Monday, April 30, 2012

Roast Vegie Cakes

We've gone all Nana-ish here of late and have taken to having a roast dinner each Sunday night. Sometimes it's pork with more crispy, salty crackling than one's arteries should be subjected too. Other nights it's a humble chook. We often zhoosh it up á la Jamie Oliver by rubbing a mixture of butter, finely chopped prosciutto and fresh thyme under the skin and putting half a lemon up it's...ahem.

This week it was beef and Yorkshire puddings! Don't get me wrong, the meat was lovely and all but I think we should just cut to the chase and have "yorkies" with gravy as a meal in its entirety. Crispy outered, soft centred batter cups of gravy...what could be so bad about that?!

But there is veg. There's always oodles of roast veg. The humble spud, carrots, pumpkin, golden sweet potato...parsnips sometimes. And always leftovers. So in an effort to curb food wastage and cram as many vegies down our appreciative gullets as possible, on Mondays I make roast vegie cakes for lunch.  My Momle often made potato cakes with leftover mashed potato so faced with yet another bowl of too much roast veg I improvised.

Armed with a masher I squish them down to a chunky mush, stir in a good dollop of whole egg mayonnaise and form them into patties. They are then rolled in flour and fried gently in a pan with butter and a whisker of oil . Served hot with pumpkin seed toast, sea salt and good old tomato sauce they feel kinda treat-ey but then you remember that they're full of vegies. Oh so good!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Little Man's Playmat

Gorgeous Autumn days spent outside sipping tea, knitting, watching my girl potter and my little man explore the world....and his feet.

With the grass still damp from morning dew Monsieur Remoulade was in need of somewhere to roly poly about on and old paint dropsheets from the laundry do not a playmat make!

One sunshiney bright op-shopped doona cover, a vintage sheet border, two daffodil yellow vintage bath towels, some red polka dots and some rare time on old Jan thanks to the magic that is my hubby.

An outdoor play mat for Mr.Smiley to ponder the bright blue sky from.

We watch the trees, crinkle our toes in the grass and marvel at the ever changing clouds.

We listen to the rustle of leaves, the kookaburra laughing, the scrub turkey scratching about.

They explore, they play, they learn and grow...and I try desperately to soak it all in. Slow down precious ones!

Joining in with all these gorgeous goodies.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

All things wooly

Well it seems I have been well and truly bitten by the knitting bug! I still adore pottering away on old Jan when I can snatch a few moments without my shadow to do so but am loving the portability and "I've got a spare second between wiping bottoms, washing, and cleaning up food" style of this wooly craft.

Just like my beloved sewing  I also have more than one knitted project on the go at one time (oh and a crochet one too!). Sometimes I need a "no brainer" back and forth kinda knit that I can haul out into the backyard and clickety clack while one babe fossicks about the vegie patch for another fat bean to gobble and the other investigates his chubby feet on a rug beside me.

Then there's the more challenging patterns where I can plant my behind on the lounge sans children and strain the few brain cells that haven't become null and void due to firstly pregnancy, then breastfeeding and broken sleep (I really can't complain as the little man has slept through from 6:30 pm to around 7:00 am the last few nights! Bless!). You tube has become a dear acquaintance of mine on this knitting journey. I especially love this lady's simple tutorials.

And who would have thought that my wool stash would be starting to rival my endless pile of fabric! Six months ago I wouldn't have even know what a skein was (the wool in the piccie above) let alone known how to roll it into balls. Loving all this new learning!

The little grey cardi is for Remy and is knitting up really quickly. The lemon one (of which there's not an awful lot done) is the re-cast on version of this disaster. And the blue shrug needs only to have the ends woven in and be blocked (terms I had no idea what they meant short weeks ago!). The yummy red and teal wools are for a wee vest-ey affair and a long sleeved cardi for my girl.
The gorgeous girl at my absolute favourite wool shop insisted I start something for myself. Maybe I might cast these on tonight. One can never have too many projects on the go.....can they?

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I have come to the conclusion that people who take photos of children for a living need a gigantic shiny, jewel encrusted medal!

I don't mean those photographers for magazines dealing with wee little Miranda Kerr's who can pout and pose way beyond their years. But those dear loves whose job it is to capture family memories.

How oh how do they do it?! Naive me thought it would be trés simple to take a few quick piccies of the little bilby slippers I made for the poppets for Easter. Ha!

And I was only focusing on their feet! Imagine trying to shoot a family portrait ensuring everyone is a) in the photo and not gallivanting off in completely different directions, b) keeping their fingers out of their noses or other orifices...mon dieu!, c) not jigging about like a jack in a box after one too many double shot espressos and d) happy!

We (meaning they) had fun at least with much wriggling and an ample dose of laughter.

I used a gorgeous nubbly Jo Sharp Aran tweed and this pattern for Bijou's slippers and kinda fudged Remy's. For his, I just cast on a few less stitches and didn't knit for as long....and hoped for the best! The toes on his are a bit wonky but he'll fit them for approximately 2 seconds so I won't fret.

For the ears: Cast on 7 stitches and then work in stocking stitch for about 3 cm ending with a purl row. Next row: ssk, k3, k2 together, Next row: Purl 2 together, p1, p2 together - 3 stitches remaining. Cast off and pull the end through the remaining stitch.

