Monday, December 14, 2009

Hot and Not

Marmalade and Lizzy model there new shower caps

I am really late with H+N this week maybe I should have waited until next Wed...Na!
I was disappointed but just secretly, I was relieved that Loobylu had not posted any last Wednesday...shh! Sorry Claire.
Simply because I did not feel strongly compelled to fling together a post in this hectic time! Everything that was piling up got 1st priority. Phew.
After H+N's was up and running the next day...I have been moving like lightning to have some free time again...

Hot

Shower caps
I have had a serious assembly line going here, producing Fancy Shower Caps for adults, kids and even their dolls. I am hoping the recipients have water proof dolls! I also did a couple of Goth/Rock'n'Roll types for the seriously fashion conscious bathers - black of course with a flashy flower pinned on. Crap photo below.
Thank you to the sewing legend Liesl for the tute found here.

Lavender Hearts
And I admit it I have blatantly copied an idea for lavender hearts I saw somewhere and cannot find again...I hope I don't make any one cross doing this but, it was just too easy and too perfect not to make some for my 95 year old nan! (and then a few others, well lots of friends)
What do you think? Am I stealing? If you can see something once and then bang it out yourself should people be getting precious about products like these? Not that they are!
Anyway I am not selling them so I hope my view is a fair one.
I would love some opinions here though.

Lavender hearts

Lightly
have some lovely pieces, my favorite has to be their gorgeous butterflies made from recycled saucers. Love them! They have lovely light shades too. I found them over here.

Lucy Renshaw Rocks my world...I love her use of special scraps.



Making your own decorations These are fantastic and quick!!

Really loving my new job and the training next year sounds delicious!!!!! Really Tough hey!

Not

Christmas illness
Everybody in my house accept me are 'still' barking like dogs. I guess the fact that I have not come down with it too is a Hot especially given my new employment. I would hate to have a sickie just yet.

Shopping
The short bursts of shopping I have done were enough to put me off for life! It is crazy out there at the moment - even more crazy than usual!

Maeve dressed for dinner

I will leave you with a photo from last year's advent activities, this my eldest on the 'dress fancy for dinner night'. Sadly, there is no advent activities this year, too busy and way too tired!

I hope everyone enjoys the greatest Christmas ever with their dearest friends and family!
Bring it on now, I am ready! (nearly)

I don't think I will be back for next Wednesday, so take care and I will catch up when I can. More Hots + Nots with our hostess with the mostest - the lovely Loobylu

Cheers!!! Many Many Many times!!

Michele xxxx

EDIT - I just wanted to add a link for Beck's lavender hearts...this is where I origionally saw the idea for Lavender Hearts.
Beck is a lovely lady and I felt bad about taking her idea, and making my own (even though I was not selling them)
I contacted Beck...she was lovely about it! She has a great blog called Dandelion where you can find out where to buy the Lavender Hearts.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hot and Not

It has been crazy around here lately, so many things going on...good and bad...the Perfect Hot and Not material really. If you would like to read some other peoples Hot and Not's go and visit the lovely Loobylu there is a list of us joining in. And incidentally Claire (Loobylu) has been blogging for 10 years now, she was the first ever blog I looked at and is easily one of the very best personalities on the net!! Congratulations Claire and thank you so much for sharing your sweet humor, charming creations, honesty and inspiration!

HOT

New Job
WOO hooo and YAY! I finally heard I do have the job! I am absolutely rapt! I must admit not hearing for over a week I was thinking I might have missed out! I am really looking forward to trying lots of new food, learning as much as I can about the lovely products we sell and getting back out into a non-child orientated environment for 'some' of my time...yippee!

Parcels in the post
I received my lovely package of Christmas giveaway goodies from Lisa at Lil Sonny Sky What a lovely parcel of goodies too, I feel totally spoilt and it is making me extremely very happy.
I found lots of beautiful gift tags, super special Christmas cards and some lovely hand squeegeed prints - I am really loving the Red Riding Hood with the Big Bad Wolf print. Have a look at the wolf's tie, very stylish! Thank you so much Lisa - you are very generous and clever!

Lots of treasure from Lisa

Lots of treasure from Lisa


Lots of treasure from Lisa

Present production
Getting some shower caps, lavender hearts, Christmas cards and little dresses made for Christmas...and still time for some more!

NOT

Emergency Hospital Visit
Friday we went for an urgent ride in an ambulance and had a 'sleep'? over in Hospital...Fiann had really bad croup. After some Ventolyn puffs and a number of oral steroids, thankfully his breathing was much better but, due to the medication that was now racing through his system he was right off his tiny little dial. Poor Fi was going from super cuddly to pretty disturbed and aggressive...his behaviour was so erratic and very unlike him it was really tough to witness! We went home the next day but it has taken a couple of days for everything to settle down! Pretty rough going and definitely not hot!

Complaints
Our hospital bed neighbour's mum complained within ear shot about Fiann's noise while we were staying in the emergency ward! How inconsiderate and selfish is that...at least she could have been kind enough to complain somewhere private...I was uncomfortable enough without hearing we we were annoying anyone!

Have a really great week everybody! Stay calm!!!!

