Monday 31 October 2011

World Population

In just over 6 hours the world population will become 7,000,000,000. That's a whole lotta people!

This is my last post for a few days as Joe and I are off on a wee jaunt that I will tell you all about when we get home.

Take care of yourselves and I will 'see' you all soon.
Love from Sue

Saturday 29 October 2011

Some Crafty Blogs

I thought I'd simply share a few of my favourite craft blogs this morning, perhaps you'll find some Christmas gift inspiration here.

The first is Pink Penguin's Fabric Baskets...she is a dainty Japanese lady married to an American man and now living in Tokyo, her sewing is always witty and very appealing. I've made several of these little baskets, some for gifts and there are 3 of them dotted around the house containing my craft supplies and specs! I leave off the handles and often use denim for the base.


Japanese Prints

Yesterday I followed a link from the Homespun Living Blog and came across these delights...

Another tutorial I have used several times is for these appliance covers, it's simply an upside-down bag really with a nicely made square bottom....I've cheated again here by making them with just one layer so they're not reversible but still very useful. I have one on the breadmaker, toaster, monitor and sewing machine! With the vast range of fabrics available these days you could really 'go to town'!

This is my monitor


These Stationery Folders are easy to make and very useful...I keep birthday cards, stamps and envelopes in mine and have given them as gifts with a selection of $1 greeting cards inside could add some stamps too if your budget permits. They use little oddments of fabric so are great stash-busters and Melissa is a forum member too...she has lots of other lovely goodies to share.

Inside the folder

It has a handy pocket on the front too.
Now after looking at these delicious goodies I am itching to sew something sweet!

Do you have plans for the weekend or are you just going to go with the flow like me? Have fun whatever you decide to do.

Bye bye for now,

Friday 28 October 2011

A Little Explanation

If you have been following the comments between Claire and I after this post you will see that we lived in the same small area of Morecambe and even went to the same primary school though not at the same time...we'd emigrated by the time Claire and her family arrived at Harewood Ave.

It was called Sandylands County Primary School when I was there from September 1960 to November 1967.

In July, 2008 when Mum, Dad, Joe and I were all in Lancaster at the same time, Dad and I set off one Sunday afternoon to walk around our old neighbourhood......we walked from near The Park Hotel on Balmoral Rd, down Norfolk Ave, along Lordsome Rd, up Harewood Ave and then up Fairfield Ave to catch a very expensive bus back into Lancaster...five pounds for a 5 mile one-way ticket!
Here's some of the many pics I took that day...

Dad sets off along Balmoral Road

That sweet little house

The annex of our primary school...grades 3 and 4 went there in my time and walked back to the main school for school dinners. I went to the toilet one lunchtime and when I came out I'd been locked into the school building so I climbed out through a window and went home to tell me Mam!

Dad painted this house in about 1951 when he was a young apprentice. He was also the young apprentice whose large hand-barrow tipped up on Heysham Rd and spilt several gallons of paint onto the road! He must have walked hours pushing that barrow as he lived about 6 miles away from this accident and the Boss did not have a motor vehicle.
Looking up Hampton Rd, our school is on the right-hand side of this road.

Walking down Norfolk Ave, in the photo below the right-hand semi facing you used to be a little shop in the front room of Mr and Mrs Stathers and their dog, Sally Slab Cabbage. Mrs Stathers was very generous with the Lancashire cheese when small children were in the shop! They used to enjoy banana sandwiches with sugar sprinkled on them for afternoon tea.

Looking west along Lordsome Rd...our old home is on the left-hand side and looked out over the playing fields and all the way to Lancaster, Ashton's Memorial, and to Clougha Pike.

Outside number 40, my brother, Ian, was born in the front bedroom in October, 1960

Number 48 is where my best friend, Gillian Scargill, lived for many years.

The view from the back of the house and my bedroom window was across the fields to can  just see  Ashton's Memorial on the left, I used to call it Williamson's Ornament as a child! Learn more about Lord Ashton here He had a major impact on the City of Lancaster. The hill in the background is Clougha Pike in the Forrest of Bowland and rises to a height of 1355 feet.

Looking across Morecambe Bay to the Lakeland Fells on a full tide.

Now the real reason for this lengthy post is that Claire and I are both members of the Down to Earth Forums and when we held our Christmas Swap last year I posted those goodies I showed you here to Claire in Brisbane having no idea that we had this common background. It was only yesterday when Claire commented on my Heysham post and photos that we worked out this connection. I am just amazed and perhaps it is a small world after all?

