Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dancing Snowmen (UFO) finished

I'm far from happy with Blogger today! :( There's a new way to upload photos, and I'm not bright enough to understand how it works yet! :(( I wanted to add these two photos to the previous post, but no way it worked!!!

Anyway... Here are the blocks that were supposed to be potholders!
Too pretty for potholders, so it ended up a small lap quilt, or is it called throw when square?

I love the colors!
... and the cute border I added around it. :)

I'm so happy - another two UFO's finished!!! :)

Santa goes to Svalbard (UFO) finished

You may believe I'm 'not at the right station' or still celebrating Christmas?!
No, it's not like that. Just another UFO finished! I never thought I was going to finish the bed cover, because it is big. At times I wonder if there's something wrong with me.... I tend to end up with bigger projects, which I love to do. I like it when a project takes some time to finish - like this quilt.
It all started here...  a day in October last year... I intended to make something for Christmas 2010, but.... the blocks were put aside until March this year - you can read about it here.

When I started working on the blocks last year, I had no idea what to make. It was first back in March I decided for a bedcover for our bed. I didn't have a pattern for it, so it was quite some brainwork to figure out how I wanted it. 

 For the batting, I have used 1cm polyester batting, which gives it a nice look.

 As a newbie in designing, I miscalculated the length. :( After more brainwork, I decided to add some smaller Santa's to the header and footer, which didn't turn out that bad - I think?

This is from the side. I see now that I should have placed the Santa-blocks the other way - turned it one turn to the right - if you know what I mean.... I think that had looked better? But - done is done! :)

I have called the quilt 'Santa goes to Svalbard', because Santa rides on a polar bear!
For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, take a look here! :)
There are polar bears in Svalbard... and there surely is Santa's too!
If you would like to see some stunning images from Svalbard, take a look here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Carambole (star fruit) pickles and Bubur Lambuk

I thought we were not going to get some caramboles (star fruits) this season, but how wrong I was?! MIL - next door - had given us a few off and on, but never a big amount. The funny is I mentioned it for a friend, and the next day MIL gave us a bag full of green star fruits. It has been blowing quite strong the last days and a couple of branches - with a lot of fruits - blew off the tree.

For those of you who are not familiar with star fruit, you may wonder what I do with it? After I settled here, I learnt from MIL how to make star fruit pickles, which is something I really love!

The green star fruits are washed, brown spots, especially from the ridges removed and then cut into slices. Some cut the fruit lengthwise too, but I think the star shaped pieces look more interesting! :)
A heap of salt goes into the sliced fruits and stays the night over.

The next morning, the salt is washed out. Of course you can't remove all the salt that has gone into the fruits, but that is to preserve it. The slices are dried in a kitchen towel, then put on a 'van' (huge plate) and put in the sun (outside) for drying.
The 'van' to the left is more than 50 years old! I got it from MIL, when she was going to throw it. :)
I was a bit worried in the morning; it was raining! No chance to dry star fruits in the rain! But after a couple of hours the sun was there and the star fruits went out for drying. Not very dry - medium dry.

After 4-5 hours in the sun, this is the medium dried star fruits.
What goes into the pickle paste, is garlic, turmeric (gurkemeie), mustard and a little bit olive oil. MIL kindly crushed the mustard seeds and even gave us turmeric powder she had bought recently. All the ingredients go into the blender, to make a paste. There's a lot of garlic and mustard added, which I love! I love the feeling of garlic and mustard vapour coming out of the nose! lol!

Here is the paste and star fruit slices mixed together. Look at the spoon; it's yellow from the turmeric! Now it has to stay like this for some days, before I divide it into small glasses and add olive oil.


If you have read my previous post, you must have noticed I received a Malay cookbook together with the bookmarks (exchange).
I couldn't wait to try one of the recipes, and ended up with 'bubur lambuk' (savoury rice porridge)!
Malay cooking is not very familiar to me, but after reading some of the recipes, I find the mix of spices as well as mix of shrimps and different meat quite interesting!

As the recipe indicates; rice porridge - the rice has to be boiled for quite some time, together with cinnamon, cloves, star anis and ginger - a very interesting mix of spices.

Chicken is added...

Shrimps are added...

The recipes says beef too, but I didn't add beef. DH doesn't eat beef, so actually I didn't think of it - not until we reached home after shopping. I could have bought sheep, goat or stag (Java deer) meat, but it wasn't in my thoughts at all! Oh well, next time! I added more chicken though, to add up for the beef. I'm sure it'll taste different with red meat...

Coconut milk - from Malaysia - added!


Friday, April 23, 2010

NNC Bookmark Exchange 2010

April 23rd - the World Book & Copyright Day.

Reading has been a passion since before I started school. I remember very well one of the first books my parents gave me; 'Little Red Riding Hood'... Who does not know this fairy tail about the little girl wearing a red hooded cape, and the bad wolf. As the little girl I was at that time, the story was a bit scary of course! :)
As the years went by, there were 'Famous Five', 'Hardy Boys', 'Nancy Drew' etc. and the list goes on... 
I can't imagine a home without books... I love books and I read a few pages each night.

To celebrate the World Book Day 2010, Zarina from NNC organized the annual Bookmark Exchange. I enjoyed the exchange so much last year - you can read about it here, so I signed up this time too - I thought! I felt really sad when I realized I had forgotten to sign up and asked Zarina if there was still a chance for me to join... It was - and happily I started thinking how to make the bookmarks. My partner is Margaret in Malaysia. Little did I know I was her partner too! :)

Margaret is an avid cross-stitcher, but unfortunate no blog. Here are the 2 bookmarks I received from her, aren't they beautiful?! I love them!

