Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday baking

With 5 kids every second weekend, I invariably find that I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. However, on the alternate weekends we don't have the kids, I do not go near the kitchen to cook dinner and I eat out every day!  I love baking though and don't count that as a chore, so most Sundays I generally bake for the week ahead for the kids lunches.  Of course, it usually only lasts til Wednesday if I am lucky!! I always try to make something I haven't made before and since I have a whole bookcase of cooking books, it is not hard to find inspiration!! It's a bit of a standing joke with my family and myself. Whenever I buy any books they always know it will be either a cooking book or a quilting book at the moment!!

Anyway, one of the scrumptious delights I made today was Annabel Langebein's Magic Chocolate Cake
I enjoy Annabel's style and her recipes are always so easy.  I haven't made this before and the addition of pumpkin intrigued me. However, this made it extremely moist and it was very flavorsome. The kids have already demolished half of it and given it the thumbs up! What I liked about this cake was that it was so easy. Just throw everything in the processor and that's it! I used some cooked, mashed pumpkin I had in the freezer, but you couldn't taste the pumpkin at all. I had a competition with the kids to see if they could guess what the secret ingredient was as they all vow and declare they  just *hate* pumpkin!! Well, none of them guessed and they all came back for seconds once they did find out!

 Yummo!! How does that look for fudgey decadence....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'm "crushed"....

Well, guess what arrived in my mailbox today all the way across the seas.....A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to win 11 fat quarters of Anna Maria Horner's Innocent Crush Charmed from Pink Chalk Fabrics.  Well they arrived today. I was running late for work so I had to wait until tonight to open the package!! What agony!!  Kathy had packaged them beautifully and they are just stunningly gorgeous!

Now to decide what to make with them. Any ideas???

Monday, October 25, 2010

A weekend of R & R

Well what a glorious weekend it turned out to be. Hot, sunny days that made you feel like summer is really here.  Labour Weekend is always wet, so 3 days of sunshine was blissful.  The photo above is of the Main Beach at the Mt.  So Saturday Tony did "boy's stuff" around the caravan and I went shopping in Tauranga.  Specifically went there to go to the quilt shop in town, but I got there at 1pm and they asked me to leave as they were closing. Never mind, they missed out on a sale!! Guess they wanted to hit the sun and the beach too!!

Luckily a couple of other shops down that street caught my eye and I found some Steam a Seam that Barb had mentioned in a post a couple of days ago!! And then a fabric shop was having a sale, so I spent up large there and stocked up on a wee bit of fabric ;-) Wandered around the shops for a bit more and then walked back to the Mt which is about 7kms. That bag of fabric felt like a ton weight after an hour's walking though!!

Sunday, Tony had a great idea in that we would climb to the top of the Mt. It normally takes about 45 mins to an hour depending on which way you go up.  I suggested brunch first, so we went to the Tay Street Beach Cafe which is now my new favourite cafe.  It always looks busy when we drive past, so that is usually a good sign. Exceptional service, awesome food and great coffee. Will definitely go back.

We then meandered at a very leisurely pace towards the Mt, taking in the Busker's Festival on the way.  And then we were there. I looked up...

Now this may seem like an innocuous set of steps, but suddenly the warm brioche with roasted bananas, freshly cooked bacon and roasted walnuts with maple syrup didn't seem like such a good idea an hour previously!! So deep breath, and off we went.

Ok, the first rest stop 10 minutes into it!!

Now we come to a fork in the path...the sign says we can either go left and take the difficult track or go right and take the moderate track.  Tony actually asked me which way I wanted to go. That was such a no brainer.  Without a moment's hesitation and gasping between words, I managed to say let's go right!! I think secretly he was hoping I would choose the difficult path!

Not too far to go now. A little rest stop on the way. That is Matakana Island in the background.

Yay, made it!! This spectacular view made it absolutely worth every aching step of the way!! Look at that beach.  Just gorgeous!

