Thursday, September 27, 2012

Painting done - now the fight is on

Who will get the room?


 Well this is what I have been doing in my spare time - hahaha - spare time, what is that!!! Well I asked this myself but managed to juggle work so that I completed my paperwork before the kids went to school, did the practical stuff in the morning and that left two afternoons this week to paint.

Dawn had a room in her house that had a mouldy wall and the floor had sunk in the corner. So she got in Longsilver Construction to lift the floor, remove the wall, pink bat it and re gib. I said that I would paint it to save her the money. So the builders etc finished it on Tuesday morning.

Over Tuesday and Wednesday I got the undercoat/ sealer on and two coats of paint plus painted the trim. Boy I went hard out to get it done as I am leaving today for Wearable Arts Awards in Wellington (so so so thrilled as I have always wanted to go).

No, It's MY room!!
Anyway all the girls LOVE the room and they are now trying to work out who gets the room. Dawn said she should have been in the photo pushing the girls out of the room and claiming it for her. (my boys even got in the mix and said they would have the room!)

Linking to these parties

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Upcycle a tray cloth

The finished bag
 A while ago I posted about some of my Opportunity Shop finds. I bought the tray cloth for $1.00 as it had lovely hand embroidery.

So this weekend I finally got around to doing something with it. I did not want to do a normal zip bag or purse as half the lovely embroidery would have been cut off. So I went from 1 tray cloth, 1 linen shirt, 1 cotton shirt, to this little bag to put things in (a bit of handcraft maybe).

The back - finished

Inside - finished
The three items I started with

Linking to these parties.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cake for House Blessing

Yesterday we were priviledged to go to the house blessing for the new Habitat for Humanity houses in Kaiapoi. A family from our church have been working incredibly hard as they have been accepted as one family for a house.

My goodness they do work too!! Not only do they have to contend with moving all the time while waiting for  the house to be finished. The earthquakes have put such pressure on housing. They have to do 500 hours work on the house. Richard is working in his paid job as many hours as he can and then all weekend and some weeknights he is plastering and painting etc on his house. But the awesome thing is that they will never have to move again and this is their house. I am so thrilled for them. Thanks Habitat - you do an amazing job.

So they had the house dedication with the local Mayor there, the MP Kate Wilkinson was meant to be there,  lots of the volunteers were there. So all we took a plate for afternoon tea, listened to speeches and prayed blessing over their new house.

I met a few people and we talked gardening and food, the took my blog details - so if you have logged on - welcome to my blog I hope you like it. Do follow if it interests you.

The cake I took was the one that was on TV the night before on the new Annabel Langbien programme - The Free Range Cook, simple pleasures.

I made two cakes. The round one is cranberry and walnut, the square is apricot and no nuts. Well I preferred the first. Interestingly it was all the ladies that liked the cake. My boys did not and Aaron did not particularly. A great cake to have with a cup of tea. Relatively low fat, easy to make diary free by substituting oil for butter (use slightly less). It does have an old fashioned taste about it and I think that is due to using Baking Soda as the rising agent.

But here is the recipe:

Annabel Langbein - Orange lightning Cake - so called as it is quick as lightening to make.

1 whole organic orange - cut it into quarters, put into the food processor and whizz to paste.
1/2 Cup water with 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in it
2 eggs
1 Cup Sugar
2 Cups plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence ( I use my homemade one)
125g softened butter - NOT melted.
Whizz together.

add - 1 Cup dried fruit, 1/2 cup walnuts and just pulse to mix in. Do not get it chopped up.

Into lined tin. Bake 1 hour 160oC

Linking to these parties

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Done - 100% Eco recycled quilt

I started this a few months ago and have finally finished. I got stuck into it on Friday for the - friday night sew in- and finished it today. You can go back to this blog post to explain how it is 100% recycled - batting, backing, front etc. But the sewing thread was new.

