Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What's for dinner mum?

Do you plan your family meals in advance for the week or see what's in the fridge and improvise each day?

Mostly in the past I have improvised, but the times when I do plan a weeks worth of meals, buy groceries & fresh foods for those particular meals and then follow the plan, I find it works really well. My aim is largely to waste less and spend our money wisely. but a huge added benefit, I've found, is that it clears my head and takes away that gnawing question each day of what to cook. So rather than "what on earth am I going to cook for dinner, do we have the ingredients, will I have to drag the kids to the shops and do I have enough time to prepare", it's "ok it's Wednesday, burritos for dinner"

So as a way to keep up the momentum I'm starting a weekly "What's for dinner mum?" section over on the right there. And just maybe I can inspire you too, or remind you of a long lost recipe you used to cook, or you could try one of our recipes.

I'm also planning on taking a photo each night and posting it on Instagram, so please come on over and follow me if Instagram is your thing (I'm bubala_jo). I might try to post a montage of pics here too, I'll see how I go.

I'd love to hear - what's on your mind for dinner this week?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tova top #3

Yes, it had to be done... just one more Tova.
 After this one and this one I just couldn't get the idea of another version out of my head.
I had earmarked the remaining fabric from my girls dress for it and there was just enough, thank goodness. I really like the Ikat design and the fabric feels lovely. I wanted to wear it as a winter tunic over long sleeved tops, so I modified the pattern to make it hip length (good to wear with jeans and knee-high boots), with side splits for ease of movement, and sleeveless.
And to finish it, instead of making the standard mandarin style collar I bound the neckline with bias binding I'd made from the ikat fabric, leaving the ends long to create ties (which are left loose). When I was pondering how to finish the armholes I looked at pics of the Wiksten tank top (a pattern I'm trying hard not to buy) to try to work out how the edges are finished. It looks like they use bias binding for those too so that's what I tried and it worked! So I'm happy that I have another hemming technique to add to my mental list.

I've worn this tunic a few times now and am enjoying it, largely I think because the fabric is so lovely to wear. It sits well and feels substantial.Which is a nice lesson to me to really be careful about the fabrics I use - there's no point in spending time sewing something that then falls apart in the wash or doesn't feel great to wear. But that's another post, one day...

Oh, and by the way my girl and I actually wore our outfits on the same day together recently... I was about to go and change when I realised, but then I saw her face and how excited she was to be 'matching mum' that I decided to just wear it and get on with the day. Sod the embarrassment, and who cares anyway :-)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Birthday goodies

Last week I celebrated my birthday and was lucky enough to be given some books that had been on my wish list for a while (I found turning 41 much easier than turning 40 last year, incidentally!)
One of the books is the Burdastyle Sewing Handbook. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from this one. I thought it may be a good resource book. I also knew there were some patterns included but thought the chance of them being suitable may be remote. How wrong I was!
 The book is cleverly broken down into 5 different projects (dress, blouse, skirt, coat, bag) and then different contributors have designed their take on the Burda pattern. The coat section is my favourite and while I'm not so keen on the Burda version (too girly for me), I love both the classic peacoat version and also the short trendy motorcycle inspired version. I want to make both!
 The book gives instructions on how to adapt the basic pattern to the different versions, which I'm sure I'd love doing.

On inspection I found that the dress is a beautiful cut and something I'd love to try for summer, sans frill.
 And the bag is divine too! Just the update to my bag wardrobe that I need. Ah, so many great projects, so little time ;-)
 Another book I received is the Japanese pattern book Happy Handmade vol 2 kids. This one came from the Mr (what, he actually listens to my ramblings?).
 I love the simple shapes and thing I could get a whole wardrobe full of clothes for the 3 littles if time was no object.
 And I'm sure I could convince at least one of my girls to wear this gorgeous floaty top.

And to top it off I was also given a beautiful hand screen printed tea towel designed and printed by my lovely friend Lamina who thoughtfully noted that the colour scheme would go with my kitchen ;-)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Chocolate orange pudding

Chocolate self saucing pudding is one of those recipes that I have literally been making for years. The recipe is hand written in an old recipe journal of mine that dates back to my uni house sharing days, so that means it's at least 20 years old (yikes!) and I've no idea where it comes from. Perhaps an old housemate?

