Wednesday 29 January 2014

Tasty Lamb Need Not Kofta Fortune

This is my third save with Jamie meal. It was the most straight forward of the three and took the least amount of time. It took around 45 minutes, but a lot of the time comes down to cooking the lamb. If you wanted it pink it would take less time. Mine were quite well done.

It is another great flavour combination with a lot of basic ingredients. The pistachio and fennel coating with the sweet chilli sauce was really tasty and gave a great texture next to the soft lamb. Lamb mince is not something we use a lot, we are not big fans of shepherds pie and it can sometimes go dry without a lot of sauce or leave an odd after taste. This did neither. Again the home-made cabbage pickle was crunchy with sweet and sour notes. I couldn't get hold of raddish so I used raw carrots which worked well despite not having the peppery heat.

There were some good tips in the recipe including using two kebab sticks so it stops the koftas spinning. I would recommend that you use tongs to turn them while cooking it as that will stop the sticks splitting the meat. I would also recommend using a food processor for the nuts and fennel seeds as 50g of pistachios is a lot of nuts for a pestle and mortar, unless you have a much bigger pestle and mortar than I do. It was easy and tasty and a great thing to do with lamb mince.

Monday 27 January 2014


This is a really easy recipe from the Save with Jamie book. It is helped by the fact that it can all be cooked in one pan. What I will say is that needs to be a big pan! It should be a lidded pan but in the end I used a large pan with no lid and topped up the water where needed which was fine. All in all it took about 45 minutes. This feels like a long time if you are used to 15 minute and 30 minute meals. It is slightly deceptive though as the last 15- 20 minutes of this recipe is to get the rice cooked through which means you have chance to clean up or make lunch for the next day while you stir. If I did a 30 minute meal I found myself taking a lot of time afterwards to clean the very messy kitchen.

My husband is not keen on prawns so I used extra chicken. The flavour from the chicken thigh was really good and they stayed really moist. The chorizo gave a good smoky flavour and the peas kept it fresh. The garnish of parsley and lemon was more than decoration as it really added to the flavour of the dish.  This was a really basic cupboard recipe with nothing special needed. Using the frozen peas is great as they stay fresh and are easy to get. It was really tasty and warming especially on a windy day, I can see it being the sort of thing we cook quite often. 


There are a number of films which "everybody" has seen, everbody except me that it. My friends and family seem to believe there is a significant gap in my film and cultural knowledge. So to plug the gap, get "in jokes" and because some of them are apparently very good we got a Lovefilm subscription for both new releases and "classic" films I had missed.  This also led to film night, where once a week we watch a film (and there is no stitching allowed).

This week we got Fargo. It featured in a lot of the 'top film' lists, got a really high rating on IMDB and neither my husband or I had seen it. It was a very good film, 20 hours after watching it and I am still thinking about it. I am unable to give it a classification that I am happy with, it is a crime drama and a thriller and a comedy. It is set around a man who wants to get his wife kidnapped so he can split the ransom that his father in law will pay and the persistent pregnant police woman who is on the case. The film is set in North Dakota, this provides a backdrop of snow and, at times, low visibility. This adds a lot to the film as it is very dramatic, bleak and calm which is a good reflection of the film itself. It also contributes to the feel of the film which is understated and bare. The other advantage of snow as a backdrop is that it shows up blood.

Despite being about murder and crime the film has a gentle plodding pace and feel. Nothing seems rushed. Everything is bare and stark, and the sex scenes are in no way glamorous. There is a lack of emotion shown by all characters only broken by the odd outburst of despair or anger. This means that when emotion is shown it stands out. In between the violence there are shots of normal domestic life and relationships which is a stark contrast to most crime dramas where the crime solving is all inclusive.  There are also side plots that I feel are there because they are for the sake of showing that not everything needs to be explained or part of the main plot. The acting is incredible throughout, the characters are consistent  often delivering lines in a deadpan way that must have been challenging to maintain.

Starting the film by saying that it is a true story puts the audience in an interesting frame of mind. As a viewer you start to wonder about the string of events but also how people are portrayed and how they feel about the portrayal. It is also a good way to get the audiences attention straight away as you feel like you are watching a film about something that has changed people lives. By the end I was convinced that there had been quite a lot of artistic licence used and looking it up it only seems very vaguely based on a crime in the area but not as extensive as the film shows.

