Storing up gold…

I have had a plethora of passionfruit.

My own vines are still too tiny to produce, but all around the neighbourhood, there are green globes hanging in great profusion from passionfruit vines. Often, as the fruit ripens, it lies unattended and unwanted on the ground for the birds to attack. There are just so many, and when they fall outside fences or on the verge of the roadside, I pick them up and bring them home. When I have enough, I hoard the resulting gold.

The fresh pulp produces the most intensely coloured and flavoured juice when you have sieved out all the pips. I had 150ml, just enough for a small jarful of passionfruit curd.

Experience has taught me that home grown eggs just have too much flavour for the classic curd recipe of fruit juice, sugar, butter and egg yolks; the mixture ends up ‘eggy’ if you use enough eggs to set the mixture.

So I added 75g caster sugar, 3 tblsps cornflour (corn starch) and a tiny pinch of salt to the juice, stirred constantly in a small pan over low heat until the mixture thickened, cooked it for a further 5 minutes, still stirring, and then added a tablespoon of cream at the end to enrich it. You could also use unsalted butter or coconut cream instead; the former will give a more ‘classic’ flavour, the latter a hint of tropical yumminess. It’s a little runny when warm and just made, but sets up firm in the fridge after a few hours.

This stuff is dynamite. It’s intense, tangy and vivid on the tastebuds. Some of the passionfruit weren’t 100% ripe and the acidity is just what is needed to prevent the mixture being dulled by the starch. Dessert tonight is a tablespoonful stirred through a small bowl of Greek yoghurt. Just heaven.

It won’t keep, so I’ll have to eat it quickly. Oh, the hardship…

Ovarian Cancer: CYTL complete

It’s done, and even a bit early.

Yesterday, I completed the assembly. It all got done painlessly and quickly, thanks to Aretha, my marvellous sewing machine. I have to say, all the bits of quilt-making I used to dislike most are much less intimidating these days, thanks to Her Stitchy Majesty.

Last night and this morning, I got the binding stitched down, and then the Husband did quilt-hanger duty in the back yard so I could get a photo or two. A beautiful still and sunny winter’s day made the process totally painless. Usually, I have to wait for gusts of wind to subside!

Even making and applying the label went without a hitch. Normally, I like to make two transfers in case the first goes wrong; it’s amazingly easy to try and take the backing off too quickly and peeling half the transfer off!

This time, however, I got it right, so the second transfer is a memento which can go into the project folder together with the original sketch, fabric calculations and swatches, receipts, quilt brief and colour references.

I’ve got a call out to the Trudy Crowley Foundation to work out a date to deliver both this quilt and Sue’s lovely Taking Flight contribution. It’s a bonus year for Ovarian Cancer fundraising quilts!

For anyone who’d like to contribute next time, be it one block or several, just leave a message in the Comments, or send me an email (address on the Contact Me page). All skill levels are welcome; all you need is fabric, a sewing machine and the will to help.

And that’s it for this year. On with the next thing!

Emu dressed as chicken

It’s the only explanation.

My Girls are still young, and I wouldn’t normally expect Extra Large (60g) eggs from chooks until their second year. However, they’re regularly producing eggs in the Large to Extra Large range, which I feel indicates they are well-fed and contented.

However, I think there’s an interloper in the flock.

It HAS to be an emu. It’s the only explanation.

Below, an Extra Large egg, at 59g/2oz.  Above… well, on its own, it weighed 110g/nearly 4oz. Ouch.

The Husband and I will be squabbling over who gets this one for breakfast – it’s clearly a double-yolker. I have yet to discover which of the Girls offered up this monster. I only know it’s not Lacey, who lays more petite darker brown eggs. I have my suspicions, and Peachy is top of the list…

I’ll be keeping an eye on that girl.

A tiny teaser…

…of a future project.

This heap of wonderfulness recently arrived in record time from Sareeka, in Surat, in the state of Gujarat, western India. I have Plans!  Aren’t those colours and patterns just beautiful?

It’s going to take a while before I can get on with it, but I just wanted to share this foretaste with you. And while I’m waiting, it’s all sitting on my cutting table, where I can gloat and pet it, and where it shines in the sunshine.

Meanwhile, I have a quilt to finish. One-third of the way through…


ScrapHappy July

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

No progress on the coat I mentioned last month, as I’ve been busy with the Ovarian Cancer quilt I need to have ready by the end of July. However, I did manage to make something scrappy!

I needed another bench mat to alternate with the grey and white one I made earlier. That one’s now liberally stained with tea, coffee, pasta sauce, sriracha, orange juice…. well, you get the idea. It still works well, but it’s also good to have a replacement to alternate with.

I cut strings off the edges of most of the fabrics I use. It’s rare that I don’t have at least an inch of waste fabric at the end once I’ve finished cutting. I collect these strings in a bucket with my other scraps, and today, it was time to do something with them! I have a stack of batting scrap too, so I made up a piece with batting tape, and some random scraps of black and white fabric I pieced for the backing. The binding is leftover bits of jelly roll strips from earlier quilts.

