Search This Blog

Friday, September 30, 2011

On my mind...the October K4BN challenge

Today, being Friday, means I'm joining in the feature on Rhonda's Down to earth blog.
On my mind today is the Challenge which the Knitting for Brisbane's Needy group have the first weekend of the month. This month is making squares. When the challenge was first posted it wasn't clear whether squares knitted on the diagonal would be acceptable, so I practised working out how many stitches would be needed to make the size which had been decided. The challenge was to use 8 ply yarn and to make crocheted or knitted squares no smaller than 6 inches and no larger than 6 1/2 inches. After a couple of goes I got it right...and then it was posted that they could be knitted on the diagonal as well :-).

Now we don't have to sew them up...after the weekend we post them to another member in Waterford West who has volunteered to sew them into blankets. The goal for the challenge is enough squares to make 10 rugs...I guess we'll just have to see how we go. I've made 5 squares already while I was testing out number of stitches etc...and I think many other members have done the same lol!

In the meantime I'm still sewing squares that have been previously donated to the charity, into blankets. Number 2 blanket is getting close to completion. (It's not part of the challenge though)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Another new blog...

This year I was thrilled to be 'found' by an ex-pupil on Facebook. Olga's sisters, Lilliana and Gabrielle were also on FB and I was able to find out lots of things that had happened to the family since the 1970s. The family lived in the house across the street from my childhood home but only my mother lived there by the time this young family moved in. (I talked about the previous owner of their house in this post and how kind she had been to me as a girl). The family eventually moved to Tasmania (Devonport area) where they remain today, including Olga's, now elderly, parents. We would have had more people to visit last year when we had our holiday in Tassie, if we had have known that the family was there.

Olga and her husband have a dream. They are re-fitting a bus into a motorhome-type vehicle and preparing to go travelling in the bus; what an adventure lies ahead of them! Olga talked about writing a blog to chronicle the fit-out of the bus and then the subsequent journeys, and finally this week she started posting. It is an enjoyable read and I recommend it :-) Following our Dream  I particularly loved the photo of Horatio the dog in one of the posts!!

I hope you don't mind Olga, but I've 'pinched' a couple of your photos to give readers a little preview...

The bus before it was delivered

Terry working on the re-fit

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Another recipe...

Thanks to my lovely SIL, Sonja, I now subscribe to the craft magazine, 'Handmade'. S gave me an iSubscribe gift card for my birthday. I normally borrow mags from the library so I decided that I needed to do a bit of research to find a suitable magazine which would come to my letterbox for 12 months. I borrowed a variety of magazines from the library which cater for my interests of gardening, cooking and crafts. Eventually the shortlist was 'Handmade' and 'Homespun' and I don't really know what tipped the scales in favour of the former but both magazines have a variety of crafts covered. My first issue came early this month...a Christmas special. There are some cute little elves to knit and some lovely sewing projects that have caught my eye.

Just arrived! Still in the plastic...
On Monday night I was reading the mag in bed when I noticed a recipe; it was called 'Chocolate Coconut Balls' and as I read through it I realised I had all the ingredients on hand.
I had wanted to make something to take along for morning tea at Tuesday's Knit and Natter and had toyed with making some scones or muffins early on Tuesday morning. I now knew what I was going to make...which I did next morning...the recipe was easy...and they were very popular at the K&N.

The rich 'chocolaty' mixture 
And here is the recipe from 'Handmade' Sept 2011 issue

The recipe is in the latest edition of 'Handmade'.
1 tin condensed milk
125g butter
100g dark cooking chocolate
1 egg
250 g milk coffee biscuits (I actually used Marie biscuits as i already had
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut (plus extra for coating)
place the butter and condensed milk into a medium sized saucepan and stir over
low heat until the butter has melted and the mixture has thickened slightly.
Add the chocolate, stirring until it's melted and combined, then stir in the dry
ingredients and remove from the heat.
Add the egg and mix well then turn the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until
Place extra coconut on to a plate, roll heaped teaspoonsful of chocolate mixture
into balls, then roll them in the coconut until well coated. Return them to the
fridge until ready to serve. :-)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Don't be happy!

