Sunday, 23 June 2013

Disappearing Nine Patch Cupcake Cot Quilt

Back in March my Mum and I enjoyed a great little Patchwork & Quilting Workshop at the Brighton Sewing Centre.  It was open to all abilities and a bargain at £20 for 4 hours. 

I had bought the cupcake fabric from them the previous year, when I went to the shop to get advice and to buy a new sewing machine.  The girls were so helpful on which model to buy and I love my Janome TXL 607.

We already have some experience at patchwork, but its always good to pick up new tips. We both decided on the Disappearing Nine Patch Block and were amazed at how simple an idea can be so effective.

Basically you piece and sew 9 equal size squares together and then cut up and then across the middle of the nine patch block.  The four cut pieces are then re-sewn to create a new pattern. 

I decided to turn this into a cot quilt for my niece, Ellie, as we are both fans of cupcakes!  I gave it a simple white inner border, using complementing squares in pink and purple and then used the spotty turquoise fabric for the outer border, which I folded and hand-sewed onto the backing fabric.

I'm really chuffed with the backing fabric, which I found on sale in the children's section of Laura Ashley.  I think it makes a great reversible quilt, but then I am biased!

To speed up the quilting process, we found out about the use of 505 Fabric Adhesive at Cowslips Workshops (more on that weekend in the next blogpost!).  You spray your wadding (the middle of the quilt) and lay your backing fabric on and smooth out any creases.  Then turn the quilt over, spray the other side of the wadding and lay down your quilt top and smooth out.  This saves hours of tacking the 3 layers together and means you can get straight on with the quilting part of the quilt.

I hope she likes it!

Now I just need to crack on with a Daisy Quilt I started at Cowslip Workshops a couple of weekends back.  Here's a sneak preview.......

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Vanilla Sugar Cookies - The Pink Whisk

Boy am I starting to get a collection of baking utensils and decorating tools.  A new sideboard in our kitchen has been filled with just pretty much these things.  Perhaps my new baking challenge should be to use each item??  But no!  I've decided to compile a list of all the baked items I've never tried making before and give them a go.  Get me out of my comfort zone a bit.

So far we've got:-
Decorated biscuits - a simple start
Homemade puff pastry

That's without even consulting the library of baking books, so I'm sure the list will increase.  Any suggestions gratefully received.

I thought I'd have a play with some of my decorating tools and chose the Vanilla Sugar Cookies from The Pink Whisks 'The Busy Girls Guide to Cake Decorating' as a base biscuit.  The recipe makes a lot of dough, so I used half and put half in the freezer.  Wrapped in clingfilm, it can last up to 3 months.

The dough is rolled out between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and then chilled for 30 minutes before cutting out the shapes.


Then chill again for 15 minutes.  This helps the biscuits hold their shape in the oven.  I baked in a 180C static oven with 8 minutes for smaller cookies and 9 minutes for larger cookies.

Re-chill the dough between each rolling out as the dough softens fast and the shapes don't hold firm when cutting them out.


The online recipe does suggest vanilla paste, but the book gives 5ml of vanilla extract as an alternative.  That's what I went with.

Now the first batch never even made it to the decorating stage - I warn you they are a bit moorish!  The second half of the dough was whipped out the freezer and baked the next day.

Once cooled you then get to the fun part.  The making up stage!  Here's some of the tools I used.

I used fondant icing for the decorations this time.  The purple has some Dr Oetker gel colouring kneaded into the white fondant icing.  You just keep adding drops of it, until you have the colour you require.  I didn't glue the icing on.  A soft push on the top seemed to adhere it to the biscuit.

Some of my final offerings.

I can't wait to get a bit more inventive, but these were a start!  Do you like my new cake tin - a cheeky birthday present from friends :-)

Some more practise on the biscuits I think, then decide what else to make from my new baking challenge list!

Happy baking!