Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Clothes....

I love getting new clothes at Xmas time, don't you??? With 'no spending' still my main priority where clothes are concerned I got to drafting up a little peasant type top for the girls yesterday....
A few tweaks here and a couple more there and my original top design turned into a sweet little dress in size 2-3... I was up til the wee hours of the morning sewing like a made woman, totally hooked on my new pattern. I managed to make 3 for Connie (size 2-3) and 3 for Millie (size 00-0). They are all for Xmas bar 1 of Connie's, it's for her to wear to a party tonight, the rest are surprises.....I'm now working on one in my size and am hoping to have a variety of sizes for sale in my shop come the new year..... *wink*

I hope all of your Xmas preparations are coming along nicely and you're not too stretched!!! Today I have a big batch of tomato relish brewing on the stove top as I type this, it will be added to Xmas hampers along with pickles, jam and shortbread which will be gifted to family and friends.... My Shortbread is in the freezer setting and as promised on Saturday, here is the recipe... It's absolutely DIVINE!!!! So super quick and so super delicious... I don't have sanding sugar so I just put a very generous sprinkling of caster sugar over the top before freezing...

Take Care.... Jodie.....

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bread and Butter Pickles....

I've been picking loads of cucumbers lately and what better way to use the bulk of them up then by making bread and butter pickles....
The recipe I used was from a really old 'commonsense' type cookbook that no longer has a cover. It's my 'go to' for all the old favourite recipes that are sometimes hard to find like golden syrup dumplings, tomato sauce, lemon butter, pumpkin scones, etc...
The beauty about these pickles is that you don't have to rest them, you can start munching on them as soon as they are cooled... They turn a heavenly shade of yellow once cooked thanks to the turmeric in the recipe, just take a look.....

I love munching on these especially on savory crackers with a nice sharp cheese, yum-mo!!!!

The pickling juices that I had left at the end I bottled as-well, it makes a delicious salad dressing once cooled...
With a Xmas party on the cards tonight I've dressed up a couple of the jars of pickles to give the host as a thank you gift.....
Teamed up with some melt in your mouth shortbread (stay tuned for the delicious and SOOO simple recipe tomorrow) and I'm sure they'll be a hit... ;)
Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe...
ingredients : : 2kg green cucumbers thinly sliced, 500g red onions finely sliced, 3 cups white vinegar, 3 cups white sugar, 1 heaped Tablespoon mustard seeds, I heaped Tablespoon of chopped fresh celery leaves, 2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon crushed chillies, 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper, salt.
method : : put cucumbers and onions into a bowl and sprinkle a big handful of salt (approx 1/4 a cup) over the top, let this stand for a good 3 hours. Wash and drain well....
Boil vinegar, sugar and other ingredients for 5 mins or until sugar is dissolved. Turn down the heat and add cucumbers and onions, heat well but do not boil. Spoon cucumbers and onions into hot sterilized jars, top with pickling juices and seal.
Will make approx 2 litres of pickles.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Round or Square????

I've been playing around with circular washcloths lately and this is a new pattern I've been working on....
I made this one up for my swap partner and now that I know it's well and truely on its way to her I thought I'd share it with you....
I've never really used round washers...... What about you, do you prefer round or square??? I'm still undecided.... I love my basic square ones but these do look pretty hanging over the basin drying...
Take Care.... Jodie.....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Today I'm....

.....harvesting some MEGA green button squash from my veggie patch....
I've found 3 this size today, how crazy is that??? They're only supposed to grow to the size of a golf-ball, max, after all they are 'button' squash but these babies are HUGE!!!!! Now all I need is a good squash recipe, any suggestions???
Also, while Brad was busy being preoccupied 'far far away' we had a secret visitor today...
......a local photographer, he came out to take some pix of me and the girls... This will be Brads gift this year for Xmas... It's so hard finding just the right gift for my husband but this year I really think I hit the nail on the head, fingers crossed he thinks the same....
What gift ideas have you come up with for those hard to buy people in your lives???

Take Care..... Jodie.................

Saturday, December 12, 2009

First Shop Update.....

OMG!!!! I did it... I opened my shop and you can check it out here or there's a link to it in my sidebar.....I've only listed a couple of goodies to start with, here's hoping it all goes well.... I'd love to hear your feedback if you have any....
Take Care..... Jodie......

