Friday, 25 June 2010

I'm Still Here

Hello, hello!  It's so nice to see you all again.  Sorry I've been AWOL this past week.  I've been trying to decide what to do.  I was getting sick of spending too long looking at blogs, blogging, and on the computer.  Sure it's nice but there are too many other things in life that need to come first.  I get really quite angry with our computer at times.  I know it's not his fault but he's such a huge magnetic sometimes.  I'm sure most of you know where I'm coming from. 

Having four children sure takes up plenty of time as well of course.  With four to get out the door by 8.20 it's quite a challenge believe me.  During the day it's just No.4 and me.  I like it a lot.  I want to spend more time enjoying her before she joins her sisters at school.  You loose a bit of them when they start school.  No.3 is doing incredibly well but she comes home so tired and has no words left for us.  Yes better than noisy I'm sure!  So I'm grabbing all the precious moments with them that I can.

So instead of shutting down my blog and moving on, which would have been a little bit rash of me, I've decided to spend less time on here instead.  Perhaps I'll just blog once a week, or whenever my time and thoughts allow.  I don't want to just end it because I've made soooo many lovely friends here.  And it's my place to get creative and see others making creative things.  I think I need this place to be me.  Making things is so very me and blogland is where I get so much inspiration from.

I would never have made my two quilts without lovely bloggers like yourself.  And as for crochet?  Gosh no!  Just look at me now, nearly a professional Granny with one blanket almost finished.  Just the edging to go can you believe it?  I would never in my wildest dreams though I would ever be able to make such a thing. 

I'm very pleased with what I've accomplished this past year. I've learned so many new things too.  And I also hope that I've inspired some of you to make something for your home and family too.  You just can't beat the homeliness that comes from handcrafted goodies. 

I have found that since blogging our home has suffered dreadfully.  While renovating this has been OK, but now that I have two lovely new rooms to take care of, (because small children aren't the best at this job!) I actually want to spend more time getting it in order.  So this week I've done a little sorting and tidying up.  And boy some parts of the house are looking top notch now.
Also the weather has put a damper on spending time on the computer.  It's jolly cold in this room I can tell you.  I am sitting here with a cuppa, hot water bottle and blanket on, but my hands are freezing cold. 

So I'm afraid you've got me for a while longer!  I might not comment as often as I used to (although that was never the best) and I won't blog as often, but I'm still here.  Does that sound OK?  Hope I haven't sounded too whingy.  Please forgive me if I have.  Until next time xx

P.S. There have been a few sad emails in my inbox from unhappy apron swappers this week.  Please contact your swap partner if you haven't sent an apron yet.  You agreed to this swap and now you need to make sure that you follow through with it.  It's not fair to accept a lovingly made apron and not return the favour.  Come on ladies!  And please show photos of it when it arrives.  The sender wants to know that you like it.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Pumpkin and Orange Soup

Well it looks like Autumn outside our house.  But it sure feels like Winter out there today.  We have a lovely big ball of sunshine beaming down on us so inside we are cosy and warm.  The perfect morning to put on a pot of soup.

Would you like a new soup recipe?  My mother made this for me a few weeks ago and I've just got around to making some myself.  It sounds quite weird because it has orange zest in it, but believe me, it's delicious!

Right now, you need a crock pot if you have one, or a large pot if you don't.  I love the ease of cooking in my crock pot but don't use it nearly as often as I should.  Probably because I tend to put off thinking about dinner until five. 

Cut up, or grate if you are keen, one big piece of pumpkin.  Mine is one of those grey skin ones, but any will do.  I've cut my pieces into thin slices.

Add 2 large carrots, or four smaller ones
One large kumera
2 stalks celery
tin crushed tomatoes
1 packet of onion soup mix
600mls water
2 tsps basil (didn't have any of this)
salt and pepper
zest of half an orange

For those of you not familiar with the vegetable kumera, it's a New Zealand veggie often called a sweet potato.  It's hard like a carrot, sweet tasting and lovely roasted.  There isn't really a substitute, but you could add something like a swede or parsnip I guess.  Now I 'm wondering if you have those either!  Oh well, like all soups you just add what you like.

Put it all into slow cooker on low for the day or high for shorter time. Whizz it up for a thick soup, or leave as is.  I will probably leave mine as it is as I quite like chunky soups.  My kumera probably should have been cut up smaller, but I'm not prepared to take it all out and re cut it.  I have better things to do.

It sure looks good in there.  I'm hoping by lunch time it will be ready to eat.  I have the three school girls coming home at 1pm for parent/teacher interviews.  Ours aren't until 5 and 5.30pm so we will have the whole afternoon to do something nice.  I think haircuts are on the menu, for me as well as the girls.  I can't wait to loose some of my length.

Well now my hands are freezing cold as there isn't any sun in this room.  Must go and thaw out then I can get on with those jolly Grannies once again.  Happy days!

Next time I'll have some new doilies and mats to show and tell about.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

74 Little Morsels

Would you like to come over and bake chocolate chip cookies with No.4 and me?  I'm sure you'll have a whole load of fun and you can sample as you go.

