About Me

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The past two years have been all about adjusting to motherhood and finding my way through it via craft. The out pouring of this came in the form of my blog Aunty Mum. Now I'm finally finding my feet, the children are growing, I'm getting some independence and my interests are morphing . . . into cooking. Join me in exploring creativity in many forms, food, fabric, frowns and laughter.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gender Unknown

DSCF0412 I’m making more baby clothes as my mum’s posh friend Ann-Marie is expecting her first grandchild on Valentines Day. Being the woman AM is, she doesn’t want to know the gender of the child until it’s born. Well, that’s all well and good for her, but when it comes to making something for this child I’m feeling very out of my depth. The pattern I’ve chosen is from a vintage knitting and crochet magazine called Stitchcraft (which, I’ve discovered you can find online and on EBay). I was fortunate enough to be given about 20 of these a couple of years ago and they’re great for children’s creations.

Anyway, having chosen the pattern above I decided that lemon would be a gender neutral colour. However, upon starting it I’m rethinking my choice.

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I am loving the pattern and have no issues with that. I’m just feeling that it’s still leaning a little toward a ‘girl’ style. However, there’s no guarantee that it won’t be a girl and then I won’t have a problem at all. Oh the dilemma.

And I have spent much time thinking of Alice from the blog Crochet with Raymond as she has coined a term “rabbiting” for when she has to back knit for rows to undo a mistake. It’s such a wonderful word because that’s exactly the sound one makes when back stitching, or even whipping needles out of a project and unravelling to a certain point. And it was during one of three rabbit sessions I’ve had on this jacket already, that I realised I missed Alice’s blog. I was going to put a link to her blog (even though she stopped writing it a few months ago), but I had a wonderful surprise . . . she’s writing a new blog called Hookknitspin. If you haven’t seen it I urge you to pop along. She is fabulous.

Well, it’s late once again and I really must head for my bed. I’ve been trying to finish Anne of Green Gables the past couple of nights, but as my days seem to be taken up with intermittent games of Skipbo, making chocolate mousse on demand, and generally entertaining the masses (i.e. the little darlings) I’m exhausted by the time I get to bed and can’t read for long. Perhaps tonight will be the night.

Catch you again soon.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Very Merry Christmas

 

 

I can’t believe it’s all over for another year, although it’s probably a good thing since I’ve been going since 5.30 this morning and it’s now almost ten at night.

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I had to share this photograph of Janae with her favourite gift of the day . . . mostly because you can see the clock and the awful hour of the morning that it is.

Ah well, we have all survived the day and now they’re all sound asleep again.

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Dad decided that the children must have been pleased with their gift haul as it was quite peaceful in our home today. He’s decided that peacefulness equates to happiness. He’s obviously not around when a serious game of “Silly Beggars” is going on (that being play fighting with as much noise as a child can muster). But, speaking of Dad, he was very happy with his gift . . .

 

 

 

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It really is a shame that it’s summer here as I’m sure, had it not been 25 degrees C when he put it on, it’d have stayed on for days. It is such a wonderful feeling as a knitter or crocheter to have the recipient love their garment isn’t it.

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As for me, this year Santa brought something I’ve been asking for for three years now. I’m sitting under it now writing this blog, enjoying the cool night breeze, hearing the fireworks going off in the distance and just loving every moment of it.

The floor is littered with the debris of 30 Christmas crackers Janet kindly brought with her and her family. She had “doctored” them as she says and the gifts inside were fabulous. My belly is so full that I’m hanging out to lay on my bed and pass into peaceful slumber, and yet going past the plate with macaroons, Christmas Jelly Slice and Lemon Tarts without picking up something is proving something of a challenge and there’s so much food left over I can’t help wondering if perhaps I over catered somewhat.

Ah well, that’s the trouble with Christmas I suppose. So I’ll leave you with some photos of the most successful gift of the year . . . Rogan’s rocket launcher. It never ceases to amaze me how the least expensive gifts are the best. They’re in their pyjamas ready for bed (actually Rogan’s been in his all day as they’re his Christmas ones and he felt that he had nothing more appropriate to wear on Christmas day) and it’s pouring with rain, but their enthusiasm was so infections I even got out in the rain and launched a few rockets.

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  I trust you have had a merry, family and fun filled day with joy and laughter. And may tomorrow be just a great.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas is coming

I’ve been so busy lately trying to finish my father’s Christmas gift that I’ve been neglecting blogging. But, this morning I managed to get it completed (all bar buttons which I’ll get tomorrow).

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I know I’ve said it before, but this was just so much fun. Every row took a small amount of concentration, which was great for me as I’m easily bored. Janae is a little worried that it’s a “girl” colour, but I don’t think so.

