Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Creative Space - The Quilt

Tis with a grey cloud circling above my head today that I finally unveil my first little quilt. Not because I'm not over the moon with it, or because I did a botch job! No, to say I'm a wee bit chuffed would be rather an understatement. But it's completion marks the end of my beginner's quilting class and for that I'm feeling a bit like Eeyore on one of his particularly melancholic days.
Every Wednesday night I would pack up my little vintage sewing basket, my gal pal Jan and this quilt at various stages of her metamorphoses and would trundle off to the dearest little quilting shop to learn this careful and historic art. It was a slice of "me" time that I so relished.

Women of all ages came together under one roof to learn, to inspire and be inspired, to natter about this and that...and then about that some more. To drink cups of tea and munch of bikkies. To teach, to support and encourage. And to watch magic unfold under their very fingers.

The ladies at The Quilters Corner are rare gems in the crafting world. With their nimble fingers and quick wits they immersed us in the world of quilting, teaching us all the knowledge we needed to be successful yet "keeping it real". There was no unpicking if something was a wee bit wonky nor aspirations to a perfect ideal. Just trés knowledgeable lovelies sharing their skills....and their passion. I loved every minute of it!

And as to whether Bijou loves it...this piccie speaks for itself.

While my babe sleeps I'm off to have a peek at all these creative folk.

The Quilters Corner is located in Keperra, Brisbane. For details on Beginner's classes (or any other wonderful class), or simply to browse the beautiful array of fabrics contact the lovely Liisa or Michelle on 3855 2222.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We Play - Bubbles!

Recipe for oodles of fun Ingredients: One high chair, plastic tray on your dining room table, or plastic sheet on the floor, an old plastic bowl, washing up liquid and a smidgen of water. One rained in, going slightly batty due to lack of outside play, poppet. And most importantly, a healthy dose of "let it go" on Mumma's behalf as it will all dry up with the mop and a few tea towels. Method: Put a good squirt of washing up liquid into the old plastic bowl and add a teensy bit of water. Use your fingers (or a whisk) to froth it up into a wonderfully bubbly concoction. Hand over the mixture to your "rained in and slightly batty" child and let the fun begin. Add a few tools for drawing in the bubbles and marvel at the magic of a child learning through play.
Take deep breaths periodically as said child uses the bubbly bowl as a helmet and begins to slap the old tray spraying bubbles across the floor.

Wipe up bubbly mess, smile at your newly cleaned kitchen floor and ponder whether you could move the child to each room of the house to continue your cleaning...ahem...her fun!

Poppet and I are playing along over here.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Well this fine morn we have packed ourselves up (and every imaginable piece of beach related paraphernalia imaginable) and are heading up the sunny coast for a few days at Mooloolaba....or Moo-oo-oo-ba as poppet calls it. Hubby is doing another one of his amazing triathlons and I have promised myself I won't weep like a baby when he passes by on each leg of his incredible journey. Ha! Who am I kidding!! I am just so very proud of him. Love you to the moon and back a bazillion times my love!!

And from Bijou, "Lub shoo too....go Daddy!!"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Introducing Monsieur le Creuset

Have you ever wondered why the French are renowned for their culinary skills? Well besides the fact they use the freshest, seasonal produce and cook it simply to highlight it's lusciousness...they use the best tools they can afford. One simply would not find a"Sam's Warehouse or Crazy Clark's" item of cookware in any self respecting Gallic kitchen. Quelle Horreur!

Wooden chopping boards are seasoned, knives are sharpened regularly and pots and pans are of the highest quality to minimise cooking times and maximise flavour.

Well perhaps it was one too many thimblefuls of Côte du Rhône whilst watching Rick Stein's French Odyssey (no, we still haven't connected up to commercial television but my library card sure cops a beating with all the cooking DVDs I borrow from the library!) or maybe just an ample dash of joie de vivre but this little French cast iron beauty came home with me today.
Monsieur le Creuset weighs an absolute tonne and will no doubt out live me! He is also a very dashing sapphire blue. And as we speak, he is gently stewing lamb shanks in the oven permeating this little abode with a swoon worthy aroma (nearly scorched off my eyelashes as I lifted the lid for a taste of the heavenly jus!). Lashings of mash made with butter and a smidgen (o.k. a dollop!) of cream.

Vive la France!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fancy Pants - Underwear as Outerwear?

A recent spot of vintage shopping saw this heavenly little silk slip simply just pop itself into my bag! What was a girl to do?

Now confession time! I have rather a quirky habit of collecting gorgeous vintage slips for....well...who knows what for!

Most of them are too see through to do anything with besides parade around the house wearing fluffy high heeled mules drinking martinis. Well the high heeled slippers are never going to happen and martinis...well let's just say that been there...done that....still remember the suffering!!

But this little lacy one....well I just might get away with it teamed with a funky cuff care of my man (note...birds again!) , plaited leather belt and my absolute fave studded Sportsgirl sandals (I have almost worn away the sole...twice!). Mmmm.....not sure? Perhaps I need a slip under my slip....mon dieu!
I'm playing along with this gorgeous fashionista today.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Let's Play - Gluing!

Nought but a few large sheets of paper, Mumma cut up "junk mail" and a glue stick!

