Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Last Day of 2011!

Wow - it's hard to believe it's almost a week since Christmas! We woke up to a stunning day - the sun was out, the birds were singing and Father Christmas had paid a visit. The small folk were beside themselves with excitement and both of them were absolutely certain that they had heard him on the roof during the night! He had snacked on the milk and biscuits and the carrots for the reindeer had gone. We have a tradition, that only started last Christmas, that the children can have icecream for breakfast on Christmas Day. Completely unhealthy but I figure once a year can't be too bad - and boy do they look forward to it. I would have absolutely loved that when I was a kid!! We then packed up the remaining pressies under the tree for the rest of the family and headed off in the car. We spent the morning with my parents, then headed another 30 mins north to visit my in-laws for lunch, then back to our place for a BBQ that night.

It was the most beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky. I managed to grab a few pictures but they're not the best, as they were taken while I was leaning out the passenger window while the car was moving! This is a lovely little inlet near my parents place. I love it when the water is this calm.

And here's the other end of the inlet - it's so pretty.

The trip home in the afternoon was amazing. Oriental Parade was full of people out walking off their Christmas lunch. The beach was full of people sunbathing and swimming - it didn't seem very Christmassy but boy it looked fantastic.

You really can't beat Wellington on a good day! We were so lucky to have such wonderful weather. We sat outside and enjoyed a lovely BBQ dinner but we were all too full to manage any dessert. So on Boxing Day we had friends around for another BBQ and this time we devoured the pavlova and brandy snaps! Mmm pavlova - delish. New Year's resolution - eat less dessert!!

We have had a lovely last day of the year today, starting with a 2nd birthday party for my dear friends wee girl. Miss B is mad about Elmo so I offered to make her an Elmo cake. I think he turned out quite well - and she loved him which is the main thing. I have a wonderful video of her seeing it for the first time and leaning over him saying "cuddle"!! Talk about melt-your-heart cute!!

I have totally jinxed myself, commenting on a few blogs recently about their lovely cosy fire photos ... because now our burst of fabulous weather has changed and it's chilly, rainy and more than just a bit miserable. Perfect weather for catching up with lovely friends though, drinking tea and eating cake. Not so great for everyone who had New Year's Eve BBQs planned - oh darn. I'm more than happy to end my year watching re-runs of Miranda, finishing my ripple blanket and having a sneaky takeaway gourmet burger for dinner. It sounds perfect to me - but I think it shows that I'm getting old!!!

So roll on 2012 - I'm ready for you and I'm pretty sure it's going to be a good one.

Happy New Year to you all. Take care and I'll see you again soon.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

4 more sleeps!

I can't believe it's only 4 more sleeps til Christmas! I think I'm organised but I'm sure there'll be a last minute realisation that I've forgotten something. School finished yesterday, kindy finishes today and my husband finishes work today - then we can start to feel like we're on holiday! We've been making lots of sweet treats for all the end of term parties. These decorated biscuits are a family favourite which we've been making for the last few years after spotting them at another party and ooohing and aaahing over them. Talk about easy but cute! A mallowpuff biscuit with melted white chocolate over the top, pop on a spearmint leaf and a jaffa and there you have it - a gorgeous little Christmas pud treat.

They are hard to resist. So much for that healthy eating plan I was following ...

I bought some gorgeous jars for next to nothing at the supermarket this week with a plan to put them in my pantry with all my baking bits and pieces in them. But when I got them home I realised they were proper preserving jars with the lid made of two separate bits - oh darn. So they weren't any good for the pantry - but I knew exactly what I could do with them instead. We'd been talking about wanting lots of candles for outside over the holidays for when we're having barbecues and just hanging out in the warm Summer evenings. I had loads of candles already so all it took was some wire and some fun with pliers. I absolutely love them and can't wait to sit outside with these dotted about the garden and on the table.

My small folk have asked if we can have them all on the dining table for dinner tonight ... it won't leave much room for plates but we'll give it a go!

We've also put up some gorgeous solar powered fairy lights so it's going to be a lovely place to sit and enjoy those warmer evenings. A bit of crochet by candlelight sounds quite appealing just now!!

We had a really cold snap last week and had to have the fire on which was just nuts. It was good weather to do some preserving though. I'd bought a huge bag of beetroot at the market and wanted to have a go at making chutney. It turned out really well and will be a very welcome addition to a good old ham sandwich over the break. Delish.

