Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Meat Loafing around!!!

Favorite skirt

It was 0.5 degrees here this morning and the fire had gone out overnight - brrrrr! I am still feeling crappy -the doctors bills piling up - I was definitely not feeling too "thrilled" with things this morning!
I believe it is the perfect time to win some tattslotto and get some kick ass ducted heating!
Unfortunately this did not happen today...so I opted for some very serious comfort food!
The following recipe has been a family favorite forever, warning though, it is 'almost too nice' served hot with green veggies and a heap of scalloped potatoes (like it needs any added decadence)

OR it works well in a picnic lunch cold with steamed potatoes, green salad and some bubbly!
This one has been a family favorite forever! It also can also be frozen!
This recipe is really, really easy and my kids love it!

*The Loaf
1kg of fresh minced steak - no preservative etc (get from a good butcher not a supermarket)
½ finely chopped onion
1 'good' egg
½ cup milk
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
lots of chopped parsley
Mix well together and shape into a loaf with slightly flat top in a baking dish.
Cook in moderate oven (180oC) for ½ hour before adding glaze below.

*The Glaze
¼ cup water
½ cup tomato sauce
¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 rounded tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1 tbls of corn flour blended with a little water
Simmer for 5 minutes, then add, gradually, 1 tbls of corn flour blended with a little water.
Cover meat loaf with 1/3 of the glaze mixture cook for 15mins repeat and repeat again.
Cook for 1 hour.
If you make it I would love to know!!
Michele x

Meat Loaf and Scolloped Potatoes

Friday, May 14, 2010

A day to regroup!

The kid's clothing challenge has been such an enjoyable experience, it is just the right sort of encouragment and it is going strong here!
It's been good medicine - even with health still dodgy, it has sent my motivation sky high!
I have slowed sewing productivity today though and am taking a big breath...the material was stacking up all over the place here and threatened all sorts of dire consequences. It takes precious time to sort but, it is well worth it because I am thrilled with what lost treasure I have found during this totally shit chore!
A few more ideas come back to the floor. I should make a list before I mess things right up again!
Stuck for now
I started a couple of things today -
I tried to get my mind around making a vest from an old blankie - as I was totally inspired recently by this very clever dress  made by Foxes Lane. Working with a blanket is so fun, when it is felted, it does not fray and you can leave edges raw, need I say more, what exciting possibilities! Ultimately, I am not sure if I can pull this blankie vest off, but I will enjoy trying, and use what I learn in future projects!
My main aim for tomorrow is to get on with the Little House on the Prairie style night gown...everything is cut out and ready for when my brain comes back online. I love these nighties, I would make one for myself but I fear that Melbourne day trippers might try and set up camp.
Now for a hot water bottle and some deliciously wicked comfort food!
Back into it all fresh tomorrow! Fingers crossed!
Michele x
Sewing room tidy!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Towel Pants = Happydacks!! ?

Today I decided to work on a strange idea I have had for some time now. With our weather in Australia getting colder now, everyone seems to be, either, getting over or are right on the verge of some cold.
We love going to the swimming pool for lessons and we are lucky - its a great indoor/heated pool but, their 'warm water' is no way warm enough for a comfortable shower.
So today I made a pair of Pool Day - 'Towel Pants' I am hopful this makes the dash from pool to car to home easier. Just need a towel wrap top now!
Its quite a look I am forcing on my boy there but he seems to think its pretty normal. Nice!
If my kids don't end up as circus performers I will eat my boots!
I do love a happy pair of dacks!
Michele x

Baggy towel pants



Whether or not you are in this challenge, don't forget to have a peek at the wonderful innovative creations in the 'Kid's Clothing Challenge' -  flickr pool.

