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.
A pincushion is every sewers best friend and constant companion. Its always right there beside you as a safe place for all your pins and needles while you work. They are usually sweet, versatile and dependable, just like our mums and as Mother's Day is next week, I thought I'd share a little free pattern with you that would be perfect to pop in your present for that sewing mum or to make for yourself. Here are my simply adorable, Halfsies Pincushions:
I have lots of patchwork and stitched pincushions but I have this weird idiosyncrasy of not wanting to stick pins into pretty patchwork or stitcheries. The solution for me was to design these "halfsies" so I can jab the pins into the linen half and still be able to admire the pretty patchwork half without lots of pinholes in the fabric (I told you it was weird).
I designed three Halfsies Pincushions for you and each design is paper pieced to make them quick, easy and accurate to sew. You can chose between the Lady of the Lake, Variable Sawtooth Star and Pineapple blocks for these pincushions and they are great stashbuster projects. They don't take long to make and I have to tell you, paper piecing half of a Pineapple block, is lots of fun. :)
They finish at 5" square, making them a generous size so you wont lose them on your cutting or sewing table and they make a pretty addition to your sewing bag.
I used a lovely charcoal Essex linen on the plain side and also on the backs of the pincushions. I love sewing with this linen as its adds a warm and inviting element to the designs. I can happily stick my pins in the linen and leave the patchwork half untouched.
I quilted the linen half with 1/2" spaced diagonal lines and I stippled the patchwork half with some free motion swirls to give them some lovely texture.
If your mum's a sewer like mine, she's going to love one of these as part of her Mother's Day gift. Choose the design you love, pick some gorgeous fabrics and make her a handmade gift that is useful, pretty and offers her a safe place for all her pins and needles as she sews. Or make all three, just make sure you make one for yourself :)
I used a mix of Bonnie and Camille fabrics but of course they will look lovely in any fabric or colour combination. You could use a solid homespun instead of the linen or showcase a lovely large print fabric and sew the patchwork half in some coordinating solids. The possibilities are endless.
The free pattern includes full instructions and full sized paper piecing templates for each design, plus a few tips along the way including options for filling your pincushions. I used Hobby Fill for my pincushions but there are lots of other options that can help keep your pins and needles sharp, make your pincushion fragrant or a great use of scraps and trimmings. I've listed them in the pattern so you have them for future reference.
I've also included a section on adding some little extras to the pincushions, to make them even more special and unique.
If you would like to make a Halfsies Pincushion for your mum, or any mum who sews this Mother's Day, you can download my free pattern HERE.
Every now and then, something unexpected takes you on a journey you may never take in real life. It opens you up to the beauty and the feel of a place without actually visiting. Its a glimpse into something wonderful and special and that's exactly how I felt when I saw Amy Sinibaldi's two new fabric collections, Charleston and Les Petits.
Both of these fabric lines are gorgeous and I had to grab a little to enhance my stash.
The Charleston fabrics are inspired by the beauty of Charleston, from the cobblestone streets and the gorgeous architecture to the promenade overlooking Charleston Harbour. Its such a beautiful fabric line and it takes you on a wonderful trip to this gorgeous city in South Carolina.
I would love to visit the Southern States (one day maybe) and I've always been interested in their lifestyles and the elegance of their surroundings. I'd be happily lost in all the grandeur, the history and the beauty of any of these states.
The whole fabric range is lovely and these were just some of my favorites. I have no firm plans on how I will use them but they have definitely got the creative juices flowing.
I adore the sweet, soft blues and the navy is just stunning. Teamed with the rouge and rose, this line will create some stunning projects.
Les Petits is the other beautiful range and I love it. Those tiny polka dots are adorable and the little touch of grey in this line, is going to work so well with the other fabrics. The two ranges are designed to blend together and its going to be fun working up a new design to showcase them in. For now, I'm content to just look at them and enjoy the little trip to Charleston which Amy has so lovingly designed for us :)
It's that time of the month again when I release a new mini quilt pattern and today I have something very sweet for you. This months design is my interpretation of the lovely "Bride's Puzzle" quilt block and I think it's stunning. So without further ado, welcome to my pattern family, the gorgeous Eternal:
There's a long history of bridal quilts and its interesting to research the significance of blocks etc. that we know so well and use in our modern day quilting. I was unable to find anything specifically related to the "Bride's Puzzle" block, which was disappointing but I did find a lot of information on star blocks in wedding quilts. A star block, represents the bride's euphoria or "starry eyed" feeling of love and hope for a wonderful future with her betrothed. I think we can all remember that feeling on our own wedding days (and hopefully everyday since).
