Thursday, June 30, 2011

Delicacies, Doctor's and the Odd Deluge or Two!'

Well, today (it being my turn to be hostess), might have been somewhat difficult due to a range of very minor incidents.  Having got up at 6.00 to allow plenty of time to do chores, I arrived home from shopping to hear the tail end of a message being left.  I grabbed the phone and found out it was MIL's best friend saying... " Not to worry, it isn't an emergency but....!"  After a quick chat, I then found out it wasn't an emergency, but... I needed to make a call to MIL. 

Three quarters of an hour later, and with the imminent arrival of the Tuesday Girls, I had yet to get the cakes made and in the oven or lunch unpacked and placed in the fridge or various cupboards.  So setting to, I put things away, mixed the cakes and put the kettle on, MIL complained about the 'noise' and "Just what was I doing?"  At this very point, Amanda arrived with apologies for being early.  Now, I do get on very well with MIL so appreciated her saying she would speak to me later, and at least she was laughing by the time the conversation was finished, so with the promise that I would speak to her later, that was that. Phew!  One miracle pulled out of the bag! The muffins were in the oven! The brownies soon followed after adding some pecans to the mix.  Thank goodness for Betty Crocker!  I just didn't have time to experiment... far be-it for me to be organised!!!  The word is just NOT in my personal vocabulary.

Feeling just a tad stressed, Amanda encouraged me to take a moment to go and sit in the garden with her as it was very warm and as the cakes were fresh out of the oven and Janet had rung to say she wasn't going to come until nearer 12.00, we did just that.  It is amazing how soothing a cup of tea is, accompanied by a plate of cakes, especially warm chocolate cakes. :-))  We chatted about family dilemas, how we might overcome them and just how pleasant it was to sit outside, where it was at least 5 degrees cooler due to a slight breeze.  Amanda was quite content to just play with the dog, who kept dropping a perfectly grubby tennis ball on her lovely fresh, white-linen skirt!  Hmm! Not sure I would have been so accepting.

It was unfortunate that the only reason I could host the day was that I had a doctor's appointment slap bang in the middle of the day, so as Janet was going to be later (she was awaiting a delivery), Alison was busy and Chris travelling back from a visit to her sister's, Amanda 'had' to come to the doc's with me.  She is very good company and the hour wait flew by. My visit lasted less than ten minutes and soon we were on our way back.

During this time, the sky had darkened considerably and soon the lightning was flickering across the sky and the thunder resounding.  The rain deluged. Needless to say just as we arrived home and eased just enough for us to dive into the conservatory where we hold our gather when it is my turn.  At this very moment, Janet arrived and more tea and cake (small portions as it was very close to lunch).  Conversation and much experimentation followed as Janet had brought her new arrival (and reason for being late as she was waiting for it to be delivered,) to play with.  We all have cutting machines for our scrapbooking, but Janet is queen of the die cutters.  So the Cricut machine was the newest addition to her collection of die-cutters.  We had a wonderful time experimenting with the new cartridge she had bought for it.  Such a pretty set of words and cut outs... it will be a must have for anyone who has one of these machines!  The cartridge name was Paper Lace!

The rain eased and returned with gay abandon throughout the time the girls were with me.  It did nothing to subdue  our enthusiasm for lunch; herbed, garlic salmon with prawns, salad and a variety of  'extras'... followed by meringue nests, creme fraiche or greek yoghurt with mixed berries.  Of course more tea followed that plus the brownies.   Soon it was time to break out the sewing... Amanda made a quick needle case and I cut out a few more blocks for the Farmer's Wife quilt.  Janet, who carried on experimenting with pressure wheels and speed of cut,  had brough me her templates, as she knew I will be working for the next few weeks, so won't be at the next arranged FW cutting out session, planned in a few weeks time. 

Before we knew it, it was time to pack up as Janet had some fabric to iron ready for cutting, at work (and wanted to get it done as the two of us were meeting up with our Scrapbook group for dinner later)  Amanda had some bits and pieces to do.  Me, I carried on cutting out until I realised time was getting on and that I too had to clear up. 
So with dilemmas all safely forgotten or averted, another successful day was over.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A postcard

Dear Tuesday Girls
Having a lovely mini break, wish you were here!
 As you can see the weather is perfect and we have met some new friends
See you all next week xxx

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Aren't birthdays fun?

Well the doorbell rang  before I expected this morning- the charabanc from Surrey had got to Hampshire in record time  - good job the kettle was full and the muffins were baked!! Banana, chocolate and pecan this week.

Amanda and I have birthdays a week apart so we often have a joint birthday on a Tuesday and today was it. There was a veritable pile of presents to be exciting....

We started with Amanda first as her birthday is the earlier - a clutch of sewing related goodies and books which of course we all had a good look at. The red spotty case contained supplies for a redwork project just in case she didn't have enough projects started. 
Take a good look at the wonderful chicken with its wings filled sewing supplies -isn't it a great idea.

We then had a quick tour around the completed building work that has been recently finished in the house, before the kettle was put on for a second cuppa.

Then it was my turn to open presents - it's always so exciting - does anyone get tired of birthdays do you think? 

 So many lovely pressies....things to do, to read, to make, to store things in ...thank you all so much. just noticed my chicken didn't make it into the picture -was obviously off scratching around.

Just wondered how many birthdays we have had altogether ... over 230 and counting!!! there's a scary thought!

