Monday 31 December 2018

December Stitching, Gifts and One Monthly Goal

Now that the month is nearly over it is time to share what has been happening on the stitching front during December.

Firstly, this year Chookyblue's Secret Santa Christmas Swap went into respite as life got in the way.  However, it was suggested by one of the previous participants that we could send a decoration to Chooky to brighten her Christmas.  You can see them all here.

This is the little decoration I made.  It did have a red ribbon hanger, but I took the photo before I added it.  

Mum has been crocheting lots of kitchen towels for the church fete since she has moved into full time aged care, so she made this rather appropriate one for Chooky and I then found the little chook on our recent travels.

My friend Lou (Manxgirl) and I swap Christmas gifts each year.

I was delighted when there was a package of bunting in soft floral fabrics.  I was rather taken with the set that Lou made for her sewing room, so was very surprised and happy to find some had winged its way over here.  Happily, it matches my sewing machine cover and will fit above my sewing room windows nicely.

The rest of the gift consisted of a very practical sized project bag in kiwiana fabrics and some yummy nibblies and pins.  All very handy to have.  

This is what I sent to Lou.  A sewing machine mat with a decoration the same as Chooky's and a few extra bits and bobs.

Although it is designed as a sewing machine mat, Lou has found that it is the perfect size to use as an armchair caddy on her favourite chair.

My One Monthly Goal for December was to complete four Splendid Sampler 2 blocks.  Well, today it is New Year's Eve and I have just added the final stitches.  Once again, goal met by the skin of my teeth.

Nancy's Spool.

Antique Memories

For Madge

Cheers.  This is a bonus block for the New Year, so rather appropriate.

I'm linking up with Elm Street Quilts.  I'm really happy that I joined this challenge, as I have met my goal for each month except one.  I'm pretty pleased with that.  I think the secret has been to make realistic goals.  The goal does not have to be to complete a project, but can just be to complete a certain stage.  I'm looking forward to participating again next year.

I'm also adding my few little finishes to One Project a Month hosted by Peg and Kris.  I didn't succeed as well with that this year, but there are still quite a few finishes in the side bar.  I'm particularly pleased to see some UFOs on that list. 

Now I'll have to start thinking about what I want to achieve in 2019.  The world is full of opportunities.

Thursday 27 December 2018

The Christmas Pudding

This year I made a Christmas Pudding.  Why is that noteworthy?  Well, I haven't made one in about twenty years.

It is an old family recipe, so I thought I would share a bit about it.

I thought it would be fun to find each version of the recipe.

In the last few years both Grandma's and Mum's recipe books have come to live with me.  That is Grandma's on the left.  She was married in 1927.  Mum's in the middle, from 1962 and my white folder. I was married in the mid 1980s.  I've never really had a hand written recipe book. I like that my recipes are in plastic sleeves and I can wipe down any spills.  I keep saying I'll decorate the cover, but it hasn't happened as yet.

Here is Grandma's recipe, beautifully written out on pages that are now very worn and fragile.

Mum's is also beautifully written out, but not quite as fragile.

Here's mine, typed and tweaked a little to simplify, although the ingredients and method actually are the same.  Most importantly, the necessity for everyone to stir the mix and make a wish has been added into the method.

My latest notes on the back of an envelope are to simplify it further with mixed fruit, convert to metric and to only make a quarter of the mix.  Mum always only made half the recipe and then made that half into two puddings, one for Christmas and one for New Year's Day.

My other amendment was to switch the suet for butter, which I even melted.  It still seemed to work.  These old recipes are rather forgiving.

Quite some years ago I was given my other grandmother, Granny Johnson's, recipe book.  She was married in 1914.

Her Plum Pudding recipe is somewhat shorter, taking it for granted that you know how to prepare a steamed pudding in  a cloth.  The measurements are slightly different, but as I said, these recipes are rather forgiving.  Maybe next year I should have a go at her pudding recipe, as I haven't done so as yet.

We also have a hand written recipe book that was owned by Mick's paternal Grandma.  It doesn't have many entries and was obviously not her main recipe book, as it only dates from the mid 1960s.  There is no reference to any Christmas recipes in it. 

I feel very privileged to be the custodian of these old books.  They are simple things, but give a reflection of how life was through the food that was prepared and the handy hints and recipes for household cleaners and preparations that were used.  I'm sure I will find many of my favourite foods,  as entered in my recipe folder, that have been passed down if I have a good look.

