Monday, July 26, 2010

For the chocoholics

Chocolate Fondant
200 gms dark chocolate
100 gms butter
 3 eggs
2/3 cup (150 gms) castor sugar
1/4 cup (40gms) self raising flour

Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Melt together the chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water. Set aside to cool.
  • Butter 6 ramekins very well and sprinkle cocoa powder inside to thoroughly coat. I add a small square of baking paper in the bottom to make turning out less stressfull.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar together until thick and pale.
  • Pour warm chocolate mixture over eggs and sugar.
  • Sift the flour into the mix.
  • Fold gently together.
  • Pour into 3/4 cup ramekins.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes. The center should still be a little wobbly to the touch. 
  • Stand for a few minutes, loosen around the edges with a knife and turn onto plates.
I like to serve these with berries and icecream.
There you go, a dessert for a special treat. Enjoy.
Melting the chocolate and butter. I used 70% Lindt chocolate. Don't let the simmering water touch the bowl.
Beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale.
Ramekins buttered and coated with cocoa, I added the square of paper inside on the bottom.
It will probably look something like this when cooked. If you overcook them, you won't have the flowing chocolate center but it'll still be a nice moist dessert. You'll have to judge when they're at this stage by your own oven, it may take more or less time.
You can keep the uncooked mixture in the ramekins for a couple of days or even freeze them. That makes it a great do ahead dessert.
Thanks to everyone who left some tips on how to minimise the damage I was doing to my fingers. I found this at the local pharmacy and sprayed some into a container and dipped my finger in it. I also had some thimble its and cut one in half and now use that with ease. I also like the pad of leather you can buy on my right hand on the finger that pushes on the eye of the needle.
I even managed to get another couple of blocks sewn without saying ouch once. Only a few more to go.
I've been asked what the interfacing was that I used on the pincushion. It was Peltex (Pellon) double sided ultra firm satbiliser and the number on the packaging is 72F.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I've been busy

I've made another pincushion, it's Anna Maria Horner's pincushion caddy from her book Seams To Me. Before I started, I did a google search on it and just lucky I did.
I read that it was a curse to make and that the pattern pieces in the book didn't fit together. Darn! I really wanted to make it but all's not lost thanks to a blogger who did all the figuring out stuff.

Yes it was a curse to make, there was unpicking but it's finished with all it's pleaty imperfections. If I ever make another one which is doubtful, I'd hand sew the inner tube to the outer part to try and avoid the pleats.
Click here if you'd like the information for the tips and tricks.
I'm still on the search for suitable fabrics for Broderie perse and found this one over here, not much of a swatch to tell what it was like but it's good, the flowers aren't too small or too large.

Lisa from Stray Threads and I are doing a bit of bartering and swapping of fabrics as she's doing the Morrell quilt too. Go have a look at her blog, she loves antique quilts and dolls.
I have some very important people coming next week to stay and some fun things to do so I thought I'd make a divine chocolate desert to go in the freezer. Call it chocolate fondant, lava cake or whatever. I call it delicious. I cooked two of them to test and they have my thumbs up. Cut into it and the melted chocolate filling oozes out. I can post the recipe if anyone wants it and it's an easy one. The uncooked ones are in the freezer all ready to go. It's definitely in the special treat category.
Just take a look at my poor injured fingers, I know, it's gross, lol.
I've nearly sewn them to the bone and that thumb nail keeps getting the tip of the needle. I'm going to try a trick I heard which was to put some super glue on them. The gel not the runny stuff, I've glued my fingers together before because the runny one is  like water. Edit: I'll stay clear of the super glue after some warnings I got, thanks bloggers!
I've tried putting other things to protect the fingers but they all get in my way. Does anyone else have the same problem?
Trot on over to Glorious Applique if you'd like to see why my fingers are so worn out.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Just a little ta dah moment

By my DH's reckoning, there's over a thousand leaves to be put on the four borders of the Stars and sprigs quilt. Believe me, I wasn't going to count. The journey of a thousand leaves is started by stitching the first one. I don't get concerned about how many or how long it's going to take at all.
Step by step I sewed leaves on and it took twelve evenings to stitch. I didn't do any applique during the day and used that time to do the prep.

