Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cambridge Tabbouli

Shannon loves the tabbouli I make which happens to be the recipe her Lebanese grandmother used to make.  The last time I was here, we bought the bulgur (cracked wheat) but I never got around to making the tabbouli.

This time, I was determined to do a big Lebanese cook up and Shan has invited some friends around to share the meal with us.

Nick and I did the shopping at Sainsbury's today I have had a glorious day in the kitchen.  It is really, really cold outside with some snow falling so welcomed an excuse not to venture out.

Now back to the tabbouli..I just happened to check the source of the all the simple products contained in recipe and I was amazed how far some of it has travelled to reach Sainsbury's shelves and finally into the tabbouli.  So here goes: 

  • Flat leaf parsley  -  Grown by P Langdale in Spain
  • Curley leaf parsley - Grown by J Porras in Spain
  • Spring Onions - Grown by Jesus Bustamante in Mexico
  • Mint - Grown by A Rachamin in Israel
  • Bulgar - (grower not named) but from Turkey
  • Lemons (grower not named) but from Spain
  • Olive Oil from Spain
  • Tomatoes from the Canary Islands
So truly an international dish.  But with the weather the UK has been experiencing of late, can't imagine anything could grow here in winter.

To enjoy with the tabbouli, I have made malfouf (cabbage rolls), kibbi, labnah, vine leaves.  I will also serve olives, fried hallloumi, falafel and Lebanese bread..and naturally some houmous. For sweets, we have a few Tunisian delicasies we bought in Paris and a home made middle eastern orange cake.   I hope everyone enjoys it and Shan doesn't eat all the tabbouli before they come!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Up, Up and Away

I am currently enjoying Nick and Shan's hospitality in Cambridge.  We were meant to be in Paris tonight, but the European weather and Eurostar thwarted our plans.  The Ferney family is getting quite a reputation for travel plans going astray..and it would take this whole post to explain all our travel I shouldn't be surprised that our trip to Paris has been delayed.  Hopefully we will get to Paris on Monday but Nick isn't able to share any time with us there.

The flight over with Qantas was just wonderful I must say.  My flight to Brisbane was changed and Qantas picked up the tab for me to stay overnight in Hong Kong.  My arrival time in London was unchanged, though.  I have to say it is a great way to get to the UK..two day time flights and a night's sleep in a proper bed.

I got the most delightful surprise in London, though.  Shannon had previously told me that she was unable to meet me as her boss had set interviews for her all the last person I was expecting to meet me when I walked out was my darling girl.  But there she was..running down towards me..all but bowled me over.  Tears and hugs followed.  Back to Cambridge we came.

Today we checked out the Mill Road Winter Fair. A pretty low key affair but everyong was having a good time..eventhough it was pretty cold.  The Brits are a stoic bunch and take to festivals no matter the weather.  It never ceases to amaze me..and all the little babies snuggled up in their prams with just their pink little faces showing.

I took Shannon and Nick to lunch at the Backstreet Bistro to celebrate Nick's birthday.  Yummy lunch I must say.  Off to a little birthday dinner tonight for one of Shan and Nick's friends. 

Sewing Frenzy

I don't seem to have had time to post lately..trying to finish some sewing and get ready for my big trip.  '' 

A phone call from Qantas putting me on an earlier flight meant I couldn't finish a a couple of projects..a table runner for Shannon and Nick and a wool tunic for Shannon.  I did manage to get some little things made though

Some Christams overalls for Elliot in New York.

A little skirt for Bella, neice of a work colleague.

My lovely doll wearing a little peasant-style dress.

Castle Peeps!!

Some matching outfits for triplets..

Í've just bought a new camera and really haven't played with it photos not very good..but I am sure to improve.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Finders Keepers and Simply Phoebe

Despite having lots of projects to finish before I leave on holidays, I took myself off to the Finders' Keeper 
held in the old museum building at Bowen Hills.  I remember fondly taking Liam and Shannon to the old museum on the day it different to the new museum in South Brisbane.  But it is great to see this beautiful building put to good use as the home of the Queensland Youth Orchestra, amongst other things.

