Saturday, November 30, 2013

New Patterns..

I recently visited the AQM 2013 in Melbourne and had the pleasure of meeting some very talented Australian designers, Paula Storm and Janeene Scott both quite local, from the beautiful NSW South Coast and Zoe Clifton from Geelong.

I am excited to tell you that I am soon to stock some their wonderful patterns...

 'Rupert and Piper' , new softies from Paula just adorable..

...and Sammy seahorse is a cutie
......Lovely appliqué Cushions and quilts for your home from Janeene
A great design to adapt for Christmas
My deer pattern
"In the wild"  It is fast and fusible appliqué featuring "wild"  animals; a lion, giraffe, monkey, hippo and zebra. The quilt is fairly simple and the design uses vibrant colours.... great for any child's bedroom..
Zoe Clifton has some great new patterns to try...
The Origami Quilt pattern comes with a set of 5 templates which have the 1/4" seam allowance marked...
Such a versatile design, can be used with oriental prints, soft and pretty florals, 'bloke' prints - something for everybody
Finished Quilt Size 1.5m (59") x 1.5m (59")

Sleepy sails ... a beautiful quilt inspired by the sea would make a lovely addition to your beach house... and it would make a you can a boys quilt.
Rotary cut and machine pieced with either blanket stitch applique or needle turn applique for the yachts.
Finished Quilt size 119 cm (47") x 139.7 cm (55")



Saturday, July 20, 2013

Beef Pilaf

An easy one pot recipe combining ground beef, rice and cinnamon.

1 tablespoon oil
1 onion chopped
1 carrot diced
1 garlic clove crushed
500g minced beef
1 tsp cinnamon
11/2 cup long grain rice
3 cup chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste
Plain yoghurt to serve


1. Heat oil in a wok or deep pot (make sure it has well fitting lid).
2. Add onion, carrot and garlic to pan and stir fry for 3 to 4 mins.
3. Add minced beef and cinnamon and cook stirring until beef is browned.
4. Add rice and stir to combine.
5. Add stock, cover and cook 20 mins until stock is absorbed and rice is cooked, stir in peas a few mins before cooking time is finished....season to taste.
6. Serve with a dollop of plain yoghurt.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Banana Cake


1 1⁄2 cups (210g) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb soda
Pinch salt
125 g unsalted butter, softened and chopped
1 cup (250g) brown sugar
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas
100ml buttermilk (or milk with a 2 t lemon juice)

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Line medium loaf or square tin with baking paper. 
  2. Put bananas and eggs in food processor and lightly pulse.
  3. Add other ingredients and pulse til just smooth (don’t over process). 
  4. Bake in oven for about 55-60 minutes. A skewer inserted in the cake should come out clean. 
  5. Ice with lemon icing.

Lemon Icing
1 c pure icing sugar sifted
1 t butter softened
1-2 T lemon juice

  1. Blend icing sugar and soft butter.
  2. Mix in enough lemon juice to make the desired consistency of icing 

Tip: If bananas in fruit bowl are turning blotchy and soft, put straight in freezer rather than the rubbish. When ready to make cake or smoothie, remove and either slice (blackened) peel off, or wait for it to defrost and slide squishy banana out of peel.

Orange Cakes

Orange Cake 1

This recipe from The Cooks Companion by Stephanie Alexander is one of my favourites. It makes a wonderful centrepiece for a morning or afternoon tea.
Best of all its super easy, all made in the food processor.

1 large orange 
2 eggs
125g unsalted butter, softened
3⁄4 cup castor sugar 
225g self-raising flour

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degree C and butter/grease/line a ring tin.
  2. Zest (grated fine peel) and juice orange. 
  3. Combine all cake ingredients in a food processor and blend for 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. 
  4. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 30-35mins. Cool for 5 mins in tin before turning out onto a wire rack. Cool completely before icing. 

2 cups icing sugar 
1 tps melted butter 
1 tbs fresh orange
1 tbs Grand Marnier or citrus liqueur 
1 tbs of orange zest/grated peel 

  1. Beat all icing ingredients except zest until quite smooth, and then add zest.
  2. Warm icing over hot water to thin a little and then spread over cake. 

Orange Fairy cakes: small cakes using this orange cake recipe will take 10-15mins to cook in either paper cases or muffin trays.

