Tuesday, May 26, 2009

it's Tuesday and I can't wait ... for LIZARD ISLAND!!

(image from here)

so I REALLY wanted to blog about this and now I have the perfect excuse thanks to Buttons by Lou Lou's "It's Tuesday and I can't wait..." which I found via One Flew Over.

Tomorrow I am flying off to meet up with Jamie in Brisbane and then on Thursday we are heading up to Lizard Is. for four nights! Just the two of us! I am so excited and yet I can't shake the slight panic at the thought of how my little man will be without us since he seems to be smack dab in the middle of a fairly clingy stage. Sienna on the other hand won't give us a second thought once she is with her beloved Nanny and Poppy! 

I am so looking forward to having time to read and eat and take nanna naps, not to mention actually getting to have a conversation with my husband! 

So I will be taking a break from blog land for a few days but promise to be back with tales of good food and hopefully some great photos too!


Friday, May 22, 2009

ego sewing

so I mentioned in this post that my next sewing project would be something really simple in order to pump up my ego enough before I tackle something more substantial. After the difficulties I had with Luca's animal pants (which he has worn most proudly a few times), I decided I would make a pin cushion. Easy, and the added bonus of being something very useful. I can't tell you how fiddly it has been to try to fish around for slippery pins in the little plastic box they came in not to mention how many have bounced out when I have tried to toss them back in to their tiny box while I am in the midst of sewing a seam, only to be found later laying on the floor! Luckily no little feet have found them as yet! 

So Gret over at a little red ribbon had posted this fantastic pin cushion tutorial she had found and I thought it looked relatively within my means as well as being pretty cute. 

Admittedly, the printed out tute has sat on the sewing table for some time as life has been a bit chaotic around here for the last few weeks with birthday parties, illnesses and some night work for me at a local community college. But, yesterday afternoon I sensed a moment to get started and seized it with both hands. Ahhh it was nice to be sitting at that machine again with slight confidence that I may actually achieve this without any major mishaps! 

So here's what I've got ...


The white fabric is from the Aunty Cookie fabric samples pack I bought at the Finders Keepers markets last week and the gorgeous blue printed fabrics are from a little pack of Japanese prints I bought some time ago from a local quilting place. 




Ta da! All in all a pretty successful sewing session - I now have a pin cushion and some confidence to tackle the next project. Now to decide what that will be ....







Saturday, May 16, 2009

sisters are doin' it for themselves



..."standing on their own two feet ..." sorry (he he!).



well, I have just had the most fun weekend with my little sister, Clare. She is the one in the foreground of the photo, I am the scary-faced one at the back. Clare came down to Sydney to stay for the weekend with our main purpose being to scope out the Finders Keepers Markets on Saturday. Clare had a spot at the previous Finders Keepers before Christmas with her resin jewellery collection, Clare de Lune but she missed out on a spot this time around, so we thought we would go and see who actually did get in this time.

Also I was soooo desperately keen to catch up with my latest craft crushes in the flesh, namely Shannon (aka Aunty Cookie), Kirsten Doran (from Cheeky Beaks) and Alison Brookbanks (6.5 Stitches - check out the drop dead gorgeous photography on her site). 

Upon arrival the scene was akin to an arts and crafts mosh pit - everyone seemed in a desperate rush to get to where they wanted to go and I was no different! I adopted a 'take no prisoners' mind set and just dodged and weaved my way expertly through the crowd (so much easier without the usual kids in tow!), all the while secretly panicking that Aunty Cookie would have sold out of all her fabric sampler packs! Well, I found her and guess what? She hadn't! 

Then after gushing all over Shannon I worked my way over to Kirsten and Alison (and it was at this point I realised I didn't have my copy of 'Meet Me at Mikes' with me otherwise I could've been a REAL groupie and got the book signed! D'oh!)

Anyway this is what I picked up from Kirsten ...


So all in all, a very successful trip. Now to decide what to actually do with my new stash ... and my old stash for that matter!

Today Clare, Sienna and I tripped on over to Paddington to see the Sydney version of High Tea with Mrs Woo where Clare will be doing a short stint in the coming weeks (she currently works in the original shop in Newcastle as well as being a photography teacher). You might remember this post where I showed a top Clare bought for me for my birthday from the shop.

I can't begin to describe how divine this new Sydney offering is. It is more like a gallery space than a clothing shop. Please do yourself a favour if you happen to be in the area and pop in there for a visit. Not only are the clothes gorgeous (and designed and made by the three sisters who own the shop) but they have a superb range of jewellery and beautiful, unusual stationary sourced from around the world. All very tempting!

Anyway, it was a lovely weekend and such a departure from my normal routine. It's always very sad to see Clare drive away but luckily this time we won't have to wait too long for a return visit! 

I hope you all had a lovely weekend too :)



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

burg's potato salad


so I mentioned in my previous post that I would be back to discuss more of the party food. Really, the whole party was just perfectly timed for me to try out one of the recipes from my latest obsession - Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life. And it was this one above that seemed to lend itself to the occasion - Burg's Potato Salad - the first recipe featured in the book.

