Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ben's Bruschetta recipe

Here is my hubby's delicious recipe for tomato and basil bruschetta- we enjoyed this yesterday in the sun with our bread from the farmers market and homegrown cherry tomatoes and basil. Feels like a bit of a distant memory as it is pouring down now and feels quite wintry for the first time in ages

Ingredients
Bread- ciabatta or baguette is best
Tomatoes
Fresh basil
Olive oil
Garlic clove
Salt and pepper

Roughly chop tomatoes and basil. Mix together with salt and pepper in bowl
Slice bread into thick slices and brush or spray with olive oil (both sides)
Place bread on hot griddle pan or under the grill until toasted (both sides)
Peel and slice garlic clove in half and rub one side of the bread with the garlic
Heap tomato and basil on top of bread and drizzle with olive oil

Enjoy!






Saturday, January 30, 2010

Simple Pleasures on a Saturday morning

Just had a lovely outing to the Tauranga Farmers Market this morning. Bought a delicious, still-warm baguette, some organic plums and blueberries and some beans as well. Blueberries have been so expensive this year that we have hardly bought any at all so it was nice to see a huge punnet for only $4- much cheaper than the supermarket!
Have also just finished sewing my first ever bag- a child's satchel. I got the idea from Heleen at Ruby in the Dust blog. Luckily I picked up the striped fabric from the Salvation Army store in the Mount last week- it was only $1 so I just got it thinking that it would come in handy one day and it ended up being perfect for a bag as it is a sort of canvas/upholstery thickness. I used a belt I never wear for the strap so its a very thrifty bag! It's a present for my 3 year old niece next week. I stayed up really late last night trying to work out how to put the handles on properly but just couldn't work it out being the very beginner sewer I am so I just sewed them on after I finished the bag in the end. Need to work on sewing straight lines and my applique skills too...but  I love that I have learnt how to sew lining-makes it look very smart - thanks Heleen for the idea and the tutorial :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Today's thrifting finds thanks to my blog reads!



It's funny how once you start reading blogs and writing your own blog that you start seeing things everywhere that remind you of the people on your bloglist. I went into the Salvation Army store in Tauranga today and I saw all sorts of things that reminded me of the different blogs I read.
First I saw an old tape measure and thought of Sarah and her blog cottonkiwi.blogspot.com- she makes gorgeous tape measure flowers that she sells on Felt 
Then I saw a little golden book and thought of Cat Taylor who makes journals using the covers of vintage golden books and sells them on Etsy http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=35235038
Next I found a beautiful circular embroidered table cloth ($3.50) which reminded me of Joanna's blog littleminx.wordpress.com and her lovely embroidered needle book project. The table cloth fits our kitchen table perfectly so that was lucky!
And finally my favourite find today was a delightful mug (50 cents) that made me think of Melissa at tinyhappy straight away- she is using ceramic paint pens to paint plain white mugs and plates and I think she would really like the design on this mug.  The amazing coincidence is that when I looked underneath it said it was made in Norway which is where she used to live so that was really cool!



I also found a neat basket to put all my knitting supplies when I get up and running- it will need to be lined so that's something else for my list of things to do!
Happy thrifting!


A stella pixie hat

After seeing the name of this hat from the book Vintage Baby Knits by Kristen Rengren, I am just going to have to make it- we called our first baby "pixie" before she was born, and our second daughter's name is Stella.  Luckily a wife of one of my hubby's colleagues is a champion knitter and is willing to teach me a few things- I will need some help as at the moment I think I can remember how to cast on and knit a line or two in knit or purl but that's about it- I have never followed a pattern before so this will be a great project.


http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/how-tuesday-make-a-stella-pixie-hat-4013/
Have just read through the instructions and it looks a bit tricky for a novice like me!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

the cutest wee shoes

Just had to post a pic of these adorable shoes I bought for my toddler Amelie to wear to my step- sisters wedding in Hawkes Bay last weekend- if they had them in my size I would have bought a pair myself!
















I got them from the lovely childrens shop Cherish Child in Mount Maunganui. She wore them with a gorgeous red and white polka dot dress from Hatched Boutiqe in Hamilton- spotty cuteness!

what to do with a crochet chain stitch...

I was wondering what to do with my practice crochet chain stitches today when I had a idea. One of my toddler's sheepskin slippers had lost its knitted shoelace a while ago so I threaded one of my crochet chains through the loops and voila! Slippers are now all ready for my baby come winter :)

gardenia in bloom

















Our gardenia plant is really coming into bloom this week- we even have four flowers out at once which is a lot for our plant! They smell divine and look so gorgeous against the shiny green leaves.

