Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Birthday Bunting Bonanza!

Es' Birthday Bunting.......DONE! (said in Gordon Ramsay style voice)

Well I've just tucked in a very excited, now not so little, birthday girl. I have just made a lovely cup of tea, cut a sneaky slice of birthday cake and finally put my feet up. Had a rather busy day, but had soooo much fun! I managed to get Es' birthday bunting done in time and A. and I spent yesterday evening wrapping presents, blowing balloons, curling ribbon and hanging the bunting. It was well worth the effort, when she entered the lounge this morning....her mouth dropped open.

I am overall really pleased with the end result, although I had a bit of problem with the bias binding. I thought I was being really economical buying the binding which wasn't pre-folded. However, after slipping around with my iron and making many unwanted creases I was rather gutted I didn't opt for pre-folded. Anyhoo, after my initial frustrations with it, I came back to it and it wasn't as bad as I first thought. We do like to punish ourselves for slight imperfections don't we? I completed 9 metres in all and it was just about right in our lounge. I decided not to hang it flat against the wall but across the room with a 3D effect. It was quite effective I thought. I still have 12 triangles left and I'm intending to make one for Es' room. A big thank you to Stacey for inspiring me to create bunting. It really is a great idea to make a birthday decoration which can come out every year, it is something that will become a family tradition and an heirloom.

I made Es our favourite chocolate cake recipe and decorated it with pink butter icing and made some pink sugar for the topping. This is an egg-free cake and it's so easy, it is all done in the saucepan! The cake is quite a moist cake, not too rich and is complimented scrummily with the butter icing. The topping is just plain granulated sugar dyed pink with a drop of colouring. This is the first time I've done this and I am surprised about how effective it is, it adds a different crunchy texture to the cake. I'll definitely do this again - particularly with cupcakes - you could make them in an array of colours!

One Pot Chocolate Cake

125g margarine/butter
2 dessertspoons golden syrup
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 c sugar
1 c milk
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla

Melt marg/butter, sugar, golden syrup, 1/2 c milk. Add siften flour/cocoa. Stir well. Combine vanilla, baking soda and rest of milk, then add to mixture. Put in 8" tin and bake at 180 C for 40-50 mins.

I acually doubled the quanity and used a heart shaped tin. I do like a filling in my cakes - the more butter and sugar the better. Naughty but nice!

This afternoon we had close friends around for some birthday cake and then some spaghetti bolognaise for dinner. Es had such fun and the evening ended with some dancing to her favourite songs.....Newton Faulkner, Scissor Sisters and Mamma Mia - funny! It was great to see her amongst her friends dancing, whirling around and enjoying the moment. The day ended with the big reveal of her main birthday present. A rabbit hutch. No bunny as yet, little baby mini lop rabbit is only 3 weeks old and is with it's Mummy. She squealed with excitement! There will be photos to follow of our little bunny. We are going to meet it this week.
We still have Es' birthday party with her 10 school friends on Saturday, so they'll be more party pics too. Have to sew my table cloths and party bags before then. Busy, to get some much needed shut eye....nightie night!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Birthday Shenanigans

Had my birthday at the beginning of the week. I had to decide how on earth I could spend the day with four children (I look after my friend's 3 year old daughter). And I erred on the side of complete insanity and headed into town for some shopping! The first shop I entered was a shop called 'Retreat' - start as you mean to go on. Despite the amount of breakable candle holders, vases and other fragile objects: there were no incidents. I think I put it down to the fact that I read them the riot act beforehand, the lovely sales assistant who occupied them while I browsed and the promise of an ice cream at the end for good behaviour.

And then it dawned on me after entering a number of shops, people actually felt sorry for me shopping with four children on my assistants entertained the children. AWESOME! I made it known in every shop I entered that it was my birthday and I managed to buy two tops, a vase, hair products and two gifts for A and Es. Not bad eh? Had sushi for lunch and got ice creams for the kids. A successful morning!

