Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Sparkly Shoes

I had the day off today and though unwell and on my way to physio, I still managed to find time to scour some of the charity shops in town! 

O.K. Are you ready for this?
Don't cry when you see these - 
They are a GREAT find and a bargain!

They've never been worn 
and the label has been removed. 
They are black satin, slip on heels with the most fabulous decoration of flowers and leaves in rhinestones.

And what did these satiny midnight sparklers cost? 

Where will I wear them?
That's a good question.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Pears from the garden

Autumn - we're back at school, the weather is changing and the evenings are creeping in earlier and earlier.  It will soon be time to light a fire!  It's at this time of time of year that I love to spend time doing two of my favourite things on Sunday afternoons- a bit of baking and a bit of hand sewing.
We've recently harvested the pears from our two trees. We've had a great crop this year and enjoy sharing them with friends and cooking them as they ripen.

Here is the first of my family's favourite recipes using pears.
Pear and Raspberry Upside Down Cake
2 ripe pears
170g (6 oz ) raspberries
125g (4 1/2 oz) butter or margarine
125g (4 1/2 oz) caster sugar
100g (3 1/2 oz) self-rising flour
5ml (1 tsp) baking powder

Preheat the oven to180C/230F.
Peel, core and quarter the pears.
Arrange the pears and raspberries in the base of a lined and greased 20cm (8in) loose-based cake tin.
Mix together 25g (1oz) of the butter and 25g (1oz) of the sugar, spread over the fruit.
Place the remaining butter, sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder in a bowl and beat for a few minutes until light and fluffy. 
Spoon the mixture into the tin tin and level,
Cook for 25 - 35 minutes until cake is golden and springs back when touched.
Cool a little. 
Carefully turn out onto a serving plate.

I'm off for some sewing now!

Red and White Yo-yo Quilt ~ 400 yo-yo's Later!

A couple of years ago I saw a picture of a similar quilt to this on Gooseberry Patch and fell in love with it! I simply felt I had to have one and then, typical me, put it to the back of my mind.

The Clover yo-yo maker craze was becoming big here in England and so I gave it a try - having formerly HATED making them the "old-fashioned" way.

I love red and white fabric and happen to have a huge stash of it that gets replenished at every opportunity and so began my endless days of yo-yo making.

 I decided my quilt would need 400 of theses round beauties because I wanted to divide my quilt into quarters - 100 yo-yo's in each quarter!
It took quit awhile and 800 pins to get the balance of colour and pattern right - but I have to say it was such a pleasure to see it spread out on the table!

Next came the hours of happily watching Poirot and hand sewing the yo-yo's.

For the backing, I knew I wanted a red and white ticking and was fortunate enough to find the real thing at my local fabric shop - and, as luck would have it, soft!
I tie quilted 200 alternating yo-yo's into place with red pearl cotton, the ties showing on the back.

My biggest worry in making the quilt was marking the white fabric ready for quilting!
I used one of these!
It's called a Hera Marker, another fab product from Clover. "Easy to handle tracing spatula allows you to place pressure when marking on fabric. Perfect for quilting and sewing". Truer words have never been written!

Again, using pearl cotton, I quilted the border in simple straight lines and got the "look" that I wanted! Rather than binding,I used my usual method of folding in the edges to finish the quilt .

My labour of love took over two years and I loved EVERY minute of it!
Originally Posted on sew-together  by Sharon on Saturday, May 01, 2010

Angela said... I love this quilt, and the explanations you've put with it.
1 May 2010 15:43

Sharon said... Thanks Angela -I want to make a real effort with this blog now that I have a camera and computer that at the same time!
1 May 2010 15:53

MandeeFranee said... WOW!!! That is GORGEOUS!!! Seriously AMAZING quilt!! I so wish this was a skill I had!
26 May 2010 00:57

Sarah said... We want you to bring over when we both return next week plus Sarah's first quilt. LOVE this quilt. It is a work of art.Imogen
17 August 2010 15:17

Secret Pocket Lady

Wednesday, 21 July 2010
I had lots of fun last week making this "Secret Pocket Lady" skirt!

My job share Karen borrowed one of these skirts, also called "The Walking Lucky Dip," a few years ago. We took turns wearing it at our school's annual Summer BBQ.

Karen had to return the skirt and I never quite got around to making one, as promised.
That is until this year!

The skirt was made using fabric up-cycled from some classroom drapes and a few new quarter metres of "brights" for pockets with some flowers bonded on top. The finishing touch - lime green ribbon! There was also a bright patchwork bandanna to add to the overall "look."

How it works:
The skirt has 20 pockets, each containing a prize. For the price of 20p, the child chooses any pocket and receives a surprise!

Karen and I had lots of fun taking turns wearing the skirt, raising a bit of money for our school and seeing the children's faces when they realised that the lady wearing a funny outfit that day was a teacher!

Originally Posted on sew-together July, 2010
Sarah said... Made us chuckle! Bet the kids love it.We do! Have you tried posting your Early Years observations in it?!!!!!!!!!!!! Love Sarah and Imogen
17 August 2010 15:13

Sharon said...Thanks ladies! Have actually designed the perfect outfit for the FS Practitioner (a tab bard really,complete with matching clipboard) but unfortunately it was not approved. :0
25 August 20102 14:55

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Sarah's First Quilt!

Sarah is the talented daughter of Imogen.
I guess it's in the genes! 
Not only are they both fantastic teachers, they are both wonderful quilters.

Sarah bought a layer cake, cut each piece in to rectangles, arranged them and did the piecing on her machine.
She's quilted by hand and is now ready to bind! 
I love it and have already admitted that I'll be making one of these too! 
Sarah says she's caught the "bug" and is already planning and preparing for her next quit - watch this space!
To read more about this quilt visit Angela's Recipe Blog.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Blueberry Buckle

What in the world is Buckle?  Absolutely delicious!
Buckle is a cake made of three layers and has the texture of an American coffee cake.
The first layer is the cake batter, then a layer of fruit and finally a crumble topping.
The cake looks "buckled" because of the cracks and crevices made in the crumbly topping. 

Buckles are thought to have originated during colonial times, probably in New England. They were made using kitchen staples and seasonal fruits or berries - whatever was to hand.
The beauty of a buckle is that yocan make changes to the recipe to suit yourself - the type of fruit or berries, sugar, spices. It's up to you!
I like to use a glass baking dish measuring 9.5 x 13.5 x 2" rather than the smaller 11  x 7 x 1 1/2 " or  8 x8" pans given in some recipes - I prefer the texture I get and it also serves more people!

Here is my version of Blueberry Buckle
1/2 cup butter                   
1 cup sugar                         
1 egg                                    
2 1/2 cups plain /all-purpose flour                      
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder    
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk

Fruit Layer:
3 cups blueberries

Crumble Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain /all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C
To make the cake batter:
In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until creamy.
Add the egg and mix well.
In another large bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder and salt.
Add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk and mixing well after each addition.
Pour into a greased  9.5 x 13.5 x 2" pan.

Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the batter.

To make the Topping:
In a bowl, sift the sugar and the flour with the cinnamon and blend in the butter.
Work the mixture with fingers until it forms course crumbs.
Sprinkle the topping mixture over the blueberries.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
Cool slightly and cut into squares.
Serve warm. Delicious cold too!

Monday, 26 July 2010

mmmmm..... gotta have my blueberries!

When I first came to England in 1992, blueberries weren't as available here as they are now.
To help me feel less homesick, I decided that I would have to order some plants and grow them in my garden - after all, when you grow up in New England as I did, blueberries are part of summer!

 My Blueberry Buckle Recipe tomorrow!