Identifying colours, fruits and vegies, animals (and of course...their noises!)....

Not enough glue...too much glue....old words...oh so many words!
Sticky fingers pressed together time after time just to see what is going to happen...

Quiet and busy chatter, such wonderful learning...such wonderful fun!
And Mumma even got to sit at the table with a hot cup of tea and a magazine as we chatted on like Nanna's comparing our pictures. Heaven!

I discovered this wonderful blog through this lovely lady so am playing along with We Play at Childhood 101 this week. Oh the ideas!!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Creative Space - Down on the Farm!

I've always had magical dreams of some day owning a small farm! After reading one too many Enid Blyton books and skipping off on adventures with the children of Willow Farm (obligatory gingham tablecloth tied to a pole...stuffed with food!), I fear my ideal patch of earth could be just a smidgen (o.k. ... a giant dollop!) rose coloured.

I picture black and white cows mooing contentedly on Sound of Music style rolling hills who meander eagerly to the lofty dairy for daily milking. Silver pails filled with frothy white goodness. Milk for brekkie, cream for tonight's pudding and just a little left over to churn into butter.

Row upon row of neatly cultivated vegetable patches snuggled under billowy piles of sugar cane mulch. And an orchard to rival any Ms. Green Gables could conjure up filled with blossoming apple trees, plums and peaches heaving with juice.

Then there would be the flower and herb garden filled with fragrant snap dragons, sweet peas and roses and herbs to make your nostrils twitch.

A few ponds for swans and their wee babies to frolic.

And a wallowy mud patch perfect for pigs to do what pigs do best.

Sounds idyllic doesn't it? And so far removed from reality that I do wonder whether I've been inhaling too many craft glue fumes unawares! To indulge my poppet's own burgeoning desire to live on the land I whipped up a little felt farm mat. It was trés easy peasy lemon squeezy and cost next to nothing. I used a large piece of green felt for the base and then machine stitched on scraps to make the ponds and mud wallows. A few square scraps pinched in the middle and stitched by hand made the flowers and a few teeny pieces and a bit of patience made the vegie garden. Add some wooden trees and fences and some Schleich animals et voila!

(For those unitiated to the world to toy animals. These ones are soooo life like. Let's just say there's no problem distinguishing the Mumma cow from the Daddy one!)

Now gallop off and have a sticky beak at all these creative folk. Giddy up!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Let's play.....washing up!

Morning sun filtering through the blinds onto copper highlighted hair.... wee little feet perched on a delicious shabby chair....

the peaceful yet busy clinking of vintage cups and saucers..... the thorough washing...and re-washing of every nook and cranny...

Such careful placement of precious things....such splishy splashy fun with others....

...bubble beards for Mumma.....cheeky girl simply LOVES to wash up!! Possibly the cheapest toy on the market.

Oh how I've missed you bloggy friends! The computer is having conniptions on the most grandest of scales!! It is time my dears to give it the old heave ho!!! Have my eye on an Apple Mac notebook but am just a teensy bit scared of learning a new scary "code". Stuck in a Microsoft rut....not me?!! Any tips from you lap top loving gals out there? What do you have, what's good? Oh the conundrum!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nanna's Lemon Meringue Pie

My great Nanna (Momle's Nanna) stood less that five foot and was a force to be reckoned with. She could make absolutely anything out of nothing and her culinary skills were a marvel. With Momle and Falof coming over for dinner I think a "Nanna Chapman Lemon Meringue Pie" is in order. And with a squillion of the most juicy bush lemons to use up... let's to it I say!!

1/2 cup self raising flour
3/4 cup plus one tablespoon plain flour ( don't ask me why!!!)
2 scant tablespoons caster sugar
120g cold butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg

Lemon Filling:
5 scant tablespoons cornflour
3/4 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup (and a bit of an extra squeeze) of lemon juice
230ml water
60g butter, cut into pieces
3 large egg yolks

3 large egg whites
3/4 cup caster sugar

To make the pastry, place flours, sugar and butter in a food processor and process on medium for about 20 seconds until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (Nanna Chapman would have used her fingers!!) Add egg and process on medium until egg is incorporated and mixture clumps together. Form dough into a flattened round and pop in the fridge for at least an hour.

For lemon filling put cornflour, sugar, lemon juice and water in a medium saucepan. Stir until smooth. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and stir constantly until mixture reaches the boil. Reduce heat to low and continue stirring until mixture changes form cloudy to transparent and becomes thick and smooth. Remove saucepan from heat and vigorously stir in butter and egg yolks. Chill in fridge.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured board to fir a 23cm pie dish. Press into dish. Blind bake pastry shell for 10 minutes. Remove rice/weights and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. When cool, spoon lemon filling in and spread evenly. Turn oven up to 200.

To make meringue, beat egg whites on high until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually beating well after each addition. Once all the sugar has been added keep beating until mixture is thick and glossy. Dollop meringue on top of lemon filling and spread to cover. Form peaks with a spoon to make it oh so glorious and snow capped mountain like.

Bake for about 7-10 minutes or until meringue is lightly coloured.

Eat ginormous chunks with double cream or ice cream...or both! And then gloat at your Nanna Chapman domestic skills!!!

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