Monday, 31 March 2008

Reds and oranges

Yesterday I participated in the Run for the Kids (see sidebar) and what an exciting event it was! So many people were wearing red event tshirts! It was such a wonderful day. So many people out there supporting the Royal Children's Hospital and the terrific work that they do. It was just amazing to run with so many people around me! ~27,000 other people in fact! They raised AU$750,000 for the hospital.

And then afterwards I popped by the Oakleigh Market and found a chili plant for only $4! What a bargain. Gib has been totally hooked on chilis of late so this was a great find. A fig tree was also purchased at the same time, so hopefully I will have some delicious fresh figs to eat soon enough! I'm not really sure where I'm going to plant that one though...

I have new red shoes! They're kind of clog like, kind of elf shoe like, and a little bit Wizard of Oz. I love them to bits. They're just so cute! I got them from this place in Glen Waverley called "On a shoestring". I love their shoes - so many interesting designs that you don't see anywhere else... and they're cheap (hence the name).

I picked up this little padded orange thingy for the kitchen in an op shop. I don't actually know what you do with it because it isn't heat resistant and it's quite small but it's cute as!

And finally I have made a very small start on my doona cover that I'm going to make out of the fabrics I picked up from the vintage Japanese fabric warehouse. I just like looking at the colours, really. Reds, oranges, yellows and green. I think I need some indigo in there too. I'll pick that up on my next trip there!

Friday, 28 March 2008

Chocolate and banana loaf

Gib's mum made this tonight. YUMMO!

250 g plain flour
20 g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
120 g butter, softened
130 g raw sugar
2 large eggs
2 very large bananas (~500 g), mashed
60 g shredded coconut
80 g dark choc chips

Preheat oven to 175 C, fan forced
Sift combined flour, cocoa and baking powder.
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is combined before adding the next. Mix in banana.
Fold in flour, then coconut and chocolate chips. Mix until well combined.
Grease a loaf pan (22 x 12 cm) and line the base with baking paper. Spoon mix into the pan.
Bake for 60-65 mins or until the insides are cooked.

Oh gosh...

It's been over a week since my last entry... oopsies! I had intended to post an entry about baking hot cross buns but they were quite a failure and not really worth mentioning...

I've been hanging out over in Adelaide with Gib's relatives. We were staying with his grandmother who is an absolute champ. I want to be as fit and cool as her when I am a grandmother!! She also had a pair of adorable oven mitts that fit my tiny little hands perfectly! And what's more, they had a gorgeous owl print on the outer layer of fabric. So I took a trace and will have a go at making it this weekend. Will let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Taste Sensation: Fresh Pie

So Gib and I were in the supermarket and we saw this: Fresh Pie. It looked neither fresh nor pie-like and so this was to be our next Taste Sensation. The whole packaging just screamed Taste Sensation!

The outside of the "pie" kind of like foam rubber with a thin plastic coating. Not appealing to me so far and definitely not "fresh" at all. But upon eating the texture was far better than I anticipated! Quite light and fluffy and not entirely foam tasting, it blended well with the mock cream with raspberrry/strawberry conserve. But even Gib, who regularly scoffs down vast quantities of highly processed foods, struggled with the sweetness of these little things. I cannot impart upon you just how incredibly sweet these were. But, as promised, you could actually taste the strawberry and raspberry combination. I think during those times of extreme sugar cravings, these are a definite "yes" to buy again. This was a Taste Sensation success!

Pickled onions!

I made these at Christmas time and have just opened them, and I have to say, they taste delicious. It's all about that bright red chili you can see there and the honey used in the pickling mixture. The weather has been so damn hot that I haven't really bothered to do anything other than eat pickled onions and drink beer -- gosh, I sound like such a bogan. I saw some pickling onions on special for $1.50 for 2kg (only at Oakleigh market) and I'm inspired to make more. Hmm, I should post the recipe for these so I don't have to keep going through the random pile of recipes that I have written out on scraps of paper to find it. I have tried many pickled onion recipes, but this one delivers consistently fantastic results for me.

Friday, 14 March 2008

A goat from the hills

My friend, Kat, who I gave that kitsch 70's picture to (she adored it), picked me up Saturday morning for a drive to the hills, about 30 mins east of Melbourne. There's a puppet shop on the main street of Sassafrass, called Geppetto's Workshop. I always loved puppets as a kid - there was always something magical about them. Even if I saw the hand go into the puppet, my mind didn't really want to believe that that puppet hadn't just become real on its own! I do have a decent puppet collection of my own now, mostly consisting of bugs and creepy crawlie puppets, but when I saw this guy, how could I resist?

He's just adorable and is currently sitting next to me watching TV. But my new goat friend needs a name.

The company that makes these beautiful puppets is Folkmanis. I'm constantly amazed at the intricies and precise anatomical details they put into their puppets. They have just SO MANY puppets you can choose from - if you can think of an animal (real or mythical!), Folkmanis have made it. They're such beautiful, high quality puppets, and given their standard, the prices aren't outrageous either.

Hippo - complete!

