Monday, 9 August 2010

Our weekend ...



Finally got the top finished - woohooo!!!!!


Coconut, apricot and date loaves - delicious!


We had our fair shares of knocks and bumps this weekend


Drawing up a birthday list - and then literally drawing all over it!


A trip to the library yielded these lovely books


A little refashioning for Cassia

Hope you had a great weekend too! xx

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Blueberry picking in summer ...

I've been reading some lovely posts about blueberrying recently over at gardenmama and SouleMama and hearing the lovely things they do with them - blueberry buttermilk cake anyone?!  It's bought back memories from January this year when we went blueberry picking at a local blueberry farm.  I had never picked blueberries before, in fact I had never seen a blueberry bush, and although the day wasn't quite as sunny and carefree as pictured in the above two posts (in fact it was freezing - we got there very early, it was drizzling with rain and we were higher up the hill than we though) we had a great time and picked a whole bunch of blueberries.  It was great picking for the whole family because there were ripe berries at all different heights so none of us was left wanting and even Cassia at 3 was able to pick a lot.  We picked about 5 kilos (10 pounds) in just over an hour and they were quarter of the price of the little punnets available at the supermarket - and of course it goes without saying they were much, much tastier!

Lots were in our tummies before we left the farm, some were made into blueberry muffins that afternoon and a blueberry pie was baked shortly thereafter.  Still more were frozen for using during the winter - delicious gently cooked up to top a bowl of steaming porridge - and the rest were used to make blueberry relish.  It is so delicious, in fact that probably needs more emphasise - IT IS DELICIOUS!!!! In fact, although it's a relish recipe I also use it like jam.  I find the sweetness of jam soon becomes too much for me but this is just right, of course it's great with meats, cheeses, thrown into bolognaise sauces.  In fact the only limit to its uses is the fact that I only have one unopened jar left!!!!




The last remaining jar of bluebbery relish - don't you just love the Maia made label?!

And so the recipe:

BLUEBERRY RELISH

1 kg blueberries
500g sugar
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp ginger (instead of cayenne as stated in recipe)
1/2 tsp mixed spice (instead of allspice as stated in recipe)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water

Roughly chop 1/2 a lemon's rind and together with pips tie up in a little muslin parcel
Put everything in large pot
Stir over low heat for 5 minutes or until sugar has dissolved
Bring to boil
Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for 50-55 minutes or until relish is thick and syrupy
Spoon immediately into clean warm jars and seal
Turn jars upside down for 2 minutes and then invert and cool
Label and date
LEAVE FOR 1 MONTH
Store for up to 12 months
Refrigerate after opening and keep for 6 weeks (it won't last that long let me tell you!)

This made 3 jam jars full plus a bit leftover to eat straight away.

Now I just have to be patient for the next 5 months until we can go picking again! x

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

How lucky am I?

I recently participated in my 2nd swap via blogland and I received all this lovely fabric!


Amy and I had decided on a swap - I sent her one of my reversible sunhats for her little girl and a pencil/work case for her and I received the fabric.  Seeing as I was only expecting scraps you can imagine my great delight when I opened the package!  Many thanks once again Amy.

For my birthday in February I was given a book voucher by my in-laws.  Now as much as I love books it always takes me some time to use a voucher.  You see there are just sooooo many books out there that I would like that I never can decide and the books in NZ are sooo expensive, but that's content for another post!!  I had popped into our local PaperPlus a couple of times and eyed up a few books.  So you can imagine my delight when I see a book I would really rather like with 25% off - I ended up paying just $1.24 for this beautiful book:


although in truth that $1.24 will turn into much, much more because of all the lovely quilts I now wish to make!

The one activity that we have done every term for Maia is swimming.  This year Cassia started her lessons too.  We just go to the local aquatic centre and they both enjoy it tremendously.  The lessons aren't cheap so you can appreciate how happy I was to have won the draw for a term's worth of free lessons - theoretically they are Cassia's - but I'm not picky!

During the holidays we went away for a few days.  One day we all head into Levin and I scoured the op shops whilst Craig and the girls went to the Adventure Park.  For sometime now I have been looking for a grater which can be fastened to a unit and that the girls can use themselves.  I've even been into a couple of 'proper' kitchen shops but to no avail.  So I was very excited to see this in a new second hand shop I popped into:


Now I ummmmed and aaahed about whether to get it.  It was $8 which to me, being so used to $1 bargains at our local Sallies, seemed quite expensive!!!  Crazy really as I would have paid upto $40 in the shop if I had seen one.  Then the grating drum it came with wasn't really the one I wanted ......  But it was so retro and so pristine I bit the bullet and bought it.  I figured I could look on TradeMe for the other drums that go with it.  Now, of course, finding it was lucky but what came next was more than luck.  It was like op shopping karma - is there such a thing?!!!