I got the pattern from this magazine:

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It’s old but I’m sure you’ll find it on Ebay. There are a couple of other projects I’m dying to try too, but need to get Christmas out of the way first. I must admit, it feels strange giving my father a snuggly winter jumper when it’s 25 degrees outdoors, but I know he’ll understand. One thing I must point out: the pattern was written using Aran wool, which I believe is 10ply. It was difficult to find good quality 10ply wool and difficult to find the colour I was looking for. So, on a huge and wobbly limb I went and chose an 8ply or double knit instead. I used the same sized needles as specified in the pattern and chose one size bigger to follow. It looks like it will be a perfect fit.

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Now, anyone who knits and/or crochets knows, it’s impossible to be without a project. So, once the lawn was mowed this morning I went in search of some yarn to start this:

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It’s a free RedHeart pattern that I just fell in love with as soon as I saw it. And I must say that returning to crochet after knitting for so long has been great. Again, it’s a pattern that requires a level of concentration and is quite varied in stitch requirements so I don’t think it’s going to be difficult to keep the enthusiasm going throughout.

I trust you’re all set for Christmas, or almost. My baking is in the freezer (so I don’t eat it), the gifts are all hidden away (but not wrapped) and I’m off with my Mum to get my own gift tomorrow. At last, after three years of hinting, there’ll be a gazebo under the tree for my patio. I’ll be knitting and crocheting in shaded and cool bliss this summer. Pop over for a cuppa if you’ve got time. I’d love to see you!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Mission of Turning Five

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My baby has finally turned five and it was a whirlwind of social activities to make it there.

There was the last swimming lesson, the final Mainly Music, the last day of Kindergarten, a birthday party and then the big day. I don’t know about Janae, but I was exhausted by it all.

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We shared goodies with lots of people. At kindy Janae shared lollipops and mini cupcakes with her friends. At swimming lessons she gave her teacher a card, written by herself, and a bunch of roses out of Nanny’s garden. But Mainly Music was a time when Janae got something just for her. Her own Bible and a cupcake (as MM tradition allows). She’s been waiting for her own Bible all year and what a proud girl she was.

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Needless to say, on the morning of her birthday she was up bright and early to open her gifts. The heart shaped bead box was a hit and she had a necklace made before breakfast.

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Then off to school with us. She was most disappointed that I wouldn’t let her catch the bus, but I think she understood that Mum needed to drop her last baby off on the first day of school.

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And off she went all grown up. I will confess I didn’t shed a tear this day as it was with some relief that we’d managed to survive preschool years. I did, however, have a sniffle the next day as she left on the school bus without a kiss, hug or even a backward glance. (I’m over that feeling now too.) And her teacher tells me – after just four days of school – that it’s like she’s been at school all year, so confident is she, already displaying leadership qualities. Hmmm, I wonder where that bossy streak came in.

So you would think that I’d have had time to do lots of crafting. Alas, after one blissful day relaxing on the sofa watching six hours of Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth version of course) my eldest came down with the most horrendous cough/cold and I’ve had her company all week. Maybe next week!

Breadmaker or Bread Maker?

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I’ve been having dilemmas lately over bread. I have a bit of a conscience that my family should be eating foods that are low in preservatives and high in “my-mum-made-this-goodness”. As summer is here we’re consuming lots of broccoli, cabbage and other delicious green things from right out of our garden. But bread is something that’s just a bit scary.

I have a bread maker and have bought pre-packaged bread mixes that work well, but do I really know what all those numbers mean? Nope. I’ve tried using the bread maker to make bread from the base ingredients without much success. And, my children aren’t fond of hard, crusty bread either.

So when I found a recipe in the Watties Children’s Cookbook for pizza bread I was pleased to see it was simple and only hoped it would work well. Work well it did and I use it for all sorts of things.

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So inspired were my family that we even fired up the pizza oven at my parents place. Yum! These pizzas were delicious. And the smoky flavour was divine.

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I had my work cut out for me keeping my assistant chef in line and up to speed, but we got there in the end.

I use the recipe for calzone pizzas too, which has become a favourite “quick” dinner in our house lately.

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But the real test came when I decided to use the recipe for buns so we could have mini burgers or sliders as they’re known on all the cheffy programmes on the telly. They were a hit and were all devoured that evening (there were five kids in the house that night so we were gluttons).

The recipe? Simple.

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in tepid water for about 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile mix 2 and a half cups of high grade flour in a bowl, add salt and make a well in the middle. Once the yeast is activated, pour into flour with 1 tablespoon of oil and mix to form a dough. If it’s too wet, add a little more flour, too dry add a little more water.

You’ll need to get your muscles out, dust down your bench top with some flour and get kneading for about ten minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl and stand (somewhere warm) for about an hour or until the dough is about twice it’s size. (When the weather is cold I heat a metal bowl in the oven briefly and then stand it on a towel to keep the heat in while the dough rises.)

When the dough is ready, give it a punch to push the air out of it. If you’re using the dough for bread, let it rise again, but for pizzas just roll it out, top it and cook for about 15 minutes in a moderate oven. Yummo!