Monday, 31 January 2011

Kitty Quilt–UFOs Challenge #6

It is time yet? Can I speak (write) about it? Can I show it? I’ve finished the Kitty Quilt on time (a week early, actually) for the UFOs Challenge 2011’s target.

The story of this quilt starts 2 1/2 years ago. At this time I was discovering the Blogosphere, and one of the very first blog I started following was Oh Fransson. In August 2008, she made this quilt, so fresh. The same month, I went to the NEC in Birmingham with my friends and my Aunty. And my Aunty being my Aunty, when I spotted the Kitty fabric, she could not resist buying it for me. And I couldn’t say NO either!

I started cutting, piecing, basting… but then I cannot remember what happened. Was is the year we had 3 au pairs in 7 months? Was is the year I commuted a lot between work and the kids activities? Or was it the year I promised myself I will learn to machine quilt and save the quilt for this purpose?

Anyway, as they say, live happens and now some years later it is done, machine-quilted and I still love it (which might not be the case of other quilts on the UFOs list)!

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Sunday, 30 January 2011

A New banner and a New look

I was not entirely satisfied with the previous ‘look’. I am trying to spring-clean it, and even now I am not 100% sure about it. Anyway, I’ll leave it as it is for the moment.

What I like though, is the addition of the tabs, just under the banner. If you used to visit my ‘blog list’ on the side, it has now moved under the tabs, sorted by ‘genre’. I have added a lot more links and remove a couple. Hope you don’t mind.

January banner

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Loaded brownie

Once again, thank you to Sarah from Clover Lane for the inspiration. And now I am telling you why.

Starting from the beginning: I have a problem with after-school snacks. The kids come back home sometimes at 3:20, or 4:05, or 4:20 or 5:20. Sometimes I pick them up at school directly after their activities. Which means that there’s no set time for the mid-afternoon snack, except that, theoretically, no snack is allowed after 5:00 (but honestly, when they come back from swimming or football training, I do not have the heart to say NO).

Until this week, I always had ‘convenient’ snacks at home (read ‘processed cookies, biscuits, cereals bars’) and of course some fruits. And until this week, there was always a fight when the last of the kids arrive at home and there was nothing left. I’ve notice that those manufactured snacks are not satisfying and the tendency is to eat one after the other.

So this week, I baked a Victorian sponge cake, some banana and chocolate muffins, some honey and spice cookies and a brownie. The recipe is simple and I have used it many times, it has its space in my ‘black book’ (the one that the kids say they will fight for over my not-yet-cold body). I think it was a recipe from Martha Stewart. And this is why I say ‘Thank you, Sarah’: the added chocolate bars, that will not have time to melt completely during the baking process!

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Ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter softened: 1/2 cup
  • Unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped: 4 ounces
  • Sugar: 1.5 cup
  • Instant espresso powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Vanilla extract: 2 teaspoon
  • Large eggs, lightly beaten: 4
  • All purpose flour: 1 cup
  • Cinnamon: 3/4 teaspoon
  • Ground nutmeg: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt: 1/4 teaspoon
  • Unsweetened chocolate cut into bars
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Buttered a 9’ square baking pan.
  2. In a sauce pan, over very low heat, melt chocolate and butter together. Let cool slightly, then whisk in sugar, espresso powder, vanilla extract and eggs.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add this to the chocolate and stir until combined.
  4. Pour half of the mixture in the pan, then place the bars of chocolate, and then pour the remaining of the batter. Bake for 30/40 min or until a tooth-pick inserted in the centre comes out slightly wet. Run a knife around the edges and cut is squares.

The bars of chocolate have hardly the time to melt, which make the centre of the brownie all gooey and chocolaty. I can not show any pictures to prove my point, all is gone.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Finishes and starts

Flowing my previous post, I have been working on the Challenge UFOs 2011 #6. It is coming along, and I am confident that I can make this first challenge on time. I still have a bit of quilting to do on the border, then the binding and it will be one project finished for 2011.

In the meantime, I have a little something else going on. It is not a project as such. I’ve started it over the Xmas holiday just to keep my hands moving.

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The pattern comes from Marie Claire Idées. I do not know what I am going to do with it, how I am going to assemble it.

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I have another project in waiting. I will start it once the Kitty quilt is finished. I will be using 30’s prints.

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Wednesday, 19 January 2011

In the groove…

A year of 2011 UFOs challenge, I am off on a good start. Yesterday was my Machine Quilting workshop at Brigitte. I was excited and nervous. I’ve been trying to machine quilt for a long time with no satisfactory result. My expectation were high, and….

and now I roll. Hum! not exactly yet, but the tension with the machine and between ‘her’ and me is now sorted. Yes, the secret is in the tension: the right one for the machine and none in the shoulders.

A couple of more sessions, and I should be on target for this month’s objective.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Brother and Sister

Those 2 little guys are gone to their new home, I know that the sister has slept in a warm bed.

Shabby Princess ~ Happy Go Lucky1

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Simple, simple, simple…

Not sure whether I could call this a tutorial, a demo, or just a ‘thingy’ (that’s not a word – right!)

Today, I had to wrap two gifts, but the only wrapping paper left at home was Christmas paper (out of season – right!). But I found some old envelops. Probably had them for years, can’t even remember when I last used one of them. One idea following the next, I came with this.

You need:

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  • one large envelop
  • a ruler
  • a pen
  • some sealer-tape
  • a pair of fancy scissor















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    From the bottom of the envelop, the sealed part, and mark a dot on each side at 1 1/2’.

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    Fold on the dots.

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    Mark 2 dots at the top of the envelop, on the flap, and 2 others opposite these at the bottom of the envelop, on the folded part.

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    Fold each side, using opposite dots as a guide line.

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    Open the envelop, and the creases to make this beck-like triangle (not sure what I am speaking about, look at an UHT carton).

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    Fold the triangles toward the bottom of the box, and secure them in place with a bit of sealer tape.

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    On the flap part, draw a line.

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    Use your fancy scissors to cut across the line.

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    And Voilà! my grocery-like gift bag. Next time, I will decorate the envelop before I make the bag.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

For 2011, I would like…

  • to instantly slim down;
  • to learn in my sleep;
  • to be toned just by the will of my powerful mind;
  • to be calm and relax when facing the kids’ “demands”;
  • to get a juicer;
  • to hate anything sugary or chocolaty;
  • to finish all my UFOs;
  • to be super organised';
  • to grumble not;

So far I got:

  • a broken bread maker – that was the only way I was able to make decent bread Sad smile
  • a ‘playing-funny’ camera – so sad, but that might be the opportunity I was waiting to get a new one;
  • a bad hair day – humidity = frizzy hair + I am growing old, and my hair are growing white…

Still, I am set to enjoy the day, the kids are all back to school, I am going back to my quilting friends, and it is raining today which means that it will not be to hot.

Inverloch

Souvenir from our Australian holiday