Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A quick note


Just a very quick note today! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! I've been enjoying all your Christmas posts, although things have been pretty busy around here so I haven't been doing much commenting.

Guess what . . . . I finished Calm Waters in time. Photos to come, but right now I better concentrate on the fact that I'm getting married. . . tomorrow!!

Happy Stitching and New Year

Sarah

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On the 21st Day: Stitchy Advent Calender


Today I'm joining in with Jo over at Serendipitous Stitching and her blog advent calender. . . isn't that a fun idea?! I'll be sharing a Christmas themed stitched piece of mine and some of our Christmas traditions with you. 

 
I stitched this cutie when I was about 15 I think! I can't remember the designer details off the top of my head (my stitching log/pattern folder is currently on the other side of the world), but I received the kit for Christmas when I was 9! I still remember stitching it vividly because it was the first time I'd worked with metallic thread. . what a battle. When I'd finished mum and I spent hours carefully ironing it and stretching it into the frame.

I'm from New Zealand, so Christmas for us is mid-summer. We have a big Christmas meal like everyone else of course, but it is usually with cold meat or a BBQ. In my family, we would start the day with Dad cooking a full english breakfast, before emptying our stockings and opening our bigger presents together. Then we would get dressed (nicely) and head out to join my Dad's family for Christmas lunch, playing sports together and eating and drinking. I distinctly remember one year when mum had put me in a beautiful dress, only for me to play too exuberantly and end up falling into my aunts fish pond! Later we would move on to my Mum's family for a more relaxed dinner (usually of lunch leftovers).

This year will be a little different for me, as it's my second Christmas in the UK/France with my fiance and his family. I love the Christmas season in France, for me it feels like something out of a fairytale with mulled wine, Christmas markets and parades that go on for hours with costumes and characters that look hundreds of years old. I also love the Christmas food here!

I hope where ever you are in the world you have a wonderful Christmas surrounded by family and friends. Why not head over to Jo's to see what other stitchers have for their Christmas traditions?

That's all for now,

Sarah

Monday, December 19, 2011

IHSW and Calm Waters Update!


This is my first ever International Hermit and Stitch Weekend! If you're visiting from there, then hi! I'm Sarah. I'm an early twenties stitcher from Christchurch, New Zealand although I'm currently country hopping between the UK, France and NZ on a fairly regular basis. I've been stitching since I was 8 years old and don't think I'll ever stop! Please feel free to leave a comment and say hi, I'm looking forward to visiting you all back. 
 





Some of you will know that I'm currently stitching furiously on Calm Waters by John Clayton to try and get it finished before the 29th of December, which just so happens to be my wedding day! It is a wedding present for hubby-to-be and myself. There isn't too much to go now, so I thought it was time for an update.

Unfortunately in terms of hermiting and stitching this weekend has been an utter failure! No fault of mine though. . . a simple hour and a half flight from France to the UK on Saturday morning turned into a 20 trip through France and Switzerland to catch a flight from Geneva after French airport staff went on strike. There was no stitching on Saturday at all, and only a little on Sunday! But I did manage to finish off one of the sand colours, put some branches into the tree and start on another sand colour. Any progress is good progress! 

 

I'm so close to finishing now that I don't want to give it all away, so I'm just showing you a few sneak peaks.

That's all for now, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family. May you be blessed over this holiday season!


Sarah

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My First Time


Joining in the fun at Julie's blog

My first time was when I was 8 years old (young I know!!). I was staying at a friends house, her mum was doing it all the time. She had even given my friend a chance to try it out for herself. While we were watching her brother's soccer game my friend asked if I wanted to try. I was hesitant at first, but she kept asking until I said ok, I'll give it a go. It only took a couple of tiny pokes until I was hooked! I didn't want to give it back! As soon as I got home from my friends I begged my mum to get me some supplies. She eventually gave in and we went and picked out my first kit together from the local place. While I was learning I was only allowed to do it once a week, for half an hour on a Sunday evening while we were watching The Zoo on TV. It was frustrating only being able to do it sometimes, but I persevered and got better and better each time I tried it. My whole family was very encouraging, my mum even got herself one to do with me, though to this day she still hasn't finished it! After what felt like months of Sunday evenings I finally put in the last little piece and it was done. I displayed this piece in my room until I went off to university and it's been carefully packed away so I can keep it forever! 
  
