Sunday, 26 June 2011

Rocking the Kasbah

Kasbah Tamadot, Imlil, Morocco
Linking up with Shadow Shot Sunday over at Hey Harriet and for the first time at Scenic Sunday.

Scenic Sunday

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Joy Pockets

A sleeping child

reading a book you can`t bear to put down
a long email from your best friend
quenching a thirst with cool water
my 3 year old`s smile when he wakes me in the morning
getting a good photo
 an Indian takeaway
an afternoon siesta in my mum`s garden
a cup of coffee while listening to the rain on the window
walking through a city early on a summer morning

Joining in with Monika`s Joy Pockets here.

Camera Critters - A Heavy Load

 Ourika Valley, Morocco
For more shots of critters, head over to Camera Critters.

Camera Critters

Friday, 24 June 2011

The Giveaway Winner and a Surprise!

And the winner of the 100th postaversary giveaway is...Susan!

When leaving her comment Susan said, `Annabella, I told you I was going to hold out so I wasn't the first comment for a change! Now to answer your questions -
I love both the necklaces but the acquamarine would go with my pale freckled skin better.
I do not have the Farmer's Wives book and if I won it I would love to quilt along with you. Just may buy it myself anyway if I don't win it so we can do that.
Books I have enjoyed are many but here are three you may not have read: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd; Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky; Guernica by Dave Boling
The last two books might not be 'beach reads' but they are so well written that I thought I would recommend them anyway.
Right, time to go and leave comment number two!`

Congratulations Susan - I`m delighted you won as you were an early follower and have stuck with me regularly commenting on my posts.  Please email me your details and I`ll arrange getting these goodies to you as quickly as possible.

Now for a spot of housekeeping. To be fair to everyone when calculating No.17 I had to discount Nadilah`s second comment as she was only entitled to one and Lis` third comment as she was only entitled to two as she is a Brit Quilter.  I hope that makes sense to Nadilah, Lis and everyone else.

Now for a surprise giveaway.  As Susan chose the purple and green necklace which I actually really wanted to keep, I thought I would give away the carnelian and garnet necklace which I don`t really think suits my colouring.  So I asked Mr. Random to pick again and he came up with...

No.28 which is Judith - a worthy winner as she has a big birthday today, so happy birthday me your details and I`ll get the necklace off to you!  When calculating No.28, I discounted Hobby Lass` third comment as well as Nadilah`s and Lis`.

That`s enough giveaways for the moment...thanks to everyone who took part. Apologies for the smudgy photographs but milk spilled on a laptop screen doesn`t come out. Have a great Friday!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Our Creative Spaces

There`s not much to share with you in my creative space this week as we are about to start our packing to move house.  But just when I`d forgotten about it, this lovely fabric from Hawthorne Threads arrived today...

Diane Kappa, Bonjour, Songbird in Lime
Songbird in Lime detail
It`s called Songbird in Lime by Diane Kappa and it will provide a fresh and zesty backing to the Marrakech Rose quilt...when I unearth the sewing machine from packing....whenever that may be...

Hawthorne Threads were recommended to me by my lovely blogging friend Di of Random Thoughts Do or `Di` and I couldn`t be happier.  They have a beautiful selection of fabric at great prices (I paid $7.25 a metre), they dispatched the same day and the package arrived a week later (USA to Morocco).

Linking up again with Our Creative Spaces.  Head over there to see talented people making lovely things.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Beach Reads as Recommended by You

Sidi Bouzid, Morocco
Thank you to everyone who has entered my 100th post giveaway here.  It's still not too late to have a go.  I'll draw the winner on Friday 9.00 AM Morocco time (GMT +1) and announce the winner shortly afterward.

Thank you for all the great beach read recommendations - here is the list as recommended by you and I can certainly say there is something for everyone...from the legendary Jackie Collins to W. Somerset Maugham. I have asterisked the ones I`ve already read and I would certainly re-visit any of them - they are all excellent beach reads.  I hope to pack some of your suggested books when we leave for Sidi Bouzid at the end of next week.  In the meantime I still have to move house.  Yikes!