I'm assuming the "puzzle" refers to navigating your way in a marriage. Every relationship has its ups and down, its trials, its happiness, its sadness but most importantly, it has eternal love ♥
The centre star is a "Le Moyne" star block which is usually sewn with set in seams but for this mini I designed it using pieced HST's and flying geese units so it's easier to put together. In fact, even though this design may look complicated, its quite quick and easy to piece and I have broken the pattern down in simple parts to make it a fun mini for you to sew.
I used a simple colour palette of red, pink and aqua and combined with that crisp white homespun the mini is soft and sweet yet very striking. The mini quilt finishes at around 18" square so the pieces are a generous size with nothing too fiddly to piece. A full sized quilt with multiples of this design would look stunning, I may have to add this to my wish list of quilts to make one day :)
The PDF pattern includes a colouring sheet for you to plan your mini quilt prior to sewing and it includes full step by step instructions plus tonnes of diagrams to help make piecing your quilt easier. I have tried to write the pattern so it suits any level of sewer but as always, I'm here to help, so email me if you need any advice or if you have any questions.
The pattern also includes additional instructions on adding a hanging sleeve or corner hanging pockets so you can hang your mini to be admired.
I quilted my mini with my favorite all over flower design but there is so much negative space to play with so you could showcase some lovely quilting in this design.
If you would like to sew your own Eternal mini quilt, from today until the end of May 2017, PDF patterns are available at the introductory price of $4.95 (AU) in my Big Cartel shop HERE.
If you prefer an instant download, they are also available in my Etsy shop HERE.
Plus I also have your free May 2017 calendar featuring the gorgeous Eternal:
To download and print this months calendar, just visit HERE.
I hope you love Eternal as much as I do. I had so much fun with this quilt and its such a pretty addition to my collection. Love is eternal ♥
Milo is a staple in our house and while we love a steaming hot mug of that chocolate malt goodness, its also a great ingredient to cook with. I use it occasionally in muffins or slices for the lunchboxes, because it makes a lovely little treat. At the moment we are on school holidays, so I thought I'd whip up my Milo Bundt Cake instead, because trust me this cake is seriously delicious.
Its moist, its sweet, its packed with that yummy chocolate malt flavour we all love and a slice of this takes you right back to your childhood and eating spoonfuls of Milo straight from the tin (I do admit to maybe/possibly/definitely sneaking a spoonful or two of Milo as I was baking this cake; don't judge, I'm really not as grown up as I think I am).
For those of you who may not know Milo and need an alternative, Milo is a chocolate malt powder that is mixed with either hot or cold milk producing a delicious beverage. It was developed in Australia in 1934 and is now also manufactured and sold as snack bars, ready made drinks and breakfast cereals. If your looking for a substitute for Milo, you can find a couple of great homemade Milo recipes on the MamaBake website, HERE.
This cake is a little bit naughty but I truly believe that if you are going to break the diet, then make it worth it, right? There's always tomorrow to hit the gym or go for a run :)
It's a cake you would cook as a special treat and it does present well with a simple sprinkling of icing sugar. I love cooking with bundt tins as it gives the cake an elegant look and the portion sizes are a little smaller. If bundt tins aren't your thing, it also cooks well in an ordinary tin, just adjust your cooking times accordingly.
My Milo addiction stems back to my childhood and our son is just the same. When he was little he would steal spoonfuls from the tin, just like I did/still do. I'd often find him playing quietly and thinking he had got away with it but there was always that telltale chocolate moustache on his sweet little face, that gave the game away :)
Both of us prefer this cake to a dense chocolate cake because of that gorgeous chocolate malt flavour and I hope you do as well.
If you would like to give my Milo Bundt Cake a try, you can download the recipe HERE or right click on the picture below and save to your computer for later.
I hope you enjoy this delicious cake. I'll be back sometime next week with my new May mini quilt but for now, I'm going to enjoy the rest of the holidays, relaxing with the kids, watching some DVD's, catching up on some crochet projects and nibbling on cake.