Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ship ahoy Suzy!

Well Suzy has let her hair down and made another garment for herself! This will do very nicely when suzy and co take off on Sunday for a few days r&r in the sun and sand Fiji style!

This is a BWOF ring-stripe top from issue 0409 style #112. Fabric is a cotton jersey (not easy to find let me tell you) from Gorgeous Fabrics. Details of the pattern review will be as usual to the left on the side bar, but I thought that for each blog post that I write about sewing I would list what I learnt from each garment.

What I learnt from sewing this garment...
  • how to use a fusible bias tape to stabilise arm and neck openings, and also for binding the sleeve hem. This stops the opening from gaping which can happen a fair bit with stretch fabrics. This notion, which happens to be BWOF's favourite one, works a treat.
  • how to line up stripes, I winged it a bit using the armhole as a reference and found it much easier than anticipated
  • that sewing a t-shirt is pretty simple, and well worth it. Some may disagree, but I like a certain style of shirt (low neck and 3/4 sleeve) & I think that they suit me better than other styles - but they are not so easy to find, and now I can make oodles of them
  • that my overlocker/serger is really lacking and my lusting after the Baby Lock Evolve Wave is really not that ridiculous!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A bit of bloghonesty

I don't know about you but when I read some blogs, I feel like everyone's life looks so damn perfect. Rational suzy tells me that it isn't I'm giving you a little bit of bloghonesty, just every now and then.

A couple of weeks ago I was frantically baking for the re-run of the boy child's birthday party. We had to can the one in November due to a bad case of conjuctivitis. Well I'd made the cake, smartie biscuits, scones and was onto the cupcakes when the girl-child decided that she needed mummy...right now and no-one else.

The man of the house took-over, I'd already creamed the butter and sugar, added the eggs and all that was left was alternate folding in of flour and milk. Everyone knows how to do that right? Well...apparently not the man of the house. Instead of adding 2 AND 3/4 cups of flour, he added only 3/4.

And my part in this? I should have known better as I poured it into the cupcake papers, it looked just wrong! As I've said before the man of the house is a cracker of a cook, but a poop baker. And suzy as chief baker-woman who has made an inordinate amount of cakes and cupcakes since she was about 10, should have been able to spot the mistake.

Well, that's my bloghonesty!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's bottling time again!

Ever since I started my preserving journey twelve months ago I have been eagerly been anticipating the return of cherry season. I'm lucky because the prime Australian cherry growing region is around Young, which is not far away, and that means that the cherry growers come down each week for my local farmer's markets. Before I continue I should add the disclaimer that cherry season is all but over, and hence the contents of this post occurred a couple of weeks ago. But back to the cherries!

Last year I gifted some Cherries in Vanilla Vodka, which went down with such enthusiasm, that one of the recipients arrived in my house throughout the year with a new bottle of Absolut ready for more. So for this season I repeated the same successful batch, along with a new one - Brandied Cherries.

Here are my cherries looking so perfect,its like opening a box of beautiful Christmas baubles.

....and here they are after preserving in sugar, brandy and water. The recipe is from a book I highly recommend to fellow preservers - A Year in a Bottle. The liquid in the background is left over syrup which makes wonderful ice-cream topping.I think I'll give up on the water-bath method of preserving after last year's flop, and keep with boozy fruit to hold us over the cold winter months!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

...and then it's all over.

Rather than blog about what we did, what I made and showcase the table all prettied up and ready to go, I thought I'd show you the afterwards. When the food was gone, and the wine drunk...and conversation and laughter continued to flow........Merry Xmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Finally...something for suzy

Well I've done it. Finally made something for suzy...and ta da!

Here I am off to the Brown Owls Xmas do last Sunday. It feels fitting (excuse the pun) to be wearing something I made to the final BO bash of the year. Just because I've learnt to really embraced my inner crafty self this year and joining something like BO was a big part of this process.