Any book by Jackie Collins
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Eat-Pray-Love by Elizabeth Gilbert *
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
Guernica by Dave Boling
The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Vaal
The Help by Kathryn Stockett*
The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper
The Hunt for Atlantis by Andy McDermott
The Island by Victoria Hislop
One Day by David Nicholls*
The Pioneer Woman Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond
The Pilot`s Wife by Anita Shreve*
The Razor`s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd*
Sleep Pale Sister by Joanna Harris
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See*
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky*
Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger*
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

On the subject of giveaways, there is a fabulous one for quilters over at Piece and Press. Dan makes the most amazing and original and beautiful quilts and is giving away an Accuquilt Go! Baby Fabric Cutter.  The giveaway is open until Sunday June 26, 10 PM PST but hop over there anyway and see just what he does.  It`s incredible.

Wordless Wednesday - Taking It Easy

Linking up with Faith Hope and a Whole Lotta Love .

Monday, 20 June 2011

100th Postaversary Giveaway - I Can`t Wait Any Longer!

Highlights from the first 99 posts
I always said I would never have a blog and then I did and then I said I wouldn`t blog every day but I often seem to and now after 5 months I have reached my 100th post.

To celebrate this small occasion, I have a small giveaway. 

The winner will receive either this carnelian, Swarovski crystal and garnet necklace...                                        

or this acquamarine and rainbow flourite chip with aventurine rondelles necklace...both are handmade by me...

and for my quilty readers who don`t yet have one, I have a copy of this for you as well...

and lastly this funky little porte-monnaie (purse or wallet) by Lup31, made from re-cycled flour sacks here in Marrakech...

So to participate in this giveaway, simply leave a comment below  -
  • specifying which necklace you would like 
  • if you are not a quilter, or you are and you already have the book say so and I`ll send you a little something else from Marrakech
  • If you are a member of the Brit Quilt Group set up by Lynne at Lilly`s Quilts leave a separate comment saying so and you`ll get a bonus entry
  • lastly my family and I are off on our hols in a couple of weeks so a recommendation for a good beach read (nothing too light, nothing too heavy) would be great.  Don`t worry if you don`t have one, you can still play. 
I`ll choose a winner on Friday June 24.
    Thanks to everyone who drops by and leaves comments - I love every one of them.

    The Ourika Necklace

    It`s still mighty hot here in Marrakech and no sign of it relenting.  Zaki and I are just back from lunch and while home is only a 10 minute walk from the little cafe where we ate, by the time we got back I thought I could see a mirage.

    So with it still being too hot to sew and after yesterday`s quilting calamity, I dug out my stones this morning.

    Aventurine rondelles, aventurine round beads, rainbow flourite chips and acquamarine chips.

    The purples and pale greens remind me of the glacial waters you see up in the Ourika Valley in the foothills of the Atlas mountains...a place to where the Marrakechis escape the summer heat.

    These are much more my colours  - I love green and the combination of purple and green is so pretty.

    It measures 18 inches (46 cm) or the length of a brachiosaurus` neck...tomorrow I have a giveaway to celebrate my 100th hop over.

    Sunday, 19 June 2011

    Partnership Quilts - Sailboats

    Sailboats block
    Today I made my block for the partnership quilts which will be made and displayed at The Tokyo Quilt Festival in 2012 and auctioned off afterward to raise money for the Japanese earthquake victims.  Ayumi is organising this through her blog Pink Penguin.

    The theme this year is triangles and squares. Knowing that while sometimes cruel the ocean is so important to the Japanese, I hand pieced this 9 inch Sailboats block using this pattern.  It was my first attempt at half square triangles and I`m pleased with the points.  In fact over all, I`m pleased.  Now to get it to Japan!

    Edited to add This block won`t be going to Japan after all as I realize that once the seam allowance is taken into account, it will knock the tips off the triangles.  Off to have a think.

    To see more proper blocks for the partnership quilts, check out the flikr group here.

    Saturday, 18 June 2011

    Camera Critters - Wood Gathering in Imlil

    Imlil, Morocco, January 2011
    Linking up with Camera Critters, and also Shadow Shot Sunday over at Hey Harriet.  For more shots of critters click here and for more shadow shots click here.

