Saturday, February 26, 2011

My morning project.....

A nifty little Crochet hook holder using my favourite vintage fabric. It's been ages since I had the sewing machine out, still haven't found the love again but I'm pretty happy with my effort.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A piece of cake

My youngest girl has a bit of an allergy to milk so I'm always trying to find yummy baking for her that still looks good. unfortunately I can't do buttercream icing anymore (I guess that's better for my waistline though), so colourful plain icing keeps her happy. Yummy dairy free (it really is a nice moist one) Chocolate Cake with Pink Icing for afternoon tea.

We live on an old subdivided farm (we only have 3 1/2 acres of the original hundreds that the farm would have been in the day) but we often find loads of *treasures* deep in the garden that have been dumped many moons ago - antique bottles are a common find. The Chief rolls his eyes and wants me to chuck them out but I keep them all over the house as little posy vases.

I've started hooking a beret/beanie for myself, but I'm a bit worried what the final shape may be. We'll see in a couple of days, but it looks so cute on this Greengate tray that I just had to share.

Finally, comfort food is needed today. I'm trying to keep positive with all the sadness in NZ at the moment so I thought we would enjoy some farm sausages, mash and caramelised onion gravy. The colours in the onions before I started cooking them looked so scrummy!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Canterbury earthquake 22 Feb 2011

My heart goes out to all in Canterbury that have had their lives devastated by the earthquake in Christchurch today. New Zealand is a small place, and although we may not be near you geograpically up here in Northland, we are with you in every other sense of the word. xxxx

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Beach days again

A perfect summer's day at a mostly isolated beach - The Nook (in Whangarei, Northland NZ). It was low tide so not great for swimming but the girls had a great time exploring the almost deserted beach.
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Next project

I've started some granny squares - I think I'll make a blanket for the caravan eventually. I'm still learning so they aren't perfect but I'm having fun making them. I'm using this pattern here from The Purl Bee (fabulous easy tutorial!)

I mentioned the Bubble Bath I was making for the girls the other day, it turned out to be a pretty big success so I'd thought I'd share the recipe here (source Elizabeth Francke "Cosmetic and Fragrance Book for New Zealanders):

Use your favourite shampoo (I use a natural one with no Parabens or SLS etc that smells totally yummy) and add Safflower or other vegetable oil (I used Grapeseed) to it in the proportion of 1 T oil to 1/2 cup Shampoo. Add a few drops of food colouring (I use a Queens natural colour in rose pink). Shake well and add up to 1/4 cup under running water.

Now mine doesn't make big bubbles due to the lack of things like SLS but my kids are used to that - it made more of a creamy froth. Your shampoo may create huge bubbles depending on the type.  My girls loved it all the same.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My first crochet project

It's finished. I can't believe how fast it is to crochet something! I've made the Jar Jacket by Lucy at Attic24. Ok it's not perfect, and the colours here don't show true at all (taken at nighttime) but you get the general idea. I'll take another photo tomorrow in the daylight. I'm just so excited about it that I had to post a photo tonight.

A really brilliant idea

I went to the library this morning to amuse the 3 year old and to meet up with a friend and I saw the most brilliant idea. There was a basket by the counter with a sign "Have a blind date with a book". The books were all giftwrapped with a sticker that had a cryptic blurb about the book. The one I picked out said "Don't be putt off by my Australian accent. I'm sharp, witty and elegant"  (hope that doesn't offend any Aussie readers out there ;) ) but I'm always trying to broaden my book choices so I thought that sounded a great one.
I checked it out and opened it with anticipation, it actually looks really good:

"A Question of Death" - a quirky Australian collection of short stories about a character called Phryne Fisher (a 1920's sleuth)

Certainly not the type of book I would usually pick, but it's always fun to try something different.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Peaceful and productive day

I've had a couple of days recently where the kids are at their respective School and daycare and I've not been at work.... and oh how much I enjoy the peace. I love my children but I really love just having a few moments to myself for the first time in years.

So today I've been busy today making cosmetics - Cold Cream and Bubble Bath from a brilliant book I have called "The make your own Cosmetic & Fragrance Book for New Zealanders" by Elizabeth Francke. It's a real retro 70's book but simple recipes and loads of different information about natural remedies make it a gem.
On my cosmetic jars I stick some of my beautiful Cath Kidston labels that my wonderful friend Leah gave me.
My favourite labels book and my favourite natural remedies book

I've also been hunting out some crochet patterns, think I may try some granny squares so I went and got some wool this morning. Please don't laugh at my beginner attempt below - it's my very first effort of single and double crochet.
My first crochet attempt

I also spent a while out in the garden, looking at some new trees that I'm nurturing (Robinia Lace Lady and my Elderberry) which look pretty healthy in this humidity. I spent a while following my silly chickens too - word of advice - never get any Silkie cross breeds as they are fickle and go broody more often than they lay. One is sneaking out of their very large fenced garden every morning and finally I found her nest today.

Sure made the most of the peace, back to reality in an hours time ;)

I did it!

I have a rare insomnia moment right now, so excuse the time I'm posting this. Maybe it's because I am just so excited that finally, after over a year of staring at a crochet hook trying to figure out how to crochet I think I have cracked it. I know that you crocheters out there will be wondering how I couldn't get my head around it but honestly it looked so odd to me - and I have been knitting for years so you think it would be easy?? Anyway I did a rectangular panel in double crochet at its not too bad for my first effort.  No photo yet (it's not THAT good).

Off to the library this morning to find a book with an actual object to make.

Can I dare say it..???... I think I'm "Hooked" ;)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Picnic night

We had the school picnic tonight, what a beautiful night for it! Sunshine, still air, humidity right up there. Tropical paradise tonight. Loads of people took takeaways (yum!) but I thought I'd be good and take my Tiffin Tin that my dear friend Leah picked up for me, filled with all sorts of yummy treats. Vietnamese Chicken Salad, fruit and a few other nibbles, plus a container of Caramel Slice to finish it off.

The kids had a ball - we hardly saw them. You know it's all good when they are off happily playing with their friends.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The weekends efforts

The weekends efforts - preserving, baking Plum cake, picking Blueberries, High Tea for my little girls, slow roasting a pasta sauce.
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Friday, February 11, 2011

It's green

What has a couple of wheels, a few walls, a couple of beds and potential for a lot of fun??? Our new retro 70's Kermit Green caravan, complete with an awning for the girls to sleep in. We won't get it for a couple of months yet as it's down the other end of the Island (thanks Mum and Dad for storing it in the meanwhile) but I've started knitting a tea cosy to amp up the GREEN-ness of it all.

Photos of the caravan and all our adventures it will be coming as soon as we get our hands on it ;)

Edited to add - this pattern was frogged, just way too time consuming. I'm making other green goodness for the caravan instead.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nurturing the creative spirit

I'm teaching my 6 year old to knit. The control freak in me finds it hard to not take over but I'm sitting on my hands and letting her go for it. A scarf for winter is her first project.

School is back so I had one lovely peaceful day yesterday with no kiddies and no work, so I made the most of it - baking, gardening and hunting out new knitting patterns.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cooks treat

Baking day yesterday. Chocolate slice for the lunchboxes (note the couple of pieces missing in the photo - I just HAD to test it of course ;) ) Plum cake from Annabel Langbein for the grown-ups. Very yummy!

What to to bake tommorrow afternoon?
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