Saturday, 23 December 2017

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all my internet friends, followers and stitching buddies.

I thought I would share a few gluten free Christmas recipes.

Curried Turkey Soup


Stock off your turkey or chicken carcass - a good 2 or 3 pints
1 tin Evaporated Milk
1/2 head Celery - sliced
1 Onion - chopped
4 Carrots - sliced
1 Swede - diced
4 Potatoes - diced
1 pack fine green beans - sliced and chopped to 1 inch lengths
Leftover turkey or chicken - chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder


Saute the chopped onion until transparent, add the curry powder.  Add all the vegetables, give a good stir, add the stock, stir again.  Simmer for about 20 minutes for all the vegetables to cook through.  Add the tin of evaporated milk.  Check the seasoning.  If you think it needs thickening, take a cupful of the stock and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of cornflour to make a slurry, add to the pan and stir for a few minutes.  If it is still not as thick as you want it, repeat the cornflour again.  Once you are happy add the chicken and heat through, check seasoning and serve with crusty fresh bread.  It freezes well and is really warming on a Winter's night as well as being a healthy pick me up when you have a cold.

Dressed turkey crown

Salmon ready to sllice

Nigella's Sticky Toffee Pudding & Toffee Sauce

Nigella's No Churn Caramel Bourbon Ice Cream.  This ice cream took less than five minutes to make and tastes fabulous.  

Have a great Christmas all, hope you get everything you want or need, See you in 2018, looking forward to a happier, healthier one. xx

Monday, 6 November 2017

Here we go again.....

Well, what a time we are having at the moment.

I am not getting much stitching done, most of the time it's being a taxi or on the phone so I get to spend alot of time at home which means, my house if spotless lol.  My sewing room is immaculate, our attic room is finally finished and ready for when the boys come home for Christmas.  The guest room is done, again ready for Christmas.  I have done all my Christmas shopping and I have even wrapped 80% of it.  My Christmas pudding mixture was made yesterday.  I have done a little research as I always make Christmas puddings, have done for years but from this year it has to be gluten free, for both me and our youngest son, once I have them finished I will share the recipe.

So what's been going on, well, it's basically eight members of the family are not well, so we are here there and everywhere for appointments and catch ups, some are near and some are not so near, we won't be the only ones going through something like this but it is all getting a bit too much which is why I have chosen to stay home for a while so we get sorted out.  We hope that 2018 will have a better start than 2017 had for us.

I will get back to stitching but it just seems like that is going to be months away if not longer.  My RSN tutor Tracy has been fantastic and put me on hold even when I am only one session away from finishing the crewelwork.  I do think about all my stitching buddies and hope that they understand what things are like and at some point I will catch up with everyone when I can.  For now though, enjoy your stitching projects and even if I don't leave a comment be assured I am enjoying seeing what you are all up to and will join you when things settle down.  Take care xx 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Radley Kennington Bag

I had my birthday earlier in the month and decided to just let everyone get me whatever they wanted instead of me giving ideas.

I was very lucky to come home on my birthday from our eldest son's with this little beauty.
A Radley Kennington bag with a matching purse and coin purse in navy.

It looks even better in real life, I have always wanted a Radley bag.

Hubby bought me some Chanel No.5 and darling daughter bought me Jimmy Choo perfume and another Orla Kiely shopping bag to add to my collection.  Our youngest son bought me a quilting book.

We really enjoyed our day out in Windermere with a visit to The Albert pub for steak, which was delicious, the best I have had outside of the house.

At the end of the week my best friend and I enjoyed a spa day for a wonderful lava shell massage and a facial.

I haven't got any sewing done.  I have got my Christmas shopping done and wrapped - how organised is that.  I hope to be back on course this week with my stitching as I have quite a few presents to make.

I will see everyone for stitching on Friday Night :)

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Catch up...

Sorry I have been awol.

A member of the family hasn't been well and we had a week of hospital visiting, not a local hospital so 100 mile round trip every day for five days.  They are now well on the way to great, thanks to a wonderful consultant who did an outstanding job and all the nursing staff that worked tirelessly for hours.  We cannot thank them enough, they were amazing.  It did mean that once we were back home, all my energy was zapped and I have spent the week catching up with housework etc etc.  It really made me think how lucky we are to have our family.  

