Sunday, July 31, 2011

Snowball Patchwork Quilt

I really didn't need to start another patchwork quilt since I have four unfinished quilts in my UFO cupboard but I simply couldn't resist! I went to my annual pilgrimage, the Craft and Quilt Fair at Jeff's Shed on Saturday 30 July and bought two lots of Moda's Buttercup charm packs for a bargain price of $10 each (regularly around $15). I love charm packs because they are cut into 5" squares (ideal for me since I can't cut straight!), and the fabric pieces are coordinated so I know the colours compliment each other perfectly.

I couldn't wait to start this quilt so I started sewing on Sunday afternoon after I came back from a tour of the Chinese Museum which had an exhibition of blue and white embroidery from Sichuan province. I was impressed with the tiny, even indigo stitches worked on plain uneven weave fabric, and I'm sure the women did not use waste canvas to create such magnificent pieces!

I always thought that the Chinese came to Australia during the gold rush, but the guide advised that the Chinese first starting coming to Australia when we need more workers after convict transportation ceased during the mid 1800s. During the gold rush, the Chinese disembarked in Adelaide and walked to Ballarat (which took around two weeks) rather than pay the six pounds (equivalent to about A$1000 today) required to enter Victoria. I can just imagine the conversations among the Chinese: "That's ridiculous, I'm not paying that, I'll just walk!"

Anyway, back to the quilt! Using cream homespun I picked up at Lincraft at their 50% off fabric sale last week, I've decided to make a Snowball quilt. I cut out 5cm x 5cm squares and drew a diagonal sew line on the fabric (because I can't sew straight either). I sewed a homespun square to each corner, snipped the corners and then finger pressed the seams. Voila - a Snowball block!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Crossed Stitched Glasses

I went to Mark, my ex-boss's 60th birthday party on Saturday 23 July and had a fabulous time. It was so lovely to be invited and being part of such an important celebration. The theme was 1950s glamour and everyone looked wonderful, I felt like I was in the cast of Mad Men, one of my favourite TV series.

My Mad Men Barbie dolls: Joan Holloway and Betty Draper
I wore a deep green sleeveless dress with a black grosgrain ribbon tied around my waist. I bought a tulle petticoat on eBay (a bargain at only $4.95!) which gave my dress added volume. I also wore black fishnet stockings (not sure if this is historically accurate), black heels (my feet were numb after standing for 4 hours!) and a black feathered stole from Allannah Hill completed the outfit (I knew it would come in handy one day!). I still couldn't figure out how to put on false lashes so I ended up wearing bright red lipstick, and curled my hair so it fell into Rita Hayworth waves.

I crossed stitched a black frame glasses which I attached to Mark's birthday card. It is his signature look, and this pattern is almost like his Tom Ford glasses.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Orange Loaf

I've been busy with a few activities for the past few weekends, but I managed to bake this cake on Sunday morning before I headed off to yum cha at Shark Fin House. The recipe is from Nigella Lawson's "Kitchen"and it turned out pretty well in cake terms, but not how it was intended! My batter did not curdle (even though it was suppose to) and the cake did not sink and have a gooey centre (perhaps I left it in the oven for too long?). I recommend using the best cocoa powder you can find because it really makes a difference. I've fallen in love with muscovado sugar, so use it instead of brown sugar, trust me, it's worth it!

Are orchids suppose to be blooming in the middle of winter? Despite the icing conditions (winds from Antarctica are never pleasant!) Melbourne has had some lovely sunny days. Above is a photo taken last week from the office on the 41st floor.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bento Box, Japan

The Japanese present their food so beautifully that it almost a shame to eat something that took so much time and dedication to prepare. I had this bento box at Highland Resort Hotel and Spa after we toured Mount Fuji. The meal was served with rice and miso soup, and I enjoyed the different dishes in each bowl (I adore Japanese crockery). I'm not a fan of sashimi but I took a couple of tiny bites of the raw tuna (middle bowl). I didn't like the idea of eating the chrysanthemum - flowers are too pretty to eat! Overall the meal was enjoyable.