Chocolate crackles! Yum-my!

Any fellow Australians out there will immediately recognise chocolate crackles.  They are a staple birthday party treat, along with fairy bread, mini sausage rolls and frog in a pond (not as awful as it sounds – this was a chocolate frog in green jelly).

Chocolate crackles

Chocolate crackles

Chocolate crackles are quick to make and can be made well in advance.  Because there is no baking involved, chocolate crackles are also a great, easy recipe to make with small children.

Here is the original recipe from the Kellogg’s website:


250gm Copha
4 cups rice bubbles/krispies/pops
1 cup icing sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup desiccated coconut

Mix rice bubbles, icing sugar, cocoa and coconut in a large bowl.
Gently melt the Copha, let it cool slightly and stir into the other ingredients.
Spoon mixture into paper patty pans and refrigerate until set.
Makes 24.

Having promised to make chocolate crackles for a recent event, I was horrified to find that Copha (solidified coconut oil) is unique to Australia and doesn’t have an equivalent in the UK.  What to do?

Thankfully I found another recipe (from Green Gourmet Giraffe, which she got from The Sydney Morning Herald) that uses chocolate instead.  Phew!  Here is the alternative recipe.  I’ve added in weight measures for the dry ingredients as Australian cup measures are slightly larger than UK or American ones.


200gm milk chocolate
100gm dark chocolate (I used one that was 54% cocoa)
3 cups (90gm) rice krispies/pops
1 cup (80gm) unsweetened desiccated coconut

Mix rice and coconut in a bowl.
Melt the chocolates together – I did this in a bowl over a pan of simmering water however it could be done in a microwave.
Pour the melted chocolate over the dry ingredients and mix well.
Spoon mixture into paper patty pans and refrigerate until set.
Makes 16.

Now that half-term is coming up, this would be a good recipe to have up your sleeve if the kids get bored, or if you need a quick make for school fetes or parties.

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Memories of childhood Polaroid patchwork quilt

Here at last is the quilt that I exhibited at the recent Festival of Quilts held in Birmingham.  It is called Memories of Childhood because I felt the little fabric pictures perfectly capture the joy and innocence of being a child.

Memories of childhood Polaroid quilt

Memories of childhood Polaroid quilt

With over 80 different fabrics used for the Polaroids, there is so much to discover in this quilt.  One hundred Polaroid blocks are featured in the quilt and no picture is repeated.  There are birds, wild animals, cats, dogs, insects, boys and girls playing, mythical beasts and much, much more.   This “Blast Off” block even glows in the dark!

Polaroid quilt detail

Polaroid quilt detail

You can see more detail In an earlier post  of some of the Polaroids before they were pieced into the quilt.

All the blocks are tilted to give the impression that the Polaroids have been randomly strewn across the quilt.

Polaroid quilt detail

Polaroid quilt detail

I love these Polaroid blocks.  They make a great i-spy quilt for rainy day games.  And imagine the stories you could make up with your children using these little blocks as inspiration.

The back of the quilt is just as lovely, featuring this fabulous print of scooter boys and girls by Aneela Hoey.  It has been carefully pattern matched for a seamless finish and the red and white binding (also by Aneela Hoey) frames the quilt beautifully.

Memories of childhood Polaroid quilt back

Memories of childhood Polaroid quilt back

At 61 x 62 inches (155 X 157 cm) it is the perfect size for picnics, cuddling on the sofa, a cape, a den, a bed or thrown over a chair.

The quilt is made from high quality 100% cotton quilting fabrics, wadding and thread and has been professionally long-arm quilted (the pattern is called cool beans) to make it sturdy and durable.   Warm and snuggly, this is one of my favourite quilts.  Definitely one to be played with now and a treasured heirloom for the future.  I’ll be listing it for sale via my Folksy shop very soon.

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Log cabin patchwork coasters

At the end of September my friend Emma is running a coffee morning to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.   A special event at her coffee morning will be a raffle of lovely handmade items made by local crafters.

Raffle contributions were asked to have a kitchen theme.  I drew a blank on what to make until I saw this quick, fun tutorial that Jeni Baker featured in her latest newsletter (I definitely recommend subscribing.  It’s a great read).

Log cabin quilted coasters

Log cabin patchwork coasters

This set of six cute coasters was made entirely from scraps from an earlier quilt.  The only change I made to the tutorial was to fussy cut the centre squares thus highlighting a kitchen related image – the fabric collection is called Milk Cow Kitchen (Moda) which explains the pictures of cows and milk bottle tops.

