Sunday, May 30, 2010

Let's Have A Snowball Night!

Karen over at Sew Many Ways is hosting a quilt-along to make a snowball quilt. The idea is to pick a night and make snowball blocks. Monday's are my check in day so I can share my progress with the group, so here is my wrap up of Week 1-Snowball Night.

This week I ruminated on fabric choice (for three days ) Changed my mind three times. Left fabric stacks  laying all over the house where I could see them  in a vain attempt to make a decision. Made the decision. Cut about 130 x 2 inch  contrast squares, in case I made a mistake or two. Patted myself on the back for getting them all done. Realised (duh!) I actually need four for each square, which is 480 squares not 120. I failed maths at school. Unfortunately I did not fail smoking in the toilets and I'm still REALLY good at it.

I'm using 3 x  Moda Hushabye Charm Packs and a latte homespun for contrast.

And here is my little pile of blocks for my first Monday - 15  down, 105 to go. Unless I decide to go for the fourth charm pack...

And I realised my little triangle doodads that I cut off are wayyyyyy too small to do anything with. And that I'm probably going to have to buy a 4th charm pack to have a decent sized quilt.
But so far I'm having fun! I wonder what everyone else has been getting up to?

You can check out Karen's latest snowball post here.


When I was younger, there was  this  really  annoying little kid in the neighbourhood  that used to hang around me  all the time.  She always wanted to do what I did,  and sometimes because she was a couple of years younger that was a right royal pain in the patootie. I  don't have a memory of when she moved into our street exactly - it just seemed like she was always there ,being needy, wanting to join in, and spending her bus money on lollies and expecting me to give her mine so she didn't have to walk home from school.  Sometimes we'd spend my bus money, I'd share my loot and we'd walk home together.

Despite the odds we became friends.  We did things together. We became mates. We had "sleepovers". We shared secrets.   

In our teens we drifted apart.   Got separate friends. We fought.  We hated one another. With nothing in common we were suddenly as different as chalk and cheese. Joint activities and interests fell by the wayside (aside from that one time we "borrowed" my Mum's car )   Life choices were made. Different paths were chosen.  Still in touch but out of touch with one another.

Flash forward about 7 years. We  re-connected  for a few years sharing our lives based on new  commonalities, like  marriage , subsequent divorces and juggling work and having kids.  And then 12 years ago she moved to another part of the state and I moved away in the opposite direction, which increased the physical distance. Four years ago she moved to another state.  Australia is a big place and she moved clear across the other side of the country 3600 kilometres away.  We've stayed in touch. Gifts, and gossip.  Phone calls and visits.   It's not quite the same but it's  better than nothing.

On reflection, sisters are annoying things that your parents bring home from the hospital that scream all the time and hog all the attention and limelight. Deep down you still know you're the coolest kid your parents have so it's all good. Sisters ride their bike into the rose bushes, and you'll both be banned from riding your bikes on the verandah. She'll  be your partner in crime but  dob on you to save her  own skin. You'll share chicken pox and your mother's wrath.   She'll  steal your makeup and read your personal diary when you're 15 and in love with Steve Hughes.  You will  love each other ferociously , but hate each other  at times with about the same measure  of emotion. But when your sister is gone and you're all grown up- and nobody gets you quite like your family does - you realise how much you miss her. At some point I realised the relationship I  have with my sister  is going to be the longest relationship I'll ever have. So for the past 12 years I feel like I've been cut off from someone  who knows all about me and loves me in spite of that knowledge , and that I'm missing sharing  all my crap with her and  I've realised that she makes me laugh and feel strong and right about my life. Even when I doubt myself.

I’ve been waiting for the right time to do this post.  Waiting to see if it would really happen and if I should get excited.   And now it's official.

Sister of Pyjamas is coming home. And instead of  a 4 day drive she's going to be 15 minutes away. For good.  I'm counting down the days.

Go  and call your know you want to.

Love you L

Saturday, May 29, 2010

And So the Madness Begins

If you are a regular reader of my blog , you'll know I barely made it with my tenuous sanity intact through the recent  laundry renovation, which took what felt like 3 years but in reality was around 12 weeks. (which was 120,960 minutes of pure hell- see,  I'm still not quite over it  ) I'm sure at one point  some of you were planning a "stop-whinging" -intervention for me. Thankfully we completed the laundry before most of you had the chance to buy your plane tickets.

Lest I alienate my blog friends I have decided not to post blow by blow descriptions every time we put in a new screw or touch a paintbrush for the kitchen reno. I can hear many contented sighs from blogland.

With our new cabinetry being installed in around  8 weeks barring unforseen delays and other misadventures,   I wanted to announce that today is the day the kitchen renovation  officially commences. In honour of this momentous occasion, for which I have been waiting approximately 8 years people, I'm posting  some  pictures of my currently very ungorgeous kitchen, so you can all be amazed, stunned and blown away when we finally get to the end. (which is months away, but let's not focus on that)

By the time we finish there will not be one thing left in this kitchen that is there now. That's going to include the gorgeous cedar panelled wall and pelmets you will see in the following pictures. They're coming out this weekend. For all you recycling people, we're planning to make the cedar panels into an outdoor table.  In around 2016.

So without further ado:

Cedar wall...dark in here much?

I'm sure some people could make a blue kitchen look  pretty and stylish. Unfortunately I'm not in that creative class.

Those vegetable and fruit tiles on the splash backs are probably collectors items now. And yes that's a beaten copper rangehood. We can probably sell that to fund the kitchen renovation.