I hope to catch up with all my stitching buddies soon, once I have caught up with everything else :)  

Cappuccino Cupcakes

Makes 18

1 x WOW Gluten Free Victoria Sandwich Mix
225 grams of margarine
4 eggs
2 tablespoons strong coffee 

Butter cream mixed with 2 tablespoons strong coffee
1 bag Thorntons Cappuccino Truffles cut in half
Orange glitter

Mix the cake mix as per instructions and add the coffee.

Bake on gas mark 3 for 28 minutes

Leave to cool and then decorate with the buttercream and truffles.

Enjoy with a coffee.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Grandma's are the best...

I was looking at Sheryl's blog and she has posted a delicious recipe for date and pecan cookies - who doesn't love cookies.  Anyway it reminded me that a month ago our youngest son went off back to university for his second year and of course, they can't go without food so my wonderful baking mum made him an assortment of delicious cookies, biscuits and shortbread.

A great assortment of shortbread, viennese fingers, ginger cookies, viennese whirls, almond cookies, Grantham gingerbread, chocolate biscuits, muesli cookies and what you can't make it is that there is another layer underneath.

Beautiful shortbread which is suitable for diabetics, even though you wouldn't think it.

Aren't Grandma's just the best.  Our son is so funny, we asked him if he was sharing, at the moment, they are all still in his room, just for him, it reminds him of home, the lovely smell of baking but he will bring the tin back at Christmas for a top-up ;)

Sunday, 17 September 2017

WOW Cake Company

We were lucky to be invited to a Coeliac bakery demonstration on Saturday by the WOW Cake Company owned by Susan.  It is based in Lancashire - the next county to us so we had to show our support being a local business.

The WOW Cake Company make Gluten, Wheat and Nut free cake mixes and Susan demonstrated chocolate brownies and a lemon drizzle cake.

The cake mixes include chocolate brownie, carrot cake and a sponge mix.  I bought the catering size pack as I do alot of baking particularly for family, night shift and my extended family and friends so they were good value.  I checked the ingredients for these mixes and was delighted to see that they use Callebaut Chocolate.  This is beautiful Belgian chocolate with a high cocoa content and makes delicious tasting chocolate cookies and cakes along with truffles.  The mixes only need butter and eggs added to them so they are really easy to use.  They are also bringing out a pastry mix - that can't be soon enough as gluten free pastry is a nightmare, I do manage to make it but it is not something I enjoy doing unlike when I used to make normal pastry and never had a problem.

I was also lucky enough to win four packs of the standard size mixes in the raffle which was absolutely brilliant, I don't win at raffles so I was really pleased.

This is what happens when you find a product that you believe in, when you have watched someone with a passion for good food and taste do a cookery demonstration.  30 eggs picked up at the farm on the way home and get the Callebaut chocolate out of the cupboard.

Today's sample is going to be Mint Chocolate Brownie. One pack of the Chocolate Brownie mix, 114 grams of butter, 3 eggs and a whole bar of Peppermint Aero chopped up into pieces.  The smell coming from the oven is delicious.

Oh My Goodness.  They taste divine, you can smell the mint before you even eat them.  The texture is melt in the mouth but also chewy, just what you expect from a brownie.  The packet says it makes 12 however I cut mine into 16, nine for Borge's work, seven for home.  When it comes to cost I worked out it was 5.67 for 16 making it 35p per brownie.  This is very good value as I only know one other brownie that can comes close to taste and they cost 1.70 each.

Many thanks to Susan and also to Peter and Jean Forster for holding the demonstration at Braithwaite.  We thoroughly enjoyed our few hours and also our gluten free lunch.  We look forward to meeting again and also to the Gluten Free Food Fair at Penrith on Sunday 8th October 2017. 

Saturday, 16 September 2017

My Friday Night Sew-In...

Berries and Bluebirds Block 6

Another two turquoise birds for the quilt, couldn't resist, it is my favourite fabric in this collection.