I'll post the details of the pattern and the adjustments that I made on Sewing Pattern Review which will then appear in a box in my side bar.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A bit late...but getting into the Christmas thing

So this time last year I was in hospital with the afore mentioned girl-child. Christmas presents were either under the tree or in the post...all hand-made by early December. Well this year, ahhh not so good.

Despite not conducting paid employment at the moment, my time seems well not my own - ever. So presents are behind, decorating also behind but I am determined to catch up and have it all done by mid next week so I can just enjoy it all. But if the truth be told I actually enjoy all the madness and catching up anyhoo, but only if I avoid anything that looks vaguely like a Westfield!

The tree is up of course, has been since the 1st that is something I would never compromise!

So to today's efforts...a bit of wrapping ready for the post next week. I decided to recycle some old Xmas cards and turn them into gift tags. A few simple strokes with the craft knife and a punched hole for ribbon and voila!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Guest blogger - Little Miss One!


My name is Sophie, sometimes known on this blog as "the girl child" and today I'm one! So this is a first for suzy hausfrau all around, the first guest blogger and my first birthday.

So I thought I would tell you all about what I love to do now that I'm one.
I love...
  • food, and lots of it!
  • sorting shapes
  • twinkle, twinkle little star...especially copying my mum with the hand gestures
  • dancing, no I REALLY love dancing
  • my big brother, and crawling after him wherever he goes
  • did I mention that I love food?
  • sleeping in mum and dad's bed a bit too much...hmmm
  • bath time
  • going for long walks in my pram with grandad
  • talking, babbling, gibberish whatever you want to call it
  • oh and of course mum and dad, who I can now point to and name with about a 75% accuracy rate
Thanks for stopping by....

Monday, December 7, 2009

One step closer

Yay! Today these arrived in the mail. Which means that suzy is one step closer to a wee little commercial enterprise..."wee little" being my main operative words!

Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Suzy bakin' bread part II

Way back in January I wrote this post on my tips for bread making. As I said before it comes from LOTS of practice. People are usually amazed when I say that I bake ALL of our bread, even when working 4 days a week and running around after two active squidgets I still manage to bake our bread. Now I'm not saying this because I'm a big brag, but I want to let y'all in on how I manage to fit it in my life.

Enter the breadmachine, now now before you all stop reading and get all snobby about it let me continue. In my early days of breadmaking I was forever disappointed with the bread turned out by the machine, it was way too dense for ours, or anyone's liking. Plus I'm married to a boy of French descent so bread is REALLY important here. I kept persisting, simply because I'd bought the damn machine and wanted to use it. I then discovered that if I used the machine to mix, knead and rise the dough, then transfer to a proper black bread tin the quality of the loaf improved out of sight.

So that's how I fit it in...I (like most of you) haven't got the time to knead, watch it rise and all of the carry on that goes with baking real bread. I'll leave that for when I retire.

So to the point of the post. Kuka asked me a long long time ago to post about this pumpkin bread. Despite what I've said above, this is one loaf that I let cook in the machine, because the loaf is always light and here is the recipe stolen from my Breville instruction manual.

180ml warm water
2 tabs oil
1/2 cup pumpkin, cooked and mashed
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups of bread flour
1 teaspoon bread improver
1 1/2 teaspoons milk powder
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons yeast

If using a bread machine, put in the machine in that order and bake on a basic setting, ie for a white loaf.
It's really yummy with cream cheese and smoked salmon!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Glass Cleaner

What do you use to clean your glass and mirrors? The last few years has seen an explosion of alternative cleaners some of which I have embraced and others not.

Here is my recipe and it works a treat:

1 part Methylated Spirits
1 part White Vinegar
2 parts Water

Mix up in a spray pack and away you go.......happy cleaning!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Three generations of crochet...

I've always been in love with crochet jug covers...even as a child when I used to wear them around the house on my head. I don't think it's the nostalgia for afternoon tea parties, or even the head wearing that I love...I think I have always admired them as a little piece of whimsy. You know something you need, but don't really need either.

