Friday, December 31, 2010

Holiday Sewing

Strike a pose...

This is Burda 9573. Midget decided she would prefer loose sleeves rather than the elasticated ones.  The sizing is very generous and I would be inclined to go down a size if I was remaking it, but Midget is happy with it so who am I to say!  Midget chose the fabric which is Heather Ross Snails Orange and Blue from the Far Far Away 1 range.   I used the selvedge to put a wee motif on the pocket.

Happy New Year and Happy Sewing

Monday, December 27, 2010

E is for Elephant

In case you were wondering this blog is mainly about crafting, but you may have had your doubts lately.  That was because with all the end of year and pre-Christmas rush I just did not have the head space to be creative.  Migraines have been lurking - I think I was more stressed about my son's end of year NCEA exams than  he was.  Then Midget finished at the primary school she has attended for the last 8 years and that was all very emotional as it ends a 11 year assocaition with the school.

But getting back to craft - I love elephants, they seem such gentle giants and they keep reappearing in my craft.  Above is some doodling that I finished today.  The guy below was made a couple of years ago and he stands guard at our lounge door proetcting us from the Wellington winds that threaten to slam the door.  (Didn't realise how dusty he was getting until I took this photo). 

He is very proud of his tail...

These guys have been lurking in my fabric stash.... I must admit to finding it hard to cut them up.  I need the perfect project.

And these guys have been added to the shop recently, they are by Laura Wisbrun.

I can feel some more sewing coming on over these holidays!  Happy sewing everyone.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Meri Kirihimete

  This is the wonderful Pride of Auckland Choir singing Rudolph.  Meri Kirihimete everyone.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Me and Lois Part II - The NZ Christmas Mincemeat

For WandaFish :) if it is good enough for Lois (or her husband) it is surely good enough for me!

NZ Christmas Mincemeat
175g seeded raisins
150g sultanas
100g mixed peel
150g currants
30g almonds blanced, peeled and finely chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
grated zest and juice of 1 navel orange
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup medium sherry
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
75g butter
150g dark brown sugar
2 large ripe bananas

Put the seeded raisins, sultanas and peel in a processor and pulse until roughly chopped.  Tip out into a large bowl and add the currants, almonds, zests and juices, brandy, sherry and spices.  Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a moderately low heat and use a wooden spoon to stir in the brown sugar.  Peel the bananas and slice finely.  Add to the butter and sugar and stir with a wooden spoon.  As the bananas soften crush them into the butter and sugar mixture.  Continue cooking for several minutes until the mixture is thick and smooth.  Add this mixture to the remaining ingredients.  Stir well and cover.  Leave at room temperature and stir again the next day before putting in a covered plastic container in the fridge.  If possible store for days or weeks before using.  (Not in my last minute house!) Makes enough for 3 dozen mince pies.

I also like the tradition that you can count on a happy month for every Christmas mince pie you eat in a different house (or cafe).  55,56,57..... just kidding! 

Happy eating

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Me and Lois - Only in New Zealand

It has been crazy at my place recently as I am sure it is for most people at this time of year.

This morning I have been baking my Christmas Mince Pies and using the recipe by Lois Daish (a food writer) that appeared in The Listener several years ago.  I always use this recipe and every time I do it makes me smile because behind it is a story that I think might only happen in New Zealand. 

It was Christmas Eve in 2004 and I had been hanging onto The Listener magazine ready to follow the recipe that I saw for Christmas Mince Pies, but when I came to use the recipe - could I find the magazine? - NO!  Mr S had been busy tidying up and had put it out for recycling that day and it was gone. 

Not to be put off I turned to the internet to see whether they had the recipe on-line.  NO.  But there was the number for the Listener in Auckland, so not caring about the toll call, I rang. I wanted to make those Christmas Mince Pies.

NO, says the Listener they cannot give me the recipe, but would I like to ring Lois and ask for it?  WOW, you mean I can ring Lois?  So I rang Lois at home and spoke to her very understanding husband who without any fuss gave me the recipe I was after.  Only in New Zealand!  I wonder whether they would do it today?