I really like the finished product but I did not enjoy the process of this quilt at all. I have found it a chore to finish. I got in so much of a funk today trying to get it done, that once I had all the pieces quilted, I could not find the motivation to finish it and do the binding. So Morris and I went for a big walk around the Pegasus wildlife area. Lovely and sunny (but cold) great walk and had a fantastic coffee and amazing fruit slice at the cafe there. I came home reinvigorated and have just completely finished the quilt. Yipee. The boys are due home in 5 minutes so the timing is fantastic.

I have learnt that I do not like the quilt as you go technique. This quilt is done with raw edge applique, which results in quilt as you go. Icky Icky. The last one I did using that technique here - I did not enjoy either. So only pieced quilts from now on.

Another quilt to go into the slowly building stash for the orphans at Hope Homes International.

Hope you had a great Saturday like I did.

Linking to these parties

Early Morning

Well it is only 8am and we have all had breakfast and the boys have gone. They are off Tramping up Mt Oxford with one of Aaron's workmates. This is very early for us on a Saturday morning. Pancakes in their tummies to keep them going and off they went.

This tramp has many memories for Aaron and I. We met while tramping into Lake Daniels. A week later Aaron called me at work to say that he was going tramping up Mt Oxford and do I want to go. Only it all went very wrong. He asked for Karen when he got the switchboard and they put him through to a different Karen! 15 years older, no interest in tramping at all. He had a very bemusing conversation with her. Fortunately Karen realised that it could be me, as though we worked in different areas and on different floors, I had talked to her in the staff cafeteria. She rang me and asked if I knew a Aaron who was into tramping. We laughed quite a lot when she told me of the conversation. It all ended well as I rang Aaron back and explained it all. If it had not been for Karen realising it was me he wanted, we may never have gotten together, as he thought I (as in the other Karen) was putting him off and not very interested.

The tramp we did was great, though for the last 50 metres I ran out of steam and Aaron pulled me up. His story is always that he pulled me up 500 vertical metres!!!! Anyway we now know that my inability to keep the steam going up hills was due to my heart. In spite of that I have done extensive tramping and just used to take going uphill more slowly. Unfortunately now I can't even go up a flight of stairs without it getting to much. So the boys are off without me.

The second picture is all the seed sewing that I did yesterday - spring fever hit. I also put some pea seeds directly into the garden. So we will wait and see if I am just too ambitious for the weather.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to keep everyone happy - almost

1. Walk the dog - Very happy dog :)
2. Walk the dog and get exercise - Very happy Cardiologist and husband
3. Walk the dog, get exercise, be in the cold bracing air by the river - I am happy, love being outside
4. Walk the dog, get exercise, enjoy the fresh air and find Wood - very happy husband
5. Walk the dog, get exercise, enjoy the fresh air, find wood and put the wood in the car - incredibly happy husband (as have not just told him about it but actually saved him a job), incredibly happy dog ( he got to run back and forth as I crossed the paddock retrieving wood), free weightlifting session for me!!
6. Bring the wood home but leave it in the car for someone else to unpack - unhappy boys if that are told to do that job!!!!!

Linking to these parties

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Finally finished

I am still trying to finish all the half done projects I have. This is one project I started last year just after Dad's 80th birthday (His 81st is in a week!) and it has sat uncompleted all that time. I have thought about it a lot, especially when I have wanted to wear a long necklace, but not actually done anything about it.

Last night while watching TV I was not feeling really motivated, wanted to quilt but did not have the omph. So I took out my Jewelry making things and finished this. I am thrilled that it is finished and I can wear it.
My preference in jewelry has always been natural things. So I tend toward only gold and silver and when making my own I use a lot of freshwater pearls - I love love love them.

So this is very fine Stirling Silver chain (as any thicker just costs so much), small (4mm) freshwater grey and natural pearls. Even though I am not Catholic I was thinking along the lines of a rosary when I was making this. I even made the cross at the bottom. I then added another pair of natural freshwater earings. They are 10mm pearls using Stirling Silver hoops.

