Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Lord of the Russian Dolls!

My name is Alex and I am a Lord of the Rings geek.  There, I said it.  It's out there.  I just can't get enough of all things Ring.  I am already  heart-thumpingly excited about The Hobbit coming out at the end of the year.  I have many odd Lord of the Rings 'things' mainly thanks to my net-surfing husband.

In my post about my owl garland, eagle-eyed Gillian spotted my Lord of the Rings russian dolls so I thought I'd give her a special treat and  show you them in glorious close up1

Aggie is getting a closer look!
Odd, yes.  Tacky, probably. But I love them in all their Ringy gloriousness!

Till next time...

Friday, 20 April 2012

What was made today?

I thought I'd show you what was made in our house today.

First up - a teacup pouch.  This is my first effort and now I can see where I need to make improvements. 
1.  Line everything up better so the seams match all the way round.
2. Cut the material for the handle on the bias - thought I could get away with it as I had a strip of fabric but, no, it needs to be bias cut.
3. Better free motion embroidery. 
4. Make sure material isn't wonky when I attach the zip.
5. Go slower - it is not a race!

Other than that (!) I'm quite pleased with it as the pattern was 4 out of 5 star difficulty rating and I consider myself to be a novice.
The pattern is from the supremely talented Laurraine Yuyrama at Patchwork Pottery

Next up is some apple, date and cinnamon bread, made by the husband.  Smells divine and I shall be having a slice for breakfast tomorrow.

And finally, pizza for tea.  Dough made by me (recipe below), toppings of salami and chicken satay.

Recipe for pizza dough that I use (for 3 bases):
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 3 tsps sugar
  • 1 and half tsps salt
  • 2 tsps yeast
  • good sprinkling of herbs

Mix all this together in a bowl with about 1 and half cups of water until dough is formed.  Leave to rise in a lightly oiled bowl for about an hour.  Then split into three bits and press into pizza tins.
Much nicer and cheaper than shop bought!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Silver Birch

Yesterday we planted trees in the paddock.

One of our new silver birch trees
Plenty of water
When we moved into this house there was a 'dam' in the middle of the bottom paddock. I say 'dam' but what it actually was, was a big hole that for 6 months was half full of stagnant water and, for the other 6 months was completely empty.  (Note to UK readers - in Australia a dam is a man-made lake/reservoir)
Anyhow, we decided that the hole was a bit useless as well as an eyesore so we filled it in and scattered grass seeds.

But this week we planted trees.

Putting up the fence to keep the alpacas from chewing the trees
Checking out the new additions to the paddock
And then we went to the timber yard to get some mulch to put round the base of the new saplings.

I've never seen so much wood in one place!

We got a bit more mulch that we bargained for!

I managed to get a few photos of birds having a bath.

Til next time.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Owl garland

 I made this!  It's brightening up our family room and inspiring us to be wise.  Those owls have got their work cut out!

Note how I'm cleverly taking photos to show the garland but not the messy dresser.

The pattern is from moonstitches blog.  I feel this could be the first of many owl garlands.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Quince paste

A few years ago I tasted quince paste for the first time and a love affair began.  The sweet, ruby, gooey paste with my crackers and cheese goes down a treat, the only pip in the paste being the outrageous price.
Fast forward to a couple of Sundays ago at the markets, when I spotted buckets of yellow, knobbly quince on the back of a truck.  $4 later and 2 kilos were mine!

I chopped them up and put them in a pan with enough water to almost cover.

 Then, when they were soft, I whizzed the whole lot up in the liquidizer.

Squished the pulp through a sieve and weighed it.  Then added the same amount of sugar (next time I would add a bit less sugar)

Then left it in the slow cooker for hours as it bubbled away and reduced and got redder.

Finally, (when I really needed to go to bed) I poured it into moulds and left it to set overnight.

Enough quince paste to give away to family and to last for ... ooh ... a couple of months!
I'm keeping it in the freezer. It doesn't freeze solid - it's ready to eat as you take it out.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Autumn in the garden

Gerbera - so cheerful

These pink flowers are so dainty

Metal birdies

Tealight holder

Baby avocado


Protea - you can't see the giant ants that inhabit this tree.  Once I brought a bunch of them in the house to put in a vase - never again!


These are good ground cover
Amazing how close-up pictures can focus attention on the colourful and fruitful bits of the garden.  Maybe I should show you wider shots, you'd get a truer picture of the garden then!

My lovely boys

We have been caring for alpacas for nearly two years now.  At the moment we have 5 boys but, with the Small Farm Field Day coming up at the weekend, I suspect that some of them will be sold.  They are easy for me to look after - clean water and a handful of food each day is all I need to do.
They all have their own bucket - it minimizes spitting incidents
Of course, if they were actually mine I'd have to do a lot more for them: drenching, shearing, toenail clipping.  As it is, I can enjoy them without the stress of being fully responsible.

Paddy and Roddy with McTavish  and Lurtz in the background 
The lovely Lurtz - he's my favourite