 
What, what did you guys think I was talking about?? I've been cross stitching now for about 13 years and although I sometimes left it for a little while, I've always come back to it. I think the longest I went without stitching was about 10 months, and I've had at least one piece on the go for about 4 years now. I was a lonely stitcher for a long time – I lost touch with the friend who introduced me to it when she moved away and didn't really meet another stitcher until I got to know my fiance's family, which has multiple stitchers (and joined blogland of course!). Nowdays I think I easily have enough ideas in the stitching pile to keep me going for the rest of my life and enough stitchy friends to keep me on track!

When was your first time? Maybe you'd like to share it with everyone else here

That's all for now, update on Calm Waters coming soon!

Sarah

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Card Finishes


So the other day I sat down and had an epic finishing session! After hours of carefully ironing and cutting and gluing I ended up with a pile of lovely Christmas cards to send out to friends and family. I'll show you one now, because I know it's going to someone who doesn't read the blog, but the rest will have to wait until after they've been received! 

 
Unfortunately for you this is probably the most boring of the lot and also has the least stitching! The stitched part of it took me less than 10 minutes. Most of the others are a bit more elaborate, but I still like this one for its simplicity.

The motifs and materials I used are all from an old issue of Cross Stitcher (UK) magazine – their 2010 Christmas issue. The motifs are now actually available online free here!

Just to finish off, here's a photo of the 'tasting platter' that I put together for fiance and I the other day. Apple, beautiful French cheese (we got it straight off the round from a market, so I can't tell you the exact type), French sausage (yes it's raw, and gorgeous that way) and savoury biscuits I made to go with it all. It was lovely!! 

 
Back to Calm Waters for me now. The race is on to get it finished before the wedding on the 29th like I promised myself . . . . I'm about 70% done, but we're sooo busy in the lead up to Christmas. Do you think I can do it?

That's all for now,

Sarah

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chchchch Changes. . . .


This week I hit 50 followers!! Thank you everyone, I've really enjoyed getting to know some of you and I appreciate each and every one of your comments. I'm going to start planning a little celebratory giveaway I think, but it probably won't be for a little while yet what with the constant travel, getting married and Christmas! Can you hold on for a month or two? Hehe.

It's interesting how I started this blog as I tried to branch out from Cross stitch as a craft, but it keeps coming back to it. I've been thinking really hard about this and I think I have to face the (delightful) truth that this is really becoming a cross stitch blog! You'll still see my other crafting escapades on here, but I think I'm ready to delve a bit deeper into the cross stitchy bloggy community. So there might be a few little changes around here because of that! For me it's exciting. As most of my followers are cross stitchers, I hope it's exciting for you too!

I have been stitching, but like most of you it's Christmas stuff so I can't show you quite yet. Instead I thought I'd show you some photo's from the Christmas market that I went to today with fiance and some friends. It was in a little town nearby that looked like it came straight out of a storybook, with narrow streets, surrounded by cliffs on all sides and a little lake at one end! 

 
The yummy waffles Fiance and I had (Strawberry for me, Nutella for him)


Real live Reindeer!! 


 
And just some of the streets we were wandering along. The photo's really don't show just how beautiful it was.

That's all for now,

Sarah

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Christmas Stitching + Busy in France


My last week has been a strange mixture of travel, illness, a ball and settling into the alpine French town that will be my home for the next four months! I really love this country, even if my grasp of the language only extends as far as 'Salut, ca va?' (Hi, how are you?). At the moment I'm taking an hour or two of French lesson a day, hopefully it will sink in.

Among it all Calm Waters has been sidelined for a bit to do some Christmas stitching which I can only give you a small peek of right now. The aida really isn't my favourite thing in the world, but a compact ready-brought kit was far easier to travel with than anything else. 

 
I can't resist sharing the current view from my window with you. I love the buildings here. And yes that is a mid-winter sky, a benefit of living in the Alps (unfortunately it also means that the weather could turn at any second and we'll be down to -15). 

 
Happy thanksgiving for those of you stateside, and happy stitching everyone else!

That's all for now,

Sarah

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hello from Wales!