Tips from your Nana

















A lovely treat in the mail today from my mum - this neat book "Tips from your Nana" by Robyn Paterson. I have had it on my wish list for a while as it looks like such a great read- the slogan is "Waste not, Want not!" which is right up my alley at the moment. Don't think I'll be preserving fruit any time soon but there is a great recipe for compost which will come in handy when we dust off the compost bin and actually get it working properly for the first time, and some lovely free ideas for kids in there too- potato stamps, homemade playdough and even how to make a kaleidoscope!
Here is a picture of the book next to a photo of my nana, who I wish was still around to teach me her incredible sewing skills!

A lovely book from the library














I just got  this lovely book out from the library yesterday- 'Thrift to Fantasy' written by NZ author and columnist Rosemary McLeod. It was published a few years ago now but I have finally got my hands on a copy to read. It is a really thoughtful and beautifully illustrated book detailing home textile crafts of the 1930's to the 1950's in New Zealand.  Rosemary has a huge collection of handcrafts from both her own family and thrift stores and there was even a show at the Dowse exhibiting her whole collection- I would have loved to have seen that.

squashed pumpkins


I came across a lovely tutorial for a patchwork ball from one of my favourite bloggers- Melissa at tinyhappy.typepad.com
Here it is here
http://tinyhappy.typepad.com/tiny_happy/2008/05/how-to-a-simple.html
Being a beginner crafter I thought I would give it a go- mine have ended up looking more like squashed pumpkins (well that's what the hubby said when he saw them) but the girls are loving them so that's nice. I went to Bernina and got some little bells to put into the balls so Stella really likes that :)
I think my problem is that I need to make my petals a bit longer and skinnier. Also I need to learn how to hand sew the seam together by using the ladder stitch which I haven't tried yet. I have two newly
pregnant friends so I really want to make one for each of them as a wee congratulations gift.

a morning at the beach



What a beautiful day in sunny Tauranga- I took the girls over to the Mount for a play and to meet up with a friend and her 2 little ones. Amelie liked making "ponds" and Stella enjoyed the sand. I used to think it would be really tricky to take two kids to the beach by myself but I am slowly realising that its not that hard and its really worth it!


easy peasy quiche recipe

















Well, if I can make this anyone can! A friend from New Plymouth gave me this recipe-great for vegetarians or just a good cheap meal.  Even my toddler aged nearly 3 loves it and that's saying something! Only took me about 15 minutes to prepare the filling even with my toddler wanting to 'help', and then 30 minutes of cooking.
I don't use pastry so I guess it is more like a frittata maybe? Either way, it is quick, easy and delicious!

Ingredients
1 tbls butter
3 rashers bacon (if you want)
1 onion chopped
assorted chopped vegetables- I used chopped spinach, grated courgette and chopped capsicum
2 tbls standard flour
1 cup milk
4 eggs (we have quite a big dish so if you have a smaller one you could try 2 or 3)
half a cup grated cheese
salt and pepper


Instructions
Preheat oven to fanbake 200 degrees celsius
Melt butter in large saucepan, add onion (and bacon if you want), cook until onion is clear.
Add your vege's and cook
Stir in flour and cook until frothy
Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens
Remove pan from heat
Lightly beat eggs in a bowl with a fork
Add eggs and cheese to the saucepan, stir to combine
Season with salt and pepper
Pour into suitable dish
Place in 200 degrees celsius oven for 30 minutes
Serve with salad and bread- yum!

PS: a tip if you are using grated courgette- after grating put the courgette into a paper towel and get rid of as much moisture as possible otherwise the quiche can be a little soggy. When I made it the second time I actually left the courgette out

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

shoe frou's

I saw these on one of my favourite TV programmes last year-' Lush House' with Shannon Lush on the Living Channel. She made these cute eco-friendly and cheap shoe frou's as an alternative to store bought shoe deoderisers so I made some up last night for each shoe wearing member of my family!

SHANNON LUSH'S SHOE FROU RECIPE
2 tablespoons talcum powder (keeps shoes dry by absorbing sweat and moisture)
2 tablespoons bicarb soda (general cleaner)
2 drops oil of cloves (kills mould, stops shoes smelly musty)
2 drops tea tree oil (kills tinea)
2 drops lavender oil (adds a nice fragrance but also a muscle relaxant)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and then spoon them into the foot of pantyhose – tie off and dab in your shoes as often as you like to clean and deoderise.







Monday, January 25, 2010

it's true what they say

Everyone says kids love gardening and are better at eating their vege's when they help in the vege garden and I am amazed at how true that is! Our toddler loves helping with the watering and picking the 'harvest'. She is eating beans straight from the plant and loves courgettes now too. She loves picking the cherry tomatoes too but is still unconvinced as to the taste of them!
We bought a raised bed kit before Christmas so she can have her very own garden- my ideas for it are to have a swan plant to attract the monarch butterflies, some beans and peas as she really likes them, some flowers which we are going to plant to form a letter A, some sunflowers and maybe some blueberries too.






Lo♥e my cloth nappies!

