Friday, April 30, 2010

Quilting News: New EQ7 coming!

The quilting world has been abuzz with news about EQ7 which is being released in June.

I've wanted  EQ since I started seriously quilting. One of my quilting limitations is sometimes ending up with quilts that don't look exactly  the way I envisaged in my head. Who could forget the devil quilt from early 2010?  If I'd had EQ that would never have happened and I've been insanely jealous of everyone who already has EQ. Yes- My name is Shay and I've had EQ envy. If I had EQ I could see what my creations were going to look like before I made my first cut.  However I've also realised that at the rate I buy fabric, and what with laundry and kitchen reno's going on here at Maison Pyjamas  I might have to live to be 100 years old before I get my own copy of EQ. scheming little brain has been thinking about how to get around my fabric obsession /house renovation/ need for EQ dilemma.

Enter  those wonderful EQ people,  who may be about to make my dreams and possibly your dreams come  true.

EQ are giving 10 incredibly lucky bloggers the chance to give away a copy of the new EQ7  on their blog and receive a copy of their very own.  I love to share , you guys love to win, and I want a copy of this program. Frankly this seems like win /win situation to me.

This version  of EQ has a ton of features. You can check them all out here  and apparently it's packed full of stuff for newbies like me. Yay!  Sign me up and let's start quilting.

So, hopefully  the EQ people are stalking my blog right now deciding to make me one of the 10 bloggers chosen to give away a copy of this program to one of you!

And because I'm nice and don't like to hog all the chances to win ..if you want the chance to give away a copy on your blog you can go here and get all the EQ gossip!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Slack Tea Thursday

With Mr. P off at "boys night "and Miss P and Little P having tea at Hogs Breath with a friend (how come nobody invited me to go for awesome steak, although I felt  vindicted when Miss P got home and told me her steak was AWFUL )  tonight I was at complete liberty to do whatever I wished without fear of whinging , except my own .

Why is it , that it never seems worth the effort to cook for just me? And does anyone else think this is the time I should be having lobster on the half shell or that really expensive beef we export to Japan since it's only me here for dinner?  Duh...I'm stupid. Maybe next week.

So with a complete disinterest in cooking I considered my options for things that would take 5 minutes or less to get on a plate. Macca's or KFC seemed like appealing options, but I was in my pyjamas , and I always worry that my car will break down in the drive through and I'll have to get out and everyone will see my daggy Elmo pj bottoms and point and laugh at me. I'm highly influenced by the idea of public ridicule.  Naturally getting changed back into actual pants is wayyyyyyyyyy too hard on Thursdays, so I nixed the Macca's /KFC plan.

Maybe this?

Nup....didn't  feel like basghetti (that is not a typo - that's what spaghetti is called at Casa Pyajmas)

While contemplating choices I had this for my entree...I had to keep my strength up.

No , that's not vegemite ...that's promite pretend retching please.

And eventually settled on soft boiled eggs with soldiers for mains


So I went for the  trifecta

Chips for Dessert

I was kinda disappointed with this effort until I realised eggs are from the meat group, toast is from the breads and  cereal group, butter on the toast counts as dairy, the potatoes in the chips are a vegetable,  and I'm sure somewhere in there is a fat or an oil item. I'm calling that a balanced diet. If I eat a sultana later -all will be square with the universe. That's fruit taken care of.

Go ME!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Translation Tuesday -Dedicated to Bridging (or Widening) the Cultural Divide

This one is for you Brenda.

Cooeeeee Cobbers! Since it seems my last Translation Tuesday post about Vegemite , while popular, really grossed people out, I'm atoning this week with something everyone should be able to  enjoy.

Last week , I mentioned Lamingtons and Brenda asked what they were. Lamingtons are Australian tea cakes. There is debate about their origin but they seem to have been around since at least the early 1900’s, so that makes the recipe over 100 years old. And we Aussies are still eating them. Not the same original ones, which would no doubt be petrified by now-but new batches of lovely lamingtons.  If you think of Lamingtons as the Aussie version of Brownies you'll  have a fair idea of their iconic-ness. (I'm pretty sure I just made that word up)

By the way , making Lamingtons is a REALLY messy business. You’re probably going to end up with stuff everywhere , or perhaps that's just me. I'm just warning you. The mess is worth it.

This recipe is taken from the Green and Gold cookbook, which is a South Aussie icon, first published in 1923. It is now in it’s 36th edition and over ½ a million copies have been sold. I love old cookbooks and inherited some from my Nanna when she passed away in 2008. I make things from them all the time.  Enough with the history and on with the post.

You can either do the cake for this recipe from scratch or you can buy a box/packet  cake which will make it easier. Regardless of whether you choose a box cake or make your own, make it the day before you want to eat these lamingtons, because it really is better if the cake is not fresh. Trust me on this. And, if you go box cake , get something that is dense like butter, madeira or pound cake. Sponge or light cake doesn’t work nearly as well (although you do see lamingtons made from sponge  all the time at bakeries here - and in my opinion they arent true lamingtons- too fluffy.)