So I'm safely in the UK after almost two days in the air and half a week to recover from jetlag. It's nice to be able to relax, I've been making plenty of progress on Calm Waters. Earlier in the week I managed to get out and explore the small Welsh town I'm staying in at the moment and see some of the shops. Man I wish New Zealand had WH Smiths! (seriously, books are so much cheaper in the UK). I thought I'd show you just how pretty the town is. These photos aren't taken by me, because the day I explored was a bit grey and not the best photo taking weather. 

In the town centre. Oh I love the old buildings and narrow streets, you just don't get that in New Zealand. Img source.



That castle on the left is where our wedding reception is going to be. Yes, in a castle! Isn't that cool? Img source.

As far as craftyness goes I can finally show off my attempt at bath salt making. I made this batch agggeeesss ago now, but couldn't show you because it was a little gift for someone special.


I used the tutorial here. This batch was Lily and Jasmine scented and smelled lovely. It was so easy to make and even the more unusual ingredients were easy to find (I got plain epsom salts from the local bulk food store, and glycerin from the chemist) – I would totally recommend it for a sweet last minute Christmas gift.

That's all for now, hope everyone's having a great week!

Sarah

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Crafty Survival


Last few days in New Zealand! I've been busy doing a lot of paperwork this week, but it's time to start thinking about packing. Of course, I started with my 'craft survival kit.' I can't take a lot, because I don't have a lot of luggage space for over four months worth of stuff! Unfortunately, clothes and Christmas gifts probably have to have priority :P 

 
After a bit of digging as to what I was allowed, I've decided to take some knitting in my carry-on, just a WIP cable scarf that's been around for far to long. I'm taking precautions – plastic, blunt needles with a safety line of contrasting yarn to hold the stitches in place if they get confiscated. The pair of needles above are my spares, just in case! There's also crochet hooks, some needles in a scrap of felt, interfacing, a ball of cotton yarn, supplies for cross stitch Christmas cards and a half kitted out CCN pattern (half kitted out because I only have half the threads). My Calm Waters WIP will also be going in, of course! I think I've covered all the bases. . . what do you think? 

I got a treat in the mail this week! I won this lovely book from Sew Mama Sew. There's so many inspiring patterns in here, I can't wait to try some of them! Unfortunately, that won't be til I get back. 

 
My baking must be improving, because I've had several requests in this last week at home! Tonight I thought I'd try something different though, so went for a delicious looking Chocolate and Cherry Bread from the Pastry Affair. This is straight out of the oven and cooling as we speak, so I can't tell you how it tastes yet. I'll let you know next post!


Have a great week everyone, next time you hear from me I'll probably be blogging from the other side of the world

Sarah

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Calm Waters in Progress


This is pretty much all I've been working on at the moment, my stitching time has been pretty limited (sad I know). But I'm making pretty good progress, I'm close to half way now! For those of you who are new, this is John Clayton's Calm Waters. I'm trying to finish it before fiance and I get married on December 29th

 
I've been busy clearing out my room at my parents. They've decided to turn it into a guest room. It's probably about time considering I moved out three years ago!! It's been both fun and sad going through everything and deciding what gets thrown out, what goes into the attic and what moves on with me into married life. I found this wee stitched piece today – I was so happy to find it! I must have stitched it about 7-8 years ago and it was originally a fridge magnet. The magnet had broken and I thought mum had thrown it out, it was nice to find that I must have squirreled it away! 

 
It was the only piece of my stitching I didn't have a photo of, until now! I also found a pretty stitched bookmark of acorns and oak leaves. I didn't stitch it myself and I don't even remember receiving it. I think my grandmother must have done it and given it to me at some stage – cross stitch wasn't really her thing, but she did some occasionally.

Happy Stitching everyone

Sarah

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Just a couple of Ornies


Told you I was going to try do some finishing in the weekend! I made up my Christmas ornament for myself and fiance and did another small piece as an ornie while I was at it. They are finished very simply, pillow style, but it's nice to see the progression in my finishing. I can definitely ladder stitch the openings closed far far better than I could have a year ago.

So here is the first ornie, pattern was a freebie from Gazette94. It was stitched using the recommended DMC on 28ct Antique White evenweave. The backing fabric is the one that you can see in the photo, I think the colours go so well, don't you? The ribbon for hanging isn't quite in the right place, because I positioned it using the snowman's head, forgetting that his head wasn't on centre! Oops!


