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Whats for dinner and sad parsley..

 Much as I love cooking, I am like you.... its thinking what to cook thats the challenge some days. These days I tend to ask myself  'what would I like to eat tonight' and find that its a more satisfying way to choose something to cook for dinner.

I was given a years subscription to Gourmet Traveller for Christmas and I love the day it arrives in my mailbox, leafing through the pages reading the articles and I find that most of the recipies are do-able. Its winter here in Australia so time for winter treats....

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I decided to make the 'Buttery leek soup with croutons' thats on page 49. I gathered my ingredients, chopped snipped and sliced them.

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I had to gently saute the finely sliced leeks in butter... can you see my nice new wooden spoon, it came all the way from France (thank you Sophie)

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I added the chicken stock and the chopped potato to the leeks and boiled it until the potatoes were falling to pieces.

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Meanwhile I had to make the croutons...yes, more butter was needed!

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I had to toss torn bits of sourdough (as the recipie said) in the melted butter to coat.

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The while continuing to toss, cook until golden....yummy, smell in my kitchen...

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Once the potato had fallen to pieces I had to add pouring cream and then whizz the concotion with my handheld stick blender until smooth.

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The only thing that I didnt have was some chopped parsley to sprinkle on the top and thats becasue some naughty bug has eaten my parsley and whats left looks....

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sad...to say the least. Not being much of a gardener I guess I need to either buy a new plant, chop this one back and feed it...or simply buy parsley when I need it at the market!! Which would you do?

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Quilts Exhibition

My family were a bit shocked to see I had been inked, then they realised that Vince had a matching tattoo/stamp on his wrist they knew we were teasing them! It was in fact the stamp we got on entry to the wonderful 'Quilt's' exhibition that is on at the Art Gallery in Brisbane until September. Thankfully the 'ink' washed off easily when we got home.

Quilt tat

I pre-ordered the book/catalogue and had really enjoyed reading the history of some of the quilts that are on display prior to our visit.

Quilts 1700 1945

Its hard to pick a favourite but the work in this quilt  'George 111 Coverlet' was amazing.

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The attention to detail in the applique was amazing and the tiny pieced circles that form the main body of the quilt were...well tiny, I was very drawn to this quilt.

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I am amazed and fascinated that the historians have worked out that the scene in the centre medallion of the quilt is from of a painting by John Singleton Copley.

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We were so lucky, last Sunday was a lovely sunny day and there was a suitcase rummage in the gardens around the museum where several people had their homemade goodies for sale. There were cards, knitted hats, baby boots, jewellery and many more wonderful tempting things.

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The other wonderful thing I found were lots of people sat stitching, many of them for the first time. There had been a talk at 2pm and then you could borrow an embroidery hoop, help yourself to a pre drawn onto fabric design and use the thread and needles that were provided and get stitching.

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These ladies were really enjoying learning something new while sitting and relaxing outside in the sunshine with a very contentented baby on a blanket at their feet :) It made me feel so proud to be part of a worldwide group of women who enjoy the sewing.

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I had a quick chat with Susan, Cathy and Joan who told me that they were really enjoying themselves. What a great way to sepnd a Sunday afternoon.

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If you havent been to the Quilts exhibition yet you should its more than worth the visit and who knows in a hundred years or so it could be one of your quilts that ladies are queueing up to look at. With this in mind dont forget to put your name and the date somewhere on everything you make as it will make things more interesting for future historians!

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Book and Fabric Giveaway

Wildflower Wood....mmmm...pretty...you want it? 

Wildflower Wood Angel Delight Bundle small

combine it wih my lovely new book 'Stitch It For Spring'.....and one of you my lovely readers will have the biggest smile...

LQS Stitch it for spring cover

 please leave me a message and you may be the lucky person who gets this little package in the mail.

Congratulations to Jo, I will be sending you an email shortly so don't forget to check your inbox. Thank you to everyone that left me a comment :)

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Picture of us...and yummy things...

One of our lovely customers took this photo of us a couple of weeks ago. From left to right. Emma, Lyn, me and Sae (neither of the Gails were at work this day)

Store girls

Sae has been busy preparing some gorgeous wool bundles which I have put on display in this rather fun rusty looking wheelbarrow that I bought from the hardwear store. One of my favourite needlecases is sitting alot the pile of wool and a basket filled with our raw wood buttons is waiting the next customer!

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Love Letters my new 9 part applique BOM looks fabulous behind the cutting counter, we now have the pattern sets, wool, background fabrics and the green plaids in stock. I am taking it with me to the UK when I go in a couple of weeks, I hope to see some of you in a workshop or perhaps at Festival of Quilts where I am having a stand. The bag showing at the front is 'Robin Cottage', its called this because there is a little stitched Robin sitting on top of the house :)

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Wildflower Wood, the fabric collection has finally arrive in the store :) We had fun doing a pretty display using some of the gorgeous pieces of vintage furniture that I have collected, I even tried my hand at covering a lampshade using one of the fabrics and some of the sweet pom pom braid. There are baskets filled with the Wildflower Wood, printed ribbons, tins, wooden frames and yummy buttons. My new book 'Stitch It For Spring' is proving popular (thank you), if you order a copy online I can sign for you if you would like. We also have the lovely,leather look bag flaps in stock, I love how these flaps make the bag look and feel like a real 'shop bought' bag....

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I decorated one of the corners with all things Christmasey as Candy Cane Angels the new for 2013 fabric collection has just arrived.

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Well I hope that you have enjoyed the little peek at how the store is looking this week. 