So now, I have a bench mat and an empty strings bucket! Result.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Viv

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

Ovarian Cancer: CYTL ready to assemble

It’s quilted and trimmed out.

I’ve done my usual wavy lines, using a warm medium grey which recedes on both dark and light backgrounds.  All the blocks are trimmed out to exactly the same size, which is important to keep the assembly process as simple and pain-free as possible.

I’ve cut the sashing, with a dark blotched batik for the front in deep blue-green, and a brighter, more turquoise spotty pattern for the back, which will be fun against the pale grey, silver and white of the stork-print backing.

Tomorrow, I can start the assembly. I haven’t decided yet which fabric I’ll use to bind the finished quilt; it’s going to depend on how different it looks with the sashing.

Time to wind a whole load more bobbins!

Amethyst and pearl

Nearly done.

I just have to work out how to fasten the strands, either all together, or individually.

But I’m pleased with how the strands look, and the solution I found for the pendants, grouping them together on the bottom strand.

Some of the amethysts are real, and some aren’t, some pearls are real and others aren’t. I had a beautiful pearl bracelet made for me by Dawn Gill, but because I’m a klutz I broke it twice, re-threading it three times. Finally, I realised that I just keep catching it because I’m clumsy. So I’ve recycled the grey/lilac pearls, ‘cornflake’ pearls and silver jump rings into this necklace. Hopefully having it round my neck for special occasions will make it a bit safer!

Once the clasp(s) is/are on, I think I’ll put the beading aside for the time being. I think I have it out of my system for now!

The CYTL quilt is calling my name!

Turquoise and coral

The first set’s done!

I’m really pleased with how it turned out, although two of the necklaces had to be adjusted so the lengths sat together correctly. I’d forgotten to allow for the extra length created by the clasps. In the end, I added more length to both the turquoise one on the left and the single strand coral one with chunky turquoise glass beads at the front. Results below, and I really love how it all looks layered together.

You learn as you go, don’t you? Which is why I’m going to think a bit more about how to put the next one together. Sorry about the rather dark photo; turns out amethyst and black pearls are hard to photograph. This is where I’ve got to so far.:

I’m reconsidering the pendants on the top two strands, which means I’ll be able to drape all three strands closer together. I need to be careful with the length of this one, as I want to wear it below a multi-strand freshwater pearl choker I already own. Yes, it will be totally OTT, but I love the look, and so long as you keep the rest of the outfit simple, you can get away with it. I have earrings to go with, which inspired the whole idea.

I’m enjoying this, but it’s never going to become my passion in place of quilts. For one thing, my fingers and wrists aren’t good for hours and hours of beading, especially on my right hand, where the middle joints on the two middle fingers are already sore and make alarming clicking and crunching noises…

Onwards! I’d love to hear what you think 😊

And now for something completely different

You probably have to be a Monty Python fan to appreciate the title…

Anyway, this IS completely different from anything I’ve posted about before. Let’s get to it. I’ve been trying to find a couple of necklaces to go with both outfits and earrings I already own. Sometimes you get an idea of what you want and you just can’t find the reality. My solution has always been to try and make what I want. I’ve never got into beading or other jewellery making, thinking I already had too many crafty ideas and I wasn’t going to get hooked on yet another process.

Um. Too late…

I had a box full of beads. Everything you see here except for the clasp and the coral-coloured beads is stuff I already had. Over the years, I’ve scooped up bits of this and that, recycled the other and chopped stuff up to save things I like and pass on the rest. Same with buttons. I even had the beading needles, left over from another project where I needed something really fine. So it was just a matter of laying stuff out in an arrangement I liked. I think maybe I’m going to weave the 3 coral strings in and out of the turquoise string, but I’ll see how it looks before I tie everything off and add the end caps and clasp. Maybe I’ll add another coral string to make it chunkier.

Fingers crossed I don’t make a mess of it. This is the first time I’ve done something like this, so wish me luck. I’ll show you the finished thing if it all works out. If not, well, everything can just go back into my bead box and I’ll carry on looking.

Also, if it does work out, I’ve got a second and more complicated necklace already laid out. That one’s going to need a bit of thought…

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’m halfway through quilting Can You Teal the Love.

Midwinter sunset

Down here, it’s the middle of winter.

The temperatures recently have been very chilly for our tropical latitude. Not what the south would call cold (or indeed, the northern hemisphere), but for us thin blooded types, it’s perishing! Although we’ve had days of heavy rain and chilly winds from Cairns south to Sydney, tonight there was a short break in the dismal deluge, just long enough to give us this:

Which, I think you’ll agree, is about as triumphant a sunset as they get.

Tomorrow, it’ll probably be pouring again…