I'll be making more of these little babies today too as they disappeared really quickly. I saw a recipe on TV for easy muffins which were made in one bowl unlike the usual dry and wet mix being separate. Absolutely gorgeous - warm blueberry muffins and a big cup of tea - perfect.

Sadly this week also bought news of the loss of my lovely aunty. Aunty Maureen, I will never forget your laugh and your wonderfully smiley eyes. My love goes out to my cousins - what a totally rotten time of the year to lose your beautiful mum. xx

Well that's me for another week. Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and I'll see you again soonish. I'll leave you with this cute little song that is now a bit of a Kiwi classic, well in Wellington anyway ...

4 more sleeps to go, 4 more sleeps til Santa
4 more sleeps til the big fat fella comes down your chimney and gives you pressies and drinks your beer
4 more sleeps til Santa


Saturday, December 10, 2011

T'is the Season!

I'm a bit late doing my weekly post so it's really lovely to sit down now while the children have gone to the playground with dad. All I can hear is the birds in the garden and it's wonderful! Having two unwell small folk this week has been full on, we're all feeling a bit flat. But the sun has come out today and it's just gorgeous. Amazing how it can lift flagging energy levels!! Still, I did manage to get my hook out for a few little projects I wanted to try. The first was just a little jar decoration because I had this cute silver thread. So out came the hook and I had a little play and this is how it came out. Having looked at the photo now I think I need to put it on a prettier jar!! Then again, recycling of any type is pretty cool and my littlies think it's just lovely!

It's a good use of all the jam jars I've got stashed in the back of my cupboard! Will definitely make a few more and line them up along our fireplace.

Now that we are coming to the end of the year and it's time to think about little gifts for friends, teachers and neighbours - I couldn't wait to whip up my first batch of this delicious Christmas Rocky Road. I made it last year for the first time and it was dangerously good.Best of all it's easy peasy. Melt white chocolate, then to the bowl add chopped pistachios, dried cranberries, white marshmallows and coconut. Mix it all up, pop it onto a lined tray and press down slightly and then it's into the fridge to set. Once it's cut up and put into a pretty wee box it makes for a lovely homemade pressie. I'd certainly be pleased to receive it!!!

Although I have to say it's a very bad time of the year to be nibbling at this when you live at my end of the world. It's Summer which means shorts, sun tops and swimming togs - eeeeek. I had two Christmases on the other side of the world and I loved being able to disguise any Christmas weight gain under layers of lovely Winter clothes!I almost forgot, I also made some of these cute little bauble covers that I spied in the latest AWW magazine. It's a cute pattern by Pip Lincolne and they look really sweet - well Santa here looks happy to be on a neighbouring branch anyway!It was so nice to get these wee cuties out of the attic last week. I posted about these last year when I'd only just started doing my blog and at the time, I didn't want to take them down after Christmas! Tiny wee stockings - what's not to like? And while I'm in the festive spirit - it seemed only right to get myself an early pressie. This arrived yesterday in the post - a new cover for my phone and I absolutely adore it. How utterly girly. I couldn't decide which one I loved most so I got a blue one too!! Naughty! I'm loving this warmer weather, the garden is bursting with new veges and berries appearing every day and you have to be very quick to nab a raspberry before Miss 4 spots them. These pretty roses are neglected every year but constantly reward us with a huge amount of buds. I'd like to think that there is something in that - but I'm guessing it's a fluke and it won't get me out of neglecting the rest of the garden! Darn it. We also got our very first strawberry this week! Small but delicious. I adore strawberry season soooooo much. It's one of my fave foods ever. So it was a total shock to the system during the week to have some wild Wintery weather hit us that meant we needed to dust off our gumboots to do the school run. Miss 4 and I looked perfectly ready to deal with the puddles on the way to collect Mr 7! We even needed to have the fire on which is crazy considering today we can't cool down enough and have every window and door open. That cold snap meant it was perfect to work on my blanket. Bella had the same idea and quickly made herself at home amongst it.

Now as I keep this blog as a kind of diary for myself, I needed to write this as it has been such an emotional week. Amongst all the Christmas preparations there has been a lot of sadness. Yesterday I attended a funeral for a wonderful man I used to work with. He died in a tragic diving accident last weekend and it has absolutely shocked everyone who knew him. Eric, you were a gentle man and a true gentleman and I'm so glad I had the chance to meet you - you will be missed so very much. xx

Have a lovely week all. See you again soon.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What a weekend!