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Chateau Hexagon so far

For those of you who are stitching 'Chateau Hexagon', I hope you are enjoying it so far. This week we have been busy in the office folding the patterns and glueing the buttons in place ready for them to be  shiped out to stores later next week.

It always gives me a thrill when someone sends me a picture of something finished, so here they are to share with you...here is Month 1: by Sophie

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 Month 1: by Sigrid

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This is my month 2, I was having a sampler moment when I drew this block, I adore alphabets (think its a common probelm with stitchers!). The little flower button sets this block off to perfection, dont you think?

CH2 block

Sigrid has sent a picture of her month 2, she is working with fabrics from my Wildflower Wood colelction and I love how they are lookin for this project. Sigrid has a lovely blog, why not pop over and visit her.

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Are you stitching Chateau Hexagon?

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Australia Zoo with my family :)

We had a lovely surprise visit from my brother and his two sons last week and what better place to take some teenage boys who live between the UK and the Bahamas but Australia Zoo.

Here I am being brave, yes, its a live wriggly cold but very soft to the touch baby crocodile! As you can tell by my face I did not enjoy the experience at all.

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Here is Zac with the Cockatoo keeper.

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I was fasintated by this snake skeleton, even though this snake is quite dead it still gave me the shivers just looking at it (remember my close encounter with a snake back in 2007.....when it was in my TV room? No?  well read this)

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This mother and baby wombat stole my heart...

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We stood in line to feed this girl x I gave her some banana...it vanished very quickly!

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We saw giant tortoises...

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We saw and got to pat the Koalas, they are amazingly soft to the touch.

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some crazy stupid people from our family (the visitors) decided it would be fun to hold a large snake.....what were they thinking????

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I loved these red hot pokers (not sure of the real name) that were in the 'Africa' part of the Zoo.

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the Rhino family were very muddy and very big!

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Well, we had a wonderful day, we watched the croc show with Terri, Bindi and Robert were the presenters. I was exhausted when we got home as I am not used to being outside all day! 

What a whirlwind few days with had with our visitors....now its back to normal (whatever that is!)

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Cushions & Quilts

This spectacular view of a castle on a hill is the view you get when visiting Cowslip Workshops is Cornwall, UK. In April last year I visited and met some lovely ladies in my workshops, here is the link to my post from last year.

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Jo and Steve, owners of Cowslip made me feel so welcome I am already looking forward to my stay there. Their home is filled with family collected treasures and I found it a very insirational place to be. 

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Jo let me into her secret when I was there last year, she had been invited to do a book with my publishers David and Charles.......here is a 'sneek peek' at the 'fresh from the press' book.

Cushions and quilts book
I think I sat on this garden bench....Jo has a very unique stype of drawing and I love the way she then converts her drawings to sewing. The pillow on the right is (I am sure) her husband Steve on his ride on with 'Fly' the dog perched behind as they race off to check the sheep.

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The cowslip logo has been nicely used here on the pillow and throw quilt.

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Jo book 1

The big thrill for me was discovering that Jo had used some of our raw wood buttons on projects in her book.

Sewing buttons in book

We have the Love to Sew button packs available to buy if your interested.

I will be teaching at Cowslip Workshops in August this year, I am pretty sure the classes are full but come and meet me at my evening presentation where I will have 'show and tell' and give an insight into how I design and where my inspiration comes from. For bookings look here.

I hope you can join me as I would hate to be lonely in the big hall on my own!

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the big red van...

The team at Grandmothers Garden loaded the big red van full of goodies and we headed to New Plymouth...where I had two one day workshops.

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Here is everyone hard at work...I was probably sitting quietly in a corner eating something delicious that had been homebaked. The ladies in NZ certainly know how to bake the most delicious goodies :)

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There were some wonderful colour combinations for the 'Little House Block Book' which was the project for the second day.

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I love it when people bring show and tell, Wendy brought her 'Pond House'. She wanted it for on a wall and so has not done the floral outer border and extra log cabin blocks.

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This 'Stitched By Me' had been beautifully stitched and was about to have the borders added.

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There were also projects from my book 'Rainbow Cottage', needlecases and wallhangings but with lovely full workshops I was busy sharing my hints and tricks and forgot to take photos of everything.

A big thank you to my hosts 'Grandmothers garden' and to all the lovely ladies who attended the workshops, we had fun. I look forward to visiting you again.

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Teaching in New Zealand...

I am having a lovely time in New Zealand teaching 4 one day workshops. 

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I love this tea pot hanging in the tree outside the front door at Grandmothers Garden.

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This is the sweet kitty who lives at the store, she/he was sitting on this pile of quilts everytime I passed by. Maybe she/he thought he was renacting the 'Princess and the pea'!

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My classes were held in the school hall which was a bit chilly but nice and spacious.

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Everyone enjoyed using the Apliquick tools to do their needleturn. Such quick neat results, if you want to see how the tools work here is the tutorial. If you want to buy the tools you can get them here.

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How nice it was to see some 'Scandinavian Christmas' fabrics being used, wished I had kept more of it in my stash. I liked this grey/stone linen that one student was using for the background, it was too difficult to trace the stitchery onto so the student very sucessfully used dressmakers carbon paper and a stylus.

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Here are some of the ladies with their show and tell from kits and patterns that they bought from Grandmothers Garden.

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Grandmothers Garden are currently offering as BOM programs, Friends For Christmas, Love Letters and Magical Christmas (there are tow places left for 'In Full Bloom'). Visit here to see these and many other BOM's by various designers.

bye for now

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