Here is a copy of the recipe for you to keep.  It's probably a family recipe that's a huge secret, but never mind, we'll just keep it between us.  The only difference to how I made it, was I didn't use the custard powder as No.2 can't eat things with cornflower in them.  They still work out fine.  Please excuse the dreadfully messy writing!!  My girls write much neater than I ever did.

Right now, lets turn the oven on to 150.  Mmmm I wonder if this is about right?  Seems the previous owners liked deep cleaning.

Now who's got their new apron on?  Yep I sure have.  I wear it pretty much constantly these days.  I've not been out it in yet, but there was a close call on Saturday night.  Just hopping out to the after hours pharmacy and hubby enquired with a grin if I was planning on wearing my apron too!  Actually I'm amazed he mentioned it.   

OK ladies, lets get creaming...

Mmmm honey, something isn't quite right here.  It's a bit dry and crumbly.

Oh my gosh, the eggs!!!  It says mix well after each egg.  Oh well I'm sure it will be just fine.  It's not like I'm going to be eating them anyway.  Baking really isn't my thing.  The big girls are going to be speachless when they discover what I've been up to this morning.

And last, but certainly not least, the chocolate chips.  Just look at the way she's caressing them.  Sniffing them too.  Such a food junky this one.  They are not safe with her around.

We don't want to miss any now do we?  Must we really lick the bench?!!Honestly the amount of sampling was quite a joke.  Fingers in the sugar, then licking the spoon of baking powder, that was a funny reaction!

Now we're looking good. The best thing about this recipe is the lack of dishes afterwards.  One bowl, beaters and a few spoons to wash up. (Or leave in the sink!)

My little helper was on fork squashing.  She was fired in the end.  Couldn't stop herself from squashing the dough right into the tray. 

But somehow they all came out fine and smelling divine.  We made 74.  The more the merrier when you have four mouths to feed.  Well that should read five really, hubby quite likes to eat biscuits as well.  I'm hoping they last at least one week. 

Happy Baking and apron wearing!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Flowers Galore

You may remember I bought this fabulous piece of fabric some time ago.  Unfortunately it found itself a nice shelf and refused to budge until last night.  Now it's a pretty cool dress for No.4 and she outside right now with it on, running through puddles and admiring the rainbow in the sky.  I wonder if she'll come in when the rain starts?  She's a bit wicked sometimes!

We can show you the new dress sideways too if you like.  The stripy legs are quite neat with it.  The more patterns the better when you're three.  I'd love a pretty crochet edge on the hem of the dress but I wouldn't have a clue how to do that.  We may have to settle for some cotton lace.  I'll add that to the list.

I couldn't resist adding a doily to one of the flowers!  I really do love them these days.  Isn't it funny how things catch on?  I had never enjoyed doilies before blogging.  Come to think of it there are many things I hadn't even tried before my blogging days.  Yes we may spend too long searching through the many blogs some days, but I know that I have certainly gained many new skills from reading them. 

My little poppet picked out her own buttons.  She has quite an opinion about things these days, but her favourite clothes are those that she has seen being made for her.  You don't get to make special choices when you go out and buy a ready made garment do you?  It's nice to pick out buttons, laces, fabrics and other cute bits and pieces when you are little, and big too.

Over the weekend our house started to become a home once again.  Finally!  I was completely over the mess and having piles of stuff everywhere on Friday.  But now the two little girls are in their new rooms.  And boy do they look fabulous.  Hubby has done himself proud yet again.  The finishing is perfect as usual.  I just hope the little girls are careful for at least a couple of months. 

So far I've managed to get hubby to hang one picture up on the perfect walls.  I'll work on him next week for another wee hole.  After all my little girl and tree wall hangings, garland, raggy heart, and other bits and pieces I've made for their new rooms, need a home too.

Today the littlest poppet and I have sorted out all the buttons into their correct jars, made a dress, rewashed all the soaking washing from the line, done a puzzle, had morning tea and are now about to have lunch.  Then it's back to the Grannies for me.  They are coming along splendidly.  I am doing the last two rounds of the white and am managing to get about six done each day.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now for sure!  I can't believe I am actually going to have a crochet blanket that I've made.  Just incredible.

Anyway I'll catch up with your blogs later on today.  Thanks for going to the trouble of posting about your aprons again.  I've enjoyed seeing a few that slipped me by.  They are all so beautiful and lovingly made. 

Saturday, 12 June 2010

The Great Apron Swap 2010 Show and Tell

The big weekend 'Show and Tell' has arrived.  I do hope you all participate as it would be great to see all the beautiful aprons in one go. 

This is the apron I made for my wonderful swap partner Heleen.  I used this pretty neat fabric with old fashioned aprons on it.  I've lined the  apron with the same gingham as the pocket so it could be worn in reverse if she messes up the good side! 

The pocket features giant ric rac which I love.  It's quite a feature on any garment.  If you click here you can see Heleen's much better photos of the two aprons.

And here is the fantastic apron that Heleen made for me.  The colours are so bright and colourful.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my swap.  Thank you again Heleen for your wonderful gifts for me.  I'd also like to thank each and every one of you 81 ladies who participated in The Great Apron Swap 2010.  Thank you for your support and lovely comments.  I'm sure you have also enjoyed making and receiving your aprons.  Hopefully you have made a friend or two through it as well. 

