Friday, October 30, 2009

Arabella's work

Last week I visited Arabella to see her embroidery patterns. She has been making lots of patchwork bags for her friends using her embroidery machine. I think this will be a newborn's bag.

Two more bag fronts have already been made.

This is Arabella's painted quilt that she made after Garen taught us how to draw and quilt on a fabric in the summer. The quilt has been made for her daughter Alexia and is already on her wall.

A very antique-looking photo frame made by Arabella. She took classes in frame making and framed her two children's photos.

By Javhlan

Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells!

As you remember, October was a crazy month making Christmas bells and centrepieces. On Thursday Regina suddenly started singing "Jingle Bells!" holding her finished bells, as she was so happy to finish a project. She started cutting more bells to make Christmas presents.

Ursula is holding her bells. They are in orange and green colours to match her paper pierced Christmas tree wall hanging.

Cathy and Bette finished their bells and they started working on their centrepiece. Therese finished her centrepiece and Ann was still working on hers.

This is Garen's Kaleidescope quilt inspired by Jenny Bowker's workshop, which was in September in Caldas da Rainha. The workshop was organised by Mário, our friendly Bernina dealer. Next January he will organise another workshop with a Spanish textile artist Nuria Madurell. You can visit her blog here

By Javhlan

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quilt Camp News

Last Friday and Saturday we had Quilt Camp. Many of us just made Christmas projects; bells, table centrepieces and wall hangings. Cathy, Bette and Regina are still working on their Christmas Bells. Below is one of Helen's bells - as you can see options are endless.

During the camp, Bette sewed and stuffed her Christmas Bells - even if she had to go back to buy a wider, thicker ribbon.

Cathy cut her middle sized bells incorrectly and had to make replacements. But by Saturday she was happy with them.

Therese has been working really hard with her centrepiece and now she is half way through. There are three more Christmas trees to be sewn and she will have it on her table at Christmas.

It was very nice to see Amalia and Sofia, our Portuguese friends. I had a chance to practice my Portuguese with them. I managed to make them understand my broken Portuguese, with some help from Sofia and Ann. I am really hoping to see them more often. Amalia is our TV star because she has been on TV talking about patchwork in Portugal and showing her work.

I did not take Sofia's photo here but I took a photo of her pink pig pin cushion. Isn't she cute?

On Saturday I made my Christmas tree skirt. I bought half a metre of 5 different fabrics, cut them in strips and sewed them together. I should have cut triangles using a 60 degree triangle ruler, but even though I did not have the ruler I made a template. At the end of the Quilt Camp I had my seven hexagons ready, and now it is time to sandwich and quilt. How? I have time to think until next Quilt Camp, which will be on 20 and 21 November.

When I finished my paper pierced Christmas tree wall hanging last week, I thought I was the last person to finish that project, but I was wrong - on Saturday Sofia only finished making her 10 baubles. I like her choice of colours!

Amalia and I were competing in unpicking seams a lot that day. But both of us finished what we were making.
Amalia's friend Rita did the embroidery.

This is Ann's Christmas table centrepiece with two trees made. She decided to have trees made of two different greens. Keep going Ann!

Thank you to everyone who came to the Quilt Camp and helped me do my work and practice Portuguese.

By Javhlan

Friday, October 23, 2009

Christmas Bells

Irene finished her Christmas bells and they are on her living room waiting for Christmas!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Christmas wall hanging

Last year Angela taught us how to make a paper pierced Christmas wall hanging. Finally, I finished it, to be on my wall for this Christmas - if I nicely ask my husband to put a hook in our wall, because I am not confident with drills. Here he is behind the quilt. A hook would be more comfortable.

When I quilted my wall hanging I used my Pfaff's special quilting stitches. I put Santa on top of the tree.

Christmas is all about snow but not in Lisbon. After living here for eight years, I have seen snow only once. I was lucky, because the Portuguese capital had not seen it for 50 years!

I bought a template to make bows and I used it to trace stars on my quilt.

I am happy with the result and another project is finished!

By Javhlan

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Quilting? No, cooking!

I had the honour to be taught by a professional chef, Abbey Rudge, whose career spanned from working as the only woman among 25 French chefs, to literally high-flying cuisine catering for private jet clients.

As a little girl Abbey already knew endless possibilities how to cook a simple meal, from her father and grandmother who were fond of cooking.

After eight years of cooking in the sky and seeing much of the world, she put her feet firmly on the ground in Estoril, Portugal. Now she has her own cookery school and catering business.

Five of us, all different nationalities: Ann - English, Jurgita - Lithuanian, Lucia - Korean, Ursula - German and me - Mongolian met on Friday morning in Abbey's kitchen to improve our cooking skills, share ideas and tips and have a lunch.

We did not hear the phrase "I have prepared this earlier". And one of the dishes went wrong, which does not happen on television cook shows and isn't explained in cook books.

In four hours we had to make 10 dishes: Pea, Mint and Lettuce Soup, Crab Dumplings, Chick Pea Patties, Green Tomato Tarte Tatin, Chili Beef Slice, Oven Baked Chicken, Griddled Honey Apples with Toffee Cream, Toffee, Lemon Posset and Lychee Sorbet. We finished even before our time ran out!

We started making toffee, for which to my surprise (but others already knew) condensed milk has to be boiled for three hours over low heat in a pan of water. It was unbelievable how some nations prepare food! The end result was fantastic - provided you have a sweet tooth!

I think every Mongolian child loves eating condensed milk spread on a slice of bread. I loved it as a child and I will have my slice of bread with condensed milk once a year! Just recently my sister ate it and was very happy for the memories of childhood. Now, I will make toffee.