I haven't finished the main body of the top, I have three rows to do but I thought if I joined what I had, it was enough to give me the measurement to trim the border. I like to sew my blocks in units rather than long row after long row so I made nine patch units from the blocks and joined them that way.
I couldn't believe that my measurement was exactly the same as the pattern, that hardly ever happens to me.
It's all going together very well and I couldn't be more thrilled. If you'd like to see the whole of what I have together do far, visit Glorious Applique, a new blog that Pam has set up.
Glorious Applique is a group blog for those who are stitching any of Kim McLean's patterns. Give Pam a shout if you'd like to join in the fun.
Now I need to keep going so I can get onto the next one on the list.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Just dropping by for a chat

I'm just popping my head in to have a natter about all sorts of things that have been going on. I just got these two books in the last couple of days. The Encyclopedia of applique by Barbara Brackman is one I've been meaning to get for awhile. It's a great rescource book full of sketches of applique blocks and will be usefull when deciding on blocks for a design.

The cookbook is self explanatory really, I need to have a go at the macarons now that I have a new oven. I'll let you know how that goes. Macarons are the new cupcake it seems. This one has the easy method, not that Italian, thermometer, meringue, bound to go wrong method.
I picked up this piece of fabric at the LQS which I thought could be very useful for broderie perse,. It's Broderie Perse by RJR, an older line. You don't need to see the few Kaffes I got, it's more of the same luscious stuff I've shown before.
OK, it's confession time, I've taken the process pledge as you can see from my side bar and I've been holding back, I'm ususally a die hard needle turner who uses a toothpick on the side when it comes to applique but I've been harbouring secrets from you my friends. Yes it's true, I've been feeling guilty and it's time I fessed up.

That's not freezer paper templates you see in the photo below, it's Floriani Stitch 'n Wash fusible tearaway. The glue used for the fusible coating is water soluble.
I've been speeding up my sewing on the Stars and Sprigs blocks by using this product
I iron the reverse template to the back of the fabric and use a glue pen to fold and stick the seam to the back. It's important to use lower heat with the iron. I'm going through those refills fast!
I can then just pin my pieces as I need them on the background and sew away to my hearts content. It really has sped up the process, works brilliantly for simple shapes and it's not messy. I feel like a traitor to needleturn but I think I'll get over that, I'm just open to using more than one method.
After I've finished the piece, I wash all the glue out and slit the backs of the shapes to remove the tearaway with my tweezers.
This border I'm doing should be finished in a couple of days, it's been great doing lots of leaves, I love them. I also love choosing those way out colours. I think this is my favourite leaf.
Cut from this fabric, it was placed so that the colour change occured inbetween two sections. It's Aurora by Brandon Mably.
I thought I'd show off my absolute favourites, these ones have so much pattern that you get more bang for your buck when cutting out pieces. This one is Coleous from Phillip Jacobs.
Shell Montage, again a Phillip Jacobs.
Varied leaves, Phllip Jacobs. I love that all these come in six different colourways.
I hang my head in shame because I've been remiss in showing you this giveaway I won from Elaine at Soggy Bottom Flats. So sorry Elaine. I love it because it's a wool pincushion kit and you know I love pincushions. The wool might stop the rusty pins in our sometimes humid weather. Elaine has some kits in her Etsy store if you'd like one.
I was really lucky and won this fob from Kaaren. Now my scissors look flash! I love the bird charm. Thanks Kaaren.
That's not all, I must be having a lucky streak, this RAK (random act of kindness) came from  Anna at Thimbleanna. I left a comment on her blog ages ago about how much I'd love to get my hands on one of these colour cards and she remembered. What a kind gesture, thanks so much Anna.
Haven't I been chatty today? Finally, Happy 125th Birthday to the fabulous Scandinavian designer Josef Frank.
This one looks so much like Kim McLean's leaves, how could I not be impressed.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