So I'm a bit delayed in typing this up. I've been in the process of moving back to our bungalow and haven't really had my computer set up. It's been a slow process getting set up again. Really our bungalow is a shed. A nice, insulated, carpeted room, with a lovely window and pateo area... but still it's a shed nonetheless. And it's been 30-40ÂșC outside pretty well all week. Not really weather for getting a shed organised.

But anyway, here will be a week's worth of catching up.

I did in fact finish the hippo. I finished him Saturday morning and I have to say I was quite pleased with the result. I reckon the total amount of time to make him, from start to finish, would have been the equivalent of a weekend (and that's including the time I took to stand around and just stare at the pattern pieces, wondering how I'd ever get it finished). I can say in retrospect it really wasn't worth my worrying. It turned out to be quite a simple project to do. The only hassle was the size and bulk of the project, but I had a big table to work on so it wasn't too bad.

Friday, 7 March 2008


I'm starting my PhD next week and wont have as much time on my hands, so today is my final day of freedom. I'm about to head over to the post office to pick up the paperwork for a new passport. I hope to attend many conferences during my PhD and also do some non-PhD related training overseas in Japan. It's a hassle getting a passport done, and I've been procrastinating about it for some time, but today is the day I'm going to get it sorted!

But the REAL reason why I'm getting my passport sorted is because I'm actually procrastinating about finishing this damn hippopotamus. It's really not that hard, but all of the bits are really getting to me. I've nearly done all of the applique and I'm now down to "putting it together". So I'm now up to the bit that requires working with 4 layers of batting and that isn't so fun. The baby is due today and that alone should be motivating me to get it finished. There's all the stress over "what if she doesn't like it?" "what if it ends up looking really dodgy?" "what if... err... I don't know...". I'm relying on the baby being late.

I don't think I want to give him his ears just yet... he'll hear all of my cursing!

I'm also sorting out my fat quaters and scraps at the moment (see? I'd rather organise fabric than sew this hippo) and found some cute little Japanese dinosaur and robot fabric that I'll turn into some little shoes for another friend's baby. So while I'm getting my passport paperwork I'll try to find some suede or leather too.

I'm thinking that even by typing this post, I'm procrastinating about all of the tasks above... I'm at the end of my post now. Better get cracking!

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Vintage Japanese fabrics

I spent yesterday hanging out with my mother in Richmond. Specifically, we went to Ziguzagu, a direct-to-the-public warehouse that sells Japanese vintage fabrics, kimonos and Japanese antiques. We spent absolutely ages in there! It was so hard deciding what to buy - there was so much beautiful stuff there. It was all excellently priced too and the scrap bins had a lot to offer. The best part for me was I discovered they give 15% student discounts on fabric and kiminos! Apparently they're getting a massive shipment in and they told me it will be well worth my while coming back in 2 weeks. I don't need to be told twice!

I have decided with the fabrics that I bought that I will make a new doona cover.

Monday, 3 March 2008

What a weekend!

Sassy apron arrival!
My Sassy Apron arrived last Friday! I was absolutely delighted and it came at the best time for me as I did end up having to say goodbye to my little furry friend. I was so excited. Fiona, who created my apron, was kind enough to add some fat quarters in with the apron too! I love the apron: the fabric is so happy and the pocket is nice and deep. I only have a photo of the apron, but not what it looks like on yet. I need to find someone to take the photo! The pumpkin soup recipe she included was used for the remaining half of the pumpkin that my friend gave me the other day.

In the garden...
Saturday I introduced my mother to Kuranga Native Plant Nursery in York st, Mt Evelyn. We came home with about many plants, so Sunday afternoon was spent in the sunshine planting them. Most of the plants we bought are found along a nearby creek and nature reserve, so not only are they native to the area but should survive well in our garden:

Pomaderris prunifolia
Olearia glandulosa

Pomaderris aspera
Goodenia ovata

Bauera rubioides

Gib and my mother, with the Kuranga cafe in the background (they do they BEST coffee and food!)

Our garden is either sand or clay, and our front garden is in a lot of shade thanks to a rather large camphor laurel (a horrid weed in Australia, but my dad is quite attached to it). This one was kind of cute, coloquially known as "pussy tails", and it grows in Melbourne's western plains. I think I'll grow up in a pot. I love feeling the flowers... they're so furry! I'm really developing a thing for furry plants.

The Bauera rubioides grows dainty little pink flowers and is said to be quite a robust little plant, so that one will be planted in memory of Mobius.

Great op shop find!
On the way to Kuranga Nursery we found this great little op shop in Heathmont, of all places. I've just been introducing Gib to the joys of op shopping and after this expedition he is totally sold on them! I was astounded that I found a black tshirt that fitted me there. I'm 4'11" and can't ever find clothes in regular shops, but miraculously I have more luck in op shops. I also found this fantastic, horridly kitch picture which I know my friend Kat will adore! The colours are absolutely wonderful. I'm catching up with her on Saturday, but it's taking all my strength not to just blab to her about it now. I want to keep it as a surprise (because aren't surprises fun?!).