Friday, December 11, 2009

Enough Interest......

Today a very special Nephew of mine turned 1.... Where on Earth has this past year gone??? Happy b'day Axel, we love you very much..... xoxoxo So with 'birthday's' comes 'birthday crafting', of-coarse,
and for Axel's 1st b'day I made him a bib/apron and some knitted sorting balls.....
The bib/apron is a great pattern I've made several times before for Miss Connie (you can find the free pattern link here), as for the sorting balls, that's something I thought up myself.... *grin*
(back view of apron, lined with terry toweling)
I made 8 balls in 4 different colours, each pair of coloured balls has the same letter stitched on it....... Toddlers can use the balls to learn the letters in their name,
to match letters,
to sort letters and colours too,
or to just simply stack and tumble and stack and tumble, you get the picture.......
I'm hoping these balls will offer hours of enjoyment for my little nephew and if you'd like my super simple pattern just leave a comment to let me know, I'm thinking of doing it as a free download if there's enough interest........
Take Care..... Jodie ....... :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Today I'm.......

....harvesting some giant green button squash.....
......and some extra long lebanese cucumbers from my veggie patch......
As well as making a little Xmas-y pencil roll for Miss Connie to take on a 'long' road trip tomorrow..... I've made loads of these in the past and have found that the best fabric to use for the pencil part is felt.... This one I made to fit 12 pencils (if you'd like to know how I made it I'm more than happy to email you my instructions)......:)We've also been spending some quality time with our hand rared Damara ewe's....
I've had these girls for a couple of years now but for the past 12 months they've been running out the back with a mob of other sheep... This is now the 3rd week that they have been getting hand feed again in the sheep yards. I'm hoping that they will be ready for milking in the next week or so....
Miss Connie can't wait and insists that this job is right up her alley, lets see if she still thinks that after our first milking expedition... LOL!!!
Take Care... Jodie .....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Homemade Baby Food....

Today I whipped up a batch of fruity muesli for the kids, mainly my 11 month old but Connie (3yrs) loves it too, especially on top of some yogurt..... It was super easy, all I did was peel and chop 2 apricots and 2 pears. I then added them to a pot and added water to just cover. I added a handful of rolled oats and a pinch of ground cinnamon and bought it all to the boil. I then simmered it for a good hour, or until it was thickened and the fruit was nice and soft. I gave it a whizz with my bar mix and hey presto instant baby food with minimal fuss and prep and best of all you know exactly what has gone into it, gotta love that.... (this much fruit makes up approx 600ml of baby food which if added to sterilised jars and sealed while hot will keep in the pantry for a good couple of months)...
Take Care..... Jodie......

Friday, December 4, 2009

Gingerbread....

"Make Xmas Cards" was today's Advent activity and boy did Connie go to town with it..... These are the 2 that she made for her Granny and Nanna.......
They even came complete with family portraits inside, just too cute!!!!! *^_^*.....
The gingerbread man decorating was also a huge hit, even though I think more icing was eaten than put on cookies and then in-turn the cookies were being munched on just as fast as the icing was added, this didn't leave many at the end... I did manage to salvage a few different shapes to ice and put on the table for munching on over the next couple of days though....
This was the perfect recipe (link here), crunchy and delicious. I'll definitely be making more of them over the festive season.... It makes a whopping 60 cookies which are still fresh after a couple of days out on display, not in a container, I'm totally surprised!!!! They would make perfect Xmas decorations (which might still be on the cards closer to Xmas Day)...

Do you have a great Xmas cookie recipe that you make every year without fail????? I'd love to hear about it.....

Take Care..... Jodie.....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Advent.....

