Monday, 29 November 2010

Creamy leek and potato soup


1 lb peeled, thinly sliced potatoes - cooked and then drained
2 large leeks
2 small onions
1 1/2 pints vegetable stock
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper
100 ml double cream
2 tbsp olive oil
Stilton/Dolcelatte/creamy blue cheese (optional)


Chop the onions roughly and gently fry in the olive oil until transparent - don't let them brown.  Chop the leeks and add to the onions, simmer for about 10 minutes or until the leeks are tender.  Add coriander, salt and pepper.  Add the vegetable stock, stir and then add in the sliced/cooked potatoes.  Simmer for around 30 minutes.  Blend the soup until there are no lumps left and then add the cream.  Once you have added the cream don't let the mixture boil.  Serve in hot soup bowls with crusty bread and chunks of Stilton or a blue cheese of your choice.  Beautiful on a cold night and doesn't take long to make either.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Surprises in the post

I subscribed to a couple of magazines last week and the company sent me a couple of freebies - Australian Homespun 10th Birthday Celebration Issue and Smocking & Embroidery Issue No 76.  Both of these are fabulous magazines, there is loads of ideas and inspiration in them and they are also great to just browse through with a cuppa.  Many thanks Alison for your wonderful customer service.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Craft Room

I am very lucky to have my own craft space with everything I need in one place - but boy - does it need some tidying and clearing.  I could do with my own caretaker (couldn't we all!!! LOL) just to move stuff about for me but hubby kindly took the day off and did the lifting and carrying.  So - below are the piccies for before the sort out and once I have finished I will post piccies of the room again.  It is starting to look alot tidier already. 

This is my space in the living room (much to dh's disgust as he thinks I have enough room already but like to sit with him when I am doing some bits and pieces (awwww!!!)

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Butternut Squash & Courgette Soup

This is a recipe that I have made loads of time and always get asked the recipe so thought I would share it on here.


1 butternut squash
3 courgettes
2 knorr vegetable stock cubes mixed with 1 1/2 pints from the stock off the squash
1/2 teaspoon dried coriander - you can use fresh if you have it
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch garam masala
Pinch cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
Double cream


Cut the squash into about 12 large pieces, remove seeds and then boil (with skin on) until nice and tender.  Peel the courgettes and chop into slices.  Fry the courgettes in a little olive oil until coated and put the lid on the pan so they soften faster.  Add all the spices/herbs, salt and pepper, give a good stir.  Once the squash is tender, pour the whole thing through a colander keeping the juices from boiling the squash for the vegetable stock cubes.  Remove all the flesh from the squash and mix in with the courgette.  Add stock cubes to the boiled water and then add to the squash and courgette mix.  Simmer for around an hour.  Blend the soup mix and add cream to your taste.  Check seasoning and add more salt and pepper if required.

This is delicious served with homemade bread - particularly sun dried tomato/parmesan or a nice crusty wholemeal loaf.

Enjoy - great for a winter's evening or for Christmas Eve as a light meal. 

Christmas Decorations

I am trying to make a few handmade Christmas presents this year and decided that the Tilda tree decorations were a good place to start.  I am tweeking them a bit to suit me but they have been easy to do - thinking of making a matching bag to put all of them in as I thought it would look quite nice.

They just need the hand stitching to do on the seams and then another three designs making a total of six decorations in each bag.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Magazine Subscriptions

I have finally found a company that lets you subscribe to the Australian Crafting Magazines without having all the heavy postage fees.  The company is Manor House Magazine Subscriptions.  They do all of the Australian Magazines like Inspirations, Smocking & Embroidery, Quilting, Scrapbooking, Yarn and loads more.  It was really easy to set up the subscriptions that I wanted - I went for Australian Homespun which is a monthly magazine and then a quarterly subscription to Inspirations and Australian Smocking & Embroidery.  I used to get all these magazines from a local supplier but a few years back they had problems with the supplier and they had to be cancelled and the cost for shipping your own subscription was atronomical.  I dealt with a lady called Alison who gave me all the details of the mags and also got the option of a free magazine because of taking a monthly subscription - I chose Issue 76 of Smocking & Embroidery because it has a lovely Italian smocked handbag pattern.  I thought I would share this magazine company with you as I am sure I won't be the only one looking for Australian magazines. The website is  Enjoy browsing :) 

Dresden Plate Preparation

Good Morning all - it's freezing here today - there is a layer of frost on everything.  I have got to venture out to Keswick this afternoon so hoping the sun will be out and not the snow.

My Christmas table runner is coming along.  The patchwork panels are done - I have now prepared the Dresden plate for the middle and the ends.  I hope it looks this neat when it is sewn together.

This is a twelve piece plate using a 30 degree angle and 1/4" seam allowance so it will be smaller once sewn together. 

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

I used back stitch, chain stitch and french knots for the simple embroidery.  The slippers are lined with the same fabric as the pyjamas.  The hair is made with Tilda wool - it looked hard to do but was actually very easy - I used alot of pins and then just kept wrapping the wool from one side to the other.  The rouge is a blusher built up to the required colour and the lips and eyes are acrylic paint.  The angel wings are made with the same fabric as the doll - sewing machine quilted - the fabric was lined with batting and interfacing.

Meet Darcie - Dressing Gown Angel

Meet Darcie - my first attempt at a Tilda Dressing Gown Angel.  She was quite easy to make - I bought a Dorma Percale flat sheet in the sale for £10.00 (kingsize) - I think there will be enough to do 60 angels!!!  It worked out alot better vale than buying a metre.  I used a small straight stitch on my sewing machine so when it is being turned and stuffed it certainly stood up to a bit of pushing and pulling.  The dressing gown is made from pink felt along with the slippers and part of a fat quarter for the pyjama bottoms.  I am planning on making some more of these as it was an easy pattern and definitely recommend it.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Quilting Club

Off to quilting club this morning - hoping to make a start on my Dresden plate for the Christmas table runner. Loaded with cold along with two others in family.  Looks like the sun is shining today - but need to wrap up nice and warm.  Have a good day all.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Nickel & Brass

It's mine and hubby's 21st Wedding Anniversary today - whooooh.  He took a half day and we have had lunch out and then a nice relaxing afternoon.  Didn't want to spend alot so I got the new Australian Homespun magazine - Christmas issue
There is loads of stuff in this issue that I love.  Some favourites include Lynette Andersen which I have managed to source locally - the Scandanavian Christmas Block of the Month - so I have added that to my Christmas list.

Having a day off doing any sewing - lots of other things going on at the moment and it is absolutely freezing here - fire and radiators on along with a jumper!!  Brandy is curled up in front of the fire and won't move.

Anyway - short post for today - will have to get my camera battery charged so that I can show you my first Tilda Dressing Gown Doll.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Two of my purchases yesterday - these Art to Heart books are fabulous - loads of inspiration, good detailed instructions and clear pictures.  The projects range from easy to hard.  There are fabrics to match the projects or you can do like I did and pick your own - more pictures later.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

This is my latest handmade creation.  A basket lined and then goodies made to match.
This is for a friends baby shower.
It used 1 metre of patterned fabric, a bath towel, couple of buttons, ribbon and stuffing. 
I hope it will go down well.