Lovely old towel

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chef's Hat

Chefs hat


Inspired by the Kid's Clothing Challenge again today (day 3) I made this spiffy 'white?' Chef's hat, especially for my little food freak's upcoming Birthday. It came together really well considering, typical of me - I read the pattern well into process, athough it is sensibly advised by the author to "read first". Der!
I do this with recipes too, it adds a surprise, like "oh god you are meant to have this ingredient" or in my case today, bias binding! So I used narrow bias instead - I still love it! Should I say that?

I have looked at a few tutorials for these 'adjustable chef's hats' that look really good - I used Curly Pops well photographed tutorial here - hers are really jazzy with some lovely fabrics and trim.
Thank you to Cam for sharing this with people...I am sure these will be a real hit for other people's presents around here too! I also 'free hand - machine styled' Fiann's name on the band - twas fun! I also drew/made an invitation to the aforementioned Birthday party out of paper and felt - now I've just to photograph and run off enough on card to send friends. I am very happy with today's work. Next week might be different...I couldn't possibly keep this up - maybe this is still influencing me?

I hope everyone else is still going strong!
Kids Clothing Challenge group photos here and the inspiration her!
Michele x

Chefs hat for the birthday boy and Invitations nearly ready

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Curtain Skirt (with matching re-fashion top + pants)

New skirt from old curtains

As promised here is a 'groovy a skirt', using only part of some old lined curtains and  a few odd bits...I resisted the chocolate bar! I liked the print on this curtain and the idea of taking something so (I think) obviously not skirt material. I can just see the rattan couches that were in everyone’s houses when this fabric was 'In'. All I have done really is thread the elastic through the existing top band, added some ribbon and ruffle around the bottom of skirt and also a little pocket. Then appliqued a few lace flowers from...yep...another old curtain! I might add some lace flowers to a denim jacket now to complete the ensemble!

Whether or not you are in this challenge, don't forget to check out the Kid's Clothing Challenge" flickr pool.
Thanks very much to Meg, the "not so LazyMarley' of Elsie Marley for organising this fun group!
Michele x

Curtain detail

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Bow Tie or two for starters!

Elsie Marley has started a group of us here for the a "Kid's Clothing Week Challenge" So for the next week we will spend 1 hour (or more) sewing things for kids. I am looking forward to seeing whats going on!
Some Bow ties and a thrifted shirt!
I have been researching the basic shape of a bow tie and making up a couple of patterns to fit a 4 year old boy, they were going really well...apart having to chase my model around and bribe him to keep still...It is not so easy to tigh a bow tie! After a couple of trys I didtched that idea and went for a pattern with a velcro back! Found at A Lemon Squeezy Home and it goes on in 2 seconds! Brilliant! Easy! 2 Done!
Oh mum!

For my next trick I will be attempting to make a 'groovy a skirt' for my 7 year old, using only part of some old lined curtains, a few odd bits and a chocolate bar!


Are you up-cycling? Let me know, I would love to visit?
Now lets see what others are up to in the flickr photo pool - here!
Michele x

P.S. If anyone is looking for a whole heap of resources and inspiration - Liesl of Hoppo Bumpo has an amalgamation of some links to her favourite sewing websites...all in the one spot! It must have taken ages to compile! There is endless advice and inspiration, not just for the serious sewer, its for people like me too - wanting some simple ideas and clever short cuts - Makes it easier to maximise your time!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day to All the Mums

Especially to my own mum (Fay - Nana Belle) my Nan (Elsie - Great Gran)
and to Maree (Gran Maree - my lovely mother in law and friend)
You are all so special, thank you for all your love, patients, humour and encouragement.

I hope you all have a lovely day!

With love from Michele, Geoffrey, Maeve and Fiann xxxxx



1. Baby Maeve and her Great Gran, 2. Me and Mum 68-69?, 3. Great Gran, Nana Belle and Maeve, 4. Gran Maree and Fiann, 5. In the Hospital, 6. My lovely Nan, 7. Maeve and I, 8. Mr Aldo Vini and Nana Belle, 9. Nana Belle and Randi

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sweet and Sour Masoor Dal Soup with Pumkin (and curry leaves)

Sweet and Sour Masoor Dal Soup with Pumkin (and curry leaves)

Love this soup...
Sweet and Sour Masoor Dal Soup with Pumpkin

This creamy, smooth dal soup with its pleasant lemony taste and chunks of butter-soft pumpkin is ideal as a tasty accompaniment to either a simple or elaborate menu. Masoor dal is also known as red or pink lentils. Serves 5 or 6
* This is one of the recipes we made with Kurma Dasa on our fantastic cooking afternoon with him!