Well last night I finally finished my first one. When I say finally, I've had a few attempts at trying to create a more modern version using various yarns, including bamboo, nope didn't like them, and to be honest my crochet skills weren't up to using a fine yarns, like cotton until recently. But last night I finally reverted back to mercerised cotton and used a pattern from the treasure trove of nanna pattern books that my mum had picked up over the years at fetes and sidewalk stalls and voila...the white jug cover is one that I had my dear old ma make for me only a few years ago.

Now this amongst my mum's craft belongings which like so many others seem to be waiting to be replicated or completed. It's much heavier than the other two, with lots of intricate beading, which seems entirely sensible for use outdoors so it doesn't get blown off the jug or pitcher that it is covering.

There is a lot of crochet trims for tablecloths, hankies and all sorts of goodies, but alas I can't ask her it's origin or indeed what she intended to do with it :-(. I presume (most likely actually) that this jug cover was done by my grandmother and mum was wishing to copy it...a project that I will definitely complete for her (when my skills are up for it).

BTW...just you think my raspberry cover is something people would buy? Like on etsy or something? Just thinking out loud...

Monday, November 9, 2009

A foodie confession...broad beans!

I must admit I always felt a bit confounded by ye ol' broad bean. I mean I love the look of them all shiny and green sitting above a toasted piece of sourdough or pasta dura....just like the guy does from River Cottage. But, I had never tasted, cooked or grown them ever, ever before.

That is before last weekend when my first batch were ripe for the picking. Assisted by my able undergardener I began to change my food existence. I consulted a cookbook by Raymond Blanc, known round here as Ray White. My mate Ray had me peel the pods, extract the beans, blanch said beans for 5 seconds then refresh under cool water. Then a tiny incision in the skin and out popped the glorious bean. A bit of a fuss, but well worth it.

So what did I do with the beans? Cooked them in a mixture of cream, garlic and parsley of course! And it was yummy. Since then I've just steamed them with our normal greens and we've enjoyed them so much I think I will be growing them from now on. Plus it's nice to have a crop that grows over winter and enjoys the cold as much as we do!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Making an entrance

This project has been on the backburner for a while, along with soooo many others. But this morning I just felt like a quick crafty pick me up and it was just the solution.

Firstly I asked Dr Google for some recommendations of stencils and voila...I then cut out the said stencils with my trusty craft knife.

I laid the cut out numbers on the mat for positioning and then overlaid the stencil.

A quick spray with some black matte spray paint that I had sitting around and I'm fairly happy with the result. I may add some small diamond embellishments either side to soften up the jailbird numbers, but I think I'll just live with it for a few days before I decide on that.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It might be obvious to some...

...but sewing and children do NOT mix! This, yes I've known for a while. Firstly because I've got bugger all sewing done this year at home with two kids, particularly with a wee bairn. And secondly because when I do try to sew something it is usually met with "mummy can I help" and now a standing 10 month old tagging at my apron!

So what am I going to do...move my sewing corner. At the moment it resides in the family room right next door to the baby's room. This makes using the overlocker during sleep time or at night absolutely impossible. So at the next opportune time it will move location......stay tuned!

...and what's the photo of the tulip (Floriade circa 2006) in aid of I hear you ask? Well a blog post without a photo is selling you all short and I needed something pretty to offset my dark words above.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is this thyme or thyme?

I must share with y'all my fabulous pot of thyme. It's been going strong since early Autumn and I've raided it so many times for roasts, stock and any other uses I can find. But I've run out of ideas - any suggestions?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Saturday night boongfest (@#*&^@)???

Boonge in our house can mean various things, but most often it is - fatty, but usually yummy and always a bit sneaky food. Ergo boongefest for our Saturday night desert (recipe below).

The fruit topping was made on Saturday afternoon and I let it infuse away in all it's glory - doesn't it look delicious?

