Wednesday, 30 September 2009

No.1's Ginga Bread Men

Welcome to No.1's cooking lesson. Step 1, If you look above you will see the recipe for our awesome ginger bread men. So sorry if you can't read it-not my writing, must be Mummy's!!!! Step 2, Now get your bowls and whisks out and cream the sugar and flour together.

I had to clean up before I could roll the dough out! I used so many dishes so it took forever. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a little but it seemed like forever. I got so floury that the washing will take ages to do. I had to scrub the sugar from the measuring cup as all of the sugar was stuck to the bottom!

Finally I could do the dough needing. It was rather hard and it kept on crumbling and falling apart. I put more flour down but that didn't help at all, all the flour did was making it worse. What did we do wrong? Did I forget to put something in, no. Do you know? It's in the recipe.

I reread the recipe and it said to put it in the fridge for half an hour. I did that and while I was waiting I was getting out the cutters and rolling pin. After that I was just jumping around and not being helpful.

When half an hour had passed I opened the fridge and took it out. It took absolutely ages to roll out. I had to keep on starting again because I did it too thin.

It was so fun when I got to cut the shapes out. Mummy had to take the cut shapes off the bench because I kept ripping the heads off the men. My little sisters wanted to help me but I'm glad I said no.

Look at the finished product! I couldn't wait to eat them but they were boiling hot. I had a little accident when I was taking them over to the bench and I accidentally dropped one.

My little sisters pleaded with me to help do the icing. They actually did a pretty good job with them. They had turned out better than I expected. No.2 and I made biscuits for each other which was pretty special. We also made biscuits for Nana and Papa which they enjoyed.

Thank you for coming to my cooking lesson today. Please come again and I'm sure I'll be back with another lesson!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Christmas Boxes

Hello it's No.2 again! Isn't this thing cute?!! We are sending Christmas boxes. I made this teddy bear for my Christmas box. I was very lucky because I finished the day we had to take it in to get sent. This is the website you get the boxes from and more things about the Christmas boxes:

This is my box. Teddy bear, tea cup set, notebook, pens, chalk, ladybird skirt and some other things.

This is No.1's box above. No.1 got a good variety of things. I was at Nana and Papa's house staying the night when they did theirs, so I had to catch up on things. No.4 didn't do one but she was very good about it.

No.3 got a doctors kit and cute teddy bear stickers. She was very proud of her box. She got a ladybird skirt to. She chose the things all by herself. What a clever little girl!

Mum made these fabulous skirts. Isn't she the best Mum out!!!!!!!!! There are different age groups no.3 and I chose 2-4 and no.1 chose 7-9. We had fun making these boxes. Thanks to Nana I finished my box on time.

Monday, 28 September 2009

No.2's Fun In The Kitchen!

What a horrible day and it's the holidays. Hmm lets think? What are we to do? Arr yes!Cooking! I am making Mexican Wedding Cakes. What a delicious treat!

I had a lot of fun mixing. And no mess made! I got the idea from my Gran when she once made them for us when we came to visit.

This is the part when you add vanilla to the butter and sugar.Mum isn't a cookie type of person, but I am! I really want to be a chef when I am older.Mum says I am very good at cooking slice, cakes and biscuits. I wish she was the cookie type because that would mean more yummy food in the pantry to eat!

Doesn't this look good? The chocolate chips and sunflower seeds really add a nice touch! I did a little bit of test tasting. The mixture was nice and soft so it was pretty easy to stir.

You roll it into balls and squash them down, but not too hard with a fork to make them have a fork pattern.

We cut out the ugly tray from the photo! Now I can't stop laughing! They look adorable don't they?

Put them in the oven for 15mins at 150 degrees C. As soon as they come out of the oven put at least three biscuits at a time into a container of icing sugar. Roll them until they look like they have enough icing sugar on them. I always like to put a little more icing sugar on so it tastes better!

Our finished product!!! I had one even when it was still quite hot just to see what it tasted like. I wanted the first bite but someone had already had one! That was a bit mean seeing as I was the one cooking these biscuits.

I hope you have enjoyed this lovely recipe, you should really try it out. I'm so kind I've put the recipe up there for you. Sorry about the tatty paper!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Recycling Big Time Challenge

Right before I start with a big announcement, I would first like to say thank you for all your lovely comments you have gifted me with lately. I do love popping on to the computer and seeing another one there. It gets me all excited! And who has been cheeky enough to go all anonymous on me and say they have bought me a present from the French Market?!!! I have completely no idea who this might be. I haven't done anything to be thanked for as far as I know. How very exciting for me.

Now pop on over to Dottie Angel and see what she has started for herself, and others who have been brave enough to join her. I have been thinking about signing up myself but it's a pretty big thing. I have been ever so good of late and made all sorts of goodies for family and friends. Remember I even pickled some veggies? And the items my lovely new machine has been producing have been gratefully received too.

So after reading through her challenge and a few others as well, I have decided to set myself a challenge too. It's nowhere as brave as theirs, but a start is better than nothing isn't it?

Well now, I am going to make as much as I possibly can for 365 days starting from today. This day being 27th September 2009. I will choose to make over buying, check second hand before buying new, give handmade gifts only (with the exception of a few bought things for the girls and husband, but I will discuss these choices with them), I will bake and cook more often and learn jam making, preserving skills etc.
This will be fun mostly, even if hard work for me. But I do like the feeling you get from making the effort. There is nowhere near the same pleasure from bought stuff.

