Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Eve plum cake

Merry Christmas! May you all have a blessed time with your loved ones, celebrating the birth of our Wonderful Saviour, and Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. 

I just made some festive German plum cake for the Christmas celebrations. I made an apricot version too for the first time (right cake). Here is the recipe, its very easy to make and very delicious!


1/4 lb. butter
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup milk (or more)
2 1/2 to 3 lb. small plums, depending on size of pan
cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top

Cream butter and sugar. Mix in the eggs, flour, salt, baking powder, vanilla, and milk. Grease a jelly roll pan (or a pie tin) and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spread dough on pan. Halve, pit and wash plums. Lay plums on dough with cut side up and touching one another. Sprinkle plums with sugar and cinnamon. Then dot each plum with a little piece of butter. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

More shirt-stripe boxes

I'm about half-way now with cutting and assembling the shirt-stripe boxes. They are looking quite chirpy.

I've been doing some hand-quilting in the evenings before bed, still have a long way to go.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Hand-quilting pinwheels

I'm now trying out a few quilting options, using normal Mettler quilting thread and crochet perle cotton (no. 8). I think that the thinner Mettler quilting thread makes the design stand out more, but its going to take a while to finish.

Friday, 16 December 2011

My first quilt sandwich

I assembled my first quilt sandwich yesterday, it just fitted on the tiled floor in my bedroom (90" x 90"). Thank you Oops-lah for the tutorial link Making-the-quilt-sandwich. I basted the quilt using the helpful techniques shown by Exuberant Color. Its wonderful to have so much invaluable information available in blogs!
I spotted a vivid rainbow over Stellenbosch yesterday. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Shirt-stripe boxes quilt beginning

I've made a couple of the shirt-stripe boxes, what fun they are to make! The squares can come out quite differently from the same fabric, depending on how wide apart the stripes are and where you start cutting. These are only 4 of the 29 striped fabrics that I have, so I have a long way to go...

Oh yes, and I have decided to hand-quilt my pinwheel quilt. I was able to get some lovely wool batting from Beary Quilts in Cape Town yesterday. I will tackle the basting once I've done some reading up on blogs on how to do it correctly. Any suggestions would be most welcome :)

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Planning a shirt-stripe boxes quilt

I've decided to make a masculine shirt-stripe boxes quilt with the shirting fabric that I've been collecting for some time now. This quilt is inspired by the shirt-stripe boxes quilt pattern in Kaffe Fassett's book "Passionate Patchwork" (shown right).

This week I gave away a quilt to my brother and his wife as a Christmas present. It was a quilt I made last year using Tula Pink's Parisville fabric range, using a simple brick pattern to show off the pretty fabrics. They like French things, so I thought it would be perfect for them.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Homemade Christmas tree - African style

I decided to "make" my own Christmas tree this year, since I don't own a plastic one and fir trees don't grow in South Africa. 
Step one: I went for a walk in a nearby eucalyptus (Australian blue-gum) plantation and found a nice fallen branch. I chose eucalyptus because it has a smooth bark. 
Step two: I painted the branch white with some PVA paint I had lying about. The really fine branches took a while to paint...

Step three: I "planted" the branch in a terracotta flower pot using river stones, and added a few beach pebbles on top to finish it off.

I then added some baubles hung using fine, silver organza ribbon.

And also strung a few white LED lights and there you have it: an environmentally friendly (and free), African Christmas tree.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Mom's finished bags and jelly roll quilt

I haven't done much sewing lately, but at least my mom has something to show! My mom finished her lovely Pom Pom de Paris by Moda jelly roll quilt last week, I just love the quilting, it looks so good with the wool batting.
She also finished three cute handbags made using a Heather Bailey's Marlo Bloom pattern. Yummy!

I found two cute rock pigeon chicks relaxing on one of my deck chairs on the balcony on Sunday. Too comfy wouldn't you say!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Chintz quilt progress and some lovely new fabrics

I've made some more progress on my chintz quilt. I've finished cutting the squares and have started to assemble the snowball blocks.

Some lovely new Kaffe Fassett fabrics arrived in the mail this week. 

I especially love the Bekah print in magenta!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Chintz quilt beginning and other projects

I rediscovered this UFO (unfinished object) wedding ring quilt at my parents' house on the weekend. I started this quilt in 1997 when I had just finished high school.... wow, time flies (14 years already!). It is all hand pieced (I was very naive ambitious back then) made from scraps that I got from my mom and grandmother. I think it's time that I finished it!