Bay Scented Creams with macerated berries (Delicious Magazine Sep 2007)

Place 1/2 a vanilla pod seeds scraped with 300 ml of thickened cream and 600ml of pouring cream, 60g caster sugar and 3 fresh bay leaves in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and remove from heat and allow to infuse for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle 2.5 teaspoon of gelatine on some cold water and allow to set, then dissolve over low heat. Stir the gelatine mixture into the reheated cream and strain through a sieve. Pour into serving bowls.

Heat 1 cup of caster sugar,with 1 cup of water and 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped. Stir until sugar dissolves then heat for 5 minutes without stirring, remove from heat. Add 1 punnet of strawberries and 1 punnet of blueberries and two fresh bay leaves. Set aside in a covered container and allow flavours to infuse.

To serve top the set cream with the berries.........yummo!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I nearly forgot

Yes I know two posts in one day - shocking. But I nearly forgot to play show and tell with my most successful winter vegie crop - broccoli. I must admit I was a wee bit sceptical about growing this one but it was easy peasy! And the florets just kept a coming and coming. I planted eight seedlings out and had more than enough for all four of us. Interestingly one of the plants produced not a single floret. I've let them all go into full bloom of flower now as it's just so pretty and it fills the space nicely before I can plant out my summer crop. Speaking of my summer crop...I just need winter to disappear totally and we'll be on our way. We had a frosty start to the morning and are heading for a top of just 10 degrees Celsius - crazy!

Pop quiz - what's a polpettone?

Seriously I had no idea until I cooked dinner last night.....Italian meatloaf thingo...mine are wrapped in pancetta and cooked in a tomato sauce and the result - yummo!
And always, I say always use a 50/50 mixture of veal and pork mince whenever you make meatballs or anything like it...the flavour beats plain old beef mince any day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

One reason for the hiatus

One reason for my lengthy absence from la blog posting was a wonderful 7 days spent skiing with the family at Charlotte's Pass...spring skiing for those in the know can be a bit patchy, but we were absolutely stoked when it snowed for 4 days straight, which made the already pretty good spring snow perfect!

This was the view out of my bedroom window one lazy morning when it was my turn to look after the squidgets........

........and this is the result of 7 forced days of rest and relaxation.

This is the famous Tiramasu Blanket by Alicia Paulson and it is my second one, both have been gifted. I used the recommended Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton in bone, which is so soft and delicious. It's a nice easy blanket to make,and I bought enough yarn to make one for my girl-child, but I think I need a wee breather from yee-old single crochet (the American sc that is)...the pattern is a bit monotonous which was fine when my confidence was not so great, but a bit boring now...onto bigger and better things for Suzy!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Blog mojo

I just had a look at how many blog posts I've been doing each month and if I was a betting kinda gal, I would expect the whole blog thing to implode somewhere around November.....but NO I don't want it to.

Yes the last couple of months I've been a bit light on posting, lots of reasons really, but mainly because daily supervision of a crawling rug-rat takes a fair bit more time than looking after a sleepy newborn. I have several projects on the go, and one completed which I will post about tomorrow.

But for today, please check out the following link . It's some gorgeous, with a capital G, snaps of moi with my family taken by the gorgeous, with a capital G, Christine of Pobke photography...we just love them!

Plus taking a stroll through Christine's blog has given me some of my blog mojo back again! See you all soon.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My first cardy...

Well it's my first cardigan made and the girl child's first cardigan made for her - a double first! I love a good cardy for myself or anyone, just so comfy.

This is the Cecily Baby Sweater by Alicia Paulson made using RYC Cashsoft DK, which was the recommended yarn for the project. I'm not confident enough to substitute yarn yet. I was worried that it would be a bit bulky after I first finished it, but a quick wash and it is so yummy and soft. Perfect cardy comfy soft!

There you are, today's show and tell...tomorrow time for some bloghonesty - stay tuned!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Happy Saturday - Crepe de Froment

Ever since the man of the house and I became an item, some 14 years ago we have devoted one morning each weekend for the preparation of a special breakfast. At the moment it's Saturday, for on Sunday mornings I am a cycling widow.

