Saturday, 28 June 2014

Two finishes!

Hello lovelies, just a quick post today to show you that I have been rather busy in amongst studying.   My daughters I spy quilt is finished, quilted and bound and ready to be sent to my nephew.  I love the way it turned out.

And I finally finished the borders on my star quilt... oh what a relief that is!  The outer red is the binding I will be using.  I had been putting it off but its finally done and ready to be long arm quilted.

Now I can start on my tumbler quilt... Yay!  The winter weather has really set in here with gale force winds and flash flooding in some suburbs of Melbourne.  The days are gloomy and getting outside for a walk is becoming a battle.  Hope the sunshine reappears soon.  Today I took myself to the Craft and Quilt Show... oh what fun!  Fabric, fabric and more fabric... I was in heaven.  But I will post more about that soon, as I'm really tired and need to put my winter pjs on and hop into bed.

Until next time

Yours in Stitches

Leanne x

Friday, 20 June 2014

Cute Little Houses!

Hello lovelies, life has been a little trying over in this neck of the woods.  The weather is getting colder and we are preparing ourselves for the onslaught of winter.  And you know what that means, don't you? Colds and virus's blah!  Yes my partner and kids have all come down with nasty colds this past week and had time at home to recover.  This has meant that I have got very little done in terms of sewing or studying.  Fortunately, the germs are yet to invade my body so (touch wood) lets hope it has bypassed me... could I be so lucky??? ;)

Also, during the week my daughter decided that she would really like to begin sewing on her Kimmi Doll quilt (the fabric had been cut and ready to go for some time now) but felt that her sewing wasn't good enough.

Hmmmm how many times have we all felt like this? We want to do something, but our lack of confidence in our abilities holds us back.

So we came up with the idea of making an I-Spy quilt for her little cousin as a practice quilt.  Of course, ironically, as is usually the case when we lack confidence, she sewed most of the squares perfectly and the quilt-top has come together really well.

She's a lot like me in this respect, I mull over bookkeeping subjects, not sure if I fully understand them, not confident I will remember the concepts but then amaze myself when I get an assignment back with a score of 93%.  Woah! How did that happen?  Or I agonise for days over a design in my head, instead of just stepping out and doing it.  After all, quilting is my 'art', its my form of expression with fabric, is there really a right or wrong?  Perhaps we should all 'just do it' and as long as we are happy with it, isn't that all that matters?

We then stumbled upon this gorgeous little free pattern by RetroMama and just had to try it!

Made by me
Made by Taylah

The results speak for themselves I think.  They are so cute, fun to make and will make wonderful little presents for family, friends and even teachers at Christmas time :)

I am in awe of some peoples ability to come up with things like this.  But I think the more we 'play', the more we experiment, the closer we get to that 'Eureka' moment and the more future inspiration will strike.

Speaking of 'Eureka!' I was cleaning out the craft cupboard and found some fabrics I had forgotten I had!  Whoohoo!  I have so much fabric at this point its really quite embarrassing... so I think a fabric diet may be in order lol.

I am very glad the weekend is here.  We are experiencing a few days of sunshine at the moment, even though its cold, so hopefully this will stay with us over the next few days.  Meanwhile, I have a little secret to share with all of you in the coming weeks - some new things I'm working on to open my online shop and a new logo, very exciting!

Anyway, I am off to put the borders on my Star Quilt... can't wait to see it finished!

Yours In Stitches

Leanne x

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Ta Da! Star quilt and risotto.

Hello beautiful people.  Well I'm feeling very happy today!  It's a lovely, sunny, autumn day here in Melbourne... and....  my the piecing of my star quilt is complete!  I just have the borders to sew on before I send it off to BlanketLovez to be long arm quilted and bound.  From there it will find a new home at the Star Room in the Ronald McDonald House in Orange, NSW.

