Friday, 21 May 2010

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. via SouleMama

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Help please!

I need everyone's opinion on something. I enjoy working in a team because I can bounce ideas off people. So please step up and bounce back :)

I am working on a coin quilt (google image it, you'll get the picture) for a dear friend. My intention was to do black and white with a splash of red. I have added the red and now I am not so sure??

(nb there will be white borders between and around the patchwork)

Black and White only option.

Splash of red option

So what do you think peeps?? More red? Lose it totally? HELP!

(side note: all the fabric is from Bird Textile remnants. How lush is it?!)

Saturday, 15 May 2010


Its a little bit Cath Kidson, a little bit 'market chic' and its ever so vogue...its bunting!

The bunting hanging by the hedge is mine, I am not taking credit for the peace flags

I decided to make bunting for Lewis's first birthday in the hope that it will become a family ritual of 'birthday bunting'. A ritual in which we prepare and decorate our house for a birthday in the same way that one would for Christmas. I still feel excited when I see my Mum pull out the old Christmas decorations and I hope that my bunting will create a similar shiver of anticipation in my children.

Bunting is the perfect way to use up fabric scraps, or in my case use up Sarah Mac's fabric scraps (thank you Sarah). I also did buy extra fabric from Spotlight. They have an excellent new quilting range with some gorgeous prints and they sell some of the range in the form of 'flats': Little squares of fabric for $2.50 (my kinda price range).

So to bunt is super easy. First you make a triangle cutting template (mine was out of cardboard), then using pinking shears (thank you again Sarah) you cut as many lovely colourful triangles as you wish.

Next you need to make a binding. I followed the bunting tutorial on this great website. Basically it is really easy. You need to the width of the material that you are using for the binding to be 4x the finished binding width. So if you want your binding to be 1/2 inch thick then you need to cut a strip 2 inches thick. I cut several lengths from one piece of fabric and then sewed them together to make about a 6m long strip.
You then fold the sides of the fabric in to the center point and iron them into place ( your bunting should now be 1 inch thick).
Then you fold the the whole thing in half and iron it into place (it will now be 1/2 inch thick). Now you should have a lovely ribbon with no scraggly bits.
The bunting tutorial on Stitch.Rip.Repeat is VERY good so if my explanation was hard to follow do go look there.

Now you just need to tuck each triangle into the fold in the binding you have made and stitch it all together.

This was my second attempt with a sewing machine and I chose to do a zigzag stitch. Its amazing how you feel like an accomplished seamstress when you can sew a straight line! I was thinking 'project runway here I come!'. The long and the short of it is that I am very happy with my bunting and I hope that it serves many family birthdays to come.

So go forth and festivigate your room, your house, your garden, your life :)

Friday, 14 May 2010

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. via SouleMama

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


I think that it is about time that I introduced you to the best thing that I have ever made. Meet Lewis

Obviously I had a little help with this miraculous creation. Meet the wonderful babydaddy and husband man Richard

And here is my little family, the most exciting on going creative project ever.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Lovely fabric and a lovely Mumma

This is the result when I used a sewing machine for the first time in 5 years. More to come with my new found sewing machine skills but in the meantime thank you Kirsty for helping me with this little birthday gifty. (And yes I know, the birds are upside down but what do the Armish say?? Only God is perfect!! You may be hearing that a lot on this blog)

Saturday, 8 May 2010


I love to cook. I love to cook all kinds of things but what I enjoy the most in the planning. I love the anticipation of a dish, of expecting guests and sifting through all the different menu options. I'd love to know more about food matching, about what flavours make a sensation across courses not only in one dish.

Over the Easter weekend had the chance to indulge my menu planning hobby by making a brunch for 8 of my friends. I had a delightful proceeding week leafing through my small but treasured collection of cookbooks until I came up with this menu.

Hot Cross buns
Shaksuka Eggs
Spinach, feta and lamb Gozleme
Haloumi Cheese with lemon and oregano
Chocolate Guinness cake

For blogging purposes I and going to focus on the buns, the eggs and the gozleme. The haloumi cooks itself and the cake is a pure recipe from Nigella so if you want that...get the book :)

The hot cross buns were the inception of my whole plan and they were also the only disaster. I bake bread quite often and I am reasonably good at it although I have managed to kill a sourdough starter twice now by forgetting to feed it. I have been reading a lot about the different products that go into bread and other baked goods and I am trying to move away from using flours that are enhanced with improvers or bleached. I have also been wanting to bake with fresh yeast as opposed to dried (which works perfectly fine). It turns out that it is really hard to find fresh yeast in Sydney (or at least the inner west) that hasn't already been frozen. I finally found it at the wonderful Bourke Street Bakery (Alexandria branch).

The point of all that is that I was armed with my coveted fresh yeast and gagging to make light, delicious hot cross buns. Well folks if this is your aim then don't use Nigella's recipe from Feast. They aren't light and fluffy and they don't rise. There is a slight possibility that the fault lies with me and not Nigella but I do now remember my mother trying to make the same recipe years ago with the same result: Nicely flavoured rock cakes.

The name Shakshuka Eggs comes from a Pete Evans recipe book but this breakfast dish is found all over the world under different names and with slight variations. I first tried this dish at Woodford Folk festival at an Eritrean stall where it was served with couscous. The basis of the dish is tomato baked eggs and the seasoning is what varies across Africa, Italy and the Middle East. For my eggs I choose to make a Moroccan style tomato sauce.

