Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

Well I'm back, sorry for the blogging pause, but I know you will all forgive me with the constant distraction caused by very cute newborn in house. My mum always said "babies are great time wasters". Funny thing to say really, but I'm sure you understand what she meant.

Well what is everybody planning this New Year's Eve. The man of the house and I never usually go out, and this year is no exception. Honestly we don't even make it to midnight most of the time, and end up celebrating Fijian New Year or something crazy like that.

Tonight we will be enjoying another dish from my new favourite cookbook. This book is huge, some 700 pages nicely sorted into seasons and ingredients. It's the gospel according to Maggie! What's on the menu you say? Chicken breasts with rosemary, pine nuts and verjuice, accompanied with some creamy mashed tatters and fresh green beans courtesy of my vegie patch! Followed by the best 3 yr old desert ever - vanilla ice cream in a cone.

Sometime throughout the night and timed between baby feeds I'll sneak a glass of this.......

which believe it or not was a gift from my baby shower! Thanks AP!

Love to hear what everyone else is doing this New Year's Eve...........and Happy (Fijian) New Year everybody.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Easy peasy Christmas gifts

Well this morning I'm back in the kitchen, baby sound asleep, boy child as my helper. We whipped up a batch of German ginger biscuits, rum balls and these easy peasy Christmas presents for the teachers and friends at school.

Recipe found here . Being safety conscious mummy I substituted smarties for the jaffas, didn't want the poor little blighters choking on their Christmas gift!

BTW - Last year the man of the house and I happened upon the secret to keeping our rum balls round after many years of making the same recipe and calling them rum flats. Now the average Jo may say just use less rum - no way! They tasted just as good flat, but were a bit embarrassing to serve to guests, so a good half an hour in the fridge before final shaping was the answer. I love reading this recipe every year and in pencil beside the ingredient list where it says 3 teaspoons of rum, the man of the house has pencilled "more like 5!".

Two sleeps to go.....................

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ta da!

Just a quick post today, showing everyone the results of the last week's efforts...

Not a lot happening on the hausfrau front, lots of wrapping presents, our tree is absolutely lurching with gifts - so off to the post office today to aid its relief.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The ridiculous

A quick post today, not much happening on the Christmas front except some wrapping action. The boy-child is surprising me with his a) ability to leave Christmas tree in one piece b) ability to leave presents wrapped c) his generosity in continually trying to give daddy his Christmas presents.

Here is a photo of an apron I made for a Christmas gift. I couldn't resist modelling it with my 9 month pregger belly, just to be ridiculous.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Stuff for me

With all of the presents out of the way, I have now done some Christmas sewing for us. I know that it is the 4th of December already, but an Advent Calender is still in order. I've never even participated in such an event let alone made one, and am not really sure about increasing the Christmas anticipation in the house any further...those concerns aside I made it anyway. I flogged the pattern from a Spotlight Creative magazine (possibly last year's Christmas edition) that I picked up for $1. It was also a new experience sewing with felt, which I would have to say was fantastic, and now I'll have to dream up projects to do with all the left over. Anyway without any further ado, here is the piece, please excuse the ruler at the top I'm waiting for the man of the house to return to cut some dowel. We also have to restock the pantry with Santa chocies and find some candy canes, the ones purchased on Monday seem to have disappeared!This calender isn't nearly as fancy as the one krafty kuka (see blog list) has done - check it out.

Last night I finished our tree skirt with some left over fabric from making a Santa stocking for a gift. The fabric is fairly traditional for the skirt, but I couldn't be bothered making the day's trek around to find something funky. Again, never really considered a tree skirt for the house, but I think the desire to sew something is beginning to overrule rational thought for what we really need. It also annoys me slightly that the skirt is based on a gold theme and our decorations are all beautifully co-ordinated silver, white, pastel pink and blue. But with some presents over it, I'm sure my discomfort will soon pass.