Cedar pelmets? What were they thinking?  I guess we're about to find out what's behind them. I bet it wont be pretty...

So that's my starting point. I kinda figure no matter what we do from here  it can't look any worse.

I should probably wander off and start sanding  a chair or something now....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Slack Tea Thursday

The whole point of Slack Tea Thursday is so I don't have to think about cooking on Thursdays.

However I have realised after last weeks 30 minute, 80 kilometre  Amazing Race  tea event because the Asian restaurant stuffed up my order debacle that the universe  was telling me that getting takeaway makes Slack Tea Thursday a little bit too easy. I dont think the universe minded when I did that with Clucktucky Fried Chicken the week before because KFC is incredibly bad for you, but last weeks dinner looked like actual food and so the universe decided enough was enough.

So this week, I went  back to my tried and true formula of truly slack dinners ...

I know  this looks like a meal , but it was truly slack, I swear. I hear you scoffing "Lasagne takes a lot of effort" .  Wait! This was leftover Lasagna ...from last Saturday! I dragged it out of the freezer , I didnt keep it in the fridge all that time- because I'm really not a big fan of botulism. AND I didnt cook it in the first place. It was cooked by the Pizza Place up the road , so I'm sure you'll agree this is truly slack. Never cooked it in the first place- reheated for dinner a second time ...this ticks all the boxes for slack.

So looking forward to my lasagne meal , and chuckling all the while because I outwitted the universe I tucked in ...

It was disgusting ...the cheese was like rubber and somewhere in the freezing , re-heating , chuckling process the meat turned into bullets. Three bites was enough. Yuk!  So I went with Plan B :

Ahhhhhh Promite , how I love you so. You've saved me from starvation countless times.

The remains of the day (which Indy and Lola enjoyed immensely-I heard them saying I am  doggie mother of the year as they were eating. )

No I don't eat my crusts. Everyone knows crusts make your hair go curly , and since   I have spent literally years straightening my hair with my ultra awesome GHD,  eating crusts seems counter productive. Plus I'm an adult I don't have to eat my crusts if I don't want to.

P.S. I had a cigarette and a cup of tea for dessert. Later I'm planning to eat this frozen cream cheese buttercream icing straight from the icing bag. 

 Right after I microwave it slightly so I can squirt it straight into my gob.  Slack enough?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Snowball Fight ...err I mean Night

Karen over at Sew Many Ways is hosting a snowball block quilt along .  The idea is you pick one  night a week to  make  snowball blocks  and then post your progress. Before you know it - you'll have enough snowball blocks  for a whole quilt! I'm loving this idea. I've never done a quilt along before and a snowball quilt is on my bucket list so it seemed like serendipity. 

So...I'm choosing Monday as my night to post about my Snowball Block progress because that will give me time to get some done by next Monday.  And I can work this quilt-along around my other projects so it's perfect. Low pressure. Fun. Get a quilt done.  Cheer along other participants. What's not to love?

If you're interested in joining us click the button at the top of my sidebar and come and play! Now I just have to choose some fabrics....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

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

Tracey Chapman had a smash hit in the 1988 with the song "Fast Car". Steve Martin and John Candy starred in a movie entitled "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" The Who sang about a Magic Bus, and road trip movies always rate well at the box office. Even Steven Speilberg made a movie about a cranky truck driver called "Duel".  The world is obsessed with things that have wheels.

 Australia has the fourth highest number of cars in the world, which is pretty amazing when you consider our population is only 20 million people. Apparently we're all lazy or our public transport network sucks or something because there are about 13 million cars on the roads here. And in peak hour they all seem to be heading in the same direction as me at the same time I am. What's up with that?

In Australia we drive on the opposite side of the road to the majority of the rest of the world because we like to be different. We’re leaders – not followers. Actually pretty much anywhere that is part of Britain or used to be part of Britain drive on the left side of the road. (with the exception of Canada . Hey Canada what’s up with that? Normally you’re so cool with your maple syrup and awesome bacon and Canadians acting all laid back just like Australians)

Way back when, it was decided that Australians had to drive on the left side of the road because kangaroos are only able to jump to the right , so there is much less likelihood that if you’re on the left that you’ll collide with a kangaroo on the open road. And so left handed driving was made into law.

Ok, I just made that up.

Actually I think it’s because our steering wheels are on what the rest of you would consider the passenger side of the car. And because I like to bring you hard hitting Translation Tuesday posts based on research and evidence I took a picture of my car today because I was sure you wouldn’t believe me. That you'd think this is just some urban myth or that I was pulling your leg.   Yes that’s Australian dirt and dust in my car and for the really astute thats what an overflowing ashtray looks like ...

Tonight I took a picture of my drive home from work. See?  Cars on the  left side of the road.How many people are freaking out right now looking at that picture because it looks so wrong? Well to us it looks perfectly normal.


Heads up rest of the world - you are doing it wrong. You are driving on the wrong side of the road.

Our other transport oddity , is that in Adelaide we also  have the O-Bahn. The O-Bahn is world's  longest guided bus way  which basically means some buses pretend they’re trains and run along a guided concrete track. The buses travel at approximately one million kilometres per hour. We like fast here. The drive from the city to my suburb takes approximately 2.3 seconds and I live in the foothills/outer suburbs.

Disclaimer: The O'Bahn doesnt really run at one million kilometres per hour. That would practically enable time travel which would be kinda cool but still only exists in science fiction....

