Bee, Myself and I #8

To make up for lost time, I’ve been doing a lot of sewing in the last couple of days.

hatbox-11

Block 11

hatbox-12

Block 12

And here is the result of some of it. Two more hatboxes for my Bee, Myself and I selfish sewing project. I’m now officially one third of the way through the blocks I need, and I’ve picked out the next bunch of candidate fabrics. It’s all looking a bit pale and pastel-y up there on the design wall, so I’m going for stronger backgrounds and more saturated colour for the next round.

I’m not sure how many of the original participants are still stitching along quietly with their selfish sewing, but I know this bee’s owner, Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl, has reached a major landmark with hers. Nip over there and have a look, it’s really impressive!

If you want to know more about the bee, click on the button a fair way down in the left hand column.

Foolproof…

The thing about gluten free bread is that it’s cranky.

By which I mean that results are variable, the ingredients expensive, the taste can be…odd, and the process time-consuming.  I also don’t want to make a whole loaf, and then only manage to eat half of it before the remainder goes as hard and dry as an old brick, which happen pretty quickly with GF bread.

Since my back problems 6 months ago, I’ve put on weight. Being unable to walk for more than a few minutes and unable to stand up straight will do that for you, and I haven’t managed to lose the extra lard since. So I decided it was time to revisit what, and how much, I eat. Cutting back hard on sugar, hugely increasing the amount of vegies I eat and greatly reducing the carbs is working nicely, and I’m showing a slow but steady decrease in the tightness of my clothes!  But sometimes, I want a bit of bread. And here is a recipe which combines the virtues of being low(ish) carb and gluten free, and tasting good and being very quick to make. It makes a small loaf, two large rolls or 3 or 4 small ones.

Ingredients:
1¼ cups almond meal, either bleached or natural, whichever you prefer
5 tablespoons psyllium husk powder
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1¼ cups boiling water
¼ cup of sesame seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds or linseed (optional)

Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F. Mix the dry ingredients, and whisk together with a hand beater to ensure the baking powder is well distributed. Mix the egg whites and vinegar, and add to the dry ingredients. Beat in, then add the boiling water. Beat well for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, till the mixture starts to thicken, turning from a slightly wet and lumpy batter to a dough. Don’t over-beat, or the bread will be gummy. Put whole into a small oiled bread tin, or divide into rolls with oiled hands and put into the oven on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment. Bake for 50 minutes for small rolls or 1 hour for large rolls or a loaf. Cool well before cutting.

You can double the quantities for a larger loaf, but you’ll have to adjust the cooking times upwards  a bit. You can also add a tablespoon of dark brown sugar, half a cup of raisins and half a teaspoon of  cinnamon for a raisin bread, and can brush the crust with melted butter if you want a bit of a shine. It doesn’t have the yeasty flavour of true bread, but it’s not as odd tasting as some GF recipes, and it is wonderfully substantial if you’re hungry!

This is based on an original recipe by Maria Emmerich.

SAL 38: a bit more border

I’ve had a chance to do a fair bit of hand stitching in the last two days.

The blue sampler has reaped the benefit; I got another chunk of the left hand border done and made a start on the next row of letters. This border’s very soothing to stitch, lots of repetition and no counting! The one on the other side is another story, which is absolutely the reason I took the easy option 🙂

alphabet-2-lines

Before

blue-sampler-row-3-started

After

Below the letter R, everything gets pretty and twiddly again. More decorative blocks, more floral borders… In the interests of the design, I’m leaving the W out as well. This isn’t a teaching sampler, it’s allowed to be just for pretty, and I think it looks prettier without. I’m really looking forward to the three blocks of dense design along the bottom.

As always, the others in the SAL will have something lovely to show. We’re on different time zones and you may have to wait a while before all the posts are up, so keep checking back!

Avis at http://sewingbesidethesea.wordpress.com
Claire at http://claire93.wordpress.com
Gun at http://rutigt.wordpress.com
Carole at http://aslightobsessionwithbooks.wordpress.com
LucyAnn at https://lucyannluna.wordpress.com
Jess at https://everthecrafter.wordpress.com
Sue at http://sewingmagpie.blogspot.com
Constanze at https://textiledreamer.wordpress.com
DebbieRose at https://sewrosey.wordpress.com
Christina at https://petalsandpins.wordpress.com
Susan at http://susanpblog.wordpress.com
Kathy at https://livinginrapidcity.wordpress.com
Margaret at https://thecraftycreek.com/
Cindy at http://homeofaflossjunkie.blogspot.com
Helen at http://stitchingranny.wordpress.com – our new member: welcome, Helen!

