Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy holidays

Well we got away after a delayed start. Rained everyday, at some point, but that hasn't mattered as we have still has great swimming time and a really big walk so far. Gorgeous camping ground, very spacious sites and family orientated. Just waiting for a good day to go tyre tubing down the river

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Unexpected craft time

With the wet weather, that arrived about 3pm on Christmas Day, came an unexpected treat. Time to do some quilting. We were going to head out camping on Boxing Day but we woke up to rain and decided not to go today. We were not booked into our camping ground until tomorrow but had thought to get a head start on the drive.

Christmas afternoon I did a bit of preparing stitchy things to take away on our camping trip. Then I sewed borders on the cushion covers I showed you here.

Today after the caravan was packed, the chooks cleaned out, some gardening done, washing done, boys packed etc I had time to relax as instead of driving we are at home. So out came the backing material and basting spray and I put my three layers together and then quilted them this afternoon.

Normally when I quilt I use pins to keep all the layers together but I have found that with smaller items basting spray is so much easier.

Christmas Day was a lovely day for our family. We went to church on Christmas Eve so did not need to rush around on Christmas morning. So coffee and presents and relaxing before heading out to be with the family. It was a lovely family time, everyone catching up and chatting.

We had thought we would swim in the river on the way home as it had been quite hot during the day, but by the time we got to come home the weather was clouding up. We were right near the beach so we decided on a detour and took a walk along the beach. It started to rain, but that did not matter. The boys still ran in the water and swam along side us walking. I paddled the whole way and then when we returned to the car they all went for a swim in the surf between the flags.

I trust you all had a lovely Christmas Day.
I link to these places.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Christmas... what is afoot for next year

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all. I type this as I have the scent of baking ham wafting through the house for our Christmas Eve meal, before we head out to carol singing and Christmas Eve service.
I have had a lovely day doing some baking for tomorrow, visiting friends for wine and delicious Christmas cake, pruning all the roses - boysenberry and grapes, looking after some other children while their parent has some precious time out. So a busy but good day.
I trust that you have all had the same and are relaxed for a day tomorrow when we spend time with family and friends. We remember that Christ was born, a child in a manger in the middle of winter and we rejoice that he is our Saviour. 

Oamaru garden
Inspired by these two gardens - Riverstone Kitchen

The Curators House
The Curators House in the Christchurch Public Gardens - their potager......

....yes we are considering doing a massive overhaul of our garden area. Hmmm wait and see...

So good things to look forward to, see you all in the New Year.
Kind Regards

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The best Christmas fruit mince pie pastry

Christmas fruit mince tart
Today I made my first (and probably last) batch of Christmas mince pies. They are always so successful, this pastry is short, crispy but melts in your mouth. There is a long story to how I got the recipe as it had been a closely guarded secret by one of Aaron's aunties. My MIL was very put out when I got the recipe as she had been trying to get it for about 30 years!!!

I made my Christmas fruit mince on Tuesday as it is so easy to whip up in the food processor. Today I made one lot of pastry which resulted in 3 1/2 dozen fruit mince pies. yum.

So I have decided to share the recipe:

Aunty Lorraine's Christmas fruit mince pie pastry

3 Cups flour
1 Cup icing sugar
2 Tablespoons custard powder
1 large egg yolk (today I used two yolks just because I felt like it)
375g soft butter

Put all into the food processor and process until it starts forming balls of dough. NB this dough is very soft. Do not add any more flour but flour the bench and rolling pin well.

Roll out fairly thin and cut etc. Bake 180oC for 15-18 minutes. It should be turning golden but NOT brown.

Have a Merry Christmas. I link to these places

Monday, December 16, 2013

What's on my sewing table at the moment

Well there is somehow not as much getting under the sewing machine as I plan. I just don't seem to have the steam after dinner to get things done.

BUT I have started a couple of things and have worked on them for the last few nights. This is after having some full days doing fun school holiday things. We have scooter-ed around Lake Pegasus after a lovely morning tea with friends. That time ended up with swimming in the middle (in our clothes as I did not think to bring togs), dodging the sprinklers and having a generally lovely time.

We have also been on the miniature railway out at Steam Scene, raced on the hydroslides at Jellie Park, the males all went to see the new Hobbit movie and all this in the first week of the school holidays. ( I managed to squeeze some work in today while they were at the movies).

Anyway..... I have started a refashion of this denim jacket.