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Evolution of Something Quilty

I've been referring to this quilting project as my Mystery Quilt , because I just didn't know what it would  look like when it was finished. That's what happens when you use 29 different fabrics with about 2345 possible combinations and a plethora of cutting and sewing back together.   I just went with it. I also want to proudly point out I did not stress out about my circles and blocks not matching up perfectly during the sewing-back-together -process- which is another first. Little Miss Virgo usually likes everything perfect. My Sagittarian ascendant was clearly in full flight during the making of this quilt.

In my first unveiling of this quilt (above) I asked for opinions about what to do with it- because it  looked so busy with circles against the squares when I laid it out. Thanks Lane and lw for pointing out  that if I cut these circles into halves I would end up  with ovals  - because seriously that thought had never occurred to me-duh. That's what happens when you're just focusing on the end product.

Elizabeth's advice was to "Go Big or Go Home" (I love that ) I decided to Go Big  - circles into quarters sewn back together randomly. I ended up with 324  bits which was initially  as  scary as h***. Then the Sagittarius chick kicked in and it came together because I kept telling myself this was an experiment and it was only fabric.  I didn't think once about how much trouble I could get into with that many quilt bits to sew back together, so  last weekend those 324 bits became 81 bits without giving me further ulcers. So far so good.

This past weekend with a lot of sewing those  81 bits transformed into a respectable looking quilt top. I'm not saying there arent mistakes in it. (There are - I need to go back and fix a couple) but my attitude is C'est  la vie. Repeat after me. Experiment. Just fabric.

I think this one will live on the chair I'm stripping for my dining room (as suggested by Annie ) In a black and white kitchen this will add some much needed colour!

And since I set a personal goal for a specific number of quilts this year - I need to spend less time blogging and more time sewing if I'm going to meet that goal...sigh.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Typos and Technophobia

I swear my keyboard has dyslexia. If you could see my posts before I proof them you would swear I was semi- literate. Some of the things I have to take out stagger even me, further lending credence to the notion that It's not me- I'm a grate speller, and I like to use punk-chew-ashun, so therefore it has to be  this darn keyboard.

Confession: I am actually a shocking typist. (are they called key-boardists or something high tech these days?) I'm fast but bad.  In Year 10 "Commercial Studies" back in the dark ages when dinosaurs roamed the earth (typing and shorthand - does anyone use shorthand these days?) I was voted most likely never to be employed as a secretary. Mrs. Hale my Commercial Studies teacher used to despair over my typing accuracy daily and I'm sure it used to keep her awake at nights. Hallelujah for spell check. It's not that my spelling and grammar are so bad , it picks up all my typos. At the moment I am having a high old time substituting this (;) for this (') at every possible opportunity. And sometimes I don't pick it up- which makes me look stupid.  I was so stoked when I recently discovered Blogger has spell check that I threw a party. A spelling party.  So when you see something that doesn't quite make sense here it's not because I'm an ignoramus- or insane - I'm just a really bad typist. Or my keyboard is possessed. Whatever.

These thoughts got me thinking about the place of technology in our lives.And my general stupidity when it comes to being able to use or operate it. I freely admit, I don't control technology-technology controls me.

A couple of weeks ago, I learned how to recharge my mobile phone credit via the Internet.  I still haven't worked out how to do it on my actual phone. It's possible because a little button  on my phone tells me so.  I confess I'm a technological dud  because  apparently I can access the Internet via my mobile phone and in three years I've never worked out how. If I accidentally touch that button and it tries to connect to the Internet I start randomly jabbing keys to make it stop in a panic. It's almost like the Internet button is a "drop saran gas on the world "button such is my terror when I see it trying to connect.   I thought I was hot crap when I worked out how to email stuff from my phone to my home email  about 6 months ago.I still haven't worked out how to email stuff back the other way.  

My technophobia extends to every day house hold appliances including the frypan which never seems to work for me unless it is on "nuke" setting . It is numbered 1-10, but only cooks on 10. It sits inert on numbers 1 through 9.   Apparently it senses when the food needs to be cooked. However  it loses it often - burning the food to a charred crisp. We've just got used to eating everything black on the outside and bleeding in the middle. I just tell everyone it's Cajun.  But, I  hate that my frypan thinks it's smarter than I am.

My stupidity also extends to not being able to be trusted to turn the oven off. My oven decides when the contents have had enough cooking and turns itself off. Usually after 90 minutes. If I believe that something still needs more cooking I have to go and re-program it for additional cooking time. Woe betide I need to cook something for three hours. According to oven law nothing ever needs to be cooked for longer than an hour and a half. The oven must be worried I'm going to burn my house down. Thanks oven for having my back.

I cannot program the DVD. I get Mr. P to do it for me.  We don't have Tivo because I'm not sure I could take the stress. We don't  have cable or satellite TV  because it has wayyyyyy too many channels for my fuzzy little brain. Our flat panel television is worth three times as much as my car.  If the  computer wasn't  so easy to operate (One button to turn it on and Blogger and my email pop up automatically ) I'm sure I would never have made it back here to make more than one post.

My car screams at me when something is wrong. It tells me when it needs a service. When it thinks it needs more petrol. What's going on every time I start it. The thing greets me for crying out loud. If my car is so smart why doesn't it fix itself? Drive itself to the mechanic? Self heal when something is broken by using a calming mantra? Find a cure for cancer?