The tail was an I-cord for about 2-3 centimetres. See here for the tutorial I used to work it out. A few little sewn eyes and whiskers and these cheeky bilbies came to life. And let me tell you...they do not sit still!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Crafting

There has been a flurry of all things Easter-y in our humble abode as mon petit poppet awaits with giddy anticipation for the arrival of the little grey furred choccie giving fellow we fondly know as Mr. Bilby (we're a Bilby household here!).

Some rather noxious looking polystyrene eggs made their way into my trolley at the abyss that shall not be named (just like Voldemort in Harry Potter...if we say it out loud it will swallow us up!). Bijou made light work of fancifying them for our Easter branch.

 Our very own Mr. E. Bilby made from an old milk carton using this one as a guide.

Our Easter Bilby is rather a stingey fellow so we only used a 500ml carton!

Easy peasy lemon squeezie bread dough saw bunnies, birds and all manner of eggs evolve. A random chopstick in the "second drawer" was just the thing to make little holes to thread ribbon through.  (Dissolve 1/4 cup salt in 1/2 cup warm water. Mix in 1 cup flour and knead for a wee while. Make shapes and bake for an hour at about 160 degrees or until hard)

 Some fluffy chicks which took all of about 5 minutes to make by gluing a little yellow pom pom to a larger one, attaching some googly eyes and a scrap of felt for a wee beak. These fellows have come up trumps as they have been played with constantly since they were made.

A few trips to the chicken vet have been needed though!

And some wet felted Easter eggs thanks to this gorgeous dose of inspiration.

Such a simple and really lovely activity on a warm Autumn morning. Gorgeous conversations about birds and eggs too!

Rainbow eggs dried in the sun and then popped in a Mumma knitted nest. I used the treasure bowls pattern from this book but just made it not quite so deep. Can see a few more of these squishy nests and eggs coming together for birthday gifts for little friends!

Such fun we've had! Can't wait for that big eared soul to come a visitin'.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Oliver-la's New Pants

One of Bijou's nearest and dearests is a fuzzy bear named Oliver. Well his real name is Oliver but for as long as mon petit poppet could talk he was called Ovila. As she grew and her language skills blossomed he became affectionately known as Oliver-la and it has stuck.

Well Oliver-la is rather a gender neutral chap and although he gads about answering to his masculine name he isn't averse to dress ups in all manner of frilly garb...particularly florals. And can this fellow play a convincing girl bear? My word...he'd rival Dustin Hoffman's Tootsie I dare say!

On a particularly loony day I came down the hall and into the lounge room after depositing another tonne of folded washing into it's cupboard homes to find my "eager beaver" ferreting madly through my very neatly folded vintage sheet fat quarters in search of the perfect fabric to make Oliver-la some new pants. I'll be honest. I tried the "wrap the sheet around said bear and fasten with a peg" trick. Not happening!! The "rolled up like sausage roll number zhooshed up with a stray piece of gingham ribbon" ensemble? No...the girl wanted proper pants! Zheesh !!!

Not having the mental capacity on such a day to deal with pattern pieces, an effervescent toddler and Mr. Roly Poly (oh yes....the little man has a new moniker now that he can roll all over the place!) I decided to wing it. And here's how we did it. Take one Oliver-la and lay him down onto the open end of a vintage pillowcase. Make sure his feet hang over the bottom as the hem of the pillowcase is going to be the hem of his pants. Trés sneaky I know. Cut around Oliver-la's legs leaving enough room for his fluff (the pants in the pictures ended up a wee bit snug so for the other ones we allowed a much bigger seam allowance)

With right sides together we pinned the side seams and the inside leg seams and sewed them together on old Jan....very slowly....with poppet removing each pin Deep breathing to make a Himalayan yogi master proud!

The curved seams were snipped to allow a bit of ease of movement for the fuzzy fellow.

A rough centimetre hem was folded over on the wast band and sewn. I say rough because I was at this time balancing a bony bottomed toddler on my lap, pressing the presser foot with one foot and bouncing Monsieur Remoulade's rocker with the other. Why oh why did I decide to do this....and what made me think I could manage taking bloody photos at the same time! Delusion I tell you!!

This hem was then folded over to allow the only untangled piece of elastic I could get my mits on (Mon dieu! Must make time to discuss Mumma's craft space and the associated boundaries with my girl!) and sewn three quarters of the way around allowing an opening to thread the elastic through.

Wrestle Oliver-la and lie him still in order to measure around his tummy with the elastic overlapping by a few centimetres.

Feed the elastic through the opening using effervescent toddler to hold the other end and thus avoiding that end of elastic inside the casing saga which at this stage would have most definitely resulted in tears.

Sew the elastic together many a time as effervescent toddler (now morphing into rather uninterested and bored toddler!) enjoys being in charge of the back stitch button.

Sew up the opening and breathe a giant sigh of relief that we are almost done.

Dress that dapper bear and have him parade about in his new finery lip syncing Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy ".

Make a strong cup of decaf coffee....oh the injustice of it all! And wait patiently at the mail box for my Mother of the year nomination.

What's that my love? Oliver-la needs a shirt now! Insert maniacal laugh here!!

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