Oh yes...I think I might have found a theme to join in with once daily - I am thinking...photos of unusual food products and a quick low down on what they are and how to use...this will be a good way for me to learn too! Sweet. YUMMM!

Chele xx

Friday, December 4, 2009

Malai Kofta (and home made panir cheese)

Best Papadams, cute packets

Malai Kofta

Malai kofta is one of my all time favourite Indian dishes! It is a special, rich dish traditionally reserved for celebrations. The main ingredient in the kofta balls is a handmade panir cheese, mixed with cashew nuts, sultanas, coriander and chili, and I love to add a handful of toasted fennel seeds. These balls are then deep fried, drained and placed in a lightly spiced creamy tomato sauce. It is divine! Makes about 30 small kofta. It is perfect when accompanied by a cauliflower curry like a poriyal- with some yellow rice, a spinach raita and a truck load of papadams.
The Panir cheese is very easy and great fun to make, it can be used to make dips or simply slice, fry up and serve with some extra virgin olive oil or balsamic vinegar or you could make your own Palak Panir
YUMO!
This recipe comes c/o the inspirational Vegetarian Chef, Kurma Dasa.
You can find more of his amazing recipes here, and if you are feeling inspired why not do a cooking class in your home - details here.

Ingredients Kofta balls
curd cheese, panir, from 3-litres milk (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons sultanas
3 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 or 2 green chilies, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
*I love to add a big handful of toasted fennel seeds!!
ghee or oil for deep-frying

Ingredients Malai sauce
1 tablespoon ghee
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder
4 cups tomato puree
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
½ cup pouring cream
1 teaspoon garam masala
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves

To make the Kofta balls:
Place the curd cheese in a food processor and process until creamy smooth. Alternatively you can knead with your hands.

Add the sultanas, almonds, chilies, salt, pepper and fresh coriander and mix roughly.

Roll the cheese mixture into thirty 1.5cm smooth balls. Heat the ghee or oil in a wide pan over moderate heat, test temperature is hot enough to deep fry. Gently place in a quantity of cheese balls. Fry the balls gently until they turn a rich, dark brown. Lift them out and drain them. Repeat for all the kofta.

To make the Malai Sauce:

Place 1 tablespoon ghee in a wide mouthed saucepan and apply moderate heat. When the ghee is hot, add the ginger and stir for a few moments. Sprinkle in the yellow asafetida powder and stir momentarily.

Add the tomato puree, salt and sugar. Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes.Mix in the garam masala, stir in the cream, then gently add the kofta balls. Simmer the kofta gently in the sauce for 5 to 10 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle with the chopped, fresh coriander.

To make Home Made Panir Cheese

You need little by way of equipment to make curd cheese: a 2 – 6 litre pan, or larger (depending on the quantity of milk), a stirring paddle or wooden spoon, a colander, and some new cheesecloth. You will need the following ingredients for an easily manageable home batch of panir.

4 litres fresh milk
3-4 cups yogurt

Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed pan that allows plenty of room for boiling. Set it over high heat and bring the milk to a full foaming boil, stirring often to prevent scorching and sticking. Reduce the heat to low, and, before the foam subsides and spoon in the yogurt.

Very gently and slowly move the spoon through the milk in one direction. After 10 or 15 seconds, remove the pan from the heat and continue to gently agitate the milk until large lumps of soft curd form. If the cheese has not formed after 1 minute, place the pan over the heat momentarily until the casein (milk protein) coagulates and leaves pale yellow-greenish whey. If necessary, add a little more acid agent.

As soon as the cheese has formed, remove the pan from the heat, cover it and set it aside for 10 minutes. If you want a very soft cheese, gently pour in 1 or 2 cups of hot water. When the cheese has settled under the surface of the whey, it is ready to drain.

Line a colander with 2 or 3 thicknesses of cheesecloth or some clean white cloth that has been dipped in water and wrung dry. Drape the corners and edges of the cloth over the sides of the colander.
Remove the large lumps of cheese with a slotted spoon and place them in a colander. Gently pour the smaller pieces and remaining whey into the colander. Gather up the corners of the cloth and twist it around. Hold the bag of cheese under a gentle stream of cold running water for 5 to 10 seconds. Gently twist the cloth to squeeze out the excess whey.

Place the bag of cheese under a weight until firm, I use my heavy mortar and Pestle. Unwrap the cheese and use as directed, or wrap in paper-towel-lined plastic wrap, zip-lock bags or plastic containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Thanks to Kurma for letting me share this recipe, if you give it a go, I would love to hear how it goes.
YUM - YUM!

Chele xx

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mini Hot and Not

Shower cap 1

Shower cap 2

Loobylu invites you to feel comfy to join us over there or just to browse all the other Hot n Nots!

My HOT this week

SHOWER CAPS
Modeling some hand made shower caps is our very still and cooperative hobby horse. That is 2 more presents done, thank you Lisel at Hoppo Bumpo for the great tutorial here!
I have got her tute over in my side bar with a whole heap of other really great things I want to make...when I have time!

