Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Making Christmas Paper for Toddlers

I was searching for something to do with Jeremy one quiet day before the Christmas holidays rolled around and came up with the idea of a printing craft. He loves to paint or get paint-y and so I thought that printing might be right up his alley.
I cut some Christmas shapes into a couple potatoes, pulled out the red, green and gold paint and we had a lovely time. Free fun for all... just a shame I had to spend the afternoon scrubbing excess paint off the deck. (Maybe I should invest in a big plastic mat for messy activities.)
We used the paper as wrapping for Christmas presents.


House Progress #3

Christmas has come and gone for another year and our house is steadily making its way towards completion. The builders are off on holidays for another week... so in order to keep things happening I thought I would post some pictures of where we are up to now!
We have only the painting and the final electrical and plumbing work left to go inside the house. Then the site needs to be tidied... all the dirt spread back in place and we are done! They are predicting early February now as the finish date.

Our amazing kitchen and walk in pantry!

The concrete path being poured around the house.

The driveway

Tiles and cabinetry in the main bathroom

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Mulberry Pie Recipe

Back in September, our mulberry tree fruited profusely. I picked mulberries every second day for about three weeks, living with permanently stained fingers and nails. We ate a lot of mulberries for the first few days but the sheer quantity of them became a little overwhelming. I started to freeze them and cook with them. Now, some two months on, I still have a freezer full of mulberries but I have come up with an amazing mulberry pie recipe that I will now share with you!

Homemade Mulberry and Apple Pie

Pie Filling
- 500 grams of fresh or frozen mulberries
- 2 apples peeled, cored and diced
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 tsp plain flour

Pie Base
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1/4 cup almond meal
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 60 grams butter
- 2 tsp coconut palm sugar
- water to mix

Cream Topping
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and grease a standard size pie dish. Combine dry base ingredients and rub in the butter. Add enough water to form a soft dough. Roll out to 5mm thick and place in the pie dish. Trim the edges. Place the pie dish in the freezer for 15-20 mins to chill the dough. Transfer the pie to the oven and bake for 15-20 mins or until the pastry is lightly browned. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine the mulberries and apple in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Do not add water as mulberries give out a lot of juice while cooking. Once the fruit comes to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the apple in tender. Drain almost all of the liquid from the saucepan and then place it back on the stove. Add the maple syrup and the plain flour, mixing until the flour is absorbed and the pie filling has thickened.

Pour the hot filling into the hot pie base and return to the oven for another 15-20 mins. Remove and cool completely.

Combine the cream, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Whip until firm peaks form. Spread the cream over the cooled pie and serve! Delicious!

Removing the stems for freezing... labour intensive!


House Progress #2

I can barely find the time to think these days, let alone write on my blog. With my personal down-time reduced to about 1 hour each day and an incredibly clingy little boy, I have to prioritise every free minute. Most of them go to things like sewing, reading, planning stuff for our house, trying to read my Bible or just laying there for a minute.
I really have so many things that I want to write about... holidays start tomorrow for us... so maybe I'll have more time then.

Anyway, the house is going up with all speed. The exterior is basically complete and the interior is coming along nicely. The last of the carpentry work will be finished this week and then our kitchen will arrive! Very excited!


Monday, 31 October 2016

House Progress

Our house is powering ahead at the moment. In the last three weeks, we have gained a frame, roof, windows and doors. It's starting to look like a house!

Friday, 2 September 2016

Site Excavations

So excavation started at our block on Tuesday this week. It was very exciting. Not sure what happens next and when that will be, but here we are: the promised photos.


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Boy's Single Quilt

I have been working all nap times for the past few weeks on a new quilting project. Jeremy is old enough to move out of the cot and into a single bed. To ease the transition and talk it up as an amazing stage of life, I decided to make a fun quilt for him to get excited about on his big bed.

I chose some lovely fabrics in greens, teals and white with a fun zoo animal print in two different colours. The 12 inch quilt blocks are very simple and look great divided out into their colours to make a blue trim around the green centre. I made the quilt as a cover for a single quilt insert for cold Toowoomba nights and it fastens at the bottom end with a row of press studs.

The pillow case was just made out of the leftover pieces of fabric. Jeremy loves his quilt and can't wait to have his big bed in his room. Just waiting for the holidays!

On a side note, our house plans have been approved by council and we are ready to start building!! Meeting with our earthworks team tomorrow afternoon to set out the house on our block! Keep an eye out for progress photos!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Our Land & Planting Fruit Trees

There is a reason that my blogging has slowed down a lot lately. I have a lot on my mind... we bought some land and are about to start building a house!
Most of our weekends and spare afternoons for the last couple months have been taken up with visits to builders, banks, cabinet makers, tile shops and other such places. We are finally reaching the end of planning and the beginning of building. Our plans are sitting in council at this moment quietly awaiting the stamp of approval. After that... the real fun begins!