Saturday 18 January 2014

Monsters University Review

I feel I should start out by pointing out how much I love animated films.  They are often so detailed and work on a lot of different levels. There are often jokes that go over children's heads, and of course they are written with the intention of making people smile.  Other comedies can be preachy or saccharine whereas an animated film gets away with more.

Monsters University is a prequel for Monsters Inc. I had my reservations because sometimes prequels and back stories are just a quick and easy way to avoid coming up with anything original. Monsters University, however, stuck closely to Mike and Sully as characters explaining how they met and following their time at University, showing where the friendships and rivalries in Monsters Inc. come from.  I think it works well as a stand alone film, and you do not need to have seen Monsters Inc. first although you will obviously get more jokes and references if you watch both.  

It has been a long time coming and I think it showed. The graphics were amazing and you could see the difference from the first film. The use of light was fantastic and showed in the outdoor scenes. The fur, slime, spikes and teeth all seemed very real and you could easily forget that you were watching an animated film. I thought the action in the library was amazing and something to look out for. 

Monsters Inc. relied on a human as a relatable character whereas by making the characters younger I feel that it would allow children to relate to the monsters and help with the “it is okay to be different” message. There was a lot of slapstick aimed at a younger audience. It is the sort of film I would be happy to let my daughter watch when she is older as it is a genuine feel-good animated movie with lots of silly parts. 

Both my husband and I laughed out loud. I found the observational humour very funny and clever. Using a University or School as a setting is a nice touch as the stereotypes of different groups is something most people can relate to. Although it is clearly set around the American system as a base I think a lot of it is still applicable. I know I saw both myself and some of my contemporaries in the characters.

Friday 17 January 2014

Westerwick Walk

When we first moved to Shetland we initially explored with the help of the Walk Shetland routes, which are well marked and cater for mixed abilities. With a break in the wet and windy weather we wrapped up warm and took to the cliffs last Sunday.  We headed to the West of Shetland on one of the few walks we have not done and it was amazing. To get there we drove through Skeld taking the turning for Westerwick and Silwick and then followed the signs to Silwick. As with most coastal walks in Shetland we began by driving to the end of the road and finding a place to park. For our car this was easily out of the way of the large agricultural building but I would not recommend taking a bus. We walked along a private road next to the agricultural building and from there the cliff top walk was signposted. One of the lovely things about this walk is that you get great views from the start, with these stacks visible about 100m from the car.

Stacks at Silwick, photo Kevin Riley 

The cliffs and stacks are superb and the cliff faces were alive with fulmars. We saw hauled out seals and generally managed to blow the cobwebs away. There was not a lot of wind but the residual swell caused the waves to break nicely at the bottom of the cliffs adding to the spectacle. Looking due South we could see Fair Isle on the horizon and Foula to the West as well as a fine view of the South mainland of Shetland and the Burra Isles. The cliff tops were all fenced off at this point but as we headed down towards Westerwick the fences dissapeared. Crossing the burn at Westerwick was made easy by the gates, styles and bridge. The burn itself was rumbling and a healthy peaty orange colour.

Hauled out seal at Westerwick, photo Kevin Riley

It was slightly wet underfoot and there are some steep areas as we headed west out of Westerwick. It was fine to do with a toddler in a backpack-style carrier and would be okay for anybody with a basic level of fitness but a good pair of walking boots would help at this point. We finished our walk at Giltarump stack and headed back the way we came. The Walk Shetland route is longer and circular but we were testing the patience of our daughter. The whole walk took us just over 2 hours although this included a stop for a picnic and plenty of photo taking. 

Giltarump stack, photo Kevin Riley

It is a really pretty walk even by Shetland standards with some stunning geology and lovely wildlife, I would highly recommend it.

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

I received this book as a gift. It is quite long but that should not put anybody off. It is well written and flows nicely. It is a grail story primarily following two female characters 800 years apart. I find that using a split narrative is risky, if it is done incorrectly it is confusing and stalls the story, it breaks the readers interest in the current story. In this book however it works incredibly well, it gives a series of mini cliff hangers and as a reader you keep reading to see what happens next to each character. The split also allows both stories to be told in "real time" and as equally important rather than looking back from a current day perspective. The split  also means that it is more than just another historic novel and the way the two stories are connected is interesting in it's own right. The sense of risk and danger in both threads makes an exciting read.