GOOD VIBES
When I got a trial for the first job interview in 10+ years and was overwhelmed with the encouragement of good friends, family and blog land. The good vibes helped my confidence tremendously...even if I don't get this job, It will not feel that an interview or a trial is as bigger step again...unless I wait another 10 years until my next interview! :)

My NOT

WAITING WAITING
All the nervous energy pumping around because I am busting...still...to hear about the job! (either way) I just need to know where I will be and when etc....Especially because this is one Crazy time of year!

Hope everyone has a great week and is either prepared for Christmas or is blocking it out!!!
Chele xxx

Monday, November 30, 2009

Holding my breath...

My trial on Sunday went well...I think? Thank you so much to everyone who wished me luck, encouraged and basically helped me feel like I was not the lone ranger!
I was not half as nervous this time around...thank goodness! I felt as 'at ease' as I could have been given my long absence from the workforce, and if I do work there...I imagine that this feeling will settle down really quick. I will have a lot of learning to do if I am employed there, but I think to me (food freak) this will be more of a pleasure than work. Over all I really like (love) the place, the products are easy to be enthusiastic about and the people I met seem really nice. So now I am really squirming...busting to hear...anything either way! I do have a good feeling about this, lets hope I am right for them too?

Other exciting news I WON Lisa's cute Christmas giveaway at 'Lil Sonny Sky' Thank you so much Lisa, I can't wait to see your lovely goodies for real!!!

And for something completely different...did any one see 'Stage Beauty' on Australian telly last night? It's story is of a time in English history where women were not allowed to act on stage and instead female rolls were played by men. The main actors are brilliant and it has the wittiest humor I have seen in a period drama for a long while. The whole production is beautiful and has the most intriguing 'will they won't they scenario'! Here is a good review.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hot & Not Wednesday

Hot and Not
Participating in Claire of Loobylu's Hot + Not again...follow the link for more! Or come and join us with your own!

Hot

Job interview (BIG WOW!)
I went for my first job interview in 10+ years this morning and while feeling 'extremely very nervous', (could not resist the Lolaism) I did quite well (I believe?) and was so proud of myself. I do not know if I will get the job, but I feel chuffed that I somehow summoned the guts to put myself right out there. I have not felt tempted before by a job opportunity. I don't need it luckily, I just really WANT it so much!
This would be my dream job. It is behind the counter of one of the best specialty food shops in our area. They are closely aligned with the Slow Food Movement which, to my understanding, supports small, sustainable and humane farming methods, as well as supporting artisan produce such as fine breads. They encourage local produce, but also have some of the best products from around the world. Basically they have high ethical standards. They are cutting edge foodies - not snobby, just see food/animals as something we all should appreciate and value a lot more than our 'fast' 'supermarket' approach to food ever will!
Wish me luck! Ultimately, if I don't get the job, I will not be too disheartened. It will just make other interviews less of a hurdle!
Wish me luck though!

Dan McCarthy's series of skeleton art celebrates this amazing life of ours and other animals too. I love the sentiment in this series. It is 'respectful' of how amazing but how fleeting the natural world is. While I would like to believe in a supernatural world, I am a bit of a science/naturalist geek. I think our Planet might be better off if we did not need anything other than an appreciation of this life!

Not

Chain letters/emails and Chain Txts
I received one recently from a good friend...and it was sent to a few people at the same instant and it said all sorts of highly sentimental things and above all hailed their connection with me...but, I must say it felt like they did not quite have time. Actually it was the least personal experience I think I have had while actually being told how valuable I am...and then it went on to suggest that I need to send this to several friends for some totally lame arse reason...I was a little bit disappointed! Please file in the too honest section!

Digs from friends
I can leave various tasks around our 'mostly hygenic' house for long periods of time before I find them top of my priorities. It's really low when a visitor points them out and says "what is going with that pile of stuff, Chele???"
How rude!

10:50 Going to comfy bed dog tired and just now joined by a barking sick 7 year old! Poor Maeve! Ahh, sleepless me!!!

Must dare myself to keep my posts shorter than this, I do like to rabbit on sometimes!
I can't wait to get around to read the other Hot & Nots!!
Take good care of yourselves!!

Chele xxx

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Finished Dress

Hand Made Dress

I had such high hopes to give some of our friends and family aged 3-8 a dress for Christmas...I really need to get moving! The fabrics I used are sheets and pillow cases from the opp shop!

simple cous-cous salad

Yummy simple Cous-cous salad - nice to make and have on hand for next couple of nights, we had ours with BBQ lamb, sage potatoes and a beetroot and rocket salad - yummm.
Ingredients - Fine chopped red onion, crumbled feta cheese, black olives pipped and torn up a little, lots of Lebanese cucumber, seeded and chopped, as much fresh mint as you can get your hands on, combine through cooked cooled cous-cous and drizzle with lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil. Garnished with garlic chive flowers and sprigs of mint.

Chele x

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hot and Not Wednesday

HI!
Bang!
Straight into Loobylu's meme today;

HOT
Beach escape
Been lucky enough to getaway for a few days to the beach...
Perfect weather for our getaway...
Cramming in all the swimming and beach play we could...
Blairgowrie's child friendly beach-ie you have to walk miles out into the shipping lane to be submerged as an adult!
Tired kids unable to protest at bed time for more than 1 minute before falling asleep...
Nobody coming down with a nasty bug while we were away...
Free accommodation in beach house given to us by very, lovely people...So nice!

