Monday 5 December 2011

SacherTorte in the Sacher Cafe

I love SacherTorte. I think it's the best chocolate cake in the world and every year we fly one in from Vienna for my DDs birthday (yes, they deliver!).

But it's nicer on location...

And for those of you who'd like to make it, well here's the official postcard recipe. I will definitely be trying this one out for myself!

Thursday 1 December 2011

A Gift for my 1618 Yahoo Group Members

'Red December' is free to all members: I am so pleased to have this quilt top finished! And…It’s already being basted! Yes, full steam ahead! This is a WIP I’ve been looking to finish for a while now. I found it amongst my red stash months ago and thought, ‘why is this just sitting here???’
It’s been quite a red and white year for me. First Peaceful Pathways and now Red December. Do you know the feeling? I just had to get some classic red and whites off my Quilting To Do List and once you start one…well, the inspiration just keeps flowing.
I really do love it. I think I will have to have a Red and White Link Party on this site. I know there are lots of red and white beauties out there so it would be nice to give them an airing.
I can’t wait to hang this quilt and share some upfront shots. These will have to do for now.
I’ve been thinking about what a great year it’s been – and I’ve especially been thinking about all you wonderful readers who come along to see what I’m doing and share your thoughts. Blogging is very time intensive…but also very rewarding. It's nice to know someone else enjoys my little online journal here.
This is a pic of the borders. The special thing about the pattern is that the borders have been designed so that they can be created to make a table runner. Yes, really! I am currently making my own for Christmas this year, and of course I will share it right here when I do. As soon as I get around to it.

 I have a very special group called the Esther Aliu Yahoo Bom Group and this fabulous forum is a place where members share and discuss my projects and BOMs. I’m also very fortunate to have 3 fabulous moderators who do a wonderful job keeping everyone informed and generally in the know. I get to see my quilts and designs made in lots of different colours / fabrics and schemes.
It’s a dream come true for a designer! How lucky am I?? Very.

The next obvious step is to share some of this joy I feel at having such a wonderful group, and so I have decided to share my latest pattern Red December with members for free.
Yes, free!
It's my way of saying thank you for all the support you give me throughout the year. I really love this pattern and I hope that some of you will too.

If you’re a member, simply go to the files section and download the PDF. You should know your way around by now! The pattern is free for the month of December, after that it will be on sale through my online shop.
Non-members can join the group at any time, for free, or purchase the pattern via my online shop.

Thank You!

Wednesday 30 November 2011

WOW: Creating the border

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

So here we are. It's nearly December and I always go one of two ways:
1. Speed up and work non stop to get my WIPs done or
2. Start with intentions for 1... and get distracted by Dec 5th and move WIPs to the New Year list.

So I have been buckling down and working all day to get Red December finished. I've finally created the border (see below) since last wednesday and I intend to finish this beautiful red and white quilt this week. Yes, time is ticking. There's still plenty to do as we all prepare for festivities.

How are your WIPs looking?
Are you full steam ahead?
Or have you set your WIPs aside for next year now?

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Crochet Christmas Wreath: Year 2

Update: Christmas 2011
It's been a year since I posted this easy Christmas project and it's become one of my most popular posts! It's simple, so easy to personalise and the best bit? You can make it in a day. Yes, really. It's simple. If your haven't already, why not make it this year?
Finished! A Christmas WIP no longer. Here is my Christmas Crochet Wreath.
Last week I purchased a foam wreath ring. I had an idea to cover it with green crochet roses, and after knitting up a few of those decided to add some leaves as well. I wanted three white roses...and had thoughts about red roses too. As I already have a lot of red in my house with poinsettia's at this time of year, I decided to keep with mostly greens.
I have another crochet wreath WIP which is full of flowers, but I don't think that WIP will be quite completed until Easter (ish). Maybe.
Each year I aim to spend December winding down, but like last year, I find that I am speeding up. I don't want to enter the New Year with so many WIPs behind me. I am spending most of my days finishing finishing finishing.
This wreath is easy to make, you can have it finished in just a day or two.
4mm, 5mm & 6mm hook

I worked up a leaf in each of the above hooks and decided on working up in the 6mm as I was after lush foliage that was also quick to come together.

I covered the ring with a variegated yarn in greens. This was the trickiest and most time consuming part! The foam has to be covered evenly and neatly -and thick enough to anchor your stitches into when positioning your crochet into place.