I must say its turned out wayyyyy better than I had imagined.  I love its rainbow colours and the pattern was straightforward and involved mostly chain piecing - what could be better!  If you intend to make this pattern, I would highly recommend drawing that dreaded diagonal line on each of your 2.5" blocks (Bonnie does suggest this in the pattern).  I didn't, out of sheer laziness, because I thought "hey, I'll just wing it" but then felt compelled to check each completed block to make sure it was still 4.5" square.... very time consuming.  The few where I had drawn the line were spot on, most were ok, but there were some that were so off I had to replace them with new blocks lol.  Oh well, with each quilt we learn something.  I'll post another pic with the borders on, in a few days.

The weeks are just flying by at the moment.  I've started my next group of subjects for my bookkeeping course (Asset Depreciation *yawn*) and we seem to be in the midst of birthdays, my Dad's last Saturday and my DH organised a lovely lunch at a rather spiffy hotel for his daughter who turned 18.

I found an old quilt kit I had bought many years ago at a quilt show.

I still love the fabrics but find the pattern doesn't really interest me anymore.  The kit came with 5" charm squares and all fabrics to make the top and even included the backing.  I've been itching to make a tumbler quilt and found this video on making the blocks from charm squares without having to buy a tumbler template.  Wonderful!

So I have cut the charm squares into the tumbler blocks and can't wait to start laying them out.  This is what has been pushing me to get the star quilt finished.

I thought I would share another recipe with you.  I love to feed my family meals made from real, back to basics, ingredients.  Wholesome and nutritious, just what growing bodies need - real food!  We had this earlier in the week and I had forgotten how tasty it is.  Previously I would make risotto the traditional way... lots of stirring and ladling in stock.  Pfft, this recipe requires none of that, and the results are superb.  Feel free to vary the ingredients and make it your own.

Oven-baked Tomato and Chicken Risotto            Serves 6

1 tbsp olive oil

1 brown onion, finely chopped
100g rindless bacon, chopped
500g chicken breast fillets, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
2 cups aborio rice
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 cups chicken stock
grated parmesan to serve

Preheat oven to 160C (fan forced).

Heat oil in large flameproof, ovenproof dish over medium heat.

Cook onion and bacon for 2 minutes.

Add chicken and cook, stirring for 3 - 4 minutes.

Add garlic, lemon zest, rosemary and chilli, if using, and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add rice and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Mix tomato paste and stock in a jug.  Pour over rice mixture.

Bake, covered, for 35 minutes or until rice is just tender and the liquid has been absorbed.

Stir through parmesan.


Have I told you about my little recipe book?


I bought myself this little red hardcover notebook and in it I record all my favourite recipes.  I have some wonderful cookbooks but I got so tired of trying to remember which book a particular recipe was in.  So now all my absolute favourite recipes go in here (many of which I will be posting on this blog).  I've had all different methods for recording recipes in the past, index cards, typing them on the computer, etc but this is more personal and it will be something to hand down to my kids when I pass.

I handwrite each recipe and will be adding notes, sayings, sketches and doodles, bits and pieces as I go... a kind of recipe scrapbook if you like.  It's well used and has a few food splashes on it but that's what makes it mine.

Anyway, until next time

Yours in Stitches

Leanne x

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Chicken Puffs

Hello friends, today I thought I would share with you one of my family's favourite recipes... Chicken Puffs.  Many years ago, when I was in my early 20's (mmm MANY years ago lol), my boyfriends mother would often make this delicious chicken in pastry dish.  It was real comfort food and the perfect dinner for the cold nights we are beginning to have here in Melbourne.  The thing is that it looks difficult, and could even be served up at a dinner party, but isn't.

Chicken Puffs                    serves 6

3 skinless chicken breast fillets, cut in half
1 pkt of cream of chicken soup
120g softened butter
6 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
a little freshly ground pepper
3 sheets ready made puff pastry

Preheat oven to 200 C.

Blend soup powder with butter, spring onions and pepper.

Cut each pastry sheet in half.  Place one chicken piece on each piece of pastry.