Geoff

Shady Geoffrey and his hat, especially when we are relaxing on holidays - Hot!

Old caravans
A really cool old caravan at the beach house we stayed at. It has curved glass windows and very cute curtains. The inside (from memory) is all colour co-ordinated...too cute!

Kitchen sink with a view

Windows
Our home has great windows, not double glazed sadly but they are one of the best things about our house. I love being able to see the kids play and our garden (when our garden is not looking sadly neglected).
Nice big windows would definitely be a prerequisite for any house we might live in in the future. This place would do - when we win tattslotto!

NOT

Spam
Spam of any kind really is the pits but 'Viagra sales pitches' posted as comments on your blog. Funny.

No Subtitles
We have always watched movies etc from all over the world and find subtitles second nature on our screen. We really miss them when they are not used.
I think everything, especially DVDs, should always have them as an option.
Hearing impaired people must be really annoyed that this is not just a standard feature.
This leads me to how say how crappy the information and subtitles can be on 'digital TV', I think they must be having a laugh sometimes because it's absolute Gobbledygook!

Stress
It can be hard to relax sometimes with young kids, and it can even seem that when we get the opportunity to it can take a while to calm down.
It would be nice to have some more time for the grown ups is needed around here, to occasionally relieve the pressure that builds up would help us maintain a light hearted approach to parenting...maybe?
Sometimes we do put ourselves last, don't we!?

I did not get around to look at last week's Hot and Not's much - I will have more time hopefully this week! Maybe?
Why don't you join in?
It is much better than face book! (did I say that out loud?)
Chele x

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beach escape

Hi, we are back from our Blairgowrie trip.
We had a great time away but really lovely to be home.
We tried to fit in as much beach as possible over our few days and did a pretty good job!
Our bathers did not get a chance to dry while we were away...blurry photo seems to work here, after all that activity I feel a bit blurry too!



I love the tea trees at the beach, some become really twisted, this one (while not really twisted) looked lovely with the Sorrento park rotunda behind it.



Maeve on one of the unbelievable huge pines (not sure what type) at the park at Sorrento.
It is a great park for kids!



This is a shot under the Flinders Pier, we took a drive over the other side of the peninsula for some rock pool beach combing, found heaps of crabs, little fish and star fish.

Flinders pier

Had a lovely time!
We all want to get back there soon!
Chele x

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hot + Not Wednesday

Hot + Not Wednesday
Hi, I'm back again with some more for Loobylu's meme!
I have to say I have not had enough time to spend on this post - until now - and now I seem to have gone all..'DER'.
I am very hot and frazzled after this week of hot weather in Melbourne.
I'm sure I am not the lone ranger!

Kindergarten 2010
My son, Fiann and I went for a lovely morning at his New Kinder, he does not start until next year but he is SO excited, he thinks it is going to be COOOL!

Hot
Studio Beerhorst Wonder Wagon I think this is a great project, it obviously created a lot of community interest and also encouraged peoples creativity too. Looks like fun!

ArtPrize Wonder Wagon














Calves
I am not sure how old our neighbour’s calves are, but I have caught glimpses of their frolicking play a few times and it's so cute! I guess all young animals play - it's the way we learn – so why not them - but the old city girl in me was just a little surprised to see them so obviously 'on for a game'.

Lemonade
Our lemon tree is going off and providing lots of fruit, some of which we have made lemonade with. It is just lemon juice and sugar to taste (a fair bit), boiled up and used as cordial. We add water or soda water. Really yummy! I put some cinnamon quills in this batch - it's ok, but I will leave it out next time.

Home grown bunch of flowers
Flowers picked from our garden always make a nice impact on my day. I forgot to take a photo and after this hot weather they are looking pretty limp now...

Not -

Flies and Mosquitoes
Great time of the year, but brings all these pests with it.

Facial Hair
Oh God! I have found 1 inch length of hair growing out of my chin...Did I say that out loud? I have an epilady but sometimes (rightly so) I am afraid to use it! Deep breath...I need to be brave.

Aged Parents/grandparents
I wish we lived closer to my family. I am thinking about a time when they will be able to travel less to see us. I really think we need to move closer.

Tummy Bump
I went to the Chemist to ask about anti histamines for myself today and the nice girl in the Chemist looked and pointed at my tummy while saying 'and you are pregnant'. Jeez, I really hate that!!! I am always polite enough when this happens, although I don't know why, as it bothers me. I guess I assume they feel quite uncomfortable and know better next time.
I would never ask/presume even the most obviously pregnant woman was pregnant...even if she looked ready to pop!
It is safer that way.
Anyway, now, boy I feel pretty shite!


It seems that way sometimes!