Orange Cake 2

This recipe is adapted from a recipe found in the AWW Cooking School book "Lemon Syrup Cake".....It is just as good made with oranges.
125 g Butter
3 t finely grated orange rind
2/3 cup (150g) castor sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup (160mls) buttermilk... can be made by adding 1 T lemon juice to this qty of milk
2 T orange Juice
1 1/2 cups self raising flour

Orange Syrup
1/3 cup (80 ml) orange Juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
3/4 cup (165g) castor sugar
1. preheat oven to 180 C/160 C fan forced. grease 23cm baba tin or line a 20 cm square tin or 22cm round tin.
2. Beat butter rind and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time.
3. Fold in buttermilk and orange juice alternately with the sifted flour in two batches.
4. Spread mixture into pan and bake about 30mins for a baba pan and 40 mins for a square or round tin
5.Cool for 5 mins on a wire rack set over a tray.
6 Meanwhile make up orange syrup. Pour hot syrup over hot cake.
Orange Syrup.... Stir ingredients in a small saucepan over heat without boiling until sugar dissolves, simmer, uncovered, without stirring 5 mins.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Yoghurt Cake

Passionfruit Yoghurt Cake

An easy and delicious cake recipe..

My favourite is made using frozen berries and low fat berry flavoured yoghurt... I like frozen 3 berry mix including blackberries, blueberries and raspberries when fresh berries are not in season.

This cake works well without the sugar for diabetic diets. It can be sweetened with a smear of berry fruit spread... and for a bit of indulgence a dollop of cream...


2 eggs
1 cup (250 ml) fruit flavoured low fat yoghurt... berry or passionfruit
3/4 cup castor sugar (optional)
1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
1 t pure vanilla essence
1 T light rum
2 (300g) cups plain flour
11/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 cup of frozen 3 berry mix or pulp of 2 passionfruit
pinch salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F), line the bottom and sides of a round 25-cm (10-inch) cake pan or 24cm x 11cm loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large mixing-bowl, gently combine the yoghurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil, and rum. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture, and blend together -- don't overwork the dough.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
  5. Let stand for ten minutes, and transfer onto a rack to cool.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cashew Hummus

This version of hummus is light and creamy....simply delicious!....
it can be served as a dip or used as a condiment for 
chicken, fish, vegetables and rice.


1 400g can chickpeas drained, reserve 1/4 cup liquid.
1 cup (150g) natural cashews
1/4 cup pear juice (or other juice)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove or more to taste
salt and pepper to taste
paprika or chopped parsley to garnish

1. Place chickpeas, cashews and garlic in a food processor and whiz to combine and start to puree.
2. Gradually add the reserved liquid, lemon juice and pear juice into the processor while running. This will allow you to check consistency, which should be thick.
3. Season with salt and pepper. Place in serving bowl and garnish with a sprinkle of paprika or chopped parsley.
Store in the fridge- in a covered glass bowl or storage container.
The flavors get better as it chills.
Chilling the hummus also thickens it.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Melly and Me Giddy Up Hobby Horse Tutorial

Its time for another sewing tutorial....
Giddy up hobby horse pattern from Melly and Me.
This pattern is a favourite and looks sensational in bright will find this pattern for a great price at my Etsy shop

Please join in on this journey....

Step 1: Cutting out and marking.
Fold the main fabric into half right sides together and pin on your pattern. A 1/4 inch seam allowance is included all the way around the pattern.

Accurately cut around each pattern piece for the head and the ear.

    Cut all other pattern pieces with a cutting board and a rotary cutter. Cut the fabric to the sizes described in the pattern...(...if you don't have these tools draw the pattern onto paper and cut out using the same method as the head piece and ears).
Now you need to transfer the pattern markings from the pattern to the fabric.
I like to sew tailors tacks as they are temporary and can be seen from both sides of the fabric.

Tailors tacks are made using a large loose stitch made using double threaded needle. Sew through the pattern and the double thickness of fabric.
Leave a tail at the start and then sew a large loop and cut the tails a little longer than the loop.

After you have sewn loops at all markings, pull the pattern away gently, then you can gently open the two pieces of fabric and cut the loop in half to separate the two sides of the head piece. gentle so as not to pull out the stitches
Sew tailors tacks at Pattern markings with a cross at the eye, a star where the mane starts, each end of the ear placement line and each end of the fill line.
Step 2:  The Eyes... Pattern variation
Trace the circles for the eye from the pattern onto vliesofix, use a light box or window to help you. Then take the small pieces of black, eye colour fabric and white felt (NB:I used felt for all pieces) and iron the circles of vliesofix onto the fabric. Cut out each eye piece.

