Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Delights


 family at lunch

Some photos of Christmas.  Of course Christmas day was all about the food!  My sister and I try to come up with different things for the menu each year which we wouldn’t necessarily have on an ordinary day. There are some staples we simply must have each Christmas, such as,  Plum pudding and the stuffed eggs (which I make), ham on the bone,  and some seafood.

This year I bought some pearl couscous to make into a different type of salad.  My nephew loved it so much he was the recipient of the left overs – not much. 

couscous pearl

If you have never tried the pearl couscous before, give it a try.  It is a bigger granule and you can add all sorts of things to it.  The cooking instructions are on the pack, but basically you just boil it in water for about 8-10 minutes until it is al dente.

I can only buy it at a small delicatessen and this time they only had a tri-colour version, red, green, and plain which I thought was quite festive anyway.

couscous salad

This is what I put in mine.  Green shallots chopped finely, a handful of dried cranberries (you can use sultanas or raisins), salt and pepper, and the ‘secret’ ingredients to make it really special, finely chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves and lightly roasted pine nuts.  Add pine nuts right before serving.

I didn’t do a dressing but you could do a simple olive oil and lemon dressing and stir through just before serving if you wished.

Seafood 2013

Seafood entree

Main Meal 2013

Main course – Cold collation – Roast Pork, Chicken, Ham, Stuffed eggs, Lyndelle’s fabulous potato salad and her Asian salad and Wombok Asian coleslaw (recipe on back of Chang’s crunchy noodles)

Forgot to take a photo of dessert!!!  Needless to say none of us had any dinner Christmas night.

Finishing off with the delightful and amusing Lilian.

Lilian glasses 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!!

Wax like flowers

Wax like flowers orange

Wax like pink Flower
These unusual flowers were given to my Dad’s wife on the occasion of her 80th birthday.  They look like wax, right?  These are REAL!!  I have never seen anything like them before and she said they had come all the way from Darwin, so if you know what these plants are I would be interested in finding out.
Here are some pictures of our cute little Lilian on her 5th birthday.  You will have to excuse this doing old Nanna, but she lights up our life 
Lilian with cake
Lilian in the pink dress with her Rainbow Butterfly cake which her Mamma made and decorated.

Lilian blowing candlesSmile
Lilian eating cake
She really enjoyed her cake!
Holly Jolly Christmas
"“Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” is what  this little Santa sings when Lilian presses his button.  It really amuses her and it gives us great pleasure to see her enjoying this jolly red man.
Hope you, my dear faithful blog readers, enjoy your Christmas with family and friends and keep safe.
Until next time……………..Dianne.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Paper Collage Fun & Fabric Box

When I saw the fabric box on Anneliese’s blog HERE I knew I had to make one for a friend for Christmas.
The tutorial is on Jane LaFazio’s blog.  Jane has a fabulous blog with a few little tutorials for us to try out and her art work is very inspirational.  Take a look HERE… and enjoy.
Firstly I collaged the fabrics to the stiffening (1)  and then I added a fern stamp in an off white colour using a handmade stamp I made from a polystyrene fruit tray. (2)
Collage box for Shirl
Collage box with stamping
I added some embellishments and some free motion quilting. (3)
Collage box w embellish
The finished box.
Shirley's green box
Shirley's green box (3)
To finish the top off I hand sewed a silk sari strip around the top and added a little bead drop on each corner (4)
Shirley's green box (2)
A couple of weeks ago I signed up to do a “Getting Started with Collage” online class with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.  I am a great fan of Julie’s, and love looking at her videos and art work.  (Click on Julie’s badge in the side bar to visit her)
If you get a chance, visit Julie’s blog and be inspired, especially if you love journalling and collage. 
Because I love to make cards I used her techniques to make some greeting cards to have on hand.  It is a process that I got really engrossed in, and for a few days the dining table looked more like an art studio – a very, very, messy art studio with a mad wannabe artist at the helm!!!
Open-mouthed smile
Julie showed us four ways of designing a collage.
Using some monograms as a focal point I made these collage cards for friends’ birthdays (next year).  How is that for organized??
Front & Back of the M Card
Front & Back of the J Card.
The blue card is using the ‘grouping’ design and again I used a focal point on the pink card.
The pink card uses old dressmaking patterns and a stencil from a magazine cut out.
Pictorial, Crossing Design
On the left a pictorial collage and on the right the ‘crossing’ design.
Most of the paper used in the collage has been created by me using acrylic paints, spray inks and various methods of surface treatments following some of the instruction on Julie’s video.
It has been soooooo much fun and I can’t wait to make another big mess and do some more collage.
Thanks to Julie Fei-Fan Balzer for making this online class for us to enjoy.
Until next time…….. Dianne.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Reflections at Christmas Time

