I'm back! I had a whale of a time with my family, but I was too pooped to pop when they left. My twin grandsons were really crafty, and one wanted to learn to spin and the other was on the sewing machine, so I had a great time showing them things to do. I also made teddy bear and rabbit dresses for my granddaughters, (their beasties get a new wardrobe every time they come up) so I was still making things, during their visit.
For the last few weeks I have been involved with one of the girls on the island on a Wednesday afternoon. The head teacher asked if I would help her with her Duke of Edinburgh Award. If you follow the link, you will find out what this entails. Lena wanted to help Teddies for Tragedies (again follow the link). Teddies are knitted and put in a drawstring bag. They are sent to third world countries, where the women are encouraged to get their children immunised. If they do so, they get a teddy. A similar scheme had been organised on the island a few years ago, and one of the older ladies (she is one hundred years old) had never stopped knitting. She had 65 knitted teddies ready. I was asked if I could coordinate the sewing of the faces, stuffing, sewing together the teddies and the making of the bags. I put a letter in the island newsletter, asking for more teddies, and you can see some of the results in the picture. The islanders have been great! The teddies at the back are finished, and the ones at the front have still to be stuffed and sewn. It is great fun, and Lena is such a nice girl! I used to do talks about the Mercy Ships, so the teddies are going to be sent to them for distribution, when they are completed. So not only will Lena be doing a community award, she will be helping children in Africa.
I have really missed blogging, and all the comments from my Internet friends. I promise not to be absent for so long again.
I am aware that my posts have not been all that interesting of late. I had imagined loads of references to sewing and patchwork, showing completed projects and lots of eye-candy, but instead I have been fighting a virus for a number of weeks, with no energy or concentration to complete anything. But I am feeling a bit better, so I am going to show an old project, which I completed last year.
On the island we have a Craft Club once a fortnight. Sometimes we have someone showing us how to do particular crafty things like knitting, crochet, patchwork, and on other occasions
we work on our own projects. Last year one of the ladies taught us tatting. I had real problems with the shuttle, as my finger joints
got really sore. I went on the Internet and discovered you could tat using a needle instead of a shuttle - definitely my kind of work. I found two sites -
sent for some needles and I was away. I love needle cases, so I made one to house my tatting needles, as they are extra long. The needle case has two pockets on the inside covers, back and front, where there is only one pussy cat, and I attached a ribbon on a snap fastener after I had taken these pictures, so that I could carry a small pair of scissors safely with me. The scissors could easily be detached from the case, when in use. I enjoyed tatting and will do more in the future.
I probably will not be blogging much for the next week or two. I have nine members of the family coming to visit, so that should keep me busy. Hope the weather improves!
I have not posted for a few days, as I have been fighting a particularly nasty virus. I have had it for four weeks, and it does not want to leave.
I did start a new sewing project this week (naughty, naughty!), but can't seem to concentrate, to do it well enough, so it will have to wait till I feel better.
Last year I was offered a place on a spinning workshop. The ladies organising it were going to hold workshop holidays on the island and wanted to try out their lessons on spinning newcomers. The bonus was that we got the instruction free! I will admit, I am not really keen on knitting. I will knit the occasional thing, but I much prefer a sewing needle in my hand. I went, therefor, thinking it would be a pleasant thing to learn, but that I probably would not use the skill again. How wrong can you be!! I was hooked. Spinning is so relaxing! We learned to spin on a CD spindle, and I managed to spin a reasonable length of fibre. We plied, saw a fleece and also carded some fleece. I had a great time. From there, I went to another course on Shetland lace and dyeing, and then I bought a wheel from New Zealand. It is beautiful, and I call her Tilly Tudeldum, Tilly for short.
People on the island are very kind, and when they heard I was spinning, I was given some fleeces to card and spin. I am not a good spinner, as I tend to over spin. I need to practice, but as there are so many other things I like to do as well, Tilly has been neglected of late. Soon!!
Just a very quick post to tell you about an amazing Giveaway by Ginny in Washington, for her 41st birthday. She is giving away more than $150 dollars worth of quilting related goods. Should I give you the link? It will mean I will have less of a chance to win the goodies? Oh, all right, the giveaways are on http://ginnysquilts.blogspot.com As I am new to this, I think I have linked properly, but on the other hand ...
My husband and I are typical Scots. We like sweet things to eat. My husband is particularly fond of home made cakes, so I bake a lot. One of his favourites is tea loaf. It is very easy to do, tastes good and, more so, can't go wrong. My kind of baking! You can add, change a lot of the ingredients, and it doesn't affect the loaf. I will add notes after the recipe, so keep reading! My baking cup that I use for this recipe is not quite as big as an American cup (I checked!), but I don't think it will make a difference!
3 cups dried fruit (* see below)
2 cups brown sugar(*)
2 cups strong tea (steep 3 tea bags in boiling water and give it a good stir till strong!)
Leave the above ingredients to steep overnight.
Next day add -
4 cups self-raising flour
2 beaten eggs.
Mix all ingredients together and divide between 2 x 2lb greased and lined (bottom only) loaf tins. I cook my loaves on the top shelf of the oven @ 150 degF for 45 mins +. I have a very hot oven and it depends how sloppy the mixture is, so you might need to cook it longer or less. The loaves come out with a crusty top, but if they are put in a tin, they become soft overnight. (We like the crusty top)
*Dried Fruit - you can have a mixture of currants, raisins, sultanas. My favourite is a mix of raisins and jumbo raisins. You can also add up to half a cup extra of sweetened cranberries, glace pineapple or glace mixed peel. If you do this, take out about 2 tablespoons of sugar, as this would make it terribly sweet.
*Sugar - Sugar can be dark brown, medium, light, white, or any combination of what you have in the house. The dark is our favourite.
If you are in a panic, you can put the first three ingredients in the microwave and cook for a few minutes, cool the mix and then proceed with the rest of the recipe. This does not produce such a tasty cake. You will notice in the picture, that there is only half a loaf left! I only had one slice! Who ate the rest??
Any questions, feel free to leave a comment with email address, or email me direct.
Yesterday was such a nice day we took our border terrier for a walk along a beach, which is about a mile away from us. This is a picture of it last year in the summer. Really crowded, isn't it? When the tide is out, we can reach this beach by walking across the bay in front of our house and then over the sand dunes. Yesterday we went the long way round by road. The beach was empty, as usual, and my husband and I spent a glorious time walking along the sand and laughing at Penny running in and out the water. It was not cold, and we did a bit of beach combing. It s amazing what is brought in with the tide. Yesterday I found a hard hat in perfect condition. We walked back over the bay, and had fun jumping over some of the wider streams of water, which were beginning to fill the bay. I try to remember days like this one, little special memory jewels to brighten up other, less special days.
I did not get much done on the sewing front yesterday. I was still recording the stitches on the machine, when my husband asked if I wanted to nip down to the shops for anything. An hour and a half later we got back. We saw a rope on one of the beaches and thought it be good for the boat. It was tangled with barbed wire and other rope. We tried to untangle it, but it is now in the garden, waiting to be released. Back to the machine this afternoon.