Here's the second one. It was a freebie as well and I have the link to the pattern somewhere. . .just not sure where. I think it's a pattern I'll stitch again though, so I'll have to find it sometime. This one was stitched on 14ct oatmeal aida using DMC thread. It's backed with the fabric in the photo. For this one I got the ribbon in the right place!


The fabric for the first one was an agreed upon exception to my not-spending-money-on-craft-til-after-the-wedding rule. I had a coupon for the store it was from though, it came out much cheaper than I thought it would - so the fabric for the second one was a wee finishing uni celebratory splurge. It was only $3, so I think that's ok!! 

I will hand in my last university assignment today! I finished it yesterday. Haven't had any real celebrations yet, although two friends came over last night to say goodbye to me and brought chocolate things and a nice bottle of wine. Today I went out with some other friends for Yum Cha (sort of like Dim Sum), which was fun too. I tried chicken feet! It was weird, but pretty good. What's the strangest thing you've ever eaten? 

Happy Stitching everyone,

Sarah

Saturday, October 15, 2011

An update on where I'm heading (personal post)


Apologies for what is going to be a pictureless post! It's also going to be a whats-going-on-in-my-life type post (all good, I promise), so if you're not into that sort of thing then turn off now! This is really just an explanation of why things might be a little bit quiet around here for the next couple of months, and an update for those of you who have been requesting one.

Thursday was my last day of classes. I should hand in my last assignment on Tuesday, at which time I will officially be finished my degree! I don't graduate until next April because our University is weird like that, but I'm finished. So next weekend I am moving out of my flat, my stuff is being moved into mum and dad's back in my hometown, as am I for a couple of weeks. I fly to the UK at the start of November via 15 hours in Singapore Airport. I get to spend a week and a half with my fiance's family in Wales before journeying to France to rejoin the lovely fiance (on the 16th of November I will be in three major cities in three different countries on the same day, isn't that cool!). I will be living in small town France from Mid-November until mid-December, when fiance and I go back to the United Kingdom to meet up with both his family and mine for Christmas and . . . . drumroll please. . . our wedding. We will be getting married in a small civil ceremony in South Wales on the 29th of December. We'll be getting married again next August in a more traditional religious ceremony here in New Zealand, but the small ceremony first makes travelling together easier and means our European family and friends can celebrate with us without having to fly all the way out to NZ!

After the wedding, husband and I will be back to France until late February-early March, when all gets busy again as we move back to New Zealand. We will hopefully be moving to the small port city of Timaru, which is two hours drive South of where I live now and an hour South of my hometown. It seems like the perfect place for us to properly begin our life together.

So I'm sorry if it becomes quiet around here (it's been quiet already I know, end of degree and all that) what with my travelling and happenings! I'm already planning what crafty stuff I can take with me. It will probably be mostly stitching – easy to transport. That being said, does anyone know if you can take crochet hooks on planes in your carry on? I know embroidery and knitting needles are no-nos, but crochet hooks aren't pointy or sharp. If you can, can anyone recommend me a simple-ish pattern for something easily transportable (maybe a scarf?) that doesn't take a lot of yarn. It would be awesome to be able to crochet my way through all the long haul flights.

That's all for now, normal programming will resume shortly as I hope to get some stitchy finishing done this afternoon.

Sarah

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tidying up the place


So this week I suddenly got incredibly frustrated by having all my DMC threads loose in a snaplock bag. I've never had that many before, but over the last year or so the number has been steadily increasing. Which means they get tangled. Ugh. 

 
The solution? Bobbins. Every self-respecting stitcher uses them (apart from me up until now, obviously). You can buy them pretty cheaply from craft stores, but considering all they really are is a tab of cardboard I figured I could make my own. I went pattern hunting online because I didn't trust myself to draw the right shape freehand. And as it happens I found these cuties! Which immediately got pinned to my Pinterest before I gathered supplies.

 
Doesn't that look so much better? All it took was an hour or so of cutting and pasting. Anyone else would probably do it faster, but unfortunately for me a comment my kindergarten teacher wrote in my report when I was 3 still holds true: “Sarah struggles to master scissors.” Still, it was an easy project with supplies I had at home and I feel all organised and fuzzy now :) Just need to find a couple of old keychains so I can get them out of the snaplock bag.