I love this time of year, don't you??? We are now into our third day of advent and with it brings some pics of the craft we did yesterday..... Miss Connie (with a little help from me) made a Santa Calendar.....
We used this great free printout for the Santa and then made the rest up ourselves. Each day of the month leading up to Xmas was painted, then a piece of paper was painted to match. On the back of each of these piece's of paper we wrote a little Xmas activity to do together as a family.....
Each day you cross out the day, grab a piece of paper the same colour as the day, do the activity and than hang it on the spike to the left of Santa's beard... Today's activity was 'read a Xmas story'....
It's so hard to take a pic inside, I can never get the light quite right, but here's a pic of our advent stockings hanging on the piano anyway.
After all of the great advice I got for stocking fillers back here I ended up opting for a Xmas craft activity in each one... Today's activity was 'Bake Some Biccies'... After a team effort, Miss Connie Millie and I have some pretty wild looking ginger bread in the oven baking..... Stay tuned for a progress report, we'll be icing or should I say 'dressing' our little men tomorrow...
Now time for a pest update, for those interested.....
I seemed to have stopped my tomato grub problem, FINALLY!!!! It turns out that by planting my tomatoes next to my beans and cauliflower they were more susceptible to pests and disease... I removed my 2 cauli's and 3 bush beans, squished any nasty looking critters lurking around my toms that shouldn't have been and now a couple of weeks on I have healthy tomatoes again... This is what I harvested this morning....
That big one down the bottom is bigger than my fist!!! I really do think a batch of Tomato Relish is on the cards very very soon, don't you???
To conclude, without all of your great advice from back here I really would have been lost so thank-you..... :)

Take Care.... Jodie.....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Napkins..............

I've had a set of homemade napkins on my list of things 'to do' for quite some time now...
Today I had just enough free time I decided to do something about that....
To make them I cut 12 1/2' squares using some poly-cotton from my stash. I've used this fabric for a table cloth before and it washes beautifully (that was my reasoning behind the poly-cotton if you're wondering, oh and it's SUPER cheap which is also a bonus)....
To finish them off I added some 100% cotton fabric bias using a tiny zig-zag stitch, (to make my bias I cut 1 1/2' strips, this tutorial's great if you need a hand). I made sure to mitre the corners, which was so worth the extra time as it gives a lovely neat finish.... :)
I love how these have turned out, they match perfectly with my newly painted BRIGHT YELLOW kitchen... I now can't wait to whip a couple of sets up for people over Xmas.
All up they probably take about 4 hours to make, an hour each, that is when you add 2 little terrors running around under foot through the whole process.... LOL!!!.... But you know what, I don't think I'd have it any other way...... *^_^*
Take Care................ Jodie..........

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Today I'm....

SIGN-UPS ARE NOW CLOSED..
....organising an Xmas Washcloth Swap.
Can you believe that it's only 4 weeks til Xmas??? I've been dying to do an Xmas round of my Washcloth Swap but really wanted to wait for the start of December before posting about it, whoops.... :)

For this round of the swap you will make one Xmas themed washcloth for a secret partner as well as 1 little Xmas ornament, and I mean little, lets keep it nice and simple here to help keep the postage costs down.... We'll plan to post our washer's out by the 18th of Dec, so that's just under 3 weeks to whip them up.
Sign-ups start today and will close when we have 10 swappers registered (lets keep this one nice and small)....

So if you'd like to join in on this round of the swap just leave me a comment and within the week I'll be in contact with you regarding the rest of the details...

Take Care..... Jodie.....
BTW... Thanks for all of the great feedback on my washers and the fantastic shop ideas... It was so hard to pick 2 winners so I drew them out of a hat... Sue and Maria you are the lucky ladies and have one of my new washers headed your way, thanks for your comments...
Also, I forgot to mention that the winner of my 2nd giveaway from back here was Meagan. So if you could all forward me your snail mail addresses that would be great (except you Sue, I already have yours)........ :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Treasure's.....

This afternoon I was out in the garden doing my thing when out in the distance I saw a sweet little fairy...
When I called her over and asked what she was up to she promptly answered "picking treasure's Mummy", and boy what treasure's they were....
A bucket full of them actually, little yummy cherry tomato treasure's......
The last 3 days have seen me travel just over 1200km's... I've been down visiting my Mum in the Riverina, catching up before the hectic festive season settles in.... On the way there I pass through a town with the most precious little op-shop... I love stopping in there and this trip I picked up a square of linen and a bundle of knitting/crochet books...
These are some of my favourites from the batch of books I bought....
The most expensive of the lot was $1 with the cheapest being 10c, can you believe it??? They just don't make pattern books like these any more!!!! I also scored the linen for a wee 20c!!! I love this shop and always find new and exciting treasures to bring home with me each and every visit... So if you're every passing through Ungarie you really must stop in, it's up the end of the main street opposite the Police station, I'm sure you'll find a boot full of treasures to take home with you... ;)
Take Care..... Jodie.....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More Washers....