My long awaited girly weekend with Kylie was everything I had looked forward to and more! It was absolutely brilliant to catch up with such a wonderful friend and I wish we could do it more often. But living at different ends of the island, having busy family lives and the high cost of travel makes it a fairly rare event. So we were determined to squeeze in as much as possible with the time we had! There was a lot of eating, a bit of drinking and even some crochet. We are both making ripple blankets which made for a lovely photo session. We also worked our way through our recent jewellery making purchases and had so much fun making more necklaces, rings and even some little girls hair clips. It was great to be able to cover the dining table in craft stuff and not have to tidy it away the whole weekend.

Here are a few more pics of the weekend, with a bit of a tiki-tour around our stunning south coast. The weather got better and better so we had to keep stopping at different cafes throughout the weekend (I told you there was a lot of eating!).

We started off at Maranui Cafe for breakfast and were lucky enough to get what I think is the best seat in the house - smack bang in the front window overlooking the rugged beach.

It was a classic windy Wellington morning - so this kite surfer was having a fab time out there.

After many hours visiting the local Knack craft market, the Underground craft market and wandering around the city shops, it was time for afternoon tea at Martha's Pantry. I adore this wee cafe. It's so nana-y and pretty. So scones and tea it was - delicious!

Then it was home to think about what to do for dinner ... and after spotting these gorgeous strawberries at the supermarket, we decided that chocolate dipped strawberries would make the perfect dinner! What a treat!!

Oh wow - I think this is one of my favourite food combos ever. Made even better by the addition of wine. Boy it's nice to be a grown up sometimes - when you can have chocolate for dinner! See the stunning vase in the background? Kylie surprised me with it and I absolutely love it. It is currently on my windowsill full of roses my lovely neighbour just bought over for me. Talk about spoilt!

Sunday morning and after a visit to the vege market it was time for ... you guessed it ... another cafe visit!! This time it was to Scorch-O-Rama in Scorching Bay. I hadn't visited this cafe for years when it used to be called Chocolate Fish. It was the perfect sunny day to be there. I love that you can sit across the road from the main cafe and enjoy the sunshine and be right beside the beach.

Now that's a view that's hard to beat while enjoying a cold drink isn't it. A perfect spot to stop at for an icecream with the kids over the Summer holidays I think. In the 'old days' before we had children, my husband and I used to drive our wee Fiat Bambinas in convoy around this coast, stopping here for lunch. I'm hoping we can do it again soon once they are both back on the road.

The quirky art beside the cafe is totally beachy and was obviously a real labour of love.

I really love this part of Wellington so just wanted to share a few more pics with you.

Check out the house on top of this hill. It looks as if it's being held up by a central support and nothing else!

Pretty isn't it? Well almost time to go now but before I do I had to pop this pic on to the end of my post. Our first crop of broad beans for the season! After what seemed like a very long Winter it's so nice to see new veges becoming ripe and ready to eat. These were made into a yummy rustic dish with bacon, slow cooked onions, rosemary and tomatoes. Alongside some homemade bread it is one of my fave meals.

And today I picked our very first raspberries - just the two - but it's a start! No photo as I ate them within seconds! Roll on Summer so there can be more raspberries, boysenberries and one other berry that will be a surprise as I've lost the tag and can't for the life of me remember what it is!!

I hope I haven't bored you too much. Thanks for making it through to the end.

Have a fabulous week. See you again soon!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Roll on Friday!!

I was so ridiculously excited earlier in the week when two parcels were delivered! I had treated myself to some new wool which I bought through Deramores in the UK. As far as I know it's a range you can't buy here in NZ and it was a brilliant deal. They made it even easier and had put all these colours together in one Stylecraft pack. I absolutely love it and can't wait to start a project with it. The only colour I'm a bit iffy about is the pale green (top left) - it's a bit insipid but I can see how it could be used as a transitional colour between the greens and blues. I adore the raspberry colour (2nd from right on the bottom) - it's truly delicious. We have lots of beautiful wool in this country but the thing I've been struggling with is being able to find more than 10 colours in any one range that I really love and want to put together. So I think from here on in I might just have to buy from the UK - it worked out to be slightly cheaper than I usually pay for a similar sized ball here, including the postage. Fabulous!!! Thank you to Mary who had posted about her purchase which I instantly fell in love with!

The second parcel was from a New Zealand craft website I came across last week in my hunt for some bezel setting earring findings. Lots of ooohing and aaahing and several dollars later, I had placed an order for the most gorgeous jewellery bits and pieces to make things for myself and for gifts. I can show you what I made for me but the gifts will have to be kept secret just for now!!! This pendant is 30mm in diameter and I am thrilled with it. It is fairly chunky metal in antique bronze and I tell you what, the hardest thing about making it was deciding what image to pop into it! I flicked through some scrapbooking paper I had and used this reddy/pinky tree. It looks fab and when I wore it for the first time yesterday I had loads of compliments. Now I can't wait to make more!!

