Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Biscuits and Rupert Rabbit


I love Afghan biscuits - mostly when others make them.  Our friend Lee makes the most amazing Afghan's with caramel hidden under the icing!  Oh my gosh!  These helped me through the first few days of breastfeeding - so delicious.

She shared this idea with us too - Afghan's topped with mini easter eggs.  I must admit I was reluctant to make these as no Afghan measures up to the Caramel version and I often end up with the mixture which becomes too crumbly to eat.  Fortunately, K adds the magic touch when she bakes (many touches actually!) and they turned out just right.

It is quite challenging for a nearly two year old to decorate this type of baking without the eggs being mysteriously redirected to her mouth rather than the biscuit.  I guess you might expect that from a little girl deprived of many sweet things - she has a boring old Mum!!  K did struggle to eat her bikkie at the end of her hard work - over the sugar I think?

We have had a wee visitor turn up too.  He is a little shy.  Rupert the Rabbit is warming to the camera.  I will tell you more about him when he relaxes a little!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Busy Book Swap for your Little Ones and for Starship

... a collaboration between Mousehouse and Focussed Lenz

Are you keen to make your own busy book like Megan's for your little ones? Would you like to participate in a swap to make a busy book with other crafty people? Well, here's a way to keep it simple and get a book made without having to make all of the different pages yourself!

Who can participate?
Any NZ residents who would like to join in.  If you live beyond our kiwi shores and are very keen to participate drop me an email and we can see what we can do.

How it works
You choose a page theme (like buttons, clips, zips, threading or anything else your crafty imagination comes up with!) and you make five of the same page.  Then I'll send you the names and contact details of four participants with whom you will swap pages. 

So you keep one of your pages for your own book, send the other four to your swap group, and you'll get four in the mail back from your swap group. And don't worry, I'll make sure you are in a group with people making different page themes so you don't end up with four zip pages!  

Your book will have five pages, one page that you've made and four from other kiwi crafters! (And you'll have to make your own cover of course)

Dimensions and Specifications

Your page needs to be made using two pieces of fabric, one for the the front and one for the back. The overall dimensions will be 28cm across by 24cm down, this includes a seam allowance of 1cm for the edge of the pages and a 2cm allowance for the spine.  This should allow enough room for the busy book to be collated in the method we individually choose.
Create your page on the front piece of fabric, then put right sides together, sew around the page edges leaving the spine edge open for turning, turn right side out and top stitch around the whole page to close the gap and make the page nice and flat.

Registrations close May 28, 2011 and then you'll have until the end of August to post your pages to your swap group.

How to join in
Complete the registration form at the end of this post.  Make sure you scroll to the bottom of the form and click on 'submit' to finish. 

Follow this blog for future updates.  Share our Busy Book Block Swap button on your blog and with other passionate crafters.

I will email you once I have received your registration.  If you don’t hear from me, please leave a comment below x
Busy Books for our Starship Littlies
And here's an idea- would you also like to participate in creating some busy books for the children in Starship hospital? 
To participate in this, all you have to do is make one more page (so make 6 pages instead of 5) and your page will be put into a book with other crafters’ and sent to Starship. We'll also need people to help assemble the Starship books and make covers for them once the pages are all in.

If you are keen to do this, let me know in the registration form.

My mind is whirring with many ideas so I am looking forward to swapping busy book blocks with you !!!

Thanks heaps to Megan @ Mousehouse for supporting this idea and inspiring us with her creativity!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Funky Knitting Tutorials, Patterns and Giveaway

"Make it and Love it" have been featuring a learn to knit series over the past few months.  Some well presented basics of knitting which really boost your confidence if you are a beginner like me!

Rebecca Danger creates some very funky softie knitted patterns great for boys, girls and old and young alike.

They are pulling together to offer this wonderful giveaway of Rebecca's latest book.

The learn to knit series is well worth a look, and I am sure this book would be loved by the winner too!

Pop over to "Make it and Love it" for giveaway details.

Meanwhile I might create this little nugget.

All images in this post were borrowed from the blogs mentioned to promote and share the knitting passion they have to others. Enjoy x

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Easter Hare is Here!!

Finally, we have a festive/seasonal setting for our table!  This was a goal I made in my first blog post at the beginning of the year.

Here he is... the Easter Hare!  Complete with eggs and a grassy patch.

I wanted this to double as story props for K and I to play out this part of Easter.  This morning she put her toys to sleep in her home made hut, while she and the Easter Hare hid the eggs for them to find.  Very special to watch as she tried to ram the hare, grassy patch, toys and eggs in her basket for Easter!

I have been reading a enlightening book about rhythms, seasons and festivals from our Steiner Playgroup library.  It is chocca full of history about celebrations and festivals, seasons, recipes, poems, stories and crafts.  Our Easter Hare has been knitted, while the eggs were crocheted using Kate's pattern from Greedy for Colour.   Thanks Kate!  I  became a little braver again this time round with my crochet and tried to modify patterns to make a smaller egg and the grassy patch.

Easter Hare ... not Easter Bunny?  Well apparently the hare was the original creature to be given the  responsibility to deliver the hope of new life (represented by the egg).  The Hare possessed qualities such as speed, agility, is transient, is bold and courageous in his upright stance. His long ears suggest a wide and intelligent interest in the world and in folklore he is invested with the virtue of self-sacrifice.  I guess you need those strong qualities to deliver the sign of new life and so I would like to try and recognise that by celebrating the Easter Hare with our family. It has already been hard though because the bunny is so widely accepted as the creature with which we celebrate Easter.  Not to worry, it is the qualities and virtues of the symbol that I am most excited about.

