Monday, August 28, 2006

Hexagon I Spy.

My hand sewing project ( Hexagon I Spy ( Eye Spy )) is progressing well. FJ asked how I was doing certain parts so I will go through it step by step.
Each little hexagon component has 3 layers, shown in the photo. ( backing, batting and feature fabric ). The backing fabric is put wrong side up and the batting and upper layer matched neatly lie on top and are pinned in place. Then fold the edge of the backing over ( just like doing a double binding ) and pin it down, progressing around the 6 sides, mitre the corners all in the same direction as you go. I have then hand sewn the edges down. You end up with a little padded hexagon. ( it would be ideal as a coaster ; or table mat in a larger size ) I will then quilt each one ( practise at machine quilting) ( or it could be done by hand ).
The sides of the hexagons then butt up together and will later be sewn to each other, after I have decided on the correct lay out and when I have finished 100s more! (don't know how big yet.) I will need to try and get a good mix of bright colours to make it interesting. I had quite a collection of kids feature prints as I have made previous I spy quilts.( by a different method.) I an intending to use the same backing for the whole lot, but this could be varied, using different colours in plain fabrics.

Yesterday I did a massive gardening project. I started demolishing a 12 year old fence on which some of my roses grow, because it was made of untreated gum logs and was rotting away. In order to get at parts of it I had to give the big old roses a huge haircut! After lunch DH took pity on me and helped which meant the project was cleared up in one go. The posts, ( treated timber ) still solid are left and we will string a chain along them this time. I have another chain fence quite close by so it will match up with that. I will be interested to see how the roses flower after such an attack.( they are so big now they can mainly free stand , more as bush roses) As well as a whole truck load of rotting wood and prunings I also dug out 2 tractor bucket loads of agapanthus that were creeping and multiply much too close to the same roses. It has cleared the fence line for putting up the chain. By last evening I was one tired gardener with a back that knew it had been working, but the only injury I had was one rose prickle stuck in my cheek to the right of my nose which DH carefully removed with the tweezers, and it is fine today. Very satisfying to complete a project like that. Phew! Nothing too strenuous planned for today.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Tasty Nibbles.

Amongst the trees we grow a few of are some Macadamia Nuts. We gather them as they fall or just before is even better. ( just as the green outer shell begins to split ) We remove them from their outer green shell and dry them on an old sheet for about a week in the sun.( taking them in each night) We then shell them, with a special little machine that cracks the very, very hard brown shell. We then store them in plastic bags in the deep freeze and take them out to use as we want them. ( all types of nut are better stored in your freezer)
Yesterday DH got some out and prepared them as we usually do; to take as a nibble to friends.
method: Spread nuts in a single layer in a shallow oven dish or tray with a drizzle of olive oil. Put them into the oven ; turn it to 200 degrees centigrade. When the temp reaches 150 begin stirring from time to time. When they reach 200 they will have started to show signs of browning so watch very, very closely. Turn oven to fan bake and reduce temp to 170. Stir. Don't take your eyes off them till they are browned to your liking...see photo. Remove from oven and spoon onto paper kitchen towel to remove any oil. Pour into a brown paper bag; add 2 teaspoons of salt and shake closed bag. Tip nuts out into sieve to remove most of the salt. Let cool; store in an airtight jar (or eat straight away). Take to friends place with you and they beg you to bring them every time you visit ! There is no comparison between Macadamias this way with bought unroasted ones coated in milk chocolate.( Yuk! ) Dry roasted are divine and very, very good for us!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Finishing Day.

Yesterday was a dreary day here so I got up late and decided what better time to finish things. First I finished the book I was reading...."King of Torts," by John was okay but wouldn't particularly recommend it. Later I finished the hand hand quilting on my Apple Quilt! That's it, enough already...I just kept thinking, just another round here or another round there...but now I know that's it. The binding is done the label went on before I quilted it. ( someone said it is good to quilt through the label to save it from theft ) It even has it's own bag ( a red satin pillowcase I saw in a sale bin) I am pleased with my effort and am well ready to get on with other projects. Taking decent photos is one of the most difficult parts. The colours here are reasonably true but it is actually flatter and squarer than it looks here.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Green Juice.

Today I have been checking the condition of the kiwifruit we have stored for our own use. If I keep it in a cool place and check it regularly and take out any ripe ones to eat, some of it will last till December. (After the leaves fall off the vines we always find lovely fruit that was hiding above the canopy of leaves at picking time and so got missed then. So this is vine ripened for an extra 5 or 6 weeks.)
I thought you might be interested in the kiwifruit juice that is made from the imperfect fruit (not suitable to export because of the shape or they have marks on the skin etc. )
It is marketed under the brand name Nekta. (Green Kiwifruit with Aloe Vera Juice.) The label tells me it is marketed in NZ; Australia; Hong Kong and Macau. Although we have our own fruit I also buy the juice as I like to serve it to visitors especially anyone from overseas. Kids love the colour. It may be drunk as is, or diluted with water or lemonade. The gold variety is also available as juice, but is too sweet for my personal liking.