These are the parties I link to.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A great sewing night

Kylie doing her bunting
Sheryl working on the Petal quilt

Well last night was our first get together in ages. Since the last school holidays winter has gotten on top of us and for many reasons we had not had a sewing get together for about 2 months. We have all been distracted by things, most of us had sick children at various times, Sheryl and Kylie are battling still to get consents with councils etc to start building their homes, husbands have traveled and the dark depths of winter hit us all.

But here we are - Spring has sprung (thought NOT appreciating the frosts we are now having), it is a bit lighter at night for longer and the sewing love popped it's head up.

Steff contemplating her layout

Paula's gorgeous split nine patch
It was fantastic to see what everyone is working on. Sheryl was doing an amazing petal cushion from a pattern from Cluck Cluck Sew. Paula is doing the split nine patch. Steff is finishing her double hour glass quilt and Kylie was getting on with bunting. Oh I love evenings together, it has reinvigorated me and I want to get all my half done projects finished!!!

These are the parties I link to.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The first quilt - piecing finished

A Month or so ago I started my Mother-in-law on her first ever quilt. Well I have not completed anything much since then and she has gone great guns and finished an entire quilt top for a single bed. Way to go. She is really enjoying quilting and I love the result. Another hooked quilter (I hope).

My fantastic father in law came and helped to fix a few things with the caravan today, thanks so much Warwick, you are awesome.

These are the parties I link to.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My morning in the caravan

First camping trip since winter. Just popped to spencer park for the first weekend away.
Great morning, am still in bed, morris happy on my knee, Aaron made me a coffee, reading the last bit of the paper- bliss.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Eli's Creativity

Eli has been plotting and planning his Father's Day present ever since Aunty Alison gave us two big stretched canvases for the boys. (thanks Alison they are awesome!). Eli said that he wanted to put pictures of Dad and him all over it to make a piece of artwork.

So we went through all our photos and picked out what he wanted. I got them printed. He then painted the canvas with a green, which he thought looked like DOC green (as Dad likes tramping so much).

Then he trimmed the pictures and stuck them on.

This morning Aaron was presented with his Father's Day presents. Last week on the actual day Aaron was away. So we decided we would celebrate it tomorrow. But as we are hopefully camping (weather dependant as the forecast is hideous) this was too big to take with us.

Well done Eli - I was very impressed.

Linked here to parties - go and check them out.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A bit of scrummy baking

After a weekend of painting I am sick of the sight of brushes, paint pots, plastic and mess. So Monday started the "get the house back into order" blitz. And being me if I can procrastinate and not finish anything then watch out. So yesterday procrastination or delaying tactics were in play big time.

So I sat and had a coffee and watched "Rachel Allen Bake" off Choice TV. I thought -surely I can do that. So I made the short pastry ( in the last few years I have been cheating and buying pastry) and then made the filling. It was the yummiest Lemon Slice I think I have had. A lot of slices are to have with a cup of tea like a biscuit - this is not so. This is more like a dessert slice. My experience of lemon slices is that they are really rich with lots of butter and cream to set it. Not this.

It is creamy but really light. Sweet but still having the tartness of the lemon shine through. Then because the oven was on and I was not sure if the kids would have this for dessert I made some chocolate brownie too.

One thing about Rachel Allen was she said to use glad wrap for the lining when blind baking. She said it would not melt. Well I tried it. It did not melt onto the pastry or the beans but it sure shrank and melted on itself. Never again!!!!

