Thursday 31 October 2013

Today I am

  • enjoying the scent of my first Gardenia to flower
  • coveting this cookbook,  and I have requested the other one in the series from my local library
  • eating Fruity Quinoa Cookies made from the above mentioned cookbook- they are really good
  • drooling over my happy mail from Pink Chalk Fabrics, which I bought with voucher I won
  • pleased I spent the morning in my garden - it has been a lovely warm day, with a gentle breeze, just perfect for gardeners and plants
  • so proud of Miss B, who yesterday won all six of her games in a girls only Chess tournament and will receive a medal for her efforts
What are you doing today?
What is making you happy?

Tuesday 29 October 2013


  • a new cookbook,  means new recipes to try out -  Caramel Crumble Slice and Swedish Chocolate Balls.
  • one almost finished sewing machine cover - just deciding now whether to applique or hand-stitch the word SEW on the large linen patch.  Boy does a walking foot make a difference when quilting.  I think I love my new machine
  • my first strawberries of the season (not from my garden though)
  • the first passionfruit flower on my vine - lots of buds still to open, so hopefully that means lots of fruit to come.
What did you do over the weekend?

Saturday 26 October 2013

Tall Ships

Picton Castle at Queens Wharf, Auckland
The rigging

Spirit of New Zealand
View from RNZN- Wellington
Yesterday eight tall ships sailed into Auckland Harbour  for the 2013 Tall Ships Festival after completing the Sydney to Auckland tall ship race.  Today they  were open to the public.  Mr J and I bussed into the city (cos the trains weren't operating) and went to see them.

We had to queue for while, but were able to board the 102 year old ship Europa which won the race. The amount of rigging on these ships is amazing and seeing the crew climbing up them was too (they do wear safety harnesses).

We had planned to go aboard the Spirit of New Zealand, but then Mr J saw the naval boat  RNZN- Wellington, so we queued for about an hour to board that.  He loved it, he got to try out the high pressure hoses over the harbour and look at the guns and protective clothing.  The view from the control room was pretty great too.

Auckland turned on a beautiful day, there were lots of fun activities for kids at The Cloud, everyone was enjoying the glorious weather, the boats and a great start to Labour Weekend.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Wednesday WIP

 photo from:

Every sewing machine should have a pretty cover and my new machine is no exception.  Inspired by the fabulous cover Diane received from Liz in a Sew Sew Modern 3 Swap, I thought I would make one for myself.  Using various low volume fabrics, linen, some Notting Hill and other co-ordinating fabrics I have started my creation.  So far I have made some paper pieced Tallahassee Blocks, some flying geese blocks and pieced various sized squares together.  I still don't really know what it will look like, but it will co-ordinate with the fabric bowls I have made for my sewing desk.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Monday 21 October 2013


The pile of books on my bedside table never really seems to get any smaller.  The titles may change - the pile is always five or six high.

Currently I am reading  and enjoying The Spymistress, set during the American Civil War.  It is based on a true story about  Elizabeth Van Lew, who set up a spy ring aiding the Unionists during the war.  I have been learning a lot too, about the  American Civil War - I knew it was between the North and South states, but never knew the reasons behind it.  This novel is also a change of direction for author Jennifer Chiaverini of Elm Tree Quilts series, she has written another historical novel called Mrs Lincoln's Dressmaker, which I am hoping my library will have.

What books are you reading at present.
Let me know I am always looking for new authors to try.

Sunday 20 October 2013


So much for my big weekend sewing - there seem to be more food photos than anything else in this post.
  • Rhubarb and Apple Upside Down Cake.  Please note the absence of baked caramel on this cake - all was going well until it started baking in the oven - then the caramel oozed out the bottom of the cake tin (lesson here - do not use spring-form tins for recipes like this), and dripped all on the racks and subsequently burnt on the bottom of the oven.  Needless to say I now have a shiny clean oven
  • Broad Bean and Pea Dip with pita crisps - made from the last of my broad beans - sort of like a green hummus. 
  • Sunday morning brioche - this week custard and raspberry.  I think this is the last batch for a while, the dough seemed to stick and break more now that the weather is getting warmer.  I told The Scout he will have to start doing Sunday brunch on the BBQ for us all.
  • Fabric pull for a sewing machine cover for my machine.
  • One of the beautiful Kalanchoes currently flowering in my garden - love the dusty pinks and apricot shades in this one.
What did you cook this weekend?
What is flowering in your garden at present?
Did you get to sew anything?
Have a great week.