I think we'll have to have another apron swap some time.  There were many lovely ladies who missed out and would love to join in the next one.  Until then, happy apron wearing!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

I'm So Excited!

Well ladies, look what arrived in the post box yesterday.  Yep all the way from The Netherlands.  It can only be one thing, yes it's my apron swap parcel from dear Heleen.  I was very controlled I'll have you know.  Since it was nearly school finishing time, I waited until I had walked the girls home from school to open it.  I know, nice of me aye?  Well they were just as excited as me really.

Hmm... two parcels?  Naughty Heleen!  And just look at the pretty cards.  That bird one could make a lovely stitched wall hanging don't you think?

We'll open the small one first shall we?  Oh lovely!  Three beautiful pieces of fabric.  One of them so very Holland with the windmills.  I'll be able to make something very special with those thank you.  Love the ribbon too.  I have a very big thing for ribbons in case you didn't know.  Oh that's right we all do, silly me.

And now what we've been waiting for...

Sneaky peaky... oh me oh my!

Ta da!!!  Don't I look fancy now?  Aye?  Oh yes I feel fine in this little get up.  Stuff the kitchen, this one's not going to get dirty, no way.  Perhaps I could keep my crochet hook in the pocket and a stash of Grannies too?

I'm almost a little Dutch girl.  Just need a good hair cut and some outward curls.  And one of those cute white hats too. 

Just look at the pretty details on it.  Heleen you've done yourself proud with this apron.  It couldn't be prettier. I absolutely adore it thank you.

The fabrics are perfectly me.  They are so cute.  And her sewing is immaculate too. The binding looks like it's been put on by a fancy machine it's so neat.  Thank you so very much Heleen.  I've have loved being your swap partner.

And look what my mother has been busy making.  It must be winter as her knitting needles are flying at the moment.  I love Sophie's new jumper and the fancy wool.  It's made from special wool that knits in stripes like this.  Clever isn't it?  And the best bit is, she's loves it too.  Thanks Nana!

Now please remember to show your apron swap gifts this weekend.  Pop on the apron swap button at the top of your post so we can see who is showing.  It will be funny to see so many of the buttons down the side of my blog.  You just need to show a couple of photos of your aprons and a small blurb if you like. 

Monday, 7 June 2010

Eight Things About Me

Kate over at Fox's Lane has just answered eight questions we had for her.  Now I am going to have a turn as well.  I don't usually talk about myself much, let alone show photos of myself.  So here goes!

Favourite meal to eat?  Easy!  I have always loved a roast dinner, lamb with mint jelly if given the choice, with peas, carrots, kumera, pumpkin and gravy.  I'll have the potatoes too if necessary, but can easily go without them.  My lunchtime treat would be chicken sushi.

Do you have a quirky eccentricity?  Well apparently my whole face moves around when I eat, especially my nose.  Gosh that's so rude hubby!  He also says the whole place could be coming down around my ears and I'd still be concentrating on my current project.  That could be a good thing, it means I have good focus, right?

My middle name is Frances.  I do not like it at all.  I tried to give my girls  middle names that they would be proud of.  They are Jessica, Rose, Amelia and Eliza.  So far they love them.  I'm hoping Sophie Eliza likes hers!  I wanted her to be named Greta but hubby wouldn't have a bar of it. 

I am passionate about my girls having a childhood like we had.  Doing normal things children seem to do less of these days.  Playing together, playing board games, outdoor games, reading, riding bikes, drawing, having fun.  Not playing on the computer, watching too much TV, or homework.

Thongs or Birkenstocks?  Thongs are knickers over in NZ so we'll call them jandals right away!  And I have no idea what Birkenstocks are.  I wear proper shoes all year round.  Jandals around the house and for hanging out the washing.  I hate shoe shopping and only have one or two pairs of shoes on the go at any time. 

Who was I before I had kids?  I was a traveller and someone who always wanted to get married and have babies.  I've done all that and have really enjoyed myself.  I took myself off to London when I was is my early 20's and worked for a year as a live-in nanny.  I spent my weekends travelling around England and several other countries on my own and have many wonderful memories of my time there. 

Have I ever been arrested?  Heck no!  That's so not me.  Boring to some but just the way I am.  I hate the thought of ever loosing my freedom.

This weekend I have spent a great deal of time crocheting my Grannies.  I've done so many of them too.  I'm very pleased with my progress as I've been very slack lately with them.  My first love is sewing but I've learned to love crochet too. 

So who else wants to join in and have a go?  It's good for us to share about ourselves and not just our crafts.  Let me know if you are going to join in the comments section.

Now that my apron swap is sort of over, although my apron hasn't quite arrived here yet, I've decided that next weekend we should have a show and tell.  All you have to do is put my apron button at the top of your post, or a photo of you apron if you struggle with buttons.  And then pop a photo or two of the apron you made and the one you have received.  It should be a lot of fun to see them all at the same time.  Any day next weekend will do as we are all in different time zones. 

Hope you are all enjoying a great week!  Catch you later on.