Here's the side on piccie, showing the thickness of the frame and the glass dome. Seriously simple and under $10 to make the entire thing including the matching chain. Brilliant!

Here is the rest of the parcel ... more pendants big and small, earrings, rings and lots of hairclips ready to decorate with gorgeous ribbon. Miss 4 will love these and they will make fab pressies for her wee friends.

My Bambina Picnic Blanket is coming along nicely. I never thought I'd enjoy making this as much as I am. It's a lovely rhythmic pattern which is pretty simple. Although in saying that, I have had to undo several rows because I haven't concentrated and discover at the very end of the row that I don't have enough stitches left. You'd think I'd learn wouldn't you but no - I've done it at least 6 times so far!

My African flower woolly blanket is also growing. I have decided that as I complete every 10 flowers, I will stop and join them together. It just seems so much easier in my mind. Otherwise I look at a giant pile of them and feel a bit daunted. This one has a bit more time on its side as I won't be using it for almost a year - it will be ready for next winter.

You might have noticed that my blog post is titled "Roll on Friday". The reason for it is that I have my gorgeous friend Kylie coming to stay with me this weekend and she flies in on Friday!! We are both well overdue for a girly weekend and I truly can't wait. We have so much planned and we won't waste one minute of it. I'm sure I'll have lots of pics to share with you in my next post. Kylie also bought some jewellery bits and bobs so there will be lots of creative action around here over the two days. We'll definitely have our hooks out too!!

Until then, I hope you all have a fabulous week!

Take care,

Monday, November 14, 2011

A blast from the past!

We are well overdue for a good Spring clean so this weekend we decided to deal with the piles of boxes we have in our attic, before our ceiling collapsed under the pressure! Amongst all the junk were two boxes marked 'toys' - one from my childhood and one from my husband's. It was so lovely to open them up and discover a box full of memories. I can remember getting this Knit Magic from a relative for Christmas when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I adored it and whipped up many tubey scarves with it! I gave one to my teacher Miss Drew and she genuinely seemed to love it. In hindsight I realise she was probably just a really good actress!! I never managed to make the delightful slippers as seen on the box, maybe when Miss 4 is a bit older she can have a go at it! This was probably where my crafty obsession started.

And as for this hat, well it's interesting...

I took a quick pic of this and then hid it away again as my two would probably destroy it in seconds. I still can't quite believe that after 30+ years, this tiny plastic set is still intact. I had to pop my crochet hook in there to show you how dinky everything is. There are little books in the bookshelf that come out, the drawers open and the radiogram cabinet (not a CD player in sight!) opens too. I absolutely loved this when I was little.

And then I came to a fabulous retro bag that my nana had made for me and inside was my beloved Daisy Doll. I never wanted a Barbie, I thought Daisy was the bees knees. She's looking like she's had one wine too many in this pic but don't you love the flared pants and platform shoes. You can tell what era she is from that's for sure!

Mr 7 was beside himself when he spotted this box amongst his Dad's treasures.

He just about burst when he opened it up to find all these old cars.

And then he got to the Lego box - oh wow talk about excited. I'm guessing that after school today I'm going to be helping build a rocket to go with the moonscape base.

I have been making progress with my ripple blanket and also the African flower blanket. But I am also trying to squeeze in a few more tea cosies for presents. While the small folk were having an early dinner yesterday I sat with them and made this little cutie. It's a tiny little teapot so it only took a wee while to make this cosy. I had to giggle, Miss 4 asked me if I was making a poncho for the teapot! She's kind of right really - it does pops right over the teapot's head!

So a Teapot Poncho it is!!

How gorgeous is this little skirt I found at the op shop for Miss 4? It's very full and so very girly.

And it's reversible! She whips it off and flips it over all day depending on her mood.

Well that's enough from me. I'm off to have a cuppa and a ridiculously delicious red velvet cupcake with a crazy amount of icing on it - mmm mmm. It's not a cake you hear much about in NZ but I was keen to try it out after hearing about this flavour on lots of US tv shows. Oh wow - amazing!!!

Have a lovely week everyone. I'm hoping to catch up on visiting your lovely blogs this week after a week of not feeling too flash. See you again soon.