I find out a lot of things about family and friends on FaceBook, which I guess is a sign of the times. Last night I discovered that my former son in law is now 'In a relationship'. I should have been happy for him. I had grown to love him as a son and he had been part of our family get togethers for quite a few years. He came into my DD1's life when they were both 16. At their wedding eight years later he had made the most lovely speech paying tribute to me and calling me 'Mum'...oh how I 'glowed' after that speech.

In happier times...

But they parted after less than 4 years of marriage ...I grieved for my 'lost son'. I missed him being at family dinners. I wished that both of them could find daughter came back home to live for a while. I still 'kept open the lines of communication' and tried to be impartial. Eventually the couple divorced and property was divided.

When I read his status on FB, I felt a tinge of sadness for what might have been...That feeling has stayed with me today even though my rational side knows that I should be rejoicing for him...he has another chance at happiness; maybe even start a family as he turned 30 in August. I hope he is experiencing feelings of unbridled joy and deep love for his new lady. And me? As my children would say...'Mum, get over it!'

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I'm grateful because...

I 'stumbled across'  (thanks to Carol!) a blogger who is hosting a 'I'm grateful' feature here. (Lioness lady) I have many things that I'm grateful for but something which happened this morning made me 'do a little dance of joy'! Doing my regular watering of my veggie patches and pots this morning, lugging full watering cans from the tank to the gardens...I noticed something peeping out of the soil near one of the potato plants.

Yes! It was a potato and luckily the light hadn't caused it to go green. I felt around and found more. I know there are lots more further down but they can stay there for now. I am just so grateful that I'm able to have a garden, that we were able to have tanks installed a number of years ago before town water became quite expensive, especially for watering gardens. I love the flowering trees and shrubs in my garden but there is something so special about growing food. I still remember when I grew corn and pineapples as a little girl...I still get that feeling of 'magic' when the crops mature :-) .

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Friday night for family time...

What a lovely relaxed evening I had last night. We shared lots of laughs and 'old stories' and enjoyed some simple food together. Poor DD1however; she had had the day off work due to a 'tummy bug' that had hit suddenly. She came along but was only able to stay a short time :-( before she went home to bed. DD2 had a similar bug last week which also 'knocked her around' quite a bit.

DD1 second from the right

The cooking crew...note the apprentice second on the left! lol

We had a surprise guest; DsD1 was babysitting this gorgeous little man while his parents went out. Unfortunately she had to take him back! lol

DD2 cutting her cake
I blew out the candle on DD1's cake last night on her behalf . We ate just under half of the large slab cake and the other half is in the freezer for her to collect next time she's over. hee hee...most of us ate a piece of both cakes!!!
I rang DD1 this morning...she's feeling a lot better but just has aching legs and that 'washed out' feeling. Hopefully she is well and truly on the mend!

Zucchini Slice...

Here's the recipe for Zucchini slice that was mentioned in my previous post.
375g zucchini
1 large onion
2-3 rashers of bacon
1 cup grated tasty cheese
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup oil
5 eggs
salt/pepper optional
Grate unpeeled zucchini coarsely, finely chop onion and bacon. ( I chop everything in my elderly food processor) Combine zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese, sifted flour, oil and lightly beaten eggs, season with salt and pepper if desired.
Pour into well-greased lamington tin (base measures 16cm x26 cm) (I use a similar sized pyrex dish), bake in moderate oven 30-40 mins or until brown.

