April sunshine

The sun has been shining the last few days.  It feels like spring is finally here!  We've been busy in the garden, it's so overgrown.  There has been plenty of rain and mild weather from autumn through winter and it shows.  Springy, green branches are reaching high, seeking the warmth of the sun.  We've been cutting back, digging and planting.  It's only a small garden, but there's so much to do!  I call it my little 'pizza slice', because of its shape.  Yesterday I finally put some mangetout and beans in the ground.  Boy helped me and we built a new defence against the slugs.  A few years ago we built an elaborate slug defence system, but they still grated our seedlings down to the ground within days.  So there was great excitement this morning that the beans were still there, no holes in the leaves!  This time we scattered dried cypress needles all around the little plants, fingers crossed.  The rhubarb however is a dream.  It's an easy, no fuss plant. Ours is in its third year and juicy pink stalks are appearing already.  If we had more space I'd plant another one!

I made meringue for the first time.  31 years old and I had never made meringue before.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  It's amazing the amount of meringue you get from just 4 egg whites.  

*Meringue: in a clean metal bowl beat 4 egg whites, once you have soft peaks slowly add 1 cup of white sugar whilst still beating the eggs.  Fold in a teaspoon of white vinegar and half a spoon of corn flour, using a plastic spatula.  Gently put the mixture on to a tray with baking paper and bake for 1h15 on 140 degrees Celsius.  Let the meringue cool down in the oven with the door open a little. Decorate at will with cream and fruit.  Sit back and enjoy this sugary goodness in the sunshine!*


Bobby's Clarabel quilt ~ finished!

Here it is!
All fluffy and finished, ready to go in Bobby's new bedroom.

This morning her little cousin was happy to model.  He has been watching this quilt grow slowly.  'It has been taking a very long time.'  Yes, I know.  I like that making a quilt takes a long time.  It's not something I can throw together in a weekend.  It takes time, it grows and changes.  Life is busy, having a long project like this brings calm.  I promised myself to finish 'Clarabel' before starting a new project.  It still took months and months, even though it's not the most complicated quilt.  If anything, it's probably the most straight forward design out there, with a minimum amount of hand stitching - apart from the binding and the blocks my niece did.   Her first quilt blocks, her first quilt!  The first quilt I made way was for Owen.  I called it his big boy quilt when he moved from the cot to his 'big bed'.  That was two years ago.  I used the same techniques and love the crinkly effect.  It has been through the washing machine and the tumble drier many times and it still looks great.  If you want to have a go at making a quilt like Clarabel, then have a look at these instructions.  I now think of them as the 'posie gets cozy way'.  It's not a free pattern, but totally worth it if you are a complete beginner looking to make your first quilt.

Now.  That little pause: all finished, done.  It is a funny, good feeling.  You admire the finished result, savour the time it has taken, soak up the colours and think about what it will mean and bring to the person receiving the quilt.  I know she'll be very happy with it, lovely girl.  It will start off in her bedroom.  I wonder what will happen to it over time.  Where will it go? Will it go on camping trips?  Will it hide tears?  Will it keep her warm whilst she watches a film and eats pop-corn?  Who knows.
And then I let it go, quite quickly really.  It is a lovely feeling, that little pause which finishes with a burst of new anticipation.

New energy, freed up time, new ideas to explore and projects to make.  This afternoon I'm having a look through my fabric stash.  I fancy a bit of a challenge, summer is coming.


Bobby's Clarabel quilt ~ nearly there!

Bobby's Clarabel quilt has been a long time in the making! Bobby chose the colours to match her newly 

painted room.  My niece hand stitched the top row and bottom row of nine patches herself  - woop! The rest was put together the Rosie gets cozy way :).  No special foot on my machine, the walking foot I've got seems to cause me more trouble than it's worth.  This is going to be an extra cosy quilt with soft, brushed flannel backing.  It's been lovely and warm sewing the binding on.  So the last stitch in the binding is done - hooray! And immediately, at 9 pm, the whole thing went in the washing machine and is now in the tumble dryer (gasp)...

Another thing worth mentioning is that I'm really pleased with this little pen I used for the label.  It has a lovely thin point, allowing you to handwrite with ease and no fading what so ever :).

On writing and dating labels... It says it was finished in February, but it's April.  So next time instead of adding one month I'll be adding two/three months to allow enough time to finish the quilt!!

Pictures of the fluffy, finished product tomorrow!