Thursday, December 30, 2010

In which she begins to knit

It may have been Flora's influence, it may have been the Oddballs (and my presence on Ravelry), or it may have been the beautiful skeins of yarn glaring at me balefully from my stash, but I have finally given in and started to knit.
It has not been a good start. I knitted 3 rows, and pulled it all out because I had extra stitches and didn't know why. I knitted 4 rows, had 4 extra stitches, attempted to go back to the previous row (where I knew I had the right number) and ended up 2 stitches short. This resulted in my taking it to my soon-to-be mother-in-law, who corrected the number of stitches and reknitted those rows that had been pulled out. Still, I have now successfully knitted 4 more rows without gaining or losing any stitches, and the pattern is beginning to emerge.
Flora approves.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New family members

We've acquired some new family members during my absence. First there was Filleap. He was a present from Andrew, both a congratulations, and an anniversary gift. He's growing up too fast, and is oh-so-naughty. He likes cupboards, and hates carrots (but loves broccoli)

Then we got Felix, because Andrew saw him when buying animal food, and he was too cute to resist. He and Filleap aren't friends yet though - despite being 'fixed' Filleap molests him, so we're waiting 'til Felix grows up.

And then, following some losses in the chookhouse (The Colonel to illness, and Nando to a fox) we got Goldie Hawn, Ingham, and Fred Rooster.
Goldie is Dad's 2nd chook at last - a bantam to go with Chook, while the others are replacements for the lost ones.

Oh, and back on April 19th, a new niece, Milla was born. She is a sister for Alice and Amy, and absolutely divine. And at 5lb6oz, is the 'big' one in her family!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Winter's End

I have a love/hate relationship with the end of Winter. On one hand, it almost frightens me, as I know how desperately we need the rain. On the other hand, there's no denying the smile that comes to my face when I get home from work and it's still light.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A thousand apologies...

...for my prolonged absence. I have obtained a full time teaching position which started at the beginning of last term and while I love my job, it drastically cuts into both my crafting and blogging time. In addition, Anna at Pleasant View Schoolhouse has ceased blogging. As this was my favourite blog, and my inspiration for Sew, Cook, Laugh, I have lost some interest in blogs in general - I have not even been reading blogs regularly. I do, however, love this space for sharing, so I shall try to be better.
Upcoming posts are likely to included - additions to our family (a gorgeous new niece, plus a couple of bunnies and three new chooks) and my latest crafting supplies. There may also be some mention of my current obsession with knitting, though I have about 5 things to finish before I actually do any.
So please hang in there, dear readers, and we shall return to regular programming soon. I hope.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Taking it up a notch...

Recently, I wanted to make a vegetable based meal, but wanted avoid risotto and pasta, as Dad hates them (which doesn't stop us, but we do try to limit it). Mum suggested the veggie pasties she used to make by roasting vegetables and mixing them with cheese. I liked the idea but decided I could do better.

Katie's Cheesy Veggie Pasties
3 medium potatoes
1/2 a medium sweet potato
Approximately the same amount of pumpkin
1 carrot
A large handful of frozen peas
60g butter
1/3 cup plain flour
500mL milk
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp English mustard
125g grated tasty cheese
1 tbsp grated parmesan
salt, pepper and nutmeg
4 sheets puff pastry

Peel and dice all veggies (except peas), aiming for 1-2cm cubes/rectangular prisms. Put in a roasting tray and coat with oil (I use olive oil), then bake in oven until golden and soft through. Tip into a large mixing bowl (I usually put a couple of squares of paper towel at the bottom to soak up excess oil), add peas, and set aside.
Melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour and mustards. Stir for one minute. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Stir until it boils and thickens. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add cheeses and stir until melted.
Pour cheese sauce over vegetables (remembering to remove the paper towel) You won't need it all, so add it bit by bit, stirring as you go, until everything is coated.
Hopefully, you've been smart and gotten the pastry out of the freezer to defrost. Cut each sheet in half vertically (I tried doing it diagonally, and it really doesn't work as well) Spoon some of the veggie mix into the centre of each piece, taking care to leave a little space at each edge. Brush all the edges with a little milk, and roll up into rectangular pasties, making sure to seal the short ends. Place on a baking tray (I like to line with baking paper) brush pasties all over with milk, and pierce tops. Bake at 200C for around 20min or until golden.

The veggies can be varied - tonight's contained beans (I don't know what kind, but they were purple until I cooked them) and I have also mixed grated zucchini through the mix.
These can be reheated later - this makes twice as many as my family needs for dinner, so the rest get gladwrapped, and refrigerated. They can be reheated in either the microwave or the oven.

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Year In Feminine Dress

It started with the Sense and Sensibility Forums. Every season, the ladies over there have a Week In Feminine Dress, where members wear dresses and skirts (and, due to the religious convictions of many members, dress modestly) for a week, posting pictures each day, with a description of what we wore and did that day. It's about proving that just about anything can be done while still looking feminine, and about providing each other with style inspiration. My first WIFD was while we were still travelling. It was challenging in many ways, having only 2 skirts and hiking boots, but having a lack of choices made it easier too. Still, I kept it up, and have taken part in every WIFD since.

Then, about this time last year, there was another one. No big deal, especially since I realised that I'd already been wearing skirts for a few weeks, due to the heat.
WHich got me wondering how long I could keep it up. First I challenged myself to last through February. That was easy, so I thought I'd just keep going for as long as I could. Pretty soon, I decided to see if I could last a whole year.
It wasn't always easy. Winter got challenging... I resorted to long socks, which I now have a bit of a reputation for (I've been call both Pippi Long Stocking and the Wicked Witch!)
I've dressed casually.

I've had job interviews.
And I've been to parties.

It's been a great year. My style has developed a lot, and ultimately, I think I'll stick mostly to skirts, but it will be nice to be able to throw a pair of jeans on to go horse riding, or shorts for rock climbing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The girls are growing up!

Our chooks now all look like adult hens. We're now getting 5 or 6 eggs everyday, and occasionally we even get 7!
This is Opal

Obsidian (Andrew calls her Sid)

and Dora.

We've also had a couple of additions to our little flock. First there was a bantam for Dad. He took so long to name her that Andrew was calling her Henrietta von Cluckington III, but Dad eventually chose a name.
This is Chook.

Then we got a rooster. He, too, is a bantam and is scared of the bigger girls, so I don't think we'll be getting chickens any time soon.
This is the Colonel (as in Colonel Sanders. Guess who named him?)