In other news I forgot to tell you that my JCS Christmas edition arrived! I'm finding the recipes as tempting as the stitching, but here is my must stitch list: 


  • Noel Stamp Ornament, Jeanette Douglas Designs
  • Yuletide, Plum Street Samplers
  • Twinkle, Courtney Collection (want to stitch right now!)
  • Peace, Keepsake Stitches
  • Merry Christmas, Country Cottage Needleworks

Though I'm also loving a lot of other designs in there! To much choice! 

I'm liking this post up to:




That's all for now, 

Sarah

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A small stitchy finish


Just a small finish to show you today, the Christmas ornament that will hopefully start a tradition for myself and Ben's married life together. I still have to make it up, but will get onto that soon. I want to have it all finished quickly, because I won't really have access to a sewing machine from the start of November. 

 Bonhomme De Neige 2011, by Gazette94, free pattern found here (website in French).
Stitched on 28ct Zweigart Antique White, using recommended DMC threads.

Ben and I decided this would be an exception to my not-spending-money-on-crafts escapade, so that I could buy a few thread colours I didn't have. But it was still pretty thrifty because the evenweave was from my stash, as were just under half the threads. The pattern was a freebie.

Just want to say hi to all my new followers – I can't believe I'm up to 45! When I hit 50 I might have to think about putting together a small giveaway to say thank you. If you're new here and not up on all the exciting happenings, I finish university for good in a week and a half! A couple of weeks after that I'm heading to France to rejoin my wonderful fiance Ben. We're getting married in the UK in December. Look out for a fuller update soon as Kiwi Gets Crafty goes global!

That's all for now,

Sarah

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Free Cross Stitch Patterns


As an avid stitcher on a budget I know that there are a wealth of good quality free patterns on the net. My bookmarks tab is crammed full of them! But I often forget where I saw particular ones, get confused over the languages (so many great free patterns on French websites!) or have numerous other hickups. As an attempt to solve my problems I've started collating free charts via Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest

For those of you that don't know Pinterest is basically like a visual favourites/bookmarks collation site. You 'pin' photos from websites to a 'board' to keep track of where everything is! I'm really enjoying using it and I'm hoping that some of you other stitchers might find my free pattern board useful too! You can find it at http://pinterest.com/kiwigetscrafty/freebie-cross-stitch-patterns/. I've tried to include website details, including language, with each pin. 

 Freebies by Marie-Thérèse Saint-Aubin via

Freebies from The Workbasket via

If you're on pinterest you can support my endeavour by following my board, if not then it's public access so you can see it and use it anyway (isn't that handy)! Now all of you stitchers out there need to spread the word, let me know if I've missed out any great patterns and tell me where to find them so I can pin them too! Hopefully I can make my board into a great resource for us all.

That's all for now and happy stitching,

Sarah

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lots of New Stash!


'Huh?' I hear you say . . 'Sarah weren't you meant to be not spending money on craft?' And I would say 'you would be right. . . and I didn't!'

So where do the new things come from? Firstly my brother just came home from adventuring around the UK and bought back presents! Including this absolutely beautiful sewing box!


Hopefully it will replace my old portable cross stitch carrier. . which is a tool box, literally. He also gave me this wee pile of goodies:


A tartan hat and scarf from Scotland, along with the adorable wee hedgehog and a sweet scissor fob/pincushion. The cupcake cookbook was actually a 'just because' present from my mum, isn't she lovely?! 

My winnings from family Rugby World Cup betting have also been put to good use, at my hometown's annual bookarama. It's an AMAZING secondhand book sale, one of the biggest in New Zealand. I've missed it the last two years and I wasn't going to let it happen this year!

 
I picked up these three cookbooks. Complete Comfort Food is out of print and I've been looking for it for nearly 8 months since flicking through my flatmates gorgeous copy. 


These were my craft book selections. The Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing I would recommend to anyone with a sewing machine, it really does have absolutely everything you need. And the Cross Stitch Design book looked intriguing, I'm looking forward to going through it. Maybe you'll see some patterns designed by me in future?

Finally my assorted other picks. . . 

 
Dawn on a Distant Shore and Monday's Child are ones I've read before and enjoyed enough to be more than happy to pick up my own copy. Musn't Grumble and Hannah's List are by two of my favourite authors, so have been set aside for upcoming plane travel reading. I've been meaning to read Middlemarch for a while and I can never set down a good classic that I haven't already got a copy of. And I thought Europe on a shoestring might come in handy. Not a bad haul all in all! Especially as they were all $1-2 each! If only I had time to go back on Saturday for their $6 bring-your-own-bag closing. I could have easily picked more, but was sticking to budget.