I managed to line the backing fabric with weaveline and get all the applique pieces cut out, turned and glued.

Saturday will be a day of stitching the pieces on and then onto the seventh block.

Have a great weekend all :)

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Friday Night Sew-In ...

Yes, it's here already, the third Friday of the month is on the 15th September, so if you want to join in and get some stitching done you can sign up HERE

Remember, you don't have to carry all that stitching stash, just pick something to work on and then share photographs of what you achieved over the weekend with all the other stitchers and crafters.

Enjoy and see you there :)

Surprise package...

Well I wasn't expecting this little package today.

I decided to purchase the new Lizzie Kate 2017 Mystery Sampler Kit from my local (addictive lol) quilting and embroidery specialist shop - Fobbles.  I got an email to say it was in stock, unfortunately while hubby is away with the car I don't have transport so decided to get it posted to me.  As usual Bev's customer service was top notch and my parcel arrived today beautifully packaged in tissue paper along with a thank you note.

I also added a couple of reels of the Aurifil 80wt thread to my growing collection.

I absolutely love the colours in this kit, the Heartland fabric is gorgeous along with all the buttons and beads and the little needle nanny - yes - I went all out and bought everything.

I am not sure I will get it done for this Christmas but I certainly will for next.  (Don't mind my iron for my applique and my gluten free goodies to have with a caramel latte - very naughty, but that is my one treat).

If you haven't had a look at the Fobbles website, it is well worth a visit.  Bev stocks most brands of hand dyed threads as well as the usual embroidery silks, beautiful sampler kits, Shepherds Bush Designs, Jeannette Douglas Designs and has a large selection of patchwork fabrics and Aurifil thread.  There are regular workshops for both quilting and embroidery.   Sign up to the newsletter and you will get the information on what is happening over the next few months as well as advance notice of tutors who will be teaching in the next couple of years.  Regular tutors include Patti Medaris Culea (Cloth Doll Making), Phillipa Naylor (Quilting/Patchwork) and Jeannette Douglas (Embroidery/Samplers).

Back to my stitching now, will post again later with an update :)

Monday, 11 September 2017

Gail Pan Berries & Bluebirds Block 5 ...

After a very hectic week last week and some unexpected appointments I finally managed to get back on track today.

Setting out Block Five.  It made me realise how near I am to finishing the quilt so I am going to carry on and get it completed.  (That's as well as getting the laundry done as it has been a beautifully sunny day today and got it all line dried.)

I love the colours that have been put together for this quilt, they all work really well together.

The vine for block five with trendy leaves.  I cut all the bias tapes so that I just have to put them through the bias binding maker which saves alot of time when moving from block to block.


After being diagnosed as Coeliac in April after many years of horrible symptoms I thought I was going to see the back of all those horrid illnesses once I took gluten out of my diet.  Unfortunately alot of my symptoms have come back and last week was a week of ecg's, echo's, blood tests etc with the outcome being I am going to have repeat ecg's whilst they keep an eye on things.  I am lucky that I have a wonderful hubby who looks after me so well, even when I am grumpy, frustrated and agitated.  Our daughter is looking after me this week whilst hubby got a few days off seeing his family in Lincolnshire who are also going through a bit of a rough time.  Here's hoping to some healthier times for all of us. :)

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

A little set back...

'Good things come to those who believe,
better things come to those who are patient and the
best things come to those who don't give up'

Sorry I haven't been able to catch up with everyone from the FNSI...

I am dealing with a little health setback at the moment so not going to be able to post much about stitching or anything else for a couple of days.

Hopefully normal service will resume at the weekend.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Another year in and it's back to Dundee...

It's that time of year again and we are back at Dundee to drop our son off for another year at University.

The car was packed up very early this morning and we managed to get here for before lunch and get unpacked, lunch out at The West House Restaurant and then out for an hour or two shopping.

Chinese tonight including gluten free.  I am shattered so I am already in my pyjamas, dosed up and stitching out ready to go.  For my Friday Night Sew In I went back to my Gail Pan Berries and Bluebirds as it is easy to sit doing when surrounded by luggage and it doesn't take up much room so I can take it with me for a relaxing weekend.