    Friday, 17 June 2011

    A Housewarming Present

    It`s been a busy week one way or another including two sets of surprise visitors.  A little like the No.11 bus, you wait for one for ages and then two come along at the same time.

    After reading a post earlier this week on Lisa`s blog about David and Amy Butler`s home (check out the amazing photos of her house, especially the view from the decking), I dug out my Amy Butler Disappearing 9 patch, which I made back in February here. Inspired by clever quilter Susan over at Canadian Abroad who recently whipped up a cushion cover just like that, I thought I would try my hand at one using the disappearing 9 patch.

    After attaching a 3 and a half inch border of white cotton, I first tried some hand quilting...

    ...and then thought better of it and machine quilted it.  Being a lazy quilter and not wanting a thousand  thread ends to hide, I did  a square spiral in each square.  The line of stitching is one continuous line until it reaches the centre of each square.  Does that make any sense? I then densely quilted the white cotton.

    After backing it envelope style (a nice deep one) with some of Anna Maria Horner`s Chocolate Lollipop, which I couldn`t think of any other use for, it turned out like this...

    The cushion cover back in Anna Maria Horner`s Chocolate Lollipop
    I know.  It looks like a bag of spanners on one of our balcony chairs but that`s because it`s stuffed with a cardigan.  I couldn`t find a lovely plump cushion to put it on.  When I do, I`ll show you what it looks like.  Just for know, squint your eyes and use your imagination.

    Whose new house is it for?  Didn`t I tell you?  We`re moving in a couple of weeks to a new place just down the road.  It`s bigger than where we are at the moment and the best news?  I`ll have my own room where I can set up and do my thing.  Woo hoo. I think that`s the best present of all! 

    This is my 97th post so don`t forget to check back on Sunday or Monday for a 100th postaversary giveaway.

    Wednesday, 15 June 2011

    The Fire Necklace

    It`s just too hot today.  Too hot to walk and take photos. Too hot to quilt.  Too hot to blog.  Just too hot.
    The only thing to do is sit in the cool, in the quiet and make a necklace.  I used carnelian briolettes, carnelian round beads, Swarovsky crystals and garnet round beads. I tried to make this necklace before but the briolettes wouldn`t sit nicely and so I decided to add the small crystals...
    I don`t have a bead board but always start a necklace in the centre and work on both sides simultaneously.
    Like in other crafts, odd numbers are always a good thing and this necklace has 11 briolettes...I then added the garnet beads.  When you receive strings of beads you have ordered online they are not always a consistent quality and so it`s important to use the best quality ones and more expensive beads where they will be seen - from the front of the neck and shoulders downwards...
     After counting the beads to check there was the same number on each side, all that was needed was a clasp.
    As I am fair haired, I`m not so sure these firey colours are for my colouring but I think it would look great on a brunette or a red head.  Now there`s only one thing to do.  Siest!

    Linking up again with Our Creative Spaces.  Hop over there to see lots of creative people doing their thing.

    Tuesday, 14 June 2011

    Dipping My Toe in the Water - Partnership Quilts

    I just heard about a great project over at Ayumi`s blog, Pink Penguin

    Ayumi is currently one of the top 50 quilt bloggers in the world. She is looking for people to make a single block using triangles and or squares and it and the other blocks will be made into quilts and exhibited at the Tokyo Quilt Festival in January 2012.  After the exhibition, the quilts will be auctioned off and the proceeds directed towards the earthquake victims.

    What a fabulous way to be involved in something which will do so much good and at the same time be able to show off a little bit of your magic. I have yet to participate in a swap, a bee, a QAL etc., and so this will be a gentle introduction to it all I guess.

    Head over there and check out what`s needed  - wouldn`t it be be fantastic to beat last year`s 10,344 blocks?  So on, make a block. 

    Monday, 13 June 2011

    The Marrakech Rose Quilt

    Wow - it is baking here in Marrakech. For the first time the aircon is on.  Thank God for aircon.

    Some of you may remember me showing you  a quarter of a quilt top I was making for our bed.  I called it the Marrakech Rose quilt as Marrakech is known as the pink city. Today I finished the top.  All I had to do was finish the Kaffe Fassett Radiation border.