Finally just wanted to mention that there's a mystery stitchy giveaway going on at Old Ragged Threads for Elisa's 40th birthday. . So shuffle on over there and get your entry in!

That's all for now,

Sarah

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Weekend Baking: Almond Orange Florentines & Garlic Parmesan Pull Apart


This weekend has been a busy one for me, heading back to my hometown for Mum's birthday (it was a big one, but I won't tell you which) and to help host the extended family for a party. And to watch the big match, All Blacks vs. France. If you thought this crafty kiwi girl was immune to World Cup madness you'd be sadly mistaken, it was a great game and I even made a little bit of money in the family sweepstakes. $13 on a $2 bet (we're real big time hehe)!

Of course, extended family meals call for some baking. My contribution was two batches of basic one-saucepan chocolate brownie (one walnut, one raspberry and white choc) and a fantastic Garlic and Parmesan Pull Apart Bread. Sorry about the photo – I didn't take my camera home so this was a quick one snapped on my phone before it disappeared. 

 
The recipe was adapted from this one at The Pastry Affair and several family members have asked for it!

Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread

  • 2 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (plus extra for greasing)
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 3 ½ cups plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes or 2 Tbsp fresh, washed parsley finely chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic or 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Stir together yeast and water, let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy. Mix in the olive oil, salt and flour until forms a soft dough. Tip out onto a clean surface lightly dusted with flour and knead for 7-10 minutes until dough is elastic. Transfer dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 1½-2 hours until doubled in size.
In a small bowl combine butter, parsley and garlic and mix well.
Punch down the dough and tear off pieces (original recipe called for very small pieces but I went larger to have more small bun sized), roll into a ball and layer in the bottom of a lightly oiled deep ovenproof dish. If doing small pieces with multiple layers, sprinkle parmesan cheese between layers. If doing larger pieces (I had 1 ½ layers) sprinkle over the top. Recover the dish with plastic wrap and tea towel and allow to rise until doubled in size (25-30 mins). Preheat oven to 175C and bake for 25-30 minutes or until bread is golden brown.

This week I also made some Almond Orange Florentines from a recipe at TwoSpoons, my favourite local foodie blog. I didn't place enough trust in the recipe and should have layered them even more thinly, so they burnt slightly around the edges. But they still tasted fantastic and make a GREAT light breakfast, so I'll be making them again! 

 
That's all for now,

I'm linking up to Weekend Baking at a Spoon full of Sugar and some other great blogs!

Sarah

Thursday, September 22, 2011

An Ornie and an Update


My first love is cross stitching really. I think it always will be . . . . stitching seems to lift stress off my shoulders like nothing else does. Anyways!

I've just made a start on an ornie, since its coming up to Christmas. I thought it would be a nice tradition if I made hubby-to-be and I an ornament for each year of our married life. Technically we won't be married this Christmas. . . but I think 4 days afterwards is close enough! 

 
Obviously my choices were restricted by my ongoing Project 0, so the pattern is a freebie (which I'd been wanting to stitch anyway, find it here), the linen is from my stash and so are enough colours to get me started. The remaining colours might have to be a project exception? Hmmm. I'm loving stitching on linen again instead of aida, haven't done that in aggggggeess. Just picking it up again made me go 'why has it been so long!' I'm stitching this on 28ct Antique White by Zweighart, just because it's what I had. Not sure how the white on white is going to turn out for definition, maybe if I backstitch the edge in a light grey? We'll see.

Here's a progress update on Calm Waters. . .I'm just giving you a partial shot though because I don't want to give everything away! Don't you just love those mountains? I'm closing in on a quarter done. 

 
That's all for now my stitching friends,

Sarah

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Awesome baking with hideous photos


Yep, I apologise for how bad these photos are. My camera does not like night time shoots, but I'm a night time baker and all to often by the morning whatever I've been baking is all gone. So it's night time or never!

Lately my concentration has been on quick and comforting as I work through the last 5 weeks of my degree. 5 minute chocolate cake? Has to be a winner. Those 5 minutes include the washing up.

There's a heap of recipes online for this one, but here's what I used, a bit of a mix of a few of them. 