One of the most striking features of the book is how female dominated it is. Both main characters are female and  neither  are “shrinking violets”. Both are shown to be strong and wilful, they are not shown as perfect, the portrayal is very human both with realistic personality traits. This is balanced by other female characters being controlling and manipulating. This stops it being a story of women being wronged my men.
I think the intrigue in part is carried by the fact that it starts with the discovery of 800 year old skeletons. This creates a mystery as to who in the past thread met this end. It becomes a mystery as well as a current day thriller.

Although this book is centred around religion as a theme it is not a book about religion, it is a book about people and how they respond to circumstances, responsibility, power and to each other.

The whole thing is beautifully written with stunning descriptions of the areas. The surroundings and architecture come alive in the writing as does a feeling of unease. This is created in some ways by the juxtaposition of elaborate description of the scenery with fast moving plot and adventure.

The use of older and regional language is well incorporated, it does not detract from the pace and flow of the story but adds to authenticate the old thread. It helps give a sense of the time being written about. I didn't use the glossary a lot as all of the words were in context but it was reassuring to have it there if required.

Overall I found it a fun and interesting read, I loved the two threads and the complex main characters and I would recommend it.

The battle of the carrot soup

I grew up eating very yummy soup made from seemingly nothing by my Mum and my Gran. They both make huge pots out of all the bits in the cupboard and vegetable rack. As a result I can make an acceptable Scotch Broth or lentil soup. The only problem is despite a few master classes it never tastes quite as good to me. My Mum always said the same thing about my Gran's but I never believed her.

Because of this I have a tendency to look for new soup recipes that I have nothing to compare to. At the moment I am enjoying carrots. I have made three carrot soups in the last two weeks with varying success.

The first was carrot and coriander, I roasted the carrots to get a good flavour and mixed them with chopped onion, coriander and beef stock (it should have been chicken stock but I was out). I mixed it in a blender, seasoned and added extra coriander. It was tasty although looked a little muddy because of the stock. I liked the little fresh coriander leaves as a garnish but felt that the soup itself needed more

The second soup was from the Save with Jamie book and was carrot, orange and ginger. I was intrigued as I liked all of the flavours but had not thought of putting them together. In all honesty I wish I hadn’t. The carrots were cooked for a while in a pan with the ingredients before adding water and cooking down.  I think that there may have been an issue with my carrots as they took a very long time to cook and didn’t add much to the taste. I then put it through the blender. It looked bright and vibrant but I was unhappy with the taste. It was like a warm sludgy health drink, the kick of ginger was okay but the orange just did not work in my opinion. Had the carrot taste been stronger and maybe sweeter it may have helped the balance but overall it was a disaster.

Soup number three was roasted sweet potato and carrot with thyme. This one won for me as it was sweet and earthy with a good hit of thyme. I roasted chunks of carrot and sweet potato with thyme, softened onion and garlic and put it all together with some chicken stock. Again I put it through the blender and it made the perfect lunch on a wet and windy day. This is all personal preference but I found it easy and tasty and the sweet potato brought something to the recipe.

Sunday 12 January 2014

Yummy dinner and no Purple Pickle

Tonight I tried the second Save with Jamie recipe with my big piece of pork and it was even better than yesterdays. It looked interesting enough to give a go but there were a few parts that worried me. It is a baguette that is spread with a home-made pate, then topped with pickled vegetables, sweet chilli pork and fresh chilli and coriander. I was slightly dubious as I like pate but not liver and I was worried that with just onion, liver and coriander, and being warm, that it would be overpowering. I am also not a fan of a strong vinegar taste and didn't want the pickles to take over. I should have had more faith as it was all balanced. The pickles were more sweet and sour than just "vinegar" and the pate was subtle and meaty. The pork was amazing and would not have been out of place on noodles or stir fry. It was easy to make but was a little time consuming. I was unable to get white cabbage and despite much discussion in our house decided that a red cabbage was the way forward rather than a savoy as I decided it needed to be nice and firm to pickle. After the "blue buns" I did pickle my cabbage separate to the cucumber and carrot so I did not have a purple pickle.

Bahn Mi 

In terms of cost this was a cheap meal for us, I say "for us" because we have been cooking a lot of Jamie Oliver meals so our cupboard contains a lot of the ingredients he frequently uses. This sticks with the policy of the book but if you were starting out with this type of food then forking out for the base ingredients will feel expensive. Saying that, however, it will let you then cook a lot of the recipes from the book cheaply after the initial cost.