Anyway, I got out the ingredients last night to make it for our weekly 'movie and dessert night' and suddenly had a flash of inspiration to add something from our fruit bowl. I sometimes add a chopped up banana if there's one looking sorry for itself, but this time the orange was calling me. And it worked out well, lifting it a little above the norm, I think. So I thought you might like the recipe too. If you have your own grubby hand written ancient version I understand you'll probably want to stick with that, but if not, give this a go next time you're looking for something quick and easy to stop the kids whining. Works for me ;-)

Chocolate orange self saucing pudding
(serves about 6)

1 cup SR flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup milk
30g butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup cocoa, extra
1 1/4 cups orange juice/water*
1 orange, zested and juiced

Sift flour, sugar and cocoa into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and stir in the melted butter and milk with a wooden spoon. Stir in the orange zest. Smooth top with back of the spoon.

In a small separate bowl mix together the brown sugar and sifted extra cocoa. *Squeeze the orange juice into a measuring jug and fill up with hot water to 1 1/4 cup mark. Mix this into the sugar and cocoa mixture.

Pour sauce gently onto the pudding and place into preheated oven at moderate heat (180c) for about 35 minutes or til top is firm to touch.

Serve with cream or vanilla icecream and orange zest.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fancy doll carrier

I've been missing my little blog lately... I have plenty of things to say and show you but not the time, plus being unwell this week hasn't helped - now if only I could get those 'thought posts' (you know the ones were you write them in your head) to jump out and formulate into actual posts I'd be happy :-) Anyway...

Before we went on our trip to Tasmania recently I decided that my little girl just had to have a doll carrier to carry around one of her beloved dolls. I'd been saving this pattern for ages and the night before we left (crazy woman) it could wait no longer.

But what a doozie of a pattern to try very late the night before going away... There are straps and buckles galore on this one, it's virtually a kid sized Ergo (that I used and loved when my kids were babies), which is great, only not if you are dead tired and stressing about all the final things to pack and how you don't want to be screaming your head off on the plane because "Mummy stayed up very late making you this so just be grateful!!!" yep, utter craziness.

There are lots of little details like the fold over flap at the top complete with button embellishments, the straps are padded and adjustable and I think the little red riding hood fabric looks sweet. It's a great pattern, it's just very detailed and requires a bit of thought - in the wee hours of the morning it took lots of staring at the pattern to try to work it out and quite a few swear words - it wasn't the wisest time to do it.

Anyway, she liked it well enough. Although she was a little s#*t for most of the trip so probably didn't deserve it. Now it mostly just hangs on the back of her door gathering dust but when she does use it it's a pretty cute sight. And a good reminder to me to sometimes fight myself and give the late night sewing a miss.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mothers Day

 ... to all the mums out there. It's the hardest job in the world but with the most rewards.

(My lovely big girl made me these sweet tissue paper flowers. Eat your heart out Martha Stewart ;-)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Girls weekend away

Last weekend I went away for my first girls weekend away since having kids. It was a short distance away, the beautiful (but cold!) NSW Southern Highlands but it felt like worlds away - no little people asking for snacks every second, fighting with their siblings, complaining of phantom tummy aches etc. You know, just ordinary stuff but the stuff that means you can't enjoy a quiet coffee, go to the bathroom alone or have a full conversation. Well, there were plenty of long conversations on our girls weekend, some while relaxing in the hotel's huge spa, ahh!!
We enjoyed the beautiful weather, drank lots of coffees...

Talked books and more books (I started this one, recommended by this enthusiastic reader and fellow weekend goer ;-) ...
Went to a great retro shop that, in their own words, "Sells really cool stuff"...

Visited a fantastic local gallery and fell in love with the chicken and rooster portraits in the Birds of a Feather exhibition...

Wandered around a small town market and bought this beautiful skein of wool, with a view to making a little boy's beanie. I can feel a winter addiction coming on ;-) ...

