Saturday, March 28, 2009

Getting organised.....

A couple of lazy Saturday afternoons ago, I was doing some random blog reading. When I say random I mean you start off on one person's blog and skippity do da through the blogs that take your fancy, and voila, I happened upon this very classy blog, Chez Larsson. Now like most of the really cool blogs out there she has a stream of admirers...I too fell for her charm and she is now my latest blog crush.

I have always had a thing for Scandinavian design, particularly loving how clean, fresh and simple it is....and they're always so darn organised. Hail IKEA! Benita from Chez Larsson admits she is a neat freak, something I'm NOT, but I do have a propensity to be a bit anally retentive and LOVE I mean LOVE being organised. I'm the one with a spreadsheet for my grocery shopping which is checked off fortnightly, and the weekly lunch and dinner menu on the fridge, complete with recipe page references. I know it's nerdy but I get all warm and fuzzy about organising stuff. Benita's blog is chock full of great DIY for home organisation and she lovingly endorses of all people Martha Stewart. Well I just had to have a peep over at old Martha's house, and I find myself quite impressed. I thought Martha a bit daggy before, but she has won me over. I've even subscribed to the organisation and craft tip of the day. Go on laugh your heads off, but I'm loving it!

So I've spent the last couple of weeks pondering and staring at all of our cupboards and have come up with a list of organising to do...I will put them on my side bar so you can keep track of my progress. I started the first one this morning. Our laundry cupboard went from this.........
to this after a trip to Bunnings and a couple of hours. Our laundry cupboard contains a fair bit of kitchen overflow, such as jam jars, plastic containers for stock, freezing left overs etc. So they needed a good tidy up and cull. I then sorted the cleaning stuff into what we use weekly (they went into a carry tray) and little used items. We use old clothes and sheets for rags, so instead of using a whole pair of jocks to wipe the coffee table, I have now cut them into a more appropriate shape, overlocked around the edge and attached some cotton twill tape for hanging (see green rag in white basket). The medicine chest needed a huge overhaul. I now have a huge pile of medication to take to the pharmacy for safe disposal and the remainder is sorted into general medication, first aid (band-aids, betadine etc) and I need it quick (children's panadol, ventolin etc) sections.

Just like Benita I'm trying to colour co-ordinate each of my projects. Why I hear you ask, just 'cos I can I say...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Scary Jack Frost!

I think I had an unrealistic idea of my maternity leave. I imagined all sorts of fantastic garments and homey things running off the sewing machine, many blankets skipping off the crochet hook and time to learn that elusive, but ever so popular mystery known to everyone else as knitting. The truth be told, I had just forgotten how much time it takes to demand breast-feed. Let alone trying to spend quality time with the boy-child.

But there are times when the distractions of the boy-child are just so great. This morning he called me outside to show me "Scary Jack Frost." For those mums of Thomas-mad boy children (and any random girl fans out there) you will know the episode where Percy gets stuck outside and covered in ice, causing all the other engines to cringe in fear thinking him scary jack frost! Oh to have the imagination of a three year old again.I did manage a batch of orange marmalade for my dear old dad, but it hasn't set properly so I will reboil it up tonight and post the result tomorrow. Unlike the plum and strawberry jam I had a lot of trouble regulating temperature with the marmalade. Too low and it didn't really boil furiously enough, and too high made it spill over the big pot. Hence the failure to set I believe. Who cares right when there's scary jack frost in the house.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Suzy makes Jelly too!

Well I'm in full hausfrau mode this morning. Dishes done, beds made, washing done...and some preserving to boot!

Although I wasn't very successful back in January with the straight preserving of stone fruit, the jam that I made was awesome. Yeah I know I sound up myself but I don't care. One of the books that I read to start me on my preserving journey was this one by Sally Wise.

This morning I made the Apple & Mint Jelly and it looks great, tastes fairly sweet so will post once we do the great taste test tonight with some sumptuous lamb. Although I am now rather suspicious about the colour of store bought mint jelly, it is almost fluro green compared to mine. The mint in my version isn't added until after cooking, but the mixture is still hot so it will dull the brightness of the herb. Me thinks food makers add colouring! It must be the week for jelly though, Kuka has made some Chili Jelly too - check it out here.

While I'm on the subject of lamb, I don't understand why it is so expensive these days. Even damn lamb shanks! For those in the Canberra area I've been buying mine direct from the farmer. Check out his website. The lamb is divine, organic and for $185 you can buy a whole one. But last Sunday I had no back strap or fillet left so had to buy it at the normal markets - 27 bucks a kilo - I nearly passed out!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


After a LONG hiatus, I'm finally doing some crochet. It's not for lack of want mind you. The cold weather is on its way for us here and I need to get cracking on some wintry blankets, jumpers and clothes for the little ones. First project is this blanket found on Ravelrey. I'm making mine a fair bit larger so that it will fit across the cot when the girl-child moves into there. It should also do nicely in her bassinet, but may be too big for a pram blanket. Oh well will have to make another one for that! I made the trek down to Spotlight this week and found this gorgeous yarn. As is usual for Spotlight nothing had a damn price, the shelves were in total disarray so I had no idea how much it was. $11.95 a freakin' ball! I should have known when Patons call the yarn Merino DELUXE. Actually that's what the Spotty chick said to me, well I wouldn't have to guess lady if your shop was organised!! So dilemma, you're at the register you've just waited 20 minutes to get to the top of the queue and $11.95 a freakin' ball! It is 20% off day you tell yourself, the girl-child is starting to look hungry and there is about 10 000 people in the queue that you have just you buy it. Justify that this is the first thing you've made for the baby, she's worth it, bla bla bla.