Hope you all have a good end to your week! We are off to Beach on Friday for a couple od days...So that will be one of the Hot's on my list next week!
Take care
Chele x

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Acclimatising to the Hot weather

Bath in Backyard

We have been enjoying the weather this weekend, it's been quite hot in Melbourne and while normally we do not fare well in the heat...when we are at home grubbing around in the garden, not looking flash, it is actually really great.
Some nice friends with a trailer, made a trip to the tip/recycling depot and picked up an old bath tub for us for $10, thanks Shona and Damian! They also grabbed some for themselves too, for their garden beds - fantastic idea!
Our bath scrubbed up really well and was perfect for the kids to have a paddle in.
It just needs some drainage/hose sort of apparatus so that the water emptys directly on the part of the garden where we need it most. I already think it's better than our old blow up paddle pool and after we put some low compact growing plants around the tub...it will look ok too!
I am looking forward to a outdoor bath one hot evening this Summer too.
A friend told me of a visit he had to his friend's home in Mt Beauty, when he arrived, very tired one night, he was welcomed and directed to a bath tub set in the middle of their orchard filled with warm water with heaps of candles set up all around it, on a clear starry night, (out of the city) wow, that sure does sound nice! How special would you feel!

Aldo, Kaffir Lime and Geoff's Grandmothers Chairs

Aldo had a nice wash too!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

2 little Tawny Frogmouths

2 little Tawny Frogmouths

I am getting as many photos as possible while these birds are around -
I love them.
If you want to see more of the Tawny Frogmouth there is an amazing link Claire recommended at National Geographic, with some great photos of some outrageously cute chicks, also footage of one being hand fed.
Thanks Claire!
They are too cute!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More Hot + Not

Hi, I'm up for another week of Wednesday - What's Hot + What's Not. Someone mentioned last week how they were finding it much easier to come up with the what's hot...and after thinking about it, I have to say I am too...that's Hot in itself!!
To see everyone Else's Hot + Not - head over to Loobylu for a look. It's not too late to join in if you want to, Claire tells you how to do it. Go on...

Hot
Tawny Frogmouths - We lucky to have four in our backyard at the moment, two adults and their two young...I am so thrilled!
They have always been one of my favorite Australian birds. Some intresting frogmouth facts are that although they look a bit like an owl they are actually more closely related to nightjars. The tawny frogmouth mates for life and when they open their wide mouth, inside of their mouth is a yellowish color that - when directed towards the moon/light, reflects the light and attracts moths. Neat! Isnt nature clever! They also make a lovely deep calm ooom-ooom-ooom noise which we have been hearing for years, without being able to spot them, so nice to finally see them. (In photo - 1 adult and 2 young ones - aawww!)

Tawny Frog Mouth

Cicadas - My daughter found her first cicada shell for this spring while on the way home from school the other day and was over the moon!
For the rest of that day she and her brother were scouring around our trees doing some serious cicada hunting.
We still have a Jar full from last year, I'm not sure why really, maybe we could stick them to a frame and spray paint them gold, it would make a different Christmas present for some lucky friend!!! Maybe not.
After the kids went to bed that night Geoffrey found this Green Grocer, too cooool! A good photo and and an old shell makes for a great show and tell, we are sorted this week.
I love the interest my kids show in nature and even though Cicadas, particularly this type, can make an almost deafening noise on some days, we think they are pretty hot.

Cicada

Garden make over - Buckling down into 2 full days of work in our garden. I was putting this task in the too hard...not even going anywhere near there...basket, but I got into it big time.
We have weeded, planted cuttings struck a long time ago, generally tidied and planned how we might keep up with it this year. Great stiff but satisfied feeling coming over me. And after such a massive effort, just weeding little bits here and there don't seem so pointless.

Guitar lessons - Maeve and Geoffrey are learning the guitar together in shared lessons. Being father and daughter they are at different stages, but they encourage each other and are going so well. It is great singing to some of the songs they play. Lucy in the sky with diamonds is my favorite so far, Maeve carries a tune beautifully (I think!) and Fiann tends to belt it out with much enthusiasm but pretty much in the same key...cute! I must make a video of them.

Not

Sore Back - Needing a hot water bottle to melt aching back after gardening like a woman possessed. There were a few times when I wondered how long it would take me to stand/walk upright again, bad back and I am so unfit at the moment.

Sun Burn - I am really 'Hot' on getting my kids to live in their sun hats and I am also 'Hot' on plying them with sun screen...but...
I do forget about myself and I am quite burnt today.
My kids now have a good illustration of why they should remain cautious outside this time of year and I have myself to blame. Silly me.

******* James Hardie - this truly 'Detestable Company' was mentioned in some body's NOT last week (I'm sorry I can't remember who) but it has sent me off on a tangent of focused rage.
Hungry Beast had a segment on this evil corporation and the damage it has done by using a product it knew for some time to be unsafe. There are good links posted there if anyone is thinking of renovating, be careful everyone, this product is everywhere in some parts of Australia.
Asbestos has not only been used in building products such as roofing and fibro walls, its dust is also found in some Hessian bags that were used to bag the nasty product then reused as underlay for carpets.
They also have the phone number of J.H. CEO if you would like to call...I bet that number has been changed pretty quickly.

I hope I get more of a chance to check out what other people are up to in next few days! Thanks for stopping by! Chele x

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday's Hot+Not

It's Wednesday and time again for Loobylu's Hot+Not list.
Play along with us if you are not already, its good fun!
I am really enjoying reading other people Hots and I am relating heavily to their Nots!