If you use a box cake then you can skip down to the dipping part of this post. For the rest of us you will need:

225 grams (1 cup ) butter
1 and 1/2 cups of white sugar ( I used castor because I ran out of regular)
4 eggs        
1 cup of milk                                                             
3 cups of Self Raising Flour

This makes two 8x8 inch square cakes. So if you only want one halve the recipe. I bake two and throw one whole cake in the freezer so I don't have to go through this  trauma next time I want lamingtons. Excuse my picture quality because my kitchen was really dark even with the lights on  when I took these pictures because it was overcast outside. When I get my new kitchen, I'm sure the weather will be sunny all the time... 

Cream the butter and sugar

Add eggs two at a time beating well between additions.

then chuck in your milk and flour and beat until well combined and you'll end up with this


Chuck it in a greased 8 x 8 inch pan (or two if you didn't halve the recipe  )  and turf it in the oven on about 190C (around 350-375F) for about 35-45 minutes. Cooking time  will depend on whether you have one of the awesome fan forced ovens or not, whether it's a full moon, or whether your oven is possessed by evil baking spirits. Do the spring back test to check for cooked-ness. (It would appear I am making up words left right and centre today)

Then leave the cake to cool on a  rack and store it in the fridge or a tupperware container on a bench for 12-24 hours.

OK,  box cake cheaters, you can come back now because this is the stuff you need to know.

Meanwhile back at the ranch , it is now the next day.Cut all the side edges off your cake and cut it into 12 or 16 squares of roughly the same size. I usually go 12 squares because you get a bigger lamington, but I didn't want to convey the idea that I was piggy for this post so I did 16 squares (but I just confessed to liking my lamingtons BIG so you know I'm piggy anyway so that was kind of pointless really)

In a deep bowl , mix around 5 cups of icing sugar and around 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder.

Then add a tablespoon or two of boiling water or cold milk and mix it up. You want it to be sloppy enough to dip your cake squares , but  not so sloppy that it won't soak into them. I like my mix a little bit more dense. Just keep adding water/milk and icing sugar till you get the right consistency. This amount of slop wonderful chocolate mix is enough to do 1 cake worth of lamingtons. Mine looked like this

In another bowl add about three cups of coconut. Don't put the coconut away because you may need more. It's surprising how much coconut you need. I often marvel at where it all goes...

Dip the cake squares  in the chocolate mix making sure to coat every surface  and let the excess drain away.  Then throw it in the coconut and roll it around covering all the surfaces, and then put it on a wire  rack to dry. I pretty much soak each cake square in there for a minute or so  to soak up all that chocolatey goodness.

It's actually really hard to dip with one hand, roll in coconut with the other hand and take pictures...It was inevitable I would end up with coconut all over my camera.

When you're done this is what you'll have

Voila! Lamingtons!

Plus mess...

The beauty of these cakes is that if you have a stale pound or madeira cake you can make lamingtons out of it . Beat that Nigella. These will keep for 2-3 days in a sealed container. And if you aren't talking like an Aussie by the time you finish eating these, there's something wrong with you. It is imperative to say Aussie type things while eating lamingtons, such as "Beaudy" and "Crikey". If you don't your head might explode.

Another tip: Make sure you don’t eat these in the dark.....

And also if you type coconut fast like I do , sometimes a bad word appears as a typo. Sorry if any of those got through. I did check carefully but accidents happen.

And Vegemite won't make your butt fat but lamingtons probably will.  

Monday, April 26, 2010

I'm going to make this really fast ...

We are so close to actually having a laundry, I can feel it! . By this time next week, barring unforseen tragedy, major illness or the end of the world,  I'll be posting pics. As a teaser, I finally broke down yesterday and put my vinyl decal up. I couldn't wait any longer.

That will mean my laundry will no longer be here outside on my patio.....I cannot tell you how excited I am . As will our neighbours be when they don't have to watch us washing our undies and other unmentionables outside like hillbillies.

Back tomorrow with Translation Tuesday. It involves chocolate. 

 Have a great Monday!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Anzac Day

I’m not going to poke fun with this post.   Nor am I going to debate the rights or wrongs of war, of politics or of history. There will no side taking  or finger pointing.   This is a post to simply say thank you.

Today (April 25th) is ANZAC Day. It is a day of national significance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli during World War 1. The site of the landing is now officially known as Anzac Cove. The ensuing battles fought at Gallipoli over the next nine months became known as the Gallipoli campaign and later,  April 25th became the day when the sacrifice of over 8500 Australians and 2700 New Zealanders who gave their lives during the Gallipoli campaign came to be nationally observed in both countries. 

In current times Anzac Day has become a day to remember the contribution of  those who have fought in all wars since Gallipoli.

Around 60,000 troops from both sides of the conflict died during this campaign, and it is estimated there were over 200,000 casualties.

There are not sufficient nor meaningful enough words to thank the people of our two great nations who fought to ensure the continuation of the Australian and New Zealand way of life. The sacrifice these brave young men made to ensure our freedom as democratic countries can never be repaid. The best way we can honour them is to remember. And to remember the men from the opposing forces who died right beside them. When men die in battle they cease to be enemies and should be remembered because they were someone's son, father, or brother  no matter what side they fought for. A loss of a life is as much a loss no matter what the idealogy.

Engraved forever at the  Ataturk Memorial at Anzac cove are the following words. These words were written by a Turkish commander who fought against the allied forces during the Gallipoli campaign and became the first president of the republic of Turkey  and his words are written in  reference to Allied troops who died there.

