Chocolate Meringue Cakes

Oh Sew Tempting:

Do you like chocolate, meringue or cake? Look no further! YUM :-)

Originally posted on Sun and Cake:

An interview with the Great British Bake Off team that a friend posted on Facebook gave me a kick into the kitchen today. As Terri is writing an essay at my house I thought it would be nice to provide a sweet treat as well. I have often used recipes from Sue Lawrence’s Book of Baking and have found them to be absolutely fantastic. I adapted this recipe today and had an attempt at individual cakes rather than the standard sandwich cake. I made the mixtures for the Chocolate Lemon Meringue cake as usual, but added six Terry’s Chocolate Orange segments roughly chopped into chips. I also ran 15g short of cocoa and left out a little milk to compensate. I didn’t make the mixtures one after the other, but made the cake mix up to the point of adding the flour, then made the meringue and quickly finished off the cake.

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Funky chickens and a sneaky peek!

Good morning everyone,

Just popping in this morning with two announcements. Firstly, I’ve been buying more fabric in greys, lemon and olive green. They are most unlike me! I usually go for bright designs but it’s nice to have a change sometimes.


I can feel something modern coming on Smile. In fact, I’ve already started making something but you’ll have to wait a while to see what it is. I know, it’s a bit of a tease!

Secondly, I’d like to introduce Anne in Texas. She’s new to blogging and she won the last Chicken Run. This is just a couple of the chickens she has made for you to choose from if you win the giveaway/swap. There’s a really funky one that would be my first choice but you’ll have to go and look for yourself to see it. Details are on her latest post at Peacock Hill. So, please hop over to support her blog soon!

Anne from Texas

That’s it for now. Many jobs to be done here, so no sewing today Sad smile.

Have fun,

Avis x

Is it a mug rug?

Good morning everyone!

What a glorious sunny day it is here in the North East of England. I hope you are all well and that crafting is keeping you happy. For me, it’s just been work, work, work these last couple of months so I’m very pleased to be back here with my crafty friends at last.

I finally had a day off yesterday and decided to finish a little project that I’d started weeks ago. Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I don’t like scraps of fabric. If I make something, I cut the pieces in the most economical way and often achieve no-waste projects. It takes an awful lot of planning but the pleasure I get from having used every square inch of available fabric makes me very happy.

So, not having any particular project in mind, I decided to get rid of a few scraps. I had several strips of blues leftover from bindings so I split them up the middle and began to sew them together not knowing what it was going to turn into. Before long I had two different rectangular blocks that I thought would make a nice mug rug or maybe a mini quilt table topper.


It is actually rectangular in real life Smile.

Well, just before the binding was sewn on I had a brainwave (which doesn’t happen to me very often). My tablet could do with a case! So I turned it over, grabbed some more scraps, made a lined pocket and HEY PRESTO! It’s a tablet case Smile.


I also added a fabric tie.


Look at that wobbly edge at the bottom. That happened because I stretched the front block as I was attaching the lining Sad smile. I used nice thick wadding/batting to protect the screen.


I think I like the back the best.


Here’s my tablet, all snug as a bug in a (mug) rug Winking smile


Some of you may remember my previous scrappy playtimes. Here’s a quick reminder.







All proof that you can make it up as you go along. Have fun scrap busting! I did Smile.

Avis x

Another giveaway swap!

Hi everyone,

I’m too busy to sew at the moment but my blogging friends around the world are still crafting YEY!

The winner of the last chicken called Lovedove from Wanda’s Life Sampler, was Sarah over at Here We Are. Sarah has been sending me photographs of all the chickens she has been making while she patiently waited and entered (for five months!!) for her turn to win one of the Chicken Run swaps. You can see them all in the Chicken Run Gallery above. She just couldn’t stop making more and more chickens!

I would like to introduce you to her latest little brood from the USA. You could win one of these beauties if you follow the simple rules on her blog here. Sarah is allowing the winner to choose one of these four as their prize.

