Friday, April 22, 2011

A Day of Extremes

Well today has certainly earnt its title. Either absolute success of abject failure and nothing in between.
First of all  were my Easter baskets for Mum and Caroline. It was obvious this morning that I had been working on them quite late last night as some of my 'logic' had gone astray and there was quite a bit of unpicking to be done before they were finished this morning. BUT, I am very happy with the way they turned out and would be very happy to receive one myself (especially if it is filled with chocolate eggs).

I put these down to absolute success #1.

Absolute success #2 is the easter tree. After searching our dying maple tree for the right branch, this is how you are now greeted as you enter our house.

Our house is white, not pale pink like the photos show but I could not get the white balance right today for some reason. Absolutely no chance on the little automatic (pic1) but getting a little closer (still not good) with the DSLR (pic 2). I will put it down to the funny light today and the fact that our front door is bright orange and alters the colours in the hallway.

Absolute success #3. All my market stock is made ( including a large pile of teaspoon bookmarks which were not actually planned for thoday) and packed in the car before 6pm. This may not sound like a big deal but I could count on one hand the number of times I have been ready for a market before midnight the night prior , and I have been doing markets for 7 years now. I can always find something to do, a sign to remake etc, designing a new stall layout. You maket goers know what I mean - well I hope you do, and I am not the only one who does this.

All these successes had made for too good a day and the failures were about to begin.

Abject failure #1. Beer battered fish and chips for dinner. Hard to muck this up I hear you say-  well maybe, but not if you are me - I can stuff anything up - just ask anyone who has attmepted to eat my scones!!!
I had borrowed MIL's fryer to cook the fish, but all it did was stick the batter to the bottom of the basket so that when it was time to dish up my beautiful orange roughy, it came out in a multitude of pieces followed by crushed/smashed batter. It tasted alright but looked pre-digested. I changed the way I placed the fish in the oil each time but as the basket rotates and lifts the item being cooked out of the oil for short periods, the batter or just plain fish with no batter still stuck and ended up looking the same. A  good night to be a blind dinner guest in our house tonight.

Abject failure #2. Attempting to put royal icing on marie biscuits so that the girls can draw on them with the new food pens. We ( or mainly I ) decided that pre-made biscuits should be easier to ice than home made ones but try as I might I could not get the icing to stay in the desired shape or for that matter not stick to the bench when I rolled it out. I muddled my way through 6 biscuits and gave up. There has to be an easier way amd will be a task for another day. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Failure #3. Hot cross buns were not even attempted today. Maybe tomorrow, when I get home from the market so we can take them for lunch on Sunday, but then again, if I am as tired as I normally am after a market ( and it does go for an extra hour tomorrow), then it will just be dinner and bed for me tomorrow before the Easter Bunny hops his way into our house.

Here's hoping your day was full of success and sunshine and have a Happy Easter.

P.S.  If you are looking for something to do tomorrow and are near the Mornington Peninsula, pop along to the special Easter Market at Mornington Racecourse.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Creative Space

My creative space this week finds me enjoying Easter fun with the girls.
We have blown eggs ( free range of course - no cage eggs here - Sarah's attempting to get the whole school  to boycott cage eggs by the time she leaves grade 6 in Dec), drawn on them with crayon and then died them and many little fingers along with them.
Here are some of my favourites

I know there are flash spots on them but it is such a miserable wet night here in Melbourne that I cannot get enough light without the flash.

Now comes the assembly of the tree for a centrepiece on Sunday. This was going to be done today but with a shuffle of work days and me working today, it will have to become a Good Friday activity.

Hopefully it will end up looking something like this.....

As my family are not big chocolate eaters , I usually find/make a small present for them with some chocolate ginger etc hidden inside. With a hankering for scones, which I absolutely cannot make, even with no-fail recipes ( mine could be sold to the army as ammunition), I thought this years present to mum and  'lil sis could be something to give them a nudge in the scone making direction.
A long time ago I saw some lovely scone baskets by Mud Tea  and thought that I might be able to make something similar from my ever growing fabric stash. I think Kate has come up with a wonderful idea and it is not as simple to put together as it first appears. My version does not look nearly as pretty/neat but heck - it was made with love and a lot of experimentation and I am still rather happy with the outcome.

Next on the family easter/holiday craft plan is bajing some of these...

with this excellent recipe from none other than the Womens Weekly ,

and, also baking ( my oven wont know what's hit it - poor thing) some biscuits decorated with my new food pens.
After reading a lovely post on Christen's blog Twirling Betty about her children decorating biscuits, I spent the night scouring the internet for food pens that would not cost the earth and I could get before the Good Friday holiday. Baking Pleasures in Brisbane came to the rescue and the pens arrived today - YAY!
Still haven't decided whether we will make bunny biscuits or just plain round ones and let them create their own designs. - Maybe some of both.......

The rest of today ( after work that is  and probably into the mystery hours of tonight) will be spent finishing the other  scone basket, sewing some hats for the market on Saturday and if possible before it gets too late - bashing spoons, especially lots more bookmarks for Saturday too.

I hope your week and holidays have been creative  and you have a lovely Easter

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday

This is my first time with Shadow Shot Sunday hosted by Hey Harriet. So here goes.
Whilst exploring Melbourne city with some friends visiting from overseas, we came across a sculpture of a huge swarm of bees taking over the Eureka Tower. Funny how you can miss so many things in your own city.