"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives. You are now living in the soil of a friendly country therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well"

Thank you Anzacs.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cheatin' In My Pyjamas

We all cheat occasionally ...

Tonight  Mr. P and I had friends over for dinner. The idea was tapas type food. Everyone contributes.Everyone brings several things. We all share ...and drink lots of sangria. The idea is to try out new cooking skills, rock your tastebuds yada yada yada and have some fun. 

I just want to point out I am pretty much the most organised person on this planet. I have lists for the  lists I want to create. And if this isnt your first time here , you'll know that I spent some of this week feeling sorry for myself and holding my own little pity party. It was rockin' because it went for a few days.  I kinda dropped the ball. So I didnt organise my dinner plans for  tonight on Monday as usual,  and this  morning  I realised I only had a very vague idea of what I was serving. The problem was..I had already said some of the things I was planning to cook so I was stuck to providing  those things BUT  I had no time to really prep anything....

In today's modern society you can do almost anything and with a few minor mods it can look like you spent hours in the kitchen....Thank Goodness....unless you confess when your guests arrive that you were a total slackarse...

Did you know you can take store bought tsatsiki and add some home grown mint and some cumin and pretend you did home made raita?

You can turn 8 bucks of rump steak and $6.00 worth of ready made lamb koftas into 22 skewers of fancy looking meat.

And you can bake a camembert in the oven , add a french stick cut up really thinly and pretend it's gourmet food.

Did you know you can turn this

into this in 15 minutes...

And your friends can bring all sorts of yummy food , like home baked garlic chicken (with a strong emphasis on garlic)  and mojo sauce, and chorizo rolls, and a yummy fritta with broad beans and you can drink sangria and it will be a great night, because these people are your friends and dont care whether you cooked or just arranged food on plates.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Seriously Seriously Funny...

I implore you to head over to Cynthia's at Home Matters 1st and watch her vegemite eating video.

It had me in absolute stitches at 6.20 this morning , and again many many times through the day. It just keeps getting better.

The faces she pulls crack me up!  Thank you Cynthia for braving the Vegemite taste test. You are a complete legend.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Slack Tea Thursday

I had a whole post prepared about why I chose this as dinner tonight...and in my usual fashion, it explained things in as much descriptive detail as I could muster.

And then I realised all you really need to know is:

Crap day at work...really crap. And I can't talk about it without sounding like a petulant brat so I won't. I think I've done enough petulant today in direct response to the crap-ness.  

Don't judge me ....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Translation Tuesday -Dedicated to Bridging (or Widening) the Cultural Divide

In the interests of international relations , I bring you “Translation Tuesday” where I’m going to explain all our Aussie-isms. I get a lot of questions and emails about stuff I post and  I want you to understand  all the weird stuff we have here, which by the way, doesn't seem weird to us.

It is appropriate I start with an Australian Icon and something I mention often.I give you Vegemite. This black crap in a jar is liquid gold and has a place in 90% of Australian pantries.

Vegemite is particularly  topical at present  because I sent Cynthia some vegemite recently (does that make me a Vegemite pusher?) and she’s avoiding eating it because of all the negative publicity Vegemite continues to get from non vegemite-o-philes. (Glares in Marg's general direction ) Cynthia practically stood in another state while she got her partner  to open the jar, like she was afraid snakes were going to jump out.  I fear Vegemite has a bad rep and is completely misunderstood. And ,  I don't find the vegemite bashing funny...Vegemite and Australians  have feelings you know. Do I diss Cheese Whizz? Graham Crackers? Other weird international products? (Except for rollmops - which really are gross - Sorry Finland but I aint never coming to the party on those and I'm part Finnish and eat a lot of weird things - just check out my Slack Tea Thursday posts)

Let me explain Vegemite to you. In Australia, from the time we’re old enough to gum toast our mothers slap this spread on bread and toast, or on our crumpets, or on our crackers or even on Weetbix.  Some might call that child abuse. Real Aussies call that breakfast. None of that wussy Peanut Butter and Jelly for us Aussies. We want something that's going to shock us awake and harden our arteries at the same time. Because we are a wild and crazy race, given to eating almost anything including  our national animal  symbols like Kangaroos, Emu's  and Crocodiles. You can buy them at the supermarket. I can't imagine American's eating a bald eagle. I rest my case.

Vegemite  has magical healing properties folks. I ask you is it coincidence that we have no leprosy, diptheria or scarlet fever in this country? I think not – it’s all down to the daily use of vegemite by about 90% of the population. Vegemite is a wonder spread.

Now, some of you have made disparaging comments about vegemite. Based on what ? The fact it tastes like road tar?  Looks like road tar? Tastes like salt on toast?  It's delicious and high in Vitamin B.

Vegemite was invented in 1922.  The guy who invented it wanted to find a way to use the yeasty scum they scrape off the top of fermenting beer. Australian’s are inventive that way. Waste not – want not. By some odd process it turns black and then they add about 5 pounds of salt to every jar to really funk it up. My Dad used to joke that they also used beetle blood to turn it black but I’m pretty sure thats not true. (Yep just checked the jar and beetle blood isn't listed as an ingredient -my Dad is such a kidder)

Personally I can't believe this stuff hasn't caught in internationally like Fosters  beer, which in my opinion tastes WAYYYYYYYYY worse.