Computers  are  temperamental. I spent most of Miss Pyjamas childhood worrying about diseases , got her safely to adulthood without increasing the child mortality rate and now I have to worry that my computer is going to get a virus as well. I just don't have the time to nurse a computer back to health. Sorry 'puter - you get sick - we're gonna kick you to the kerb and buy a new one. That was also the plan if we had more children by the way. All our sympathy and sick days got used up on the last one.

All of this is painfully raw for me today because I sent an hour last night  trying to work out how to get RSS feeds to my computer. Unsuccessfully. In the end I figured I've lived 43 years without them , and gave up. I excel at giving up with technology. I  have a sneaking suspicion that while I was attempting the seemingly impossible, I reset my computer settings and RSS is being secretly downloaded to a file somewhere on my computer and the first I'm going to know about it is when my 1.5 terabyte hard drive crashes because it's full.

Technology and I have an uneasy relationship. At the moment I'm calling a truce and acknowledging technology IS the boss of me, but the times they are a'changing. Just warning you technology...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Slack Tea Thursday

There is  one among you that would have me believe this effort is simply not slack enough for Slack Tea Thursday . And I quote "Thai takeaway does not sound like slack tea Thursday". Anonymous disbeliever- I'm not going to out you - you know who you are.     I was discussing this with my work buddy Nerida today,  in our lunch break since we would not waste valuable employer  time on such topics, and she said  "What's  slacker than takeaway?" I love Nerida. 

I did consider having something else. Something slacker. Like pickles straight from the jar or a bowl of frosties. Or both. Together. In the same bowl.   But by then my brain was screaming "I want Shallot Pancakes" (really loudly ) and who am I to argue with my brain? My brain is the boss and generally makes awesome decisions, except for around 5 days of the month when lovely Ms. Hormones kicks in and then it's a free for all. At that point nobody appears to be in charge. It's actually quite scary.

The slackness in this dinner  was going to be in the details. I could have written a letter to the Thai takeaway placing my order , but I used a phone. I could have walked to the shops to pick it up - but I drove my car. I took the bigger car - the one that uses the most petrol because it was a mere 18 inches closer when I walked into the garage.I could have taken my own recyclable bag to pick it up, but I dug my heels in and made them give me a plastic bag instead. Do you see the lack of real effort  just oozing out of every action?  So far - so good.  

Then the universe thought it would be funny to conspire against me.   This is the bag I made them give me to bring my dinner home.

Except when I got home, my dinner wasn't in it.   Someone else's dinner was ... Thanks, but no thanks - I don't eat pork whatever, and slimy green stuff with octopus tentacles.  So I had to call the takeaway to  let them know I had someone else's dinner, and then drive 10 minutes back to the shops to return someone else's dinner and get my actual dinner. Then drive back home again. Universe 1 - Pyjamas -0 .

By the time I got back home, I was ready to eat the leg off a chair. Then I remembered I have an awesome Chinese dinner set I never use, but forgot it was slack tea Thursday and I should have been eating out of the takeout containers.  Universe 2- Pyjamas -0 . Obviously I was thrown by the-having-to-pick-my-dinner-up-twice experience.

I redeemed myself with cheesecake from the freezer for dessert - eaten out of the container, with the takeaway spoon. I'm giving myself  double points since I didn't wait for it to thaw out.   Universe 2- Pyjamas - 2 . But with the end of the meal rapidly approaching the Universe and I were still neck and neck.  I started to plan my final attack.

As part of my dastardly plan to outwit the universe, I threw out the dishes instead of washing them.  We hardly ever use that dinner set anyway. Take that universe. Pyjamas 3- Universe - 2.

The last word on the subject goes to Miss Pyjamas who said (and I quote) "it's not really slack dinner is it?".  I think she's right. Frankly trying to outwit  the universe some days is exhausting. And last night's dinner  was wayyyyyyyy slacker. I had a fritz and sauce sandwich.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

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

Fearsome Creatures

Overseas Tourism advertisements for Australia invariably show our cute wildlife, sunny weather, the Outback, smiling people, seafood and fabulous golden sandy beaches. Australia is awesome.

Australia is also home to some of the most fearsome creatures on earth. You’ve all heard me joke about our creepy crawlies. People, I am not joking. You risk imminent death just stepping out the front door to go to the letterbox in the mornings. I’m amazed the majority of us survive to adulthood.

I guess Aussies are just  a tough bunch. And since we’re a no fuss kind of people, we just accept that we co-exist with multiple things that can kill us at any given moment and that nowhere is 100% safe. We just go about our business and rarely does anything fatal happen. But tourists – well that’s another matter. You don’t have the inbred antenna for danger we have and consequently some of you end up , well, kind of dead...

Wouldn’t it be fun if they ran an ad campaign that told it like it really is. The problem with that is that nobody would ever come to visit. So I'm going to give you the run down on Australia's fearsome creatures so you know what to avoid when you get here.

My first free piece of advice is you can’t poke a crocodile with a stick. Nor can you jump on them, blow raspberries in their faces, or scream "na na nee nar nar" at them. They don’t like it. They just don’t have a sense of humour . Crocodiles can't take a joke. And like elephants they have long memories. Piss off a crocodile and they’ll wait 20 years to pay you back. Plus crocodiles think you taste like chicken. All that's missing is the barbecue sauce.

( Cue Jaws theme song here )The heads up on white pointer sharks ? If you’re in their water space they’ll eat you. That’s the rule. To them , you’re just a Big Mac. A flailing trying to pointlessly get out of their way Big Mac. With secret sauce.

