Thursday, August 13, 2020

Around here - Big Patch Quilt Update

A little while back I mentioned that I had purchased the "Big Patch Quilt" pattern from Susan of Hopewood Home fame.  Her ability to piece the fabrics together is amazing and she uses new fabric, linen tea towels and other linen fabrics to make her quilts and they are stunning.  Her Instagram account is here.

After I bought the pattern I bought some fabric from Spotlight when they had 50% off quilting fabric.  Due to Covid their supplies of quilting fabric and notions is limited and things are out of stock more than usual as these things come from China.  Anyway I set about to start on this big patch quilt and cut out the fabric and pieced it together.

I remember reading somewhere someone said about making a quilt.  You buy a whole heap of fabric, cut it up and sew it back together again which sounds kind of crazy when you think about it given the hours all of this takes however that's exactly what it is.

My first ever quilt I made which seems like 100 years ago was a "Lone Star" quilt which I hand quilted...oh the pricks of that needle into my fingers I can still remember it.  Hand quilting a double bed quilt took a long time however my sister and I had a craft group of friends and we would meet every second Thursday night for crafting and then have coffee and cake for supper in fine bone china tea cups and we did that for years and years until I moved interstate.  They are my sisters friends so they still catch up with each other however there's no crafting now just catching up for coffee.  If you have never made a quilt before Susan's "Big Patch Quilt" Pattern is the ideal starter pattern and is easy because it's joining big pieces together rather than small squares, triangles and more complicated patterns.  

I use a quilting mat, ruler and cutter which I was taught how to use years ago.  As soon as you use your rotary cutter you click the lock on and put it down again.  Never ever think I'll use that in a second because those blades are razor sharp.  Pick it up unlock it with your finger, cut the fabric, lock it with your finger and put it down at the top of your cutting mat.  A good habit that I was taught in the beginning.

You can get some other quilt ideas from Elise on how to make a triangle quilt.  Elise also has in her archives other quilts she has made and how to pick and pair fabric.  Worth a read as she is a powerhouse when it comes to completing projects.

I had my sewing machine serviced last month [first time ever] and I can't believe how good it is to sew with it and what a difference it makes.  It was totally worth the 40 minute drive to drop it off and then 40 minutes back out to pick it up again.  Here's a few photos of how my "Big Patch Quilt" is going.  You can also search the hastag #bigpatchquilt on IG as well for other colours and people who have just purchased Susan's pattern and made this quilt.

One thing with quilting projects it's not an overnight process.  Cutting the fabric is one step. Sandwiching the quilt is another and quilting the quilt is the final step and then adding your border to the finished quilt.  All of these steps takes time and hours and time flies by because it's enjoyable.   Here's a few photos of how it's all going. 

The dining table with the cutting board, sewing machine and fabric.

Some of the fabrics sewn together.

Me in my pj's and socks on the quilt top.

Here it is the top all done.  If I was being picky the black rectangle which has grey crosses on it probably doesn't go and I only used one piece I should have unpicked that and put another fabric however it's just for me and I'd sewn it altogether and I can live with it.  It looks totally black from above however it's not.

So lucky I have a big tiled floor to spread out on particularly as you have to sandwich it together.

Backing fabric taped to the floor.

Then the bamboo wadding and then the quilt top pinned [sandwiched] together.  The safety pins are quilting pins which I got from Spotlight - also out of stock when I went back to get more.  They are bent which allows you to rock them back and forth to get through the layers of fabric and then pin it.  I used a little wooden skewer [reject shop kitchen section] - we had them on hand.  It helps to lift the pin up and click it into place.  I used this tutorial "how to baste a quilt" so you get the idea of how to pin and she had a special tool the little bamboo skewer worked perfectly.  

Quilt sandwiched together with the quilting pins.

The start of quilting doing straight lines.  

