sunday afternoon, I sat practicall…