The skiing and swimming here is totally awesome . Our beaches are golden and sandy and our water is clear and warm. Just like on the ads. You just need to avoid the sting rays, stone fish, blue bottles, blue ringed octopus, stingers and poisonous jelly fish. Some of these things will kill you seriously, agonisingly dead within minutes. Or seriously screw up your holiday with a hospital stay. Another piece of free advice- load up on hospital insurance.

Any bushland is TEEMING with snakes. Bushland here is any garden over three square feet.  Of the ten most deadly snake species  in the world, 5 of them call Australia home. And those bas****s will chase you. Practice your four minute mile and the duck and weave before you leave home people.  We also have flying snakes, swimming snakes and sneaky snakes.  Give nature a miss on your travels. Our bushland is highly over rated.

You will not be safe indoors. We have redbacks, funnel webs and mouse spiders ( so named because they are the size of a large mouse or because they eat mice – I forget which ) The laws of physics  say a spider that is 8 inches across CAN fit in  a crack under a door  1/4 of a inch wide. (I wish I could suck my guts in like that ) Always check under your outdoor chairs before you sit down. Redbacks in particular like to make nests under chairs and breed about 1387 babies at a time. Approximately every 24 hours.  If you get bitten, you should be fine because we have developed anti venom, providing you get to a hospital within 20 minutes and don’t panic in the meantime (panic makes the venom race through your bloodstream faster). Practice your zen like state before you arrive. We also have jumping spiders. I encountered one of these on my patio a month ago. They are called jumping spiders because that’s what you’ll do (onto a table if you’re like me ) when you encounter something with 8 legs roughly the size of a basketball. You will probably also piss your pants so bring Depends, or buy some when you get here. Just in case.

Bulldog ants grow to approximately 1.5 inches long. They love picnics.  If one of these approaches you – just surrender your sandwich,  fried chicken , lamingtons and your wallet and nobody will get hurt.   We also breed flies the size of volkswagons here and those suckers bite. I once got bit on Green Island in Queensland and the pain was worse than childbirth.

Those cute kangaroos you see on the ads...don’t be fooled. Ever been sucker punched by a kangaroo? They fight dirty.  I’ve been chased by a rabid emu too. Scary. You can’t outrun an emu. I had to pretend to be a bigger emu by making my hand into the shape of an emu head and holding it up in the air. (it worked -Emu's are fast but kinda stupid)  And Koalas? Sure they look cute. The truth is they're  whacked off their faces from all the gum leaves they eat and can’t control their own bladders. Koalas will pee on you ladies and gentlemen. Just like a 90 year old lady in a nursing home, and they’ll have the same amount of shame about it.
So by all means come for a visit, but the plain cold hard facts are that  some of you are going to end up as a wildlife food.  Maybe if you brought a lot of Oreo's  I would consider being your personal bodyguard for  the duration of your stay...or I hear if you rub vegemite all over your body it acts as a talisman against the fearsome creatures but I've never tried it because I'm not gullible like that.

Tourism Australia is sooooooooo going to sue my arse off for this post .. You guys know I'm just joshing about all of this dont you?  But if you see a bunyip in the wild - run. My sister saw a bunyip 35 years ago and she's still in  therapy. Oh and watch out for  the drop bears too....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Weekend Misadventures of Q.I.M.P

Ha! Tricked you! The weekend sailed along smoothly. Relaxingly. (Blogger says that's an actual word). Stuff got done. Nothing broke.No disasters. There was no blood and I didnt set fire to anything.

I have realised  I don't have original meal ideas anymore-  I'm copying everyone else's meals. If you post a recipe I'm probably going to make it. Aside from Marg's Cannelloni I made  Elizabeth's Grandmother's meatloaf for dinner on Saturday and it was the best meatloaf I have ever tasted. Another keeper. Mr. P practically inhaled it ,  so sorry,   no pictures. I have a spare in the freezer, along with two curries, and 2 chicken cacciatores I also made this weekend.   I feel like I'm turning into the savoury version of Bakerella.

I picked up an antique blackwood chair on Saturday to strip and re-paint for the corner of the dining room. Isn't she beautiful? It probably won't look much different by the time I'm finished since I'm planning on refinishing her in antique white again. Can't you just see this in a corner with a quilt draped over it, just inviting you to take a load off?

This morning I picked up my "new" dining  chairs that have been partially  stripped and with a little more work will be ready for painting. These chairs are over 100 years old. As I'm getting older I really see the sense in re-using and repurposing beautiful old furniture. All of this means the kitchen renovation has officially commenced. Bring it on.  If I stop posting you'll know it's because I had a nervous breakdown or drowned in a vat of paint stripper.

And yes, that's another set of dining chairs in the background. At last count we had 16 dining chairs...what can I say? ...I collect them.

I transformed  a box of 324 quilt bits

into a basket of 81 quilt bits. (Slowly getting there )

I think this little lady brought me sewing luck because I didn't swear once...

I made these this afternoon. Jam Donuts. Mmmmmmm. Totally delicious.  Too bad none of you live close by or I would have shared.   We had them for lunch. Healthy....Damn you Masterchef!

 And, from the random department I would also like to announce I am  still eating Easter Chocolate here. That either means I'm rationing it out well, and have amazing self discipline  or I got so much in the first place that I am  truly piggy.