Made it back down to my second favourite cafe in the whole wide world..The Deckchair!! A smoothie each just hit the spot nicely!

Friday, October 22, 2010

All about ME!!

Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict posted this list today on her blog. I thought it was fun and a way of getting to know me a little more.  Would love you to play along too. Copy the list and mark it about yourself - Things you've already done in bold. Things you want to do in italics. Things you haven't done and don't want to, leave in plain font.  Let me know in the comments if you have played along!
1. started your own blog 
2. slept under the stars
3. played in a band (I am sooo not musical)
4.  visited Hawaii
5watched a meteor shower
6given more than you can afford to charity
7been to Disneyland/World (in Tokyo though)
8. climbed a mountain
9. held a praying mantis
10. sang a solo (I so can't sing....would scare spiders from their webs if I sang!!)
11. bungee jumped (even tho NZ is the home of bungee jumping I am never going to do it)
12visited Paris
13watched a lightning storm at sea
14. taught yourself an art from scratch
15. adopted a child
16. had food poisoning
17. walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. grown your own vegetables (all the time)
19. seen the Mona Lisa in France 
20. slept on an overnight train (from Bangkok to Chiangmai in Thailand)
21. had a pillow fight 
22. hitch hiked 
23. taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. built a snow fort 
25. held a lamb (just today! Got 8 babies bouncing around the paddock at the moment)
26. gone skinny dipping
27. run a marathon 
28. ridden a gondola in Venice
29. seen a total eclipse
30. watched a sunrise or sunset
31. hit a home run
32. been on a cruise
33. seen Niagara Falls in person
34. visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. seen an Amish community
36. taught yourself a new language (lived in Japan for 18 months and learnt Japanese)
37. had enough money to be truly satisfied (is it ever enough??)
38. seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. gone rock climbing
40. seen Michelangelo's David in person
41. sung karaoke 
42. seen Old Faithful Geyser erupt
43. bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. visited Africa
45. walked on a beach by moonlight     will be doing this again tomorrow night :-)
46. been transported in an ambulance (after a bad car crash)
47. had your portrait painted
48. gone deep sea fishing 
49. seen the Sistene Chapel in person
50. been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris 
51. gone scuba diving or snorkeling (in Malaysia...amazing)
52. kissed in the rain
53. played in the mud
54. gone to a drive-in theatre
55. been in a movie 
56. visited the Great Wall of China
57. started a business (used to own Countrystitch, NZ online fabric store for cross stitching. Sold it 5 years ago.)
58. taken a martial arts class
59. visited Russia
60. served at a soup kitchen
61. sold Girl Guide cookies
62. gone whale watching
63. gotten flowers for no reason
64. donated blood
65. gone sky diving (OMG, this was so scary!!)
66. visited a Nazi concentration camp 
67. bounced a check
68. flown in a helicopter
69. saved a favorite childhood toy (some of my dolls)
70. visited the Lincoln Memorial 
71. eaten caviar
72. pieced a quilt 
73. stood in Times Square
74. toured the Everglades
75. been fired from a job
76. seen the Changing of the Guard in London
77. broken a bone
78. been on a speeding motorcycle
79. seen the Grand Canyon in person (in a couple of years maybe)
80. published a book
81. visited the Vatican
82. bought a brand new car
83. walked in Jerusalem
84. had your picture in the newspaper
85. read the entire Bible
86. visited the White House
87. killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. had chickenpox
89. saved someone’s life
90. sat on a jury
91. met someone famous 
92. joined a book club
93. lost a loved one 
94. had a baby
95. seen the Alamo in person 
96. swum in the Great Salt Lake 
97. been involved in a law suit
98. owned a cell phone 
99. been stung by a bee

Have fun!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Down in the Garden

Well, here is the first block from Down in the Garden.  I am going to piece it together tonight. It is a long weekend in NZ this weekend and we are off to Mt Maunganui tomorrow.  I will do the stitchery over at the beach. I'm am planning on doing nothing but shopping, eating, reading, walking and stitching.  Brunch at The Deckchair every day (my favourite cafe in the Bay of Plenty), walks around the Mt and maybe a bush walk, walks along the white sandy beach, take in a bit of the busker parade which is always amazing, meander through the shops, snooze in the sun and maybe stitch a little...sounds perfect!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Need blogging help....