We have approximately 3000sqm of land on which I intend to grow lots of lovely fruit trees and vegetables. I couldn't wait to have something happening on our piece of land so I bought some bare root fruit trees and we planted them on our block. Very exciting times. I used a new pruning technique that I have been reading about to keep fruit trees a manageable size and after sitting in the ground as little sticks for just over a week, they are starting to shoot. Fresh nectarines and peaches in a few years for us! (If I can protect them from the builder's trucks during the construction of our house!)


Carrot Cake Birthday

So Daryl's birthday rolled around again this week and I decided to try something a little less unhealthy this year after the peanut butter and chocolate-ness of last year's cake. I went with a carrot cake recipe that I found on the internet. It sounded great. Ginger carrot cake with salted Butterscotch frosting. You can find the recipe HERE.
It was simple to make and very tasty. Though, not quite as exciting for my 2 year old. I think this one is a bit of a grown-up cake. (He likes the icing). Overall a great recipe. My only criticism is that it was a little dry and crumbly. Here is the finished product. Yum.

On another note, I have been busy learning how to cook Indian cuisine properly. I figured it was about time to give it a good go. So I borrowed a book called 'From India: food, family & tradition' by Kumar and Suba Mahadevan. It has the authenticity tick of approval by my Indian Mother-in-law and has so far produced some truly delicious meals. The man in the Indian spice store recognises me now and I feel like I just may have secured future success in my Indian food endeavours!

Friday, 13 May 2016

Another Winter Coat for a Toddler

This winter coat is my latest project... one of my latest projects... others include new jeans for Jeremy and revamping op-shop jeans for myself. As the weather slowly cools down up here in Toowoomba we are needing the warm things.

The pattern that I used can be found online at Small Dream Factory. It's basic in design and easy to sew but really rather effective with the quilting lines. I used a layer of cotton drill as the outside, a layer of fluffy jumper fabric as my inner wadding and a layer of cotton jersey for the lining. The finished product is warm and stylish for every day wear. Very pleased with the result!

Friday, 22 April 2016

Winter Jacket for a Toddler

So we now live in Toowoomba, a place that apparently can have winter days that don't rise above 10 degrees Celsius. Coming from sunny, warm Brisbane, the thought is somewhat alarming and our winter wardrobes are far from ready. I have been trying to source coat and jacket patterns for Jeremy and I came across this one in a library book.
Sadly, since it has been at least a month since I finished the coat, the book has been returned and I can't remember who it was that designed the pattern to give them credit. Suffice it to say, it was not I.
Oh, apparently you can look up your previous library records. Here we go: 'Sew adorable : classic clothes for boys and girls' by Vanessa Mooncie.
Anyway... what a fabulous pattern! This wonderfully English-looking little coat has a round collar, little tailored pockets and the cutest buttons down the front. It is fully lined with both a layer of fleecy warmth and a synthetic fabric. The original pattern was knee length but I shortened it for easier wearing on little boys. The wool fabric was a little scratchy so I sewed in a little lining around the part of the collar that touches the neck.
I am so very pleased with the result, now I just have to wait for the cold weather to roll in so Jeremy can wear it. He is adorable in the coat, kids just don't get any cuter than this!

Thursday, 25 February 2016

A New Venture - Wedding Photography

This post is simply a way for my to share some of my excitement about a new venture that my husband and I are starting up. My husband, Daryl, has been into wedding photography for a while now and has finally got a website up and going. I am his assistant... holding flashes, adjusting skirts and generally helping out. We make a good team (I think) and I believe his photos speak for themselves. I'm very proud of my husband for working so hard at his photography and becoming so good at it!

If you are looking for a wedding photographer in the south east corner of Queensland (or are just curious), here is a website for you to take a peak at! (Click on the link below).

Some of my favourite images from Daryl's portfolio:

Toddler Sleeping bag and Pyjama's

My son has slept in a sleeping bag since he was about 4 months old. We have bags for cold winter, bags for hot summer and a few in between but he seems to never stop growing and we needed a new in between one for the cool summer nights in Toowoomba. Instead of heading down to David Jones for a $70 sleeping bag, I decided to make my own.

Using another sleeping bag that fit him, I simply traced out the pattern and copied it as well as I could... which I think is really a rather good copy and I could go into sleeping bag business. Or not. I used a printed flannelette for the outer layer and a cotton lining to keep him just a bit warmer. The finished product fits great and is doing a good job.

Seeing as I bought too much for the flannelette fabric, I also decided to make him some new winter
pyjama's. I happened to have the perfect boy's pyjama pattern in the correct size in my lifeline book fest stash of old patterns. A very cute set of flannelette pyjamas for my boy. He was almost as excited as me!