31 May 2013

In my kitchen

Look - I cooked again!

Baked capsicum and tomatoes stuffed with couscous - easy peasy.

You will need:
A packet of Ainsley Harriott's couscous (I used Moroccan Medley)
A capsicum
Two large tomatoes
Olive oil

Prepare the couscous according to the instructions on the pack. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Cut the capsicum in half lengthwise and remove the centres and the seeds. Cut the tops off the tomatoes and remove the centres and the seeds.

Fill the capsicums and tomatoes with couscous and put them in an oven-proof dish. Pop the tops back on the tomatoes. Drizzle all with olive oil. Bake for about 30 minutes or until soft. Devour with pleasure!

29 May 2013

On Textile Tidings

This week's highlights from my Textile Tidings Facebook page.

 **    31 May, 1 and 2 June: Epping Weavers Embroiderers and Spinners (EWES) 25th Annual Craft Show, Epping NSW.

**   6-14 July: Stitched Up Textile Festival, Wangaratta, Vic.

**   Fabulous quilt art by Barbara Olson.

**   Lisa Walton shows simple steps to use stencils and colour to create one-off patterns on fabric.
**   Want to learn how to weave? Here's a correspondence course by Ursula Stehle of BB Yarn Supply in Queensland. 

**   Interview with Chieko Aihara about a nearly lost textile tradition called sprang.

**   Thanks to Maggie Grey for this tutorial about using gesso and texture gels to make a spiral book. 

**   Call for entries: Tasmanian Art Quilt Prize 2013. Entries close 26 July 2013.

**   Mixed media pieces by Ehren Elizabeth Reed.

**   Delicate woollen webs by Jude Skeers on the Great Balls of Wool blog.

Visit my Textile Tidings Facebook page to see links to more events, tutorials and other great stuff. 

27 May 2013

Reflections on: being grateful

Recent events have left me feeling a little low and, when I had to pay some large bills this morning, I started to feel sorry for myself. Money features largely in most people's lives. It makes our lives comfortable.

So, I made a conscious decision to be grateful. Why do I have these bills to pay? It's because I live in a place where there is readily-available and reliable water, electricity and gas, all provided directly to my home. It's because I own a car and can afford to have it registered, serviced and filled with petrol. It's because I am employed in a job I enjoy and am paid a fair salary for doing it. 

I am grateful for all these things. Once I started looking around me, I lost count of other things for which I am grateful. The sun is shining today. My washing is drying on the clothesline in the sun. I am cooking a delicious lunch (capsicum and tomato stuffed with couscous and baked plus salmon). I have warmth at night and a safe place to live. I have friends and family. And my footy team won on the weekend.

Too many positives to count, really.

Now I feel suffused with contentment. My life is good and I am grateful for it.

What things make you feel grateful?

19 May 2013

New from Prints Charming

Hooray! I finally have my hands on some of the prints in the new quilting fabric range by Prints Charming for Spotlight. I guess I'll have to make a new quilt...

15 May 2013

Discovering pretties

Several years ago, I had an urge to make a pretty quilt. I wanted to include soft colours and lots of muted floral fabrics. Since these weren't the sort of fabrics I normally purchased, I remember that I started to collect small pieces that I thought would be useful.

I cut them in strips and sewed them together to make a quilt top. Simple and, yes, pretty.

Today, I took this top out of my cupboard and into the light and fell in love all over again. It needs to be a few rows bigger, so that's a task I've added to my sewing list.

To rediscover that different styles and prints make me feel happy is very satisfying. That's why I make quilts - to fall in love. Why do you make quilts?

13 May 2013

Pasty recipe

Thank for all the comments about how you store your recipes. I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who tears them out of magazines but never uses them!

I never thought I would be sharing a recipe on this blog but, due to popular demand, here's what I did to make my beef and vegetable pasties. Purists who like to make everything from scratch, look away now.