HOT -

My Husqvarna 2000 Sewing machine, it's an oldie but a goodie! You can lower the gears so it sews through extra thick folded fabric or even leather.
This is really a great feature.
Also I now know how to loosen the tension on the foot for free hand sewing. Yay! After seeing Gina's Pear napkins, I've been thinking I might have a go with some tea towels?

Backyard chooks - I love our chooks so much, they give us beautiful little eggs and they are they cutest creature to watch. I talk to mine.
If you are thinking of getting some chooks yourself but are not sure how well they will work in your yard why not rent them...if you are in Melbourne, Deb at book a chook rents houses and chooks. I get our pretty Pekin Bantams here.

My old ted and our
Stereograph viewer - Ted was a present 42 years ago, he's old but hot.
The Stereograph viewer is a wonderful old curiosity. When you look through the view finder at the two, almost identical 2 dimensional pictures, your brain reads this visual information and sees one 3 dimensional image. For more information on Stereograph here.


Steriograph viewer and my old teddy

NOT -

String - Or lack of it! I Can't find the right string for the legs on my birds - Spotlight have stopped selling the old string/cord I once used. I'd like a natural color that is twisted neatly, like this, if anyone knows of such a thing in Melbourne I would be eternally grateful if you let me know.

Kids Lunch Boxes...they are never big enough. I have looked at so many and none seem to have enough room for all the bits! Also drink bottles, I was amazed when I borrowed on of my kids drink bottle one day and nearly sucked my nose inside out.

Busy Doctors - These days you just about need to make an appointment 1-2 weeks in advance of even getting sick, if you want to get in to see your doctor.

Home grown Bantam eggs, herbs and lemons

Have a good end to your week! Chele x

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quick take photo it is tidy!

This is a highly unusual photograph, look at those books going from tallest to shortest, this is not real life!
The rest of my house has gone into shock!
If you layed eyes on the rest of my house, you would too.
But I will save that for HALLOWEEN, Cue Spooky woooo wooo sound

Maeve's shelves are tidy - quick photo!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Last minute card

We have been to a Kids Disco Birthday Party and my ears are still ringing. Not from the music but, from the 20-odd children yelling and having a really groovy time...way too much sugar. But Great Fun.

Grooved up with Glitter

I made this card for the Birthday Girl. I cut it out of a book I found in an op shop for 50c and stuck with double sided tape onto a piece of card stock.
The Illustrations by Karel Franta - they are all really fun but this one was my favorite and seemed appropriate. I added glitter and we were ready to boogie.
I always find myself short of gift cards when I need them, so I have started a pile of thifted books especially for this emergency.
A lot cheaper and nicer that the expensive bought ones I think.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hot + Not

Hot

Liana Kabel's upcycled plastic fantastic jewelry! The Kewpie doll necklace is so cute and I would love some of those Knitting needle bracelets!! I found the link at Thea's lovely blog

Shop and Cook tours - They have tour choices - Lebanon to Morocco, Spanish, All Asian, Italian, Queen Victoria Market and Seafood - I have been hoping to do something like this. They also have some courses for the kids - great to see.
(found thanks to Jetsetting Joyce)
Also hot is having Kurmacome to your house for a cook-a-thon.

Little Match Box House From Coloured Buttons. I love this house, it is so cute, great for party favours. I am thinking of skewing this slightly and making some Halloween trinkets. Maybe coffin necklaces with a skeleton inside?

Not Hot

Motivational Posters Not the keep calm and carry on type, I quite like them, they are more like gentle encouragement posters! The ones that really get to me are the really serious ones, you know where someone is climbing the most impossibly high jagged cliff with words like...'You just need to believe in yourself' printed boldly underneath. I think it is great to be positive but it's unnatural all of the time. Is anyone really like that or are they just great actors? Obviously they would only have a HOT list...

The BBC They sit on great shows like Grim Tales and The Goodies!
Do they know that it's selfish of them? It is like they are the big kid with the soccer ball and although they are not playing with it they will not let anyone else have a turn. And its not like they do not release shows, flooding the world with The Bill and other such abysmal viewing.
I want them to release The Goodies + Grim Tales right now, or else I am going to petition them. You heard! Be warned BBC! Right On!

Manuals - All manuals seem to be written with the intention of confusing the reader – not enlightening them about the particular product. And I hate having to refer to any of them. Now I have to read my camera's manual because the settings seem to have changed. My photos do not seem as good, I have tried to ignore this but it is too annoying. The dreaded manual is 190+ pages. Oh no!

Pins and Needles Getting a numb bum from sitting at the computer way too long, I NEED a laptop so I can get more comfy.

Everyone else's Hot+Not Wednesday here at Loobylu

Posh Nosh

Posh Nosh (with Richard E Grant) is back on the telly.
This gourmet cooking couple really take 'food snob' to a whole new level...I love their inappropriate terminology!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Have a lovely weekend xx

Apple Blossom

Whats Hot and Whats Not

I've been enjoying reading Claire's What’s Hot + What’s Not Wednesdays over at Loobylu. It's a good meme, I thought I might join in too, just for a giggle!
Note I am posting my first Hot + Not on a Friday!!
Outrageous!

