Tuesday, 31 March 2015

messenger bag for zoe {finally!}

Zoe is thrilled that I finally made a messenger bag for her.  I love the fabric Zoe chose for the flap. It is the second messenger bag I have made using this beautiful butterfly fabric (purchased from Spotlight in the decorator section). Of course, I used my own tutorial!

This is the cotton tape name tag that Zoe opted for on the handle. I love the use of the star! I use a regular ink pad when stamping these, ensuring that I press the tape well to set the ink before sewing them into the project they are made for.
This is number 6 on my finish along list for the first quarter of 2015.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side
I managed to fit in a few other bits and pieces this month. I completed my March bee block for my Beehive quilting bee. This is the Chainlink block. I like it! The Queen bee who is the recipient of this block is making a quilt for her daughter who is living on campus at university.
I also made a poodle 'costume' for a niece. The 'puff' and the ears are attached to a flexible, rubber headband (with 'teeth' - I get annoyed with head bands that continually slip off!). I also made cuffs for her wrists and ankles. The sherpa fleece I used is extremely snuggly; I'd be happy to wear a onsie made from it.
The weather is finally changing here. I have welcomed the cooler weather and look forward to some rain in the coming weeks!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

bee blocks and pay it forward

I know I have mentioned that I signed up for two quilting bees this year. This is the February block for the Bee Hive Swarm that I was allocated to. In this quilting bee the queen bee chooses from a selected list of blocks when it is her month to receive blocks from everyone else in the swarm.
This is the March block for the other quilting bee I am participating in. I have made these blocks once before for another bee a few years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed making them then and I thoroughly enjoyed making this one now.
I loved this block so much that I made one for myself as well!
In making this block you end up with some triangles after trimming. The queen bee that requested this block has a thing for half square triangles, so I sent them to her as well.
What's that lovely bright green background the blocks are on I hear you ask? Why that's my new chair!
We recently had a roadside collection and some neighbours were getting rid of some wooden chairs. The kids thought it was somewhat hilarious watching Zoe and I manouvre the chair into our people mover amongst all the school bags. Tim surprised me with a beautifully sanded and painted chair. I chose the colour (I nearly chose orange) and love it!
I have returned the dining chair I have been using for years back to it's rightful place and and now sew while sitting on my lovely green chair. I think I might make a cushion for it someday!

Now, just a follow up from my pay it forward post. Thank you to Terry and Wendy for volunteering to 'play'. I will be sending you something hand made during the next 12 months - when you least expect it!

Friday, 6 March 2015

what is that smell?

That would be the kale chips. I'm glad I made these while the kids were at school. I am certain they wouldn't have ventured near them otherwise. The smell of these during cooking was...not inviting!
Photo from Tastefully Julie. My photo was nowhere near as nice as this one.
I have seen kale chip recipes around for a long time. Acquaintances have spoken of them. I have walked past bunches of kale at my fruit and veg shop. Yet it is only today that I thought I would try to make some. It's a great day to be trying something new. The floor needs vacuuming (and mopping), there is laundry to be done (well, there is always laundry to be done), dinner is half a quarter made (fried rice made from the leftover rice from last night's dinner. It's the plan of what to make for dinner that is most important. Plus, I made some jelly. Jelly makes whatever I cook for dinner a "good dinner Mum".), not to mention everything else on my daily list that I'm not going to take the time to mention. You know what it's like.

So, a quick Google session for kale chip recipes and I'm off! I should probably mention that I went to my fruit and veg shop this morning and bought a bunch of kale. I finally acted on my kale curiosity.

I'll let you know how the chips turned out at the end of this post. In the meantime, whether they turned out or not, this is what I did.

Preheat oven to 140 degrees Celcius (fan forced. This is 300 F). Wash the kale.
Strip off the curly bits - kale is extremely curly - and tear them into large sections. Place in a salad spinner and whizz the kale around until it is dry.
Put about a tablespoon (you know, a decent 'blop') of extra virgin olive oil in a mixing bowl with some salt.

Put the dry kale bits into the olive oil and salt mix. Toss until the kale looks coated.

Spread out onto a lined baking tray and place in the oven for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let the chips cool on the tray for 5 minutes before eating.
How did they turn out? Beautifully! Light and crispy (almost paper - the texture reminds me of toasted nori), without a hint of the boiled-cabbage-wrinkle-up-your-nose-smell that was present during the cooking process (although I clearly didn't air the house out enough before the kids came home from school. As soon as they stepped inside they asked me what I had been cooking to produce such an awful smell.).
My top tips: Use your extractor fan and go easy on the salt (I used a bit too much; a generous pinch per tray is plenty. Or none at all.).

Did the kids like it? One out of four gave it the thumbs up. But in fairness to the kale, I used too much salt. Next time I'll leave out the salt entirely.

Well, now that I have conquered the cooking of kale, perhaps I should try growing it?
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