Thursday, 24 November 2011

Lily Pad Quilting: Accuquilt GO! Baby Giveaway

Lily Pad Quilting is having a giveaway for an Accuquilt GO! Baby fabric cutter, 3 dies and a layer cake of "Chemistry" by Cosmo Cricket!

It's time to get my Nigella on!

I know most of the bloggers I know are going to be celebrating Thanksgiving today, and down here in Australia I am also having a celebration tonight... not so much Thanksgiving as my mother-in-law's birthday! And while she's elected to make dinner herself, it has fallen to me to make her birthday cake. She requested chocolate cupcakes,  and while I have a couple of favourite cupcake recipes, none of them are specifically chocolate. So I went hunting, and came up with:
Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness Cake! (except in cupcake form, obviously) Hopefully they will turn out just as delightfully in cupcake form as I'm planning to use the leftovers tomorrow night at the "Mummy Cocktail Night" that I am hosting! 'll post pictures later, but now it's time to put on my apron and channel my inner Nigella!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Weekday Baking: Gingernut Banoffee Tarts

It was my "turn" to have the girls over for Tuesday craft and Phillipa always puts on delightful nibblies so I had to make something a bit more exciting than a packet of biscuits... What could be easier and be way more impressive than the amount of effort? These delightful Gingernut Banoffee Tarts, of course!

Take 1 packet of Arnott's Gingernut biscuits (or Butternut Snap, or any other biscuit that takes your fancy) and lay out into a patty pan (I had to do mine in 2 batches because my patty pan tin only has 12 spaces). Place into a hot oven for 2-4 minutes. Yes, that's right - ONLY 2-4 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully press down into patty pan so that they become cute little curved tart shells. Allow to cool for a minute, then remove from patty pan. 

Fill with Nestle Top 'n' Fill Caramel (or chocolate ganache topped with strawberry is FABULOUS too.. you could even make your own caramel if you're inclined) and then when ready to serve, top with whipped cream (canned is ok!) and a slice of banana. And there you have it!

I forgot to take a photo of them when they were ready to serve until there were only 4 left! They were really yummy and popular with both the girls and the assorted small children!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Samelia's Mum: ULTIMATE Cars 2 {Giveaway}

My Australian blog reading friends should check out the Samelia's Mum: ULTIMATE Cars 2 {Giveaway} - She's having a giveaway for a Cars 2 Blu-ray/DVD set plus some cool extras... I know I have my fingers crossed, Bean has been asking for a toy "spy" kit for Christmas, and this looks like it might be just the thing!!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tutorial: Easy Disappearing 9 Patch Table Runner

So it's Bonnie & Camille week over at Sharon's Craizee Corners, and today is the day that I'm guest posting! Yay!

I made a super easy table runner using Bonnie & Camille's Ruby. It's a birthday present for a girlfriend's 30th on Sunday - She's going to love it, right? I hope so!

Incase you have someone that you'd like to make a table runner for, or if you want one of your very own, this is how I did it....

Step 1: Lay out 9x charm squares. Note: Keep in mind that the outer corners are the ones that "stay whole" and the middle square is the one that ends up the smallest.

 Step 2: Sew into 3 strips of 3 squares (below). Press seams.

  Step 3: Pin 2 strips together, matching the seams. I pinned the other strip at the same time so that I could feed them through consecutively. Press again. Repeat steps 1-3 twice, so that you end up with 3x 9 patch blocks.

Step 4: Take your 3x 9 patches and slice them down the middle horizontally & vertically using your rotary cutter & your ruler. This will give you 4 blocks per 9 patch, totalling 12 blocks.
Step 5. Play around with your blocks until you are happy with your layout. As I decided to make mine look like 3x bordered 4 patch blocks I assembled my blocks into the 3 squares first and then joined those together. To do this, start by joining 2 blocks making sure to match the seams. Repeat until you have 6x rectangle blocks. Press.

 Step 6. Pin 2 of your rectangles together, making sure to match your seams. Sew and press. Repeat until you have 3x square blocks.
 Step 7. Pin the square blocks together, sew and press. You now have the top of your table runner completed.

 Step 8. Lay out your wadding, your backing fabric "right side up", and your table runner flimsy "right side together" against the backing fabric. Pin at regular intervals. Sew 1/4" seam around the edges, leaving an opening approx 4" long.

 Step 9: Using your quilting ruler trim the edges of the wadding and/or backing fabric. Gently turn the table runner in the right way. I used a knitting needle to gently push the corners out as far as I could. Press.

  Step 10: Topstitch around the edge of the whole table runner, approx 1/8" from the edge. Decide on a quilting design... I would desperately have loved to be able to FMQ my table runner, but having never tried FMQ I wasn't prepared to take the chance at ruining a gift! Instead I went for plain diagonal lines that I eye-balled instead of marking. It's lucky that it didn't end up wonkier! Weave in any loose threads, press and.... you're done!
The matching spotty backing fabric (from my stash) 

And there you have it.. a super easy 9 patch table runner. With the leftover charm squares you could whip up some matching mug rugs! A second charm pack would give you enough to make some gorgeous 9 patch placemats, too. (I'll be posting some pictures of some disappearing 9 patch placemats my girlfriend Phillipa made at our Tuesday Stitch 'n' Bitch on our Needles in the Haystack blog)

Monday, 7 November 2011

It's Bonnie & Camille Week over at Craizee Corners!

Head on over to Sharon's Craizee Corners blog to check out what she has going on for her designer spotlight week. This week she's focusing on Bonnie & Camille, with a group of guest bloggers joining her to share their projects using fabrics from Bonnie & Camille's lines including Cotton Blossom, Simple Abundance, Bliss or Ruby.

