Friday, June 16, 2017

It's the Little Things :)

 "When you love what you have, you have all you need"
This gorgeous quote popped up in my Facebook feed the other day and it really resonated with me. I've always been content with what I have; I have never looked at other peoples lives and wanted what they have too! I love and I am loved and that is all I need.
But sometimes you come across something lots of people have (and rave about) and its pretty and useful and you just have to have one too because you know its going make life just that little bit easier. 
This adorable magnetic pin bowl arrived in the post last week. I follow Jodi Nelson on Instagram and her gorgeous pin bowls have popped up in my feed numerous times over the years. She was hand making them at this stage, so quantities were always limited and due to time differences I would miss her sale times and stock sold while I slept.
Because of their popularity, they are now mass produced and are being distributing by Riley Blake. Once I heard there was stock coming to Australia, I pre-ordered this one and patiently waited a few months for it to arrive.
I have a large pincushion collection plus a few pin bowls, one of which is also magnetic and I use it for my pins while piecing, but I really wanted this one for my safety pins.
I keep my safety pins in a glass jar with a seal and it works really well as storage, keeping my pins safe from moisture. My biggest problem is while I'm quilting at my machine and taking out the pins, I have no (safe) place to sit them until I return a pile of them to the glass jar (I know, not a life threatening problem).
I must be an over energetic free motion quilter because I move those big quilts around so much that countless times I have slid the pile of removed pins off my sewing table and they drop to the floor, tangling in cottons and then later disappearing up the vacuum cleaner. Or I have managed to knock the glass jar off completely spraying pins around the room, and trust me, picking them all up before I continue quilting is neither productive nor fun :(
This little pin bowl is the perfect solution for me. Even if I do manage to slide it off the sewing table, that magnet is so strong those safety pins are not going anywhere and I can fill it up and decant the pins safely back into the glass jar without losing any.
I hope to try it out properly over the weekend when I quilt next months mini quilt. It was a great little investment which will hopefully save me some agony in the studio and the best bit is its sooooo pretty and looks so sweet on my sewing table :) And I think it so special to me because I waited so long for it and I was so excited when it finally arrived.
I purchased mine from Alisha at Ministry of Fabric but I'm sure you can find them at your own local quilt store. They come in a variety of beautiful colours and different designs and well worth every cent.
Just before I go, I do want to thank everyone who leaves a comment on my blog, it makes my day. Unfortunately many of you are "no reply commenters" and I can not answer you back. It does make me feel rude or neglectful so please know from the bottom of my heart.....thank you, thank you thank you :) your comments mean the world to me and I really want to answer them. If you would like to change your comment setting, or check your settings so I can personally answer you, there is a link HERE that shows you how.
Happy quilting :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Ribollita