I also made a pudding tonight from the book. 300g of frozen pineapple, 300g of natural yoghurt and half a teaspoon of honey mixed in a blender. It made an amazing creamy icecream/frozen yoghurt. I think I will be trying this with lots of different fruit in the future - next up frozen berries or banana!

Subscription Quandary

When I started crafting as a serious hobby I found myself buying a lot of cross stitch magazines, so it made sense to get a couple of subscriptions. I really like cross stitch as it allows you to recreate what you see and there is something therapeutic in following a set pattern. Once you have the tension sorted you can just go with it. I love working with even-weave and often play with it as waste canvas.

Despite my love of cross stitch I found myself looking at embroidery, I like the fact it gives more freedom and creativity. I like being able to vary my stitches and I found a resurgence in embroidery books and patterns. It also allowed me to take advantage of my husband's ability to draw as I get him to do the templates.

When I got my machine I started sewing more and more. This has resulted in less time for cross stitch and I now have a back log of patterns and magazines. I also have so many magazines that space is becoming an issue and finding the patterns I want is a nightmare. I have also been using more patterns on-line and have been subscribed for so long that I am not getting the best value any more.

I wanted a magazine to cover a few crafts and give inspiration so I subscribed to Craftseller. I found some nice patterns but I have been disappointed when actually trying them out. It sometimes feels like the person designing/making the project and the person writing the pattern are not the same. I love the free paper collections that come with the magazine but that is not enough to continue subscribing. I looked at Mollie Makes and although beautifully designed there was nothing I actually wanted to make. I then came across Homespun which is an Australian publication. It features my favourite designer Melanie McNeice and looks amazing. I am unable to get it in paper in the UK which has lead to a shift in my craft room as I have now stopped my 3 subscriptions and started getting Homespun on-line.

I am going to be brave and take apart my magazines and separate them into theme as I feel this is the only way that I will be able to find what I need. I have no idea how I will resist buying the magazines and I might find a gap where I feel as though I'm missing turning actual pages. I've found recently that I have been less inspired by the patterns and trends in the magazines, but if I get desperate I am sure I can get a special offer that will tempt me. For now I'm getting on with removing staples and getting used to turning virtual pages.

Saturday 11 January 2014

Save with Jamie and cook like Bridget Jones

The most used cookery book in out house is Jamie Olivers 30 minute meals. We have made so many of them and carried techniques over. I then took the 15 minute meal book quite seriously armed with stopwatch and desperate to get in the "zone". It therefore made sense to give the Save with Jamie book a go. We don't tend to waste food and try to plan meals to use leftovers. Roast Chicken followed by risotto the next day etc. I do love a tip about freezing whole chillis though.

We bought the book to come up with extra recipes and to see if it was as useful as the books before. I purchased a massive piece of pork at a good price, roasted it and divided it into the amounts needed. I froze some of the bits for later in the month and planned this weekend. I decided to start with the Chinese pork buns. The pace was slower and with other things going on and without the pressure of the stop watch. It required more precision than the 30 and 15 minute meals recipes but this is not necessarily a bad thing.

The recipe was clear and well set out. I normally leave dough and pastry to my husband as its tends to involve too much intuition and not enough science. I did however find that the dough was so basic that even I managed it. The flavours worked well and I love the little garnishes as it makes it feel like more of a platter. I made one mistake and that was to think that blue muffin cases would be okay as they are designed for cooking. Seemingly they are not okay for steaming which resulted in the edges of my buns being blue! It was not a big issue as they had expanded a lot and we just took the blue bits off. It did however make me giggle and think of Bridget Jones with the blue string in her soup. I should also add that I used a metal steamer not a bamboo one and they worked fine. I am sure we will eat it again; next time I will shred the pork when it is warm, use white muffin cases, have lots and lots of flour for the worktop and my hands and maybe add some cucumber batons.

Pork Buns with yummy garnish

In Pursuit of Good Granola

I like granola but I often stand in the cereal aisle thinking that the cheap stuff is a bit saw-dusty and the expensive stuff is overpriced. I often think that it would be better with this or that added and that there is no need to add the sugar they do... I started looking at recipes and found the principles were all similar. I decided to use a co-op recipe as a base. I tried it just over a week ago and it was good but not quite right (we still ate it all) so I made some more modifications and set to it again. I am even happier now. I think it will be one of those recipes that turns out different every time and there is a lot of trail and error. I love cashews, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds so I made sure there was more of all 3 of these. I used mixed seeds, nuts and a berry mix as a base and then added more of the things I like best. This made it more economical and gave good variety. The cooking time varied and there was a lot of time spent checking. I think this will depend on how crunchy you like it and your oven.

