Nothing to see here

Isn’t that what they say?

When there’s actually quite a lot to see, but they want you to move along? I, on the other hand, have literally had nothing to see for quite some time. But now I have things to show and tell.

Let’s start with… Baking. I have always been fascinated by cooking from the Southern states of the US. The names of the dishes are mysterious and wonderful, the combinations and flavours can be strange to UK and Australian palates, and many of the ingredients are not at all easily obtained here. But one thing I’ve always loved the sound of is ‘biscuits and sausage gravy’. For breakfast, mind you. Now obviously, these are American biscuits, which closely resemble our scones, rather than being the sweet, flat, crisp jobs we dunk in our tea or coffee. And sausage gravy? Not the rich, meaty brown liquid we make from our Sunday roasts, but a thick, pale, creamy sauce flavoured with crumbled ‘breakfast sausage’. This latter ingredient isn’t snags, or bangers (‘links’ to my US friends), it’s a large roll of seasoned sausage-meat cut into thick slices and fried, served with eggs, etc, for breakfast. I haven’t seen breakfast sausage anywhere in Australia*. You can take a pork snag or two and squeeze it out of its skin, mash it up and that will do the job, fried in a skillet and crumbled. After that, add flour, seasoning and milk, and stir till the whole thing thickens. It takes patience but is very tasty. Anyway, failing the sausage gravy, I made biscuits. I think they turned out rather well! Yummy eaten warm with butter. I would have added honey except, you know, diabetes… If you’re an expert biscuit baker, I’d love to know what you think of my amateur effort.

Gardening. As you’re probably well aware by now, we have a caravan (travel trailer). We keep it in the front yard on a not quite level piece of ground between two flower beds. Because of the curved, banana shape of the outer, raised bed, nearest our front boundary, it has been difficult to back the ‘van into her spot when we come home. So I have shortened and straightened it. Which involved heavily pruning some ornamental trees (ixora, hibiscus, variegated ficus, azalea, Bankok Rose and Snow on the Mountain), shifting what felt like several hundred edging bricks, hacking out soil, repositioning irrigation pipes and some power-weeding. Total time, 2 days of hard labour, but so worth it. I also enlisted the Husband and his angle grinder to remove the old and nasty mailbox which lives in that raised bed. It had finally rusted past the point of no return so that rain more or less guaranteed soggy mail, and will be turned into something more useful in its next incarnation. We also got rid of the ‘ornamental’ street number some aesthetically-challenged previous owner had crafted out of welded steel chain and tack welded to the supporting post… A new, functional, powder-coated steel mailbox improved matters no end, and I wrapped the now-disfigured post in a square of imitation buxus panel. It looks rather fetching…

And finally, Sewing. I have finally got back to the Twilight quilt, and the first two rows are sandwiched and quilted, although I’m not sure you can tell from this photo. I’m using a rather beautiful purple Rasant thread, which blends rather well, but also has a pretty shine. It’s made by Amann, and is  cotton spun on polyester core thread which is both strong and smooth-running. So far, so very good! I’m quilting a cross hatch a hand’s-width wide, which is enough to safely hold the layers together but also results in a very soft and drapey finish to the quilt. There has also been activity on my Hopscotch quilt blocks, but I’ll leave reporting on that until ScrapHappy Day.

Amazing what a long post I’ve written about nothing at all!

 

*If you’ve seen it, do tell me where, as it’s just the sort of thing the Husband would love…

TWX11: a better layout, some quilting… and frogs

There, that’s an improvement, isn’t it?

I’m not sure this is the final layout yet, but I’m getting closer. What do you think about swapping the short X in the top row with the beige-background X on the right in Row 4? And the top right-hand dark X with the bottom right hand dark X in the 4th row? I fiddle around, and swap, and stand back and squint, and I still can’t seem to get it laid out to my satisfaction. Plus, even when it looks right on the wall, there’s a glaring issue when I look at the photo. I think those two changes might work, don’t you?

I’ve got the two middle rows of blocks fully quilted and a couple more blocks on top of that. That bit’s going pretty well, and I can get a row quilted before my back starts whingeing at me to stop. I have to listen to my back a bit carefully just now, because of my ‘morning work’, which is shovelling crusher dust for the drive, picking up dead branches and fallen palm fronds, and raking and shovelling mud and rotting vegetation out of the storm drainage ditch down the side of the property. It’s a long, long ditch. It doesn’t take much before there’s a persistent nag from back there…

Finally, it has been a froggy sort of day. This little chap has been occupying my laundry windowsill for most of a day now. There was another one hanging out in the back of the car when we opened the tailgate to stow the tarp after taking a load of green waste to the dump. He made a break for it, but Laundry Frog is quite contented where he is… He’s about 4cm/1½ inches long.

And I just wanted to let you know that that piece of white thread on his leg is on him, not my camera lens!