On my

Today I link in with the 'On my mind...' feature on Rhonda Jean's blog, Down to Earth.
On my mind today is the family gathering we're having here tonight to celebrate DD1 and DD2's birthdays. The girls have already celebrated with their friends so this is just the family.
We are a 'blended' family and DH has 3 daughters ranging in age from 29 down to 25. Two of those will be with us tonight but the youngest has to work.
The gathering will include my brother, DH's younger brother and his wife, also a Maria. Then DD1's godparents and DD2's godmother will be here as well. There will be 2 partners of our DDs here as well. There are 2 other family members who can't make it and we're not sure about our 12 year old nephew yet.

Everyone is helping...DD1's birthday cake is being made by her godmother, my SIL is bringing her famous homemade pizzas, DD2's godmother is bringing some beautiful bread from a local bakery and I've made 2 salads, some spicy rissoles and DD2's favourite cake. I've also made a zucchini slice. We're having a laid back BBQ meal, which is a favourite of our family...although they do like my roast dinners!!! lol

potatoes boiled for the potato salad

Zucchini slice ready to come out of the oven

All the work is done now so I'm looking forward to a lovely evening with my family :-)

Cakes cooling

Cake filled and covered in grated chocolate

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A few weeks ago we went to Pacific Paradise...

Overseas friends of my niece and her husband find it hard to believe that there is actually a place called Pacific Paradise. But there is and it's the Sunshine Coast locality where they live with their little daughter Lucy. (My niece worked and travelled OS for a number of years where she met her German husband, E)

Lucy and her daddy
When DH and I drove up to Maleny recently, we went to visit my niece's family before we drove home. Little Lucy was napping when we got there but when she did get up, we were amazed at how big she has grown. Mind you, we haven't seen her since before we went to the US in March!! Little Lucy loves her books so it seemed only natural to read one of her favourite books to her.

Aniria (Aunty Maria) reading Possum Magic by Mem Fox

Elmo on Lucy's bike

The winner of the PIF Giveaway is bettsylyn :-)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The dangers in gardening; Part 2..

The new leaves are starting to appear on the crepe myrtle trees; to the left of the photo are the shrubs which I'm slowly working on to prune back old growth.
It's Spring here in my part of the world and there's lots to be done in the garden. This is especially so for me as in recent years many of the heavier garden jobs were left undone...especially pruning of shrubs and small trees. As a result these plants have become rather rampant here at the Goodwins.

Splashes of mauve colour on the jacaranda tree

The clivia didn't flower last year but is making up for it this year :-)

The first of the hippeastrums (amarylis) to flower this year

A climbing geranium cutting I brought back from a visit to Warwick a few months back is now flowering

Lettuces thriving in the veggie patch

 Just over a week ago I wrote of the shoulder and arm pain that I was experiencing after a particularly enthusiastic pruning session. By last week that was all better so I re-started the serious pruning that needed to be done. I couldn't find what I'd done with the safety goggles. After looking in a few places I thought I'd just do a bit of pruning and I would be very careful. Yep! You guessed it! A wayward branch of a plumbago shrub poked me in the eye when I wasn't looking. After a bit of discomfort I decided to go to the GP and have the eye checked out. Getting the appointment was no problem but getting in to see the doctor at the appointed time became quite problematic. I waited an hour and a quarter after my appointment time :-). Then a few drops of orange dye in the affected eye, a check with the little ultra violet light and the doctor announced that there was no damage to the cornea, so all was good. It got even better when I went to pay the bill. The girl waved me away saying I was 'right to go'....I'd been bulk billed! Yippee free!!

Another part of the 'jungle'! Note the black and white 'tiger' lurking!

By the way I later found the goggles just inside the back door on the floor; not in the gardening cupboard in the laundry!

 Just a reminder of the Pay It Forward Giveaway which closes 7pm Eastern Standard Time Thursday which is about 21 hours away. It doesn't matter where you live, if you are a blogger entry is just by leaving a comment here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Still looking back...this time 27 years ago...

On Sunday I wrote about what I was doing 30 years ago. Now I'll tell you about what I was doing 27 years ago on this night. It was DD1's 3rd birthday of course. Mmmm now I can imagine you're  All will be revealed...