Our view from the balcony this afternoon across the River Tay in Dundee, they are building the new V & A Museum which will open in 2018.  The Westport Apartments are just amazing, nothing to fault and the staff always look after us, we love it.  We have our own bathroom as well as all of the usual rooms and plenty of space.

The evening view.

Study area.

Living area.

Dining room.


I will post some more pictures of my Friday Night Stitching later after we have eaten :)

Monday, 28 August 2017

A busy weekend...

A day stitching in good company at Fobbles on Saturday, I managed, inbetween chatting, eating and shopping to get my son's Moda Blueberry Crumbcake jelly roll race quilt sandwiched together with a beautiful wool batting, basting gun in hand as I forgot the spray adhesive I normally use to save on the backache.  Excuse the creases, it was a blustery day whilst trying to photograph.

Goodies from my shopping included five new reels of the Aurifil 80 weight thread along with a layered storage tub and my Quilter's Patch BOM and basting gun refills.

I really enjoyed the weekend as it was the first time that me and darling hubby had the house to ourselves in more than nineteen years.  We get the odd day or night but never two nights and three days.  It was the little things I noticed, the peace and quiet, everything being tidy for more than a day.  Not having to wash up three or four times - just once, cooking for two and not five.  We had some wonderful food, steak with peppercorn sauce and delicious lobster.  Healthy food for Saturday in the form of salad (well, ok, it was nearly healthy, cheesy coleslaw, tempura chicken, jacket potato) followed by caramel lattes and chocolate cookies.

A very quiet Sunday baking for my hubbies friends who are holding a coffee morning for charity on Bank Holiday Monday at the Moresby Rugby Club.  Gluten Free Cheese Scones, Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Cake, Gluten Free Date & Walnut Loaf, Gingerbread and last but not least a Borrowdale Tea Bread.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Smocking for a dress...

I got the smocking block completed for the Devotion dress from Australian Smocking & Embroidery Magazine Issue 53.

I changed it slightly to the pattern and was pleased with the results.  I always try to make an alteration as it is good experience and also makes it individual.

I am also going to add some bullion embroidery to the collar and cuffs that will match with the fabric print.

It is time for it to be blocked out to the required measurements.  It takes a little doing.  The large ironing board, a good steam iron, pins and patience.  I need to take out all the cotton thread from the pleater.  This will then free the smocked pleats and it will stretch and conform easily to make the front dress piece.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Gail Pan Berries & Bluebirds Block Four...

Block four now completed out of eight blocks.

It is the last one for a while. I am going to change onto something else.

I am very pleased with the results so far on this quilt and would like to finish it but I have seven quilt tops waiting for my machine and really need to get a shift on completing them.

We have had a busy week, viewing property, arranging appointments and also arranging my Royal School of Needlework Certificate Classes so that I can finish my Crewelwork piece in the next four weeks and move onto Silk Shading.  Once I have my piece of Crewelwork back from the RSN I will share my finished piece.

It's a Fobbles stitching day on Saturday so if you are in Cumbria, bring your stitching along and enjoy some good company, refreshments and, of course, a little retail therapy.  Hope to see you there.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Gluten Free Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies


1lb Bob's RedMill 1to1 GF Baking Flour
6ozs Soft Brown Sugar
4 tablespoons Golden Syrup
8ozs Baking Margarine
9ozs GF Chocolate Chips (Plain, Milk & White Mixed together)

Makes 42


Your oven needs to be on gas mark 4 with a middle shelf.

Cream the margarine and sugar together in a mixing bowl or by machine. 

Add the golden syrup (heat a tablespoon so that the syrup doesn't stick to the spoon).

Add the flour and mix well, then add the chocolate chips.

Mix well until all combined.

To check consistency, you should be able to roll into a ball in the palm of your hand without it sticking to your hand. If it sticks add 1oz GF flour and check again, repeat until you have the right consistency.

Prepare two baking sheets.