Considering the Billionth Jar of Vegemite was produced in October 2008, how can that many vegemite lovers be wrong?  And for any Australian who says they don’t like it – well thats just plain un-Australian. We actually round up people who say they don’t like vegemite and make them go live in exile in the desert.

To further help you, I have added this awesome tutorial on how to make vegemite toast..Cynthia , this is required reading for you and there will be a pop quiz later  , so take notes.

Tutorial – Vegemite Toast

You will need: A Toaster, Bread, Vegemite and Butter (see how simple vegemite makes things?)

Cook your bread to desired golden-ness and spread with butter. How much butter you spread is totally up to you ...I love butter so I go a bit crazy.

Spread with vegemite , as desired. On the left is a normal person's amount of vegemite . On the right is my vegemite. (because I am tough  and can't stand it when people wave the knife full of vegemite over the top of the toast and pretend they actually put some on there  )

it's that simple. Enjoy! This is the good-est stuff ever.

Actually  I lied....this is how I really spread my vegemite but I didn't want to gross you all out.

Seriously though, If you haven’t built up an immunity from Vegemite by the time you’re three years old, eating this shit will probably kill you. You’ll never develop a taste for it. But I think you should try it anyway and get someone to take a picture of your face when you take the first bite.

I hope you have a better understanding of the Australian love for Vegemite. Please email me with questions or Comments...or if you want a vegemite delivery.

P.S. This blog post is brought to you by the letter V and by an idea suggested by beautiful Marg from Sunshine?Paradise?, which I completely stole, after asking her if I could , which isn't really stealing then is it?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekend Roundup

I heard a wild rumour that my  laundry floor  tiling may be started imminently.  There is nothing else left to do so I am left to assume this is not just scurrilous gossip.  Happy Day! Mr.P spent this weekend painting the internal and external doors. Indy and Lola helped by coming in and out as much as possible because the doors were open ,  so Mr. P had to keep touching up the paint work. Lola decided to stick her schnozz in the paint tray at one point. Consequently we have one white nosed dog and another with a racing stripe down his side.

In other news our house looks like a crime scene.

Actually it's for the planned murder of our kitchen  in about 12 weeks. (Aren't my floor tiles tres gorgeous. NOT.)

Mr. P and I  had the kitchen designer  in on  Friday and we have 3D computer images  of our new kitchen , but I just wasn't feeling it so we taped out some of the new planned cupboards to see if I can live with it.  This is a major renovation people . We are taking out benches and all the cupboards as well as bringing down a wall. In case you want to stop following my blog at that point - we'll be having the new kitchen installed in around 12 weeks. I have to say I'm REALLY excited about the new kitchen and the designer was marvellous, to the point where we aren't going to bother getting any other quotes, because for a change I'm happy. Saturday when we got the plans, I shot through three changes I wanted to make via email and she was back to me with updated plans within an hour. Let's hope the rest of it goes smoothly. So I'm off out to look for appliances over the next couple of weeks...Yahoooooooo! Finally a dishwasher! And we will be spending a considerable amount of time prepping the kitchen and dining room for the new cabinetry.Our kitchen has not had a major remodel in 30 years and we are still sporting cedar walls and pelmets, the beautiful brown floor tiles, a copper rangehood  and  pineapple decal  feature wall tiles, all of which need to come out before the new kitchen goes in.  Yes..I'm always selective when I show you pictures that I take in my kitchen.

Our football team lost spectacularly yesterday and to add insult to injury we were there...Mr. P is still cranky about it and even though it’s only round 4 of 22 for season 2010,  he is muttering about not bothering with season tickets for 2011.

For all of you that think I live a perfect life...When I woke up this mornng, my sewing room looked like this

 ...and I spent 45 minutes cleaning it before I could get in there

 to make this

I finished spray painting  the laundry hamper  and  the back board for the hooks for the laundry. And I'm pretty happy with how they both turned out.

I know I sound a bit like Martha with this post , but it IS unusual for me to actually get things done without a major incident or disaster.  It might never happen again so I thought I'd better post about it to appease whatever diety was sitting on my shoulder helping me out today. Thanks diety!

I won't be here tomorrow because Spandau Ballet and Tears for Fears are in town  so I'll be there bopping away and re-living my lost youth.  And lest you think I've turned into some obsessed woman who only talks house renovations I'm planning a Tuesday post that will bridge the cultural divide. Stay tuned and have a great Sunday and Monday!  

P.S.  I managed to stay in my pyjamas all day. Bonus!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Funny Farm

There is swearing in this post.....

I mentioned in a previous post that my parents used to own a farm. I have so many great memories of the farm and in an effort to share more of myself and my family I want to tell you about some of my favourite times there. I'm hoping it will paint a broader picture  of my family and of where I come from and who I am.

Like the time we rolled Miss P in a crusted dried cow pat as a joke .. Nobody was laughing when we discovered that it only looked crusted and dried on top and it squished everywhere when she hit it with her back. It took her two showers to get rid of the stink.  She didn’t talk to us for days – it was so peaceful. And years later she still brings it up (usually when she is vilifying my parenting skills –like somehow that would worry me –jeez I survived you wishing me dead all through your teen years , you're gonna have to try harder than that old chestnut) and she still can’t see the funny side of it. We’ve been dining out on that story for years. If I could find cow plop in the city I’d roll her in it again – just for the giggle.

