Monday, March 25, 2013

Cleaning a Mess just makes more Mess

Argggghhhhhhh.... what a mess!!!!
This mess

and this mess
and this mess

Were all made trying to find this thing....A label maker

So that I could clean this mess!!!!!

How does this happen to me???? But at least now my sewing stuff is SUPER tidy (well it will be in a few hours).

I have been meaning to sort and clean my pantry since my friend Steff did hers. But it was Eli's comment this morning when he told me that everything was a mess. That made me think it really must be done. When a 7 year old untidy boy thinks it is a mess then it must be horrendous.

The other day i made him re tidy his room three times. In the end I was happy and he told me "That is not tidy Mum, it is pristine!".

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The last of the summer camping

This weekend felt like the last of the summer... We went camping locally again, just 1 hour up the road.
We swam - but it was a lot cooler and more like a scram (half swim half scream).
We sat outside in the sun and felt the sun beat down and make us toastly - but it was not too hot, we did not need sunscreen or get burnt and there was a feeling in the air of cooling down.
I got some hand stitching done. Actually finished - wow amazing. Though this too has taken longer. I thought I finished about 3 hexi flower ago and it just did not fit, so had to keep doing more.
We relaxed - that never changes no matter the season.

Ahhh, I am already sighing about the wonderful summer that has been.

A little bit of stitching
A busy boy making a hut

The Hut


Our gorgeous sunny camping spot - quilts for a hut

Grrrr - fiddling with my phone.
Aaron did not have his cellphone with me so he fiddled with mine!!! I never know whether to be happy or not about that as it gets too techy for me.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bloglovin - trying to make it available

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I have an account and it says it is set up for anyone that want to follow that way. But I have no idea how to put any kind of gizmo on my blog to allow people to click and follow. If anyone has any link they can direct me to a tutorial??? Would appreciate your help

Friday, March 22, 2013

A patchwork cross pillow

Cross Quilt
The finished cushion sitting on the couch

with the matching quilt
the back of the cushion
Well after my moan about not finishing things. I am working on the last few details of Jakob's room. The pillow to match his quilt has finally been made up. It sits on the black couch and just gives that part of the room a colour punch. I love doing cross quilts and feel another one coming on.

I am doing more DIY (gasp I know) and upgrading an old set of drawers for the final storage in Jakob's room. Hope to post that finish soon.

If you go to my previous post you can see all the details about how this is made from businessman's shirts which I got at the Op Shop (thrift store)

I link to these place
April Finishes

Thursday, March 21, 2013

DIY Genius (or not)

Well I will let you judge this for yourself. I am trying to finish off all sorts of things. I am sick of stuff half finished and hanging around. I get things 3/4's done but not completely. I am driving myself nuts!

But note to anyone who will listen - do not try to become an amazing handy woman when you also have two injured boys, are trying to cook dinner and vacumn and think that you can get some DIY in there too. You can, BUT it might not be great.

I call it modern!!! I was putting on the new door handles for Eli's room which I redecorated last May, yes I did say May. This wardrobe has not had knobs for 1 year and now he has ultra modern knobs.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Scrummy and easy chutney

The chutney roasting in the oven

My sister in law's book
Black boy peach chutney recipe
The finished chutney

As I mentioned in my post yesterday I had chutney cooking in the oven while I was working (and blogging - shhh don't tell the boss that I multitask, drat that's right- he reads this!).

Yes I swear to you this chutney is that easy. No standing over a pot for a couple of hours waiting for the chutney to thicken, worried that it will burn. I chopped the ingredients then put them in the oven to roast and then put it all into jars. How easy is that!

Oh and did I mention it is some of the best chutney ever. My husband said it was like a Barkers chutney (now you need to understand that is the highest praise possible from him. Barkers in Geraldine make the closest to homemade tasting of all jams, chutneys, sauces etc).

The recipe I used was based on a book published last year by my sister in law. Deborah Hyde-Bayne. Called Coromadel Flavour. They live in the Coromandel and these recipes are with the seasonal produce from there. This book was three years in the making. Debs has worked hard and it is a beautifully produced book.

Anyway the recipe I used as a basis was the Roasted Feijoa Chutney recipe. I used my blackboy peaches. I altered a lot of the recipe as the peaches are a lot less subtle than feijoas. So I did not use the whole spices that she used but supermarket bought ground spice. The rest of the ingredients were just what I had in the cupboard so there was a bit of substitution. But when it comes to feijoa season I am going to follow the recipe to the hilt. I loved the fact that the recipe was low salt too.