Now for those of you that know him, Mr Hausfrau is a mean cook and in a lot of ways better than me, but he can't bake for crap....and that's fine - I don't like to share my Kitchenaid with anyone.

But I digress, recently a postcard showed up from Mr Hausfrau's aunt, with a recipe for Crepes De Froment. Always on the lookout for new crepe recipes, Mr Hausfrau was up for the challenge....and the result....yummo....recipe details below.

Crepes de Froment (translated for you)

250 g flour
125 g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
500 ml milk

Mix it all together in the usual manner, and voila crepes.

We find that having a special crepe/pancake pan is the trick - NEVER EVER use it for anything else.

Mr Hausfrau makes an apple and sultana concoction for the top...Fry up some apple slices (2-3 apples) in butter until soft, add 30 g brown sugar and cook until dissolved, stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 25 g sultanas and 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice. Cook for one minute until bubbling.

Place this on top of your crepes and dust with icing sugar. Drizzle with maple syrup (make sure it's the real deal too).

Yes for those that are guessing with the cycling and the crepes, Mr Hausfrau is NOT of German descent!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Let's swing again!

Another Amy Butler Swing Bag for a pressie...this one I seriously WANT to keep for my weekly trek to the markets. I think I might toddle back off to the sewing shop next week and get some more of this gorgeous heavy heavy canvas it! I lined it with a natural linen and it looks just noice (that's nice with an Australian accent for the overseas viewers).

An update on my complaint to the sewing shop - refund received for TOTAL amount of course taken and materials, no need to shame on this blog any further.

Have a great weekend.....

Monday, July 27, 2009

My end of the sofa

Tonight after the squidgets are down in bed suzy collected her very own mama toys and has settled down at her end of the sofa to play...tonight there is:

1. The latest Burda World of Fashion edition, still a few months behind on everyone else, but hey at least we can get it now.
2. Sense and Sensibility, which I have read far too many times to be considered sensible about it, but the gift of a new one for Mother's Day has tempted me yet again.
3. Some crochet work - no more detail than that, as it is for a gift.
4. A cup of tea
5. And I know it's nerdy but a teeny little dictionary in case Jane has some words that I STILL don't know.

Enjoy your evening too!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Boozy fruit!

To those that may remember, I started my preserving journey earlier this year when summer was at it's peak and fruit aplenty. Whilst the jam making has gone from strength to strength, preserving fruit ah not so good . Yes sure, the fruit is preserved, but the aesthetics leave a bit to be desired. The man of the house thinks I am just being precious, but I do not like my fruit to rise to the top. In Suzy's imagination, my (fantasy) walk in pantry has jars and jars of gorgeous fruit ready to be eaten all year round!

A good friend of mine says I just need to kidnap a nanna at next year's Canberra Show, and hold them hostage until they show me how to do this fruit thing properly. The syrup is not too heavy, I used the least amount of sugar recommended! The fruit is packed tightly, at least I think it is!

So today I tried again - but this time with BOOZE! This is an ode to mulled wine and my favourite desert fruit - the elegant pear...

Details (provided for 1litre jar) - Sterilise jars in the usual manner and have them warm and at the ready. Pack jars with peeled pears, whole if you can and leave the stalks on. In each jar place 75g sugar, 6 or so whole cloves, 2cm piece of ginger julienned, a cinnamon quill and a few zests of orange. Half fill the jar with red wine, then top up with water. The picture above is the jars ready to start bubbling away!

Place in a pre-heated 130 degree oven for 3 hours, with the lids on, but not the screwcap (if that makes sense to you).

TIP - Place them on a tray, as they can boil over and I kept topping up with boiled water whenever the level got down, and again at the end before sealing.

I haven't tasted them yet, but they are floating about in a beautiful thick syrup! Yummo - now the question is can we wait a month before trying?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

To shame or not to shame?

Well my friends, I need to ask a favour of you...whether I shame my local sewing shop out on this blog or not.