I will recycle more than just the household items we usually recycle. I love this new recycling clothes idea I have been working on. Jeans are truely one of the greatest clothing inventions! Did you see sweet Michela has offered to send me her old jeans all the way from Venice!!! What a lovely, kind offer. I just can't accept it as the postage would be soooo expensive. She is insisting though. Imagine a Venetian jeans handbag!

I don't buy myself many clothes generally, as I really don't enjoy the experience. But I would like to start making myself more clothing now that I have such an awesome sewing machine.

I topstitched this skirt I made this morning for No.4 over six layers of denim in places!! Imagine that! That just goes to prove that I can make anything I wish to.

I will use my garden more this year too. I would like to extend the types of vegetable I grow and add a few fruit bushes to the garden.

So this year will be a thinking year for me. I will think before I buy. I will try and reuse as much as I can. I will enjoy what I already have. I will buy what others have already used. I will teach my girls what I am learning. I will enjoy!

Hmmm. I wonder if my newish jeans could be something else too one day?

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Recycled Jeans Present

Our ten year old has a party to go to on Sunday. She is very choosy about what gifts we should give, so my idea of making something came as a nasty shock to her. I just don't understand why she gets so excited about me making her something but it's not acceptable for giving to her friends.

Well you can imagine her reaction when I said I could make her a denim bag from recycled jeans!! She wanted new denim. To be honest, I did go to the shop and had a look at the rolls of denim, but decided that what I had at home was way better. And it had pre-made pockets too!

So out came the giant hackers and an old pair of jeans. I found this fab little pattern at Ric Rac. It's such a neat bag and really easy to put together.

I cut some pretty circular fabric for the lining and cut the bag outer from my jeans leg. I think I'll easily get two bags out of one pair of jeans.

I thought some pretty striped pocket flaps would compliment the lining nicely. I haven't done anything like this for years and they're easier than they look.

It's very important when you're a perfectionist, to get the stripes matching just right!

Pop the pocket flap in and stitch in place. The lower pocket is cut straight from the jeans then re-sewn on the bag. You don't see the raw edges at all. Honest!
Stitch the lining to the outer bag and turn through. Top stitch.

I tried to use all the fabulous details from my jeans.
Another covered button. I do like them a whole lot. And the flash of colour is nice too. The closure flap matches the button and flaps and it velco fastens in place.
Did you guess what the strap is made from? The waistband! The whole thing without the belt loops. It has a nice curve in it which makes the bag sit so nicely over one's shoulder.

Every bag needs a purse, doesn't it?

It's empty, but I will pop a few coins in it for good luck. It's an old wives tale that giving a new purse to someone is bad luck unless there is money in it.

And what was Daughter No.1's reaction to the gift? Did she storm of in a rage of shame?
No she was absolutely delighted with it and would love to give it to her friend for her birthday. One convinced child. Recycling old to make new is a winner with her!! She wants one now too. So does No. 2 and also Nana. I think I'll have to go to the op shop and hunt for old jeans.

My mission with our eldest daughter is to teach her that new isn't necessarily better. Spending money just because we have it isn't right. Buying wisely is a good thing. Saving money is a gift for a lifetime. Saving the environment is very important.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

A Very Full Day

It's my niece's 2nd birthday on Saturday. My parents are giving her a baby doll cot for her present so I thought I could make a bedding set to go in it. The quilt was the first one I made and I am pleased that it is going to a good home.

I hope her baby will be comfortable in her new bed.

This dolly thinks it's just fine and where is her bed? Oh it's reversible too! Did you notice the gingham? Well, I just can't help myself! I hope she has a lovely day and enjoys her party. We can't go as she lives too far away unfortunately. But she is coming to visit us in a couple of weeks. That will be nice.

Remember the popcorn tree? Well just look at it now! I've changed it's name to the wedding tree. It looks like a bride who has just had confetti thrown all over her. So pretty.

It was definitely a day in the kitchen for me today. It's not my thing at all but sometimes we have to just bite the bullet and do it anyway.
I made a meatloaf and chocolate slice for my friend who had her baby on Monday. I dropped these off this afternoon and took a quick peek at her baby. Oooh he's so little and so sweet! He was sleeping and oh so quiet. I like quiet babies. Other people seem to get those ones.

Whilst doing the dreaded supermarket shop this morning I was faced with bags of lemons on entering. Well, I immediately thought lemon curd. It's No.1's favourite spread and I'm a bit partial to it as well. So a bag of lemons hopped into my trolley with great intentions of being made into curd sometime this week.
Oh well since I was in the kitchen anyway I thought I might as well whip it up on the spot.

My mother got an emergency phone call after quite a while, to ask why it wasn't thickening. Little did I know that some lemons aren't the best at setting! An extra egg later and it was still sloppy. How blimmin' annoying is that? Well after at least 20mins stirring I gave up and bottled it anyway. One can only try.

I did find time for a quick bite to eat at some point. Doesn't this look a pretty and colourful lunch?

And this is mainly why I really don't like kitchen work! After all that work cooking you are left with this....

I saw the most cutest sight this afternoon. Three teeny tiny little 'runny babbits' as No. 4 calls them. They are only a couple of weeks old and they are about the size of your palm. They are being dropper fed and seem to be doing very well. Their home was destroyed by a digger, grrr. Their mummy ran off as you can imagine. The poor little mites.
We ended up having tea at our friend's house. There were goodness knows how many children there and they all had a ball of course. Such a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Thank you very much G!