The recipe is yummy - but beware do grease your patty pans!

Almond Pastry
 250g standard flour
50g almonds (I use 70 g as that is the size of the packet and I cannot bear the waste)
100g icing sugar
190g hard butter
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp very cold water (don't let your husband near it because mine tips it out when he is tidying up!)

Put the flour, ground almonds and icing sugar in a processor bowl.  Cut the butter into dice and add.  Pulse the processor until the mixture has an even crumb like texture.  Combine the yolk and water in a cup and add to the processor.  Pulse until the mixture starts to clump into larger crumbs.  Stop the machine, lift the lid and press a few of the crumbs together between thumb and forefinger.  If they do not readily hold togetehr, add a few more drops of cold water and pulse again.  Top the mixture into a bowl and press together with your hands.  Wrap in a plastic wrap and put in a cool place for 20 minutes before rolling out.

Makes about 24 small mince pies (I use mini muffin tins and I get about 36)

Lois also gives a recipe for the Christmas Mince which I must admit I do not use any more, being a last minute person I buy some good pre-made Christmas mince and use that instead.

I use mini muffin tins and bake the pies at about 190 degrees celsius in a fan forced oven for about 10 minutes. 

Also because my children do not like dried fruit I usually make some raspberry jam pies as well - just use raspberry jam instead of Christmas Mince.

Happy Baking

Friday, December 10, 2010

frocking good - a new dress for Christmas

Need a new frock?  Then check out the lovely ones at Cast.  I have just received mine.

This is not me modelling, in case you did not realise (in my dreams I have this figure!), but the lovely Catherine who is the designer, machinist, model, sales woman and everything behind Cast.  I met Catherine at a recent market I was selling at and her clothes are beautiful and flattering, even to the more generously proportioned figure.

I also had my dress lengthened by an extra 10 cms (because I like to hide my thighs).  Three days later my new dress, which I am in love with, arrived by courier. 

Now I am working out how many times this will be worn between now and Christmas Day.  I can see it becoming a firm favourite.

Thanks Catherine I love it!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

good bye to the old and hello to the new - baker's twine

If you have made a purchase through Stitchbird Fabrics your parcel will have arrived tied with a piece of red trim.  Unfortunately the red trim is coming to an end and based on the age of the spool it came from my guess is that I will not be able to re-order.  A google search did not even find Lawrence Textiles :(

So what to use in the future.....

Baker's Twine!  Not only will parcels come tied with Baker's Twine you can also buy Baker's Twine in the shop here.  With names like Maraschino, Peapod, Lemon Drop and Pink Sorbet who can resist.

Just a few photos to tempt...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

a beautiful day

The sun is shining and I spent the morning at the Kibirnie Library sewing and talking to people about crafting.  The mail had a couple of the Christmas decorations from the Kiwi Christmas Ornament Swap I am particpating in.  And this afternoon I have been cutting fabric, filling orders and getting ready for this weekend's market at Frank Kitts.

One customer's fabric selection, I love seeing the combinations that people select. (Thanks Fiona).


From Ella and yes I love it.  It also has some cloves inside - so not only does it look good but it smells good too.

From Dione the organiser extraordinnaire behind the swap.

I am one of the last ones to send as I have been dithering as to what to make - too many ideas and not enough self discipline to stop procrastinating and just DO IT!!  But I am pleased to say they are all finished and will be sent out tomorrow.

I hope the sun is shining wherever you are and if it is not that you are warm and cosy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wellington Advent Calendar

If you live in Wellington, please click on this link - it is magical.  (You can even click on it if you aren't in Wellington).  It is fun.

Wellington Advent Calendar
Welcome to the Wellington Advent Calendar. Every day until Christmas we’ll reveal a wee treat for you, thanks to some great Wellington businesses. All you need to do is find today’s door and click on it to reveal what’s hidden. Come back every day to see what new treat has been revealed! Enjoy!