Sarah Z4

She has also included a fantastic photo tutorial on how to make a log cabin chicken. So come on, what are you waiting for? If you haven’t visited Sarah’s blog before, now is the time to grab a cuppa, put your feet up and hop over to see what else she gets up to while you decide which fabric scraps to use to make your own chicken.

Have fun!

Avis x

Some things are so cute!

Hello blogging friends!

I’ve been away for a while and haven’t done a great deal of machine sewing recently. Life just gets in the way sometimes. The cross stitch and knitting are progressing on my other blog but the sewing machine has been gathering dust waiting for me to get time to do a repair. Actually, I did give it a good old service last week and I managed to get a new belt from The Man Who Can.


The rubber belt at the right hand side was the original from the 1950’s and it was shedding rubber dust and kept jumping off, especially when I was refilling the bobbin. So I went to see if my trusted sewing machine fixer man had a replacement that would fit. Well, it was a very tight fit and it was hard to believe the original had stretched so much. In fact, it was also a real pain getting the original one off because the screw holding everything together was so tight. I was about to give up when I noticed the housing for the motor was adjustable so it was out with the screwdriver and on with my mechanical head. So now the motor has been repositioned in two directions and everything is working perfectly again. The machine is now humming rather than doing impressions of a tractor and I no longer have unsightly black dust spraying about every time I sew. I was itching to test it on a new project Smile.

My daughter has been getting a new mobile phone that has a large screen. She asked me a couple of weeks ago whether I could make her a slip case for when it is in her bag. She chose the fabric from my scraps and it stayed on the cutting table until this morning. It’s taken so long to get time to make it. Anyway, the brief was to make a simple lined case with wadding for protection. She didn’t want any fasteners at all so it had to be a perfect fit otherwise the phone would fall out. I didn’t want any of the seams to show so this is what I came up with. I knew it was going to be fiddly and it certainly tried my patience. Anyway, it fits perfectly and the phone doesn’t drop out on its own.


I like the metallic leaves on the fabric design and the wadding works well.


The case hugs the phone and my daughter is very happy with it. It might be a small finish but it’s still a finish Smile. However, I’m pleased I don’t have to make phone cases for a living as I wouldn’t get many made in a day!

So that’s all I’ve managed to achieve recently in the sewing department. Now for the cute bit!

The weather here has really improved during recent days. I’m already complaining about the temperature at 21 degrees. Two days of sunshine and I’m looking for the shade. I was busy working the other day, with the doors to the garden wide open and who should I spot on the grass? Spring is definitely here. This little chap spent about an hour foraging out in the open before disappearing off under some shrubbery. I got very little done.


How cute is he/she? I love hedgehogs because they let us get up close to take photos. Do you have hedgehogs where you live?

That’s it for now. I’m off to catch up with your blogs Smile.

Avis x

Partly Solved Mysteries

Posted on both blogs Oh Sew Tempting and Sewing Beside the Sea.

Hi everyone,

Last week I posted about two mystery objects that I’d found when going through my late Aunt Edith’s crafting goodies. I asked for your suggestions for their uses and promised to reveal the answers to you this week. The original post is here if you want to see more photos.

I already knew what this object was used for.


It’s a tool for making proggy mats. Proggy, or clippy mats, as we call them in the North East of England were made from wool or strips of fabric, reclaimed from worn out clothes. My maternal Grandmother, who died before I was born, was apparently an expert clippy mat maker. I wish I could have met her because I’m told she was an amazing craftswoman who could turn her hands to many different crafts.

Here is a link to some modern proggy mats on Pinterest.


When the tool is pushed against the rug backing, the “proggy bit”, which is loaded with wool or fabric strip, pushes through. When the tool is pulled away from the rug, the internal spring makes the “proggy bit” retract back inside the metal tube.

This is the original box.


And the instructions.



So now you know what it is for Smile.

