Saturday, 15 April 2017

In which I ponder more books...and recipes


We celebrated Easter, and ate a traditional treat.

(Although these buns appear in the shops immediately after Christmas. I will not allow them to be eaten until Good Friday.
There are just some traditions I like to observe.)


These were prepared by my husband who has discovered the delights of working with yeast. He gets very excited to see the dough proving and loves creating delicious meals for the family.
Mind you I did it all for the first 30 odd years of the marriage, but I do really appreciate that he is now retired and so willing to         take over   I mean co opt the cooking.
Of course now he thinks he could appear on one of those reality shows, oh Lord spare me the competition. I mean cooking is hard enough without being harshly judged!


I may not watch the shows, but I do buy the books!

 Except for this one, this is where I store those precious tried and true recipes. My own cook book creation.
I artistically tear out pages from magazines and promise myself to attempt the dish one day. 










And then there are the recipes that get referred to time and time again. The pages dropped with butter and sugar. 

 I collect a few that have proved to be easy to follow and reliable.


 And of course there are the books that are all about the pictures...they seduce your eyes and are virtually impossible to recreate in real life. 
But I can still look at pretty things.

This is one that would be saved from a fire, or settled in a divorce court....should it ever come to that....which will be the twelfth of NEVER....
I bought this when I left home as my mother had the same book and there were many delicious meals made from this. 
A good cook book is one where you take more than one or two dishes from it.....and for our family this is the one.
My son has copied a few when he left home and wanted to cook his favourite "Honey Chili Chicken" yummmmmm. 

Which leaves me to ponder the whole cooking, quilting thing!
NO, don't run away, stay with me on this one. 

Do you cook like you quilt? Is it all about the recipe, collecting the ingredients, recreating the exact same dish?
Or is it about a quick glance at the pantry, or fabric stash and throwing it all out there and creating your own dish?

Is it all about traditional quilting, tried and true recipes or is it modern, new flavours, breaking rules and seeing elephants amongst the flowers (just seeing if you are still reading Ms Daisy)


I have really thought a lot about my creative side just lately. I have made a few quilts and wanted to stand out just a little, find my own groove and style. 
But time and time again I would flick through a quilt book and be off taking a recipe and recreating someone elses dish. 
I am trying to be OK with however I end up.....at the end of the day I want to be happy and fulfilled and however that occurs I will be grateful. 
I have ideas for creative quilts and now realise that without going through the basics how does one learn to go on and create your own tasty dish or quilt?


 Now on a completely different tangent. Our gum tree has burst into bloom....and now we have the beautiful parrots visiting our garden. 
 Do you see him?
Look closely................these parrots are the most wonderfully camouflaged. They have green backs and the most gloriously coloured faces and breasts. Which I discovered gives them incredible camouflage when being viewed from underneath. 
 He is there.....look just above the flowers!

 There surely you can see him now?

 The blue and orange may see to stand out here, but when you look up at a bird in a tree, the blue is the colour of the sky and the red and orange look like flowers or the old leaves which turn from green to russet. They are noisy parrots but shy. I had to sit quietly for some time and be patient. So glad I did. 






 Still actually in the flowers having a snack...see if you can spot him.


   
Then he saw me and left. 




 I found this feather and you can see how wonderful these birds are. 
Nature is just so amazing, I never cease to admire its beauty. 



Sunday, 2 April 2017

Craft Books.......do we need an explaination?

Greetings again.....

now as I was cogitating about books, I thought why not discuss the other books that feature in my life. My craft books.

I have grabbed those that I would deem as my "top shelf" items, those I look over regularly and inspire me to one day try to emulate those quilts that make me smile and "spark joy"in my brain. 
 





 Firstly however this book makes me a little wistful when I look through it. Kathreen is no longer with us, 
however she did leave inspiration behind in this work and I see the book as being a honour to her memory. 
 I love that quote..."you will either love it or hate it".....because that is what happens when I try to break those rules that float around in my subconscious. This book is a little gem and I treasure it as such. 





I have followed these two quilters (Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke) since the early days. 
Even though they have struck out on their own now, they still both have great ideas, each so different but each appealing to my eye. 
So now they are independent I can have twice as much fun with their designs.



I took this design from Kathy and tweaked it a little to make a gift for my boss, who happened to be a priest. It could not have been more perfect!


 I fell in love with this book after seeing other quilters review it on their blogs. I was not disappointed. 
The possibilities are endless, and the instructions on how to achieve that ever so slightly wonky look that I adore are fantastic.




And then "improv" was the buzzword, again it tapped into those quilts that just grab me by the heartstrings. 
I do really melt when I see and touch those antique quilts that these are based on. The fabric feels as though it holds the makers heart and soul within. I know it sounds a little OTT but that's just how I feel. 
Its as almost as if I can converse with the maker, feel her pride or boredom or frustration or sadness vibrate from the past. Did she think about her life as she sewed, did sewing give her solace or industry? 