We decided that we would just have a small family dinner for E's birthday with just mum and dad, grandma and her god-parents Pamela and Garry. I had 3 more weeks to go till the due date for my second child so was starting to get tired easily. DD1 and I had made some little party hats for the guests and 'Aunty' Pam had made the birthday cake. Little miss went off to bed about 8 and by 10.30 my husband and I were loading the dishwasher and tidying up. I got to bed by 11pm and promptly fell asleep.

A rare photo showing my 'baby bump'; DD1's 3rd birthday
A sharp pain woke me at 1.30am. I sat up and then realised that my 'waters had broken'...oops!! Things were happening obviously. I woke my husband and then went downstairs to my mother's granny flat to first of all tell her what was happening and secondly to borrow a pair of slippers as I still hadn't bought a pair to go in my 'hospital bag'.
We arrived at the hospital by 2am and I sat in a little office giving my details to a midwife; everything was calm and unhurried. Then she said that perhaps she'd better examine me. When she did she said that I was 8cm dilated...hmm I'd read somewhere that that meant I was in stage 2 labour. All of a sudden things weren't calm any more. Normally in those days when you came into hospital, you had to have an enema (yuck) and a shower and change into their time for any of that, they rushed me to a delivery suite.

Then there was a doctor had slipped away for a week's holiday with his family as no births had been imminent amongst his patients.  That's no problem though...the hospital rang his locum, a specialist. But Dr Lee was also on holidays. So his locum (another specialist) came all the way from Wynumn in the early hours of the morning to deliver the baby of a woman he'd never met before. Dr Smith arrived at 3am. Little Miss DD2 came into the world at 3.20 am Thursday 20/09. She was small...only 6lb 8oz but nevertheless healthy. And it was a very easy birth.

Next day when the family came to visit, Miss 3 suddenly looked so grown up! She proudly told anyone and everyone, ' I've got a new little sitzer; her name is Demphaner (Jennifer)', eventually the baby became known as 'Demphy'.

So my girls have their birthdays a day apart; not how it was meant to be at all!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pay It Forward Giveaway...

In the 1990's I spent a lot of time at university which meant lots of assignments and tutorial presentations to prepare. A lecturer in the QUT School of Early Childhood /Faculty of Education gave me some great advice on how to survive working , raising a family and surviving uni when doing more than one subject per semester. It was simple...organise yourself so that one lot of  research will give you enough material for 2 different subjects' assignments. It doesn't always work but the inter-relatedness of so many topics did save me a lot of time and effort.  I've always enjoyed books and films that that have characters and or plots that are all intertwined and inter-related. (I loved 'Marchlands' which was shown on ABC1 recently because of that very thing!)

So I've been absolutely chuffed about the link between the 2 books I've been reading. Please excuse how this photo is turned...'blogger' is playing silly games at the moment, with me any way! lol It was great to be reading both as the same theme ran through them.
I've mentioned both in previous posts. Shannon Hayes book contains a lot of research on the process by which societies changed from family units being production units to consumer units in society. The book also contains personal stories of Americans who have chosen to be more in control of providing for their family's needs.  The other book 'The Undomesticated Goddess' by Sophie Kinsella is the PIF giveaway which I won on Fee's blog. It was a bright and breezy and enjoyable read, although I did cringe at some of Samantha's early culinary disasters. Now it's time for me to send this PIF on to the next person. There are some conditions attached to being part of the PIF. Click on the scanned image below to enlarge the image and then  read those conditions. Still interested??

 Now if you are a fellow blogger and would like to have a chance to 'win' this giveaway, just leave a comment at the end of the post saying that you would . If you don't live in Australia it's still ok to be part of the draw.
On Thursday 7pm EST, I'll draw out a winner! Is this book coming to your place???

On this day 30 years ago...