I enjoy homemade soups all year round but over winter there's nothing better than a big bowl of warming soup, filled with lots of vegetable goodness to warm the body and the soul. I just finished making a pot of Ribollita and I thought I would share my recipe and serving process with you.
If you haven't tried Ribollita before, your really should. Its an Italian soup commonly called a peasants soup and Ribollita means "reboiled"as any leftovers are reboiled over and over for days until the soup is finished. Its made with lots of simple vegetables and thickened with stale bread. Its a traditional Italian recipe and everyone makes it differently but the principal is always the same.
I envision Italian women having a pot of this on the stove all the time, simmering away ready to feed their family or guests. Its hearty, healthy and made with inexpensive ingredients.
I like to make up a big batch of Ribollita and then I decant and heat up each serving as required. The flavour of the soup still intensifies over days without constant reboiling and the vegetables retain their shape and texture. I add my cut up stale bread, or bread stick to the bottom of the bowl and pour the soup over, so that the bread really absorbs the liquid and doesn't go too "gluggy".
As for ingredients, I keep it relatively simple, using cannellini beans, carrots, celery, onion and leek (I know one or the other suffices but I like both), kale, tin tomatoes, fennel seeds, garlic, a bay leaf, olive oil and some vegetable stock which I also make myself.
Don't be afraid to add different vegetables, its all about using what you have on hand. It also works well with cabbage, potato, silverbeet, spinach, parsnip and swede so its a great recipe for using up those leftover vegetables before a new grocery shop.
I use tinned cannellini beans, purely because they cook quicker but dried beans work just as well, just don't forget to soak them the night before to soften and simmer them for longer (about 1 hour). Because I love all these vegetables, I roughly cut them, no fancy slicing and dicing. I don't mind the rustic textures but you might like to dice them small and even.
The best part about making Ribollita is, its gives you a chance to clean out those vegetables at the end of the week so there's no waste and then you have a good supply of homemade soup to enjoy for days (much better than a satchel of Cup of Soup for lunch I tell you). Plus you can heat up just what you need as your family wanders in from school/work and you can warm them up healthily with little fuss.
One of the main reasons I love this soup is the addition of the bread. My mum only made tin tomato soup when I was growing up and the only way to make it palatable to me was to add torn bread slices to soak it up. Mum thought I was weird but the flavour of the "Big Red Tomato" soup was just too overpowering for me :)
I generally use a bread stick or bread rolls to thicken my soup, something with a nice thick crust. You can always cut up the bread and freeze it ready to add to your Ribollita whenever you make a batch, so again there's no waste.
Each and every mouthful of this Ribollita soup is delicious and its so simple that you will never buy canned soup again. If you would like to try my Ribollita recipe, you can download it HERE or right click on the image below and save it to your computer for later:
When I serve my Ribollita,  I add the torn bread to my bowl, pour the soup over the bread and stir to combine. I then give it a light sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil and I can sit back and enjoy its simple and flavour packed deliciousness :) Enjoy!
Happy cooking :)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Charlotte's Dream

As I mentioned in a previous post, my Charlotte's Dream crochet blanket is all finished and being used. I had envisioned taking it to one of our parks weeks ago and photographing it amongst the beautiful colours of the fallen Autumn leaves. Unfortunately whenever I had a chance to do this, it was either raining or it had rained the day before and everything was wet and muddy.....soooo, over the weekend I photographed it, in use, in our house, instead.
Threadbare Creations- Charlotte's Dream. This is my version of the gorgeous free pattern from "Look At What I Made"
Here she is, all snugly and colourful and probably the loveliest pattern I have ever worked on. My blanket has a 4 x 4 grid (16 squares) which made it a generous sized blanket for the couch or our bed. The cotton yarn is light but warm and those colours are just beautiful. Its just the right size to share with someone or to snuggle under alone, without your feet sticking out :)
I started my first square back in October and had the blanket finished early April, just in time for the beginning of the colder weather.
Threadbare Creations- Charlotte's Dream. This is my version of the gorgeous free pattern from "Look At What I Made"
It doesn't have a designated special place in our home, nor did I crochet it for any one person so its used by all of us, whenever we want it. Its dragged from room to room and this is pretty much how I find it most mornings; thrown on the lounge chair, discarded after a late night TV session or deep and meaningful chat. I love that its so loved and that its being used everyday, that is the best reason to make the things we make :)
Threadbare Creations- Charlotte's Dream. This is my version of the gorgeous free pattern from "Look At What I Made"
Ok, so a little bit about the pattern. I have shared a few posts  HERE, HERE and HERE which give you all the links and vital information regarding the designer, the pattern and the yarn/hook I used etc.
In this post I did want to talk about the construction of the blanket.
The squares were joined with another new-to-me technique of crocheting rather than slipstitching them together. It creates a small ridge on the wrong side of the blanket but I love the pretty flat join it makes on the right side. I did enjoy joining this way and it made the whole process quicker and easier.
Threadbare Creations- Charlotte's Dream. This is my version of the gorgeous free pattern from "Look At What I Made"
Once they were joined, it was just a matter of adding a border and I really love this one. Its sweet and pretty and it took me quite awhile to crochet it because my blanket is so big. It was worth all the effort though and it finishes it off in such a beautiful way. The little popcorns really tie in well with the detail in each of the squares and I kept my plain borders white, to really frame the blanket.
Threadbare Creations- Charlotte's Dream. This is my version of the gorgeous free pattern from "Look At What I Made"
And just look at all the texture, its swoon worthy! The flowers in the centre of each square balloon out so sweetly and draw your eye to all the detailed texture in the grey sections. Its a very clever design and so much fun to crochet.
Threadbare Creations- Charlotte's Dream. This is my version of the gorgeous free pattern from "Look At What I Made"
I love all of the colours I chose for this blanket, they have that warm homey feel to them and they brighten up the house on these cold miserable days. At some stage I would like to make another one using a softer palette, mainly because I miss working on these gorgeous squares.
Until then, I'm going to enjoy my Charlotte's Dream blanket, whenever I can and take advantage of a few quiet minutes, snuggled underneath it's warmth, reading a good book and admiring all the hard work and love that went into making this beauty ♥
Threadbare Creations- Charlotte's Dream. This is my version of the gorgeous free pattern from "Look At What I Made"
Happy crocheting :)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Crochet- Half Square Triangle Grannies

