Sunday, February 23, 2014

this weekend we made...

we made paper flowers with tissue and newspapers. 
we sat and she chatted; she's so full of energy and life, such a dear and funny person,
it's precious time; I savour every moment...

she needed a swimming bag for school; it looked simple to do.
we measured and cut; she sewed and ironed and pinned,
she was so careful and did such a beautiful job,
I showed her and she listened; I just love her company and sweet solemn face...

I love having this time to just be with them.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

sew sweet swap surprise

Arriving in the mail on Tuesday was this lovely surprise parcel. From Louise at Life with Lou, this zippered pouch is delightful in every way. The material is just beautiful; the piping adds a professional finish and the shape of the bag is just so attractive.

Note the pleasing curve of the pouch...!

It's also beautifully lined and full of exciting treasures...

 I just love doilies. I actually collect them, when I can find them for a good price, and I've used them before on various craft projects, from decorations on my shopping bags to pockets on my daughter's dresses. So I was absolutely thrilled to find three pristine and beautiful doilies enclosed.

Also gifted; a beautiful piece of remnant fabric which has various crafty ideas buzzing round my brain... headscarf? I'm sure my mum has a dress like this somewhere...

But when I got to the edible goodies, I had a moment... It's like Lou already knows me. Chocolate coffee beans!!! OMG I love these! 

Super size Freddo Frogs.. I'm not ashamed to say these didn't last long...
Here's my cat ,Smokey, joining the action on this photo shoot.

 But wait! There was more...crochet hooks. Now I know Lou is reading my mind. Crocheting is on my to-achieve list this year. No excuses now. And this set is gorgeous. The handles with their gloopy bubble appearance is reminding me of lava lamps. Super cute.

Just had to put this in. On the card enclosed there's a cat which is very similar in appearance to Smokey (just orange eyes, instead of the green of hers)

Such a beautiful gift. Thank you so much, Lou. I love everything in it. And I love your blog. This was my first sew sweet swap and it was very special to be able to take part. 

Cheers to Cat for organising and executing this swap so smoothly. I'll definitely be back next year. (Hopefully with some improved sewing skills!)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

making cheese

(morning tea...mmm)

It's called Easy Cheesy and it turned out to be just that. A lovely morning spent on a property in Cooran with five other would-be cheese-makers and the lovely and helpful Dawn. Dawn has been making cheese for quite some time and is obviously very experienced, with a very professional set-up in one of her outbuildings. She's using local Cooloola milk and Suncoast limes, which is great news for these local producers. Yum.

I've looked at cheese-making courses before...mostly expensive and intensive weekend long courses held in capital cities away from my family nest. But this course was held locally, on a Saturday morning, and was a birthday gift from my two sisters. Ticking all the boxes, I was signed up pronto.

After a quick welcome cuppa, we were instructed in some basic cheese-making hygiene. Very, very important. Then straight into our first session; First up a ricotta, followed by a soft lime cheese. Both very straightforward and easily reproduced at home. Using the by-product from these, we made a tasty and interesting whey lemonade. Delicious and apparently very good for you.

After morning tea (we're talking homemade goodies such as fruit cake, rum balls and all sorts of cheese testers), it was back into the kitchen to make marscapone and yoghurt. By lunchtime we were done, our take-home bags packed full of our cheeses to show off to our peeps at home.

The lime cheese pretty much disappeared as soon as I got home. Great just on a cracker, the kids tucked in with gusto. The lemonade was a hit too, although there's a very mild cheesy odour which put my youngest off a bit. But whey has it's other uses too. Apparently it's very good sprayed on your veggie gardens as a bug deterrent! And on Sunday morning I turned some of the ricotta into raspberry ricotta pancakes, decadently topped off with marscapone. Needless to say they did not last long.
I've been eating the yoghurt on my breakfast muesli, with a good dollop of honey rounding it off. The yoghurt turned out really well. It's less tart than the store-bought ones, with a good thick consistency and a lovely creamy finish. I'll definitely be making this again.

Anyone else dabbled in cheese-making?

Any interesting recipes for ricotta? 

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Last weekend saw a brief change on the weather front...

It wasn't much, but it was more than we've had in quite some time. We started the day lounging in our PJ's, hot cups of tea in hand, listening to the sound of the gentle steady downpour, but by mid-morning we wanted to be out and feeling the rain on our faces. Down on the beach were two surfers and one loyal and lonely dog waiting patiently on the shoreline. A few large jellyfish and the occasional bluebottle were washed up on the beach. And a starburst pattern of crab balls. 
And me and my girls.

Monday, February 10, 2014

back to crafting and other snippets

With the kids back at school and some deadlines looming, it was really time for me to get my crafting hat back on. First thing on the list was a clean and service of my sewing machine; which worked so hard over the pre- Christmas season. With that done, and a new needle in place, I'm addressing this project. Just got to pop a button on so I can roll it up. It's a handy shopping bag, pattern from Pinterest and I've made several of these now. It's in my swap partner's requested colours of green, blue and yellow. She's a modern gal, from the sounds of it, so I'm not sure what she'll make of these retro/recycled fabrics. We'll see...

So; just to fill with chocolate and post by Friday. Yep, that's possible.

On the birthday front (I turned 45 last week), my very special friend Cheryl gave me these divine knitting needles from House of Prentice. Handcrafted out of Australian hardwood, beautifully finished and wrapped, with a handmade card, this gift brought a little tear to my eye. 

 (apologies for the out-of focus snap..hmm )

(featured here with Zara's lovely cushion)

I haven't used such large needles before but I'm really looking forward to trying them out. I've been looking through Pinterest for some inspiration on large and chunky knitting, but I could really do with some advice too.

And just to round off, I'm back with enthusiasm into baking. This banana cake is a modified version of Kate's recipe, from her Vantastic book, which I also received for my birthday. I didn't have any almond meal on hand, so I just substituted with some oats and shredded coconut, and chucked in a generous handful of choc-chips for good measure. Just delicious and so very easy. 

Anyone else out these regularly knit with 12mm needles?

What do you make?

Where should I search for inspiration?

Please share!