See you next time, on 18th December.

Stay+ part 3: another line completed

One more row to go, and then the assembly can start.

This is where we were last time:

stay-line-2-half-of-3-quilted

And this is now:

stay-80-quilted

One more row to go, and I’ve done all the prep. So now I just have to quilt all 5 blocks, and then I can start joining everything together.

I must go and buy some fabric to cut the joining strips. They’ll be the same cream fabric to match the backing, and give the individual blocks some separation on the front.

And somehow, I’ve worked through another kilometre/a little over half a mile of cream thread…

Another big push, and then it’ll be time for all these lovely blocks to become a quilt 🙂

The road to hell…

… is paved with good intentions, they say.

I had excellent intentions at the beginning of this month. I would sew lots, work in the garden, cook lots, get my tax done and of course, post lots. I’ve managed the cooking and the tax. Not deeply impressive, but fate intervened in the shape of another trip south which ate up three days, the big toe which had surgery 6 month ago flaring up extremely messily and painfully, and my 93 year old father, who lives in Spain, needing surgery for skin cancer.

Pa is a notoriously impatient, irritable and still very dogmatic person. Age has not mellowed him a bit, and he still has all his marbles. So he was not a co-operative patient before, during or after the procedure. He was supposed to wear a sling to keep his arm still. Oh dear me no, that didn’t happen. He has resisted expert care until the point where, feeling dreadful, he summoned my sister to drive for 8 solid hours from France to Spain, to come and pick him up. She got there to find the situation was a storm in a teacup. Meanwhile, my brother and I were imagining the worst. It has been a little stressful…

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 10.19.21 amToday I said enough was enough. I headed upstairs to my sewing room and spent half an hour preparing for some solid sewing time tomorrow. I get restive and glum if I can’t do my creative stuff, and that on top of the painful toe and the worry about Pa, has made me rather blue. Another round of toe surgery is at 11.00am tomorrow, and after that I plan to put my feet up and stitch like it’s going out of fashion 🙂

And get waited on hand and toe by the Husband of Chiconia, who has the day off!

Stay+ part 2: quilting’s half done

Last time I posted about Stay+ I just had the top line done.

This time, I’ve got more to show. I’m halfway through! The top line you’ve seen before, but line 2 and the half of line 3 I’ve done are quilted and trimmed. As you can see, the ‘+‘ sign is beginning to emerge.

stay-line-2-half-of-3-quilted

I’m going to wait till I have all the blocks done before I start to join them up. I learned the hard way with the Time for Teal quilt that joining long strips to long strips was a lot harder and more painful than it needed to be. With the next QAYG project I worked on (Grey Nomad), I joined the blocks into sections, and then joined those. It made life a lot easier, there was a lot less blood floating around as a result of pin sticks, and I didn’t throw it down in fury even once!

I have to cut a bunch of backing fabric squares before I can carry on, but there wasn’t time to get that done today. Soon, I promise.  I want to get this off by the end of the month if possible. Which reminds me; I need fabric for binding. Oh dear, a trip to the fabric shop, what a hardship…!

And now it’s time to turn my attention to something completely different. But it’s a secret!

F²F² November progress report

So far so good!  F²F² for November is coming along well.

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 7.32.54 pmSusan’s lovely colour choice of aqua and lilac on cream has proved to be very popular, and the fabrics selected and blocks up in the gallery so far this month are just gorgeous – I especially like Lynn’s contribution, but you’ll have to go over there to see what I mean. Just click on the link above and scroll down right to the end for the most recent additions.

I’m not sure where most of November got to, myself. I haven’t started sewing Susan’s blocks, although I have the fabrics picked out. Of course, we did go away a couple of times, which will probably explain the layer of dust on my work table… Anyway, I’d better get cracking, or it’ll be December before I send my blocks out. Too embarrassing!

Can’t wait to see what the others are going to make 🙂