Thursday 28 November 2013

November Christmas Ornament

And now for the November Christmas Ornament.  I have had this one prepared for a few months and soon it will be wrapped and posted off so it can be displayed on its very own tree.  
But here's a photo to prove I've done it!
Please don't ask me where the design came from.   I can't remember.   It's a scrappy piece of A4 paper but I do know that I stitched this on 28 count linen in DMC115

Still a little early to say Happy Christmas so I'll try Happy Thanksgiving instead.

Monday 25 November 2013

This is made for me!

I work for an office products supply warehouse and today while chasing up the manager for a signature I went past a new shelf and saw a "made-for-me" notebook.
What sort of notebook is that?
Let me show you
Just perfect for someone like me who loves lists!
I can see this filled with a variety of lists but first up is of course an embroidery To Do List (^_-)

Sunday 24 November 2013

60 Weeks until .... Number 12 and 13

It's catch up this week.

First up Easy Lemon Chicken

4 chicken breasts (around 250g each)
500g potatoes peeled and chopped into small pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a shallow pan.
Place the potatoes around the chicken.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Combine the vegetable oil, lemon juice, garlic and seasoning
Bake for 50-55 minutes until the chicken is done and the potatoes tender when seasoned with a fork.
Increase the temperature to 200 degrees Celsius and cook for another 10 minutes until the potatoes are browned.

Delicious and enough for three meals.   Yay!   An easy week for meals this week.

Next is Roast Pumpkin, Zucchini, Capsicum and Feta Crustless Quiche.

Cut 500g of peeled pumpkin into 1cm dice and roast in a hot oven
In a pan sauté
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 small red capsicum diced
  • 1 zucchini trimmed and diced
  • (and I added four mushrooms also chopped finely)
Season the mixture well then add the roasted pumpkin.

In a bowl mix together 1 cup self raising flour with six eggs and 100g of grated cheddar cheese.

Add the vegetable mixture to the egg flour and cheese mixture and combine well.

Pour into a well greased and floured 24cm springform cake pan.   Smooth the top and crumble 100g of feta cheese across the top.

Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown and the egg is set.
Serve with a side salad and tomato chutney. 

Yummy!   But should really be called Vegetable Cake as that's what it looks like on the plate.

So this week the HD3QBEM won't have to cook anything, just reheat as needed.   Isn't she lucky to have such a kind daughter ;-)


Friday 22 November 2013

The week of odds and ends

This week I seem to have filled my time with odds and ends.   All profitable and all on the "to do" list but not as enjoyable as constant stitching!
The HD3QBEM has had a fair few dropped stitches in her knitting so I have been repairing that.  Then she decided to "tidy up so that there wouldn't be a mess left for the children".   That plan went well until we reached papers that she could no longer read properly so I was eyes and ears for an evening.  
My oh my!   Photos of my grandmother at 21 in 1924 (I wish I had her looks),
my grandparents wedding in 1926,
letters my father wrote when he was travelling in India (still carrying Delhi Dust inside their plastic pocket), various birthday cards, etc etc.   I am amazed -  the HD3QBEM is very decisive!   A pile to go through the shredder; another pile to go in the rubbish bin; and another pile to go to Little Brother.  
Next shelf had two framed samplers stitched in the days before blindness came -  one is going to the storage cupboard in the garage (postpone that decision?!) and the other to a granddaughter (when I get to writing the accompanying letter).
The end result was empty shelves and a happy mother -  but no stitching!
Tonight I am going to have a stitch session - accompanied by a most interesting audiobook.   My local library provided this one "A Teardrop on the Cheek of Time" - all about the history of the Taj Mahal.   I'm enjoying the history of the moguls while stitching on my Naxos Necessaire and plan on making good progress this evening.   Three of four panels are done as well as the needle case panel and the scissor keep panel so on I reckon I am half way through the stitching.   So far so good.
The Dutch Hussif is at the stage where no further stitching can be done until the next 'pages' are completed.  I won't be doing any more on that until my two weeks of summer holidays which start in one months time.

Tomorrow I have to go to the City and exchange my bus ticket as they have changed the system and my old electronic ticket will expire on Sunday.   The HD3BEM has a small list of Christmas shopping I need to do for her and I have a few items on a list myself.   When am I ever without a list?

My list of  "Want to Stitch" for 2014 includes the following
Mermaids Sea Chest -  Lauren Sauer
Acorn Stitch Roll - Heritage Needlework Guild
My Favourite Things Stitching Basket - Ellen Chester
A small item for Little Sister
A small item for Little Brother

And with that I'm off to my lamp, my needle, my stitching and the delights of the Moguls of Agra.

Sunday 17 November 2013

A few dozen ...