Today's (Monday) guest post is by Melissa from Sew BitterSweet Designs who has made the most gorgeous Ruby quilt. And make sure to check back again on Wednesday, because guess what?! It will be ME that will be guest blogging! Woohoo!

Here's a sneak peek of what I have up my sleeve...

Friday, 4 November 2011

Fabric buying moratorium == FAIL.

So much for that idea. For all my good intentions I caved in when a girlfriend suggested that we could go halves in postage for a fabric order. I'd planned to purchase 2-3 charm packs. $30+post. HA! I probably should have taken it as a sign when Quiltjane was out of stock of "Good Fortune by Kate Spain" charm packs, and was one charm pack short on "Ruby by Bonnie & Camille" for what I wanted to do... I should have closed my browser window and walked away. But no, not me!

Not only did I binge at Quiltjane's Want it, Need it, Quilt! but I also splurged on a F8 bundle of "Panier De Fleurs by French General" and a charm pack of "Buttercup by Fig Tree & Co" at Samelia's Mum's Fabric Buzz. And incase you thought that was the end of my spree, I also ordered myself a Curve Master  Presser Foot from Material Girls Down Under!

So here are some of the things that Mr Postman will be bringing me next week:

American Banner Rose Layer Cake, Minick & Simpson for Moda
Prairie Paisley II Layer Cake, Minick & Simpson for Moda
Panier de Fleurs F8 Bundle, French General for Moda
Does anyone else notice a colour theme emerging here??? 
Buttercup Charm Pack, Fig Tree & Co for Moda

And now I'm imposing a TOTAL FABRIC BUYING BAN for the rest of 2011.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tutorial: How to Sash Tumbler Blocks

So you'll have to forgive me because this is my first tutorial and I can't guarantee that it will be any good! When I decided to sash my tumbler blocks for Bean's Harry Potter Quilt I found that there wasn't an awful lot of information available online about how to sash tumblers. So incase anyone else is interested in sashing tumblers, here is how I did it..

Just a quick note, while I used my Accuquilt GO! to cut my tumbler blocks and strips you can also do it all with a rotary cutter and acrylic templates :)

Step 1. Cut out your tumbler blocks. I used the Accuquilt GO! 3.5" tumbler die (which is also compatible with the GO! Baby). Lay out your tumblers in your preferred pattern.

Step 2. Cut strips using the GO! 2.5" strip die (I used the Baby compatible strip die that cuts 2 strips at a time). I marked my strip die so that I could lay a 2.5" strip along the centre blade and end up with 2x 1.25" strips.

Lay strip along centre blade to end up with 2x 1.25" strips

From 2.5" to 1.25"

 Step 3. Using your rotary cutter, cut your 1.25" strips into 4" lengths. Place one strip on the right hand side of each tumbler block, except the last tumbler in each row.

Step 4. Chain piece the each tumbler+strip. I did these in their row order so that I didn't get my blocks mixed up. Trim the strips to match the edges of the tumbler blocks. I will show you why this is important later!

Square up your tumbler blocks. I promise you, it will save your heartache later!

 Step 5. Align your two tumbler+strip blocks. Yes, these are meant to look like they're on an angle - they will straighten out when you press them. The notches on the Accuquilt tumbler blocks make the alignment a breeze. Sew together (these are fairly easy to chain piece as well, but if you find it confusing don't worry about it!) and repeat until your row is complete. Repeat for all rows. Press seams (if you haven't already).

I pressed my seams open, but you can do them to one side if you prefer.
The bottom row is not straight, compared to the top row.

This is what happens when you are lazy and don't square your blocks. I had to unpick them and fix them.
LAZY = More work overall!

I started from the middle and worked my way out.

I also got impatient and pressed all my seams at the end.
I mean, here are all my completed rows!
Once my rows were complete I realised that it would be easier to do the horizontal sashing if the rows were squared up. This led to:

Step 6. Cut enough tumblers from your sashing fabric to match the number of rows (eg, I had 12 rows, so I cut 12 tumbler blocks). Fold them in half and crease. Open back out, place a quilting ruler along the fold line and cut in half using your rotary cutter. This gave me 24 half tumblers - one for each end of the 12 rows.

Crease in the centre

Place quilting ruler along the fold line & cut

Half tumbler blocks

Place half blocks at the ends of each row.
 Step 7. Sew half tumblers to each end of your rows. Press again.

Step 8. Lay out your rows and measure your longest row. Cut the 1.25" strips to suit. (I added a little extra for good measure)

 Step 9. You can start wherever you want but I started in the middle because that was where my design started and I wanted everything to match up from there. Attach sashing to one of the centre strips. Press.

 Step 10. With right sides together, align tumblers. Match the centre point and the ends. Hold fabric taut as it feeds through the machine (see note below.) Press.

Note: You can pin as much as you like - I pinned each end, and the centre. Some of my rows appeared to be a fraction shorter or longer than the one preceeding it. This is most likely because I am lazy and my sashing was not 100% exactly 1.25". I overcame this by matching the centre point and the ends and then holding the fabric taut as it fed through the machine so that a) the row stretched or b) the sashing stretched as needed. Almost all of my blocks ended up matching perfectly  (or near enough) - there was only one that was visibly offset by a max 1/8" (bottom RH corner).
Pin at the centre point

Open out and press.

 Step 11. Pin sashing to each edge. It will come together quicker if you do two rows together instead of each row individually. Sew and press.
 Step 12. Repeat steps 11 & 12 until all rows have been sashed.

Step 13. Complete as required - border, bind, quilt etc.
Complete! (Well, just needs squaring up..)
As for me, now that the central tumbler section is complete I can move on to the split drunkard's path stars that I'm planning to use as a "border". Stay tuned!
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