Log cabin quilted coasters

Log cabin patchwork coasters

These sweet coasters would look fab in a county kitchen or a rustic kitchen or any kitchen really.  To be in with a chance of winning these or any of the other lovely prizes, check out Emma’s Just Giving page and help support this worthy cause.   Good luck!

Baby boy Polaroid quilt

A new baby calls for a very special gift and what could be more special than a gorgeous  baby quilt.  

My latest obsession is definitely Polaroid blocks.  I love them and don’t they make a fabulous baby quilt?   Here I have fussy-cut my favourite fabrics to produce a quilt perfect for the new man in your life.  Each of the blocks has then been cut to make them slightly wonky, as though the Polaroids have been tipped from a box onto the quilt.  

There is so much to discover in this quilt.  You’ll find a boy riding a scooter, a fierce ninja, a tiny snail, a cute dachshund.  There is a crow peeking from the bushes, some ghoulish skeletons and my favourite, a scary tyrannosaurus (RAWWRR!).


Baby boy photo quilt

Baby boy Polaroid quilt

This little quilt, being approximately 27 by 32 inches, is the perfect size for a baby.  It is soft and supple and therefore great for cuddling baby.  It can also be a play mat, changing mat or pram blanket when the baby is little.  

Quilting detail on baby boy Polaroid quilt

Baby boy Polaroid quilt detail

Even better, it can be folded and rolled small enough to fit into a bag so the quilt can go wherever they go.  Once your baby boy gets a bit older, the Polaroids will make for fun games of i-spy or for story-telling.   Use it as a wall hanging, as a colourful addition at the end of their big bed or thrown over a chair.  

Backing on baby boy quilt

Baby boy quilt reverse

The backing in Kona cotton teal looks great against the binding – a sweet seedling print by Denyse Schmidt.  

Being made from 100% cotton makes this quilt so easy to care for.  Just give it a short, cold machine wash and dry it flat in the shade, or pop it in a dryer on a low setting.  It will come out as good as new.  

This quilt will make a wonderfully versatile and practical gift for any baby and will soon be available via my Folksy shop.  

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Regent Street lawn quilt

Often simple is best.

Start with a couple of charm packs (I used Moda’s Regent Street lawn) and two metres of a solid fabric (I used Bella Solid in off-white).

Fabrics for Regent Street charm quilt

Regent Street lawn quilt materials

Cut the solid into 124 individual 5 inch squares.  Sew the charm squares and solid squares together randomly into 16 rows with 13 squares in each row.  Then sew the rows together.

Regent Street lawn charm pack quilt

Regent Street lawn quilt

As you can’t always find a fence tall enough I had to photograph the finished quilt hanging sideways.   The quilt is 72 inches by 58 inches which is easily big enough for a single bed or as a large throw for the sofa.

Here is a close up showing the backing and detail of the quilt.

Regent Street lawn charm pack quilt detail

Regent Street lawn quilt detail

The lawn fabric is beautifully soft and silky giving the quilt a luxurious feel.  And the long arm quilting in Curlz adds a lovely texture.

This quilt design is based on the Lazy Daisy pattern by Jeni Baker.  It is a easy, simple pattern that is perfect for beginners.

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Message to Charlie

This will be an unusual post.  Yesterday I received an email from a lady called Charlie.  She wanted to know the pattern/cutting instructions for my “jelly patchy roll” quilt.  When I replied to her, the message came back as undeliverable because the email address was not recognised.

I don’t want her to think that I am the sort of person who doesn’t reply to emails so I am writing my reply here in the hope that she might see it.

For my scrappy jelly roll quilt, I used this pattern by Erica Jackman on Moda Bake Shop.  This quilt requires two jelly rolls.

The off-set coin quilt used one jelly roll.  There isn’t a pattern as such.  I used a tutorial by  Kristy @107 quilts.

Hope this gets through to Charlie and good luck with your quilt.

Sewing pom pom trim on an infinity scarf – the easy way

A tutorial for a cowl/infinity scarf with a pom pom trim caught my eye on The Daily Stitch blog some time back (can hardly believe it was back in late 2014!).   I was smitten with the tutorial scarf and bought the necessary fabrics.  Infinity scarves are great.  They stay put and are super easy to make – or so I thought.

Cutting out the fabric pieces was fine.  It was only when it came to attaching the pom pom trim that I ran into trouble.  My sewing machine and the pom pom trim did not get on.  Not at all.  Instead of a nice, straight seam, I found that I had uneven and skipped stitches.  I tried the usual suspects – new needle, re-threading, checking tension – all to no avail.  And so the half finished scarf was put to one side and there it languished for over a year.