Peel the paper off the back of the black and blue fabric and arrange the black and blue circles on top of each other and fix together by pressing.
Blanket stitch around the black, then fix the blue to the white and blanket stitch around the blue. Position the black just inside the blue and the blue just inside the white.
Use 2 strands of embroidery floss in coordinating colours.
A demonstration of blanket stitch can be found at
Note: It is difficult to get the vliesofix to adhere to the horses head at this stage I used a little fabric glue and pin to hold the eyes in place while you blanket stitch around the white.
 Step 3: The pole!

Prepare the pole and cover following the instructions on page 2 of the pattern....


Iron pellon to wrong side of pole fabric

Sew across each corner 1/2 inch from the point. 

Trim corners and use a chopstick to turn pole cover right side out.

Step 4: The head and mane.

Take your 3 panels measuring 11" x13 1/2" and place them on each other right sides up

Trim around the stack with pinking shears. I like to do this before folding as it is easier to cut through 3 layers of fabric than 6.
Pattern Variation: To add body to mane the add place tulle between each fabric layer.

Fold the stack in half and pin the folded edge to the right side of one of the head pieces.

Place the second head piece right side down over the first encasing the mane fabric.

Pin all other edges allowing the bottom straight edge of the head to remain open.

Stitch all the way from one side of the bottom edge to the other...

...a quarter inch sewing machine foot makes sewing 1/4" from the edge easy..

...and to make your seam extra strong stitch again.

Next use a small sharp pair of scissors to cut the mane fold open.

Then using the tips of the scissors clip the edge all the way around
the stitched careful not to cut the stitching.

Pin your mane stack at intervals to hold the fabric layers together. Use a quilters marking pencil or friction pen (removes with eraser or iron) to mark 1" intervals across the mane.

Cut the mane into strips using your pinking shears....make sure you use the tips of the scissors to cut to 1/4 inch away from the head.

Step 5: Binding on the bottom of the head.

...Next make the binding for the bottom edge of the head .
Use the strip of pole ear fabric measuring 10 1/2" x 2" and your iron to press the fabric into half along the length, right sides out. Open out and press each end in to meet the centre crease.

Open out and sew the ends together with a 1/4 "seam, fold again and pin binding around the bottom of the head, encasing the raw edge and matching the seams at the front.

 Top stitch the binding in place.

If you have been using a quarter inch machine foot until now you will need to change it to a standard machine foot.

Top stitching should look the same on the
outside as the inside and should catch all edges.

Step 6. Join head to the pole.

First make sure you have marked the hole position on the pole. Use a marker as you will not be able to see these marks under the skirt. Then insert the raw tacked end of the pole into the neck of the horse head, make sure the seam of the pole is at the back. I found that easing the filling aside allowed me to centre the pole then i added more filling around the pole down to the marks on the pole.

Take a long sewing needle and 2 long strands of strong polyester thread, start with a knot and sew long running stitches around the fill line of the neck.
It is best to start on the underside and then come through to the right side....end on the underside near the start. Pull the threads to gather the neck to fit the pole, tie with a knot and do not cut.

Hold the horse head upside down between your knees, fold back the skirt to access the gathers from underneath.
Using the same thread take your needle through the hole on the back of the pole to the front, stitch to the next hole marking and pass the needle through to the other side. 
Keep stitching until the entire circumference of the gathers are secured to the pole. If your thread allows stitch around again, to strengthen the join.
Step 7: The Ear
Take your piece of ear fabric (I used a different fabric to the one recommended... the contrast fabric) and fold in half right sides together. Trace the ear pattern twice (I used a water soluble pen) onto the fabric then cut around each leaving about 1/2  inch all the way around.

Stitch, leaving an opening for turning along the dotted line on the pattern. Trim to 1/4 inch and clip around curved edge remembering to use the tip of your scissors so as not to cut the stitching. I reversed my stitching at each end of the stitching.

Turn the ears inside out and roll the edge pinning close to the edge, press.

Using a Doubled knotted thread sew a row of gathering stitches about 1/4 " long close to the bottom edge of each ear. Start gathering thread 1/2 and inch form each end and pull tight securing with a double stitch.

Pass the thread through the layers of fabric to the end of the ear then pin your ear between the tailors tacks in a slight curve following the pattern.
Stitch through all thicknesses from the front, Stitching into the top gather. This will pull the ear to the front and help to make it stand up, as you sew each gather.
Step 8: Bit, Bridal and Reins
Make these pieces in a very similar way to the pole cover.

  • Attach iron on pellon,
  • fold right sides together, sew
  • trim corners
  • turn press and stitch opening...

 Each piece has a sightly different method in the pattern instructions.
Carefully follow the method described for each part.
Use pins to hold pieces in place until you are happy with the position.