I haven't finished all the vertical quilting lines let however I've done 3/4's of them and then I will turn it around and sew the other side so I will end up with squares of quilting lines 4".   All quilting references are in inches because it's American and even though when I was at school we learnt cm etc. quilting is all done in inches even here in Australia.  Quilting mats, rulers etc. all in inches.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Around here

How is everyone going these days?  Covid-19 is so scary and out of control world wide even though here in Australia we are doing okay.  Sadly Victoria is not doing okay [better than the rest of the world] however not good based on the rest of the states in Australia.  They are now in Level 4 Lockdown for a further 6 weeks and many in aged care have got Covid-19 which will result in many more deaths and families loosing loved ones.  When I started posted the stats for Covid-19 back on the 25th March, 2020 those numbers seemed high to me however if you look at the numbers now it is almost unimaginable.  If only the outbreak had been contained in the first place the world would not be suffering physically, emotionally and financially.  It's like your worst horror movie being played out in real life.

Wednesday 25-03-2020        World Wide Cases         417,348                Deaths      18,596
Thursday     02-04-2020        World Wide Cases         936,886                Deaths      47,264
Monday       03-08-2020        World Wide Cases    18,234,936                Deaths    692,794

Wednesday 25-03-2020        Australian Cases               2,144                Deaths - not sure didn't look
Thursday     02-04-2020        Australian Cases               5,124                Deaths          24
Monday       03-08-2020        Australian Cases             17,936                Deaths        208

Things were contained in Australia up until the 23rd June, 2020 when Melbourne exploded with community based transfer as a result of the Hotel Quarantine and the less than reputable security guards who were manning the hotel guests.  Australia had 7,474 cases and 102 deaths at that stage, and now it has bumped up to 17,936 cases and 208 deaths and counting.
New South Wales started to have community outbreak as a result of infected people from Victoria travelling through New South Wales.  Queensland had been doing really well until three girls bought the virus back from Melbourne and entered Queensland under deceptive and misleading information resulting in our first community outbreaks last week.  The Health Department are onto it straight away however these people went to work, restaurants, shopping centres, cafes etc. in 11 different suburbs in Brisbane so next week is critical for Queensland.  

Luckily for us we are on the Northside of Brisbane and not the Southside of Brisbane where this break out occurred however I'm more alert at the moment than usual.  World wide it's so hard to think of where things will be in 6 months time.  I feel safe in Australia however both the Victoria, New South Wales and now the latest Queensland issue all could have been prevented which is the worst thing about it.  Stay safe everyone and here's hoping Victorians get through and break this cycle.  I have relatives in Melbourne and it's been a very long year for them all.

Now onto some brighter more fun things like food here's what's been happening at our place lately. 

Next time you have a movie night or just want to indulge in this Caramel Popcorn I can highly recommend it as it only took 10 minutes and it was delicious.  Using corn kernels from the bulk food store and butter and golden syrup to make the caramel and enjoying this snack with no preservatives and chemicals.  Just make sure you cook the caramel for the time so that it becomes sticky and sticks to the popcorn.  The recipe is on the Additive Free Lifestyle website.

Zucchini slice for dinner and school lunches.

Dinner party and Pictionary Night.

Pictionary night...lots of laughs and the kids beat the adults twice around the board.

First time made this particular Chocolate Cake recipe.

Below is how it ended up shortly after cutting it.  Yes I do make flops...not very often however this was as a result of the mixture went into one tin when I should have baked two halves instead.  The cake was still hot when I put the icing on as it was for afternoon tea and to be honest this cake had way too many eggs, too much sugar and way too much butter in the cake and the icing so I won't be making this one again.  I've listed our family favourite Chocolate Cake recipe below.

I personally love this chocolate cake recipe which you put all the ingredients in any order and mix it together.  Then you can put the mixture into what ever tins you want.  One cake tin and muffin tin or two cake tins or all muffins.  This recipe freezes really well and doesn't need icing you can just sprinkle some icing sugar over the top.  You can also make it in a loaf tin and make slices for the freezer.

I made this "Soft Scrub Cleaning Paste" and used it on my pan after making Zucchini Slice as it always gets stuff stuck to it after cooking and nothing has been able to get it off until now.

Pan with cooked edges and some soft scrub paste.

Rubbing the pan with a rag and the paste I was able to get all the marks off which I was amazed at.