And started to piece together a big pile of scrappy 60 degree triangles. These triangles have been in the making for a long time. Whenever I have sewn strips leftover from a project I cut triangles from them. Jakob is in need of a few cushion covers so I thought that was a project that killed two birds with one stone. The only things is that I have a LOT more than I realised. So I have started the top of his cushion cover, started another cushion cover for a much bigger cushion but I still have leftovers. Hmmm...
Not sure how to use them up so am thinking of putting a strip between them all, am liking this look so far. 
So still sitting on my sewing table are the cushions, the backing (black with white dot) and the patched triangles. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A finished refashion and a new tool

About a year ago I bought this nightie from and Op Shop. It is a really pretty cotton lawn but rather old fashioned in it's style. Gathered from the top with lace it just kind of hangs over you. So I never really wore it. Then one of my nighties got so old the fabric ripped in the wash. I cut it down the middle and used it as a pattern to refashion this.

Old style top the the nightie

recycled clothing
I cut the skirt off at a reasonable height and then gathered the material onto some piping that I had made for the bean bag refashion. Then I cut a new top out and sewed with some piping and bias binding. I was halfway through making this and it was sitting on my sewing table when my purchase arrived in the mail.

What excellent timing. A 2.5cm bias binding maker. No more boring shop bought bias for me, funky stuff to come!! (well that is the intention - we will see how it pans out). I tried it out on some matching red fabric and it made lovely bias binding for the shoulder straps.

The whole outfit even looks a bit Christmassy.

Linking up to Finish it up friday as well as many other places - check out the links here.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


The bare garden

On Tuesday I could have happily chopped the chooks heads off!!! (and perhaps that of my husband).
at 7.30pm Jakob yelled "the chooks are in the garden!!". Boy and were they in the garden. My entire salad area is decimated. Gone is the basil, coriander, lettuce, mizuna, beet and all the things that were just getting reading to be our cutting salad garden for the summer. Now it is bare land.

Aaron had apparently been in the chook enclosure and when he shut the door he heard the click but did not check and the door had not latched properly. Grrrrrr.

Now we will be a month behind in eating from our garden. I was very unhappy and all Aaron could say was "Oh well". Hmphg.

Our Genius

Last night at the school prizegiving three students at the school were given awards for outstanding results in international exams. Our Jakob was one of them. We are so proud. He completed the University of South Wales Global exams earlier in the year. He wanted to do the Mathematics exam. This covered children NZ and the greater pacific region in year 6. (which includes Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand etc. ) He achieved a result in the top 1% and has received a certificate for High Distinction.
When they gave us his exam back we thought we would go through and work out how to calculate the few questions that he did not get right. Neither Aaron or myself could!!!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Kaiapoi Christmas Santa Parade

Yesterday was our town (Kaiapoi, NZ) Christmas Carnival and Santa Parada. We always try to stay at home for the parade weekend. Had a lovely (albeit rather windy) day. A few snapshots.
The males in my life all patiently waiting

I wanted this trike!

Our local community garden had an amazing float

Santa and the parade had ended.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

My Op Shop find

Charity shop bargains
I am super excited with this Op Shop find. Paid more than I usually do $10, but it works really well. Cleaned it up so it sparkles and I am going to wrap it and put it under the Christmas tree as an extra for the boys.

I link to The Op Shop Show off.

Refashion an Op Shop find.

Well my latest refashion I did complete in a night. I guess it could just be called an adjustment. I chose the top at the Op Shop for several reasons -

shirt alteration

  • I loved the pale pink colour
  • It is linen
  • It has sleeves
But it was too long, down past my bottom and then it looked like I was trying to hide myself. I also absolutely loved the neckline details and thought that it would look more cohesive if the same feature was on the bottom of the shirt.
the neckline detail that I replicated along the bottom of the shirt
So I chopped off about 5 inches from the bottom and straightened it. Added a self made binding to and top stitched it around the bottom to allow for a frayed edge like the neckline. Took the sleeves in more at the bottom binding. Sewed on new buttons.

Now I have a cool summer shirt for the days when I feel that I have had enough sun and need to cover up.

Spring produce

I could not resist a photo of the produce I picked from the garden on Monday after the wedding. What I had not included in the photo was the strawberries that headed the way of my mouth.

Homemade Jam
So the night of the Christchurch bloggers get together I turned most of the raspberries into Jam as the boys told me that they had just had enough!! Already, so early in the season. With the veges I made a gorgeous fish pie and did not tell the boys that I sneaked in some broad beans.
At the bloggers get together my Secret Santa had me picked - I got a book of old fashioned traditional recipes from the southern USA and some absolutely gorgeous lace and ribbon peeking out from a Kete.
How lucky am I! My santa could not have picked better for me.