Place a large tablespoon of butter mixture on top, brush sides of pastry with a little water, and fold pastry over chicken to form square pasties.

Fold up edges and press.

Bake on greased/lined oven tray for 20 minutes.

Serve with mashed potato and steamed vegetables.

And there you have it... simple, impressive and oh so yummy!

I love things that bake in the oven because it leaves me time to sneak in a bit of sewing ;)

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  If you have any queries, let me know in the comments and I will endeavour to assist.

Yours in stitches

Leanne x

Monday, 2 June 2014

Oh what a wonderful weekend!

Hello lovelies, can I tell you I had the most wonderful weekend?  DH and I did something we haven't done in a very long time... spent the whole weekend together without kids!!!  It was just what we needed.  Fortunately we live in the beautiful city of Melbourne, Australia and the weather was just perfect on Saturday, a perfect autumn day.

We went on the magnificent Melbourne Star Observation Wheel (like a giant ferris wheel) , one of our cities newest attractions, and I'm so glad we did.

The view was absolutely breath taking.  Being suspended so so far above the ground was, I have to say, a little unnerving, particularly if you're not fond of heights.  But just take a look at these brilliant pics taken on my new camera!  I took so many photos, these are just some of them.  It's very hard to do this structure justice, its just enormous.

The wheel moves constantly, even while passengers are getting on and off, however its so smooth and slow that you barely notice that you are moving, just that the ground is moving further away.

A pod coming into the terminus.

Our pod is ready to board, gotta be quick though because they don't stop!

Leaving the terminus.

Here we go!

Going up up up!

Docklands Precinct.

The view looking towards the CBD.

Reaching the top of the wheel.  Scary but oh my, look at that view!

View of the port and the Westgate Bridge very faint in the distance.

Over the crest now and coming down the other side.

Coming back into the terminus.

Getting ready to disembark whilst in motion!

It was truly exhilarating and I highly recommend it to anyone living or visiting our beautiful city.  I've lived in Melbourne all my life and I have to say, there is always something interesting to do or see here.

This wonderful experience was followed by a late lunch at the nearby Harbourtown Hotel (always good) and a spot of shopping.  By this time the sun was starting to go down, and after some peanut butter and snickers bar ice-cream from Cold Rock, managed to capture these pics of the wheel at night, lit up in all her splendour.

Then it was time to head home for a night walk with our dog, and reach my 10,000 steps for the day.  A few months ago I bought myself a FitBit.  Marvelous little gadgets they are!  Mostly they track your steps for the day and encourage you to meet fitness goals.  I've started pushing myself to walk for 45mins to an hour everyday in an effort to lose about 25kg by the end of the year.   Ohhhh it seems so overwhelming at the moment, but I shall keep plugging away... walking more and eating less!

Sunday was another lovely day, although the weather turned for the worst and it drizzled for the majority of the day.  We were fortunate to have free movie tickets so went to see The Other Woman at the local cinemas.  Very funny movie, highly recommended.  We then had lunch at Schnitz, then a little bit of shopping, then home to yet again walk the neighbourhood.

As you can imagine, I didn't cook once for the whole weekend lol

Now, as for sewing, I received a request from BlanketLovez to make a star quilt for the Ronald McDonald House Star Room in Orange, NSW.  So I thought I would give this quilt by Bonnie Hunter a go.

I love the simplicity of it and I thought perhaps bright colours would be more appropriate for this quilt.  So I have been sewing away madly and double sewing the leftover triangles (as Bonnie recommends) so I will get another project out of these.

Blocks for the quilt

Bonus triangles!

Two birds with one stone... love it!

I laid out a couple of blocks just to see how it would look... so exciting.  I can't wait to lay all the blocks on the floor to see the larger effect.

As you can see I've used mostly tone on tone fabrics in rainbow colours.

Stay tuned for more pics as I progress.

Yours in Stitches

Leanne x