Yummy home-made granola

Thursday 9 January 2014

I am not yet comfortable with being uncomfortable but I am getting there!

Last year, after reading a lot of good things about it, I tried Jilian Michaels 30 day shred. After trying it for a month I also thought a lot of good things about it. I will need to revisit it this year and "nail it" but before I try it again I bought Jilian Michaels Yoga Meltdown. I wanted something different and something that would rebuild my core strength. I am intending to do the 5x50 challenge again this year. I want to jog faster and stronger so this seemed like a good place to start.

I have now done seven workouts with the yoga meltdown. It is interesting and different. It did not wipe me out in the same way as the 30 day shred did even on the first day, but the feeling in my muscles continued through the next day and I made the decision to do it for 3 days and then take a rest day. I think this was wise as I went back on days 5 and 9 feeling better. The structure is not as clear cut as the 30 day shred with the circuits being separated with sun salutations which is not clear to start with. The circuits are well contained and challenging. It is a good mix of moves and by workout 3 I had got into the flow of it Like anything the more comfortable you become with the order the more you can focus on the technique. I love the fact that there are two other people demonstrating the moves at varying difficulties. This is a welcome feature of both workouts.

I was concerned it might be a bit gimmicky and it is! There are may sayings that feel like they should grate on you, including "get comfortable with being uncomfortable". Saying that in all honesty I just use them as marking posts throughout the workout. I was not aware of her reputation before getting the dvd so had no preconceptions. She is tough and unrelenting. I am often pleased she is not actually in the room as I have expressed my frustrations verbally at times! The thing is though she is motivating, you get it done. Somehow she picks you up when you need it.

I still have a lot of work to do on my technique but I am very gradually getting there. I can do moves now that I could not a week ago. I am intending to continue this level for another week and then try level two for two weeks. After that I will come up with another plan which may be mix and match or the odd back to back who knows! Like T Rex I do not like Chaturanga - but unlike T Rex I will be able do it with practice.

I had done some very basic yoga poses on the Wii Fit but that was all. I am enjoying the movement she incorporates. If you are looking for a slow pace then this is not the right DVD. I imagine that somebody very experienced at yoga would want something more challenging in terms of poses but the dynamic aspect does bring something new.

My tips would be - 1) make a mental note which leg you are on as you will return for the opposite leg in a few moves time. 2) Make sure you are inhaling and exhaling when you should be. I found it makes a massive difference with the push ups to inhale on the way down (also with the push ups keep your elbows locked in), and finally 3) Paint your toenails and then at least you will smile when you look down to "find the floor" again.

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Communal crafting

Last night I went to a local Makkin' and Yakkin' (Making and Talking!) group. It is only the second time I have been but I was made to feel welcome again. Everybody sits around working on their own projects and nattering about crafts, life and well... bad TV. There is a tea break and there were a lot of yummy treats brought in too. The first time I went I had some concrens about what to take and if it would be good enough... Thankfully necessity took over paranoia and I took the card that I was working on and everybody was lovely.

This is my cat card from the first craft night - I was inspired by a drawing pinterest but sadly the link to the site no longer works.

Yesterday I did not even hesitate and just took along the elusive hexagons as that is my current project. While I was there I got another bout of knitting envy, there was the most beautiful Fair Isle being knitted, and socks made using four needles (FOUR!). Cross stitch, rug making, tapestry and embroidery were all being beautifully demonstrated. It was lovely to sit around and chat about weaving on chair legs and see such amazing skill. I came away happy, relaxed  and full of chocolate with another 21 hexagons basted.  

Sunday 5 January 2014

All in Good Hummus

I really like Hummus, it is one of those foods I always think I should eat more often. I normally mix in roasted butter-nut squash which makes it smooth and slightly sweet - it is however, a lot of work. I saw this on Pinterest and thought it was a great idea. (I have put the full link below the guide as well).
How to Make Hummus: Recipes for Hummus Variations

I sometimes have difficulty finding tahini and in the past I've had to use sesame oil, or found out that the tahini was past its best after the first use, so I was really keen on using the peanut butter and cheat. I decided to mix the 'pesto' and 'cheats' recipes.