Christmas time for me is usually a time to reflect on times past, people who are no longer with us (such as my beautiful Mum), happy times with family, friends and neighbours and travels -  just to name a few.
2013 Setting
Last Sunday afternoon was spent with our fantastic neighbours.  We dressed up and celebrated Christmas with a huge lunch, a game of backyard cricket and a few glasses of cheer.  A wonderful day. There are no incriminating photos of me attempting to hit a cricket ball.  DH thought he had taped it all on his ‘not so smart phone’ but, alas, it did not work  - (insert big huge laugh from me here!)
Our hosts, Colin & Julie (Mr & Mrs Claus)
Mr & Mrs claus
DH dressed up as a Christmas Yobbo.  If you don’t know what a yobbo is, it is a belligerent Australian male with a big beer belly who enjoys way too many beers.  A yobbo has no dress sense and has very little social etiquette – ha ha ha – sooo unlike my husband really is (apart from the bit about enjoying beer – LOL)!
I dressed as a Christmas tree and luckily it was a cooler than average day because this fabric was very hot and sweaty.
Xmas Tree & Yobbo
Yesterday I was fortunate to spend a lovely long lunch with two of my wonderful friends who make my world a better place. 
Marleen place 2013

Joan on the left, Marleen on the right.  Marleen decorates her house beautifully with her Christmas wall hangings and hand made decorations along with other gifts from friends. 
Marleens dresser 2013

Wall hanging 2013
Our little granddaughter, Lilian, has just turned 5 years old and we gave her a toy camera – a Barbie one (because she is into Barbie’s at the moment).
Taking a photo
It took a few shots of her finger before the real good photos were taken :-  )))
Hoping you are also making some memories to reflect on
Until next time………………Dianne.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Summer Delights



Just had my first mango of the season with my fave yoghurt of all time!!  Yummeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The tarty creaminess of the yoghurt and the sweetness of the mango was a pleasure to the palate. How I love the tropical fruits we are so lucky to avail ourselves of at this time of year

Red heart

Mango & Yoghurt 2013


The following are pictures of beach scenes from our recent holiday escape.



These pictures following are in a National Park and we were the only ones on the beach – had it all to ourselves.



Now for the quilt part of this blog, not a lot happening I’m afraid.  There was some secret santa sewing going on before the holiday, and now there is just a few finishing touches to go onto those items. (Show and tell after the items are delivered).

Finishing work is still going on with my long drawn out crazy quilt and I am planning to have it finished in the New Year and ready for the big reveal on this blog.  It has been more than 7 years in the making – called ‘slow quilting’.


Until next time………………..Dianne

Thursday, November 7, 2013

TAST Embroidery 2013 & More Dyeing Fun


There has been some frantic stitching going on here at Eat Play Quilt.  Christmas is looming fast, and, of course, the ‘last minute girl’ has just realised this.  There is always good intentions in the New Year to be more organized but, alas, it is just the make up of the girl.  There is a lot of Secret Santa stuff, so I cannot show at the moment.

As the stitches come on to Pintangle each week I have been trying to keep abreast of my TAST i.e. (Take a Stitch Tuesday).  You can check it out HERE.

Here is the latest sample I have finished:

Stitches 82 - 86

The little coloured ones are Raised Cup and the pink one underneath is Turkman Stitch.

I enjoyed doing the Turkman stitch very much.

Stitches 56 - 62

Week 68 – 75

top to bottom:

Slipped Detached Chain

Buttonholed Double Chain St.

Crested Chain

Bullion Buttonhole

Wrapped Coral

Portuguese Stem Stitch

Zig Zag Chain St.

Woven Zig Zag Chain

Stitches 63 - 67

Week 63-67

Top to Bottom:

Scroll Stitch

Top Knotted Buttonhole

Buttonhole Bar

Coral Stitch

Fancy Hem Stitch


Stitches 76 - 81

Week 76 – 81

Vandyke Stitch

Woven Cross Stitch

Cloud Filling

Chained Cross Stitch

Raised Chain V1 ( L )    Raised Chain V2 ( R )

I have really enjoyed doing these samples but I will definitely have to refer back to the instructions to repeat them.  So many interesting ways to use needle and thread!!!

My friend, Joan, has just returned from a marvellous holiday around England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and parts of Europe.  Lucky duck!  She brought me back these goodies.  The little reindeer decoration is wooden and carved by hand in Austria.  Thank you Joan.

Recipe books from JoanWooden orny & bookmark from Joan

Shirley has been a bad  good  influence on me and I can’t go past a second hand bookshop anymore without checking out their old embroidery books.

I was lucky to pick this wonderful book up from Lifeline for just $4.  The book says it is about colour, but most of the illustrations are in black and white.  There is quite a bit on colour theory at the back of the book which is very informative.  There are also many design possibilities for creative embroidery.


Embroidery & Colour

There has been some more attempts at botanical dyeing.

Firstly I tried some bark.

Bark for dyeing

Bark boiling

“mmm What’s for dinner dear?” 

The fabric came out a beautiful deep rich caramel colour.  (no photo yet – too boring)

Next, I decided to try the bouganvillea flowers as they are so rich and steeped in colour at the moment. Here are pictures of the plants.

close up pink bouganDk Pink BouganvOrange Bougan

Lilian & I plucked the blossoms ready for the boil up

Orange bougan in potPink Bougan in potLilian helping with bougan

This is the fabric soaking in the pink bouganvillea juice.  It looked very promising – smelt disgusting.

Fabric soaking pink bougan

Alas, the bouganvillea experiment needs more work.  Must get some mordant of some description.  Anyone got any ideas??

The fabrics from both the orange and pink bouganvillea came out pretty, but very insipid (no photo – boring again).

I will keep trying.

Until next time……………………..