Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Work in Progress

Well I am a bit late joining the hexagon craze that started a few years ago. But over the holidays the stitching I took with me was 1" hexagons. What I will do with it and how many I will make, I do not know. I would like some sort of modern setting or quilt but will have to fossik through pinterest etc for that.

Eli's great work
While I started stitching Eli also started. He made one flower. Chose the colours, stitched the material on, sewed the seams. Well done to him. He wanted something to put his MP3 player on by his bed. He is now talking of making another one so that it will quilt together to form a mat.

I have been thinking of my stitching as I am packing it again, so soon after coming home. This time unfortunately it is going with me to Dunedin for my uncle's funeral. See you after the weekend.

Linking in to WIP Wednesday and other parties here.

Relaxing summer holidays

Yes we had a fantastic summer holiday. We feel that this summer has been great as we have had two big camping trips away, both by rivers and with lots of sun.
We all managed to get some walks in - the boys and Aaron went up to the Trig but the hill was out for me so I did all the flat walks around finishing at the coffee shop.
Lots of lying around in bed in the mornings.

Some tramping

Ready to go (Eli took a while to get into it)

the game turned into other lego!!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gourmet camping food

Blissful bush camping
We have come back from another gorgeous eight days away. We stayed at Pelorus Bridge DOC camping ground. This was our relax and do nothing holiday. Lazy lazy mornings, Lots of yummy food, heaps of swimming and a bit of walking. I read 2 books and five magazines and did a bit of stitching. It was great.

We always say that with the caravan we are "glamping" and our food this time certainly followed that. Here are some food photos. I even made some English Muffins for brunch one day ( I have the recipe on my blog here). Yes excuse the photo - but I was still in my nighty. (With a very naughty Aaron in the background pulling faces. I told him that if he was not careful I would put the picture on the blog!!)    I link into these places sometimes.
Of course there was wine

Olives, pastrami, blue cheese, cumin gouda, gooseberry jam and brie

Put the egg with the flour

knead the dough
Use the Milk frother to melt the butter into the milk

Let it sit to rise while we all have a shower

Cook!! on the griddle


and eat some more

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Awesome finds from the Op Shop

A Breville food processor with all the bits
 I went into two Op Shops just before Xmas. At the "Save the Children" in Kaiapoi I found these quilt blocks and negotiated it down to $5. They will sew together quickly to be a quilt for the orphanage in Kenya that is the charity I support. As timing would have it, in the shop was Sarah, who is the Mother of Ian who set up and runs this Orphanage. So we had a good discussion about how many quilts we had etc. and how to get them off to Kenya.

Then I popped into the Salvation Army Op Shop in Rangiora looking for second hand school uniform for Jakob for his new school. No uniform but for $20 I got a full working Breville food processor and all the bits. Am thrilled!!
Quilt blocks
 I am linking up to 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Work in Progress

Over the last week I have been working hard trying to finish many things. Goodness how do I get so many unfinished projects? I have a bit of a rescue job to do when we come back from our next week away (the garage flooded with the recent rain and in spite of being up on blocks the suitcase with half done quilts and material for the charity I support, all got wet and I have to clear it out) so am trying to get things in my room finished first.

The cushion cover on the  matching quilt

The hourglass flannelette quilt in the making
I have just about finished the entire redo of Jakob's room. The last thing on my list for him was a matching cushion to go with his new decor. Last night I spent quilting the cushion top. It is now ready to be made into a proper cushion cover.

I have also been wanting to have my quilt for the caravan done. I am going girly and recycled. It is made from a flannelette sheet I bought at an Op Shop for $3 and lots of PJ tops and bottoms purchased for .50 cents. I am loving it so far but want to be using it!!! (sigh it will not be ready for this next trip away).

I sometimes link to these places.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Eli's lunch

Eli has just made his lunch today and is sitting behind me making very appreciative noises. He loves sushi so on the weekend I bought some smoked salmon.

He made sushi rolls. He has cucumber from the garden, some carrot sticks and smoked salmon. Then he put some wasabi and some ginger on the board. He is very pleased with himself and I have to say that it looks great.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dinner for a new Mum

The boys and I popped over to see Alison and her new baby Lucas. Now almost two weeks old. Soooo cute. Of course you should never ever go to see a new baby empty handed. Now my cousin is very crafty so I know she has got and will be getting lots of handmade toys, clothes etc so I opted for taking a meal.

Meatballs, Rice, Cibatta bread (made by me but not very successfully this time), a small plum cake (see here) and a bowl of redcurrants. I hoped there would be enough for them for dinner and then a lunch for her on another day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Protracted Project

Yes after 2.5 years I have finally finished the Hussif (short for housewife - a term from the roll of needles, thread etc men took with them to war). I still need to make a needle case and put a few bits and pieces in. So it is not quite finished but sort of is.

I made the applique pattern and did the applique over two years ago, we had a different caravan even. Aaron has been hassling me for AGES saying why can't I get a Hussif done for the caravan when I make so many. Hmph.