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend doing something you love.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Stuff I'm loving" Saturday

As I wander around blog land and the Internet I see so many wonderful things to make, great ideas and inspiration. Some people are so clever. I'm not talking about the perfect house/life  people. I'm talking about real every day people.  I bookmark a lot of them away for future reference, but I've decided to share some of them with you. Maybe this will become a regular feature of things I found in the past week or two or maybe it wont make it beyond this one post but this week I've been totally inspired by heaps of really cool things and wanted to share.

Marg's Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni- I'm not a big fan of Cannelloni .  I made it once 20 years ago and vowed never to make it again. Thank Goodness I didn't listen to myself.  What I loved so much about this is that it's meatless (and we all know from my failed Meatless Monday experiment how much I love meatless meals-NOT  ) but I  LOVED it and managed to fill the cannelloni tubes without coating myself, the bench and the walls (very much) Definitely a keeper. Snaffle this recipe quick!

Some people are just clever. Lisa D over at Recaptured Charm refinished a cabinet. Yeah I know some of you aren't into furniture restoration/re-purposing. Wander over and have a look at what she did with it and I'm sure you'll be saying "Wow".  I just sat here in complete awe. And while you're there she's having a butterfly  jewellery giveaway.

The most impressive  quilt I saw this week was over at Love to Quilt. Quilting Queen's  Chinese Checkers Quilt is just stunning. There is something about multi-coloured bright quilts that just makes my heart sing. Since I failed miserably at maths at school and this involves something called a 60 degree angle, I'll likely never make one of my own , unless I become a quilting genius at some point. Thank Goodness  I can live vicariously through other people's eye candy and creativity.

For those of you with kid-lets, check out this great idea for party favours at Cap Creations.  Little fishes swimming in soap. In a bag ! Just like a fish you buy from the pet store!  Easy, Cheap and Impressive. You can even download the tags for free.

And I'm still really excited about the EQ7 giveaway. The 10 lucky participants have been chosen, and are running contests on their blogs. Many of those contests are now closed but Mary at Mequilter , and Ann at Prairie Primrose Stitches still have active contests. Wander over and comment if you're interested in a chance of winning  a copy of EQ7 for yourself.

I'm off to quilt! Hope your Saturday rocks.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bits and Pieces...The Catch Up Post

It probably feels like I fell off the face of the earth this past couple of weeks as far as blog land goes. Perhaps I work for the CIA and had to go on a secret intelligence mission, perhaps real life intruded, perhaps I had to go and lobby for world peace somewhere. Like the international woman of mystery that I am, much of where I went and what I was doing will remain secret. 

In my absence I was  still lulled here to lurk, I just wasn't commenting. It seems I am  addicted to you all. There is no way I'm going to be able to catch up on making   a week + worth of blog comments , so let me just say I did read each and every post and you all seriously rock. Your projects look cool, whatever you cooked looks delectable, your quilting is divine , your families are cute and wonderful and I stand in awe of you all, as usual. Do you have any idea how much you people inspire me every day?

Little P pointed for the first time last  week and said "U" whch means "Up". That kid is a genius.   He is now using "Up" universally as a communication tool. He may want food, he may want to be tickled , he may want to go on holiday to China for all I know - because everything is "Up" with a finger point.He has also discovered  preferences . Apparently pumpkin and Bella's mashed potatoes suck this week, but he's completely down with the fruit cocktail I made him last night. It's also hard to believe looking at him here, with no pants on that he's probably going to be Prime Minister of Australia one day.

My Mum and Dad visited for Mother's Day. Patty is Gluten Free so everything was gluten free including the cake I cooked, which was not your recipe P. I'm sorry. I got slack but paid the penalty because I dont think the packet cake was as good as yours would have been.  Mum was still appreciative of the effort, since anything that doesn't taste like complete cardboard is good in her book. If I had to eat GF food all the time I think I would kill myself since I pretty much live on white bread, wheaty carbs,  sugar and meat.

Miss P was stressed out about what to buy me for Mother's Day but I think she came up with the perfect gift, for a chick that quilts in her pyjamas,  and Little P chipped in (where is he getting cash from?- is that kid dealing drugs? ) and bought me a Bella gift. This being a grandmother thing kind of rocks if you want to know the truth. The being a mother thing isn't bad either. Along with these lovelies I got cash to buy the next season of Melrose Place on DVD  because I am after all a complete tragic. Oh how I love Melrose Place! Don't judge me.

I wonder if those pyjamas mean I can eat cookies in bed? And what the heck kind of animal did those other pyjamas come from? A demented leopard?

The delectable Cynthia (of Vegemite fame) sent me a parcel last week, full of awesome goodies as a payback for the Great Vegemite Incident of 2010.  Let's hope and pray that all of this  tastes as good as Vegemite.

I'm pretty sure it's payola so I don't send her any more weird Australian food and dare her to eat it. I'm also sure this was an unspoken challenge to eat all this candy in one sitting without going on a shooting rampage or developing temporary ADD. Cynthia, I accept your challenge.

Not only that but Cynthia sent me these two cute hair adornments ...yes that's right - I'm fortunate enough to be wearing Cynthia originals. Anyone who is anyone is wearing them these days. How clever and awesomely talented is she? And she sent me some charm squares of Nature's Notebook fabric by Moda. I'm feeling a bit spoilt.  Thank you Cynthia. You are a complete sweetheart.

My Mystery Quilt is coming along slowly but steadily. For a change I'm not stressing out about it not being perfect.  This is a sneak peek. 

