Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Trim up 2kgs of delicious strawbs. Weigh the trimmed fruit - 1.5kg.

Put in a bowl and cover with 550g of sugar if you're like us and don't like your jam too sweet and the juice of one lemon.

Leave for at least 5 hours and you will have the most delicious juicy bowl of strawbs shedding their juice. I was longing for a dacquirie!

Cook in a pan for a minimum of 15 mins, then check testing on plate for a nice set.

Jar and eat.


Monday, December 27, 2010


A very Merry Christmas to friends near and far, both those I know well and those I haven't met yet.

Travel safe over the festive season.

Friday, December 24, 2010


The stockings are already laid out on the beds and the Pommery is chilling for the grown ups. We always have speccie drinks and snacks, listen to some festive tunes, perhaps watch a festive show, read the Night before Christmas, perhaps take a walk to look at the Christmas lights near by.
I'm particularly pleased that this year I've already wrapped all our gifts. Normally I'm wrapping until all hours on Christmas Eve, which is part of the excitement for the first hour, then your back starts aching!

Dad's taken the girls for a swim. I think the little one is struggling with the anticipation a little. Some of us take it as excitement, I think she finds it a little overwhelming, all the build up. A little physical exhaustion should help to distract.

Merry Christmas to you all but particularly to Bec, who will receive my scraps in the new year! Thank you Bec - email me your address and I'll have them to you Jan!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Will you think me awful if I offer you my scraps?

I've been distracted again today. I have a lot to do to ready myself for our Christmas hosting this year, so decided to clean out the laundry, reorganise all my fabric, clean everything, put stuff in the shed etc. Don't your guests inspect your laundry cupboards when they come for dinner? I know, of all the things to waste an hour (or more on)!

So, I cleared out a lot of fabric and as a result have about a kilo of pieces ranging from fat quarters, little snippets to bigger pieces, perhaps half a metre. I won't lie and say that it's all imported, because it's not. Aside from a small piece of netting and some silky purple stuff, it's all cotton.

In case more than one of you gets excited at the idea of MORE fabric, I'll pick a number at random within the next few days if more than one of you is interested. I'm happy to post within Australia, although realistically it won't be until the new year.
Thank you - the fabric has found a new home.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Every year, when we decorate our Christmas tree, I wish for a tree with the decorations distributed absolutely evenly, alternating all the way round. I imagine a tree where everything matches everything else and there is perhaps even a theme. My reality is a tree adorned with a mish mash of ornaments, some handmade recently, some from my childhood and many from school and kinder. The cat is obsessed with the tree so every few days, after beating him off it numerous times, I have to strain under the couches looking for where all the decorations have gone.

Whilst not very photoworthy, it is our tree and I still get a thrill turning on the lights each night, like a child again. I'm not even sure we had lights when I was young, I must ask my parents.

So again this year I will set aside my House and Garden tree aspirations but have succeeded on another front - the co-ordination of my present wrapping. I love how they look and really get excited about everything looking exactly the same - why is that I wonder?

I also have a small collection of santas I've bought at various times. This guy is my favourite. He's Norwegian, bought when we were in Oslo many years ago now, well at least 8 ago. The girls and Geoff both think he's a bit, well, ugly, whereas I find him utterly charming.


Is it just me or do the days feel so much longer during the holidays? I love not having the school to and fros to do. I don't mind them when I'm doing them, but when I'm not I realise how much I enjoy not!

I'm not getting a heck of a lot done. We're hosting my in-law side this year, so 15 at our very small place. Of course we've just finished having our small back area landscaped, but given the weather of late I suspect we'll be squeezed into the lounge dining. It will be so squeezed that I can't even allow myself to yet consider HOW we'll manage it. The plan was to eat outside, with tea lanterns hanging all around our lovely new yard, jam jars with candles on the tables, a handmade linen runner to run down the trestles, flowers everywhere. I'm stuck on that image, think I'd best get over it.

On the holidays I don't mind the mess of baking anywhere near as much. I also don't mind when we start baking at 4:30 in the afternoon. I love school holidays.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Another distraction, yesterday not today, was next year's calendar. I do have trouble finding a calendar that ticks my boxes. The ones with particularly gorgeous prints generally don't have boxed dates and the ones with boxed dates aren't always visually appealing.

So, Kikki K, a trip to Officeworks for prints of some favourite snaps and bring on 2011.


A little like Kristi's outing to buy twine, I was to be working on a list of "to dos" and found myself replacing our noticeboard. Okay it's something I've been meaning to do for a while, but it really didn't need to be done today.
A corkboard from IKEA, some fabric, an iron and some craft glue. Tick tick.


It's pouring down here. The garden is flooded and the heater is on. It's December 20th. Despite all that our strawberries are going gangbusters and oh so very sweet. Who would have thought it?

Friday, December 17, 2010


Last day of school today. Ella's 2nd year of school is almost over, can't believe it.

Yesterday there were class parties and there was a prize for the most festively dressed student. Ella won, the best dressed in the whole school - she was so chuffed and it was all her own work.