Had a wonderful afternoon at my friend Kate's - she made the children dinner and Glenda brought an egg-free chocolate cake and pudding! Talk about spoilt! Now take a look at this gorgeous card Glenda gave me. I think I'm going to frame it - I totally love it. It's a Phoenix Trading card.
Here is a selection of some gifts I received. The flowers are in the vase I bought myself. The gorgeous tea towels (I do love a classy tea towel and my thread bare, holey ones are in need of replacement!) are also from Glenda and the pretty hand made make up bag is from Sarah. Sarah is just so talented, do go and take a look at what she's been up to. She churns out such lovely things and she has four children! AMAZING!

Very soon I'll have some photos of the bunting triangles. I am certainly not finding the school hols conducive to my productivity! I do love the slow mornings, staying in bed for that bit longer, mooching around and getting breakfast at my own pace. BUT, I'm so tired and the children do need the social interaction, challenges and routine that school/kindy brings. Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it, that's what I say - ha ha ha! Catch ya laters! x

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cinnamon and Raisin Plait

Had a great weekend, took things pretty easy (as much as you can do with three kiddies). I took S to a birthday party at Lollipops Playland. I do enjoy being able to spend some one on one time with each of the children. Es and I often do a lot of 'girlie' things together, but it isn't often I get S to myself. He has come on leaps and bounds since he started morning Kindy. He's really found himself, grown in confidence, made some little friends and is just such a lovely little lad. Believe me, we've come along way....he was a very clingy, shy, timid toddler who enjoyed pulling things apart and never quite got the word 'No'. It was fun to see S enjoying himself with his friends and having a ball. I try to take a mental snapshot of these occasions, life rarely slows down enough to savour these moments.
A took all three cherubs off for most of Sunday which gave me some time to just 'be'. It's a full-on time in the school holidays and boy did I need a break! I decided to make the Cinnamon and Raisin Plait from 'The Foodtown Magazine'. I was quite excited by some of the recipes in the magazine as many were egg-free (S has a severe nut and egg allergy, so I'm always on a hunt for suitable yummy things to make).

I do enjoy making bread and since my bread machine went bust a couple of months ago I've been doing it by hand. I thought I'd find it laborious, but not at all! I find the kneading very therapeutic. I used my limited braiding skills and managed to form a rather good plait. All seemed good at this stage and yes, it did go a bit wrong. The recipe said to place a warm, damp tea towel over it and leave it for 30 mins. Well I waited and waited thinking it should double in size like my other dough recipes. Well the dough proved so much it went out of shape and my lovely plait disappeared. I thought, what the hell and baked it anyway.
And this was the result. Not horrendous, but not like the photo either. It actually tasted better than it looked. I replaced the dates with raisins as this is more agreeable to the Littlies. Note to self: 'prove' only for the time stated in recipe and make the icing thicker as a lot of it ended up drizzling off onto the board. Then I sat down with a cuppa and some plait and admired the triangles I cut out and pinned the night before. The next job is the bias binding, nearly there. Hope you all had a fab weekend too.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Knitting in Papamoa

Had the most lovely time at my Auntie's in Papamoa. It was GREAT to be out enjoying New Zealand, and this is something that must happen much more often! The five us were greeted on my Auntie's and Jeff's door step with a warm welcome and the smell of home-baked goodness - rock cakes and victoria sponge. YUM! I so miss all my family (who live in the UK) and seeing my Auntie was just the best. We definitely do not see her enough!

We made the most of the gorgeous weather and walked around Mt Manganui. An activity that would take roughly 1hour, however we had 3 reluctant walkers. Es forgot her trainers and walked in her flip flops, she made a great start but about half way around she developed a blister and then had to be carried by A. S is not a great walker anyway and often whinges when he has to walk 4 mins around the corner to school. And I gave Little E a piggy back most of the way around. Anyhoo......a beautiful and enjoyable walk all the same.

And a fun time spent at the beach...

