Monday 2 November 2015

Save the whales (and the leftover pumpkin)

A local kid friend was having a birthday on Halloween, and while her mun sews gorgeous things for herself, she only very occasionally turns her talent to sewing for her daughter.

That meant I could break the no gifts rule and make her something, right? In lieu of gifts this canny kid had requested donations to Sea Shepherd. I'm up for that and I'll happily give them my standard amount for a kid's birthday gift. But, since I could sew her something using only fabric from the stash, that hardly counts as a gift. And no whales would be harmed in the process!

Apologies for crappy, uneven flash lighting.
A simple School Bus T-shirt in an already drafted size (size 5 with size 6 length) made for a quick sew.

I used fusible web to add my blue spotted humpback whale (image from Google) and then a triple stitch to attach him (or her) permanently.  - I did put some lightweight knit interfacing on the reverse side of the t-shirt front before stitching to help reinforce the fabric.

The blue spotted fabric is a tiny bit of a Michael Miller flannel left over from these pyjamas. Sometimes I'm glad to have my scraps buckets (other times I'm just tripping over them).

The other leftovers that went to good use this weekend was the insides of these fellas...

I gutted the pumpkins and the kids drew the faces on. P's is the one on the left and he carved it himself using the linocutting tools my parents gave him for his birthday. That was,... the birthday when he turned,... oh, about 4! Needless to say this was the first time he used them and yes, he did manage to cut himself.

A's pumpkin on the right was a much more elaborate drawing and was perfectly brought to life by my brother in law who was visiting. He is a known talent when it comes to creating models and looked very comfortable seated at the breakfast bar with a linocutting tool in hand and a beer by his elbow.

While we waited for our take away pizza I "whipped up" a pumpkin cake, and in a complete break from normal blogging style I'm going to go all Nigella Lawson on you and share a recipe (but not a line of coke, sorry!)

It makes a huge cake, but the photographer was too busy eating to take any pictures.

Pumpkin cake

2 cups honey
1 cup oil
2 cups cooked mashed pumpkin
4 eggs lightly beaten
3 cups wholewheat flour
2 tbsp cinnamon
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp almond essence
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts (eg walnuts)
1 cup raisins

Mix it.
Bake it. 350F/170C (or in my incinerator oven about 150C) for about 50 mins
I've used 2 square tins approx 20cm across then put cream cheese icing in the middle and on top.
Hope everyone had a fun Halloween. I've loved seeing all the handmade costumes!


  1. Yum! I can tell from the ingredients alone that it is a great tasting cake. I have never used pumpkin in baking but the more readily available Butternut Squash makes a great stand in.
    I love that whale and it looks wonderfully stitched!

    1. The English have a very different take on pumpkins, don't they? Feed for cattle was the prevailing attitude.
      I remember trying to find one in shops to make a Thai style soup with no luck. And Butternuts are the best for that by the way. :)

  2. I love that you got all a bit Nigella on us. The whale tee looks fab.

    1. You can be sure I didn't look anywhere near as glam while making my cake as Nigella would have! :)

  3. A tee is a complete winner when you get to use an already traced pattern, when you already have fabric for it on hand, when you don't trip on a scraps bucket and when no whales were harmed in the process 😆 thumbs up 😊

    1. Isn't it the best when you can whip up t-shirt as quickly as a cake! And I'm much more certain of success with my sewing machine compared to my oven!

  4. I've got a sister that would have loved that t-shirt (well still now really) and from the stash a perfect gift.

    1. Thanks Sharon, and now you know what to work on for Christmas gift making!

  5. Love that applique, with its stitched details - so perfect and precise. I'm sure the recipient was happy you defied the no-gifts rule! As for the cake, Iit looks incredibly delicious and I think I'm going to have to give it a try. Did you use those American-style Halloween pumpkins, or some other kind? Oh, and nice jack-o-lanterns, too. Kids and cutting tools... I had a similar experience when I finally gave in and let K carve some rubber stamps a few years back. OUCH..

    1. I just used the pale, somewhat unappealing insides of the Halloween pumpkins. Nothing like a real pumpkin, still I didn't want to waste it. I found the perfect tool for scraping the inside flesh out, I think it's intended for coconuts, kind of looks like an oversized, curved butter curler!

  6. What a great idea, we do 'no gifts' as well. Love the tee, very clever and a recipe too!
    I hope the cuts heal quickly.
    xx N

    1. I'm all for no gifts, but bring a plate, but then I'm a very lazy hostess! This cake would be big enough for your family and so easy - in fact, get the kids to make it for you!

  7. Oh yes, I absolutely love "pumpkin" season in the US ... I gorge myself on pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin curry ... yum! I do not like the dreaded "pumpkin spice latte" though. UGH. Why spoil perfectly good coffee with all that sugar and gross fake pumpkin/cinnamon flavor? Disgusting!! I know I may be in the minority on that one though.

  8. LOVE the Tee, and the Jack-O-Lanterns are great!!!
    Didn't realize you celebrate Halloween down under. . . . .
    Cake looks, and sounds delish!!! Oldest dd requested Carrot Cake for her birthday cake (she's in her (late :-( twenties) and is a few weeks from producing our first grandbaby!! Will probably be visiting your blog more often (maybe give it a year) then, since you have such creative and cute ideas AND you use Oliver + S patterns, which are my aesthetic - at least right now!)


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