A sad day for us though too. Ella's best friend since 3 year old kinder is leaving not only the school but the state, they're going about as far away from us in Australia as they can, they're moving to Darwin.

Although Ella finds it very easy to make friends, this particular girl has been her rock for the last 4 years. She is the friend who never fails who, who never has an off day, who makes her feel loved and understood. She is a special girl and I love her not just for herself but for how loved she makes Ella feel. Her mother has been a very dear friend to me too. She was the first person who welcomed me at 3 year old kinder, she remembers the special moments in my life and I know she looks out for my Ella as she does for her own, we support each other and our children. I will miss her greatly. Their leaving has all come in a rush and now there's nowhere near enough time to say goodbye properly. We will make photo albums for them to remember us; we are buying a pc camera so the girls can Skype; we are keeping them very close in our hearts. They will be oh so missed.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Another annual Christmas activity. One year we made up our own design, but most often we've used the ones from IKEA and they work just fine. Honestly, they smell delicious (we'll be making jimmy bread men tomorrow) and the girls are most intrigued by the sweets rather than the house design.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Our babe has very busy hands. She's big into cooking at the moment, although not all of it is edible. She's fond of making new recipes which involves taking anything that tickles her from the pantry and combining it with water. We've had spicy sauce to dip your chicken in, we've had cockorache soup and all sorts of unnamed delights. Of course they go in the fridge until bedtime and we eat them while she sleeps. In the morning we compliment her on their deliciousness.

A really easy, and edible recipe, is to make her a cup batch of bread dough (which I do almost daily) and she adds to it - coconut, hot chocolate powder, apple slices, lots of cinnamon. I don't consider all edible, but amazingly Ella eats them all, enthusiastically!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


To those of you local to me, this is not news. It's very wet in Melbourne right now. On the one hand we're oh so grateful after years of water restrictions and low catchment levels, but I can't recall a summer so wet. We're waiting on the second half of our garden landscaping, which includes some concreting, but I'm not sure they'll get a window before Christmas.
Standing on our front verandah all around is so green, so lush and very very moist.


A very well chosen KK present of mine was used for the first time yesterday. I find there is something infinitely more appealing in small cakes, particularly those with holes in the middle - why is that? This recipe in them and they absolutely melt in the mouth.

Christmas is feeling particularly mad to me this year, the planning somewhat overwhelming me. I do love it, but there feels to be so much going on that I'm missing the fun part. Then I have to work too, which of course I feel like I have no time for!

Sunday, December 05, 2010


An early Christmas with my family at mum and dad's. With siblings spread over Melbourne and into the north east we have lunch in early December and it somehow makes Christmas last all the longer.

An early start today, the girls loving every moment in nan and pa's back yard which is infinitely more interesting than ours - partly due to the bird life (can you see the King Parrot), but just because it's theirs and it is so lovely.
We did some nursery shopping sans enfant this morning. A Cercis Forest Pansy to be a feature tree in our newly landscaped and nearly finished back yard. Together with a Tahitian lime and Navel orange to be espaliered along the back fence, as well as new and interesting herbs to fill in the gaps and perfume the air.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Leila found this $1.00 doily in the op shop today, so we bought it. She now wants me to make it into "a dress" for her. This doily is about 40cm by 25cm I would say. It's lovely and with the wear she was wearing her hair today it made me think of Frieda Kahlo.

Maybe I could incorporate it into a hanky top, or a panel in the front of a dress or skirt?


I love the look of vintage. I love what others can do with it. I'm afraid I don't have the eye to do justice to older pieces, be they clothing or pieces of fabric. Perhaps I just don't have enough attitude to carry it off.

I've been keeping these old pillowcases and offcuts of my MIL's with the idea of making a beach quilt for the summer. I also have an old queen sized underlay which I'll use for the batting and a large sheet for the reverse. The only problem is that I'm just not sure how to put it all together.

I've laid them all out together piecing some co-ordinating solids between. I've separated the blue and purple shades and done so with only them, or the yellows etc. I just can't seem to get anything that's quite right. Am I using too much pattern? Is the trick to use just an accent of the rather loud fabrics? I'm really stumped.

Monday, November 29, 2010


She has the best taste in flowers, this little one of mine. I had forgotten how much I love the elegance and simplicity of hydrangeas. I'm not sure Geoff would fancy them in the garden, but a single small sprig, it gives me so much pleasure.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I'm not good at self portraits. I intend to buy a remote shutter thingy whatsit, but haven't got around to it. The reality is that I never look as nice as I imagine I do, so I prefer to just not right now. Ella, however, always looks beautiful to me, so she's my model.

An unexpected birthday gift arrived today. I wish I could share my friend's blog with you, but she's shy and it's private. I consider myself one of a priviledged few outside her family that gets to share in her day to day life. Her friendship has been such a lovely surprise and quite unlikely I guess, given that she lives hmmm over 12,600 kms.
Thank you Sandy for making me feel special with a surprise gift so perfectly suited to my taste, for making me feel that I'm worth remembering and worth the effort.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Poor babe, we just seem to get over one hurdle and another presents itself. Last week we had two nights in a row of extreme nightmares, shaking in her boots nightmares. Now, we a result, is an inability to be away from me, at any time. I can't move a foot left or right without my shadow literally hanging onto my pants. As I type this she's fallen asleep on my lap waiting for me to come and sit with her in the lounge. She's snoring quite loudly.