Before I log off, the story of the stocking is an interesting one. The picture below has two stockings, the one at the front is the recently completed one for a Christmas gift and the rear stocking was made for boy-child last Christmas. Last year's stocking was the first project that I had made on the sewing machine for nearly twenty years, and I was at my Dad's place on a scorching hot summer afternoon. I think it took nearly 4 hours to sew and the pattern instructions seemed like they were written in Finnish, and even after all that care I made an error in the last bit. This year I made the same version in 1.5 hours, the pattern instructions were needed a bit and with no mistakes. It really shows that persistence is worth it in this game.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Cake

I've managed to make the Christmas Cake/s for this year, I say I've managed because I'm starting to slow down a wee bit. I have bursts of energy which I make the most of and then spend the rest of the time feeling desperate for a kip which with boy-child at home is impossible. We took his day sleep off him over 6 months ago in exchange for a 12 hour go-to-bed on time sleep at night.

We did put the Christmas tree up on Monday night and the boy was so excited that bedtime was somewhat delayed by his insistence on "dancing to the Chrimast", which his father is sure is some arc back to an inbred pagan ritual. Then the first words he uttered on Tuesday morning were "mummy do you think the Chrimast is still here?"

Well to the cakes...this is the second year that I have made this recipe. It is from a cookbook of my mother-in-laws although she has never made it herself. It uses a phenomenal amount of fruit and I sometimes think that I just enjoy buying all the ingredients more than the baking and eating. No Sunbeam Mixed Fruit pack in this house!

The love of my life for the last 8 years (recently superseded by the overlocker), the Kitchenaid, was so full of cake mixture, but she chugged through it like a real trooper. Last year I made this cake at my Dad's place in Bundaberg, carted all the ingredients on the plane and mixed the damn thing by hand. This year the Kitchenaid showed me why she should still be number one on my list.So the mixture yielded three cakes, a 20 cm, 18 cm and a loaf, which we are eating now. Yummo, Christmas is early in this house!

Monday, December 1, 2008

December already

Well here we are on the 1st of December already, 24 days till you know what and 18 days till the baby is due! I've been yakking on about my 30 November deadline and NO I didn't make it, one project to finish tonight. But tonight is an important night, it is putting up the Christmas tree time. I think this year the boy child will be right into it, so I am hoping that he won't get too excited by the whole tree business to go to bed on time and allow me to finish the last project.

Yesterday I made the last Amy Butler Bag, using the stiffer interfacing for the contrast at the top and much lighter one for the body as mentioned in a previous post. I think it looks gorgeous, which isn't always a feeling I get after sewing as I fret over any flaw, however small. Here is the present complete...And a close up of the two little extras.

This morning I managed to get the fruit started for the Fruit Mince Tarts that I am making as presents for the teachers and assistants at boy child's school. I've never been a fan of these, but last year managed to try some home-made ones somewhere and they were delicious. I found a recipe here (sorry need to work out the linky thing - krafty kuka help!). I chose this recipe because I can make it nearly to the end, then freeze the pies whilst I'm off having said baby. So to the nitty gritty, I've added all the fruit, sugar, marmalade, brandy etc.
Which when mixed looks so yummy like this, and I'm to stir it every now and then and let it macerate away for 2 days, before the pastry stage.

Not having made this before, it seemed odd to be adding breakfast marmalade, I guess it is instead of peel etc. Does anyone out there in blog land have any good recipes fruit mince that can be bottled and stored? It seems like something that you could make months ahead if the more it sits the better it becomes.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

More Christmas Sewing

Only one day to go until my self-imposed Christmas deadline and yikes 2 sewing projects left. Luckily one is another Amy Butler bag, which after making two already could go either way. I could be really quick or really confident which means I could stuff it up!

Today I finished the third of these gorgeous little dresses. I have mostly done these dresses on my overlocker which I am madly in love with, and will prattle on about it to anyone that listens. I've even gone as far as saying that I would marry it. It just makes life so much easier for gathering, hemming and generally finishing off the garment. Here I prattle on again. I've been going to an overlocking class each Tuesday night to conduct this illicit affair with the machine and I will hopefully manage to fit two more classes in next week before the baby arrives. Last week's class I made a great top from start to finish in 2 hrs - couldn't believe it. I'm so in love with the overlocker that I sit and admire the inside of the garment over and over, and much more than the outside. I was always a bit shy about making my own/other peoples clothes because they never seemed finished properly on the inside.

