Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Good Morning to you,

I am very excited to tell you, that we are  planning a trip to India. On our return there will be lots of photos and recipes to share with you.

The downside is, we have just returned from the doctor's surgery after having two injections, one in each arm, so we will both suffer with aching arms tonight, but, a small price to pay for such a wonderful trip. 

So, onto nicer things.

Today, I want to show you a cushion I have finished. It is plain white fabric, with white beading, and do you know, I am really pleased with the effect.

 It sits beautifully against my blue  bed linen.

Here are the corners in a little more detail. You can see, I have mixed the beading with the quilting. I decided to densely bead the three ovals, but I wanted a lighter feeling for the centre heart, so to achieve the effect, I attached the beads randomly. 

The original design was for a single quilted line around the centre, but I felt the piece needed a little more. The effect I was looking for was a necklace of mismatched fresh water pearls. 

Which you can see a little more clearly here.

I cross hatched the centre with a quilting stitch and added a single bead at each meeting point.  

I also decided to quilt the back of the cushion. I felt the front was pleasing to the eye, so the back should be the same.

Now can you guess what I quilted?

Yes, I think you've guessed!

My favourite....a Heart!

I drew the larger heart shape first, then I drew the smaller heart. Then I decided the smaller heart needed more defining, as a single quilted line did not appeal to me.  I quilted freehand until I was happy with the look and then did the same with the outside of the heart.

I am not a planner, my starting point is usually the beads or an item which is not meant for sewing, such as the medallion I used in my brown bead work See here I start, without a clear idea of how the piece is going to look when it is finished. This is not to everyone's taste, but for me it works, as I get a feel for a piece as I am working on it.

I thought I would mention the iron has been bought and all the squares for Danielle's quilt have been I am making progress.

I am pleased to report that after two weeks of snow, it has all disappeared....I am able to get out and about to enjoy some nice walks.

Whatever you are doing this week, enjoy yourself
and I will see you later in the week.

This week I will be joining,

Sunday, 27 January 2013


Good Morning to you,

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago, I told you about my trip to Heaton with Gloria.   I mentioned I had found a few treasurers.....well I have one for you today.

This book has two titles, 

Mattie and Bessie
Climbing the Hill

I could not see an explanation as to why a book would have two titles, but as you can plainly see from this photograph, Mattie and Bessie is in larger print and Climbing the Hill is in smaller print.

This book was presented
"Ada Laidler
for reciting at the Winlaton
Wesleyan Sunday School Anniversary
June 3rd 1888"

There are four prints in the book
The first caption reads,
"Her bonnet was roughly torn from her head,
and Tom Raynor stood holding
it by the string."

Here are a couple of sentences to enjoy.

"Here we are, Mr Wilson!"
"Sit down, dears," said the old man;
"take off yer bonnets, and we'll have
some tea."


"Now that's just about the wonderful'st
thing I ever hear tell on,
to keep prayin',  prayin' and 
never stoppin', till yer wakes up one
mornin' and finds just what yer bin' prayin'
for under yer very own winder - and socks too."

just a little more for you,

"She was seated upon the ground,
with his aching head in her lap, while
little Bessie bent over him, stroking
him with her thin little hand, and
murmuring now and then,
poor Tom! poor Tom!"

I have shown you the Contents page
because at the start of each
chapter there are beautiful
illustrations like the one

and again for Chapter 1.

At the end of each chapter
I found these lovely
little designs,
they look like a beautiful 
full stop!

I couldn't resist showing you the
list of books which could
be bought for the price of one penny
or for the price of half a penny.

This is a lovely little book....yes well worn, but that means it has been well used. I wonder how Ada felt about receiving this book, in a time when the majority of people did not own books. 

Do you remember, when I told you that Ivy, as a child had to make a choice, she could have bread and butter or bread and jam, but not both. See here  Comparing the cost of bread and butter in the 1888's to the cost of a book, I would imagine Ada's family were relatively well off as to own a book in 1888 must have been quite a treasure.

I also wonder how many hands this book passed through before it came into mine....there must have been many.

All I can say is I am grateful this little book came into my possession with all of it's hidden history. 

Take care and I will see you later in the week.

Before I go, this week I will be joining,

Karen at Sew Many Ways

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


Good Morning to you,

I have a few of these,
 hand quilted.
I have  some  sashing which is pinned
and some is tacked.
I also have
 some of this,
 a little more of
I need 
 attach this,
to that,
but before I do,
I must decide,
whether to add these corners.

I'm just not sure.