200g flour
100g chilled butter cubed. Rub butter into flour. Add
1 T icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
break 1 egg into little bowl and whisk. Add half the egg to the pastry and with your hands just start mixing. Add the other half and bring the dough to the point where it is clumpy. Pile it onto some gladwrap and wrap it so that it is the shape of a saucer. Push the dough once wrapped and the clumps will stick together. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll it  out and put it into your 20-25cm flan tin with loose bottom. Line the pastry with baking paper - put in your blind baking beans and bake in the oven for 20 min at 180oC. Remove from oven and brush with beaten egg to seal the pastry. Pop back in the oven for 2-3 minutes. (this stops the pastry getting wet and soggy). Remove from oven. Lower oven to 160oC and put the liquid filling in. Bake for 25-35min. It should still wobble when cooked as it will keep cooking on removal.

3 eggs and 125g castor sugar whisked together. Add the zest of 1 lemon, juice 3 lemons and juice of 1 orange. Then whisk in 150ml cream. Taste the filling and add 1 T castor sugar if you need it.

Serve when cool and sprinkle with icing sugar.

linking up here

The new room



I have one big tip for everyone wanting to renovate an entire room - Don't do it by yourself!!! Now I tend to do these things when Aaron is away because, to be honest, he can be more hindrance than help. But if he is dressed in the right clothes etc then he is good at the muscle stuff - lots of rollering on the walls, taking furniture in and out etc.

This project almost became too much for me and halfway through I wanted to give up. I cleaned, sanded and prepped the room on Friday night till 11pm, Saturday I just finished painting at 11.30pm and Sunday the entire project was finished, in between going to church - seeing Pop for fathers day, at 10.15pm.

The pictures do not show the black curtain up. I now still have to put up new shelving etc and redo the foam pad on the blanket box and make a pin board. So I have two rooms half done!!

Paint drying
Paint drying
Eli chose the colours months ago and has been pretty strong about that choice being a good one. So I went with it. Why not give him what he wants? He is now also asking for a new quilt to go with his room!
Linking up here

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Gardening experimentation

I have just had a failed experiment and started a new one!. I hate brussel sprouts, icky, yucky. But my husband loves them. So I thought I would be really good and grow some for him this year. Four have already gone by the way of the chooks for extra fodder as they just were not growing where they were. Two looked like they were doing the right thing. But all of a sudden they have starting running to seed as the weather turned dramatically warm overnight. We went from winter to summer in a couple of days.
I have taken a photo of the only one worth while and that is after I have plucked off all the sprouts that had "sprouted" to seed. It is PATHETIC. I think they know that I do not like them???

The new experiment is making watering container for tomatoes. As we go away a lot in the warmer weather the glasshouse often dries out and hence the tomatoes get affected. I am trying a trick I have seen in other places. If you put a bottle into the ground as deep as it can go then you water the roots rather than water landing on leaves and risking rust etc. So I tried the first one today with a little bottle and think I will continue. The idea is the roots will go down deeper as the water is down deep which means it should not get so badly affected with the odd "dry out".
Add caption
 1. Get a plastic drink bottle and punch holes in the bottle cap. I punched 5 holes in but think next time it would be 3 as the water drained through quickly
 2. Chop the bottom of the bottle, make sure the cap is screwed on well
 3. Push down into the ground so that about an inch of the bottle is above the surface of the soil. Hopefully watch those tomatoes grow!!

Linking up here

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bean Bag Buddies

This morning when the boys started watching TV they got the bean bag out and I heard Jakob say "Let's be bean bag buddies". I thought that was cute.

My tools of trade when Aaron goes away
I am blogging as I am procrastinating. It is 8.30am and I could paint for for an hour before church but I am exhausted. Yes Aaron is away for work and so I have done what I normally do and embarked on another project. It took till 11pm on Friday to prep, clean, sand etc, then last night I finished painting at 11.30pm and I am only halfway through. I feel like stopping but that would be a disaster - I am not going to but my body and brain want to!!

So I am having a coffee, making the boys french toast for breakfast (basically doing massive procrastination) and then I might get some painting in before church. Oh I am so looking forward to this being done.

A gorgeous break in Rarotonga

Woo hoo, A holiday with no kids for 11 days. Bliss, relaxing and warm! BTW it was an early 20th wedding anniversary present to ourselves....