Like the time we returned from a weekend at the farm and 7 year old Miss. P wrote an essay the very next day at school about her weekend entitled “My Grampy is a Chicken Murderer” complete with a drawing of a chicken spurting arterial blood from it’s little chicken neck. I rush to point out that my Dad NEVER killed chickens in this way. Unfortunately, I didn’t see this literary masterpiece until the end of school term when her work folder came home and by that time she’d had 4 sessions with the school psychologist. Come to think of it that was the same year she was asked to write and illustrate a cartoon that included the following elements: Santa , a rope, a bell and a pair of underpants . In her story Santa got tied up with the rope, the underpants got stuffed in his mouth as a gag and she rang a bell while she held Christmas hostage. I still have that story somewhere as evidence that she has been disturbed since childhood if she picks “serial killer” as a career choice later in life. And now that I think about that, WTF was up with that teacher?? A rope, Santa,  a bell and underpants indeed.

Like the time we gently asked Miss P not to look in the 30 litre stockpot on the stove when she asked what my Mum was cooking. We warned her it was unpleasant. and not for young eyes.  Like so many tales that teach a moral she could not do what she was told and reaped her reward when she peeked in the pot and saw an entire boiling pigs head eyes skyward staring at her from out of the pot. She hasn’t eaten pork or been able to look at a picture of a pig since. The mere sight of bacon makes her weep. 

Like the time a snake chased me through the orchard ...let me just say those f***ers move fast and it’s complete bullshit that they go out of their way to avoid humans. This one was actually gunning for me. I’m pretty sure I heard it hiss ” You’re mine, Bitch” just before it lunged. It’s a good thing I can duck and weave. I sure had freaking motivation that day. I actually beat Ben Johnson's record for the 100 metre sprint without the aid of chemical enhancers. And I bet Benny didn’t run his race simultaneously wailing in fear and screaming at the top of his lungs either. Pussy.

Like the time my Dad took on some orphaned cows and gave them cute names like Basil, Bertie and Bruce. He told us that that the Mummy Cows had died and the cows were all alone in the world. We all took turns bottle feeding them 12 times a day for weeks , patting them, domesticating them and loving them, and then my Dad sent them off to market to be slaughtered for steak. Good One Dad. Way to psychologically scar your kids who were in their 30's at the time. You couldn't do that in our  childhood like a normal parent?  

Like the time my Mum served up an awesome roast dinner although the meat tasted slightly different which made sense once Mum told us it was actually veal. After dinner she confessed to me it was actually Goat. And she wonders why we now rock up to her house with our own takeout bags of McDonalds for mealtimes...This incident led to the standing catch cry in our family when Mum announces what we’re having for dinner we all chime in with “Yeah but what is it REALLY?” even when its obvious it’s scrambled eggs on toast or something simple, but you never REALLY know and it’s entirely possible that they’re duck or snake eggs . And the bread is probably made from pressed egg shells mixed with some funky gluten free flour milled by trained iguanas in Peru. Nothing is as it seems. It always pays to ask.

Like the time my dog, Blossom , decided she could carry ducks by their necks in an attempt to round them up to be “helpful”. Well, she was a Huntaway and it was in her genetic makeup to round things up. My Mum screamed so hard at the sight of the dog with a duck’s neck in her mouth she nearly busted her pooper, because everyone knows once a working dog “goes bad” the dog has to go.  Imagine if you can, a duck ‘s neck in a dogs mouth and everything else still flapping and squawking like crazy. The duck was only scared not dead. This was the same dog that would spend hours in the back paddocks playing unsupervised with sheep. Stress makes sheep meat go tough and stringy. So this was also a big no no. Bloss eventually died of natural causes.

Imagine the panic when my Mum discovered she was allergic to bees at the age of about 60 (although she never had been before) when she got stung while picking herbs Christmas Eve and my parents lived 45 kilometres from the nearest hospital. Gee that was a fun drive! My sister made it to the hospital in about 8 minutes. In a Magna.  I made it in 10 and I had to detour 12 extra kilometres to find my father at the boat ramp. We all still joke about how Mum faked anaphylaxis to try to get out of cooking Christmas lunch. The joke was on Patty because we made the hospital discharge her so she could come home and cook it anyway.

Like the time my Dad discovered the pig had broken out of the pen in the far paddock and he had to trudge about a kilometre on foot to retrieve it. And then he had to drag the pig the whole kilometre home again on a rope. Pigs can be mighty stubborn if they don’t want to go back to pig jail folks. He came back into the house looking and breathing like he was about to have a heart attack from the extertion.(and because he was secretly mad at the pig)  And we all just laughed because it was such a funny story. Because it hadn't actually happened to us. 

Or like the time my Dad, who has a really bad habit of being a sneaky eater, popped into pantry (which was actually a room) and snuck a couple of Mum's home made lamingtons in the dark, hoping nobody would know.(and as you all know - if you eat in the dark it also has no calories)  Fifteen minutes later Mum brought the lamingtons out to share with us all, and noticed they were green and fuzzy ...with mould. Dad ran to the bathroom retching...screaming “I just ate two of those.”And my mother’s response was  ”That’ll teach you to sneak food then” . The man could have been dying of botulism and we were pissing ourselves laughing. That story is now family legend.