Thursday 17 October 2013

Happy Days ...

... are here again.
  • some lovely new library books.  I am looking forward to reading Making an Impression by Geninne Zlatkis.  I love her art and her blog.
  • my new sewing machine.  I am sure I will be a bad mother and wife this weekend and ignore my children and husband to play with her and learn all the new features she has.
  • planning where all my new vegetable plants will go - does any one else companion plant their vegetables? I have cheated this year and bought bean and beetroot seedlings - I didn't get myself organised enough to plant seeds this year.
What is making you happy today.

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Bits and Pieces

The school holidays are over, Miss B and Mr J are back at school.  It is blowing a gale today, and I have been out on the first day of my sewing machine hunt.  Oh it would be so much easier if there was a shop that stocked all the brands I am looking at - Bernina, Janome and Brother, rather than having to go to lots of different shops. Pricewise, Bernina is out, so hopefully Thursday I will be able to continue the hunt.

In other news, I have finished my ornaments for the Christmas swap I am participating in and made up a package with some Christmas ribbons and Christmas fabric scraps to send.

A Linzer Slice has been baked for morning teas this week.

I have been eyeing up lots of lovely quilt ideas for 2014 - I want to make a medallion quilt of some description, so have just started a pinterest board for inspiration.  I am probably going way past my quilting abilities with this ambitious quilt, however I am thinking of using the colours in this antique bowl for it.

And some really happy news - I have won a $20 voucher from Pink Chalk Fabrics - so I will have some fun finding ways to use this.

Thursday 10 October 2013

Caramel Apple Scones

As we haven't done a lot of exciting things these holidays, and with Mr J's ankle restricting activities somewhat, I thought I would make something really nice for lunch today.  These Caramel Apple Scones (a recent pinterest find)certainly fitted the bill.  Apple gently fried in butter and cinnamon until soft, a scone dough made with yoghurt and then the apple mixed in.  Topped with caramel icing for a touch of decadence,  they hit the spot as a special treat.  Probably the only thing I would do differently next time would be to add more apple and maybe make them slightly smaller.  Overall a pretty quick and easy but delicious lunch treat, that I have been told I can make again.  High praise indeed..

Tuesday 8 October 2013

A Lazy Day

  • My 16 year old cat - for once she ignored the camera and let me get a photo
  • Lovely new red heart shaped leaves against a spring sky
  • Christmas ornaments - getting ready for swapping
A nice lazy home day today. Mr J has a slight sprained ankle so he has been lazing about keeping off his foot - very hard for an energetic nine year old boy. Miss B has been making origami butterflies and friendship bracelets, and I have spent the day pottering about doing  some baking for The Scout's meeting tonight, finishing a jigsaw puzzle and a book and doing a little housework.

Sunday 6 October 2013


We had the most summery feeling spring weekend here.  So here are a few of the things I did this weekend..
  • I finished the first of maybe six Christmas angel ornaments.
  • Picked a bowl of broad beans, however after podding them I only had 250g. 
  • Made brioche for Sunday morning breakfast - the filling this time was Christmas fruit mince.  So far the winning flavour seems to be cinnamon sugar.  I'm going to work on some berry/custard/curd combinations over the next few weekends.
  • A little shopping at our local emporium - which stocks all sorts of crafting, party, hardwear items - these ribbons just cried out for me to buy them.  Hate it when that happens.
  • Discovered that some more little orchids are flowering in my garden
  • Played with felt and Christmas fabrics for a Christmas ornament swap I have joined.
  • Started working my way through a pile of fabulous books on my bedside table.
What did you do this weekend?
Are you planning/planting ready for summer now?
Did you cook/bake anything new?

Saturday 5 October 2013

From the Kitchen

School holidays means that there is time to experiment with new recipes and special meals, not just the quick family favourites cos everyone is rushing off to cubs, scouts or meetings.  This week in my kitchen I have tried:
  • Honey mustard glazed chicken, served with fresh asparagus, coleslaw and pita breads
  • Spicy chickpeas - a tasty snack which both Miss B and Mr J enjoyed as a pre-dinner nibble (recipe from Donna Hays book Fresh and Light)
  • Little lemon and coconut cupcakes
  • And because I had 4 egg whites sitting in the fridge waiting to be used, I made a pavlova as a special treat.  Topped with whipped cream and rhubarb poached with honey, nutmeg and  fresh orange juice - absolutely delicious.