Using a small ice cream scoop, place a scoop of mixture onto the tray and repeat this process until you have 12 scoops on the tray, about 4/5 cms apart.  If you don't have an ice cream scoop, just rolls the mix into balls in the palm of your hand.  Flatten slightly with your hand. If you want a pattern on the top of the cookie, use the flat side of a fork to leave the markings.

Place in the middle of the oven for 14 minutes.

Wait for about two minutes then you can remove the cooked cookies from the first tray and leave to cool on a wire rack. Wash/wipe the tray and repeat the above process.

For added flavour you can add the zest of two oranges for chocolate orange or 2 teaspoons peppermint flavouring for chocolate mint.

For extra calories you can dip one half of the cookie in melted chocolate.

Enjoy with a cuppa or a hot chocolate.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Gail Pan Berries & Bluebirds...

Block No.3 all finished and pressed and a little bit of a tutorial...

Pressed from the back using a non-steam iron and a little bit of Best Press applied to the back only.

A close up of the stitching.  The Aurifil thread cannot be seen from the top.

I haven't got exact colour matches but they are close and you cannot see the thread at all.

The view from the back.

The first block I stitched looked like this then it changed after I had taken a couple of months off and I couldn't understand why.

Two things changed, the first was the direction I was stitching.  The easiest direction to stitch the applique is right to left.  So the needle goes slightly underneath the applique motif 1/8" across, then the needle comes up and catches only one or two threads of the motif and repeats.  This leaves no trace of thread on the top and only a little length of thread underneath.

The second was I started using double thread, I don't know why.  When I stitched with the Aurifil I changed it to just a single thread of fairly short lengths which made it easier to pass through.  I wanted to share this information, I appreciate everybody has their own way of doing applique but so far this is my favourite and I am really happy with the results.

Also cut all of ours and the neighbours lawns today and barely finished when the lawnmover decided it had had enough and packed up so lawnmower hunting next week some time, in no rush.  Off out for a couple of cheeky drinks with darling hubby as everyone else has gone out so why not us :)

Enjoy what's left of the weekend :)

Friday, 18 August 2017

FNSI ... Berries & Bluebirds

Yup that's me for Friday Night Stitchin'

Berries & Bluebirds Block No.3

All pressed, glued and two thirds stitched

The Aurifil 80 wt was so much nicer to work with that I got the colours I needed to carry on with the project.  The thread just disappears into the fabric and makes it look so professional.  It definitely is worth the money if you can get hold of it.  I did struggle for some of the colours I wanted and had to use alternative colours as there are only 88 colours.

I will carry on stitching tonight and then tomorrow it's off to Gosforth Show.  

Have a great weekend all and Happy Friday Night Stitching, thanks Wendy for hosting :)

Sizergh Castle...

A beautiful castle on the outskirts of Kendal.  It has been owned by the same family for over 778 years.

The stunning stairs at the back of the property.

Swans, beehives, an orchard and a kitchen garden.  They are stunning.

My favourite part.  This letter was written by an older father who knew he wouldn't be around when his child grew up.  

It was a brilliant day out, we worked over five miles so not for the faint hearted.

Plenty of parking, disabled access, tour guides and a gift shop.

The restaurant/coffee shop had meals for vegetarian, vegan, dairy free and gluten free.  The service was first class and the food tasted delicious.  I had tomato and fennel soup with a GF seeded brown roll and Baked To Taste Millionaires Shortbread.  It was nice going to somewhere that I didn't have to ask alot of questions about the food and to have a choice of what to have and all of it listed on the blackboard.

It might seem like I spend alot of time talking about food.  I am a trained chef and have nearly always been able to just get on and make what I liked but since my Ceoliac diagnosis I have been surprised by the lack of good eating places and the amount of people that seem to think it is ok to ask whether it's just that I don't like eating gluten or do I really have a problem with gluten.  I find it a very personal question to ask by somebody that you don't know.  It is a risk to my health to the point that in the last six weeks I ended up in hospital 20 minutes after being 'glutened' and I know that I am not the only Ceoliac that is this sensitive to food.  This is why it is such a bonus when you do find places you can just visit and eat without having to do the research first.