If I do,
I will need to add this,

...but first, I need to iron the blocks, 
check they are square, add the sashing 
and stitch the blocks

Then with a bit of perseverance
this pinned and tacked quilt,

will be finished and I can
give it to 
my daughter, 

I started making this quilt about 10 years ago. In my defence, I have to say, all the blocks are hand quilted...but that really isn't the reason it has taken so long. 

I began this quilt when I lived in Cyprus. It was packed away for the journey back to England. It was unpacked with all our other belongings and then put away and forgotten. Then before Christmas, I was reading a post which Debbie, who writes the blog Me and My DIY had written, about how it had taken her 11 years to complete her beautiful red wreath and it reminded me of my quilt. I started sorting through a couple of boxes and found it.  So, thank you Debbie, I am now committed to finishing this quilt.

I am sorry about the creased look of the pieces, but I was organised. The ironing board was set up, iron at the ready, piles of blocks waiting to be ironed, cup of coffee on the table to the left of me, along with the camera, ready to photograph the process.  I was ready for the off. I switched on the iron, but the radio turned itself off, (when I said I was "ready for the off" I did not mean this, I meant I was raring to go!) the iron had fused the electrics.  George checked the plug, no problem there, so we put the iron on one more time and the same happened again.....yes, a new iron has to be bought.....hence the creases.....drats!

The reason I am showing you these pieces of my unfinished quilt, is I thought it would spur me on to finish. Fingers crossed. I have given myself until the end of February....just over a month.....oh dear I've done it now.....the QUILT has to be FINISHED on TIME!

Wish me luck.

This week I shall be joining Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage. Pop over and see her, I know you will enjoy your visit.

I will see you later in the week, until then take care.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


Good Morning to you,

As promised, I am going to show you my version of Gigantes Plaki.

I can hear you asking, what on earth is Gigantes Plaki. Gigantes means large and normally this dish is made with large Greek butter beans. Plaki means baked, so we are going to bake our large butter beans.

This is a delicious side dish, which I learnt how to make whilst living in Cyprus. It can be enjoyed with chicken or meat, or even eaten on it's own, which we sometimes do, with crusty bread dipped in olive oil.

When this dish is cooked, it is best to leave it to cool a little and serve warm, rather than piping hot. If you eat these beans hot, then you loose the flavour. Eaten warm, the flavours are enhanced.

Ordinarily, I would use dried butter beans, or Lima Beans as I believe they are known in America, as they are much cheaper to buy. Tinned or beans in  jars, do cost more, but even they do not make this an expensive meal. Consequently this is a very economical dish to make.  On this occasion I had some large Spanish Beans which I used.

 If you are using dried butter beans, you will have to do one thing the night before. 

Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water,  almost to the top, with about two inches to spare. Leave the beans to soak overnight, to allow them to absorb the water. If you have not cooked with dried beans before, you will be amazed how hydrated they become after soaking over night, as they will practically fill the bowl. Hence the difference in weights for the dried and  the tinned beans in the Ingredients list.

The following day, cook the butter beans for 50-60 minutes in a large pan of boiling water. The length of time depends on the age of the beans, the older the beans, the longer it will take them to cook. Do not salt the beans at this stage as salt has a tendency to harden the skins. We will season later.

If you are using tinned or as in my case, butter beans from a jar, then this is a straightforward dish which can be made the day you want to eat it for supper.


400g dried butter beans (Lima beans)
or 3 400g tins of butter beans
3 tablespoons of olive oil 
4 medium onions sliced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
800g of ripe tomatoes 
or 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon of oregano
Salt and black peppers

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
Use a large dish with at least a 3" depth

Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide pan
and add the sliced onions.
Cook until translucent

Add the crushed garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes,
if using tinned chopped tomatoes,
reserve the tomato juice.

Add the dried oregano
and cook for a further 5 minutes
If you would like to know how to dry your
own oregano see here

Place the butter beans in a large dish

Add the tomato and onion mixture 
to the butter beans and combine 

Add half a pint of water,
but if you are using tinned tomatoes
add the tomato juice, then make up to half a pint with water.
Season with black pepper
and sea salt

Cover with foil, place in the oven for 40 minutes

Remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes

Leave to stand for 30 minutes, as this will allow the butter beans to absorb any remaining liquid.

Drizzle with a little olive oil
Add some crusty bread

As with all recipes there are little tweeks. I have some friends who use red onions which make the dish a little sweeter, others add tomato paste to give a more distinctive tomato flavour, so I am looking forward to seeing how my friend Dimi who writes the blog Aussi Dimi Decoupage cooks her Gigantes.

Looking out of my window, all I see is snow, everything looks so beautiful.

So whatever your weather, have a lovely weekend and I will see you later in the week.  Until then, take care.

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