I popped into a wee little op shop, the type that has very limited hours, only takes cash but can yield some real treasures.  And what did I find in there ..........


Can you believe it?  The other 4 grating drums all in mint condition.  The price?  50c each - that's right 50c each.  So for the grand total of $10 I have the whole set - woohooo!!!


And finally (this really has been a pretty full post eh?) this month is my month to be the Queen Bee at the Bee Seam Piecing Downunder.


So I've sent out the parcels and now just have to sit back and wait - sounds good doesn't it?  I made one practice block and then a couple more to check I'd put enough fabric in the parcels.  Good job I did that as it turns out because there probably wouldn't have been enough - ooops!


So as you can see I have had a lot to be grateful for recently.  It's really helped putting this post together because I'm currently suffering from the horrid bug/virus that Cassia had last week and feeling rather sorry for myself!  Hope you're having a good run of it too! x

PS The dinner I posted about earlier was just delicious!!!!!

What's for dinner tonight?



Gingered Beef with Bay a recipe from the Ultimate Slow Cooker book by Sara Lewis

Much as I hate frying beef and onions at 8 o'clock in the morning when it comes to the middle of the afternoon I LOVE the fact that dinner is done, quietly cooking away and will be ready as needed.  I had thought I would do some ginger egg fried rice with it, with the rice leftover from last night's tea, but as it's been cooking today I realise that, although there is a lot of ginger, the dish is more meditteranean with the bay leaves and balsamic vinegar.  Maybe couscous, maybe jacket potatoes?  Both easy and effortless!

The crock pot came out of the garage last week and I have been busily looking for recipes.  The local library had about dozen books on the subject, of which 8 now sit on my unit!  I wasn't aware of crock pots, aka slow cookers, until I came to New Zealand and my repertoire is somewhat small.  I plan to try out a few of the delicious sounding recipes over the coming weeks and hopefully there'll be some winners in there.

And for pudding?


Fruit and greek yoghurt topped with homemade granola - yum!!!!

What are you and yours having to eat tonight? x

Sunday, 1 August 2010

I thought I must be mad ....

I was having a good sort out earlier this afternoon and came across this jigsaw.



I found it at an op shop ages ago and loved the retro kiwiana feel.  So with the wind blowing, the rain lashing and the fire roaring it seemed like the perfect time to start the jigsaw.



With a little bit of hindrance and a lot of help from Maia we got going.


I thought it would take ages and had been thinking where I could keep it whilst working on it but it's done - finished before tea!



I love how kitsch it is and because Craig's a picture framer I'm going to frame it and hang it on my wall!

Hope you all had a great weekend. x

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Just in time ...

July seems to have whizzed by and I had a lot to do in it!  The last couple of days have been spent catching up with all my quilting bees.

For Sarah in the ANZAC Bee.  This was the first bee I signed up for and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  Sarah was the last person in the bee so I would like to say a huge thanks to Amy over at Seven Stitches for organising it and introducing me to virtual quilting bees (VQBs).


Nova, in the Australsian Bee, wanted some wonky star in July so I happily obliged!



The newest bee I'm part off is the Bee Seam Piecing Downunder and Bec sent out the fabric with the wish for something traditional with a twist.



A job well done and all off in the post winging their way to Australia.

I am the queen bee for August in the Bee Seam Piecing Downunder so I've also had to get organised with my fabric choices and patterns.  After discarding a couple of options I've decided on a traditional log cabin block made from fabric from vintage sheets and pillowcases.


I've been collecting vintage sheets since we returned to NZ and am very happy to seem them being put to some good use at last.  I think these blocks will be alternated with a simple square within a square block and maybe it's time for me to try some free motion quilting!  I already have a place earmarked for this quilt so hopefully it won't be too long in the making. x

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

So what's the news?

Well that break was a little longer than anticipated but here we go again!


So what was my news?  Well I've had my first order!!!!!!!!!  Now this is very exciting for me and a realisation of a long held notion.  Remember the market?  Well, the person sat next to me knew someone and that someone happened to have a shop in Palmerston North and the person who sat next to me talked to that someone who has a shop and hey presto!!!!


Obviously a little more was involved but needless to say the someone with the shop now has some little grubs clothes hanging in it!!!  Aaaaarghhhhh how excited am I?!!!!


The shop is Stork on George Street in Palmerston North - if anyone is passing have a look.  They have the egg Maternity franchise, stock truly beautiful merino items by Nature Baby and now they have little grubs!


There are more photos over on my flickr pages if you fancy popping over.

It's so great to finally be able to share such good news after all the support I have had on these pages.  Thank you so much once again! x