Play along with your Shadow shot here.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Elephants in Easter Bonnets

Not your ordinary title but then Mia's first Easter bonnet parade  deserves someting special. Its not every day there is an Easter Elephant!
The 3yr old ECC group at Sarah's school doesn't normally get to participate in many of the 'big'school activities as they are only attend on a Friday ( 4yr old group does 4 days) and most whole school activities take place on a Thuesday. BUT, end of term is end of term and always falls on a Friday. Our house was a veritable buzz of excitement this morning - Mia 'cos she got to dress up as an elephant ( even though the day was going to be 26'C) and Sarah because nearly 3 weeks holiday were starting. Gotta love Easter and Anzac day bumping into each other.
Here is how our fleece elephant set out this morning....

Mia had cooler clothes on underneath  but when I arrived after lunch for the parade, she was still in the costume, trunked hood and all, admitting she was a little hot but this would not stop being Mali, an Easter Elephant. After a lot of begging, cajoling, requests, Mia finally relinquished the hood in exchange for her Easter bonnet she made earlier this morning  just in time for the Easter Bonnet Parade.

With a 7 year age difference there will not be many activities that both girls will get to do at school together, so it was great that Sarah was also part of Mia's first foray into the world of parades

A very proud bonnet maker...

My Big and Little with their creations demonstrating summer and winter fashions all on the one day.

We are now looking forward to a busy school holdays filled with visits to the Tutankhamun exhibition at the museum, beach romps, exploring new parks, sleepovers and taking full advantage of all the beautiful autum days that will hopefully grace us with their presence.
On that note my coasters are now dry and ready for their next coat of modge podge before the waterproof sealant tomorrow so, I will leave you hoping that your weekend is full of fun, laughs and sunshine.

My Creative Space

My creative space this week is a little late but this week has been so hectic that it is lucky to have happened at all.
With ' real' work amping up this year to more days per week I am finding it harder and harder to get the energy to craft. The desire is still there and many a blank moment at work is spent pondering and devising new ideas but by the time I get home and have cooked dinner, cleaned up the hurricane that decends on our house each afternoon, I am buggered exhausted.
Hence this clean washing  pile is ever growing while it waits to be sorted, ironed and put away.

Any crafting that has been done this week has been restricted to dabbling in projects and finishing none. The glorious autumn weather that we have been having lately has meant that I can set myself up on a trestle table on the back deck and leave my work in whatever state I wish. At the moment the tea cup garden lights/bird feeders are drying, my new from old mirror is waiting for a top coat of gloss paint before being hung in the hall
and the plants I was hoping to keep alive to sell with my spoons at Mornington market on Sunday are well and truly dead. - all of this on one table - I love it.

I have however been luckier in the 'keepeing plants alive' department with my little money plants that I have propagated from the large bush in out garden. According to Chinese superstition, these plants correctly placed in you house will bring monetry wealth to the household. I must have read the book wrong as we are still waiting for the wealth to roll in.

Maybe with a couple more .....who knows.....

My creative mojo has to kick in tonight and tomorrow so that I can have some stock for my market. Coasters are on the agenda for tonight so they dry and be sealed tomorrow, and since flattening and stamping spoons is a little too noisy to be done at night, that will be this afternoon and tomorrows task as well as repotting clivia's to take to the market to put my teacups in, buying more garden stakes for the teacups and the everlasting Saturday basketball games for Sarah that are at the most annoying time of 4:30pm.

School holidays kick in as of today so I hope my next few weeks will be a little less stressful even if they are just as hectic. It is times like this I wish I worked at a school so that I could have the same holidays as the girls. Getting up and going to work whilst everyone else has pyjama mornings is very hard.

Here's to a creative week to you all and check out other creative spaces here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

@my house - Mondays post done in the wee (mystery) hours of Tuesday morning

This Monday finds me both loving and hating the end of daylight savings.
Love it because my body still hasn't clicked in to the extra hours sleep so everything is done and ready for school so early in the morning and there is no problem getting everyone out of bed.
Hate it because it really does mean the end of summer ( not that we really had one this year) and that it is really dark by 6:30 and it will only get earlier and earlier in the months to come.
So I look back on a wonderful weekend the girls and I shared at Torquay while Brett was away hiking in the snowy mountains.

Climbing the sand dunes at Torquay

Rock Pools at Pt Addis

Evening at Pt Lonsdale front beach on the journey home. You can tell I have spent the day in the sun without a hat ( naughty, naughty) by the sheer number of freckles taking over my face. Oh the skin of a redhead!

I am also still amazed at how popular my silverware garden markers continue to be. I really thought they would be an item that would  be a cute Christmas gift and that sales would drop off and ultimatley die after Christmas/New Year but people continue to amaze me with a repeat customer returning today to order another 41 spoons and forks.
Another plus for the day -  my second order from Xenotees  - a fantastic store on etsy, arrived today - super speedy. I already have an animal collective t-shirt but as the cooler days are coming I thought a longer sleeve was in order and since I love cutlery I thought this fork shirt very fitting. ( hahaha Yes I meant the double pun)
With a day like this I have found it very hard to wipe the smile off my face.
I hope your week has started as well as mine.


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