Showing posts from October, 2012

Jack O'Lanterns and Frankenblankets

This Saturday, hubby decided he just had to carve a pumpkin for Halloween. This, of course, was no small undertaking .... long was the time spent drawing potential jack o'lantern faces on scrap paper; equally time-consuming was the sketching of the chosen faces on the pumpkin itself (yes... this was a Janus-faced jack o'lantern!); few were the newspaper sheets placed underneath the pumpkin as it was carved; innumerable were the 'oohs' and 'ahs' required once the carving was completed; and infinite was the gratitude and praise expected for the roasted pumpkin seeds produced in the aftermath of the great pumpkin carving. 

For the rest of the evening, we sat around breathing the slightly acrid smell of burning pumpkin flesh - a tea candle had to be lit inside the jack o'lantern at all times for full effect, you see - and gorged ourselves on the sweets intended for the trick-or-treaters who never came! I'm not quite sure what we'll do if they come a-knoc…

Waddling Along

Only about two months to go until Baby H arrives, and I'm definitely feeling the effects of my ever expanding bump! I've got the teeniest, tiniest waddle going on now, and though I've made a real effort to keep as active as possible, I'm definitely slowing down. Yesterday we brought a visiting friend up Cave Hill to take advantage of the lovely weather and show her some breathtaking views of Belfast. I huffed and puffed my way up, stopping a few times to catch my breath and feeling sorry for my more energetic and agile companions. At least I'd managed to feed them a good breakfast before we set off.

Apple, Walnut, and Raisin Muffins
Adapted from Rachel Allen's Bake

600 ml Basic Muffin Batter (recipe follows)
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100 g raisins
50 g walnuts, chopped

Just mix everything together, pour it into 16 or so muffin tins lined with muffin cases, and bake in an oven preheated to 180ÂșC for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpic…

I'm still here...

It's been a while since my last post, and I don't have much excuse except that I've been manically busy trying to juggle 16 million things at once! Feeling slightly overwhelmed by it all this morning, I headed out for a pressure-releasing power walk (read: waddle) and was almost immediately refreshed by the autumnal glory in Ormeau Park.

Somehow it's never really occurred to me before this year how similar autumns are here to those back in New England. Belfast may not have New Hampshire's reputation for fantastic fall foliage, but it's still pretty spectacular! The crisp fresh air combined with the lovely scenery and some child-like romping on my part put things back in perspective and made me crave some of my favourite autumn treats, pumpkin pie chief among them. I just might have to rustle one up this weekend! 

These are the only photos I have to show today, but there'll be a few very soon of my first finish of October (just in time!!) - my charm square bab…

Near Finishes!

After the disappointments of last week, I wasn't quite sure I had the energy or confidence to do anything remotely creative or crafty this weekend. But, my targets for the month of October called, and I sat down to my sewing machine with no small sense of trepidation on Saturday afternoon, armed with helpful suggestions from Judith and Leanne about FMQ-ing. After a methodical de-threading, cleaning, and re-threading, my machine magically began to cooperate, and I was back in business! I finished the FMQ-ing in no time, and I'm so pleased with the result! 

While I was at it, I sewed on the binding and now just have to finish hand sewing it on. I'm calling that a success, if not yet a completion! (Near finishes count, right?!) 

Since I was obviously on a roll, I also made a start on the throw pillows to match this baby quilt. I had bought two pillow forms at Ikea a while back with this intention but didn't have much of a plan in mind, except that I wanted to use the same f…

Cake School - Week 5

This week, it seems, is destined to be one of general frustration for me when it comes to all things crafty! Last night, at cake school, our task was to create cute little cake-toppers for a traditional christening cake. It all seemed pretty straightforward.... cut out a few pieces of sugar paste, mould them together with a bit of royal icing to construct a teeny-tiny crib, artistically arrange a miniature baby and few delicate flower blossoms, et voila....

Mine, sadly, had structural problems from the start. The first crib was terribly crooked and refused to hold together. The second seemed like it might work... that is, until baby and pillow were inserted and blanket draped over both. At that point, the foot end of the crib cracked and fell off, imperiling poor baby, who was, in any case, nearly smothered by my ham-fisted attempt at a blanket. *Sigh* I didn't have the time or energy to start again, so I took everything apart, stowed baby away for another day, and vowed to try aga…


This afternoon, a new spool of thread in hand, I sat down to finish the FMQ on my charm square baby quilt. But, luck clearly wasn't on my side, and I just couldn't get things to work for me. The thread kept bunching up on the underside of my quilt sandwich, and no matter how I changed my thread tension, re-threaded my needle, re-inserted my bobbin, and checked the feed dogs, I simply couldn't get things going right. Extra frustrating because I only have a tiny portion left to quilt, and I was hoping to get the quilting done and binding attached today. Instead, I forced myself to push back from my sewing table, shut things down, and vow to have another go when I was feeling fresher. No point ruining the rest of my Sunday over a bit of uncooperative thread! Any suggestions on what I might be doing wrong? I'm sure it's something simple and obvious, but I can't figure it out, and the manual for my machine isn't shedding much light on anything, except to indicat…


I can hardly believe it's October already! September just seemed to fly by, not least because of my new job, and while I love all the wonderful things about October - the changing of the seasons, autumnal foliage, and the welcome opportunity to bake apple and pumpkin pies - I'm feeling slightly anxious about the passage of time. You see, the beginning of October means I've only got three short months left until Baby H arrives, and none of my baby-related projects are finished yet! Eeek!! Now is the perfect time, therefore, to follow the lead of many a fellow blogger and offer both an account of what I've accomplished in September and a projection of what I'd like to do in October. I'm trying this out through the Fresh Sewing Day on Lily's Quilts (hope I've done everything correctly!); I'm also linking up to the Small Blog Meet in the hopes of learning more about other great blogs and maybe attracting a few more readers to my blog as well!

In truth, t…