One project we have all decided to do together is The Farmers Wife Quilt  We all have our books now and are using the From Marti Michell templates to cut out the various blocks. Marti has worked out which templates match up to the templates in the book so has made it very easy for us all. ( if you sign up for her newsletter you will get information about it)

By the time we had looked at the templates and talked about how to cut things out it was time for lunch - it's amazing that we get anything done other than eating and drinking tea on a Tuesday!

Being mid June I thought it was safe to have baked salmon and salad - had hoped to eat outside but it was too cold for that unfortunately. However it still tasted like a summer lunch. We followed that with individual pavlovas - well meringue nests with redcurrants from the garden, rasps and blueberries heaped on top.

The afternoon was then spent cutting out various blocks ready to sew when time permitted.

Chris, Janet and I have decided to sew the blocks on our featherweights so they were duly brought out and inspected. 

I wonder what the collective noun for a number of Featherweights would be? A wing of... 

Any suggestions?

... and here are the little beauties...

The afternoon was rounded off with more tea and  lemon drizzle cake before bags were packed, goodbyes said and another lovely Tuesday was gone.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Just the Three of Us

Although there was only two to start with.

Amanda and I started with tea and muffins, date and walnut and orange and sultana (from the Susan Reimer book).

We had the french doors open to the garden and it was almost like sitting outside.

Chris would be arriving for lunch, Caroline was teaching today and Alison had other plans.

Amanda was sewing needle cases and pin cushions for the Guildford Quilters Exhibition next year.  The needle cases were being made from dyed woolen blankets.

I was cutting and sewing half square triangles for a sample quilt for Needle and Thread.  This is from a range of fabrics by Kathy Schmitz call Full Circle from Moda.

Chris arrived bring with her several projects, two of which she had completed over the weekend!!  A small quilt using Jo Morton fabrics Toasty, Ember Reds and Evergreens, the pattern was from Miss Rosie's Quilt Co called Decoy.

From the same range of fabric, Chris had made a table runner from the book Table Talk by Gudrun Erla. 

Chris was also finishing off two other quilts.

Lunch was Coronation Chicken, salad and new potatoes followed by a Light Chocolate Mousse.  Here is the recipe for the Coronation Chicken, I'm not sure where it comes from.

Six chicken breasts, cooked and cut into chunks

Curry Mayonnaise

2 tablespoons olive oil
One small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 level tablespoon curry powder
150ml/1/4 pint chicken stock
1 large teaspoon tomato puree
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 level tablespoon apricot jam or sweet chutney
300ml/1/2pint mayonnaise
3 tablespoons double cream

Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion, cover and fry gently for 5 minutes until the onion is soft.  Stir in the curry powder and cook for a further 2 minutes, to bring out the flavour.  Stir in the stock, tomato puree, lemon juice and the jam or chutney.  Stir until boiling, the cook for 5 minutes until the mixture reduces and thickens.  Allow to cool and then stir in the mayonnaise and cream.  This sauce should be of a coating consistency. Arrange the chicken pieces in a serving dish and spoon the sauce over.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Not another piece of cake??!!!

The time is here again & all five Tuesday girls are back from travels to Spain, Cornwall & New York!
It is always so exciting to have a reunion.  Sometimes these days it is hard to all get together even though 'Tuesdays' are sacrosanct!!

A slightly late start so straight down to business - Lemon Drizzle Cake.  Have to thank my sister's chickens for the eggs!  A very popular choice this morning!

Flapjacks with nothing added (i.e. choc chips or fruit).
Always difficult to judge how long to cook especially with molasses sugar.

Then it was show & tell.
Chris has finished two quilt tops from her UFO's

This fuschia fabric was from Maywood Studios                 The layer cake pattern was from the Layer
 a few years ago. Chris used an 'Animas' Quilt                   Cake & Jelly Roll Quilts  Book by Pam & Nicky pattern.                                                                             Lintott.

After lunch -  another healthy salad with chicken & bacon pasta followed by strawberries & yoghurt. we all got down to some serious sewing.

Chris & I are still on hexagons, likewise Janet is still finishing her diamonds!
Caroline has nearly completed her baby quilt top from last week.
Alison has started yet another project - Farmer's Wife squares & has already completed four!
Fabrics are from a range by Jo Morton.

Another week in the life of...

Tip of the Day (courtesy of Alison)

"To get on top of all your UFO's, fold neatly into a pile & sit on them"!!!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

End of May!!

Another lovely relaxing day!  Just Caroline & myself due to other commitments & busy lives!

Much sewing and talking was done.
We even started before the tea & cakes!!
I was making a door stop, prompted by the recent windy weather. The dining room door just kept on banging shut - no longer!!

The finished object!

                                                                Caroline was making squares for a baby quilt after seeing the        pattern in the window of Needle & Thread in Horsell.
Are those lines straight?
Lunch was a put together affair of fresh salmon & prawns in a chilli sauce 
with pasta, salad & fresh rolls, followed by raspberries & meringue. 
 As a token to good health we had low fat fromage frais instead of cream!!

 Caroline made a beautiful job of sewing all the strips together, cutting & piecing, whilst I got on with another needle case for the Guildford Quilters Exhibition next year.

Another sunny day which always helps.  I think both of us felt we had achieved  some good results.  
Can't wait for the next Tuesday!!