Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Some days....

...when you've been working at something intensely for a while, you need to stop, go away, and do something completely different.
It's been pretty full-on here in the sewing room since last Friday when I agreed to supply 8-10 new projects for the magazine profile. I have loved putting my creative hat on and bringing my stitcheries to life as actual items, but today, with just two patterns left to write, I just needed a change of scenery.

I went to the kitchen.
It seems that with the amount of stitching being done lately, and the high temperatures inside certain areas of the house, my time in the kitchen has been less than satisfying. This morning, with a hour till Blossom and hubby popped in for their morning tea between classes, I put the oven on to heat and pulled ingredients for Rock Cakes from the pantry. Rock Cakes are a family favourite and so quick to make.
The one thing I had run out of though, was the vanilla sugar I sprinkle on top of the little cakes before I bake them! What could I do!?
With a twirl of my ponytail, Super Jenny appeared and got to work making her sweet Rock Cake veil!

Some caster sugar (I think its called confectioners sugar in the US?), and an organic vanilla bean...

...make a slit down the length of the vanilla bean, and scrape out the luscious vanilla paste from inside...

...drop it into the food processor with 2 cups of the caster sugar, and whizz like crazy!

The vanilla paste spreads through the sugar and the aroma is amazing!! Can you see the tiny dots of vanilla in the sugar now?

Fill the Vanilla Sugar jar...

...making sure you put the empty vanilla bean pod inside for extra flavour to spread through the sugar. I cut my bean in 3 pieces before I dropped it in.

If you leave it for a few weeks before using it again you will be intoxicated by the smell and taste when you open the jar!

All this time Bob-the-dog sat and watched doubt wishing I were rustling up something yummy for him. (he's rather partial to triple choc cookies actually) When everyone is at school or work he does not leave my side, but sits at my feet wherever I am in the house. I call him my shadow. :-)

And here are my Rock Cakes, glistening with their vanilla sugar sparkles! From start to finish, the vanilla sugar and the Rock Cakes took me 40 minutes for two batches.

The best thing was having nice cuppa waiting for hubby and watching his and Blossom's wide grins when they saw what I'd made them.
By next week all my have-to's in the sewing room should be done and I can spend time making more lovely treats for the ones I love.

If you'd like to make my Rock Cakes you can download the recipe HERE.

It's been many months now since I did my last bit of cross-stitch, and I'd like to do another one over New Year, so I just bought this lovely design! Cindy Mae's Quaker Sampler - it's so pretty and I love that it's all one colour. I've never done a cross-stitch in just one colour, but as my kitchen is very retro red I thought I could frame it when I finish and hang it above my kitchen bench.

On our Gum Tree Designers blog we've asked you what sort of tutorials you'd like to see us offer you next year. Have you left a comment yet? If there is something specific you'd like to see taught please leave a comment on THIS post and we'll see what we can do.
In the meantime, I found a wonderful blog that has a number of terrific tutorials that may be of help to some of you- Crazy Mom Quilts.

All my projects for the profile are now in the mail, and I have to admit I felt pretty nervous sending them all away from me, especially as one of them was my completed Shabby Roses quilt. It's a bit like sharing your babies...

Tomorrow I'll show you something new I've done with that Moda cotton twill tape!
Have you made anything with your trims yet? Remember the November Challenge is about using your stash of trims...


  1. Yum! Your caster sugar is our granulated sugar. Our powdered sugar is really light (like powder) and in the US, when I was little it was also called 10x sugar. Now I want some Vanilla Sugar. Wonder how it's be in tea?

  2. Thank you for the recipe for Rock Cookies! Can you tell me what is in "mixed spice"? I would like to make them!

  3. You have the best looking goodies! Thanks for sharing all your talents!!!

  4. Cookies and a cuppa sound like heaven. Can Bob the dog come play at my house? Scooter the Georgia USA dog.

  5. Oooo love quaker samplers, I look forward to seeing yours completed.


  6. You have been very busy in the sewing room and I am sure your projects will be just as lovely as your delicious Rock Cakes.
    Thank you for thr recipe.

  7. Congrats on getting your package out. You deserve a mind break. I can't wait to see all your stuff in a mag. Thanks for the cookie recipe, I'm thinking it's like a scone. 90g of butter? convert please? I'm going to try them. By spice mix, is it like a cinnamon, nutmeg type? I'm buying vanilla beans today, I need to have that jar to smell. Probably better than a candle. I'm still thinking of the trims..nothing yet

  8. That's one place I never go when I need a break, the kitchen, lol! Sure wish you lived next door. Bob is SO cute!!! I just want to kiss his little head.
    The cross-stitch is very pretty - I've never done one. I'm far too busy with someone else's designs....can you guess who? *G*

    Glad you got everything in the mail, yippee!!!!!

  9. Those rock cakes look wonderful...will try them. I love reading phrases or words from other countries as compared to ours...wonderful. Stephanie is right about the sugars...powdered sugar is also called confectioners sugar.

  10. Mmmmm Super Jen they look so yummy he he!!! I'm on my way LOLOL!!!!! Ok, it's a long way ... guess I'll have to make my own ;o).
    So glad you got all your beautiful treasures in the mail ok, now maybe you can catch your breath ;o)!!
    Love n hugs
    Joy :o)
    PS ..... How cute does Bob dog look sitting there on the couch!!!?!

  11. I wish you lived at the school where I work. I would never be in the office. We could sit and craft and have morning teas- who cares about work!

  12. Jenny, your rock cakes have inspired to to do some baking! They look so good Hun! Enjoy.

  13. Hi darling Jen!

    Those rock cakes look delish and thanks for the tips on the vanilla sugar!

    I'm sure your babies will be well looked after by Danielle - it will be an early Xmas for her!!!

    Bob the dog is SO cute sweetie! Rosie was just admiring him too. I saw the cutest little coats for him in the pet store last week (rosie and I always visit the pet store when we go shopping)... but I guess Bob doesn't need his coats now eh?!! I would have bought him one otherwise!!!

    Have a great day sweetheart!
    Vikki xoxo

    my verification word is 'nisweat' how cute!

  14. hi jenny, your cakes look so yummy, i might give them a go! the vannila sugar sounds so delicous too, but did you know you should never feed dogs is toxic to them , wouldn't want to see bob get ill he is so cute!! those eyes! sue

  15. Were there any rock cakes left over?

  16. yummy rock cakes, will need to try these out! Bob dog certainly looks like he enjoys them too!

  17. Hey Jenny,
    You know, I agree with pretty much all the comments and was only slightly baffled by the 90g measurement and the term "mixed spice" Hmm, can you clarify, purty please!? Thanks! And as we would say here in the US of A, those Rock Cookies Rock!


  18. Those cookies look quite yummy; thanks for the recipe. :)

    I'm amazed every day at your talent with needle and thread!

    p.s. bob the dog is so cute. Don't forget chocolate is toxic to pooches.


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