A friend of mine put me onto Honeychild nappies a while ago and I just love them- wish I had used them with my first baby but didn't really think about it then to be honest.  I have got 6 so I use one at night for my toddler and the others in the day for my baby. I still use disposables for her afternoon sleep and night sleep.  I've also started using little baby flannels and a homemade baby wipes recipe - even though my hubbie still prefers the disposable wipes we buy them rarely now as opposed to buying them weekly!
Here is my baby wipes recipe- I just put it straight into a spray bottle which I then spray onto a flannel when I am changing her.

Megan's Baby Wipes recipe 
(for small sprayer bottle)
2 squirts baby bathwash
2 squirts baby oil
1 or 2 drops of essential oil- I use lavender and tea tree oil
Fill up rest of bottle with water and shake to combine 

the worms are happy

I have had a worm bin (a Worm-a-Round) for about 5 years now- I got it when I was teaching and it sat at the back of my classroom - the kids loved putting their lunch scraps in it.

The worms I started with have fed and bred quite happily in there for all these years until this summer- we moved the bin to a warmer spot around the house and to my dismay the worm population has diminished hugely! The only thing I can think is that it was too hot for them there... so with my small amount left I am going to start again and try to build up my population before transferring them back to the big worm bin. I used the instructions from World Sweet World mag autumn 09 issue and made a little one out of icecream containers- hopefully they will breed like crazy in there! My toddler put some banana skin in there today and said the worms are happy, so hopefully she's right!

summer holiday

We had a great holiday in Raglan last week. A trip to Hawkes Bay first for my lovely step sisters wedding and then a big drive from coast to coast!  Amelie caught her first fish and Stella loved the black sand :) I loved the Raglan second hand shops and the cool art store Jet Collective where I picked up some back copies of World Sweet World magazine. I showed one of the girls working there my copy of  Extracurricular magazine and she loved it- they are both such great mags full of very clever people. Wish the Raglan market was on when we there but we just missed it. www.raglanmarket.com. I saw a sign for a new craft market in Hamilton so might have to head over to that one weekend. www.craftmadhamilton.blogspot.com
I also discovered this gorgeous shop on Wallis St "Luv Vintage"- I just love the pink and blue exterior!


My (very beginner) crafting so far...

Well its only been a few weeks but I've practiced a few little projects like how to sew a draw-string bag- I need to work on my technique though as I accidentally sewed the sides together so I couldn't thread the ribbon through! My quick-un-pick is going to be a good friend over the year I think! I also learnt how to applique from my friend Anna and sewed on some cute bunny rabbits to my baby's bodysuit- I used a cookie cutter for the stencil- need to embroider some eyes on next.
I did a few practice embroideries for my girls while on our holiday in Raglan. I have learnt how to do chain stitch, back stitch, split stitch, and of course running stitch. I tried stem stitch but just couldn't work it out so will have to have another go on that one! I really like doing Lazy Daisies too- they look so tricky but are really quite simple!
Yesterday I learnt to crochet! Well, I learnt how to make a slip knot and make a single crochet stitch chain. Took ages to get the hang of it but then I was away. I bought a book and a crochet needle from an Op Shop in Raglan. To do anything trickier I think I am going to have to find an expert in Tauranga as I find it really hard working out instructions!
I also made a cute art work from an idea I saw from RubyintheDust in World Sweet World Magazine using a large hole punch and some craft paper.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Very cool tea towels

I saw this website in the Dec 09  HomeStyle magazine-  www.todryfor.com. -a world of creative tea-towels!  These London ones would be a perfect gift for a friend in London or someone home from their OE and missing old London town
LondonLondon Calling
and I just love the ones below- too hard to choose which one to buy!
Beautiful DayRight OnMake Do and Mend
and wouldn't this one be cool at a bach...
You Wash, I'll Dry



a few of my favourite things

I have had a bit of a Snoopy obsession since childhood- the soft toy Snoopy in this pic was given to me in the hospital when I was born! My mum gave me the Snoopy necklace for my 21st- she gave a Snoopy picture to a jeweler in Napier  (www.bloomsfinejewellery.com) who made it for her.  What a lovely present!

Keith Haring is one of my favourite artists - I just love his art, the story behind how he started out as an artist and his views and philosophies on life, art, children and love. I discovered his art at the City Gallery in Wellington back in 1999 and I did heaps of his art with my classes when I was teaching and they just loved it! www.haring.com and www.haringkids.com
I used to put quotes from Keith Haring around my classroom - these are two of my favourites
" CHILDREN KNOW SOMETHING THAT MOST PEOPLE HAVE FORGOTTEN." 
AND
"CHILDREN ARE THE BEARERS OF LIFE IN ITS SIMPLEST AND MOST JOYOUS FORM" 


a little visitor

the other night I went to feed the cats and this wee visitor was by the cat bowls, helping himself to some cat biscuits! since then he has been back three times so he must be a hungry little thing or we have a new pet...!

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