Then you get home, start said project, make it bigger than pattern suggests and you will need more yarn...a postcard arrives from Spotties enticing you to spend $100 and you will get $40 off! So tomorrow you will trek down there again spend the obligatory $100 on a few more balls, plus all sorts of crap you don't really need........aaarrrggghhh!!!

To the crochet maestros out there though, I need to ask, what is a "foundationless double crochet?" I followed the link on the pattern and even though it had pictures it might as well have been written in Finnish? I just did a chain first row, then dc for the second row (American DC that is), but I think that foundationless or whatever DC might have been better, because I tend to make that first chain row too taut and the blanket has a bit of a bow in it. Any help greatly appreciated, and if you want to rant about Spotties too that would be better!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

One beautiful autumn day...

Well today was just gorgeous. Blue skies, about 22 degrees and a very slight breeze. A perfect autumnal day...perfect for gardening. The boy-child and I decided to remove most of the summer hangers on, to be perfectly honest a 3yr old has no concept of gardening and just agrees with everything I suggest. A state I'm sure will continue long into the teenage years.

Back to the gardening...most of the tomatoes were pulled and strung upside down presumably to allow the moisture that is in the vines to go to the remaining fruit so that they continue to ripen. I first heard Maggie Beer talk about such an escapade, but this is the first time I have tried it. I like the look of the flash photo in this...makes it seem so dramatic!Here are the few loose tomatoes that didn't make the hanging ritual, and some beans! I haven't harvested a single bean for like a month or more, because the trellis was overcome with some nasty pest/disease and no amount of organic oil spray, molasses spray or hosing off could bring it back to life. Can you imagine my surprise today when removing Jack's beanstalk from the trellis I found these magical green surprise! Goes with the tacky green kitchen bench.

So what did I put in their place - broccoli, snow peas, silverbeat, lettuce and pak choy...don't you just love how the seasons go round. At least one good reason to live in Canberra!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

All work & no play makes Suzy a dull dull hausfrau...

Help! I'm at great risk of professional Suzy overtaking Suzy Hausfrau! In the last week I've had to submit more examination material for professional Suzy, as well as write a 3000 word job application. Yes I know I'm on maternity leave - that's why I need help. I haven't achieved nearly as much fun stuff as I thought I would...but here is a little project that I have been wanting to do for ages. You know those projects that you put off and when you get around to them they take maybe 15 mins and you wonder why it took you 6 months to get there...

Sometime ago I found a pattern for a pocket tissue cover (doesn't it peeve you when you can't find the damn link again - will post it when I do). I thought them very cute and went a slight bit overboard making about 20 of the suckers. Well I was pregnant and they take 10 mins each. They make great pressies and you even may remember I included one (plus a coin purse to match) with each of the Amy Butler Frenchy Bags that I made as Christmas gifts . Well the man of the house requested a larger version for the car...and ta da here 'tis. The big and small of it........

This hopefully will save me having to search around one handed, whilst driving, for the squashed and tatty tissue box that lurks in the foot well behind me when the boy-child has lovely snail trails descending from his nose! Yes, you can buy some squishy packet ones at the supermarket, but I refuse to pay twice as much for half the tissues - TA!!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Couture Reading!

They're here! I waited and waited everyday for my favourite aussie post boy to arrive, and he did. Amazon sometimes take FOREVER to get the books to you. I had to order a reference text for my other alias, professional suzy, and I let my mouse do the walking, and ended up ordering FIVE, yes FIVE, crafty books. I even got a shock when I opened the box, and had a momentarily guilty thought that I'd overdone it, but it was like a nano-moment. Plus I picked up my second BWOF (Burda World of Fashion) at Borders on the weekend. Trying to subscribe to BWOF is just ridiculous, my two emails to Germany still remain unanswered and I did find that you could get it through isubscribe in Australia, but at the newsstand price - nuts! I could subscribe but how would that give me an excuse to go to Borders once a month.

So on with the reading, I will post about each book as I complete my more thorough perusal. Two of them are general reference texts, which have already provided to be useful in some sewing completed yesterday. Although I know how to sew in essence, I think that a combination between how your mama did it, and some good reference texts will be good. Cos' sadly for me my mama isn't here anymore.

Don't ask me to show the sewing yesterday, it's just some more jocks for the man of the house - yawn!


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