Hot

Libraries! - Pretty general, but they are the best! To be able to order online and have books sent from all over Victoria, for free!!! I love the feeling of walking out with a stack of lovely books! Sort of feels like stealing...insert poor impersonation of a villains laugh here.
This book is my favorite right now - Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion With loads of inspired recipes like this Baby Beetroot salad with Spinach, Crisp Ginger and Curry-flavoured Dressing. YUM.
Stephanie sujests the CRISP GINGER can be scattered over other vegetables...mmmmmmm!

Water Play - Fiann is having a lovely time measuring, mixing and washing in water for, what seems like hours...any activity that engroses your youngster this well is definatley Hot! So while he is having a great old time I can try to get my 'to do' list smaller! In actual fact, that is not true at all...my list remains while I sit in front of the computer pondering Hot and Not. Good fun!

oct09 103

This book - Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered We got this for Maeve for her birthday...I am thinking of photo copying pages for me to have a go too! It is an inspirational book, encouraging kids to not be too critical of their own drawings and run free on the pages! I wonder if there is a flickr pool for this book with peoples work on?


'The Kills' - Their music, lyrics and style is fun and pretty cool. They are by no means a mainstream band... I like that a lot! Mainstream music as a general rule annoys me, its lyrics seem really banal. Not that this is high brow!!



Not

Leaking porches - there is heaps of rain falling this spring and our veranda is 'springing' leaks!

Molding Pumpkins - Our lovely Pumpkins we grew have been sitting around my home looking wonderfully decorative for months now. We did cook a couple up but they tasted REALLY awful and bland, no matter, they looked gorgeous! Maybe they were not ripe when I picked them. Anyway, I was going to try cooking another, but I still don't know they would be any more edible. Also I thought I could carve for Halloween. Now I see most of them are starting to go off...bum.

Feeling disorganised - I try not to think about this too much as it sends me into a panic. I usually deal with this feeling by doing something crafty...delay the inevitable and around we go again.
My organisation at the moment is to be laughed at! I guess once both my children are at school I might find it easier to get things sorted. But I do suspect I am just an "all over the place" kind of girl.

Blocked Toilet... Hmm I just discovered my son has nearly overflowed the toilet by putting 1/2 a roll of loo paper in it! This kind of 'water Play' is NOT HOT!!!!

Playing next week, I hope! Bye!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Curried Sausages (not too stodgy, not too posh)

We have been really lucky this year and have had heaps of precious rain falling in the Yarra Valley. Unfortunately, water storage around Australia is still pretty dire, but for now I am just thankful our huge water tank is full and wishing we had more tanks!
As well as wet it’s also been unbelievably cold here, really freezing. It’s perfect “Pot o stew” kind of weather! So I have been thinking comfort food and what I could make for dinner and also squirrel away a decent stash in the freezer.
I remember my lovely Nan used to make Curried Sausages when I was a young girl and I really loved them then...these days they are a little bit too stodgy for me, but the basic concept was appealing enough to pep it up into a healthier version. I looked at several recipes on the net, then I took what I liked from them and added my own spin.
Anyway, I think it has turned out a winner, but, more importantly, my kids think it’s great stuff too. Pheww! That’s a relief because I made the most enormous pot of it!
This is a rough guide on how I made it…detailed enough to follow I hope. It’s ‘Honkey white boy style’ – not your authentic curry but it is really really very yummy!
If anyone out there makes this I would love to hear how it went.

The makings of a hearty stew

(not too stodgy, not too posh) Curried Sausages
Serves a huge number of people!

4 tbls olive oil
1 tbls black mustard seeds
3 onions
2+ cloves of garlic
2 carrots
1 turnip
¼ bunch of celery throw in some leaves too
¾ cup red lentils
½ cup puy lentils (French lentils)
8 thick sausages (I used pork & apple snags but you could use any that you like)
5 medium potatoes (cubed 3cm ‘ish’)
½ little cabbage (shredded then chopped)
½ cup sultanas
½ bunch of flat leaf parsley
½ bunch of coriander
1-2 tbls vegetable or chicken stock (to taste)
1-2 tbls curry powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil, stand back and fry black mustard seeds until they pop, add the fine diced onion and cook slow until nice and soft. I always take my time to do this as crunchy onions are no good in a soft squidgy stew.
Add garlic, fry 3 minutes. Add curry powder and ground turmeric. Sniff when it gets frying – turmeric has the best smell when frying!!
Dice carrot, turnip and celery – I cut these 1cm or even smaller, so it’s more likely the kids will eat. Throw these in with onions and cook for about 5 mins?
Wash and drain the lentils and add these to the pot too – stir until covered in oil and cover well with water. The lentils just add substance and are not necessary – it just makes the meal healthier and stretches it out further.
While this is going on, place sausages in water – prick a few times and just bring to the boil and turn down. Simmer now for 8-10 mins. You can peel them if you want to, depends on the snag. Slice the sausages as you like – thinner slices go further!
Add your cubed potatoes to the veggie mix. Waxy potatoes are good because they will hold together if the lentils are taking their time to cook.
At this stage, I also add the sultanas (so they have time to puff up), and the parsley and coriander (I use all the stalks and wanted them to soften) and the cabbage.
Add stock, salt, pepper and top up with water (you want it to look like it might be a soup at this stage)
Cook for a further 10 minutes or so…taste frequently and season more + more + more if needed.
When potato and puy lentils are cooked, mix water and corn flour together and stir into the stew. This should thicken up nicely.
The ingredients and their quantities could be varied easily in this recipe. Don’t be scared to omit lentils or carrots for example (I actually hate cooked carrots but don’t mind them ‘in things’) One thing I think I will do next time is add more sultanas…Mmmmmmmm! P.S. serve with some potato mash or rice. We had ours with a potato pumpkin mash...Mmmmmmmmmmmmm