I never buy green tomatoes because they are tasteless. But not when you cook Green Tomato Tarte Tatin. Green tomatoes hold their shape when they are fried; when they are then baked, covered with puff pastry, the tart is delicious!

Abbey prepared crab earlier and I missed it, so she promised me that I will have a professional lesson to learn how to scrape meat out of a crab. I have never eaten crab meat in my forty-something years! From a palm sized crab meat mixed with other ingredients someone can have a great meal.

Chick peas were mixed with onion, parsley, garlic, chillies, coriander, and ginger. They should been been shaped between 2 tablespoons and deep-fried, but this did not not work. Abbey's solution to avoid putting the dish in the bin was just to fry it - and it tasted good too!

As the recipe says, the easiest and quickest apple pudding was fantastic with toffee! It looked very easy when Abbey cooked it, and the apples looked mouthwatering!

But when I made it at home, I overcooked the apples. Instead of toffee I had it with ice-cream. Next time... It was still appetizing and my husband liked it.

We were not just sitting and watching Abbey; this was four hours of interactive cooking, and with our help for chopping, dicing, stirring and beating we made ten dishes! Thank you Abbey for your easy approach to enjoying cooking. She selected recipes which were easy, fast and delicious. During four hours she did not use any modern gadgets, as she said about herself she is more a wooden spoon girl! This proves that we do not have to have fancy kitchen equipment to make a delicious meal. But personally, my life in the kitchen would not be complete without a good blender. I want, I want, I want to buy a lemon grater that Abbey had in her kitchen and Ursula used to grate lemons for Lemon Posset. Yummy!

Abbey showing her work.
Ann chopping garlic
Jurgita preparing ingredients for Chick Pea Patties
Lucia carefully dicing onions
Ursula is grating lemon with a fancy lemon grater.
I am preparing white sauce for Chili Beef Slice

Abbey 's contact details:

Be Champs
Rua Joaquim Miguel Serra E Moura no 180,
2765-029 Alapraia, Estoril, Portugal

Phone: +351 21 468 95 81

Mobile: +351 96 496 36 50


Photos by Ursula and Javhlan
Text by Javhlan

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Preparing for Christmas!

Today we talked about Christmas. It is still October but it is better to start now as you never know for which Christmas this year's project will be finished!

To start with, Therese showed us her gigantic Christmas tree. It is not the usual natural pine tree, or imitation plastic tree with lights - it is a quilt. Of course, it will be decorated by patchwork. When finished, it will go to Oman as a present.

Helen kindly offered to teach to the quilt group how to make her Christmas bells and Christmas tree table centrepiece. She brought a finished table centrepiece and bells to show us.

I was thrilled by her bag and could not take my eyes off it. I did not have any intention to steal what was inside, I just wanted to see how she made her bag. One day I will make this bag because I am a bag addict - like every woman in this world, surely!

Therese was working very fast this morning, and before lunch she had already finished one out of the six paper pierced Christmas trees needed for the table centrepiece. I can easily guess that by now she has already finished the table centrepiece and it is just left to be sandwiched and quilted!

Recently, Ursula has been doing many paper pierced quilts, and this time she just wanted to make the Christmas bells. She laid out the fabric in front of her before she started.

Thirty years ago Ann bought some fabric to make a dress but today she was cutting it to make the table centrepiece. Helen was helping her to arrange the fabric and you can see the result - wonderful!

Regina decided to make only bells. All morning she sat quietly making her nine bells in three different sizes - but occasionally contributing funny jokes! When she left her nine bells were ready to be sewn.

Cathy and Bette worked very hard this morning making their bells. The fabric on the left is Cathy's, on the right is Bette's.

Sally decided to make both the Christmas table centrepiece and bells. She is the fastest quilter in our group and she was already stitching her centrepiece on her Bernina before everyone else.

Here is Irene cutting her fabric to make bells. Thank you Irene for the photos. She is my back up photo journalist. When I am not there I can rely on her to take some photos of every quilt group for the blog.

Merry Christmas! Oops, sorry, not yet! Happy stitching and soon I hope to publish some photos of the table centrepieces and bells on the blog.

By Javhlan

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ann's very big bed-spread!!

On Thursday Ann invited three quilting friends to a "sandwich-meeting". She finished the huge quilt top, a beautiful Doube Irish Chain a while ago. Also the back was ready to be put into a sandwich.
This quilt is to cover her bed! The fabrics were carefully chosen to match the bedroom and curtains. Ann has been working on this for more than 1,5 years now. It will be a master piece when it is ready to be used!

Here are Ann, Ursula and Susan after the pinning work was mostly done.

The quilt and Susan. This photo gives more the impression of the size of the quilt. We had to move the furniture in the basement to have enough space.
It was good that we only ran out of pins, when most of the quilt was basted. Then we used Ann's handy little tool, the basting gun. But this could be only used along the edges. I wonder how one can work on a big quilt with this?

It is wonderful to be together with quilter friends and have good times together, after a tiring work is done!
Now we all wait, how Ann is getting along with the quilting! This will still be a hard work!
I will keep you informed about the progress.

by Ursula

Monday, October 5, 2009

365 Free-motion Quilting Challenges

Leah Day has been quilting only for four years and she is challenging her to make 365 free-motion quilt designs. On her website and on her blog you can follow her designs. They are not just for experienced quilters but also for beginners too. Leah gives clear instructions and videos to match how she quilts.

Follow her website and blog and you will learn a lot about her short but full quilting experience.

By Javhlan


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