I can't describe the weird feeling I had while making this dish. I mean, I've made a thousand recipes from a thousand books but this book - or really, memoir - is so personal and this recipe in particular being Molly's late fathers speciality just made the whole experience so full of emotion and meaning. Maybe if you've read the book you'll know what I mean? And probably be better able to describe it! I almost felt honoured to be making it you know?

Anyway it was incredibly yummy and really very easy to make. I would post the recipe but it's late and I need a cuppa ... let me know though if you don't have the book and you have a hankering for a great potato salad!











Monday, May 11, 2009

party

yesterday we had a party for Sienna's fourth birthday. It was a small and simple family affair. Having put on a big friends/fairy/face painting shindig last year we figured we could down-size condsiderably this year.

Sienna's search for "the cake" starts pretty much the day after her previous birthday. She pours over the Women's Weekly Kids' Party Cakes cook book for hours. Meanwhile I live in fear of what she will pick, ("please not the carousel or the castle ... PLEASE!").

Well this year she picked something considerably easy - the lazy ladybird. Compared to the last few years this year looked set to be relatively straight forward except that I had to lug all the ingredients to my mum and dad's place (two hours north of Sydney) because the party was being held in their hometown. 

Anyway it all worked out pretty well and the birthday girl was most impressed. Except that I don't think she actually ate any of the cake instead opting for the freckles on top! 







More on some other party food later ... 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

anniversary

yesterday was our eight year anniversary (phew! Survived the seven-year-itch), and Jamie came home with this intensely fragrant bundle of lovliness 




Sienna was most taken with them - they were pink after all - and couldn't resist touching each and every one of them, exclaiming how soft they all were. I suggested maybe she could just look at the flowers and that perhaps they were a little bit delicate to touch too much. She sat back, drew in a deep breath and said, 

"Oh mummy I can SMELL the softness!"

in stitches

well, you may remember this post where I outted myself and my silliness when I cut out two exact legs for a pair of pants I was making for my little man? I can't tell you what a crushing blow this was to my sewing self-esteem and I'm not sure why. Did I really expect to sit down with a pattern and a machine after hmmm TWENTY YEARS and expect not to make some small (and yes, ok huge) mistakes early on? But still, I think it brought back all that teenage disappointment sitting in home ec. and realising my stuff wasn't as good as the person siting next to me - oh the angst!

Well anyway soon after that post, help arrived in the form of my sewing superhero. Melanie from M* (cool lady, cool blog, awesome name - he he!), wrote up an entire post showing me in step-by-step photos and drawings how she felt I could best save the pants. Needless to say I was totally blown away by the time and effort she put into this tutorial (in fact I was only just thinking she could perhaps set up a regular "help" desk for people in similarly sticky situations ;)
 
I had already purchased some denim thinking I would create two pairs of pants, each with an alternating leg. But in the end, especially given the weight of denim compared to the cotton of the animal print making an alternating pair feel a bit uneven, I have gone with Melanie's suggestion and added two side panels to the pants. 

Unfortunately I realised late last night that the difficult pattern I was initially following also called for an added waistband! I mean seriously, could these pants get any more complicated?! Of course I had none of the animal print left so I have had to attach a waist band made out of the denim. Not an ideal fabric to be making a waistband out of I must add but so far so good.
Add to that all the fun of trying to fit them on an 18 month old who quite literally NEVER STOPS and I've now got myself one (slightly stressed out) pair of pants!



Right, now to boost my ego for a bit with some simple stuff like a pin cushion (this lovely lady has taken all the leg work out of finding the ideal pattern)!

Friday, May 1, 2009

a (brief) moment to myself

on Thursday I had a rare pair of helping hands in the form of my mother-in-law and so I managed to slip away to pick up my long awaited copy of A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg (insert rant here about how long we have to wait in Australia to get a hold of these books - grrrrr!). My favourite little independent books store is one suburb over and features a really cute little cafe out the back. It seems not many people have cottoned on to the cafe because it always appears fairly empty. Perfect for a frazzled mama desperate for a moment of solitude with my new book!

I am not yet in the habit of carting around my huge camera so I had to make a mental (and written), picture of the following scene ... 

me, sitting alone at a small table next to a window overlooking a busy street. Cars and people coming and going on a cold and wet day. The window is open a tiny bit, just enough to let in a slight cool breeze to remind me that I was in a cosy and warm place. On a plate in front of me a slice of caramel macadamia nut crumble slice (yes, it tasted as good as it sounds), shortly accompanied by the steaming pot of tea delivered to my table (why is it that tea always tastes so good if it's made by somebody else?). Then that amazing moment when I cracked open the front cover of my new book and knew that i would be able to read at least the forward without being interrupted. Bliss I tell you!

I know it's sad that I felt the need to take a mental picture but honestly, I can't imagine when I will find myself alone again any time soon! 

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