If you spent the day at my house

I would have given you some sandwiches made out of my homemade sourdough bread I baked this morning.
You could have joined us on a walk around the block. Up the end of our road is a small lake and playground with this walking/cycling track. In  the weekends, you'll find lots of children with parents in tow, learning to ride bikes.
Lots of little delights along the way.
Opened up, don't those toadstools look like flowers?
I see the Wattle has started flowering. Not good if  pollen doesn't agree with you but what a magnificent yellow these ones are.
I just love seeing the different coloured Grevilleas. It's not uncommon to find the native parrots feeding on the nectar.
Banksia, another native with it's glorious orangy red flowers.
And how about some dragon hunting? These water dragons are not pretty but I get excited when I spot one catching a few rays.
This is up the road from the supermarket, right in the middle of town. It's a catchment area and a good spot to look for the dragons.
Or trolleys. Dumpers peeve me off, spoiling the environment.
It's a bread making kinda day and we've been fans of the Masterchef series on the telly. I made up this recipe from the show. Schiacciatta con l'uva, a flat bread studded with grapes, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with raw sugar and eaten warm. It was as yummy as it sounds. Dangerously yummy!
The other half of the dough was used to make a pizza for tea. We're not big fans of pizza but this was another one from the show. Pizza Margharitta. Homemade tomato sauce, basil, semi sundried tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. I'd definitely make this again. Maybe pizza's not too bad after all.
The main reason for all the baking was to test the new oven we had to get and hey, it doesn't burn everything after five minutes. This is the cleanest it will ever be and since cleaning ovens is one of the worst jobs in the house, I made sure to get a self cleaning one. If only fridges could have that feature.
I hope you're having a lovely weekend, don't forget to enjoy the simple pleasures. I'm going back to sewing now that I'm all cooked out.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I'm feeling inspired.

I decided to mix things up a bit with the Stars and Sprigs pattern and tackle a border. There are four of them of course so making one now will break the monotony later on.
I have the very center section stitched, lucky I love appliqueing leaves.
I think it took about three evenings just to get the stems down. I'm really loving  the effect of the different browns used. I'll have to remember to do that for another quilt.
I'm not bothering with an overlay this time. I'm marking the pieces on the background with a washout pen and since I'll wash the basting glue I use out afterwards, it'll cause no problems. I think it's sped up the whole stitching process too.
I have two more of the sprig blocks completed. I'm surprised at myself, being so focused on this one project.
I took a trip out yesterday with Mr Quiltsalott since he's on holiday. I  especially wanted to visit Material Obsession which is about an hour and a half away. I needed him to navigate since I'm rubbish at finding my way anywhere.
I felt like a celebrity shopper, the ones that have the stores open just for them because we were the only ones in the shop.

Unfortunately Kathy wasn't there, I always seem to miss her when I go. I did meet the lovely Liesle who I enjoyed having a good chat to. I'm sure that creativity oozes out of the walls there when you see what quilts are lying around.

I was on a mission and that was to stock up on a few Kaffe, Brandon and Phillip fabrics. Gotta keep the stash replenished you know. I used to buy fat quarters, then I moved up to half metres and now I find I want a metre of the ones I love.
There was another ulterior motive actually and that was to get my hands on some raffle tickets. I elected to put my name in the hat to do a workshop with Kim McLean. I'm crossing my fingers and so I call these tickets my Willy Wonka golden tickets because it doesn't hurt to think positively. I really got very excited to see the quilt that she's offering as the project.
I've been feeling inspired lately and I'm wanting to come up with some ideas for a quilt. I have some initial thoughts that need developing and have been poring over some books to spark my imagination so these ones are the reading material for this week.
At some stage I'll have to get the pencils out and put something to paper, I'll let you know how I go with that.
You've seen it all over blogland and now I have my copy in my hot little hands. What an amazing pattern and of course I had to have it but I have no plans just yet to stitch it.
It seems like I've had a colourful week and I've been enjoying the birds visiting. This one is a Rosella and we've been getting quite a few of the other natives as well. I'm putting out a few sunflower seeds for them which means they visit most days.