Well, the scarf is languishing no more, all thanks to this sewing foot.

Single welt cord sewing foot

Piping sewing foot

Yes, it is a piping foot – or as mine is known – a single welt cord foot.  Originally I had bought this foot for sewing piping on cushions.  However that little grove on the back also helps hold and guide the pom pom trim as it is sewn and makes a neat, even seam.

Here is the finished scarf made in Cotton and Steel fabric and lined with Cambridge lawn in a bright peachy apricot.  Doesn’t it look great?

Pom pom trim cowl

Pom pom trim infinity scarf

Now that I have cracked sewing the pom pom trim, I’ll be whipping up more of these fab accessories.  Because we all know you can never have too many scarves…

Want to see my next scarves?  Remember you can follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest to see more lovely makes.

Alice in Wonderland cupcakes

One of my favourite aspects of cake decorating is the opportunity to make cakes that surprise and delight the recipient.   I love the oohs and aahs, and broad smiles that happen when people open the box containing their bespoke cakes.

Last week my niece turned 21.  Hard to believe when it seems like only yesterday that she was learning her first words and doing little more than crawling, feeding or sleeping.

Now that she is grown up she didn’t want a traditional birthday cake.  Instead she requested vanilla cupcakes for her party.  And rather than candles, she asked for her cakes to be decorated with an Alice in Wonderland theme.  What a great idea!

Alice in Wonderland cakes

Alice in Wonderland cupcakes

Her selection of cakes included a cheshire cat with a cheesy grin, a white rabbit, a gold pocket watch, a caterpillar with jaunty antenna, magic mushrooms and an Alice dress.  I managed to get this quick photo before the cakes were whisked off to her party.   Don’t they make a cute collection?  My niece certainly thought so.  Birthday cakes befitting a beautiful young lady.

Lined Clothes Peg Bag

There are few things nicer than the smell of laundry that has been dried outside in the warm sunshine and gentle breezes of summer.  I find the task of pegging out the washing quite relaxing at this time too – a great opportunity to be outside, listening to bird song and enjoying the perfume of summer garden flowers.

Of course pegging out washing implies that you have pegs but what to do with them?  Sure you can keep them in a utilitarian but boring bucket.  But I say if you are going to have something useful then why not have it beautiful too.

Hence my cuter than pie little peg bag that I made last week.

Lined peg bag

Lined clothes peg bag

For the clothes, I used a fabric appropriately called Dress me for the Playground.  I secured my chosen garments onto the backing fabric with Vilene Bondaweb and then sewed twice around the outline.  No fancy free-motion embroidery here.  Just careful sewing with my normal sewing foot.

Lined in white cotton with a fancy spotted trim, my little peg bag is the perfect place to keep my shark pegs and looks fab on the line.

If you’d like to learn how to make your own peg bag, then why not book on my forthcoming class.  The date will be 12 July and details will be on the Fabric HQ classes section very soon.

A country cottage style quilt

Fabric designs featuring large roses and pretty, soft colours make the perfect choice for a country cottage style quilt.  This is a quilt I made some time ago using Tanya Whelan’s Petal collection (sadly no longer available).

Shabby chic/country cottage style quilt

Quilt made in Tanya Whelan Petal fabric

The colours appear sun bleached and summery whilst the overblown roses are reminiscent of warm afternoons relaxing in a country garden.

For the piecing, I chose an upscale version of a pattern appropriately named “square in a box”.  There are lots of variations of this pattern however I kept it simple with a large centre square framed in either a spotted or checked fabric.  The layout I chose alternates between blocks framed in spotted or gingham fabrics.  Initially I alternated the two rose designs too however I quickly changed that to a random placement of the centre roses.  Symmetrical layouts really are not for me.

Roses quilting on shabby chic/country cottage style quilt

Roses quilting detail on Tanya Whelan petal quilt

The quilt was long arm quilted using a dense pattern of open roses.  It is a little difficult to see in this photo however I think you can make out one of the roses in the gingham square.

Pieced backing on shabby chic/country cottage style quilt

Pieced backing on Tanya Whelan petal quilt

In keeping with the country style of the fabrics, I made a pieced backing for this quilt featuring the large roses and two smaller rose designs not used on the front.  The pink gingham fabric makes a charming binding to finish.

This quilt has been washed to achieve that lovely vintage crinkly appearance and is made from 100% cotton fabrics, thread and wadding.  It will be on display at my Bucks Open Studio event in June.  I’d love to see you if you are able to visit.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing details of more of my quilts that will be on display in June.  Remember you can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.  I look forward to seeing you there.