Sunday, 22 March 2015

Sewing gifts

Setting Blocks
Stitching the binding
My mother-in-law has just turned eighty years old, a big achievement especially since she had a nasty fall a couple of weeks ago.  She has always been very active and hates becoming older, and so in her usual style she climbed onto the table to change a light bulb, now I have to tell you they have raked ceilings which are very high and why she thought she would be able to reach to change the bulb I can only guess.  Of course you now know what happened, yes, she fell from the table onto the slate floor. Her injuries were severe enough that she could not get herself up.   For over two hours she called out for someone to help her, finally my father-in-law who is totally deaf without his hearing aides came to her rescue. His first words to her were "what the heck are you doing on the floor"   She has broken her scapular, badly cut her legs and given herself a decent bump on the head, X-rays show no damage to her head but she has been complaining of some short term memory loss and not being able to taste food.  This mishap has slowed her down and she is feeling very low now.
Back to the birthday,  what to give a lady who has everything, and I do mean everything.  Every room in her house has cupboards that are packed full of things that she cannot part with.   I decided I would give her the small table runner I had recently bought as a kit, I just had to make this up, "Candy dish" by Laundry basket quilts.  It is a small table runner she can use on her coffee table, thankfully she loves receiving hand made gifts.
On another note, I recently opened an old copy of Australian Patchwork and Quilting and on turning the pages I was shocked to find that an old neighbour and world renowned quilter Julie Wallace had passed away from a brain tumour last July.  I have cried over this knowledge because I would have attended her funeral, because this disease has also taken my son, because they were both too young and were both very talented people with still so much to give to this world and their families.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015


While sitting beside my sons hospital bed every day, I needed something to do to keep my hands busy.  I asked the "son who does everything" who was with me, and who was a fantastic support for me, if he would drive me to the local quilt shop.  I don't drive in Sydney it is far too busy for me.   While browsing around the shop I came across Hexagons, these would be portable and I would be able to hand stitch them. Finding a glue stick, papers, needles, cotton, templates and of course some papers, all I needed now was fabric.  I wanted some pre cuts and was lucky to find "Snowbird" by Moda fabrics in a Jelly Roll, the 1" Hexagons fit nicely within the 21/2 widths.
I had sewn a Hexagon quilt many years ago using the old method of tacking the fabric to the papers joining them and then having to pull all that tacking out.  It was time consuming and was only a small lap size when I decided I had done enough.   I am pleased to find how much easier it is with the glue stick,  which is water soluble.  Stitching these for over three weeks I now have quite a collection of Hexagons and was not sure what to do with them until last night when I was trying to go to sleep, of course that's when all good ideas come to me, when I cannot sleep.   I have just ordered some more of the fabric from Fat Quarter Shop and just have to wait for it to arrive. This gives me something to look forward to, I'm still having many sleepless nights and weepy days and often feel like the world is sitting on my shoulders. I miss him so much and want to complete this quilt, it will be my memory quilt of my son and the last days I spent with him.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Home made Pickled onions

My dad rang last week with the news that he had found white pickling onions at his local fruit and vegetable shop.   Pickled onions were something I always made over the summer months along with tomato  pickles and chutneys, they have always been a favourite with my family, especially with fish and chips. With the fish shops charging 80 cents each it was worthwhile making my own.   That was until there appeared to be a shortage of small white onions, I had looked everywhere over the past few years to no avail.  I gave in one year and bought the small brown onions, which the supermarket labelled as pickling onions, what a fail, they turned almost black in the pickling vinegar and I threw them out.  That was the last time I made them, and I was so annoyed every year when I noticed those small brown onions at the supermarket labelled pickling onions.  With the onions dad found for me in hand I suddenly thought, "I don't know where my large jars are" I looked through all the cupboards, even went out to the garage and looked through boxes, bugger.  Then while sitting having dinner I looked at the cupboards over the fridge, could they be in there. How the heck I had put them that high up who only knows. I'm only 5' and even with the step ladder I could not reach. Eventually my daughter got them down along with the help of the wooden spoon.
This blog
is thanks to a blogging friend Diane who asked me for my recipe, so here it is Diane I hope you enjoy them.

Pickled Onions
2kg small white onions
1/1/2 tsps whole allspice
1 1/2 tsps whole cloves
 2.3 cm (1 in.) cinnamon stick                                                                                                        
750 g. (1 1/2lb) cooking salt
6 whole peppercorns                     
5 cups white vinegar, use a good quality vinegar here
4 tsps salt, extra
2 tsps ground ginger
Place unpeeled onions and 750 g salt in large bowl, add enough cold water to cover the onions, stand for 2 days stirring occasionally.  I place a plate in the bowl to keep the onions submerged. Drain liquid and then peel onions.
Cover onions with boiling water, stand 3 minutes, drain.  Repeat this boiling water and draining process two more times.
Pack the onions hot sterilised jars.
Combine all remaining ingredients in a saucepan, bring slowly to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Cool slightly, strain and pour over the onions and seal.  Now the hardest part of this process is  waiting at least four weeks before tasting, although a taste test along is allowed because that is what I do, Hahaa,  Hope you will enjoy these as much as my family does.