Tuesday 25 December 2018

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

It is late afternoon here and we are enjoying a brief quiet time in the day, so I thought I would take the opportunity to share our decorations this year.  Not too many changes, but we added the tinsel to our light pole, inspired by our new neighbours, and had fun decorating our new gas heater mantle. We love our new gnome.


Lastly, the nativity scene and flowers at church this morning were looking lovely.

Friday 7 December 2018

One Monthly Goal for December

Another month has snuck up on us and it is time to set my goals for this month.  

Given that it is that very silly time of the year I'm going to aim rather low.

My goal for this month is to complete four Splendid Sampler 2 Blocks.  Surely I can get that done in the break between Christmas and New Year.  

I've really enjoyed being a part of One Monthly Goal this year.  It had kept me on track.  There has only been one month that I haven't achieved my goal, so I'm pretty pleased with that.  Admittedly, I haven't set lofty goals, but that I think is why it has worked.  Thanks to Patty for administering it.

I'm linking up over at Elm Street Quilts.

Monday 3 December 2018

Splendid Sampler II - Let's Go Sew

Just a quick post this time.

I did get one Splendid Sampler block completed while we were away.  "Let's Go Sew" by Pat Sloan was a nice easy project for sitting in the sun. 

Friday 30 November 2018

November One Monthly Goal - Rainbow Scrap Challenge Squared Away Sampler

Once again I have scraped in by the skin of my teeth to achieve my One Monthly Goal for the month.

I'm so pleased to have completed the Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt "Squared Away Sampler".  I've been sitting in the sun in the back yard today, enjoying listening to some mellow music and hand stitching down the binding.  Rather a pleasant way to spend some time.

I've really enjoyed this project.  It's been fun and really achievable, which is what I like. I'll now wait and see what is on offer in 2019 before deciding what I will do.

In the background, I only achieved a couple of Splendid Sampler blocks this month, but that is OK.  I'll get to them soon.  Christmas stitching is ongoing, but hey, there is still 25 days.  Loads of time, but I had better not finish that by the skin of my teeth.  I think I will be playing this weekend.

I'm linking up with Elm Street Quilts for the OMG, So Scrappy for the RSC and will be able to report in to Peg and Kris with a OPAM finish.  Winning all round.

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Our Latest Adventure

After we returned home from Gulgong we went back to work for three days and then hooked up the van and headed off again. Poor Joey the cat will wonder if we will ever be at home.

This time we headed south, and once again our first stop was to admire some roses at Cowra.  A good place to stretch the legs.

Our lunch stop was a Boorowa, where we took the time to wander up and down the street.  It was novel to be there when the shops were open.  We found one lovely shop, which is relatively new, and housed in a beautiful old building with leadlight skylight in the ceiling.

Christmas decorations were just being displayed, so a couple are going home with us.

We then visited the community op shop and purchased some holiday reading material.  The op shop has a wonderful way of being run.  It is overseen by the Rotary Club, but members of lots of different community groups volunteer their time.  Periodically, the net profit is calculated and then divided among those community groups in proportion with the amount of time put in by members of each group.  So clever.

Many years ago we called in at this shop when it was trading as a newsagency.  It has been empty for a very long time.

We were delighted to see that it is currently being renovated and apparently is going to be  a restaurant.  I do hope it is successful, as it really is a stunning building that deserves to be saved and used.

We continued on our way through the countryside, ending up at the Bungendore Showground to camp for the night.  We stayed here last year and it is a beaut stopover. The weather had been lovely and warm all day, so when we hopped out of the car we had a nasty shock, as the temperature had plummeted since our lunch stop. No photos of the camp ground, as I forgot. 

When we were packing up in the morning I had my side door of the ute open.  What are the chances of a rather large bird hitting the bulls eye of the inside of the door.  Yuck!

We had a quick wander up and down the street of Bungendore the following morning before heading on our way.  It was nice to see a mural being painted on the side of the pub.  They were going to get it finished that day, so we look forward to seeing the completed work on our way home.

When we returned to the van a lady came and introduced herself.  She also owns an Atlantic caravan and is the moderator of the Facebook page for owners.  It was nice to meet a fellow owner, as there aren't that many of them on the road, but having said that, we have seen two others this week.

So, where are we now?  Batemans Bay.  For something completely different, we are camping in the one spot for eight nights.  That is very novel for us, who are usually on the move all the time.  

More soon.