During a Pinterest session the other day, I found an amazing crocheting tutorial which I just had to share with you. If you enjoy crocheting and quilting as much as I do, then I have something that is a clever blend of both and you are going to love these Half Square Triangle Grannies:
Aren't they just the cutest? I love when one craft crosses over to another, don't you? And just think of all the possibilities a HST crocheted square will bring to our projects. So many layout options :)
The tutorial is from the very talented Ashleigh of Sewrella and her pattern is super easy to follow, with clear written instructions plus a video tutorial, so you can visually learn as well.
Once I got the hang of it, or more specifically the juggling of two balls of yarn at once bit, the granny squares crocheted up very quickly and easily and they look adorable. I used 4 ply baby yarn for my squares and I added an extra row to the pattern, to give me a 4" square. I now want to make them in all the sizes. I have no project in mind for them yet, but playing around with possible layouts is already lots of fun:
Its just like playing with sewn HST's and if you added a few plain squares, the layout combinations would be endless. Its going to be really hard to chose a layout for them but I am quite fond of that cute pinwheel (because pinwheels are my favorite).  I also love the square in a square layouts.....oh, decisions, decisions! I'm picturing a pretty baby blanket using any of these layouts or a lovely throw rug or cushions.
 I love these two options as well; they would make great borders or strips. How sweet would a flying geese crocheted blanket look? These are just some of the layouts I've played with so far. I plan on adding some solid squares as well to see what combinations I can come up with.
If you would like to crochet your own Half Square Triangle Grannies can find the free tutorial on Ashleigh's blog HERE. She has some other wonderful patterns and tutorials as well, so don't forget to check those out. I just love her design style and all of her stuff is soooooo cute :)
I'm going to make a whole bunch of these grannies and I'll decide on a layout when I think I have enough. So many options, so many possibilities!
Happy crocheting :)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Kaleidoscope Mini Quilt + Your Free June 2017 Calendar