1 cup dried masoor dal (red lentils)

6½ cups water

1½ teaspoons minced fresh ginger

2 teaspoons hot green chili, minced

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons ghee or oil

1 cup or about 250g pumpkin, peeled, seeded and diced (I add more)

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds

¼ teaspoon yellow asafoetida powder

Handful of resh curry leaves if you can get them or 6 small dried curry leaves (I add more)

1 tablespoon brown sugar (depending on the pumkin - I add less)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or coriander (more...!)

Wash and drain the dal.

Bring to the boil the dal, water, ginger, chili, bay leaf, turmeric, and 2 teaspoons ghee or oil in a heavy 3-litre/quart saucepan over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and boil for ½-1 hour, or until the dal become soft.

Add the pumpkin and cook for another 10 minutes or until the pumpkin becomes soft. Add the salt and lemon juice.

Heat the remaining ghee or oil in a small pan over moderately high heat. Saute the mustard seeds in the hot oil until they crackle. Add the cumin seeds and toast until they turn dark golden brown. Add the fenugreek seeds. When they darken, add the asafoetida and curry leaves, stir once, and empty the contents of the pan into the cooked dal.

Stir in the brown sugar and stir well. Let the dal sit for 1 or 2 minutes; then add the chopped herbs. Serve hot.

SOOO GOOOD! xx

This recipe is from Kurma Dasa - the Vegetarian Guru

Sunshiny feeling and Op Shopping, my favorites

These are a few of my favorite op shop finds
The lovely Miss Prudence has awarded me a Sunshine Blogging Award. I am so flattered that I was one of the bloggers she chose to give this to, thank you for your lovely encouragement and thoughtful comments Miss Prudence, you are very sweet.
As part of accepting the award, I need to pass it on to 12 bloggers I find inspiration from...

Now I know I am kind of cheating a little here inasmuch as I am only nominating 1 single blog...but with nearly 100 contributors...
I award the Sunshine award to -
With posts about Op shopping around Melbourne, lists of addresses and even maps showing where the op shops are, I really love what a great resource they are creating. Their enthusiasm is contagious and I just think they are really nice to take the time and share.
With nearly 100 contributors, I do not expect that all these people can reciprocate but just want them (and any readers) to know why this is a great blog and get behind it!


Here are 12 very good reasons why Op shopping in general is inspirational
to me, and why 'I Op Therefore I Am' inspires me (and hopefully you) to buy 2nd hand when we can. We might not always appreciate/agree with just what other people see in their own purchases; but that is not the point, therein begins the honing of 'your own' individuality. Viva la Difference!

1. Assisting charitable organisations - they give a lot of support to people who are experiencing tough times.

2. Recycling is very important. Our self-centered western culture is ‘renowned for its waste’- it is much more than embarrassing.
Using and reusing what we can is one of the basic steps to becoming a responsible culture that is aware it is 'spoilt' and works hard to be innovative and really value things, rather than just throwing stuff out!

3. Treasure from Trash - trash can definitely be another’s treasure. The things I see thrown out for rubbish collection makes me feel quite ill, if it can't go to the op shop surely it must be useful at a recycling depot.

4. Saving money is great. I love the feeling when you can get something for $1 when it sells brand spanking new for an arm and a leg more!

5. Shopping buzz - I am not out shopping much and although I feel I am quite controlled/acceptedly limited when it comes to purchasing, you can get that ‘let's splurge’ type of buzz at the op shop. How many items can you buy for $5 feels a little wrong sometimes!