The story goes, about 8 months ago I did a bra-making class. I was heavily pregnant at the time and chose to make a maternity/feeding bra. Payment for the class included tuition, a personalised pattern and enough material to make two bras. I completed one bra on the day. The instructor then took the pattern and instructions so that she could cut up the fabric and make up the kit for the second bra.

To cut a long story short, after the birth of the girl-child I frequented the establishment some 5 or 6 times to enquire about the pattern and/or the kit for the second bra. Each time the shop assistant became more and more embarrased about having to tell me that "Yes I have passed the message on, did XXX ring you?" NO I say, otherwise why would I be here asking AGAIN!

Now I'm still merrily breastfeeding the bub, but it will end soonish and I have lost quite a few kilos since the day of the class - I no longer want said pattern and kit. I emailed the shop today, with a further please explain...and now I wait.

So, my question to you is
a) How long do I give them to respond to the email?
b) Should I shame them and name them on this blog?
I might mention that they are the only retailer of my brand of sewing machine and overlocker on this side of town!!!

Your help is much appreciated........suzy

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Has anyone seen Suzy?

Man oh man! The last few weeks have pushed Suzy right to the back of the wardrobe. Firstly, my other persona, professional Suzy had to come out and complete some case studies for examination. That took far too long, Suzy hausfrau was and is cranky about it. Then Suzy and co (read family) had two wonderful weekends succession! Off to Orange to visit Suzy's pre-school friend for the weekend, and then wonderful Sydney for the next. We even managed to sneak in a child-free night out (French & Saunders - very funny), thanks to my niece who flew down from Brisbane.

But whilst I've been slacking on the blog front, I'm pleased to report that an old friend of mine has begun her blog journey. Ms Whimsical Palate and I went to uni together, both longing to be doing something far more fun in the design world. Fast forward a decade or more after finishing, Ms Whimsical Palate made the brave step and went back to uni and followed the dream. She now lives in the Netherlands and as you can tell by the blog is a veritable style machine!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wonderful winter weekend

We have had the most fantastic wintry weather for the last few days...fog, rain and cold, cold, cold. I just LOVE IT! Probably the best thing to me about living in Canberra is having four distinct seasons every year. I So different from my childhood growing up in a sub-tropical climate where the weather was hot or hotter.

Not much happening in the way of craft this weekend though. Part of me just wants to sit inside and make like a hausfrau...but the other part of me took over and we went for a lovely chilly family walk around the lake.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Long green weekend

It's been a long weekend here in Canberra, and a green one at that. Green I hear you say???

Well firstly it has rained nearly all weekend, and the grass is sooo much greener which is just lovely. We always need the rain so badly. It sometimes puzzles me that they would put the capital of the driest continent on earth nowhere near any decent water supply - oh well I'm about 100 years too late for that debate.

It's also been green for two more reasons...on Saturday I made some lovely Kiwi fruit jam. Yes it does seem an odd choice for a spread, but I have been lusting after it some 10 years now. Actually nearly exactly 10 years ago to the day a friend and I were in the most beautiful French village staying in a huge rambling house, hosted by a lovely old French woman. For breakfast she had this fantastic assortment of home-made jams all in tiny little pots on a "lazy Susan". I particularly liked one, but as she spoke no English and I no French she couldn't tell me what fruit it was. Then she took me into her walled garden and showed me a kiwi fruit vine. I've never tasted it since, not until Saturday when I made my very own.The final green piece of the puzzle is this Amy Butler Swing Bag. Made today for a birthday gift this week. The outside fabric is Ginseng by Joel Dewberry and the inside some pretty polka dots - I'm a sucker for dots........there you have it my long green weekend.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Four drawers

I can hardly believe that I am posting about drawers (it seems a little ridiculous that y'all would be interested) - but here we are...the re-organisation of the kitchen drawers.

Sometime ago I discovered this wonderful blog and since then I have been busy TRYING to re-organise the house. I'm desperate to go to Ikea to gather some supplies so I can finish this project, but alas that won't be happening until the girl-child is a little more cooperative in the car. Back to the drawers....

