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I've been busy

Happy Wednesday peeps :) I hope Wednesday is coming in fine wherever you are. There’s not a huge amount to report from my place - I have been playing catch up from my weeks of being sick, packing orders, madly writing patterns and appliquéing the billion leaves that I didn’t get appliquéd while I was flat on my back. Working on your own is fantastic when everything is smooth, and disastrous when things go off the rails. And so the leaves are being stitched well into the night to be ready for Month 11 of The Secret Garden to be released tomorrow - and then I’ll pop the squirrel on the top right hand corner and send it off to the quilter.


If you missed out on The Secret Garden this year, the pattern book is up for preorder on my website - they will be delivered at the end of Jan/ early Feb, and come with access to all the video instruction.


And so, not much news to report! I thought instead I would tell you:


What I’m Reading -

I’m very into true crime, so for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing, I just finished The Teacher’s Pet, which is the book from the very famous Australian podcast. It’s a riveting story told by one of Australia’s best journalists, Hedley Thomas, and I would have been riveted even if it didn’t happen just a stone’s throw from where I live. It’s a very northern beaches story about a northern beaches family, and I know every beach, street and landmark mentioned. If you like true crime this is so worth a read.

If you don’t - have you read The Thursday Murder Club series by Richard Osman? I know it sounds like its crime again, but honestly its one of the funniest, sweetest and most readable things I’ve ever stumbled across. I just finished the fourth book in the series before I read The Teacher’s Pet, and I was absolutely in stitches laughing. Damo and I went to see Richard Osman speak in Sydney a week or so ago, and he laughed his head off despite never having read any of the books, and came home wanting to read them. I highly recommend them - its the story of four friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim, who are all in their 70’s and 80’s and live in a retirement community in England. On Thursdays, they book the Puzzle Room for an hour and solve crimes. Such a laugh.


What I’m Stitching (or wish I was, I’m actually stitching leaves but I’m going back as soon as I sew that last bloody one!!):

Little animals by Corinne Lapierre - I’m making these are tree ornaments to give as gifts to some friends. I have the Professor Hare and Mrs Cat finished, and Marcel, the Robin, the Penguin and Sam the Seagull cut out and ready to stitch.


I also decided this year that we all needed new Christmas Stockings. I’m working on them too, if I get myself together I’ll write a little mini pattern up for you all for next week. They’re pretty cute.



What I’m Cooking:

I had a friend stay for the weekend - she stays fairly often so she’s eaten a lot of my showcase meals :D She was here two nights this time so one night I cooked a chicken that is a bit of a favourite in our house. Now that Oscar has moved out of home and it’s just me and Damo, we usually make it go over two nights - two people can’t eat a chicken alone! I make the recipe below the first night and we eat the thighs, then on the second night I freshen the sauce up with some lemon juice , a little honey and some chopped parsley or coriander, use the leftover rice and cold chicken, and make a Poke Bowl. Sliced cucumber, carrot, radish, maybe some shredded cabbage or lettuce, some pickled ginger, some edamame beans… whatever crisp cold veggies you have and thats dinner night two. Here’s the chicken recipe though - its my own so please forgive the somewhat vague amounts.


You can butterfly a whole chicken yourself by cutting the backbone out with kitchen scissors and then pressing it flat and open. If you do that, it will take a bit longer to cook, maybe 45 - 55 mins, because the bones are still in. I like to buy a deboned chicken, if you’re in Australia Coles and Woolies have the brand Bare Bird - free range, no hormones or any thing nasty, and always just the yummiest chicken! They do a completely deboned chook in a vacuum pack. A little more expensive but really not bad compared to some of the other organic brands. Anyhoo:


  • Whole deboned or butterflied chicken, skin on

  • Generous 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup dark soy sauce

  • 1 tbs grated ginger

  • 3 star anise

  • About 1/4 cup mirin or sake

  • Stems from a bunch of coriander or parsley, coarsely chopped

  • Sesame oil

  • White pepper

Put the ginger, star anise and stems into the bottom of a large roasting pan, and put a rack over them. Spread the chicken out as flat and evenly as you can over the rack, without any touching the bottom of the pan. Rub the chicken all over with the dark soy, and then tip the pan so that the rest runs off the chicken and into the dish. Pour the rest of the soy and the mirin over the chicken, and then drizzle it all over with sesame oil. Sprinkle with white pepper.


Pour around a cup of water into the bottom of the pan, NOT over the chicken just under it. Depending on how large your pan is, you might need more or less - you want about a 1/4” of water over the bottom of the pan.


Put the chicken into a 200 degree oven for 20 mins (probably about 35 or 40 if it has bones in). All the juices from the chicken will drip down into the pan below.


When the chicken is cooked and looking nice and brown, turn the ovens griller on (broiler) and grill the top until the skin of the chicken starts to bubble and pop and go crispy, probably about 5 or 10 mins.


Slice and serve with brown rice and greens. Sieve the pan juice to remove the stems etc and use as a sauce - taste it first, you might need to boil it on the stove a bit to reduce it and pump the flavours up, or it might need some salt and pepper. Yum.


What I’m Watching:

I’ve listed these shows on the channels they’re streaming on in Australia - if you’re elsewhere you might need to search for them a little. If I can’t find a show I use the JustWatch app.


So I watch a lot of TV because I hand sewing in front of it. I just finished All the Light we Cannot See on Netflix, its lovely even if you haven’t read the book (which is also lovely, read it!)

We also just finished Morning Wars, both Damo and I have loved this series. Jennifer Anniston and Reece Witherspoon are both amazing and the story is brilliant. This third season I thought was especially good. Its on Apple TV.


Two series I absolutely love have new seasons on the way - Slow Horses is on Apple TV, and stars Gary Oldman. Its about spies, and its from the books by Mick Herron which I have also loved. The new season starts TODAY so I’m excited for that!



I also absolutely love Bridgerton - if you haven’t seen it I will warn you that although its set in a Jane Austen like confectionary of scenery, its quite raunchy, so if you’re easily offended this isn’t for you. If you don’t mind a sex scene and you like a handsome Duke, you will LOVE this. The costuming and scene setting is absolutely stunning, and the I love their choice to take modern music and have it played by chamber orchestras for the balls. Its such a great show, and the spin off, The Queen, is great too. Season 3 starts on Christmas Day, so after I am stuffed full of turkey and Christmas pudding, you’ll know where to find me and both my daughter in laws!! Bridgerton is on Netflix.



What I’m Deleting:


From my phone each week, more of the videos from the International Quilt Show :D I really didn’t realise I filmed so many, but hey you’re getting a really really good tour right? This week is another quilt that caught my eye - make sure and check out the embroidery! I love it.



Have a great week stitchy friends


Sarah x

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Hi Sarah, I hear there is going to be a movie about the The Thursday Murder Club to be released next year. It’s a great read. I also have read The Teachers Pet book even though I have never listened to the podcasts. Thank you for the videos from the quilt show. I absolutely love this one.

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