Thirty years ago was a Friday. My first baby was due on the following Monday. All day that Friday I had the compulsion to clean and I did. The vacuum cleaner didn't seem to be working very well, so I convinced my husband that we should go into the city for late night shopping and buy a vacuum cleaner, which we did! (now how mad/idiotic is that?) We lived only 5km from the city and in those days it was easy to find car parking there...but it's still idiotic lol!

We came home with a brand new cleaner, a Hoover I think, and then I made us dinner. And I remember what I cooked, Steak Diane and a tossed salad. After dinner I went to bed, leaving the washing up, as I was quite tired by then. I woke up at about 5 am with abdominal pains, so off to the loo I went. These pains kept coming back and then I decided to see what the time interval was. Hmmm every five minutes..could it be...could I be...???? Husband rang the GP who said that I should go to hospital. I was there and admitted by 7am and at 10 to 1 in the afternoon, DD1 was born.

This photo has become a family favourite; at first I didn't have the knack of folding the nappy so it was small. That means the nappy came to her knee. The little booties were knitted by the grandma of one of my students.

Last night DD1 celebrated her 30th with friends. I've seen the photos on FaceBook and it looks like a wild time was had by all!! lol

Friday, September 16, 2011

UFOs and FNSI...

Years ago my best friend worked for the Australian army  (6th brigade) as the Brigadier's secretary and she would drive me nuts when she 'spoke' in initials and acronyms but eventually even in my job we 'spoke' that way too, as in NAPLAN, QCAT, ACARA...but I digress...

Last night I joined in at Heidi's blog here for the monthly Friday Night Sew In (FNSI). I sewed, but my project was not with fabrics and cottons. I sewed the borders on an unfinished object (UFO) which had been languishing in my knitting bag for a while...oh all right...I's been lying idle and unfinished for a long time! Now why do some items become UFOs and not others? Not all UFOs are created equal for that matter. Sometimes it's boredom, sometimes something doesn't turn out as expected and there is no real joy at the thought of finishing it.
My UFO was a baby blanket for my daughter's god-daughter. DH remembers us driving up to Warwick for her baptism 9 years ago. The first stumbling block with it was that because I didn't do a tension swatch first, it became obvious that the blanket would be a bit wider than it needed to be. I solved that and saved myself lots of extra knitting, by turning the blankie so that the width became the length. Then I knitted the boring garter stitch borders to match the garter stitch 2rows which occur every six rows on the pattern. Occasionally my daughter would enquire about the baby blankie and I would assure her it would soon be completed but was still a Work in Progress (WIP). She's also still waiting for a knitted throw for her as the one she has already, was knitted by me for her when she was in her early teens. About 2 years ago I said that when I finished this baby rug, I would give it to her and she could give it to whom ever she chose.

Now that I'm retired...I thought I should make some sort of effort to finish this UFO and about 6 weeks ago decided I would finish it and take it for 'Show and Tell' to 'Sisters of Stitch' on the following Wednesday. I finished weaving in some loose ends and started sewing on one border. I divided the border into 4 and then the same with the side on the blanket. Tacked the border at these points and then started to sew the border on. I was just about finished one side when I realised there was some puckering...I started to unpick a few inches carefully to re-stitch and then a minor disaster occurred. I nicked some stitches...luckily this damage was done to the knitted border not the body of the blanket...that would have been a major disaster! lol

'Bubble' pattern 
 I couldn't mend the nick to my satisfaction so I started to unpick all the border. Let's just say that I had sewn it so that it wouldn't come apart...I won't go into details but suffice to say I ended up using scissors and ended up with lots of 'frogged' yarn. Then I calmly folded it all up and threw it in the knitting bag...until Tuesday this week. I knitted a new border and sewed it on last night... Joy of joys! It's all finished!! Hallelujah!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The cat's birthday...

By 2004, DH and I had quite a menagerie; all animals that needed a home for various reasons. We had Ozzie, the dog and the cats, Merlin, Paolina (Lina) and Eduardo. Now we have just Eduardo or Eduardo Phillipe to give him his full name. Today is Eddie's 10th what is his story?