  • a couple of slurps of olive oil
  • 125g beef mince
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 50g tomato paste
  • a couple of slurps of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • a couple of handfuls of chopped frozen vegetables (I used corn, carrot and broccoli)
  • 4 sheets shortcut pastry
  • 1 lightly beaten egg


Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Heat the oil in a non-stick frypan. Add garlic, onion and mince. Cook until browned - use a fork to break up the mince. Add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and stock. Reduce heat to low and cook about 5 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Use a biscuit cutter, cup or plate to cut pastry rounds. I cut a large circle from each sheet to make four pasties; you might prefer to make more, smaller ones.

Divide the mince mixture into the number of pastry rounds you have cut. Place the mince mixture in the centre of the pastry. Brush pastry edges with the egg and fold over to enclose. Brush the pastries with egg. Place on baking paper on a tray and bake 15-20 minutes (depending on the size).


I plan to make more of these, with different fillings. Spinach and cheese with pine nuts would be tasty, as would a sweet version with peaches.

12 May 2013

I am not a domestic goddess

I have a folder that is bulging with pages of recipes that I have cut out of magazines and newspapers. Do you have one of those, too?

Rarely have I ever made any of the food in these recipes. Today I decided this would change, so I sorted through the sheets.

It was fascinating. I have collected multiple recipes for similar foods. It would appear I enjoy a limited range of dishes (or I think I would, since I've never cooked any of them). Lots of salmon or chicken dishes are in my file, as well as vegetable recipes. There are also plenty of recipes for banana cake (how many versions does one person need?)

I've decided to make a recipe from my file every week. If it turns out I don't like the taste, the recipe will be discarded. Here I go!

Today's effort was these beef and vegetable pasties. Perfect for a casual Sunday lunch; they are delicious, so that recipe stays in my file.

Cooking is a satisfying activity but it takes time and inclination. Sometimes I have one but not the other. A domestic goddess, I am not. How about you?

08 May 2013

Hand quilted with love

So, my friend Sarah Fielke said to me: would you like to write a post about my new book for my blog hop? OK, I said. Write whatever you like, Sarah said. Trusting, isn't she?

You may remember seeing some of my pictures before on Sarah's blog. Yes, she gave me her password and said: go for it. She was very busy doing other things at the time so she probably forgot to go and check what I did.

What was she doing? She was sewing:

to make:

writing lots of words:

to go into a new book!
So, while I was amusing myself drawing stick people, she wrote ANOTHER book. That would be this one:

It is a beauty. Hardcover, lovely paper, gorgeous photography, clear instructions, helpful diagrams and lots of information about how to construct quilts.

Oh yes, and 16 beautiful projects!

I thought: ooh, I'm going to make this quilt
(Ups and Downs - page 30).
Then I remembered that Sarah makes ENORMOUS quilts and I don't. (How she does it, I don't know.
She's obviously a better quilt wrangler than I am.)

I checked for pretty fabrics in my stash (ooh look! there are a lot of blue fabrics here - better use them up) and decided to make a square quilt with three zigzags instead of five.

Looking at my quilt makes me happy and so does Sarah's book. Surely that's all you can ask of a quilt book, isn't it? 

If you don't have a copy of Hand Quilted with Love, you can buy it here:

Don't forget to check out these other great blogs.
(Bet you don't see stick people there, though.)

SewTake a Hike 4 May
Belinda Stitches 5 May
True Up 6 May
LilysQuilts (UK) 7 May
Creative Dabbling (Australia) 8 May YOU ARE HERE!
Mrs Schmenkman Quilts (USA) 9 May  
I'm A Ginger Monkey (UK) 10 May 
Petits Elefants -(Australia) 10 May
Prints Charming (Australia) 11 May
RedPepper Quilts (Australia) 12 May
HandMade by Alissa (USA) 13 May
Meet Me at Mikes (Australia) 14 May
Sew Mama Sew (USA) 15 May

06 May 2013

Last week on Textile Tidings

Six of last week's best links from my Textile Tidings Facebook page:
It's not scary on Facebook! I'd love to see you on my Textile Tidings page - you will be very welcome.