If you want to buy one of her books just click on the link above and it will take you to her site.

My Blackboy Peach recipe - this quantity made three little jars
1.1kg  Blackboy peach flesh
350g   Normal white onion
2         Long medium heat green chillies
360g   Brown sugar
1         Dessertspoon salt
115ml White Vinegar
2         Lemons - juice and zest
2         Teaspoons ground cinnamon
2         Teaspoons ground cardamon

Cut the flesh of the blackboy peaches into about 1.5cm chunks. Chop the onion quite finely. Add all the ingredients together into a smallish sized roasting dish and mix well. I used a high sided non stick slice pan, the mixture looks quite dry. Leave it to sit overnight. This releases heaps of liquid and will fill the dish up.

Roast for 2-3 hours at 180oC (I roasted two hours and it was still really runny, so I fan baked it for 30 minutes. You need to do this until the mixture caramelises (goes thick and brown and sticky)

Spoon into sterilised jars and seal. Debs recipe says to leave a week before use. It was pretty yummy at the time. This was so delicious that I am going to make a batch double this size as it will be good for presents etc.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Overflowing with Produce

The preserving has begun
The blackboy peaches
Oh my goodness. I cannot cope with all the produce coming from the garden at the moment. The backboy peach has finally ripened - the problem with the peach is that it all ripens at once!! Last year we got 20 buckets full, I think there is more this year. So all my friends who normally come and get some - come please!! Anyone else near Kaiapoi that reads my blog and wants some, just contact me please.

I have preserved two buckets of peaches already, I have roast peach chutney in the oven as I type - I have adapted a recipe from my sister-in-law's book - Coromadel Flavour. 

I have beans that I have not been able to keep up with - but I just say that this is because they are next years seed (which they are going to be now! they were very prolific and very successful with germination).

The pears are huge and amazing cropping - the branches bending with the weight. Some of them look like they will be over .5kg each! I will weigh it when ripened.

Then onto the quinces - as usual so many on the tree that I have to giveaway as much as possible.

Rhubarb is crazy all year - the boys are happy getting rhubarb crumble for dessert (another way to get more fruit and vege into them). The zuchinni's have been given away for over a month now and still going.

The groaning pear tree
And then in a month it will be Feijoas - I am trying to do bottling or some preserving for an hour a day. The freezer is full. The shelves are groaning and we are still going!

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

My Friday

Mieke kept walking around in my shoes. Alex just wanted to chew them!

It was hard getting a good photo - he moves so fast!

Mieke in her outside bed reading

I had a lovely day on Friday - My sister in law did not! I got to look after my niece and nephew (2.5years and 9 months). I dedicated my day to it as I remembered that it is busy with two little ones. I forgot how busy!!! I was running out of steam when my sister in law's good friend Nicki arrived at 3.30pm and helped with dinner, bathing, changing etc.

I had a lovely time. Mieke asked for cuddles heaps during the day and

insisted on wearing party dresses all day! Alex just wanted to be standing up and hanging around me.

We had a lovely time outside, we made a hut, had a picnic (ie lunch) outside in the hut, then Mieke wanted to sit on the hut roof. It all quickly collapsed and became a bed.

While I was swanning around with the kids poor old Jess was having teeth extracted. She got delivered home about 1pm and promptly slept. She looked and sounded very sore. Poor thing.

It was so lovely having a day with them and feeling that I am part of their lives.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Four little dumplings

Dumpling pouch
My four little dumplings

Their bottoms

I was looking at Svetlana's blog the other day and she had used scraps to make a zip pouch. Great am with it so far. But the pattern is different to the normal ones, a lovely rounded top and they open completely. So I decided to give it a bash.

On Saturday my very lovely MIL is having her birthday and we needed a container to put her present in- I keow that this would just be the ticket. I used the scraps from the quilt my MIL made last year.

But of course, as I read people saying "just whipped this up", I think why do one when you can do more. Also I wanted to do a tester before I did the main ones.

The other stitchery waiting to be made into a purse is for my lovely friend Marie. Marie and her husband were there for me over three years when I worked on the isolated Milford Track. When ever I got out (once every 6 weeks) I could just turn up on their doorstep and they would give me a bed and fantastic company. They were amazing. But I am feeling bad as this was meant to be her birthday present last October. So it had to be good!!