There wasn't only the bookmarks in the parcel from Margaret..
She had added a Malay mini-cookbook, 2 skeins of DMC floss and a beautiful tissue holder. The tissue holder is 'Kain Songket', one of Malaysia's finest handicraft. Made in the East Coast states of Kelantan and Terengganu, it is also one of the country's most regal and exquisite fabrics.
Kain Songket is a traditionally hand-woven fabric, using predominantly gold threads to form intricate designs depicting motifs of local flowers.
You can read more about Kain Songket here.

Here are the 2 bookmarks I made for Margaret.
One is applique, the other one is Hardanger.

Margaret, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for everything you sent me!
I hope you will like my bookmarks and the little extra I sent you! :)

Not to forget a BIG THANK YOU to Zarina who organized the exchange!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Weekend job and 'winter' approaching

It feels like yesterday we all complained about the heat and humidity.
'Winter' is approaching - I love this time of the year! Situated 20 degrees South of Equator, it never snows here of course, but the temperatures may go as low as 8 C (46F) in July/August. I love the crisp air and cooler days - reminds me of Norway.
April 14th is the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. I don't think the day is celebrated anymore among Norwegians.... Tamil New Year was celebrated here this April 14th. I don't know if there is a connection between the Tamil New Year's celebration and the first day of summer in Norway.... You can read more about Tamil New Year here

Sunset between Corps de Garde and St. Pierre Mountain.

Batting and backing for the bedcover. I hate doing this, but a quilt will never be finished if this part isn't done! :)) I tape the backing to the table so that it doesn't move... Not the table, the backing! :)) Then I put the batting and the top, pin, and....

... ready for quilting.
I didn't have enough safety pins so I sent DH to town buying 100 pins! :) It's not that he had to go buying the pins only, he had other errands too.
This photo was taken some days ago. Yesterday I finished the quilting and this weekend I'm going to do the binding.

I can't believe it! I've received another Award - this one from 'Lappedamen'!
As I said in this post, I find it very difficult to choose other blogs that deserve an Award. There are SO MANY great blogs and crafty bloggers in Blogland, so in a way it won't be fair to choose a few only.
I have seen quite some bloggers who say 'no thank you' to Awards, but personally I feel childish honored that I can be to any inspiration to others, and by that I do add the received Awards to my blog.
Therefore - if YOU feel you deserve this Award, please grab it and add it to your blog!
YOU deserve it!

It's such a beautiful morning; 20C (68F), blue sky and crisp air.
I'm ready for the garden!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Star Burst Mystery Quilt

I'm doing a 'mystery quilt'!
Susan-Claire at 'Gourmet Quilter' is doing a 'mystery quilt' called 'Star Burst'.
I have never done any 'mystery quilt' before, so I thought I'll give it a try. Susan-Claire suggests black background fabric, but I have chosen charcoal - kind of marble - and 12 contrasting fabrics. She suggests olive and dark blue as two of the contrasting fabrics, but I found them not contrasting enough to the charcoal, so I'm using dusty blue and chartreuse insted.

The 'mystery quilt' started in the beginning of March, but since I've been busy with other projects, it was first a couple of days ago I did part 1 - the stars - 12 blocks.

I did part 2 over the last couple of days. PHEW!!! That was a lot of cutting! If I've done the mathematic right, part 2 consists of 336 pieces!
When I had done part one, I was a bit 'worried' the quilt would concist of stars only, but then part 2 came with a nice surprise! I do love this block - quite untraditional - if you ask me. Now I can't wait for part 3 that comes in the beginning of May! I've never done any quilt with black background, but after doing part 1 and 2, I find it interesting and I'm sure it's going to be a nice quilt! I'm quite excited about it! :)
Thanks to Sigrun who introduced me to it! :)

During the weekend I did - basted - the binding to the 'disappearing 9-patch' quilt. When I intended to sew the binding, Birre-liten decided the flannel (backing) is just so soft and wonderful to sleep on! He'd spent the whole day outside - must have been exhausted - so I let him sleep there and did some tidying instead. :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Alouette's Quilt (UFO) finished

'Alouette's Quilt' is finished - at last!
It took much more time than expected, because I had to wait 7 weeks for the batting and backing to arrive from the US! Usually it takes 10-14 days for a flat rate envelope to arrive, but this time..... Oh well, I am happy it DID arrive!

If you have been a reader of my blog for some time, perhaps you will remember it all started here - the pinwheel blocks that turned out bigger than they should to match some other blocks for this quilt.
The 'error-blocks' were put away - I was fed up! :) In the beginning of this year I decided it must be possible to make something out of these blocks - and it turned out to be 'Alouette's Quilt'.

This is my own design. I must confess I am proud how it turned out! I almost ended up with headache, so much thinking how to do it! I have used fabrics from my stash, but had to buy batting (flannel and backing). I forgot to take a photo of the backing. It's quite cute; pink with small dots in blue, yellow and red. Oh, here's the link to see the backing. I've used several pink, green, blue and yellow fabrics and Beatrix Potter fabrics. I didn't have enough pink for the binding, so after some 'brain work' I decided to use yellow in the corners. These fabrics are the same as I have used in the pinwheel blocks.

I had to use some fabrics with dots on the short sides, because I ran out of the star fabrics.
For the quilting, I've stitched in the ditch, using Superior King Tut threads.

When I worked on the quilt I called it 'little girl quilt', but I think 'Alouette' is a nice name - it's French and translated it means skylark (the bird - lerke in Norwegian).
I'm sorry the photos are not good. I can't do close-ups with the simple digital camera I have, it always turns out blurred. The photos do not give justice to the quilt and its colors.

PS - my birthday is approaching (in June) - I have to pester DH for a new camera! :))