Can anyone tell me how I can set my comments to send automatically to my email? I tried looking in the Help, but I couldn't find it.  Thanks  :-)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Q is for Quiet

A few months ago, my husband and I decided to work our way through the alphabet and do something related to that letter for the weekend. The idea came out of a fabulous book Growing Great Marriages by Ian & Mary Grant.  An easy read with lots of practical tips and fun ideas to keep the spice and fun in your marriage.  As this is the second marriage for both of us, neither of us want to experience a failed marriage again so we are both dedicated to making this an amazing, lifelong relationship. We have 5 kids every second weekend and none on the next, so on the weekends without kids, it is much easier to get away and do things.

So we have eaten Butter Chicken, gone for a Drive to the beach, been to an Ecological Reserve,  soaked in mineral Hot pools, eaten cheese at Over The Moon cheese factory and loads more fun things.  This weekend it was Q.  We have lots of fun deciding what to do for each letter and as it was our weekend to have the kids, Quaffing fine wine was out of the question. I thought Tony could just treat me like a Queen. However, he said he would rather rub my Quadriceps!!  So what else could we do that started with Q, that involved all of us?? Quilting seemed like the perfect solution, albeit a little selfish, so we agreed on having a Quiet day at home where we all took time out for ourselves and did something we wanted to do.

So I managed to get all of Block 1 cut out for Down in the Garden by Leanne Beasley.  I love the colours in her design...vibrant and cheery and when my first BOM pack arrived, I must admit I was a little disappointed as the store I purchased it from had substituted all those fantastic colours for antique pastels.  However, with a bit of creative licence, I am happy with the colours I have substituted now. Piccies to follow tomorrow.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oh my gosh!!

Well, I have been spending a lot of time looking at various fabric stores online. I definitely have found some fabulous stores that I can't wait to order from. Even with the price of postage, it seems so much cheaper to order from Australia or the USA. Ok, I don't get the fondle factor, but I'll get twice as much fabric!!

There are also some very inspirational blogs. I seem to spend a lot of my free time oohing and aahing over some fantastic creations and it's always great to make new online friends.

I entered a giveaway at and to my absolute astonishment won the Tuesday Fat Quarter Giveaway. It's 11 FQ of Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush - Charmed. Gorgeous colourways and they are so my colours so I am very excited!! And funnily enough, I was going to place an order from them for this very fabric!! Well, I will just have to order something else now instead!! Kathy emailed me today to say they are on their way. I can't wait.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A new passion!

Well, it's time to resurrect the blog, now that life is not so busy and I might have time to actually post again. You know, life just gets in the way sometimes!! lol

I have a new passion...well actually it's a renewal of an old passion. I took up quilting years ago and then had kids so it has been gathering dust for quite some time now. I got inspired to pick it up again when a Facebook friend posted some images of quilts she had been making, so out came the sewing machine. I decided I may as well treat myself to a new one since I was getting back into quilting, so I splashed out and got a Bernina Quilter's Edition machine. OMG, it is beautiful and magical to sew with. Is it wrong to want to spend more time with your sewing machine than your husband? lol

Anyway, I bought some Kiwiana charm squares at a recent Craft Fair in Hamilton and have made the front of a quilt. It's going to be a rather large wall hanging!! I have a very bare wall that I need to cover and this is the perfect size for it. Well I would love some ideas on what kind of designs to use. I have thought about stitching in the ditch around the designs and then doing a kiwi design on the black, but I am thinking I should quilt over the whole piece, I don't want to take away the effect of the charm squares tho. Any suggestions or ideas???


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