So ingredients ready to go I put them it in the blender. I found it a bit thick so I thinned it down with water. I also decided it could be smoother so I passed it through a sieve.

Really pleased with the result, the tahini is not missed at all and the pesto worked so well I added a bit of a pesto swirl. With a tub of chopped veg tomorrow's lunch should be good. I have been convinced I should try more of these and I am intrigued by the beet one :)

Saturday 4 January 2014

Judging Craft Books by their Covers

I love craft books and magazines, there is something lovely about sitting with a mug of tea and leafing through a shiny new book. I have a small collection of craft books but some of them are more 'quantity' than 'quality' and can be a little repetitive. If I can find a book in the library or a book shop and have a good look through then I get a better idea. I shop on-line a lot, this means I rely on reviews and any pictures I can get. So I am back to judging a book by its cover.

I have been thinking about this a lot as I was looking at Tilda books today. I have a choice of 3. Option one Tilda's Seaside ideas, I love the front cover and I think sewing the sperm whales would be amazing. All of the reviews and pictures I can find are talking about the whales.... Would I just be buying a whale pattern? Option two  The Tilda Characters collection. Four books might be better than one but I am more interested in birds and bunnies than dolls and angels. I worry the dolls are a little stylised but then they could be handy in the future and any new skill is a gem. Option three, Tilda's Studio, possibly the safest option but maybe not as rewarding and too much like the books I already have. I don't have any Tilda books at the moment but I like the style and think it would be good to try. It is nice to have such a good quandary , if anybody has a recommendation I would appreciate the insight. Either way I will update when I decide.

New Year - New Technique

For Christmas I received a wonderful set of fat quarters.

I have a rule with gifted fabric that means at least some of it should be used to make me something. I decided that Xena the sewing machine needs a better cover than the plastic one that she came with. I looked at a lot of designs and Pinterest pages and decided that I wanted one with sides (not just ties) and that I should try something different.

"Different" turned out to be English paper piecing (see link below if you have not come across it before). I have never done any hand patchwork before but the effect is amazing and I decided that it should be quite therapeutic, saying that any project with no deadline after the pre Christmas chaos should be therapeutic. Also it is such a small area that I wouldn't need a lot, or need to buy pre cut hexagons. After a few calculations I realised I needed 146 hexagons to start. After grumbling and a big mug of tea I found my template and got on with it. The fabric marking was fine and I just used brown parcel paper for my inserts. I have not got the greatest love for cutting patterns and fabric but I found I had them cut before I knew it by just chipping away. An episode of South Pacific ( documentary not musical) helped immensely.

So here I am

Ready to baste. Before I started I did some research and found this a rather helpful

English Paper Piecing Tutorial

My History of Crafting

I have been cross stitching for almost as long as I can remember. My Mum taught me to embroider when I was about 8 and I dabbled on and off with making cards. If I was at home and had spare time I picked at things while my Mum worked on something.

When we moved to Shetland and I was no longer a student I picked the cross stitch back up in a big way, the craft obsession was cemented just over three years ago when I got a second hand sewing machine. My sewing machine was amazing, semi industrial, it weighed a tonne and only had two stitch types but it was enough to get me hooked! After a mountain of juggling balls, 200m of bunting and a large collection of bags (I am not aware if there is a term for "a group of bags") the poor machine could take no more.

In September I got a nice new Brother XN1700 called Xena and it is with her I continue my adventures. I make a lot of things as presents. I normally work backwards from the recipient although I have been known to fall in love with a fabric or a pattern and just save it until the right occasion comes up. I have not become brave enough or skilled enough to make clothes yet. I love making bags though, I think you can be bolder with bag fabric and personalise the style. I must stop trying to match people and bags in my head! I have also started making more soft toys after the birth of my daughter

I dabbled with quilting last year and made my little girl a quilt for Christmas which was an education to say the least! My biggest 'work in progress' is still a quilt I have squares for and a plan. To me quilting is part sudoku and part sewing. I can barely knit despite learning two years ago. So far I have made a headband and a tea cosy and that is it! It just does not come naturally but I intend to improve at some point. I may even get brave enough to pick up a crochet hook! 

This was one of my first machine projects - each turtle had a chocolate egg in the eggcup under it and they were sent Easter 2011.