There are four small drawers in our kitchen and whilst the top drawer had some semblance of organisation, the middle two were disasters! Not any more...

The top drawer contains the usual suspects, plus bag ties (god bless Ikea), tags for labelling (we use them to identify frozen meat), a screwdriver (for quick battery changes of boy-child cars) and the bread recipe for the man of the house who unlike me can't commit it to memory. I lined the front of the drawer with some left over paper from Kikki K.The second and third drawers contains the cooking utensils. The ones we use the most are in the top and others like preserving equipment, bbq tools live in the bottom one.
The last drawer holds the rolls of foil, wrap, zip bags etc. Plus some hot-plate tile thingos (Ikea again I think) and washed zip bags. Yes folks, I wash and reuse zip bags.

There you have it!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Suzy knits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Go the exclamation mark!!!! On this occasion it is warranted. I can knit, I can knit, I can knit!!!

So, can you feel how excited I am? I've never been able to knit, every time I tried I never got past the first couple of rows. It never looked like it should and the tension was all over the place. I can't tell how much this annoyed me. It was how I cast on - simple, fix that and I was off - here is the proof. My first knitty stitches - yay!!! Now the obsession begins!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bake off

Well it's been a long time between food posts I know. Today is a perfect day to end the drought. Suzy was in full hausfrau mode this morning. Bread made, yoghourt fermenting, slow cooked beef on and scones out of the oven all before 9.

There was a reason, Suzy and the girl-child were receiving visitors and there isn't anything much easier for such an occasion than Suzy's scones.....there are a bit of a cheats version, but never fail.

Ingredients - 3 cups SR flour, 1 cup cream and 1 cup of lemonade. I KNOW - crazy! Mix together, but not too much as scones need to be a bit crumbly. Roll out to about 1 inch think and cut out. This makes about 12-14, depending on the size of your cutter. Bake in a 230 or so degree oven. This is important, make sure it is that hot before you put them in. Bake for 10-12 minutes, basting with milk 5 or so minutes into it.......

I have just recently come back to making scones this way, after a period of time where I felt that I was cheating and should make them properlike. The traditional recipe I used, from the good ol' gals at the CWA was a cracker too and will post about it another time. The only down side to my lemonade scones is that they don't keep and need to be eaten on the day.........what a shame!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Suzy and the quilt

Sunday afternoons are quickly turning into sewing time around here. The man of the house can watch the squidgets and I get some (mostly) uninterrupted time to potter around.

I've never been a "quilter". If I'm brutally honest most quilts don't really do it for me. I tend toward simple lines and design and find a lot of quilts a bit fussy. Having said that though last year I did make a quilt for the boy-child, all by the seat of my pants. It will never been shown on this blog, as the sewing is dreadful! But, both the man of the house and I were surprised to find ourselves falling for the luxurious feel of two layers of fabric separated by batting- so cosy and warm. So I'm making quilts all around, first off the girl-child.

Design from Last Minute Patchwork & Quilted gifts. This is a great simple quilt, one fabric for the front and another for the back, wadding in between, my choices were "Off Beat Spot from the Rainbow Garden by Prints Charming" (sounds like a horse pedigree!) and "Leaf Dots from FreeSpirit".

Now I should say categorically I know NOTHING about quilting. Once you sew the fabrics together, you "quilt" the whole thing with satin stitch dots (by machine) in a grid pattern all over. I tried to do straight stitch grid all over - I don't think so!

LESSON ONE - there is a reason that you quilt the fabric before the borders are sewn/bound........I ended up with all of this puckered fabric and had to unpick about 5 rows - YUK

LESSON TWO - when you know NOTHING about something/anything don't try to change the pattern until you know a little more than NOTHING!

So, ego bruised I went back to the book followed the instructions precisely and voila!
You may note I snuck in the matching blanket finished last month............

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tea cup candles

A long time ago I bought these gorgeous tea cups from a shop in was bcc (before 2 x children) when the man of the house and I owned a fantastic inner city pad in the wonderfully downtown and a bit seedy area of Brisbane - Fortitude Valley. It was a great apartment, huge - in a century old department store with high ceilings and arched windows (just like the one on Playschool!)....anyway back to the tea cups.....