 These were some of the first books I purchased. Applique was something I picked up quite quickly and I ran with it. 
To me this duo are the applique queens, and please do argue with me and let me know otherwise! But until then I will always gravitate to "Piece O Cake" for applique. 




Now talking of artists....I actually got to fly to the Texas Quilt show and meet up with the author of this next book. Not only that but got to share a room as well. 
Its a long story but it was quite adventurous of me to embark on that trip.....which was a 50th birthday present to me.....

Colleen was such a wonderful companion and her quilt brain just amazing!
She takes fabric and with some manipulation makes it look 3 dimensional. 


 I believe she studied engineering......











This was a gift from my children....well in that I said to my then 10 year old daughter....."I am buying this book and you can put it under the Christmas Tree for my present"...... or something like that. I think she actually bought it...neither of us can remember the exact details but I have had this for at least 12 years now and the designs are still modern and refreshing. 




Need I say more? Love them all 



Found this book in a thrift store, and it is full of great Australian Designs. It is so 1980's. I love seeing the fabrics we all worked with then. The designs hold up so well, they can be re imagined quite well in modern fabrics and colours. 

 This is the Stuart Desert Pea. 
 Not normally a fan of wearable patchwork but I would wear this. 
 The designs are still quite striking. May have this on the to do list. 




I had these even before I could quilt, a great record of traditional quilts. I remember my first attempt at a double wedding ring quilt from this........very ambitious , lets not say too much more about it..... I have improved a little since those early days. 
Think the quilt was a dog blanket briefly and now has gone to God ..........along with the dog.....





These books are opened a lot. Sometimes I even think about sewing when reading them.







 I want to live there!

 ......or here!
As I was going through the books I saw these amazing homes. 

Once upon a time, we embraced quirky in our homes and gardens. 
Note the glass bottle wall, stuck with plates, and those shells!!!

 I am straying into all sorts of unrelated territory now, and my word count is getting up there. 
In the interests of a readable foray into some of my craft books I will sign off and continue this discussion another day. 







Thursday, 23 March 2017

Books.......an explaination

A question was posed on a friends blog......how do you treat your books?
 Well some would say not really well.
I am breaking a lot of rules here but I am being brutally honest, I lay them open on the page. 

However I NEVER turn a page down and crease the paper, that was drummed into me by my librarian father. 
That was the ultimate sin.....and what I am doing here was a close second.
My daughter is an avid reader and buyer of books so when I have run out of material I ask her what she has for me!

 And then I get to read some very eclectic titles. 
Note when I borrow books from other people I do not lay them open willy nilly. I am very respectful of books that have been entrusted to me. 
 I will grab whatever is handy to act as a bookmark.
This being a very sweet card from my husband. 
(must remember to take that out before handing the book back...)

This book is quite funny, as I know a few lazy folk. 
The story is patchy but well worth just sticking with it for the human observations. 

 Then there are the books that I would take with me on a desert island. 
I actually dont own a lot of books, I beg and borrow and then return them. Strangely I have a fabric library but have whittled down books to a select few. 
This was a story that was a theme through my childhood of searching for strong characters, those who struck out on their own and made their life independently of others who sought to control them. This was an outstanding book of its time published in 1963 with a female hero, who fought her Victorian father for the right to an education.

 
Whats more it was set in my hometown of Melbourne Australia!



 These are some of my other keepers. 

"Three Men On a Boat" makes me laugh out loud.
"Gormenghast" has the best descriptive passages of pure writing I have ever experienced. 
I think Mervyn was on strong substances when he wrote this, its bizarre but so well written. I identified with the hero being ambivalent to inheriting a title, it was just so angst ridden...but I saw his pain. I recommended it to a family member who hated the character, thought he was weak and soppy.
I was hurt, it felt personal. I really fall in deep with some books and sometimes its a risk to put it out there.....like a piece of your soul.
I can only imagine how writers feel after bad reviews. 

 "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" made me sob...which was awkward as I was reading it at 3.00am...as I do when I cannot sleep.
"The Dark Room" opened my eyes to the German experience of WWII. 
As a child of English parents I only heard one side. This is a great human perspective of what it was like to live as a German then and now. 

 "Wind in the Willows" my only friend as a preteen...I read and reread and reread....I never stopped returning wishing I too could escape on the river, find a true friend like Ratty....oh this book!
Its very broken and precious I have upgraded and bought a new copy but it doesn't feel like this book....this book holds my heart. 
 AA Milne a complete delight. 
Loved this poem
Loved Winnie The Pooh....he often made me laugh, and Eeyore....well I only have just understood him...and I adore his melancholy...

 I was given a lot of secondhand books as a child, read this a lot. Fairy Tales are actually quite gruesome and these were no exception!
Found these at my local thrift shop. They bought back memories of school reading. 
"cough, cough" I was actually a very advanced reader and had progressed from all set texts by age 8...was often just sent to the library and told to pick whatever I wanted! But I still have fond memories even so. 
 These texts are just so Australian...whereas my home reading was almost all English. 

 I hope you enjoyed this little foray into my books.