    I had thought of repeating the Matisse style rose fabric in a last border but I`ve gone off big quilts.  For the moment.  Until I upgrade my very loyal machine which was my mum`s in the `80s.  Never say never. So here is an ugly shot of it up on our roof terrace.  Not ironed (it`s too hot) but I still love it.

    So now I have to look for fabric for the backing.  I am looking for a fresh green small print.  As this quilt top is a little `in your face`, a calm backing is required. I haven`t found one yet that I`m in love with. I`ll keep looking.

    I also washed the blue fabrics for my Storm at Sea quilt. I hope to start piecing it this week although I need to sort out making some templates. I`ve read that many people are put off making this design because of the thin long points of the diamonds. Ooops. So I will probably piece it by hand as I`m far more accurate that way than using a machine!

    A is for Ant, B is for...Bee

    A bee and an ant doing their thing
    Linking up with Macro Monday over at Lisa`s Chaos

    Sunday, 12 June 2011

    As Gordon would say, `The Project. DONE!`

    So yesterday evening after a day at the pool and with a burnt back (apologies to my Australian readers) I finished `the project` also known as Z`s quilt.  Here it is.

    I made a scappy binding using the last of the Moda Arcadia layer cake and there was just enough. It tones in with the Cloud 9 Clearing backing...
    ...and I took care over my mitered corners...

    It`s been a long time coming and it all started with my mum posting some fabric to me.  So a huge thanks to her.  She`s a brilliant mum.

    There`s only one problem.  I mentioned swimming pools and a sunburned back.  Yes it`s 37 C (100 F) and isn`t dropping below 21 C (71 F) at night so it`s not really quilt weather at the moment.  Still, I like it.  Z likes it (although not now mummy - later) and I think it looks good.
    This is my 91st post so I guess that means something special for the 100th?  If you are not a regular reader, do check back in a week or so (family and employees will not be allowed to participate, mum).

    Shadow Shot Sunday - Stuck in a String Vest

    West Bay Playground, Dorset, England

    For more shadowy shots head over to Hey Harriet.

    Saturday, 11 June 2011

    Camera Critters - Jack the Chimney Sweep

    Jackdaws like magpies are attracted to shiny objects.  Perhaps this one liked this gate into my friends` garden in Herefordshire, England designed by Giusseppe Lund who designed the Queen Mothers Gate in Hyde Park.  He`s very handsome and you have to remind yourself he`s a member of the crow family.

    Linking up with Camera Critters.

    Friday, 10 June 2011

    Cake O`Clock

    The other day I was over at Alicia`s Posie Gets Cozy and she was writing about a `yummy yummy yummy cake` that her mother in law makes and brings with her when she visits. It is made in a special pan called a rehrucken cake pan available from Pipkas of Door County. The rehrucken pan is a long ridged loaf tin, which comes with a recipe for Scandinavian Almond Cake - the cake made by Alicia`s mother in law.

    Any thing called yummy three times has to be tried no? 

    So yesterday I made it and it turned out beautifully. I used a standard loaf tin and as it was shorter and fatter than a rehrucken pan it took about 5 minutes longer in my oven. The basic recipe calls for almond essence but instead I added the zest of 1 lemon. Z helped in scattering the almonds on top of the batter and when it was toasty and golden brown, a light dusting of icing sugar (confectioner`s sugar) was all that was needed.

    Now that I know what a stick of butter is (about 100 gr) I`m a huge convert to the American system of cups - much less fiddly than using scales that may or may not be accurate.

    Here`s the recipe
    Beat well: 1 ¼ cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 ½ tsp pure almond extract, 2/3 cup milk
    Mix in:    1 ½ cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder
    Slowly add:     1 stick melted butter
    *Butter and flour Rehrucken pan.
    *Pour batter into Rehrucken pan. Sprinkle with sliced almonds (optional).
    *Bake at 350o for 38-42 minutes until golden brown.
    *Cool in pan for 6-8 minutes.
    *Invert cake onto cooling rack.
    *Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar before serving.

    You might want to add chocolate chips to the batter or a lemon drizzle (a cup of icing sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice mixed together) once it`s cooked.

    It`s the kind of cake you can share with friends but really it`s a family cake.  One just to have around.  For that cup of tea late afternoon.