But Saturday and Sunday saw it turned into an extraordinary craft market.  Shannon's friend Phoebe from Simply Phoebe was there with her fabric necklaces.  

Needless to say, I couldn't resist buying a piece for someone special who I knows just loves Phoebe's work.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More Rainy Days

A friend asked me if I would make a birthday present for a little girl.  Naturally Phil and Jack was happy to oblige.  I had in my ever expanding stash, the complete range of Rainy Days and Mondays in the cream/lemon/pink tones with the contrasting red dots. So I set about putting together this little skirt. 

This I decided to make the little brooch which can be worn on a Tshirt which to coordinate the complete outfit.  The stash is not reducing, though, as it is just too easy to continue to buy fabric..there is just so much out there to choose from.  Can't wait to get started on my next project..will certainly post photos as I am buying a new camera tomorrow.   Up until now I have been relying on a work colleague to help out with the photos. After much deliberation and research, I have decided to buy a Canon G12 as I really want a camera with a viewfinder and that limits the choices. Let's hope it lives up to expectations.

Shannon on a London Bike

I love this photo of Shannon just about to take a London bike for a spin.  She tells me her husband Nick uses a bike everyday to get from the tube to his work.  I must admit it all seems a bit scarey to me to cycle around London streets competing with those big buses..and with no helmets.  I guess bikes are more acceptable as a legitimate mode of transport in Europe and I am sure Shannon will want to take advantage of a similar bike scheme on a forthcoming trip to Paris.  I am pretty sure I won't be joining her.  Thanks for the photo, Shan. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays (and Saturdays, Sundays)

I just love this little skirt I made from the Riley Blake Rainy Days and Mondays collection.  I am having a wonderful time seeking out fabrics and creating stylish and practical clothes for little people.  Lots of swirl  for twirling around in this little skirt!  I love this Little Bird pattern..but being a quilter often get myself in a muddle with inches versus cms.  After I finished this little number, I realsed I had the raindrop panels upside down! But do love the umbrellas and the umbrella tops in the waist ands hem bands.  What clever fabric designers we have out there.  With the weather Brisbane has been experiencing over the last few days, this seemed an appropriate time to highlight my 'rainy days' skirt.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Yet Another Cook Book

I just couldn't resist buying this beautiful cookbook from the Hummingbird Bakery in London. (I wasn't actually in London - but bought it at bargain price from one of the booksellers that comes to work). Gweneth Paltrow had this to say about the bakery: "The Hummingbird Bakery is a sweet tooth's delight.  The cupcakes are legendary and our special occasions are always chock full of Hummingbird goodies."

 We had a special morning tea at work on Friday to farewell a couple of folk who were heading back to Toowoomba, so I decided to try out the new cookbook.  I made the chocolate cup cakes (patty cakes in my day).  The process was a little different to what I have been used to,  instead of creaming the butter and sugar, etc. you mixed the flour, sugar and butter together first.   I was a bit dubious about how they would turn out.  No need to be concerned, they were lovely.  This is now going to become my 'go to' cook book when I need to prepare something sweet.  All cakes quickly disappeared before I had a chance to snap this very last one.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sweet Little Dress

This little dress is a favourite of mine.  The fabric is gorgeous Windham Fabric from their 1930s Storybook range.  So simple but so effective.  Bit hard to see, but it is Little Bo Peep looking for her sheep. 

Same but Different

My very first post related to the quilting course I did with two special friends at Patches.  Eventhough the sample quilt involved the same techniques, the course produced very different results..just with the choice of fabrics.  I wanted something to tone in with my Laura Ashley blue themed living room and Anne wanted something to suit her newly upholstered lounge which will shortly be moving to the Anne and Gary's new home on their property outside of Laidley. 

This is my quilt top.  I am very happy with it, despite the fact that on lesson 4, I left all my fabrics at home and had to make a hasty decision to purchase some extra fabrics.

And this is Anne's:

Gorgeous, hey?

I am still awaiting photos from my friend, Liz, who produced a really contemporary looking quilt..