I link to these places

Friday, December 6, 2013

Do you see what I see?

That's right - there is nothing there - because I cleaned the windows!!  (I still have half the house to do).
This is all about a comment my friend Steff said. She said that all she had done was clean the windows and who wants to read a blog post about that. I thought she should have. I blog about all sorts of random things because I feel like it. If people read it or not it does not really matter. If they like it it's a bonus but if they don't it is no skin off my nose.

I blog because I enjoy it and it is a record of our family happenings etc. It is my pleasure. I also really enjoy reading unexpected posts from other peoples blogs. It keeps me interested, often gives me tips and makes me feel that everyone has normal everyday lives.

So Steff - I cleaned my windows today. It was 26 Degrees C and a lovely day for it. I took particular attention to the rubber surrounds etc that I often miss. I enjoyed doing it and did not feel it was a chore. I love it when I can make my normal everyday jobs enjoyable. It seems so much easier to do in the summer I have to admit.

My husband is wrong and my husband is right!!

upcycling clothes
I completed a refashion of my original refashion!!!

The first refashion
1. My husband is right. Yes the dress did not quite work, I still don't think it is perfect and as flattering as some things I have made but I have now worn it twice and enjoy doing so. As you can see in order to try and make it a bit more cohesive I bound the neck edge with orange. I do thing it works better.

The first attempt
2. My husband is wrong. He recommended putting the netting on the fascinator as it was for the wedding we have just had. But I felt it just did not work. So off came the netting and I was thrilled that I did it. I got quite a lot of comments on my fascinator!! (take that two ways - either it was just so fab, or they felt they could not make comments on the dress!!)

I link to these places

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The mess that is our house

After the big wedding I came home on Monday to a full day at work completing an ACC WSMP audit. We passed!!! Yay. Then on Tuesday the vinyl layers came in. Wow the place looked like a construction zone but they were quick and then they got out of there.
Yep they even took the doors off the hinges! What a great job they did. Very professional
So on Wednesday (my first free day in a while and Aaron had flown away for work) to celebrate the vinyl down (no the bathroom still is NOT finished) I completed another full coat of enamel paint on the door frames in the hallway. I am trying to make the most of the fact that the carpet is not anywhere near being put down!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas biscuit production line

Nice shiny finish with royal icing

Over the last two nights I have made a massive batch of Christmas themed and decorated biscuits. It all started last night when I rang my sister at 8.40pm on Tuesday and asked her for the recipe she always uses. It is the biscuit recipe from Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. I looked at the clock and thought it was not so sensible to bake biscuits, my sister told me not to. So I did it and made a double mixture. Baking of them all only took about an hour.

But today the icing has been an exercise in patience. I have always intended to use Royal Icing to ice biscuits and make them look smart, as I had seen an article in the Good Magazine on how easy they are to do, but never had. Next time I will do it on a small batch!!! It was fun to start with but then just laborious. I piped an outside white line as I wanted a smooth royal icing finish and so it needed to ooze a bit and I did not want it oozing out the sides. I used a number 2 piping nozzle and it was slow. Then I had to make the colours and fill the biscuits in. At 8pm tonight the boys came to my rescue and put all the silver dots on as I was seriously getting over it.

So now I have the baking for Eli's class shared Christmas morning tea,  a good plate of biscuits to take to the Christchurch Bloggers Christmas get together (so long as Aaron's plane gets in on time) plus for any other thing I need.

Jakob is now asking where the Christmas Mince Pies are. So I guess that is next on the list.

I link to these places.

The Bride, The Bouquet and the Wedding

The gorgeous couple
Anyone who follows my blog will know that this wedding has been in the planning for a while now. Well it was perfect. It was teaming with rain when we woke, by 9am we were thinking it might clear and by 11am when the ceremony happened we had sunshine (with the odd shower of blessing) and it was gorgeous.

The fascinator on my hat is the one that I made at The Make Cafe.

I was hopeless pinning the flower onto Barry's suit, did it three times then had to get someone else to do it!! The bride was stunning, the dragonfly garden sculptures were made by my father in law and painted by a lot of people including my boys.

Gorgeous set of brother with the bride and groom

The grooms mother spent hours making edible dragonfly decorations for the high tea. They were amazing!!

High tea in a woolshed - you should try it. Best venue ever.

The bride made all the bunting. MILES of it. Stunning!!

Just had to put this in. My cousin in crowned a prince.

Relaxing before the evening reception

Yes I did wear my recreation for the evening event.

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....