After a lot of consideration I decided it was time to start trying to make some money out of my washcloths.... I love making these babies and have so many around my home now that I nearly don't know what to do with them all (I did say nearly)......
I came up with a couple of new designs and after asking around town to my surprise people might actually want to buy them!!!!! (total shock)

So my first batch of washcloths has been made, a total of 7, and I've put a price tag of $4 each on them... They are 100% cotton and measure approx 7' x 7'.
So far so good I have sold a couple already to some ladies in town.

Now time to get selling online..... In your experience what is the best way to do it??? Should I start an etsy shop, sell on eBay, what do you think of Made-It, or is starting another blog/website which is strictly for 'selling only' the way to go????
I've tried an etsy shop in the past with very minimal success, maybe it just wasn't the right time for me, I don't really know but whatever it was it just didn't work as I sold nothing....

Now don't think I'm expecting all of this advice for nothing, I wouldn't do that to you.... I have 2 of my new washcloths up for grabs, so a couple of lucky commentors will be getting a little treat for popping by and lending me a hand....

I'm really looking forward to hearing all of your advice.....
Take Care... Jodie..... :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Yarn Stash Swap...

I'm in the process of cleaning up my sewing room... We're slowly renovating our home and the sewing room is next on the list... YIPPEE!!!
Today my yarn stash has been getting a clean up and I thought that it was time that it had a little clean out as well...
I've had these balls of yarn for a couple of years now and have made several projects using them but now I'm happy to let them go, it's someone else's turn to create something with them....
They are novelty type polyester 12ply yarns and after several machine washes I've found them very compatible with various cycles in the washing machine.... There is approx 480g of yarn in this bundle; 80g hot pink, 30g apple green, 175g violet, 200g lime green.

I'd really love some more cotton's for my collection and am not too phased as to what colour, ply or composition, as long as it has some cotton in it, that would be great....

So if you'd be interested in a little yarn swap leave me a comment to let me know....

Stay tuned for a few more 'yarn stash swaps' as I slowly go through my stock pile, hey, why don't you tell me if there's something that you're looking for, I might just have it and we could do a swap... ;)

Take Care...... Jodie

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Today I'm.......

....watching the last of the grain trucks drive down the road with a big grin on my face....... *^_^*
It's so good to be at the end of harvest and be able to say 'it was all smooth sailing'. It's not unusual to have at least one breakdown when your operating machinery like this, especially when it's being worked round the clock. And for the weather to stay fine at this time of year when we usually have thunderstorms is a big fluke...
But now, thank goodness, the crop is all off and the only thing left is one hell of a dusty road which in turn means one very dusty home..... :(
So, I'm off to do a bit of cleaning, wish me luck...
Take Care... :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today while tinkering in one of my tomato patch's out of the corner of my eye I spotted something.... It was green and wriggly and definitely should NOT of been making a meal out of my tomatoes, but it was!!!!!
It was a caterpillar looking grub thing and on further investigation I noticed that quite a few of my lovely big green tomatoes had diseased looking flesh like this.....
What's going on here??? What am I doing wrong??? I've never had problems like this before with my tomatoes.... Is all of this damage from the caterpillar grub or is it something else??? I would really love some advice if you have any.....
On a brighter note , I did manage to harvest something from the garden today, tomatoes (from a patch not infested by caterpillar type grubs), mini zucchini, cucumber, button squash and purple beans........
Yum-mo!!! What are you harvesting at the moment????
Take Care..... :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Today I'm....

.....harvesting some tomatoes, spinach and green button squash for our dinner tonight....
As well as being appreciative of a very thoughtful DH, Brad.... While at a clearing sale this weekend he picked up this little cupboard....
You'll never guess how much he scored it for........
$1, yes that's right, $1!!!!!!
Now isn't that awesome??? I have the perfect place for it in my kitchen and after a little sanding and some wax this afternoon it should be ready... Thanks Brad, you really are the *greatest*
Take Care..... :)