Yes that's a box full of bits. What will I do with the bits next? Your guess is as good as mine. Let's see what happens over the weekend. I don't like to hem myself in with too many quilting rules.

I started to make a pair of oval hand mitt  pot holders last weekend. It seemed like such a cute and easy idea. I have ripped about 18 handfuls of hair out in exasperation since I started and have vowed never to get above my rudimentary sewing skill level again. I am also pretty much bald.  The oval potholder drove  me nuts. Next time I'm making rectangles. I did finish one of oval bastard pot holders because I refused to let the potholder beat me. I'm too ashamed to show it. Yes - that's right I had a personal vendetta with an inanimate object. My maturity levels reached new heights. P.S. Bastard is not a swear word in Australia. It's a term of endearment.

SAJ and I had a cooking session last week. We are up to the letter D but since I am a geography dunce, the only country I could think of that started with D is Denmark. I'm not fond of pickled herring so we cheated and did a city that started with D. SAJ suggested Dublin which appealed to me because I liked the idea of drinking Guiness while I cooked, and speaking in a fake Irish accent for the whole three hours.  SAJ's husband stood 5 feet away from us while we cooked with the fire extinguisher in his hand- just in case.  The beef stew had lots of red wine in it and some guinness ( I had to keep slapping SAJ's husband's hands away from the can ) and was delicious and SAJ made this awesome apple shortbread pie. It really is absolutely yummy and I am not a pie girl.  The potato cakes tasted like potatoes and SAJ was bitterly disappointed. I wonder what she thought potatoes should taste like?

This little lady found her way to my house today...and brought her own bag, and chocolate.  Dont look for the chocolate , I ate it already ..for lunch. With two ham slices (sounds like an episode of Slack Tea Thursday doesnt it?)

Thank you to the lovely and very talented Mistea. I have been secretly coveting my own angel for quite some time and she was kind enough to give me this one, along with this adorable patchwork bag. Again, I'm feeling very special ! Miss Angel will be sitting by my sewing machine as a good luck charm.

I think my canelloni is burning ..just as well you're all caught up. Happy Friday !

P.S. Blogger is still making me do fun things to have my photo's show up properly. I'm starting to think it's personal.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Slack Tea Thursday -Cluck Cluck

Blogger is playing silly buggers with my photo placement ...Grrrrrrrrrrrr + stamping feet

So today's story is that I worked all week , run, run, rush , rush , rush. Sometimes I feel like a tiny little mouse on a tread mill. Tomorrow is my day off and I'm having some ME time. In fact I want me time to start right now...

By the time I got home from work I was stuffed. Too stuffed to even think about dinner. Miss P decided to stay home and grace me with her presence. I was just feeling like I NEEDED grease. Fortunately I found the internal reserves to get my patootie off the couch to drive five minutes down the road and pay $32.00 bucks for a super variety bucket so I could come home and stuff my face with Miss P ....

I'm almost too ashamed to confess what I had for dinner . Oh who am I kidding? I have no shame. Isn't that what these posts are about?

To make this  taste even better I liberally  dusted it with extra salt. The Colonel simply doesn't put enough on there as part of the secret herbs and spices. Clearly I'm not caring about my artery health today. It doesnt look appealing on the plate does it? (And yes that IS a bite mark out of the chicken wing and the crispy strip - I was starving)

Bucket 'O' tasted sooooooooooo good.  But now I feel so dirty. And yes I know it's probably not real chicken. And don't comment and tell me about KFC Chicken Cruelty either. Snopes has debunked that myth. There is no such thing as a beakless and footless specially bred Chicken. And  hey - I used actual crockery  - so that makes this officially food.  Mr. P can have the leftovers when he gets home from Boys Night since I bought enough to feed several people. Except the popcorn chicken- I'm hiding that for tomorrow's lunch. I swear I have to seriously look at my diet. I havent eaten anything green for days. Except for that frog cake I had with my egg sandwich for lunch today. I don't think that counts. It wasn't leafy.

P.S. I would like to point out that last night I had salt and pepper prawns, chicken fried rice  and chicken sweet corn soup at Orientai which is a lovely retstaurant near our house so I don't eat crap all the time. Just on Thursdays. And on other days when I can't be bothered. Usually thats any day that ends in "y".

PPS. It's going to be all of  6 degrees celcius here tonight (42F) Bloody freezing. Can't wait for winter. My electric blanket is already on. And not a word from you little Miss Sunshine Paradise or you might find yourself with unexpected house guests.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

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

Australian's eat weird things. It's an indisputable fact. In Australia we have emu burgers, you really can buy crocodile kebabs, and you can even buy chocolate covered ants here . I guess this eating anything thing is now inbred into our genetics. We even eat sharks if they don't eat us first.

I know I said that my next Translation Tuesday post wouldn’t be about food and I do have another one lined up that is about non edible stuff , but this post is crying out to be written.  I feel the need to confess one of my wierd food habits. Since we're friends and all.

Back in 1788 Merry Old England had a law and order problem with full jails and a lot of poor people who were stealing bread to feed their families. You could get 7 years jail for flogging a loaf of bread  back then. Perhaps it was gold dipped bread- I dont know. 7 years certainly seems excessive. I could  steal a BMW now and probably get cannonised for my efforts.  Anyway, the English government of the time decided to banish their poor and lawless to the other side of the earth as convict labour to settle Australia, a harsh and forbidding land, figuring the chances were slim any of those people would ever be able to afford to set sail back to England again even when their time was served.  If they survived. There are lots of nasty creatures in Australia, but that is fodder for another amusing blog post.  Transportation to the colonies was a novel way of getting rid of your scumbags once and for all. I'm pretty sure Canada shipped a few convicts over here as well.   And if convicts died of scurvy, dysentry or some other awful disease that liked to run rampant on ships where people lived in close quarters and pretty revolting conditions  on the 4 month journey who really gave a rats?