Things have been quiet on the blog these last few weeks, but behind the scenes its been super busy at Threadbare headquarters :). I have two new quilt designs on the go, a pile of crochet to load into my Handmade Etsy shop, my Charlotte blanket is finished and being used but not photographed and we had a little family holiday to Melbourne (a very special Mother's Day treat for me, delighting in the sites, food and beauty of Southbank and the gorgeous Yarra River).
It is time though, for my new monthly mini and this month I have something quite different for you. Let me introduce Kaleidoscope to my pattern family:
I love using solids and this design was just perfect to showcase some pretty ones.  I wanted to add a simple FPP pattern to my range, for those who are new to paper piecing or thinking about giving it a try and this mini includes three sizes (10", 12" and 14") so you can chose which size you are more comfortable sewing. Its also a stunning little quilt for the more advanced paper piecer.
The quilt is constructed using a four patch grid and the pieces are nice and large, so the quilt goes together quite easily and quickly.
My best friend in Primary school always had the coolest toys or the latest craze and I remember the day she brought a Kaleidoscope to school to share with the class. I was amazed with this cylinder of gorgeous colours and patterns and since I was her bestie, she let me play with it most of the day. It wasn't until months later that I strongly encouraged my dad (in other words, I nagged,pestered and threw a tantrum) to buy me one too. It was my most prized possession for years.
This mini would look stunning in any colour combination and I chose mainly blues, teals, reds and that soft cheddar. I've included a colouring sheet to help you with your fabric/colour selection prior to sewing, so get creative and use all the colours.
I stippled my mini all over using a silky gold cotton. I love the texture it gives plus it adds a little sparkle to those gorgeous solids. I chose a simple black binding to finish and frame the quilt and I think it finishes it perfectly.
The PDF pattern includes easy to follow instructions and diagrams plus full sized FPP patterns for each size mini quilt, the colouring sheet and optional instructions for adding a hanging sleeve or corner hanging pockets.
If you would like to make your own Kaleidoscope mini quilt, from today until the end of June 2017 PDF patterns will be available for the introductory price of $4.95 (AU) in my Big Cartel shop HERE.
Or if you prefer an instant download, PDF patterns are also available in my Etsy shop HERE.
I also have your free June 2017 Calendar, featuring the stunning Kaleidoscope;
You can download and print your free calendar, HERE.
I hope you love Kaleidoscope as much as I do. Its a fun little quilt to sew and its quite a stunner.
If you need any help with paper piecing, I have a two part tutorial HERE and HERE which explains the process and gives links to some fantastic videos etc.
Hopefully my blog posts will be more regular next month as I have so much to share with you. I cant wait to show you what I've been working on :)
Happy sewing :)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day ♥

"Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible"
Marion C. Garretty- A Little Spoonful Of Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul
Happy Mother's Day to all the mums out there. I hope that your day is special, your heart full, your smile never ending and that there's lots of hugs and kisses coming your way :)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Fruit and Nut Loaf

We all experience that afternoon slump. Its due to either our bodies natural circadian rhythm which tells us when to sleep and wake or the peaks and dips in our sugar levels due to the foods we eat. For me its generally happens after 3pm and I find myself reaching for the cookie jar or the chocolate stash, which although satisfying, is really not healthy.
A few weeks ago, I found an old recipe in my grandmother's scrapbook and I have experimented and refined it to my tastes, creating this yummy and healthy, Fruit and Nut Loaf:
This loaf is packed with healthy goodness and as a mid afternoon snack, its satisfying and filling and it refuels the body healthily, keeping me away from the chocolate or the cookies. Its loaded with nuts, dried fruits, oats, cinnamon and sweetened with manuka honey.
It's easy to make but there is a little bit of prep work i.e. soaking oats and dates and chopping the nuts and fruit. Once that's done though, its a quick mix and then into the oven for 40 minutes and it's ready.
Its a versatile recipe to have in your files and it works well with any combination of dried fruits and nuts. I like to include what I have in the pantry, so for this loaf I used walnuts and pistachios, because they are my favorite nuts at the moment and raisins, medjool dates and dried apricots. You could also use almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, dried apple, dried figs, sultanas or cranberries. Experiment with what you love and find a combination that suits your tastes.
A slice of this is delicious on its own but depending on my mood I might spread a little marmalade on top just to give it a citrus zing. A bit naughty I know and not to everyone's taste, but I do love it :)
If I'm proactive, I will pack a slice of this in my craft bag and nibble on it while I'm crocheting and waiting for Cohen to finish school. It gives me the burst I need for the next part of my day and its super yummy which is always good.
It would also be great to pack in the lunchboxes, the picnic basket or take a loaf to your next sewing get together, to keep your friends sewing the day/night away.
If you would like to try my Fruit and Nut Loaf recipe you can download it HERE or right click on the image below and save to to your computer for later.
I hope you enjoy this Fruit and Nut Loaf recipe as much as I do. It's a great loaf to have on hand and a much healthier alternative to snacking on those sweet treats when the afternoon munchies kick in. Take a slice outside and soak up the sun as you eat, to healthily refuel your body for the next part of your day.
Happy baking :)
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