6. Memories - I love the retro/kitsch gear. The memories that some of the items can bring back to you can touch you deeply...to see something that you had when you were a youngster is like stepping back into your childhood.

7. Upcycling - is something that can transform a crappy piece of furniture, clothing, “anything”, into something more-than-acceptable and looking as good as something you might pay a lot of money for. See some of the 'before and after' at Design Sponge for inspiration!

8. Truly Fair/Fair trade - Buying second hand helps avoid supporting the world's greedy, dishonest clothing and footwear companies that turn to poor countries to supply them for next to nothing while they turn high profits.

9. Cheap experimentation - Being free to take something you paid very little for and attempting to refashion it, and making something that turns out to be a real flop!

10. Saving money - Did I mention how much we save at op shops?! I think I did, but it is worth mentioning again. Kids clothing is a great example of how fickle it is to spend big money on something that your fast growing child might wear 3 -10 times top before they have grown out of it. One of my most loved op shop buys to date is a pair of what I call ‘kicker boots’. They looked like little red Doc Martins and I bought them a tiny bit scuffed (semi punked). My daughter wore them when she was 3-4...my son, at 2-3 (bigger feet). I paid $1. I will keep these forever now...I love them so much.

11. The enthusiasm - the people who post their finds on “I Op Therefore I am” is contagious...I love hearing about bargains and seeing photos of their goodies! If you like that sort of thing there is a group of bloggers at Her Library Adventures posting their amasing finds once a week, I have to admit, it does give me a thrill...did I say that out loud?

12. Sustainable lifestyle - If you need anything...chances are you will find it and for very little indeed with the satisfaction that you are not adding to our already oversized carbon footprint.

* An Extra Bonus Reason!

13. Individualism - This can be a rare quality in the shopping mall mainstream, people are encouraged to forget how to be creative fashion wise and they give up their very own imagination to the constant suggestions of the popular culture...Boring! It is fun to find your own style without being manipulated and clone like. Have confidence with your own choices!

So I hope all the contributors feel nice and really Sunshiny about what they are doing over at 'I Op Therefore I am'...because I think it is a great site!
There are op shop tours being organised and don't forget the maps...I promised a long while ago I would contribute some information to the site and am going to make an effort to get my area into their system, maybe you could too?

Michele x
Happy Bargain Hunting!
P.S. Thanks again Miss Prudence, have a great weekend!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Artificial Enhancement

I am not a super house keeper nor do I feel I need to be but some things pile up so high around here I feel like running away or sticking my head in the sand!! I just like to feel like time is my friend and I can achieve things...
After being put on antibiotics for bronchitis, and not really feeling any better, I have been put on a course of Steroids and although they don't make me feel too well either – yet – they are certainly pepping me up! I have been buzzing around being ridiculously obsessive and productive! Good stuff! Not that I am suggesting this seriously but, it had crossed my mind that maybe I need these more often. I know that would be pretty wrong!
Looking at the initial effect without care of repercussions though, it has been pretty darn good so far. Firstly I have been crafting my heart out and getting more projects organised and I have got right on top of heaps of shitty niggling domestic jobs and been multi-skilling my arse off really. I am literally speeding through my house work...so far, but, while I am riding this rush of medication induced adrenaline and going like hell, I know that there is a crunch coming. I have not been able to shut down for a couple of days and this cannot be healthy...by the end of this course of medication I should feel a lot better I hope, even so I will be absolutely exhausted!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Kids Clothes Week Challenge

I have joined in Elsie Marley's Kids Clothes Week Challenge...It starts the second week in May and involves sewing kids clothing (or accessories) for 1 hour every day in the second week of May.
I am a little nervous I will be up for this...but I am keen and have lots of projects that fit the criteria!
Pop over and see the rules (they are pretty easy going) If you decide to join the challenge - add one of the cute buttons to your blog...and I will see you there!
kids-clothes-week-button