Today was St Catherine's Day and as she is the patron saint of Lacemakers, the local Guild sponsored a get-together.   They had an awesome display of beautiful lace -  some old vintage and some created this past year by members of their Guild.   As happened before ( here)  I was really tempted to try this exquisite work but do not need to add any further obsessions hobbies into my already packed schedule.   So I watched, admired and closed my mouth when I was tempted to make enquiries about lessons.   Beautiful bone bobbins, glittering spangles and detailed textbooks were ever so tempting!
Meet Evan.   He was the guest speaker and he is an expert painter of Pysanka.   Yet another temptation! 
Dozens and dozens of these beautifully painted eggs came out of his capacious supermarket bag.   Gingerly we passed them from hand to hand.   One poor lady dropped two which miraculously did not break so obviously they are more robust than I imagined.   He told us much of the significance of each of the motifs - much of his explanation I have already forgotten but for this egg
I do remember that the oak leaf =  King of the Forest and is supposed to be a good luck  charm for men who have fertility problems.
I rather liked this one with the poppy motif too.
After bringing out nearly a  dozen trays of eggs (yes 144 in total!), apparently only a minute percentage of his vast collection, Evan gave a demonstration of how the original design is sketched on symmetrically. 
He showed how the wax resist (blackened beeswax) is applied with a delicate stylus similar to that used for batik;  how the egg is placed into the cold dye bath = ever so many steps in applying all these colours; how the wax is melted off the completed egg (ever so gently and rubbed delicately with many many paper kitchen towels).  
Many of the ladies wanted him to come and take a workshop, but moi??   I prefer my hands to be their natural lily white, unstained by blue, yellow, red or any other colour dye.  
And as for stitching..... well I have completed the stitching on the Dutch Hussif, Dorset button fastenings included, and now have only the construction of that page to go.    Photos to follow.
The Naxos Necessaire progress report is  Cover 1 and 2 completed, Scissor keep completed, Needlebook cover half done.   Excellent progress Margaret.  Keep up the good work.

Sunday 10 November 2013

And a stitching update

All the little running stitches combined to make another side of my Naxos Necessaire but they gave me a severe case of "have a break start something new" sickness.  
So I looked in the 'want to do box' and found I had all the ingredients ready for another recipe and so made a start on what I am calling my "Dutch Hussif". 
You may remember I showed you the ingredients back in September?
I have made a start on the pocket for the cover. Surface stitchery as opposed to counting is proving surprisingly soothing.
What's more this is using up odds and ends of stash - threads, linen and fabric - so I am doubly happy.  A frugal new start.   What could be better?   Next will be two Dorset buttons and then it will be back to page three of my old friend, the Naxos Necessaire.
Have a good week.

60 Weeks Until .... Number 11

Tonight is Bubble and Squeak -  with a  nod to my maternal grandmother who was a master at this.
She always told me that this recipe was great for leftovers and so it is.

The quantities I used for the HD3QBEM and me
2 medium potatoes cooked and mashed
1 large carrot cooked and mashed
1 large parsnip cooked and mashed
2 cups cooked cabbage
2 Cups of left over corned silverside diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together well

Heat olive oil (should be butter but I am trying to be healthy!) in an oven proof pan
When sizzling hot spread the mixture into the pan firmly and cook until the underside is well browned.
At this point transfer to the oven and let the upper element set at 180 degrees Celsius brown the top.

Serve with salad and/or salsa and a flourish!


Thursday 7 November 2013

60 Weeks Until ..... Number 10

This week we have a cake   No Bake Weetbix slice.

10 Weetbix
200g condensed milk
125g melted butter
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/2 cup dried fruit ( your choice -  I used currants)
1.   Crush the Weetbix finely into a bowl.  Add coconut, cocoa and fruit and mix.
2.   Melt the butter and condensed milk
Add 2 to 1
Press the mixture into a well greased  slice tray and chill well in the refrigerator
Mix up the icing
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 and a 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon of boiling water
Mix all together until well combined and spread on top of the chilled cake.
Cut into slices.   Best stored in the refrigerator
And for my overseas friends who may not be familiar with the iconic New Zealand Weetbix.   It is a breakfast cereal of crushed wheat compressed into rectangular cakes and eaten with enjoyment by most NZ children and affectionate nostalgia by many New Zealand adults ;-)


Sunday 3 November 2013


Last night, thanks to a re-run of an ancient James Bond movie I managed to complete this!   The final page of my NMMSAL.   Ukranian Whitework.
And still in the spirit of resisting temptation I retrieved my Naxos Necessaire from the box where I had hidden it, sniffed and decided it was either time for bed or a new start.   Bed won!
Then in the light of a new day I looked once more at the Naxos and made an adult decision to continue on and finish that one.   But as a compromise I will kit up my next project..... this
Kitting up a project cannot be classified as a new start can it?   There are only seven weeks until my summer holidays and I need some stitching projects to take when I go away so I am classifying this as "holiday preparation"!
At the moment Kurt Wallender and I are very close friends on my eBook reader.   Enthusiasm ran away with me and I downloaded so many eBooks from the local library that I am scrambling to keep up before the expiry date.   I have a "proper book" to recommend.  It is The Coat Route and you can read more details here.   No, I don't want a Navy Vicuna overcoat but I definitely want some of that beautiful silk with which the gorgeous coat is lined.   I promise not to hide such beautiful silk away as a lining -  I will display it in a beautifully made garment for all the world to see.   I promise!

Saturday 2 November 2013

First strawberries of the season

I have a bad case of start-it is and the itch to commence a new piece is almost impossible to resist.   Several strawberry pieces in my stash are calling my name loudly and then I see these in my garden....
Is this an omen?   Should I fling my good resolutions to the winds and start a new piece?   No!   I will be strong and finish the one in the hoop at the moment.   Then the Naxos Necessaire - and then it will be Christmas and the New Year and I can begin fresh.