Curried Sausages

Monday, October 12, 2009

The endless birthday party

Maeve on her 7th Birthday

Over the last week we celebrated our daughter Maeve's 7th Birthday! I simply cannot believe it. She has really grown up so much since starting school last year and now -in just a couple of weeks (it will seem) she will be starting grade 2! Maybe one day a Physicist will discover that, actually, once we hit 35-40 that time does indeed move much quicker for us.
Our celebrations have lasted days, with a day at the orchard, visiting family and the biggest and 'funnest' being a party extravaganza! Our local indoor pool caters for children's party's. Too easy!

Pool Party Blur!!

Maeve's fabric dolls house

I have been making a fabric dolls house using the pattern from UK lass in US as a guide and was pretty pleased with how it came out, although the inside walls are a little baggy saggy and I think I might of over tizzed just a tad. Maeve loves it though so I was very pleased.

Maeve's fabric dolls house

Maeve's fabric dolls house

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Orchard bliss

Orchard Trail

I have very few words at the moment so I am just sharing a photo of some of my favorite people in one of my favorite places. Recouping soon I hope.
Below is a photo taken of Maeve's dolls house half finished. I will post a photo of finished house when I take one. xx chele

The unfinished dolls house

Monday, September 28, 2009

PoP!

It's just another half arsed filler.
If you have not been to Big Huge Labs it is great fun!
I love our little reproduced mini Kewpie dolls, one day I would love to take lots of photos of these extra cute little guys!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Good Game



I am not really a Huge fan of Ausie rules but it was imposible not to get caught up in the day! It was an 'exciting' grand final too!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Distinguished Banana Man


Distinguished Banana Man
Originally uploaded by Miss Retro Modern

While I am hanging out here with 'Miss Retro Modern', recovering from a hissy fit... I thought I would post
another photo from her fantastic photo stream. Definitely a good rainy day activity, I am now set to make some veggie people with the help of my kids!!
There is a whole heap of these fruit and veggie people over there, very amusing!!
Pretty cute and edible!

Fig.173 Hysterics


Fig.173 Hysterics
Originally uploaded by Miss Retro Modern

I have got a couple of flickr (free accounts) and a couple of different email addresses, a Blog, a Gmail? a DISQUS and Google account… probably more stuff that I don't even know about! ! ! !! AND WHY does my flickr photo display on the side bar (I am guessing the lingo here) not work anymore? Aaauughhhh!
I think I am going to have a Tantrum! As long as it all works ok,
I guess its all good but it seems so complicated.
Chele
P.S. Why can't they all work together and everything link up as one!! Thats the hippy in me talking now.
P.P.S. Miss Retro Modern is a fun place to hang out! X

Inspiration mosaic

I have finally, I hope, worked out how to link to other blogs and great sites "neatly"! I've felt like a BIT of a DER BRAIN
(a huge one really) but NOW I can feel like... less of one? YAY! NEAT LINKS!
This has been on my long list of things to do for a long time, it would make a lovely present!!
Fabric doll house tutorial
Here are some favorites, including one of the little Fabric Dolls House. I am thinking a button tree on the exterior of my fabric house would be perfect and maybe a peg doll??



1. deciduous quilt, 2. Untitled, 3. Clothespin Doll Ornaments, 4. Fabric dollhouse

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ahhhh, ALMOST no timetable!!! Don't you love it...
ZZzzzzzZzzzzzzz
It's Geoffrey's birthday today, the big 40, so here is an old a photo of Geoff and his 1st beloved cat, Caesar.

Geoffrey (17yrs old) and Caesar

We are leaving the big celebration until later in the week when we head out to a local brewery to sample some nice new beer and then dinner with some good friends. Also, asap, we are heading down the mornington peninsula for a much needed break. Fingers crossed!

Good book and good beer
I have just started "The Pleasure and Sorrows of Work" - Alian de Botton. I don't want stop reading, I wish it had bigger print though. I love his books and his tv work. A review is here http://www.readings.com.au/review/the-pleasures-and-sorrows-of-work-alain-de-botton

I made my first pavlova in years today... who hoo! It's collapsing with the weight of cream and fruit on top but we are looking forward to eating it anyway.
Pavlova and fruit
Happy Holidays!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Reproduction Antique French Playing cards

Visually stunning cards

These are really wonderful to look at, they are replica antique French Playing cards. I was given these by an old friend, Jann, when I started picture framing.