In 2001, DD2 and I were living in a little rented house. In September 2000 I had searched for a rental property that would allow us to have pets. We'd been forced to leave our 2 tabbies behind and I had hoped to reclaim them when we found suitable accomodation. 'Nice' places usually don't allow pets so we ended up renting a more rundown property which was freshly painted inside and had excellent not so bad after all. Then DD2's father decided not to let us take the cats. We missed not having a pet!
In September 2001, at a suggestion from a workmate, I 'adopted' a mature cat called Angus from the 'Paddington Cat Practice' other words a rescue cat. He settled in well but then a few days before Christmas that year, I found him dying under the mango tree in the backyard. I bundled him up and raced to the vet but he died in the car. The vet suspected poisoning which is a terrible thought.

In late January 2002, DD1 rang to say that she had seen a cat who looked like a beloved cat we used to own, Holly who was tortoiseshell and white. It was in a nearby pet shop. DD2 and I went to meet DD1 at the shop and have a look at the kitten. I would have bought her in a flash but this kitten was for DD2 to replace Angus and she didn't want the little female.

DD1, aged 2, with our beloved Holly

She said she didn't want a cat but if she did, she wanted ...'the ugly one'! We went and did some grocery shopping and then went back to buy the 'ugly one'. (he wasn't and isn't ugly!!!) At the time DD2 was going out with a Colombian boy and was in what I call her 'Spanish phase' so that's how he ended up with the name, Eduardo Phillipe.

Late 2002 we all moved into where I live now as we were housesitting while the future DH completed a 3 month tour of duty in PNG with Ausaid. Then in September 2003, DD2 married and moved into accomodation where pets were not allowed. So DH and I have cared for him and now he's the only one. He's a very vocal cat...quite a strident meeow in fact! I love the way he 'chats' to me and also the way he runs to meet the car when it pulls up. Happy birthday Eddie, we hope you have lots more. (recently Eddie needed vet treatment; the vet described him as way!)

When DH is away, Eddie can be naughty; here he jumped up on the table to get a scratch behind the ears .

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Junk mail and consumerism...

Junk mail from letterbox on Sunday

Junk mail from letterbox on Monday
Here in Australia we celebrate Fathers' Day in early September. I thought that after FD, the quantity of junk mail should lessen for a short time before the 'onslaught' on the build up to Christmas. Well silly me!!! As you can see from the photos...there's no let up in the pile of leaflets and sales brochures and catalogues in the letterbox. On closer examination I noticed that the supermarket chains are urging people to buy snack foods and soft drinks for when people gather in front of TVs to watch the semis and grand finals of the various codes of football. Not to be outdone, the electrical stores are urging people to buy wide screen Tvs and various other electronic gadgetry on which to watch these games. But the electrical stores are focussing on consumers who will watch all the games in the Rugby World Cup which is naturally a separate competition from all the Australian (and some NZ) finals and I guess a heap more games to watch!

This is where my junk mail ends up...

I love the cover of this book by Shannon Hayes!
This week this book became available from the council library. I first heard about it on someone's blog and when I found it in the library catalogue, put a 'hold' on it. I can't remember whose blog I was reading but the blogger was enthusiastic about this work by Shannon Hayes. The message that I've got so far in my reading is that people have become viewed as consumers (hence all that marketing through my letterbox) instead of being seen as producers. Many of the blogs I follow are written by people who are rejecting this consumerism and are growing food themselves, some are raising animals such as hens and many are cooking from scratch, preserving food themselves and turning their back on mass produced, preservative laden  pre-prepared foods. from my little corner of the world, I've started a similar journey and in particular I'm concerned with how in the 'western world' we waste resources especially with the built-in obsolesence factors with electrical appliances. I now find myself questioning 'how and where was this item made' and the obvious...'Do I really need this?'