Ahhhhhhh Memories.

P.S. To prove my point. Miss P just came and read this post over my shoulder, and said "Do you HAVE to tell the story about the cow shit?" Still no sense of humour about it. So Yes I do Miss P... Yes I do... Be thankful I’m not posting it on your Facebook wall.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Slack Tea Thursday

I've been thinking a lot lately about ways to "theme  up" my blog because  I've noticed that lots of people have themes. I feel like I need to have one too. Random is great , but it is nice to have a bit of focus occasionally.
Having a theme seems like a great idea.  I did try this once with Meatless Mondays -but since I actually really  like meat and it makes up approximately  80% of my usual diet  , those posts turned into a bitch-fest crazy person  rant about mung beans and tofu and about how I was so hungry from lack of meat I was in danger of killing anyone who came within a 4 mile radius of my house even smelling like  steak.  Not pretty. I really did lack commitment to the meatless  cause. We only did  it for three weeks which is about how long my first marriage lasted and coincidentally the same amount of time it took for parenting to lose it's shine. (I'm sensing a theme right there )   I'm kidding Miss P....I'm kidding. We still love you after all this time. Honest. And when I tried to put you back under the cabbage leaves in the garden last week that was a joke too. I swear. And the stork doesnt do refunds ..we've been fibbing about that for years.

I have to say that by Thursdays most weeks I am absolutely shattered, and since it's Mr. P's night out and Miss P is usually out as well, I can't be bothered with actual food. It's an effort to cook, clean up and think about chewing food.  I can really only manage one of those things by Thursdays.  Chewing is always my first choice. And it's kind of nice to have salt and vinegar chips for dinner.

I've been giving a lot of thought to what my signature theme could be for a weekly post.  All the good themes are taken. I'm not classy enough to do a  vintage goodies post, and it's already done really well over at Colorado Lady. I'm not crafty enough to come up with a craft project every week Martha Stewart I am not.  Plus ,my projects always seem to go a bit awry. I just dont need the pressure of failure week after week. So what to do -what to do - what is it I excel at exactly?

And then like a beacon in the night  sky I had it-  "Slack  Tea Thursday" . I really would have preferred a T word to describe Thursday Tea but all I could come up with was "Torpid" or "Tardy" neither of which seemed to fit, so if you have any suggestions I'm happy to consider them.

I like this idea because actually requires very little effort on my part...I get to  eat crap and blog about it, nobody else seems to have thought of it , (maybe that means it's the most  awesome idea  EVER ) and  plus I get bragging rights because I have a series! Whoooooooo Hoooooooooooo! I'm all over it .

And to think it all started last week with a box of chocolates for dinner. And didn't Newton come up with the theory of gravity while he was slacking round under an apple tree? See ! Great ideas stem from utter  laziness. I rest my case.

So tonight Miss P was home ..and trying to talk me into going to Hungry Jacks (Australian Burger King)  to get dinner. I refused because I had already had to go back  out 10 minutes after arriving home from work  for milk because we were out plus  HJ's is a whole 10 minute drive away.  (Sometimes it would be easier to have a cow tethered in the back yard- if only I was confident the dogs wouldn't spend all day terrorising said cow, and if only I had mastered milking cows when my parents had a farm . And if I was sure the neighbours wouldn't dob me in to the local council for keeping a cow in  a residential area. Cows are kind of hard to hide) Plus I was feeling lazy - it's  Thursday after all and laziness is the whole point of this post.

So I refused to go and get tea ...and planned to make grilled cheese on toast instead. And then I got even lazier and just had this ...

Yes people, that is an Easter egg, a promite sandwich and a big glob of anchovies. For dinner.

Miss P gave in and made chips and steak for herself and I cadged some of her chips. Score! 

Ladies and Gentlemen it is with honour  I give you the birth of "Slack Tea Thursday".  I have months of these posts in me. I can just feel it.

P.S. And by the way Chicken, since your re-naming of Miss P she has been running round like a 4 year old insisting we call her "Mini P" - thanks. I once refused to answer to anyone who did not call me Sally for about a month - let's hope Mini P wears off quickly.

Monday, April 12, 2010

We Are Not Amused....

Forgive me blog readers for I have been has been 7 days since my last significant blog post (although you all seemed to like the ironing board cover post ) However posts about chocolate and other cooking do not make my blog a wildly exciting read. It kinda sucks I can’t be scintillating every minute of every day...Although I have noticed that there has been generally a lot less blogging going on than usual across the blogs I follow so maybe we all have the same malady. (And actually I thought we had talked about you Northern hemisphere people not enjoying your spring and leaving me practically postless for my Autumn.  Seems to me the second the sun popped it's head out you were all gone.What's up with that hmnnnnnnnnnnn???)

I'm about to have a rant. I’m really sorry if you feel I'm going on endlessly  about my laundry. I’ve tried so hard not to write this post but not writing it is giving me writers block...seriously. I feel like I can’t be normal again until I get this off my chest. So I would suggest you completely ignore this post, and go about your business...Move along folks..nothing to see here. But if I dont write this - I may never write anything but chocolate and ironing board cover posts again. I have been failing to see the humour in anything for about a week, and it's time to get over it.

