Monday, April 27, 2009

Jelly Cakes - part one

I made a start on the baking. First up - Jelly Cakes. They are really just round, pink, lamingtons with a bit of cream in the middle. Or they will be when they're finished.

I don't make these very often - they are a bit of a business if you try to do it all at once. But they must be making a comeback, because I saw a Greens cake mix for them at the supermarket today.

Essential items: Gem Irons

I love these - they are cast iron and really heavy. Also a complete PITA to clean - they are not non-stick cookware.

Not Essential but-nice-to-have: Sunbeam MixMaster

According to the instruction book, this MixMaster was born in 1969. I bought it for $20 (I know!!!! Score!!!) a while ago. I love how you can be mixing the butter and sugar and walk over to the pantry and get the vanilla, makes me feel just like Martha Stewart.

Semi finished (naked) Jelly Cakes
I'm going to freeze these now and assemble them on Saturday afternoon for Sunday. They need to be trimmed to a level hemishere, joined together with cream, dipped in raspberry jelly, and finally (finally!!) rolled in coconut.

Labour intensive, but people love them. I'm quite fond of them myself.

tea party

I'm having a tea party on Sunday, and made these invitations - I bought the plain cards and wanted to add cupcakes to the front. Running seriously short on time (had to finish them that night), I ended up using vliesofix to iron on little fabric appliques - I used my clover iron to attach them to the card. The cherry on top is a little dot of paint.

I worked 6 days in a row last week, so no sewing was done during the week. By Sunday I was itching to sew something - anything! - so I got back to the doll quilts. Finished 6 little tops and then sandwiched them and started quilting.

It's hard to sew in a straight line you get head-butted an attention seeking cat.

All the straight in-the-ditch quilting is done, I want to add a little bit of free motion loop-de-loops to them next.

Still need to work out a menu for Sunday. So far I have decided on:

Dainty sandwiches
mini quiches
Cream puffs
Jelly cakes
Passionfruit cake (this will depend on the availability of passionfruit in the backyard, because I just looked at the price of them in the supermarket and there is no way I am paying $1.70 for 1 passionfruit.)
Scones with jam and cream

I'll have to make a few of these things ahead of time, because at this stage I will probably be
working on Saturday.

I also want to go to the Stitches and Craft show this week - but the working/tea party is cancelling that out unless I can switch a day off during this week.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

vintage & scrappy

I found this great fabric at Lifeline - I love the little chinese (japanese?) figures and the tea things on the alternate rows. I paid $3 for a piece that is about 2 metres long. You can't see the texture in the fabric, but is that vintage slubby fabric that my Grandma used to make dresses out of. Plus a loaf tin - it has a little bit of rust but not too bad. Not sure what I'll do with the fabric yet - maybe a bag.

New project - this quilt is a co-ordinated scrap quilt in pink/orange/red and blue/green strips. I'm still making doll quilts, so I thought I'd use this idea to whip up a few more.

I like this stage - the planning is done and I've cut (probably too many) strips and getting ready to start sewing. Then it becomes (organised) chaos - trying to make sure that all the fabrics are distributed evenly and I don't accidentally sew two the same together.

I think sucessful scrap quilts need planning - you really can't just use what ever you have, they need to have a bit of control with either colours or with tones (or styles of fabric). A lot of my fabric is in clear, bright tones so I have no trouble picking out a stack of greens and a stack of oranges that will work for this quilt idea.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

little things

Lots of little bits and pieces i've acquired over the years.

The oldest - little baby doll made by a friends mother and given as a gift in 1982.
The newest - awful souvenir thimble from P&O cruise I just went on.
The favourite(s) - Beswick Siamese kitten and tiny temple dog.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I've been using a lot of felt lately - mostly for doll hair on the Black Apple dolls, but also for the little bunnies I made for easter. I've acquired a box full of it - a lot is the crappy acrylic stuff that comes in squares from Spotlight, but I later found that they had some lovely wool felt that you could buy by the metre. Not in very many colours, unfortunately, but better than nothing. It's much nicer than the acrylic stuff - soft and tactile. I remember having felt play sets when I was little - you got a printed background and had shapes that you could stick on - no-glue-magic! - to make a picture. I'm sure I had a circus set. I was easily amused in the 70's.

I saw this free (!!) pattern at The Purl Bee for a felt doll, designed by Mimi Kirchener.

I have a friend with a birthday next week, so I thought I'd try one of these dolls. I used the felt I had on hand, hence the hot pink - it was the only piece large enough to cut the dress from. The instructions at The Purl Bee are very clear and easy to follow - along with some great ideas like tracing the pattern onto freezer paper and then ironing onto the felt to cut the pattern pieces. I took a step out of this and printed the pattern straight onto the freezer paper. (Cut it the same size as A4 paper and you can feed it through a printer).

Here's mine - the pink is darker than it looks here, and I haven't rinsed the blue marker off her face yet. I'm pretty happy with how she turned out, despite my limited range of felt colours (I only used felt that I had, just to test the pattern out.)

Here's what I had to contend with while I was trying to sew her - a lap cat. I must have looked un-busy, because she wanted to sit on my lap all day while I was trying to sew. Normally, she just stays for 5 minutes and then goes off to her own lounge, but not yesterday.

Back to Spotlight to buy some more wool felt this morning. Not many colours (sigh) but enough to keep me going for a while. I would love to get some flesh toned felt, maybe I'll be able to get some at the textile festival at the end of May. I can't think of any local shops that would carry it anyway - I doubt quilt shops would sell any (or if they do, I haven't noticed it).

Sunday, April 5, 2009

creative space

Next to my chair:

Easter projects underway - felt bunnies and fabric eggs. The bunnies are made of felt and are whip stitched together, so they are very quick and easy. I'll add some little chocolate eggs and give them to people I work with on Thursday.

I've also been making toys for Handmade Help - so far I have about 20 Black Apple dolls, and I decided that little doll quilts would be a nice addition - you can see some of the dolls sitting on the back of my lounge, and Coco is testing the doll quilts for me. I think she approves.