This is what you are making: foliage flowers
The foliage flowers save you from positioning hundreds of little leaves separately

Make as many as you need to fill out your wreath / ring

Make some green roses as well as white ones to create interest around the ring

 Stitch the foliage into desired position

The 'roses' are so quick and easy, they almost twirl themselves into position
I used 2 shades of green yarn
Then I positioned the roses and leaves around the ring
I purchased some bells last week when I purchased the foam I thought I would use them, however after positioning them I decided that I liked the wreath plain after all.
As the base of the foam ring is flat, it can be placed on the table or the door. I think I will hang mine...but I might still change my mind.
 There are lots of options with this pattern project.

To Make Up:
US Crochet terms used
4, 5 or 6mm hook
100gm yarn to cover ring
Green yarn (yarn busting from your stash??) for roses and foliage OR
2 x 100 gm in 2 shades of green (this wreath used 85gm) you may need more or less depending on size & tension
20gms white yarn

I have kept the actual crochet super easy, mainly HDCs so you can do it whilst supervising in the kitchen or in front of the TV or with only half an eye on it.
Sorry - no diagrams! I love diagrams, so I know how frustrating working from text can be: I hope this is clear enough to understand:

For Foliage:
Chain 6, create ring, chain 6, slip stitch into ring (to create 6 petals)
Work into each petal:
Half Double Crochet x4
Double Crochet x 4
Treble Crochet x 4
Double Treble x 1
Chain 2
Double Treble x 1
Treble Crochet x 4
Double Crochet x 4
Half Double Crochet x 4
Slip stitch into next petal.
repeat until all petals are full, slip stitch to finish.
This will 'fill' each petal and create an arch. When you are working it up, you may think it won't fit. Don't worry, it will fit perfectly. Persevere.
If you can Double Crochet you can Double Treble's just three loops over the hook. Don't be daunted.
Make 15 (or however many you need to fill your wreath)

For Roses:
Ok, this is so super easy that you might end up with a ring full of roses.
Chain 20, turn
Half Double Crochet down row, chain 2 at end of row
Work into each chain:
5 Half Double Crochet until end. Tie off.
The row will twirl as you work. When finished, twirl into a rose shape and stitch into position.
Position across ring, stitch into place.

If you make this wreath, I'd love to see it!

Monday 28 November 2011

A Visit to Lipica Church

After a day with the Lipizzaner horses, we explored the local area as well. I always like to look in on old churches whenever I get the chance. This church is an old church right in Lipica. Isn’t it beautiful?

 The walls are stamped, and there is also quite a lot of stencil work going on. I just loved the details. Light was fading fast outside, so the photos don’t show up as much detail as I’d like, but you can definitely get a feel for the place.

Maybe I see quilts everywhere, but the motifs here do look familiar

Just thought I’d share the moment with you…

Friday 25 November 2011

Visiting Lipica

I get so annoyed when google flips my pics like this!!

I thought I'd share my trip to the Lipiuca Stud Farm with you. It's such a beautiful spot that it's too good to keep to myself.
Lipizzaner Stallions are beautiful white horses which are bred in Slovenia and known throughout the world. The Lipica stud farm is a local and tourist attraction and even offers riding lessons to those who are interested. Personally, I was more interested in enjoying the company of these horses with my DH, which is exactly what we did.

Of course, admiring the stallions is one thing, taking a carriage ride is another...

These horses are so majestic. Interestingly they are born dark and lighten as they mature.

These shots are postcard worthy, so you can imagine how tranquil being there was…. Every moment with these horses was beautiful.
The whole day was wonderful and warm. During our trip this year we experienced Europe’s warmest Autumn in 90 years!
Of course I packed for a traditional European autumn…but that’s another story! And another wardrobe! I can’t complain because the sunshine was not harsh, but warm and gentle.

Oh and here's a pic of my sister Danica and her partner who joined us on our jaunt

Wednesday 23 November 2011

WOW: Are You Quilting In The Pink ?

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

In the last week I've had several unexpected requests for pictures detailing my quilting on In The Pink.

This is interesting, I wonder how many Pinky WIPs are out there?? I really love this quilt and it was a pleasure to make. I always love it when someone in the Yahoo Group posts an image of their latest In The Pink progress. It makes my day! I think some of you are getting this quilt finally finished in an end of year burst! I can't wait to see them when they are done.

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