 Better photos of similar via pinterest here and here

5 Minute Chocolate Cake (serves one, or two if you're really on a diet).

  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 ½ Tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • ¼ tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 Tbsp oil

Measure all of the dry ingredients into a microwave safe coffee mug and mix, add wet ingredients and mix well until combined. Microwave for 1 minute (or longer/shorter depending on your microwave and mug, mine took 1 min, 10 seconds). Note that the mixture will double in size, so make sure it's a tall enough mug! Serve with a spoon of whipped cream/ice cream or just by itself. Best eaten straight away, as I've heard it tends to go rubbery if kept overnight. 

Last night I had such a craving for home made bread, but it was already 7pm, I still had class work to get done for the evening and there was no way I was going to eat at 10pm after letting bread go through two risings. Solution = Irish Soda Bread. Again this recipe is a bit of a mix of those I found online, using vinegar and water instead of buttermilk because it's what I had around. This made for a very dense loaf but it was fantastic dipped in soup.


No Buttermilk Irish Soda Bread (makes a medium sized loaf) 

  • 4 cups flour (I used half plain white, half wholemeal. Don't use bakers/bread flour, it contains to much gluten for this recipe).
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 2 Tbsp (white or cider) vinegar
Preheat oven to 200 C. Combine dry ingredients and mix. Mix water and vinegar. Make a well in the dry ingredients and mix in wet until forms a soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead very lightly for a max of two minutes. Shape into a round approx 1 ½ inches high and place on a greased baking tray. Using a sharp knife cut an 'X' shape into the top of the round. Bake for 40 minutes, reducing temp to 180C for last 15 mins. Glaze while hot with 1 Tbsp softened butter if desired. 

So there you have it, two quick and easy recipes for when you're short on time but still craving homemade. 

I'm linking up here

That's all for now,

Sarah

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Finished Unfinished Bag


I felt like doing some sewing the other day and the perfect project came to mind for using up some stash material. A bag of the same design I did earlier in the year, from Cath Kidston's 'Sew'. With a slight difference though, this time I gave it a lining, I think it looks much better with one, don't you? 

 
You can see how my sewing has improved since the start of the year. Then I would have had no idea how to even do a lining! My lines are straighter and the whole thing was a lot faster. I whipped this up in about 3 hours, including tracing and cutting the pattern. 

 
But it's not finished. . . you might have noticed that the strap is connected to the bag and it has no closure at the top. Why not? Because of Project 0 . . . I need three buttons to finish it off and I don't have any that will work! Of course I won't be buying any, so I'll check out my mum's button box next time I visit. 

 
Apart from that this project was entirely FREE. The outer fabric was an offcut from curtains mum made in the land before time and I stole from her fabric box when I got my sewing machine at Christmas. The lining is from an old shirt of my dad's that I rescued from a bag of old clothes to go to the Salvation Army. Yay for repurposing! And I got 13 buttons off the shirt while I was deconstructing it to add to my own collection. . to bad they were to small to use for this!

 

That's all for now,

Sarah

Check me out partying hard here

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another blog award and things!


The lovely Alison at Heavenly Handmades recently gave me a blog award! Thank you Alison! It was the Versatile Blogger Award. 

 
Usually you'd pass it on to 15 other bloggers but as I just did the passing on thing recently I'll just tell you 7 more things about me! Hmmm . . .

1. My visa got approved yesterday, so I'm officially allowed to get married now!
2. I love water skiing, but hate (am even slightly afraid of) snow skiing. I think this is because of a bad experience with an instructor as a child.
3. My guilty pleasure TV watch is New Zealand's Next Top Model, but I don't like any other countries. . . maybe because the NZ version is less polished than everyone elses.
4. Today I went to The Help. . .only to find it's apparently not out yet at our cinema
5.My mirror absolutely refuses to stick to my bedroom wall. My original mirror fell of the wall 20+ times (and didn't break!) so I swapped it for a lighter one. . now this one won't stick to the wall either.
6. For 14 years of my life I refused to wear pink
7. I've owned mod podge since Christmas and still haven't done anything with it.

In other news I also recently had my crochet butterflies featured on Sugar & Spice. . . and Everything Nice. Thank you Stephanie! 

Photobucket
 

That's all for now, tune in later in the week for my latest. . . a finished-unfinished bag.

Sarah