Anyway I am pleased it is done and it is good practise as I have enrolled for the zip purse swap with chocolate over at Sew Delicious. Am brainstorming about what I am going to do for that.

Plum Cake

What to do with that ever increasing pile of plums? Make cake of course.
When we were urban foraging the other day we almost had to physically pull him off the plum trees. He just could not stop picking. Now I love plum jam but not too many in my family do so I still have some from last year. Then I had a brainwave - make plum cake.

I pulled out recipes but could not find what I wanted so here is what I made. (I made four mini cakes as I am doing dinner for Alison and Richard as we are visiting their new baby Lucas today.)

Plum Cake  (recipe by me)
Put oven onto 180oC. Line your cake tin as the plums are sticky. I used non stick tins but still butter and floured them.
150g butter
3/4 Cup sugar
3 eggs
1.5 Cup flour
2t Baking Powder
1/4 Cup milk

cream butter and sugar and add eggs. Sift in flour and BP, stir in milk. Put mixture into your tin in blobs - this is important. Do not put mixture in and smooth it around the tin or the plums will only sit on top.

Cut plum flesh of stones. Just roughly until you have 400g fruit. Add 1T flour, 1tsp cinamon and 1/4cup sugar. Note that as soon as sugar is added to plums the juice runs. So do this at the last minute. Stir and sprinkle over the cake mixture. Some should sink in. Do not use the juice that could be at the bottom of your plum bowl.

Bake approx 40-50 minutes.

The plums are quite sharp on this cake so I served with Chantilly cream (whipped cream with icing sugar and real vanilla)

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Urban Foraging - Christchurch

The finished cake delivered that night
On Sunday it was clean up day. Duncan, Debs and Jack left on Saturday and Robin and Sophia were leaving by plane late in the afternoon. So beds stripped, cleaning done.

First we made a cake for Aaron's new work colleague. He has moved his whole family down to Christchurch to work at RACE. Quite an upheaval. So a banana cake was made in the morning to cool down while we went out.

Then I took all the kids urban foraging. I needed lemons so we headed out to the old house at Aarnst Place in Christchurch. Lots of the houses have now been demolished so you can wander around the sections. We picked lemons from three different trees, got a pile of plums, some broad beans, a tiny amount of potatoes, lots of lovely roses and some bay leaves. We also found some HUGE walnut trees to go back to in the autumn as well as heaps of apple trees and a couple of pear trees. But sigh... only one feijoa tree and it was not flowering much. I forgot to take photos of us exploring. We had a fantastic time. Though it was hot and dusty. Next time take gumboots as the weeds are sometimes waist high. Also some secateurs as the roses were awful to cut without something.

But we filled all our bags, we were happy and on the way home we had the last real fruit ice cream for the holidays.

The results of our foraging

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

All seasons on one holiday

Walking in the rain

Eating in the rain

Seeing Himalayan Lillies in the sun

Cozy in the caravan

Taking lots of photos

Exploring waterfalls
The last food after being rained and winded out

Gorgeous sunsets while camping
Great family photos

The boy cousins all together

Some exploring of limestone cliffs

Croissant for Xmas morning breakfast

Mayhem and all the family for Xmas lunch
We had a lovely holiday. Like most people in NZ there was rain at the end. Actually absolutely amazing thunderstorms!! In our caravan we were all snuggly but it was the wind at our campsite that did the damage. So many people lost tents and awnings. But we had a fabulous time. All my family were together for camping on Xmas Day. Later Mother and Dad left and Mark and Anna went off for their honeymoon, the rest of us stayed behind. Sometimes swimming five times a day due to excessive heat, sometimes in rainjackets and merino jumpers!! But all in all it was great. We are relaxed and have just said goodbye to my brother, wife and one child. The others fly out tomorrow. Our house will seem HUGE as we will have gone from 9 living in it to plain old 4 and the dog.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Foraging Paradise

Just arrived home from 13 fantastic nights away. Incredibly fluctuating weather from 33oC to thunderstorms and wind. But what did not fluctuate was the constant great foraging finds.
Gooseberries found and stewing
The foragers with the spoils - this time gooseberry
Gooseberry Jam made.

Hot scones to eat the gooseberry jam on.

Lots of plum trees laden 

Walnut trees ready to be collected in Autumn

Hazelnut trees budding

Hazelnuts in my handbag

I made this up when camping. Don't know if anyone else has a recipe the same but had to do it on the fly.

Gooseberry Jam recipe

We had 2 kg of gooseberries which I put 1 cup of water with and simmered until soft.

Then I measured out 3 cups of the gooseberries into another pot. To that I added 3 cups of sugar and then simmered for 10 minutes and put in jars that had been sterilising in boiling water.

That made a jar of jam for every family camping.

The leftover gooseberries I put 1/2 that amount of sugar with and we had a gooseberry sauce. We had that with scones and cream and the next day made gooseberry fool. Yummy yum yum.

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....