From memory I think they were less than a dollar each and I couldn't believe it. Over the years they've rarely been used for tea - usually yoghourt, sauces, dippity-dooda things. But now they've found another use.......candles.

I know it's not a huge jump of creative inspiration to turn these into candles, but as a serious bath connoisseur I'm enjoying the result........

And they couldn't be easier. All you need is candle wax, some wick, blue tack, a kebab stick and some fragrant oil if you please. Firstly secure the wick to the bottom of the tea cup with the blue tack and wind the other end of the wick around the kebab stick so that the wick is taught when the stick lays across the top of the cup. Melt the wax in a dish over hot water, I suppose you might even be able to do this in the microwave. Add the oil, mix and pour to within 1/2 inch of the top. When the candle sets you will get a depression (not GFC - hehe) in the middle. You can then use a toothpick, or another kebab stick to make some small impressions around the wick, melt a little more wax and pour to within 1/4 inch of the top...voila! You can use candle colouring, but I don't as I like a white candle. I bought the wax, oils and wick from New Directions.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Home-made nappies

I know that I made the big statement last weekend that I would be finishing FIVE WIP. It was never going to happen, but I tend to often make big plans like that to help motivate me to do more than I should. Anyway, I have managed to get (or nearly get) the biggest WIP that I had off my table (or nearly off).

Towards the end of my pregnancy with the girl-child I discovered the "new" cloth nappies. I hadn't seen them when the boy-child was a babe and I was intrigued by a cloth nappy that didn't have all the drawbacks of the old style ones - in particular the folding, inability to wick moisture away from said-babies bum and the stuffing around with pins etc. These new all-in-one nappies seemed to be about $17 a pop, so they were never really a cheap option...given that I figured we would need about 20.

Then I found a few online places that sold the special fabrics and gave a call-out to Georgie who happily passed on her nappy knowledge to me. She gave me some great advice, pointed me in the direction of some Australian suppliers and showed me the ropes...and I was off. Or so I thought.

I bought my special Snap machine, agonised over fabric, finally purchased it and then it sat - AGAIN! So last week, sick of paying about $17 a week for disposals I bit the bullet. Decided not to buy any more nappies, and basically sewed nappies just out-pacing the girl-child's requirements.

So to the particulars, the outside is Poly PUL. The inside fabric (closest to babies skin) is suede cloth which wicks the moisture away nicely and is not too bulky. For the insert I used bamboo and some old towels (again thanks Georgie) which I overlocked together to make a pad shape. These are stuffed inside the nappy, and after Georgie's advice are the best option for places like Canberra in winter where the washing takes a really long time to dry. I'm thrilled at the result. I'm not adding to landfill with 6 to 8 disposals every day and I'm loving saving money (I estimate about $800 a year)...and I think they look pretty too!
I got about 7 nappies from each metre of PUL and suedecloth, which when combined with the cost of the bamboo insert came to $5.45 a nappy. OK so I had to buy the snap machine, but I'm sewing bibs like a storm and have many other plans for using it...stay tuned for more.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My favourite hour

Sometimes I think we focus on the bad, I know I can. Sometimes being a mum is full of hard, "I don't really want to remember this" moments. But yesterday, I took the time to enjoy a great "I really want to remember this" mummy moment. It was my favourite time of day, the hour or so before sunset. Usually known in our house as cocktail hour. I love this hour year round. I love it in summer, especially when it's a balmy evening just after the lawn has been mown. I love it in the colder months, when I close all the curtains and blinds and get ready to cocoon inside for the night, such was the case last night.

Anyhoo, it was my favourite hour, I was in the kitchen preparing dinner, the girl-child at my feet and the boy-child working on his masterpiece with Vivaldi's Four Seasons - Spring playing on ABC Radio as background music. Bliss. It may sound cheesy but it felt like a good mummy moment!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...