Now, the second mystery object is still a mystery in my opinion.


Several readers thought it might be a hinge. There were also other ideas. I think they mean the type of hinge that stops a drop down lid from dropping too far. For example on a writing bureau or upwards on the lid of a chest. I’m not convinced it is a hinge as it doesn’t straighten so I’m still open to suggestions on that one. I just don’t understand why this would have been stored with Aunt Edith’s crafty things if it is a hinge.

So, sorry I don’t have an answer to Mystery number 2 but I hope you enjoy looking at the proggy mats anyway Smile.

Avis x


Latest Chicken Run Giveaway Swap!

Hi everyone,

Just popping in to let you all know that there is a new Chicken Run Giveaway Swap being hosted by Wanda’s Life Sampler. Wanda has made a really cute chicken to send to the lucky winner. Here it is!

Wanda Dotson

I’ve also updated the gallery so you can see all the chickens in the coop so far, plus some photos sent to me by lovely crafters who just couldn’t resist making a chicken even though they didn’t win! I wonder where Wanda’s chicken will be flying off to. Maybe it will be coming to live with you!

Avis x

Please help me solve this mystery!

Originally posted on Sewing Beside the Sea:

Hello again,

I have something different for you this time, two little mysteries to solve. I know the answer to the first one already but the second one has me baffled. You are welcome to give suggestions to both and I’ll reveal the answer to at least  number one next week. OK here we go…

Mystery Number One

Do you know what this is used for?


Here is a view of the end.


It’s been well used in my family but not by me and it’s for a certain kind of craft. The handle is made of rubber and it is quite heavy for its size. No more clues!

Mystery number two

I have no idea what this is and I don’t even know whether it is for some kind of crafting purpose but it was in a bag of crafting goodies left by my late Aunt Edith.


It opens…

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Spring is in the air!

Hi everyone,

Spring is definitely in the air here in the sunny North-East. We must have had at least a whole week of sunshine over the Easter holiday!

Sunshine makes me want to sew bright colours. So here is my latest creation. I hope you like it. I tried to make the coloured chevrons pop using two shades of the same colour for each band and it seems to work.


I densely quilted the white areas and contemplated quilting with the relevant colours on the chevrons but decided against to keep it crisp. Less is more Smile


The colours are actually much brighter in real life.


Following the last post about my red, white and blue sampler, I received some emails about machine stitching the binding. The method I used was to prepare the binding strips at two and a quarter inches wide. Press in half along the length. Sew the binding to the front of the quilt through the raw edges of the quilt and fabric strips. Turn the binding to the back so the back edge is just past the front edge of the binding (you will be able to feel this). Sew to the back with a zipper foot and take care not to catch the front of the binding with the stitches. I didn’t use pins. I never use pins! There is no need. Just keep an eye on it. It’ll be just fine Smile


That’s it for today. I’ve just received a parcel and can’t wait to get inside!!

Avis x

Red, White and Blue!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Just popping in to show you my latest finish in red, white and blue. My friend pointed out that this one is very patriotic, being the colours of several national flags around the world.


I love red, white and blue together. This is a simple sampler and great for any beginner. My free fourteen part photo tutorial is available in my tutorials at the top right of this page if you want to make it. It’s a large lap quilt size which would also work well as a single bed topper. My favourite block is the card trick which is the blue and white one in the middle of the second from bottom row. It probably has other names too depending where you come from.


The quilting is in a waves pattern as I’m Sewing Beside the Sea. This is such a relaxing design to do in free motion quilting, really good for my muscle memory Winking smile.


I first attached the binding to the front by machine and then, for a change, machined it on the back. I’m really pleased with how it turned out as I usually prefer to stitch the binding by hand. A change is as good as a rest, so they say Smile.


I’ve got a very exciting new project (well for me anyway) to post about over at Sewing Beside the Sea so I’d better get on with it and then catch up with what you have all been getting up to.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend Smile

Avis x


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