I had high hopes for some knitting action and I did manage to get some done on the car journey down. Aunty G has knitted a lovely waistcoat in natural cream wool, she however hasn't mustered up the motivation to knit the buttonhole's often the finishing that gets me too.

So here is my current knitting project, it has been on the needles since October!!! It's a Cornish Style jumper which I found in a library book. It has cables, moss stitch, ribbing, garter and stockinette - a truly lovely pattern that reminds me of my lovely Gran who was from Cornwall herself. She patiently spent hours teaching me to knit when I was a child and when I rediscovered the craft as a young adult. I know she would be particularly impressed with this little number. It is for Little E who is 2 1/2. The pattern calls for 4ply yarn and 3.25mm needles, however I was keen to use 8ply cotton and managed to acquire the correct tension of 22st :: 10cm by changing to 3.75mm needles. This did take some swatching, so fingers crossed it will work out. I chose a petrol blue similar to the colour choice in the book.

So that was our Easter weekend, a big thank you to our hosts Auntie G and Jeff! We had a fab time! And as for this weekend, it's a-bunting I will go. Not long until Es' birthday party, so time is of the essence. Hope you and yours are all well and happy!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Introducing Es

My daughter Es, is like my shadow when it comes to ‘making and doing’. She can be found peering over my shoulder itching to join in. So I do try and encourage her do have her own projects, I will share her efforts in this blog as well as my own. My Mum helped me teach Es to knit when she was over from the UK helping with newborn baby E. So Es has been knitting on and off since she was 4 ½. Bless!

A few days ago she brought home her sharing folder from school and what little treasures it contained. This portrait has to the sweetest one she’s drawn of our family and I just had to post it.

Es also likes to make use of all the scraps of material when I’m sewing. So we’ve made a few clothes for her dolls (rather fiddly). Her last creation with the remnants from the pink muslins (I made for baby Eva) was a blanket for her puppies.

Here are two knitted blankets for her Polly Pockets. Notice the white pillows their little heads are on, they were made from the lining from the nappy wallet. No waste in this house! Very sweet!

I’ve been busy cutting out 48 triangles for Es’ birthday bunting. We are escaping for the Easter weekend to my Auntie’s in Tauranga, so I do feel the pressure is now off for making the bunting in time for Easter. But I do have to knuckle down and get some after school egg blowing/decorating organised. A has just cooked a gorgeous Goan Prawn Curry, so it’s over and out for me!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Greetings from Blogland!

Well, here I am finally after lurking for far too long! A big thank you to Stacey for giving me the final push on taking the leap. Here I will share a little glimpse into my life – as I knit, crochet, sew, cook, ponder, read and so on. The highs and lows life brings as I attempt to take on far too many projects at once as well as try and look after my three little cherubs….Little Es 6 my daughter, Little S, 4 and Little E, 2 my two little boys. Not forgetting my gorgeous husband A, who may stop by for an entry or two himself. So on my first posting I will share with you a project I am about to start and a collection of FOs (finished objects for those without the lingo).

These bright and breezy fabrics are going to be miraculously turned into a beautiful birthday bunting for Es (hopefully by elves in the middle of the night!). The choice of checks and florals were to reflect the hint of spring which isn't in the air for us in New really I wanted the bunting to look Easterish too, and I do think Easter and spring are kind of synonymous. So it's lime greens, daffodil yellows and pastel pinks - despite the arrival of autumn.

The items above I have just posted to my sis-in-law in the UK. The purse is a ‘nappy wallet’ – big enough to put in a couple of nappies and small box of wipes. The pink muslins are large enough to swaddle a new little bambino and then there’s my favourite hat and bootie pattern. The hat is adorned by a crocheted flower courtesy of Luce from Attic 24 (a crochet goddess!).

I’m off to bed now, I’m exhausted – this is the second time I’ve typed out this post and downloaded the photos. So I’m going to hit ‘publish’ before it vaporises. Toodlepip x