Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I'm sick. Again. Another cold. And to top it off, it's freezing outside. And windy.
I endured a couple of hours earlier today hanging around the footy field, watching my favourite son play my least favourite sport. Football. Needless to say, I sat in the car and read my book, thinking about being home curled up in bed.
At the end of the match we trundled back home and I set to making some comfort food.
I only make Pasties a couple of times a year as they are pretty time consuming, and I'm sure too much pastry can't be good for me. I use this recipe:
Lightning Mix Pastry
145g plain flour 145g butter, melted
145g s.r. flour 5 tbspn iced water
1/2 tsp salt
Whisk together butter, water and 2tbspn of the flour until well combined. Add remaining flour and salt and stir to make a stiff dough. Roll and use as needed.
It's a very basic recipe from a 1965 Home Economics manual and I've used it for many years. The pasties themselves can be filled with just about any sort of filling, but my preference is lamb and swede.
They take about 30 minutes in a 180c oven. Served with some homemade sauce they are just about perfect for a wild and woolly day like today.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Can you keep a secret ?
I came across the wonderful art installations being done by the imaginative Doug Rhodehamel in an effort to promote art and creativity in daily living.
The SPORE Project has become a worldwide phenomenon and it's easy to understand why. Making the mushrooms requires very few materials and is fast and simple. See below for instructions.
Outside my son's classroom is a very neglected garden space which I hope to tackle later in the week. Once the area is cleared and dug over, I want to involve the kids with planting it out with a selection of hardy, drought tolerant plants, sourced from my home garden and some that have been kindly donated by a local nursery (hooray for free things).
I've bought a selection of mini tools that I will bring along for those little hands and hopefully will be able to enlist some grown up helpers along the way.
The plan is that I will attempt to make a hundred or so mushrooms and "plant" them over the weekend, ready for the kids to see on Monday. And maybe a gnome or two. What do you think?
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I came across this great soft cube tutorial by London Mummy ages ago and whipped up a few, filled them with a mix of rice and lavender and there you go! It wasn't until I turned them the right way out that I remembered last time I made them I used three contrasting fabrics per block instead of the two I did here. By adding an F for Finn to two of the panels I kind of saved them, thank goodness for wonderunder.
I bought these lovely, creamy coloured wool blend tops from Target, and embellished the fronts with some fun, boyish prints I had lurking in my stash.
The letters were made by ironing some WonderUnder to the fabric, and sticking on an F that I had from an alphabet sticker set (the brand was Remarks, charlie uppercase, by American Crafts). I then cut around the letter, peeled off the sticker and WonderUnder backing paper and ironed the fabric letter to the side.
Hopefully they will be well received, I think one less plastic-y gift can only be a good thing.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
How basic do you make a crafting activity for kids ? My past experience leads me to believe that if you think it is pretty basic, try to make it even more so. With ANZAC day in mind, I have found a few really (hopefully) simple things that I think they could achieve in about an hour or less.
For the Prep/Grade Ones, I have drawn some very basic doves that they can decorate and then cut out and hang from the ceiling. Sounds easy but I am not sure how the cutting out part will go.
For the older kids, I thought they could cut out leaf shapes from green felt and sew around the edge in a running stitch. We could then collect them all and glue on to a backing board in the shape of a wreath.
Sounds easy enough, but I might try to bribe them with the promise of an Anzac biscuit or two.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
After a busy few weeks leading up to Easter, we packed up the kids and the dog and headed to the beach for a few relaxing days away.
Nothing quite beats a walk along the beach at dusk (even if it is the hectic dog beach we always land at). Inevitably the kids end up wet no matter what the temperature is. You gotta love the smell of wet dog and kids in the car for that short trip back to the house.
We spent Saturday making nests with things we found in the garden. Despite Poppy's concerns, The Bunny certainly did find us.
All in all we had a lovely Easter and a great few days away.
Friday, April 10, 2009
I love these decorations! Some were made last year, some this year, but the reality is that I have made far too many to fit on the tree. And I need to remind myself that IT IS NOT A CHRISTMAS TREE.
Last years tree didn't quite get there. I had the deathly flu in the lead up to Easter so all we managed was a spindly looking bit of Silver Birch snapped off my Mother in Law's tree. Spray painted white.
This was snapped up on sale at Bed Bath and Table and is wire and plaster. Probably could have made it myself, but I thought they looked great. The best bit is that it kind of folds up for easier storage.
The wheat grass at the base looks so cheery and will last through to the end of the Easter break.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I bought these wonderful prints by Trefle, from Patchwork on Central Park a few weeks back with Easter crafting in mind. They are a great fabric to work with, and perfect for making some lined egg cosies.
I didn't really have a pattern to go by so I based them on an existing set of cosies that we had. I wanted these larger though to cover both the egg and the cup, and added a ribbon on top for extra detail.
These two were made for two lovely little friends of ours, to balance out all that chocolate that they will inevitably receive!
I am working on a new set for Mother's Day, maybe this time in plain linen with an embroidered detail or two.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Our lovely Italian neighbour keeps us supplied year round with all sorts of things from her enormous vegetable garden. From Autumn through to Winter though we are lucky enough to receive literally kilos and kilos of fruit.
As we enjoy the last of the plums, the figs begin. As these end we are given with my favourite Autumn fruit, the quince. Looking over the fence, I know apples are not far off, then followed by the fantastically coloured persimmons.
We gave away some of the quinces, but so far have turned about three kgs into quince tarte tatin, pot roasted quinces (for the freezer) and quince jelly. I am still debating what to do with the rest, as we still haven't finished last years quince paste......
Italian quince marmalade perhaps?
I'm two thirds of the way through the boring Autumn garden tasks of weeding, pruning, mulching and pulling out the finished summer garden.
The recent rain has certainly been welcome and has made working in the garden so much more pleasant. This time last year, we still had tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, eggplant and pumpkin growing, but the garden has been terribly neglected this year as we were away nearly all summer. Tough water restrictions, and scorching heatwaves meant the poor vegie patch stood no chance.
The ornamental garden has managed to withstand most of the extreme weather, due to very selective planting. We lost a couple of large-ish plants out the front but all in all, it is now bouncing back with the cooler weather and damper soil.
A play date yesterday had the girls out wanting to garden, so once all the tools were out they got down to the very serious task of planting. We settled on pansies in pots and sweet peas in the garden bed that had been recently vacated by the tomatoes.
The girls had a lovely time, with just enough sun out to take the chill off the air and just enough flowers about to pick as offerings for our indoor fairy.
Friday, April 3, 2009
After a very busy week, I suddenly realised that today was the last day of school before term break and Easter.
Every year the kids seem to be inundated with chocolate eggs from school friends and I never seem to be that organised. While out and about I spied these gorgeous sugared almonds in Puckle street and came up with an alternative to all that chocolate.
I made up a dozen packages for them to hand out, but apparently was about 200 short in my estimations.