It’s been a really busy few days at Maison Pyjamas. In between me acting like a crazy harpy, the laundry is coming along slowly ...oh so freaking slowly. 8 weeks and 2 days people..8 weeks and 2 days since I had a functional laundry. Words fail to describe how sick of being laundry-less I am at this point. I finally cracked when Mr. P had to drag the washing machine in again Friday so I could wash. Like ranting, crazy out of control cracked. After I’d calmed down and stopped frothing at the mouth (no- I don’t have pictures) and using words no lady would use,  Mr. P told me the washing machine can stay in the laundry and remain connected and he’ll just finish the painting around it. The floors should be a breeze... I hear he has hired David Copperfield to levitate the washing machine while he completes the tiling. The idea that I can wash without making an appointment with Mr. P to drag the machine back inside made me one marginally happier camper. I say marginally because I dont think anything but a  finish is going to satisfy me at this stage. I mean , we have 4 people in this house and one of them is a I can't wash once a week.  I don't do well with major ongoing changes to my routine. I think I've been pretty damn tolerant.I love to do the washing ( I know I'm a sicko right?) and I hate my house being a mess. What sane person keeps their laundry hamper in their office?  I just want to say, for weeks, I've had no door, I've had no floor, I know I sound like one big bore. I think I'm channeling Dr. Seuss as well.

To be fair , I did change my mind about the floor tiles and we had to go hunting for new “perfect” tiles ..which apparently only exist in my own imagination. Eventually we found something I was happy with , and of course they were the most expensive tiles in the known universe. When the guy told us the price, Mr. P took one look at my face and just whipped out our credit card. So I decided to get off my tushie and start doing my bits of the laundry this past weekend since it looks like we might actually be finished before say,  October.  My big jobs include spray painting the laundry hamper  and painting the back board for the laundry baskets. (You'll understand if  I ever have pictures of a finished laundry to show you )  I want to point out here , I lived on my own for 9 years after Miss P came along and managed to do all my own handywoman work  and paint walls and all sorts of other stuff, but apparently I lost those skills when I sold my soul by moving in with Mr. P  so I've been relegated to wielding a spray can like some frilly girly chick which we all know I am sooooo not. So if I sound peeved its because I am.  And here endeth my rant.

So here I am  spray painting in my pyjamas...Mis je parais beau ?

I know Martha Stewart would have been doing this in Versace with pearls and high heels but I'm not Martha (although in some of the shots Miss Pyjamas took , I have a serious J-Lo butt going on- be thankful I didn't share them-I'm pretty sure she took those ones on purpose-why must our children torture us?) and Martha also wouldnt have ended up with spray paint on her fingernails , up her nose, and in her hair. I wish I was half as perfect.

I taught Miss P how to make awesome scrambled eggs this past weekend so she doesn't starve to death when she moves into her own place. We marked the occasion of her actually cooking by raising the Australian flag and explaining what a frypan was.

I had been on the lookout for  months for an old ornate gilt frame for a project I’ll be doing in the next few months. There was nothing out there gave up and bought a nice large wooden picture frame and planned to use that instead. But today I played hookey from work and went to the salvage yards and on my way back I went to Goodwill and saw this....

I was on it like a seagull on a chip...that baby is mine and is perfect for my project. I am so excited, and at 8 bucks it was an absolute steal.  Plus I got some material for cushions I want to make for the loungeroom. Goodwill rocked big time  today.  

Since the universe was being so friendly to me,  I  went and bought this as well...because I saw it 6 months ago and I know if I don’t buy it now it won’t be there when I do want it in 6 months time... my intuition was spot on because this was the last one.

Both  the frame and the clock are for the kitchen renovation that we have planned for later this year...we have been saying for 8 years we are going to get a new kitchen someday, and something else always ends up taking priority . I told Mr. P earlier this year i didn't care if he had to sell a kidney I was getting a new kitchen,  but since I booked the kitchen designer to come this Friday it looks quite likely that it will happen and Mr. P will retain all his organs.

And if you thought my grizzling about the laundry was bad wait until we start the kitchen/dining room  because we're removing a wall and most of our ceilings and all of our floors  when that happens. I'm hoping that will mean we get to eat out a lot. I bet you're all hoping you won't have to listen to me whine about it.

Exhale ...I feel so much better. If you made it this far- and haven't unfollowed me you're a legend. And if this is the only post of mine you've ever  read, for crying out loud go and read some of my funny stuff before you judge me. We have a 4 post rule here you know.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Food...Glorious Food

I spent some of the day in the kitchen today , which allowed me some time to think and ruminate. Everybody needs a little down time. Getting back to basics. Showing peeps the love by making good things to eat.
I made chicken vegetable soup (from scratch)

A triple lot of curry  in the slow for dinner tonight and another two lots for the freezer. Well, that was the plan ...people kept taste testing while it was we only have one for the freezer. By the way I grew that mint, and brought it back from the brink of death after our recent heatwave. (If you knew anything about me and gardening and maintaining  green living things you'd be giving me a standing ovation)

And vanilla mocha cupcakes for dessert, several of which didn't make it to see dinner time.  RIP Cupcakes. We appreciate your sacrifice.

Friday, April 09, 2010

One of Life's Big Questions

I like to ask the hard hitting burning questions on my blog. To make you think. To challenge you. To stimulate discussion and debate. I should have been an investigative journalist, but alas my career path took me down another road.