Castle Peeps

I can't remember when I first saw this gorgeous fabric on Funky Fabrix with the cute name Castle Peeps by Lizzy House.  It inspired me to visit their store in Mitchelton.  I think they were on just had to have some.  With the help of a Little Bird, I've made this very sweet little skirt.  Not sure what I'll do with it..but just had to make it.  I am continually amazed by the beautiful fabrics available and the creative talents of designers. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cute Cords for the New York Baby

I was keen to make a pair of cords for my great nephew in New York.  Winter is approaching and he needs to look smart on his many outings to Central Park and coffee in the Village.  It is difficult to know about sizes and I have already made him a few things that are too wanted to get these little pants right for this winter. Yet to see if I have succeeded this time.  I used a McCall's pattern M601- the medium size.

The green cord and the contrast fabric I found at Spotlight.  I am happy with the 'look'. 

Check out the Phil & Jack label:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

International Craft Swap

I was lucky enough to be invited by Bree to participate in an international craft swap.  My swap partner was Emily.  I noticed that she had a beautiful little daughter so decided to attack my stash and make this little skirt.    I used Moda Wonderland fabrics and the pattern came from Little Bird Patterns.  I was delighted with the result.  Emily sent me some beautiful cards, some lavender from her garden and neat fabric envelope that could be used for a myriad of things.  I love getting parcels in the post so was naturally excited when my 'swap' arrived.  Thank you Emily and thank you Bree for helping to organise the swap.

Oh What a Lovely Quilt!

My friend Anne has just finished this beautiful quilt top for her mum who is in her nineties.  Not that long ago Anne and I had a lovely day with her friend Noelle who taught us how to hand piece a quilt.  I just managed a few samples, but Anne has finished with very special quilt.  It was her first attempt at any sort of quilting.  She has since done the beginners course at Patches with me and is now quite addicted.  On Sunday, I helped her  get it ready for machine quilting which she is also going to tackle for the first time.  We had a lovely afternoon chatting and pinning and planning our next projects.  Anne and I have shared some lovely times together since the birth of our sons 31 years ago.    Our boys..taken on the occassion of their 30th birthdays last year.

I am sure her dear mum will be just so surprised to receive such a beautiful gift.  And I am so looking forward to lots more quilting afternoons and chats with my very special friend.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

You've got Mail!

I love going to the postbox and finding mail (not bills).  Last week this postcard arrived from Shannon..and she said on the back: :Hi Mum.."Saw this postcard and thought of you"  Made my day.  She went on to say "I just love the tenderness between the two of them."  I know exactly what she meant..mother/daughter relationships are special and these days and with email, skype and incredibly cheap phone calls..the special relationship goes on even when you are separated by vast distances.  This postcard came from Germany  where she and her husband had a super long weekend.

And then this came today:

It seems I've won an annual subscription to Frankie.  Shannon will be very excited and I intend to forward them on to her..(will take a couple with me when I go to visit in December). 

So thank you Australia Post for delivering my mail!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A 50th Birthday quilt

I made this quilt for a friend's 50th birthday.  I used Japanese fabrics from Sanshi.  As usual, I left it all way too late and in the end felt how contestants must feel on Masterchef when they hear "move away from your benches", but for me it was "move away from your sewing machine"  It was 12.00 and I was due at the birthday lunch at 12.30.  But the guests didn't mind that I had to cut off all the loose threads over a glass of champagne.  The quilt was very well received and a surprise for its recipient.  Quilts, to me, signifiy warmth, comfort and love..all the things that good friends provide.  I can recognise the mishaps in the quilt but not sure its new owner ever will.  My next project is a quilt for my niece's little boy.  I will keep you posted on its progress.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Quilting Course all Done

Today, I finished my six week, 'beginners' quilting course at Patches
at Indooroopilly. I have just loved it. Two of my very special friends joined me in this that made it all the more enjoyable. The 'sampler' quilt is just about finished..just have to attach the final border. It has been even more enjoyable because I have managed to fit it in during working hours. Felt like a little holiday and even a bit naughty for not being at work. Our little group was so connected, Patches has organised our own class to learn hand and machine quilting with Christine, our inspirational tutor.