Friday, February 20, 2009


My moment of fame will soon be over - all will be forgotten in one week's time when the next issue of magazine drops through the letterbox - but I've enjoyed every minute - apart from proof reading at 4 o clock in the morning - and that was made palatable with a few glasses of sparkly to keep me awake!  

I'm hoping, if circumstances permit, to start on a new project this summer - ready for the autumn . . . .  so watch this space . . . .

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I am very proud to announce that I am featured in the March issue of POPULAR PATCHWORK MAGAZINE.   Do have a peek.


Anyone had their eyes lasered?  
Mine - done on Tuesday afternoon - were due to thickening of lens after cataract operations about 9 years ago.

I was terrified, but not as much as elderly chap who sat opposite me in hospital waiting area.
He was trembling.

I tried to calm myself by asking the following Q: 
"Will this be worse than being on the delivery table during labour?" 
By that I don't mean the government.

I ask myself this same question when faced with the following situations:

Cervical smear.
Flight take-off.
Motorway holdup.
An hour of pilates.
A pile of ironing.
You can probably think of others . . . 

The answer in this case was an unquestioning 'NO!'

The whole process took all of 3 minutes, after which I skipped (smiling) out of the laser room to the joy of waiting patients - most of whom, like first chap, were sitting chewing their nails but trying to look nonchalant.

Made bread this morning for my toast and home-made marmalade. Yummy, with lots of butter. Slimmers Beware!

VALENTINE TULIPS - from Amsterdam?


Received  2 Valentine cards this morning. Wot is happening to my fan club? 
Received 3 cards last year.

Did, however, receive a very nice bunch of tulips in lovely spring colours. A change from red roses. I love flowers, and grow roses of all colours plus lots of other beautiful flowers in my garden. 

My absolute favourite flowers are lilies, especially the heavily scented white longiflorum lilies, which I grow in large blue tubs so I can move them around the garden.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


This Marmalade is not for the faint-hearted. 

This POWERFUL Marmalade has been known to make a strong man's knees tremble and must, therefore, be used with discretion.

Let's begin by taking some Seville oranges & ONE lemon - which appears to be camera shy - having disappeared for photo shoot. . . . .

I'm using my Great Grandmama's Whole Fruit Method . .

Assemble sterilised jars (dishwasher then oven) and utensils . . .

Place washed oranges and camera shy lemon in pan.

Add water - almost to top of fruit - hello lemon(!) and bring slowly to boil - simmer 2 hours (or more) till peel is soft.

Remove HOT fruit from pan - cool a wee bit - cut in half with sharp knife - retain juice . . .

Scoop flesh from still warm fruit with spoon . .

Peel in bowl - pulp in t'other.

Crush pips and pulp in bowl before sieving . . . pips contain pectin.

Scrape sieved pulp into bowl - add to juice in pan.

Put peel in food processor - those of you with masochistic tendencies will no doubt chop finely by hand!

Pulse once or twice - depending how small you want the peel.

No joke - see pic below first. Bring slowly to boil - stirring well -after sugar has dissolved...

Put everything in pan - including sugar - dissolve - bring s-l-o-w-l-y up to boil - stirring. 2lbs fruit to 4lbs sugar ( I use less). Return to above.

Boil steadily for 10 to 15 minutes - test for setting - drops on cold saucer.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Pan to jar? NO - jug is better . . .

Jug to jars is better method . . . .

Ready for the tops . .

VOILA! Le marmalade . . . ready for labelling. Store in cool, dark place.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


It's upon us . . . . MARMALADE WEEK!

Time to root out out some jam jars.  You know you've got some.  Stored in shed for past 5 years - underneath that 3 year old home-made Christmas pudding you promise to use each Yuletide, but can't face and then settle for Aldi's best.

Buy two and half pounds of  Seville oranges - only a limited supply in shops ......  another week and they'll be gone - more to be seen until 2010. 
Granulated sugar - approx four and half pounds unless you like your marmalade very sweet, which I don't, in which case buy 5 lbs.

I like my marmalade like I like my men - colourful, not too thick, with a 'kick' and I don't mean up the proverbial!!!!

My dear friend and quilting chum Julie (see side bar) has already beat me to the post and made 7lbs of the delectable stuff.  Her colour is better too so better look to my laurels.
She freezes some of hers!! Gracious - no cracked jars? Wrap them in wadding?

My DB (dearest brother) too has pipped me to the post - a case of sibling rivalry(?) 
I suspect my marmalade will be better than his . . . .hee haw  hee haw . . . tho' his chilli jelly beats all . . .

Step by step pics will be posted over next couple of days - so keep watching!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Completed Singing Garden Quilt.

Final instructions for completing the Popular Patchwork BOM - The Singing Garden Quilt - are to be found in the newest (March) issue of the magazine which will be available at local newsagents any day now.

Instructions are given for stitching the completed blocks together (on the diagonal) together with diagrams showing side triangles and corners.  Templates for ribbons, birds and garden creatures are given on a separate sheet.

I used 1.6 twin-needles and obtained 100% silk thread from 'Little L's' for machine quilting the SG.  Twin needles give a tiny ribbon effect which echoed very nicely with the large border ribbons. I broke a few needles quilting the first couple of blocks but the silk thread was marvellous. Slid through the needles like a hot knife through butter!

I used trapunto to create the treble and bass clefs at two corners, and scattered notes here and there on the open spaces along the borders.

I thoroughly enjoyed making this whimsical quilt - and hope very shortly to show you the completed Autumn and Winter versions. 
The pics below are not very clear but the quilt is still in Edinburgh and I will take better close-up pictures of the quilting when it arrives home. 
The original SG quilt - and with a bit of luck its Autumn relation - will receive its first public showing at Garstang Patchwork Quilters Exhibition - April 24th/26th - at Bilsborrow Village Hall. Details of the exhibition can be found on GPQ website.

Finished SINGING GARDEN QUILT . . . .no wavy edges!!

Reverse side resembles old-fashioned whole-cloth quilt . . .

Close up of TWIN NEEDLE quilting . . .and trapunto . .

Sunday, February 1, 2009

BQL Perpetual Calendar January BOM

It's such a change to be following a BOM created by another quilter - especially when one's mind is elsewhere, and concentrating on invalid's urgent needs. 

A real change and new beginning for me as I am usually drawn to traditional blocks and quilts - see SG slideshow below on sidebar.

I should be finishing off other important work but I cannot concentrate at the moment and this simple but interesting BOM designed by Kandy Newton of BQL is perfect in that it enables me to 'switch off' now and again. Very enjoyable and highly recommended.

January - stage 2 . . with my birthday highlight. . stage 3 to follow . . ..

Succumbed to BQL Calendar BOM - stage 1 - in its nakedness.

Final Winter version block with (large) robin and snow 'crystals.'