Well here are the dresses, pattern is New Look 6796 with random fabrics picked up over the last couple of months...
Tomorrow in between sewing I'm starting the Christmas bake-off. I went to the markets today and the kitchen is full of spices, glaced cherries, peel, raisins, currants etc etc and of course rum and tomorrow's post will divert from the sewing theme that has thus far been prevalent.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christmas sewing

All good intentions aside I haven't made it to posting for the last couple of days. I must say that I am rather enjoying the whole blog thing I'm not sure who reads the blog, but there's something quite cathartic about putting your wares on display and something very warm and fuzzy if you get a nice comment or two. Thank you to those people that have made comments..

I have managed to achieve some Christmas sewing, and am proud to say I'm on track to finish all my Christmas list by end of November - pending no early arrival of baby that is. I have been desperately hoping to achieve a 30 November deadline for all Christmas presents completed, not sure if I'll ever achieve it after this year after all there is extra incentive with the ticking time bomb in my belly. Speaking of which had scan yesterday and she is heading to be another big baby, the head is huge!!! As of yesterday she was 3.5 kg (7pd 9oz) with 3 1/2 weeks to go until due date. Lordy!

So what sewing's been going on?

Firstly I made a pencil roll, from Last-Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts, by Joelle Hoverson. The design in the book was like this with all this beautiful colour, but alas alack I have not been sewing long enough to accumulate 24 gorgeous colours to cover the spectrum that is warranted. So I have been looking for a project for this cute Japanese Linen that I picked up and voila here it is. The fabric is double-sided so I used the pink side for the pocket and lined it and backed the whole thing with a very basic linen.

This morning the boy child awoke early and seemed a bit clingy. After quite a few cuddles and two trips back to bed cos' "I'm sleepy mummy", I took the easy option and put on ABC kids. Normally I don't like him watching TV during the week and aim just for Saturday morning cartoons if he asks for it, but the temptation of finishing another project was far too great to outweigh bad mother behaviour.

So in two hours I completed another Amy Butler Frenchy Bag, this time in a purple fabric from the Linden Fabric Collection. I used a much lighter interfacing this time, as compared with the heavier one that I used for the larger bag. I think I need to find something in between though, because the heavy fabric is great for the contrast panel at the top, but too heavy for the main. I will try maybe mixing it up as I have one more of these to make. The fabrics used for the larger bag (in case anyone is interested) are both by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit, with Ginseng Bloom Thyme for the main part and Ginseng Orchid in Pink for the contrast panel. I've made some little tissue holders and a coin purse to match, but will post about these another time.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Baby Washers

Well today I didn't get to finishing my Christmas sewing, mostly because I had a bad case of pregger belly last night which kept me up watching bad tv and then when I was ready for bed, Mstr 3 decided to walk out absolutely soaking wet with pee. So I was dog tired, not to mention that having the master of the house home and watching him/supervising him set up our hoard from his Ikea run to Sydney yesterday was far more exciting. I really miss Ikea, I don't think I could even try to convince another 700k people to move to Canberra so we could get one. Oh well, it's always any excuse for a weekend trip to Sydney.

Tonight I'm trying to do something productive and make another washer for the baby, these are really quick little projects.I made some a couple of month's back for someone else, I can't remember where the pattern was from, I'm hoping it was from Ravelry cos' they really were very beautiful, here they are in progress and complete.

The one that I have made for our baby is from the November 2008 Better Homes & Gardens, Style A, in the gorgeous Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton in bone. So soft you could nearly eat it. I thought the edges a little plain though so added a scalloped border (1 dc, 1 treble, 1 dc). Excuse the dodgy photo...I couldn't wait until better light. Impatient suzy!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Maternity Leave

Well here's my first blog posting...I've been yapping on forever about setting this damn thing up and to quote a fellow blogger who has been very patient with my yacking on "dude, just start a flipping blog already!" Yes you were right krafty kuka it is easy and just like writing an email!

It is probably a perfect time to start a blog about my alter ego the hausfrau as I enter my third week of maternity leave with three weeks to go before baby #2 arrives. The first week was interesting I didn't really achieve much, something to do with Mstr 3 at home, but a lot to do with me not really knowing how to structure my day. Did it need structure at all is the question? Last week was much better, managed to sew and cook a bit, took Mstr 3 to the lake for a picnic and a play and basically started to embrace being a full-time suzy hausfrau.

Well I'll make this one short...and will post again soon with a bit of a show and tell of Christmas goodies. No names for the recipients of course, cause you might be watching........


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