A journey into delayed gratification

Chutney making that is, an eye-watering, house-honking journey at that. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE making chutney and I was delighted with the generous (gulp!) amount of damsons and tomatoes supplied by my Dad (hi Dad!) last weekend. Every September I get lost in that whole image of giving lovingly-prepared, hand-made gifts and winter evenings with cheese, biscuits and a dollop of lovely chutney to remind you that summer will return again, albeit probably briefly, at some point. However those cosy domestic images usually vanish at the same time that two pints of malt vinegar come to boil and have to simmer for 2-3 hours. Even Barbary Boy has been complaining about the lingering smell, which as the main supplier of lingering smells in this house, he's best placed to judge.
Chutney making is a leap of faith, what you're making smells terrible and when ready won't taste any good for at least six weeks, or three months in this Delia recipe's case. It's hard to keep the faith! Anyhow, that's one batch of damson chutney done, I will turn my attention to the tomatoes next, and then maybe some damson jelly. There are heaps of them left though, does anyone know if you can freeze damsons?
 
Thanks for reading,
Helen x

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Off Down Under…

Not me, regrettably, but a quilt I have been making for a lovely new pink arrival in Melbourne. With my usual immaculate sense of timing I've managed to get this finished and sent right at the end of one of the coldest Aussie winters in ages and just in time for spring. I hope it fulfills the baby's Mum's usual style, very feminine but not too pink or fussy.
 
This quilt's been a bit of a learning curve. I've patchworked for years, but only traditional English paper-piecing and only started machine piecing this year after finally investing in a good sewing machine (a Janome DC3050). I'd never followed a pattern before or bought everything in advance. My paper-piecing stuff tends to be of the make-it-up-as-I-go variety. Which means that things look a bit more traditionally hotch-potch than some of the more modern style quilts I've been drooling over recently. It also means I have quite a few WIPs (to say nothing of a good number of WTF?s) stashed away in cupboards. I'm bitten by the machine-piecing bug though, the process of choosing exactly where to put all the blocks was great and very different to what I've done before. The yellow fabric is a shot cotton I picked off the remnant table of my local fabric shop, everything else is from Lila Tueller's Soirée collection for Moda. It's an easy pattern to follow and would make a great I Spy quilt for quilters with the patience to fussy cut their fabrics.
 
I bought the pattern from Cluck Cluck Sew (http://www.cluckclucksew.com/), I love this blog, and I want to make all the patterns listed here. Given that I seem to have a remarkably fecund'n'fertile bunch of friends'n'family, that may well happen!
 
Thanks for reading,
Helen x

Hello World!

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Hello hello hello!
 
I think everyone starts a blog a bit shyly, why am I doing this, why am I here etc etc. My main reasons for starting this one is that I live a fair way from too many friends and family, and I want to be able to show and tell a bit more about what I'm up to. I'd love to hear from anyone else who's blogging for much the same reason. My main interests at the moment are sewing, gardening, cooking, children and education, occasional diversions into politics (very rarely and only when I've been stupid enough to wander onto the Daily Mail web-page searching for sleb gossip), and reading. Hope to keep this going (previous diary keeping form isn't particularly promising), hope it's fun!
 
Thanks for reading,
Helen x