I am really looking forward to Easter with our family this year.  I will post some of more of our traditions before then.  Hope you are enjoying the build up to a lovely family holiday too x

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday is Bake Day - Hot Cross Bun Practice

We have been refining our ability to make hot cross buns with the goal of eating many delicious home made  buns on Good Friday.   I just love baking with K - she is so passionate about food.

It can get quite messy - flour on the bench, floor, ladder, face, Mum's poking out tummy!

This weeks recipe is an apricot and currant version, which we soaked a little in water before adding.  Last week we used raisins.

There goes the face!  I tell K that the dough needs to sleep, because when we sleep we grow, and look at how our dough grew!!

Crossed, baked and glazed.  All shiny and sticky.  This batch was "painted" with a milk and sugar glaze, last week we "painted" with plum jam and hot water.

Mmmmmm the final product ready to eat.  These are amazing.  The currants are definitely the go.  So fluffy and soft and delectable.  Really happy with the glaze too.  Shame K is  a sleep now and husband is at a meeting.... I wonder how many of the two dozen will be left!

My Monthly Moves Closer to Eco-Living: March

This has been a "back of my mind" project for sometime. Now it's time to be a little more transparent about it.  So here goes...my first month of five steps toward eco-living:

1.  Homemade Cleaning and Anti-bacterial Products
     Inspired by Megan @ Mousehouse and Wendyl the Green Goddess.  So far we have made the cleaning spray and antibacterial spray.  Enjoying them both.

2.   Frege bags
      I try to use reusable shopping bags as often as possible.  I love my frege bags given to me by my sister.  She sells these as a little business.  You could also make them if you were super skilled with your     sewing machine.  Or see this link to make your own grocery tote.

3.   Old Tea Towels - New Cleaning Cloths
      Now that I am sifting out my shop brought cleaners and very excitedly using my homemade ones I am also trying to cut down on using paper towels for cleaning and using old tea towels.  Use, wash, reuse!

4.  Hot steam mop
     We bought a hot steam mop over summer.  Love, love, love it.  Steaming hot water to wash our tiles.         No product just water.  Uses power, but leaves us with a natural clean.

5.  Seasonal Harvesting and Sowing
     I have started really putting an effort into seasonal produce shopping and I am back into our vege garden.  Delish!  Loving my weekly inspiration from Lynda Hallinan of NZ Gardener.

Borrowed from the NZ Gardener Magazine website.  Well worth a visit.

Roll on April to see where my moves toward eco-living take me.  I would love to hear any of the small but significant moves toward eco-living which you are making.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Baker's and Baking Delight!

What a delightful weekend we have had!

We packed up a delicious home baked picnic, inspired by recipes from my favourite recipe books, and drove down to Ohope this morning to support "Daddy" and his friends in the Ohope Half Marathon. IT WAS WET, WET, WET!  Nevertheless the bacon and egg pie, sausage rolls, cinni rolls and muffins were all enjoyed from the back of a car while we waited for prize giving.

"Daddy" won a enduro hoodie - perfect to warm up in.  He ran very well too, just seconds from breaking the 90 minute mark.

At home I checked my stats on my blog to find that people had been to visit me from Megan's Mousehouse.  Curious to find out why I checked her blog and what do you know - I won a prize too!   Yippeee!
Such a lovely treat after a big night of little sleep with a little girl teething her two year old molars, temps and possible ear infections and sore throat!!!

Thanks Megan for running your Baker's Delight Give Away.  Click here to find out how Baker's Delight are supporting Starship Hospital.

Had hoped to practice my photography and take some perfect picnic shots.  Alas, the rain stopped that. So just the shot above of some of the homemade goodies.

Here are the recipe books inspiring mine and K's kitchen adventures at the moment.

Ripe Recipes - from Auckland's Ripe Delicatessen Cafe owner Angela Redfern.  Devine recipes set out seasonally.  Great for those pursuing the seasonal culinery delights for the first time.  We are enjoying nourishing dinner dishes from this book.  If you have visited this cafe I would love to hear about it!

Rachel's Favourite Food at Home - Rachel Allen is a wonderful Irish woman.  I particularly love her simplicity and her hosting of Market Kitchen.  My "Mummy's Real Tomato Sauce" seen above was made from this book.  So simple and a much healthier alternative to shop bought.

Destitute Gourmet Everyday Smart Food for the Family - Sophie Gray, the Destitute Gourmet promotes seasonal food shopping and great meals on a budget.  My pastry for the pie and cinni rolls came from  this book.

Ladies, a plate - traditional home baking compiled by Alexa Johnston.  Takes me right back to my childhood and what it means to be Kiwi.  Our picnic's sausage rolls and bacon and egg pie recipe came from this eclectic collection.

Hope you have a happy week full of yummy food x

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Backyard Jungle Harvest

We love our vege garden.  However since the news before Xmas of our second treasure on the way the garden has become a jungle.  It is amazing to see what has continued to grow in our garden jungle - mostly due to the rich compost our poppa made for us.  Which also provided us with a self seeding garden!

Dad and K had a great time digging up treasures from the deep and harvesting ruby jewels from the gangly vines!!

K wasn't convinced about picking the green tomatoes but I assured her they would ripen.  Hopefully we can make another batch of "Mummy's Real Tomatoe Sauce".
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