My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ginger Crunch Cake

I've been making this cake since I was a kid.  It's one of the first recipes copied into my (now almost 30 years old!!) notebook that I keep for recipes.  I love looking back at it with my developing hand writing and my spelling mistakes - I spelt ingredients wrong for about the first 20 pages.

Anyway, back to the cake.  It's a favourite and when I serve it I often get asked for the recipe.  So here it is.

Ginger Crunch Cake

1 1/2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of butter

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
1 cup of sugar
100 grams of butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons of golden syrup
1 cup of milk

Grease and line a 20 cm square tin and pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Topping:  Put all the topping ingredients into the food processor and mix until it looks like breadcrumbs.  Tip this into a bowl and put into the fridge until you need it.

Cake:  In the processor, mix together dry ingredients.  Add the butter and mix until it is cut in finely and evenly.  Beat the egg, milk and golden syrup together lightly.  Pour this into the mixer bowl until all ingredients are just combined.  Don't over mix.

Pour cake batter into tin and bake for 5 minutes.  Take out and quickly spread the topping evenly over the surface.  Place back in oven and back for another 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Cargo Duffle, done.

I've had my eye on Anna Noodlehead's Cargo Duffle pattern for a while.  It's a free download from the Robert Kaufman website.

A week or two ago I was feeling bogged down with deadlines and requests and work and and and....

So I did what any good quilter does, I started something new!  I just picked it up now and again and sewed a little bit and before I knew it, I had me a finished cargo duffle.

I used a Moda Bella solid, Graphite I think, for the main body, Moda Bella Green for the pockets and inner binding, an Ikea decorator weight cotton print for the lining and a retro fabric I picked up in Australia for the base and handle feature.

The pattern was fairly straight forward, although I'd class it as intermediate.  I appreciated the extra clarifications Anna Noodlehead blogged about recently - they made it clearer about how to attach the binding inside, but it was still my least favourite part of the job.

In fact, the next one I make (because there will be more!) will have a lining in it courtesy of a tutorial written by Kristin at Skirt As Top.

It's sturdy and functional and I love the fabrics I picked.  And my kids admired it so much that I let them pick out fabrics for their own cargo duffles.  Apologies for the photo quality, I was taking it for my records rather than for publishing but I thought I'd show you and let you guess what gender child picked which pile...

Cat - recognise that second fabric down?  O loves it and there's the perfect amount for handle features.
So, if you're looking for an overnight bag or a carry-on bag, why don't you try this pattern?  You can go and see a heap of fabric combinations at the Noodlehead Flikr group.  Have fun!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Candlelight.

I found this picture on my camera and wanted to share.  It's from the other day when we had a 24 hour power cut thanks to Cyclone Ita.  After dinner we lit candles and coloured in.  Actually, the kids request me to draw pictures and then they colour them.  That night it was a flying unicorn, a winged snake breathing fire, a crown and a water problems, right?  Mum's can do anything!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thanks Brandy Lynn!

Canadian Quilt Talk is a relatively new podcast and the host, Brandy Lynn Maslowski is working really hard to forge herself a career in quilting, which is great to see (and hear!).

I sent in a story for her weekly quilter's corner and got a bit of a thrill to hear it read out over the airwaves.  Even better was the lovely fat quarter bundle that was my prize!  You can hear my story on Episode 38

Northcott Fabrics are sponsoring Brandy Lynn and Canadian Quilt Talk.  Their tagline is 'cottons that feel like silk' - and they really do!  Fabulous quality, these got a bit of petting before I threw them in the washing machine.  Yes, I am a die hard pre-washer.

Here's a link to Brandy Lynn's website and podcast
And here's a link to her blog which will also take you to her podcast

Thanks Brandy Lynn and thanks Northcott!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

12 x 12 Purple Challenge

The Colour Purple

12" x 12" - Colour Purple

Entries close 21 November 2014

Purple will be the colour of our next 12x12 Challenge. This will be open to everyone - you do not have to be a member of Aotearoa Quilters, so tell your friends - get them involved.  You have plenty of time and these small quilts are very achievable.  Get a group together for inspiration, motivation and some new ideas - have some fun along the way.

Prizes: $300 for the winner and three merits of $100 each.

Conditions of entry and entry form can be found here.

Entry fee will be $15 for members and $25 for non-members.
Join Aotearoa Quilters now to get the member benefits.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Tired travellers emerging from the bush after an overnight hike.  I stayed home to keep the home fires burning (and because I'm working a 12 hour night shift tonight).  I picked them up and drove them straight to swimming lessons.  I do believe they'll sleep soundly tonight, all three of them!

Friday, April 11, 2014

What I saw this morning...

My ducks eating their breakfast.  Ducks are rude and loud and obnoxious, then they shut up as soon as their beaks are full....hmmm, sounds like a few people I know.

Wildpuss, pretending to be a tiger.  He's not a fastidious cat and doesn't mind the dew.

Emma saying good morning to Wildpuss and Wildpuss not looking so amused.  Don't worry, WP, I don't like the wet nose either!

Them's thar turkeys on thar hills!

I love this one.  She looks like she's saying, "We are not amused," in her best posh voice.  As in, we are not amused that you are taking pictures BEFORE you feed us.

Such an enthusiastic, dopey dawg.  Being a labrador, trained as a gun dog, Emma feels she has to carry something in her mouth at all times.  Today she's found a bit of wood.  Usually it's a rock, which is bad.  Check out her blunted tooth.  She will drop them when we tell her too, but as soon as our back is turned...

And another pretty sunrise.  Can't help myself, I've a million shots of pretty sunrises.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Autumn is my favourite season.  And this is one of the reasons why.  The skies just go on and on and on.  Afternoon will give us amazing clouds.  Evening gives us fascinating light.  Then the sunrises...the sunrises can leave you speechless.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Did you know you can dye quilt batting?

Sorry!  More hand dyes.  Are you getting sick of them yet?  But I wanted to show a few experimental bits and pieces that I threw dye on.

So, clockwise from front left: cotton stranded embroidery thread, really cheap and nasty wool batting, cotton batting, my usual high-thread count cotton sheeting, woollen blanket, silk, repurposed linen.

What I learnt:

  1. Wool does take non-acid dyes, just not as strongly as cotton, although cerulean blue just seemed to wash straight out (i.e, that orange wool was a tangerine and blue mix to make turquoise).  More experimentation needed.
  2. Cheap, nasty wool batting is still cheap and nasty.  It felted a bit, which helps it's structure but it's still too soft to use in a wool appliqué project.  Yummy colours though and I could used it for a little hand-stitching art project I have in mind though.
  3. Cotton batting takes the dye really well, but I should try and find some without scrim because this shows through a little on one side.
  4. I need to find a thinner, finer wool blanket than the one I had.  Two pieces were from a thinner one and the rest were a much courser weave - big difference in the hand of them.
  5. Old linens take the dye beautifully.  Must keep my eye out at the op shop!
  6. I love dyeing, I already knew that, but I just confirmed it again.

I know I'm never going to be the best photographer, but I'm trying to improve and practice my skills.  Here I was trying for bokeh, or blur, by increasing the distance between my foreground and my background.  I like the look, what do you think?

And I'm so pleased with my deep purple.  Been hanging out for my black dye, and it finally arrived.  It's makes the best greens too.  Those greens are all made with black and yellow.

Loving the dye on the cotton batting.  It looks like watercolour paintings.  Now I just need to make something with it.