Thursday, January 26, 2012

C'mon Aussie . . .

Have just spent a lazy afternoon , eating barbequed lamb chops and sausages , bunya nuts and pavlova and catching up while the kids splashed in the pool . Good friends , plenty to eat and the leisure time to enjoy them - we truly do live in the lucky country. 

Hope your Australia Day gave you plenty of reasons to celebrate too .

P.S. “God bless America. God save the Queen. God defend New Zealand and thank Christ for Australia.” Russell Crowe

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Word for the year. . .

I wanted to share my inspiration word for 2012 - it ' s. . .
This is how I am hoping to see myself by the end of the year.

To feel that things in my home are where they should be when I need them, chores are accomplished when they should be , the house is not overrun with paper (the bane of my existence) , the budget stuck to , appointments made when appropriate . . .you know the drill . All the things that make for less stress and a less cluttered mind I want to be mine .

I am giving myself a whiole year because I try to stick to the maxim learned many years ago in the PND support classes I went to after my first son was born  - ' Achieve more by attempting less ' . It ' s much healthier to set yourself a goal that is modest but achievable than one that is very inspirational but may lead to failure in the short term .

To that end , I have begun !

I thought I ' d start with the kitchen 'cause it has given me stress lately . We moved into this house 5 years ago, when the youngest was only 3 . In those days , we needed lots of plasticware , down low and accessable for littlies , with all the glassware and china way up out of reach .

With the passing of the years , our needs have changed but somehow re-arragnging the kitchen didn't seem to be a priority . A few weeks ago I realised that the youngest  (now quite a tall 8-year-old ) was constantly asking for help to reach the glasses at the back of the cupboard . D ' oh! Priority . . .

Now from this . . .
we have this . . .
and this . . .
and from this . . .
we now have this .
(Riveting blogging , isn't it ?)
Next to tackle are the medicine and first aid baskets . Wish me luck ! !

P.S.  “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” Douglas Adams

Friday, January 20, 2012

Why DIY?

I don't know about you, but I really like the things I make (or make over) myself. My house is full of them - like this...
 (repurposed frame and punched scrapbook paper)
and this...
 (Outdoor candleabara made from an old light fitting)
and this...
 (spray-painted 1970's ceramic owl)
and this...
(updated, painted cake stand)
and this!
(lamp frame made new with fabric)

I thought this was an interesting article on the topic (even though it doesn't explain why DIY doesn't appeal to everyone!).

Happy reading.

P.S. "It destroys the craft not to learn it." Irish saying

Friday, January 13, 2012

Accidental craft project...

Ever made one of those mistakes that just makes you groan at your own stupidity? I blame this one on the lateness of the hour and the pressures of Christmas shopping.

I am one of those mental people who does the late-late-late night shopping each year (you know, when Chermside has the 24-hour shopping just before Christmas). Nuts, I know, but it's a real experience to have as long as you actually need to find things for a change, and to have almost everyone you see in a good mood.

At about 1am, I thought I'd make myself useful and pick up a few things needed for the office as I was in the newsagent anyway. Now, we have 2 of these at work...
which need refills each year. However, the refills I picked up without thinking were these...
See the issue?
Most people would notice that the holes going down the side of the refill were not going to match up with the clips on our stands, but not me. Not that night, not when I unpacked them and put them on my desk. Not until I had unwrapped one from it's cellophone on the first day back at work did I notice. D'oh!

Anyway, it was too far to go all the way back for a couple of $3 items several weeks after the fact, so I did this with them...
 I used some scraps of chipboard to make sturdy covers and glued the first page of the calendar onto the front ones, using a hole punch to cut 3 holes in the covers to match the pages...
decorated the covers with some pretty bits and pieces I had left over from other projects (you don't need much, as the covers measure just under 8x10cm)...
and loosely tied ribbons through the holes.
Voila! Useable (and pretty) calendars for this year.
 I have put the stands away for next year, when I will remember to check what refills I am buying.
P.S. 'The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.'  Edward Phelps

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wrapping up the Festive Season

Happy New Year, and all that.
Hope 2012 is bringing you all happiness so far!

Thought I'd finish off my roundup of the season's craft and cooking before it gets too far into January. (D'oh! It's the 10th already.)
 I wanted to show you a couple of cute ways I found to give cash this year, now that all my nieces and nephews have their gifts...
I mentioned the Spoonflower panel I got last year - not only did it have 3 of these cute birds (possibly cardinals?)...

but also 2 cute owls as well. The red one is promised to my youngest, but with the addtion of a felt pocket on it's rear, the pink one made the perfect holder for a rolled-up banknote and a little chocolate for a pink- and owl-loving 6-year-old.

The older kids got their gift on an ornament, or in a gift box, wrapped around a chocolate.

 (If you have any more creative ideas for giving cash, please pass them on as I know I'll be going through this all again next year!)

I also got a teapot ornament panel from Spoonflower, as I was my sister's Secret Santa this year and she had some of her favourite T2 tea on her 'ideas' list. I made her these two...

I plaited the hanging loops from three full strands of embriodery floss each, to match the colours in the teapots.

Hope she liked them - I certainly had fun making them.

I used these lovely free printable bag toppers from the Frugal Living website to make some easy gifts for our courier drivers at work - a plain cello bag filled with festive snacks, covered with the bag topper, a gift tag and a pretty ribbon. They were much appreciated!

A dessert we didn't actually eat on Christmas day (just too full to bother!) was Sarah's recipe from here using an Italian Panettone, which we tried out a few days later.

Oh my. It was delicious!

We cut our cake into four, and made two versions of two layers each - one laced with sherry for the adults and a kids' one softened with grape juice. We used a combination of strawberries, blueberries and cherries in the centre and on top. Both cakes were excellent!

A couple of friends asked for the recipe for the Salted Nut Brittle I made as gifts, so here it is if you want to have a go...

Paula's Salted Nut Brittle
(adapted from a recipe from

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup water
110g unsalted butter
1/3 cup glucose syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
120g each of pistachios, pecans & cashews (or your favourites)
Flaked or crushed sea salt

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, water, butter and glucose and bring to a boil. Cook over a moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the caramel is amber.

Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the baking soda - it will bubble.

Stir in the nuts, then scrape the brittle onto a large rimmed, nonstick baking tray straight away. Using the back of a large spoon spread the brittle into an even layer.

Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Let cool completely, about half an hour. Now the fun part - break into large shards or chunks.

Bag up and give away for plenty of compliments, 'cause it's really yummy!

And I think that about wraps up the season for another year. I am already back at work and the kids go back to school in a couple of weeks.
Just a child's 14th birthday to celebrate, then the family life roundabout begins again!

P.S. A thought for the start of a new year - The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.Proverb


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