I need to remember to slow down with this babe. When there was only one child it was easy to lose a day to a temperature, a downhearted mood, but with two, school runs, working part time, I find that so much harder to do. I guess it's because all the other stuff (the washing, the cooking, the work), if I don't do it, then I find that gets me down. As middle aged as I know this sounds, a clean tidy house makes me feel clean and tidy too!

However, for now I'm going to carry this snoring child, sit in the lounge with her hopefully asleep at my side, spit the pips on the few remaining cherries and work quietly on these.


On the weekend we went through some of the many things we still have stored at my parents place. In one of the boxes there were bundles of letters between me and various high school girlfriends, my skipping rope, my childhood money box, some smurfs, some dolls house pieces and this puzzle. It is stored in a cylindrical container and the pieces were inside a freezer bag inside. I was well prepared at disapointment, but to my amazement all the pieces were still there, after I would imagine, about 35 years. The girls and I were all as enthusiastic as each other, perhaps me even a little more so.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


A birthday celebrated this year with decidedly less fanfare, but lovely none the less.

The standout, the words Ella wrote on my card this year "My flower, you make my heart bloom. All these 7 years I have loved you the most. Happy Birthday."
Happy Birthday indeed.

Monday, November 08, 2010


It's past Cup Day and well time our tomatoes and basil were in. I do hate pulling veg out before they've truly finished though and broad beans are one of the worst for that. In my dream garden, my one day garden, I will have individual beds for each veg and they can hang around as long as they'd like. I'll supply not only us, but everyone I know as well. One day.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


I commissioned Ella to make this card for me, although didn't specify all the elements she included! It's our wedding anniversary today, 12 years. Happy Anniversary GJH xxx

Saturday, November 06, 2010


Now and again I read something that really resonates with me. Today, reading an article on Mark Twain in the Good Weekend, this little piece of his writing really connected with me.

"What a wee little part of a person's life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, and every day, the mill of his brain is grinding and his thoughts, not those other things, are his history. His acts and his words are merely the visible thin crust of his world ... The mass of him is hidden - it and its volcanic fires that toss and boil and never rest, night or day. These are his life, and they are not written and cannot be written."

Friday, November 05, 2010


I'm sorry etsy, I've figured you out again, it was all me, I'm so very sorry! You are actually more responsive than you were last year, thank you.

Finally, the girls are in the shop, hopefully in time to find new homes for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Etsy, why are you doing this to me? Is it really you? I know it's been a while, but have you really changed so much since I've been gone? We never used to argue, we got along just fine, but now, well I just don't understand you. You don't respond to my actions, I can't anticipate what you're going to do. I'm not trying to control you, I just want us to work together like we used to. Am I blaming you unfairly, is it really my crumby pc that's working against me? I just want to list my dolls, but my photoss are disappearing from me and twice as big as they used to be. I'm adrift, I don't know what to do. Thank god Pa's coming tomorrow, perhaps he can help!
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Sunday, October 31, 2010


We don't trick or treat, much to the disappointment of the girls. Every year I think we should co-ordinate with friends who live locally, so they can visit others who have agreed to participate. We do decorate the house though, carve a pumpkin, have a dinner with blood drinks, worm stew and witchy cupcakes.

We also dress up, with varying levels of commitment and enthusiasm.

I don't mind looking terrible, I'm a Medusa type lady with smells, hence the flies.

Ella was a pretty witch.

Leila was a baby.

Daddy was, um, rather unattractive.

The cupcakes were yummy and green!


The last of our leeks, a la vinaigrette. Yum.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


We have a small house, on a very small block (330m2), with a very small garden. We live in the burbs not inner city, so it is small for out this way, but that's the way things worked out for us.

If I had my way, I would go Mediterannean style and squeeze something edible into every square inch of our garden space. I'd be happy to give over some of the reasonably big front yard to raised garden beds so as to extend a little more our vegie patch. I would trellis pumpkins up the side of the house and hang strawberries from the verandah. It's not unreasonable that although Geoff appreciates our fresh veg, he doesn't want to surrender the whole yard to it.

As a result we squeeze things in where we can, like our strawberries. I think I inherited some from mum and dad and they grew, as they do, and had babies of their own, as they also do and we have had a small (maybe 1m x 1m) patch just inside our front gate.

They always amaze me with their generosity. I really don't do anything with them, don't feed them (a shortcoming with me and all our plants) and only water in the middle of summer. I do mulch around them to keep the fruit off the dirt, but that really is it.

Every year they perk up, so green fresh and lush with very alert leaves and bear gorgeous flowers and fruit for us. I'm not sure our bird and possum neighbours have realised that they're there yet, but they will. Generally we see a fruit and think "that will be perfect tomorrow", only to go and discover a slug has eaten everything bar the skin, a possum has taken it completely or a bird has pecked a big hole in it. It's time to drag out the netting and sticks and try to protect those gorgeous globes.