Have a blessed day

Friday On My Mind...

...when we post a photo of our own, visit other blogs and leave our link back to our own blog.

They're baaaaack! Fresh tomatoes that is and these all came from the volunteer plants I've posted about recently. Delicious.

What's on your mind today?


Thursday 27 October 2011

Heysham Village

I've just been over to a friend's blog to catch up and she'd been to Heysham which is just a mile or two from I grew up in Morecambe. Heysham Head and Half Moon Bay evoke childhood memories of sunny days, swimsuits and ice-creams. I came across this account of Summer days there in gentler times.....I too can remember puppets shows, Little Red Riding which at the age of 3 yrs caused an awful nightmare, and the signs for nettle beer for sale.

Although now home to a hideous nuclear power station and a busy port for ships to the Isle of Man and Ireland Heysham still has a lot of history and natural beauty to offer.

Unka Tom took us for a drive one overcast Sunday morning up to Heysham Head to see once again the ancient (some say 444AD) chapel ruins and stone graves which seem to have been carved out a little later. This is the remaining chapel wall, built by St Patrick before the Vikings came and conquered. You can see past the chapel and across Morecambe Bay to the Lakeland Fells.

The stone coffins are amazing...can you see the right-hand coffin has room for a small child near the parent's shoulder? They would have had a heavy stone lid at the time. There are 6 graves here and another two nearby.

Some folks find a different use for them today! This very hot border collie had earned a cool dip!

We then walked back down the hill to St Peter's Church which was started in the early 1700s, it has 2 bells in the tower and a lovely old sun-dial in the grounds. The graves were interesting too and we saw some Kellet graves, Mark Kellet's great-grandfather perhaps? Mark is married to my cousin, Katherine. There were Mashiter graves too, Auntie Jessie is Mrs Mashiter.

Joe's all-time favourite epitaph....

This is part of an Anglican Cross dating back to the can see the carving has a Celtic influence,

The rain had started at this stage and we were getting very hungry so we carried on down through the village and back to the car...have a look at some of the beautiful cottages in the village...I think we went out for a roast dinner with family that day.

 This is the Heysham Jubilee Institute which looks as if it has been converted into a house now...dated 1897 which was the year of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 60 years as Queen.

If you'd like to read a lot more about the history of Heysham this is a good link to follow

Joe and Unka Tom often joke that "it always rains in England"! I know that's not the case but looking back on my holiday photos I can see we do get plenty of rain and it is indeed a 'green and pleasant land'.

I made the soap yesterday and added a teaspoon of cocoa powder to give it a warm brown colouring. It's rained all night again with sporadic thunder , I love this weather as I know it will pass all too soon and be far too hot!

Have a Thundering Good Thursday,
Love from Sue

ETA this u-tube video that 'Mum' has... what a cheek I have lol Have a walk around the village with us?

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Cheese and Onion Oat Flan

Time for a recipe methinks. This is my adaptation of a recipe in the "Margaret Fulton's Book of Wholefood Cooking" which I have been using for at least 30 yrs. I use the food processor to make this pastry and you'll see why in a moment.

You'll need....

1 cup of wholemeal flour
1 cup of rolled oats
125 gms or 4ozs butter
cold water and a pinch of salt

Make the pastry first...
Process the rolled oats until they're very fine and add the flour, salt and butter
Process again until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs then pour in about 2 T of cold water
Process that and add a little more water if needed until you have a firm dough.
Place the dough on a floured surface and knead lightly, then roll it out and line your pie plate or flan with it.
Pop it into the fridge while you make the filling or for at least 15minutes.

Make the filling...

2 chopped onions
4 eggs
2/3 cup of milk
1 to 1 3/4 cups of grated cheese, depending on your taste
salt and pepper
I also added a tablespoon or so of finely diced red capsicum and a little thinly sliced silverbeet.

Gently "fry" the onions/capsicum etc in either a little butter or water until they're transparent but not browned.
Beat the eggs and milk together and then mix in the onions, cheese and season well.

Pour this mixture into your flan case and bake at 190C for about 40 minutes. The flan is lovely hot or cold and I'm sure will be much enjoyed. If you're taking it to a party or picnic use 2 full cups of cheese for a real "wow" factor!

Well the soap didn't get made yesterday as I couldn't get the caustic soda until late afternoon; how can there be such a difference in the price of it? Local IGA charges $4.97 for 500gm, Joe got it at Coles for $3.95 and the hardware shop charges about $7 for the same amount. Buying it in bulk is the way to go if you're going to be making a lot.

Hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday
Love from Sue
and some beautiful lillies that Kristie bought me last year...

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Hexagons Galore

Hallo again...I started this patchwork in my mind about 20yrs ago but only got down to brass tacks two and a half years ago! It is so very time-consuming as each hexagon is cut out of paper, pinned to the fabric and then cut out leaving a 1/4 inch overlap to prevent fraying. I wanted to use black based fabric as the centre of each 'flower' and to use floral prints as the 'petals'.

However it began to grow like Topsy and I couldn't work out how to get 'straight' edges on it. I had no plan to use it but after finding it again recently I could see it would make a lovely cushion cover and join the floral riot in the living room! This is the back of it and you see some of the papers are still in leave them in for support while sewing the shapes together.

I seemed to think that the hexagons would fit together neatly in rows but they actually make rows that are diagonal so I finally realised I would have to remove several parts of hexies and fill in the caps with single pieces or a pair together....and that is what I spent yesterday morning doing. I gave it a really good press and then cut out a larger square of cotton to stitch it to. I sewed it on by hand as all the piecing here is hand-sewn but I will use the sewing machine to assemble the cushion cover later today. Once it was sewn on I trimmed up the edges of the base to ensure the patchwork was central.

Here's a couple I prepared earlier lol I mean some of the floral patchwork cushions I've made before, they're very simple but colourful and 'happy'

Auntie Joan's Butterflies and Dragonflies...some are hand embroidered

a simple star

Elizabeth's Stitchery Cushion

Auntie Jessie's Sunny Cushion

Gillian's Purple Passion Cushion!

Tumbling or Baby Blocks
As you can tell by their names most of these have been given as gifts. I have also made some using photos printed onto fabric..they were gifts too and it's always sweet to see them in photos from Phoebe and Priscilla in Canada. I'll show you them another day.

It's rained all night here, it's not cold just beautifully fresh and clean.

What are you going to do today? I need to go to the library, get prescriptions and make some soap as well as all the usual other little 'jobs'. Whatever you get up to I hope you have a Terrific Tuesday!

Love from Sue

Monday 24 October 2011

An Apron Tutorial

Quite some time ago I won an apron from one of the puzzle magazines and I use it as my template when making a new apron. I simply pin it to my 2 fabrics and cut around it with an extra 1/4 inch as the seam allowance. This way I can make a reversible apron that is a bit thicker for messy spills!

Here we go...I can't guess how much fabric you'd need but hopefully you have a metre or so of something suitable or even a vintage sheet would be nice. Of course you'll need another apron or a pattern or can even cut out the fabric...quite easy if it's folded in half....I did this to make O's little apron and used a dinner plate to shape the top/underarm curve. Yes, she's ready to cook and loves doing so I can assure you.

Here are a few photos I took while making mine this didn't take much longer than an hour and this one will go into my gift box for Christmas giving. I made the straps first by cutting one 6cm x 60cm strip to go over my head. To tie the apron at the back I cut two 5 x 60 cm strips, folded them all in half with right sides facing and stitched the cut edges to make 3 long thin tubes. Stitch the bottoms of the ties, it doesn't matter about the neck strap as it's ends will be hidden. Turn them back the right way(I use the head of a long knitting needle for this) and iron them.

Next take your 2 cut out fabric pieces and place them right sides together. Pin them together and then carefully pin the straps into place so the they are in between both pieces of fabric, make sure the only part of the strap near the edges of the fabric is the ends! The white waffle weave fabric you can see here is my second fabric,

Now you sew right around the two pieces and through the ends of the straps to attach them...leave a gap of about 12cms so that you can turn the apron back the right way...when you do this the straps will (hopefully) be on the outside where they should be. Next give the apron a good iron, turn the edge of that opening inside and pin it and and then  top-stitch around the edges...hey's that simple. Honest.

As usual the clothes hoist gets to model the finished work. I loved this 50's Housewife fabric from Spotlight but I've used all sorts of different patterns to suit different people, male and female.

While today's apron is lined with the white waffle weave fabric this next one shows you how you can use two lovely fabrics to make a reversible apron...this one has pockets too and has gone to England to keep Auntie Margaret clean while she's busy cooking.

I hope this is helpful to you but if you get stuck please ask for help!

The Christmas Swap starts today over at the Down To Earth Forum so come along and join in the fun there.

Have a Marvellous Monday, won't you?
Love from Sue