I managed to finish sewing an Amy Butler "Birdie Sling" handbag for myself last week. I just love her Soul Blossom's range in the blue colourway.
I've started cutting my new Kaffe Fassett "Chintz" quilt. Unfortunately, my job has overwhelmed me this last week. I'm marking exam papers and evaluating graduate student's dissertations, so my free-time has dwindled significantly. I can hardly wait for Summer holidays to begin in December!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Pinwheel quilt top finished!

I finished piecing my blue pinwheel quilt yesterday. The quilt consists of 32 large 10.5" pinwheels and 256 small 4.5" pinwheels. To make a small 4.5" pinwheel, one needs 2 light and 2 dark 3" squares of fabric, which must each be cut in half diagonally to make the 8 right-angled triangles for each pinwheel. To make a large 10.5" pinwheel, one needs 2 light and 2 dark 6" squares of fabric, which must each be halved diagonally. One also needs 4 x 36.5" x 4.5" strips of fabric for the center plain bands. All seams must be 0.25". Finished quilt is approximately 88" x 88". 

Now I have to decide on the quilting. I definitely want 100% wool batting. I'm not sure if I want to attempt hand quilting, or if I should rather have it done professionally? Please let me know what you think, I have never attempted hand-quilting so I'm quite keen to try it, but this quilt is huge (225 cm x 225 cm) so I'm worried that I will get overwhelmed and then don't finish it...

Monday, 31 October 2011

Another row finished

I managed to finish another row yesterday. Unfortunately my living room is not very big so I couldn't display all of the quilt. Only got one more row to finish and then it's hand quilting time. 

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Pinwheel quilt progress

The pinwheel quilt is coming along. I managed to finish another two rows. Only two more rows to go, one made of big pinwheels and the border of small pinwheels. Almost there...

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Sew many ideas, not enough time...

Lots of lovely fabrics arrived in the mail this week. I especially like Kaffe Fassett's new "Frilly" print and the new recolours of Philip Jacob's "Lucious".

I bought a new Amy Butler handbag book "Style Stitches", with 26 lovely bag patterns. Can't wait to try some of them.

Also found a lovely original 1960's dress pattern on Etsy. I'm looking for a retro print to make it, possibly one of Amy Butler's fabrics from her new "Lark" range will work. 

All I need now is some time to make all of these lovely patterns, December holidays are coming thank goodness!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Bags and Brooches

I've taken a break from quilting and made a few handbags this weekend using some of my Tula Pink, Parisville and Amy Butler, Soul Blossoms and Midwest Modern stash that I had left over from other projects. The bags looked a bit plain so I decided to make some fun rosette brooches. I used my pudding bowls as templates. It worked quite well. 
My first (completed) quilt I ever made was using Amy Butler's Lotus Collection (see below). I made this quilt while still studying in Canada, this is where I discovered all these wonderful American designers, like Amy Butler and Tula Pink.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Planning my next project: a "Chintz" quilt

Planning on making a "Chintz" quilt from Kaffe Fassett's book "Country Garden Quilts". This quilt caught my eye immediately when I got the book more than a year ago. I've been longing to make it, and was pleased to find most of the fabrics (arrived today!).

This is what the finished "chintz" quilt in the book looks like. Its so lovely, reminds me of luscious, leafy summer...

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Pinwheel quilt centre panel finished

I finished the centre panel of the pinwheel quilt. Quite tricky to sew with all those seams.

My mom gave me some lovely king proteas from the church Saturday market. So I had to photograph them on my pinwheel panel. The dark pink king protea, is a new hybrid called "Madiba", named after Nelson Mandela who is fondly called Madiba in South Africa. 
I decided to use the Kaffe Fassett "anemone" print in blue for the plain border strips. The print looks like blue china, so pretty.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Blue pinwheel quilt is underway

My latest quilting project is a square pinwheel quilt that I have designed and am making using Kaffe Fassett fabrics. My colour inspiration for this quilt came from Monet's Water Lilies paintings (see examples). There are actually over 300 water lily paintings by Monet. The purple-blue, green and pink hues create such a tranquil feeling. I have to assemble 252 small pinwheel blocks and 32 large ones. It will keep me busy for a while...