Sunday, February 28, 2010

A crafty bag

On the last day of summer the temperature dropped, the sky was overcast and the breeze was cool.
I spent a bit of time delving into recipe books, searching out slow food and trawling crafty blogs looking for some inspiring projects to get stuck into over the cooler months.
I've got a couple of embroidery projects on the go .... more on those later .... but one project I completed last winter that I'm really delighted with is my crocheted handbag.

I picked up a pattern a couple of years ago at a craft fair and last year, when the family had a week in the snow, I got to work.
The bag was started and finished in that week. It's the first pattern I've completed on my own ..
I managed to increase and decrease as directed by the pattern ... and improvise when I didn't understand the instructions.
That's what craft is all about isn't it?

And because the body and handles of the bag are pure wool .... I felted the bag in the washing machine, when I got home.
I'll post a picture of the finished felted bag in another blog.
(Which means I need to find the pictures on my camera!)

In the meantime, enjoy these pics I took earlier!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 27, 2010

So simple

I picked up a bunch of thistle-like flowers at the market.
I loved the colour.
Instead of putting them in one vase, I found a collection of little bottles and vases in the pantry and arranged a bloom or two in each.
And they lasted for ages.

Posted by Picasa

Dream on

My head is full of the excited chat of 10 year old girls
but my mind is elsewhere ...

ahhhhh ....
that's more like it

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Double Figures

We enjoyed a special birthday this week
Eliza turned 10.
Double figures. What a milestone.
I'm in denial.
We celebrated with tacos and chocolate pavlova, at her request.
I asked her tonight what she'd like to be when she's grown up.
Without hesitatation she relied:
A teacher or a superstar ....Posted by Picasa

Cumquatty deliciousness

This summer I've been bottling jam and literally enjoying the fruits of my labour.
I've made apricot jam and plum jam and the results have been pretty impressive for a complete beginner (not to mention delicious).
Last week my neighbour dropped in a brown paper bag filled with cumquats.
Ahhh cumquats.
I immediately thought of cumquat jam, my Dad's favourite, but there was some heavy lobbying for cumquats in brandy from another household member!
Nostalgia won out and cumquat jam was the go.
Interestingly I had to halve the cumquats, take the seeds out (they're tiny little things) and soak the fruit overnight.
Maybe other jam makers can tell me if that's the norm. I really don't know.

But that's what the recipe called for.

And I should point out dear reader that yes, that is a chux - a clean one mind you - with the pips in it. Unlike Jane Austin, I didn't have any muslin to hand.

After soaking the fruit, it was the usual procedure of adding sugar and a little bit of lemon juice, simmering until setting point was reached (And I'm getting better at telling this too.)

The end result, beautiful bottles of cumquat jam.
Look at that glorious colour!
It passes the taste test.
And I've got a bottle for my Dad when he visits us at Easter.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 22, 2010

Big Red

Our tomato crop is in.
Our seedlings came from our Italian neighbour Alfredo.
The little red gems glow on the bush.

James picked a heap of these beauties ....
Don't you love how he colour coordinated his outfit! Cute.

We've got a couple of different varieties - mini romas and tiny cherry tomatoes - and they all pack a flavour punch.
It's a juicy tomatoey explosion in your mouth.

We're eating them by the homegrown handful.

A simple summer pleasure.

Posted by Picasa

Tiny but abundant

Our inner city garden is tiny, but for something the size of a handkerchief, or a couple of hankies tied together, it works mighty hard.
We're getting our garden back in shape after the renovation.
In spite of the tough conditions last year with the lack of rainfall and builder's debris all over them, most of the trees are doing well.
The apricot tree delivered an abundant crop in summer (quickly turned into jam) and our apple tree is fruiting for the first time.

What a perfect piece of fruit. No wonder Eve was tempted.

We've also planted a heap of pumpkin seedlings to help shade the garden from the searing summer sun.

The seedlings have flourished and the vines have gone mad.
We've got sooo many pumpkins, gently nestling in the garden.
But I'm not sure what we're going to do with 12 huge pumpkins come autumn ...

But the fairies who also hide at the bottom of our garden seem delighted.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Back to School

Our little one is growing up.
After a wonderful summer that seemed to last forever (I remember that feeling), it was back to school.

After some trepidation and anxious moments about the new teacher (yes there were tears too) ... she's settled in just fine, declaring Mrs Anderson is the best
teacher ever.

I'm still trying to get my head around the fact she's 10 next week.

Where did that decade go??

Posted by Picasa

Home grown and sun ripened

We've had a ripper year for tomatoes.
Last year was a disaster and I really didn't have high hopes for the crop this year.
So in spite of my pessimism, the tomatoes did their thing and the crop is abundant.

We've got a couple of varieties planted and there's nothing nicer than freshly picked tomatoes, still warm from the sun, chopped up, mixed together with red wine vinegar and olive oil, a handful of mint (for something different) and some pomegranate seeds. Spoon the mixture over char grilled sour dough, rubbed with garlic ...
We served this as an entree a couple of weeks ago. Summer on a plate.

Oh happy days Posted by Picasa

Cathing Up In Pictures 6

In A Jam

Over summer I got into jam making.
We picked a basket of apricots just before heading to the beach for a week.
I couldn't miss the opportunity to pack a load of bottles and a couple of kilos of sugar as well.
Apricot jam here we come.
My first night in the beach house was spent chopping, stirring and bottling.
The result was perfectly delicious.
And the choice for breakfast every morning was easy.

The next batch of jam was made from plums grown by a lady I work with. Unlike other homegrown plums I've had over the years, these were sweet, juicy and didn't leave your face contorted. I found a recipe for blood plum jam and set to work. The colour was amazing. And the taste ....

I've just been given some cumquats and hope to turn them into jam this weekend. My Dad loves cumquat jam. I'll save him a bottle. xxx

Posted by Picasa

Catching Up In Pictures 5



Posted by Picasa

Catching up in Pictures 4

Our Christmas celebrations turned into something more like a festival.
And there was food and drink in abundance as were toasted family and friends for what seemed like weeks.

It was extra special this year hosting our annual Carols singalong back at home.
The renovations meant that there was room for all and the acoustics were superb.

And the conviviality continued ....

Christmas Day was a real celebration after a very tough year.
Mum and Dad and family from Queensland joined us for a wonderfully happy day.
And yes, there was more food and wine and plenty to be thankful for.

The glazed ham was a winner too.

Posted by Picasa

Catching Up In Pictures 3

Glammed up at the ball.

Posted by Picasa

Catching Up In Pictures 2

Our annual snowy adventure was fun.
As a non skier I'm happy to cook and get crafty in front of the fire.
And this year I discovered the hot rockpools and day spa for some pampering while the family was on the slopes.
Immersing yourself in a steamy pool as the snow falls gently is one of the most beautiful things I've ever experienced. I'll be back!
!Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Catching up in pictures

My Year In Review
It's been soooo long since I've posted regularly on my blog.
I thought the easiest way to catch up was to put some photo collages together and recap the year.
The pictures above show the sweet afternoon tea to celebrate sweet Georgia's first birthday.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 8, 2010

I'm Back

OMG. It's almost midnight. The internet got connected today's a very long story and it's been a long 9 months to wait. Gosh, I could have had a baby in that time!!!
I'm delighted to be hitting the www again.
Surprisingly it only took a couple of goes to remember my passwords etc!
But at this hour, after downloading 1700 emails, it's a quick hi and bye.
See you real soon with lots of crafty goodness.
I've made jam too XXX
It's so nice to be tapping on the lap top again!