These people became known as Australians. Australia now numbers around 20 million scumbags, and is a way cooler place to live than England, (although possibly not better than Canada)  as evidenced by all the British people who want to emigrate here. And that's because we have beaches, and soft white sand, the outback, cute koalas , the Australian Football League, meat pies,  awesome weather even in winter even though we all complain about the cold (anything below 60F here is cold) , and we have really really  cool accents.  Sucked in England.
The first fleet to set sail to Australia woefully under planned. They brought rum, which explains our love of alcohol, about 1000 convicts and 44 sheep, one  hoe,  a handful of seeds, 4 cows  and clothes for cold weather.   That was about it. When they finally got here they were quick to run out of food. There were no McDonald’s in those days and nobody could pop home to their Mum's for dinner because Mum was back in England.  So began the Australian custom of eating weird stuff like kangaroo stew, emu fries , snake pies, and echidna burgers. OK, I took a little bit of poetic licence there but basically if you could run it down  you ate.  If you couldn’t you starved. Life was tough.

Fast forward to a time when you don’t have to catch your own food and we’ve picked the convict boat splinters out of our national psyche. We still eat weird things. Who in their right mind would eat Vegemite unless they were dared to? (Cynthia - I have to say that video NEVER gets old. I've sent it to everyone in my address book. It still makes me snort coffee through my nose every single time I watch it. )  

 One delicacy  here is frogs, although I think that might only apply to my corner of Australia.  Those wussy French people only eat the legs. Pussies. Plus they smother theirs in butter and garlic sauce to disguise the taste.   We eat the WHOLE frog, a la natural.  I swear. In fact I ate a whole frog last night, and I decided to take a picture to prove it to you.

I myself am not fussy , I prefer green frogs , but I’ll eat brown if it’s the only type available.  The absolute best part is the head. And the only way to eat them is to pull it apart with your bare hands, eat it in two sections and save the head for last.

I get that by now many of you are completely grossed out and are considering dumping me from your blog roll. Why would anyone eat a sweet innocent frog? And aren't some of those frogs endangered species? Calm down - we dont eat the almost extinct ones. We do have some understanding of ecological balance.  And there is a raging market in breeding these frogs for human consumption. Supply and demand my friends - supply and demand.

If you're sqeamish - look away now. If you aren't, scroll down ....

Every single one of you is still here arent you? Waiting to see what stunt I'm going to pull.....It's like a train crash - you can't look away.

Here is  the frog I ate last night

 And here are the frogs we served at our wedding .

As if I'd eat a real frog. Bless you Balfours for making these frog cakes, which are my absolute favourites.

Happy Translation Tuesday. I'm back.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Houston.... We Have a Laundry

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful Princess who wanted a sparkling new laundry. She had tired of having a laundry with a 1980's olive coloured sink , non descript paint, and peach floor tiles, not to mention a ceiling with mould spots because of inadequate ventilation. Aside from the ugliness of it all, it had become a health risk...

The Prince, who loved the Princess beyond all reason, wanted to make her happy, so he set about giving her a new laundry. He was looking  forward to the challenge and at least it didn't involve slaying dragons to prove his love. (those dragons are nasty beasts with smelly breath and a propensity to breathe fire at inopportune moments , and the Prince really didn't fancy getting burnt to a crisp or eaten by a dragon with a bad temper)

So the Prince set about doing some sums and came up with a budget of $500.00 to make the Princess's laundry trendy and gorgeous, and he worked out a time frame of around three weeks to complete this easy task.  

But alas, many misfortunes did befall the hapless Prince in his quest. (not the least of which was the whiny, nagging Princess who turned into a shrew around week 5 ) The poor put upon Prince could do nothing right, as walls fell down and grout refused to dry.  The final indignity for the Princess  came when she had to wash her knickers on the castle patio in full view of all the commoners.  Finally,  after 11 weeks, 6 days, 12 hours and 53 minutes, the Prince  reported the laundry completed, at a cost about double his original estimate.  It's kind of hard to believe the Prince works in International finance and deals with bazillions of dollars every day. Perhaps he thought he had that kind of budget for this project. Never Mind...all's well that ends well. 

The laundry is now a magical place with nary a mould spot in sight and is indeed a laundry fit for a Princess.




Same wall now , with a Princess-worthy decal.



Yukky tiles....

Tiles fit for a princess to step on

The Royal dogs charged in as this photo was taken leaving grotty paw marks on the royal tile.

The princess is currently being serenaded by the sweet sound of her washing machine and  laundry day can resume whenever she pleases without all the planning of a military campaign, or without fear that the neighbours will see that some of her underwear is pretty ordinary.  The Princess is happy.  Very Happy. She is off to stare at her laundry now.

P.S. The Prince is looking for dragons to slay in future figuring surely it's gotta be easier. 

P.P.S. Using the laundry renovation as a guide the Princess  almost pissed in her royal  pants when she  realised that probably means her  kitchen renovation will probably cost around $48,000 and will be completed sometime in 2014.