Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hooray - a bit of sewing!

Life is so very busy these days I barely get to blog, let alone sew.

So much to do, so little time.


I did manage to make a top for Mim who turns 3 next week. I had the butterfly and chandeliers fabric saved for something "nice". The pattern is from the book "Making Children's Clothes" by Emma Hardy - a really cute little book full of simple kid's patterns.

This top is actually a pajama top in the book, but I thought the style could suit day wear as well, I love the crossover style. 

Not sure what happened with the sizing - I made size 4 but it's going to be way too big on her.


I added a little suffolk puff with a button on the front.

If you haven't seen me at your blog for a while please accept my apologies, I try to catch up here and there and comment when I can.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Chocolate Cake


With the plethora of chocolate cake recipes out there one may be forgiven for assuming that all chocolate cakes are created equal. However, like any dish there are so many variables to the end result. I must admit  my Grandmother's recipe, although quick and easy fell very short of delicious. So today I've tried a new recipe, and it's pretty good. Moist, flavoursome and makes a big family cake. So here's the recipe:

125 grams butter
2 cups plain flour 
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1.5 cups milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 teaspoons baking soda (bicarb)

Prepare a large cake tin (I used my fruit cake tin) with baking paper and oil or butter.
Melt butter and syrup. In a bowl sift flour, cocoa and baking powder.
Add the sugar and eggs, then vanilla, milk and baking soda, beat for 1 - 2 minutes.
Mix in the butter and syrup liquid, beat for less than 1 minute. Pour into tin, bake in a moderate oven for 35 - 40 minutes.

*Note - I ended up cooking mine for longer than stated as it was still gooey in the middle, so keep checking it with a skewer. I also covered the top of the cake with baking paper after the first 20 minutes of cooking to prevent burning or overcooking.

Amazing Juggling Routine



I so love this juggling routine - he takes a minute to get going but stick with it, he's truly fantastic!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Baby's first waldorf softie


Well, she isn't such a baby anymore, her first birthday is next month! Although she won't be playing with dolls for a little while yet I think it  is a beautiful first birthday gift.


I made this 12 inch doll's body from soft flannel. I tried out a new hair technique and am very satisfied with the results, it's very secure and lifelike with no long strands for busy little fingers to pull out. I can also add a pony tail later if it's wanted.


Bub's initial is embroidered so there can be no question of ownership (she does have two sisters after all!)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bread sticks

In my quest for perfect bread recipes I've made a lot of duds. You know the type - dull, dry altogether unappealing?

I've been meaning to try the recipe for "Sabrina's Breadsticks" ever since I was fortunate enough to be given someone's "spare copy" of Stephanie Alexander's "The Cook's Companion" (spare copy - can  you imagine?!!)

Anyhow, the long proving times had put me off up until today when I decided to give it a go. These breadsticks used to be served in Stephanie's restaurant.


The result was 2 beautiful breadsticks that rival anything I've bought from an Italian bakery. A truly marvellous taste, a crust with crunch, yet not too hard and a moist, flavoursome interior. 

Although it requires a fair time investment the recipe is quite effortless and very enjoyable to make. 
The children pounce on one stick as soon as it was cool enough and ate the pieces smeared with a little melty butter.

I will absolutely be making this again and again and again.....

UFO or PFP?

The former being Unfinished Object and the latter being Partly Finished Project. I think I like PFP - it's a little more positive, more like a WIP (Work in Progress) and less like a FTF (Failure to Finish).

Whatever you choose to label it, I have 13 of them! Now, I know I'm not alone on this, and probably like me you avoid the fact that you have so many projects on the go at one time. It's your little secret, am I right?

As finances are a bit tight at the moment and I can't indulge in new materials I'm finding it a perfect time to finish off a few of those projects that had just been "put aside later" AKA "I've lost motivation and can't be bothered".

Here are a few things I'm working on:


Baby gowns and blankets for the Bonnie Babes Foundation. Some finished, many unfinished!




A cute waldorf softie doll (needs hair)



Embroidering vintage pieces (pure joy!)




Baby Mary Janes (need snaps).

So, how about you share your little secret? How many PFP's do you currently have?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bread baking

I don't get nearly enough time for baking bread these days, I can't wait to get back to baking instead of buying again. The very cool and wintery conditions here have me pining for baking (and eating) hot bread again so I thought I'd try some online recipes.



First up was the essential winter indulgence, raisin bread. I used a recipe from here. I made a few modifications. The recipe says for two loaves, however there was only enough dough for one loaf. The result: a nice tasting loaf but very crumbly (you can see it falling apart a little after being cut). The children like it though, and we all had raisin toast for breakfast. Very nice!




Now here is something I've never tried - Challah, a traditional Jewish bread. This one is good if you have surplus eggs, as I do at the moment. Mine turned out a little less attractive than some, but you have to love that shine on the crust! The recipe was from here  and was very nice when eaten warm - moist and sweet. Unfortunately it's a bit of a write off today, but still ok for toast.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Getting organised


I've been reading "Survival for busy women" by Emilie Barnes after having it recommended to me several times. I'm finding it great - just the kick in the pants I needed to start tackling the organisation of our home. I'm hoping that this time the systems I put in place will carry on and run with maintenance, rather than the usual "oh no - the house is a disaster zone again!!!"

I spent about 2 hours sorting through and throwing out paperwork. 4 shopping bags of rubbish later - I'm done! And boy, do I feel like a burden has been lifted! I was entirely ruthless about throwing things out and I feel liberated!

This morning I went out and (finally) bought a much needed bookshelf - it's massive, and it's going to make a HUGE difference.

Emilie also talks about the 15 minute method. Breaking big tasks into small time slots to make them achievable. Maybe if you're drowning in clutter you could give this a try?

I'm half way through the book, I wonder what the next half will bring.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rosary repair service

I've been trying to come up with more ways to contribute to our family income using the skills I already have. 


I've repaired and made our own rosary beads countless times over the years and can do the same for anyone requiring this service. I've also taken some jewellery classes so your beads are safe with me!

I'll leave this picture on the side bar as a reminder.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A fruitful week


It's been great having a break and re focusing on the things I need to re focus on. Being away from the computer has given me more time to sew, embroider, homeschool, organise the house - I could go on. I've decided to restrict my computer time and prioritise.


I was going through my fabric trying to decide what to do with the smaller pieces of knit and thought it was high time I did some sewing for the little one. 



The top is an Antonia and I used an old Burda pattern for the pants. A very cheap outfit too - the blue panne velvet for the pants was a freebie from someone who didn't want it, the sleeves are from a swap with Gilly and the rest were Crafty Mamas fabrics I had left over.

Cute and comfy!