So here we are - not one, or two but four little dumplings. No I did NOT "just whip them up". Together they took about 2.5 hours over two nights. But if I had not patched and quilted them then they would have been fast.

Svetlana refered me to the pattern - I followed this as a basic rule of thumb. I did not baste, I did not do the outer and lining seperately (I am always a bit of a slap dash kinda person), but I did use her pattern and her tips on getting things right were just spot on. So go have a look at her blog and pattern here.

The quilt for charity
My other tip - if using older style recycled zips as I have - watch sewing across them. They are metal and break needles!!! (three to be precise).

I also started work on another quilt for the orphanage that I support. These blocks were found at the local Op Shop for $5 - but in all my stash I cannot find material that looks OK with this to continue on. Will have to keep my eye open.

Linking up to these places and especially Amanda Jean's Finish it up Friday
April Finishes

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A zip pouch

Zip pouch swap
Well back here I gave a hint of what I was working on. But I could not reveal it as it was being sent as a part of a swap. I have never participated in any of the craft swaps before and loved doing this. This is what I made and sent off with NZ Chocolates inside.

It was organised by Ros from Sew Delicious and it was to be a secret, who you got etc. But finally Julia has emailed me to say that she is munching her way through the chocolate and fending off her husband.

I got a lovely set of pouches and other amazing goodies from my swap partner - see here.

As you can see from all the Christmas presents I have been practicing several different types of pouches and really enjoying doing them. A good quick project.

A wide mouth end ( so it opens right up)

A Foraging Walk

My walk with Morris today had great foraging results. I found, what I hope to be, the beginnings of the mushroom season and Morris found a cricket ball.

I swear that Morris should be hired to a tennis or cricket club, that dog is so OCD about balls that he can find anyone you have lost. At Margo and Warwick's once he found 7 balls in the first half hour!!! Meisha could not find a one.

So happy me and happy dog.

foraging for food
Lovely little mushrooms
A stick and a ball - what more could an OCD dog want!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dirty hands and a hole in the garden

Over the weekend Aaron and I tried to catch up on all the jobs around the garden that just don't get done in the summer because of all our camping.

mulching like mad
Well my arms ached, my legs ached (and so did my butt - it felt like it should be really tight and small!! Why does it not look like it feels?). Anyway, I worked madly trying to mulch all the clippings and layer my compost with the pig poo from my sister (see her blog gardening in Amberley). Then on Sunday I mowed the lawn to add to that layering.

The hole and the stubborn stump

The dirt on my hands were a good representation of the hard work.

Aaron spent Saturday trying to dig out an old stump. Man did he work hard!! But the stump is still there. At one point I tried to help him I leant on the crow bar and heaved but all I ended up doing was falling on the end of the crowbar and smashing into my best zuchini (courgette) to absolute pieces. (I think some of my aches are from that as man it hurt all along my chest where I fell on the bar). But the stump is still there and all that happened was Aaron could hardly move as it really agrivated his back.

My sister wrote a poem once about my mothers' hands. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Refashion an Op Shop find

This weekend I physically exhausted myself in the garden (did not take long!!! - a couple of hours each day), which left me with heaps of time to sit and sew for relaxation.

Inspired by my recent finish of a recycled quilt  I went through the stack of unfinished projects by my machine. There was a dress I had bought about a month ago from a Save the Children Op Shop in Christchurch.

I am not very good at sewing clothes for myself from scratch, but if something fits I know I can generally make it look better.

One of the things that really bug me about ladies clothes is NO POCKETS - why why why. Yes I carry a handbag but it is so handy to have pockets. And why was there no fastening at the waist? - so it gaped - no dome or button or anything.

So I made a new collar, new sleeve end, stitched a pocket into the waistband but floats externally, shortened the length and added some bias, added a $1 belt also from the Op Shop and presto - A new outfit that I am thrilled with.

I wore it to church today and heaps of people commented on it.
$10 dress
$1 belt
$5.50 fat quarter of green and black flower material from quilters quarters in Rangiora

Refashion a dress
The finished article.
The before (sorry not good photo)

The before on my dress model

Worn to church this morning
icky 80's collar

off with the collar and half the sleeve

On with a new collar
on with a new cuff

Add an external pocket

jazz up the bottom of the skirts. Shorten by 1 inch and add bias
DONE - I link up to these places

 March Finishes

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....