I bought a new ironing board cover today. I was going to sew one but that  seemed like too much hard work. For less than $14.00, I can buy one. No hassles. I'm into making life easy.

As I was taking my old  one off and putting my new pristine one on, I often do other people wash their ironing board covers? Am I falling down in the ironing board cover washing stakes?

Pretty sure I’ve had mine for about 4-5 years and it’s been washed twice. What about you?

And to further embarrass myself this is what the old cover looked like when I took it off an hour ago.

(And this was one of the less disgusting shots I took)

And the new one, which can expect to see the inside of my washing machine  approximately every 2 -3 years or so.

So come on now be truthful, am I  a slacker or is  this not on anybody's list of priorities?

Thursday, April 08, 2010


I am all alone. Mr. P is at "Boy's Night".  Miss P is at the Plaza, shopping. Nobody will be home for 3 hours. Shhhhhhhhhh....This is dinner.

Miss P is bringing me cappucino yoghurt home for dessert.

I know it's bad...and I don't care. Life wouldn't be half as much fun if we all did what we were supposed to all the time.

Monday, April 05, 2010

A Modern Day Quilting Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, in a land far away  there was a fair princess who was having a baby boy.

The Queen (well,  if my daughter is a princess in this fairy tale, that makes me a Queen! )  on finally accepting then news she was to be a grandmother at such a tender age ( and while she was still a stone cold fox herself) decided to make the baby a special chenille quilt to commemorate his birth which was to be in July. "Plenty of time, after all it's only January  " thought the Queen and began ebaying in a land north of the equator because everyone knows the cutest chenille comes from the Americas, and the exchange rate for coin was at that time extremely favourable.

By March Queen Pyjamas had enough chenille and cut her squares for the babe's quilt. This was in the days before the purchase of a rotary cutter, one of those awesome see-through plastic ruler doo dads,  and a quilting mat and so she did this the old fashioned way with a plastic template , a pen and pair of  manky old scissors which did give her blisters. But persevere she did and eventually all the squares were cut out and ready to be sewn.

On the Easter weekend of 2009, Queen Pyjamas visited her parents for the celebration  and took her chenille squares and sewing machine with her. She did  diligently sew those squares into rows, while listening to the Queen Mother  give helpful and wise verbal  support commesurate with her age and experience,  like "Get that off my dining table", "Do we have to have chenille fluff EVERYWHERE" , and "Don't spread your crap all over the house .Why can't you ever contain yourself to one spot?"

 As everyone knows you must spread your sewing all over the house in order  to convince all of those present  at court that you are really busy and extremely talented. It was unfortunate the Queen Mother did not realise this, as it probably contributed to what happened  next.  

Alas, all did not go well with the sewing of the squares and it turned out that the rows did not match up in the way Q.P.  had originally envisaged. They were decidely askew. Discouraged, she contemplated unpicking the mistakes but settled for letting fly a few choice expletives, packing the wonky rows into plastic bags and vowing to kick that quilt top's arse another day. Then she went off to eat Easter eggs, and drink Japanese Slippers.


Time passed. July was rapidly approaching and so the Queen got out the squares to unpick those pesky rows and reconfigure the quilt in a more visually pleasing pattern. But Alas! Alack! Those squares had been double sewn because the Queen is a Virgo after all, and try as she might - the material would rip and fray but refused to be unpicked. After more swearing, the Queen packed the rows back into their plastic bag prisons, thinking "This child is being born in a place where the temperature never drops below 90 degrees. He won't need it straight away. I'll finish it in time for their visit in September to our cold climate and he will be glad of the quilt's warmth". By that stage, it sounded like a righteous plan because the Queen was utterly fed up with this quilt and was wishing she had never started it in the first place. "Why , oh why didnt I buy this baby some mass produced piece of crap and chuck it in a pretty bag instead?" she lamented.

The young prince is born in July and is christened Little Pyjamas.  The kingdom rejoices. He has the right number of fingers and toes and is pretty darn cute.

And so the quilt bits languish in plastic bags , in a secret spot, not in public view,  to be finished "one day" because sure as God made little green apples, it did not get finished in September. And in the meantime, the Queen got on with other things, and did not speak of the quilt to anyone until January 2010 when it made a sneaky appearance on the "Stuff I Started that May Never Get Finished " list on the sidebar on her blog.

Fast Forward to Easter Weekend 2010. The Queen is at home with the King, who is DIY-ing the laundry. (Yes. Still. No , I don't know if it will every be finished....Shhhhhh, I'm telling a story here ) The Queen has other projects on the boil, but today they hold no allure for her. She is bored, bored, bored.

The Queen has an epiphany. She  races to the secret spot,  grabs her pincushion , threads the machine and starts to pin and sew with vigour.  Two hours later ....

Once it's quilted, we'll live happily (and warmly) ever after.

And the Moral of the Story?  The Queen must be completely bored to contemplate finishing a UFO.

P.S. The  Queen Mother  reads my blog so I better confess she didn't say all those things , except for "Dont spread your crap all over the house", but I had to make someone be the wicked step mother or witch figure in the story. Every fairy tale has one and I felt my tale was lacking.  Sorry Mum and thanks for being my patsy.