Fresh tomatoes
Tinned tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick
cumin (ground in a mortar)
coriander (fresh or ground)
chili flakes

I brown the onion, cumin, garlic, chili and paprika in the bottom of my pan and then add the toms, honey and cinnamon. I let all this cook for as long as possible, a good few hours with plenty of stirring and flavour tweaking then I add the fresh coriander leaves close to the end.

The rest of the recipe is as easy as abc. You pour the sauce into your ramekins or oven dish, make a small indentation with the back of your spoon and break the desired number of eggs in. You then pop them in the over for about 20mins (the eggs take longer than you think to bake) and serve. We ate it with fresh sourdough which was LUSH!

Gozleme is a Turkish savoury dish. It is like a cross between a pizza and a calzone. At almost every Australian market that you go to now days you will see a gozleme stall full of Turkish ladies wearing white head scarfs furiously rolling out the dough for these delicious parcels. I love the flavours in the fillings but I often find the market ones too oily and when you watch the liberal application of oils during the cooking process you know why! I came across a recipe for them again in my Pete Evans book My Table . The book was given to me by my sister and I have used to time and time again and I find it to be full of interesting yet practical recipes. The gozleme are a little time consuming to make but the end result is an absolute winner. the gorgeous combination of mint and feta in the vego ones in luscious and the lamb and cumin mix in the meat filled ones is magic.....yum!

My friend and sous chef Claire Meech rolling out the dough (and my husband washing up...bless)

I pretty much stuck to the Pete Evans recipe with out much alteration of my own. You can basically make these filled with what ever you want though. The dough Pete makes is simple, you mix natural yogurt with self raining flour and a pinch of salt till it is smooth and then you let it sit for half an hour. You then roll little handfuls of the dough into circles, pile some filling on half the circle and fold it over like a calzone.

In regards to the filling, the only limit you have is your imagination. I filled mine with a vego mix of feta, mint and spinach and a meat option of cumin lamb mince (with a touch of tomato juice for moisture) with feta, spinach and mint. I heated a large frying pan sprayed on a touch of olive oil and cooked each side until black spots appeared. Add a squeeze of lemon and YUMO!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Babies come with hats

I have been a crafty lady lately. Sometimes I ask myself why I didn't start making things while I was pregnant. I had almost two wonderful months to myself before Lewis was born last year and I could have filled those days with all the projects that now fill my head, jostling to get to the front of the line and actually be created! Instead I filled those months sleeping (bliss), walking on the eastern cliffs (also bliss) and watching the entire series of Buffy....ok so those two months were pretty perfect....

The point is that I now face a daily battle to keep my house under control (there are those close to me who may say I fail in this regard), my active little boy entertained and indulge my growing crafty side.

My sister Jacqui taught me to knit not long after Lewis was born and I took to it like a duck to water. That is not to say that I was good at it right from the start or am even good at it now! On the contrary my first works were impossible tight, odd looking creations filled with dropped stitches and lots of swear words. What I did take to in a duckish manner was the feeling of knitting, the slowness of it. I love the click click of the needles, the connection between the mind and the hands and the way that it invites people to come sit with you for a long leisurely chat as the rows multiply.

Soggy Bob was a happy result of these early knitting lessons from Jacqui. Knitted by Jacqui as part of my instruction, he comes from this Steiner book.

Lewis showing appreciation for Soggy Bob the sheep and Jenn's shoe at the same time

Our Christmas trip to England produced a new knitted labour of love. I knitted Lewis a Christmas stocking complete with a knitted Christmas tree decoration. For any knitting enthusiasts out there I may try to post the pattern I made up for the tree closer to the festive season. The stocking was special because it holds stitches knitted with love by many helpful hands. During the trip I happened to be surrounded by many experienced knitters who were rather appalled at my abilities and they helped :) Granny B and Nanna Jenny helped A LOT as did our wonderful friend Liz who demanded that I give her the knitting just to see if the lovely rose wood needles I was using were the reason for my snail like progress ( turns out they weren't). I love the feeling of community and collaboration that this process invoked, it reinforces for me that the process is just as important as the result when it comes to creating.
Lewis unpacking his stocking at his first Christmas and Granny B's friends popped in for Christmas Eve coffee and joined the production line

A month or so ago I reached my knitted pinnacle so far. I have two not one beautiful babies in my life (well I have far more than that!). Lewis has a special friend Mabel Wren who is his senior by one week and I have a special friend in Mabel Wren's mother Sarah Mac. I wanted to make cozy hats to keep these babes heads warm this winter so these little hat were born.

Hats with ears what more can I say??

To make these hats I watched this video tutorial and then did a whole lot of adapting of my own. Basically I just knit a rectangle, occasionally hold it up to a nearby baby's head to check for size and go from there. I'm not big on patterns and being exact me...

A resurrection

To blog or not to blog? I read blogs, I recommend blogs, I learn from blogs. On the whole I am a fan of the blog but I fear I am a slack blogger. So I have decided to resurrect a blog that I started in 2007 which was to be about my London life equip with a camera phone and turn it into a journal of Sydney life, motherhood, cooking, creating and trying to stay fit (to run the city to surf or not??).

I will start my blogs new life with a homage to a great blogger and inspirational woman, Amanda Blake Soule of Soulemamma Every week Amanda updates with a 'this moment' post:
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Now I am a woman of words and I am going to disrupt Amanda's wonderful idea and make it my own by adding words. Just a line...I like to explain things! :)Is there a more satisfying site than bright, white nappies drying in the sunshine under a clear blue sky?