 And lastly, on my way home, I stopped in at a handmade shop called Made by Others. Wow, I thought we were spoiled for this type of thing in Sydney, but this has the best collection I've seen. I couldn't resist buying an amazing pair of hand screen printed tights (how do you screen print tights??). It was very inspirational to meet the 2 owners and chat about the business. Whilst I'm sure there are stresses to the business I would love to have something like this - to be surrounded by all that creativity all the time would be amazing. I left inspired and vowed I'd go back.

Sadly there won't be much crafting going on here this week - having a night away from home has made me realise how bad the quality of our sleep has become with a 2 year old and a four year old in our bed night after night (not our choice, their habits). So if I am to try to change the habits and convince them to stay in their own beds I must go to bed early myself and be prepared for the possibility of wakeful nights returning them to their beds. Wishing you a restful week!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tova top #2

I made this second Tova (see the first here) when I ran out of steam on KCWC recently. Yes, 'selfish sewing' won over again :-) When I have a vision for something, it tends to sit and nag away at me, sometimes day and night, like an itch that needs to be scratched, until I finally give in and attend to it. And that's certainly how it was with this project.

In the cooler months my 'uniform' of jeans and long sleeved tshirts gets pretty boring. I get lazy and cold and dull. And not helping matters at the moment is that somehow I seem to have lost my desire to wear skirts. Hopefully that will come back. But in the meantime I thought a couple of tops I can wear over my 'uniform' would help. And this one will certainly brighten me up!

Back to the Tova pattern with a few changes this time:
• Larger size to add room around the chest
• Tunic length to sit nicely over trousers and jeans
• Curved hemline to break it up a bit
• Cap sleeves to add some balance without the bulk of the 3/4 sleeves. Jenny Gordy has a good tutorial here on making cap sleeves. I love cap sleeves, they're my favourite type of sleeve and I thought they'd look great with the Tova. If you have any q's about how I made them please email me and I'll be happy to help.

I also tried making a fabric belt and belt loops to tie loosely at the waist/hip but the fabric is a little stiff for this look and it wasn't working so I ditched it - filed away mentally for future use ;-)

Overall I'm pleased with it and it looks mostly like it did in my head, as usual time will tell as to how much wear it gets.

So that itch has been scratched, I guess you could say. I tell you though, I'm like an addict - I have a vision for just one more. Let me indulge myself for a minute (feel free to log out :-) It goes like this... ikat fabric (remnants of this), tunic length, sleeveless (bound armholes), French seams, and bound neckline with binding extended beyond collar to make ties, possibly with tassels attached. Someone call Sewaholics Anonymous, I need help. Itch itch...

Check out Our Creative Spaces over here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Apple jam

My KCWC effort started enthusiastically last week but completely fizzled out around Friday, unfortunately. I'm happy though that I got a few useful clothes for the kids out of it, and the biggest bonus of participating was the vast amount of inspiration that I got from seeing everyone's creations - wow there are some amazing sewers out there!! My Pinterest 'kids clothes' folder has been topped up and I have lots of ideas swimming around in my head... but onto another of my loves, food ;-)

We're not huge jam eaters here but I do like to have a jar in the fridge to serve with scones, pikelets and to use with biscuits etc. But we are huge apple fans, so when I saw a recipe for apple jam in Lotta Jansdotter's inspirational book Homemade Living I knew it would linger in my mind until I made it!
And it's truly lovely - very apple-y, chunky, with a lovely jelly-like texture. My only complaint would be that even though I changed the recipe to use less sugar it is still a little sweet for my taste. So next time I make it I think I'll either reduce the sugar further or try to buy more tart apples (or maybe use more lemon juice? Any jam makers out there with some suggestions?).

Oh, and it's yummy with scones :-)


Apple  Jam
Makes about 3 cups 

1 kg green apples, peeled, cored and chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 cup water
5 cups sugar

Combine the prepared apples, lemon zest and water in a large saucepan.  Simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until apples are softened but not cooked all the way through so that the apples hold their shape. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly until the mix boils. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the jam thickens (I did the cold plate test just to check that it was setting). Cool and place into jars. Keep in the fridge.

Related Posts with Thumbnails